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Full text of "The life and public services of Richard Yates, the war governor of Illinois. A lecture delivered in the hall of the House of Representatives, Springfield, Illinois, Tuesday evening, March 1st, 1881"

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Book 133. _ 


Life and Public Services 




Delivered in the Hall of the House of Representatives, Springfield, 
Illinois, Tuesday Evening, March 1st, 1881. 

33 Y 


You have earned the title of the '-Soldier's Friend," and it is a title of nobility 
of which you may well be satisfied. Your children will call it to mind with pleasure 
when your earthly career shall have ended. — Prof. Sturtevant. 

Published by J. H. Chambers & Co. 



Life and Public Services 





Delivered in the Hall of the House of Representatives, Springfield, 
Illinois, Tuesday Evening, March 1st, 1881. 



You have earned the title of the '-Soldier's Friend," and it is a title of nobility 
of which you may well be satisfied. Your children will call it to mind with pleasure 
when your earthly career shall have ended. — Prof. Sturtevant. 


Published by J. H. Chambers & Co. 


3G %■? 7 

'0 3 . 

Hon. Enos Clarke, 






Springfield, III., Jan. 24, 1881. 
Hon. L. U. Reavis, St. Lonis, Mo: 

Dear Sir— Having learned that yon have prepared a lecture upon the " Life, 
Character and Public Services of the Late ex-Governor and Senator Richard 
Yates," we take pleasure in requesting that you will deliver the same in 
Springfield at an early day, to be named by you. 

Very respectfully yours, 

S. M. Cullom, O. H. Wright, 

John M. Palmer, Ornan Pierson, 

John Williams, James G. Wright, 

John M. Hamilton, J. M. Garland, 

H. H. Thomas, Jacob Wheeler, 

H. D. Dement, John Moses, 

Chas. P. Swigert, J. Henry Shaw, 

H. Hilliard, T. F. Mitchell, 

Frank W. Tracy Ed. Rutz, 

John W. Pierson, Paul Selby, 

W. H. Allen, W. M. Smith,; 
L. C. Colljns, Jr. 

St. Louis, Mo., Jan. 25, 1881. 

Gentlemen: I am in receipt of your communication of the 24th inst. in- 
viting me to lecture on The Life and Public Services of the late Gov. Richard 
Yates. With many thanks I accept your invitation, and will, in the discharge 
of the engagement, meet you on the evening of Tuesday, March 1st, at Rep- 
resentatives' Hall. 

In the hope that I may prove worthy the task you call me to perform, and 
that what I may say concerning the dead statesman will meet with the hearty 
approval of the people of Illinois, I am, with great respect, your obedient 

L. U. Reavis. 

His Excellency S. M. Cullom, Gen'l John M. Palmer, Hon. Jas. G. Wright 
and others. 

The following resolution was unanimously adopted by the Illinois House 
of Representatives : 

Whereas, The Hon. L. U. Reavis has been invited by the Governor and 
Lieutenant-Governor, the Speaker of the House, all the State officers and 
many other leading citizens, to deliver a lecture in this city on " The Life and 
Public Services of the late Governor and Senator Richard Yates," be it 

Resolved, That the use of this hall be granted to Mr. Reavis, for next Tues- 
day evening, March 1, for the purpose of delivering said lectur::. 

At the conclusion of the lecture the following resolution, offered by Hon. 
Chas. T. Stratton, of Jefferson county, was adopted : 

Resolved, That the thanks of this audience are hereby extended to Hon. 
L. U. Reavis, of St. Louis, Mo., for his eloquent review of the character, prin- 
ciples and life of the illustrious War Governor of our great Stale. 

The Life and Political Principles 



Ladies and Gentlemen : 

As a native of the State of Illinois,, I am proud of her history. 
I delight to speak of the character and valorous deeds of her 
distinguished citizens, and to note her material, political and 
intellectual progress. This commonwealth has given more than 
its share of patriotism and greatness to the Eepublic. It pos- 
sesses the population, wealth and material power of an empire, 
and it has within itself the undeveloped capacity of a great na- 
tion. Its rapid growth has no parallel in any of the States of 
the Union, and no man can set bounds to its future greatness. 

The traditional and secular history of Illinois is enriched by 
the legends of the aborigines and the civic deeds of the adven- 
turous Anglo-Saxon. A domain so distinctive in its physical 
character, so rich in productive power, and at once the primeval 
home and theater of mighty families of wild beasts and of no- 
madic savage tribes, long ago proclaimed its fitness to become 
the future home of civilized men having fixed habitations, gov- 
ernment, learning, and of religion ; the fixed energies of nature, 
the stupendous scenes of primeval activity, and the constantly 
accelerated growth of lifefrom a condition of sensation up to 
conscious thought, were a perpetual prophecy of the future 
reign of law over this and conterminous territories, over which 
once ruled the good Hiawatha. The warm-hearted and zealous 
chieftain, who once led his band of savages to feasts and victo- 
ries, has been succeeded by the intellectual and patriotic states- 
man ; the wigwam has been changed to a palace, and the Indian 
village has been supplanted by the city of civilization, and to-day 
a new heaven and a new earth, is the inheritance of the Ameri- 
can people. 

— 2 — 

As a physical section of our country, and as a political or- 
ganism, the State of Illinois will ever remain one of the leading 
States in the Americau Union, and, as in the past, so in the fu- 
ture will her influence be great in the councils of the nation. 
Already the history of Illinois is made illustrious by the fame 
and patriotism of her distinguished citizens, inventors, manu- 
facturers, teachers and statesmen. Such names as Williams, 
Strawn, Deere, McCormack, Funk, Sturtevant, Douglas, Lincoln, 
Grant, Yates and others, will forever stand as great land-marks 
in the history of this commonwealth. 

Of these illustrious names I turn with solemn thoughts to that 
of Richard Yates, and in the warmth of my heart and the 
strength of my mind, speak concerning this gifted man of Illi- 
nois — this patriot of the Republic. At the name of Richard 
Yates, the people of Illinois love, adore and weep; they love 
the friend of their youth, of their children and their sacred 
homes; they adore the man who gave the full measure of his 
life to promote the happiness and well-being of his people, and 
to vindicate the supremacy of the federal constitution over all 
the States of the Republic. No children ever loved a fond pa- 
rent better than the people of Illinois loved Richard Yates. 
His name was in every household, in every work-shop, and in 
every field of duty. It was but yesterday that he lived and 
moved among the living, a warm-hearted patriot, a devoted 
friend, and a great political teacher. To-day the grave of the 
dead statesman is still fresh in the necropolis. His deeds are 
all numbered, and, henceforth, he is to be judged with the same 
judgment wherewith we shall be judged. Since the close of 
the bloody scenes of the civil war, and since Richard Yates 
surrendered the physical to the spiritual and awoke into im- 
mortality, silence has reigned over his name. No storms of 
envy, no words of praise have disturbed his name since he was 
taken to his silent home. At the close of his earthly career, 
friends and opponents wept over the dead statesman, and turned 
from his burial place to the active scenes of life, almost forget- 
ting that he ever lived. But his name remains a heritage for 
the living, and the history of his labors still endures with the 
freshness of an oriental tradition, like an eastern romance. 

I come to this great State of Illinois, the home of Richard 
Yates, where he achieved so many victories of his ambition, to 
break the solemn silence of the tomb and call him forth, to be 

— 3 — 

re-judged by living men and women, and to fix his name in his- 
tory according to the measure of his labors and the influence of 
his earthly power. I enter upon the task with gratitude and 
emotions of warm filial love. I am a believer in hero worship 
as taught by Horace Greeley and Thomas Carlyle; and of the 
illustrious men whom I have known and admired in the days of 
their earthly glory, none did I ever admire more than Richard 

The life of a nation is analogous to that of au individual ; each 
has different and distinctive corresponding periods of develop- 
ment which succeed each other in the process of growth from 
youth to old age. The pioneer movement of the people of a 
nation is a period of national youth analogous to the life of the 
boy from childhood to the beginning of manhood. During the 
period of youth, the energies and individuality of the boy and 
the young nation are stimulated and strengthened for future 
usefulness and power according to the opportunities afforded. 
Not only is national life analogous to individual life, in the dis- 
tinctive expression of each, but there is also an interblending 
of the life of the individual with the life of a nation — a psycho- 
logical relation between the two which is expressed in the public 
life of each. The nation is wrought out of the habits and char- 
acter of the people who create and administer it from genera- 
tion to generation ; so also do the inhabitants of a country de- 
rive many of their peculiarities of life, as individuals and com- 
munities, from the character of the country which they inhabit, 
and accordingly as nature expresses herself in the people, so do 
the people express themselves in the national life. If the coun- 
try is full of the energies of nature, rich in productive power 
vast in territorial extent, varied in its physical characteristics, 
and all nature is great and energetic, so will the inhabitants of 
the country be, and so will be the nation in its manifestations 
of life and its expressions of power. High altitudes bespeak 
an independent and liberty-loving people; vast plains tell of the 
abodes of honest and out-spoken people; rocks, mountains, 
rivers and forests generate great energy, individuality, strength 
of character, ambition, and aspiration. Our own country illus- 
trates these truths: nature is great ; our people are great and 
the Republic is great. 

Thus far in our national career we have had little else but 
pioneer life. The blood of three generations flows in the veins 

— 4 — 

of our people across the continent, from the Atlantic to the 
Pacific. The grand-parent upon the Atlantic seaboard greets 
the graud-child upon the Pacific shore, and each has lived in 
the wilderness of America, and contended with wild beasts and 
savages for the supremacy over nature. Soon after the organ- 
ization of the government, the pioneer movement for the civil 
conquest of this continent began. From the home in the east, 
upon the Atlantic seashore, the hardy pioneer went forth to the 
western wilderness. The movement was conducted from Maine 
to Georgia with the precision of movement of a mighty army. 
Brave and hardy men and women, born in poverty and schooled 
in adversity, encouraged by tales told of the wilds of the west, 
went forth, pilgrims of empire, and in the simplicity of their 
modes of life, lived and loved in the wilderness of nature, and, 
as of old, begat sons and daughters. They moved in columns 
like armies to the field of battle — one column crossing the Sus- 
quehanna, another the Blue Ridge, and still other columns 
moving at other points, but all passing the defiles of the Appa- 
lachian Mountains and entering the States and Territories of the 
Valley of the Mississippi. The pioneer movement, once begun, 
continued to advance the outpost frontier line at an annual dis- 
tance of twenty-two miles, until the Pacific ocean was reached. 
With the completion of the New York and Erie Canal, the cen- 
tral column, moving forward to the Mississippi River, was sup- 
ported by a second column of pioneers moving to the northwest 
along the line of the great lakes and to the head waters of the 
Mississippi and Missouri Rivers. A third column moved and 
entered by the Gulf of Mexico, and occupied the region of the 
Southern States. Still another army of pioneers went around 
Cape Horn and across the Isthmus of Darien, and disembarked 
on the Pacific coast, and with all the lines closed in, the frontier 
armies completed the pioneer movement of the American people 
and accomplished the work of establishing an empire across the 
continent; and now we behold an empire of States, extending 
from ocean to ocean. 

When this pioneer movement of the American people is fully 
and truly presented in history, it will stand forth as one of the 
most interesting and deeply significant events in all the annals 
of the world. It was the mightiest movement ever made by any 
people on this earth. This march of empire across the conti- 
nent infinitely transcended the flight of the children of Israel 

— 5 — 

from bondage. The exploration made by the Bedouin Arab, 
Abraham, pales before the exploration of Lewis and Clark. 

Individual enterprise : the interests of communities : the as- 
pirations of father and mother : the dictates of learning and law : 
the daring enterprise of Jesuit Fathers and the demonstrative 
spirit of religion, all united on the field of destiny and contrib- 
uted to the onward movement of the great family of man, west- 
ward along the belt of empire. And the Star of Bethlehem, 
which arose in the East, on 

" A gray morning by the sea," 

went down in Judea, and the star of empire arose in the West 
and became the pillar of fire by night, and the pillar of cloud 
by day, to direct the American pioneer in his westward career 
and herald to the world the coming of a new political dispensa- 
tion destined to wrap the globe with its divine ordinances. This 
mighty pioneer movement of the American people — this move- 
ment that rocked the cradle for the future civilization of the 
world's people — gave to this country a race of western states- 
men full of energy, originality and power. They were the off- 
spring of a vigorous, sturdy and brave manhood and woman- 
hood, that dared to confront the dangers and vicissitudes of the 
wilderness. Such men as Boone, Clark and Harney, were 
legitimate sons of the American pioneers. They were strong in 
native energies, courageous and enduring, and nature afforded 
no obstacle which they could not overcome. If the forests 
were to be felled, the mountains to be scaled, the rivers to be 
crossed, and savages and wild beasts to be subdued, such men 
as these with their native strength and inventive genius were 
always equal to the emergency. 

Following in the footsteps of the earlier pioneers — the hunters, 
the Indian-fighters and explorers — came a race of robust states- 
men, who, inspired with the spirit of liberty and progress* 
erected government over the wild domains of the great West, 
and laid the foundations of communities destined to bound for- 
ward in population, wealth and power. Business became organ- 
ized, roads constructed, rivers bridged, manufactories estab- 
lished, farms improved, and education and religion were planted 
in the wilderness and fostered as higher exponents of the use- 
fulness and mission of the human soul. And the boy, bom in 
the wilderness in the log cabin, soon arose to distinction in 

— — 

society and State. With but a breath of time, and as if by the 
magician's wand, the wilderness of America has been trans- 
formed into fruitful fields and cities of civilization. 

With the growth of population west of the Allegheny moun- 
tains, political power was organized, and Nashville, Tennessee, 
became tbe first great center of political power in the West. A 
bright constellation of fearless men clustered around the capital 
of Tennessee ; men, whose eloquence, abilities and statesman- 
ship exerted a powerful influence in all parts of the country, 
and especially in the federal metropolis. Conspicuous in this 
constellation of representative men were Jackson, Polk, Grundy, 
Bell, Jones, Houston and Payton. 

At the time these men were in active public life there was no 
other association of men, west of the Allegheny mountains, equal 
to them in ability, and in the strong and demonstrative charac- 
ter of their lives. They were giants in the land, the scope of 
whose labors were national, and they laid deep and broad the 
foundations of Western Empire. Decades passed away, and 
immigration from the States south of the Ohio River and from 
New England began to move to the north-western country, and 
with the growth of that region, political power passed from 
Tennessee; Springfield, Illinois, became the successor of Nash- 
ville, and the center of a more brilliant, a more illustrious con- 
stellation of distinguished statesmen. They were the sons of 
hardy pioneers, most of them seeking the freedom of the State 
of Illinois as a refuge from a land of bondage. Some were young 
men from the East seeking homes in the 'great West. Those 
most distinguished in this constellation of giant statesmen were 
Lincoln, Douglas, Trumbull, Dillon, Breese, Hardin, Baker, Gil- 
lespie, Browning, Shields, Richardson, Yates, Logan and Palmer. 
Most of these men were born in the log-cabins of the wilderness, 
and from that humble birthplace arose to the highest stations in 
our political society. Some of them have distinguished them- 
selves on battle fields; some on the judge's bench ; some in the 
legislative halls and the executive chair of this State; and still 
others in the legislative halls and the executive chair of the 
nation. But all were patriotic and illustrious men — all great 
landmarks in State and National history — and all have impressed 
their principles on the institutions of our common country. 

You will observe that in this constellation of distinguished 
men is the name of the patriotic war-governor of Illinois. His 

brilliancy in this galaxy of statesmen is like that of a star in the 
heavens, that evolves its own light. He, too, evolved his own 
light from his own brilliaut mind. 

Richard Yates was horn in the little village of Warsaw, in 
Gallatin county, Kentucky, January 18th, 1815. His ancestors 
were of English origin. The family name is very common at 
this time in many parts of England, and especially are the 
Yateses very numerous in Liverpool and Manchester, where 
they rank high in English society. Several generations ago the 
ancestors of Richard Yates migrated from England to Virginia, 
where they settled and became engrafted into the American 
stock. His parents moved from Virginia to Kentucky, and 
there at a very early time the transplanted stock germinated in 
a new and broader held of human activity and human destiny. 
At the time of the birth of Richard Yates, the population, of 
Kentucky was but little more than 500,000, and the population 
of the entire country was but little mere than 9,000,000. Then 
there were but twenty-one States in the Federal Union. But 
the child was born under the aegis of liberty — born in a land 
foreseen by the inspired Seneca, long before Columbus sailed 
through the gates of the sea to discover the New World. The 
stock from whence Richard Yates sprang, was of superior 
blood ; a family vigorous, healthy, industrious, and ambitious. 
His father and mother were gifted and noble by nature. They 
were generous in a high degree, and broad in the executive du- 
ties and administration of their family affairs. Richard was 
born in a log cabin. He was cradled in the wilderness ; and his 
mother wispered in his infant ears, tales of the Indian war- 
whoop, which was common to her early settlement in Kentucky. 
His mother taught him royal lessons of fidelity and loyalty, 
and awakened in his young mind aspirations for greatness, 
which took deep root in the young mind, and blossomed and 
fruited in manhood's prime. 

Born in the log cabin. Let me stop at this word— this birth- 
place, this palace of a stalwart army of the great men of Amer- 
ica. The log-cabin ! I turn back through a period of only sixty 
years, and look across the Ohio River. There, in the days gone 
• by, stood, upon the other shore of that river, the log cabin, the 
birth-place of Richard Yates, the future Governor of Illinois, 
and one of the nation's great patriots and statesmen. I go fur- 
ther back in the years gone by, and in Hardin county, Kentucky, 

I see another log cabin standing alone in the wilderness, with 
narrow limits and without adornment, and this is the birth-place 
of Abraham Lincoln, the weird child of the forest, the future 
law-giver and the future President of the Republic. He came 
forth from the log cabin like the man from Bozrah whose gar- 
ments were dyed in blood. Never did mortal man walk the 
earth with such grandeur. He was the giant of the forest home 
— the cyclopean head of the Republic. He became the political 
teacher of the people and the Moses and law-giver of the nation. 
I go still further back in the years gone by, and in the wilds of 
Virginia I see another log cabin, the birth-place and home of 
Henry Clay, the great commoner of the American people — the 
inspired statesman, the great political leader. Coeval with Clay 
was Jackson, also born in a log cabin in North Carolina, and a 
typical American. As a friend, loving and magnanimous ; as an 
enemy, brave and terrible ; without learning and without genius, 
but with an enormous amount of that uncommon thing called 
common sense, which enabled him to do the right thing at the 
right time. Successful alike as the leader of an army, or of a 
nation, Jackson began in a log cabin and ended in the White 
House. I sweep the history of my country and I find in the 
generations gone by, children born in the log cabin, and reared 
in orphanage and in the most trying adversity, rising to the 
highest stations in life ; some engaging in the profession of arms, 
others in the professions of law, medicine and divinity, and still 
others leading in the great commercial and industrial pursuits 
of the country. The log cabin is the birth-place of heroic life, 
of sovereign manhood and womanhood. It is the citadel of vir- 
tue, the high- walled fortress of public motherhood and parental 
devotion. It has done for America that which the palace could 
not do. It has produced the most wouderful galaxy of legisla- 
tors, jurists, soldiers and rulers that ever enriched history. 
None of the poisonous influences of rank and cancerous society 
ever besieged the log cabin to lead astray the children of the 
forest and plain. Schooled in the simple habits of the wilder- 
ness, and constantly drawing fresh life from nature, the child of 
the log cabin is fated to be strong iu physical and mental power 
and self-reliant in the conflicts of life. 

In the vicinity of the log cabin stood the school house, in 
which the boy of the log cabin drank into his soul more inspir- 
ing lessons of divine life tfcau ever came from Grecian oracle 

— 9 — 

or Pierian spring. I would not say aught against our great in 
stitutions-of learning, aud the refining influences of our civiliza- 
tion, but there is something wrong in our social order — in the 
present tendency of our society. Survey the institutions of the 
country; look to the three learned professions; look to the 
birth-place of the children of the Kepublic — where do you find 
in the parental home of to-day the vigorous, industrious, brave 
and high-spirited mothers, such as of yore ? Where can you 
find the sons, 

"Such as the Doric mothers bore," 

— sons into whose manly capabilities the government of the 
Republic can be committed with safety aud honor ? Traverse the 
country from centre to circumference and where can you find 
a nobler American manhood than of yore? Where are they who 
are waiting to teach and lead the age in which we live ? Where 
are to be found the scholars, students and teachers equal to 
those of one, two and three generations ago? Where shall we 
go to find political leaders, teachers and law-givers equal to 
those born in the log cabin ? I assert that there is a flagrant 
weakness pervading our entire people and our social condition. 
Nowhere exists that strong and embracing self-hood — that 
bravery, energy, will-power and determination — among our 
people, for which they were noted in the generations past. If 
you ask, What is the matter? I answer: That the energies, the 
industry, the moral strength, the manhood and womanhood and 
virtue of the people, have gone out through the base-ball clubs, 
through fashionable watering places, through the theatres and 
novel reading, through rum shops aud woman-suffrage agita 
tions, aud other modern creations and mercenary tendencies of 
our people. Not under such influences, but under far different 
influences were produced our Websters and Calhouns ; our 
Gaineses and Scotts ; our Richeys and Greeleys. 

Henry Yates, the father of Richard, though limited in educa- 
tion, was a man endowed with superior excellencies of mental- 
ity, character aud manhood, and wherever he was known he 
was noted for his broad and generous expressions of wisdom in 
all the affairs of life. He was at once a teacher and a leader in 
the community in which he lived. Endowed by nature with the 
principles of true humanity, he recognized the rights of all and 

— 10 — 

the freedom of all. He hated human slavery, and from the 
slave State of Kentucky he looked across the Ohio to the prom- 
ised laud of Illinois, in the hope of better years. With his fam- 
ily he moved iu 1831 to Spriugfield, Illinois, where he located 
and engaged in the mercantile business. In this and in a neigh- 
boring locality be remained until his death. Richard was sent 
to school to Illinois College, and graduated in 1837. He was one 
of the first graduates of that institutiou, and gave bright prom- 
ise of future usefulness and distinction. He immediately en- 
tered the law office of Col. John J. Hardin, one of the most 
brilliant and highly esteemed men of the West, with whom he 
acquired the profession of law; but his ambition urged him to 
wider fields of duty in other fields of distinction. In early 
life, in very boyhood, the soul of Richard Yates was fired with 
an ardent ambition — an ambition for fame and greatness which 
unconsciously knocks at the door of the understanding of the 
child of destiny, and tells of a shining future ; an ambition 
which, like the Amruta cup of Indian fable, gives to the cor- 
rupt and the bad a life of misery; but to the virtuous and the 
good, a life of everlasting glory. The child of destiny feels in 
early youth a yearning for greatness, and that repressed 
yearning cannot be satisfied by the sneers of ignorant nor by 
the embarrassments of poverty. And although the child of 
destiny dare not, for fear of scorn, reveal to his associates the 
aspirations of his soul, he walks forth, encouraged by the con 
scious strength of his own selfhood, and communes with 
nature ; learns lessons from running brooks, from hill and plain, 
and drinks inspiration from the breezes; and confiding in his 
own destiny, he looks to the stars, and his mind illuminated by 
the influxes of wisdom from above, reads his own royal future 
in the riper years of life. 

Edgeworth tells us that fame sometimes gives her votaries 
visions of their future destiny while yet in early life. There is 
then a sort of sympathy created between their youthful aspira- 
tions and coming deeds— a reflection of the future upon the 

In his very boyhood he walked a distance of twelve miles to 
hear a speech from Henry Clay, and with self-conscious majesty 
he walked into the reception-parlor where Mr. Clay was receiv- 
ing his friends, and presented himself as one of them. The 
great statesman took young Yates by the hand and spoke a few 

— 11 — 

kind words, and told him to be seated. Mr. Clay knew the 
father of young Yates, and in the greatness of his nature ex- 
tended his friendship and sympathies to the boy whose ambi- 
tion it was to link himself to the great man in whose footsteps 
he aspired to walk, and whose greatness he desired to emulate. 
Mr. Clay exteuded to young Yates the friendship of a sage, and 
took him to dinner, and to the speaker's stand, and in thus 
doing impressed upon the young mind of Richard the first great 
lesson of ambition. From thenceforth Richard Yates went for- 
ward to the duties of life with an unconquerable determination 
to achieve honor and distinction among his fellows, and to write 
his name high upon the scroll of fame. No allurements in the 
path of life, no temptations of wealth, diverted his attention 
from this single aim — this tixed purpose to achieve political 
greatness ; and thus directing his efforts, he became a member 
of the Illinois Legislature in 1842, being then twenty four years 
of age. He was elected successively for six years. He distin- 
guished himself as a member by his marked ability, and his 
efforts to procure legislation for the promotion of the general 
good of the State; to aid in the building of asylums, institutions 
of learning and public improvements essential to the material 
advancement of the commonwealth of Illinois. In this field of 
duty he early demonstrated himself to be a magnanimous and 
public-spirited man. 

It was in the Legislature of Illinois that Richard Yates first 
attacked slavery. He was by nature a believer in human rights 
and human liberty, and a determined opponent of slavery. 

In party politics he was a Whig, and in 1850 he was nomina- 
ted and elected to Congress by the Whigs. On entering the 
national legislature he found himself to be the youngest mem- 
ber in the House of Representatives. But with that same self- 
conscious majesty which was a part of his nature, he entered 
the field of national politics, undaunted by a consciousness of 
youth, and unhesitating for the want of experience. In Con- 
gress he rapidly grew into favor with public men. His courteous 
and amiable demeanor won universal esteem. When he was 
re elected to Congress in 1852, party leaders and distin- 
guished men in all ranks of life universally and instinctively 
foresaw the coming of a great political crisis. The Whig party 
exhausted all its power in the presidential contest of 1852, to 
wrest the country from the hands of the Democratic party. 

— 12 — 

Failing to elect General Scott, and seeing the growing obstin- 
acy of the pro-slavery party on one side, and the growing deter- 
mination of the anti-slavery party on the other side, the Whig 
party dissolved its organization. It had always been devoted 
to the maintenance of the law, though opposed to the exten- 
sion of slavery. The presidential contest of 1852 demonstrated 
a growing tendency toward two extreme conditions of political 
society, a growing tendency in the pro-slavery wing of the Dem- 
ocratic party to extend slavery and make it national instead of 
sectional ; on the other hand a growing tendency on the part of 
the anti-slavery men to resist the further spread of slavery, 
even to the trampling down of national law. The Whig party 
was powerless to arrest the extreme and sectional tendencies. 
A great political contest was precipitated upon the country. 
In the inauguration of that contest Eichard Yates was a par- 
ticipant. He was the only member of Congress from Illinois, 
down to 1854, who raised his voice in favor of freedom in Kan- 
sas. His speech against the passage of the Nebraska bill was 
one of the best efforts of his life, and fully demonstrated the 
higher conviction of his mind, the real man that he was. He 
entered the great contest in the vigor of manhood, and with the 
ardor of an enthusiast. His birth, and that of his parents, in a 
slave State, contributed to strengthen his opposition to human 
slavery, and stimulate him to vindicate the cause of human 
freedom. Born and educated iu the principles of the Whig 
party, he was the friend and supporter of law and order, the 
defender and promoter of dignified and honorable party con- 

At the death of the Whig party the Eepublicau party was 
organized with the avowed purpose of resisting the spread of 
slavery. It was essentially an anti-slavery party. It embodied 
in its organization the great mass of active thinking and progres- 
sive people of the country. It was a progressive and aggressive 
party. And with a far-reaching and comprehensive spirit of 
progress the Eepublicau party encouraged education and gave 
its support to the material improvement of the country. The 
Democratic party, loaded with incrusted institutionalism, and 
trusting in boundless confidence, on the dictation and authority 
of its precedents, angrily insisted that its political right to power 
should not be questioned and that its rule should not be sub- 
verted. The parties being thus arrayed in thought and conven- 

— 13 — 

tionality against each other, the great conflict between slavery 
and freedom was waged. The State of Illinois was under the 
control of the Democratic party, and was re-districted for the 
purpose of securing a Democratic member of Congress in the 
place of Yates. This end was accomplished and he was defeated 
for Congress in 1854. But as true as the needle to the pole, was 
he to his faith in political freedom. When his defeat was ascer- 
tained in 1854, he fearlessly and distinctively announced to the 
public that by the very principles on which he went down, he 
would in the future rise more glorious and triumphant. 

On his return to private life he engaged in business in the 
construction of a railway through the central portion of the 
State of Illinois. As president of the company he demonstrated 
unusual ability in the prosecution of the work. 

But not content with the honors and emoluments of business in 
private life, and not satisfied with being a simple looker-on amid 
the threatening and bitter contests of a gigantic political strug- 
gle, Richard Yates entered the Presidential campaign of 1856. 
His heart, soul, mind and strength were with the Republican 
party. The struggle in Kansas had gone on ; freedom and 
slavery had met face to face on the plains of that virgin territory. 
On the one side was progressive thought; on the other side, 
audacious and bigoted institutionalism, that scorned at the ques- 
tionings of political and intellectual progress. The contest went 
on ; it had assumed a sectional aspect, and the best thought of 
the North and the South was brought into fierce conflict. 

The Presidential contest of 1856 was a contest between slavery 
and freedom. The result demonstrated that the capital invested 
in slave property and the political convictions of more than two 
generations could not be hastily overthrown, and the Democratic 
party secured another lease of political power under James 
Buchauan, and the bitterness of the contest stimulated that 
party to the execution of measures still more aggressive in 
favor of the spread of slavery. The Dred Scott decision came 
declaring the privilege of the use of negro property universal 
under the Constitution. This decision was soon followed by 
President Buchanan's letter to Prof. Silliman, of Yale College, 
declaring that the right to take slave property into the territo- 
ries was unquestioned by the Constitution. The pro-slavery 
party, acting wholly through the Democratic party, having 
announced their principles and politics as being justified and 

— 14 — 

guaranteed by precedents and law, barricaded itself under the 
feudal forms of institutionalism. On the other hand, the expo- 
nents of the anti-slavery party — the leaders of the new Repub- 
lican party — sought to enthrone themselves upon the doctrines 
of the higher law. At this time the issue between freedom 
and slavery was clearly defined. The Democratic party rested 
the cause of slavery upon precedent, law, institutionalism, and 
an extraordinary interpretation of the Constitution. The Re- 
publican party held that slavery was wrong — a social cancer, 
and a tyrant, which deprived human beings of their inalienable 
rights and retarded the advancement of civilization. The issues 
were made broad, and were deeply rooted in the convictions of 
those who assumed to defend on either side. On one side was 
intrenched the infamous and audacious authority of so-called 
institutional infallibility ; on the other side, was rapidly being 
developed and consecrated, the conscience of enlightened man- 
kind. The great Channing had given the strength of his mind 
against slavery and class legislation. Charles Sumner, in 1854, 
and in the spirit of moderation, warned the South of the coming 
contest. Said Sumner: " As long as my actions or utterances 
are inspired by the obligation of an oath under the law, I will 
never do aught, or counsel to disturb or iuterfere with the rights 
of your peculiar institution ; but I tell you now, and I offer no 
apology for telling you, that ere long the very great wrongs 
suffered by the millions jou control, will be suppressed by the 
voice of an enlightened public sentiment, not, I hope, the voice 
of a section, but the harmonious response to the dictation of 
our Creator. " 

Victor Hugo, the most divinely gifted man of our planet, de- 
clared American slavery to be the greatest moral deformity of 
the nineteenth century. Theodore Parker enunciated a new 
Golden Ride, defining the law of right between the freeman and 
the slave. It was not so broad in its scope and expression of 
human conduct as the dual Golden Rule enunciated by Confu- 
cius, or so fresh in its expression of the principle of humanity, 
as the rule enunciated by Jesus of Nazareth, but it taught that 
what a mau had the right to do for himself, his neighbor had 
the right to aid him to do. 

North and South the battle raged; the sharp conflicts of 
mind on fundamental principles of human rights, produced more 
mobs in Boston than elsewhere in the country. Southern aris- 

— 15 — 

tocracy arrayed itself against the Democratic spirit of the peo- 
ple, and the laborers of the North were denominated mud-sills, 
greasy mechanics, and small-fisted farmers. Crimination was 
answered on both sides by re-crimination, without reason or 
wisdom. Kansas became a political battle-ground. On that 
Western territory, the North and the South in their representa- 
tives and constituents, submitted their issues to the will of the 
people. The struggle in Kansas formed an epoch in the politi- 
cal history of the Republic, and the result of the struggle herald- 
ed a new dispensation of civil liberty to mankind. 

Party contests were bitter in Kansas : the denunciation of 
party leaders was outspoken. At the Republican State Con- 
vention of Illinois, held at Bloomington, 1856, in a speech made 
by Richard Yates, he said : " At the names of Atchison and 
Stringfellow the mothers of Kansas press their babes to their 
bosoms ! " In the contest in Kansas, one party known as 
" Border Ruffians," and another as " Carpet-baggers, sent 
out by the New England Emigrant Aid Society." On both 
sides partisau strife overshadowed all conception of inter-state 
citizenship, and stimulated bitter contention between the slave 
and free States — between the North and the South. This con- 
tention constantly intensified until the Presidential contest of 
1860, when another appeal was -made to the people to deter- 
mine upon the principles of the two parties. The leaders of 
the Republican party were able and united. In the main, they 
were the best and most distinguished men from the Whig and 
Democratic parties. They entered the political struggle of 
1860 with earnestness and determination, and, as a sectional 
party, representing the sentiment of the North^ they controlled 
a majority of the voters of the North. The Democratic party 
was divided from the beginning. The division which took place 
at the Charleston convention was never healed, and the repub- 
lican party entered the contest against three other tickets, and 
with Yancy and others bitterly opposing the election of either 

The Republican party of Illinois met in convention at Decatur 
in May, 1860, and nominated Richard Yates for Governor. His 
nomination was regarded the best that could have been made, 
because he embodied the golden mean of the Republicans of Illi- 
nois. With Abraham Lincoln at the head of the national ticket, 
and Richard Yates at the head of the State ticket, Illinois be 


came the theater of intense and exasperated political strife. The 
candidacy of Douglas virtually contributed to the election of Lin- 
coln to the presidency, and the political faith of Illinois being 
founded upon the ordinance of 1787, stimulated her people to 
cast their majority vote for the Republican ticket. The candi- 
dacy of Bell and Everett was not founded upon a single living- 
political principle, and only served as an obsolete, effete politi- 
cal altar, on which aged and expiring politicians could sacrifice 
themselves for the pretended good of their country. The cam- 
paign of 1860 brought into recognition the intellectual and moral 
power of the North ; for, with the people of the North, the vital 
issue was founded upon a great question of human rights. In 
fact, the contest was a struggle between two antagonistic forms 
of political society — between slavery and freedom. Slavery 
had constantly menaced the permanency of the government since 
the enunciation of the Declaration of Independence, and, from 
time to time, freedom yielded to its requests, until the intellec- 
tual and moral growth of the American people became so strong 
and determined as to demand that slavery be checked in its ca- 
reer, and, like other crimes, be hedged in by the law of the na- 
tion. This demand of freedom was granted by the American 
people, according to the forms of law, in 1860, by the election of 
Abraham Lincoln to the presidency of the United States. The 
central idea and aim running through all the political teachings 
of Mr. Lincoln was in favor of the extension and application to 
political society of freedom and the doctrines of the Declaration 
of Independence. Nevertheless, he was by nature a conserva- 
tive man, and, by education, a rigid adherent and supporter of 
the law. But his election was made a pretext for secession by 
those to whom defeat threatened change, and to whom change 
threatened injury; and embittered by prejudices and the party 
strife of many years, and maddened by defeat, the people of the 
Cotton States declined to acquiesce in the election of Abraham 
Lincoln, and planting themselves upon the doctrine of State 
Rights, entered upon the work of secession — a calamity which 
the founders of the Republic and all succeeding patriots earnestly 
sought to avert. Before the inauguration of Mr. Lincoln, the 
work of secession was far under way. The inefficiency and in- 
difference of President Buchanan, about enforcing the authority 

of the Constitution over the domain of the South, caused his 


cabinet to be dismembered, and the old Ship of State was left to 


the mercy of the wind aud waves of rebellion. In after years, 
when the Republic has passed into the hands of other genera- 
tions soon to follow, the administration of James Buchanan will 
be inscribed in our country's history as a confirmation of a great 
poetic truth : 

" Wrong forever on the throne ; 

Right forever on the scaffold ; 

But that scaffold sways the future, 
And behind the dim unknown 

Standeth God, within the shadow, 

Keeping watch above his own." 

On assuming the office of Chief Executive of the' nation, Pres- 
ident Lincoln was called upon, at once, to confront a gigantic 
war between the States of the North and the South. Siege was 
levied against Fort Sumter, and hostile armies were being or- 
ganized to resist the authority of the supreme law of the Gov- 
ernment. By the obligations of the oath of office, Lincoln was 
compelled to use all the power of the nation to put down this 
wanton and criminal defiance of law, this treasonable assault on 
the life of the nation. Before his inauguration, nearly every 
State of the North was provided with a new and patriotic Gov- 
ernor, ready to bring into requisition the full power of their re- 
spective States to subordinate the insurgents to the will of the 
Union. One of the most conspicuous, patriotic and brave of the 
loyal Governors of the North was Richard Yates. He had 
already taken the oath of office and assumed the executive 
chair of Illinois. He fully comprehended the threatening contest 
before Lincoln had reached the executive mansion of the na- 
tion. In this approaching revolution, the home of Lincoln and 
the stronghold of Republicanism, Illinois, was looked upon as 
the great and growing central State of the West, and all eyes 
were turned to the Governor of the great commonwealth. Loyal 
men in Missouri, Kentucky and other neighboring States looked 
to Illinois aud to Governor Yates as the boon and center of pa- 
triotism and power in the Valley of the Mississippi. They looked 
to it to rally first to the support of Abraham Lincoln in the de- 
fense and maintenance of the government. Richard Yates had 
already won for himself a national reputation as an able expon- 
ent of the principles of the Republican party, and, as the Chief 
Executive of Illinois, his position before the people of the West 
and the country, was regarded as being pre-eminent. On the 


assembling of the legislature, in January, 1861, and some months 
before fire opened on Fort Sumter, in his inaugural message, 
Governor Yates anuouuced himself firm, clear and patriotic in 
the expression of his views concerning the cause of the Union, 
and the determination of Illinois to vindicate the supremacy of 
the Constitution in the coming contest. 

" Referring to the national affairs," said Governor Yates : " whatever 
may have been the divisions of parties hitherto, the people of Illinois will, 
with one accord, give their assent and firm support to two propositions. 
First. That obedience to the Constitution and the laws must be insisted upon 
and enforced, as necessary to the existence of the Government. Second. That 
an election of Chief Magistrate of the nation, in strict conformity with the 
Constitution, is no sufficient cause for the release of any State from any of its 
obligations to the Union." 

A minority of the people may be persuaded that a great error has been 
committed by such election, but for relief in such a contingency, the Consti- 
tution looks to the efficacy of frequent elections, and has placed it in the 
power of the people to remove their agents and servants at will. The work- 
ing of our government is based upon the principles of the indisputable 
rights of majorities. To deny the right of th >se, who have constitutionally 
succeeded by ballot to stations only to be occupied, is not merely unfair and 
unjust, but revolutionary; and for a party which has constitutionally tri- 
umphed, to surrender the powers it has won, would be an ignoble submission, 
a degradation of manhood, a base desertion of the people's service, which 
should inevitably consign it to the scorn of Christendom and the infamy of 

To give shape and form to their purpose of resistance, the dissatisfied 
leaders of the South Carolina movement have revived the doctrine long since 
exploded, that a State may nullify a law of Congress and secede from the 
Union at pleasure. Such a doctrine can never for a moment be permitted. 
Its admission would be fatal to the existence of government, would dissolve 
all the relations which bind the people together, and reduce to anarchy the 
order of the Republic. 

This is a government entered into by the people of the whole country in 
their sovereign capacity, and although it have the sanction also, of a compact 
between sovereign States, does not receive its chief support from that cir- 
cumstance, but from the original and higher action of the people them- 

This Union cannot be dissolved by one State, nor by the people of one 
State 01 of a dozen States. This sfovernment was designed to be perpetual 
and can be dissolved only by revolution. 

Secession is disunion. Concede to S >uth Carolina the right to release her 
people from the d ities and obligations belonging to their citizenship, and 
you annihilate the sovereignty of the Union by prostrasting its ability to 
secure allegiance. Could a government which could not vindicate itself, and 
which had exhibited such a sign of weakness, command respect or long 
maintain itself? If that State secede, why may not California and Oregon, 

- 19 - 

and with better reason, because they are remote from the Capital, and sep- 
arated by uninhabited wildernesses and vast mountain ranges, and may have 
an independent commerce with the shores and islands ot the Pacific and the 
marts of the Indies'? Why may not Pennsylvania secede and dispute our 
passage to the seaboard through her territory? Why may not Louisiana 
constitute herself an independent nation, and dictate to the people of the 
great Northwest the onerous terms upon which their millions of agricul- 
tural and industrial products might find a transit through the Mississippi and 
be delivered to the commerce of the world. 

It will be admitted that the territory of Louisiana, acquired in 1S03, for the 
purpose ot securing to the people of the United States the free navigation of 
the Mississippi, could never had seceded ; yet it is pretended, that when that 
territory has so perfected its municipal organization as to be admitted into 
the Union as a State, with the powers and privileges equal to the other 
States, she may at pleasure repudiate the union, and forbid to the other 
States the free navigation which was purchased at the cost of all, not for 
Louisiana, but for all the people of the United States. A claim so presump- 
tuous and absurd could never be acquiesced in. The blood of the gallant sons 
of Kentucky and Tennessee was freely shed to defend New Orleans and the 
Mississippi River from a foreign foe ; and it is memorable that the chieftain 
who rescued that city t>om sack and siege, was the same, who at a later date 
by his stern and patriotic rebuke, dispersed the ranks of disunionists in the 
borders ot South Carolina. 

Can it be for a moment supposed that the people of the Valley of the 
Mississippi, will ever consent that the great river shall flow for hundreds of 
miles through a foreign jurisdiction, and they be compelled — if not to fight 
their way in the face of the forts frowning upon its banks — to submit to the 
imposition, annoyance of arbitrary taxes and exorbitant duties to be levied 
upon their commerce? 1 believe that before that day shall come, either shore 
of the " Father of Waters" will be a continuous sepulchre of the slain, and 
witli all its cities in ruins, and the cultivated fields upon its sloping sides laid 
waste, it shall roll its foaming tide in solitary grandeur, as at the dawn of 
creation, i know I speak for Illinois, and I believe for the Northwest, when 
I declare them as a unit in the unalterable determination of their millions 
occupying the great basin drained by the Mississippi, to permit no portion of 
that stream to be controlled by a foreign jurisdiction. 

I believe and trust it is to be the mission of those to whom the people have 
lately committed, for a period, the interests of this nation, to administer 
public affairs upon the theory of the perpetuity of the constitution and 


No matter how vociferously South Carolina may declare that the Union is 
dissolved, and that she and other States are out of the Confederacy, no 
recognition whatever is due to her self-assumed independence in this regard. 
It took seven years to establish our independence. The precious boon pur- 
chased by patriot blood and treasure was committed to us for enjoyment, and 
to be transmitted to our posterity, with the most solemn injunctions that 
man has the power to lay on man. By the grace of God we will be faithful 
to the trust. For seven years yet to come, at least, will we struggle to 

- 20 - 

maintain a perfect Union— a government of one people, in one nation, under 
one Constitution. 

It is, perhaps, impossible to tell what may be the exact result of this South 
Carolina nullification, but do what she will, conspire with many or few, I am 
confident that this Union of our fathers — a Union of intelligence, of freedom, 
of justice, of industry, of religion, of science and art, will, in the end, be 
stronger and rich°r and more glorious, renowned and free, than it has ever 
been heretofore, by the necessary reaction of the crisis through which we are 

In proclaiming these fundamental doctrines of constitutional 
government, Gov. Yates demonstrated to the world that he 
comprehended three great underlying truths of vital concern 
to the people of this country and the government under which 
they live. 

First, that this is a nation, and not a league of states associ- 
ated by common consent, with the right of withdrawing from 
the compact at will. 

The doctrine of Secession is the political infidelity of the 
world. It resists all supreme authority, denies the existence of 
an overruling law, and leaves petty communities at the mercy 
of all political isms, and provides no restraint against treason. 
All along the highway of time the governments of the world 
have been prematurely destroyed by the same doctrine of 
Secession which has threatened the destruction of this Eepub- 
lic. The city states of the middle ages were founded and 
destroyed by this same South Carolina heresy, and as long as it 
has an advocate and a friend in this country it will menace the 
permanency of this Union. 

We are one people, made so by the war for national independ- 
ence and the war for the Union; aud it is a monstrous blunder, 
a gigantic heresy, to teach that secession is liberty, and that con- 
stitutional law is centralization. If any man entertains the her- 
esy of secession, let me tell him that there is no liberty but the 
liberty of law, and there is no government but the government 
of law. License is not liberty. It is the rule of action for the mob 
and the savage. Territory'purchased by the people of the United 
States and clothed with a State government aud admitted into 
the Union, cannot, in the very nature of thiugs, become greater 
than the Union, and, therefore, must be subject to the rule of 
the Constitution. In no way does the new State retain the law- 
ful right in itself to withdraw from the Union at will ; hence the 

-21 - 

absurdity of a State assuming authority in violation of the Con- 

Our emblems of government point to the sovereignty of the 
Constitution over all the States. The flag is a national emblem. 
The great seal of the government is a national emblem. So, too, 
is the stamp upon the money of the government. 

If we turn to behold the benefits growing out of the influence 
of sovereign political convictions, on the one hand, and the con- 
victions of secession, on the other hand, how sad is the contrast ! 
On one side we see the national expression in favor of a general 
system of education, of loyalty, population, wealth and power. 
On the other side, where the doctrine of secession prevails, we 
And education and enterprise languishing, and the children of 
great States that ought to be prosperous and powerful, growing 
up without culture and without hope. 

A second fundamental truth comprehended and enunciated by 
Gov. Yates in his inaugural message is, that the Mississippi val- 
ley must forever remain the political home of one people, of one 
nation ; and that as long as the mighty Mississippi river extends 
through this valley, from zone to zone and from climate to cli- 
mate, but one people will drink of its waters from north to south. 
That river, in itself, is a stronger bond of political union than 
the Constitution, and with a grasp of mind like that of Scott and 
Benton, Gov. Yates boldly announced this great fundamental 

This grand valley is to be the perpetual home of industry, of 
wealth and political power. Here will be enacted the great con- 
tests in labor and civilization, in law and social order, for here 
will grow the dense masses of population who will be compelled 
to engage in the industrial pursuits. On the slopes of the con- 
tinent will grow a less dense population, with a higher civiliza- 
tion and a superior aesthetic life. 

Perhaps in no way did the American people present a stronger 
expression of the value of hardy manhood during the civil 
war than that marked demonstration of power in the valley of 
the Mississippi. When the struggle commenced, Gen. Scott 
commanded the army ; Gen. Dix, of New York, commanded that 
department ; Gen. Butler, of Massachusetts, commanded in Bal- 
timore; Gen. MoClellan, of New York, commanded the depart- 
ment of Ohio, and Gen. Lyon, of Connecticut, the department of 
Missouri — all Eastern men. When the war closed, Gen. Grant, 


of Illinois, was at tbe head of the Army ; General Sherman, of 
Missouri, had brought his Western army into North Carolina ; 
General Thomas, of Ohio, had command in Tennessee, and 
General Sheridan, of Ohio, was Grant's favorite subordinate in 
the army before Richmond — all Western men. 

A third fundamental truth enunciated by Gov. Yates in his 
inaugural message, was, that the great struggle which was then 
impending would redeem the nation from the blight of slavery, 
and make her stronger, richer and more glorious by the 
necessary reaction of the crisis through which she was des- 
tined to pass. 

Already we have unlimited evidence of the truth of this 
conception, and this truth is confirmed by the boundless confi- 
dence which the people have in the future. In the language of 
Horace Greeley, " When fire opened upon Fort Sumter, notice 
was given to the world that the era of diplomacy and com- 
promise had ended." The long- threatened contest between the 
North and South had at last come, and the appeal was made, 
through the forms of law to the loyal people of the country 
to rally in the defense of the Constitution and the Union. At 
tbe call of tbe Washington Government hundreds of thousands 
rushed to the rescue of the national life, and to the subordina- 
tion of the slave States to the will of the Uniou. At this criti- 
cal period, when no man could tell to what magnitude the 
rebellion would grow, or to what end it would lead, Gov. Yates 
was found equal to the task entrusted to him by the people of 
Illinois. He rose in full official power and personal grandeur 
to a full comprehension of the great crisis, and demonstrated 
his equal ability to discharge his whole duty, as executive of 
the great State of Illinois. His devotiou to free government, 
his aspirations for national greatness, and his undying devotion 
to the Union of these States, contributed to make him the 
most fit man of all the political leaders in Illinois, for chief 
executive, at the time of the great crisis of the rebellion. He 
entered upon the discharge of his official duties at a time when 
to be conservative was to be wrong, when to be right was to be 
revolutionary. He sent forth, to make battle against the 
enemy, a loyal army more powerful than was ever led by Ses- 
ostris, Alexander, Cresar or Charlemagne. The loyal men of 
Illinois went not to fight for Pagan or Imperial conquests; they 
went to compel insurgents to stand by the contract entered 

into for the establishment of the Government of the United 
States, by " we, the people." The sequel proved the contract 
to be valid, and its binding force unalterable by any part of 
the contractors. 

Gov. Yates grew with the contest in all its gigantic propor- 
tions and its tierce conflicts, uutil he became the personal em- 
bodiment of the great State of Illinois. Emerson tells us that 
Plato is philosophy and philosophy is Plato. In the magni- 
tude of his great and beneficent personality, and in the fullness 
of official power as Governor, Yates was Illinois and Illinois 
was Yates. He was earnest, decisive, courageous and persis- 
tent in his efforts to put down the rebellion, and withal, he was 
gifted and guided in his efforts by a superabundance of practi- 
cal wisdom. Stupendous preparations for war were hastily 
executed on either side, and public men, and those in the pri- 
vate walks of life, were rapidly taking sides in the contest. In 
this crisis of the nation's life, Douglas lost no time in announc- 
ing to the country on which side he stood; and after thorough 
consultations in Washington with President Lincoln and other 
leaders, he v returned to the Capital of Illinois to exert his iuflu- 
ence on the side of his country, and one of the last of his 
admonitions to his old political friends, was, that "no man can 
be a true Democrat unless he is a loyal patriot." After calling 
upon his people to stand by the Constitution and the Union, 
Douglas went home and laid down to die. 

"So the struck eagle stretched upon the plaiu. 
No more through rolling clouds to soar again, 
Viewed his own feather on the fatal dart, 
And winged the shaft that quivered in his heart." 

In the death of Douglas the nation lost one of its greatest 
and most patriotic men. It is, however, a general law of revo- 
lutions, that those who bring them on rarely survive them. But 
there is, iu the providence of God, a law of compensation that 
works a boon to the just and destruction to the vicious. And 
in the administration of this compensating law, which works 
alike to individuals and to nations, the death of Douglas was 
compensated by the gift of Grant to the nation. And in the 
providence of God, Gov. Yates was made the commissioner by 
whose hands this compensating law was administered, and 
Grant, meek and humble, like Jeptha of old, was commissioned 
to lead strong men to battle, and soon he proved to be the bold- 


est captaiu in Israel. He moved forward to make battle against 
the enemies of his country, and no man could do it so well. He 
smote the enemy hip and thigh. His career was onward and 
upward, and as the crowning work he led the armies of the 
Eepublic to the achievement of the mightiest victory ever won 
by a military chieftain in the tide of time. In all his services he 
was the same stern, invincible and original self. He went amid 
dauger and danger tied from his presence. He escaped the 
assassin's knife when other illustrious men were assaulted and 
slain. And when the duties of the camp and the cabinet were 
all discharged, and the Eepublic redeemed and fixed in history, 
this silent man, this great captain of our age, unfettered from 
duty, went forth to make the circuit of nations. He was hailed 
and honored by the titled dignitaries and the great of all lauds. 
He carried the honor of the young Eepublic amid the ruins of 
mighty empires and where kings laid down in state. He wrap- 
ped the glory of the Eepublic around the globe and added new 
honors to the national life and character, and called the people 
of all lands to speak the praise of this great republican nation 
of the world; and this man was the gift of Governor Yates to 
the nation. Wonderful gift! transcendant man! the world's 
greatest captain of our age is Ulysses S. Grant. 

In the prosecution of the war for the Union, Gov. Yates was 
in constant requisition, and was almost unceasing in the dis- 
charge of his duties. Everywhere that duty called him he 
hasteued. He was earnest and impatient in urging, by tongue 
or pen, not only his own people, but Uiose of the whole country, 
to greater deeds of valor and to the achievement of greater 
victories and more shiuiug honors, and there was no man who 
surpassed him in earnest and patriotic calls to the people. So 
well did he discharge his personal and official duties that his 
name and fame became so deeply rooted in the hearts of the 
people that his services were solicited in every section of the 
loyal North, from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean. When the 
duties of the executive office were discharged he repaired to 
the camp, and from the camp to the hospital, and from the hos- 
pital to the political council, and from the political council to 
the battle field; and thus continued in one constant succession 
of duties, iu which he enlisted his whole soul, mind and strength. 
His labors were made greater because his great, warm and pat- 
riotic heart was enlisted in the cause of his country and iu the 

welfare of the soldiers whom he had urged to peril their lives 
on the battle field. Every official paper issued by Yates, every 
letter he wrote and every speech he made contained an earnest 
plea for the Union, and as chief executive of the great State of 
Illinois Gov. Yates soon became the central figure around which 
the loyal people of the great Northwest rallied in defense of the 
Union, and thus made strong and great as the chosen leader, 
the chief executive of this mighty people, his influence in de- 
fense of the Union grew to be invincible and he was called to 
labor in every part of the loyal North, from sea to sea. 

The unfortunate reverses which followed the Union army in 
1862, stimulated those in the North who were opposed to the 
war to greater efforts of opposition to the cause of the Union, 
and in the hour of greatest peril to the supremacy of the Con- 
stitution, the leaders of those in sympathy with secession in- 
augurated a movement to re-construct the Union and leave New 
England out. In his message to the General Assembl} 7 of Illi- 
nois, January 5th, 1863, Gov. Yates boldly met this new propo- 
sition as another treasonable invasion of the Union of these 
States. Said he "'I shall always glory in the fact that I belong \ 
to a Kepublicin the galaxy of whose stars New England is among 
the brightest and the best. Palsied be the hand that would 
sever the ties which bind the East and the West." 

Patriotic and loyal alike to every part of the Union, Gov. 
Yates confronted and braved all opposition to the rule of the 
Constitution. And well may a defense of New England be re- 
corded as one of the greatest contributions to American patri- 
otism. For to turn against that region of our common country, 
would be to blow out the great intellectual and moral lights of 
the nation aud to shut the door of progress against mankind. 
New England gave us the spelling book and the dictionary, the 
common school system, and inventions in art. No, no ! New 
England is ours ! The continent is ours. It is all ours from 
the rising to the setting sun, and from the polar snows to the 
warm Gulf that bounds the South and — 

" A million hearts shall be riven 
Before one golden link is lost." 

In all the affairs of life he was the same warm-hearted and 
magnanimous man, and from his great sympathetic nature the 
love and aspirations of his soul went out to his countrymen, as 


virtue went out from that pure, desponding, but celestial man 
of Nazareth to the wan woman, weak and sick. And with an 
unbroken record of life, he may well have said with Sir Robert 
Peel : " It may be that I shall leave a name sometimes to be 
remembered with expressions of good will in the abodes of those 
whose lot it is to earn their daily bread by the sweat of their 
brows, when they shall recruit their exhausted strength with 
abundant and untaxed food, the sweeter because it is not leav- 
ened by a sense of injustice." 

Perhaps the boldest official act of Governor Yates was the 
prorogation of the Illinois Legislature. The war had been In 
progress nearly two years. The strength and energy of the 
loyal people of the nation were brought into requisition by the 
Washington Government, and still the succession of death and 
disaster which folio wed the armies of the Union, spread gloom 
and doubt over the country. Seeing this terrible condition of 
things, Abraham Lincoln said, that without the help of the 
Negro the Union must perish. The Emancipation Proclamation 
was issued January 1st, 1863. This national edict, this new law 
from the nation's Sinai, intensified the contest, and made des- 
peration the rule of action for the Confederates. At this time 
the Legislature of Illinois was in the hands of the Democratic 
party, and the bitter partisan strife engendered by the war was 
intensifying political differences between the Democrats and 
Republicans. The Legislature met January 5th, 1863 ; and en- 
couraged by the proclamation of emancipation, Governor Yates 
declared in his annual message, with unusual vigor of speech, 
his unalterable devotion to the Union and renewed confidence 
in the success of the armies of the Government. But the dom- 
inant party in the Legislature was already well grounded in 
other views on national affairs than those of Governor Yates, 
and the session was regarded more as an impediment to the 
cause of the Union than a support to the loyal soldiers of the 
State. Thus actuated and thus acting, the Legislature of Illi- 
nois became notorious all over the country, and after having 
extended the session into June, and the two houses failing to 
agree on a resolution to adjourn, Governor Yates seized his 
right under the Constitution, and disolved the Legislature by a 
message of prorogation. Anticipating a disagreement of the 
Legislature on the subject of adjourning, the Governor pre- 
pared his message, and prompt to the time of disagreement, he 

with his private secretary entered the Representatives' Hall. 
The Governor took his place, and, with an earnest air of author- 
ity, awaited the reading- of the message. His private secretary 
stepped to the Speaker's desk, and promptly announced "a 
message from the Governor." Anticipating a legal thunder- 
bolt from the Executive, an effort was made to suppress and shut 
off the reading of the message, but to no avail ; an opportunity 
so important to the cause of the Union was not to be lost by 
the loyal Governor of Illinois, who stood so high and so near 
the life of the nation, and in whose charge so great a trust had 
been committed by the people of this great State. 
The message reads as follows : 

To the General Assembly of the State of Illinois: 

Whereas, On the Sth day of June, A. D., 1863, the Senate adopted a joint 
resolution to adjourn, sine die on said day at 7 o'clock p. m., which resolution, 
>ipon being submitted, on the same day, to the House of Representatives, was 
by them amended, by substituting the 22d day of June, and the hour of 12 
o'clock, in which amendment, the Senate thereupon refused to concur; and, 
whereas, the Constitution of this State contains the following provision 

Sec. 13, Art. 4. In case of a disagrement between the two Houses, with 
respect to the time of adjournment, the Governor shall have power to adjourn 
the General Assembly to such a time as he thinks proper, provided it be not 
to a period beyond the next constitutional meeting of the same.' 

And, Whereas, I fully believe that the interests of the people of the State 
will be best subserved by ft speedy adjournment, the past history of the 
Assembly holding out no reasonable hope of beneficial results to the citizens 
of the State, or the army in the field, from its further continuance ; 

Now, therefore, in consideration of the existing disagreement between the 
two Houses, with respect to the time of adjournment, and by virtue of the 
power vested in me by the Constitution, as aforesaid, I, Richard Yates, Gov- 
ernor of the State of Illinois, do hereby adjourn the General Assembly, now 
in session, to the Saturday next preceding the first Monday in January, 
A. D., 1865. 

Given at Springfield, this the 10th day of June, A. D. 1S63. 

(Signed,) Richard Yatf.s, Governor. 

While the message was being read in the House, it was also 
being read in the Senate, and with the quick and daring skill of 
a determined surgeon, the work was soon done, and the Legis- 
lature adjourned. This act of Governor Yates was heralded 
over the nation with lightning speed, and every heart was thrilled 
and strengthened with renewed patriotism. 

Yates was justly called the War Governor of Illinois, but 
equally truly was he the war statesman of Illinois; and whether 


in proroguing a disloyal Legislature or moving the President 
to more vehement measures of war, he was never deemed rash, 
and was never accounted unwise. He was always self-poised 
and always correct and watchful' in the execution of his labors. 

Anthropologically considered, Richard Yates was of nervous- 
sanguine temperament; his organic quality was first rate, but 
too heavily laden with unfavorable conditions of consanguinity. 
He was of symmetrical form and superior mold of structure. 
His head measured 23 T V inches, which size, combined with 
the temperament and organic quality, was amply large to gov- 
ern a nation. The coronal region of his brain was largely 
developed, which, united with a warm, active temperament, 
added to him large powers of inspiration and moral greatness. 

At the close of his gubernatorial term Richard Yates was 
elected to the United States Senate as the successor of Doug- 
las. When he entered the Senate he was given the chairman- 
ship of the Committee on Territories. 

He had already made himself illustrious while Governor, but 
as as Senator of the United States he found a great field for 
the display of his abilities and for the illustration of the 
soundness of his political views. The sharp contests between 
rivals of distinguished ability and culture afford greater oppor- 
tunities for the exhibition and development of principles and 
powers in men than is afforded in the gubernatorial office. 

The functions of the executive being chiefly administration, it 
is only under extraordinary circumstances that the executive 
of the State or nation is afforded an opportunity to demon- 
strate superior statesmanship in the discharge of his official 
duties. On the other hand the Senate afford sample opportunity 
for most gifted and comprehensive statesmanship, and espe- 
cially at the time of revolution in the affairs of government 
and civilization. 

And the Senate proved to be no field of labor in which Mr. 
Yates shrank from duty, or in which he did not readily enter 
himself as a ready and able debater. The issue of arms made 
between contesting powers is always plain and direct, and is 
settled by the contest in battle. The issues in legislation are 
quite different, and far more difficult to settle. The reconstruc- 
tion measures, together with contentions with a President not 
in harmony with the dominant party, made the labors of the 
United States Senate quite difficult to dispose of. But on all 

- 29- 

the great questions touching the fundamental principles of our 
government Senator Yates proved himself to be equal to any 
occasion, and even to lead in debate. His speeches on nation- 
al sovereignty and State rights; on the homestead question, on 
the subject of equality of human rights before the law, and on 
building n railway to the Pacific, as well as other leading ques- 
tions of the day, all demonstrated him to be a man of wide 
grasp and superior abilities. 

If any man hesitates to accord to Richard Yates superior 
abilities and transcendant eloquence, let me refer such an one 
to his speech in favor of the conviction of President Johnson. 
In that speech I will point to eloquence equal to that of Burke 
in the impeachment of Warren Hastings. I will point to plead- 
ing equal to that of William Wirt. 

I appeal to a single passage in his senatorial address : 

I would do justice and justice requires conviction ; justice to the people 
whom he has so cruelly wronged. 1 would be merciful, merciful to the mil- 
lions whose rights he treacherously asssails by his contempt for law. I 
would have peace ; therefore I vote to remove from office this most pestilent 
disturber of public peace. I would have prosperity among the people, and 
confidence restored to capital ; therefore I vote to punish him whose turbul- 
ance makes capital timid and paralyzes our national industries. I would have 
economy in the administration of public affairs ; therefore I vote to depose 
the promoter and cause of unheard-of official extravagance. I would have 
honesty in the collection of the public revenues; therefore I vote to remove 
this patron of the corruptionists. I would have my Government respected 
abroad ; therefore I vote to punish him who subjects us to dishonor by treat 
ing law with contempt. 1 would inspire respect for law in the youth of the 
land ; I therefore impose its penalties upon the most exalted criminal. I 
would secure and perpetuate liberty, and [ therefore vote to purge the citadel 
of liberty of him who, through murder succeeded to the chief command and 
seeks to betray us to the enemy. 

I fervently pray that this nation may avoid a repetition of that history, of 
which apostates and usurpers have desolated nations and enslaved mankind. 
Let our announcement this day to the President, and all future Presidents 
and all conspirators against the liberties of this country, be what is already 
the edict ot our land, '• You shall not tear this temple of liberty down." Let 
our warning go down the ages, that every usurper and bold violator of law 
who thrusts himself in the path of this Republic to honor and renown, who- 
ever he mt?y be, however high his title or proud his name, that, Arnold-like, 
he shall be gibbetted upon every hill-top throughout the land as a monument 
of his crime and punishment, and of the shame and grief of his country. 

We are not alone in this cause. Out on the Pacidc shore a deep murmur" is 
heard from thousands of patriot voices; it swells over the western plain, 
peopled by millions more; with every increasing volume it advances; on by 
the lakes, and through the busy marts of the great north, and re-echoed by 


other millions on the Atlantic strand, it thunders upon us a mighty nation's 
verdict, guilty. While from out of the smoke and gloom of this desolated 
South, from the rice fields, and along the great rivers, from hundreds of 
thousands of persecuted and basely betrayed Unionists, comes also the sol- 
emn judgment, guilty. 

In review, in a single word, the life of Eicliard Yates ; he was 
a child of the wilderness. He was gifted with a bright and 
shining genius. From boyhood to ripe manhood his career was 
constantly upward, in the affairs of state and nation. He was 
a lofty patriot, a hero and benefactor of his age, and his whole 
life crowned him as a transcendaut true man, and as such will 
he be fixed in history. He was brave aud demonstrative in the 
expression of his own views upon all questions of public con- 
cern, and with a marked individuality he proclaimed his own 
convictions, aud determined for himself what path of duty he 
would walk. So decided was he in his own convictions and his 
own superior selfhood, that when charged in the Senate of fol- 
lowing the leadership of Charles Sumner he promptly replied: 

"It has been said sarcastically that, upon this question, the Senator from 
Massachusetts is radical. It is said to me that I follow in the wake of the 
Senator from Massachusetts. Sir, I do not follow in any man's wake; but I 
do not object to this accusation. I do not deem it a reproach to be a disciple 
of that distinguished Senator, the worthy representative of that grand old 
Commonwealth " where American liberty raised its first voice." For a quar- 
ter of a century that Senator has been the fearless champion of human rights, 
lie has occupied the advance guard, the outpost in the army of progress. 
Triumphant over calumny and unawed by personal violence, with a keen, 
prophetic eye upon the great result to be attained, with the seimeter of truth 
and justice in his hand, and the banner of the Union over his head, he has 
pressed onward to the goal of linal victory. Although yet in the vigor of his 
manhood he has lived to ,-~ee the small band of pioneers who stood by him 
swollen to mighty millions. His views have already been embraced and lauded 
as the wisest statesmanship. They have been written upon the very frontis- 
picce of the age in which he lives; written in the history of the mighty events 
which are transpiring around us ; written in the constitutions and the laws, 
both national and .State, of his country. Where he stood yesterday other 
statesmen stand to-day. Where he stands in 1868 other statesmen will stand 
in \S7'2. Say what we may, there are none in this country who can contest 
the right ol his tall plume to wave at the head of freedom's all-conquering 

Like many other gifted men of our race, he sometimes wandered 
from the shining path of righteousness, but, as Castelar says of 
Byron, he was the echo of an uncertain age. His mind was 
sometimes crossed with sunbeams and shadows, but his life was 


great and the history of his labors will forever remain a glitter- 
ing jewel in the aureole of Illinois. And say what you may — 

"In men whom men condemn as ill 
I find so much of goodness still ; 
In men whom men pronounce divine 
I find so much of sin and blot, 
I hesitate to draw the line 
Between the two, where God has not." 

The accumulated penalty of a violated law of consanguinity 
for three generations were transmitted to him. He entered 
into the conflicts of public life with men, "fierce aud vengeful," 
in struggles of ambition for the ascendancy, aud everywhere he 
was a chosen leader of his people, in proclaiming new political 
principles and promoting party ascendancy. No man in Illinois 
was loved so well by his people, and no man loved his people so 
well as did Richard Yates. He was the embodiment of political 
progress, and an able exponent of the divine rights of man. I 
knew him well. I knew his inner life, aud there were far greater 
depths of thought in his soul than belong to the popular and 
successful politician. But our arbitrary society and civilization 
hedged him about, and weary to give utterance to the riper and 
greater thoughts of his mind, he felt disappointed in the great 
contest and official triumphs in life. 

When I behold the innate greatness of this man's soul, and 
the struggle of his unsatisfied ambition to leap the narrow 
boundaries of his own intellectual Eden, to pluck and eat new 
fruit from the tree of knowledge of good and evil, whereby to 
enter upon higher missions of life and thought and to achieve 
higher intellectual conquests— I rejoice in his transcendent 
majesty of mind. The higher thoughts of our race are gleams 
of intellectual light Hashing from the far-off millennium upon 
the loftiest intellects of our way-wandering age. The flash not 
rarely is disastrous to the favored mind. While it illuminates, 
so it sometimes consumes. Such was the mournful fate of 
Kirk White, of Keats, of Pollock. Such was the fate of Yates— 
of whom we may say: 

" 'T was thine own genius gave the fatal blow, 
And helped to plant the dart that laid thee low." 

Although a political reformer, Richard Yates was highly 
endowed with a wise conservatism, which gives revolutionary 
thought the semblance of moderation. He was keenly sensible 


of the influence of new political thought on the public mind, and 
in entering upon a great contest he fully comprehended the 
obstacles of ignorance, prejudice and institutionalism to be 

In public life, no man was more free from mistakes than 
Richard Yates. So well and wisely were all his acts and move- 
ments directed in party politics and in the discharge of official 
duties, that it almost seemed as though he could not commit a 
blunder against his party and against the public interest. And 
no man throughout this vast country was ever more endeared 
to his people than was Kichard Yates. Gen. Jackson had ar- 
dent admirers and bitter enemies ;, Henry Clay was idolized by 
political friends and personal admirers ; strong attachments 
existed between William H. Seward and his constituents; and 
in like manner was Senator Douglas endeared to his friends. 
But there never existed that warm, pliant, filial love between 
either of these eminent men and the people such as existed 
between Yates and the people of Illinois. He was the adored 
and loving patriot of this Commonwealth, He was the em- 
bodiment of high, manly qualities with an individuality en- 
dowed of divine gifts. He possessed the heroism of the war- 
rior, and the delicately attuned nature of the babe Christabel. 

The following beautiful tribute t to the American Volunteer, 
fully attests his refined sensibilities : 

The name or title of the " American Volunteer " is illustrious with all that 
is good, and noble, and great. Around that simple name clusters all that is 
glorious in devotion to country, all that is precious or dear in liberty, all 
that is grand in lofty prowess, and all that is sublime in brilliant achieve- 
ments. No hero of antiquity, no soldier in modern warfare, ever scaled such 
a shining summit of human fame as the " American Volunteer." He made 
the name of the Republic a triumph and a joy at home and in foreign lands. 
He fought against secession, slavery, and barbarism for a higher civilization, 
for progress, the Union of the States, for the life of the nation, and to estab- 
lish upon solid and enduring loundations the equal rights, liberty, and happi- 
ness of all the children of God. He placed the capstone upon the temple ot 
liberty, which our fathers had built, and consecrated it to the freedom and 
enfranchisement of all men, without regard to caste. The " American Vol- 
unteer," though he may now sleep in the lowly tenements of clay, speaks 
through history way down the coming centuries, and says to all succeeding 
generations as the nation grows in power and grandeur with her institutions, 
the noblest and freest, her civilization the highest and the purest, and her 
flag, the most honored of the world, '-This nation, these institutions, this 
civilization, and that flag are mine, for 1 fought and died to secure them to 
me and you, and your and my posterity forever." 

- 33 - 

What pen could portray the disaster, the ruin, and the death which would 
have covered this land, if our enemies had consummated the traitor schemes 
of discord and disunion ? The answer to this question shows, in some 
measure, the immense debt of gratitude we owe the 300,000 brave and gallant 
spirits, who sealed their devotion to liberty and to the nation with their 
precious blood. 

Oh! what a sacrifice was there, my countrymen, on the altar of patriotic 
duty. Three hundred thousand bloody shrouds pass in long ghastly proces- 
sion before us. There rises up before us 500 battle fields strewn with the 
dead, the wounded, and the dying, and a million of " bosoms bared to what- 
ever of terror there may be in war and death." All these we have seen, but 
thanks be to our dead and living soldiers, all now is peace, and we shall see 
them no more. And here was also the sacrifice, not only of life, but of affec- 
tion. The father willingly gave up his son to his country's service, though he 
knew he might return lame, maimed or wounded— without a leg or an arm — 
or never returning, s'eep the sleep of death, in an unknown grave, in a far 
off land. The widowed mother, in many thousands of instances, gave up all 
her sons, or her only son ; the farmer and mechanic sent their sons forth, and 
vacant places have been made at the hearthstone of almost every Northern 
loyal household, that the life of the Republic might be saved. It was the 
sacrifice of affection, for if there is one tie stronger than another, it is the 
tie that binds the devoted wife to the husband— how strong the tie "in the 
hidden soul of sympathy," which binds the father to his boy, and who can 
fathom the ocean depth of a mother's love ? 

Go to that little cabin by the brook, or on the hillside, and see the fond 
wife or fond mother, standing in the doorway, and, with blinding tears, bid- 
ding adieu to all she has or loves on earth. We see the husband or son on 
their winding way — 

" Upon the hill they turn to take 
A last fond look 
Of the valley and the village church, 
And the cottage by the brook." 

Alas! when that wife and mother stood in the doorway watching the 
return of the army, how her cheek turned pale. Alas! the face of that 
bright-eyed boy lies pale in death, and that husband never more shall return. 

" Alas! nor wife, nor children more shall he behold, 
Nor friends, nor sacred home." 

Far off on the banks of Southern rivers, on many a hillside, or in valleys 
low, in many a sequestered nook, in narrow little tenements, repose the 
bones of our noble dead No kind wife, mother or sister there to console the 
spirit as it passed the boundary stream of life ; no friendly hand to strew 
flowers on his grave. 

" He sleeps his last sleep; he has fought his last battle, 
No sound shall awake him to glory again. " 

But he died for his country. He has gone but a little while before us; we 
may not till as honorable graves. 



His name shall never be forgot 
While fame her record keeps, 
And Glory points the hallowed spot 
Where Valor proudly sleeps." 

In his nobler manhood he walked the royal way of life ; he 
taught his fellows higher principles of political society and 
more royal lessons of patriotism. He was true to the living, 
and in his death, let it be the ambition and the duty of the 
living to be true to him. Let the people of Illinois not forget 
him who stood at the helm of State four long, weary and 
eventful years, watching and pleading for the life of the 
Republic. His name was a tower of strength in that awful 
time of the nation's greatest tragedy and transition. His 
name strengthened the weak and gave greater confidence to 
the strong. At his pleadings mighty armies were encouraged 
to do battle. At the cry of the widow and the wounded 
soldier, his ear caught the sound, and the State of Illinois re- 
sponded to the supplicant. He was a gifted patriot, a grand 
man, and a great benefactor. Let not the people of Illinois 
forget this man who gave the measure of his life to the cause 
of his State and his country. Then, let me implore you, people 
of Illinois to not forget the shining deeds of your dead states- 

" Then build for him the marble shrine, 

Pure as his patriot soul is shriven ; 
On it let treasures be bestowed 

Freely as was his life-work given ; 
That in the better coming time 

Our country, joined by bands fraternal, 
May not forget his deeds sublime, 

But keep them ever fresh and vernal." 

All the great periods, epochs, and events in the world's his- 
tory, are inscribed with great endeavor to advance the intellec- 
tual and moral progress of mankind, and the boldest in thought, 
of the men and women of our race have learned with Castelar, 
that inspired Spaniard, that " Life is full of complications, and 
for the same reason, of insuperable difficulties. And as there 
are great contrasts in nature, there are also in society opposing 
forces. By the side of the prophet who announces the future, 
arises the magistrate who believes his mission to be the con- 
servation of the present system, and who as a result of this 
conviction, persecutes the prophet. In the vicinity of every 

new thinker, there exists an association which believes itself 
infallible. Beside each reformer is placed the eternal cup of 
hemlock. We can not aspire to be blessed by posterity, with- 
out being cursed by our cotemporaries/' 

The pressure and power of old institutions has often caused 
many a good genius to fail and fall by the wayside of life, who 
otherwise would have been a benefactor of mankind. 

The greatest impediment to human progress existing in our 
age, is the dogma of infallibility ; and in saying this, I do not 
refer wholly to the infallibility of the Eomish Pontiff, for that 
is of little concern to the enlightened, intellectual mass of man- 
kind, but I refer in a broader sense to the doctrine of the 
eternal finality of creeds and institutions ; to that high wall, 
that fortress of incrusted institutionalism, that barricades all 
our centers of learning against the dawning intellectual and 
religious light of coming ages. 

Intellectual and moral institutions established for the dissemi- 
nation of knowledge among men, without the function of 
inspiration to light the way of the human mind to other and 
unknown fields of knowledge, are organized intellectual and 
moral despotisms. In such institutions is enthrowned intel- 
lectual and moral power, and that power shuts the door against 
the onward progress of the human soul. 

We build our highest and most sacred monuments to genius 
and religion, on the hopes of the future, but we shut the 
windows of our souls against the prophecies of the intellectual 
light of the future. No wonder our age is not better. We have 
built our cities of civilization on the ruins of the villages of 
the aborigines, and our institutions of learning are, to a great 
extent, founded on the thoughts of Pagan institutions. Our 
civilization is founded upon individualism — a system of society 
that requires locks on the doors of the houses in which we live, 
and a strong police force, to make honesty the best policy. In- 
dividualism is an incidental condition in the social order, and 
not an enduring form of society. It is the doctrine of the big 
fish eating up the little fish ; a system admirably adapted to the 
present progressive condition of the human mind, and of the 
civil rights of the people. In olden times, the rulers of the 
people absorbed the earnings and happiness of their subjects. 
The order is now changed, and the rulers and teachers have 
constructed a system of society and government that allows 

— 30 — 

the strong and the crafty to absorb the earnings and happiness 
of the people. Such a system of society builds palaces for 
idiots, and in which they are fed on the fat of the land, while 
philosophers and reformers are left to starve in hovels and 
garrets, while the teachers of religion and science devote most 
of their spare time to the reading of novels. And this condi- 
tion of society exists under the Christian dispensation and 
under the reign of the higher law. And if men " do these things 
in the green tree what shall be dons in the dry? " 

We have had amendments to the Constitution designed to 
perfect our political society. I am in favor of an amendment 
to the Declaration of Independence, and also to the Golden 
Rule, to point the way to perfecting our social order, and pro- 
moting human happiness. Let us henceforth learn that we 
hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are entitled to 
happiness in political society. Aye, more than this, let us 
henceforth teach whatsoever the citizen owes to society, that, 
also, does society owe unto the citizen. Let us strike for these 
high achievements in social and political society and hence- 
forth the fruits of our revolutions of arms and ideas will be far 
more perfect, and human happiness become far more general 
to the human race, to the end that a righteous proletarianism 
will so unite the individual life with the public life, as to unfold 
a law of universal attraction, for the government and guidance 
of the great whole. 

" Then peace on earth w ill hold her easy sway, 
And man forget hi* brother man to slay. 
And milder arts will martini arts succeed, 
And both will march to gain the immortal meed." 

There is a deeper lesson to be learned from the great con- 
flict of the Civil War than the victories of mighty armies can 
teach, than the defeat of brave men can suggest. It is the 
lesson that grows out of our humanity and with the voice of 
inspiration speaking back from more golden ages of the future, 
and testified to by the risen patriots from their immortal homes 
above, that we are entering an elevated plane of intellectual 
and moral life, which will bind our common humanity together 
in one fraternity, until peace and righteousness will so pervade 
the whole that there will be no Lost Causes, no fallen foes, no 
boasted victories over kindred slain, to mar the divine adminis- 

tration of universal law alike to each member of our great 
national family. 

Like Daniel Manin, Richard Yates died away from home. 
But, as iu the fulness of time the remains of Manin were taken 
from the world's city of civilization, with an escort composed 
of the gifted of the press, and transferred through the defiles 
of the Alps, and through rich and gorgeous lands and national- 
ities, to be restored to mother earth, in the bosom of his home, 
amid the courtly grandeur of the fair metropolis of the Adri- 
atic, so was the dead statesman of Illinois returned to his 
final resting-place, in the bosom of his long-loved home. With 
solemn obsequies, and the benedictions of friends and patriots, 
he was transferred, with full rank and title, to the grand army 
of the heroic dead. And thus another name of those 
" Gone up from every land to people heaven." 

was added; another star was placed in the pantheon of the 
world's political progress ; and as I turn to behold the name 
of Richard Yates fixed in history as one of the evangels of 
human liberty, whose principles have been enacted into the 
statutes of the nation, and whose deeds have added lustre to 
its fame, I catch the inspiration of his great soul flashing down 
from the eternal world. Looking down through the genera- 
tions which are to follow. I see the political principles in defense 
of which he gave the full measure of his services, rooted in the 
national life, growing and fruiting in the hearts of the people, 
until the divine idea is consummated in this new world by the 
supremacy of the American Constitution over the entire conti- 
nent ; and I see the stars above vieing with the stars below, 
to establish for the future millions of this people one home, 
one language, one law, and one faith — to the end that it may 
be one and supreme among nations in grandeur and in right- 

LBAp '05