Thursday, January 28, 2016

Some 1861 Commentary and Questions on Kentucky Neutrality

I took another trip back into the  Covington Journal to search for interesting tidbits I may have overlooked previously. Today I found two brief commentaries on the subject of Kentucky's attempt at neutrality, both from July 13, 1861, just before he first Battle of Bull Run. They were on the same page, but not next to each other as they are here. This newspaper had favored John Bell in the 1860 Presidential Contest and generally took a pro-Union, but anti-abolitionist stance during the Civil War (the last available war issue is from August 1862.)

The Neutrality of Kentucky 
Mr. Mallory, the Representative of the Louisville District, speaking it would seem for the Union Representatives of Kentucky on the floor of the House, has pledged the State to stand by Lincoln's government in the prosecution of the war. 

And so falls to the ground the neutrality of Kentucky.

The neutrality of Kentucky was urged and defended by Mr. Crittenden. It was endorsed by the Legislature and sanctioned by the people. It has kept our beloved State out of the war, and secured her comparative quiet.

Is this principle to be given up at the bidding of a few politicians at Washington city? Let the people speak.

Disunion Completed
President Lincoln calls neutrality "disunion completed." The phrase, in itself, is meaningless, but it serves to convey Lincoln's detestation of neutrality.

Now we have a distinct recollection that Hon. Garrett Davis and Hon. W.L. Underwood, not a great while since, assured the public that President Lincoln would respect the neutrality of Kentucky. What have these gentlemen to say now?

Not two months since, John H. Harney, Geo. D. Prentice, Nat. Wolf, Hamilton Pope etc., constituting the "Union Democracy State Central Committee of Kentucky," issued an address to the people of the State, in which they said: 

"The government of the Union has appealed to her [Kentucky] to furnish men to suppress the revolutionary combination in the Cotton States. SHE HAS REFUSED. SHE HAS MOST WISELY AND JUSTLY REFUSED.


What say you now, Messrs. Harney, Prentice and Wolf? Do you stand by your deliberate declaration made in April last, or do you surrender that position and give your assent to the dictum of A. Lincoln, that neutrality is disunion completed? 

On the 7th of June, delegates representing the Union Democracy of the Tenth District met in Covington  to nominate a candidate for Congress. As is usual in such bodies, it was deemed proper to have a platform and a committee was formed to prepare one. 

The committee reported the resolutions of the last General Assembly (from the pen of Senator Fisk, if we mistake not) in which it is declared that "KENTUCKY OUGHT AT LEAST TO REMAIN NEUTRAL TILL THE END OF THE CONTROVERSY." After a sharp contest, the report of the committee was adopted by ayes 114, nays 18. Gentlemen of the late Congressional Convention, where do you stand to-day? Do you believe neutrality is "disunion completed?"

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