The Great Union Meeting


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Civil War Harper's Weekly, March 21, 1863

This site features all the Harper's Weekly newspapers published during the Civil War. This collection serves as an invaluable research tool for the serious student of the Civil War, and offers a new perspective on the key elements of the conflict.

(Scroll Down to See Entire Page, or Newspaper Thumbnails below will take you to the page of interest)


Union Meeting

Union Meeting

Army Hospital

US Army Hospital

Nashville Destroyed

Destruction of the Nashville

Lake Providence

Lake Providence

New Orleans Levee

Repairing the New Orleans Levee

Building Levee

Building the New Orleans Levee

Gold Panic

Gold Panic


Rappahannock River Cartoon

Wall Street

Wall Street

The "Florda"

The Pirate "Florida" Destroys the Jacob Bell

Levee in New Orleans

Picture of the New Orleans Levee





VOL. VII.—No. 325.]



Entered according to Act of Congress, in the Year 1863, by Harper & Brothers, in the Clerk's Office of the District Court for the Southern District of New York.


WE regard the mass meeting of the people which was held at Cooper Institute in this city, on 6th March, as securing the consolidation of the North on the great question of the war ; and we therefore take occasion to lay before our readers the portraits of the two principal speakers, Mr. JOHN VAN BUREN and Mr. JAMES T. BRADY, both well-known men, lawyers of the highest rank, gentlemen of high character, and the most influential leaders of the Democracy in this city.

The meeting itself is conceded on all hands to have been a great success. The Herald of 7th said :

The largest and most enthusiastic war meeting ever held in this city since the memorable open-air gathering at Union Square in 1861 took place at the Cooper Institute last evening. The meeting was called for eight o'clock, but long before seven the large hall of the Institute was besieged on every side by citizens of every rank and condition in life. To say that the building was crowded to repletion is to convey a very inadequate idea of the number-less numbers that were packed within its walls. Such unity of feeling, and warm, outspoken enthusiasm for the vigorous prosecution of the war against the rebellion have rarely been seen at any loyal and patriotic gathering.

The Times of the same day said :

An immense meeting of loyal citizens was held last night at Cooper Institute, embracing some four thousand of our loyal citizens, who are in favor of sustaining the Government in its efforts to suppress the rebellion ; who are faithful to the Union and the Constitution; determined to preserve the integrity of the national laws and national territory, and to maintain the power of our flag. The hour appointed for the gathering was eight o'clock P.M., but by seven o'clock the great hall of the Institute was so thoroughly crowded that it became necessary to station policemen at the doors to prevent even further at-tempts on the part of thousands present to obtain admission.

The Tribune said :

The magnificent uprising of the people, and the nobly-loyal speeches of the most popular men of the Democratic party, last evening, at the great mass meeting in and about the Cooper Institute, will fall with cutting weight upon armed rebels of the South, as well as upon sympathizing Copperheads in the North. New York has seen no meeting of such intensity of feeling since the memorable day in Union Square. Though earnest and telling speeches were male by Dr. Hitchcock and David Dudley Field, yet the most effective blows were struck by James T. Brady, Judge Daly, and John Van Buren—men whose great popularity with the Democratic party entitles their opinions to be taken as those of a very large mass of their fellow Democrats.

We cull a few extracts from the speeches of Messrs. Van Buren and Brady. After referring to his speeches during the late canvass, Mr. Van Buren said :


The election came and passed, and it is no part of our province or purpose to consider the particular result, except to say that the people of the State of New York, after a very active canvass, were about equally divided, for to speak of a majority of a few thousand in a canvass in a poll of six hundred odd thousand is simply to say that they were about equally divided, and the same was true of the States of Ohio, Indiana, and Pennsylvania ; the majority in these great Central States was trifling, and to-day, to-night, while we are here, the people of these great central and controlling portions of these United States may very properly be regarded as about evenly divided between the two parties that were organized at the last canvass, and the future results will depend, in my humble judgment, a great deal more upon future conduct of individuals than upon any thing that has transpired in the past. [Applause.] Now we have passed through the election. There is no election in this State till next Autumn. We are assembled on the 6th of March to determine, not what New Hampshire shall do, not what Connecticut shall do, but what the people of the City of New York and of this State shall do. And there being no election pending, I hold it to be entirely preposterous to assume that people who differed during the last canvass in this State may not unite a fee minutes together and tell what we think will be the end of this war—unite cordially in such measures as may

be necessary to put down rebellion that has no shadow of justification. [Applause.] Under such circumstances I have been called upon by a Committee of highly respectable gentlemen to redeem the pledges made in the campaign, in the very place where I now stand. And if I was in truth, as I then declared I was, in favor of a vigorous prosecution of the war, and if I did truly believe that the interest of the country far transcended in importance any political and party organization that was in existence, now to come forward and say so in common with those who be-longed to a different political party. [Applause.] Such being the fact, I have no hesitation in saying that I cordially agree to the resolutions that have been adopted. [Applause.] I am for the vigorous prosecution of the war. [Applause.] I am for the prosecution of the war until this rebellion is wholly overthrown. [Applause.] I am for destroying the usurped Government that has been set up over the Southern States, and this thing that calls itself a Confederate Government ; and until that is done I hold that all propositions for peace are entirely preposterous and absurd. [Applause.] Now being for the war, I am necessarily with every body that is for the war; and being opposed to peace, I am necessarily opposed to every body that is for peace.


I have been cautioned by a great many people about at-tending this meeting to-night. I was told that it was an insidious attempt to disintegrate the Democratic Party, and a newspaper which joined us last Fall [Laughter], and many representatives in Congress who never joined us at all, have great fear that I will do something to disintegrate the Democratic Party. Now, if the whole party should differ with those to whom I have adverted, we should be no more disintegrated than we were before. My representative I have a very high opinion of. He seems to be very willing to represent the whole of our State and a very considerable part of New Jersey [Laughter], and looking at his paper this evening I perceive that he has taken charge of the Governments of Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois, and several other States. It is not often that a man is favored with being provided with such extensive plans of usefulness. I read a speech that he made before the Democratic Union Association on the 3d of March, as it was reported in the World on the 4th. Without undertaking to say what was proper for him to say or for him to omit, I will say that I thank God that he was not my representative until noon the next day.


The Democratic party, as you all know, nine years out of ten, controls the Government of the country. It re-quires, therefore, no more patriotism on their part to be attached to the Government and the country. It is, in fact, an attachment to themselves. [Laughter.] As a general rule, they are wise, prudent, and patriotic. Occasionally blind guides or had drivers take some sleepy passengers into bad roads and upset them, as they did in 1848. [Laughter]. But then they wake up ; the passengers get out [Laughter]; they inquire the right road; they get a lantern and eventually they come all right. [Laughter.] I think they will do so now, and yet it seemed to me, as a careful man, looking at their course, just at this moment, that it was prudent for use to get out and walk. [Great laughter—" three cheers."] Whether I shall step through to get in again or not, or foot it through, depends upon circumstances. [Renewed laughter.] But, fellow-citizens, whatever I am doing, and whatever any body else does, I shall sustain this war to the bitter end. [Cheers.]

THE RECENT LEGISLATION OF CONGRESS. Now let us see whether there is any thing worth considering in what is suggested by those who dissent from us, and are unwilling to prosecute this war. The measures that have been recently adopted by Congress are so lately adopted, that it becomes any man who is careful what he says to be guarded in speaking of them. The President issued two Proclamations—both of them, as I have frequently stated, I disapproved. He issued both before I spoke on the 13th of October, and before Governor Seymour spoke. Neither of us saw any thing in them which prevented its from favoring a vigorous prosecution of the war. If there was nothing then, it is certain that there is no-thing now. [Applause.] The bill, which has excited the sensibility of several gentlemen who have spoken in New Jersey, and at a certain hall in this city [Hisses], was a bill which gives extraordinary powers over the purse and the sword to the President of the United States. They are bills which seek to protect by indemnity the President and those connected with him from arrest. They are opposed to another bill, as I understand, which has become the law, which authorizes the President, in his discretion, to suspend the writ of habeas corpus. [Applause.] I will state now, as briefly as I can, what are my views in regard to this. In the first place, as to the bill which gives the President the enormous power over the sword and the (Next Page)



John Van Buren
James T. Brady

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