On The Loan Bill,
In the House of Representatives U.S. Congress,
Wednesday, July 10, 1861.
Sir, I am obliged to pass by, for want of time, other grave and dangerous infractions and usurpations of the president since the first of April. I only allude casually to the quartering of soldiers in private houses without the consent of the owners, and without any manner having been prescribed by law; to the censorship over the telegraph, and the infringement repeatedly, in one or more of the States, of the right of the people to keep and bear arms for their defense. But if all these things, I ask, have been done in the first two months after the commencement of this war, and by men not military chieftains, and unused to arbitrary power, what may we not expect to see done in three years, and by the successful heroes of the fight? Sir, the power and rights of the States, and the people, and of their representatives, have been usurped; the sanctity of the private house and of private property has been invaded; and the liberty of the person wantonly and wickedly stricken down; free speech, too, has been repeatedly denied; and all this under the plea of necessity. Sir, the right of petition will follow next--nay, it has already been shaken; and the freedom of the press will soon follow after it; and let me whisper in your ear, there will be few to mourn over its loss, unless, indeed, its ancient high and honorable character shall be rescued and redeemed from its present reckless mendacity and degradation. Freedom of religion will yield, too, at last, amid the exultant shouts of millions, who have seen its holy temples defiled and its white robes of a former innocence trampled now under the polluting hoofs of an ambitious and faithless or fanatical clergy. Mean time national banks, bankrupt laws, a vast and permanent public debt, high tariffs, heavy direct taxation, enormous expenditure, gigantic and stupendous speculation, anarchy first and a strong government afterward, no more State lines, no more State governments, and a consolidated monarchy or vast centralized military despotism, must all follow in the history of the future, as in the history of the past they have, centuries ago, been written. Sir, I have said nothing and have time to say nothing now, of the immense indebtedness and the vast expenditures which have already accrued, nor of the folly and mismanagement of the war so far, nor of the atrocious and shameless peculations and frauds which have disgraced it in the State governments and the federal government from the beginning. The avenging hour for all these will come hereafter, and I pass them by now....
- The Memphis Daily Appeal, Friday Morning, July 19, 1861. Pg. 1.