Proceedings of Meeting of Citizens in Springfield regarding Hungarian Freedom, 6 September 1849
At a large meeting of citizens (at which many ladies were present,) held in the city of Springfield, the seat of government of the State of Illinois, on the evening of the 6th day of September, A.D. 1849—the meeting being called to order by S. Francis, Esq.[Esquire], the Hon. David Davis, Judge of the Ninth Judicial Circuit, was elected President, and Charles Arnold, Esq. Secretary.
On motion, the President appointed citizens John Todd, Wm. Carpenter, Abraham Lincoln, E. H. Merryman, Thomas Lewis and David B. Campbell, committee to draw up resolutions to express the sentiments of the members of this meeting in relation to the war now progressing in Hungary.— The committee having retired to perform this duty—
Hon. E. D. Baker, member of Congress for the 6th Congressional District of this State, was called upon to address the meeting. He responded to the call, and in an address of an hour’s length, referred to the history of the Hungarians as a people—the fact that they had long been the rampart which had prevented the Turk and the Saracen from carrying their arms into Europe—the numbers of her people, which entitled them to all the rights and privileges of a nation—the spirit of freedom, and equality that prevailed among them—their devoted patriotism—their heroic achievements amid the smouldering ruins of their cities, the desolation of their provinces, the savage and ruthless butcheries and barbarities of Austrian legions and Russian hordes—the belief that even at this moment Hungary was a free and independent nation;—but that if not,—if Kossuth and his colleagues had been crushed, the spirit they have evinced, the noble principles they had developed, the consecration of them by their exertions and their sacrifices, would be felt in all after times in Europe, and though the heads of these patriots might be placed upon the gates of cities, they would live in the undying memories of the hearts of all who appreciated patriotism, regarded the rights of humanity, and the great and eternal principles of human liberty.
The meeting responded to these sentiments with marked enthusiasm.
The committee then reported the following resolutions:
Resolved, That in their present glorious struggle for liberty, the Hungarians, command our highest admiration, and have our warmest sympathy.
Resolved, That they have our most ardent prayers for their speedy triumph and final success.
Resolved, That the Government of the United States should acknowledge the Independence of Hungary as ^a^ Nation of freemen, at the very earliest moment consistent with our amicable relations with that Government, against which they are contending.
Resolved, That in the opinion of this meeting, the immediate acknowledgment of the independence of Hungary by our government, is due from American freeman, to their struggling brethren, to the general cause of Republican liberty, and not a violation of the just rights of any Nation or people.
The resolutions were read and adopted by an unanimous vote.
On motion of S. Francis, Esq.,
Resolved, That the officers of this meeting transmit a copy of its proceedings signed by themselves, to Mr. Clayton, the American Secretary of State, with a request that he will present them to the Agent of the Hungarian People in United States, Count Waas, that they may be placed in the hands of Kossuth, the President of the Hungarian Republic.
The meeting then ordered the proceedings to be published in the city papers; and adjourned, giving three cheers in honor of Kossuth and Hungary.DAVID DAVIS, Pesident.Charles Arnold, Sec’y[Secretary].1
1 The Hungarian Revolution of 1848-49 received extensive coverage in the American press, and Americans followed Hungary’s revolution against the Austrian Hapsburgs with interest. Americans interpreted the Hungarian struggle and other revolutionary uprisings convulsing Europe as confirmation of America’s own experiment with democracy and conviction that the ideals of liberty and democracy would soon transform Europe. Finding parallels between the Hungarian and the American revolutions, the American public and press sympathized with Louis Kossuth and his fellow revolutionaries. Sympathy for Kossuth and his followers only increased after Austria, with Russian military assistance, crushed the Hungarian uprising. See the Hungarian Revolution of 1848-49.
Sándor Szilassy, “America and the Hungarian Revolution of 1848-49,” The Slavonic and East European Review 44 (January 1966), 180; United States Department of State, “America’s Interest in Hungarian Struggle for Independence,” Documents and State Papers 1 (August 1948), 332-33.
Printed Document, 1 page(s), Illinois Daily Journal (Springfield), 7 September 1849, 2:1.