1861 August 15: Lute Taylor’s Friendly Talk With Loyal Democrats
Prescott Journal editor Lute Taylor expounds at length on Democrats in general and those in Pierce County. From the August 15, 1863, issue of The Prescott Journal.
A FRIENDLY TALK WITH LOYAL DEMOCRATS.
Among the readers of the Journal in this county, are many who have differed from us in party action.
In the fall of 1861, patriotism seemed to be the only test of party, and Republican and Democrat laid aside their party preferences, and vied with each other in support of a ticket whose claim to popular favor was that it was loyal and committed to a vigorous prosecution of the war, for the overthrow of Rebellion and the maintenance of National Authority.
Although the Union party, distinctively as such, was of brief continuance in this State, we are proud of our early connection with it—proud of the sweeping and almost unanimous vote of this county for its nominees. The impulse in which that party originated was a patriotic one—the end proposed was despicable, but from causes not now necessary to specify, it has been crowded off the stage by the older and more powerful organizations. Feeling thankful that even for so brief a time the people of this county have laid aside party for patriotism, and hoping they may always be ready to do it, let us examine the position of parties and the issues presented before us to day.
There are few Democrats in this county, who from the first have felt no sympathy with the Great Work in which the Nation is engaged. To these we have nothing to say, except that we wonder at the pervisity [sic: perversity] of heart or blindness of mind which has made them so sadly miscreant to the duties of citizenship. We address the loyal Democrats of this county— the Democrats who have given their sons and contributed of their treasure to the National Cause—who have shared in the pride of our victories and the pain of our defeats— whose faith has never failed—whose courage never flinched—whose zeal has never flagged—and whose earnest, constant and believing prayer is “GOD SAVE THE UNION.” To such Democrats, we put this question:
Is not the Democratic Party in the loyal States arrayed in opposition to the Government?
We do not mean to say that the mass of the Democratic party North are disloyal, but we do mean to say that the leaders who control the party organization have deliberately placed it an attitude of hostility to the Government and the great work of suppressing Rebellion in which the Government is engaged.
Does any man doubt this? Does not every one know that the Democratic party is regarded by the rebels as a as a [sic] “peace” party—that its successes are hailed by traitors as omens of good in them—as weakening the power of the Administration which is prosecuting the war. Does not every one know that not a Democratic Mass Meeting or State Convention has been held in the North during the year past, which has not evinced far more bitter hostility to the Administration than to the Rebellion !— Would not Rebeldom rejoice, and gather up its failing strength for more desperate effort, and renew its sinking hope of final success, if VALLANDIGHAM [Clement L. Vallandigham] was elected Governor of Ohio? Every one knows it ; and yet a Democratic Convention in patriotic Wisconsin met to nominate men for the high and responsible offices of State have deliberately adopted a resolution expressing sympathy with the wrong done to the despicable, disloyal man and the hope that he may be elected Governor of the great State of Ohio.
This, loyal Democrats is the platform to which you are invited ! This is the rule of action prescribed for you ! How do you like it ! Every man who votes the ticket headed by H. L. PALMER [Henry L. Palmer], votes as far as in his power, for VALLANDIGHAM. Is it not so !
We write this now, thus early in the canvas, because we wish the matter to be candidly considered before partisan feeling is awakened.
Let us look at the condition of the Nation and the attitude assumed by the two great parties.
A gigantic Rebellion threatens the existence of the Nation. It has already cost us many millions of treasure and blood of our bravest has been poured out like water. To the work of suppressing this Rebellion the Government has addressed itself with the utmost vigor. No doubt errors have been made, mistakes occurred, blunders been committed and opportunities been lost. No doubt incapacity and mistaken zeal have sometimes crippled our efficiency, but it must be wisdom more than human that can provide against all these contingencies, and after all, we have made steady and sure advance toward the object in view. It seems now to be a crisis in the war when the united support of the Government by the people would enable it to speedily reassert its authority and close the war.
At this critical time, while the great Union party of the North is helping to sustain the Administration in its mighty work ; the Democratic party bends all its energies to a war upon the Administration. For what? For Power, we answer ; Power, though it be bought with the price of the Nation’s life. We have no patience to answer the idle charge that the Administration has assumed tyrannical power, and that the liberties of American citizens are in danger. The demagogues and traitors who spit out this venomous charge, only prove that they have more liberty than they deserve. It is true that the Government has assumed extraordinary powers, but the occasion demands it, and it finds its warrant in the Constitution itself, and in the universally recognized principles of common sense and law.
We ask no man to join the Republican party. The distinctive issues on which that party was organized have passed away, but under the name Republican or Union, stands to day the Great Party which upholds the Government. It includes such distinguished Democrats as BROUGH,¹ DICKINSON,² DIX [John A. Dix], BUTLER [Benjamin F. Butler], and in our own State, SALOMON [Edward Salomon], LEWIS, and hosts of others, who now work side by side with those to whom they have been opposed—work together for the country we all love.
And you, loyal Democrat, will you give your vote to sustain the Government—to encourage our soldiers—to end the rebellion, and overthrow treason and revolt ; or will you in this day of great sacrifices and exalted heroism, join the ranks of those who are martialed [sic] for attack on the defenders of the Nation.—Will you at the coming election for the Union and the men who will uphold it at whatever cost, or vote for H. L. Palmer and the rest of his Democratic associates, who are loud in their wail over the wrongs of VALLANDIGHAM, but have no curse for rebels—no cheer for the patriot soldiers by whom GETTYSBURG and VICKSBURG were won. For which will you vote ? No more important question was ever addressed to an elector of this State.
1. John Brough (1811-1865) was a War Democrat and the 26th governor of Ohio (1864-1865). He made a strongly pro-Union speech in Marietta, Ohio, on June 10, 1863. As governor, Brough strongly supported the the Lincoln Administration and its war efforts. He convinced other Midwestern governors to raise 100-day regiments in early 1864 in order for more seasoned soldiers to join General Ulysses S. Grant’s spring campaign.
2. Daniel Stevens Dickinson (1800-1866) was a U.S. Senator from New York (1844-1851) and the New York State Attorney General (1862-1863), elected as a War Democrat.