Alexander W. Baldwin Drafts Unionist Resolutions
May 11, 1861

In May 1865, Alexander W. Baldwin helped organize a Unionist meeting in California and drafted resolutions vowing to forget "all past political differences, party names and issues" and rally around the American flag.

Union Meeting in Downieville

The Sierra Democrat of Saturday, furnishes the following report of a Union meeting held at Downeville:

Pursuant to call, citizens met in large numbers at the Theater, Saturday evening, 11th May.

The following named officers were chosen: Chairman, Hon. P. Vanclief; Vice Presidents, S. Purdy, P. U. Blunt; Secretaries, J. F. Cowdery, Richard Brown.

On motion, the Chair appointed a committee on resolutions, as follows: L. E. Pratt, A. W. Baldwin, W. J. Forbes, R. H. Taylor, H. B. Cossitt, A. P. Williams, A. Platt.

The following resolutions were reported, and after discussion, adopted with great unanimity—but three or four dissenters, out of as many hundred persons:

Whereas, A majority of people in some of the States of the Union have formally renounced their allegiance to the Federal Government, defied its authority, and organized within their limits, armed rebellion to resist the enforcement of the laws:

And whereas, our forts have been assaulted, our property plundered, and our flag insulted by Treason in the guise of Revolution;

And whereas, under a government like ours based upon the wishes and opinions of the people, we deem it eminently proper to express our views in a crisis like the present, therefore be it

Resolved, That fealty to the Union can never conflict with loyalty to a State; and we denounce as a heresy, tinctured with treason, the new-fangled dogma that allegiance to the State is paramount to our allegiance to the Union.

Resolved, That whether the Constitution of the United States be called a compact, or whatever name it bear, the Federal Government is still a vital power, endowed by its founders with ample means and authority to sustain itself against domestic enemies as well as foreign foes; and those who administer that government are false to their oaths, false to posterity, to their country and her liberties, if they exert not every power to preserve and perpetuate it, even as it has been preserved and transmitted to them.

Resolved, That the Constitution of the United States enjoins the Union of the States; that a disruption of the Union is a gross infraction of the Constitution; that any attack upon the Union is an attack upon the Constitution in its most vital part; and that the support of the Constitution is incompatible with giving aid or comfort to disunionists.

Resolved, That it is the duty of the Federal Government to protect the loyal citizen and punish the traitor; to defend the property entrusted to its keeping, at all hazards; to enforce everywhere within its jurisdiction, all its laws, until such enforcement becomes physically impossible; to preserve inviolate the Union of these States, and uphold the Federal Constitution as our fathers made and gave it us; to maintain the honor of its Flag, with every star that glitters on it, and to repel the proffered insult, whether it come from rebels at home, or enemies abroad.

Resolved, That “Secession” is but a milder name for “Treason,”—the one we hate with a most bitter hatred, the other we hate and despise; nor do we recognize either the right or fact of such secession to exist; nor do we esteem the man a loyal citizen, or one fit to be entrusted with the keeping of our country’s honor, who apologizes for, or aids, or sympathizes with, seceders.

Resolved, That if the Government errs, then peacefully, constitutionally, and by the ballot-box, will we endeavor to amend its errors; but by armed resistance to its power, never! and we indignantly frown upon and condemn such resistance, from whatever source it springs. Our fealty is to the Union, without condition or reserve, and that obligation we will redeem. Acknowledging no other flag save that which floats from the dome of the Capitol at Washington, we will defend it in every peril; and palsied be the arm that would obscure a single star upon its field.

Resolved, That we are unalterably opposed to the establishment of a Pacific Republic in any event; and the cry of “Neutrality” is but an artful invocation by which the faltering seek to evade the duty which they owe the Government at home. While we have power to prevent, no paricidal hand shall rear upon our soil the traitor’s flag.

Finally, be it Resolved, That we ignore for the present, all past political differences, party names and issues; and animated by that love of country which recent events have heightened and invigorated, rather than subdued; forgetting there is a North or a South, and rallying to the cry of the Union only, we will maintain the defend it at all times and at every hazard; and we will stand by and support the Government of the United States in any and all efforts to preserve itself and enforce its laws, under all circumstances, and against all enemies.

On motion, the meeting adjourned.

A.W. Baldwin, who is mentioned as one of the Union speakers, is a son of Hon. Joseph G. Baldwin, one of the Justices of the Supreme Court, and a native of the State of Alabama. He does not fear that the punishment of traitors will involve the “subjugation of the South,” or the “inciting of servile insurrections.”


Daily National Democrat, 21 May 1861