Ignatius Donnelly began drafting this speech in April and delivered it on July 4th, 1862 at St. Anthony. He delivered the speech later at other locations.
“Fellow Citizens; It is with feelings of peculiar pleasure that I find myself able to meet you at this time. This anniversary has never been, can never be, greater or more momentous than it is today. The 4th of July has ceased to be an occasion for national vanity and exaltation of spirit. Amid the shadows which gather over our native land we should come to it with chastened hearts and renew amid its memories our faith in the great future of our government, and pledge anew at its shrine our devotion to the great principles of human liberty.
All things–government, liberty, and the hope of humanity are at issue in the present conflict. Mankind can look on, not alone as the spectators, but as the stake for which alone the struggle is conducted.
It becomes us then, in such a time, to avoid as far as possible the threadbare language of self-glorification. There is no room for it here. Rather let us address ourselves with calm, deliberate, but unshaken mind, to the great problem which the age presents us. Let us understand the past—let us comprehend the present—and we will, I think, have little cause to doubt the future. Let us at least look the whole truth manfully in the eyes; and not seek to avoid God’s inevitable decrees by refusing to recognize them.
An hour spent in such a consideration, I cannot but think[,] will be more agreeable to you than pages and tomes of unmeaning eulogy. […]“
Citation: April 4, 1862 Speech entitled “The War. 1862″ by Lieutenant Governor Ignatius Donnelly, Correspondence Apr-May. 1862. Ignatius Donnelly and family papers, 1812-1973. Minnesota Historical Society.