Ghosts? I Doubt It…

How many times while researching and reading have you come across stories of “other worldly beings” on battlefields, in houses or on the side of the road in the case of the Andersonville ghost. While some of the stories may sound  believable I have to say they are not true. There are logical explanations to many, if not all of the stories.  Like the story in this video:

There are some places that may cause you to feel eery or a little scared but according to  Hebrews 9:27 And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment. So, according to the Bible there can be no such thing as ghosts because you die once and then you are judged by God. Remember this next time someone you read a story like this.

Published in: on March 31, 2011 at 8:14 pm  Comments Off on Ghosts? I Doubt It…  

The Civil War in 3D

Richmond and Petersburg Railroad Station, Richmond VA

Many of you have seen the pictures of Richmond after it was captured by the Union Army.   The  destruction is widespread and terrible. Some of these same pictures are now available in a 3D view. The Center For Civil War Photography is offering a new online exhibit of Civil War photos in Anaglyph view. It makes the pictures come alive and it makes you feel like you are right there with the people in the picture.It brings the Civil War to life in a new way that was previously unavailabe.

 To view the pictures you need 3D glasses which can be ordered for from the Civil War Trust  (go here to request your free pair of 3D glasses).

Published in: on March 26, 2011 at 10:31 am  Comments Off on The Civil War in 3D  

A Story Passed Down Through The Ages

The Civil War is more than just a hobby or a passion for me. Its my solace. I retreat into my books when I’m sick, tired, sad or lonely. Besides all of that though it totally intrests me. It’s like an unfolding story with new twists and turns. Something that I never knew or saw before is always unfolding. It’s a story full of intrigue, excitement, horror, beauty, love, hatred, new life, and death. It’s the story of You and I. 

The characters in this story are as  many and as varied as snowflakes. You have rich, asristocratic plantation owners fighting along side dirt poor farmers in the Southern Army. In the Northern Army you have immigrants fresh off ships from Ireland and Germany fighting with governors and politicians. The officers on either side ranged anywhere from regulary army, West Point trained generals to barely literate colonels elected by popular choice. All played a large role in this story. There were no supporting actors and characters all were front line stars. We just have to discover their roles.

The Civil War is a story that has had an effect on our everyday lives as Americans. According to Shelby Foote ” The Civil War defined us. It was the crossroads of our being .”  It made us stronger as a nation.  It made us a more perfect Union; undivided and strong.

 “A song for our banner?” – The watchword recall
Which gave the Republic her station:
“United we stand – divided we fall!” –
It made and preserves us a nation                                                                                   The union of lakes – the union of lands –
The union of States none can sever –
The union of hearts – the union of hands –
And the Flag of the Union for ever
And ever!
The Flag of our Union for ever

Published in: on March 23, 2011 at 4:36 pm  Comments Off on A Story Passed Down Through The Ages  

What’s the Big Deal?

What’s the Big Deal?
By Pastor Jerry Bishop
L’Anse Baptist Church

This is totally off topic from the Civil War but still very important to read. My dad wrote this for our church.

Pastoral Thoughts on Rob Bell’s book
“Love Wins” and subsequent interviews


Rob Bell has published his latest book and it is a big deal.  It will shake up or destroy the faith of many, especially disaffected evangelicals who struggle with conservative doctrinal positions and dogmatism.  Sadly it will also soothe the conscience of some who are thinking about their eternal destiny.

          Bell’s book “Love Wins” seeks to show that the Bible’s message is that God’s love wins.   His love trumps all His other attributes.  God’s love will keep most of us from going to hell.  His love will open the gates for those already there.  They may leave “their hell” whenever they choose, after all, the gates of heaven are always open (Rev. 21:25).   Also, you can rest easy because hell is really just the misery you have created for yourself in this life.  You only go to the hell of your bad choices.   In other words, don’t worry, its OK.  One wonders if the words of Peter don’t actually apply?

 But there were also false prophets among the people, even as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Lord who bought them, and bring on themselves swift destruction.  2 And many will follow their destructive ways, because of whom the way of truth will be blasphemed.  3 By covetousness they will exploit you with deceptive words;  2 Peter 2:1-3

It’s a big deal because Rob Bell is considered a Christian Rock Star.  He is extremely popular with younger Christians.  Rob’s popularity transcends all denominational boundaries.   He fills auditoriums around the country with his talented, provocative, insightful, engaging talks.  Rob has done many short films called NOOMA videos which are played in most youth groups around the country.   This book will impact many because he is already well known and appreciated.

It’s a big deal because today’s youth is much more influenced by each other than they are by the authorities in their lives.  Many of our youth live out a kind of community where they are connected 24/7.  They tweet, facebook and text around the clock.  Without realizing it, they have followed a kind of FRIENDS mentality,  where life consists of me and my friends.    As a result, religious views are merely different flavors of ice cream.  You may like vanilla.  I like chocolate.  But we both like ice cream.  Churches really aren’t that different.  They all have truth.  Woe to the Church which says someone else is in error.  And if you are from the older generation, you just don’t understand.

It’s a big deal because Rob Bell denies the reality of hell and is deceitful about it.   Lisa Miller, religious writer from Newsweek repeatedly asked him if he wasn’t really a “universalist”, someone who believes that in the end everyone will be saved,  he said no.  So she asked the question a different way.  “Do you believe in a real hell?”  He said YES.  “Hell is all the bad choices you make and the misery you cause yourself”.  This same answer he repeated several times.  He knew she was asking about a place of fiery torment.  He should have been honest and said no, not the kind of hell you are thinking of.  Why does he feel the need to be deceptive?  No parent would accept such deceptive answers from a teen, why should anyone accept them from a pastor?
It’s a big deal because Rob Bell denies the reality of heaven.  He said heaven is not some place to which we go when we die, “some kind of evacuation”.  God brings heaven to earth and merges the two.  He says we should not be trying to help people get ready for an eternity in heaven, we should be working to bring heaven to earth.  God is not concerned about the next life, but about how you live now.  Lisa Miller tried again,  “So, assuming a person is a believer, where does he or she go when they die?”.   Bell says, “I watched a man die recently, and he was saying how wonderful this is. He died in peace. That is heaven!”.

     This brings us to a glaring weakness in Bell’s understanding of Scripture.  He confuses the Millennial Kingdom promised to the nation of Israel with eternity.  He quotes Christ who said, “Thy Kingdom Come”, as proof that heaven is on earth.  This kingdom is promised in the Old Testament to Israel.  It’s duration is revealed in the New Testament in Revelation 20.  Six times God tells us the Kingdom will be 1000 years.  Then at the end of the Millennium we receive the most dreadful scene in all Scripture.   It pictures an unhappy resurrection, no place to hide, God’s dreadful throne, judgment, death and torment and a lake of fire.

Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away. And there was found no place for them.  12 And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books.  13 The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them. And they were judged, each one according to his works.  14 Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.  15 And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire. Rev. 20:11-15

     Add to that one overlooked detail, the Devil is tormented eternally in the same location as the lost.

    The devil, who deceived them, was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone where the beast and the false prophet are. And they will be tormented day and night forever and ever. Revelation 20:10

    Kind of ruins the whole point of Bell’s book doesn’t it?

It’s a big deal because this is an old heresy revisited.  Over 100 years ago liberalism spread throughout most of the denominations in America.  Most denominations never recovered.  Before communism killed 100 million people in the world, its younger sister socialism was very popular within Christendom.  Christian Socialism and the Social Gospel spread through most seminaries and church denominations.  It taught the Fatherhood of God and the Brotherhood of man, namely that “Christ’s Great kingdom will come to earth, the kingdom of love and light”.  This theological liberalism denied the sinfulness of man, the virgin birth, the deity of Christ, the substitutionary atonement of Christ, the inspiration of Scriptures and the bodily return of Christ.  Those who hold this view reason that if mankind is not radically sinful, no atonement is needed.  Jesus need not be virgin born, and need not be God. 

     So it looks like Bell is rehashing an old heresy.   He said that his views are nothing new.  He is on record denying the inspiration of Scripture (Christianity Today, Nov. 2004).  He has questioned the virgin birth.  He said, “if one day we found that Jesus had a father named Larry, I would still believe.”  His supporters protested that he never denied the virgin birth.  He was merely speaking hypothetically.  Their point is granted, but that misses the point of what he really implied.  He was saying that he believes the deity of Christ is not necessary.  While being interviewed by Miller, she asked Bell, “why did Jesus die?”  Bell answered, “to show us an example of love”.  He said nothing more.  It is not coincidental that Bell speaks so much about social justice.  All one needs to do is to listen to his message on How Jesus Came to Save Sinners.  After all, we are already forgiven, we just need to understand forgiveness.

     The Fundamentalist movement started 100 years ago to establish what is essential to the Christian faith  They listed the Five Fundamentals:

    ~The Virgin Birth,
    ~The Substitutionary Atonement,
    ~The Deity of Christ,
    ~The Inspiration of Scripture and
    ~The Bodily Return of Christ.

     Bell is on record denying at least four and maybe even all five.    So it is no surprise that Lisa Miller asked, “Aren’t you really just a main line protestant and not an evangelical?”.  Bell’s answer, “No, I am an Evangelical because evangelical means “good news”.  But Bell is wrong because the title “evangelical” originally described those who hold to the Fundamentals of the Faith.

It’s a big deal because Rob Bell is deceptive by making assertions in the form of questions.  People hear Bell throw out a question and assume that he is simply asking questions.  But he is making points, forming opinions and making assumptions through questions.  For those who are not inclined to be discerning, questions can be very misleading.  For example, the highschool teacher poses the question to his students, “Is America really that great?”.  In asking the question, the teacher has really said America isn’t that great and you should think about it.   Remember our first mother Eve was led astray through misleading questions.

It’s a big deal because through all this we are defining real love.  Bell says having a God who gets everyone saved is a better demonstration of love than having a God who loved so much that He sent His Own Son, to die as a loving atonement.  In other words, he thinks universalism is a greater demonstration of love than having Christ die for you.  But which is a greater demonstration of love?  Letting everyone off the hook or being a God who gives His only son for the redemption of His people?  Bell feels that a gospel message which contains both a God of wrath and mercy and a God of justice and love is not acceptable in today’s world.  He states, “this kind of gospel is the reason so many reject Christianity”.  He wants to change that.

It’s a big deal because one wonders, if perhaps, in the fires of hell there might be a place of unique scorn and hatred labeled “Mars Hell” for those led astray by Bell and his message of “don’t worry, it’s OK”

Published in: on March 20, 2011 at 3:30 pm  Comments Off on What’s the Big Deal?  

“The Victor Gets To Write The History…”

Posted March 2, 2011 by Craig Swan of

Why is it “Stonewall Jackson taught us what the pause that refreshes really was”?   Why not have a painting of Uncle Billy giving the boys a pause somewhere near Atlanta (the home of Coca-Cola, BTW) in between barn burnings?

After all the victor gets to write the history….”

I think its funny that even though the South did in fact lost the war the most common conception of Civil War valor and gallantry comes from the Southern Armies. You hear of the much lauded heroes from the South such as “Stonewall” Jackson, Robert E. Lee, James Longstreet, J.E.B stuart and many others but you don’t often hear of many from the North. The North has just as many great heroes. Men such as William Sherman, Ulysses Grant, Emory Upton and so many others. Just a thought…

Published in: on March 16, 2011 at 3:17 pm  Comments Off on “The Victor Gets To Write The History…”  

Exciting Stuff!

I have been entered into the National Civil War Student Challenge. A scholorship contest for high school students. I am very excited!! I could win up to 15k in scholorships towards college. That is so cool. So starting today I’m going to study and do all I can to prepare myself for April when it happens. Pray for me!

Here is the link to the site in the event that you would also like to enter.

Published in: on March 14, 2011 at 3:49 pm  Comments Off on Exciting Stuff!  

A B C’s of The Civil War

Here are the next two letters

S is for Savannah

 Sherman and his troops reached Savannah Georgia on December 10, 1864. The Confederates garrisoned there had no hope of stopping the coming tide from the Northern soldiers. December 20, 1864 the city fell. Sherman wrote to Lincoln in a telegraph ” I beg to present you, as a Christmas gift, the city of Savannah, with 150 heavy guns and plenty of ammunition, and also about 25,000 bales of cotton.”

T is for General William Booth Taliaferro

General William Taliaferro (Confederate) was at many of the major battles with the Army of Northern Virginia. He served under “Stonewall” during the early years of the war. In 1862 he was given command of the Savannah area. He served the Confederacy till the end of the war and was wounded once at Second Manassas.

Published in: on March 13, 2011 at 1:29 pm  Comments Off on A B C’s of The Civil War  

“To Every Heart and Hearth Stone”

This  past week was the 150th anniversary of Lincoln taking office. His election ignited a confligration that would burn across the country for 4 years. He attempted to appease the Southerners but it didn’t work.  Here is his first inaugural speech:

Fellow-Citizens of the United States:

In compliance with a custom as old as the Government itself, I appear before you to address you briefly and to take in your presence the oath prescribed by the Constitution of the United States to be taken by the President “before he enters on the execution of this office.”

I do not consider it necessary at present for me to discuss those matters of administration about which there is no special anxiety or excitement.

Apprehension seems to exist among the people of the southern States that by the accession of a Republican Administration their property and their peace and personal security are to be endangered. There has never been any reasonable cause for such apprehension. Indeed, the most ample evidence to the contrary has all the while existed and been open to their inspection. It is found in nearly all the published speeches of him who now addresses you. I do but quote from one of those speeches when I declare that —

I have no purpose, directly or indirectly, to interfere with the institution of slavery in the States where it exists. I believe I have no lawful right to do so, and I have no inclination to do so.

Those who nominated and elected me did so with full knowledge that I had made this and many similar declarations and had never recanted them; and more than this, they placed in the platform for my acceptance, and as a law to themselves and to me, the clear and emphatic resolution which I now read:

Resolved, That the maintenance inviolate of the rights of the States, and especially the right of each State to order and control its own domestic institutions according to its own judgment exclusively, is essential to that balance of power on which the perfection and endurance of our political fabric depend; and we denounce the lawless invasion by armed force of the soil of any State or Territory, no matter what pretext, as among the gravest of crimes.

I now reiterate these sentiments, and in doing so I only press upon the public attention the most conclusive evidence of which the case is susceptible that the property, peace, and security of no section are to be in any wise endangered by the now incoming Administration. I add, too, that all the protection which, consistently with the Constitution and the laws, can be given will be cheerfully given to all the States when lawfully demanded, for whatever cause — as cheerfully to one section as to another.

There is much controversy about the delivering up of fugitives from service or labor. The clause I now read is as plainly written in the Constitution as any other of its provisions:

No person held to service or labor in one State, under the laws thereof, escaping into another, shall in consequence of any law or regulation therein be discharged from such service or labor, but shall be delivered up on claim of the party to whom such service or labor may be due.

It is scarcely questioned that this provision was intended by those who made it for the reclaiming of what we call fugitive slaves; and the intention of the lawgiver is the law. All members of Congress swear their support to the whole Constitution — to this provision as much as to any other. To the proposition, then, that slaves whose cases come within the terms of this clause “shall be delivered up” their oaths are unanimous. Now, if they would make the effort in good temper, could they not with nearly equal unanimity frame and pass a law by means of which to keep good that unanimous oath?

There is some difference of opinion whether this clause should be enforced by national or by State authority, but surely that difference is not a very material one. If the slave is to be surrendered, it can be of but little consequence to him or to others by which authority it is done. And should anyone in any case be content that his oath shall go unkept on a merely unsubstantial controversy as to how it shall be kept?

Again: In any law upon this subject ought not all the safeguards of liberty known in civilized and humane jurisprudence to be introduced, so that a free man be not in any case surrendered as a slave? And might it not be well at the same time to provide by law for the enforcement of that clause in the Constitution which guarantees that “the citizens of each State shall be entitled to all privileges and immunities of citizens in the several States”?

I take the official oath to-day with no mental reservations and with no purpose to construe the Constitution or laws by any hypercritical rules; and while I do not choose now to specify particular acts of Congress as proper to be enforced, I do suggest that it will be much safer for all, both in official and private stations, to conform to and abide by all those acts which stand unrepealed than to violate any of them trusting to find impunity in having them held to be unconstitutional.

It is seventy-two years since the first inauguration of a President under our National Constitution. During that period fifteen different and greatly distinguished citizens have in succession administered the executive branch of the Government. They have conducted it through many perils, and generally with great success. Yet, with all this scope of precedent, I now enter upon the same task for the brief constitutional term of four years under great and peculiar difficulty. A disruption of the Federal Union, heretofore only menaced, is now formidably attempted.

I hold that in contemplation of universal law and of the Constitution the Union of these States is perpetual. Perpetuity is implied, if not expressed, in the fundamental law of all national governments. It is safe to assert that no government proper ever had a provision in its organic law for its own termination. Continue to execute all the express provisions of our National Constitution, and the Union will endure forever, it being impossible to destroy it except by some action not provided for in the instrument itself.

Again: If the United States be not a government proper, but an association of States in the nature of contract merely, can it, as a contract, be peaceably unmade by less than all the parties who made it? One party to a contract may violate it-break it, so to speak-but does it not require all to lawfully rescind it?

Descending from these general principles, we find the proposition that in legal contemplation the Union is perpetual confirmed by the history of the Union itself. The Union is much older than the Constitution. It was formed, in fact, by the Articles of Association in 1774. It was matured and continued by the Declaration of Independence in 1776. It was further matured, and the faith of all the then thirteen States expressly plighted and engaged that it should be perpetual, by the Articles of Confederation in 1778. And finally, in 1787, one of the declared objects for ordaining and establishing the Constitution was “to form a more perfect Union.”

But if destruction of the Union by one or by a part only of the States be lawfully possible, the Union is less perfect than before the Constitution, having lost the vital element of perpetuity.

It follows from these views that no State upon its own mere motion can lawfully get out of the Union; that resolves and ordinances to that effect are legally void, and that acts of violence within any State or States against the authority of the United States are insurrectionary or revolutionary, according to circumstances.

I therefore consider that in view of the Constitution and the laws the Union is unbroken, and to the extent of my ability, I shall take care, as the Constitution itself expressly enjoins upon me, that the laws of the Union be faithfully executed in all the States. Doing this I deem to be only a simple duty on my part, and I shall perform it so far as practicable unless my rightful masters, the American people, shall withhold the requisite means or in some authoritative manner direct the contrary. I trust this will not be regarded as a menace, but only as the declared purpose of the Union that it will constitutionally defend and maintain itself.

In doing this there needs to be no bloodshed or violence, and there shall be none unless it be forced upon the national authority. The power confided to me will be used to hold, occupy, and possess the property and places belonging to the Government and to collect the duties and imposts; but beyond what may be necessary for these objects, there will be no invasion, no using of force against or among the people anywhere. Where hostility to the United States in any interior locality shall be so great and universal as to prevent competent resident citizens from holding the Federal offices, there will be no attempt to force obnoxious strangers among the people for that object. While the strict legal right may exist in the Government to enforce the exercise of these offices, the attempt to do so would be so irritating and so nearly impracticable withal that I deem it better to forego for the time the uses of such offices.

The mails, unless repelled, will continue to be furnished in all parts of the Union. So far as possible the people everywhere shall have that sense of perfect security which is most favorable to calm thought and reflection. The course here indicated will be followed unless current events and experience shall show a modification or change to be proper, and in every case and exigency my best discretion will be exercised, according to circumstances actually existing and with a view and a hope of a peaceful solution of the national troubles and the restoration of fraternal sympathies and affections.

That there are persons in one section or another who seek to destroy the Union at all events and are glad of any pretext to do it I will neither affirm nor deny; but if there be such, I need address no word to them. To those, however, who really love the Union may I not speak?

Before entering upon so grave a matter as the destruction of our national fabric, with all its benefits, its memories, and its hopes, would it not be wise to ascertain precisely why we do it? Will you hazard so desperate a step while there is any possibility that any portion of the ills you fly from have no real existence? Will you, while the certain ills you fly to are greater than all the real ones you fly from, will you risk the commission of so fearful a mistake?

All profess to be content in the Union if all constitutional rights can be maintained. Is it true, then, that any right plainly written in the Constitution has been denied? I think not. Happily, the human mind is so constituted that no party can reach to the audacity of doing this. Think, if you can, of a single instance in which a plainly written provision of the Constitution has ever been denied. If by the mere force of numbers a majority should deprive a minority of any clearly written constitutional right, it might in a moral point of view justify revolution; certainly would if such right were a vital one. But such is not our case. All the vital rights of minorities and of individuals are so plainly assured to them by affirmations and negations, guaranties and prohibitions, in the Constitution that controversies never arise concerning them. But no organic law can ever be framed with a provision specifically applicable to every question which may occur in practical administration. No foresight can anticipate nor any document of reasonable length contain express provisions for all possible questions. Shall fugitives from labor be surrendered by national or by State authority? The Constitution does not expressly say. May Congress prohibit slavery in the Territories? The Constitution does not expressly say. Must Congress protect slavery in the Territories? The Constitution does not expressly say.

From questions of this class spring all our constitutional controversies, and we divide upon them into majorities and minorities. If the minority will not acquiesce, the majority must, or the Government must cease. There is no other alternative, for continuing the Government is acquiescence on one side or the other. If a minority in such case will secede rather than acquiesce, they make a precedent which in turn will divide and ruin them, for a minority of their own will secede from them whenever a majority refuses to be controlled by such minority. For instance, why may not any portion of a new confederacy a year or two hence arbitrarily secede again, precisely as portions of the present Union now claim to secede from it? All who cherish disunion sentiments are now being educated to the exact temper of doing this.

Is there such perfect identity of interests among the States to compose a new union as to produce harmony only and prevent renewed secession?

Plainly the central idea of secession is the essence of anarchy. A majority held in restraint by constitutional checks and limitations, and always changing easily with deliberate changes of popular opinions and sentiments, is the only true sovereign of a free people. Whoever rejects it does of necessity fly to anarchy or to despotism. Unanimity is impossible. The rule of a minority, as a permanent arrangement, is wholly inadmissible; so that, rejecting the majority principle, anarchy or despotism in some form is all that is left.

I do not forget the position assumed by some that constitutional questions are to be decided by the Supreme Court, nor do I deny that such decisions must be binding in any case upon the parties to a suit as to the object of that suit, while they are also entitled to very high respect and consideration in all parallel cases by all other departments of the Government. And while it is obviously possible that such decision may be erroneous in any given case, still the evil effect following it, being limited to that particular case, with the chance that it may be overruled and never become a precedent for other cases, can better be borne than could the evils of a different practice. At the same time, the candid citizen must confess that if the policy of the Government upon vital questions affecting the whole people is to be irrevocably fixed by decisions of the Supreme Court, the instant they are made in ordinary litigation between parties in personal actions the people will have ceased to be their own rulers, having to that extent practically resigned their Government into the hands of that eminent tribunal. Nor is there in this view any assault upon the court or the judges. It is a duty from which they may not shrink to decide cases properly brought before them, and it is no fault of theirs if others seek to turn their decisions to political purposes.

One section of our country believes slavery is right and ought to be extended, while the other believes it is wrong and ought not to be extended. This is the only substantial dispute. The fugitive-slave clause of the Constitution and the law for the suppression of the foreign slave trade are each as well enforced, perhaps, as any law can ever be in a community where the moral sense of the people imperfectly supports the law itself. The great body of the people abide by the dry legal obligation in both cases, and a few break over in each. This, I think, can not be perfectly cured, and it would be worse in both cases after the separation of the sections than before. The foreign slave trade, now imperfectly suppressed, would be ultimately revived without restriction in one section, while fugitive slaves, now only partially surrendered, would not be surrendered at all by the other.

Physically speaking, we can not separate. We can not remove our respective sections from each other nor build an impassable wall between them. A husband and wife may be divorced and go out of the presence and beyond the reach of each other, but the different parts of our country can not do this. They can not but remain face to face, and intercourse, either amicable or hostile, must continue between them. Is it possible, then, to make that intercourse more advantageous or more satisfactory after separation than before? Can aliens make treaties easier than friends can make laws? Can treaties be more faithfully enforced between aliens than laws can among friends? suppose you go to war, you can not fight always; and when, after much loss on both sides and no gain on either, you cease fighting, the identical old questions, as to terms of intercourse, are again upon you.

This country, with its institutions, belongs to the people who inhabit it. Whenever they shall grow weary of the existing Government, they can exercise their constitutional right of amending it or their revolutionary right to dismember or overthrow it. I can not be ignorant of the fact that many worthy and patriotic citizens are desirous of having the National Constitution amended. While I make no recommendation of amendments, I fully recognize the rightful authority of the people over the whole subject, to be exercised in either of the modes prescribed in the instrument itself; and I should, under existing circumstances, favor rather than oppose a fair opportunity being afforded the people to act upon it. I will venture to add that to me the convention mode seems preferable, in that it allows amendments to originate with the people themselves, instead of only permitting them to take or reject propositions originated by others, not especially chosen for the purpose, and which might not be precisely such as they would wish to either accept or refuse. I understand a proposed amendment to the Constitution — which amendment, however, I have not seen — has passed Congress, to the effect that the Federal Government shall never interfere with the domestic institutions of the States, including that of persons held to service. To avoid misconstruction of what I have said, I depart from my purpose not to speak of particular amendments so far as to say that, holding such a provision to now be implied constitutional law, I have no objection to its being made express and irrevocable.

The Chief Magistrate derives all his authority from the people, and they have referred none upon him to fix terms for the separation of the States. The people themselves can do this if also they choose, but the Executive as such has nothing to do with it. His duty is to administer the present Government as it came to his hands and to transmit it unimpaired by him to his successor.

Why should there not be a patient confidence in the ultimate justice of the people? Is there any better or equal hope in the world? In our present differences, is either party without faith of being in the right? If the Almighty Ruler of Nations, with His eternal truth and justice, be on your side of the North, or on yours of the south, that truth and that justice will surely prevail by the judgment of this great tribunal of the American people.

By the frame of the Government under which we live this same people have wisely given their public servants but little power for mischief, and have with equal wisdom provided for the return of that little to their own hands at very short intervals. While the people retain their virtue and vigilance no Administration by any extreme of wickedness or folly can very seriously injure the Government in the short space of four years.

My countrymen, one and all, think calmly and well upon this whole subject. Nothing valuable can be lost by taking time. If there be an object to hurry any of you in hot haste to a step which you would never take deliberately, that object will be frustrated by taking time; but no good object can be frustrated by it. Such of you as are now dissatisfied still have the old Constitution unimpaired, and, on the sensitive point, the laws of your own framing under it; while the new Administration will have no immediate power, if it would, to change either. If it were admitted that you who are dissatisfied hold the right side in the dispute, there still is no single good reason for precipitate action. Intelligence, patriotism, Christianity, and a firm reliance on Him who has never yet forsaken this favored land are still competent to adjust in the best way all our present difficulty.

In your hands, my dissatisfied fellow-countrymen, and not in mine, is the momentous issue of civil war. The Government will not assail you. You can have no conflict without being yourselves the aggressors. You have no oath registered in heaven to destroy the Government, while I shall have the most solemn one to “preserve, protect, and defend it.”

I am loath to close. We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained it must not break our bonds of affection. The mystic chords of memory, stretching from every battlefield and patriot grave to every living heart and hearthstone all over this broad land, will yet swell the chorus of the Union, when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature.

Published in: on March 10, 2011 at 3:03 pm  Comments Off on “To Every Heart and Hearth Stone”