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lature, this State and this country. For myself, I protest against and denounce their treasonable acts. I have voted against their measures. I will do so to the end. I will denounce them as long as God gives me breath, and I am ready to meet the traitors themselves here or anywhere and fight them to the death. (Prolonged cheers.)
“I said I paid $3,000 a year taxes. I do not say it to brag of it. It is my duty-yes, Mr. Speaker, my privilege—to do it, but some of the traitors here who are working night and day to get their miserable little bills and claims through the Legislature to take money out of the pockets of the people are talking about high taxes. They are hypocrites as well as traitors. I heard some of them talking about high taxes in this way who do not pay $5.00 in support of the government. I denounce them as hypocrites as well as traitors.
“The reason that they pretend to be afraid of high taxes is they do not want to vote money for the relief of the soldiers. They want also to embarrass the government and stop the war. They want to aid the secessionists to conquer our boys in the field. They care about taxes ! They are picayune men, anyway. They pay no taxes at all and never did and never hope to unless they can manage to plunder the government. (Cheers.) This is an excuse of traitors.
“Mr. Speaker, excuse me. I feel for my country in this, her hour of danger. I feel for her from the tips of my toes to the ends of my hair. That is the reason that I speak as I do. I cannot help it. I am bound to tell these men to their teeth what they are and what the people, the true, loyal people, think of them.
"Mr. Speaker, I have said my say. I am no speaker. This is the only speech I have made, and I do not know that it deserves to be called a speech. I could not sit still any longer and see these scoundrels and traitors work out their selfish schemes to destroy the Union.
They have my sentiments. Let them one and all make the most of them. ready to back up all I say, and, I repeat it, to meet these traitors in any manner they may choose, from a pin's point to the mouth of a cannon.”
The speech of Farmer Funk was like a clarion peal. It was widely circulated all over the Union and it brought such confusion into the ranks of the opposition that when they assembled on the 3d of June, they began to quarrel over the question of adjournment. The two houses disagreed and Governor Yates took advantage of a clause of the Constitution and prorogued the whole body until the Saturday next preceding the first Monday in January, 1865. The majority of the members presented to the Supreme Court a question as to the legality of the Governor's action. Sidney Breese was at that time chief justice, and he delivered an opinion in which he said: "Admitting then that the act of the Governor was, in the language of the protest, ‘illegal, outrageous and unconstitutional,' both houses having adopted it and dispersed, they thereby put an end to the session, evincing at the time no intention to resume it. This, for all practical purposes, was an adjournment sine die.” And thus ended the existence of that General Assembly and the controversy that grew out of it.
This was the last effort of the great conspiracy. The continued success of the troops in the field, the re-election of Lincoln as president foreshadowed the early collapse of the Confederacy, and the dream of a great slave empire faded away like frost under the beams of the morning sun. Slavery was accursed of God, and although, like the evil spirit in the Scriptures, “it rent its victims sore,” it finally died and made no sign. But the effort to wrest Illinois from the column of freedom and make it the pinnacle point for the twin relic of barbarism failed as had the fight for polygamy failed twenty years before. And we may rejoice that in those days of fierce struggle, our fathers were as true to the cause as their fathers had been when they pledged “their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor.”
The slave empire was crushed and the Union saved by the valor of Illinois men. Against the subtlety of Calhoun, the impetuous valor of Jefferson Davis and the ability of Lee were matched the statesmanship of Lincoln, the military genius of Grant and the patriotism of the citizen-soldier, John A. Logan. These three stand like mountain peaks, towering heavenward, the culmination of a vast range. As we recede, the foothills fade away. Chase and Stanton, Blair and Colfax, Welles and Winter Davis and Sumner and Wade and Phillips and a host of those who "loomed large in the public eye” are sinking into shadowy ghosts of the past. But Lincoln, Grant and Logan still abide. Their lofty forms tower like beacons on the distant horizon.
The sunlight gilds their crests. The radiance of the dawn and the mellow tints of sunset irradiate the mass, while the shafts of malice, the arrows of envy and detraction lie broken and lost in the mists at their feet.
SOUTHERN ILLINOIS IN THE CIVIL WAR.
Bluford Wilson, Springfield. In a large way, my field embraces all of Illinois south of the geographical center. For the sake of accuracy it may be said that this center has been determined by survey to be at or near Illiopolis, in Sangamon County. The claim, in behalf of that lovely little village, for the location of the State Capital, at the time of its removal from Vandalia, was based on the fact that it was the exact geographical center of the State; but under federal legislation, dividing the State in 1855 for judicial purposes, the “District of Southern Illinois” has included all that portion of the State, south of the north line of Hancock, MeDonough, Fulton, Tazewell, McLean, Ford and Vermilion.
This large territory embraced sixty-nine (69) counties out of the one hundred and two (102) in the State and included an important State judicial division, known as the “Southern Grand Division,” which included the counties of Madison, Bond, Fayette, Effingham, Jasper, Crawford and all south to Alexander.
Coming still nearer, to the especial subject of my study, we observe that all the territory south of the old Ohio and Mississippi railroad, from Vincennes to St. Louis, excepting St. Clair County has been for many years, known in politics as "Egypt.”
According to the ignorance or intelligence of the parties using the phrase it has been at times a title of contempt or of praise. To those who have given no thought to the subject it is usually an appellation of contempt. Historically, of course, the name came in natural sequence from Cairo, the thriving city, located at the junction of the Ohio and the Mississippi. Measured by the facts of which it is my privilege, to treat, it cannot be held to be other than a badge of highest honor. Like that illustrious land, ancient Egypt, from which the name is derived, the home of ancient civilization, of libraries, of learning, of stupendous public works and of historic cities, the scriptural land of Goshen, of corn and wine, the modern Egypt of Illinois may well challenge attention and will stand proud and secure in its most patriotic record, indifferent alike to the tongue of slander or of adverse criticism.
In her letter telling me that she had drafted or detailed me to the duty of this half hour—imposing upon me a burden too heavy for me to bear in a manner equal to the occasion, or adequate to the just historical desert of my beloved native section, the very efficient. Secretary of the State Historical Society, Mrs. Jessie Palmer Weber, eased the burden, somewhat, to my shoulders by telling me that particular attention must be given by me to the “Ohio River Border Counties.” My thanks are due for this wise and kindly limitation, otherwise in treating of so large and so rich a field as all Southern Illinois, my sins of omission alone, to say nothing of overt acts in the way of positive mistake, inadequate treatment, or necessary limitation in the language of just panegyric would inevitably have brought upon me such an outcry and weight of adverse criticism and condemnation as would have covered me with shame and my friends with confusion. For in comparison with all that Illinois did in the war for the Union, the leading, dominating, most patriotic and 'heroic part born by the men of Southern Illinois in that tremendous struggle for the life of the nation, is a subject too large for adequate treatment in the time allotted me. It demands in order that full justice may be done, the graphic pen of a Gibbon or a Motley and the eloquence of a Logan or a Lincoln.
The natural and ultimate limitation of my study for the occasion should be then the territory embraced in the six border counties, Gallatin, Hardin, Pope, Massac, Pulaski and Alexander, to which we must add, as closely allied, both in blood and territory, Johnson, Saline, Williamson, Franklin, Hamilton and White. Even this limited territory is altogether too large for much detail or for aught but the most general treatment.
My old comrades in Egypt, of whom after fifty years, many still survive, must therefore, forgive me in advance for what are bound to be many grievous sins of omission. But having entered upon the work, I make them this promise, which they can take or leave, that if life and strength is spared a little longer, I will in the absence of a better and abler historian, and in a futurę more elaborate paper, as opportunity may serve, make special study of the whole field from Vermilion on the east, to Hancock on the west and to Alexander on the south and will spare no effort to do justice to all. Fortunately several of my old friends, one in Johnson, one in White and one in Pope, have sent me important material, bearing on the noble part borne by their particular counties, and I extend an invitation to old soldiers in every county to send me for future use such material as they may have in store or in memory. If this material can be compared, compiled and adequately treated with due regard to local environment and individual merit, it goes without saying, that amid the golden archives of the State Historical Society, future generations will find nothing more interesting, nothing more patriotic, nothing more inspiring, nothing more glorious !
Such are the geographical limitations of my duty. To look upon, it is a goodly land, none fairer under the shining sun-a land of vine clad hills, of valleys fragrant with orchard bloom, of forests of stately oak and gum and maple and gloomy cypress—not then as now, a land of ambitious teeming young cities, noisy and busy with the hum of many industries, railroads, telegraph and telephone, but rather of many quaint sleeping villages and smiling plains underlaid with rich store of undreamed, undeveloped mineral wealth. Withal, a land dedicated by its Virginia conquerors and founders to freedom and separated from the land of slavery and secession by the silver thread of La Belle Riviere, the beautiful Ohio. In shape-a wedge! in the end riving apart the ill-starred confederacy—a shining lance head, thrusting its way deep into the very vitals of slavery and rebellion.
But what of the people, the hospitable, patriotic liberty loving people, descendants of those sturdy pioneers, followers of Clark's forlorn hope ! of Tippecanoe! of those who fought with Jackson at New Orleans and who could trace back over a thousand miles of wilderness and stream and mountain, the arduous path, to the old Virginia Roof Tree. Or who could look across the beautiful river and see the smoke ascending from the hearth stones of the "Old Kentucky Home," which perhaps had once sheltered them where their kith and kin still dwelt or where their forebears had fallen on sleep. To the men of the North-land the Civil War presented a stupendous political question, involving the life of the nation, but to the men of Southern Illinois it meant this and far more. It meant the rending of heart strings! the tearing asunder of family ties! brother to brother, face to face-in hostile deadly war-fare!
Virginia was for years in the 17th century, the refuge of those who were in turn, prominent, impoverished, endangered and exiled in the çivil wars of Cromwell's time, and who were alternately proscribed for participation therein. According, as Puritan or Cavalier, triumphed at home, in Motherland, so changed the complexion of immigration to the Old Dominion.
The result in the end was a population more diverse, with lines more distinctly drawn between high born, and low, rich and poor, than in any other colony, unless it might be Maryland. But in the end, tried, tested and hammered out in the fires of the Revolutionary War there remained a pure Anglo-Saxon stock—a virile and on the whole, a homogeneous people. It was of them that Henry Adams in his History of the United States says:
“No where in America existed better human material than in the middle and lower classes of Virginia. As explorers, adventurers, fighters, wherever courage, activity and force were, wanted, they had no equals; but they had never known discipline and were beyond measure, jealous of restraint. * * *
“Jefferson, with all his liberality of ideas, was Virginian enough to discourage the introduction of manufactures and the gathering of masses in cities, without which no new life could grow. Among the common people, intellectual activity was confined to hereditary common places of politics, resting on the axiom that Virginia was the typical Society of future Arcadian America. To escape the tyranny of Cæsar by perpetuating the simple and isolated lives of their Fathers, was the sum of their political philosophy; to fix upon the National Government the stamp of their own idyllic conservatism was the height of their ambition.
“Debarred from manufactures, possessed of no shipping, and enjoying no domestic market, Virginian energies necessarily knew no other resources than Agriculture.
“The Virginians concentrated their thoughts almost exclusively on politics and this concentration produced a result so distinct and lasting, and in character so respectable that American History would lose no small part of its interest in losing the Virginia School.”—Henry Adams, History of the United States, Volume I, page 137.
It was the descendants of these, impoverished by the War of the Revolution that settled and organized Kentucky, Tennessee and all Southern Illinois, as far north and even beyond the limits of McLean County.