Monday, February 14, 2011

2 KY Senators discuss the state resolutions, part 1

Following my previous entry on a set of resolutions announced by the legislature of Kentucky and printed in the February 9, 1861 edition of the Covington Journal, I will now post two speeches given by Kentucky state Senators during the vote on those resolutions, one (reluctantly)  in favor of the legislature's decision and one opposed to it. Due to their length, I will create a separate entry for each.

The paper credited these first comments to "Mr. Rhea, Union (of Logan)." I believe this refers to Albert G. Rhea, member of a prominent Logan County family. "Union" may refer to the Union party.

I desire for us to proclaim in language that cannot be misunderstood, that when all effort shall fail in restoring peace and tranquility to the country, and securing constitutional guarantees for the protection of the rights and interests of the slave States of the Union, that our sympathies are with the South, and we will with them make a common cause. When our overtures are all disregarded and our propositions for adjustment are all rejected, what other course can we take in honor and justice to ourselves.

In my judgment, Mr. Speaker, if Kentucky would at once assume this position - for it is her true position, and he who has not yet learned it knows but little of the feeling of the great mass of her citizens - it would do more to arrest the besom of destruction which is now sweeping over all beloved land, than all else we have done besides. Our brethren of the South would no longer doubt our sympathy for them, and they would harken unto our voice when we entreat them to stay the desolating hand of disunion until all efforts shall fail to secure our rights under the Constitution. It would open the eyes of the North to the folly of their course and they would feel and see that we are in earnest- This they do not now believe. They think Kentucky will submit to any and all grievances a fanatical majority may see proper to inflict. This is not true, and the sooner the fact is impressed on the free States the better it will be for all concerned. If Kentucky would take this position, I believe a satisfactory adjustment would be speedily made.

But, Mr. Speaker, I am denied making an effort to engraft such a sentiment in the resolutions. I know full well from the indications manifested that these resolutions are the best the Senate is now willing to adopt, and whilst I cannot get all I desire embodied in them, yet approving much that they contain, and protesting against the indecent haste with which they are being passed through,as well as the gag which has been applied with reference to their discussion, I will cast my vote in the affirmative.

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