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The Disunion Conspiracy in Missouri.


January/February 1861

From The Missouri Democrat, Monday, January 7, 1861.

The Disunion Conspiracy in Missouri.

The drama which was introduced at the capital by Gov. Jackson’s treasonable, incendiary message as a prologue, is unfolding itself with startling rapidity.  The General Assembly is hardly organized when it is called upon to enact revolutionary measures.  War projects are already the order of the day.  Bills for metamorphosing the Governor into a Military Dictator; for arming the State; calling a Secession Convention, have been flung down like gauntlets on the table of the Senate.  The Disunionists seem to have adopted Danton’s motto—“Audacity, Audacity, Audacity!”  The first step, it appears, is to rob all the local authorities of the powers which they have ever exercised, and centralize these powers in the Governor.  Mayors, Sheriffs, Judges, &c., are to be deprived of all power to preserve the peace.  An Autocrat, sojourning occasionally in Jefferson City, and residing amid the classic shades of Saline county, is to be substituted for the various municipal magistrates and local conservators of the peace.  The solitary throne of the despot is to be erected on the ruins of self government.  The citizens of St. Louis, and we suppose of every other city in the State, are to be subjected to the will of a dictator who has averted his designs of plunging the suffering people who have elected him Governor into civil war.  The bill which proposes to do all this—to establish a military dictatorship—is also a bill to authorize riot and disorder.  It is a bill to give the blue cockade gentry unmeasured license to commit all manner of outrage with impunity.  It is a bill to suppress every loyal demonstration—every Union meeting; and its intents being thus tyrannical and vicious, it was appropriately introduced by one of the fraudulently elected Senators from this county—Johnson by name.  Its companion bill, in relation to the Secession Convention, was introduced by that other pillar of state from St. Louis—Churchill.  The army bill and its author, Monroe Parsons, who is known to fame by his project of educating the youth of Missouri from the proceeds of kidnapping, complete the unholy circle.  This is the programme thrust upon the General Assembly the first week of the session, and it is saying but little to say that it is the most nefarious and foolish which the people of Missouri and their representatives have been ever called to act upon.  Every part of it converges to the center of disunion.  One of its earliest efforts will be the rupture of that ancient comity subsisting between Missouri and the adjacent Free States.  Nothing is more probably than that the governors and legislatures of Illinois and Iowa will promptly respond to the hostile attitude which Missouri threatens to assume.  Kansas will do the same thing; and thus, before the winter is over and gone, we shall experience, we fear, a new and exceedingly unpleasant state of affairs.  We shall see the people of Missouri and of the neighboring Free States watching each other’s movements with rifles in their hands, but with no stronger cause of quarrel on either side than the mutual suspicions engendered by the pernicious counsels of Gov. Jackson.

The schemes initiated in the Legislature must entail bankruptcy and ruin on the city and State, unless these designs are frustrated. Their success carries with it the repudiation of the State debt in the first place, a circumstance which perhaps recommends them in certain quarters.  It is manifest that if the resources of the State are to be dried up, and its revenue devoured by military armaments and chronic panic, the payment of interest on twenty-five millions of bonds is out of the question.  Unless the General Assembly impose a new tax immediately, the July interest cannot be paid; and how can a tax for that or any other legal object be imposed if the plowshares are to be beaten into swords, and a war policy established?  The sum of fifty thousand dollars which Parsons’ bill purposes to appropriate, will effect little or nothing.  The plan is to authorize the newly created dictator to make such contracts as he shall deem necessary; and we hazard little in asserting that the cost of these contracts will be counted in millions instead of thousands.  The convention itself will cost the State a round sum.  When it is remembered that the single item of public printing last year abstracted a hundred thousand dollars out of the treasury, there is hardly a possibility of measuring the scale of expenditure this year.  Some may be shallow enough to suppose that the repudiation which looms up in the distance will give relief, but such a gross fallacy can only deceive that class from which the inmates of the penitentiary are annually recruited.  Property would be actually valueless in the State, in the event of its people being loaded down with the infamy of repudiation.

Better far would it be, in a mere pecuniary point of view, to double the debt than to repudiate it wholly or partly.  Woe to our rich men if the Governor’s revolutionary policy be not defeated!  That policy has Forced Loans, Confiscations, Repudiation and Bankruptcy seared on its forehead.  It seems better calculated to blast St. Louis than to effect any other end.  But we beg to inform the country members, that as soon as the city is attacked the State is smitten, for the one is the heart of the other, and the wound inflicted upon it will spread decay throughout the whole system.

The cloven foot having been protruded so soon and so defiantly, we see no course left open to the Union men of all parties in the Legislature but unbending, uncompromising opposition to the revolutionary policy from the outset.  There are but two parties in the nation to-day—the Union party and the Disunionists.  We earnestly hope the members of the General Assembly who are opposed to the secession conspiracy, will act as one man, and meet the conspirators at every turn, disputing the ground with them inch by inch.