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The San Francisco Daily Morning Call, August 3, 1864


The Democratic Indignation Meeting at Hayes' Park, last evening, amounted to a very short row of small potatoes, with few in the hill. The whole number present certainly did not exceed four hundred, of whom at least one-half were Union men, or supporters of the Administration, drawn thither by curiosity and the cars. The meeting was called to order by Col. Phelps. Vociferous calls for Beriah Brown brought him to the platform, and he delivered himself of a few remarks substantially as follows:

Gentlemen: - We have assembled here to-night as American citizens - (Great noise in the hall here, and the speaker's voice was inaudible for several moments.) We meet here to offer no opposition to the Government; but we meet here to discuss, the question of our rights as citizens. We ask for no rights but what each individual is entitled to; to do as we would be done by under all circumstances - at the same time we do not propose to surrender our rights as American citizens. (Applause.)This, I understand, is the object of the meeting. The first business, gentlemen, is to hear the report of the Committee appointed to draft resolutions.

The following resolutions were then handed Mr. Brown, who had previously been appointed Chairman of the meeting, which were as follows. (We omit giving the preamble at length, as it all amounted simply to a renewal of fidelity to the Constitutions of the State and United States, and a declaration of intention to maintain the laws and yield a willing support to all just and legally constituted authorities in the administration thereof, etc.; and to the best of our ability to support whatever good citizens may rightfully do, to maintain domestic peace and promote general welfare. That they demand nothing but a uniform and faithful administration of the laws, and no privilege but what is clearly and indisputably guaranteed by the Constitutions of our Government. It also declared that where there is no law there is no freedom, and contained the usual declaiming against the abridgment of the freedom of speech and the press.)

Resolved, That we regard with alarm all exercise of power by the United States Government, or its agents, not specifically delegated to that Government, and in derogation of the reserved rights of States, and in abridgment of the constitutional guarantees to the people, as tending to central despotism and the subjugation of popular liberty.

Resolved, That, whenever through fear of spies or informers, or the power of military commanders to arrest and imprison American citizens, they shall be deterred from peaceably assembling together and freely expressing their approval or disapproval of measures of public policy, the point is reached beyond which submission merges the free man into a slave.

Resolved, That the spotless reputation of Bishop Kavanaugh, and the well-known patriotism and devotion of Charles L. Weller, to the Constitution and the Union, justify the belief that the arrest of these gentlemen was procured by the perjury of mercenary spies and informers, or by persons actuated solely by personal malice, and we can but express the sentiments of all honorable men in denouncing the employment of those degraded wretches, an offence to civilization, and a disgrace to humanity.

After the passage of the resolutions, the band discoursed a National air.

Dr. Wozencraft was then introduced by the chairman. His speech was simply a rehash of all the whinings and hypocrisy of Copperheads since the conflict began. He had much to say about the imminence of our danger of becoming involved in scenes such as are now being witnessed in the Southern States, from a determination on the part of large numbers to resist with force the arbitrary and unconstitutional measures that were being inaugurated in our midst. "The record of the Democratic party is but a record of the Nation's power and glory; while that of the Abolition party is a re cord of her shame and disintegration." He said there are but two parties - the Democratic party, whose mission is to sustain the Union, and the Abolition party, which is seeking to destroy it. There is no hope for Union, peace and prosperity, only through a Conservative Democratic Administration. The North was unanimous in their opposition to the idea of Secession. To the support of the Government in suppressing the Rebellion, there was not a dissenting voice until the war was made one of subjugation, abolition and confiscation. Democrats were law-abiding and constitutional people, and the present supporters of the Administration are the Secessionists. Jeff. Davis and his followers are simply their allies in the work of destroying the Government. The speaker predicted that "so soon as we get control of the Federal Government, which by the help of God we hope to do at the coming election, they (the Republicans) will declare that the Pacific States will withdraw and form themselves into a separate Republic." Here he read an extract from a speech of Mr. Seward's, and continued for about twenty minutes in the usual strain of his ilk.

At the close of his speech the band made more music. After which, Zach. Montgomery, of Marysville, appeared on the stand. He commenced by saying that he would speak from the record, (thereby meaning that he would read his speech from a manuscript, which he did.) They had assembled there to consider how they should preserve the liberties of the people of California, and avert the horrors of civil war. Then followed the inevitable tirade against the measures of the Administration and its appointed agents, for suppressing treason and taking seditious persons into custody. He said that there is no use to try to disguise the fact that there is danger of civil war in this State, and intimated that a certain party, chafing under the discipline of Abraham Lincoln, was on the verge of outbreak, and the smothered volcano might burst out at any moment, and that we were nearer the scenes which our brethren in the older States were now witnessing than many might imagine. There were but two roads before us; the one leads to civil war, the other to peace. He declared in so many words that the Administration were determinedly pursuing the former road. Its acts were all in direct violation of the Constitution, and every blow struck at that instrument only drove us deeper into the danger of civil war and its attendant horrors. He spoke, as did Wozencraft, like a man who was in the secret of an organization existing in our midst, with the sole object of resisting by force and arms, all disciplinary, police or administrative measures which, in their estimation, might be deemed unconstitutional or oppressive; and they are to be the judges. Like the other speakers, he also referred to them in terms which might, without much distortion, be construed into an approval of their patriotic purpose. The speaker dwelt at great length on this danger, hidden from unprivileged eyes, and ready to create a storm - a general disruption in our very midst - ere we were aware of the least danger. In a word, if General McDowell arrests any more noisy and treasonable babblers, or insidious enemies to the Government, why we may look out for guns and a fight.

Mr. Montgomery's enunciation was very impassioned, and he seemed extremely fearful that the infatuation of the Administration would yet inevitably, and at no distant period, transfer to our own California all the horrors of the Eastern battle-fields. In conclusion, he conjured all, both Republicans and Democrats, to respect and obey the Constitution and the laws under it, as the only means of averting the terrible catastrophe, to the brink of which we have been brought; the only pacificator of that secret element, that is now only resting in a temporary lull, while preparing for the great and sudden effort which is to follow the next persistent attempt of the administrative authorities to enforce an "arbitrary measure."

After a little music to soften down the lion which Montgomery had roused, (within himself,) Tod Robinson was presented, and with all the blandishments of an adept at honey-fugling, he proceeded to tell the people of the wrongs they were suffering at the hands of the present Administration. He also knows some thing of their hidden danger, this secret-steel trap which is to catch all infernal Abolitionists and send them to perdition without benefit of clergy. He prefaced his speech by stating the fact that he was born under the behests of freedom, and held no right nor privilege by the tenure of any man's will. A recapitulation of his speech would fall on the ear much like the repetition for the thousandth time of an old thread bare story. Every Californian knows Tod Robinson by heart, and nobody believes anything he says. We left while he was speaking, in company with a good Democrat, who said he wasn't "going to listen to such a d--d rascal as Tod Robinson." Though he rather favored some of the other speakers, he couldn't go Tod Robinson. So we all departed, and the meeting shortly after broke up, with the close of Robinson's speech.

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