These, men of Dayton, are my opinions. They are my convictions. And yet, for these I am denounced as "disloyal!" What is loyalty? Obedience, faithfulness to law, or, in Norman-French, to LOY; and there is no higher law than the Constitution. Whoever obeys the laws is loyal; whoever breaks them, whether one in authority or a private citizen, is disloyal. There is no such thing yet in the United States, thank God, as loyalty to a President, or to any Administration. And yet, I have heard of loyalty to Abraham Lincoln, to a man, a public servant, whom the people made, and can unmake! Whoever talks thus is fit only to be a slave. If these men mean that I am opposed to the Administration and party in power, and to the doctrines and policy of Abolition, and think them false to the Constitution, and disastrous to the country; if they mean that I am a Democrat, devoted to the principles and policy, and faithful to the organization of that grand old party which made this country what it is, and am for the old Constitution and the old Union, then I am disloyal, and bless God for it. But if they mean that I am false to the Constitution, untrue to the Union, or disloyal to the country of my birth, in thought, or word, or deed, then, in the language of an eloquent citizen of Indiana (Mr. Voorhees,) "they lie in their teeth, in their throats, and in their hearts." (Loud cheers.)
Who is an Abolitionist? Whoever is for indiscriminate confiscation, in order to strike at slavery, is an Abolitionist. Whoever is for emancipation and purchase of the slaves of the border States, and the pretended colonization of them abroad, but really their importation North and West, to compete with our own white labor, is an Abolitionist. Whoever would reduce the southern States to Territories, in order to strike down slavery in them by Federal power, is an Abolitionist. Whoever is in favor of arming the slaves, or of declaring slavery abolished by executive or military proclamation, is an Abolitionist. And, finally, whoever is for converting the war, directly or indirectly, into a crusade for the abolition of slavery, is an Abolitionist of the worst sort; and he who votes for those who favor these things, is also an Abolitionist in practice, no matter what his professions or his party name may be. Whoever is opposed to these projects and votes accordingly, and is for the Constitution as it is, and the Union as it was, is a truly loyal citizen, whether he fights Secession rebels in the field, or Abolition rebels at the ballot-box.
The Record of Hon. C. L. Vallandigham on Abolition, the Union, and the Civil War
Speech Delivered at Dayton, Ohio, August 2, 1862
J. Walter & Co., Cincinnati, 1863, pages 150-151.