AN ACCUMULATION OF COPPERHEADS
CONSERVATIVE DEMOCRACY AND SECESSION AFFILIATIONS - THE SAME OLD TALK OF TYRANNY AND RESISTANCE
Last evening some fifty persons, perhaps, chiefly of the Copperhead persuasion, assembled in the "Democratic Club Room," on the corner of Stockton and Filbert streets, for the purpose of effervescing a little. "Conservative Democratic" imaginations pictured it a grand rally of persecuted and hunted down patriots. A rational person saw nothing there but aberrated beings, hugging the bugbear of martyrdom and iterating the formula laid down by the secret agents of Jeff. Davis' Government. We do not propose to give a detailed report of their proceedings; it wouldn't pay. One speech is a type of the whole. It is only Secession and Treason, modified in expression according to the rational caution and shrewdness of the speaker. Mr. Brown, the inevitable Beriah, was there, of course, and of course he spoke; but as he holds the leading string of "conservatism" in this vicinity, the practice of extreme caution has at length almost perfected the faculty of couching treason in loyal phrases, or at least evading, with consummate tact, the danger of crimination.
MB. BROWN'S SPEECH. - Mr. Brown said that he did not feel able to make, at that time, an effort proportioned to the importance of the occasion, for all his energies were spent in fighting their battles. He didn't go there to make a speech, but "to look into their (Copperhead) faces, to receive the assurance that Democracy was not dead." Upon which equivocal announcement of the party's vitality, there was a stamping of feet by several indiscreet persons. Discriminating ones saw therein a confession that Copperheads were sickly hereabouts, and look sad, like mourners at a funeral. The speaker proceeded, with faultless attitude and gesticulation and a countenance beaming with the light that is supposed to foreshadow posthumous glories of the immolated hero, to state that he couldn't argue with his opponents in the present conflict; there was no issue; if there was he couldn't see it; didn't know how to frame an argument. Doubtless Alcatraz frowning just in sight of his position, bothered his powers of composition. Syntax gives botheration, when the soul of the rhetoric is to be something that must not be expressed, for fear of disastrous consequences. All the old issues, he went on to say, were gone, the conditions that formerly divided the parties and kept up the bonfires of party strife, and there was now but a single question; one which admitted of no argument; a question of brute force; whether we had a Government, or were the subjects of despotism. Then came in the inevitable stereotyped hobby of "inalienable rights," referring specifically to a number of the propositions of the Declaration of Independence. He pointed the "Conservative element" to their melancholy state of discomfiture, and told them there was but one thing left for them to do; that was to adhere to their principles, associate, organize and - protest. They could do nothing more; there was no argument. Then Beriah put a strong case. He asked them: What if they should get up some morning and find one of their number mysteriously missing; one whom they loved, and to whom they had been used to looking for counsel; and the next morning another should be gone in like manner; and another and another, and so on indefinitely, without warning, and no one knew whither or for what end they were taken away; they would feel badly, they would gather in groups, with pallor in their countenances, and bated breath, and bite their lips with vexation. They would want to know what had become of those loved ones. It would arouse the feelings and impulses of every Copperhead in the community. At this juncture Mr. Lincoln suffered at Beriah's hands a comparison which we have not room to give in full; said many things savoring strongly of what opens the gates of Alcatraz, and meekly observed that what he was then uttering might deprive him of his liberties; verifying the old adage of "A guilty conscience," etc. He said that the Administration asked them to surrender their liberties for a time, to preserve the Government; he wanted to know what a Government was worth without liberty, (Applause,) and more of the same sort. The people of the United States were then damagingly compared to Turks. Mr. Brown warned them to beware of surrendering their liberties. "Liberties once surrendered could only be recovered at a bloody sacrifice; the price of liberty won from tyranny is the blood of the patriot." As for his part, he didn't propose to surrender; their liberties should only be surrendered with their lives.
Beriah entertained his "small but appreciative" audience for about thirty minutes, in which he adroitly exhibited the virtues of resistance to the arbitrary measures of the Administration, all of whose measures were arbitrary; and yielded the floor.
A resolution was then adopted by the meeting, which as adopted, proposed to instruct the delegates from the Second District to the County Committee to take steps to have our citizens protected from military arrests, to apply to the Governor to give us the protection of the civil law of the State.
A second set of resolutions were then presented, which were somewhat rich. They conjured all good Democrats to withdraw their support and patronage from all newspapers that were inimical to their policy, and to exert their influence against the influence of such papers, generally; the Morning Call, Alta, and Bulletin, specifically. Then followed a resolution holding up Messrs. Towne & Bacon to the scorn and contempt of all good Copperheads, and advising them to steer clear of their printing establishment, as "adverse to Democratic money," because they, the said Towne & Bacon, had proscribed good "Union-loving Democrats."
We were in hopes that the resolutions would have passed in that shape, but the glare of inconsistency hurt Mr. Brown's eyes, and he hoped the adoption of those resolutions would be deferred until the phraseology could be altered so as to preserve the spirit and intent, but have the appearance of inconsistency hid in more subtle "verbiage." The idea did not at first penetrate the copper-coated intellects of the "Club," but Beriah must be right, so they assented, and hypocrisy is to be added to inconsistency, for their stomachs to receive.
The President of the Club then observed that some people had denied that there were any speakers among them - thereby intimating that so far the assertion had not been negatived, which made Beriah think that Copperheads were unappreciative and stupid, for hadn't he just sat down? And to prove the contrary, he called upon a man named Kirtland to give them a little more of the same he had favored them with before.
After a little hesitation, Kirtland stepped forth, and there was
A SECCESSIONIST edifying the Club with the same he had told them before. We did intend to report his speech, and took some notes, but, before proceeding far, he openly avowed himself a Southerner, with Southern feelings, and entertaining a Southern view of the question, and we paused. His speech was rampant, unmeaning, superficial rant not even worthy the name of sophistry. Had it emanated from a Northern man, who had any influence to fear, it would have consigned its author to Alcatraz. But, as it was only the impotent ravings of one who knew where a display of heroism would be safe, neither the speech nor the speaker challenge attention. This man was followed by a Mr. Farrel, whom we did not remain to hear.
Return to Call index
Quotations | Newspaper Articles | Special Features | Links | Search