Let Us Crush out Treason, or Perish in the Attempt!!
Rockford Republican, April 18, 1861
Treason, rank and black-hearted treason to the Federal Government has at length culminated—and we are now in the midst of a civil war. Fort Sumter has fallen after a brave resistance, and the secession troops, flushed with victory, will soon, in all probability, be in full march for the National capital.
The days of compromise and concession, thank God, are at length passed, and the men of the free North, long suffering and long insulted, are for once left free to vindicate their rights and their manhood by the strength of their own right arms, and underneath the broad folds and bright stars of their country's flag.
Civil war is a terrible calamity—dreadful to contemplate—yet there is a contingency even more to be dreaded—an evil still more lasting and terrible—and that is, a nation of abject and spiritless cravens—a people so tame and nerveless as to lack the manliness to maintain their principles and defend their rights—a government, so weak, cowardly and imbecile, as to make no resistance to the repeated insults, outrages and organized treason of its own citizens. Such a people, and such a government would deserve the scorn and execration of the civilized world—and much as war is to be deprecated, and wide-spread and deplorable as will be the calamities and misfortunes which will follow in its train—better were it that blood and treasure should be poured out in torrents—that the beat of the drum, the roar of artillery, the tramp of armies and the clash of arms, should resound over every foot of free territory on this continent for the next hundred years, than that this people and this government should present to the world so pitiable and self-debasing a spectacle.
The War has commenced! The seizure of Federal forts and arsenals—the robbery of the national treasure, and the firing into federal ships, have at last, as we have said, culminated in the desperate conflict at Fort Sumter. The first blood has been shed in defence of the national flag—and that flag, feared and honored in every land and on every sea—the glorious old flag of the Revolution, under whose folds, radiant with the hopes of freedom, the patriot-martyrs of other days were proud to fight or fall for their country, is torn from its staff and trampled under the heels of traitors; while the vaunt of the traitor Chief is—that he will drive before him like frightened cattle the mercenary troops of the North, and speedily plant his flag, (the flag of the viper,) upon the dome of the capitol at Washington.
Under these circumstances there is plainly but one course left. All true patriots—all lovers of constitutional liberty must stand with their government, or fall with it. If freedom is worth having, it is worth defending. If it is good for us—it is good for our children—and in this death struggle between Freedom and Slavery—a conflict which the advancing spirit of the age has precipitated upon us—whatever may be the Sacrifices—LET NO MAN FALTER;—for just so sure as there is a sun in heaven—or a God of justice in the universe—Slavery, foul, loathsome, man—cursing and heaven—defying slavery—in this mortal struggle will go down—down like a millstone in the ocean—even though, under the providence of God, it shall be called to make its exit amid the glare of burning cities and the shock of armies.
Henceforth among the men of the Free North let there be no party differences or distinctions. Let every man who loves his country, stand by her flag, let him prove his patriotism, by ceasing to be a partizan—and from this hour, let him swear upon the altar of his common country that he will maintain the free institutions, bequeathed to him by the loved and sainted heroes of the American Revolution, to the last farthing of his property, and the last drop of his blood!