Substance of Speech delivered by Hon. A. H. Handy, Commissioner to Maryland, at Princess Anne, Maryland, on the 1st day of January, 1861.
|Alexander Hamilton Handy had been born in Maryland, but moved to Mississippi in the 1830s, where he served with William Harris on the High Court of Errors and Appeals. He spoke to a large crowd in Baltimore on December 19, the day after he met with Gov. Hicks in Annapolis.|
I appear before you, as a Commissioner from the State of Mississippi, the home of my adoption, from whence I have received the distinguished honor to bear back to this, the land of my birth, the message which she sends to this time-honored State; and to take counsel with her, in relation to the protection of those rights which were transmitted to us by our fathers.I come to you, not to agitate questions of party politics; for such questions are as foreign to my pursuits in life as they are to the objects of my mission; but to present to you the course which the State of Mississippi deems it her duty to take for the preservation of the great principles on which the rights and liberties of the people of the States of this Union rest---principles high above the elevation of any mere name or form of the Government under color of which those principles are about to be trampled under foot.
In Mississippi, party names are gone, and party struggles ended. We are rallied from the outposts to the citadel, and with extraordinary unanimity, forgetful of past and recent differences, the cry is, men and brethren , what must we do to save the Constitution and defend our rights? The Philistines are upon us, and we must arouse ourselves in our strength as one man, and defend our liberties, though we shake the pillars of the temple of this Union, nay though we are driven to the dread necessity of standing with our feet upon its revered ruins, in order to preserve and bear aloft the sacred principles which it was designed to establish and perpetuate. I know the people whom I address. Bone of their bone, and flesh of their flesh, your prosperity and happiness are dear to my heart. I shall appeal to your intelligence, and to that patriotism which rests deep in the heart of every true son of Maryland, which flowed in the hearts of our fathers and led them to strike for liberty and right. I shall ask you, by their sacred memories, to stand by those high principles, and assert and defend, at all hazards, the inestimable inheritance which they staked their “lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor” to secure for you. Standing upon this soil, rendered sacred by the blood of the revolution, treading upon the very ashes of those who fought to achieve it, I feel that I may justly appeal to the heirs of their fortunes and of their glory, to preserve the noble principles which they established, not beguiled, by names and forms, to sacrifice their essence, but to keep the treasure in its purity and power, that sons of yours may never have to curse your memories because you were unfaithful to the high trust committed to you by your fathers.
What, then, brings me before you, and whence the anxiety and gloom that I see depicted in every countenance?
THE GOVERNMENT OF THIS UNION IS IN A STATE OF REVOLUTION. This has been put on foot and is already commenced, by the election of Abraham Lincoln, as President of the United States, upon a declaration and pledges of principles and designs, which subvert the Constitution of the United States. All that remains to render the revolution one in fact, is the accession of him with his party to power, and the perpetration of the designs which he is solemnly pledged to carry out, and which he was elected to accomplish. He has been elected upon the openly declared principle that an “irrepressible conflict” exists between the Northern and anti-slavery States on the one side, and the Southern States on the other, by which all the States of the Union must become either slaveholding or non-slaveholding States---that slaveholding is a sin and a national disgrace, which they of the Northern States will not submit to bear---that holding property in man is against the law of God, the principles of our Government, and the opinion of the civilized world, and will not be tolerated and cannot continue in the States belonging to the same Union under which they live. These views Abraham Lincoln is elected to carry into practice by the use of all the power of his administration and for proof of this, I refer you to the platform upon which he was elected, and the views of the leaders of his party, and to a few of his declarations of opinion upon the faith of which he was chosen as the standard bearer of his party, and has since been elected President of the United States.
In the authorized publication of his speeches, circulated during the recent presidential canvass, the speeches from which the following extracts are made, will be found:
“I did not even say that I desired slavery should be put in course of ultimate extinction. I do say so now, however; so there need be no longer any difficulty about that. It may be written down in the great speech.”