Illinois Staats-Zeitung -- January 13, 1863German Citizens of Chicago Hold Emancipation Meeting
An emancipation meeting was called to order by Mr. Miller at 8 o'clock, after the Chicago Arbeiterverein Chorus, led by the Great Western Band, had arrived, having displayed in a parade a large banner inscribed "Emancipation Proclamation, January 1, 1863.
On recommendation of Mr. Miller, Mr. Brown was elected chairman, and he explained the purpose of the meeting in a brief but excellent address.
Thereupon Mr. Caspar Butz ascended the speaker's platform and said:
"I believed that the time of mass meetings had passed; but I was mistaken. The news of emancipation has been published and the Emancipation Act went into effect on January 1, 1863, and the fact that so many of my German friends have assembled here is evidence that this measure of the President has found 2great favor with them.
"Our people have commendable characteristics. In this War they have shown an endurance and a courage which are unique in the annals of man.
"It has been said that emancipation will cause Negroes to flock to the North, but that assumption is wrong; on the contrary, it is just emancipation that will keep Negroes in the South. Repeal emancipation, and the Negroes will soon be knocking at your door.
"I would like to say to the gentlemen who are trying to sow the seed of discord among us Northerners: 'Take care, the people have cast their eyes upon you and will know how and where to find you.'
"What do they want? Peace? A nation which has more than eight hundred thousand men under arms can make peace only on the field of battle. [Translator's note: Verbatim. It is not clear from the connection, who "they" refers to.]3
"But, I tell you, that these traitors will soon lose courage, when they realize that the people, the workers among the people, will find ways and means of protecting their own interests. It is our duty to be on our guard and to watch, so that the advantages which our brave German soldiers have gained by shedding their blood on the battlefield are not lost."
The assembly loudly and generously applauded the speaker. While the band played a patriotic selection, the banner which the Arbeiterverein brought was hoisted and gave rise to much cheering. The ensign was inscribed with the words: "In union there is strength."
Mr. Butz then read the following resolutions which were unanimously adopted by the assembly:
"Whereas, In a time of great danger for the country, when the bloodiest war the world has ever known is being waged by civilization against barbarians, and when the fate of our beloved fatherland is being decided, it is the duty of every 4true patriot to lift up his voice in behalf of the bleeding country; be it therefore
"Resolved, That we have not yet lost faith in those principles which once called this Republic into being, and that we will always esteem them very highly, since the best blood of the country now copiously flows for the protection of these principles--the eternal principles of liberty, equality, and justice. Be it further
"Resolved, That we are firmly convinced that, as far as we are concerned, this War is a war for the preservation of our constitutional freedom, and of the blessings accruing from such freedom, and that, to use the words of a prominent man, 'when the bloody despotism of the slaveholder challenges us, crying: "The worker shall be a slave," we, the free citizens of the North, answer: defiantly "The worker shall be a free man!"' Be it further
"Resolved, That while we deplore the mistakes which the Administration has made, 5and the evident lack of knowledge of the principles of effective warfare, and the corruption prevalent among so many officials, we consider the Emancipation Proclamation to be a herald of better days, marking January 1,1863 as one of the most memorable days in the history of America, as the beginning of a new era of freedom. Be it further
"Resolved, That we ask the President to abide by the decision which he has made, since retrogression at this time would result in the destruction of the most magnificent temple that was ever built on earth--the temple of freedom; and that we also ask him either to force his present counselors on constitutional matters to aid him in carrying out his policy, or replace them with men who understand the trend of the times. Be it further
"Resolved, That the nation cannot dispense with the services of men like John Fremont or Butler, the able leader who was the first general to teach us how to suppress the Rebellion, and like brave Turchin, and many other patriots who did much for the cause of the Union. Be it further6
"Resolved, That we thank Richard Yates, Governor of Illinois, for his excellent statesmanlike, patriotic, and inspiring message, which, as we are firmly convinced, expresses the true attitude of the great majority of the people of the United States. Be it further
"Resolved, That we warn those senators and representatives in Springfield who contemplate treason but have not the courage to execute their infamous schemes, to watch their step, since the people of this state are on the alert and will not tolerate treason to run rampant in Illinois as it did in Missouri. Be it further
"Resolved, That the infamous parts contained in the Constitution of the state of Illinois, the so-called 'black laws,' are a disgrace to a free state, and inconsistent with the recently issued glorious decree of freedom, and that we hope that the day will soon come when the people themselves will delete the obnoxious statutes from our legal code. Be it further
"Resolved, That the chairman of this meeting is authorized and requested to 7send a copy of these resolutions to President Abraham Lincoln, to Governor Richard Yates, and to the patriotic members of the Cook County delegation in Springfield, so that the latter may present them to the state legislature."
The reading of these resolutions fairly electrified the assembly, and there was loud and prolonged cheering when Butler's name was mentioned.
Thereupon the Chorus of the Arbeiterverein rendered a selection under the leadership of Director Rein.
Mr. Wilhelm Rapp then spoke to the vast throng. Lack of space and time make it necessary to publish only the more important statements which he made. He said in part:
"To begin with, I bring you greetings from our esteemed friend Kapp, who was to be the principal speaker this evening, but had to go to St. Louis on very 8important business that could not be postponed. No doubt, he is with us in spirit. And if Willich, the champion of our cause, knew what has happened in this meeting, his heart would leap for joy, despite the fact that he is suffering in captivity. The spirit of Willich also rules in the hearts of other great men of German origin, for instance, in Franz Sigel, who was obliged to remain in Dumfries, like a chained lion, while the battle of Frederickburg was in progress. "Today, my friends, we are celebrating the victory of freedom, the victory which the liberal War party won over our weak Administration. However, I do not believe that the Proclamation will be enforced, as long as such a man as W. H. Steward heads the Cabinet at Washington. Indeed, I am certain, that even we could accomplish much more, if we applied our wonted Teuton energy, though we are inclined to be somewhat rough at times.
"I do not blame the President, because he does not understand external politics; but now he has called a man from the South who knows very much about the subject; I refer to Benjamin F. Butler. (Loud applause.) He had shown that he does, even before he left New Orleans. He is the man whom I would place at the 9head of the Cabinet. In addition, his appointment to that position is desirable on account of the present status of interior affairs. Mumford was hanged in New Orleans because he trampled upon our national flag. In Chicago, too, there are people who commit similar despicable acts, and heretofore the Government has not had the courage to do more than place them under arrest. That is a poor policy. They should either be set free, or should be made to bear the full punishment for their evil deeds.
"Last week the Democrats in the state legislature at Springfield even contemplated removing Governor Yates from office and offered the position of Provisional Governor to Mr. Richardson. However, he declined, because he said he was constantly bothered by dreams about ropes. No doubt, this man was thinking about Butler.
"I do not hold the Democrats responsible for the acts of their leaders. Very likely they (the Democrats) now realize that they have been deceived by the men who head their party.10
"Therefore, it is the duty of our German Democratic friends to leave the party that has trifled with their feelings. They should not obligate themselves in any manner, but be independent, as we are; we are not dependent upon our leaders, and have proved that today, when we criticized and made recommendations to President Abraham Lincoln.
"This meeting was arranged by the Arbeiterverein. This Society recognizes that this battle is a battle of workers and have so indicated very clearly in the resolutions they made here today."
The speaker concluded by pointing out that the English proletarians have taken the same viewpoint.
Thereupon the Arbeiterverein Chorus sang "The Battle Cry of Freedom".
Mr. [A. C.] Hesing was now asked to address the assembly, but he declined the honor, recommending that Dr. Schmidt be called upon.11
Dr. Schmidt took the speakers stand and made a brief address. He said, "I am greatly moved today by the memory of the fact that December 2, 1859, a small group of men met in Kinzie Hall, to mourn the death of a man who was unquestionably the first champion of the present great movement for liberty, equality, and justice, and who became a martyr to the ideals of freedom. John Brown undoubtedly was the herald of the great change which is now being effected in the nation."
Dr. Schmidt spoke in glowing terms of the blessed results of emancipation and concluded his address amid loud cheers.
He was followed by Mr. C. H. Hawley, who spoke in English.
Adjournment took place after the Arbeiterverein Chorus rendered another selection.
The Hall was so crowded that many persons found only standing room, and fully 12one sixth of the assembly consisted of ladies.
Thus ended the largest meeting ever held by Germans in Chicago, the emancipation meeting of the Chicago Arbeiterverein.
III B 2, I C, I E, I G, III H, IV
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