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Letter Of General Harney

Letter Of General Harney image Letter Of General Harney image
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■S'.f;m.'GTOs, Wuduesday, Hay 1, 1Í361. My Dkar Sm - The report of my arrest in Harper's Ferry by persons ns- Buming to act under uuthority of tija State oí Virginia has no doubt reached you. Gov. Lotcher immediately dU rected my release, with assurances dis-, avowing the act of his subordínate?,' and exprossing regret at their mistaku or abuse of his uuthority. Tho kind attontion and civility roceived from him, from the escort that aceompanied meA and othor distinguished citizonaof Virginia and esteeraed friends whom I thero mot, componsatod for any personal troubloor annoyance; yet I connot bnt fuel deep tnortifioation and regret that our country should be in a condition to exposo any one to such an incident. It has faroUbed occasion fot mistako or misreprésentation in respect to my views and sentiments, which u seuse of duty reijuires to be promptly correeted. No bettef mode occora t me than by a letter addiessed to yonrself, as an esteeined personal li'iend. it has been represenied through tho publio press that I vvas a willing prisoner tó the State of Virginia ; that I designed to reibign my cominission the LJnited States urmy, throw off my allegiance to the Federal government, and join the torces of the Confedéralo States. Jb'orty-two vears 1 have been in tha military service of the United States, and have followed during that time but ono fl:ig - tho flag oi tho Union. I have seeti it protecting our irontiers, and guarding our öoaets, from Maine ty, Florida; I have witnessed it in th smoke of battle, gtained with the blood of gallarit men, leading on to victory, plantod upon the strongholds, and waving in triumph over the capital ot a íoreign fue, My eyes have bebeld that flag aflording proteotion to our Statea and ïerritories on the Pacific, and eommaodjog reverence and respect from hotitile fleets and squadronu, and, from foreign governments, never oxhibited to any other banner on the globe. Tweüty stars, each representing u State, have been added to that banner during my serrice, and under its folds I have advanced fröra tho rank ui Lieutenaot to that I dow hold. Tlie goveniraont, whose honors have beea boatowed upou ine, I shall serve the rest of my dais. The flag, whose glories 1 have witnes-ed, shall never be forsakun by me while I can strike a blow for its defense. While I have breatii, I shall be ready to serve the irovernment of the United States, and bj a fa'uLtul, loyal soldier. , Without condemning, or in any diigreo ciiticiiing, the course othor persona have deamed proper to purBue in the preeem juncture, my line of duty is plain to my ovvn heart and judgment. The course of evantS that liave led to the deplorable condition in wbiöti our country novv stands, has been vvatched by me with painful interest. Perceiving that rnany of my follow c;t .zens in the southern States were discouioiited with the goverutnent, and das red some ehange to protect tliem. lrora existing evite, rny leelings hay.e been strongly iverse to coerción, and anxious lor some compromise or arrangement that would restoro peace and barmony. Tlie provisions of the Federal constitution utiorded, in my judgment, ampie meansof redress tbrough a convention of all the States, whieh rnight adopt ainendments that would reconcile all differenoes, or, if t{at could DOt be accomplisbed, rnight provide for peaceful separátion m a mannor becoinirig (rienda and brethren. So'long as this hope of peacelul settlement of our troubles could be indulged, I havo feit it to be the wise duty of Uu) General government to beur with putience outrages that no other government could have endured, and to forbear any execuïion oí lorce until tho ast hope deparled. But when the Confedérate States, vith seven thousand men, under cover of strong fortifications or impregnablq )altoriea, assaüed a starving gumson of eventy men in Fort Sumpter, comoollod the banner of the United 5tatc to be lowerud, and boasted o{ itij Üshonor beforo the workl, the state of he question was immediately changed. Instead of the government coercí ng States demanding redress of griev.ances by coostiiutional meana, the uasq was presented of revolutiomsts waging war aguinst the go e -naient, seeking its overthrow by force of arms, assailing public property by overwhelming fóroe, laboring to destroy thelivesof gullaht oliicers and aoldiors and dishonoring the national ilag. The quostion novv" before us is, whether the gov ernment of tho United States, wiih ita nuiny blessioga and past glories .sliall bo overthrown by the military dictatoi ship lutely planted and now bearing sway in the Confedérate States ? y. hand cannotaid in that work. Fiffding oursclves in a state of civil war, actually existing or fast approaehitig,somo of my brethren io anus, citizens of Meeding Stattá, ami tur yiiqir I have the bigbest personal respect, have considerad it fciiair duty to throw. ün their conomissione and tollow their States. In thtit view of duty I eannot eoncur. As an officer of the nrmy and n ekizen of the United States, Ifaouádtáí my priraary allegiance to be due to the Federal gowrument, and .subordínate to tliat is my allegiance to the Statq. This, as you are aware, bas been ihu concurriog opinión of the most eminent jurista of this country. It was the-. " judgment.of tbe Court of Appealsqf South Carolina in the caae of Hu ut, whore the case was diseussed witl) matchless ability. In that case, tho highest court ir. South Carolina deliberately decided that the sïöldier's and citizen's priroary duty of allegiance ís due to the United States government, nnd not to the governaient of his State. 01' líito it has been contended that the allegianoe dae by a oit:zr In tho Federal, government, was dissolved when his StHte socedos from the Union. Into thatsnare many have fallen. Eut, in rav jüdgnieat, there ií and can bo no suob riglit as secession of a State by its own act. The government of tho Union can only be dissolved by the ooncurrence of tho States that have ontered into tho Federal compact. Tlio dootiine of secession is destructivo to all govefnmont, and leads to universal anarchy. Uut supposing SU.tes may.secepe and defltroy tbo govrn.nnt whaneverii uncy takos Ihose who are stront enougb to set up au arbitra.ry power in the State. Missouri, tho S.ato of rry ivsideneo, has not euceded, and secosBÏon would, in my opinión, hè her ruin. Thü onlv Bpeiiil interes' oí Misse illl, n comtnoD with tho Confedérate Stiltes, isslavery. lier inti-re-t i;i tl:at instttuti n is now protected by tl e Federal coostitn ion. But, f Missoviri seoccfes,' thit i r tection is gone. Surrbnndéd' on (bree íides by free States-, whieh' might soön'beootne tioatile, it would rfot be long uu til ii siave eonld not bo found vpiihin her boiders. Whrtt interest could Missouri then have with the polton State?, ov n Oonftuli-nic-v founded on sluvory nml its extensión V Tho proteution el her ditve property, if nolh'ü:g uhv, dinon hos hernever togive up iha Uuiun. üiher intereets of I vast magnitude can oniy be preserved ' Ty a t-tmdf: si adhürin.e ni'.d support '. of the United States a; All i hope of a Pac:fio Raitro. d. so deeply i Snteresttng to St Loirs ttl the whole 8iat,emu9tvunish with ;hu Pedaal , ernmei.t Grent nvanufacturrjg aodcommeruiul iatorests witU w'jich the oottOQ Status h e no syrapatby, mustperUh in cose i f' secession, and iro:n her present pipad condition of a powerful, ihriving Si: te, ru id!y dcveloping every element o.' wo lth and social prosperty, Missouri w :uld dwindlo to a mere nppendage and ciinvenienoe of the military arictocral estublithed in the cottoD States M-.iny other cor.siderations might be offored to sliow thnt secession would bo ruin to Missouri. And I imploro tny fellow-citizena ol tliat State not to bo seduccd by dotiigning men to become tho insiruments of theii' mad ainbilion, by plunging the State into thovortex (4 revolution. Whether governed by feelingr inspifed by the banner under whicb I have eerved, or by my ju jgmont of duty as a citizen, or interest as a resident and property ovvner in Missouri, I feel bound to stand by the Union, and remnining in the Uuioo, shall devote mj'neli to the inaintenanee of the Federal govtrntnent, and the perpetuation of its bU'ssings to poeterity. Yours trulv.


Old News
Michigan Argus