War of the Rebellion: Serial 127 Page 0746 CORRESPONDENCE, ETC.

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their own constituents, and to pursue without mercy their political opponents. This is a simple and true history of the Union party in Kentucky; and under all its phases, except the last, it avowed its preference for the South; and in its last the leaders suppressed the resentment of their own party by the sword. This recital is made for one purpose alone, and that is to show that the whole body of the people of Kentucky have in the last year repeatedly avowed themselves in favor of an intimate peaceful connection of the State by a vote of the people with the Confederate States. The Union leaders avowed the same intention until they had organized an army sufficient to protect themselves against the rage of the people. The leaders of the States Right party in Kentucky always knew that the people were with them on this question and they hoped to the last that they would be able to expose the designs of the war faction and thus carry with them the State government. The hope of being able to act with the forms of law made them risk everything till too late. No one could have anticipated the unparalleled audacity and treachery of the leaders of the Union party when they violated their own position of neutrality and deliberately determined to plunge the State in war. Up to the last moment of ted to save the State by State action; and we did this because we knew the people were almost unanimously with us as to the ultimate destiny of the State. This fact is also admitted by General Thomas in his report as to the condition of Kentucky. *

How, then, can Your Excellency refuse admission to our State, because the State government has itself dared to betray the people and left them no hope except in their own manly determination to maintain with arms their own liberties? Your own theory of Government was dear to us. We were habitually accustomed to look to the State and State action for redress of Federal wrongs. We wished to secede from the old Federal Union with all the rights of Kentuckians guarded by all the forms of State government. We pursued this idea to the last. We adhered to this determination until the theory itself was lost in the treachery of the Legislature and until the State government had abandoned its people and indissolubly united itself with the public enemy.

For nearly two years no election can take place in Kentucky for members of the Legislature. Should we have submitted during all this period to anarchy or to laws hostile to our people? Even then the sword would still have to be drawn to solve the question. When hope had left us, and when, perhaps, the independence and boundaries of the Confederate States were acknowledged and established, and the struggle was over, then to inaugurate a hopeless civil war would have been criminal, and we would have been by our own honor [forced] to go in exile form our own native State. No theory, however sound, can demand this sacrifice. We come to you now, when it is honorable to do so, to offer you our assistance in a common cause while peril surrounds us both and to share with you a common destiny. It is not possible in an age of honor that the strong will reject the weak because the people have risen up to vindicate that cause which was betrayed by the State. We therefore hope that you will feel disposed to throw around thovernment, in its infancy, the protection of the Confederate States of America. Let the preservation of constitutional government be alike the destiny and glory of your great Confederacy. As a people long connected with you we ask admission to your Government. In such a struggle, however, we will


*See Series I, VOL. IV, p. 313.