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Armed Neutrality


May 1861

From The Missouri Democrat, Wednesday, May 1, 1861.

Armed Neutrality

It is evident from the givings out of the Governor and his organs, that an attempt will be made to carry Missouri out of the Union. Taking advantage of the temporary lull in the popular excitement, the Republican speciously seeks to reconcile the loyal and peaceful citizens of the State to an attitude of armed neutrality. Under the guise of peace and loyalty, it insidiously tries to place the means in the hands of the State authorities to destroy that peace and abandon that loyalty. It is playing the part of panderer, to enable the State to borrow money wherewith our shameless Governor and Legislature may take arms against the government.

That this is the purpose and the legitimate result must be seen, when we ask: What is the necessity for arming the State? Is the State menaced? Not by the government, for it alone has the power and the will to protect the State, if she is loyal to the Union. Is it from the Southern Confederacy? The idea is absurd, as the rebel forces are likely to be engaged elsewhere. Why should Missouri arm? Is her commerce endangered? No amount of resistance can better it. Is she in danger of invasion? To take arms would inevitably produce the distrust of her more powerful neighbors. Is her slave property insecure? To place her on a war footing stirs up insurrection in her midst, and she becomes a prey to adventurers from all sides. Is her credit so sound that she can tamper with this dangerous position with impunity? Are her burdens and taxes so light that she can easily add to them a few millions to rush into a needless and suspicious armament?

Whom does she fear? and whom is she to fight? Once entered upon this knight errantry, where are we to stop? and to what issues may we not find ourselves forced ere we lay down our arms? Were all other argument wanting, there is one which should suffice to prevent the appropriation of a dollar for any such purpose. If money could be raised, and if it were voted to put the State upon a war footing, it is putting power and authority into the hands of an open and unscrupulous partisan.

It is well known that Gov. Jackson is openly and fully committed to the secession cause. His sudden conversion, his seal in its defense and support, his private and public statements, his antecedents and surroundings, point unmistakably to this issue. That he has entered into the gigantic conspiracy to overturn the government, and is only held in check by want of the necessary means, does not admit of a doubt. All the statements to the contrary, in the Republican, are so many falsehoods, springing from the brain of a knave or an incorrigible fool—opiates designed to soothe the public mind, until the State is forcibly bound by a Legislature to the traitorous destiny of Jefferson Davis.

We call upon our Representatives in the Legislature, therefore, to expose this hideous plot. If they would avoid blood and ruin, not to lend themselves to this movement. It is fraught with evil, and evil only. Could the penalty be visited upon the perpetrators alone, it were of no consequence; but it must engulph [sic] loyal and disloyal, innocent and guilty, old and young, in irremediable woe. There is safety for Missouri in the Union alone. There is no security that she will not be forced out of it but by cutting off the supplies from her officials, State and military.