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I, January, 1896. 
Accession No .{) / (0 xL {? Class No . 










The following sketch of the life and public services of 
Hon. OLIVER P. MORTON has been prepared in pursuance of 
the following resolution which was unanimously adopted at the 
Republican State Convention, held at Indianapolis, on the 
22d of February, 1876 : 

Resolved, That the State Central Committee be authorized and requested 
to prepare and publish for presentation to the National Republican Conven 
tion, when assembled at Cincinnati, an address embracing a brief sketch of 
the life and public services of Oliver P. Morton, and especially setting forth, 
his eminent fitness for the high office for which this convention has this day 
nominated him. 




It is the purpose of this sketch to present, in such manner 
as a limited space will permit, some phases of the public life, 
character and services of the Hon. Oliver P. Morton, of In 
diana. If it can be fitly said of any man who has devoted 
himself consistently to the advocacy and advancement of a 
great cause, that he is its representative, then this can be 
truly said of Senator Morton and the Republican cause ; for 
his whole public life has been spent in battling for the prin 
ciple of political equality, and all the great ideas, which, 
naturally flowing from this, have signalized the grandest and 
most progressive era of our history. Nor is it invidious or 
inaccurate to say, if length of service and magnitude of 
results be taken into account, that he is the greatest living 
representative of Republican principles ; for, while it may be 
freely conceded that there are many among our public men 
as earnestly devoted to these principles as he, there is none 
who has battled for them on as many fields or rendered as dis 
tinguished service in their behalf. The main design of the 
present sketch is to call attention to his public and political 
services ; but this may be properly preceded by a brief notice of 


Oliver Perry Morton was born in Wayne county, Indiana, 
August 4, 1823, and is consequently in his fifty-third year. 
He came of an old English family, his grandfather, who traced 


his ancestry back quite a distance along an honorable line r 
having emigrated from England about a century ago and 
settled in New Jersey. This straight descent from an old 
English stock may account for some of the strong traits of 
Mr. Morton s character, which are supposed to be more com 
mon among the English than in other nationalities as for 
instance his unconquerable will, tenacity of purpose, and 
readiness to accept a contest, whenever occasion requires, in 
spite of odds or obstacles. His father, "William T. Morton, 
was a native of New Jersey and a man of sterling worth. 
His mother, also a native of New Jersey, was a woman of 
amiable disposition and rare force of character. Removing 
to the "West at an early day, they soon became identified with 
one of the rising communities of the young State of Indiana, 
of which their son was to become so distinguished and hon 
ored a citizen. Young Morton s early years were passed 
amid narrow opportunities, but as often happens in such 
cases, they were more highly prized and assiduously improved 
on that account. Like many other Americans who have 
risen to high position, Senator Morton traces his earliest 
development to a natural fondness for study and an earnest 
desire to utilize the meager advantages afforded him. Appren 
ticed to a hatter at the age of fifteen, he followed the business 
for four years and seemed likely to devote his life to that 
trade ; but Providence had not so decreed. During this per 
iod all his spare hours were spent in reading, and the infor 
mation thus acquired begetting a thirst for more knowledge, 
he quit his trade, and in January, 1843, at the age of nine 
teen, entered Miami University at Oxford, Ohio. Here he 
remained two years, his vigorous and healthy mind eagerly 
grasping and appropriating all the means of knowledge 
placed within his reach. One of his teachers says he was 
" a diligent, earnest student, modest but not timid, plain but 
<( not verdant, and more anxious to acquire knowledge than to 
" display it." He also had the reputation of being the best 
extemporaneous speaker and debater in the college a talent 
which doubtless shaped his career in life, and accounts, in a 
large degree, for his great success and power as a public man. 
At the age of twenty- two he left college and immediately 


began the study of law, in the office of the Hon. John S. 
Newman, at Cenlerville, Indiana. It may be mentioned as 
a fact equally honorable to both that the friendship then 
begun between them continues unbroken, and the former pre 
ceptor is still a trusted friend and counselor of his now dis 
tinguished pupil. Mr. Morton brought to this new under 
taking the same energy of purpose and conscientious effort 
which had now become a recognized trait of his character, and 
grappled with the law as one who meant to learn it. His 
masculine mind soon mastered the principles of the science, 
and with patient effort took in its details. Judge Xewman 
says he was a very thorough reader, and possessed, in a remark 
able degree, the power of thinking at all times and in every 
place. He was admitted to practice in 1847. At that time the 
bar of Wayne and adjacent counties embraced a number of the 
best lawyers in the State, and Mr. Morton soon found himself 
brought into professional contact with some of the ablest and 
most cultivated men who have ever graced the profession in 
Indiana. It was a good school for a young lawyer and well 
calculated to put him to his best efforts and bring out all there 
was in him. Though he did not leap at once to fame, as 
indeed few lawyers in this or any other country have ever 
done, his success was assured from the beginning, and he soon 
came to be recognized as one of the soundest lawyers on that 
circuit. Within ten years from his admission to the bar he 
had a very large and lucrative practice and was spoken of as 
a rising man. In 1852, at the age of twenty-nine, Mr. Morton 
was elected Circuit Judge by the Legislature. The position 
of a Judge, however, had little attraction for him, and though 
he filled it to. the entire satisfaction of the profession and the 
public, he willingly resigned it at the end of a year. Being 
naturally of a controversial cast of mind, he preferred the 
bar to the bench, and professional combat to judicial service. 
He was a good judge but a better counselor and advocate. 
From 1853 to 1860 he devoted himself assiduously and suc 
cessfully to the practice, with the exception of some brief 
digressions into politics, and was on one side or the other of 
nearly every important case tried in Wayne or the neighbor 
ing counties. 



Mr. Morton began life as a Democrat. The early tradi 
tions of that party exercised a peculiar power over the minds 
of ambitious young men, and the public conscience was still 
comparatively dormant as to its corrupt and corrupting ten 
dencies. He was reared to believe in Democratic doctrines, 
and when he became a voter (1844) slavery was still gener 
ally regarded as a sacred institution, upon the protection of 
which depended the perpetuity of the Union. The political 
danger of the institution was no better understood than its 
moral turpitude, and though a public sentiment was already 
forming which was destined to sweep it out of existence, that 
sentiment had not as yet assumed any well defined organiza 
tion or feasible line of action. The public mind was satu 
rated with the idea, so long and zealously taught by the 
Democratic party, that the Constitution was the twin brother 
of slavery, and that the preservation of the one required 
immunity, if not protection for the other. But the leaven 
was at work which was to leaven the whole lump, and the 
time was fast approaching when the corrupt and dangerous 
designs of the Democracy were to be exposed in all their 
hideous proportions. The repeal of the Missouri Compromise 
in 1854 at once betrayed the whole purpose of the party and 
opened the way for those to leave it, who had already become 
convinced of its faithlessness and treachery. Mr. Morton left 
it then and has ever since acted with the party of liberty and 
progress, then nameless, but now known to history and fame 
as the Republican party. Having made public avowal of his 
opposition to slavery and his withdrawal from the Democ 
racy, he soon became known as one of the most earnest advo 
cates of a new party to embody the growing sentiment against 
the aggressions of the slave power and to represent the princi 
ples of liberty and progress. He was one of the three dele 
gates sent from Indiana to the 


From this convention the Republican party dates it origin 



not the origin of its principles, but the beginning of its polit 
ical existence. It was held on the 22nd of February, a day 
which has been honored by many Republican conventions 
since. Its deliberations were interesting and important, and 
were actively participated in by Mr. Morton, who was already 
recognized as one of the rising men of the new party. This 
convention blazed the way for the one at Philadelphia, which, 
four months later, nominated John C. Fremont for Presi 
dent. In thus espousing the Republican cause, Mr. Morton 
was accompanied and followed by many honest and staunch 
Democrats, who, as the issue was made up, recognized the 
Republican party as the party of liberty and progress. Espec 
ially were the liberty-loving Germans quick to discern the 
significance of the movement and prompt in giving it their 
adhesion. They espoused the cause with great heartiness 
and enthusiasm and were then, as now, among its most 
ardent supporters. Among all his friends Senator Morton 
numbers none more ardent or more appreciative of his services 
to the cause of liberty than the German Republicans of 

The Republican State Convention of Indiana met in 
1856 to nominate candidates for Governor and State offi 
cers. The new party was on its metal, and every consi 
deration required that it should put forth its strongest 
and most available men. It already numbered in its ranks 
many thousands of the best citizens in the State, and justly 
claimed then, as now, to represent the best elements of 
society. On a full survey of the situation, the convention 
nominated Mr. Morton for Governor by acclamation. The 
nomination was accepted with a full consciousness that there 
was little or no prospect of election and that the party 
expected a thorough and exhaustive canvass of the State. It 
would involve several months neglect of professional business 
and considerable expense. But he had embarked in the new 
movement and his heart was in the cause. Foreseeing the 
rising contest between the powers of political darkness and 
light, he could have truthfully said with Richard, " My soul s 
" in arms and eager for the fray." 

His Democratic opponent in the contest was Hon. A. P. 


Willard, a very able man and one of the most brilliant speak 
ers of his day. He represented an old, compact, powerful 
political organization, strengthened by the prestige of time 
and past successes ; while Morton appeared as the champion 
of a new party, comparatively weak in numbers and organi 
zation, but strong in the consciousness of right principles. 
From that campaign, unsuccessful as it was, dates his popu 
larity with the Republican masses and his powerful hold on 
the party; for, though subsequent events have infinitely 
strengthened both, they had their beginning in the campaign 
of 185G. Mr. Morton made a thorough canvass of the State, 
appearing then, for the first time, before the people at large. 
Wherever he went he made a deep and lasting impression by 
the vigor of his attack, the force of his logic, the evident 
earnestness of his convictions and the lofty confidence which 
he evinced in the ultimate triumph of Republican principles. 
Those who listened to him knew he was a rising man, and 
saw the light of ultimate victory in his eye. Broad and deep 
he laid in the hearts and minds of the people the foundation 
principles on which was to be reared, in future years, a polit 
ical structure of grandeur and beauty. The contest ended in 
his defeat, as he expected it would ; but it was a victory for 
the Republican party, since the seed then sown were, in due 
time, to spring up and bring forth abundant fruit. From that 
day to the present, no political campaign has occurred in the 
State in which he has not borne a leading part. In every 
battle for Republican principles he has been in the thickest of 
the fight, leading and cheering on his followers and dealing 
tremendous blows on the enemy, while his intuitive know 
ledge of politics and his consummate leadership have been 
found as valuable in council as in action. 

After the unsuccessful campaign of 1856, Mr. Morton 
resumed the practice of law, which he continued for four 
years, when the Republican party again demanded his services. 
In 1860 he was nominated for Lieutenant-Governor, with Hon. 
Henry S. Lane as Governor. Again, as in 1856, he threw 
aside private and professional business at the call of party, 
and prepared for another thorough canvass of the State. 
This time he was no stranger to the people. His services 


to the new party had been matter of common remark dur 
ing the last four years, and wherever he went he was 
greeted with enthusiasm. The campaign lasted four months, 
and he spoke in every part of the State. In this canvass he 
showed the same intuitive insight into politics, the same 
comprehensive grasp of public questions and enthusiastic 
devotion to the principles of the Eepublican party that had 
won so much commendation in 1856. In a speech, delivered 
at Terre Haute on the 10th of March, 1860, he thus arraigned 
the Democratic party : 

"It found the country at peace, and has left it stained with blood and 
" torn by civil dissensions. It reopened the slavery question in a form most 
" offensive, and under circumstances most aggravating to the anti-slavery 
" sentiment of the North. It was the deliberate breach of a time-honored 
" Compromise which had had its origin in the most critical period of our 
"political history, and had given peace to the nation. History will pro- 
" nounce judgment on this repeal as a wanton and wicked act, without a 
" circumstance to palliate or excuse its perpetration, and as having its origin 
"in the political necessities and reckless ambition of partisans. The object 
" to be gained was the united favor of the South, and the means of obtain- 
" ing it an extravagant and reckless devotion to her supposed interests." 

Of the Republican party then advancing so grandly to vic 
tory, he said : 

"It is a matter of proud congratulation that there is not one disunionist 
" within the pale of the Republican party. There is no part of the Repub- 
" lican platform upon which a disunionist can stand. * * We do not 
"say that the Union may be preserved upon certain conditions ; we do not 
" measure our fidelity to it by our success; but we say it must and shall be 
" preserved, whatever party may be in the ascendant. We do not say the 
" Republican party first and the Union afterwards ; but we say the Union 
"first, last and all the time, and that we will wage uncompromising warfare 
" upon all parties that contemplate its destruction under any circumstances." 

Perhaps the remembrance of his defeat four years before 
spurred him to greater efforts, or perhaps the almost certain 
prospect of victory inspired him ; certain it is that in this 
campaign he performed a vast amount of labor and with 
marked results. Under Providence, his efforts in 1856 and 
1860 contributed more than those of any other one 
person to the overthrow of the slave Democracy in this State 
and the final success of the Republican party. The election 
resulted in the success of the whole Republican ticket by about 
10,000 majority. Immediately after the assembling of the 


legislature, Mr. Lane was elected United States Senator, and 
Mr. Morton became 


This office Lad in store for him such labors, responsibilities, 
and dangers as rarely fall to the lot of man ; and, it may be 
added, it was destined to bring him a corresponding amount 
of public applause and national reputation. But before notic 
ing in detail his great services to the State and Nation in this 
capacity, it will be necessary to glance at the political situation 
at the time of his assuming the office. 

The steady aggression of the slave power had culminated 
in the open avowal of a purpose to dissolve the Union in case 
of a Republican success in I860. While using the cry of 
"sectionalism" against the Republican party, the Southern 
Democracy had themselves erected the sectional standard by 
asserting that the government was nothing without slavery, 
and the constitution worthless unless that institution was to be 
both protected and extended. Public sentiment, already 
debauched by a long and systematic course of Democratic 
intrigue, was still further demoralized by the weakness and 
treachery of James Buchanan s administration, the most dis 
astrous and despicable that has ever disgraced our history. 
Corruption was the rule, and honesty the exception. Patriots 
blushed with shame, and treason lifted its head without rebuke. 
The October elections in 18GO showed that the public con 
science was at last aroused, and that the men of the North 
were moving. The election of Lincoln in November thre^v 
the Democracy into a frenzy of rage. Four months of Buchan 
an s administration still remained in which to work their 
policy of rulo or ruin, and they no longer attempted to con 
ceal their purposes. Dissolution of the Ucion was the South 
ern ultimatum peaceably if they could, forcibly if they must. 
The doctrine of secession was boldly avowed as a constitu 
tional and Democratic remedy against a Republican triumph, 
and the idea of preventing or " coercing " a State from going 
out of the Union was hooted at by every Southern Democrat 
and a majority of those in the North. Meanwhile, a Demo- 


cratic Secretary of War was scattering the army and plunder 
ing the government arsenals, and other Democratic traitors 
were using their utmost efforts to undermine the government. 
Disunion meetings were being held in all parts of the South. 
Resolutions had already passed the South Carolina legislature 
(Nov. 12, 18GO ; ) calling a convention with the distinct pur 
pose of secession, and both of the United States Senators from 
that State had resigned their spnts. And still, as yet, no one 
in all the great North had raised an authoritative voice against 
this madness. There was patriotism and loyalty enough, but 
it was unorganized, even disorganized. The President elect 
was not yet authorized to speak. The Northern press was 
wavering and public opinion was at sea. The country was 


Just at this time a Republican mass meeting was called in 
.Indianapolis to consider the situation. It met on the 22d of 
November, 1861. The largest hall in the city was crowded 
with such an audience as the Republican party only could fur 
nish. The speaker was Oliver P. Morton. The subject was 
the rights and duties of the government in the existing emer 
gency. The audience knew he was a strong and bold man, 
and they expected strong and bold words ; but their hearts 
leaped with joy at what they heard that night, as the loyal 
heart of the country did the next day on reading the report 
of his speech. Then and there for the first time by any lead 
ing man was the duty of the government in the pending crisis 
clearly and boldly asserted. The doctrines of secession and 
coercion were examined in the light of the constitution, and 
the right and duty of self-preservation shown to belong to the 
government. Stripping the subject of all disguises, the speaker 
struck straight at the heart of the question, and interpreted 
at once the popular conviction and the popular wish in that 
trying hour. The path of honor and of duty was shown to 
be the only path of safety. The pernicious doctrine of 
" peaceable secession," advocated by some well meaning per 
sons in the North, was traced to its ultimate consequences, and 
shown to be contrary to the constitution and fatal to every 


principle of government. The grandeur and glory of the 
Union were set forth in eloquent words, and the power of the 
government to " coerce" a seceding State was asserted in the 
strongest terms. In short, the patriotic sense of the loyal 
North in favor of preserving the Union was interpreted in a 
manner which no other public man had yet ventured to adopt. 
Morton rose to the height of the occasion. The policy of 
" coercion " had come to be a sort of bugbear to many persons. 

* What is coercion? " said Mr. Morton, " but the enforcement of the law? 
" Is anything else intended or required ? Secession or nullification can 
" only be regarded by the general government as individual action upon 
" individual responsibility. Those concerned in it can not entrench them- 
" selves behind the forms of the state government so as to give their con- 
" duct the semblance of legality, and thus devolve the responsibility upon 
" the state government, which of itself is irresponsible. The constitution 
" and laws of the United States operate upon individuals, but not upon 
" states, and precisely as if there were no states. In this matter the Presi- 
" dent has no discretion. He has taken a solemn oath to enforce the laws 
" and preserve order, and to this end he has been made Commander-in- 
" chief of the army and navy. How can he be absolved from responsibil- , 
" ity thus devolved upon him by the constitution and his official oath ? " 

He then showed that the constitution provided no way for 
a state to get out of the Union, and that the only alternative 
for the President was to enforce the laws or acknowledge the 
independence of a seceding state, and he could only do that 
by authority of Congress. The central thought and ruling 
idea of the speech was that the Union must be preserved, 
and, if need be, by force. Pursuing this line of thought, 
Mr. Morton said : 

" The right of secession conceded, the Nation is dissolved. Instead of 
" having a Nation, one mighty people, we have but a collection and combi- 
" nation of thirty-three independent and petty states, held together by a 
" treaty which has hitherto been called a constitution, of the infraction of 
"which each state is to be the judge, and from which any state may with- 
" draw at pleasure. The right of secession conceded and the way 

" to do it having been shown to be safe and easy, the prestige of the repub- 
" lie gone, the national pride extinguished .with the national idea, secession 
" would become the remedy for every state or sectional grievance, real cr 
" imaginary. * * * If South Carolina gets out of the Union, I trust it 
" will be at the point of the bayonet, after our best efforts have failed to 
" compel her to submission to the laws. * * * Shall we now surrender 
" the Nation without a struggle, and let the Union go with merely a few 
" hard words ? If it was worth a bloody struggle to establish this Nation, 


" it is worth one to preserve it, and I trust that we shall not, by surrender- 
" ing with indecent haste, publish to the world that the inheritance oui 
" fathers purchased with their blood we have given up to save ours." 

Then, after pointing out the frightful consequences, the 
anarchy and ruin sure to follow a dissolution of the Union, 
he said : 

" We must, then, cling to the idea that we are a Nation, one and indivis- 
" ible, and that, although subdivided by state lines for local and domestic 
" purposes, we are but one people, the citizens of a common country, having 
" like institutions and manners, and possessing a common interest in 
" that inheritance of glory so richly provided by our fathers. We must 
" therefore do no act we must tolerate no act we must concede no idea or 
<; theory that looks to or involves the dismemberment of the Nation. * * 
" * Seven years is but a day in the life of a nation, and I would rather 
" come out of a struggle at the end of that time, defeated in arms and con- 
" ceding independence to successful revolution, than to purchase present 
" peace by the concession of a principle that must inevitably explode this 
" Nation into small and dishonored fragments. * * * The whole ques- 
" tion is summed up in this proposition : Are we one Nation, one people, 
" or thirty-three nations, or thirty-three independent and petty states? 
"The statement of the proposition furnishes the answer. If we are one 
" nation then no State has a right to secede. Recession can only be the 
" result of successful revolution. I answer the question for you, and I know 
" that my answer will find a true response in every true American heart, 
" that we are one people, one Nation, undivided and indivisible." 

It is doubtful if any speech ever delivered in the United 
States produced more immediate and visible effects than the 
one from which the above quotations are made. It was what 
the country had been waiting for the voice of a leader able 
to comprehend the great issues involved, far-sighted enough 
to trace them to their legitimate results, and bold enough to 
assert the right and duty of the Government to protect itself 
against secession and treason. The speech went to the popu 
lar heart like a bullet to its mark. Men read it, and said, 
" here is the doctrine and the man." It dissipated the clouds 
of doubt and error as the sun scatters the morning mists. 
The public mind wavered no longer. From that day forth 
the idea of f peaceable secession " was dead and the policy of 
force was a fixed fact. It went like wild-fire all over the 
country. It was published far and wide in the Republican 
papers, and everywhere admitted to be unanswerable. The 
Southern leaders read in it an authoritative expression of 


Northern opinion. A prominent gentleman, who visited the 
President-elect a short time afterwards, at Springfield, found 
Mr. Lincoln reading the speech, and Mr. Lincoln said : " It 
" covers the whole ground, and declares the whole policy of 
" the Government. It is the policy I shall pursue from the 
"first." Its echoes reached across the ocean, and it was 
regarded with such political significance that the English 
authorities applied, through the English consul at Cincinnati, 
for a copy of it. It constituted a rallying-point for public 
opinion throughout the North and gave an immense impulse 
to the development of loyal sentiment. It lifted Mr. Morton 
at once into national prominence and secured him universal 
recognition as one of the ablest men in the Republican 

On the 16th of January, 1861, he became Governor, vice 
Hon. Henry S. Lane, elected to the United States Senate. 
From the day of his inauguration Governor Morton gave 
evidence of possessing 


Hitherto he had been known as an able lawyer, a powerful 
debater, and an eloquent champion of Republican principles. 
During the next few years he was destined to develop most 
surprising ability as an executive officer. It is entirely within 
the bounds of truth to say that no man now in public life 
has had so great experience as an executive officer, or has 
shown such signal ability in administering a high office in the 
face of unparralleled difficulties and dangers. With one 
exception, Governor Morton was the youngest Executive of 
any Northern State being, at the time of his inauguration, 
thirty-seven years old. But of all those who acted in that 
capacity during the eventful years of the war, none was 
surrounded with such difficulties as he, and none gave evi 
dence of such iron will and immense fertility of resources. 
Other Governors had, indeed, important duties to perform, 
but, they were sustained by a united people, und the path of 
duty was plain and unobstructed. With Governor Morton 
the case was very different. He was beset with difficulties 


and dangers throughout the whole course of his administra 
tion. In no other Northern State was the opposition to the 
war so strong and bitter as in Indiana, and nowhere else did 
it find expression in such formidable and dangerous organiza 
tions. The character and extent of this opposition will be 
more fully noticed hereafter, together with the means by 
which it was constantly met and defeated; the matter is 
referred to now by way of emphasizing the statement, made 
deliberately, that no public man in America has given evi 
dence of possessing such remarkable executive ability as the 
Hon. O. P. Morton. 

His first attention was turned toward reforming the civil 
administration of the State, and during the three months 
that preceded the breaking out of the war he accomplished 
wonders in this direction. The financial affairs of the State 
were in confusion and embarrassment. Under a succession 
of loose and corrupt administrations the State had been dis 
graced and its credit seriously impaired. A long period of 
uninterrupted Democratic rule had polluted every department 
of the State government. The public lands had been stolen, 
its revenues squandered, and fraud and extravagance were the 
prevailing rule. The people soon discovered that there was a 
new man at the helm and that the old order of things had 
passed away. Happily, he had in his work of reform the 
hearty co-operation of an excellent set of State officers, and 
the results were soon manifest in the higher tone of admin 
istration, the reduction of public expenses, the wholesale 
removal of peculating officials and a general reformation of 
affairs. Governor Morton had already distinguished himself 
as an executive officer before the war began ; but that event, 
ushering in the most memorable era of our history, was des 
tined to develop this quality of his character in a most mar 
velous degree, and to secure for him, in the mouths of all men 
and in history, the honorable title of 

And here let us recapitulate a little. Since the election of 
Lincoln the secessionists in the South had been very active, 


and the Democratic conspiracy for the dissolution of the 
Union had made rapid progress. A convention had been 
called in South Carolina, which, on the 20th of December, 
1861, had passed unanimously and amid great enthusi 
asm an ordinance of secession. The Georgia Legislature had 
passed a bill appropriating $1,000,000 to arm and equip the 
State, and a delegate convention had adopted an ordinance of 
secession by an overwhelming majority. Most of the South 
ern States had wheeled into line, or shown their willingness 
to do so. Peaceable expedients had been exhausted, and all 
attempts at compromise had failed. The South would have 
nothing but separation. The rebel Senators and Representa 
tives had remained in Congress as long as they dared, and 
then, drawing their pay, had fled South. A Congress of 
Southern States had been held at Montgomery, Alabama, 
early in February, 1861, at which a constitution for " The 
" Confederate States of America " had been adopted, and a 
President and Vice President had been elected. On his way 
to "Washington Mr. Lincoln made a brief stop at Indianap 
olis, and was received with great enthusiasm by a vast assem 
blage of people. On this occasion Governor Morton deliv 
ered the address of welcome to the President, in the course of 
which he said : 

" In every free government there will be differences of opinion, and these 
" differences result in the formation of parties ; but, when the voice of the 
" people has been expressed through the forms of the Constitution, all pat- 
" riots yield to it obedience. Submission to the popular will is the essential 
" principle of Kepublican government, and so vital is this principle that it 
" admits of but one exception, which is revolution. To weaken it is anar- 
" chy ; to destroy it is despotism. It recognizes no appeal beyond the bal- 
" lot-box, and while it is preserved, Liberty may be wounded but never 

To these statesmanlike words the President-elect responded 
in terms which showed that he fully appreciated the gravity 
of the situation. After his inauguration events followed each 
other in rapid succession. Finally they culminated in the 
firing on Fort Sumter, and the surrender of that post to the 
rebels. This occurred on the 12th of April, 1861. On the 
15th, President Lincoln issued his Proclamation calling for 
75,000 men, and appealing " to all loyal citizens to favor, 


4i facilitate and aid this effort to maintain the honor, the integ- 
" rity and existence of our National Union, and the perpet- 
" uity of popular Government, and to redress wrongs already 
" long enough endured." On the morning of the very day 
this proclamation was issued, and before it was received in 
Indianapolis, Governor Morton had telegraphed as follows : 

"INDIANAPOLIS, April 15, 1861. / 

"President of the United States: 

" On behalf of the State of Indiana, I tender to you, for the defence of 
" the Nation and to uphold the authority of the Government, ten thou- 
" sand men. 


" Governor of Indiana" 

Thus Indiana, through her Governor, was the first State to 
accept the gauge of war and to proffer troops, as she was also 
one of the first to put her troops into the field. The State s 
quota, under the call, was six regiments, and on the next day 
Governor Morton issued the following proclamation : 

" WHEREAS, An armed rebellion has been organized in certain States of 
" this Union, having for its purppse the overthrow of the Government of 
" the United States ; 

"AND WHEREAS, The authors and movers in this rebellion have siezed, by 
" violence, various forts and arsenals belonging to the United States, and 
" otherwise plundered the Government of large amounts of money and val- 
" uable property ; 

"AND WHEREAS, Fort Sumter, belonging to the United States, the exclu- 
" sive possession of, and jurisdiction over, which were vested in the general 
"Government by the Constitution of the United States, has been besieged by 
" a large army, and assaulted by a destructive cannonade, and reduced to 
" submission, and the National flag hauled down and dishonored ; 

"AND WHEREAS, The President of the United States, in the exercise of the 
" power vested in him by the Federal Constitution, has called upon the 
" several States remaining true to their allegiance to aid him in the enforce- 
" ment of the laws, the recovery of the National property and the mainten- 
" ance of the rightful authority of the United States ; 

" Now, THEREFORE, I, OLIVER P. MORTON, Governor of the State of 
" Indiana, call upon the loyal and patriotic men of this State, to the num- 
" her of six regiments, to organize themselves into military companies, and 
" forthwith report themselves to the Adjutant General, in order that they 
" may be speedily mustered into the service of the United States. 


" Governor." 

INDIANAPOLIS, April 16, 1861. 


The response of the people to the Governor s call was as 
prompt as his own to that of the government. The day after 
it was issued there were five hundred men in camp at Indian 
apolis, and the State House had already begun to assume the 
appearance of a military headquarters. Fearing that an 
attempt would be made by the rebels to take possession of the 
National Capital, Governor Morton telegraphed to the Secre 
tary of War on the 18th offering to send forward one regiment 
immediately if needed to protect the capital, but they were 
not called for. At this time there was less than $15,000 in 
the State treasury, and no available means of arming, subsist 
ing and equipping troops. Foreseeing the approach of hostil 
ities, Governor Morton had visited "Washington about the 
middle of March for the purpose of procuring a supply of 
arms for State troops from the General Government, but 
obtained little satisfaction. What few arms the State had, 
therefore, were practically worthless. It had no military law 
nor any military system. All had to be built from the ground 
up. No man ever met new and sudden responsibilities more 
nobly than Governor Morton did in this emergency, or showed 
greater executive ability and aptitude for affairs. On the 20th 
of April, four days after his call was issued, the organization 
of regiments began. Meanwhile, the war spirit was rushing 
through the State like a whirlwind, and volunteers continued 
to pour in. At this juncture, Governor Morton, foreseeing 
that the government would need more men, telegraphed to the 
Secretary of War offering six additional regiments, without 
regard to length of service, and pledging his word to organize 
them in six days, if accepted. No response being received to 
this proposition, the Governor, on the 23d, sent a special mes 
senger to Washington, renewing the offer, and expressing his 
determination at all events to put six additional regiments into 
camp and hold them subject to the demand of the government. 
Thus, at the very threshold of the conflict, he showed an 
appreciation of its probable magnitude and an energy in pre 
paring for it not evinced by the Governor of any other North 
ern State. Happily, his great popularity throughout the State, 
and the unbounded confidence which the people had already 
learned to feel in his judgment and patriotism, enabled him to 


fulfill to the letter every pledge or promise ever made to the 
Government, or to the troops themselves. Amid the vast and 
difficult labors now devolved on him, his personal energy was 
felt in the smallest details, while his promptness and vigor of 
action soon taught the Government and the people alike to 
look upon him as one of the 


He threw himself with tremendous energy into the work of 
prosecuting the war, and steadily and rapidly rose to the height 
of the great occasion. On the 24th of April the State Legis 
lature met, in obedience to the Governor s call issued a few 
days previous. In his message to that body, after reviewing 
the history of the secession movement, he said : 

" We have passed from the field of argument to the solemn fact of war 
41 which exists by the act of the seceding States. The issue is forced upon 
1 us, and must be accepted. Every man must take his position on one side 
1 or on the other. In time of war there is no ground upon which a third 
party can stand. It is the imperative duty of all men to rally to the sup- 
port of the government, and to expend in its behalf, if need be, their for- 
tunes and their blood. Upon the preservation of this government depend 
our prosperity and greatness as a nation, our liberty and happiness as 

The Legislature, catching the Governor s spirit, responded 
with alacrity to these patriotic sentiments. It promptly enacted 
all the legislation recommended by him, and in every way 
showed its perfect confidence in his judgment and patriotism. 
The appropriation bills passed were for general military pur 
poses, 1,000,000 ; for the purchase of arms, 500,000 ; for 
contingent military expenses, $100,000; and for organizing 
and supporting the State militia two years, $140,000. His 
determination to be first in the field, had induced Governor 
Morton; to send agents to the eastern cities and to Canada to 
purchase improved arms for the Indiana troops. The organ 
ization of regiments was pushed forward so rapidly that within 
ten days from the President s call Indiana s quota was organ 
ized, and on the 25th of April the whole six regiments were 
mustered into the service, and put upon a course of thorough 
military drill. Before the 1st of May lie had purchased a 



large quantity of Belgian rifles of an agent in Montreal, and 
had contracted with a Cincinnati foundry for eight brass six- 
pounders and four twelve-pound howitzers for field use. This 
armament may seem small compared with subsequent opera 
tions, but it was in advance of the times, and showed rare 
energy and a full understanding of the situation. As a result 
of Governor Morton s splendid management, Indiana led all 
the Western States in its preparations for hostilities. He was 
terribly in earnest in the prosecution of the war, and infused 
his earnestness into every person about him and into all the 
people ; the consequence was, he was able to accomplish results 
which to those who did not know the man or his manner of 
working seemed incredible. His iron will carried all before 
it, while his capacity for labor seemed to have no limit. The 
three months troops which constituted Indiana s quota under 
the first call, left Indianapolis in the latter part of May for 
"West Virginia, where they were soon engaged in active oper 
ations. Their passage through Cincinnati excited great enthu 
siasm, though their complete equipment and martial outfit 
provoked unfavorable comparisons. The Cincinnati Gazette 
spoke in terms of high admiration of Governor Morton s 
executive ability, while the Commercial said; 

" The governor of Indiana has out-generaled the governor of Ohio. The 
" contrast in the condition of the troops of the respective states proves it. 
"The former has sent four admirably equipped regiments to the battle-field, 
" and has two more ready to march at an hour s notice. The governor of 
"Ohio has not a single regiment in camp or in field, properly equipped for 
" service. The Hoosier troops are all armed with rifle muskets, uniformed, 
" and are furnished with their complement of camp equipments. A large 
" number of their rifles have sword bayonets. Ohio troops have a few 
" rifles, some of them are uniformed, and a portion of them have camp 
"equipage; but there is almost as much difference in their conditions in 
" favor of the former as there is between raw militia and veteran troops." 

A few days later, in noticing the passage through Cincin 
nati of the Eighth and Tenth regiments the Commercial said : 

" The stout and brawny appearance of the Indiana troops was univer- 
" sally remarked. Napoleon never marshaled better stuff into his grena- 
"diers. The lads were bronzed and hardy, and carried themselves with 
"gallant bearing. Each regiment consisted of about 800 men. They were 
* armed with the new U. S. muskets of the most approved pattern. No 
"Ohio troops have such arms. "Whose fault is it?" 


It is not desired to exalt Governor Morton at the expense 
of anybody else, but simply to recall what is matter of his 
tory and what was universally admitted during the war, viz.: 
that with one or two exceptions no other Northern governor 
displayed as much energy, capacity, and executive ability as he. 

The troops thus hurried to the front had been organized, 
fed, clothed and equipped by him without assistance from the 
National Government. They fired the first shots in the war 
west of the Alleganies, and were mainly instrumental in win 
ning the earliest victories. 

In anticipation of a second call, Governor Morton pro 
ceeded immediately to organize five additional regiments of 
twelve months volunteers, which, by an act of the Legisla 
ture, were to remain under his control until needed by the 
Government. The call came May 16, 1861. It was for 
forty-two thousand three years men, and Indiana s quota was 
four regiments. Governor Morton was prepared for this call 
in advance, the regiments being already organized, equipped 
and partially drilled. Thus his foresight in organizing these 
regiments proved of great value to the country, and enabled 
him to respond upon the instant to the President s second call 
without going through the formality and delay of another 
appeal to the people. And so it was all the time. He either 
anticipated every call for troops, or had matters in such a 
state of preparation that no time was lost in responding. His 
system of securing volunteers was admirable, while his fac 
ulty of stirring and rousing the people kept the war feeling 
at fever heat. It would be impossible within the limits of a 
sketch like this to narrate in detail his vast and multifarious 
labors during this period. He seemed to be ubiquitous, now 
in Washington, now at home, counseling with the President, 
encouraging the people, organizing regiments, hurrying troops 
to the front, looking after those already in the field, negotiat 
ing loans, organizing sanitary commissions, forwarding stores 
in short, performing the labor of a dozen meiT^ and infus 
ing his spirit into all with whom he came in contact. He 
was the right arm of the Government in the West, and when 
danger threatened anywhere within striking distance from 
Indiana, Governor Morton was looked to for succor and 


defense. Thus, when Gen. Kirby Smith was preparing to 
invade Kentucky, loyal Kentuckians turned to Morton. The 
Secretary of War telegraphed him to do his utmost for the 
defense of Kentucky. General Boyle, commanding the dis 
trict of Kentucky, telegraphed from Frankfort to Governor 
Morton : " Rebels invading Kentucky. Send any forces 
"you can possibly spare." General Buell telegraphed him 
from Huntsville, Alabama, that a formidable raid was threat 
ening Kentucky, and urging that troops should be sent for 
ward with the utmost dispatch. So, too, when Cincinnati 
was threatened by Kirby Smith, Major General Wright, com 
manding the department, appealed to Governor Morton for 
aid in the defense of that city, which was believed to be in 
imminent danger. Within fifteen hours from the receipt of 
the call he had forwarded by special train two regiments of 
infantry, twenty-four pieces of artillery, 3,000 stand of arms, 
31,000 rounds of artillery ammunition, and 3,365,000 mus 
ket cartridges the ammunition, by the way, manufactured 
in the state arsenal established by him. The governor and 
his military staff themselves went to Cincinnati to assist in 
organizing the troops and in other defensive arrangements. 
No demand was too great, and no call too sudden for him to 
meet. His energy, like his patriotism, responded to every 


A remarkable characteristic of Governor Morton s adminis 
tration was the sound judgment and unerring foresight with 
which he prepared for every military emergency. We do not 
refer now to the manner in which he frequently anticipated 
and foreshadowed the policy of the government, but to his 
admirable arrangements for meeting promptly and efficiently 
those demands which he saw could not be long postponed. 
Thus after the second quota of the State had been filled, and 
when many persons thought there would be no further call for 
troops, he began to prepare for what he knew could not be 
long delayed. To this end, while the three months troops 
were still in the field, he sent special messengers to urge them 


to re-enlist for three years or for the war. He represented to 
them that the war was sure to last during several campaigns,, 
that the government would need more men when the terms of 
those now in the service should expire, and that Indiana would 
certainly be called upon for further aid. The result was that 
these regiments re-enlisted almost in a body, and were reor 
ganized in time to respond with others to the third call for 
troops, which was issued August 4, 1862. This call was for 
300,000 men for nine months ; the fourth call, issued June 15, 
1863, was for 100,000 men for six months; the fifth call, 
October 17, 1863, was for 300,000 men for three years ; the 
sixth call, July 18, 1864, was for 500,000 men for one, two, 
or three years ; the seventh and last call, December 19, 1864, 
was for 300,000 men for one, two or three years. Under these 
various calls Indiana furnished an aggregate of 208,367 men, 
of whom all but about 17,000 were volunteers. Every call 
was met promptly and fully, no deficiencies being left to be 
filled on subsequent calls, and the excess, after the quotas had 
been filled, varying from two thousand to thirty thousand. 
This record is a splendid and perpetual proof of the patriot 
ism of the people of Indiana, and it also reflects imperishable 
honor on the name of Oliver P. Morton, to whose personal 
ability and exertions these great results were so largely due. 


Another evidence of his military foresight and fertility of 
resources is found in the matter of veteran re-enlistments. 
The policy adopted at the beginning of the war of accepting 
men for short terms of enlistment proved to be unfortunate 
and embarrassing in many respects. It is easy to see how the 
constant expiration of enlistments would demoralize and 
weaken the army. The Government authorities underrated 
the magnitude of the rebellion, and perhaps, also, the patriot 
ism of the people. The idea that the war could be brought 
to a conclusion in a few months was the parent of many blund 
ers, one of the most serious of which was the receiving of vol 
unteers for three, six, and nine months. During the first two 
years of the war the Government was greatly embarrassed by 


this policy, and its military resources constantly weakened by 
expiring terms of enlistments. The only three years men 
enlisted during the first two years of the war were those 
under the second call, and their term of service would expire 
in the summer of 1864. These war-worn veterans were the 
main-stay of the Government, and the prospect of their retire 
ment from the service was very discouraging. Governor 
Morton was deeply impressed with the necessity of keeping 
them, or as many of them as possible, in the army, and during 
the winters of 1862-3 was in frequent communication with the 
Government authorities on this subject. This was the darkest 
period of the war.- The rebels were confident and aggressive. 
The Union army was being weakened by expiring enlist 
ments and desertions, not to speak of the heavy casualties of 
war. Eebel emissaries were actively at work urging recogni 
tion abroad, and fostering dissension in the North. Recruit 
ing was difficult, and many true patriots began to have mis 
givings of the result. But Governor Morton never doubted 
nor wavered. He maintained that the Government could and 
must suppress the rebellion ; that all that was needed was to 
recruit the armies to a point that would render them irresis 
tible, and then adopt a vigorous and aggressive policy. Time 
and again, in person and by letter, he urged his idea upon the 
Government authorities, accompanying it with a plan for vet 
eran re-enlistments. At length his suggestion took root. On 
the 25th of June, 1863, the War Department issued an order 
for recruiting veteran volunteers,offering certain inducements 
and prescribing details. It did not work well, and the veteran 
re-enlistments under it were comparatively few. Still Governor 
Morton adhered to his idea. Some three months later, in 
September, 1863, he wrote to the Secretary of War suggest 
ing another plan. He stated that quite a number of Indiana 
regiments then in the field were so much reduced as to have 
less than one hundred and fifty effective men. He suggested 
that one regiment from each Congressional district in the 
State, to be selected by the Governor, should be permitted to 
come home and rendezvous in their respective districts for 
recruitment and re-organization. His idea was, that allowing 
the men to visit their homes would inspirit them, and that 


nearly every man would become a recruiting officer among 
his friends and acquaintances. This suggestion was adopted 
to the extent of allowing one non-commissioned officer or pri- 
ate from each company, to be selected by the regimental com 
mander, to come home on recruiting service, and an order to 
this effect was issued October 23, 1863. This worked well, 
and resulted in securing a large number of new men. The 
work of re-enlisting veterans in the field, however, went on 
slowly till November, when the War Department issued an 
order allowing " a furlough of at least thirty days previous to 
" expiration of their original enlistment," this stipulation to 
be entered upon the re-enlistment rolls and the men to be 
furnished with transportation to and from their homes at 
government expense. This modification was well received, 
and under it re-enlistments went on rapidly. Thus, this idea, 
originated and persistently adhered to by Governor Morton, 
became at last a source of great military strength to the Gov 


From the beginning of the war Governor Morton had 
great influence with the National administration. This was 
due partly to his recognized position as a leader of the 
Republican party, but more, doubtless, to the remarkable 
energy, judgment and sagacity which he displayed. He was 
the trusted friend and counselor of Lincoln and Stanton. 
His frequent visits to Washington brought him into close 
personal contact and constant correspondence with both of 
these great men, and they never failed to seek his advice on 
every pending question of importance. In October, 1862, 
he was in Washington on business connected with the war 
department. The President had, as usual, conferred freely 
with him concerning the conduct of the war, the state of 
popular feeling, etc. Governor Morton had expressed him 
self with his usual force to the effect that the people and the 
cause demanded more energy in the prosecution of the war. 
His conversation with the President left him in rather a 


depressed state of mind, and after going to the hotel he wrote 
the following: 

" His Excellency, Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States : 

"DEAE Sni: I could not leave tlie city without addressing you this 
" note, and my intense solicitude for the success of our cause must be my 
" apology. 

" In my opinion, if our arms do not make great progress within the next 
" sixty days, our cause will be almost lost. * * * * The danger of 
" foreign intervention is daily increasing. The length of time which the 
" rebels have maintained their Government and the success of their arms 
" are rapidly furnishing foreign nations with an excuse to do what they 
" have desired to do from the first to recognize the Confederacy, and aid 
" it in whatever way they can. You have now immense armies in the field, 
" and all that they require to achieve victory is, that they be led with 
" energy and discretion. The cold professional leader, whose heart is not 
" in the cause, and who regards it as only a professional job, and whose 
" rank and importance would be greatly diminished by the conclusion of 
" the war, will not succeed in a contest like this. I would rely with infin- 
" itely more confidence upon the man of strong intellect, whose head is 
" inspired by his heart, who believes that our cause is sacred, and that he 
" is fighting for all that is dear to him and his country, although he be 
" unlearned in military science, than upon the cold and polished profes- 
" sional soldier, whose sympathies, if he have any, are most likely on the 
" other side. It is my solemn conviction that we will never succeed until 
" the leadership of our armies is placed in the hands of men who are greatly 
" in earnest, and who are profoundly convinced of the justice of our cause. 
" Let me beg of you, sir, as I am your friend, a friend of your administra- 
" tion, and the friend of our unfortunate and unhappy country, that you 
" will at once take up the consideration of this subject, and act upon the 
" inspiration of your own heart and the dictates of your own judgment 
" Another three months like the last six and we are lost lost. We can 
" not afford to experiment a single day longer with men who have failed 
" continuously for a whole year, who, with the best appointed armies, have 
"done nothing; have thrown away the greatest advantages; evacuated 
" whole states, and retreated for hundreds of miles before an inferior enemy. 
" To try them longer, trusting that they may yet do something, it seems to 
" me, would be imperiling the life of the nation. You have generals in 
" your armies who have displayed ability, energy and willingness to fight 
" and conquer the enemy. Place them in command, and reject the wicked 
" incapables whom you have patiently tried and found utterly wanting. 
" I am, with sentiments of great respect, 

" Your obedient servant, 


Quite early in the war Governor Morton was impressed 
with the fact that the opening of the Mississippi river was of 


vital importance in a political as well as military point of 
view. Not only would it sever the Confederacy and cut off 
a large source of supplies, but it would prove to the people 
that come what might, the Government intended to hold the 
great commercial artery of the continent. Throughout the 
"West this was regarded as a matter of prime importance, 
though naturally enough it did not attract so much attention 
in the East, where the nearer field of operations in Virginia 
absorbed all other interests. In the early part of 1862 there 
began to be considerable talk among western Democrats of 
forming a Northwestern Confederacy, to act in concert with 
the Southern States, and to hold the Mississippi river in com 
mon. It was one of the means adopted by them to demoral 
ize the public mind, undermine the patriotism of the people, 
and defeat the efforts of the Government to preserve the 
Union. Little or nothing was heard of this talk in the East, 
but in the West it was quite common. On the 27th of 
October, 1862, Governor Morton addressed a letter to Presi 
dent Lincoln on this subject, in which, after referring to the 
Northwestern Confederacy plan, and to the use which Demo 
cratic politicians were making of it, he said : 

" Let us take security against it if possible, especially, when by so doing, 
" we shall be pursuing the surest mode for crushing out the rebellion in 
" every part, and restoring the Union to its former limits. The plan which 
" I have to suggest is the complete clearing out of all obstacles to the navi- 
" gation of the Mississippi river and the thorough conquest of the States 
" upon the western bank. Between the State of Missouri and the Gulf of 
Mexico on the western bank are the States of Arkansas and Louisiana. 
" Arkansas has a population of about 325,000 white citizens and 111,000 
" slaves, and a very large per centage of her white population are in the 
" rebel army, and serving east of the Mississippi. Of the fighting popula- 
" tion of Western Louisiana, not less than fifty per cent, are in the rebel 
" army, and in service east of the river. The river once in our possession, 
" and occupied by our gun-boats, can never be crossed by a rebel army, and 
" the fighting men now without those States could not get back to their 
" relief. To make the conquest of those States thorough and complete, your 
"proclamation should be executed in every county and every township and 
" upon every plantation. All this can be done within ninety days, with an 
" army of less than 100,000 men. Texas would then be entirely isolated 
" from the rebel confederacy, and would readily fall into our hands. She 
" has, undoubtedly, a large Union element in her population, and with her 
" complete separation from the people of the other rebel States, could make 
M but feeble resistance. When this shall have been accomplished, a glance 


" at the map will show what immense advantages will have been obtained. 
" The remaining rebel States, separated by the river, would be cut off effec- 
" tually from all the Territories and the States of Mexico. The dangers to 
" be apprehended from the French aggressions in Mexico would be avoided. 
" The entire western part of the continent now belonging to the Government 
" would be secured to us, and all communication between the rebel States 
" and the States on the Pacific entirely stopped. The work of conquest in 
" Arkansas and Louisiana would be easy and certain, and the presence of 
"our gun-boats in the river would effectually prevent any large force from 
" coming from the East to the relief of these States. The complete emancipa- 
" tion that could and should be made of all the slaves in Arkansas, Louisiana, 
" and Texas, would place the possession of those States on a very different 
" footing from any other rebel territory which we have heretofore overrun. 
" But another result to be gained by the accomplishment of this plan, 
"will be the creation of a guaranty against the further depreciation of the 
" loyalty of the North-western States by giving the assurance that, whatever 
"may be the result of the war, the free navigation and control of the Mis- 
" sissippi river will be secured at all events." 

These are the views of a statesman. They show that 
the writer saw not only the necessity of putting an end to 
the North-western Confederacy agitation, but the vital import 
ance to the Government of splitting the Southern Confeder 
acy by opening the Mississippi river, which Jefferson Davis 
at the beginning of the war had delared " the South would 
te never surrender." And so, in every emergency, Governor 
Morton was either called into the councils of the Government 
or expressed his views freely to the President and Secretary 
of War, sometimes in person and sometimes by letter. The 
appreciation of his services was attested by frequent expres 
sions from those high in authority, some of which are quoted 
further on. 


Another instance of Governor Morton s fertility of resources 
is found in the history of " The Hundred Days Movement." 
The year 1864 opened under gloomy auspices. The result of 
the conflict hung in the balance, and it was evident that every 
effort would have to be put forth by the government during 
the ensuing campaign if it expected to maintain its ground 
and press the enemy. Generals Grant and Sherman were 
urging that every able-bodied soldier should be sent to the 


front. The grand Atlanta and Richmond campaigns were 
about to be opened, which, if successful, there was reason to 
hope, would virtually end the war. But to this end a great 
and united effort was necessary. General Sherman was in 
almost constant telegraphic correspondence with Governor 
Morton, his main reliance in the West, exchanging views and 
offering advice in regard to the equipment and forwarding of 
troops. About this time Governor Morton conceived an idea 
which took shape and culminated in important results. His 
aim was to devise a plan by which all the trained soldiers 
could be sent to the front for active service during the summer 
campaign, and their places be supplied by new men enlisted 
for a short period, who could thus relieve more experienced 
troops by guarding communications, supply depots, etc. It 
was a happy idea, but in order to give it the greatest effective 
ness other Western States must co-operate with Indiana. The 
plan was fully matured in Governor Morton s mind, and had 
been freely talked over with members of his military staff, 
when Governor Brough, of Ohio, happening to be in Indian 
apolis on private business, Governor Morton laid his plan 
before that official, and urged its adoption. Governor Brough 
saw its importance, and at once approved it. It was agreed 
between them that a meeting of Northwestern Governors 
should be held at Washington as soon as possible, and a 
<jo-operative plan of action agreed upon. This was the origin 
of " The Hundred Days Movement." This was early in 
April, 1864. On the llth, dispatches were sent from Indian- 
Governors of Illinois, _Iowa, Wisconsin and 

rernors of Ohio and 
onsult on important 
11 of the Governors 
r ernor of Michigan, 
meeting Governor 
nd a plan of opera- 
>ceeded immediately 
i Government. The 
llowing proposition 


" To the President of the United States : 

" I. The Governors of Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa and Michigan offer 
" to the President infantry troops for the approaching campaign, as follows : 

Ohio 30,000 

Indiana 20,000 

Illinois 20,000 

Iowa 10,000 

Wisconsin 5,000 

" II. The term of service to be one hundred days, reckoned from the 
" date of muster into the service of the United States, unless sooner discharged. 

" III. The troops to be mustered into the United States service by regi- 
" ments, when the regiments are filled up, according to regulations, to the 
" minimum strength the regiments to be organized according to the regu- 
" lations of the War Department. The whole number to be furnished within 
".twenty days from the date of notice of the acceptance of this proposition. 

" IV. The troops to be clothed, armed, equipped, subsisted, transported, 
" and paid as other United States infantry volunteers, and to serve in forti- 
" fications, or wherever else their services may be required, within or with- 
" out their respective States. 

" V. No bounty to be paid the troops, nor the service charged or credited 
" to any draft. 

" VI. The draft for three years services to go on in any State or district 
" where the quota is not filled up ; but if any officer or soldier in this spe- 
" cial service should be drafted, he shall be credited for the service rendered. 

" JOHN BROUGH, Governor of Ohio. 
" O. P MORTON, Governor of Indiana. 
" EICHARD YATES, Governor of Illinois. 
" WM. M. STONE, Governor of Iowa. 
" JAMES T. LEWIS, Governor of Wisconsin. 

" The foregoing proposition of the Governors is accepted, and the Secre- 
" tary of War is directed to carry it into execution. 

"April 24, 1864. A. LINCOLN." 

The acceptance of this proposition was telegraphed to Indi 
anapolis even before the fact was published, and a call was 
immediately issued for the troops. The other States joined 
heartily in the movement, and the result was that a large 
force of hundred days men was furnished to relieve from 
guard duty the veteran troops, who were so much needed at 
the front. The sole credit of originating this important move 
ment belongs to Governor Morton. 





But Governor Morton s military zeal did not stop with 
responding to the calls of the General Government. His 
energy seemed to know no bounds, and the more he accomp 
lished the more he desired to accomplish. While contributing 
so largely and constantly to the National army, he organized an 
effective military force in Indiana to meet emergencies which 
he foresaw would arise. The position of Indiana as a border 
State, the disloyal attitude of Kentucky, and the disaffection 
existing in some of the Southern counties convinced him at 
the beginning of the war that there would be need of a State 
militia, to repel hostile incursions and protect the State. At 
a special session in 1861, the Legislature passed, May llth, 
an act for the organization of the militia, dividing the whole 
arms-bearing population in the State into active and sedentary 
militia, under the name and style of the Indiana Legion. 
Shortly after the passage of this act, Governor Morton took 
steps for the organization of the Legion. Competent officers 
were detailed for the work and a camp of instruction was 
established at Indianapolis. This movement resulted in the 
enrollment of about 50,000 men, and supplied a force that 
rendered effective service on various occasions in repelling 
invasions, guarding prisoners, and preserving the peace of 
the State. For a long period before the war the State had no 
militia law, and the work of organizing and regulating a 
State militia was one of great difficulty ; but it was success 
fully accomplished even amid the enormous pressure of other 
duties, and more than once during the war the Indiana 
Legion became an important factor in military operations. 


The course pursued by Kentucky during the war will be 
well remembered by most readers. While a large majority of 
her people were unquestionably in favor of the Union, there 
was also a strong and active rebel sentiment. At the begin 
ning of the war she had a disloyal governor, Beriah Magoffin, 


and the Union people of the North feared the worst results 
from his treachery. It was especially important to Indiana 
that Kentucky should remain in the Union, as in the event 
of her secession, or of the rebels gaining a permanent foot 
hold there, the war would almost certainly have been trans 
ferred to Indiana. In his message to the special session of 
the Legislature in April, 1861, Governor Morton said : 

" To our sister state of Kentucky we turn with hope and affection. She 
41 has grown rich and prosperous in the Kepublic ; could she do more if she 
" were out of it? It would be a sad day that would sever the bond which 
" binds these states together, and place us in separate and hostile nations. 
" I appeal to her by the ties of our common kindred and history; by our 
" community of interest, by the sacred obligations that bind us to maintain 
(: the Constitution inviolate, to adhere to the Union, and stand fast by that 
" flag in defense of which she has so often shed her best blood. I pray her 
"to examine her past history and perceive how the tide of her prosperity 
"has flowed on unbroken, and ever increasing, until her limits are filled 
" with material wealth and her people are respected, elevated and happy ; 
" and then inquire if all this is not the result of that Union she is called 
11 upon to break, and of that government she is invited to dishonor and 
" overthrow. To ask Kentucky to secede, is to ask her to commit foul dis- 
" honor and suicide. I trust that the good sense and patriotism of her peo- 
" pie will not suffer her to be dragged by the current of events, which has 
" been cunningly invented for that purpose, into the vortex of disunion ; 
"nor permit her to be artfully inveigled into an armed neutrality between 
" the rebellious states and the Federal Government. Such a position would 
" be anomalous and fatal to the peace and perpetuity of the Union. There 
" is no ground in the Constitution midway between a rebellious state and 
u the Federal Government upon which she can stand, holding both in check 
" and restraining the Government from the enforcement of the laws and the 
"exercise of its constitutional authority. Such an attitude is at once 
"unconstitutional and hostile. At a time like this, if she is not for the 
" Government, aiding and maintaining it by the observance of all her con- 
" stitutional obligations, she is against it. If the voice of her people can 
"be heard, I fear not the result. Secession can only triumph, as it has 
"triumphed in other states, by stifling the voice of the people, and by the 
" bold usurpation, by demagogues and traitors, of the powers which right- 
" fully belong to them alone." 

These sentiments met with no response in the heart of 
Kentucky s Governor, and the Union men of that State soon 
found they had nothing to hope for from him. To President 
Lincoln s first call for troops he responded with an insolent 
refusal, and took occasion to air his treason under the guise 
of " Kentucky neutrality." His heart was with the rebels, 


and most of his personal associates were open sympathizers 
with treason. Though he could not carry Kentucky out of 
the Union, he succeeded for a time in preventing her from 
doing her duty as part of it. His senseless prate about " armed 
neutrality " became odious throughout the loyal North, and 
fixed a stain upon Kentucky s name from which it has scarcely 
yet recovered. Finally, in May, 1861, he actually issued a 
proclamation, in which he said : 

" I hereby notify and warn all other States, separate or united, and espe- 
41 cially the United and Confederate States, that I solemnly forbid any move- 
" ment on Kentucky soil, or occupation of any post or place therein, for any 
"purpose -whatever, until authorized by invitation or permission of the 
41 legislative or executive authorities." 

As there was no imminent danger at that time of a Southern 
army marching North, the evident purpose of this proclama 
tion was to prevent the United States forces from entering or 
passing through the State to reach the rebels. About the mid 
dle of June General McClellan actually made a treaty with 
Governor Magoffin/virtually recognizing Kentucky s " neu 
trality," and binding the Government to allow no troops to 
enter on Kentucky soil " unless invited to do so by the state 
authorities." It is needless to say that this policy and these 
events utterly demoralized the Union men of Kentucky. 
Some of them lost heart altogether, and were cajoled or forced 
into abandoning their views. Others adopted a sort of mid 
dle course, which gave rise to the term " Kentucky Unionism." 
Others, still, and they were a majority, remained true to the 
flag. At an early day, however, they lost all faith in Magof- 
fin, and looked to Governor Morton for counsel, aid and 

From the day of the firing on Fort Sumter Governor Mor 
ton recognized the vital importance both in a political and 
military point of view, of holding Kentucky in the Union, 
and was untiring in his efforts to this end. Early in May, 
1861, he prepared a memorial to the President, in which the 
Governors of Ohio and Illinois joined, urging the Govern 
ment " at an early day to take possession, in force, of promi- 
" nent points in Kentucky, such as Louisville, Covington, 
"Newport, Columbus, etc., and the railroads leading from 


" them to the South." For this work they recommended that 
loyal Kentuckians should be used if they could be found, and 
they added : 

" If Kentuckians can not be found, United States regulars would be the 
" next best for the purpose ; but in our judgment they should be occupied 
" at an early day, if it has to be done by the volunteer forces from adjoin- 
" ing states. We believe this course will save Kentucky to the Union, other- 
" wise that in the end the secessionists will control her." 

But the Government was slow to move, and " Kentucky 
neutrality" was treated very tenderly. In June, 1861, the 
gallant and loyal Rousseau determined to raise a force of 
Kentucky Unionists, and received authority from the Presi 
dent to that end. At a public meeting, however, held in 
Louisville, it was decided that the encampment ought not to 
be in Kentucky, and Rousseau was accordingly invited to 
establish his camp and rendezvous at Jeffersonville, in this 
State. Thus Indiana furnished the first rallying point for 
the Kentucky Unionists. At this time Governor Morton was 
in constant communication with General Rousseau and other 
loyal Kentuckians, encouraging and aiding them by every 
means in his power. He gave permission to citizens of Indiana 
to enlist in Kentucky regiments, and allowed a company of 
cavalry in Knox county and one in Dearborn county to be 
recruited for a Kentucky regiment. He also exerted himself 
to procure arms for the Kentucky troops who, having no 
Governor to look after their wants, had to rely on Governor 
Morton for this and numberless other services. Meanwhile, 
events followed each other rapidly, and " Kentucky neutral 
ity " was swept out of sight. The new Legislature having 
by a large majority decided to remain in the Union, the rebels 
determined to invade the State, and in September General 
Zollicoffer entered it in force. This movement created wide 
spread alarm in Kentucky. On the 2d of October, 1861, 
Governor Morton issued a proclamation to the people of 
Indiana, in which, after reciting the invasion of Kentucky, 
he said : 

" These rebel troops have entered the State from the southeast through 
" the Cumberland Gap ; also, from the southwest, occupying Columbus and 
"other points, but chiefly from the direction of Nashville, toward Louis- 
"ville, seizing and holding the Nashville and Louisville road, up to within 


" forty miles of Louisville. A glance at the map will show the immense 
" importance of their position, and the advantages they have gained. From 
" their camps south of Louisville they can communicate, by railroad, with. 
" every seceding State but two ; and can thus transport to their aid, in a 
" few hours, men and munitions of war from every part of the South. It 
" is the determination of the invaders and conspirators to subjugate the 
" loyal people of Kentucky, and sieze for plunder and vengeance the 
" wealthy and populous cities on the border of Ohio and Indiana. 

" It should require no argument or appeal now, to arouse the people of 
" Indiana to put forth all their strength. When our State was in her 
" infancy, the brave men of Kentucky came to the rescue of our people 
" from the scalping-knife of the savage, and their blood is mingled with our 
" soil on many a field. And shall we not stand by Kentucky now, in this, 
" her hour of peril ? Not to do so, were base ingratitude and criminal 
" folly. We can best defend Indiana by repelling the invader from Ken- 
" tucky, and carry the war thence to the hearts of the rebellious States. 
* -s * 4 

" I, therefore, call upon all men capable of bearing arms, and who can 
" leave their homes, to cast aside their ordinary pursuits and enroll them- 
" selves in the ranks of the army. Let the farmer leave his plow, the mer- 
" chant his store,the mechanic his workshop, the banker his exchange, and 
the professional man his office, and devote themselves to their country, 
" and by enrolling themselves either in the armies of the General Govern- 
" ment or under the military law of the State, be prepared to defend their 
" country and their homes. Every man in the State capable of bearing 
" arms should be in the service of the General Government or the State. 
" Let personal ease and private interests submit to the overruling necessities 
" of the hour, and let us show the world, by the sacrifices we are willing to 
" make in person and property, that we are worthy of our sires, and deserve 
"to retain the inheritance they have bequeathed to us." 

At this time Indiana s quota was already more than full, 
but this appeal gave a new impulse to volunteering and resulted 
in large accessions to the Union forces. The troops now 
recruited were speedily organized, equipped and sent into 
Kentucky, some of them joining BuelPs command south of 
Louisville, and others going to meet Zollicoffer in the south- 
cast. Without tracing in detail the movements that followed, 
it is enough to say that they ended in completely breaking the 
rebel power in Kentucky, and driving them from the State. 
Governor Morton s energy in this emergency was universally 
recognized as of immense value to Kentucky and the Union 

So, also, when General Kirby Smith made his formidable 


raid into Kentucky, in August, 1862, the Unionists of Ken 
tucky and the officers in command turned at once to Governor 
Morton for aid. August 10, General Boyle telegraphed him 
that the rebels were invading Kentucky, and begged him to 
send any forces he could possibly spare. On the llth he sent 
seven companies, fully armed and equipped, to Frankfort. On 
the same day, in compliance with General Boyle s requisition, 
he sent two car loads of ammunition to Frankfort, from the 
Indiana arsenal. On the 12th a dispatch came from General 
Buell, urging Governor Morton to forward all the troops he 
could to General Boyle in Kentucky. On the 13th a full 
regiment left Indianapolis for Louisville, and reported to the 
commanding officer at Bowling Green on the 15th. On the 
16th another regiment was sent, and still another on the 17th. 
During the next ten days troops were forwarded at the rate of 
from one to three regiments per day. At this time an inci 
dent occurred, illustrative of Governor Morton s fertility of 
resources and promptness of action. While every nerve was 
being strained to get troops into Kentucky a difficulty arose 
from the fact that the funds to pay the advance bounty to 
which a certain regiment was entitled had not been forwarded 
from Washington. Many of the men had left their homes 
suddenly, without providing for the maintenance of their fami 
lies, expecting to receive the stipulated bounty-money in time 
to remit it before going to the field. They felt a natural 
reluctance to leaving the State, with the chances of battle in 
the immediate future, unless the wants of their families could 
be at least temporarily provided for. Governor Morton 
addressed the troops, explaining the urgent necessity of their 
instant departure, and proposed to send the money to them as 
soon as it could be obtained. Every murmur was hushed, 
and the men, with cheerful alacrity, shouldered their guns and 
started for the front. On the morning of the 19th, the Gov 
ernor effected an arrangement with citizens and bankers of 
Indianapolis and Cincinnati for an advance of nearly half a 
million dollars, and during that day and the succeeding night 
four regiments were mustered, paid and started for Kentucky. 
By the next evening three more regiments had been paid and 
started. The bounty-money due the regiment which left 


without being paid was forwarded to Kentucky and paid them 
on the Richmond battle field, half an hour before the action 

The battle of Richmond, fought on the 29th and 30th 
of August, 1862, though resulting disastrously to the Union 
troops, checked General Smith s advance, and gave time 
to put Cincinnati, which was his objective point, in a 
state of defense. In this battle there were six Indiana, one 
Kentucky and one Ohio regiment, besides some Kentucky 
cavalry. The opposing force was nearly three times as great. 
The Indiana troops had only been in the service from two to 
three weeks; the rebels w r erc veterans. In a dispatch to 
President Lincoln, dated Sept. 1, General Boyle said : 

" Our troops, especially the Indianians, fought with the courage and gal- 
" antry of veterans. If Ohio and Illinois had supported Indiana, and had 
" sent their troops on, the issue of the battle would have been different. 
" Governor Morton has sent to this state since I have been in command here 
" over twenty thousand men. If other states had done so well we could 
" have overwhelmed the enemy. I deplore the loss that noble Indiana has 
" sustained under the circumstances. It was important to meet the enemy 
" before he reached the center of the state or crossed it, and Indiana, appre- 
" ciating the importance of it, sent her gallant soldiers to meet the foe, no 
" doubt feeling that they would be supported by Ohio, Illinois and Ken 

Again, in May, 1864, when Morgan invaded Kentucky, 
General Burbridge telegraphed to Governor Morton for four 
regiments. The response was: "One regiment leaves to- 
" night, another to-morrow, and two more next day." A fort 
night later word came from Louisville : " The city is in dan- 
" ger. We want four or five thousand men." Troops were 
sent immediately. The same day General Hobson telegraphed 
from Covington for " any troops you can send me to Louisville 
" or Frankfort." Kentucky had then taken every man of 
Indiana s troops that the Governor had. He called out the 
militia of several counties, and placed it in the best position 
for service either at home or across the Ohio. A regiment of 
re-enlisted veterans, arriving at Indianapolis on the short fur 
lough given to re-enlisted men, at once volunteered to go to 
Kentucky, and were promptly sent to the relief of Governor 
Bramlette, besieged in Frankfort. A portion of the Indiana 


Legion was sent to guard the Louisville and Nashville Rail 
road. By every effort, and at every point, Indiana threw her 
self forward to protect Kentucky. Thus repeatedly and in 
every emergency Governor Morton came to the rescue of Ken 
tucky during the war, until he actually became known in 
familiar parlance as the Governor of Indiana and Kentucky. 
His great services in this regard were fully appreciated at the 
time, and are still remembered by the Union men of Kentucky. 
In acknowledoino; them after one of the invasions above refer- 

O O 

red to, the Louisville Journal (the lamented George D. Pren 
tice being the writer) said : 

"He has been emphatically Kentucky s guardian spirit from the very 
" commencement of the dangers that threatened her existence. Kentucky 
" and the whole country owe him a large debt of gratitude. Oh, that all 
"the public functionaries of the country were as vigilant, as clear-sighted, 
" as energetic, as fearless, as chivalric as he." 

The Lexington Observer said : 

" There is no man in the nation to whom Kentucky owes a larger debt of 
" gratitude than to Governor Morton, of Indiana. * * * She is under 
" an obligation to him that she will never forget. It has been well that, 
" having virtually no Governor of her own, she could find so invaluable a 
" friend in the Governor of a neighboring State." 

And only recently a prominent Kentucky Unionist writes : 

What Kentucky Union soldier, whose heart does not bound at the men- 
" tion of his name ? I recollect well, as do hundreds of others, when the regi- 
" ment to which I was attached would have starved to death, after a long 
" and bloody battle, but for his promptness, energy, and determination. He 
" took the responsibility when other men would have hesitated and halted, 
" and our regiment have gone to pieces? 

" How easy it is to forget ! In how many critical emergencies did this 
" man step to the front just in the nick of time and save us. No wonder 
" rebels hate him. He was an army in himself. His influence, which per- 
" vaded the Nation, inspired every State, placed Indiana at the topmost pin- 
" nacle of honor and glory, and saved Kentucky. Kentucky was a sort of 
"an orphan during the rebellion a lone child, over whose inheritance rel- 
" atives furiously were fighting, while it was likely to die of starvation and 
" neglect. But for Morton s sheltering wing, they would have divided our 
" garments and cast lots for our inheritance, thrusting us naked into the 



No sketch of Governor Morton s military administration 
would be complete without at least a reference to the admira 
ble system which he organized and conducted for the relief of 
soldiers and their families. This feature of his administration 
was prominent from the beginning of the war, and finally 
became so conspicuous as to excite scarcely less admiration 
than his energy in raising and equipping troops. By his per 
sistent efforts the first Indiana troops put in the field were 
better equipped than those of any other State. In the fall of 
1861, being unable to get a supply of overcoats from the Gen 
eral Government in time to protect the men from approach 
ing winter, he went to New York and purchased twenty-nine 
thousand overcoats. For a portion he paid the regular gov 
ernment price, $7 75, and for the remainder 9 25 each. They 
were immediately forwarded, and the men made comfortable. 
On presentation of the bill, the Quartermaster General refused 
to pay more than the regulation price on any of the coats, 
leaving the difference of $1 50 on a large number of coats to 
be settled by the State. When informed of this decision, 
Governor Morton replied, " Indiana will not allow her troops 
" to suffer if it be in her power to prevent it, and if the Gen- 
" eral Government will not purchase supplies at current rates, 
" Indiana will." And that was his spirit from the beginning. 
But cold weather was approaching. It was the first winter 
of the war, and the men were not yet accustomed to the hard 
ships nor inured to the exposure of campaign life. They 
needed many things, some of which the government could 
not furnish rapidly enough, and some of which were unknown 
to the regulations. To meet this want, the Governor issued a 
proclamation to the patriotic women of Indiana, calling on 
them to do what they could for their sons and brothers in the 
field. They were requested, either singly or by associations, 
to set about the manufacture of woolen shirts, drawers, socks 
and gloves. He said : 

" The sewing societies of our churches have a wide field for exertion, wider 
" and grander than they will ever find again. Will they not give their 


associations for a time to this beneficent object ? The numerous female 
benevolent societies, by giving their energies and organizations to this 
work, can speedily provide the necessary supply. Let women through the 
country, who have no opportunity to join such associations, emulate each 
other in their labors, and see who shall do most for their country and its 
defenders in this hour of trial." 

In response to this appeal, an immense quantity of the above 
mentioned articles and other comforts were contributed by the 
women, and forwarded to the soldiers. This was the first 
organized effort of any State to make special provisions for 
its soldiers, and was the forerunner of all the sanitary com 
missions. By degrees it expanded into a system whose benefi 
cent operations were felt in all the armies of the "Union. 
Governor Morton also organized the " General Military 
Agency of Indiana," for the special benefit of Indiana sol 
diers. A gentleman of well known energy and probity of 
character was appointed General Agent, to whom was entrusted 
the receipt and distribution of all sanitary supplies, the sup 
ervision of local Agencies, and the direction of all matters 
relating to the relief of soldiers. A large number of local 
and field agents were appointed. The former had local officers 
at various points near the field of operations. They were 
required to make their offices the homes of soldiers ; to assist 
them in getting transportation in returning home, when they 
had no money or Government passes ; to provide them cloth 
ing when, as was too often the case, they were ragged and 
necessitous ; to feed them ; to facilitate every proper purpose ; 
to take charge of returning prisoners, and to provide every 
thing which their shocking destitution demanded ; and, in 
short, to exercise a careful guardianship over Indiana sol 
diers in every possible way. Field agents were expected not 
only to look after the health and comfort of the men, but to 
write letters, to take charge of commissions for them to their 
friends and relatives, to see to the burial of the dead, and the 
preservation of relics, to keep registers of the names of all 
men in hospitals, with date of entry, disease or injury, and, 
in case of death, the date and cause, and other informa 
tion that might be of interest to the friends. The amount of 
good done by the State Military Agency and the State Sani 
tary Commission is incalculable. They found out Indiana 


soldiers in every field and in every prison. Wherever a 
Hoosier boy was heard of in want or suffering, these humane 
organizations managed to reach him. They were on every 
battle-field, and the echoes of the cannon had hardly died 
away before Indiana s agents were there looking for Indiana 
soldiers. Through the Sanitary Commission enormous quan 
tities of fruit and vegetables were distributed among Indiana 
regiments. Nor did they confine their attentions exclusively 
to Indiana soldiers, though these were given the preference. 
Their instructions were to assist and relieve the soldiers of 
other States, whenever it could be done consistently with 
their first duty to those of Indiana, and many a boy in blue 
from other States has had occasion to bless Governor Morton, 
for attentions received from his Sanitary or Military Agents. 
Amid all his other cares Governor Morton found time to give 
considerable personal attention and supervision to these noble 
charities. By tongue and pen he cheered and inspired the 
people, while the vigor of his administration in this regard, as 
in others, made itself felt through the whole body politic. 
Local societies and organizations were formed, and a regular 
system of competitive patriotism inaugurated. In one of his 
proclamations on this subject Governor Morton said : 

"An effective working committee in each ward and township should 
" be at once selected, with such assistants and sub-committees as may be 
" necessary, who can easily ascertain the number of families within their 
"limits requiring aid, and estimate the quantity, kind and cost of all sup- 
" plies needed during the winter. Contributions can be taken up accord- 
" ingly. In this work the township trustees, and the officers of the various 
" churches, will doubtless lend a willing hand. Especially do I desire that 
" ministers of the gospel should present this subject to their respective con- 
" gregations, and co-operate, as far as possible, in carrying out the general 
" plan of relief." 

In another proclamation, calling for additional volunteers, 
he said : 

" Upon those who remain at home, I would urge the solemn duty of mak- 
" ing provisions for the families of those who have or may hereafter 
" enter the army. The soldier in the field should have the sweet assurance 
" that his wife and childen, and all who are dependent upon his labor for 
" a living, will be provided with sufficient food and clothing. Such an 
" assurance would nerve his arm in the hour of battle and enable him to 
" bear with cheerfulness the hardships and privation of a soldier s life. 

jK& Of THE 3^ 



" It would be a lasting disgrace to our people if the family of any soldier 
" should want for bread or raiment while our country is full to overflowing 
" with all the necessaries of life." 

By such appeals and by continually suggesting some 
new plan of organized effort he kept the patriotism of the 
people in constant activity, and secured really marvelous 
results. Men, women, and children seemed to vie with each 
other in their efforts ; loyal ministers of the gospel lent their 
powerful aid to the movement and the whole machinery of 
society was placed at the disposal of the Governor to further 
his patriotic plans. Indiana s noble action in this regard won 
for the State almost as much reputation as the valor of her 
soldiers, and was the theme of general comment. The regu 
lar correspondent of the New York Tribune, writing to that 
paper from Fredericksburg, under date of December 18, 1862, 
immediately after the battle, said : 

" The peculiar and constant attention to the troops his State has sent out 
" so promptly, is the prominent feature of Governor Morton s most admir- 
" able administration. In all our armies, from Kansas to the Potomac, 
" wherever I have met Indiana troops, I have encountered some officer of 
" Governor Morton, going about among them,inquiring especially as to their 
" needs, both in camp and hospital, and performing those thousand offices 
" the soldier so often requires. Would that the same tender care could be 
" extended to every man from whatever State, who is fighting the battles of 
" the Kepublic." 

In his annual message to the Ohio Legislature, in 1864, 
Governor Brough spoke in the warmest terms of commenda 
tion of the Indiana State Agencies and urged the adoption 
of the same system in Ohio. The people of Indiana were 
especially proud of the Governor s labors in this regard. The 
total amount contributed to, and distributed by, the Sanitary 
Commission, from its organization to its close, was 606,570. 
These were the voluntary offerings of the people. In addi 
tion to this, the princely sum of 4,566,898 was contributed 
by counties, townships, cities and towns for the relief of sol 
diers families and soldiers discharged by reason of wounds 
and disease. In this great movement Governor Morton s 
inspiring influence was constantly felt and his patriotic 
appeals kept the people stirred up to this work as they did to 
that of volunteering. 


In addition to the stated efforts of the organizations above 
named Governor Morton sent special relief expeditions after 
every battle in which Indiana soldiers were engaged. During 
the year 1863 seven such missions were performed, a loaded 
steamer being sent in each case. The first took 540 packages 
of stores, twenty-five nurses, and "twenty-one surgeons ; the 
second took 1,000 packages of stores and several nurses and 
surgeons ; the third, 500 packages, with nurses and surgeons, 
etc. In each case these steamers brought back sick and 
wounded soldiers from the South-west. 


On the 21st of April, 1862, just before the battle of Corinth, 
Governor Morton telegraphed the Secretary of War as follows : 

" That a great battle is impending at Corinth, is evident. Before addi- 
1 tional surgical aid can reach the field from any quarter, five or six days 
will elapse. Meanwhile the wounded must suffer immensely. So it was 
at Donelson and Pittsburg. Indiana has at least twenty -four regiments 
before the enemy. I propose to send at once to each of them two addi- 
tional surgeons, and respectfully request authority from you to do so. I 
regard this as an absolute necessity." 

Heretofore each regiment had been allowed only one sur 
geon and one assistant. Experience had shown this medical 
force to be entirely inadequate, especially during or immedi 
ately after a severe battle. This was especially the case after 
the battles of Fort Donelson and Shiloh, and now as another 
one was impending, Governor Morton proposed to make bet 
ter provision, at least for the Indiana soldiers. His appeal to 
the Secretary of War was granted, the necessary authority 
given, and the requisite number of surgeons immediately 
selected and dispatched to the field, with instructions to 
remain as long as their services were required. This action 
gave so much satisfaction that on the 2d of July, 1862, Con 
gress passed an act providing that instead of one assistant sur 
geon, as provided by a former law, each regiment of volun 
teers in the service of the United States should have two 
assistant surgeons. Thus Governor Morton s thoughtful fore 
sight and care of Indiana troops resulted in this important 
change for the benefit of the whole army. 



The foregoing pages furnish abundant evidence of Governor 
Morton s remarkable executive ability, but the record would 
be very incomplete without a reference to his civil adminis 
tration during the period of the war. In most of the North 
ern States this was a mere matter of ordinary routine, but in 
Indiana it was attended by complications of the gravest char 
acter, and difficulties which to most men would have seemed 
insuperable. The war record of Indiana is a monument more 
enduring than brass to the loyalty and patriotism of her peo 
ple who stood by the Government ; but there was another 
class whose memory equally merits preservation as having 
done all in their power to embarrass and cripple the efforts of 
Governor Morton to uphold the authority of the Nation. If 
the noble sacrifices of the former are worthy to be honored as 
long as the sentiments of loyalty and patriotism survive in 
the breasts of men, the infamous conduct of the latter deserves 
to be held up for execration to the last syllable of recorded 
time. There were disloyal men and Democratic rebel sympa 
thizers in nearly all the Northern States, but nowhere were 
they so numerous, malignant, active and well organized as in 
Indiana. For a little while after the firing on Fort Sumter 
the voices of these domestic traitors were hushed in the great 
roar of public patriotism, but they soon recovered confidence, 
and entered on a course of political intrigue and revolutionary 
plotting, which was kept up during the whole war. In pro 
portion as Governor Morton showed himself energetic and 
vigorous in his war policy, these men hated and maligned him, 
and sought to defeat his plans. They exerted themselves to 
weaken our armies by encouraging desertion, by discouraging 
or forcibly resisting recruiting, and by crippling the efforts of 
the State authorities to send reinforcements into the field. 
They held meetings and conventions, and passed resolutions 
denouncing the war. They labored to produce discontent and 
even disloyalty among the soldiers by sending them papers 
and letters condemning the war, urging desertion and promis 
ing protection to deserters. In nearly every county of the 


State they formed an organization for resisting the draft, pro 
tecting deserters and obstructing enlistments. Finally, they 
organized a secret treasonable society known as the " Sons of 
Liberty," for the express purpose of aiding the rebellion and, 
if possible, transferring the war to Indiana soil. During the 
winter of 1861-62, and the summer of 1863, the disloyal sen 
timent was very active. County and local meetings were held 
in many parts of the State, which declared the war "cruel 
and unnecessary," denounced President Lincoln as a " tyrant 
and usurper," Union soldiers as " Lincoln hirelings," etc. 

In the fall of 1862, the Democrats carried the State, elect 
ing a Democratic Legislature. It was a thoroughly disloyal 
Legislature, the Democrats having a majority of six in the 
Senate and twenty-four in the House. The first thing they 
did after assembling was to decline to receive Governor Mor 
ton s message, and to pass a joint resolution tendering thanks 
to Governor Seymour, of New York, for "the exalted and 
patriotic sentiments contained in his recent message." The 
message of Governor Morton was full of important matter, 
and was dignified and patriotic in tone ; but these Indiana 
copperheads rejected it, and indorsed instead the congenial 
utterances of the Democratic Governor of New York. This 
was the key-note of the whole action of the Legislature. They 
adopted resolutions denouncing "arbitrary arrests," and 
declared that Indiana would not " voluntarily contribute 
another man or another dollar to be used for such wicked, 
inhuman and unholy purposes " as the prosecution of the war. 
They instructed the Senators and requested the Representa 
tives in Congress from Indiana to take measures to suspend 
hostilities, and declared in favor of receiving the Southern 
States back into the Union " on a liberal compromise, grant 
ing them ungrudgingly all their constitutional rights and 
privileges, with such additional safeguards as may be neces 
sary to protect them in those rights." They refused to enter 
tain a proposition to allow soldiers in the field to vote, and thus 
practically disfranchised the men at the front. They denounced 
the arming of the negroes, and resolved that " the people of 
the State had over and over again decided against any interfer 
ence with slavery." These are but a few out of many evidences 


of the rank disloyalty of this body. Finally, after having 
done what it could to disgrace the State and cripple the admin 
istration of Governor Morton, the Legislature adjourned with 
out passing a single one of the appropriation bills necessary 
to carry on the State government. This was 


The country in the midst of civil war, the Government 
making steady demands on the States for aid, another call for 
troops imminent, Southern emissaries and rebel sympathizers 
doing all in their power to foment disturbances, and the Leg 
islature adjourned without making any provision for the civil 
or military expenses of the State. In this emergency, Gover 
nor Morton had three courses open before him : first, to allow 
the State institutions to be closed, the interest on the State s 
bonds to go unpaid, and its credit to become bankrupt ; second, 
to call a special session of the same Legislature and endeavor 
to shame it into a performance of its duty ; third, to devise 
extraordinary means of raising money to carry along the State 
government and preserve its credit. He chose the latter 
course. He organized a Bureau of Finance, appointed a 
Financial Secretary, and devised a new system of State gov 
ernment. He appealed to the people, to private bankers and 
to various counties of the State to furnish funds to carry on 
the State government, confident that the next Legislature 
would be a loyal one and justify his acts. The response was 
prompt and liberal. Many counties made appropriations 
ranging from $2,000 to 20,000 each. Private citizens 
advanced a considerable sum, and one railroad company pat 
riotically loaned $15,000. Governor Morton went to Wash 
ington, and on his representation of the case, the General 
Government advanced him, as a disbursing officer, $250,000 
out of a special appropriation for military expenses. Thus, 
through his personal energy and efforts, funds were raised to 
carry on the State government, keep all the State institutions 
open, and defray civil and military expenses. The State offi 
cers were hostile to his administration, and he carried out hir> 
plans entirely independent of them. The Bureau of Finance 


established by him continued from April, 1863, to January, 
1865. The total amount of cash raised and received by Gov 
ernor Morton, during this period, was $1,026,321.31. Of 
this amount, he disbursed, through his Financial Secretary, 
for civil purposes $199,644.93, and for military purposes 
$702,420.15, making a total of ip902,065.08. Of the balance 
left in his hands ($124,256.23) $115,487.18, being part of the 
military fund, was paid back to the General Government, 
and $8,768.95 was paid into the State treasury. Every dollar 
disbursed during the one year and nine months of his finan 
cial administration was paid on his check, proper and suffi 
cient vouchers being taken in all cases. Not a dollar was 
lost or misappropriated. There is no similar case on record 
of the Governor of a State raising funds by his personal 
efforts to support the State Government, and carrying it along 
for nearly two years without any appropriations by the Legis 
lature and without any assistance from the State officers. 

It has already been stated that these latter were hostile to 
Governor Morton s administration . They were more than this. 
As Democrats they desired to see him utterly fail in his efforts 
to sustain the credit of the State and keep it in the front 
rank of loyal commonwealths. When the interest on the 
State debt fell due, on the 1st of July, 1863, they failed and 
refused to make any provision for it, hoping, thereby, to crip 
ple and defeat the plans of Governor Morton. But he was 
equal to this emergency also. Discovering their purpose, he 
hastened to New York, and effected an arrangement with 
a loyal and responsible banking house to advance the 
sum necessary to pay the interest falling due on the date 
above named. But here he met another difficulty. The 
interest could not be paid without a list of the stock-holders. 
The only complete list was in the books of the State Agent at 
New T York a disloyal Democrat and he refused to furnish 
it to the bankers, or to permit them to have access to his 
books. It was then proposed to him that he should pay the 
interest in the usual way, on his own books, the bankers to 
honor his checks issued therefor and to relieve him from any 
personal liability for moneys so paid. This offer was like 
wise refused. Determined not to be defeated, Governor Mor- 



ton set about obtaining a list of the stockholders from outside 
sources, and after much labor and delay, actually succeeded in 
doing so. The interest was finally paid, and the State s credit 
saved. An arrangement was made with the same house to 
pay the interest falling due on the 1st of January and 1st of 
July, 1864, and 1st of January, 1865, and a public notice to 
this effect quieted the fears of foreign creditors, and placed 
the credit of the State higher than it ever stood before. 


The foregoing pages sufficiently indicate the malignant spirit 
of the Indiana Democracy daring the war, but they only 
faintly suggest the enormous difficulties which Governor Mor 
ton had to encounter from this quarter. It is no exaggeration 
to say that he fought two rebellions one in the South and one 
in Indiana. Reference has already been made to some of the 
treasonable practices by which the sympathizers with rebellion 
sought to embarrass his administration, but all of these, wicked 
and nefarious they were, sink into insignificance when com 
pared with the step in which they finally culminated. This 
was nothing less than the organization of a secret treasonable 
society, called " Knights of the Golden Circle," the undoubted 
purpose of which was to plunge the State into revolution and 
precipitate a civil war in its borders. Space would fail to 
relate the numerous outrages and open acts of treason perpe 
trated by this organization before it was discovered. In some 
counties Union men had been driven from their homes, their 
houses and barns had been burned, draft officers had been 
killed, squads of soldiers sent to arrest deserters had been fired 
upon, and companies of rebel sympathizers drilled in open 
clay, with the avowed purpose of resisting the Government 
authorities. Governor Morton was the special object of their 
hatred. His life was repeatedly threatened. Once he was 
fired at as he was leaving the State House at night, the bullet 
grazing his head. These outrages became so frequent, and the 
talk of organized resistance to the draft so alarming, that in 
June, 1863, the Governor issued a proclamation, reciting the 


act of Congress to define and punish treasonable conspiracies, 
and ordering the agitators to submit to the laws. 

Finally, in 1864, through the efforts of Governor Morton, 
and an officer whom he had employed to assist him, a full 
oxposure was made of the secret organization known as the 
41 Knights of the Golden Circle," or " Sons of Liberty." The 
exposure was complete embracing the signs, grips, pass 
words, oaths, ceremonies, principles and purposes of the order. 
The membership in the State at that time was about 50,000. 
Its officers had 200,000 in their hands for the purpose of 
buying arms. The leaders were in close and constant com 
munication with the rebels. An outbreak had been planned 
to take place in August, 1864. The arsenal at Indianapolis 
was to be siezed, railroad and telegraph lines to be cut, and 
the rebel prisoners confined here to be liberated. Governor 
Morton was to be captured, and, if necessary, put out of the 
way. The combined forces of released prisoners and Sons of 
Liberty were to join the rebel forces, who were to advance to 
meet them, in Kentucky. "With such information in his pos 
session, Governor Morton was prepared to deal this treasonable 
organization a crushing blow. He caused the arrest of the Grand 
Commander of the order in this State, the Deputy Grand Com- 
mande^ and four District Commanders all prominent Demo 
crats. These arrests created great consternation in Democratic 
oircles, and completely overthrew the plans of the order. It was 
determined to make an example of the leaders arrested. Accord 
ingly, a military commission was organized, and they were put 
upon their trial for conspiracy and treason. Pending the trial 
the Grand Commander made his escape from the United States 
Court building and fled to Canada. The evidence against the 
others was overwhelming. One of them turned State s evi 
dence, and disclosed all the secrets of the order. The court 
finally found all four of them guilty as charged, and sentenced 
three of them to death and one to imprisonment. The death 
sentence was approved, the day fixed for their execution, and 
preparations for it commenced, when, upon the earnest repre 
sentations of Governor Morton and other prominent loyal 
men, the President commuted their sentence to confinement 


in the Ohio penitentiary. Subsequently, after the close of 
the war, they were all pardoned. 

It was amid such difficulties and dangers as these that Gov 
ernor Morton had to move. In spite of them all, however, 
he held the State to its duty, and, backed by the loyal citizens, 
gave it a place second to none in effective support of the 
National Government. 


It is hardly necessary to say that Governor Morton s man 
agement of State affairs under the manifold difficulties above 
related was enthusiastically approved by the Republicans of 
Indiana. By his vigorous and brilliant administration he 
had given the State more prominence than it had ever enjoyed 
before, elevated its credit in financial circles, and won for it 
golden opinions from loyal people everywhere. During the 
four years from 1860 to 1864 he had come to be regarded as 
one of the foremost men of the nation. His great services to 
the Union cause were universally recognized, and the Repub 
licans in Indiana, at least, felt that he had done what no other 
man living could have done. Therefore, when the Republi 
can Convention met in 1864 he was unanimously nominated 
for re-election. This was an important epoch in his public 
career, and much depended on the result of the election. Of 
course the main question was whether Indiana would remain 
true to the Republican party and the Union, but scarcely sec 
ondary to this was the question whether the Legislature would 
indorse Governor Morton s administration and approve the 
various measures he had adopted to meet emergencies forced 
upon him by the disloyal Democracy. All his acts had been 
done in the confident hope that a Legislature would be elected 
in 1864 which would approve them, and now the time had 
come for an appeal to the people. His opponent for the Gov 
ernorship was Hon. Joseph E. McDonald, now a Senator 
from this State. Friends of both parties arranged for a joint 
Oanvass of the State, and the opening debate was appointed 
to take place at Laporte. The character of the occasion and 
the importance of the issues involved drew an immense con- 


course of people, the crowd being estimated at not less than 
twenty thousand. His competitor was ten years his senior, a 
skillful debater and strong man. He had been nominated 
because it was thought he could cope with Morton " on the 
stump/ 7 but the result proved how ill founded this expectation 
was. The Laporte debate settled beyond all doubt the com 
parative ability of the two men, and in the minds of all pres 
ent virtually fixed the result of the election. Governor Mor 
ton had the opening. His speech was a powerful arraignment 
of the Democratic party and defense of his own administra 
tion. The utter rottenness and treason of the Democracy 
were exposed and every measure and act of his own vindi 
cated. It was a great and convincing speech. Mr. Joseph 
Medill, of the Chicago Tribune, who was present, said that 
one speech, scattered broadcast throughout the State, would 
elect Morton by 10,000 majority ; and the correspondent of the 
New York Tribune wrote : " Nothing like it has been heard 
" in this country since Webster s reply to Hayne." The speech 
was too much for McDonald, and its effect upon the audience 
disheartened him. His reply was virtually a failure, and the 
debate resulted in a great triumph for Governor Morton. His 
friends were prouder of him than ever, and the Democrats were 
correspondingly depressed. At every subsequent appointment 
the Laporte experience was virtually repeated. As Morton 
warmed to his work he rose to even higher strains of argu 
ment, while McDonald labored more and more as he noted 
everywhere that his antagonist was carrying the people with 
him. Governor Morton s speeches in this campaign were 
characterized by the qualities for which he was now so widely 
known power of logic, force of statement, and eloquent 
presentation of Republican principles. He was re-elected by 
20,883 majority, and the Eepublicans gained a majority in 
the Legislature. It was the grandest popular triumph ever 
achieved in the State. 

His message to the Legislature set forth in detail all his 
public acts of the last two years, and was a complete exposi 
tion of the civil, military and financial affairs of the State. 
In conclusion he said : 


"I respectfully request that a joint committee of the two Houses be 
"speedily appointed to investigate the civil and military expenditures I 
" have made since the adjournment of the last Legislature, and to examine 
" vouchers for the same on file in my department, and that the Legislature 
" will make prompt provision for the repayment of the money I have bor- 
" rowed for public purposes. It was advanced from patriotic motives, with 
" a full reliance upon the good faith of the State for its reimbursement, and 
" without it the machinery of the State government could not have been 
" kept in motion." 

Pursuant to this request, the Legislature appointed a joint 
committee to examine the vouchers for receipts and payments 
of money by the Governor. After a thorough examination, 
the committee found (as in his account stated) that the 
Governor had received $1,036.,321.31, and disbursed $902,- 
065.08, leaving a balance in his hands of 124,265.23, for 
which he held a certificate of deposit in bank. The report 
of the committee was a complete vindication of the Gover 
nor s financial administration, and is a lasting tribute to his 
strict and unimpeachable integrity. During a time of civil 
war and great excitement, he raised by his personal efforts, 
and disbursed on his personal check, all the money used by 
the State government during a period of nearly two years, 
without the loss or misappropriation of a dollar. No public 
man in the United States can show a better record than this. 
No other can show a record to compare with it, for there is 
none who was ever placed in similar circumstances, or who 
ever achieved such great results under such enormous difficul 


Governor Morton entered his second term with unabated 
zeal and ardor. He was now in his forty-second year and in 
the prime of physical and mental strength. The vast respon 
sibilities and labors of the last five years had developed his 
character to its fullest proportions. Experience had shown 
him to be equal to every emergency, and success had given 
him a confidence which was almost irresistible in itself. His 
energy, patriotism, executive ability and fertility of resources 
were a theme of general comment. His services to the State 
and Nation were known and honored everywhere. 


In April, 1865, came the end of the war, and the assassin 
ation of President Lincoln. This last event, which so shocked 
the Nation and the world, was a stunning blow to Governor 
Morton. The relations between the martyred President and 
himself had been exceedingly friendly even intimate for 
some years past. They had stood shoulder to shoulder in 
support of the same great cause, laboring with equal zeal to a 
common end. They had advised and counseled together dur 
ing every phase of the conflict, each at times borrowing hope 
and inspiration from the other. Amid a Nation of mourners 
no man felt the death of Mr. Lincoln more than Governor 
Morton, his admirer, co-laborer, and trusted friend. On the 
receipt of the sad intelligence, he issued the following procla 
mation : 

" INDIANAPOLIS, April 15, 1865. / 

11 To the Citizens of Indianapolis: 

" The mournful intelligence has been received that the President, Abra- 
" ham Lincoln, died this morning from a wound inflicted by the hand of an 
" assassin, last night. A great and good man has fallen, and the country 
" has lost its beloved and patriotic Chief Magistrate in the hour of her 
" greatest need. 

" I, therefore, request the citizens of Indianapolis, in testimony of their 
" profound sorrow, to close their places of business, and assemble in the 
" State House Square at twelve o clock M. to-day, to give expression to their 
" sentiments over this great National calamity. 

" O. P. MORTON, 

" Governor of Indiana. 

Immediately after the meeting thus called, the Governor 
hastened to Washington to join in paying the last sad honors 
to his murdered friend. He, with others, accompanied the 
President s remains to their final resting-place ; and, at his 
request, it was decided to have them rest for a day at Indian 
apolis. The ceremonies here were of a most solemn and im 
pressive character. 

Shortly after this the returning troops of Indiana began to 
arrive, and the grateful duty of properly receiving the victor 
ious veterans followed quickly on the mournful task of bury 
ing their murdered chief. The close of the war opened up a 
new field of executive labor, which, if less exciting than that 
of the last few years, was no less perplexing and severe. 


In the fall of 1865, in consequence of his great labors and 
the continued strain upon his energies, Governor Morton s 
health became impaired to such a degree as to require a ces 
sation from work. His physicians prescribed rest and travel, 
and in November, 1865, he went to Europe. He remained 
abroad about five months, when he returned and resumed his 
duties as Governor. His safe return was the more gratifying 
to his friends in Indiana, since a State election was approach 
ing and he was looked to as usual to sound 


State officers, members of Congress and of the State Legis 
lature were to be elected in the fall. The Legislature then 
chosen would have to elect a United States Senator, and it 
was taken by common consent among Republicans that if 
they carried the State Governor Morton was to be the man. 
Shortly after his return from Europe the Republicans called 
a public meeting, the first of the campaign, on the 20th of 
June, 1866. The largest hall in Indianapolis was densely 
crowded with those anxious to see and hear him, and a large 
number of prominent men occupied seats on the platform. 
His speech on this occasion was one of the most powerful and 
scathing he ever delivered. The surroundings were sugges 
tive of stirring memories. He had often spoken from the 
same platform during the war, appealing to the people, call 
ing for volunteers, and exhorting the citizens of the State to 
stand by and support the Government. Now the war was 
over, and the question was presented, as it is to-day, whether 
the fruits of victory should be preserved or surrendered. His 
speech consisted of a vindication of the course of the Repub 
lican party and an arraignment of the Democracy. The lat 
ter portion of it was terribly severe, and is still well remem 
bered by those who heard it. He dwelt upon the course of 
the Democracy during the war, and recalled their countless 
acts of disloyalty. He hurled facts and history at them with 
fatal precision and eifect. Nearly every sentence was received 
with cheers by the audience, and the applause seemed to 
inspire the speaker. His invective fairly glowed with pas- 


sion. Having traced the dark and dishonoring course of the 
Democracy from the firing on Fort Sumter throughout the 
war and down to the time of speaking, he concluded his fiery 
philippic by saying : 

" In short, the Democratic party may be described as a common sewer 
" and loathsome receptacle> into which is emptied every element of inhu- 
" manity and barbarism which has desolated the age." 

In this speech also he made an argument in favor of the 
adoption of the Fourteenth Amendment to the National Con 
stitution, which attracted attention throughout the country. 
No speech delivered since the war had so excoriated the 
Democracy, or portrayed so powerfully their treasonable 
career and purposes, and it earned for Governor Morton their 
deeper hatred than ever. By Republicans it was generally 
accepted as a complete vindication of the principles and pol 
icy of the party, and nearly 3,000,000 copies of it were cir 
culated in different States of the Union. 

During the campaign which followed, Governor Morton 
spoke at various points in the State, and never with greater 
power or effect. The election resulted in a sweeping Repub 
lican victory. In the Legislature the Republicans had thirty- 
two majority on joint ballot. Shortly after the meeting of 
the General Assembly in January, 1867, Governor Morton 
was elected United States Senator, no other Republican can 
didate being even suggested; and he receiving every Repub 
lican vote. 


Great as Governor Morton s services to Republican princi 
ples and the cause of freedom had been heretofore, they have 
been fully matched by those which have marked his senatorial 
career. If he had died at the close of the war he would have 
been remembered as " Indiana s War Governor," as one of the 
mainstays of the Government during the rebellion, and as a 
man of extraordinary executive ability. To these distinctions 
history will now add that he was also a wise and sagacious 
legislator, of broad and comprehensive views, true to liberty 
as the needle to the pole, firm and unyielding in his devotion 


to the cause of right, and immovable as a rock in his support 
of Republican principles. If it be true that no man did more 
to sustain the Government during the war, it is equally true 
that none has done more since the war to secure its results and 
to establish the Government on solid, broad, and enduring 

Governor Morton took his seat in the Senate of the Fortieth 
Congress, March 4, 1 867. At that time Hon. B. F. AVade was 
President of the Senate, and the body numbered among its 
members many able Senators of the war period, some of whom 
have since died, some have passed out of public life, and a few 
still remain in the Senate. Probably never before, certainly 
at no time since, has the Senate embraced more men of abil 
ity, experience and character than it did then. Senator Mor 
ton was welcomed to the body, and received at once into the 
fullest confidence by leading Republican Senators. His polit 
ical record- and services were familiar as household words, 
while his temperate life and spotless character made him a fit 
associate for the best of the great men who then adorned the 
Senate. Their estimate of his abilities is shown by the fact 
that in the organization of the standing committees he was 
accorded throe important places Chairman of the Committee 
on Manufactures, and a member of the Committees on Foreign 
Relations and Military Affairs. 


The great question before the Fortieth Congress, and one 
which was occupying the attention of the whole country at 
that time, was that of Reconstruction, or the rehabilitation of 
the Southern States. The stubborn contest between President 
Johnson and Congress had attracted universal attention to the 
subject, and its intrinsic importance made it the theme of gen 
eral comment and discussion. The great question was how 
far to go in restoring the late rebels to their political rights, 
and what measures were necessary to secure Republican Gov 
ernment to the Southern States, and political equality, together 
with safety and protection, to all classes of people. On this 
question, and all those growing out of it, Senator Morton had 


well settled views. He believed most profoundly that treason 
was a crime, and that those who had engaged in ifc should be 
made to realize the fact. He believed that men who had but 
just laid down their arms after a four years struggle to destroy 
the Government ought not to be trusted immediately with the 
absolute control of the Southern States without the exaction 
of guarantees in the interests of liberty. He desired to accord 
them all civil and political rights as soon as it was safe to do 
so, but he wished also to have the future peace and security 
of the Union "so imbedded in the imperishable bulwarks of 
the constitution that the waves of secession might dash against 
it in vain." While he regarded it as important that the work 
of reconstruction should not be unnecessarily delayed, he con 
sidered it still more important that it should proceed upon 
sound principles which would furnish guarantees for the future 
integrity and peace of the republic. 

On the 24th of January, 1868, Senator Morton delivered 
his first speech in the Senate. The subject under debate was 
the Reconstruction question. He had not intended to speak 
at that time, and had made no deliberate preparation. In the 
course of the debate, however, Senator Doolittle, of Wiscon 
sin, made a bitter attack on the Republican party and the 
Congressional policy of reconstruction. When he concluded, 
Senator Nye rose to reply, but yielded to Senator Morton, 
who spoke extemporaneously and without having made a sin 
gle note. At the beginning of his speech he said : 

"The issue here to-day is the same which prevails throughout the country 
" which will be the issue of this canvass, and perhaps for years -to come. 
" It is between two paramount ideas, each struggling for the supremacy. One 
" is, that the war to suppress the rebellion was right and just on our part ; 
" that the rebels forfeited their civil and political rights, and can only be 
" restored to them upon such conditions as the nation may prescribe for its 
" future safety and prosperity. The other idea is, that the rebellion was 
" not sinful, but was right ; that those engaged in it forfeited no rights, civil 
" or political, and have a right to take charge of their State governments, 
" and be restored to their representation in Congress, just as if there were no 
" rebellion and nothing had occurred. The immediate issue before the Sen- 
" ate now is between the existing State governments established under the 
" policy of the President of the United States in the rebel States, and the 
" plan of reconstruction presented by Congress." 

He then proceeded to demonstrate, first, that when the war 


closed the rebel States were without State governments of any 
kind, since the State governments existing at the beginning 
of the war had been overturned by the rebels, and those 
erected by the rebels had been overturned by our armies, 
leaving the Southern jStates without any government what 
ever. Second, quoting that clause of the Constitution which 
provides that " the United States shall guarantee to every 
" State in this Union a republican form of government," he 
proved conclusively that Congress alone had the right to exer 
cise that power, and that it must be done by a Legislative act. 
Third, he then considered the powers of Congress in the execu 
tion of the guaranty, how it should be executed, and what 
means might be employed for this purpose. This branch of 
the subject was exhaustively treated, and the conclusion 
reached that Congress not only had the power, but was in duty 
bound, to prescribe such a plan of reconstruction as would 
insure justice, security, and equal rights to all classes in the 
South. This could only be done by giving the colored race 
the right of suffrage. Of the State governments organized 
under President Johnson s policy, he said : 

" So far from having been organized by the loyal people, they wereorgan- 
" ized by the disloyal ; every office passed into the hands of a rebel ; the 
" Union men had no part or lot in those governments ; and so far from 
" answering the purpose for which governments are intended, they failfid to 
" extend protection to the loyal men, either white or black." 

Then, having shown the utter failure of the attempt to recon 
struct the Southern States on the basis of the white population 
alone, he said : 

" Now, sir, what was there left to do ? Either we must hold these people 
"continually by military power, or we must use such machinery on such a 
" a new basis as would enable loynl republican governments to be raised up; 
" and in the last result I will say Congress waited long, the Nation waited 
long, experience had to come to the rescue of reason before the thing was 
" done in the last resort, and, as the last thing to be done, Congress deter- 
" mined to dig through all the rubbish dig through the soil and the shift- 
" ing sands, and go down to the eternal rock, and there, upon the basis of 
" the everlasting principle of equal and exact justice to all men, we have 
" planted the column of reconstruction ; and, sir, it will arise slowly, but 
" surely, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. " 

The meager outline here presented furnishes but a faint con 
ception of the comprehensive grasp and convincing power of 


this speech. It was universally conceded to be a masterly 
presentation of the subject accurate in statement, unanswer 
able in logic, forcible and dignified in expression. It placed 
Senator Morton at once among the leaders of the Senate, and 
showed him to be the peer in -debate of the oldest and ablest 
member. Mr. Barnes, the Congressional historian, says, " It 
" was one of the most memorable and effective speeches ever 
" delivered in the United States Senate." Col. John W. For 
ney, in a letter to the Philadelphia Press, wrote : " The scene 
" this afternoon reminded me of the time when Webster and 
" Clay spoke to eager and applauding galleries, and of the 
"latex struggles after the war began, when Breckenridge, 
" thundering treason from his seat, was met and mastered by 
"by the martyred Baker. * * * Governor Morton s 
" speech surprised, even those who knew his consummate abil- 
" ities. He spoke like an inspired patriot. I will not attempt 
" to give you a glimpse of his tremendous refutation of Dem- 
" ocratic falsehoods or his overwhelming vindication of the 
" Republican Congress. * * * He left the chamber amid 
" the admiration of his friends and the respect of his enemies. 
te No statesman who listened to him but must have been con- 
" vinced that he had heard a master, not only in intellect, but 
" in heart, a profound thinker and a resistless logician but 
" more than these, a sincere and fervent lover of his country 
" and all the oppressed races of men." Hon. Reverdy John 
son, in the Senate at that time, said " the speech in manner 
" and matter recalled the days when the chamber was graced 
" by such men as Webster, Clay and Calhoun." The next 
day after its delivery General Rawlins read it to General 
Grant, then General of the army, who, after hearing it, said, 
" That settles it, Eawlins. That one speech, if not another 
" word is said, insures a Republican victory next fall." Thad- 
deus Stevens declared that the speech was the first successful 
attempt to defend the reconstruction policy of Congress. The 
National Executive Committee had it published as a campaign 
document, and distributed 2,000,000 copies of it during the 
ensuing Presidential campaign. 

From that time to the present Senator Morton has been 
recognized as one of the Republican leaders, if not distinctively 


the leader of the Senate. He has been intimately identified 
with every important measure of legislation, originating many 
himself, and shaping or contributing largely to the success of 
others. Naturally progressive, fertile in expedients and 
resources, devoted to principlc/and untiring in the pursuit of 
ends which he believes to be just and right, he has been a 
most powerful advocate and ally of the cause of equal rights 
and free government. 


The thirteenth and fourteenth amendments to the consti 
tution were both adopted before Mr. Morton went into the 
Senate, but his influence had been effectively used in favor of 
the ratification of both in Indiana. These, however, humane 
and important as they were, were comparatively inoperative 
without the Fifteenth Amendment, establishing universal suf 
frage. The Congressional policy of reconstruction which 
Senator Morton was so largely instrumental in shaping, con 
templated the conferring of the suffrage on the negroes of the 
South as a measure at once of justice to them and protection 
to the Union. This was the object of the Fifteenth Amend 
ment, the discussion of which occupied a large share of atten 
tion during the third session of the Fortieth Congress, and 
the final ratification of which was mainly due to Senator 
Morton s persistence of purpose and boldness of action. 

After an exhaustive debate, and an all night session, the 
report of the Conference Committee of the Senate, recom 
mending the adoption of the Amendment, was agreed to early 
on the morning of the 26, 1869. Senator Morton had cham 
pioned the measure from the beginning, and had been ably 
seconded by other Republican Senators. Senator Sumner had 
opposed it on the double ground, first, that it virtually con 
ceded that Congress had not the power to regulate suffrage in 
the States by legislation ; and second, that even if adopted by 
Congress, the Amendment would not be ratified by a sufficient 
number of States to make it operative. Three- fourths of the 
States, (twenty-eight) were required, and to make this number 
Indiana, Texas, Virginia, Mississippi and Georgia would be 


required ID addition to those States certain to ratify. Mr. 
Siimner was confident that the ratification of these States 
could not be secured. Mr. Morton, on the other hand, believed 
it could be. At all events, he maintained that the Amendment 
was just in itself, necessary to the peace and security of the 
Union, and that it should be adopted by Congress and the 
question of ratification be left to the future. Enough Senators 
agreed with him to secure the passage of the Amendment and 
it was adopted, the Democrats all voting against it, and Mr. 
Sumner not voting at all. The Indiana Legislature was in 
session at the time, the Republicans having a majority in each 
branch, but not a quorum (two-thirds) in the House. To pre 
vent the ratification of the Amendment by the House, there 
fore the Democratic members resigned in a body, thus break 
ing a quorum. This was treated as the breaking up of the 
Legislature, and the members of both Houses dispersed to 
their homes. Governor Baker, however, ordered new elec 
tions in the counties from which these members had resigned, 
and in April, 1869, convened the Legislature in extra session. 
Near the close of the session, the Republicans having an 
nounced their purpose of ratifying the Amendment, the Dem 
ocrats again resigned to break a quorum. This time, however, 
they reckoned without their host. Senator Morton returned 
home on the very morning the resignations were handed in, 
and learning what had been done, he immediately sent word 
to the Republican members not to adjourn, but to meet him 
that night in consultation at the Supreme Court Room. On 
assembling, he addressed them at length, taking the ground 
that a quorum of the House was not broken by a resignation 
of more than one-third of the members ; that the constitu 
tional provision requiring two- thirds of the members of each 
House to constitute a quorum meant two-thirds of the actual 
members, and that when a member died or resigned, he was 
no longer a member, and could not be counted as such, and 
that two-thirds of the remaining members constituted a quo 
rum. His argument was conclusive of the question, and the 
next morning both Houses of the Legislature met and ratified 
the Amendment. Their proceedings were duly certified to 
the Secretary of State at "Washington, and Indiana was 


counted as having ratified the Amendment. The Democrats 
who resigned were equally surprised and disgusted at this 
turn of affairs. The next Legislature, (the Democrats being in 
a majority) passed a joint resolution declaring the "pretended " 
ratification "null and void," and "withdrawing and rescinding 
" all action, perfect and imperfect, on the part of this State, 
"purporting to assent to, and ratify said proposed Fifteenth 
"Amendment." Their protest, however, amounted to nothing, 
and Indiana remained in line. 


Pending the passage of the Fifteenth Amendment, a bill was 
introduced in the House authorizing the President to recon 
struct Virginia, Texas and Mississippi. Here was another 
opportunity, and Senator Morton seized it. When the 
bill reached the Senate, he submitted as an amendment an 
additional section, providing that before these States should be 
admitted to representation in Congress they should ratify the 
proposed Fifteenth Amendment. The bill and amendment were 
referred to the Judiciary Committee, which reported adversely 
to the amendment. A three days debate ensued, in which 
Senator Trumbull, chairman of the Judiciary Committee, led 
in support of thr committee s report, and Senator Morton in 
support of his amendment. This debate brought Senator 
Morton again prominently before the Senate and the country. 
The importance of the subject, and the ability with which the 
debate was conducted, caused it to be regarded with unusual 
interest. Mr. Trumbull was deemed the best lawyer in the 
Senate, and was a very able debater, but in this contest Sen 
ator Morton showed himself fully the equal of the distin 
guished Senator from Illinois, both as a lawyer and debater. 
" Senator Morton," said a correspondent of the New York 
Times, " took both the legal and humane aspects of the case 
"into account, and sustained his propositions by a masterly 
" argument, excelling, if that be possible, his former speech 
" on reconstruction." At the conclusion of the debate a vote 
was taken, and Senator Morton was sustained. His amend 
ment passed the Senate and subsequently the House. Thus 


the ratification of Virginia, Texas and Mississippi was 

There remained but one more obstinate State to secure, viz., 
Georgia. This State had been reconstructed in 1868, but had 
subsequently violated faith with the Government by expelling 
all the colored members of the Legislature, on the ground that 
they were not eligible to hold office. In December, 1869, 
therefore, Senator Morton introduced a bill instructing the 
military commandant to reconvene the Georgia Legislature, 
including the colored members elect, and authorizing it thus 
convened to proceed to the work of reconstruction by the elec 
tion of two United States Senators, who should become entitled 
to their seats as soon as the Legislature should ratify the Fif 
teenth Amendment. The Judiciary Committee, as before, took 
exception to the last provision, and reported against it. 
Another debate ensued, similar in spirit to the former, and 
conducted with equal ability. On this occasion Senator Mor 
ton was opposed by Senator Carpenter and others. As 
before, however, he was successful, his bill passing the Senate 
in its original shape by seven majority. Thus was secured 
the ratification of the last of the five States which, a year 
previously, Senator Sumner had declared could not be secured, 
and the Fifteenth Amendment became a part of the constitu 
tion. The ratification of that noble and beneficent measure 
might, in time, have been secured by other means, but it 
stands to-day a grand and perpetual monument of Senator 
Morton s persistency of purpose, fertility of resources, and 
unflinching devotion to the cause of justice. 


In all of Mr. Morton s public life there is nothing more 
honorable to him than his course with regard to the Southern 
States. Rebels and rebel sympathizers have found pleasure 
in stigmatizing him as " the apostle of hate," etc., but the 
impartial historian will write that his whole course towards 
the States and the people of the South has been actuated by a 
desire to establish justice, insure tranquility, elevate the 
oppressed, and protect the weak and helpless. No man living 


entertains towards the people of the South, in so far as they 
d-j right and obey the laws, a more just and kindly feeling 
than Senator Morton ; but he is the determined enemy of 
lawlessness, the unyielding champion of equal rights, and 
the best friend of the South in that he represents the only 
principles on which the Union can be rendered permanent and 

About the close of the summer session of 1870, Senator 
Morton first called the attention of Congress to the fact that 
numerous outrages were being perpetrated and general intim 
idation practiced in the South for political purposes, and 
charged that an organization existed in various parts of the 
South for the purpose of encouraging and perpetrating these 
outrages. His first speech on the subject was replied to by 
Senator Trumbull, who ridiculed the idea of such an organi 
zation. During vacation, however, evidence accumulated, 
and at the opening of the next session of Congress Senator 
Morton offered a resolution authorizing the appointment of a 
committee to investigate and report upon the subject. The 
Senate, however, was not yet ready to act. His next step was 
the introduction of a resolution calling on the President for 
whatever information he might have in regard to the commis 
sion of outrages in the South. The President did not respond 
for some time, and when he did some Senators evinced a 
strong disposition to adjourn without taking any action in the 
premises. Senator Morton, however, was convinced that 
something must be done to protect life at the South and put 
a stop to the murders and outrages which were now growing 
more and more frequent. He accordingly determined to pre 
vent an adjournment of the Senate till some measure to that 
end could be perfected, and, if possible, passed. The result 
was that, after a protracted and earnest debate, extending 
through several weeks, the Senate passed an act entitled "An 
act to enforce the rights of citizens of the United States to 
vote in the several States of this Union, and for other pur 
poses/ 5 which became commonly known as " The Ku-klux 
Act." And, finally, when upon his original motion a commit 
tee was appointed to investigate as to the alleged existence of 
the ku-klux organization, their report showed a condition of 


affairs which startled the Nation and shocked the civilized 
world. Their report completely vindicated Senator Morton s 
wisdom and justified all he had said and done in this behalf. 


One of the greatest political contests of recent times was 
the long struggle, hardly ended yet, running through several 
years, and embracing many ramifications and phases, commonly 
known as the Louisiana question. Briefly, it was a case of 
two contending State governments, each claiming to be legal 
and genuine, and asking for recognition by the General Gov 
ernment. In point of fact it was an effort on the part of the 
Democracy in that State to override the will of the majority 
and establish themselves in power by violence. Senator 
Morton espoused the cause of the Kellogg government, and 
defended it with such an array of facts and precedents, and 
legal argument as made the end certain from the beginning. 
The contest was stubborn and long continued, but at each 
renewal of it, Senator Morton established and secured his 

During the last session of the Forty-second Congress, a 
committee was appointed to investigate the Louisiana case. 
It consisted of Senators Carpenter, Logan, Anthony, Alcorn, 
of Mississippi, Hill, of Georgia, Trumbull and Morton. After 
an exhaustive investigation, Messrs. Carpenter, Logan, An 
thony and Alcorn reported that the election under which 
both State governments were claiming, was void for fraud, 
but admitted that if it had been fairly conducted Kellogg 
must have been elected Governor by at least 15,000 majority. 
Messrs. Trumbull and Hill took the ground that McEnery 
was elected. Senator Morton alone reported and mantained 
that while the election was characterized by great fraud and 
violence, Governor Kellogg had a majority of the vote cast 
and was clearly elected ; that the Supreme Court of the State, 
which was elected in 1868 and was therefore out of the dis 
pute, had recognized the Kellogg government ; that the decis 
ions of the Supreme Court of the State were conclusive on all 
questions arising exclusively under the Constitution and laws 


of Louisiana, and that the validity of the State election was 
such a question. Pending these reports, Mr. Carpenter intro 
duced a bill setting aside the election, and authorizing the 
President to order a new one to be held under Federal super 
vision. A three days debate ensued, in which, Senator Mor 
ton, single-handed and alone, opposed the passage of the bill. 
Messrs. Carpenter, Anthony, Logan, and Alcorn advocated 
the measure very earnestly. They brought their combined 
powers to bear against Senator Morton, but without effect. 
He scarcely ever appeared to greater advantage than in this 
debate, and at its conclusion, Mr. Carpenter s bill was defeated 
by two majority. Subsequently, Senator Morton s report was 
adopted by the Senate, the Kellogg government recognized, 
and the President s support of it against the attempted revo 
lution of the White Leaguers was sustained by the votes of 
all the Republican members of the Senate. During the ses 
sion of 1873-4, Mr. Carpenter again introduced his bill for a 
new election in Louisiana, and re-opened the debate. As it 
progressed, however, he discovered that Senator Morton s 
position was more impregnable than ever, and his following 
stronger ; so he finally abandoned his own measure and came 
to the support of Mr. Morton. 


It is freely charged against Senator Morton (and really it 
is the only charge brought against him) that he is wholly 
devoted to party, and has no convictions or motives beyond 
those of mere partisanship. A more unjust or untrue assertion 
could not be made. He is, indeed, an ardent Republican. He 
believes wholly and unreservedly in Republican principles, and 
that the welfare and safety of the country depend on the reten 
tion of the Republican party in power. He cordially detests 
because he fully understands the malignant spirit and dangerous 
purposes of the Democratic party, and believes that its restora 
tion to power would be a public calamity. But he is as honest 
in politics as he is in pecuniary matters, and no person can point 
to a single act of his public life not dictated by a desire to do 
justice and defend the right. As chairman of the committee 


above referred to, he lias had ample opportunity to sacrifice prin 
ciple to partisanship, but in no case has he ever done so. He 
has treated every question brought before him in a spirit of 
lofty justice and judicial fairness, keeping constantly in view his 
responsibility to the Senate and the rights and dignity of the 
body. The case of Caldwell, of Kansas, is in point. Caldwell 
was charged with having bought his election to the Senate. As 
Chairman of the Committe on Elections it became the duty 
of Senator Morton to investigate the case, and upon the evi 
dence, adduced he reported in favor of CaldwelPs expulsion, 
and took high ground in favor of purifying the Senate. There 
was no question of CaldwelPs guilt, but his friends demanded 
that the Senate should simply declare his election void, instead 
of expelling him. Some of the ablest members of the Senate 
opposed Morton in this matter, but he so pressed the corrupt 
Senator that in order to escape the certainty of impending 
expulsion he resigned. Of Mr. Morton s action in this case, 
the Washington correspondent of the Chicago Tribune said 

" To take position against Caldwell as Morton did, required some mental 
" and moral courage, for the Senate is such a little body that fellowship 
" prevails in it as in a female seminary. A big conspiracy gathered around 
M Caldwell for his support ; but Morton is a man who kindles and enlarges 
" by opposition, when aware that his cause is legitimate and popular. * 
" * * He had prepared a closing speech to overwhelm Caldwell ; and from 
" what I have heard of the contents of that speech, I presume that, had he 
** delivered it, it would have spread his reputation abroad as one of the most 
"determined political reformers of his time. * * * Senator Morton, 
H with his great energies, clear sagacity and adaptability, and solid acquire- 
41 ments, can be one of the leading spirits of our period, if he continues to 
" remedy and lighten and harmonize matters as he has recently been doing." 

The press of the country generally gave Senator Morton 
great credit for his conduct of the case. The St. Louis Dem 
ocrat said : 

" Senator Morton deserves great credit for the boldness and energy with 
11 which he pressed the matter upon the attention of the Senate. The coun- 
"try owes him much for what he has done." 

The Leavenworth Sentinel said : 

" Especially will the people of Kansas hold in grateful remembrance the 
"able and untiring and successful efforts of Senator Morton, of Indiana, 
" in bringing this guilty man to a proper sense of his unworthii 





The Topeka Daily Commonwealth said : 

" Next to his immediate people of Indiana, Senator Morton has the most 
"indefeasable claim on the gratitude and regard of the people of the State 
" of Kansas. As chairman of the Committee on Privileges and Elections, 
" and on the floor of the Senate, he fought the fight against bribery and 
" corruption for us when we were without a champion." 

Nearly all of the leading papers of the country spoke in 
the same strain. 

The Caldwell case is a type of Senator Morton s whole 
conduct as Chairman of the Committee on Elections in the 
Senate. Every question has been approached in a spirit of 
justice, without regard to partisan bearings, and treated with 
a strictly judicial fairness. The rights of the Senate have 
been kept constantly in view, while the rights of individuals 
have received the utmost consideration consistent with the 
dignity and purity of the Senate. 

In 1873 this committee was directed by resolution to report 
" the best and most practicable mode of electing the Presi 
dent and Vice President, and providing a tribunal to adjust 
and decide all contested elections connected therewith." In 
response to this resolution Senator Morton made an elaborate 
report, setting forth the inconvenience and cumbrousness of 
the electoral college, and proposed a plan for its practical 
abolition by the election of President and Vice President by 
popular vote. At the same time he proposed a remedy for 
the possible and dangerous emergency of a contested electoral 
representation. His ideas on the latter subject have been, 
practically adopted by changing the mode of counting elec 
toral votes, and it can hardly be doubted that his proposition 
for the abolition of the electoral college and the election of 
President and Vice President by popular vote will be adopted 
at no distant day, in substance if not in form. 


As before stated, Senator Morton has never been actuated 
by a feeling of hostility to the South. His ruling sentiment. 
has been one of loyalty to the Union, fidelity to principle, 
and justice to all. He has repeatedly said that the Southern 


people had in their own hands the power of restoring perfect 
peace by obeying the Constitution and the laws in good faith, 
and recognizing the principle of political toleration. But he 
has opposed with all the force and determination of his nature 
the admission of unrepentant rebels to a full participation in 
government, or the practical obliteration of the dividing line 
between loyalty and treason. He believes that there is such 
a thing as treason, and that those who engaged it should have 
been made to feel some of its consequences. He believes 
that during the civil war there was a right side and a wrong 
side, and that public opinion, at least, if not the law of the 
land, should recognize a distinction between those who fought 
for the Government and those who fought against it. Shortly 
after the close of the war, in his message to the Indiana Leg 
islature in November, 1865, he said : 

" While the heresy of State sovereignty has been extirpated, and the ques- 
" tions involved in the conflict settled by the arbitrament of arms, it is yet 
" of the greatest importance to the Nation that these questions be acljudi- 
"catedand determined by the highest judicial tribunal, which might most 
" appropriately be done in a trial, for high treason and other atrocious 
" crimes, of the chief and head of this most wicked and bloody rebellion. 
" It should be definitely established as a principle in our Constitution, both 
"by judicial decision and example of punishment, that rebellion is treason, 
" that treason is a crime which may not be committed with impunity ; and 
" that there is but one sovereignty, which resides in the collective and undi- 
" vided people of the United States." 

In the light of subsequent events, it cannot be doubted 
that the country would have been the gainer by such a judi 
cial determination of the crime of treason, or that it is likely 
to experience more and more sharply the evil results of a too 
lenient policy. 

In January, 1872, a bill was introduced in the Senate for 
the removal of all disabilities imposed by the third section 
of the Fourteenth Amendment in other words for universal 
amnesty. Senator Morton opposed it in a speech delivered 
on the 23d of that month. After premising that amnesty 
was usually considered in the light of expediency on one hand, 
or of passion on the other, he said he proposed to consider it 
from a higher plane, entirely above the domain of feeling or 
expediency. He said : 

" I think there is a great principle involved which Congress ought to con- 


" sider a principle of consistency, of duty to the Government, and espec 
ially a principle of the greatest importance to posterity." 

As to the real meaning and effect of amnesty, which he 
declared as an act of oblivioJ, he said : 

" Universal amnesty removes the last mark of legal disapprobation of 
" this rebellion. It is a declaration to posterity that there was nothing 
" wrong in the rebellion, that it involved no criminality, that it was simply 
" an honest difference of opinion between parties, in which there was no 
" criminality on either side. * Sir, I want peace in the South ; I 

" want it as earnestly as any man can ; but I want peace in the South on 
" correct principles. I am not willing to purchase peace by Conceding that 
" they were right and that we were wrong. They must regard universal 
" amnesty in that light ; history must regard it in that light." 

After further discussing the moral effect of universal 
amnesty, with the probable results of the restoration of the 
Democratic party to power, through the votes of the ex-rebels, 
he continued : 

" Mr. President, to me universal amnesty Beems like sickly sentimental- 
" ism ; it is magnanimity slopping over ; it is spurious generosity, oblivious 
" alike of justice, of principle and of posterity. Let us have a little healthy 
" public sentiment. Let us have something this nation can live by. Let us 
" teach a lesson in history that we are willing our children shall be governed 
" by. Let us not say to future generations that those who sought to destroy 
" the best government tn the world, who sought to build a new government 
" whose corner-stone should be human slavery, who were guilty of inhu- 
" manity, and who practiced a barborism that belonged to times long gone 
" by let us not say to future generations that these men did no wrong, that 
" they were worthy of all acceptation, and of again being returned to the 
" highest positions in the Government." 

The extracts do not represent the scope and comprehensive 
ness of the speech, but they indicate its spirit. It was a plea 
for loyalty against treason, for the real rights of the Govern 
ment against imaginary rights of rebels. Towards the close 
of the speech he was several times interrupted by Democratic 
Senators, when, changing the course of his argument, he 
attacked the recent record of the Democratic party, showing 
its avowed hostility to the Constitutional amendments and to 
political equality in the South. He demonstrated beyond a 
doubt that their purpose was to undo the reconstruction acts 
of Congress, overthrow the State governments then established 
in the South, and re-organize them on the " White man s 
" basis." In the light of subsequent events some portions of 


this speech read like a prophecy, and each succeeding year 
furnishes additional proof of the speaker s political prescience. 
The amnesty bill was defeated in the Senate, and this speech 
of Senator Morton s, which was mainly instrumental in the 
result, was published as a campaign document and circulated 
far and wide in the campaign of 1868. 


Space would fail us to recount all of Senator Morton s ser 
vices in the Senate to the cause of liberty, union and prog 
ress. At all times and in all circumstances he has been the 
faithful champion of Republican principles, instant in season 
and out of season, always ready to lead in attack or defense 
as occasion might require. No man now in public life has 
been identified with so many great public measures either as 
author or champion. If his services to the Republican party 
have been such as to deserve the gratitude of all Republicans, 
his services to the cause of liberty and humanity challenge 
the admiration of every patriot and philanthropist. Nature 
and circumstances have united to make him a political leader. 
His remarkable political sagacity and foresight have been 
supplemented by large experience and knowledge of men 
and affairs. He is bold without being rash, sanguine without 
being over confident, always cool, never losing his self con 
trol, never forgetting what is due to an opponent or to himself, 
and, above all, never forgetting to press steadily toward his 
objective point. Once committed to a great measure he 
knows no such word as fail. The foregoing pages furnish 
abundant evidence of his persistence of purpose and fertility 
of resources. He knows the Democratic party thoroughly, 
and exposes its plans and purposes with an accuracy as mar 
velous as it is relentless. 

His own strong and conscientious convictions in politics 
seem to bring him into close accord with the people, and he 
rarely fails to interpret their feelings and wishes aright. For 
this reason, among others, he has ever since the war been 
looked to by the Republicans, not alone of Indiana, but of 
other States, to lead the attack on the Democratic party. 


For ten years past he has borne an active part in the cam 
paigns of other States than Indiana, generally being called 
upon to open the campaign and sound the key note. His 
services last year in Ohio, Pennsylvania and Maine are still 
fresh in the memories of Republicans in those States. He 
was the first speaker from any other State to enter Ohio and 
the last to leave it, delivering the first speech made by any 
non-resident, on the 7th of August, at Urbana, and follow 
ing it up with a series of powerful and effective addresses. 
His last speech ii} the State was delivered at Cincinnati on 
the Saturday night before the election. In Indiana it is 
hardly necessary to say he is the head and front of every 
campaign, so far as the Republicans are concerned. The 
party in this State embraces many other able and eloquent 
men, but none who has such a hold on the hearts of the peo 
ple, or whose tremendous power is so universally felt and rec 
ognized. The secret of Senator Morton s force as a speaker 
lies in his terrible earnestness and irresistible logic. He 
never trifles with his audiences or underrates their intelli 
gence. He rarely, if ever, indulges in anecdotes or pleas 
antry. His style is dignified, severe, and argumentative, yet 
so simple as to interest all classes of hearers, while his logic 
carries conviction to all minds alike. As a politic::! organ 
izer he has no superior. His services in this regard have 
been invaluable to the Republicans of Indiana, and his coun 
sel and advice are often sought by those of other States. 


From the first issue of legal tender notes during the war 
and their subsequent speedy depreciation, Mr. Morton has 
recognized the evils of a depreciated currency and the neces 
sity of placing it upon a stable basis as soon as it could be done 
without unnecessary injury to the business of the country. 
In dealing with this difficult problem, while keeping steadily 
in view the ultimate resumption of specie payments, he has 
aimed to shape the policy of the Government so that this end 
might be reached with the least shock to business and the 
least distress to business men. In his speech at Urbana, 


Ohio, delivered on the 7th of August, 1875, after speaking of 
the origin, object and effect of the so-called Resumption Act, 
he said : 

" I had something to do with tho preparation of this bill, voted for it in 
"good faith, and intend to stand by it until experience has demonstrated 
" that it is impracticable or needs amendment. Its main feature, fixing a 
" day for resumption and providing for it, I had proposed to the Senate 
" six years before, and whether the time fixed for it is a proper one or not, 
" and I should have preferred it a year or two later, it is the method by 
" by which, I believe, specie payments can and will be reached. It estab- 
" lishcs the policy of free banking, the slow, gradual, but sure return to 
" specie payments, and no contraction or expansion of the currency until 
" that time. 

This is still his position. It may be added that he has 
always been opposed to the increase of greenbacks beyond the 
original limit of 400,000,000, and has denounced every prop 
osition of the kind, and particularly the proposition to issue new 
greenbacks in payment of the bonds, as equivalent to robbery 
and repudiation. Prior to the panic of 1873, he had steadily 
advocated legislation looking to the early resumption of specie 
payments. When that event occurred, believing that the per 
iod of resumption was necessarily postponed for a considera 
ble time, and that the true remedy for, and relief from, the 
panic was that which had long been successfully employed in 
England in similar emergencies, viz : a moderate increase of 
the currency, he advised the President to. put into circulation 
the 44,000,000 reserve of greenbacks then in the treasury, 
but he did not then advocate, and never has advocated any 
increase of the greenback circulation beyond the original legal 
limit of 400,000,000. 


No American statesman of the present generation has 
labored so hard or so effectively as Senator Morton to incul 
cate the idea that the United States are a Nation, and not a 
mere confederation of states. To his mind the former idea 
embraces the true conception of our governmental system, and 
the only one on which the Union can be made enduring, while 
the latter contains the very elements of weakness, disintegra- 


tion and ruin. In the attempted secession of the Southern 
States, and the war which followed, he saw the natural fruits 
of the doctrine that the Government is a mere confederation 
of states, and the resultant heresy of State rights ; while in 
the efforts of the Government to preserve the Union and its 
own existence he recognized the grand idea of a new nation 
ality. In a message to the Indiana Legislature, in November, 
1865, shortly after the close of the war, he said : 

" The war has established upon imperishable foundations the great funda- 
" mental truth of the unity and indivisibility of the Nation. We are many 
" States, but one people, having one undivided sovereignty, one flag, and one 
"common destiny." 

In a lecture, delivered at Providence, Rhode Island, Novem 
ber 27, 1871, in the Franklin Lyceum course, he took for his 
theme the " National Idea," and elaborated the subject very 
thoroughly, tracing the the development of the State Sover 
eignty doctrine from the resolations of 1798 to the breaking 
out of the rebellion, and showing how pregnant it had always 
been with danger to the country. In the course of this address 
Senator Morton said : 

" The idea that we are a Nation, that we are one people, undivided and 
" indivisible, should be a plank in the platform of every party. It should 
" be presented on the banner of every party. It should be taught in every 
"school, academy and college. It should be the political north star, by 
" which every political manager should steer his bark. It should be the 
" central idea of American politics, and every child should, so to speak, be 
"vaccinated with the idea, that he may be protected against this political 
" distemper that has brought such calamity upon our country." 

Similar quotations might be made at length. From nearly 
all his speeches and addresses delivered in or out of the Sen 
ate during the last ten years, the idea crops out with ever 
recurring force that the American people are one people, and 
this Government a government of the people and not of 
States in short, that we are a Nation, and not a Confederacy. 
There is now pending in the Senate a series of resolutions, 
introduced by him, declaratory of this idea as against the 
opposing one of State sovereignty, upon which he will speak 
whenever, in the course of public business, the question can 
be reached. 



A man of Senator Morton s positive character must needs 
have warm friends and bitter enemies. During the whole 
of his public life he has held strong convictions on all public 
questions, dodging nothing, evading no responsibility, and 
never concealing his opinions. In every contest for principle 
he has been in the thickest of the fight, and generally lead 
ing the way. Thus he has won for himself the enthusiastic 
support of the rank and file of the Republican party, the pro 
found respect of all who admire consistent devotion to prin 
ciple and the bitter hatred of Democrats generally. He has 
exposed and defeated the plans of the Democracy so often, 
routed them on so many fields, and pointed the way to Repub 
lican victory in so many contests, that they stand in mortal 
fear of him and hate him in the same proportion. 

But while Senator Morton has the honor of being the most 
cordially hated and best abused man in the Nation by ex-rebels, 
rebel sympathizers, and Democrats, he has also received such 
evidences of approval from many quarters as any public man 
might well be proud of. It is needless to speak of his popu 
larity and strength in Indiana. The Republicans of his own 
State delight to honor him. They elected him Governor in 
1864 by the largest majority ever given in the State, and have 
since twice elected him unanimously to the United States 
Senate. But recognition of his services to the country and 
the Republican party has not been confined to the people of 
Indiana. In September, 1862, Secretary Chase said, in a let 
ter to Robert Dale Owen, " Governor Morton merits all you 
" promise. I have believed in him from the first day I saw 
" him." Admiral Foote wrote to a brother of his during the 
war, " Governor Morton furnished me the powder with which 
" my Jleet took Fort Henry. He is our mainstay in the 
" West." General Grant acknowledged his services several 
different times in letters which have since been lost. After 
the close of the war, Secretary Chase wrote him as follows : 

" WASHINGTON, Nov. 10, 1865. 

" MY DEAR GOVERNOR : I think it is the right of men, who have ably 


" and faithfully served their country, to know that their labors are appre- 
" ciated as they merit. 

" So I will not deny myself the pleasure of telling you that Secretary 
" Stanton was with me last evening, and we, naturally turning our minds to 
" the past, fell to talking of you. 

"We agreed that no Governor rendered such services, or displayed such 
" courage or more ability in administration ; and we agreed that your 
" recent services were most meritorious of all, because rendered under cir- 
" cumstances of greater personal risk of health and life, and which would 
" have been by almost any man regarded, and by all accepted, as good rea- 
" son for total in action. 

" I have seldom heard Stanton express himself so earnestly. 

" I hope you will derive some satisfaction from this little relation. The 
" talk gave much to me. 

" Cordially, your friend, 

"S. P. CHASE." 

In a speech delivered at a Soldiers Re-union at Rockville, 
in this State, on the 6th of September last, General Sherman 
said : 

" Governor Morton was one of the few civilians who seemed to be unable 
" to do enough for his soldiers, never hesitating to count the cost or the sac- 
" rifice, but acting speedily and in season. Gen. Grant and all of us thought 
" him one of the noblest men at home. I wish to repeat what I have here- 
" tofore said so often, that to Governor Morton the army owed much in 
" many ways. He never failed us. He never said our State had stood the 
" draft, or we have furnished our quota, but answered every called, and when 
" the State was well nigh impoverished he used his own credit. To-day the 
"record of his fame as the soldier s friend is bright and untarnished as 
" glittering gold." 

Referring to his war services, the Cincinnati Commercial 

" During the war there were three civil officers who displayed great exec- 
" utive ability, viz.: Stanton, Andrews and Morton. However, others were 
"distinguished, the first distinction for grasping the responsibilities of the 
" occasion and becoming recognized, positive personal forces, distinctly and 
" vastly influential, belongs to the Secretary of War and the Governors of 
"Massachusetts and Indiana. The labor performed by these men, the 
"energy they put into the war, the mighty impulses they gave to armies 
" can not be understood by ordinary workers were but dimly appreciated 
" in the days when their services were most essential but they will stand 
" forth denned and gigantic in history." 

In 1863 the New York Times said: 

"The State of Indiana has already more than half raised her quota 
" under the last call of the President, and her residue will be ready in 
" about two weeks. The State of New York has not yet raised a regiment 


" in response to that proclamation. The difference is principally 

"due to the fact that Indiana has a Governor of pre-eminent devotion to 
" the cause and signal executive ability, while New York has not." 

Seymour was Governor of New York at that time. 
The Washington Chronicle said : 

" In the darkest hour of the slaveholders rebellion Governor Morton 
" stood like a rock for the flag. He held the great State of Indiana true 
" to that sacred symbol of freedom. When the politics of the so-called 
" Democracy in that State became little better than a conspiracy of assas- 
a sins, when beaten everywhere at the ballot-box that party turned to the 
" pistol and the midnight conclave the final arguments of traitors how 
" heroically did governor Morton meet and vanquish their gathering clans ! 
" how did he put to flight the cabals of traitors ! " 

The St. Louis Democrat said, in 1872 : 

" Of the many distinguished men, soldiers and civilians, who have been 
" brought into prominence during the last sixteen years, few have been 
" more conspicuous or useful than Oliver P. Morton, of Indiana. * * * 
" There is no man in public life who has done more for the safety, honor 
" and prosperity of the Nation. His pluck and energy during the war, and 
" especially his clear grit throughout the more perilous ordeal of recon- 
<; struction; have given him a strong hold on the popular heart." 

Similar extracts from leading papers might be multiplied 
indefinitely, Xo American statesman now living has received 
so many evidences of approval from distinguished sources of 
his services to the country and his devotion to Republican 

In October, 1870, President Grant tendered him the mis 
sion to England. At that time the Alabama question was 
absorbing public attention, and its settlement upon just and 
enduring principles was universally conceded to be a matter 
of great consequence. Senator Morton s ability as a lawyer, 
his experience as a statesman, and his proved loyalty to Amer 
ican ideas marked him as one eminently fitted for the duty of 
settling this important controversy, and the appointment was 
accordingly tendered to him. The announcement of this fact 
met with general approval throughout the country. The 
Boston Advertiser said : 

"The selection of Senator Morton for the English mission is creditable to 
41 the administration. He has filled with honor many high offices at home, 
41 though he is yet in the prime of life. In Indiana, during the war, he was 
" a model governor. In the United States Senate he has had few peers in 
" the clearness of his intellect and the breadth of his views. In his new 


" position we have no doubt he will prove a worthy successor of the able 
"ministers who have gone before him. The State of Indiana will be for 
tunate if it secures a Senator in his place of equal ability and influence." 

The Chicago Tribune said : 

" The appointment is creditable to the administration. England is just 
" now the great point in Europe at which the United States need a statesman 
" of ability. * * * In selecting a minister to Great Britain the Presi- 
" dent has been more than usually prudent. He has not held the office to 
" bestow it in any sense ns a mere compliment, or as a reward for political 
"services. He has sought the best man in the country in order to 
" obtain a suitable person for the grave responsibilities of the post. There 
" are few men in public life equal in ability and vigor of intellect to Sen- 
" ator Morton. * * * The appointment will strike the country as an 
" admirable one in every respect." 

Such was the unanimous voice of the Republican press, and 
of the country generally. Upon full consideration, however, 
and especially in view of the fact that if he resigned his plane 
in the Senate the Legislature would elect a Democrat to suc 
ceed him, Senator Morton declined the proffered honor. 
Upon this the President sent him the following : 

" WASHINGTON, D. C., Oct. 21. / 

" Hon. 0. P. Morton, U. 8. S. : 

" DEAR SIR : Your letter of the 19th inst., declining the English Mis- 
" sion, with reasons therefor, is received. I fully concur with you in all 
"the reasons which you give for the course you find it your duty to pursue 
"in the matter, but regret that the country is not to have your valuable 
" services at the English Court at this important juncture. Your course, 
" however, I deem wise, and it will be highly appreciated by your constit- 
" uents in Indiana and throughout the country. 

"With assurances of my highest regards, I remain, very truly, your 
" obedient servant, TT. S. GRANT." 


We have thus presented in outline some of the salient fea 
tures of Mr. Morton s character and career. According to any 
just standard of greatness he must be regarded as one of the 
great men of the age, and his friends point with confidence and 
pride to his public services as entitling him to a place among 
America s greatest sons. Those who do not know him will 
gather some idea from the foregoing pages of his comprehen- 


sive scope of intellect, his lofty patriotism, his devotion to 
principle, and his readiness to assume responsibility in every 
emergency. Those who enjoy his personal acquaintance will 
bear further witness to his amiable disposition, his simplicity 
of character, and the absolute purity of his private life. It 
is a grand thing for a man to be able to point to such a rec 
ord of public service as Mr. Morton s ; bat it is a still greater 
source of pride to his friends to have it in their power to say 
that in the whole course of his long career he has never made 
a dollar dishonestly, nor lent himself to the commission of a 
wrong or an unjust act. Enemies may defame and rivals 
may endeavor to belittle his character, but the impartial his 
torian will write the name of Oliver P. Morton among those 
of the great men of the nineteenth century. 




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