Reply of Mr. Maynard, of Tennessee (supporting Mr. Lincoln)
|Most of the text here is taken from an archive of the New York Times; a few words were apparently poorly scanned from the original, and were originally marked as unknown, thus: [???]. These were corrected by reference to the version published in Frank Moore's Rebellion Record (vol. 1, supplement, pp. 373--374), which is available online. Some of the paragraph structure was different between the two sources as well. I generally followed that in The Rebellion Record.|
|HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, July 16, 1862.
SIR: The magnitude, and gravity of the proposition submitted by you to Representatives from the Slave States would naturally occasion diversity, if not contrariety of opinion. You will not, therefore, he surprised that I have not been able to concur in view with the majority of them. This is attributable, possibly, to the fact that my State is not a Border State, properly so-called, and that my immediate constituents are not yet disenthralled from the hostile arms of the rebellion. This fact is a physical obstacle in the way of my now submitting to their consideration this or any other proposition looking to political action, especially such as, in this case, would require a change in the organic law of the State.
But do not infer that I am insensible to your appeal. I am not. You are surrounded with difficulties far greater than have embarrassed any of your predecessors. You need the support of every American citizen, and you ought to have it -- active, zealous and honest. The union of every Union man to aid you in preserving the Union is the duty of the time. Differences as to policy and methods must be subordinate to the common purpose.
In looking for the causes of this rebellion. It is natural that each section and each party should ascribe as little blame as possible to itself, and as much as possible to its opponent section and party. Possibly you and I might not agree on a comparison of our views. That there should be differences of opinion as to the best mode of conducting our military operations, and the best men to lead our armies, is equally natural. Contests on such questions weaken ourselves and strengthen our enemies. They are unprofitable and possibly unpatriotic. Somebody must yield, or we waste our strength in a contemptible struggle amongst ourselves.
You appeal to the loyal men of the Slave States to sacrifice something of feeling and a great deal of interest. The sacrifices they have already made and the sufferings they have endured give the best assurance that the appeal will not have been made in vain. He who is not ready to yield all his material interests, and to forego his most cherished sentiments and opinions for the preservation of his country, although he may have perilled his life on the battle-field in her defence, is but half a patriot. Among the loyal people that I represent there are no half patriots.
Already the rebellion has cost as much, even to our undoing; we are content, if need be, to give up the rest to suppress it. We have stood by you from the beginning of this struggle, and we mean to stand by you, God willing, till the end of it.
I did not vote for the resolution to which you allude, solely for the reason that at the time I was absent at the capital of my own State. It is right.
Should any of the Slave States think proper to terminate that institution, as several of them I understand, or at least some of their citizens propose, justice and a generous comity require that the country should interpose to aid it in lessening the burden, public and private, occasioned by so radical a change in its social and industrial relations.
I will not now speculate upon the effect, at home or abroad, of the adoption of your policy, nor inquire what action of the rebel leaders has rendered something of the kind important. Your whole administration gives the highest assurance that you are moved, not so much from a desire to see all men everywhere made free, as from a far higher desire to preserve free institutions for the benefit of men already fire; not to make slaves freemen, but to prevent freemen from being made slaves; not to destroy an institution, which a portion of us only consider bad, but to save institutions which we all alike consider good. I am satisfied you would not ask from any of your fellow-citizens a sacrifice not, in your judgment, imperatively required by the safety of the country.
This is the spirit of your appeal, and I respond to it in the same spirit.
I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
To the President.