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1863 February 28: The Northern Peace Movement

February 26, 2013

These two articles are from The Polk County Press of February 28, 1863.  The February 28, 1863, issue of The Prescott Journal is missing from the microfilm, so we only have articles from the Press this week.


The following is one of the preambles to the far-famed Peace Resolutions, recently passed in the Ill. Legislature, and afterwords [sic] withdrawn:

WHEREAS, The Constitution cannot be maintained, nor the Union preserved in opposition to public feeling, by the mere exercise of the coercive powers confided to the General Government, and that in case of differences and conflicts between the States and the Federal Government too powerful for adjustment by the civil departments of the Government, the appeal is not to the sword, by the State or by the Gen. Government, but to the people, peacefully assembled by their representatives in convention.

The above conveys as clear an indorsement [sic] of rebellion as the people of the seceded States would desire.  With what face the movers or supporters of each a proposition can assert that, under any circumstances, they have ever favored the prosecution of the war for the preservation of the Union, it is difficult to imagine.  It is an implied admision [sic] of the right on the part of any community in which the virus of treason may be so disseminated that it can be dignified with the name of “public feeling,” to rebell [sic] against the Government ;  provided, that community are so determined in their demand that they will not hear to reason.  That was precisely the case with South Carolina and every other Southern State when without reason—even before the present Administration entered the present Administration entered upon its functions, or had performed any set—they declared their determination to accept no terms whatever—not even if they were allowed to dictate the terms themselves.  They commenced instead an unholy and unjustifiable war against the Government.  Then how utterly base and infamous must be that party or those men who propose to compromise with those who assert that they will listen to no terms.


From the Charleston Mercury.

The peace movement at the North is fairly begun at last.  The voice of of [sic] a populace longing to close a hopeless and ruinous war of aggression can no longer be stifled.  The mighty rabble of New York and Philadelphia have caught up the cry raised by the Hoosiers of the North-west, and the pace elements in party politics grows stronger and more distinct.  The utterance which reach us show that there has been no lack of venal presses and unscrupulous politicians, shaping their course so as to share the rising fortunes of the antiwar movement.  Everywhere thoughout [sic] the North we find supple demagogues echoing the popular sentiment with a vigor and boldness which a year ago, would have consigned them to a dungeon ;  and even the fearless and consistent VNLLANDIGHAM [sic]¹ takes a step father [sic] than he ever dared before, and unfurls the white flag in the very halls of the Yankee Congress.

To give to the new party such an overwhelming and decisive breponderance [sic] of strength as will at once terminate the effort to subjugate the South, we believe that it is only necessary that, in the next great shock of arms, which must now be close at hand, our troops shall once more vindicate their superiority over the ruffianly invaders whom they must encounter.  That our brave soldiers may enter this final struggle under the least possible disadvantage of numbers is an object which should enlist all the attention and energies of those who rule the policy of the Confederacy.

1.  Clement Laird Vallandigham (1820-1871) was a U.S. Representative from Ohio. Lincoln’s Secretary of War, Edwin M. Stanton, and Vallandigham were “intimate personal friends” before the Civil War. Vallandigham lost his bid for a third term, in 1862, by a relatively large vote.

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