The Loyal League (April 22, 1863)

George Meade was essentially conservative politically but he was careful to keep his thoughts on politics close to his vest. In this case he had written a letter to the Loyal League of New-York, in response to its invitation to attend a pro-Union really in the city. New York had strong secessionist tendencies and the city’s Loyal League was one of many similar organizations springing up in major cities to push the Union’s agenda. I don’t know why Margaret objected to her husband’s letter, unless it was because she worried about him being drawn into political controversy or becoming linked to the Republican party. As Meade points out, he didn’t say anything radical. “My views, which you ask for, are very brief and simple,” he had written. “They are, that it is and should be the undoubting and unhesitating duty of every citizen of the Republic to give his whole energies and to contribute all the means in his power to the determined prosecution of the war, until the integrity of the Government is reestablished and its supremacy acknowledged. Deprecating as useless all discussion as to the cause of the war, the fact of its existence and the necessity for its continuance should alone occupy us. For its successful prosecution and termination, I am clearly of the opinion there is only required union and harmony among ourselves, and the bringing to bear men and means proportionate to the power and resources of the country.”

You can find a New York Times article about Meade’s letter here. and even more about the April 1863 event here.

You don’t seem to like my Loyal League letter, or rather you seem to depreciate my writing at all. I could not decline to answer the invitation extended to me, and to decline simply on the ground of public duties would have been refusing to give my views, which undoubtedly was the object of the invitation, as no one could have supposed I could attend. The letter I wrote was carefully worded, to avoid anything like a partisan complexion. I said nothing but what I am willing to stand up to. I am in favor of a vigorous prosecution of the war, and am opposed to any separation of government in what was, is, and should be the, United States. I stated distinctly that I subscribed to the platform because it was national and not partisan. It is impossible to satisfy all parties; the only thing you can do is to give none a reason for claiming you as their own.

Meade’s letter taken from The Life and Letters of George Gordon Meade, Major-General United States Army, Vol. 1, (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1913), p. 368-9. Available via Google Books.

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