The Continental Monthly, Vol. 5, No. 1, January, 1864 by Various
Online Distributed Proofreading Team at http://www.pgdp.net (This file was produced from images generously made available by Cornell University Digital Collections)
Literature and National Policy.
New York: JOHN F. TROW, 50 GREENE STREET, (FOR THE PROPRIETORS.)
ENTERED, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1864, by JOHN F. TROW, In the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the United States for the Southern District of New York.
INDEX TO VOLUME V.
Ænone; a Tale of Slave Life in Rome, 287, 385, 500, 619
American Finances and Resources. By Hon. Robert J. Walker, 40, 249, 324, 489
An Army: Its Organization and Movements. By Lieut.-Col. C. W. Tolles, A. Q. M., 707
An Hour in the Gallery of the National Academy of Design--Thirty-ninth Annual Exhibition, 684
An Indian Love-Song. By Edwin R. Johnson, 361
Aphorisms. By Rev. Asa Colton, 413, 450, 482, 595, 680, 706
A Pair of Stockings. From the Army, 597
Aspiro--A Fable, 158
A Summer's Night. From the Polish of Count S. Krasinski, translated by Prof. Podbielski, 543
A Tragedy of Error, 204
A Universal Language. By S. P. Andrews, 595
A Vigil with St. Louis. By E. Fonton, 70
Benedict of Nursla, and the Order of the Benedictines. By Rev. Ph. Schaff, 451
Buckle, Draper, and a Science of History. By Edward B. Freeland, 161
Carl Friedrich Neumann, the German Historian of our Country. By Professor Andrew Ten Brook, 295
Clouds. By Mrs. Martha Walker Cook, 265
Diary of Frances Krasinska; or, Life in Poland during the 18th Century, 27, 180
Dr. Fox's Prescription. By E. R. Johnson, 717
Editor's Table, 118, 245, 354, 487, 605, 721
English and American Taxation. By Egbert Hurd, 405
Ernest Renan's Theory. By Hugh Miller Thompson, 609
'Feed My Lambs,' 663
Glorious! By L. G. W., 459
Hannah Thurston, 456
Hints to the American Farmer, 584
Jefferson Davis and Repudiation of Arkansas Bonds. By Hon. Robert J. Walker, 478
Language a Type of the Universe. By Stephen Pearl Andrews, 691
Lies, and How to Kill Them. By Hugh Miller Thompson, 437
Literary Notices, 116, 243, 362, 483, 601, 719
Madagascar. By W. H. Whitmore, 65
Music a Science. By Lucia D. Pychowska, 575
National Friendships, 239
North and South. By Charles Wm. Butler, 241
'Nos Amis les Cosaques.' By M. Heilprin, 216
'Our Article,' 20
Our Domestic Relations; or, How to Treat the Rebel States. By Charles Russell, 511
Our Government and the Blacks. By William H. Kimball, 431
Out of Prison. By Kate Putnam, 436
Palmer, the American Sculptor. By L. J. Bigelow, 258
Petroleum. By Rev. S. M. Eaton, 187
Reason, Rhyme, and Rhythm. Compiled and written by Mrs. Martha Walker Cook, 14
Retrospective. By Rev. Dr. Henry, 1
Sir Charles Lyell on the Antiquity of Man. By a Presbyterian Clergyman, 369
Sketches of American Life and Scenery. By Lucia D. Pychowska, 9, 270, 425
Sleeping. By Hugh Miller Thompson, 716
Temptation. From the Polish of Count Sigismund Krasinski, 53
The Andes. By William G. Dix, 229
The Angels of War, 203
The Conscription Act of March 3d, 1864. By L. M. Haverstik, 110
The Decline of England. By S. J. Bayard, 48
The Development of American Architecture. By A. W. Colgate, 466
The Dove. By Mrs. Martha Walker Cook, 625
The English Press. By Nicholas Rowe, London, 100, 139, 564
The Great American Crisis. By Stephen P. Andrews, 87, 300
The Great Lakes to St. Paul. By Robert Dodge, 397
The Great Struggle, 34
The House in the Lane. By Miss Virginia Townsend, 573
The Isle of Springs. By Rev. C. C. Starbuck, 461
The Issues of the War. By John Stahl Patterson, Quarter-master Sergeant, 20th Ohio Battery, 287
The Lessons of the Wood. By George W. Bungay, 26
The Love Lucifer. By S. Leavitt, 319, 414
The March of Life. By Clarence Frederick Buhler, 649
The Mechanical Tendency in Modern Society. By John A. French, 351
The Mississippi River and its Peculiarities. By De B. R. Keim, 629
The Mound Builder. By January Searle, 517
The Red Man's Plea, 160
The Treasury Report and Mr. Sec'y Chase. By Hon. Frederick P. Stanton, 151
The Unkind Word, 690
The War a Contest for Ideas. By Henry Everett Russell, 578
The Wild Azalea. By E. W. C., 596
The Young Author's Dream. By Edwin R. Johnson, 395
Thistle-Down. By Frances Lamartine, 318
Thomas De Quincey and His Writings. By L. W. Spring, 650
Thomas Jefferson, as Seen in the Light of 1863. By J. Sheldon, 129
Thought. By Virginia Vaughan, 577
Union Not to be Maintained by Force. By Hon. Frederick P. Stanton, 73
Was He Successful? By Richard B. Kimball, 80, 221, 341, 445
LITERATURE AND NATIONAL POLICY.
VOL. V.--JANUARY, 1864.--No. I.
Time makes many dark things clear, and often in a wonderfully short and decisive way. So we said hopefully two years and more ago in regard to one of the unsolved problems which then pressed on the minds of thoughtful men--how, namely, it was to fare with slavery in the progress and sequel of the war. The history of our national struggle has illustrated the truth and justified the hope. Time has quite nearly solved that problem and some others almost equally perplexing. The stream of historical causes has borne the nation onward on the bosom of its inevitable flow, until we can now almost see clear through to the end; at any rate, we have reached a point where we can look backward and forward with perhaps greater advantage than at any former period. What changes of opinion have been wrought! How many doubts resolved! How many fears dispelled! How many old prejudices and preconceived notions have been abandoned! How many vexed questions put at rest! How many things have safely got an established place among accepted and almost generally acceptable facts, which were once matters of loyal foreboding and of disloyal denunciation! No man of good sense and loyalty now doubts the rightfulness and wisdom of depriving the rebels of the aid derived from their slaves, and making them an element of strength on our side; while the fact that the enfranchised slaves make good soldiers, is put beyond question by an amenability to military discipline and a bravery in battle not surpassed by any troops in the world.
HAS THE WAR GONE SLOWLY?
The work of subduing the rebellion has gone slowly as compared with the impatient demands of an indignant people at the outset; but not slowly if you consider the vast theatre of the war, the immense extent of the lines of military operations, and the prodigious advantages possessed by the rebels at the beginning--partly advantages such as always attend the first outbreak of a revolutionary conspiracy long matured in secret against an unsuspecting and unprepared Government, and partly the extraordinary and peculiar advantages that accrued to them from the traitorous complicity of Buchanan's Administration, through which the conspirators were enabled to rob the national treasury, strip the Government of arms, and possess themselves of national forts, arsenals, and munitions of war, before the conflict began.
NOT TOO SLOW--WHY? SLAVERY.
But either way the war has not gone too slowly with reference to its great end--the establishment of a durable peace. If the rebellion had been crushed at once by overwhelming force, it would have been crushed only to break out anew. Slavery would have been left unimpaired, and that would inevitably have entailed another conflict in no long time. In the interest of slavery the rebels have drawn the sword; let slavery perish by the sword. In the interest of slavery they have attempted to overthrow the National Government and to dismember the national domain; let slavery be overthrown to maintain the Government and to preserve the integrity of the nation. Let the cause of the war perish with the war. Not until slavery is extinguished can there be a lasting peace; for not until then can the conditions of true national unity begin to exist. What wise and good man would wish to save it from extinction? It is as incompatible with the highest prosperity of the South as it is with a true national union between the South and the North. Once extinguished, there will be a thousand-fold increase in every element of Southern welfare, economical, social, and moral; and possibilities of national wealth and strength, greatness and glory, above every nation on the globe, will be established. Let slavery go down. Let us rejoice that in the progress and sequel of this war, it must and will go down.
Looking back, we can now see that much that was trying to the patience of the loyal masses of the North in the early stages of the war, has only served to make it more certain that what ought to be will be. Time has done justice to the idiotic policy of fighting the rebellion with one hand and with the other upholding the institution that constituted at once its motive and its strength. Time has brought policy and justice to shake hands together at the right moment on the same road, and made that respectable and acceptable as a military necessity which was once repudiated as a fanaticism. Time has brought out the President's Emancipation Proclamation, and established it on a firm basis in the judgment and consent of all wise and true loyal men, North and South--to the great discomfiture of sundry politicians--the utterances of some of whom not long ago can be no otherwise taken than as the revelation and despairing death wail of disconcerted schemes. Strange that men whose whole lives have been passed in forecasting public opinion for their political uses, should have rushed upon the thick bosses of the great shield of the public will, which begirts the President and his Emancipation Proclamation;--for certainly all the railing at _radicalism_, which we heard in certain quarters last summer, was in fact nothing but the expression of disappointment and chagrin at the emancipation policy of the President, and that too at a time when that policy had come to be accepted by the great body of the loyal people of the nation (including all the eminent Southern loyalists), as not only indispensable to the national salvation, but desirable in every view. Strange that at such a time, and among those once active and influential in the formation of the Republican party--a party born of the roused spirit of resistance to slavery aggressions--there should have been found a single person unable to discern and to accept the inevitable logic of events which was to make the extinction of slavery the only wise, practicable, and truly loyal stand point. Strange that any Republican should be disposed to put a stop to the 'irrepressible conflict.' It was too late in the day to attempt the organization of a great, victorious Conservative party by splitting up the old organizations. The old organizations may fall to pieces. It is best, perhaps, they should--but not to form a Conservative party. Conservatism is not now to the popular taste. It means nothing but the saving of slavery, and the great body of the loyal people now feel absolved from all obligation to save it; they do not care to have it saved; and the vaticinations of those prophets of evil who predicted disaster and ruin to the national cause from the emancipation policy of the Government excite no consternation in the loyal heart of the nation.
In a review of the conduct of the war, how little reason appears for regret and how much for satisfaction in regard to all the great measures of the Government!
THE FINANCIAL SYSTEM.
The successful working of the _financial system_ has demonstrated the wisdom of its principles. Instead of following the old wretched way of throwing an immense amount of stocks into market at a sacrifice of fifteen to thirty per cent., the Government has got all the money it wanted at half or a little more than half the usual rate of interest. It would have been better if the currency had been made to consist wholly of United States legal-tender notes, fundable in six per cent., bonds--with a proper provision for the interest and for a sinking fund.
But the financial system adopted is a matter of satisfaction, apart from its admirable success in furnishing the Government with the means to carry on the war: it is the inauguration of sounder principles on currency than have heretofore prevailed, which, if unfolded and carried legitimately out, will give the country the best currency in the world--perfectly secured, uniform in value at every point, and liable to no disastrous expansions and contractions. The notion that any great industrial, manufacturing, and commercial nation can conduct its business--any more than it can carry on a great war--with a specie currency alone, is indeed exploded; but the notion that a paper currency to be safe must be based on specie, still prevails--although the currency furnished by the thousands of banks scattered throughout the country has never been really based upon the actual possession of specie to the extent of more than _one fifth_ of the amount in circulation. It may be the doctrine will never come to prevail that a specie basis in whole or in part is no more indispensable to a sound and safe paper currency than an exclusive specie currency is possible or desirable in a country like this. It may be that the people will never come to believe that a legal-tender paper currency, issued exclusively by the National Government--based upon the credit of the nation, constituting a lien upon all the property of the country, and proportioned in amount of issue to the needs of the people for it as an instrument of exchange--would, for all home uses, possess in full perfection the nature, functions, and powers of money. It is a subject we do not propose to discuss. It is enough now to say that the notes of the United States, fundable in national six per cent. bonds, and drawing interest as they do semi-annually in gold, must be admitted by everybody to be as safe a currency as the banks as a whole have ever supplied, and to possess other advantages which make them incomparably a better currency than that of local banks.
The high price to which gold has been carried by gambling speculators, is not to be taken as indicating a proportionate want of confidence in the success of the national cause and in the intrinsic value of the national securities. It indicates nothing of the sort--at any rate, whatever it may be taken to indicate, it is none the less true that United States six per cent. bonds were from the first eagerly sought for and taken as investments at the rate of a million a day--faster indeed than the Government could at first supply them; with a constantly augmenting demand, until in the last week of October _thirty-six_ millions were disposed of--leaving only one hundred and fifty millions unsold, which will doubtless all be taken before this paper is published. Comment on this is entirely needless.
OUR FOREIGN RELATIONS.
In the conduct of our _foreign relations_, certain official declarations in the early part of the war on the policy and purpose of Government in carrying it on, are to be regretted as gratuitous and unfortunate. It is to be regretted also that the capture of the _Trent_ and the seizure of Mason and Slidell was not at once disavowed as being contrary to our doctrine on neutral rights, and the rebel emissaries surrendered without waiting for reclamation on the part of the British Government; or, if it was thought best to await that reclamation as containing a virtual concession of our doctrine, it would have been better--more dignified and effective--if the reply had been limited to a simple statement that the surrender was necessitated by the principles always maintained by our Government, and not by a reclamation which the British Government, by its own construction of public law and by its own practice, was not entitled to make, but which being made, might now, it was to be hoped, be taken as an abandonment in the future of the ground heretofore maintained by that Government.
CONCESSION OF BELLIGERENT RIGHTS TO THE REBELS.
There has been some dissatisfaction with the conduct of our official communications with Great Britain and France respecting the question on belligerent rights and neutral obligations which the rebellion has raised. But there are points of no inconsiderable difficulty and delicacy involved in these questions, which a great many people, in their natural displeasure against the English and French, have failed to consider. Our Government deserves the credit of having consulted the interests without compromising the dignity of the nation. Admitting the conduct of the British and French Governments in recognizing the rebels as belligerents to be as unfriendly and as unrequired by the obligations of public law as it is generally held to be among us, that would not make it right or wise for our Government to depart from the tone of moderation. We can no more make it a matter for official complaint and demand against these Governments, than we could the unfriendly tone of many of their newspapers and Parliamentary orators. We might say to them: We take it as unkindly in you to do as you have done; but if they will continue to do so, we have nothing for it but to submit. Even if we could have afforded it, we could not rightly have gone to war with them for doing what we ourselves--through the necessity of our circumstances--have been compelled in effect to do, and what they, though not forced by any such necessity, had yet a right--and in their own opinion were obliged--by public law to do. We could not have made it a cause of war, and therefore it would have been worse than idle to indulge in a style of official representation which means war if it means anything.
THE REBEL CRUISERS.
The question of the rebel cruisers on the high seas is a question by itself. The anger excited among us by the injuries we have suffered from these vessels is not strange; nor is it strange that our anger should beget a disposition to quarrel with Great Britain and France for conceding the rights of lawful belligerents to the perpetrators of such atrocities. The rebels have no courts of admiralty, carry their prizes to no ports, submit them to no lawful adjudication--but capture, plunder, and burn private vessels in mid ocean. Such proceedings by the laws of nations are undoubtedly piratical in their nature. We have a right so to hold and declare. We may think that Great Britain and France are bound so to hold and declare. But what then? Should they have ordered their men of war to cruise against these rebel cruisers or to capture every one which they might chance to encounter, and to send them home for trial? We may think they were bound in vindication of public law to do so; but could we make their not doing so a matter of formal complaint and a cause of war? There are a number of things to be well considered before any one should permit himself to quarrel with our Government for not quarrelling with Great Britain and France on this matter.
BRITISH VIOLATION OF NEUTRAL OBLIGATIONS.
But the conduct of the British Government in allowing her ports to be made the basis of these nefarious operations--in permitting vessels of whose character and purpose there could be no doubt to be built in her ports--not to be delivered in any Confederate port, but in effect armed and manned from her ports to go immediately to cruise against our commerce on the high seas--is an outrageous violation of the obligations of neutrals, for which that Government may justly be held responsible. It is a responsibility which no technical pleading about the insufficiency of British laws, either in matter of prohibition or rules of evidence, can avoid. Great Britain is bound to have laws and rules of evidence which will enable her effectually to discharge her neutral obligations; whether she has or not, does not alter her responsibility to us. Her conduct may rightfully be made a matter of official complaint, and of war too--if satisfaction and reparation be refused. It is a case in which our rights and dignity are concerned; and it is to be presumed that our Government will not fail to vindicate them.
LEGISLATION--THE CONFISCATION LAW.
The action of _Congress_ has in everything been nobly patriotic in spirit, and in nearly everything it has wisely and adequately met the exigencies of the crisis.
But we are compelled to hold the Confiscation Act, in the form in which it was passed, as a mistake. If the clause of the Constitution prohibiting 'attainder of treason to work forfeiture except during the life of the person attainted,' be necessarily applicable to the Confiscation Act, it seems to us impossible to avoid the conclusion that the act is unconstitutional. So far as the language of the prohibition is decisive of anything, it must be taken to include all sorts of property, real as well as personal--the term _forfeiture_ certainly having that extent of application in the old English law and practice, from which the framers of our Constitution took it, and there is nothing elsewhere in the Constitution or in its history to warrant any other construction. So the Congress of 1790 understood it in the act declaring the punishment of treason and some other high crimes. As to the _perpetuity_ of forfeiture, it seems equally necessary to hold that it is prohibited by the clause of the Constitution in question. Such is undeniably the first and obvious meaning of the terms. It has been argued indeed that it was not the intention of the framers of the Constitution to prohibit perpetual forfeiture of property from being 'declared' by Congress, but only to prohibit 'attainder of treason' from 'working' of itself that effect by necessary consequence--as it did under the Common Law of England. It has also been argued that the constitutional restriction does not relate to perpetuity of forfeiture, but only requires that the forfeiture or act of alienation take place, have effect, and be accomplished 'during the life of the person attainted,' and not after his death.
But this reasoning is more subtile than satisfactory. A fair consideration of the subject leaves little room for doubt that the framers of the Constitution had in view and intended to prohibit everything which under the old English common law followed upon 'attainder of treason'--to prohibit forfeiture in perpetuity of property of every sort, no less than 'bills of attainder,' 'corruption of blood,' and barbarities of punishment, such as disembowelling, quartering, etc.
If therefore the constitutional restriction on forfeiture apply to the Confiscation Law, it makes the law unconstitutional, in so far as it enacts the _perpetual_ forfeiture of the personal estate of rebels; and the discrimination made in regard to their real estate does not save the constitutionality of the act.
If, therefore, the Confiscation Law is to be held as constitutional, it can be so, as it seems to us, only on the ground that it does not fall within the scope of the constitutional prohibition in question. This ground may be maintained by asserting that the constitutional prohibition of perpetual forfeiture applies only to cases of 'attainder of treason,' that is, according to Blackstone, of 'judgment of death for treason,' and that cases under this act are not such; that the limitations applicable to ordinary judicial proceedings against traitors are not applicable here; that the Confiscation Act seizes the property of rebels not in their quality of criminals, but of public enemies; that it is not an act for the punishment of treason, but for weakening and subduing an armed rebellion, and securing indemnification for the costs and damages it has entailed--in short, not a penal statute, but a war measure; and that the Constitution which gives Congress the right to make war for the suppression of the rebellion, and to subject the lives of rebels to the laws of war, gives it the right to subject their property also to the same laws--putting both out of the protection of the ordinary laws; and finally that all the objects aimed at by the measure are legitimated by the principles of public law.
If these views can be sustained, it follows that Congress was justified not only in enacting the perpetual confiscation of the _personal_ property of rebels, but need not, and should not, have passed the explanatory clause prohibiting 'forfeiture of _real_ estate beyond the natural life' of the rebel. So far as weakening the rebellion, indemnifying the nation for costs and damages, or the rights and interests of the heirs of rebels, are concerned, there is no reason in justice or in policy for the discrimination made between personal and real estate; if it is right and wise to take the one in perpetuity, it is equally so to take the other. In our judgment, it is right and wise to do both.
MILITARY ADMINISTRATION--NO ARMY OF RESERVE.
In looking over the war, we can all now see a very great error in the _military_ administration--the neglect, namely, to provide and keep up a proper reserved force. It is the grand mistake of the war. Two years and a half of war, and no army of reserve! Eighteen months ago, a force of reserve of at least two hundred thousand men should have been formed. It could probably then have been formed of volunteers. From it, vacancies made in the armies in the field by battle, disease, or expiration of time of service, could have been filled with drilled and disciplined soldiers, and reinforcements drawn to meet any special exigency. The victory of Gettysburgh might have resulted in the total destruction of Lee's army before he could recross the Potomac; and Rosecrans might have been strengthened without weakening the Army of the Potomac or any other. Whether the cost of forming and keeping up such a force of reserve would have greatly exceeded the cost of the recent draft, we do not pretend to know. We are inclined to think it would not. But that is a question of little moment. Money wisely spent is well spent: money unwisely saved is ill saved. With such a force, the recent draft might not have been necessary--at all events there would have been no necessity for suspending active military operations in Virginia, and awaiting the slow completion of the draft, at a moment when, large additions to the forces in the field were precisely the one thing needful. The army of reserve would at once have supplied disciplined soldiers, and their places in the camps of instruction and reserve could have been filled with the new conscripts as fast as they were collected.
CONSOLATION--ENFORCEMENT OF THE DRAFT IN NEW YORK.
But grave as the error is which we have signalized, there is something that might well console us for greater misfortunes than it has entailed, and which gives us another illustration of the truth that God and Time often work for us better than we for ourselves, and out of our errors bring good that we could not forecast.
It would not be wise to assert that the not having such a reserved force necessitated the recent draft, and thereby occasioned the horrible outbreak in New York. But if it may even be safely suggested as possibly true, the successful enforcement of the draft becomes all the more a matter for boundless joy and congratulation. Important as its enforcement throughout the country was as a means of filling up the ranks of our armies, the outbreak in New York made it a thousand times more important as the only adequate assertion of the supremacy of national law.
There can be no doubt as to the nature, origin, and purpose of that outbreak. It was the result of a long-prepared traitorous conspiracy in the interest of the rebels. The enforcement of the draft against mob violence instigated by treason, was indispensable not only to the successful prosecution of the war against the rebels of the South, but to the maintenance of the supreme authority and power of the National Government, and of the foundations of social order at the North. Not to have enforced it might have insured the triumph of the rebellion and the independence of the South; it certainly would have rendered the North no longer a country fit for any decent man to live in. Such and so great was the significance of the crisis. The responsibility of the Administration was immense. The President met it nobly. He took care that a sufficient military force--not under the control of Governor Seymour, but of a well-tried patriot--was present in New York. He carried out the draft there and everywhere else. He crushed the schemes and hopes of the traitorous conspirators--more guilty than the rebels in arms-and gave a demonstration of the _strength of the National Government_, as grand in its majesty as it was indispensable to the national salvation in this crisis and to its security in all future time. The Government has triumphed in the quiet majesty of its irresistible force over factious and traitorous opposition at the North, springing from treasonable sympathy with the rebels, or, from what, in a crisis like this, is equally wicked, the selfishness of party spirit, preferring party to country. More than this, it has triumphed over the dangerous and destructive notions on State sovereignty, which traitors and partisans have dared invoke. It is impossible to overestimate the importance for the present and for the future of this victorious assertion of the _supremacy of the National Government_.
In a review, then, of this gigantic struggle, we have every reason to be content and confident--no reason to bate one jot of heart or hope. The triumph over Northern treason, achieved by the force of the Government, has been followed by a moral triumph at the polls, no less grand in its significance. The country is not oppressed by the stupendous expenses of the war. The money is all spent at home. It stimulates the productive industry of the country, and the nation is all the time growing rich. The rebels have been disastrously repulsed in two attempts at invasion, and do not hold one inch of Northern soil. One third of the States claimed by them at the outset, are gone from them forever: Maryland, Missouri, Kentucky, are securely in the Union; Virginia we have cut in two--nearly one half of its territory, by the will of its inhabitants, now constituting a loyal member of the Union as the new State of West Virginia--while of its eastern half we securely hold its coast, harbors, and fortresses, and a considerable number of its counties. Tennessee is ours, and cannot, we think, be wrenched away. We have New Orleans, and the uncontrolled possession of the Mississippi river--cutting the territory of the rebels in two, destroying their communications, and giving us a considerable portion of the States bordering that river. In North Carolina and South Carolina we have a hold, from which it will be hard to drive us. On the Atlantic and Gulf coast nearly every fortress is in our possession; there is not a port which is not possessed by us, or else so blockaded that (except in the peculiar case of Wilmington) it is a hazardous affair for any vessel to attempt going in or coming out; and the rebels are utterly unable to raise the blockade of a single port. In fine, they have lost more than one third of their territory forever, and of the remaining portion there is not one considerable subdivision over which in some part the flag of the Union does not securely wave. What title to recognition as an independent power can the Confederate rebels present to the neutral powers of the world?
SKETCHES OF AMERICAN LIFE AND SCENERY.
While American tourists are delightedly visiting and minutely describing the most hidden recesses of beauty among the mountains, plains, seas, lakes, and rivers of Europe, there are, close within their reach, innumerable spots well worthy of consideration, and hitherto entirely unknown to the great mass of pleasure and scenery seeking travellers. These fair but hidden gems have become of the more importance that the grand struggle convulsing our country has rendered foreign travel difficult, even when advisable, and has roused within our people a love for their own land, a pride in its loveliness, much more rarely felt before the attempt to dismember and ruin it had awakened dormant patriotism and completed the severance between the recent _province_ and the historically renowned mother country. American painters are worthily illustrating American life and landscape; American poets, and no less poetical prose writers, are singing the forests, skies, flowers, and birds of their native land; and the inquisitive traveller should surely not fail to add his humbler mite in the way of discovery and description. The following sketches are founded upon actual observation, and the delineations of scenery and manners therein contained are strictly in accordance with the personal experience of the author.
I.--A SUMMER EXCURSION.
'All very well,' said Aunt Sarah; 'I have no doubt the excursion would be charming; but who will accompany you?'
'We do not require an escort; we can take care of each other,'
'Can it be that you, Lucy, a staid married woman of thirty-six, and you, Elsie, a demure young girl of twenty, are suddenly about to enter the ranks of the strong minded?'
'Why, dear aunt,' said Lucy D----, 'you would not have us weak minded, would you? I think I heard you say no longer ago than yesterday that half the domestic miseries in this world were due to the weak nerves and feeble intellects of poorly educated women.'
'True; but the technical expression, 'strong minded,' does not mean strong in mind--rather the contrary.'
'In other words, strong minded means weak minded, is that it, auntie?' laughed Elsie.
'I see, Aunt Sarah,' said Lucy, 'we shall be forced to call upon you for that most difficult of tasks, a definition. What is meant by the term, 'strong-minded woman'?'
'A monster,' replied Mrs. Sarah Grundy, 'who lectures, speaks in public, wants women to vote, to wear men's garments; in a word, one who would like to upset religion, social life, and the world in general.'
'Well,' dear auntie, 'we surely do not purpose committing any of these enormities; our intentions simply embrace a short excursion of some forty miles in search of fine scenery, health, and a little amusement. We have no confidence in our power to influence the public, even if we thought we had aught to say which they do not already know; we do not see that voting has a very beneficial effect upon men, witness election days; as for their garments, they are too hideously ungraceful for us to covet; in faith, we are of the most orthodox; we confess, we do think social life needs sundry reforms, more charity and forbearance, less detraction and ostentation, etc., etc.; and as for the world in general, we think it very beautiful, and only wish to overlook some few additional miles of its lovely mountains, lakes, and streams.'
'Well, well, girls, young people always can talk faster than old ones; but do you really think it safe for you to venture without escort? You do not even know the name of the place which you wish to visit; you have been informed that on the summit of yonder mountain is a lake, said to be picturesque; but of its cognomen, and of the proper means to reach it, you are utterly ignorant. You will have to ask questions of all sorts of people.'
'Suppose we do--being women, we will certainly in America receive civil answers.'
'But if some person unknown to you should speak to you?'
'Little danger, dear aunt, of dread unknowns, if we comport ourselves properly; I have travelled much in all kinds of public conveyances, and never yet have been improperly addressed. Did you ever have an adventure of the sort'?
'Once only,' replied Aunt Sarah, 'and then the fault was my own. I was young and giddy; Cousin Nancy was with me, and we were in a rail-car. In a near seat sat a very good-looking young man; Nancy looked toward him once or twice and, meeting his eye, began to giggle: I foolishly joined her; thus encouraged, our young gentleman opened a conversation. Nancy laughed immoderately; but I, being a few years older, soon controlled my silly giggling; and by the tone of my reply speedily silenced our would-be admirer. He turned his back upon us, and, so far as I know, in less than five minutes had forgotten our very existence.'
'Decidedly a case in our favor! And if the boat should blow up, or the car roll down an embankment, in what would we be benefited by the fact of having an escort also to be scalded or have his head broken?'
'Ye maun even then gang your ain gait. I wish you a pleasant journey and a safe return.'
'Thank you, auntie, and you will not call us strong minded?'
'Certainly not, unless I find you merit the appellation.'
The little trunk was soon packed, and one fine July morning the two travellers set off in search of the beautiful lake, whose name is not to be found in the guide books. They knew it was to be looked for in a sharp and peculiar dent in the Shawangunk mountain, which dent, so far as they could judge from the hills near their dwelling on the northern slope of the Highlands, must be nearly opposite Poughkeepsie. Neither map nor gazetteer could they procure; the neighbors could give them no information, and they were forced to proceed with only the above-mentioned meagre stock of knowledge.
The first stage was of five miles, in a carriage to Newburg, where they took the day boat for Albany. Our novices felt more or less anxiety regarding the fidelity of the porter intrusted with their two small articles of baggage; but said articles appearing somewhat late, though still in season, and being duly marked for Poughkeepsie, the first question asked was as to the existence of such a place as New Paltz Landing, opposite the above-named city, and the facilities for crossing the river. None of those in authority knew certainly of a ferry, but supposed it highly probable. The wharf at Poughkeepsie was suggested as a proper place to obtain information; and, once there, our travellers soon found themselves in the hands of an intelligent contraband, who promised to place them safely on the desired ferry boat. As they neared the dock, a great rock, with an upset wagon for foreground, furnished an encouraging picture for two lone lady tourists. The boat proved neat and comfortable, and here again inquiries were made. The very polite captain had heard of a lake on the Shawangunk mountain, but knew neither its name nor exact location. He advised them to have their baggage sent to the little inn at the landing, where they might dine and await a stage expected to pass in about an hour on its way to New Paltz, a village nine miles west of the river. At the inn they fancied they must certainly learn something definite regarding the final object of their undertaking. A large map of Ulster county hung in the sitting room, and gave promise of some decided information. Unfortunately, it was not of a recent edition: a nameless lake on the Shawangunk mountain, about five miles from New Paltz, seemed to be the object of their search; but the landlord, who had heard of a lake in that direction, could not tell how it was to be reached, or whether shelter could there be found in any decent tenement; his impression was that there had been a public house on top of the mountain, but that it had recently been destroyed by fire. Certainties were evidently still unattainable.
Finally, the stage arrived--a vehicle drawn by two horses, and intended to seat four persons. In it were already two ladies, with bags and bundles, two trunks, a champagne basket, numberless packages, and about fifty bottles of soda water, laid in among the straw covering the bottom of the accommodating conveyance. The driver, a good-natured, intelligent man, gave our travellers his bench, and arranged a seat for himself and the champagne basket on a sort of shelf overhanging the tails of the horses. At the top of the first hill is the village of Houstonville, where they stopped at the post office to leave the mail, and where two ladies appeared as claimants for seats in the stage. The driver at first demurred; but, finding the ladies persistent, he drew forth a board, and, fastening it at either end to a perpendicular prop, constructed a third bench, on which the two new passengers took their places.
The stage was by this time more than well packed; but ere long the process of lightening up commenced, as first the champagne basket, then packages, bundles, and newspapers, were left at various dwellings along the roadside. One novelty especially striking was the wayside post office, consisting of a box on a pole, intended to contain the daily newspaper therein thrust to await the coming of the owners.
Of course the driver was plied with numerous questions regarding the thus far nameless lake. He had been up the Shawangunk mountain fishing, but that was years before; there was a lake, but he had never heard any name given to it; he had understood a house had been built since his last visit; but he did not know if it was intended to accommodate visitors during the night. Of one thing, however, he was quite certain, and that was, the impossibility of finding a horse in New Paltz to take the ladies up that evening. The inns had none to let; there were no livery stables, and his own pair were too greatly fatigued by their twenty-mile drive to venture up so steep an ascent; but he thought a conveyance might be found for the following morning. The views along the road were charming; and the sharp, jagged crest known as Paltz Point, overhung the well-cultivated rolling valley beneath, giving a fair promise of an extended and characteristic view.
The inn, to which the travellers were driven, proved very neat and comfortable. It was a new edifice, with an accommodating landlord and landlady, the latter of which personages seemed quite mystified by the advent of two lorn ladies in search of an unknown lake. In the entry hung a new map of Ulster county, on which appeared a lake nestling under the cliffs of Paltz Point, but still without a name. Paltz Point!--that must be the very jagged pile of rock visible from the Cornwall hills, and the lake at its foot more than probably the object of the journey.
The landlord was quite positive as to the existence of a house, but doubted its capacity in regard to sleeping accommodations; he also corroborated the testimony of the driver respecting the difficulty of obtaining a vehicle, every horse being engaged haying. The ladies announced that, as the distance was only six miles, it could be walked, in case this difficulty proved insuperable. An individual at the tea table proposed that the travellers should be taken up some time in the middle of the night, that the horse might return by six o'clock in the morning; but this suggestion was unanimously frowned down. The chief reason for requiring a horse and wagon lay in the little trunk, which, as it contained the painting box of our Elsie, who thought the lake and vicinity might offer some picturesque studies, could not possibly be left behind. After tea, a walk was taken, and the vicinage of New Paltz duly inspected. The Wallkill, here a quiet stream, runs through rich, green meadows, bordered by the noble range of the Catskills and the singular, broken ridges of the Shawangunk. The sun set clear, casting pale gold streams of light over the meadows, and leaving a long, lingering, rosy twilight. The young art-student drank in beauty with every breath. The cows were driven home; the ducks came slowly up out of the stream, and all the winged creatures went to roost. Night came, and repose was welcome after the pleasures and fatigues of the day's journey.
At eight the following morning, a steady black pony, with a light open wagon, appeared at the door; and by ten o'clock the travellers reached the mountain top. Their steed showed marvellous endurance in the way of slow pacing down steep hills, which they afterward found had been acquired in leading sad trains of mourners to the modest graveyards, wherein rest the earthly remains of the peaceful dwellers in this pastoral vale. The first four or five miles of road were excellent, but the last one or two so rough and stony, that they were quite willing to walk. On top of the mountain stands a little inn, commanding a magnificent view in several directions. As they neared the end of their journey, they rejoiced to see a white house gleaming through the trees, and promising food and shelter. The sound of coming wheels brought out the land-lady, who gave the travellers a hearty welcome, and assured them of her ability to harbor them for the night. The end was accomplished--the goal reached! And what a goal! Nowhere among all the beautiful scenery in the Middle and Eastern States is there a spot more characteristic and interesting than Paltz Point, and the lake that lies under its shadow--that lake, whose name was a mystery, even to the inmates of the house built upon its brink. Its waters are clear, and of a deep green hue; its depth is said to be great, and its rocky shores rise in perpendicular cliffs of from ten to two hundred feet. The highest point stands three or four hundred feet above the surface of the water; but in that part the cliffs are no longer perpendicular. The length of the lake is about a mile, and the width perhaps half that distance. The rocks are gray sandstone or quartz conglomerate, making the cliffsides, except where covered by black lichens, of a glittering white. On one side, the rocks rise in steep, precipitous masses, while on the other they are shattered into every imaginable form. The clefts are deep and narrow, great hemlocks rise from the bottoms of the fissures, and the vast masses of fallen or split rock lie piled and cloven, confusedly tossed about, gigantic memorials of the great convulsion that in days long gone by heaped up the long ridge of the Shawangunk, and shattered its northern dip into such majestic and fantastic cliffs. The deepest and wildest chasm is filled by the weird, green lake. Straying along the tops of the precipices bordering the water, our travellers beheld lovely vistas of the far-away country, north, south, east, or west, stealing in through rocky or leafy openings. An easy ascent of about half a mile leads to the summit of the Point. Blueberries were ripe, and beguiled the pair into many a moment's dallying by the wayside. Not until they reached the very top were they quite sure they had after all found the place they came to seek; but one view down the jagged line of the Shawangunk, convinced our Elsie that no other spot could have furnished the sketch seen in the studio, where she had been advised to seek 'the lake on the Shawangunk mountain.'
The view from Paltz Point is magical. The long line of the Catskills sweeps boldly across the near northern horizon. Nowhere do those mountains seem so majestic, or their forms so broken and beautiful; nearer are the Olive mountains, beyond which flows the Esopus. Rondout creek, the Wallkill, and the Hudson, water the fertile vales lying among the hills. To the south stretches the line of the Shawangunk toward the Delaware river, and on the extreme southern and southeastern horizon rise the Highlands, with the river gap, the rifted sides of the Storm King, the Beacons, the great broad shoulders of Schunemunk;--even the white buildings on the plain at West Point may be seen glittering in the afternoon sun. A clear atmosphere is needed for the full enjoyment of the view, as the panorama is so vast that even a slight haze obscures many of the more interesting distant objects. And what words could describe the jutting headlands--wild, broken lines of white cliffs stretching to the southward, deep chasms, steep, forest-clad mountains, green or blue as distance, sunshine, or shadow may decree, and the tranquil green lake, smiling as a deep, strong and cheerful spirit amid the ruins of a shattered, wasted life? As our travellers gazed, they thanked God that His world was so beautiful, and wondered if even Aunt Sarah would not be willing to run the risk of being thought strong minded to see so fair a corner of it.
The moon that night rose late; and the air was chill as the sisters stood on a rock waiting until its rays should silver the placid waves. Overhead ran a strange, broad, coruscating band of magnetic light, meteors flashed down the sky, a solitary loon sent a wild, despairing cry athwart the lake, and for the first time did our travellers feel they were alone, eighteen hundred feet above the Hudson, far away from other human habitation. A truly feminine shudder ran through their hearts, as they turned toward the house and betook them to the cells appropriated to their use. The following day they were driven down the mountain by the owner (not the keeper) of the little inn beside the lake. He was one of nature's own gentlemen; tall,--six feet, perhaps,--gray haired, blue eyed, with every feature well cut, and with the most honest expression ever beaming through a human countenance. The hearts of the sisters warmed toward him, and never were they more willing to acknowledge the solidarity of the race, the great fact of the brotherhood of all humanity.
Cornwall once again safely reached, and the outlines of the journey duly sketched, Aunt Sarah's first question was: 'Well, and what _is_ the name of this famous lake?'
The travellers were forced to confess the ill success of their efforts in discovering the proper appellation of that exquisite gem, and it was not until many months later that, when visiting an exhibition of paintings, they found their new friend accurately portrayed under the name of--Mogunk Lake.
REASON, RHYME, AND RHYTHM.
'All arts are one, howe'er distributed they stand, Verse, tone, shape, color, form, are fingers on one hand.'
PREFACE TO VOLUME SECOND.
Our first volume having been devoted to the Reason or Theory of Art in general, it is our intention in the second, Rhyme and Rhythm, to bring these comprehensive thoughts to a focus, and concentrate their light upon the art of Versification. Indeed, this volume is to be considered as a _manual_ of poetic Rhythm. Practical rules are given for its construction and criticism; simple solutions offered of its apparent irregularities and anomalies; and examples of sufficient length are quoted from the best poets to afford just ideas of the scope and power of the measure under consideration. The numerous citations given under their appropriate metrical heads are intended not only to assist the student in the analysis of verse, but to aid him in the choice of forms in accordance with his subject, in case he should himself wish to create Poems.
By its extrication from the entanglement of quantity and syllabic accent, under which it has been almost buried, an effort has been made to simplify the study of Rhythm: by tracing its origin and characteristics, and by the citation of poems in which its power and beauty are conspicuous, we have endeavored to render the subject one of vivid interest.
What is Rhythm? The best definition of this perplexing word has been given by the grand old Bohemian composer Tomaschek:
'The _order_ perceptible in a succession of sounds recurring in _determinate_ portions of Time, which portions of Time are more distinctly marked for the ear through the _accentuation_ of certain determinate parts, constitutes Rhythm.
Rhythm has been surrounded with so much mystery, has been the subject of so much learned debate and research, has called forth so many quartos and folios, that few know what a familiar thing it is, how closely it everywhere surrounds us, how constantly it beats within us. For the pulsations of the heart are rhythmical, and the measured throbs of life register in music every moment of our passing existence on the bosom of Time. And when life manifests itself to the senses through the medium of time, time being to the ear what space is to the eye, the Order of its pulsations is Rhythm. Strange relation between our own marvellous being and the march of time, for its mystic rhythm beats in tune with every feeling that sweeps over the heart, forever singing its primeval chant at the very core of our existence! The law of Rhythm is the law of mortal life: the constant recurrence of new effort sinking but to recover itself in accurately proportioned rest, rising ever again in new exertion, to sink again in ever new repose:
'And our hearts, though true and brave, Still, like muffled drums, are beating Funeral marches to the grave.'
This low music of the heart never ceases until stilled by the touch of death, when the spirit, led by God, enters upon the waveless ocean of an immeasurable eternity, where past and future meet in the eternal present. Time with its rhythmic measures is then no more. The necessity of 'effort and rest,' 'exertion and repose,' will exist no longer. What the fuller music of that higher life is to be, 'it has not yet entered into the heart of man to conceive.' But if the very _imperfection_ of our being has been rendered so full of charm to us in the order and proportion with which it records its law, 'effort and repose,' 'life and death'--what may we not expect when this mortal shall have put on immortality? We should think of this when that saddest of human sounds, 'it beats no more; it measures time no longer'--knells upon our ear the silence of the throbbing, passionate heart.
Nor is inanimate nature without the quickening breath of Rhythm. It cadences the dash of the wave, chimes in the flash of the oar, patters in the drops of rain, whispers in the murmurings of the forest leaves, leaps in the dash of the torrent, wails through the sighing of the restless winds, and booms in the claps and crashes of heaven's thunders.
Only through _succession_ do we arrive at the idea of time, and through a continual _being and ceasing to be_ are its steppings made sensible to us. It is thus literally true, as sung by the Poet, that 'we take no note of Time but from its loss.' Happy are we if so used that it may mark our eternal progress.
There is but little mystery in the art of keeping time, since we may at once gather a correct notion of it from the vibrations of the pulse, or from our manner of walking. If we listen to the sound of our own step, we find it equal and regular, corresponding with what is termed common time in music. Probably the time in which we walk is governed by the action of the heart, and those who step alike have pulses beating in the same time. To walk faster than this gives the sensation of hurry; to walk slower, that of loitering. The mere recurrence of sounds at regular intervals by no means constitutes the properties of _musical_ time; accent is necessary to parcel them out into those portions which Rhythm and the ear approve. If we listen to the trotting of a horse or the tread of our own feet, we cannot but notice that each alternate step is louder than the other--by which we throw the sounds into the order of common time. But if we listen to the amble or canter of a horse, we hear every third step to be louder than the other two, owing to the first and third foot striking the ground together. This regularity throws the sounds, into the order of triple time. To one or other of these descriptions may be referred every sort of time.
There is a sympathetic power in measured time which has not yet received the attention it deserves. It has been found that in a watchmaker's shop the timepieces or clocks connected with the same wall or shelf have such a sympathetic effect in keeping time, that they stop those which beat in irregular time; and if any are at rest, set agoing those which beat accurately. What wonder then that the living, soldiers, artisans, such as smiths, paviors, etc., who work in unison with the pulse, should acquire habits of keeping time with the greatest correctness.
Rhythm not only measures the footfall of the pedestrian, but exerts a sympathetic power, so that if two are walking together, they feel its spell, and unconsciously fall into the same step, not aware that they are thus conforming to a Unity always engendered by the Order regulating rhythmical motion. It is this entrancing sense of unity which wings the feet of the dancers, and enables them to endure with delight a degree of physical exertion which, without it, would be utterly exhausting. The following extract from the _Atlantic Monthly_, of July, 1858, is so much to our purpose, that we place it before the reader:
'The sailor does not lack for singing. He sings at certain parts of his work;--indeed, he must sing, if he would work. On vessels of war, the drum and fife or boatswain's whistle furnish the necessary movement-regulator. There, where the strength of one or two hundred men can be applied to one and the same effort, the labor is not intermittent, but continuous. The men form on either side of the rope to be hauled, and walk away with it like firemen marching with their engine. When the headmost pair bring up at the stern or bow, they part, and the two streams flow back to the starting point, outside the following files. Thus in this perpetual 'follow-my-leader' way the work is done, with more precision and steadiness than in the merchant service. Merchantmen are invariably manned with the least possible number, and often go to sea short-handed, even according to the parsimonious calculations of their owners. The only way the heavier work can be done at all is by each man doing his utmost at the same moment. This is regulated by the song. And here is the true singing of the deep sea. It is not recreation; it is an essential part of the work. It mastheads the topsail yards, on making sail; it starts the anchor from the domestic or foreign mud; it 'rides down the main tack with a will;' it breaks out and takes on board a cargo; it keeps the pumps (the ship's, not the sailor's) going. A good voice and a new and stirring chorus are worth an extra man. And there is plenty of need of both.
'I remember well one black night in the mid-Atlantic, when we were beating up against a stiff breeze, coming on deck near midnight, just as the ship was put about. When a ship is tacking, the tacks and sheets (ropes which confine the clews or lower corners of the sails) are let run, in order that the yards may be swung round to meet the altered position of the ship. They must then be hauled taut again, and belayed, or secured, in order to keep the sails in their place and to prevent them from shaking. When the ship's head comes up in the wind, the sail is for a moment or two edgewise to it, and then is the nice moment, as soon as the headsails fairly fill, when the mainyard and the yards above it can be swung readily, and the tacks and sheets hauled in. If the crew are too few in number, or too slow at their work, and the sails get fairly filled on the new tack, it is a fatiguing piece of work enough to 'board' the tacks and sheets, as it is called. You are pulling at one end of the rope--but the gale is tugging at the other. The advantages of lungs are all against you, and perhaps the only thing to be done is to put the helm down a little, and set the sails shaking again before they can be trimmed properly. It was just at such a time that I came on deck, as above mentioned. Being near eight bells, the watch on deck had been not over spry; and the consequence was that our big maincourse was slatting and flying out overhead with a might that shook the ship from stem to stern. The flaps of the mad canvas were like successive thumps of a giant's fist upon a mighty drum. The sheets were jerking at the belaying pins, the blocks rattling in sharp snappings like castanets. You could hear the hiss and seething of the sea alongside, and see it flash by in sudden white patches of phosphorescent foam, while all over head was black with the flying scud. The English second mate was stamping with vexation, and, with all his h's misplaced, storming at the men: ''An'somely the weather mainbrace--'an'somely, I tell you!--'Alf a dozen of you clap on to the main sheet here--down with 'im!--D'y'see 'ere's hall like a midshipman's bag--heverythink huppermost and nothing 'andy. 'Aul 'im in, Hi say!' But the sail wouldn't come, though. All the most forcible expressions of the Commination Service were liberally bestowed on the watch. 'Give us the song, men!' sang out the mate, at last--'pull with a will!--together men!--haltogether now!'--And then a cracked, melancholy voice struck up this chant:
'Oh, the bowline, bully, bully bowline, Oh, the bowline, bowline, HAUL!'
At the last word every man threw his whole strength into the pull--all singing it in chorus, with a quick, explosive sound. And so, jump by jump, the sheet was at last hauled taut.'
It would be well if the philanthropist and utilitarian would stoop to examine these primeval but neglected facts, for there is no doubt that under the healthful and delicious spell of Rhythm a far steadier and greater amount of labor would be cheerfully and happily endured by the working classes. The continuous but rhythmed croon of the negro when at work, the yo-heave-o of the sailor straining at the cordage, the rowing songs of the oarsman, etc., etc., are all suggestive of what might be effected by judicious effort in this direction. But man, ever wiser than his Maker, neglects the intuitions of nature. Rendered conceited by a false education, and heartless by a constant craving for gold, he scorns the simple but deep intuitions which are his surest guide to civilization, health, and cheerfulness. There can be no doubt that the physical exercise so distasteful to the pale inhabitants of our cities, yet so essential for the preservation of health and life, might be rendered delightful and invigorating through the neglected powers of rhythmical motion. Like Michal, the proud daughter of Saul, who despised King David in her haughty heart when 'she saw him dancing with all his might before the Lord,' we scorn the simple and innocent delights of our nature, and, like Michal, we too are bitterly punished for our mistaken pride of intellect, for, neglecting the rhythmical requisitions of the body, we injure the mind, and may deprave the heart. Virtuously, purely, and judiciously applied to the amusements and artistic culture of a people, we are convinced the power of Rhythm would banish much of that craving for false excitement, for drinks and narcotics, an indulgence in which exerts so fatal an influence over the character and spiritual progress of a nation. It is surely not astonishing that Rhythm should be so pleasant to the senses, when we consider that the laws of order and unity by which it is regulated are the proper aliment of the soul.
Strange pedantries have grown out of the neglect of music as a practical pervading element in modern education. We should endeavor to reform this fault; we should use this powerful engine of healing nature to remove from us the reproach of being merely a shopkeeping and money-making people.
The wildest savage is not insensible to Rhythm. It fires his spirit in the war dance and battle chant, soothes him in the monotonous hum of the pow-wow, and softens him in naive love songs. It is the heart of music, and it can be proved that low and vulgar rhythms have a debasing effect upon the character of a people. 'Let me write the songs of a people,' said a great thinker, 'and I care not who makes its laws:'--if he included the tunes, there was no exaggeration in his thought. Alas! a meretricious age scorns and neglects the true, because it is always simple in its sublimity, and, striving to banish God from His own creation, would also banish nature and joy from the heart! A pedantic age loves all that is pretentious, glaring, and assuming; and Rhythm stoops to rock the cradle of the newborn infant; to soothe the negro in the rice swamp or cotton field; to shape into beauty the national and patriotic songs of a laborious but contented peasantry, as among the Sclaves--but what cares the age for the happiness of the race? 'Put money in thy purse,' is its consolation and lesson for humanity.
The beat of the healthful heart is in unison with the feelings of the hour. Agitation makes it fitful and broken, excitement accelerates, and sorrow retards it. And this fact should be the model for all poetical and musical rhythm.
To show how readily we associate feelings with different orders of sound, let us suppose we are passing the night somewhere, where a stranger, utterly unknown to us, occupies a room from which we can hear the sound of his footsteps. Suppose that through the tranquil hours of the night we hear his measured tread falling in equally accented and monotonous spondees, it is certain that a quick imagination will at once associate this deliberate tread with the state of mind in the unknown from which it will believe it to proceed, and will immediately suggest that the stranger is maturing some great design of heavy import to his future peace.
Should the character of the spondaic tread suddenly change, should the footsteps become rapid, eager, and broken, we look upon the term of meditation and doubt as over, the resolve as definitely fixed, and the unknown as restlessly longing for the hour of its fulfilment.
When we hear steps resembling dactyls, anapaests, and choriambs thrown hurriedly together, broken by irregular pauses, we begin to build a whole romance on the steps of the stranger; we infer from them moments of grave deliberation; the languor consequent upon overwrought thought; renewed effort; resolve; alternations of passion; hope struggling with despair; until all at last seems merged in impatient longing for the hour of anticipated victory.
Nor has the imagination been alone in its strange workings; it has whispered, as it always does, its secrets to the heart, and succeeded in arousing its ever-ready affections, so that we cannot help feeling a degree of interest in the unknown, whose emotions we have followed through the night, reading their history in his alternating footsteps: _for sounds impress themselves immediately upon the feelings, exciting, not abstract or antagonistic thought, but uniting humanity in concrete feeling_. (See vol. i.)
As the imagination necessarily associates different feelings with different orders of Rhythm, it is the task of the Poet to select those in the closest conformity with the emotions he is struggling to excite. It is positively certain that we not only naturally and intuitively _associate_ distinctive feelings with different orders of rhythmical sounds, but that varied emotions are _awakened_ by them. Some rhythms inspire calmness, some sublime and stately courage, some energy and aggressive force, some stir the spirit to the most daring deeds, some, as in our maddening Tarantulas, produce a restless excitement through the whole nervous system, some excite mere joyousness, some whisper love through every fibre of the heart, and some lead us in their holy calm and unbroken order to the throne of God. Why is this? We need not look in the region of the understanding for the philosophy of that which is to be found only in the living tide of basic emotions. The pleasure we receive from Rhythm is a feeling. Alternate accentuation and non-accentuation are facts in the living organism of the universe; this may be expressed, not explained. There is an order in the living succession of musical sounds or poetic emotions, which order is expressed by the words 'equality and proportion.' These things _are_. What more can be said? Do comparisons help us? the waves in the eternal ocean of vitality--the shuttle strokes of the ever-moving loom of creation! Let us take it as it is, and rejoice in it. We cannot tell you why we live--let us be glad that our life is music through every heart-throb!
Rhythm is a species of natural but inarticulate language, in which the _thought_ is never disengaged from the _feeling_; in language its aim should be to awaken the _feeling_ properly attached to the thought it modulates; it should be the _tune_ of the thought of the Poet. To write a love song in alexandrines, an idyl in hexameters, would be to incarnate the shy spirit of a girl in the brawny frame of a Hercules, to incase the loving soul of a Juliet in a gauntleted Minerva. Genius and deep sympathy with human nature can alone guide the Poet aright in this delicate and difficult path; it lies too near the core of our unconscious being to be susceptible of the trim regularity of rule--he must trust his own intuitions while he studies with care what has already been successfully done by our best poets. We may however remark in passing that if the rhythm be abruptly broken without a corresponding break in the flow of thought or feeling, the reader will be confused, because the outward form has fallen into contradiction with its inner soul, and he discerns the opposition, and knows not with which to sympathize. Such contrarieties argue want of power or want of freedom in the poet, who should never suffer the clanking of his rhythmical chains to be heard. Such causeless breaks proceed from want of truth to the subject, and prove a lack of the careful rendering of love in the author. The poet must listen to the naive voice of nature as he moulds his rhythms, for the ingenious and elaborate constructions of the intellect alone will never touch the heart. Rhythm may proceed with regularity, yet that regularity be so relieved from monotony and so modified in its actual effects, that however regular may be the structure of parts, what is composed of them may be infinitely various. Milton's exquisite poem, 'Comus,' is an example of perfect rhythm with ceaseless intricacy and great variety. It would indeed be a fatal mistake to suppose that _proportion_ cannot be susceptible of great variety, since the whole meaning of the term has reference to the adjustment and proportional correspondence of _variable_ properties.
The appreciation of rhythm is universal, pertaining to no region, race, nor era, in especial. Even those who have never _thought_ about it, _feel_ order to be the law of life and happiness, and in the marking of the _proportioned_ flow of time and the regular accentuation of its _determinate_ portions find a perpetual source of healthful pleasure.
If we will but think of it, we will be astonished how many ideas already analyzed we may find exhibited through rhythm. We may have: similarity, variety, identity, repetition, adaptation, symmetry, proportion, fitness, melody, harmony, order, and unity; in addition to the varied feelings of which it becomes the symbolic utterance. The Greeks placed rhythms in the hands of a god, thus testifying to their knowledge of their range and power.
Wordsworth asserts that
'More pathetic situations and sentiments, that is, those which have a greater proportion of pain connected with them, may be endured in metrical compositions than in prose.'
The reason of this seems to be that the bright beams forever raying from the Divine Sun of unity and order, shine through the measured beat of the rhythm, and are always felt as life and peace, even when their golden light is broken by the wild and drifting clouds of human woe, or seen athwart the surging and blinding mists of mortal anguish.
Rhythm lurks in the inmost heart of language, accenting our words that their enunciation may be clear and distinct; lengthening and shortening the time of our syllables that they may be expressive, emotional, and musical. Let the orator as well as the poet study its capabilities; it has more power over the sympathies of the masses than the most labored thought.
Although through the quantitive arrangement and determinate accentuation of syllabic sound, rhythm may be exquisitely manifested through language, yet in music alone does it attain its full power and wonderful complexity. For the _tones_ are not _thoughts_, but _feelings_, and yield themselves implicitly to the loving hand which would reunite them and form them into higher unities. These passionate tones, always seeking for and surging into each other, are plastic pearls on the string of rhythm, whose proportions may be indefinitely varied at the will of the fond hand which would wreathe them into strands of symmetrical beauty; while _words_, the vehicles of antagonistic thought, frequently refuse to conform to the requisitions of feeling, are often obstinate and wilful, will not be remodelled, and hard, in their self-sufficiency, refuse to bear any stamp save that of their known and fixed value. Like irregular beads of uncut coral, they protrude their individualities in jagged spikes and unsightly thorns, breaking often the unity of the whole, and painfully wounding the sense of order.
The true poet overcomes these difficulties. When, in the hands of a master, they are forced to bend under the onward and impetuous sweep of the passionate rhythm, compelled to sing the tune of the overpowering emotions--the chords of the spirit quiver in response. The heart recognizes the organic law of its own life: _the constant recurrence of new effort sinking but to recover itself in accurately proportioned rest, rising again in ever-renewed exertion, to sink again in ever-new repose_; feeling seems clothing itself with living form, while the divine attribute, Order, marks for the ear, as it links in mystic Unity, the flying footsteps of that forever invisible element by which all mortal being is conditioned and limited: TIME!
'There is no architect Can build as the Muse can; She is skilful to select Materials for her plan.
'She lays her beams in music, In music every one, To the cadence of the whirling world Which dances round the sun.
'That so they shall not be displaced By lapses or by wars, But for the love of happy souls Outlive the newest stars.' EMERSON.
'John,' said I to my husband, as he came home from business, and settled into an armchair for half an hour's rest before dinner, 'I think of writing an article for THE CONTINENTAL MONTHLY.'
'Humph!' said my husband.
Now 'humph' bears different interpretations; it may argue assent, indifference, disgust, disapprobation--in all cases it is aggressive; but this 'humph' seemed to be a combination of at least three of the above-mentioned frames of mind.
Natural indignation was about taking full possession of me, but reflection stepped in, and I preserved a discreet silence. The truth is, no man should be assailed by a new idea before he has dined, and I, having had three years' opportunity of studying man nature, met my deserts when the above answer was given. So I still looked amiable, and behaved very prettily till dinner was over, and then John, having subsided into dressing gown, slippers, easy chair, and good nature, I remarked again:
'John, I think of writing an article for THE CONTINENTAL MONTHLY.'
'How shall you begin it?' said he.
'Well, I haven't exactly settled on a beginning yet, but--'
'Exactly! I supposed so!' remarked this barbarian.
Unfortunately, he knew my weak point, for hadn't he been allowed to see a desk full of magnificent middles, only wanting a beginning and an end, and a publisher, and some readers, to place me in the front ranks of our modern essayists, side by side with 'Spare Hours,' and the 'Country Parson,' and 'Gail Hamilton?'
The fact is, I have always been brimming over with brilliant ideas on all sorts of subjects, which never would arrange themselves or be arranged under any given head, but presented a series of remarkable literary fragments, jotted down on stray bits of paper, in old account books and diaries, and even, on one or two occasions, when seized by a sudden inspiration, on a smooth stone, taken from the brook, a fair sheet of birch bark, and the front of a pew in a white-painted country church. Having been subject to these inspirational attacks for many years, I had decided to take them in hand, and, if they must come, derive some benefit from them. An idea suggested itself. Claude Lorraine, it is said, never put the figures in his landscapes, but left that work for some brother artist. Now I could bring together material for an article; the inspiration, the picturing should be mine, but John should put in the figures. In other words, he should polish it, write the introduction and the _finis_, and send it out to the public, as the work of 'my wife and I.'
Then a question occurred: how should we divide the honors, supposing such an article should really find its way into print? Would there not be material for a standard quarrel in the fact that neither could claim sole proprietorship? What would be John's sensation, should any one say to him: 'Mr. ----, I have just been reading your wife's last article; capital thing!' and, _vice versa_, imagine the same thing said of me. Could I preserve amiability under such circumstances, and would not the result be, a divorce in a year, and a furious lawsuit as to the ownership of the copyright? John certainly is magnanimous, I thought, but no one cares for divided honors, and there is that middle-aged relation of his, with a figure like a vinegar cruet, and a voice as acid as its contents, who never comes here for a day without doing her best to set us by the ears, and who, in the beginning of our married life, when we did not understand each other quite so well as now, sometimes succeeded, to her intense satisfaction.
How she would go about among all the friends and relations, pulling the poor articles to pieces, giving all the fine bits to John and the rubbish to me, and hinting generally that my pretensions to authorship were all very well, but that every one knew John did the work and I looked out for the credit.
Here I paused. I had been successfully engaged in the pursuit of trouble, and had conjured up so irritating a picture, that actually a small tear had left its source, and was running over the bridge of my nose!
'John,' I said, 'notwithstanding that I never did know how to begin anything in an effective way, I am still determined to write, and you must help me.'
Then I opened my heart to him, and told him my plan, and the imagined tribulation it had given me in the last ten minutes.
'There are too many writers already, Helen,' he said; 'every man who cannot see his way clear through life--every woman who fancies herself misunderstood and unappreciated, worries out a book or poem or a set of essays, to picture their individual wrongs and sufferings, and bores every publisher of every magazine and paper of which they have ever heard, till he is tormented into printing, or dies of manuscript on the brain. I tell you, Helen, we do our share in aggravating the people we meet daily, without tormenting an innocent man, 'who never did us any harm;' and I for one, don't want an extra sin on my conscience. Moreover, I am afraid it would spoil you, should you happen to succeed. Have you forgotten your old friend Angelina Hobbs? One article ruined her for life. Until that poem got into print and was favorably noticed, she was as sensible as ordinary girls, and never imagined herself a genius. Since then, there is not an 'ism' in America that she has not taken up and run into the ground; I have met her in every stage, from the coat and pantaloons of the Bloomer ten years ago to the hoopless old maid I saw yesterday going into Dodworth's Hall with the last spiritual paper and a spirit photograph in her hand. Not a literary man or woman do I know, who has not some crotchet in his or her brain, and who does not in some way violate the harmonies of life at least once an hour. Be content as you are: be satisfied to live without seeing yourself in THE CONTINENTAL MONTHLY, or any other monthly under the sun!'
'John,' I said, 'I am surprised, I am astonished at the view you take of the case. I don't desire that publishers should be tormented into their graves; and if they are all as fat and rosy as the two we met the other day, I think you can dismiss all fears on that score. Moreover, I believe the world to be better for every book that is written, however insignificant it may be. The days of the corsairs and giaours, romantic robbers, and devout murderers, are over: our young ladies and our servant girls see no fascination in the pages of 'Fatherless Fanny,' 'The Foundling,' or 'The Mysteries of Slabtown.' Arthur's stories and ten thousand others of the same class have taken their place, and commonplace as they may often be, have brought a healthier influence into action. No book written with an honest heart is lost; no poem or essay, however poor, fails to reach some mark. The printed page that to you or me looks so barren and poor, may carry to some soul a message of healing; may to some eyes have the light of heaven about it. And to how many aimless lives, writing has given a purpose which otherwise never might have entered it! John, I believe in writing, and this baby shall be taught to put his ideas into shape as soon as he is taught anything! I never wish him to settle down in the belief that he is a genius and can live on the fact; but he shall write if he can, and publish too, if any one will do it for him. If not, we will have a private printing press of our own, and get up an original library for our descendants.'
'A genuine woman's answer,' said John; 'only one point in it touching upon my argument.' Here the baby opened his blue eyes wide. 'There!' said John; 'just for the present your life has a purpose, and we can dispense with writing, at least till that fellow is asleep again. When you have disposed of him, we will find out how many aims it is necessary for one woman to have, and what arrangement of them it is best to make.'
The baby stayed awake obstinately, but I was reconciled to the fact, for our discussion might have become hot, and the writing ended for that evening quite as effectually as the baby had done it.
Night came again, and this time John opened the subject, by placing before me a large package of foolscap, and a new gold pen.
'I have brought some paper for you to spoil, Helen,' he said, 'for I foresaw how it would end. Do your best, and I will do mine in the matter of beginnings. I cannot write easily, you know, but I can suggest and dictate, when you wish it; and you have been my amanuensis for a year and more, so it will all seem very natural.'
He looked down, as he spoke, at the scarred right hand and its missing fingers, carried away eighteen months before by a rebel bullet, and a little shade passed over his face.
'No, John,' I said, 'don't look there now; look at my two hands waiting to do the work of that, and tell me if two are not better than one. We will write an article which shall astonish the critics, and bring letters from all the magazines, begging us to become special contributors at once; and we will not quarrel as to who shall have the glory, but make it a joint matter. And now I am ready to begin, and propose to speak upon a subject which I wonder greatly no one has taken up in detail before. Your words last evening brought out some dormant ideas. 'We do our share in aggravating the people we meet daily,' you said, and I have been reflecting upon the matter ever since, till now I am prepared to give my opinions to the world.'
So saying, I arranged the table properly, took out some sheets of the smooth, white paper, filled my pen, and waited for the dawning of an idea. To which it came first, I shall not tell you. The results are before you: which part is John's, which mine, you will never learn from us. It will be of no avail for you to write to the editors, for they don't know either, and will not be told. It will be a useful exercise for you to dissect the article, and set apart the masculine from the feminine portions. The critics will for once be quite at a loss how to abuse it, probably. I foresee a general distraction in the minds of our readers, and already hear ourselves classed as among one of the trials which I select as the title of 'Our Article.'
SOME OF THE AGGRAVATIONS OF LIVING.
Two thirds of life in the aggregate are made up of aggravations. They begin with our beginning, and only cease with our ending; perhaps, if good Calvinists speak the truth, not even then, for, according to their belief, the souls in torment look always upon the blessed in heaven, and this surely is the most horrible species of aggravation ever devised by man or fiend.
From the time when the air first fills the lungs and the infant screams at the new sensation, to the day when fingers press down the resisting lids and straighten the stiffening limbs, we are forced to meet and to bear all manner of aggravations in nine tenths of our daily life.
Has it ever occurred to any of you what an amount of unnecessary suffering an infant endures, and have you ever watched the operations it undergoes daily, with reference to the confirming of this fact? If not, an inexhaustible field of inquiry lies open before you, and after a week's observation of bandages rolled till the flesh actually squeaks--of pins stuck in and left, where you know they will prick--of smotherings in blankets and garrotings with bibs--of trottings for the wind and poundings for the stomach ache--of wakings up to show to visitors, and puttings to sleep when sleep is at the other end of the land of Nod, and will not be induced to come under any circumstances--of rockings and tossings--of boiling catnip tea and smooth horrible castor oil poured down the unsuspecting throat--after a week of such observations, I say, you will decide with me that the baby's life is only a series of aggravations, and feel astonished the bills of infant mortality do not double and treble.
As years round out the little life, the hands, reaching out to the tree of knowledge, find themselves pushed back on all sides. The dearest wishes are made light of, the most earnest desires slighted, the most sacred thoughts ridiculed, till one marvels that men can grow up anything but devils. In the path where Gail Hamilton's feet have trod I need not follow, for she has told us what these 'Happiest Days' are, in better words than my pen can find. It warmed my heart as I read her protest against the platitudes concerning childhood and its various imagined delights. Mentally I shook hands, for she expressed my ideas so fully, that the notes I had long ago jotted down upon the subject I committed at once to the flames, satisfied I never could do any better, and might possibly do very much worse.
I believe that the major part of sour-tempered, perversely wrong-headed, and unhappily disposed people, of hot-headed fanatics, victims to one idea, of once noble souls who sink themselves in sensuality, and so go down to death, and of all the sad cases one hears and reads of day after day and year after year, are made so through unceasing aggravation at the most impressible time of life. Do any of you who may be my readers know of half a dozen happy families in your circle of friends and acquaintance? Do you know of half a dozen where boys prefer home and their sisters to the streets, or where girls do not court the most uninviting boy in preference to their own brothers?
One would almost imagine spite had been the feeling implanted in all homes, as they look at the private pinch exchanged between John and James, the face made by Mary at which Martha cries and is slapped by way of adjusting matters, and the general refusal of requests made to father and mother, whether reasonable or not. My own childhood was moderately happy, and yet I recall now the sense of burning indignation I sometimes suffered at wrongs done me, which the child's sense of justice told me were wrongs, and which I now know to have been so. Children are themselves one of the aggravations of living, but it is because we do not know how to treat them. I look for a time when every father shall be just, every mother reasonable as well as loving; when children shall neither be flogged up the way of life as in times past, or coaxed up with sugarplums as in times present, but, seeing with clear eyes the straight path, shall walk in it with joy, and finish their course with rejoicing.
Another aggravation, and not a minor one either it strikes me, is the summary way in which youth is put down by middle-aged and aged people. Youthful emotions are 'bosh and twaddle,' youthful ideas, 'crude, sir, very crude!' and youthful attempts to be and to do something in the world frowned at, as if action of any sort, save inaction, before forty, were an outrage on humanity, and an insult to the Creator.
How fares it with young professional men during the first ten years of their career? They hope and wait, doubt and wait, curse and wait, labor to wait, and in the mean time a wheezing old lawyer, with no more enthusiasm than a brickbat, takes the cases which Justice, if she were not blind, would have sent to his starving younger brethren, and pockets fat fees, a tenth of which would have lifted loads from many a heavy heart. An old family physician, an old minister, an old lawyer, are excellent in their way, and have a variety of pleasant associations with them, which it is impossible to pass over to the young aspirant who steps in to take their place; yet because Dr. Jones, aged sixty-eight, carried us safely through the measles, does it follow that Dr. Smith, aged twenty-eight, cannot do the same for our children?
Because for thirty years the Rev. Dr. Holdfast has preached upon election, and justification by faith, is the Rev. Dr. Holeman to be set down as presumptuously progressive, because he suggests works as a test of the faith we profess, and ventures to speak of God, not as the stern Deity who commands us all to be afraid of Him, and who drops lost souls into the pit with a calm satisfaction, but as the loving Father of the world, who wills that all men should come to the knowledge of His truth.
It is well for the old to give us their experience, well for the young to listen, but every man and every woman lives a life of their own, which the widest experience cannot touch at all points. No two natures have ever been nor ever can be exactly alike; no rules of the past can form the present in the same mould. Girls and boys, young men and women, must 'see the folly' for themselves, and all the advice and warning of all the ancestors under heaven cannot prevent it. Therefore, O middle-aged aunt, or white-haired grandparent, aggravate by unceasing advice, if you will, but be not aggravated if it isn't taken. Reflect as to how fully you availed yourself of the experience of _your_ grandparents when you were young, and then make your demands accordingly. Tell the young the story of your life as a story, and they will listen and mayhap profit; give it as advice, and you shall see them keep as far off as circumstances will admit. It is my fixed belief that until the people in the world have learned how to hold their tongues, it will be entirely useless to read Dr. Cumming; believe in the Great Tribulation as much as you please, for it is about us all day long, but don't look out for the Millennium, which I think will consist entirely in people's minding their own business.
In the inability or unwillingness of people to let other people alone, may be summed up all the aggravation of living. The bane of my life has been never being let alone. People seem to think they have come into the world with a special mission to give me advice, and from my babyhood up, I have never been allowed to carry out the best-arranged plan of operation, without interference. As each man and woman is the representative of a certain class, I conclude others have had the same experience with myself; and there is a gloomy satisfaction in reflecting that there are many who have been made as essentially uncomfortable as I. The result has been, I have come to the unalterable determination never, under any circumstances, to either advise anybody or receive it myself where it can be avoided. If it is ordained that I am to make a fool of myself, it shall be done on my own responsibility, and not with the assistance of meddling friends--though if they have any desire to take the credit of it, I shall make no objections whatever. I doubt if they will. The longer I live in the world, the clearer appears the fact that half at least of our unhappiness is unnecessary. We seem perversely bent on tormenting and being tormented. We visit people for whom we do not care one straw, because our position in society or our interests demand it. We sacrifice our own judgment to the whims of others as a matter of expediency, and almost ignore our own capacity in the eagerness to agree with everybody. We suffer because a rich snob snubs us, and agonize over unfavorable remarks made concerning our abilities or standing. These things ought not so to be. No man can find a substitute when he lies a-dying;--why should all his years be spent in the vain endeavor to find a substitute for living? An endless dependence upon the opinions, the whims, the prejudices of others, is the bane of living, and the mark of a weak mind, made so oftener by education than nature.
When the young forget to abuse the old, and the old to run down the young; when mothers-in-law cease to hate their daughters-in-law, and to improve all opportunities for sowing strife; when wives take pains to understand their husbands, and husbands decide that woman nature is worth studying; when women can remember to be charitable to other women; when the Golden Rule can be read as it is written, and not 'Do unto others as ye would _not_ they should do unto you;' when justice and truth rule men, rather than unreason and petty spite, then the aggravation of living will die a natural death, and the world become as comfortable an abiding place as its inhabitants need desire.
Till then, hope and wait. Live the life God gives us, as purely and truly as you know how. Have some faith in human nature, but more in God, and wait his own good time for the perfect life, not to be reached here, but hereafter.
THE LESSON OF THE WOOD.
In the same soil the family of trees Spring up, and, like a band of brothers, grow In the same sun, while from their leafy lips Comes not the faintest whisper of dissent Because of various girth and grain and hue. The oak flings not his acorns at the elm; The white birch shrinks not from the swarthy ash; The green plume of the pine nods to the shrub; The loftiest monarch of the realm of wood Spares not his crown in elemental storms, But shares the blows with trees of humbler growth, And stretches forth his arms to save their fall. Wild flowers festoon the feet of all alike; Green mosses grow upon the trunks of all; Sweet birds pour out their songs on every bough; Clouds drop baptismal showers of rain on each, And the broad sun floods every leaf with light. Behold them clad in Autumn's golden pomp-- Their rich magnificence, of different dyes, More beautiful than royal robes, and crowns Of emperors on coronation day. But the deserted nest in silence sways Like a sad heart beneath a royal scarf; And the red tint upon the maple leaves Is colored like the fields where fell our braves In hurricanes of flame and leaden hail. I love to gaze up at the grand old trees; Their branches point like hope to Heaven serene; Their roots point to the silent world that's dead; Their grand old trunks hold towns and fleets for us, And cots and coffins for the race unborn. When at their feet their predecessors fell, Spring covered their remains with mourning moss, And wrote their epitaph in pale wood flowers, And Summer gave ripe berries to the birds To stay and sing their sad sweet requiem; And Autumn rent the garments of the trees That stood mute mourners in a field of graves, And Winter wrapped them in a winding sheet. They seemed like giants sleeping in their shrouds.
DIARY OF FRANCES KRASINSKA;
OR, LIFE IN POLAND DURING THE EIGHTEENTH CENTURY.
CASTLE OF JANOWIEC, Wednesday, _May 27th, 1760._
I had hoped too much! He is going, and the memory of the past will render the days to come very sad. I knew that Monday was an unlucky day: since my maid gave me such a fright by announcing the approaching departure of the princes, all has gone from bad to worse.
The huntsman who brought me the bouquet from the prince, told me, in his name, that he too was forced to depart. With great difficulty could he invent a pretext for remaining three days after his brothers left. These three days will not expire until to-morrow, and yet he leaves me to-day; he must go, and can no longer delay. The king has sent an express for him, with an order to return as soon as possible. He will leave in one half hour, and I do not know when we can meet again. Ah! how soon happiness passes away!...
Sunday, _June 7th._
It is now two weeks since the prince royal left me; he has sent two expresses, and slipped two notes for me under cover to the prince palatine. But what is a letter?... An unfinished thought--it soothes for a moment, but cannot calm. A letter can never replace even a few seconds of personal intercourse; he has left me his portrait; I am sure every one would think it like him; but for me, it is merely a shred of inanimate canvas. It has his features, but it is not he, and has not his expression.... I have him much better in my memory.
All consolation is denied me, for I will not reply to his letters; this restraint I have imposed upon myself; I am sure that my hand would become motionless as the cold marble were I to write to the man I love without the knowledge of my aunt, my elder sister, and my parents. I told the prince royal that he could never have a letter from me until I was his wife. This is a great sacrifice, but I have promised my God that I will accomplish it.
Since his departure, time weighs upon me as a continued torture. During the first few days I wandered about as if bereft of reason; I could not fix my thoughts, or apply myself to any occupation. The illness of the princess has restored some energy to my soul. The injury to her foot, which she at first neglected, has become very serious; during three days she had a burning fever, which threatened her life. My anguish was beyond description; I am sure I could not have been more uneasy had it been my sister or one of my parents. I scarcely thought of the prince royal during the whole of those three days; and what is most strange, I no longer regretted his absence; if he had been here, I could not have devoted myself so entirely to the princess. The idea of her death was terrible to me, for, notwithstanding all the arguments of the prince royal and of the Princes Lubomirski, I feel myself very culpable in having withheld my confidence from her; if she suspects the truth, she has every reason to accuse me of perfidy.... There is in this world but one inconsolable evil, and that is the torture of a bad conscience--remorse....
I hoped one day to be able to repair my wrongs toward the princess, to fall at her feet and confess my fault, but when I saw her in danger, I felt as if hell itself were menacing me, and as if I must be forever crushed under the weight of an eternal remorse.... Another thought too has distressed me to the very bottom of my soul! My parents are advanced in years; if I should lose them before I have confessed my secret to them! It is written above that I am to know every sorrow! Heaven has cruelly tried me, but to-day a ray of pity seems to have fallen upon my miserable fate. The princess is steadily improving, and I have received good news from Maleszow; I breathe again.
Were the king to give his consent to our marriage, I could not be happier than I was on hearing from the physician's own mouth that the princess was out of danger.... I will then be able to open my heart to her! Ah! my God! if this painful dissimulation weighs so heavily upon me, what must be the state of the prince royal, who is deceiving his father, his king, and offending him by a misplaced affection!
Why did not these reflections present themselves to me before? Why did I not show him the abyss into which we were about to fall?... My happiness then blinded me, and now I can fancy no condition which I would not prefer to my own.... I feel humiliated by my imprudence. Did I not, with the whole strength of my wishes and desires draw upon me this very love so dear to my heart and so fatal to my repose? My pride has lost me; and that pride is an implacable enemy, which I have no longer strength to subdue. Oh! I must indeed blame our little Matthias! It was he who first awoke such ambitious dreams within my soul.
Happy Barbara! If I only, like her, loved a man of rank equal to my own! But no, I am not of good faith with myself: the prince royal's position dazzled me. Ah! how merciful is heaven to cover our innermost thoughts with an impenetrable veil! Alas! God pardons the defects in our frail humanity sooner than we ourselves can!
I left the princess half an hour ago, and must now return to her; she loves so to have me with her! And indeed, no one can wait upon her as well as myself. I feel happy when sitting at her bedside; I regain courage when I think that I am useful to her, and I feel a kind of joy in finding that my heart is not occupied by one sentiment to the exclusion of all others.
CASTLE OF OPOLE, Thursday, _June 18th._
The princess has entirely recovered, and we have been three days at Opole. I was sorry to leave Janowiec, for all around me bore the impress of his presence. In his last letter, he announces a very sad piece of news: he is forced to pass two months in his duchy of Courland. He will endeavor to see me before he goes; but will he succeed? Two months! how many centuries, when one must wait!
We have had several visitors from Warsaw; among others, Adam Krasinski, Bishop of Kamieniec; he is in every way estimable, and universally esteemed! All speak of the change in the prince royal: he is pale and sad, and flies the world. The king himself is uneasy concerning his son, and it is I who am the cause of all this woe. Is love then a never-ending source of sorrow? He suffers for me, and his suffering is my most cruel torment.... They say too that I am changed, and believe me ill: the good princess attributes my pallor to the nights I have watched by her side. Her manifestations of interest pierce my heart! When shall I be at peace with my conscience?
Saturday, _July 11th._
Like a flash of lightning has a single ray of happiness shone out and then disappeared. He came here to see me, but could remain only two hours. Last Wednesday he left Warsaw, as if he were going to Courland, but, sending his carriages before him on the way to the north, he turned aside and hastened here. His court awaited him at Bialystok, and he was forced to travel night and day to avoid suspicion. I saw him for so short a time that those few happy moments seem only a dream. He was obliged to assume his huntsman's dress in order to gain admittance unknown into the castle.
No one penetrated his disguise, and no one except the prince palatine was cognizant of our interview. He spoke to me, he gave me repeated assurances of his love, and restored to me my dearest hopes; had he not done so, I feel I should have died before the expiration of the three months. Three months is the very least that he can remain at Mittau. How many days, how many hours, how many minutes in those three months! I could be more resigned were I alone to suffer; but he is so unhappy at our separation!
Thursday, _September 3d._
I have neglected my journal during nearly two months. Good and evil, all passes in this world. My days have been sad and monotonous, but they are gone, and their flight brings me nearer to my happiness. The prince royal assures me in all his letters that he will return in October. I was crazy with joy to-day when I found the leaves were falling: I am charmed with this foretaste of autumn. We will leave for Warsaw in a very few days.
A new incident has lately come to pass: a very brilliant match has been offered for me, and the princess, who loves me twice as well since I nursed her through her illness, after having concerted the marriage with my parents and the Bishop of Kamieniec, hoped to win my consent. I was forced to bear her anger and reproaches, and worse than all that, the bitter allusions which she made to the prince royal....
To satisfy my parents, I was obliged to humiliate myself, and write a letter of excuse; my mother deigned to send me a reply filled with sorrow, but without anger. She ends her letter by saying: 'Parents who send their children away from them, must expect to find them rebellious to their will.'
My poor mother! She still gives me her sacred blessing, and assures me of my father's forgiveness! Ah! I purchase very dearly my future happiness and greatness!
WARSAW, Tuesday, _September 22d._
We returned to Warsaw several days ago. Ah! with what joy did I find myself once more here; how beautiful this city is! Here I will often see the prince royal. He assures me in his last letter that he will return by the first of October; I have then only one week to wait; without this hope I should no longer have any desire to live. Nothing now gives me any pleasure. Dress tires and annoys me, visits and assemblies weary me to death; every person whom I meet seems to me a scrutinizing judge; I fancy that all are pitying or blaming me. Especially do I fear the women of my acquaintance; they are not indulgent, because they are never disinterested; they are no better pleased with another woman's good fortune than they are with her beauty and agreeability....
Even yesterday, with what cruelty Madame ----, but I will not write her name--questioned me! She enjoyed my confusion; I was almost ready to weep, and she was delighted. In the presence of fifty persons, she revenged herself for what is called _my triumph_, but what I consider the most _sacred happiness_. Ah! how deeply she wounded me! I almost hate her.... This feeling alone was wanting to complete the torment of my soul. The prince palatine took pity on me, and came to my aid; may God reward him! In every difficult crisis he is always near with his active and powerful friendship. He would be quite perfect, if he only understood me a little better; but when I weep and show my sorrow, he laughs and calls me a child.... I cannot tell him everything.
Thursday, _October 1st._
He has come, and I have seen him; he is quite well, and yet I am not happy. I saw him amid a crowd of indifferent people; and when my feelings impelled me to run and meet him in the palace court, I was forced to remain by my work table and wait until he came into the saloon, when he of course first saluted the princess, and my only consolation consisted in being able to make him a formal and icy reverence. But he is come, and all must now go well.
Great God! how sweet are the words to which I have just given utterance! Happy, a thousand times happy, is the woman who can promise with all her heart to give her hand during her whole life to him whom she loves! The fourth of November is the prince's birthday. He desires, he demands, that this may be the day of our holy union! He made me swear by my God, and by my parents, that I would no longer oppose his wishes; he said he would doubt my affection if I still hesitated. His tears and prayers overcame me; encouraged by the advice of the prince palatine, I promised all he desired, and already do I repent my weakness. But he--he was happy when he left me....
He wished our marriage to be kept secret from my parents, as it must be during some time from the rest of the world; he desired that the Princes Lubomirski should be our only witnesses and our only confidants; but I opposed this project with all my strength; I even threatened him with becoming a nun rather than play so guilty a part toward my parents. He finally yielded: he is so kind to me. It was then decided that I should write to my parents, and that he would add a postscript to my letter.
At first I felt grateful to him for his submission; but with a little more reflection I felt offended. Is it not he who should write to my parents? Is it not thus that such affairs are conducted? Alas, yes; but only when one weds an equal! It is a prince, a prince of the blood royal who _deigns_ to unite himself to me! He then does me a favor in wedding me.... This thought has become so bitter that I was on the point of retracting; but it is too late, for I have given my word.
I must now write to my parents; I must confess to them the love which I have so long kept a secret from them. Ah! how wicked they will think me! I have been wanting in confidence toward the best of mothers.... My God! inspire me; give me courage! A criminal dragged before his judges could not tremble more than I do!
Thursday, _October 22d._
The prince palatine's confidential chamberlain has already left for Maleszow. I am very well satisfied with my letter; but the prince royal finds fault with it, and says it is too humble; I, in my turn, found his postscript altogether too royal. I was about to tell him so, when the prince palatine stopped me.
What will my parents say? Perhaps they will refuse their consent, and, strange as it may appear, during the last few days, the sense of my own dignity has been stronger than my vanity or my desire for greatness. This event seems to me quite ordinary: it is true he is the prince royal, Duke of Courland, and will perhaps one day be King of Poland, but if he has not my father's consent, it is he who is not my equal.
If no opposition is made to my marriage, I ardently desire that it may be the parish priest of Maleszow who will give us the nuptial benediction; the prince palatine has promised me to do all he can; at least, he will be the representative of my parents, and will confer a small degree of propriety upon the ceremony. Barbara's destiny is ever in my thoughts! I deemed her wishes very modest when she said to me: 'Strive to be as happy as I am!' Alas! her happiness is immense, when I compare it with mine!...
Wednesday, _October 28th._
My parents' answer has arrived; they give us their blessing and wish me much happiness; but the tenderness they express toward me is not like that obtained and merited by Barbara. This is just; I suffer, but have no right to complain. The prince royal expected to receive an especial letter addressed to himself; but my parents have not written to him. He is piqued, and conversed a long time with the prince palatine on the pride of certain Polish nobles.
I feel more tranquil since my parents know our secret; my heart is relieved from a most cruel torment. My parents promise not to reveal our marriage without the prince royal's consent; one may see in their letter both joy and surprise; but there is a tone of sadness in my mother's expressions which touches me deeply. She says:
'If you are unhappy, I will not be responsible for it; if you are happy (and I shall never cease to beg this blessing of God in my prayers), I will rejoice, but at the same time regret that I had no part in contributing to your felicity'....
These words are almost illegible, for I have nearly effaced them with my tears.
The curate from Maleszow will arrive next week, and we will be married immediately after. The prince palatine has had the necessary papers prepared, and no one has any suspicion. I can scarcely believe that my marriage is so near.... No preparations will be made for me; all must be conducted with the greatest secrecy. When Barbara married, she had no reason to hide herself; all Maleszow was in commotion on her account.
If I could only see the prince royal, I should feel consoled. But sometimes two whole days pass by without any possibility of meeting him. He is afraid of exciting the king's suspicions, and still more, those of Bruhl; he avoids me at all public assemblies, and comes less frequently to the prince palatine's. To all these painful necessities of my position must I submit.
Yesterday evening, at Madame Moszynska's _soirée_, I accidentally overheard a conversation which pained me deeply. A gentleman whom I did not know, said to his neighbor: 'But the Starostine Krasinska is terribly changed!' The answer was: 'That is not at all astonishing, for the poor young girl is madly in love with the prince royal, and he is somewhat capricious; when he sees a pretty woman, he falls in love with her immediately, and now he is all devotion to Madame Potocka, and has eyes for no one but her.'
I am sure the prince pretends to be occupied with other women that he may the more readily conceal his real feelings, and yet I shuddered when I heard this conversation. It is really frightful to be the subject of such improper pleasantries!
If I only had a friend in whom I could confide, and whose advice I could ask! My maid is as stupid as an owl, and suspects nothing, but notwithstanding, she is to be sent to the interior of Lithuania, and in a few days her place will be supplied by a middle-aged married lady of good birth and acknowledged discretion. I have not seen her yet, and I have no one to consult with regard to my wedding toilette. For want of a better adviser, I consulted the prince palatine, and he replied: 'Dress as you do every day.'
What a strange destiny! I am making the most brilliant marriage in the whole kingdom, and yet my shoemaker's daughter will have a trousseau and wedding festivities which I am forced to envy.
WARSAW, Wednesday, _November 4th, 1760._
My destiny is accomplished, and I am the prince royal's wife! We have sworn before God eternal love and fidelity; he is mine, irrevocably mine! Ah! how sweet, and yet how cruel was that moment! They were forced to hurry the ceremony, as we feared discovery.
I saw nothing of the prince royal during the week preceding my marriage; he feigned sickness, and did not leave his room; he has refused to-day invitations to dinner at the prince primates, the ambassadors, and even one to the ball given by the grand general of the crown: his supposed illness was the pretext on which he freed himself from these obligations.
My former waiting woman was sent away day before yesterday, and yesterday came the new one, who has sworn upon the crucifix to be silent upon all she may see and hear.
At five o'clock this morning, the prince palatine knocked at my door; I had been dressed for at least two hours. We departed as noiselessly as possible, the prince royal and Prince Martin Lubomirski met us at the palace gate.... The night was dark, the wind blew, and the cold was intense. We went on foot to the Carmelite church, because it is the nearest: our good priest already stood before the altar. If the prince royal had not supported me, I should have fallen many times during the passage.
And how sad and melancholy was all within the church! On all sides the silence and darkness of the grave! Two wax tapers burned upon the altar, casting a dim and uncertain light, while the sound of our own steps was the only sign of life heard within the solemn and sombre vault of the temple. The ceremony did not last ten minutes, the curate made all possible haste, and we fled the church as if we had committed some crime. The prince royal returned with us: Prince Martin wished him to go at once to the palace, but he would not leave me, and with great difficulty did he at length part from me.
My dress was such as I wear every day. I had only dared to place one little branch of rosemary in my hair.... While I was dressing, I thought of Barbara's wedding, and could not refrain from weeping.... It was not my mother who prepared the ducat, the morsel of bread, the salt, and the sugar, which the betrothed should bear with her on her wedding day; and so, at the last moment, I forgot them.
I am now alone in my chamber; not a single friendly eye will say to me: 'Be happy!' My parents have not blessed me.... Profound silence reigns in every direction, all are yet asleep, and this light burns as if near a corpse.... Ah! my God! what a mournful festival! Were it not for this feverish agitation and this wedding ring, which I must soon take off and hide from every eye, I should believe all these events to be merely a dream.... But no, I am his, and God has received our vows.
SULGOSTOW, Monday, _December 24th._
I thought when I married that I would no longer have any occasion to write in my journal: I believed that a friend, another me, would be the depositary of all my thoughts. I said to myself: 'Why should I write, when I will tell all to the prince royal (it seems to me as if I could call him thus during my whole life)? He does not know enough Polish to read my diary, and consequently it is useless.' But everything separates me from my well-beloved husband; I will continue to write that I may be more closely bound to him, that I may preserve all the remembrances which come to me from him.... I am pursued by a pitiless fate! Ah! what despair is at my heart!... When shall I see him again?
These last few days have been fearful! I thank Heaven that I am not yet mad! The princess palatiness has sent me from her house, driven me out as if I were unworthy to remain.... I have taken refuge with my sister at Sulgostow: when I arrived, I sent for Barbara and her husband, and said to them: 'Oh, have pity, have pity on me, for I am innocent; I am the prince royal's wife!'
My poor sister, to whom the whole transaction was a mystery, thought I had lost my reason, and was about calling in her maids to aid me. I endeavored to calm her fears, and to-day I have confided to her all my sorrows.
I will try to write down all these recent events. If God ever permits me to enjoy happiness and tranquillity, I will again read these pages, and will better appreciate the value of a quiet felicity.
Six weeks passed after our marriage, and no one had the least suspicion: neither the king, the court, nor the watchful society surrounding me, had penetrated our secret; all called me as usual, the Starostine Krasinska. The prince royal, under the pretext of his health, went nowhere, and the prince palatine managed our interviews. But a week since the prince royal began to go out, and paid a visit to my aunt, the princess. I was in the saloon when he was announced; it was the first time since our marriage that I had seen him in presence of a third person, and I found it impossible to hide my confusion. I could not see and hear him without telling him through my eyes that I loved him.
The princess observed me. When he was gone, she scolded me, and reproached me with what she called my coquetry and imprudence; I could not bear her injustice, and very rashly replied, that no one had a right to blame me when my own conscience absolved me. The prince royal came again the next day; the princess was abstracted, and a dissatisfaction, which she strove in vain to disguise, appeared in her whole manner. He was entirely occupied with me, and did not perceive the storm which was gathering; not having been able to speak with me alone on that day, he had written to me, and while pretending to play with my work basket, he slipped a note into it. The princess saw it, and as soon as he had gone, seized upon the fatal note, which was addressed to: 'My well beloved.'
I can never describe her anger and indignation. How did I ever live through that horrible scene!...
'Your _intrigues_,' she cried, 'will never succeed in my house; you are the horror, the shame, and the ignominy of your family, and you shall not disgrace my mansion. I have already taken measures to put an end to your infamous conduct; here is a copy of the letter sent by me this morning to the minister, Bruhl. I tell him that honor is dearer and more sacred to me than all family ties, that an ambitious hope will never induce me to renounce the duties which it imposes upon me, and that I now esteem it my duty to inform him that the prince royal loves Frances Krasinska. I conjure the minister to do all in his power to end this intrigue while there is yet time. I will prove that I have nothing to do with this abomination, and that if I have been in fault, it was because I placed such implicit confidence in my niece's virtue. Yes--the king himself, at this very moment, probably knows the whole extent of your shame and your insane pride.'
'The king!' I cried, almost out of my senses, 'the king! Ah! Let no one tell him that I am the prince royal's wife; let no one tell him that, or I shall die at your feet!'
Lost to all memory, all sense, except that of the fearful abyss just opened before me, I thus confessed the secret which no personal invective or humiliation could have drawn from me.
'How?' she replied, 'the wife of the prince royal! You! his wife!'
This word recalled me to myself, and led me to comprehend the enormity of my fault. I shuddered when I thought of the prince's anger, and I saw but one chance for safety, and that was by confessing all to the princess.
I fell at her feet, imploring, her to forgive the past, and keep our secret. Whether she was offended by the tardiness of my confession, or whether she thought she had gone too far to retrace her steps, I know not, but she remained implacable, and with cold and repulsive dignity commanded me to rise, saying:
'So great a lady should never be found at any one's feet, and I offer you a thousand apologies for my conduct toward you.'
I attempted to kiss her hand, but she withdrew it, and ended by saying that her house was unworthy of a lady of my quality, of a princess royal, of an independent duchess, of the future Queen of Poland. She then made all the preparations necessary for my departure.
I retained strength enough to control my feelings, for which I thank God: a momentary flash of anger did not cause me to forget so many proofs of kindness and affection, and, with the docility of a girl of sixteen, I prepared to depart, although I was entirely ignorant where I should go to, or who would offer me protection and an asylum.... I believe the word _Sulgostow_ was uttered either by myself or by the princess. The valet who came to take the princess's orders during the latter part of our conversation, mentioned throughout the mansion that I was going to Sulgostow to pass the Christmas holidays.
Chance decided my fate, and, incapable of forming any resolution, I was happy in permitting myself to be guided by others. Before I left, I wrote a long letter to the prince royal, which I confided to the princess. In less than two hours all my arrangements were made; I came and went, I acted mechanically, without fixed thought or purpose; I was finally placed in the carriage with my lady companion, and the horses bore us rapidly away from Warsaw.
When I beheld the walls of Sulgostow, I began to think upon how I could best acquaint my sister with these incredible events; but once in her presence, my confusion was such that I lost the power of measuring my words, and hence she fancied I had gone mad....
Now that all has been explained, we laugh together over this strange mistake, but such laughter is only a momentary forgetfulness of my position, and a passing truce to my torment. These first two days have been most painful, for I have as yet heard nothing from the prince royal. I cannot express my grief and my anguish; my health must be very strong not to have suffered more from such torments.... At least, may I not hope that my dreams of bliss will one day be realized?
THE GREAT STRUGGLE.
Is it true that 'our democratic institutions are now on trial?' Everybody, or nearly everybody, says so. _The London Times_ says so, and is or has been gloating over their failure. Many of our 'able editors' say so, and are trying desperately to prove that they will not fail. Thus, while there is a wide difference in opinion as to what may be the result, there seems to be a quite general agreement as to the fact that the trial is going on. There appears to be no suspicion that the question is not properly stated. Doubtless the assertion will excite surprise, if heeded at all, that in fact the great struggle here and now is _not_ between aristocracy or despotism on the one hand, and democracy on the other. Most people in the United States have come to entertain the fixed idea that the only natural political antagonisms are democratic as opposed to despotic in any and all shapes. And this idea has become so ingrained in the American mind that it will be difficult to gain credence for the assertion that the terms constitutionalism and absolutism represent the forces or systems which, have really been antagonistic ever since Christianity began to affect and animate social and political relations.
It may be a new idea to many readers that absolutism can be democratic, as well as aristocratic or autocratic. Yet such is the fact, and the whole history of Greece and Rome proves it. Plato, the friend of the people, taught the absolute power of the state--of the power holder, whoever that might be, whether the people, the aristocracy, the triumvirate, the archon, or the consul. It was not possible for Plato, Demosthenes, or Cicero, to conceive the idea of constitutionalism.
Wherever the will of the power holder operates _directly_ upon the subject or object, there is absolutism. Interpose a _medium_ between the two, separate the law _maker_ from the law _executor_, make _both_ the subjects or servants of the law, and then, if the people are virtuous, you can harmonize private liberty with public order. The individual must not be absorbed by the state; individual liberty must not be merged in absolutism. Nor must the state go down before individualism.
The problem is to render possible and reconcile the coexistence of the largest private liberty and the highest public authority. This implies the idea of _mediation_. There must be _mediatizing_ institutions standing between the state and the individual, insuring the safe transmission of power, and guaranteeing justice between the state and individuals, as well as between individuals in their relations with each other. This done, you realize or actualize the grand idea of mediation in the political relations of men. The distinguishing idea of Christianity--the God-man reconciling man with God, and thus harmonizing the finite with the infinite--this idea must actualize itself in the affairs of men, in order to harmonize perfect liberty with salutary authority. Animated by this idea, penetrated with profoundest belief of the infinite worth of the individual man because the God-man had wonderfully renewed his nature, the early Christian heroes and martyrs took hold of the hostile and disorganized elements of European society--the fragments of the Roman empire on the one hand, and the barbarians of the north on the other--and brought order out of chaos. They re-organized society by naturally, though slowly, developing those numerous intermediary institutions--guilds, corporations, trial by jury, the judiciary, and representation of interests, orders, guilds and corporations, _not of individual heads_, in Parliament--all which, as a living, harmonious system, constitute, or _did_ constitute, the English Constitution, and were essentially reproduced in the Constitution of the United States, and which wonderfully distinguish constitutionalism from absolutism.
'The will of the emperor has the force of law,' was the fundamental maxim of the civil law. Emperor, imperator;--hence, imperialism, Cæsarism, absolutism. That maxim obtained with pagans--civilized it may be, but none the less pagans--whose theory or gospel was that 'man is his own end.' Man's infinite moral worth as man, was not known or not recognized in the pagan civilization of the classic Greeks and Romans. Hence the state, which outlived the individual, was of more importance than the individual, and naturally absorbed the individual. Man being his own end, and existence being next to impossible without society, the state was the best means to obtain his end, and therefore Plato taught that man lives for the state, must be trained up for the state, belongs to the state, and is of no value outside of the state. Hence the pagan civilization of Greece and Rome, being intensely human, while it became very splendid and refined, became also, and could not help becoming intensely and unutterably corrupt--so corrupt that St. Paul refrained from finishing the disgusting catalogue of its awful sins and vices. The church, Christianity, could save _man_, but it could not save the _empire_. The principle of social harmony being lost, government and society fell to pieces.
On a certain memorable occasion, the present Emperor of France uttered the mystic phrase: _The empire is peace!_ So it is. But how? I answer: Several centuries of Godless French statesmanship--engineered by men who, though nominal Christians or Catholics, discarded God in affairs of state, and attempted to rule without God in the world, except to use Him (pardon the expression) as a sort of scarecrow for the 'lower orders'--resulted in gradually drying up those intermediary institutions which had served at once to develop a manly civic life and to protect private liberty, and in reabsorbing and concentrating all power in the central government. Even in the early part of these centuries, Louis the Fourteenth made his boast, 'I am the state,' and thereby announced the substantial reinauguration of pagan imperialism or absolutism. His successors, aided by the ever-growing influence of the renaissance, which was but the revivification of classic paganism, continued his system, and when at last their cruel, inhuman, and unchristian oppressions drove men to the assertion of their rights in the fierce whirlwind of the French Revolution, that very assertion, 'clad in hell fire,' as Carlyle says, was based on the self-same fundamental principle that 'man is his own end.' The Revolution also ignored the divine idea, and failed. The subsequent revolutions, and especially that of 1848, were no wiser. The last was simply the triumph of democratic absolutism by universal suffrage, in place of autocratic or monarchic absolutism, as De Tocqueville clearly demonstrated in his 'Ancient Regime and the Revolution.' De Tocqueville had thoroughly mastered the constitutional system, as had also Lacordaire and Montalembert, and he, as well as they, joined the so-called republican movement of 1848, hoping that constitutionalism would triumph at last. But he soon saw that European Democrats or Red Republicans did not comprehend the idea;--that, in fact, they meant absolutism, though democratic; and he retired in disappointment, though calm hopefulness, to his estate, and there wrote his 'Ancient Regime.'
True, the Red Republicans issued high-sounding phrases about liberty, rights of man, and the right of the people to govern. But they meant rights of man independent of God, and the right of the people to be absolute; and they continued the system of centralism, or government by bureaucracy, without God. The French have learned by sad experience that there is a thousand times more danger of change, turbulence, and disruption, under democratic absolutism than under autocratic absolutism. Louis Napoleon knows it well, and hence his significant phrase, 'The empire is peace.' It is the strong iron band around a mass of antagonistic atoms, which have lost, at least in the sphere of politics, the cohesive principle of harmony: union with each other by virtue of union with the God-man.
Through all the terrific scenes of turbulence and carnage, the frequent dynastic changes, and the fearful scourgings of the French empire since the days of Louis the Fourteenth, the nation itself has not been destroyed, because, after all, there was and is a vast deal of virtue in the people as individuals. God never destroyed a nation for its public or national sins until the people themselves had become individually thoroughly corrupt. The city of Sodom itself would have been spared had even _five_ good men been found therein. And so the French nation does not go to pieces, as the Roman empire did, because, notwithstanding the vice of Paris, of which we hear and read so much, and the godlessness of French statesmanship and French literature, the great body of the people, even in Paris, still retain their integrity, and a wholesome fear of God. But because their current literature is heathenish, and their statesmanship has ignored honesty and the divine origin of man's rights, those intermediary institutions, which were developed by Christian charity from the idea that man's rights are sacred because God-given and dignified by the God-man, have been undermined or disanimated, and it has come to pass that the only government possible, where the divine idea is eliminated from politics, is one in the form of absolutism. How long this form will continue in France remains to be seen. But it is certain that European Democrats or Red Republicans, with their ideas--or rather lack of ideas--will never comprehend the constitutional system, and will never rehabilitate or reanimate those intermediary municipal institutions, the monuments of which De Tocqueville was surprised to find scattered so generally through continental Europe, as well as in England and in New England.
Turning, now, to the United States, it is plainly evident that the whole tendency of our politics, intensely accelerated by the influence of Jefferson's French views, has been, first, to lose out of mind the true significance of those intermediary institutions embodied in the common law of England, and inherited by us from the mother country; and, secondly, to depreciate them as standing in the way of the people's will, or popular sovereignty; and, lastly, to break them down entirely, and substitute for them the tyranny of an irresponsible majority, or democratic absolutism. The persistent efforts to get rid of grand juries and trial by jury, to popularize the judiciary, to make senatorial terms dependent on changing party majorities, to reduce the representative to a mere deputy, and other similar schemes to bring about the direct _unmediatized_ operation of the popular will upon the subject, are all illustrations of this direful tendency.
Concurrently with, and greatly aiding this tendency, there has been a gradual decay of the manly virtue that charactized our fathers. Men have become less conscientious in the performance of their public duties, and more regardless of private rights. A genuine manly self-respect implies sincere respect for the rights of others, and both inevitably decay as the fear of God dies out. When men continually act on the idea that man is his own end, and when each one is intensely engaged in seeking his own interest, what can result but jarring of interests, opposition, repulsion, disregard of law in so far as it clashes with private ends, and thus, finally, social and political disruption more or less extensive? Thus our trouble lies deeper than slavery. Remove the canker of slavery to-day, and yet the tendency to disruption and dissolution would evermore go on while prevailing ideas actuated society. The remorseless mill of selfishness would keep on grinding, grinding, grinding toward dissolution. Look at our literature, our architecture, our science, our political and moral theories, our social arrangements generally, and especially our hideous, almost diabolical arrangements or lack of arrangements for the care of the poor and the unfortunate, and what a confused jumble they present! Having no grand animating idea, no all-pervading principle of harmony, no universally recognized standard for anything, we are necessarily the most anomalous, amorphous, helter-skelter aggregation of independent and antagonistic individualities ever gathered together since nations began to exist. What can prevent such an agglomeration from falling to pieces? What can hold it together?
Thus, with the frightful decay of Christian, and even manly virtue--alas! too plainly visible all around us--and the entire divorcement of morality or religious ideas from politics, what fate is in store for us but the inevitable triumph of anarchy, and through it of despotism? Herein lies our real danger. The great struggle is _not_, as many assert, between aristocracy, or monarchy, or despotism and democracy. But it is between despotism or absolutism and constitutionalism. It is the struggle of the pagan system (revived by the renaissance), based on the idea that 'man is his own end,' with the Christian system based on the idea of mediation, involving the idea that the true end of man is God. It is not true, therefore, that democratic institutions are now on trial in the United States. Democracy, pure and simple, precisely in the form it is assuming or has assumed in this country, was tried long ago. It was tried in ancient Greece, and found wanting. It was tried in Rome, and ended in the dissolution of the empire. And in both these trials it had, to begin with, a much more highly finished, fresh, robust, and whole-souled manhood to work with and to work upon than that of modern democracy. More recently it was tried in France, and for the present is blooming in the despotism of Napoleon III.
The question, then, I repeat, is whether constitutionalism, as originally developed in England and embodied and reproduced by our fathers--who, perhaps, 'builded wiser than they knew'--can come safely through this crisis and triumph over the two ideas which, thus far, have predominated in the American mind, and driven us with fearful strides toward absolutism. 'Every man for himself' is the first idea. In the family, in church, in politics, in commerce, in all social and political relations, every man striving, pushing, scrambling, straining every nerve to advance himself, regardless of his neighbor or the public interest--such everywhere is the confused and hideous picture of American society. Selfishness predominates, and selfishness is repellant. So it was before the ages were, when Lucifer, in the pride of self, refused obedience to the Word. So it is even yet, and its inevitable tendency is to hostile isolation and final dissolution. Its logical consequence is anarchy. But anarchy is intolerable, and a civilized people, yea, even barbarians, will submit to anything rather than social and political chaos. Then comes the iron band of despotism to hold together the antagonistic fragments.
'The supremacy of the people's will' is the second idea. _Vox Populi, vox Dei!_ What the people decree is right, and nothing must stand between their will and the subject or object upon which it operates! Such is the political gospel according to democracy, and fifty years' earnest proclamation thereof has wellnigh abolished all the barriers of constitutionalism--barriers, which stood like faithful guardians, stern but just, between the Individual and the State, which reconciled the harmonious coexistence of private liberty and public power--an idea wholly unknown in pagan or classic civilization--and which at once prevented the anarchy of individualism and the tyranny of absolutism. But true it is, whatever a people constantly assert they come to believe, and whatever they believe will at last crystallize itself in action. And thus, with the oft-repeated and ever-increasing assertion that 'man is his own end,' and 'is sufficient unto himself,' and with that other assertion that the will of the people is law and must act directly upon its object, we have gradually lost out of mind the true significance of the constitutional system. Those numberless intermediary institutions--which logically _grew_ out of the Christian idea of mediation, as the oak naturally grows out of the acorn, and which wonderfully reconciled liberty with authority, freedom with order, the finite with the infinite--have become more and more obsolete, and less and less understood. They have crumbled away like the stately columns of a magnificent but neglected cathedral. They have become dead branches that must be lopped off. They are rubbish that must be removed--relics of monarchy or aristocracy, cunningly devised inventions of priestcraft or kingcraft, that retard the triumph of democracy.
If the will of the people is supreme, then away with your high and life-long judges, or at least let them be elected by the people and for very brief terms. Let grand juries be voted a humbug, and trial by jury a nuisance. Let electoral colleges be abolished as meaningless and cumbersome anomalies. Let the President be the direct representative of a mighty people, and act without let or hindrance--only let him act with gigantic energy and swift execution. Let senatorial terms be dependent upon changing legislative majorities. In fact, let the two legislative houses, as being wholly useless and very expensive, be reduced to one. Let the representative be a tongue-bound deputy, and not a free, manly, self-acting agent. Let county boards of supervisors give way to the one man power of the county judge. And, in short, let us go on, as we have been going on, democratizing or popularising our institutions, 'improving,' or rather impairing and tearing down one after another of the venerable columns of the original system, until every safeguard of personal freedom is removed, and there shall be nothing left to restrain the giant sway of unmitigated and unmediatized public power. Then we shall have despotism or absolutism, pure and simple--and none the less so because it shall be democratic.
The London _Times_ will have nothing to jubilate over if what it mistakenly calls our 'trial of democratic institutions' shall be unsuccessful. For in fact, our constitutional system was but the reproduction, in a broader field and on a grander scale, of the British Constitution, in all its essential features, differing only in what philosophic historians call 'accidentals.' And if that system finally fails here, _The Times_ may have a 'most comfortable assurance' that it will fail in England. True, we have more rapidly departed from and defaced that system than the English, chiefly because, in escaping from the fogs of England, we left behind us that stolid conservatism, that bulldog tenacity for the old because it is old, which are instinctive in the narrow-minded islanders. But they, just as much as we, have lost out of mind the significance of the Christian idea. They, just as much as we, have become thoroughly paganized--have become saturated with the central idea of pagan civilization, that man is his own end, lives for himself alone, and not for God, and therefore is inferior to and must be the mere tool of the state. If Americans hold that the state can _make_ right, as well as enforce it, so do the English. If divine sanctions have no longer any significance in America, so have they not in England. If expediency, and not God's truth, is the universal rule of action here, so is it there. If every American or 'Yankee' seeks his own end in his own way, regardless of his neighbor, his Government, and his God, so does every Englishman. The Englishman has no God except his belly or his purse. Years ago it was said by one of themselves, 'The hell of the English is--_not to make money_,' If the divine principle of charity is a myth, and selfishness rages against selfishness here, much more so with a people whose only God is Mammon. And finally, if inevitable dissolution shall overtake us, and we rush into absolutism as a refuge from anarchy, we shall have the melancholy pleasure--if it can be a pleasure--of hailing the almost simultaneous wreck of the British Constitution, whose noble ruins, no less than ours, would be mournful monumental witnesses to the glory of ages wiser and better than our own.
AMERICAN FINANCES AND RESOURCES.
LETTER NO. II, FROM HON. ROBERT J. WALKER.
LONDON, _10 Half Moon Street, Piccadilly_, October 8, 1863.
In view of the fact that the people of the United Kingdom and of the United States are mainly of the same race, speak the same language, have the same literature, ancestry, and common law, with the same history for centuries, and a reciprocal commerce exceeding that of all the rest of the world, it is amazing how little is known in each country of the other. This condition of affairs is most unfavorable to the continuance of peace and good will between two great and kindred nations. It causes constant misapprehension by each party of the acts and motives of the other, arrests the development of friendly feeling, and retards the advance of commercial freedom. It excites almost daily rumors of impending war, disturbing the course of trade, causing large mercantile losses, and great unnecessary Government expenditures. If war has not ensued, it has led to angry controversy and bitter recrimination. It is sowing broadcast in both countries the seeds of international hatred, rendering England and America two hostile camps, frowning mutual defiance; and, if not terminating in war, must, if not arrested, end in embargoes and non-intercourse, or discriminating duties on imports and tonnage, greatly injurious to both countries. I know it has become fashionable in England and America to sneer at the fact of our common origin; but the great truth still exists, and is fraught with momentous consequences, for good or evil, to both nations, and to mankind. The United States were colonized mainly by the people of England. Ten of our original thirteen States bear English names, as do also nearly all their counties, townships, cities, and villages.
Leaving to Englishmen the task of disabusing the Americans in regard to their own country, I will endeavor to present, in a condensed form, some material and authentic facts as regards the United States, for the consideration of the people of the United Kingdom. I read and hear every day here predictions of our impending bankruptcy and national dissolution; our wealth and resources depreciated; our cause, our people, our armies, and Government decried; and a war in words and in the press prosecuted against us with vindictive fury. All this hostility is fully reciprocated in America; and if the war is not confined to words and types, it will not be the fault of agitators in both countries. So far as an American can, even in part, arrest this fatal progress of misapprehension, by communicating information in regard to his own country, is the principal purpose of these essays.
In answer to the daily predictions here of our impending ruin and national bankruptcy, I shall first discuss the question of our wealth, resources, and material progress.
AREA.--The area of the United States, including lakes and rivers, is 3,250,000 square miles, being larger than all Europe. (Rep. Sec. of Interior and of Com. of Gen. Land Office for Dec. 1860, p. 13.)
Our land surface is 3,010,370 square miles, being 1,926,636,000 acres. This area is compact and contiguous, divided into States and Territories, united by lakes, rivers, canals, and railroads. We have no colonies. Congress governs the nation by what the Constitution declares to be '_the supreme law_,' whilst local regulations are prescribed and administered by the several States and Territories. We front on the two great oceans--the Atlantic and Pacific; extending from the St. Lawrence and the lakes to the Gulf of Mexico, from near the 24th to the 49th parallel of north latitude; and in longitude, from 67° 25' to 124° 40' west of Greenwich. Our location on the globe as regards its land surface is central, and all within the temperate zone. No empire of contiguous territory possesses such a variety of climate, soil, forests and prairies, fruits and fisheries, animal, vegetable, mineral, and agricultural products. We have all those of Europe, with many in addition, and a climate (on the average) more salubrious, and with greater longevity, as shown by the international census. We have a far more fertile soil and genial sun, with longer and better seasons for crops and stock; and already, in our infancy, with our vast products, feed and clothe many millions in Europe and other continents. Last year our exports to foreign countries of breadstuffs and provisions, from the loyal States alone, were of the value of $108,000,000. (Table of Com. and Nav. 1860.)
If as well cultivated as England, our country could much more than feed and clothe the whole population of the world. If as densely settled as England, our population would be more than twelve hundred millions, exceeding that of all the earth. If as densely settled as Massachusetts (among the least fertile of all our States), we would number 513,000,000 inhabitants.
We have seen that our area exceeds that of Europe, with a far more genial sun and fertile soil, and capable of yielding more than double the amount of agricultural products and of sustaining more than twice the number of inhabitants. We have a greater extent of mines than all Europe, especially of coal, iron, gold, silver, and quicksilver. Our coal alone, as stated by Sir William Armstrong (the highest British authority), is 32 times as great as that of the United Kingdom, and our iron will bear a similar proportion.
Our maritime front is 5,120 miles; but our whole coast line, including bays, sounds, and rivers, up to the head of tide water, is 33,663 miles. (Ex. Doc. No. 7, pp. 75, 76, Official Report of Professor A. D. Bache, Superintendent of U. S. Coast Survey, Dec. 5th, 1848.) Our own lake shore line is 3,620 miles. (Top. Rep. ib. 77.)
The shore line of the Mississippi river above tide water and its tributaries, is 35,644 (ib. 77); and of all our other rivers, above tide water, is 49,857 miles, making in all 122,784 miles. Of this stupendous water mileage, more than one half is navigable by steam, employing an interior steam tonnage exceeding that of all the internal steam tonnage of the rest of the world. No country is arterialized by such a vast system of navigable streams, to have constructed which as canals of equal capacity would have cost more than ten billions of dollars, and then these canals would have been subjected to large tolls, the cost of their annual repairs would have been enormous, and the interruption by lockage a serious obstacle. We may rest assured then, that, all Europe combined, can never have such facilities for cheap water communication as the United States. This is a mighty element in estimating the power and progress of a nation. It shows, also, why we have no such deserts as Sahara, so small a portion of our lands requiring manures or irrigation, and no general failures of crops, with so few even partial failures of any one crop.
We have more deep, capacious, and safe harbors, accessible at _all tides_, than all Europe, with more than twenty capable of receiving the _Great Eastern_. (Charts, U. S. Coast Survey.)
Our hydraulic power (including Niagara) far exceeds that of all Europe. We have more timber than all Europe, including most varieties, useful and ornamental. We have, including cotton, vastly more of the raw material for manufactures than all Europe. With all these vast natural advantages, has man, in our country, performed his duty, in availing himself of the bounteous gifts of Providence? We are considering now the question of our material progress, in regard to which, the following official data are presented.
We have completed since 1790, 5,782 miles of canals, from 4 to 10 feet deep, and from 40 to 75 feet wide, costing $148,000,000, and mostly navigable by steam. (Census Table, 1860, No. 39.)
We have constructed since 1829, 33,698 miles of railroad (more than all the rest of the world), costing $1,258,922,729. (Table 38, Census of 1860, and Addenda.)
We have in operation on the land, more miles of telegraph than all the world, a single route, from New York to San Francisco, being 3,500 miles.
Our lighthouses exceed in number those of any other country, and we have no light-dues, as in England.
Our coast survey, executed by Professor Bache, Superintendent of the U. S. Coast Survey, exceeds in extent and accuracy that of any other country. On this subject, we have the united opinions of British and Continental savans.
We have made since 1790, 1,505,454 linear miles of survey of the public lands of the United States, belonging to the Government, including 460,000,000 of acres already divided into townships, each six miles square (23,040 acres), subdivided into square miles, called sections, of 640 acres each, and each section further subdivided into 16 lots of 40 acres each.
TONNAGE.--The total tonnage of the United States was in--
1814, 1,368,127 tons. June, 1851, 3,772,439 " June, 1861, 5,539,812 "
At the same rate of increase as from 1851 to 1861, our tonnage would be, in
1871, 8,134,578 tons. 1881, 11,952,817 " 1891, 17,541,514 " 1901, 25,758,948 " (_Table of Com. and Nav._)
At the close of this century our tonnage then, at this rate of increase, would far exceed that of all the rest of the world.
GOLD AND SILVER.--The aggregate product of our gold and silver mines approaches now _one billion of dollars_, most of which has been converted into coin at our mint. Nearly all of this product has been obtained since the discovery of gold in California. Less than two per cent. of the precious metals has been the product of the seceded States. This gold and silver are found now in seven States, and nine Territories; the yield is rapidly augmenting, and new discoveries constantly developed.
The Secretary of the Interior estimates the total product 'next year,' of our mines of precious metals, at '$100,000,000,' and when our railroad to the Pacific (traversing this region) is completed, his estimate of the 'annual yield' is '$150,000,000.' The mines are declared 'inexhaustible' by the highest authority, and our Nevada silver mines are now admitted to be 'the richest in the world.' The completion of our imperial railroad, now progressing to the Pacific, will carry an immense population to the gold and silver regions, vastly increase the number of miners, diminish the cost of mining, and decrease the price of provisions and supplies to the laborers. When we add to this, the vast and increasing product of our quicksilver mines of California, so indispensable as an amalgam in producing gold and silver, as also the great and progressive improvement in processes and machinery for working the quartz veins, it is now believed that the estimates of our Secretary of the Interior, and Commissioner of the General Land Office, will be exceeded by the result. These mines of the precious metals are nearly all on the public lands of the United States; they are the _property of the Federal Government_, and their intrinsic value _exceeds our public debt_.
PUBLIC LANDS.--The United States own an immense public domain, acquired by treaties with France, Spain, and Mexico, and by compacts with States and Indian tribes. This domain is thus described in the Report of the Commissioner of the General Land Office, of November 29th, 1860:
'Of the 3,250,000 of square miles which constitute the territorial extent of the Union, the public lands embrace an area of 2,265,625 square miles, or 1,450,000,000 of acres, being more than two thirds of our geographical extent, and nearly three times as large as the United States at the ratification of the definitive treaty of peace in 1783 with Great Britain. This empire domain extends from the northern line of Texas, the Gulf of Mexico, reaching to the Atlantic Ocean, northwesterly to the Canada line bordering upon the great Lakes Erie, Huron, Michigan, and Superior, extending westward to the Pacific Ocean, with Puget's Sound on the north, the Mediterranean Sea of our extreme northwestern possessions.
'It includes fifteen sovereignties, known as the 'Land States,' and an extent of territory sufficient for thirty-two additional, each equal to the great central land State of Ohio.
'It embraces soils capable of abundant yield of the rich productions of the tropics, of sugar, cotton, rice, tobacco, corn, and the grape, the vintage, now a staple, particularly so of California; of the great cereals, wheat and corn, in the Western, Northwestern, and Pacific States, and in that vast interior region from the valley of the Mississippi River to the Rocky Mountains; and thence to the chain formed by the Sierra Nevada and Cascades, the eastern wall of the Pacific slope, every variety of soil is found revealing its wealth.
'Instead of dreary, inarable wastes, as supposed in earlier times, the millions of buffalo, elk, deer, mountain sheep, the primitive inhabitants of the soil, fed by the hand of nature, attest its capacity for the abundant support of a dense population through the skilful toil of the agriculturist, dealing with the earth under the guidance of the science of the present age.
'Not only is the yield of food for man in this region abundant, but it holds in its bosom the precious metals of gold, silver, with cinnabar, the useful metals of iron, lead, copper, interspersed with immense belts or strata of that propulsive element, coal, the source of riches and power, and now the indispensable agent, not only for domestic purposes of life, but in the machine shop, the steam car, and steam vessel, quickening the advance of civilization and the permanent settlement of the country, and being the agent of active and constant intercommunication with every part of the republic.'
Kansas having been admitted since the date of this Report, our public domain, thus described officially, now includes the sixteen _land States_, and _all_ the Territories.
Of this vast region (originally 1,450,000,000 acres), there was surveyed up to September, 1860, 441,067,915 acres, and 394,088,712 acres disposed of by sales, grants, etc., leaving, as the Commissioner states, 'the total area of unsold and unappropriated, of offered and unoffered lands of the public domain, 1,055,911,288 acres.' This is 'land surface,' exclusive of lakes, bays, rivers, etc., 1,055,911,288 acres, or 1,649,861 square miles, and exceeds one half the area of the whole Union. The area of New York, being 47,000 square miles, is less than a thirty-fifth part of our public domain. England (proper) has 50,922 square miles, France 203,736, Prussia 107,921, and Germany 80,620 square miles. The area then of our public domain is more than eight times as large as France, more than fifteen times as large as Prussia, more than twenty times as large as Germany, more than thirty-two times as large as England, and larger (excluding Russia) than all Europe, containing more than 200 millions of people.
As England (proper) contained in 1861, 18,949,916 inhabitants, if our public domain were as densely settled, its population would exceed 606 millions; and it would be 260,497,561, if numbering as many to the square mile as Massachusetts. Its average fertility far exceeds that of Europe, as does also the extent of its mines, especially gold, silver, coal, and iron, with every variety of soil, climate, mineral and agricultural products.
These lands are surveyed at the expense of the Government into townships of six miles square, subdivided into sections, and these into quarter sections (160) acres, set apart for homesteads. Our system of public surveys into squares, by lines running due north and south, east and west, is so simple as to have precluded all disputes as to boundary or title. This domain reaches from the 24th to the 49th parallel, from the lakes to the gulf, and from the Atlantic to the Pacific. Its isothermes (the lines of equal mean annual temperatures) strike on the north the coast of Norway midway, touch St. Petersburg in Russia, and pass through Manchooria on the coast of Asia, about three degrees south of the mouth of the Amour river. On the south, these isothermes run through Northern Africa, and nearly the centre of Egypt near Thebes, cross Northern Arabia, Persia, Northern Hindostan, and Southern China near Canton.
Of this vast domain, less than two per cent. is cursed by slavery, which is prohibited by law in eleven of these land States, and in all the Territories.
Now, however, within our present vast domain, not only the poor, but our own industrious classes and those of Europe, may not only find a home, but a farm for each settler, substantially as a free gift by the Government. Here all who would rather be owners than tenants, and wish to improve and cultivate their own soil, are invited. Here, too, all who would become equals among equals, citizens (not subjects) of a great and free country, enjoying the right of suffrage, and eligible to every office except the presidency, can come and occupy with us this great inheritance. Here liberty, equality, and fraternity reign supreme, not in theory, or in name only, but in truth and reality. This is the brotherhood of man, secured and protected by our organic law. Here the Constitution and the people are the only sovereigns, and the Government is administered by their elected agents, and for the benefit of the people. Those toiling elsewhere for wages that will scarcely support existence, for the education of whose children no provision is made by law, who are excluded from the right of suffrage, may come here and be voters and citizens, find a farm given as a homestead, free schools provided for their children at the public expense, and hold any office but the presidency, to which their children, born here, are eligible. What does Europe for any of its toiling millions who reject this munificent offer? He is worked and taxed there to his utmost endurance. He has the right to _work_, and _pay taxes_, but not to vote. Unschooled ignorance is his lot and that of his descendants. If a farmer, he works and improves the land of others, in constant terror of rent day, the landlord, and eviction. Indeed the annual rent of a single acre in England exceeds the price--$10 (£2. 2s. 8d.)--payable for the ownership in fee simple of the entire homestead of 160 acres, granted him here by the Government. For centuries that are past and for all time to come, there, severe toil, poverty, ignorance, the workhouse, or low wages, and disfranchisement, would seem to be his lot. Here, freedom, competence, the right of suffrage, the homestead farm, and free schools for his children.
In selecting these homestead farms, the emigrant can have any temperature, from St. Petersburg to Canton. He can have a cold, a temperate, or a warm climate, and farming or gardening, grazing or vintage, varied by fishing or hunting. He can raise wheat, rye, Indian corn, oats, rice, indigo, cotton, tobacco, cane or maple sugar and molasses, sorghum, wool, peas and beans, Irish or sweet potatoes, barley, buckwheat, wine, butter, cheese, hay, clover, and all the grasses, hemp, hops, flax and flaxseed, silk, beeswax and honey, and poultry, in uncounted abundance. If he prefers a stock farm, he can raise horses, asses, and mules, camels, milch cows, working oxen, and other cattle, goats, sheep, and swine. In most locations, these will require neither housing nor feeding throughout the year. He can have orchards, and all the fruits and vegetables of Europe, and many in addition. He can have an Irish or German, Scotch, English or Welsh, French, Swiss, Norwegian, or American neighborhood. He can select the shores of oceans, lakes, or rivers; live on tide water or higher lands, valleys, or mountains. He can be near a church of his own denomination; the freedom of conscience is complete; he pays no tithes, nor church tax, except voluntarily. His sons and daughters, on reaching twenty-one years of age, or sooner, if the head of a family, are each entitled to a homestead of 160 acres; if he dies, the title is secured to his widow, children, or heirs. Our flag is his, and covers him everywhere with its protection. He is our brother; and he and his children will enjoy with us the same heritage of competence and freedom. He comes where labor is king, and toil is respected and rewarded. If before, or instead of receiving his homestead, he chooses to pursue his profession or business, to work at his trade, or for daily wages, he will find them double the European rate, and subsistence cheaper. From whatever part of Europe he may come, he will meet his countrymen here, and from them and us receive a cordial welcome. A Government which gives him a farm, the right to vote, and free schools for his children, must desire his welfare.
Of this vast domain (more than thirty-two times as large as England) the Government of the United States grants substantially as a free gift, a _farm of 160 acres_ to every settler who will occupy and cultivate the same, the title being in fee simple, and free from all rent whatsoever. The settler may be _native_ or _European_, a present or future immigrant, including females as well as males, but must be at least twenty-one years of age, _or_ the head of a family. If an immigrant, the declaration must first be made of an _intention_ to become a citizen of the United States, when the grant is immediately made, without waiting for naturalization. When the children of the settler reach twenty-one years of age, or become the head of a family, they each receive from the Government a like donation of 160 acres. The intrinsic value of this public domain far exceeds the whole public debt of the United States.
Our national wealth, by the last census, was $16,159,616,068, and its increase during the last ten years $8,925,481,011, or 126.45 per cent. (Census, 1860, p. 195.) Now, if, as a consequence of the Homestead Bill, there should be occupied, improved, and cultivated, during the next ten years, 100,000 additional farms by settlers, or only 10,000 per annum, it would make an aggregate of 16,000,000 acres. If, including houses, fences, barns, and other improvements, we should value each of these farms at ten dollars an acre, it would make an aggregate of $160,000,000. But if we add the product of these farms, allowing only one half of each (80 acres) to be cultivated, and the average annual value of the crops, stock included, to be only ten dollars per acre, it would give $80,000,000 a year, and, in ten years, $800,000,000, independent of the reinvestment of capital. It is clear that thus vast additional employment would be given to labor, freight to steamers, railroads, and canals, markets for manufactures, and augmented revenue.
The homestead privilege will largely increase immigration. Now, beside the money brought here by immigrants, the census proves that the average annual value of the labor of Massachusetts, _per capita_, was, in 1860, $300 for each man, woman, and child. Assuming that of the immigrants at an average net annual value of only $100 each, or less than 33 cents a day, it would make, in ten years, at the rate of 200,000 each year, the following aggregate:
1st year, 200,000 = $20,000,000 2d " 400,000 " 40,000,000 3d " 600,000 " 60,000,000 4th " 800,000 " 80,000,000 5th " 1,000,000 " 100,000,000 6th " 1,200,000 " 120,000,000 7th " 1,400,000 " 140,000,000 8th " 1,600,000 " 160,000,000 9th " 1,800,000 " 180,000,000 10th " 2,000,000 " 200,000,000 ------------- Total, $1,100,000,000
In this table, the labor of all immigrants each year is properly added to those arriving the succeeding year, so as to make the aggregate, the last year, two millions. This would make the value of the labor of these two millions of immigrants, in ten years, $1,100,000,000, independent of the annual accumulation of capital, and the labor of the children of the immigrants after the first ten years, which, with their descendants, would go on constantly increasing.
But, by the actual official returns (see page 14 of Census), the number of alien immigrants to the United States, from December, 1850, to December, 1860, was 2,598,216, or an annual average of 259,821, say 260,000. The effect, then, of this immigration, on the basis of the last table, upon the increase of national wealth, was as follows:
1st year, 260,000 = $26,000,000 2d " 520,000 " 52,000,000 3d " 780,000 " 78,000,000 4th " 1,040,000 " 104,000,000 5th " 1,300,000 " 130,000,000 6th " 1,560,000 " 156,000,000 7th " 1,820,000 " 182,000,000 8th " 2,080,000 " 208,000,000 9th " 2,340,000 " 234,000,000 10th " 2,600,000 " 260,000,000 -------------- Total, $1,430,000,000
Thus the value of the labor of the immigrants from 1850 to 1860 was fourteen hundred and thirty millions of dollars, making no allowance for the accumulation of capital by annual reinvestment, nor for the natural increase of population, amounting, by the census, in ten years, to about 24 per cent. This addition to our wealth by the labor of the children, in the first ten years, would be small; but in the second, and each succeeding decennium, when we count children and their descendants, it would be large and constantly augmenting. But the census shows that our wealth increases each ten years at the rate of 126.45 per cent. Now, then, take our increase of wealth in consequence of immigration as before stated, and compound it at the rate of 126.45 per cent, every ten years, and the result is largely over three billions of dollars in 1870, and over seven billions of dollars in 1880, independent of the effect of any immigration succeeding 1860. If these results are astonishing, we must remember that immigration here is augmented population, and that it is population and labor that create wealth. Capital, indeed, is the accumulation of labor. Immigration, then, from 1850 to 1860, added to our national wealth a sum more than one third greater than our whole debt on the 1st of July last, and augmenting in a ratio much more rapid than its increase, and thus enabling us to bear the war expenses.
As the homestead privilege must largely increase immigration, and add especially to the cultivation of our soil, it will contribute more than any other measure to increase our population, wealth, and power, and augment out revenue from duties and taxes.
We have seen that, by the Census (p. 195), the total value of the real and personal estate in the United States was, in--
1860, $16,159,616,068 1850, 7,135,780,228
Increase from 1850 to 1860, 126.45 per cent.
At the same rate of increase, for the four succeeding decades, the result would be, in--
1870, $36,593,450,585 1880, 82,865,868,849 1890, 187,314,353,225 1900, 423,330,438,288
If we subtract one fourth from the aggregate, we will find that our public debt constitutes less than _one half of one per cent._ of the _increase_ of our national wealth. This debt, then, does not exhaust our capital, but effects only a small diminution of the rate of augmentation.
If we look at the causes of this vast increase of our national wealth, they will be found mainly in the enormous extent of our fertile lands, the vast emigration from Europe, and the constant addition of new States to the Union. Thus, from 1850 to 1860, four new States were added to the Union. These four States were almost an untrodden wilderness in 1850, but in 1860 were rich and flourishing States, with a population of 638,965, and an aggregate wealth of $331,809,418. Within this decade, from 1860 to 1870, at least six new States will be added to the Union. This is evident from a reference to our present Territories, as follows:
Dacotah, 95,316,480 acres. Nebraska, 48,636,800 " Indian, 56,924,000 " Idaho, 208,878,720 " Washington, 44,796,160 " Nevada, 52,184,960 " Utah, 68,084,480 " Arizona, 80,730,240 " New Mexico, 77,568,640 " Colorado, 66,880,000 " ----------- Total, 800,000,480 acres.
Here then are Territories with an aggregate area of 800,000,480 acres, sufficient for twenty-six States of the size of New York. In all these Territories but one, the precious metals are found in great abundance, and the railroad to the Pacific, with numerous branches through this vast region, together with the greatest advantages of our new Homestead Bill of last year, is settling these Territories with unprecedented rapidity. Notwithstanding the war, immigration to the United States is progressing with more than its usual volume, caused by the very high wages for labor, the great benefits of our recent Homestead Bill, and the exclusion, by recent act of Congress, of slavery from all this vast domain.
It will be observed, that, whilst the _lands_ constituting these Territories remain _public_ lands, no estimate is made of them as wealth in the national census. It is only when these public lands become farms and private property, that they are valued as part of the wealth of the nation. This remark also applies to that 255,000,000 acres of public lands in the sixteen _Land States_ of the Union. Hence the amazing increase of wealth at each decade, in the new States and Territories. Thus, by Table 35 of the Census of 1860, page 195, the rate of increase of wealth in the following States and Territories, from 1850 to 1860, was:
Washington, 5,000 per cent. Nebraska, 4,800 " Utah, 467 " New Mexico, 302 "
Kansas, 8,000 per cent. Iowa, 942 " California, 837 " Minnesota, 6,000 " Michigan, 330 " Oregon, 471 per cent. Illinois, 457 " Wisconsin, 550 "
It is thus that the wave of population moves onward in our Western States and Territories, that the axe and the plough are the pioneers of civilization, that farms, cities, and villages, the schoolhouse, and the church, rise from the wilderness, as if by the touch of an enchanter's wand. That enchantment is the power of _freedom and education_, the effect of which (as compared with the deadly influence of slavery and ignorance) shall be illustrated in a succeeding letter. In that letter, by comparing the relative progress of our Free and Slave States, as demonstrated by our Census, it will be proved, incontestably, that the total exclusion of slavery from our Union will cause an addition to our national wealth vastly exceeding the whole public debt of our country, and soon leave us much richer than before the rebellion.
R. J. WALKER.
THE DECLINE OF ENGLAND.
In Europe, two nations for almost a thousand years have contended for empire. England and France, for the greater portion of that period, have waged war with each other. When not engaged in actual hostilities, they have watched each other with jealous animosity--seeking by intrigue and diplomatic schemes to thwart or defeat the designs which one or the other had formed for national aggrandizement.
No one of Anglo-Saxon descent can peruse the histories of those countries, and not feel pride in the valor and success which have distinguished his race. Twice the victorious banner of England has fluttered in the gaze of Paris. Until a recent age, the French flag visited the ocean only at the sufferance of England.
Whatever may be thought of the wisdom of the continental policy of England since 1688--in pursuance of which she has persistently sought to defeat the ambition of France--no one can help admiring the ability and indomitable courage she has displayed in the gratification of her national antipathy. From the League of Augsburg, of 1687, to which she became a party, to the Treaty of Utrecht, in 1713, she put forth herculean efforts to compel the relinquishment of the family compact by Louis XIV. By that treaty, the darling project of that monarch to secure the crown of Spain for a Bourbon, was forever abandoned by France. Elated with this triumph over her adversary, throughout the eighteenth century England continued to pursue the same policy of checking and defeating all the schemes of France for territorial acquisition. It mattered not where; in whatever quarter of the globe France sought to plant her standard, she always found there an English enemy. In Asia, Africa, and America, as well as in Europe, all her attempts to extend her empire were defeated by England. Pondicherry was the only East Indian possession which the genius of Clive allowed her to retain. By the Treaty of Paris, of 1763, she was compelled to relinquish Canada in order to regain her West Indian islands conquered by England.
Vainly, under good or bad, weak or potent sovereigns, did France attempt the enlargement of her empire or an increase of national power. England, on one pretence or another, always confronted her, and by successful war, or unscrupulous diplomacy, baffled her designs.
The English mind was cultivated throughout the eighteenth century into the belief that every accession to France was a menace and an injury to England.
At last the French Revolution, inspiring with preternatural energy that gallant people, turned the tide of events so long adverse to French aggrandizement. Still true to her hereditary hostility, England combined all Europe to resist the aggression of republican France. But soon, from the raging elements of that awful convulsion, the 'Man of Destiny' arose, who could 'ride the whirlwind and direct the storm.' He seized the helm, evoked order from chaos, and smote the enemies of France wherever they appeared, revived the splendors of her early history, and, like her mediæval Charlemagne, gave the law to Europe.
England took the measure of Napoleon, and recognized in him an enemy whom she must subdue at any cost, or submit to be reduced in the scale of nations to that importance and those proportions befitting her diminutive territory in Europe.
The battle of Marengo--the Peace of Luneville--the ascendency of Napoleon on the continent--the defection of the continental allies of England--and the preparations of Napoleon for her invasion, led to the Treaty of Amiens.
That treaty, however, was only a brief truce, which England never designed to observe but temporarily. She refused to respect its obligations, and even to negotiate for its modification. She feared that peace would enable Napoleon to rebuild his shattered navy.
Lord Hawkesbury's note of March 15th, 1803, assigned as her avowed reason for the renewal of the war--'the acquisition made by France in various quarters, particularly in Italy, and therefore England would be justified in claiming equivalents for these acquisitions as a counterpoise to the augmentation of the power of France.'
This note of Lord Hawkesbury avows distinctly the spirit of the foreign policy of England for the last two hundred years. She would not tolerate any acquisition by her rival unless she obtained 'equivalents.' In pursuance of this unchangeable policy, she again declared war against France. Mr. Pitt resumed his position of prime minister, and soon formed a new continental coalition to resist the mighty power and the aggressions of the French emperor.
Thenceforward she listened to no overtures for peace, but prosecuted with implacable resentment the war--until she finally prostrated her imperial foe, and became his inglorious jailer, until death relieved her from all apprehensions of danger.
But this triumph of a vindictive policy, so gratifying to the national antipathy, was purchased at a price perhaps far exceeding its value.
The overthrow of Napoleon was an achievement which compelled England to anticipate the resources of future generations. These generations have come, and are coming, and they find themselves unable any longer to contend with French ambition.
The first Napoleon, whom England fought with such relentless animosity, won his throne by the display of matchless ability in the field and the cabinet. The present Napoleon reached _his_ throne by perjury, assassination, and crimes of the blackest atrocity. The first Napoleon England pursued with her hatred to his grave. The present Napoleon, reeking with the blood of his unarmed fellow citizens, kisses the queen of England, and the _entente cordial_ with him becomes the foreign policy of England. Entangled in his toils, she makes war on Russia as his ally, stands silently while he humbles Austria and changes the map of Europe, and barely escapes by an afterthought being dragged into an attempt to destroy a free republic in America, to enable France to augment the area for the expansion of the Latin race at the expense of that of the Anglo-Saxon.
What would the great Chatham and his son--who so long moulded the destiny of Europe--say, if they could revisit the earth and peruse the history of their country for the last twelve years? Would they recognize her as that England who in their hands smote the house of Bourbon, and inaugurated the policy which led to the overthrow of the greatest captain who ever tormented with his lust for glory the human race? Certainly, in all the wars which England waged against the house of Bourbon, France never attempted a conquest of greater value than that which the present Napoleon has commenced in Mexico. Certainly, no conquest which the first Napoleon ever threatened in Europe would have so strengthened France as would the annexation of Mexico to her dominions. But England has expended in her wars with the first Napoleon, to restrain him from acquisitions which could not have materially injured England, all her resources for war. She is not in the condition to wage such wars with France as she prosecuted during the last and the beginning of the present century. She knows that she must acquiesce in the ambitious acquisitions of the present Napoleon, or else encounter his hostility. Cherbourg and the steam navy of France render an invasion of the British Isles a more practicable achievement for the present Napoleon than ever the first Napoleon could hope for. England shrinks, therefore, from any effort to curb the present aggrandizement of France, from _fear_. She ignominiously renounces and abandons the policy of her monarchy, her aristocracy, and her people--pursued for two hundred years with unfaltering pertinacity; not because she condemns it, not because she does not feel 'justified' in resisting French acquisitions unless 'equivalents for these acquisitions as a counterpoise to the augmentation of the power of France' are obtained; but obviously, because she fears to encounter the arms of the present Napoleon.
When the French emperor forced upon the acceptance of Lord Aberdeen's cabinet 'the harsh and insulting scheme of action' (as Kinglake calls it) which provoked the war with Russia in 1854, England's dilemma was: a war with Nicholas, or a rupture with France. 'The negotiation which had seemed to be almost ripe for a settlement was then ruined.'
A war for Napoleon at that time with one of the great powers, was a necessity. It was necessary for the stability of his throne. It was necessary to prevent the thoughts of France from dwelling upon the assassination of the republic and her own infamy in submitting to that enormous villany. If it had not been Russia, it would have been England that the imperial usurper would have denounced as disturbing the waters for his provocation.
Mellowed by time, and enlightened by their deplorable results, England now views the wars with Napoleon the First in their true light. So far from British power having been augmented by that tremendous struggle, it has compelled England to descend from the position of a first-rate to that of a second-rate power, so far as it concerns the politics of Europe. Had the first Napoleon survived to this day, she would hardly have consented to act with the same subserviency to him as she now voluntarily acts toward his ignoble counterfeit. She would never have stood an idle spectator of the humiliation of Austria by him. She would never have permitted him to betray her into the causeless and ridiculous war with her ancient ally Russia. It was the aid of Russia which enabled her to overthrow the great Napoleon, and now she permits the little Napoleon to bully her into a war with Russia that he may bedizen his name with the glory of a conflict with the conqueror of his illustrious kinsman.
If the object of Napoleon was so ignominious, contemptible, and criminal, as we know it to have been, in producing the war of 1854, with what obloquy must England be covered for allowing herself to be beguiled into such a war by such a juggler?
The pretended cause of the Crimean war, as alleged, was the threatened invasion of Turkey by Nicholas. But what injury was _that_ to England, compared to the seizure of Mexico by France?
England had not for two hundred years made it the chief object of her foreign policy to resist the expansion of the Russian empire. She had acquiesced in the partition of Poland, and by the Treaty of Vienna made herself a party to that nefarious spoliation by Russia, Austria, and Prussia. She knew that Austria, Prussia, and the German Confederation were pledged to protect Turkey from Russia. Her subserviency to France in separately with her making war on Russia, upon the pretence of the protection of Turkey, was supererogatory as well as needless.
The truth is, and so will history make up the record, the French emperor desired to humiliate England, and England dare not refuse to be humiliated by him. It was a 'GREAT SURRENDER.'
It will not do for England to excuse herself for not resisting the French invasion of Mexico by any such allegation as that she has received Napoleon's assurances that he does not intend to make a French province of Mexico. She must know, that no confidence can be placed in his veracity. She must know, that such assurances are but a flimsy veil to deceive her and other nations. They are designed to meet the contingency--of Federal success in crushing rebellion.
He has been willing to be fooled by those who surround him, into the belief that the rebels will achieve their independence. In that event, he will never relinquish his grasp on Mexico, unless compelled to do so by force of arms. Should the rebellion succeed, as he professes to believe it will, his instrument and accomplice, Maximilian, will be discarded with as little ceremony as the first Napoleon discarded some of the puppet kings whom he saw proper to crown and discrown according to the exigency of his occasions.
The treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle (1748) terminated one of the wars of England with Louis XIV. The renunciation by France of the cause of the Pretender was the most material advantage accruing to England from that treaty. But the ink was hardly dry with which it was written, before England took umbrage at France for efforts to rebuild her navy, which had been seriously reduced and crippled by the events of the previous war, and also for the encroachments of the French in Canada on the English settlements. For these causes the Seven Years' War was commenced, and, under the auspices of the first William Pitt, successfully prosecuted, until France was completely humbled. Now, however, Napoleon the Third constructs a navy more powerful than France ever before possessed, and, instead of molesting some obscure English settlement in the interior of America, appropriates to himself a great country, fertile in resources, with mines of incalculable wealth, and in close proximity to English colonies, cherished by the most vigilant protection of England.
The value of Mexico is thus portrayed by the British historian Alison (vol. iv., p. 423):
'Humboldt has told us that he was never wearied with astonishment at the smallness of the portion of soil which, in Mexico and the adjoining provinces, would yield sustenance to a family for a year: and that the same extent of ground which in wheat would maintain only two persons, would yield sustenance under the banana to fifty; though in that favored region the return of wheat is never under seventy, sometimes as much as a hundred fold. The return on an average of Great Britain is not more than nine to one. If due weight be given to these extraordinary facts, it will not appear extravagant to assert that Mexico, with a territory embracing seven times the whole area of France, may at some future and possibly not remote period contain two hundred millions of inhabitants.'
This is the magnificent empire which France now seeks to conquer, without a murmur of remonstrance from Great Britain, who so often combined Europe to resist the petty acquisition by France of territory less than one of the Mexican States.
It is needless to say that England relies on the United States to prevent Mexico becoming a French province. Her statesmen have for the past two years professed the belief that the dismemberment of the United States is inevitable. In that event, they must know that the United States would prove no obstacle to the occupation of Mexico by France. No; the acquiescence of England in this gigantic acquisition of France can be ascribed to no such assurance of the power of the United States. It may be said that she has flattered herself that by letting alone Napoleon, he may possibly, by an alliance with the rebels, secure the permanent dissolution of the American Union;--that the United States, if successful in crushing the rebellion, would be to her a greater terror than Napoleon. We do not believe that she is influenced by such considerations. She knows that the United States, however powerful by the recent development of military strength, would hardly attempt the invasion of the British Islands. But she has no such faith in her crafty neighbor. She knows that France and the Bonapartes owe her a debt of vengeance which only the ravage and desolation of the British soil will ever liquidate. She remembers that the favorite scheme of Napoleon the First was the invasion of England; and she knows that this scheme is among the _Idées Napoléon_ of the nephew. She is aware, too, that Napoleon the Third has the means at his command which will enable him to place any number of troops on her shores. She is satisfied that upon the first provocation which she offers, he will gratify the treasured hatred of the French and of his family, by consummating the darling project of his uncle. The terror of invasion has induced her to change the nature of her foreign policy. She will cling to the French alliance until the French emperor has satiated his national craving for her degradation; and not until he strikes her a blow, which will resound throughout the world, will England be prepared to battle with the Gaul. No future accession of territory would make France more formidable for the invasion of England than she is now. Her army of five hundred thousand men, and her steam navy and ironclads are all-sufficient for that purpose, whenever the French emperor chooses so to employ them. But if Napoleon devotes this army and that navy to such a formidable conquest as that of a country seven times as large as France, three thousand miles from her shores, it is not probable that he will soon be able to spare them for the invasion of Great Britain. Spain vainly struggled for years to conquer her revolted provinces in America. England failed to conquer her rebellious colonies, with a population not exceeding three millions. France lost an army of thirty-five thousand men, veterans of Moreau's, in the vain effort to subdue the negroes of St. Domingo. England could desire no better scheme for the destruction of the military strength of Napoleon than that of the attempted conquest of Mexico. She will therefore rather stimulate than restrain the second French emperor in his desire to devote his legions to the enlargement of the area for the supremacy of the Latin race in America. Her motive will be the despicable safety of her shores from Gallic invasion. For this she sacrifices her prestige in the world--her hereditary policy--the time-honored traditions of the Anglo-Saxon. The world hereafter is free to the Frenchman, for robbery, spoliation, conquest, and invasion, wherever else than in England he chooses to prosecute the vocation of national crime. England is no longer the foe of French ambition or rapacity. So long as France will abstain from the invasion of the 'inviolate isle,' where for almost a thousand years no foreign enemy has placed his foot, so long she may be free from molestation from England, whatever else she may attempt; and this is the inglorious policy of England in the year of our Lord 1862-'3.
[A literal translation of this remarkable prose-poem was kindly placed in our hands by Prof. Podbielski. It is allegorical throughout, every phase of its marvellous symbolism resting upon dire and tragic truth.
The many times murdered Mother is of course Poland. We hope that the publication of this prophetic vision of her great son, patriot, poet, statesman, and sage, as he undoubtedly was, may excite a vivid interest at the present hour, when that heroic but unhappy country is again struggling for life and freedom.
In its present English form, 'Temptation' is reverently dedicated to the patriot sons of the Mother of heroes, by MARTHA W. COOK.]
Alas, crimsoned with blood and swollen with tears run our troubled life-waves! From the depths and whirlpools of the stormful currents sounds the moan of eternal sorrow! Behind roars the bottomless abyss, black with the gloomy mists rising from the woes of the Past: Before lies the far-off Heaven, burning and blazing with flames red as of blood: Around struggle the swimmers, in surges so cold, hopeless, and murky, That from each as he floats onward is forced the cry; 'WOE! THE CURSE IS UPON ME!'
Mother, many times murdered! Unhappy mother! with the long and countless blades of thy ever-green grasses, with the waving stems of thy grain fields, thou wilt bind our undying memories closely to thee, but henceforth must thy sons wander and suffer, as they love thee. Behind them, from sea to sea, is the Grave; before them, wheresoever they may roam, the Sun set; while monarchs and merchants curse the endless progression!
The Living cannot understand those reared on the bosom of the Dead--human faces grow pale at the approach of the spectres--at the echo of their footsteps the home-fires glimmer and flicker low on the hearthstone--the mother hides her child--the wife leads away the husband that he may not clasp hands with the wandering exile,--the evening star alone, the star of graves, smiles from Heaven on them!
* * * * *
Was not the silence of the forests holy? When the wind swept over the Pines, did not the mystic murmurs, sacred as the prayers of the Priest, say to you: 'Nowhere there will you find your God!' The spaces are filled with the giant skeletons torn from the dim woods; they are chained and clamped with iron and fed with steam; the eagles soar not in the air above them, nor do the glad birds twitter in the swaying branches; none among you may mount the strong horse of the desert and fly afar over the boundless steppes, rejoicing in his arrowy swiftness;--you are alone in the midst of the world!
* * * * *
As you wander on, poor exiles, your very gratitude is half disdain! When they lead you into cities without castles or temples, where trade and commerce rule; among whitewashed houses where the spirit of Beauty is not, and the green window-shutters are the sole adornment--murmur ye: THE DEAD!
* * * * *
On the shores of the seas when you dwell with Jews, Armenians, and Greeks, quarrelling forever over their vile profits; seeing not the heavens, nor hearing the thunder as it booms over the waves--murmur ye: THE DEAD!
* * * * *
When women in rich attire move around you, and you feel that the faint fluttering of the silken robe is far more spiritual than the life-breath of their souls--murmur ye: THE DEAD!
* * * * *
Float on, then, like the sacred whispers from the unhewn forests! The world will not know you, because you are of the race sprung from coffins; born and cradled in coffins; but as you rise from the grave, strew upon the ground beneath your feet the mouldering rags of your shrouds--and _he_, seated on the verge of the abyss, on the steep and slippery declivity; _he_, robed in the royal purple of power, will not survive your Resurrection--but must himself descend into the coffin!
I saw imaged before me, as in a wondrous vision, the varied scenes and changes as it were of a long life--rising, progressing, and vanishing, as if bound in a single day, beginning with the morning and fleeting away with the evening shadows.
It seemed to me in my vision that the morning was strangely transparent. No clouds dulled the ether above. Far over the wide green space rose the sun, and in front of the House on the Hill stood a horse already saddled, impatiently wounding the velvety grass with his iron hoofs, and snuffing with wide nostrils the fresh breeze from the valley. Near him stood his young master. The light in his blue eye was bright as the young beam of the day. He had one foot in the stirrup, and the other on the soft home-turf; with one hand caressing the long waving mane of the steed, and the other clasped in the grasp of the man from whom he was taking leave--they knew not for how long, but yet felt it was not forever. Words were pouring from the heart of the one into the heart of the other. The elder, he who stood on the ground and was to move on on foot, kept his gaze steadily fixed on the rocks and forests lying beyond the smooth green turf. The younger, with raised eyes, gazed into the sky, as if absorbing its light in the blue lustrous pupils; and when he spoke, his voice was like the fresh breath of spring. The elder spoke more slowly, almost sternly, as though advising, warning, beseeching--as if he loved deeply, yet doubted, feared; but the younger had no fear, no doubts--he pledged himself and vowed--threw himself first into the arms of his friend, then leaped into his saddle. He pushed his horse rapidly on, swift as the arrow skims the plain, or the mountain stream plunges below. A cloud of servants poured forth from the halls of the ancient House, and followed their young Lord.
He who remained behind, knelt; and fragments of his prayer were brought me by the wind, 'O Heavenly Father! let not this blooming soul wither away upon this arid earth! Lead it not into the temptation of human servitude; remove from it all sinful stain! Let it serve Thee alone! Thee and the many times murdered Mother!'
He continued kneeling, although sunk in silence, as if wrapped in deep meditation, scarcely knowing whether to indulge in the dim prophecies then surging his soul, or to prolong his prayers. Then I saw him start, clasp his hands forcibly together--and again his words were borne to me by the wind.
'O Heavenly Father! I ask Thee not to sweeten the bitter cup of life for my friend; I know that all who live must suffer; but, O merciful God, spare him the blush of shame, the infamy of weakness!'
Then I saw the Wanderer rise from his knees, descend the hill, and make his way on foot through the forest to the distant rocks.
* * * * *
About high noon of the same day they met again before the gate of a great city. The young man was still on his horse, his fair brow already darkened by the heat of the sun; the dew from the fresh home-turf was quite dry upon his stirrups, and the glitter of the steel dimmed with rust. The horse gladly stopped, as if wearied with his rapid flight through the distant space, but the blue eye of the youth still sparkled with its early fire.
The elder, gray from head to foot with the dust of the road, seated himself on a stone by the wayside. The youth jumped lightly to the earth, and threw himself into the arms of his friend. I saw him give his horse in charge to his servants, take the arm of his companion, enter the gate of the great city, and lead him to the imperial Palace. In one of the inner chambers they sat down together to rest. They conversed however in whispers, as if they feared the ear of the enemy even through the massive stone walls. Stretching himself on the soft Persian carpet, the younger raised the cup of wrought silver to his thirsty lip. But when he handed it to the elder, he refused to taste the wine from the rich goblet. Nor would he look upon the tapestried walls, or the objects of luxury lying profusely scattered around the room, even when pointed out to him by his young companion. At last he rose, and taking the hand of the youth, led him to a window, from which the entire city was seen lying below, with the moving crowds of the populous nation. The immense city, wonderfully monotonous in its whitewashed walls! the immense nation, wonderfully monotonous in its black garments! The young man looked on curiously; the wanderer sighed, and said: 'When they shall lead you into cities without castles or temples, where the spirit of freedom is chained, murmur ye: THE DEAD!'
But the younger continued to gaze with ever-growing interest. Carriages filled with women dressed in brilliant hues were rapidly driving by, drawn by strong, fleet horses. He saw one drive aside from the throng, the snowy veil and white draperies of the fair one within fluttering and floating far on, the breeze, as if the flying chariot were borne onward by the outspread sails. The Wanderer sighed, and said: 'When women in rich attire move around you, and you feel that the faint fluttering of the snowy robe is more spiritual than the life-breath of their souls--murmur ye: THE DEAD!'
The young man seemed not to hear the words of his friend. Heavy masses of lurid clouds gathered from every direction, and obscured the face of the sky. How different the hour of the gloomy noon from that of the fresh, transparent morning!
The men before whom the People of the Black Nation kneel and prostrate themselves now began to move through the streets. Their short garments glittered with gold, and were richly embroidered in gorgeous colors. They wore long thin swords at their sides, and thick tufts of plumes on their heads. Shouting with harsh voices, they passed on in power, striking the children who were lingering in the road as they moved forward. The children cried and wept; the crowd drew back and fled; and they remained alone upon the Great Square. More and more of them were ever thronging there; more and more courteously they ever bowed to one another, and lower and lower grew their salutes, until at last One rode forward on a steed richly caparisoned--and then they all fell down with their faces upon the ground--as if he were the Lord of Life and Death.
Then said the Wanderer: 'He is already on the verge of the abyss, on the slope of the steep and slippery declivity; he, robed in the purple of Power, must himself descend into the coffin!'
But the young man riveted his gaze on the magnificence of the rider, as if absorbing the diamond glitter into the lustrous pupils of his eyes, as in the morning they had absorbed and reflected the clear blue of the skies. He seemed not to hear the words of his friend. When they were earnestly repeated to him, he covered his face with his hands, and tenderly uttered the holy name of the murdered Mother, as if the love of childhood were upon his heart. The Wanderer pressed him to his breast, and said: 'Look not upon them! Look not upon them!'
'Never! never!' he replied, as he again threw himself down to rest upon the Persian carpet.
As the Wanderer rose to depart, I heard the prayer again rising to God from his divining soul:
'O Heavenly Father! even at the burning noon of this bitter trial, I implore Thee for him whom I love! O God! I now entreat Thee to work a miracle in his behalf--to sweeten the bitter cup of life for this young, eager, thirsting soul! Deliver it from the temptations with which Thou hast seen good to surround the strong on this earth, led like him into these snares! Let him not fall, I beseech Thee, as did even the mighty and beautiful angels round Thy Throne, when the thirst for power was upon them. Save him, O God!'
The young man remained alone, utterly alone, in the midst of the great city, and was soon forced to seek companionship with his fellow beings. It was strange, meanwhile, how black the heavens grew, as if the whole sky were sheeted with a curtain of lead. I saw him now constantly in the streets, the rooms, and in the midst of the people: he fascinated my gaze as if I saw only him. Under the calm of a tranquil face, he concealed bitter torment, intense suffering. Evil thoughts are winding through him, like swarms of black and poisonous worms, while the good are also thronging near him, like clouds of bright blue fireflies. The worms crawl over his heart, boring and bleeding it as they writhe; the fireflies would burn out the black congested gore, and cure the festering wounds, but new swarms of reptiles are forever sliming into life, and ever deeper and more gangrened are the wounds they make. Everywhere danger, everywhere torment; there is no human being whom he may trust! He too must learn to deceive in turn, to betray even women and children; must learn to lie as the masterpiece of art. He attains skill in the profession, and can command looks, smiles, tears, emotions; but alas! the light in his clear eye, once rivalling the young beam of day, no longer flashes from his pupils. Pity him, O God! his very garments become a lie; he throws aside the costume of his nation, in which he once rode so freely over the boundless steppe. He mounts on his head the tall tufts of plumes; he girds the thin sword to his side; and I saw in my dream that the people began to fall back before him, and bow as he drew near.
But I saw that the steed of the desert refused to recognize his master when he entered the courtyard of the Palace. In vain he pats, with his own hand, the wavy silken mane: no neigh of joy now answers his caress; he strives to leap upon him as in the morning of this eventful day, but the haughty charger rears, stands erect upon his hind legs, and refuses to be mounted. Enraged beyond control, he thrusts his long sword into the glossy flanks. The startled animal breaks away, spurns the blood-sprinkled soil, and flies thundering afar, rattling and clashing his iron hoofs on the pavement, marking his track with a long line of glittering sparks, flashing but to die in the dying light of evening!
The hour of twilight is already on the earth!
* * * * *
Again, for the third time in that day of life, met the Wanderer and his friend. They stood together in a Church, which was without the gates, and the cross on its towers was different from those on the Basilicas within the walls of the city. The altar was without adornment, and, as well as the walls and ceilings, was shrouded in the deepest mourning. Three tapers only were upon it, and they struggled vainly with the surrounding gloom.
I saw the Wanderer take one of these lights, and gaze, with a look of woe, upon the face of his friend. The young man was silent, he found no utterance, he had lost the secret of revealing, by honest words, the depths of the soul. But the bitter truth was expressed in the long wild cry which burst spasmodically from his lips. In it might be read the seduction and destruction of a young spirit, not consenting to its own shame and ruin!
He laid his head on the strong shoulder of his friend, and closed his heavy eyelids, as if he dreamed, in this trying moment, it would be possible for him thus to close them forever. But the Wanderer, suddenly calling him back to consciousness, said: 'Follow me! follow me, that thou mayst remember forever the Form of the murdered Mother!'
So saying, he led the young man to a low door which opened behind the Great Altar. A whirlwind, as if from plains of ice, blew upon them from the subterranean passages below, and the flame of the taper streamed upon the blast, swaying and torn into a line of dying sparks. And thus they commenced the plunge into the very bosom of night, descending ever lower and lower, exploring depth after depth, until at last they had worked their way through the narrow and winding passages, and stood in the sublime silence of the immensity of space.
Their taper had long ago gone out, but they needed not its flickering light. The swamp-fires of the night, the corpse-lights, the will-o'-the-wisps, sometimes fell like falling stars; sometimes rose like rising moons. Countless cemeteries seemed moving on in this weird light, one solemnly following the other, and on the dark gate of each glittered, as if graved in frosted silver, the name of the Murdered Nation, and on the white crosses gleaming within, the names of her martyred children. Vast piles of skeletons, of bones and skulls, lay in the path of the young man, and as he advanced he read the glorious inscriptions.
It now seemed to him that the ghosts of the buried were also moving on before him, increasing constantly in number, and all moaning as they sped on, until at last they seemed to condense into a murky vapor like a trailing storm-cloud, growing ever more and more pervading, and murmuring with thousands upon thousands of sad, but spirit-stirring national songs. The air gleamed with the flashing of sabres and wild waving of standards; conflagrations and flames filled the intervening spaces, like vivid flashes of restless lightning, now gleaming, now sinking into the bosom of the cloud. Faster and faster, farther and farther whirls the cloud of spirits. Then in my dream I saw them suddenly descend, driven over the earth like the withered leaves of autumn--beaten low upon the ground and drifting on like the summer's dust--while a strong cry burst from the driven shadows: 'O God, have mercy upon us!'
The Wanderer stopped before the gate of an open sepulchre, on which was graven the name of the many times Murdered. The letters blazed with a soft lambent flame, and he fell reverently upon his knees. Penetrated with mystic awe, he quivered from head to foot when he arose, and wept tenderly as he crossed the threshold.
A soft light, like that of an evening late in autumn, dimly illumined the space within. I saw the holy Coffin as it lay on the gentle slope of a hill; a giant Pine stood at its head, and in its topmost branches perched the Eagle, pierced to the heart and sleeping in its own blood. Within the coffin lay the sacred Form, with the cross on her breast, the veil on her face, the fetters on her hands, and the crown upon her forehead. I saw six such hills rising one after the other, separated from one another by the long grass, through which, in place of sunny brooks, flowed crimson streams of human gore. Hilts and shivered fragments of broken swords, overgrown with weeds and covered with rust, were lying scattered in every direction through the rank grass. On each of the six hills lay the same Coffin; the same Form. But always more and more strongly surged the streams of human blood; heavier and heavier grew the chains on the hands of the Dead; and paler and paler the dim autumnal light. At the foot of the last hill it was dark, and bitter cold; the currents of blood were frozen; the icicles hung from the branches of the Pine; the Eagle lay in his congealed gore; and in place of the veil, the face of the six times murdered Mother was closely covered with a sheet of snow.
When the young man reached this spot of gloom, he fell with his face upon the frozen earth, and cursed his life! In the distance sounded the moans of the shadows left at the gate of the sepulchre; he bowed his head and wept. He heard them ask: 'Is the six times Murdered really dead? will she rise no more to deliver her faithful children from mortal anguish?'
The Wanderer replied not, but looked with eyes of melancholy love upon his friend who had thrown himself upon the frozen earth, and gently raised him in his strong arms.
Then rose the wail of all the armies of the grave; they broke the silence of death with loud and fearful cries: 'O Heavenly Father, Thou hast betrayed us! Thou hast delivered us up to Hell, for our Saint is really dead!'
The Wanderer answered the cry, and his voice pealed like distant thunder. 'Blaspheme not! Our Saint yet breathes! I see her lying in her last coffin on the hill of ice--there is no seventh beyond it--from it comes the Resurrection!' The wails and sobs of the spirits suddenly ceased, and a murmuring chant of the Mother's was entoned, low and sweet as the first sigh of a germing hope.
The young man now perceived, for hitherto he had not seen it, the illimitable space beyond the coffin. Afar over the infinite blue broke the growing splendor of the early dawn--the clash and clamor of battles yet unborn broke through the veil of Time--and above it all he heard the Mother's ancient hymn of victory!
The young dawn shone but for a moment, the clash of battle ceased, the song of triumph died upon the ear--the gloomy silence of the twilight was again upon them, and frost and cold upon the earth. The two friends reverently pressed their lips upon the still feet of the fettered Form; together listened to the faint breathing from the icy lips, catching it even through the veil of snow shrouding the sacred face; together they ascended the frozen hill, bowing their heads in their hands to hide their tears.
I saw them again as they were returning by the same road, and overheard them binding themselves with fearful oaths. The Wanderer took leave of the young man at the entrance of the church, saying with wonderfully tender and conjuring tones: 'Be not deceived by those who would fain ruin thy soul, and blot out thy name from the number of honorable sounds on earth! Remember, whatsoever the splendor of the things thou shalt this night see, they are but deceptions from the lowest Hell! Then placing his hand on the heart of the young man, he prayed: 'O Heavenly Father! have mercy upon him and upon me, for if he withstands not this terrible Temptation, Thou knowest we shall both have lived in vain, and our part on earth is done forever! After this they parted, and went their way on different routes.
* * * * *
It was already night in the great city. Innumerable throngs were crowding the streets, all moving in the same direction, to the palace lighted with a thousand lamps, sounding with music, and gay with the dance. Old and young, men and women thronged the brazen stairs leading to the upper saloons; hurrying on as eagerly, as unceasingly as if ascending into Heaven!
The hours of the night passed slowly by, seeming longer to me than the whole of the preceding day. It was almost one o'clock before I again saw the young man, and the traces of the oaths he had taken were cunningly hidden under smiles. Groups of servants stood around him; he carelessly threw them his cloak, and climbed with the rest the brazen stairs. He was richly dressed; the magnificent guest was worthy of the splendor of the wedding feast. He entered gracefully, and gazed curiously on the thousands who were dancing around him. His eyes fell upon the rich and varied spoils overhanging the Hall; broken swords were wrought into the walls like mosaics; the flags of the conquered nations were draped in their varied hues across the vaulted ceiling; but as he looked on all these trophies of power, I saw him suddenly turn pale with rage, and bite his lips until the blood followed the pressure of his teeth; but then the whirling crowds caught him in their midst--violins, harps, flutes and horns poured the reeling air into his dizzied brain--clouds of incense intoxicated his senses--piled and mossy carpets luxuriously yielded to the pressure of his feet--rainbow hues shifted gayly before his dazzled eyes--until giddy, fascinated, stimulated, he sank upon a pile of cushions, resting his hot temples in his burning palms, dreaming of snowy hands and taper fingers, of azure eyes and cheeks like rose leaves.
As he thus rested, I heard the bell heavily toll one; I felt that this long night was in its darkest hour!
When he raised his eyes, he saw, through the long vista of the illuminated apartments, the Throne of the Splendor of the Sun. It stood above the moving sea of dancers; upon it sat the Autocrat of Life and Death; and above him waved the canopy of flags torn from the dying nations. The young man started, for he saw one among them dyed in gore, and tattered into rags, and from its torn streamers, drop by drop, the blood was ever falling; but no one saw or heeded it save himself. When this sight fell upon his reeling gaze, he determined to repel with all his force the allurements of temptation, and again his eye gleamed blue and pure as it had done in the early morning.
A movement now began in the crowd. It dispersed, divided, and formed into long lines upon the right and the left, leaving a wide, open pathway through the whole length of the long vista of the apartments. The Lord of the Palace descended from his Throne, and moved through the living walls as if he were a God, while all prostrated themselves as he passed along. He turned not aside, but went directly to the spot where the young man was seated. Nearer and nearer he approached, wondrously beautiful and strong. The young man rose and looked boldly into his eyes. The Master of Life and Death did not frown upon him, but said gently: 'Come, let us take a stroll together; I will show you the wonders of my Palace!'
The youth stood as if transfixed to the spot, but the Lord of Life and Death drew closer to him, stooped and pressed a kiss on his brow, and led him away with easy grace.
Although he seemed to see the coffin of the murdered Mother ever winding on before him, the young man accompanied the Monarch. His arm trembled with the quick beating of his boiling blood as it lay on the hard one of the Autocrat, who, thunder as he might to the bowing throng prostrating themselves before him, continued to speak in soft tones and with a noble, courteous air to his present companion. He spoke of the past, he uttered without trembling even the name of the murdered Mother, as if her assassination did not weigh upon his conscience. He did not seem to have the least doubt that she was really dead, vanished forever from the face of the earth. He artfully pointed out to the young man another immense future, graven, as he said, in the Book of Fate. He painted it in the most alluring colors, awakening his young desires for its attainment; he spared no promises, and as if he held himself to be one of God's prophets, he parodied inspiration. The unhappy young man turned his eyes toward the ground, away from the handsome face, as though it had been that of Antichrist. Each word of the Tempter fell like a drop of poison on his heart, engendering and hatching the worms within. They walked together through the long ranges of apartments, the close ranks of men prostrating themselves as they passed, until they struck with their foreheads the malachites wrought into the tessellated floor.
When they arrived at the other end of the Palace, the gates of bronze upon the order of the Master were suddenly thrown open, while the mass behind, lifting their heads from the ground, looked enviously after them.
'Behold, this is my Treasury,' said the Monarch. 'Look, and have faith in the extent of my power!'
The young man looked before him. He was standing at the portals of deep mines of wealth, endlessly extended. Alas! the glowing splendor from the hills and valleys burned into the blue eyes of the young man; his pupils rapidly absorbed the molten torrents of gold and silver; circles of light from amethyst, opal, and emerald, bent like rainbows round the azure orbs. The subterranean flames roared and crackled; the hills were shaken to their centre; the caves were heaving in their depths, and fresh, glittering, golden, diamantine lumps came ever gushing from the fused and seething mass.
But strange sounds were ever and anon heard amidst the hissing and sputtering of the boiling metals. Long cries came up as if from men in the agonies of death; a clatter as of chains sounded from the abyss; muttered curses; and bent and wretched human figures were seen moving over swards of diamonds and precious stones, like the dark stains passing athwart the bright face of the moon. The eye of the Monarch then flamed with wrath. Sometimes clanging their chains as they moved their fettered limbs, these melancholy figures raised to him their suppliant hands, begging with anguished cries for one drop of water, for one moment of respite to breathe the free air of heaven. He vouchsafed to them no answer, and with every moment the wretched and emaciated shadows fell from utter exhaustion into the molten metals seething in the depths of the mine. But what mattered that, since with every instant, new bands of living shadows, equally fettered, doomed, and wretched, arrived to fill the vacant places? The young man thought he had seen some of these melancholy faces before in the high places of the earth, that the noble traits once had been dear to him, but the flashes of lightning blinded him, and the features were rapidly lost in the depths of the succeeding gloom. The roar of the seething, fusing metals deafened the sound of the groans from the chained and broken-hearted miners. And as I gazed, an all-pervading splendor, like the golden calm of the Desert, settled over all, covering with glittering veil the anguish which had been revealed.
As this light overflowed the scene with its brilliant haze, the gates of bronze clapped to with heavy clang. The Master of Life and Death took leave of the young man, and as he departed, said: When the great bell again strikes, be in the Hall of the Throne; thy seat at my Banquet is next my own.
As the young man turned to move away, the throng greeted him with shouts and cheers. Many knelt to kiss his hand, because it had touched the hand of the Master. They asked him what music he would hear, and when his choice was made, the grand orchestra rolled it forth in massive waves of sound. They bore him luscious wines in jewelled vases, kneeling as he took the cup. He marvelled, and at first scorned the homage, but again I saw him look proudly round him, and assume an air of command.
In a recess of the most exquisite beauty, veiled by groves of perfumed flowers, he meets resplendent groups of married women, blooming clusters of budding maidens. They surround him as he enters, greeting him with lovely smiles; and scattering rose leaves o'er him. His cheeks flame as with fever; his blood boils in his veins; he grows giddy, faint:--alas, he feels at last that he might find happiness in the Palace of the mortal enemy of his Mother! This feeling falls upon him like a thunderbolt, and scathes his heart. He turns to fly, but they pursue, the perfumed wind bearing onward and wafting around him the full drapery of their floating trains of luxury. Their long ringlets kiss his cheeks, and weave their nets around him.
Through two long hours of this fitful night I watched him with the keenest interest. I saw him struggle, confused, bewildered, reeling, giddy, dazzled, sometimes almost yielding to temptation, sometimes earnestly imploring the Heavenly Father for strength to resist delusion. As if in despair, I saw him hurrying through the long suite of apartments in search of a sword to pierce his weak, vacillating heart, but no arms were here to be found. Sometimes I saw him rush to meet the alluring Circes of the Palace, as if seeking their fascinations; then, suddenly turning upon them, he would curse and insult the seductive Sirens. I saw him tear from them their veils of snow, rend them asunder, and trample the costly fragments under his feet. They knelt, wept, and humiliated themselves before him. They prayed for love, saying: 'Once, only once, we implore thee, confess that thou lovest!' Utter madness came upon him; electric flashes fired his veins; rapture tingled through every fibre of his young frame; and in the voluptuous delirium of the moment he wildly cried: 'I love! I love!'
As he spake, he caught in his arms the Houri of the foreign race; he fastened his burning lips upon her rosebud mouth; and by the magic of her breath she drew him on to the Hall of the Throne!
There sat the Master of Life and Death, with the flags and standards of the conquered nations floating around and above him. As the youth and maiden entered, I again heard the great bell toll the hour. Throngs of courtiers stood around the Throne. Slowly the curtain of inwrought tapestry rose from the platina door. Those who had been waiting beyond its threshold for admittance, were summoned by the Heralds to appear. Ambassadors from the Kings of the East and the Kings of the West entered the Presence Chamber. On they filed in long and solemn procession. They all bowed as they passed the Throne, each one depositing an urn of pure gold at the feet of the Monarch. The urns were filled with the ashes of those who had fallen in battle, heroes killed in holy causes, patriots and martyrs from different parts of the world. The Grand Duke entered last in the train, he was clad in the ermine only worn by Princes, and as he bowed his head, he placed the last urn on the floor. The young man started--the name of the murdered Mother was deeply graven on the sculptured swells. Then all grew dark before him, he saw neither the Throne of the Monarch, nor the fair girl still clinging to his arm. But his ear quickened as his eye grew dim, and the question of the Monarch rang loudly through his brain: 'Are they all really dead, and will they rise from the grave no more?'
And as if with one voice answered the Ambassadors: 'They are all surely dead, and will rise no more forever.' At a sign from the Monarch, the courtiers approached, took up the urns, and solemnly deposited them upon the columns of black marble ranged on either side of the Hall. Flaming torches were then handed by the attendants, taken by those high in the favor of the court, and held over the open crypt of the urn. The ashes within kindled, and burned with a dim, bluish flame. The pale smoke rose from the shrine, spread through the air, and wafted the smell of Death to the nostrils of the Lord!
It now seemed to the young man as if all he had seen at the hour of twilight was but a dream; he looked upon these throngs as the sole masters of the world, and on their Monarch as omnipotent and eternal. At this moment the table of festival rose in the Hall, everywhere surrounded by the blazing funereal urns. The maiden begged the bridegroom to take his seat at the banquet; the Master, descending from his Throne, placed his arm in his, and led him to the place of honor, at his side. The great bell again tolled the hour. The guests also took their places at the feast.
Directly in front of the young man stood the column of black marble bearing the urn containing the ashes of his Mother. And whenever he saw her holy name, his long lashes veiled his sinking eyes; but his bride constantly recalled his attention to the blue flames of the crypt.
More and more madly, fiercely, fearfully, his reeling and wretched soul struggled to regain its ancient faith, to return to its early hopes; but temptation was around him; his brain was bewildered; his understanding darkened; and madness within.
Healths poisonous to his heart went round, and he was forced to drain them in honor of the Master. An inward shivering disjointed his members, unstrung his nerves, heart and frame fainted into weakness, a dew cold as death covered his temples, and his head fell wearily upon his breast--the walls, the floors, the ceilings, the men, the burning urns, danced, reeled, and tottered in wild confusion before him. The murmuring voices, the buzz of sound, the swell of the triumphant music, the strange words of the foreign bride, mingled and boomed like the roar of the sea in the ears of the swooning man--and so the last hours passed away!
He still lived, if life be measured by the wild throbs of the heart. Like the clap of doom the last hour struck upon his ear. He opened his heavy eyelids, the blue flames from the urns were dying out. The Master of Life and Death, graciously smiling and courteously inclining toward him, said: 'Guest of my Banquet, the hour has struck in which thou art to swear to serve me; in which thou must abjure thine ancient faith and name.'
As he spake, he threw to him across the table jewelled orders and diamond crosses, saying: 'Wear these in memory of me!' The Herald then drew near, and read to him from the Black Book the form of abjuration. The agonizing and swooning man mechanically repeated the words one by one after him, not even hearing the sound of his own voice. His head had fallen on the bosom of his bride, his lips still moved, but his eyes were glaring in the whiteness of death--and so he uttered all the prescribed words until the very last was said!
Scarcely had he finished, when the Master of Life and Death arose and said: 'Servant of my servants art thou now--beware! shouldst thou prove false to thy oath, the rope of the hangman surely awaits thee.' Then he broke into a loud, coarse laugh of triumph!
The unfortunate man raised his wretched head, and his first look fell upon the urn of his murdered Mother. In place of her name of glory another word was standing now: 'INFAMY!' 'Infamy,'--he looked again; he shrieked aloud, 'Infamy;' and started from his seat with the last effort of his failing strength. 'Infamy!' shouted the thousands from before, behind, from either side. 'Infamy' sounded from the ceilings of the Palace, the Hall of the Throne, the deep mines and limitless Treasury! Some among the crowd hastened to greet him by his new name, while others fastened to his garments the glittering orders and diamond crosses. Some commanded him to bow before them, while others ordered him to trample under foot the still smouldering ashes of his Mother!
That thought sent the blood back in hot torrents to his heart. He broke through the surrounding throng, rushed on, fled from the Presence Chamber, eagerly looking for his bride. He saw her leaning on the arm of another, mocking and jeering with the rest. He glides on behind the statues, steals along the recesses, is discovered, and again flies before the enemy. The Palace winds before him into countless labyrinths--nowhere is shelter to be found sneers, menaces, insults, are everywhere around him--but worse than all, _the curse is now within his soul_!
Then he suddenly turns to meet his enemies; he baffles them at first, but countless numbers are upon him. They hurl him to the ground, trample him under foot, and pass on singing a song from the land of his Mother. As he rises, fresh numbers assail him, he bids defiance to them all, struggles, advances, until foaming, bleeding, sinking, he is again driven back, again forced to seek an outlet from the Palace. Thus fighting, running, falling, fainting, he makes his way until the first dim dawn of day, and as it breaks, he falls heavily down the brazen staircase, and rolls below into the court of the Palace. Here strong arms seize him, and bear him rapidly away to the steps of the church--the same church which he had left in the evening twilight.
It is the hour of the young dawn, but the sun of this earth will never rise for him again! Light will awake the world, but it will shine into his blue eyes no more!
He awakes to consciousness on the steps of the church, and finds himself face to face alone with the Wanderer. He is mute in his despair. The Wanderer, regarding him sternly, says: 'In other times and scenes thou mightst perchance have been a hero, but the Fates doomed thee to heavy trial, and thou wert not strong enough to preserve thy virtue! The _visible reality_ prevailed with thee above the _invisible_, _holy_, and _eternal truth_! Alas, thou art lost!'
'Give me back my horse!' cried the young man, as life again began to flow through his veins. 'Give me the free dress of the steppes, give me my arms, and thou shalt see that I know how to revenge the wrongs inflicted on my brethren, to redress my own infamy!'
He grasped the hand of his friend, and threw himself into his arms, quivering with rage. Far more sadly than before, the Wanderer replied:
'The hour for bold and open defiance is not yet near. It is the time for silent sacrifice. But even shouldst thou live until the Day of Judgment, the hour of Resurrection, thy brethren will always number thee among those who have renounced the Mother. Hark! thy enemies are in pursuit of thee, already near. Should they capture thee, thou must be the slave of their wills, the partner of their crimes, the sport and butt of all their bitter jests throughout the remnant of thy wretched life. One only refuge remains for thee!' And as he spoke, he drew his glittering sword.
The young man understood his meaning. With dauntless courage he tore aside the covering from his breast.
'Strike!' he exclaimed. 'I die as a true son of the many times murdered Mother--honor to her holy name forever and ever!'
The Wanderer groaned from the depths of his soul. He plunged the sharp cold steel into the young naked heart. The unfortunate victim fell without a moan. He fell in the first rays of the rising sun, and in the same hour in which but yesterday, full of strength and hope, he had mounted his swift horse from the green home-turf, urging him down the hill to push eagerly over the broad steppe of life.
He fell in silence, but his dying eye again flashed forth a light rivalling the young beam of Day.
The Wanderer knelt beside him, and lifting his clasped hands to Heaven, said: 'O Heavenly Father! Thou knowest that I loved him better than aught else on earth! As long as it was possible, I shielded him from the Temptation of Hell, and in the first moment of his fall, I tore his soul out from the grasp of the enemy, and sent it back to Thee! Save it in eternity, merciful Father! Let the crimson tide poured out by me, be joined to that sea of innocent blood which is ever wailing and moaning at the foot of Thy Throne! Let it with that sea fall upon the head of the Tempters!'
After these words I saw him, with the point of the same sword, draw blood from under his own heart, and write with the sharp red blade on the stone above the head of the dead: SENT HOME BY THE HAND OF A FRIEND!
The echoing steps and voices of the pursuers fell loudly on the ear; they were close at hand. The Wanderer arose, and rapidly disappeared from my eyes in the sanctuary of the ancient church.
Thus passed and ended that one day of my vision!
O Mother, many times murdered! When thou shalt waken from thy long sleep, and again rest on the long grass of the home turf, again hear the holy whispers of thy unhewn forests green from sea to sea, again feel thy youth returning upon thee, thou wilt remember thy long night of death, the terrible phantoms of thy protracted agonies. Weep not then, O Mother! weep not for those who fell in glorious battle, nor for those who perished on alien soil--although their flesh was torn by the vulture and devoured by the wolf, they were still happy! Neither weep for those who died in the dark and silent dungeon underground by the hand of the executioner, though the dismal prison-lamp was their only star, and the harsh words of the oppressor the last farewell they heard on earth--they too were happy!
But drop a tear, O Mother! One tear of tender pity for those who were deceived by thy Murderers, misled by their tissues of glittering falsehood, blinded by misty veils woven of specious deceptions, when the command of the tyrant had no power to tear their true hearts from thee! Alas, Mother, these victims have suffered the most of all thy martyred children! Deceitful hopes, born but to die, like blades of naked steel, forever pierced their breasts! Thousands of fierce combats, unknown to fame, were waging in their souls, combats fuller of bitter suffering than the bloody battles thundering on in the broad light of the sun, clashing with the gleam of steel, and booming with the roar of artillery. No glory shone on the dim paths of thy deceived sons; thy reproachful phantom walked ever beside them, as part of their own shadow! The glittering eye of the enemy lured them to the steep slopes of ice, down into the abyss of eternal snow, and at every step into the frozen depths, their tears fell fast for thee! They waited until their hearts withered in the misery of hope long deferred; until their hands sank in utter weariness; until they could no longer move their emaciated limbs in the fetters of their invisible chain; still conscious of life, they moved as living corpses with frozen hearts--alone amidst a hating People--alone even in the sanctuary of their own homes--alone forever on the face of the earth!
My Mother! When thou shalt again live in thy olden glory, shed a tear over their wretched fate, over the agony of agonies, and whisper upon their dark and silent graves, the sublime word: PARDON!
The 'Last Travels' of Ida Pfeiffer, published in London in 1861, called the public attention to an island which had been excluded from civilization for more than a quarter of a century. The great Island of Madagascar, situated in the path of all the commerce of Europe with the East, for reasons we are about to explain, has again attracted the notice of diplomatists, and threatens to become a second Eastern question. We propose to sketch the history of the island and to explain the cause of its sudden importance.
Though discovered in 1506 by the Portuguese, and partially colonized at times by the Dutch, French, and English, it has, up to this time, preserved an independent government; or rather, the native tribes have been allowed to fight and enslave each other without much aid or hindrance from Europeans.
When England, early in the present century, began the task of subduing the East, she found in her conquests of Mauritius and Bourbon the natural and important links in her chain of posts. As a recent writer has well pointed out, she has a succession of fortified posts, Gibraltar, St. Helena, the Cape of Good Hope, Mauritius, and Ceylon, reaching from London to Calcutta and Singapore. The commerce of the world, as it sweeps by the Cape of Good Hope, is forced to pursue a track in which her strongholds are situated. But for the blindness of her former rulers, she would be the mistress of the Eastern seas. Two points, however, have been left unguarded. In some trading convention, some congress of nations, England made the great mistake of restoring to France the Island of Bourbon, surrendering one of the keys to the impregnable position she held. Other reasons have prevented the acquisition of Madagascar, and it is not yet too late to render this mistake fatal to her supremacy. It is true that in case of war, her armed steamers may start with the assurance of a secure coaling station at the end of every ten days' journey, but from the Cape eastward she is dependent upon her maintenance of Mauritius.
France has made the most of the opportunity given to her, by holding Bourbon as a military colony, and maintaining a powerful fleet there. It is, however, for us to regard the interests of the United States, and to see if any foothold can be gained for our protection. Had war been the result of the _Trent_ affair, what would have become of our immense fleet of merchant ships which was then afloat in Indian waters? Manila and Batavia were the only two neutral ports to which they could have fled for safety; and neither Spain nor Holland would have dared to permit our cruisers to refit or to coal in their ports. The American flag would have been driven from those seas without the slightest difficulty.
And yet the means for avoiding this disgraceful state of affairs in the future lie open to us now. The fertile Island of Madagascar, abounding in safe harbors, lies as near the track of commerce as do Mauritius and Bourbon. It has innumerable advantages over either of these islands, and it is especially adapted to our wants. Mauritius must be weak in time of war, because it is so entirely an artificial colony. A mere dot on the map, only some thirty miles in diameter, it has a population of over three hundred thousand, wholly devoted to the cultivation of sugar. This product has been the source of immense wealth to the island, but it has necessitated the abandonment of every other branch of agriculture. These three hundred thousand inhabitants are literally dependent for their daily food on the kindness of the elements in time of peace, and on the naval supremacy of England in time of war. There is not enough grain raised there to supply the colonists with food for twenty-four hours, and there is rarely a supply in reserve to last them for two months. Their rice is brought from India, their cattle from Madagascar. Let the free intercourse with these countries be suspended, and a famine is inevitable. The noble harbor of Port Louis, with its fortifications, its dockyards, and coal sheds, is a source of strength to England only so long as she can prevent her enemies from establishing themselves in Madagascar.
France is striving to rival and surpass England. At Bourbon, already strongly fortified, immense artificial docks are projected, perhaps commenced. The colony has annually a deficit in its accounts to be made good from the national treasury, but extension rather than retrenchment is its policy. France has acquired the Mayotte or Comoro Islands, and several ports on the north of Madagascar. She has also the sympathy of all the creoles of Mauritius, in whose minds the English occupation of fifty years has been unable to stifle the instinct of nationality.
Thus the two great Western powers stand, nominally allies at home, jealous and active enemies abroad.
Circumstances have kept both powers from seizing the tempting prize which has so long hung before them. What are these two pitiful islands in comparison with the great, wealthy, and fertile island which, lies to the west of them? In time of peace they are convenient points in the great lines of commerce; here the disabled vessels of all nations find a resting place. In time of war they are strongly entrenched positions, liable to capture by any nation which can secure a base for operations against them. Madagascar, on the other hand, stands fifth on the list of islands in magnitude, is situated in the latitude most favorable for agriculture, and abounds in every kind of material wealth. A harbor on its coast, with the whole island as a depot from whence supplies can be drawn, would be a source of strength more than sufficient to counterbalance the works of half a century's growth at Mauritius. We have only to see, therefore, if such a concession can be obtained for this country.
We have said that repeated and ineffectual attempts were made to subdue and colonize the island. Numerous tribes, of widely varying origin, people the island, some black as the blackest negro, others of the Malay or Arab type. For centuries they had been engaged in domestic wars, when in 1816 the English Government agreed to recognize the chief of one tribe as king of the island, on condition that he would suppress the foreign slave trade.
The chief thus selected was Radama, king of the Hovas, a tribe occupying the centre of the island, and the one which ranked highest in the scale for intelligence. It is believed that this race, presenting so many characteristics of the Malays, is the result of some piratical colony here, established by chance or the desire of conquest. That the Hovas possess a high degree of intelligence, and are capable of as much culture as the Japanese or Mavris, is indisputable.
Thanks to the muskets and military instructors with which England provided him, Radama was enabled to extend his conquests in every direction. He was indeed fitted to be a ruler, and, a savage Napoleon, he devoted as much time to improvement of his subjects as he did to the increase of his territories. Though not a convert, he allowed the missionaries to preach the gospel, to reduce the Hova language to writing, and to translate the Bible. He permitted them to establish schools, to import printing presses, to instruct his people in agriculture and mechanics. They rapidly availed themselves of the opportunity, and with mines of coal, iron, and copper in abundance, they became skilful artificers.
Unfortunately, Radama died in 1828, in the prime of life; and, by an intrigue in his harem, a concubine, Ranavalo, was proclaimed Queen of Madagascar. The advance had been too rapid, and, as in Japan, there was a large party of conservatives anxious to return to the old regime. The new queen dissembled for a few years, but finally expelled the missionaries in 1835. Idolatry was again resumed, and Christianity stifled. A certain amount of commerce was allowed with Europeans, but under severe restrictions. So necessary to the existence of the neighboring colonists was the supply of food, that when in 1844 the trade was forbidden, the English Government was obliged to yield. The difficulty arose from the fact that an English vessel, the 'Marie Laure,' kidnapped some of the Malagash. The Hovas seized one of the crew, and then declared non-intercourse. In 1845, one English and two French men-of-war attacked Tamatave, but were repulsed with considerable losses.
Finally the matter was settled by the payment of $15,000 to the queen as an indemnity, and this sum, raised by the contributions of the merchants of Port Louis, was paid with the consent of the English Government.
Until 1861, there was no change in the position of affairs, except one incident, which Madame Pfeiffer records. In 1831, a certain M. Laborde, shipwrecked on the coast, was carried as a prisoner to the capital, where he was kept in an honorable captivity. He taught the natives the art of casting cannon and manufacturing gunpowder, and acquired a considerable property. In 1855, he was joined by M. Lambert, a Frenchman of wealth, and they became the favorites of the Prince Rakoto. This son of the queen was at the head of the liberal party, as his cousin, Ramboasalama, was of the conservative. The latter, nephew of the queen, and brother-in-law of the prince, had been designated as heir presumptive before the birth of Rakoto; and he had always the credit of a design to contest the succession.
The visit of Mr. Ellis, an English missionary, in 1856, was the signal for the intrigues which were about to commence between the French and English. The prince was warmly attached to M. Lambert, but the English hoped to claim him as a Protestant. Finally, as Madame Pfeiffer says, M. Lambert attempted to create a revolution, seeking to depose the queen, but he was discovered and banished.
In 1861, the queen died, and her son succeeded as Radama II, after a short contest with his cousin. Having been on the island at the time, and leaving it in the vessel which carried the new king's letters to the colonial governments, the writer can testify to the intense interest evinced by the French and English. It was confidently asserted at Bourbon that Radama had placed the island under the protection of France, and that French influence was to predominate. This proved unfounded, but the court was the centre for incessant intrigues.
The new king commenced his reign under the happiest auspices. He was very popular, and his reputation for kindness had soon caused many of the surrounding tribes to acknowledge his supremacy. The Hovas had spread from the centre toward the coast in all directions--to the eastward they had subdued the Betsimarakas; to the westward, the Saccalaves. Yet numerous tribes had remained independent, and held large portions of the coast and the interior. The cruelty of the queen had kept alive their animosity, but now they voluntarily came forward to acknowledge her son and to be received into the Hova nation.
The people already had acquired a taste for European luxuries, and were desirous of an extended commerce. As they were rich in herds and flocks, in grain and fruits, as their forests of ebony, rosewood, and other valuable woods were immense, as their mines yielded coal and iron, perhaps even gold, they were ready and anxious to open their ports to the commerce of the world. England and France both recognized the king, sent envoys with congratulatory letters and presents, and appointed resident consuls. The United States alone, unfortunately plunged in civil war, neglected the opportunity.
The king proclaimed freedom of religion, permitted the establishment of schools, established freedom of imports and exports, and granted lands to all _bona fide_ settlers.
It was with the greatest surprise, therefore, that we have learned, some two months since, that a revolution has taken place, and that these fair prospects have been darkened by the murder of the king. It seems that he had made such lavish grants of land to his favorite, Lambert, that his nobles rebelled. Lambert had been sent to France to obtain the regalia for the coronation, and had organized a great company to hold these concessions. Whether the feuds of the missionaries, Protestant English and Catholic French, aided this, is not yet known.
It is clear, however, that the king and many of his personal friends were killed, and that his wife, Rabodo, is the queen. She is the sister of Ramboasalama, and probably represents the party of retrogression.
It is not, however, too late for our Government to recognize the ruler of Madagascar, and to obtain those indispensable advantages resulting. In time of peace, we shall have safe harbors for our merchant vessels, and we shall open a new field for our commerce. In time of war, we shall have these neutral ports as a refuge, and should diplomacy go one step farther and secure us a coaling station, we shall be on equal terms in the East with the other great maritime powers.
There is certainly no time to be lost. A single English steamer, flying the confederate flag, can pass the Cape, can coal at Mauritius, or rendezvous at Madagascar, and could then destroy more shipping than the whole fleet of pirates has yet done. It is at least probable that our national vessels would be refused permission to avail of Port Louis for repairs or supplies. It certainly does not comport with the honor of the nation to have to rely upon the churlish courtesy of England. Already, too, we see it announced that Napoleon will find in the massacre of French subjects a pretext to seize on the island. If our Government will spare a single one of the cruisers which have so uselessly sought the Alabama, it may, during the present year, negotiate a treaty which will at once advance our prosperity in peace, and increase our strength in any future war.
It seems strange, indeed, that our statesmen cannot learn that we must hereafter abandon our isolated condition. England has taught us the folly of continuing indifferent to her aggressions in the East, in the hope that she will not interfere in the West. No blow can be more fatal to her supremacy abroad than the knowledge that we have secured a point where we perpetually threaten her line of communication with her colonies.
We have written thus fully, because so few persons have had occasion to consider the subject. It seems probable, from the latest advices from Port Louis, that some envoy has visited the island, but what we require is a more imposing display of our power. The new queen, who has assumed the name of Rahoserina, is but a puppet in the hands of the council of nobles, of which Rainivoninahitriniony is the chief. Formerly all honors were held subject to the pleasure of the king, who could degrade his servants at pleasure; but this power is now declared to be abrogated. The powerful tribe of Saccalaves, always independent until the accession of Radama II, refuses to acknowledge his successor. It may be necessary to negotiate different treaties, perhaps, to protect American citizens in case of civil war. It is certainly most important to show the natives that we are really a great maritime nation. The time and position demand the employment of an able envoy, and the presence of such a naval force as may cause his mission to be respected.
Our last topic is to be considered. We do not advocate the establishment of costly works by Government, or the acquisition of a colony. The laws of commerce will provide the first, if only a proper protection is given to enterprise. Let us obtain but a single port under the safeguard of the American flag, and it will become a depot as flourishing as Singapore. Private enterprise will speedily establish dockyards and machine shops; for not only will there be an immense legitimate commerce with the Malagash, but the port will be the great centre for repairing and refitting our merchant vessels and whalers. The one thing needful, we repeat, is prompt action by our Government, with the certainty that the opportunity now presented will not return.
NOTE.--The latest advices from Madagascar, received _via_ Mauritius, throw a little light upon the revolution which resulted in the death of Radama II. It seems probable that the late king had lost the esteem of his people by his partiality toward his favorites, by the concessions made to foreigners, especially to M. Lambert, and by his vacillating course in religious matters. His private life was such as to render it highly improbable that he had become a Christian; yet Mr. Ellis, the English missionary, exercised a great control over him.
The late queen was buried at Ambohimanga, a little village where there was a temple devoted to the chief idol. It seems that her son had promised to keep this spot sacred from the intrusion of the missionaries. Mr. Ellis most imprudently determined to preach there, and though driven away once, obtained troops from the king, and succeeded in a second attempt.
As the nobles and the population were almost unanimously in favor of idolatry, this course gave cause for great dissatisfaction. The more devout, assembling near the capital, held daily meetings, and a disease called ramanenra--a sort of nervous affection, such as has too often accompanied revivals in Christian countries--appeared among them. The nobles confederated under the lead of the commander-in-chief, Rainivoninahitriniony, and remained aloof from supporting the king. Finally, the king published a mysterious law, allowing individuals or tribes to fight in the presence of witnesses--a law supposed by the one party to encourage assassination, and by the other to tend to the extirpation of the Christians.
The prime minister, in a letter written in English, explains the last scene thus: On the 8th May, the chief officers requested the repeal of these laws; the king refused; and the tenth day, a public tumult resulted in the slaughter of the Menamaso, or native favorites of the king. On the 12th May, the leaders, afraid to pause, strangled the king, and proclaimed Rabodo queen, under the name of Rahoserina.
It is believed that no foreigner was injured; but the nobles have taken an important step in proclaiming the new queen as direct successor of Ranavalo--thereby ignoring the reign of Radama II. As the fundamental rule of the Hovas had been that the title to all land was in the sovereign and inalienable, the grants to Lambert and others are held to be void. We believe this has not been officially stated, but Commodore Dupré, who negotiated the treaty between France and Radama, says that the treaty was almost unanimously rejected by the great council of nobles, and was accepted solely by the king.
The last advices, 6th September, from Port Louis, are that the French fleet at Tamatave maintains a semi-warlike attitude toward the Hovas, not landing nor recognizing the authorities. Rumors are rife of the intentions of the French Government to seize Tamatave, and apply other coercive measures, unless the former treaty is carried into effect.
The case seems to stand thus: The emperor, availing of the weakness of Radama II for his favorite Lambert, concluded a treaty, by which the king was to entirely alter the laws of the kingdom, and to give the French a controlling influence in the Indian Ocean. The people have deposed their ruler, and refuse to be bound by arrangements made by his will alone. Under ordinary circumstances, Napoleon would hardly brave the anger of England in a matter in which the latter has so much at stake. The prize, however, is well worth the effort. Any European nation obtaining sole possession of Madagascar dominates the East. It is surely time for our Government to awake to the importance of the steps now being taken. It is not a time when the interests of the country can be intrusted to the efforts of a consul or any inferior naval officer. We ought to send an envoy with powers to negotiate a treaty, and with such a fleet as will insure a respectful attention to our demands. The number of American vessels which frequent the coasts of Madagascar is a sufficient reason for us to interfere, without regard to the vastly greater interests which demand that this island shall not become a French colony. Our prediction that the confederate pirates would soon sweep the Indian Ocean of our richly laden India-men seems in a fair way to be accomplished; and where, save by the contemptuous forbearance of England and France, can our cruisers find a port for supplies, repairs, or information?
A VIGIL WITH ST. LOUIS.
[Greek: "Cheires men hagnai, phrên d' echei miasma ti."]
O Friend, thy brow is overcast; but haply for thy grief, Though all untold, a spell I hold to work a swift relief,-- A hallowed spell;--no rites we need that shun the light, Thy taper trim; for we must read some dark old words to-night. For I will, shall I?--from their graves call up the holy dead, More mighty than the living oft such soul as thine to aid. From Fear and Woe, through fears and woes like thine, they won release, And through our still confronting foes once fought their way to peace. 'Twixt woe and weal, a balm to heal our every wound they found, An outlet for each pool of strife, that whirls us round and round. And if perhaps their childish time discerned not all aright,-- While Fancy her stained windows reared between them and the light,-- That in these clearer latter days 'tis given to thee to know, Then seek the spirit they received, and bid the letter go. Thy heart unto its Lord unlock; and shut thy closet's door. The holy water of thy tears drop on the quiet floor. Unclasp the old brown tome. The walls no more are seen. The page I read; and we are backward borne far in a bygone age. The spell hath wrought. To take us in, a tower and bower advance Where grows upon our steadfast gaze the royal saint of France. The bower full well a hermit's cell--with hourglass and with skull-- Might seem,--the hangings woven all of rocks and mosses full. The floor is thick with rushes strown. Some resting place is there Worn,--as amid the rushy marsh by stag that made his lair,-- Worn just beneath yon carven form, that bends in pain and love, As if to bless, from its high place, and almost seems to move, While round it in the wind of night the arras swells and swings,-- The viceroy's of the universe, son of the King of kings. For Louis loves to leave his court, and lay aside his crown, And to a mightier Prince than he to bow in homage down. In this great presence learns the king peace, truth, and lowlihead; Here learns the saint the majesty no earthly power to dread. But now the king's mute voice it rings, and through the shades doth call: 'Ho, Sire de Jonville, come to me, my doughty seneschal!' The rafters feel the tramp of steel; and by the monarch stand Again the feet that by him stood far in the Holy Land. 'O Sire de Jonville,' to his friend and servant Louis saith, 'Hold fast and firmly to the end the jewel of thy faith. Strong faith's the key of heaven; and once an abbot taught to me, If will is good, though faith is weak, shall faith accepted be. This tale he told:
A Master old,--Master of Sacred Lore,-- Of life unsmirched, once came to him in straits and travail sore, 'What wouldst thou, Master?--What the grief that makes thee peak and pine? And comest thou to me?--My soul hath often leaned on thine!' 'Let each co-pilgrim lean in turn on each,' in anguish meek, With tongue that clave unto his mouth, the Master then did speak; But when the abbot led him in and lent his pitying ears, Then tears came fast instead of words; words could not come for tears. 'O brother, weep no more; but speak, and banish thy dismay. Of man is guilt; but grace is God's, that purgeth guilt away. If all our little being's bound were filled and stuffed with sin, 'Twere nothing to the holiness His mighty heart within; And in this wilderness of life there's no such crooked road, But from it may a path be found straight to the throne of God. The penitent that mourns like thee, that path will surely take. What needeth but to own thy sin and straight thy sin forsake?' 'Yet must I weep. Mine inward plight is one that stands alone. The outward ill the tempted wight may do or leave undone; But when I to the altar go, to eat the sacred bread And gaze upon the blood divine, that for us all was shed, Still Satan stirreth up in me a heart of unbelief!-- This guilt must sure unmeasured be, save haply by this grief!' The abbot's brows were sternly bent an instant on his guest: 'Dost thou--thou dost not, sure!--invite this traitor to thy breast?' 'The livelong day, though sore assailed, true watch and ward I keep,-- Keep vigils long as flesh can bear,--but in my helpless sleep-- Thronged heaven, canst thou no angel spare, to sit by me by night And drive away the hell-sent dreams, that drive me wild with fright?-- I seem to spill with frantic hands, and spurn the piteous blood, To trample on the blessed bread, and spit upon the rood!' The abbot's cheer grew calm and clear: 'Now, Master, tell me true: For aught that Satan proffers thee, such trespass wouldst thou _do_?' 'From his poor thrall he taketh all, and offers nought instead. The Father's grace,--the Son's mild face,--are all I crave,' he said. 'For any threat of any fate, wouldst follow his commands?' 'The fiery stake I'd rather make my portion at his hands!' The abbot's mien was bright, I ween, as 'twere a saint's in bliss: 'O fiend, 'tis well to seek for hell so pure a gem as this! O cunning foe, that round dost go these heavenward birds to snare, When every brighter line is vain, wouldst tempt them with despair? Bethink thee, Master. War doth rage 'twixt Britain's king, we know, And ours. Now tell me unto whom most thanks our liege shall owe, When war is o'er? To him who, oft assailed but never quelled, The castle of Rochelle upon the dangerous Marches held,-- Whose battlements must bristle still with halberd, bow, and lance,-- Or Montl'hery's, that nestles safe close to the heart of France?' 'Unto the warden of Rochelle. Thou'rt answered easily!' 'That stronghold is thy heart, but mine the keep of Montl'hery, For He who giveth gifts to all, hath given me to believe So steadfastly, that strife like thine my wit can scarce conceive. From th' Enemy God keepeth me,--He knows my weaker strength,-- But suffers thee assayed to be for higher meed at length. Then let us at our different posts His equal mercies own; But they the sharpest thorns who bear may wear the brightest crown.' Beside the kneeling penitent the abbot bent his knee, Sent his own praise and prayers to heaven forth on an embassy, Then raised him up, and saw that God had sent him answering grace; The shadow of the Enemy had left his heart and face. Calmly as warily he walked his fellow men beside, A good, grave man. 'Tis said, at last a happy man he died.'
UNION NOT TO BE MAINTAINED BY FORCE.
The enemies of our cause in Europe seem to have settled in their own minds the certainty of a final separation of the American States. Compelled though they may be, reluctantly to admit the superiority of our resources and the immense advantages we have recently gained over the conspirators, they yet adhere with singular tenacity to the belief that all our victories will be barren, and that all our vast acquisitions of Southern territory will not avail for the ultimate restoration of the Union. Though the domain originally usurped by the rebellion is already sundered by our possession of that great continental highway, the Mississippi river, and though no shadow of hope remains that the enemies of the Union will ever be able to recover it; though the recent boundless theatre of hostilities is gradually contracting, and the resources of the rebellion are rapidly melting away, until there remains no longer any doubt of our ultimate and even speedy success in crushing the wasted armies of the desperate foe; and though the boundaries of the boasted confederacy are uncertain, ever-shifting, and mystical, while whole populations of recovered regions of country hail the advent of our conquering flag with streaming eyes and shouts of joy; yet our jealous friends across the water, in the very act of acknowledging all this, never fail to assert, with the utmost vehemence, that in spite of all our military advantages, the Union is still irrecoverably destroyed. There is something remarkable in this persistent opinion, which, through all the changes of condition exhibited by the hostile parties in our struggling country, continues to possess the mind of British statesmen with unshaken firmness. If they undertake to justify their hasty recognition of the rebels as belligerents, and to vindicate their alleged impartial neutrality, they take apparently peculiar delight in fortifying themselves with the declaration that the Union is effectually broken, and can never be restored. It is necessary to throw the shield of this cherished anticipation back on the unfriendly acts they have perpetrated against us, in order fully to justify their conduct to themselves. If the rebellious States should indeed be compelled to acknowledge the authority of the Federal Government, and should return again to their position in the Union, the hostile cruisers which have been fitted out in England to harass our commerce, would occasion some unpleasant negotiations, and perhaps some costly responsibilities. To brush these all aside, and at the same time to get rid of a troublesome rival in commerce and manufactures, by the final separation of the Union, is, to them, on all accounts, 'a consummation most devoutly to be wished.' They may yet have to learn, through the experience of their Southern friends, that
'The ample proposition, that hope makes In all designs begun on earth below, Fails in the promised largeness.'
But perhaps, after all, it is we, ourselves, who are the victims of delusive hope in reference to the destiny of our noble Union. Possibly our disinterested friends across the water, calmly looking on from a distance, may be better able to understand the tendency of events, and to foresee the issue of the mighty civil contest which rages around us. They are not at all involved in the awful passions which the war has engendered in our bosoms, and thus, cool and deliberate, from the great altitude of their assumed moral serenity and disinterestedness, they may in reality behold the division of our country already accomplished, whatever may be the result of our grand strategy and our bloody battles.
Let us open our eyes fully, and look this matter dispassionately in the face. Let us try and ascertain whether we are in reality deceiving ourselves and waging a vain and fruitless war against our exasperated and misguided brethren of the South. We know they have instituted a causeless rebellion, which has brought unnumbered woes upon our common country. But if we cannot restore the Union, and reëstablish one great and powerful nationality within the magnificent domain which we possess as it was when this unhappy war began, then surely we are wasting our blood and treasure--our lives and fortunes--with the most wanton and wicked disregard of the sufferings and sacrifices of the people. If the war is to accomplish nothing, then the sooner it is closed the better. If the Union is indeed irrevocably broken and gone forever, let us, by all means, hasten to arrange the terms of honorable peace, and stop the effusion of blood at the earliest practicable moment. Unless we can assure ourselves that there is some object to be gained, commensurate in value with all the terrible sacrifices we are daily making, it is only criminal stubbornness and passion which induce us to continue the awful conflict.
Of one thing, at least, there is no shadow of doubt. The people of the loyal States, who, by an immense majority, have just emphasized their determination to sustain the war, are firmly convinced that they are not laboring and suffering in vain. It is no spasmodic impulse of blind passion, or even of useless though just resentment against wrong, which impels them, after nearly three years of ruinous war, to redouble their sublime efforts to conquer the treason that still obstinately resists the lawful authority of the Union. Whatever else may be truly said of this great conflict and its terrible results, it cannot be questioned that the people of the loyal States are profoundly impressed with the inestimable value of their free institutions and of the constitutional integrity and unity of the Government which shall administer them on this continent. They have faith in the exalted destiny of their country. They at least do not admit that the Union is irrecoverably lost; on the contrary, they believe, with a religious sincerity, which no temporary disaster can shake, in the certainty of its speedy restoration. This earnest faith is not merely the result of education and national prejudice. While it is to some extent an instinctive or intuitive insight of the American people, prophetically anticipating the future, it is also a matter of sober judgment, founded upon the most substantial and convincing reasons.
In the first place, the loyal people of the United States plainly see that the true interests of both sections demand the restoration of their old connection under one free and benign Government. Having originated and developed a mighty republican government, until it became continental in its dimensions, and having through it achieved results unexampled in history, with the promise of future prosperity immeasurably grand and imposing, the lovers of the Union would hold themselves utterly unworthy of their lineage and of their inherited freedom, if they could consent, in the presence of whatever dangers and difficulties, to see the glorious destiny of their country defeated. They would justly consider themselves traitors, not only to their country, but also to the highest interests of humanity itself; and they would feel the ineffable shame of imprinting the brand of their degradation upon their own brows. Partakers of the noblest forms and the most precious blessings of liberty, under a splendid, powerful, and growing nationality, they are too conscious of the dignity and glory of the American character ever to be willing to fall from that high estate without a struggle which shall fully demonstrate their lofty patriotism and their intelligent appreciation of the priceless political and social structure they seek to preserve for the benefit of the whole country and of the world. The history of Europe, and indeed the experience of the entire human race, have taught them the immense value of a mighty continental organization, such as our Union has hitherto established. Solemnly impressed with this great lesson of human history, they will never consent to see their country broken up into discordant fragments. As they plainly foresee the tremendous and ever-increasing evils of such a national disintegration, they have deliberately come to consider the worst calamities of this war as mere dust in the balance when weighed against them. It is this awful picture of bloody conflicts, perpetuated through coming generations, wasting the substance and paralyzing the fruitful energies of this mighty nation, perhaps for centuries to come--it is this vista of inevitable calamities and horrors, which reconciles the loyal people of North America to the dreadful war in which they have been so earnestly engaged for the last two years and more. They feel the inspiration of a sacred cause, the mighty impulse of an idea as grand as their cherished hopes for their country, and as immense as the interests of all humanity. They hear the mute appeals of a swarming posterity, gathered from all nations in pursuit of freedom, progress, and happiness, and they know that these countless millions will justly hold them responsible for the deeds of the present momentous hour. Is it strange that, penetrated and nerved with the high motives to be derived from these solemn considerations, the American people are prepared to accept the responsibilities of the great occasion, and even to wade through blood for the realization of the grandeur of those human hopes which are now intrusted to their keeping? One nation--one government--one universal freedom within those imperial boundaries which have heretofore been the theatre of our glorious achievements as a people! This is the grand thought of the Union men of America. This is the principle of their organization, and this it is which gives them hope, and strength, and courage. What weakness, what degeneracy, what dwindling of power for good and retrogression of thought and aim would be the consequence of permanent division! What a lamentable fall in our position among the nations of the earth, and what a diminution of our capacity for progress among ourselves and for usefulness to mankind! It is our duty and our destiny to develop all the physical resources of the continent--to stimulate its agricultural capabilities--to bring to light its boundless mineral treasures--to pierce its mountains and level its valleys--to control its mighty floods--and to make it worthy to be the seat of human freedom and of human empire. Nor is it less our destiny to build up a moral and social power and a political organization, which shall shed abroad a new and glorious light, beaming with immortal hopes, and penetrating to the farthest verge of the habitable globe. Nature, in every form of benignant usefulness and unequalled grandeur, invites us to this tremendous task. The loyal people of the nation have not been insensible to these mystic calls and the noble anticipations growing out of them, fraught as they are with the happiness and progress of the human race. They have projected works of the most gigantic proportions, nor, although they are conscious that union is indispensable to their success, have they hesitated to begin them, with all the high confidence necessary to their completion. Even amid the perils and the vast expenditures of civil war have they embarked in the grand enterprise of uniting the Atlantic and Pacific oceans by a continental highway, equal in its cost and its importance to the power and resources of a mighty empire. Vast internal streams and lakes call for union by canals, which shall typify the union of hearts and of interests destined to bind together millions of freemen, whose connection of brotherhood and national unity shall be as lasting as the perpetual flow of our mighty rivers, and as full of blessings as our great lakes are of their pure and crystal waters. The agitation of these momentous schemes, under existing circumstances, is a phenomenon indicating a consciousness of security and of vast power in the community, which, at the same time that it is engaged in the perilous and bloody work of preserving the Union, is preparing to perform the most important duties appertaining to the nation in the hour of its most perfectly established and permanent authority. It is the instinct of the national destiny working out its ends in spite of the difficulties and dangers of the hour. It is the prophetic vision of the popular mind, unconsciously preparing for a great future not yet visible to the natural eye, but which the providence of God, in its own good time, will verify to the firm and courageous hearts of our people.
The loyal people of our country, those who are determined to restore the Union, are well aware that it cannot be maintained by force. That great political organization was voluntary in its origin, based on the consent of the governed; and it has been upheld through all its marvellous career of prosperity by the free and unconstrained will of the people, who rejoiced in its common benefits and blessings. The novel system on which it was built, not only required the largest liberty for its very conception and for its practical embodiment, but was also admirably devised to secure the complete and permanent enjoyment of that individual independence in thought and action, which is the first of human privileges. Those States of the Union which are preëminently loyal to it, have ever cherished the most liberal principles of civil polity, and have framed their constitutions in accordance with the most modern and advanced maxims of popular rights. So far are they from any disposition to usurp authority or to impose unjust or unnecessary restraints upon the political action of the people, that they are charged with the opposite fault of carrying liberty to the extreme of ungoverned license. Of all the American States, these are the least likely to interfere with the great principles of civil liberty, or to impose an unacceptable government on the people by force. All the violence, so far as any has been shown, is wholly on the other side. Leaving entirely out of view the exceptional irregularities arising from a state of civil war, and it must be acknowledged that the social and political system of the Southern States is one which rests on arbitrary force as its corner stone. It is this arbitrary and tyrannical spirit embodied in Southern institutions which has seized on the pretext of secession in order to destroy the Government of the Union. The efforts of the loyal States and of the Federal authority in the present war are antagonistic to this spirit. Their purpose is to break down and destroy this system of arbitrary power, which has set itself up against the Union; and in its stead to bring into play the great principle of popular assent to the fundamental principles and conditions of government. Annihilate the despotism which controls in the pretended confederacy, give the masses of the people absolute freedom of choice under the conditions necessary for deliberate and intelligent decision, and they will certainly pronounce for the restoration of the old Union, under which they have enjoyed such boundless prosperity. No friend of the Union entertains any serious thought of disregarding or destroying the great principle that governments are only rightly founded on the consent of the governed. But it is not every temporary aberration of thought, nor every outbreak of revolutionary violence, which may properly be allowed to avail in changing the forms of an established government. Some respect is due to obligations once assumed and long recognized as the basis of a permanent political organization; and when the minority in that organization have taken up arms against it, the majority, in possession of the lawful power of the nation, are bound to vindicate its constitutional authority. If the Union cannot be maintained by force, it ought not to be destroyed by force. The instinct of self-preservation, which is but the impulse of a solemn duty, would necessarily and rightfully lead it to suppress the lawless force that assailed it. If this assault is wholly wrong and unjustifiable, if it is in reality as injurious to the seceding States themselves as to those which remain in the Union, then it is certain that, with the suppression of the violence prevailing in the disaffected region, the spirit of disunion itself will disappear. The Federal Government cannot escape the necessity of performing this duty, of suppressing and destroying the lawless power which assails it, and permitting the Southern people to return to the Union. At the present moment, in the midst of a sanguinary conflict, they are blinded with passion and overflowing with enmity. But set them free from the power which now deceives and abuses them, which arrays them against their own best interests, and makes them the helpless victims of a wicked war, and they will, at no distant period, gladly pronounce for the unity of the great nation with which Providence has cast their lot. Innumerable indications of this disposition among the masses of the Southern people are visible in the events of every day; and these will multiply in proportion to the success of our arms and the decline of power in the rebellion. If we are mistaken in this view, then our argument falls to the ground. If, upon a full consideration of all the circumstances and with perfect freedom to act according to their understanding of their best interests, the people of the Southern States should deliberately determine upon a permanent separation, our noblest hopes would be sadly disappointed. But this is utterly impossible. In moments of frenzy, men may perpetrate deeds of desperation. Among the masses of all communities, some are found who, under various impulses, will commit suicide. But the conduct of the great majority everywhere is controlled by the dictates of reason and self-interest. Whatever folly, even to the extremity of self-destruction, a few madmen in the Southern States may counsel, it may confidently be expected that rational thoughts will prevail among the masses. The paths of duty and of interest are for them the same; and, upon the whole, are too broad and plain to be mistaken. Their self-constituted leaders have already overwhelmed them with calamities. The emancipated people will scarcely heed the advice of these, when their plausible schemes shall have been all baffled, and their usurped power utterly overthrown.
It is, therefore, very far from the thoughts of loyal men, in upholding the Federal Government, to establish the principle of force as the bond of the American Union. They repel the lawless force which now assails it; and even while they do so, they invite the misguided people of the rebellious region to return again to their allegiance and to take shelter under the political system which is their only security for permanent peace and prosperity. The result of the contest in the restoration of the Union, so far from establishing force as the basis of political authority, on the contrary, will certainly destroy it, and give a far wider scope to the voluntary principle of consent, which is the only solid foundation of freedom. In the normal condition of the larger number of the loyal States, that is to say, in times of peace, liberty prevails in its broadest and most universal sense. Force nowhere holds a place in society, except for the protection of individual rights and of public order. Every man is permitted to pursue happiness in his own way, and to enjoy perfect freedom of thought, of speech, and of action, except when his published words or his overt acts are calculated to interfere with the acknowledged rights or interests of others. This is, theoretically, the consummation of the greatest possible human liberty. It provides only for order and justice, and leaves everything else to the control of individual will and social coöperation. In the present war for the Union, the loyal States are by no means contending for the abrogation of this principle of liberty, but for its extension. They desire neither to abolish it with reference to the Union, when exercised through the forms provided in the Constitution, nor to prevent its operations within the limits of the Southern States themselves.
It is not possible that the great civil conflict now pending could take place without causing, in the end, an important extension of liberal principles. These, when they once acquire a firm hold upon any society possessed of the requisite intelligence, are altogether too strong for the antagonistic principle of force, because the latter can be nothing but an authority usurped by the few and exerted against the many; while the former is the accumulation of the whole power of society wielded for the benefit of all. Obviously, this affords the only basis broad enough to sustain a social structure of any stability and permanence.
Under the operation of this voluntary principle--the principle of voluntary consent and of universal freedom--the conflicting elements of Southern society will be compelled to adjust themselves to each other more wisely, and therefore more safely and profitably, than under the arbitrary system which has hitherto prevailed.
Some of the wealthiest men and the largest slaveholders have already discerned the necessities of their condition, and are fully prepared to accept the new order of things, and to make their arrangements for future operations accordingly. Under the law of liberty, the races, in their new relations, will soon find their appropriate positions in the social organization, subject chiefly to the natural influences of intelligence, morality, industry, and property, but not without the inevitable pressure and disturbance of traditional prejudice to hinder and embarrass the operation of the principle of freedom. It is impossible to prevent this, so long as human nature retains its present tendency to selfishness and violence. The only alternative is to await the soothing operation of time, which gradually softens the asperities of prejudice, and may be expected ultimately to bring the noblest harmony out of the present confusion and disorder.
Many good and humane men apprehend the most serious evils from the sudden change of relations, now certain to be effected, between the two races in the South. It will be a rude and violent shock to the interests and feelings of the whites, and will undoubtedly produce that inconvenience which always results from great social transformations. But the anticipation is doubtless worse than the reality will prove to be. There is a plastic capacity in human nature which enables it readily to adjust itself in new situations when overruling necessity compels submission. It remains to be seen what will be the results, immediate and remote, of freedom in a society composed of so nearly equal proportions of the two races. Whatever may be the mere temporary difficulties at the outset, we do not doubt that, in the long run, freedom will produce the best results to both. Nature is unerring in the wisdom of her general purposes and in the selection of the means by which she fulfils them, when left free to pursue her own laws. Whatever oscillations may take place, the mean result is always good. The experience of a single generation will dissipate all the delusions which now blind and enrage the Southern people.
With the disappearance of the principle of arbitrary power now embodied in Southern society, the last motive for a dissolution of the American Union will have vanished forever. Should that principle only decline to a subordinate authority, with the certainty of gradual extinction, the interests of freedom will be in the ascendant, and their influence secure the restoration of the Federal authority. Here lies the whole problem: let despotism continue to prevail in the South, and the separation, with all its terrible consequences, must inevitably be accomplished; let freedom succeed, and from that moment, every hostile sentiment at once subsides, and the sundered sections, 'like kindred drops,' again 'mingle into one.' A free community will gravitate to the central orb of liberty; one that is repellent to freedom will fly off on its erratic course to the regions of outer darkness, and will never return until, having completed the cycle of its destiny of ruin, it shall be brought back to be regenerated at the fountain of light, and truth, and liberty.
WAS HE SUCCESSFUL?
_PART THE LAST._
'Do but grasp into the thick of human life! Every one _lives_ it--to not many is it _known_; and seize it where you will, it is interesting.'--GOETHE.
'SUCCESSFUL.--Terminating in accomplishing what is wished or intended.'--WEBSTER'S _Dictionary_.
More than twenty-five years have elapsed since the events narrated in the last chapter.
New York has become a great and magnificent metropolis. The avenues of the city extend for miles beyond the old landmarks. The adjacent farms have been converted into lots, and covered with handsome houses. The old buildings are torn down, and new and elegant ones erected in their place. The streets are thronged with a purely cosmopolitan class. You behold specimens of every nation under the heavens jostling the citizens on the sidewalk, or filling the omnibuses which choke the way. And from the commingled sounds of the tramp of horses, the rolling of vehicles, and the tread of human beings, there arises through the day and far into the night a perpetual but muffled roar from this great thoroughfare.
* * * * *
It is a lovely October afternoon--one of those mellow days for which this latitude is so remarkable--possessing the softness and genial temperature of summer, without its scorching heat.
The world of fashion has returned from the Spas, the mountains, the seaside. Elegant equipages pass up and down, or stop before the favorite resorts for shopping. The streets and sidewalks are literally crowded, as if it were some grand gala-time.
It is nearly four o'clock. Walking slowly up Broadway is a person probably about fifty-five, of medium height, inclining to be stout, who carries his hands behind him as he proceeds thoughtfully along. His dress is particularly neat. His hat, while it conceals an excessive baldness, permits the escape of a quantity of light hair, quite unmixed with gray, which fringes the back of the head. At a distance, his complexion looks soft and fair; but, on closer observation, it has the appearance of smooth leather. Occasionally he raises his face to regard a building, as if he had a special interest in so doing; then one may see a light-blue eye, clear and icy as a fine December day, having an expression like a flint.
He walks on. Two young men are just passing him. One says to his companion:
'Do you know who that is?'
'That old fellow right by your side.'
'No. Who is it?'
'That's Hiram Meeker.'
'You don't say so!'
He pauses, and lets the individual alluded to pass, that he may take a good look at him.
'I would like to have some of his cash, anyhow. What do you suppose he is worth?'
'Oh, there is no telling; he is variously estimated at from five to ten millions, but nobody knows. Started without a penny, as clerk in a ship-chandler's store.'
Yes, reader, that _is_ Hiram. [We shall continue our familiarity, and call him, when we see fit, by his first name.] That is our old acquaintance Hiram Meeker, who commenced at Hampton, with Benjamin Jessup--Hiram Meeker of Burnsville, now the great Hiram Meeker of New York.
We have devoted a large part of this volume to Hiram's early career, going into the minutiæ of his education, his religious training, and his business life. This was not without design. For the reader, once in possession of these circumstances, had no need to be informed in detail of the achievements of those years in which Hiram worked vigorously on through successive stages in his career, while his heart grew hard as the nether millstone.
As you see him now, pursuing his way along the street, he has really but one single absorbing idea--ACQUISITION. True, he clings to his belief in the importance of church membership. He has long been the leading vestryman at St. Jude's. He is the friend and adviser of the Bishop.
Famous is Hiram Meeker the millionaire!
Famous is Hiram Meeker the Churchman!
Still, I repeat, he has but one thought--one all-absorbing, all-engrossing passion.
You have not forgotten, I am sure, the early calculating policy of Hiram, and to what degree he had carried it when we took leave of him. Imagine this developed and intensified day by day, month by month, and year by year, over more than a quarter of a century.
Since we first made his acquaintance, he has kept on rigidly. In all his intercourse with his fellow beings--man to man--with high and low--with the sex--with his nearest relations,--he has never, no, _never_ looked to anything except what he considered his personal advantage. He is a member of the Church; he performs certain rites and formulæ of our holy religion; he subscribes to charities: but it is to secure to himself personally the benefit of heaven and whatever advantages may be connected with it. So that, where he has acted wisely and well, the action has been robbed of all merit, because there was no wise or right intent, but simply a politic end in view.
Look at him, as he pushes along in the crowd! Notwithstanding his millions, he is there a mere atom out of this world's creation. He has not a sympathy beyond himself--not a hope which does not centre in self--no connecting link with anything outside or beyond--no thought, no emotion, no sense, no feeling, which are not produced by a desire to advance the interests of "_H. Meeker_," here and hereafter.
* * * * *
We will go on in advance of Hiram, and enter his house before him.
It is one of the best in the city. Not showy, but large, ample, and well constructed; indicating the abode of a solid man. It is situated in one of the finest streets far 'up town.'
Before the door are two equipages. One is Mrs. Meeker's carriage, very handsome and in exquisite taste. The other is a stylish single-seat phaeton, with two horses tandem, and a rather flashy-looking servant in gay livery.
Let us go into the house.
Mrs. Meeker is just preparing for a short shopping excursion before dinner. At the distance from which we regard her, Time seems to have dealt very kindly with her. The figure is quite the same, the style the same, the face the same, and you see no gray hairs. In short, you behold our old friend Arabella, slightly exaggerated, perhaps--but it is she.
She leaves her room, and prepares to descend.
As she passes to the top of the staircase, a faint voice exclaims:
Mrs. Meeker stops with an expression of impatience, turns, and enters the adjoining apartment.
On a sort of couch or ottoman reclines a young lady, who, you can perceive at a glance, is a victim of consumption.
It is their oldest child, who for five years has been an invalid, and whose strength of late has been fast declining. One can hardly say how she would have looked in health, for disease is a fearful ravager. Still, Harriet (she is named for Mr. Meeker's mother) probably resembled her own mother more than any one else in personal appearance, but beyond that there was no resemblance whatever. Neither was she like her father, but more like her grandfather Meeker, of whom her uncle says she always reminds him. She possesses a kind and happy nature; and since she was stricken by the terrible malady, she has grown day by day more gentle and more heavenly, as her frame has been gradually weakened under its insidious inroads.
When Mrs. Meeker came in, she demanded, in an irritated tone, 'What do you want, Harriet?'
'I wish very much, mamma, you would send and ask Uncle Frank if he will not come and see me to-day.'
'I think it very improper, Harriet, for you to be sending for your uncle when you are under Dr. Alsop's charge.'
'But, mamma, Uncle Frank does not prescribe for me. I do not send for him as my physician.'
'It looks very odd, though,' continued Mrs. Meeker, with increased irritation. 'I am sure Dr. Alsop would not like it if he knew it.'
'Dr. Alsop met Uncle Frank here one day, and they appeared to be excellent friends. I am sure there can be no misunderstanding on his part, and papa says he is quite willing.'
'Do as you like, child,' replied Mrs. Meeker. Then turning to the nurse she said, 'You may ring, and send Thomas with a message from Miss Meeker, if she desires.'
'Thank you, dear mamma. If you will come to me, I will give you a kiss.'
The door closed before the sentence was finished, and Mrs. Meeker descends the staircase, passes through the hall, and steps into the open air.
Alas, what is revealed to you! Marks, grim and ghastly marks of those years of wear and tear, which the sunlight, that remorseless trier of woman's looks, makes quite apparent. What evidence of irritability, of discontent, and general disappointment and disgust with everything and all things, is revealed in those deep-cut lines and angles which in the light of day become painfully visible under the delicate layers of Baume d'Osman, rouge, and pearl powder!
Mrs. Meeker adjusts her veil so as to hang gracefully down to the tip of her nose, and enters her carriage.
I had nearly forgotten to point out a very genteel-looking young man in black, who wears a distressingly long frock coat and a white neckcloth, who escorts Mrs. Meeker to her carriage, and enters it after her.
Arabella has not lost her _penchant_ for young clergymen, nor young clergymen for her.
Leaving Mrs. Meeker to her excursion, we go into the parlors.
On one of the sofas is a young fair girl, no more than eighteen years old. Her complexion, eyes, and general cast of features, exhibit a striking likeness to her father. She is of medium height, and her form is fine and well rounded. Add to these the adornments and appliances of dress, and you have before you a very beautiful young woman.
Seated on the same sofa, and in very close proximity, is a person whose _status_ it will be difficult to decide from mere inspection. He is a tall, large, coarse-featured, but well-proportioned man, with black hair, inclining to curl, dark complexion, and very black eyes. His age is possibly thirty. He is showily dressed, with a vast expanse of cravat and waistcoat. Across the latter stretches a very heavy gold chain, to which is attached a quantity of seals and other trinkets known as charms. A massive ring, with coat of arms and crest carved on it, encircles the little finger of the right hand. Every point of the dress and toilet is in keeping with what I have already described. The hair dresser has been devoted. There has been no stint of oil and pomade in the arrangement of whiskers and mustache. In short, judging the individual by a certain standard, which passes current with a good many people, you would pronounce him remarkably well 'got up.'
Looking at the fine and delicate-featured girl, in whose surroundings you behold evidences of so much taste and refinement, you could scarcely be made to believe that the gross organization by her side is to her liking. Yet I assure you she is in love with the handsome animal--'madly in love' with him, as she herself avows!
This girl is the youngest of Hiram's three children. She is named for her mother, but is called by all her acquaintance, Belle. And she is _belle_ every way--except in temper and disposition. Resembling her father so closely, she inherits her mother's jealous irritability and tyrannical nature. She is beautiful only to look on. She is a spoiled child besides.
I cannot avow that Hiram has any genuine parental affection. He is so entirely absorbed in gathering in his harvests from the golden fields at his command, that I think in God's providence this is denied to him.
[Else he would exhibit some tenderness and love for the poor, sinking child who is lying in her chamber, with no companion but her nurse.]
But there is that about the youngest which commends itself (I know no other way to express it) to his senses. She is fair and young, and graceful and a beauty, and she resembles him; and he loves to look at her and have her near him when he is at home, and to pet her, after a sort.
Hiram is too much occupied, however, to attend at all to the well-being of his children, and his wife 'has no taste for anything of the kind.' So, as I said, Belle grows up a spoiled child. She has never been subject to control, and has not the slightest idea of self-restraint.
This is her second season in society. She is universally admired--indeed, is quite 'the rage.' 'All the young men are dying for her'--I quote from the observations about town; but few have the hardihood to pay serious court to the daughter of Hiram Meeker.
Yet you perceive one man has ventured--successfully ventured.
Who is he? I do not wonder you inquire with some degree of curiosity. I shall proceed to gratify it.
The large, dark, coarse-visaged, foreign-looking fellow, who 'lives but to adore the angel of beauty and perfection' at his side, and with whom the 'angel' is so blindly infatuated, is Signor Filippo Barbonne, a second-rate performer of the last season's opera _troupe_!
It is a fact, reader, so it will be vain for me to deny it.
What, meantime, can I say by way of explanation? I hardly know. This Signor Filippo, who is an impudent, audacious scamp, made the acquaintance of Belle two years ago, when she was a schoolgirl. She was amused at seeing him follow her persistently, and at last she permitted him to accost her.
The cunning fellow conducted himself with the utmost deference, not to say humility. He pretended not to have the slightest knowledge who she was. He had been seized and subdued by her charms, her loveliness; and it was quite sufficient happiness for him to be permitted to watch for her and to tread in her steps day by day. He only wished to speak and tell her so, lest she might suppose him disrespectful.
The ice once broken, arrangements for accidental meetings followed.
Signer Filippo did not disclose himself, except to say his position was so far below hers, that he had but one hope, one aspiration, which was, that she would permit him to be her willing slave forever. He asked and expected nothing beyond the privilege of worshipping her.
But how happens it that Belle Meeker is desperately in love with the Signor?
I will endeavor to explain.
Possessing not one spark of sentiment or native refinement, accustomed to no restraint on her temper or will, she presents an example of a strong sensuous nature, uncontrolled by any fine moral instincts or perceptions.
This is why in person and appearance Signor Filippo is quite to her taste. The wily adventurer had made no mistake when he judged of the girl's nature. Understanding her arbitrary disposition, and her impatience of any restraint whatever, he adroitly maintained his air of extreme deference and respect, which was increased a thousand-fold on his discovering, as he pretended one day to do, who the object of his adoration was.
What an agony he was in, lest now he should not be permitted even to look on her! Though assured on this point, he became reserved and shy, giving vent to his impassioned feelings by sighs and various mute but eloquent expressions.
Miss Belle began to be very impatient. These sentimental meetings had lasted more than a year. Meantime, she was 'brought out.' This made it difficult for her to keep up her stolen interviews, but she could now ask the Signor to the house.
To effect this, however, she must first bring over her mother. She informed her that the gentleman was a Neapolitan Count, who from political motives was forced to remain _perdu_ for a time, and so forth, and so forth, and so forth. By dint of entreaty and argument, and exhibition of much temper, Belle persuaded her mother to say nothing to her father about the visits of this Count in disguise. The truth is, Mrs. Meeker had sometimes to request Belle's silence about little matters involving some expenditures which Mr. Meeker might consider extravagant. So, with occasional protests on her part, the Signor was permitted to make his visits.
Belle was too shrewd to attempt to impose on her father in such a case. She knew she could not succeed for a minute. So the intimacy is continued without his knowledge.
Long before this, she has been told by the Signor who he really is. He admits his late position in the _troupe_, but has a long story to recount of adverse fortune, and so on. His respectful manner still continues; it is the young lady who woos.
What is to be done? This state of things cannot last forever. Belle is more and more impatient. Her adorer still respectful and sad.
After this long but necessary digression, I return to our place in the front parlor, where the lovers are seated.
'I must leave you, oh, my angel--I must leave you! It is nearly time for your father to be here.'
'I do not care if it is. I want you to stay.'
'As you will, but--'
'If you really loved me, you would not be so indifferent,' exclaims the young lady, passionately.
Then follows a scene. The result is, that Belle vows she will endure the suspense no longer. She will not ask her father's permission--she will marry him--yes, she _will_ marry the Signor; and who dare prevent, who dare thwart her wishes!
The Signor takes impressive leave. His little plot approaches a _dénouement_. He walks with an 'air noble' down the steps, and, mounting his phaeton, he takes the ribbons from the servant in gay livery, and the tandem team, after some well-trained prancing, dash forward.
Miss Belle is at the window, a delighted witness of the spectacle.
[The Signor has got up this fine turn-out, through aid of a friend who is in the plot, especially to captivate her.]
'What a singular man!' she exclaims to herself. 'How heroic he seems, controlling those wild creatures! Strange he should always be so diffident when in my society. There shall be an end of this; I cannot endure it!'
Presently she sees her father mount the steps, and runs to meet him, a little doubtful whether or not he beheld her lover start from before the door.
The greeting is most affectionate; Belle throws her arms caressingly around her father's neck.
'Who is our new visitor, Belle, who indulges in a tandem?' said Hiram, turning his penetrating eyes on his daughter, but with no suspicious glance.
'New visitor! What do you mean, papa?'
'I thought I saw a phaeton drive from here.'
'Oh, that was at Mrs. Longworth's. Such a handsome man, though, papa! I was at the window when he got in.'
Hiram patted his daughter's cheek playfully, and passed in. Keen and discerning as he was, his _child_ could deceive him.
'Where is your mamma?' he asked.
'Out for a drive.'
'Is Gus at home?'
'No, papa; I have not seen him to-day.'
'Give orders to have dinner served punctually. I must go out immediately after.'
I have spoken of Hiram's three children.
The individual referred to in the last chapter as 'Gus' is the oldest, and the only son. He is, at this period, about twenty-three years of age.
His father undertook to bring him up in a very strict manner. He could, however, give none of his time to the important business of starting his son in the right path, and aiding him to continue in it. It was enough for Hiram that _he_ was secure. He contented himself with laying down severe courses, and holding his boy to the strictest fulfilment of 'duty.'
The result can readily be imagined. The young man, as he grew up and understood fully his father's position, came to the conclusion that it was quite unnecessary for him to practise the strict habits which had been so despotically inculcated. So he gave loose rein to his fancies, and while yet in college was one of the wildest in the class. By his mother's interposition, he was sent abroad. He came back all the worse for the year's sojourn, and, young as he was, soon got to be a regular 'man about town.' He lived at home--ostensibly; but he was seldom to be seen in the house. He had come to entertain very little respect for his father; for he had a sort of native insight into his character. He constantly complains of his miserly treatment, though Hiram makes his son a respectable allowance--more, I think, to be rid of the annoyance of his repeated and incessant applications, than for any other reason.
'Gus' was a favorite with his mother (I forgot to say she had named him Augustus Myrtle Meeker, with her husband's full consent), and heavy were the drafts he made on her purse. This was a point of constant discussion between Mr. and Mrs. Meeker. It was of no use. The lady continued to indulge her only son, and her husband to protest against it.
Of late, Gus had been in possession of pretty large sums of money, which he certainly had not obtained either from his father or mother. And it was something connected with this circumstance which takes Hiram out immediately after dinner.
I think it is in place here to say something of Hiram Meeker's domestic life.
Taking 'Arabella' for just what the reader knows her to be, it is probable he has made her a better husband than ninety-nine men of a hundred would have made. True, he is master, in every respect. But this is just what Arabella requires. She would have been the death of any ordinary man in a short time. There is not the slightest danger of her injuring Hiram's prospects of a long life, or of causing him an hour's uneasiness. To be sure, he is despotic, but he is neither irritable nor unamiable. Besides, he has a great desire for social position (it aids in carrying out his plans), in which his wife is of real service. Hiram, although close and careful in all matters, is not what would be called penurious. In other words, he makes liberal provision for his household, while he rules it with rigor; besides, in petty things he has not proved a tyrant.
On the whole, we repeat our conviction that Arabella has been fortunate in her husband. To be sure, she is fretful, discontented, peevish, irritable, cross; but that is her normal condition. At times Hiram has treated her with severity, but never cruelty. He has borne quietly and with patience what would have set most husbands frantic; and has contented himself with remaining silent, when many would have been tempted to positive acts of violence.
Toward his sick child Hiram Meeker's conduct has been exemplary--that is the word. He considers the affliction a direct chastening of _him_ from the Lord; and 'whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth.' He spends some moments with his daughter daily, but he has no more sympathy for her situation than if his heart were made of leather. Yet the best care is provided, the best medical attendance, and everything done for the poor girl which is proper. Hiram even overrules his wife in many things where he thinks her severe toward the invalid, as in the instance of her wishing to see her Uncle Frank, who is our old acquaintance 'Doctor Frank,' as you no doubt understand--now one of the first medical men of New York.
Although there has never been the least cordiality between the brothers since the Doctor came to the city, still they have kept on visiting terms. The Doctor has taken a deep interest in his invalid niece, and she is never so happy as when he is talking with her. He has told her to send for him at any time when she feels disposed to do so, and he is a frequent visitor.
* * * * *
It was late before Mrs. Meeker returned. Something occurred to give her excursion a very unpleasant direction. She was engaged in turning over some new silks at Stewart's, while the young clerical gentleman stood admiringly by, when a man of very coarse appearance and vulgar aspect approached and placed a letter before her.
Mrs. Meeker was prepared to utter a faint shriek, but it occurred to her that it would not appear well where she was. The young clerical gentleman cast a look of disgust and indignation on the intruder, who did not stop to resent it, but turned quickly on his heel and left the place.
Mrs. Meeker, after waiting a moment to regain her composure, opened the note, and read as follows:
'DEAR MA: Come to me directly, and bring all the money you can. I am in a terrible fix! GUS.'
Mrs. Meeker pushed aside the rich purple silk she was examining, with so much suddenness, that the young clerical gentleman could not but notice it.
'My dear madam, are you ill?' he asked, with a show of devotion distressing to witness.
'No, oh no; but this moment I recollect I have a commission to execute for a friend, which I had quite forgotten. And, do you know, I am going to ask you to drive home, and tell Belle not to delay dinner for me.'
The young clerical gentleman bowed in acquiescence. For him to hear was to obey. But he felt curious to know what was the cause of so abrupt a termination of the afternoon's shopping.
'I hope there was nothing unpleasant in that letter?'
It was presuming a good deal to ask such a question, but the young clerical gentleman could not restrain his curiosity.
'That letter!' exclaimed Mrs. Meeker, now quite herself again--'no, indeed; it is only a word from Augustus. What a queer creature, to send it by such a horrid fright of a man!' And Mrs. Meeker laughed.
The young clerical gentleman was thrown completely off the scent. He bowed and hurried to the carriage, leaving Mrs. Meeker still at the counter.
She looked carelessly over the different patterns, and said, in a languid tone, 'I think I will not buy anything to-day,' to which the clerk obsequiously assented--he well knew whom he was serving--and Mrs. Meeker left the store.
Her carriage was out of sight; first she assured herself of that. Then she called a hack, and ordered it to be driven to a distant quarter of the city.
The carriage stopped at the number indicated in the note. Mrs. Meeker was met at the door by her son, who conducted her to a back room in the third story. It was dirty and in disorder. Bottles, wine glasses, and tumblers were scattered around, and the atmosphere was full of the fumes of whiskey and tobacco.
What a spot for the son of Hiram Meeker to select, in which to receive his mother's visit!
What a place for the fastidious Arabella to enter!
THE GREAT AMERICAN CRISIS.
We come, in this paper, to the consideration of the possible results which this war might have, viewed from the beginning; of the several modes, in other words, in which it might terminate. The most distant extremes of possible eventuality were the entire conquest of the North by the South, and the entire conquest of the Southern rebellion by the North, so as to secure the continuance of the old Union upon the old basis; or with such modifications as the changed condition of things at the South might require. The supposition of the conquest of the Northern States by the Southern Vandals has been already glanced at and sufficiently considered for so remote and improbable a contingency. The counter supposition of the entire success of the United States Government in the reassertion of its own authority over the whole of its original domain, divided, at the commencement of the war, into two branches.
It was the general theory at the North, at that time, that the _animus_ of rebellion was confined at the South to comparatively few minds, and that the war was to be a war, not against the South as a people, but against a tyrannical and usurping faction at the South, and for the defence of the people at large residing in that region. There was a modicum of truth in this theory, but events have shown, and any one who knew the South well might safely have predicted, that the whole people there would soon be subdued to the authority of those few. Such was the terror throughout the confederacy, and still is, where the facts have not been already changed by the war, at the mere imputation of sympathy with anti-slavery sentiment in any form, that a part, hardly one tenth even of the whole, in numerical strength, could successfully put the remaining nine tenths into Coventry, and bully them out of all expression of adverse opinion, by simply threatening to accuse them of abolition tendencies. No people on earth were ever so completely _cowed_ by the nightmare of unpopular opinion as the people of the South. Hence whatever was violently advocated under pretence of excessive devotion to, or ultra championship of the cause of slavery, was sure in the end to succeed. By this process, the Union party at the South has been gradually overawed and diminished for years past, and finally driven, since the outbreak of the rebellion, into a complete surrender to, and a full coöperation with the rebel chiefs. Whatever may seem to be the reaction in behalf of Union sentiment, as the triumphant armies of the North march to the Gulf, it will be long before the real opinion of the masses will declare itself in full as it exists. The fear of the renewal of the old terrorism, so soon as our armies shall be withdrawn, will effectually prevent the free expression of the favorable sentiment which has heretofore existed, and still exists, as a substratum of Southern opinion in favor of the Union, unless the Northern conquest is made unquestionably final.
In the event that the theory just stated should have proved true, that, aided by the presence of Northern troops, there should have been a loyal sentiment sufficiently powerful and extended to reassert itself, in the extreme South, and that, consequently, all the Southern States should have been again represented in Congress at an early day, and should again have taken their places as equal partners under the Constitution of our common country, it seemed just possible that the results of the war should be confined, in their immediate action, to what may be called its educational effects upon the Southern mind and its economical bearings upon the wealth and industry of the nation.
As the other branch of the alternative, the South might have to be conquered by the force of our arms, and might remain unanimously, or in vast preponderance, disloyal and rebellious in spirit. In that event, it would be requisite, if those States were to be retained at all as part of the Union, that they should be reconsigned to the Territorial condition, or otherwise governed still by the central authority.
In the former of these two latter suppositions: that of the reëstablishment of the old _status_, it was foreseen by some, as not impossible, that the final result might prove disastrous to the freedom of the North. With the advent of peace, the suspicions of the Northern people with regard to the designs and real character of Southern men would have been allayed. A certain appeal would even have been made, by the suggestions of their own generosity, to the hearts of Northern men to lay aside all hostile and adverse action as against the South, and to welcome them with open arms to all the rights and privileges of the common country. Meantime, a horde of unscrupulous machinators would have been installed in the seats of power at Washington, and would have recommenced operations, in the consciousness of the new strength acquired in the field from which they had just retired, with all the chicanery and craft with which heretofore they had blinded the North and secretly controlled the destinies of our Government. Southern men and Southern women would again have been feasted and feted at Northern hotels and watering places, and again have given tone to Northern opinion, while new and especial reasons would have seemed to exist for opposing countervailing influences, as unnecessary agitation, and causes of the retention of acrimonious feeling between the two sections, which had now resolved to live in amity with each other. In a word, all the sources of corruption of Northern sentiment, emanating from the South, would have been renewed in their operation, with some circumstances added, tending to give to them greater potency than ever before.
Undoubtedly, immense advantages were to be contemplated in the restoration of the United States to their primitive boundaries and united power. But it was not without deep apprehension of moral taint and ulterior evil consequences, that a wise patriot could look even then to any attempt of the old matrimonial partners to dwell again in a common household, upon the old terms, and with no real settlement of the dispute between them.
The latter of these suppositions, the remanding of a hostile and rebellious tier of States, who had long and proudly enjoyed the dignity of State sovereignty, to a subordinate condition, had also its proportion of difficulty and danger. To carry out a _programme_ of this kind would demand a great increase of the army and navy, and would give to the military spirit and power a preponderance in the councils of the nation which has always been deemed dangerous to the liberties of the country. A constant drain of expenditure of the resources of the nation; a continuous unrest and anxiety of the whole people; a succession of outbreaks and partial renewals of the civil war; the installation of a necessary system of proconsular or viceroyal commissions; the appointment of men who, whether as provost-marshals, dictators, or what not, would be in the stated exercise of authority unmeasured by the theories of republican policy--all these were serious and threatening considerations, which must give the thoughtful mind some pause ere it entered upon their adoption.
There were other remaining possible suppositions in respect to the termination of the war, of a middling character, or those lying between the two opposite extremes. In case, without any positive conquest or submission on either side, the general tenor of success throughout the war should be with the South, so that it finally behooved the North to secure the most favorable terms, but to submit, nevertheless, to great deductions from its confident expectations, a theory then not wholly impossible, we had to contemplate, as one evil of the war, a final disruption of the original territory of the United States into two nationalities, coincident, as to boundary, with the Free and the Slave States. Except in the way of absolute conquest, the South would be little inclined to insist upon the addition to itself of any territory absolutely free. We were not required, therefore, to make this supposition any less favorable to the North than the division just suggested; and unless, again, power had been acquired by the South to impose terms on the North little short of those which a conqueror imposes on a conquered people, the North, within its own limit of Free States, would be left in a condition boldly to announce and actively to defend its own legitimate policy in behalf of the extension of free institutions and their development to the supreme degree of beneficent truth.
But again, it might have been foreseen that in case the eagle of victory should perch on the banners of the North; in case our arms should be generally victorious after a few incipient disasters; in case our armies should move in power southward, meeting, nevertheless, a steady and resisting front on the part of the South, making the prospect of ultimate conquest remote or hopeless; in case, in a single word, the North should find herself in position to dictate terms short of absolute submission and return to the common fold, but substantially in accordance with her own wishes, the question of boundary and of the future policy of the new North would have become one of immense importance.
Had such considerations been forced on the attention of the country by the course of the war, it may not be uninteresting to speculate upon the nature of the possible boundary, which a drawn game in the contest--a possibility at least, viewed from that early point of observation--might have imposed upon the two future nationalities. We are considering the case still in which the preponderance of advantage should have remained with the North. It would have been, in that event, of the first importance that we should retain within the limits of the North all that portion of the South--by no means inconsiderable in extent--which has never been thoroughly debauched by Southern slaveholding opinion and theories of government; where the true American feeling is still extant; and where a good degree of loyalty to the Government of the United States has been hitherto exhibited. Such are especially Delaware, Maryland, Western Virginia, Kentucky, Western North Carolina, Eastern, and to some extent, Middle Tennessee, Northern Georgia, Northern Alabama, and Missouri. An important object would have been, had the power of the North proved inadequate to do more, to secure this territory within the boundary of the new North, and upon such terms as to give strength and new impetus to the freedom-loving sentiment there extant. A second object would have been the retention of Washington City, to be used, at least for the time being, as the capital of the country; avoiding the disgrace of being driven from that centre of national authority; and to secure it on terms in respect to territorial arrangement which should prevent it from being continually threatened from the South. To this end, it would have been necessary that the boundary be carried far enough south to include a portion of Northern and Northeastern Virginia, as thoroughly imbued at that day with slaveholding faith and practice, and as little loyal, perhaps, as any portion of the South--a region, however, which at this time has been so completely devastated by the operations of the war, that it would be readily liable to be resettled from the North, and made into an efficient military border.
If, retaining Fortress Monroe, we should then have run with the James River and the line of Richmond and Lynchburg, or if, ascending higher to the Chesapeake Bay and the Rappahannock, we were to run with the line of Fredericksburg, we should reach either the Blue Ridge or the Alleghany Mountains, as in the case of power on our part, we might have chosen. With these mountains, sweeping in a southwesterly direction into Northern Georgia and Alabama, runs the line of division between the 'true-blue' Southern slaveholding opinion and policy, on the south and east, and the semi-Free-State opinion and policy on the north and west. One or other of these mountain ranges, with their unfrequent and difficult passes, would have offered the best natural boundary between the two future nations, whose divergent national tendencies would not have ceased with the nominal termination of the war to be essentially hostile.
Following this line till we reach the Tennessee river, thence along the course of that stream, turning northwardly to the Ohio, or more properly, perhaps, to the southern line of Kentucky, we exclude the most pestilent portion of Tennessee, of which Memphis is the capital, and retain the middle and eastern parts, along with Eastern Kentucky and Western Virginia. Thence passing westward with the southern line of Missouri to the Indian Territory, thence southward with the western line of Arkansas to the Red river, thence westward along that river as the boundary between the Indian Territory and Texas, to the one hundredth degree of longitude west from Greenwich, and with that meridian south, to the Rio Grande and the Gulf--dividing the western from the eastern half of Texas--we circumscribe very fairly the exact region of country in which the slaveholding epidemic is violent and intense, and throw within the limits of the great Northern Republic all of the region in which freedom is already established, and all that in which, as above stated, there was still a surviving and half vital tendency in freedom's behalf.
In addition to a boundary so favorable to ourselves, and forced by our commanding position upon our unwilling adversary, we might have imposed upon her such other terms in relation to her foreign policy, custom-house regulations, and the like, as the extent of our power should have authorized. We might even have consigned the Southern States to a species of provisional and _quasi_ nationality, with the claim and expectation of their ultimate return within the pale of the Union, when, through the severe ordeal of military despotism or anarchy at home, or from other causes, they should have purged themselves of that institution, adverse to all our policy, which has been the sole cause of all our woes.
Still more important it would have been, under the theory of this essentially victorious position of the Northern people, that Northern opinion and the purposes of Americanism on this continent--the assertion and defence of freedom and of free institutions of all sorts--should have been distinctly, peremptorily, and finally impressed upon the character and future career of our own Northern nationality. While those portions of slaveholding territory which would still have remained within the Union, would have had, of course, to be treated with courtesy and consideration, if the institution of slavery were to have been permitted to survive, they should have been thoroughly made to know from the first, that slavery among us was no longer to be regarded as a perpetuity; that it was only tolerated provisionally; and that we, as a people, had no intention of permitting its renewed influence in the councils of the nation. Cut off as these States would then have been from the possibilities of carrying on an inter-State slave trade with the Southern confederacy, the institution of slavery would have lost much of its value and potency; and allied, as those States would have been, as a small minority, with a country whose territorial and institutional preponderance would have been wholly in favor of freedom, we might have anticipated that, if closely watched and incidentally aided in its decline, the institution in these adhering slaveholding States would have reached its term of existence at no very distant day; at any rate, that it would, from the first, have been neutralized for any serious bad effects which it might have otherwise impressed upon our healthy national life. It was even worth reflection at that time whether, if the whole adjustment of the future were placed at our own disposition, there would not be less danger incurred, and more promise of a prompt, healthy, and powerful development on this continent of those grand purposes of national existence which the true American people have always had in view and at heart, if this plan were to be adopted, than if, on the contrary, the whole South were either quiescently, by the subsidence of the rebellion, or forcibly, to be reinstated within the limits of the Union, the institution of slavery remaining intact.
Northeastern Virginia, Southern Maryland, and portions of Kentucky, Middle Tennessee, and Middle Missouri would still have furnished pestilent centres of intense slaveholding sentiment, and would have required, perhaps, as much exercise of vigilance in preventing their undue influence as our usually sleepy habits of inattention to such causes would have authorized us to count upon.
With the gradual decline of this remnant of slavery in the Northern Union, and with the thousand contingencies threatening its perpetuity in the Southern States, after the sustaining influence of the North in its behalf should have been finally withdrawn, the anticipation would not have been without high grounds of probability, that the institution, as a whole, would have hastened more or less rapidly to its final dissolution; and that, one by one, the States of the South, ridding themselves of the incubus of slavery and its comcomitants--oligarchic, mobocratic, and military despotism--would have sought, for their own protection and happiness, to reënter the original Union as Free States. Such an issue of the conflict might at the commencement of the war have been looked forward to as almost fortunate, and as perhaps that which Providence had in store for us as a people. That larger measure of success, the entire destruction of slavery throughout the land, now rapidly coming to be a foregone conclusion in most minds, was then hardly hoped for by the most sanguine, although, as will appear by what follows, that alternative was then anticipated by the writer.
Finally, in case the war should have proved a drawn game between the two sections, with no special advantage on either side, some middle ground of adjustment between the two last suppositions might have been sought out, and an irregular line, running anywhere between Mason and Dixon's line and the Ohio, on the one hand, and the Blue Ridge and the Tennessee river on the other, might have been forced upon us. In that event, a long-continued border warfare would have been to be anticipated, with innumerable complex difficulties from expenditure in the protection of the irregular and imperfect boundary, the collection of the revenues, and the like.
The reason why we have chosen, in these glances at the possible outcomings of the conflict, to go back to the state of the case as it was at the opening of the war, and to view the subject as it would present itself to the mind of a thoughtful man then, is, that this very paper was originally written at that day, and is now only recast to adapt it to the altered events from the actual progress of the war. The boundary line above sketched, as one which the nation might possibly find itself compelled to accept, was sketched, as it stands above, at that time, nearly two and a half years ago; and the reader will hardly fail to be struck with the remarkable coincidence between it and the present state of the military lines between the Northern and Southern armies; except in the fact of our actual possession of the Mississippi river to its mouth, cutting the Southern confederacy in twain. Had the defences below New Orleans proved impregnable, and Vicksburg more than a match for the strategy of General Grant, our present position would be almost identical with that contemplated by the writer at that early period of the war, as one of the alternative positions at which the struggle might at least temporarily terminate; and our present military line would be almost the same as that indicated as the halting point of the war, then to be nominally but not really brought to an end. The pages following, and until the reader is advised to the contrary, are literally extracted from the original article, and should be read therefore as relating to the past period in question. Quotation marks are added to aid this understanding of the subject. They indicate, in this exceptional way, not literally the words of another writer, but those of the same writer, upon a different occasion.
'We have reserved to the last the consideration of that possible outcoming of the war which is looked upon with most dread, both at the South and the North; from which both sections almost equally shrink as the possible issue; but which, nevertheless, may be forced on them by the logic of events, and that, too, at an earlier day than has been indicated by the expectations of either. While we write, the startling announcement is made from St. Louis that Major-General Fremont has been forced, by the threatening progress of the Southern armies, to declare martial law for the whole State of Missouri, coupled with the offer of freedom to the slaves. A military critic, writing from the Potomac and the lower counties of Maryland, is urging the application of the same policy to that region, as a means of defeating the contemplated passage of the river by the forces of the South. Whether the rumor so announced prove to be literally correct or not, it is hardly possible that the war can continue long, and grow desperate and earnest on any territory where slavery exists, without leading to this result. Tenderness and deference are sentiments which must soon give place to the stern struggle for life between hostile and desperate men. Already the South has not hesitated, in some instances, to muster her slaves into armed regiments, and in all cases to avail herself of their brawny arms as equally valuable assistants in the work of fortification, camp service, and all the other incidents of war. Still further, as a great body of laborers, undisturbed by the war, quietly conducting the general industry at home, and providing the means of sustaining immense armies in the field, the slaves are, in effect, an important auxiliary of the enemy's power. Already the Congress of the United States has passed a law for the confiscation of all property so used, so stringent in its terms that, without much strain of legal ingenuity, it might be made to cover the whole case. The threatened continuance of disaster to Northern arms may at any moment force upon our generals the military necessity of declaring emancipation within a given district or State, and finally, it may be incumbent on the Government to resort to the same policy in reference to the whole South. The contest is one of life and death for the greatest human interests ever brought face to face in hostile array. But a single step is wanting, and we may at any moment be forced over the boundary which hitherto has prevented it from being a conflict avowedly for the utter extinction of the institution of slavery on the North American continent, on the one hand, and for the triumphant establishment of the policy and power of that institution over the whole land on the other.
'In case such an event as that above alluded to should occur, a new disappointment will probably, to some extent, break upon the Northern mind. It will be found that the slaves of the South are not, as a body, so desirous of freedom, not so consciously intent upon the attainment of that boon, as ardent philanthropists at the North have supposed. The great masses of that population are too far depressed in the scale of humanity to avail themselves earnestly and at once, of even the most favorable means which should be placed at their disposal to secure their own emancipation from thraldom.
'To progress, even from slavery to freedom, is progression, nevertheless; and, as such, it is beset with all the hindrances and prejudices from ignorance and superstition which the advancement of the race meets always and at every step. Those among the slaves who fully appreciate the disadvantages of their position, and are earnestly intent upon the achievement of freedom, are a minority--the vigorous thinkers and reformers of the slave-population. The great masses are stupid and conservative, in the midst of the evil which they endure, until aroused by circumstances or the appeals of their more enterprising leaders. Even John Brown, knowing as much as he did of the South and of the negro character, miscalculated the readiness of the slaves of Virginia to fly to his standard, judging them by his knowledge of the readiness of Missouri slaves upon the Kansas border, who, through a few years of local agitation, had come to be on the alert and ready to move.
'In case, therefore, of the proclamation of emancipation in any slaveholding districts by our military chiefs, it will not be surprising if, for a time, the results of that step shall seem to be feeble, and shall be disproportionate to the expectations based upon it.
'The course of events will probably be this: The emancipation of slaves by the proclamation of Northern generals will be followed by a partial tendency on the part of the slave-population to flock to their camps in a way similar to what has already happened in the neighborhood of Fortress Monroe; and this, again, by mustering them into our service, arming and drilling them as part of the regular and effective force of our armies, after the example of General Jackson in the defence of New Orleans, and other Southern generals on various occasions in the South. A step like this will be met by a nearly or precisely similar expedient of desperate necessity by the military chieftains of the South. Either with or without the offer of emancipation, they will muster the blacks in great numbers into their army, arming, equipping, and drilling them as thoroughly as the same offices are performed for the white soldiers.
'Things may seem to stand much upon this footing, and no great advantage have been gained by the North through emancipation, until, in the event of some great battle, or successively through a series of local contests, the blacks in the Southern army will fraternize with those of the North, and go over in a body to their Northern allies, so soon as the course of events shall have informed them somewhat of the true state of the case, and have given them confidence in the earnest intention of the Northern troops to stand by them in the assertion of their freedom. A defection of this kind would carry dismay and insure defeat throughout the whole South, especially if it were vigorously followed up by the same policy and by adequate military skill on the part of the North; and the result of a war so inaugurated could hardly fail to be the rapid and complete disorganization of the whole system of Southern industry and the total revolution and final submission of the Southern States.
'No man can exactly foresee the consequences of so great a conflict, nor predict with any certainty the course of events through such an untried and tremendous pathway; but it is next to impossible to conceive that the Southern war-spirit could in any way long survive the disasters inevitably consequent upon the general prevalence of a claim to freedom by the slaves, upon any legal basis, suddenly diffused throughout the South. Should the alternative be forced upon the people of that region, of submission, or servile in addition to civil war, their troubles will thicken upon them to a degree calculated to calm their over-excited imaginations, and to subdue their vaulting ambition. Panic will come to their own doors with a new and all-pervading significance, such as the North hardly knows how to conceive. The North should abstain to the last moment from thrusting even enemies into calamity so dire. But, if the arrogance and madness of the South shall force on us, now or later, this terrific resort, the world _may_ witness, as the result of this war, the most tremendous retribution for national and organic sin which any people has ever yet been called on to endure. The Nemesis of History may, perhaps, impress the darkest record of her terrible sanctions on the page which records the termination of the great American Rebellion.
'In the event last supposed, that is to say, if the war shall end in the entire extinction of American slavery, the state in which the Southern country, with its diverse populations, will find itself placed; the future destiny of the cotton-growing region, of the South generally; of our whole country, and of the continent, under this immense change of our condition as a nation, are subjects of sufficient importance to demand, on some future occasion, a distinct consideration. Enough points have been crowded, in this article, upon the reflections of the reader. History must not be too audaciously anticipated. The phases of the great crisis, already developed and developing, are sufficiently grave and numerous for the present occasion. Let the future withdraw her own veil from our eyes, while we reverentially await the revelation of coming events.
'All the forbearance hitherto on the part of the North, may have had in it an element of wisdom. It is not the object of this paper to criticize or complain of the past conduct of the war, nor to urge on the Government to convert a war, begun for the resistance of a violent and fraudulent dismemberment of the Union, into a war against slavery or a crusade in behalf of human rights. There is no present purpose on the part of the writer to conduct the discussion--far less to attempt the decision--of so grave a question of national policy at this eventful and critical epoch in the affairs of our national life. No doubt the subject stands as yet complicated in the minds of statesmen with the possibilities of the early and frank submission of the South, and the consequent early reëstablishment substantially of the _status quo ante bellum_; with the dread of inflicting measureless calamity upon those who are at heart faithful to our cause in the South; and, most of all, with the interests and feelings of the population of the few slaveholding States remaining faithful to the Union. The object of the present article is simply to lay open the true state of the case; to reveal to the Northern mind in a clearer light, if possible, the causes emanating from the South, which have gone and which go still to the formation of Northern opinion adversely to the spirit of our own institutions, and begetting, unconsciously in ourselves, a secret treasonable sympathy at the bottom of our own hearts; a sympathy which is the parent of that otherwise unaccountable tenderness on our part in respect to the patent weakness of the enemy's defences. It is not that we counsel, for the present, a change in the tenor of the war, but that we wish, as the logic of circumstances shall force this question upon us, that we may come to the consideration of it, in the future, disabused of any preconceived prejudices in favor of that which is the vital source of all the trouble which exists, and fully armed by a complete understanding of the subject.'
So ended the original paper, the same, with a few changes of the tense-forms to adapt it to the present time, as the Part One, published in the last number of THE CONTINENTAL, and Part Two of this series up to this point. The document was written for publication at that time, more than two years ago, but no periodical was found then ready to indulge in such bold speculations on the future. What has now in great part become history, was deemed too audacious for the public ear then. Perhaps no better gauge of the progress of events and opinion could have happened. A magazine article, rejected so recently, as too radical or wild in its prognostications, now stands in danger of being thought tame, in the light of the changes already effected. Thrown into a drawer as refuse matter, it has been like the log of a ship thrown overboard, and remaining quiescent, while the winds, the waves, and the current have combined to surge the vessel onward in her course; and, _hauled in by the line_ at this hour, it may serve to chronicle the rate of our speed.
Events hurry forward in this age with tremendous velocity. Great as has been the progress of our arms, numerous as our warlike achievements and advantages, the real victories we have won are, in the truest method of judging, the victories of opinion which have occurred and are now occurring. Our greatest conquest, as a people, is, and is to be, the conquest over our own prejudices; our highest attainment the readiness to be just, and to act with the boldness and vigor which justice requires.
Taking things as they now are, let us again try to penetrate the future, or at least to sketch different alternatives of what may happen. Let us then try to catch the spirit of each alternative, and so be prepared to draw from the event such of good, and to guard against such of evil as each may involve.
As a first alternative, we may now speedily conquer the South. Insurrection may spring up in the South, against the insurrection there, and in aid of our arms. New vigor and new fortune may attend our own military operations; and our future military task may--somewhat contrary to our expectations, we confess--prove easy, and its conclusion close at hand. In that event, dangers of another kind, dangers already alluded to as existing at the commencement of the war, and hardly less to be apprehended now than then, hardly less, indeed, than the indefinite continuance of war, threaten the future of our political horizon. We may see in a few months' time the very men who are leading the armies and the councils of the Southern confederacy again cracking the whip of their sharp and arrogant logic about the ears of the men who had conquered them in the field of battle; claiming to dictate every political measure; forcing the mould of their thought upon every form of opinion, and, by astute political combinations, wielding the destiny of the nation in behalf of slavery and despotism, and against the principle of freedom. Do not imagine for an instant that any considerations of modesty or humiliation on the one hand, nor of haughtiness or pride on the other, would stand in the way of the immediate participation of those men in our affairs. Let there be no delusions either, with regard to the ability of the same leading class of men to keep themselves in the saddle at the South, through all political changes not involving the absolute destruction of slavery, and the complete and consolidated establishment of other institutions and habits of life among the people at large;--the virtual creation, in fact, of a new and different population, by the blending of our own Northern men and manners with the feeble indigenous freedom-loving growth. The return of this dominant class of cotton lords among the common masses of a Southern population anywhere, on any terms short of the utter extinction of their basis of wealth and distinction, will be the return of an armed overseer to a cowering mob of insubordinate slaves. The mere assertion of their authority will be its instant acceptance, and the most abject submission by the people. They will only have to demand reëlection to the National Congress, and to every place of power, to be reinstated in precisely their old position, their arrogance and self-assertion only augmented by their having met and survived every disaster short of the destruction of the source of their superiority.
Already schemes to restore the old State governments are rife, in respect to Louisiana, Mississippi, and other of the rebel States, now again brought within our military lines. Let this be done upon the old footing at an early day, for these States and for the others, which under the hypothesis now under consideration, will soon be subjugated; let the Emancipation Proclamation fall into desuetude; let the military authority of our army officers be withdrawn, and there is nothing in the character of the Southern slaveholding aristocracy, and no other power on earth, to prevent their flocking in crowds and at the very first general election back to Washington, reuniting their forces with the old body of profligate political hacks at the North, and flaunting with increased presumption and activity the pretensions of slavery to dictate the whole policy of the land. In that event, a strong party, more distinctively proslavery and Southern than ever before, will be organized; more openly and shamelessly than ever devoted to the destruction of the last remnant of American liberty. Of course there will be a new reaction against the new usurpation. The conflict will be renewed, beginning precisely where the first war began, with the only exception that the issue will be then more distinctly understood, the conflict more desperate, and the result more definitive.
It is of the utmost importance that the true nature of the case be understood: that this war is no accident of the hour, no merely political or national event even. It is a death struggle between two antagonist civilizations; if indeed one of them can be called a civilization, and not rather a conspiracy against the very idea of civilization. Again, the men involved in that conspiracy are not _hidalgos_, _ancien régime_, nor any of the proud aristocracies of the old world, who, when beaten, retire upon their dignity and hide their time. They are, on the contrary, an enterprising gang of desperadoes, who for the nonce may find it convenient to play the _rôle_ of high life and dignified pretension, but who, on the slightest change of circumstances, are ready for any shift, any seeming degradation or humiliation, any temporary lowering of their claims, in order to rise higher on the next wave. There is also enough of the savage and barbarous element of character remaining in the Southern bogus chivalry to make them, like the Chinaman or the Japanese, incapable of appreciating magnanimity. All conciliation or clemency will be construed into weakness; generosity and forbearance into poltroonery. These are sad truths; but being truths, the failure to know them in season may cost us another and a more desperate war, with more doubtful and dangerous results.
Let us once surrender, through national verdancy, sentimental commiseration, misunderstanding of the nature and purposes of our enemy, or any or all of these causes combined with others, the dear-bought advantages we have won, and disasters untold involve the future of the land. Terrible beyond description will be, in that event, the condition of the Union and emancipationist party now incipiently developing itself at the South;--abandoned and deserted by the withdrawal of the actual presence and protection of Northern arms. No barbarism on earth, no savagism extant, is so barbarous or so savage as the ruthless vengeance with which this hybrid civilization of the South is ready at any time to visit the crime of abolitionism; and seven times hotter than usual will the furnace of their wrath be heated against Southern men who under the ægis of Northern protection shall have exhibited some sympathy with freedom.
That a powerful Northern party will immediately arise in behalf of the simple readmission of the Southern States, upon precisely the old basis, when the war shall end by the suppression of the rebellion, is certain. The existence of such a party will rest, in part, upon a real sympathy with the South and the rebellion; partly upon interested political motives of a more ordinary and short-sighted character; and, in still greater part than either of these, upon the easy credence and insufficient information of the great mass of the Northern people; somewhat, indeed, upon a magnanimity highly creditable to their character as men, but unwise and dangerous in the extreme, in any exercise of it which should surrender a vital advantage.
It does not require even that the complete reconquest of the South should be awaited in order that the question of the return of subdued States into the Union upon the old terms should be sprung upon the nation, and perhaps decided, by a precedent, before the attention of the country can be thoroughly directed to the momentous nature of the step proposed. The _New York Herald_ has been hitherto a steady and consistent advocate of this policy, and a powerful agitator in its behalf. The following extract from its columns indicates the imminence of the issue, as well as the simple and seemingly reasonable political machinery by which the whole thing is to be effected:
'It appears from the correspondence to which we have referred that certain citizens of New Orleans, some of whose names are given elsewhere, have resolved to restore Louisiana to the Union, and that they intend to do this in the manner pointed out by Secretary Seward in his famous reply to the intervention despatch of M. Drouyn de Lhuys. That is to say, they intend to set the State Government in motion, elect members of the Legislature, and send loyal representatives to Congress. These gentlemen assert--and the _Tribune_ does not deny--that Mr. Seward and Mr. Bates indorse this idea, and that Mr. Etheridge, as Clerk of the House of Representatives, has consented to receive the loyal members from Louisiana, upon their own credentials, until the House is organized. They also say--and the _Tribune_ does not deny--that Mr. Etheridge has a perfect right to do this upon the precedent established by the Broad Seal controversy, some twenty years ago. Under these circumstances, the Union men propose to hold an election for five members of Congress--one from each district and one on the general ticket--and also for members of the State Senate and Assembly. 'They are anxious,' says the _Tribune_ correspondent, 'that Louisiana shall take the lead in this matter, and there is no doubt but Mississippi and the other States will, in due time, follow.' So far, the patriotic reader will search in vain for any objection to a plan which promises so much good for the Union, and will be at a loss to know upon what grounds the _Tribune_ can oppose it with any show of loyalty.'
It is no part of the object of this writing to discuss the legality or the constitutionality of any course of proceeding in the premises. What can be done and what cannot be done under the law, as it stands, is a question for lawyers and judges. How far, if at all, the exigency has annulled or modified the law; how far the axiom, _inter arma silent leges_ ('in war the laws are silent'), shall be stretched to cover the case, is a question for statesmen and military commanders. The writer of these strictures speaks from none of those points of view, but as a social philosopher, viewing the drifts of inevitable consequence from one or the other grand policy in respect to the national destiny--irrespective of the minor measures by which it may be executed. A course utterly suicidal, viewed from this higher platform of observation, may proceed with the most unimpeachable subserviency to all the forms of the law; or, contrariwise, a policy replete with the highest prosperity and happiness of the coming ages, may chance to have its foundations laid in some startling deviation from all considerations of precedent and routine.
In other words, what can be done or cannot be done under the law, or without violence to the law, is not now the question under consideration. What _must_ be done, whether under the law or above the law, to secure certain great ends of human progression, and to avoid positions of utter disaster to the life of the American people of the future, _is so_.
Whether the theory of Mr. Sumner, that the revolted States are, by the operation of the revolt, or should be by the action of the Government, remanded to the territorial condition, holds good; whether the theory of Mr. Owen, that the machinery of the State Governments at the South remains unaffected by the insurrection, but that the inhabitants, being traitors, are incapable of administering it, until they are purged of their treason by the action of the United States Government, is held to be the better opinion; or, whether, in fine, the easy and simple theory of the _Herald_ is the law of the subject--none of these points is _the_ point of the present investigation. We seek to fix attention on the consequences of the act of an early readmission of the revolted States, and, what would be the same thing, of the old and governing set of slaveholding politicians, from those States, into the administration of our national affairs, no matter what should be the method of its accomplishment. In that event, the war will not be ended, but smothered merely, and left smouldering. It will burst out again, and all that has been done hitherto will have to be done over again, or fail to be accomplished, and the consequences of failure endured.
Let no ordinary and superficial method of reasoning obfuscate the public mind on this subject. It is becoming popular to say and to think that slavery at the South is already a dead or a dying institution, by the operation of the war. This opinion has in it, undoubtedly, the value of a prophecy, provided the war be continued to its legitimate termination; provided all the measures against slavery hitherto adopted are firmly maintained; provided the incipient anti-slavery sentiment now being developed in the South, be wisely fostered and protected by the strong arm long enough, or until new institutions and new methods of thinking and acting have time to consolidate. But, whoever supposes that slavery is as yet even essentially weakened, provided, for any reason, our forces and the influence of Northern sentiment were suddenly withdrawn from the South, and the ocean waves of the old despotism were for a moment even permitted to surge back over those portions of the territory which have been partially redeemed, has no adequate idea of the tremendous vitality of that institution.
A mistake on this subject, of the safe early return of the revolted States, will be one of those political blunders worse than a crime; and yet it is precisely this mistake which the American people are at this hour most likely to commit. A latent love of Southern institutions _per se_; the hope of personal political advantage, among politicians, by an alliance with Southern leaders, on the part of others who care nothing for the South as such; a lingering tenderness, a forgiving magnanimity and generosity, among the people at large, which would in this case be wholly misplaced; and finally an easy faith in the extent and irrevocable nature of the successes already accomplished--all concur to lead on to the commission of this error.
Talk as we will of the purposes of this war, the hand of destiny is upon us. We must accept the _rôle_ of emancipators and champions of human freedom, or the only alternative will happen, the loss of our own liberties and the forfeiture of our national office as the leader of Progress combined with Order, on the planet. We have to deal with an implacable, a subtle, and a versatile enemy, wholly committed to the opposite cause; unscrupulous, inappreciative of magnanimity or concession of any kind; restrained by no considerations whatsoever short of the accomplishment of his absolute and tyrannical will. We have this enemy nearly prostrate under our feet, and we stand hesitating whether to avail ourselves of our advantage or to stultify ourselves at the tribunal of the world and of history, by allowing him to rise, to repossess himself of his arms, and to recommence the conflict upon terms of equal advantage.
A glance at the remaining alternative outcomings of the war must be reserved for another article.
THE ENGLISH PRESS.
[The article with this title is written by Mr. NICHOLAS ROWE, of London. Mr. ROWE is a lineal descendant of the celebrated NICHOLAS ROWE, the author of the tragedy of _Jane Shore_ and other well-known poems. The author, like his famous ancestor, is a man of talents and a friend of freedom. His account of the old English Press is one of the most perfect ever given. He intends to bring the subject down to the present period, and will become a regular contributor to our Magazine.--ED. CONTINENTAL.]
It is impossible to overestimate the influence of the English press. It has raised itself to such a pitch of importance that it has been not inaptly termed the fourth estate of the realm. But the power which it wields is so enormous and so widespread that it would be nearer the truth to concede to it the dignity of the first estate. All classes see so clearly their interest in supporting it, that the press has become, in effect, a general arbitrator, a court of last appeal, to which kings, lords, and commons in turn address themselves for support whenever the overwhelming force of public opinion is to be conciliated or enlisted. It is in morals what a multitude is in physics, and it may, without exaggeration, be said that for all purposes of progress and of good the press of England has in reality become something more than a single estate of the realm, since it combines in itself, and exceeds the authority of all. But while raised to this lofty pinnacle of greatness, it does not, it dares not, it cannot from its very constitution permanently abuse its power; and though isolated attempts have been, from time to time, made in this direction, yet they have in the end, as was to be expected, reaped nothing but disaster and disgrace. 'Great is journalism,' says Carlyle. 'Is not every able editor a ruler of the world, being a persuader of it?' Yes, truly a ruler of the world, whose supremacy all other rulers must unhesitatingly acknowledge or perish miserably and forever. Yes, truly a persuader of the world, because he is the mouthpiece of the people, whose earnest, mighty voice is making itself heard more and more irresistibly every day, to the utter discomfiture and overthrow of the hydra-headed avatars of the priestcraft and kingcraft and all the other mouldy and rank-smelling relics of the dark ages. The press is the arch apostle of civilization, progress, and truth--the Greatheart, whose mission it is to combat and destroy the giants Pope and Pagan, Maul and Despair, and all other misleaders and oppressors of men. Language itself might be exhausted before all that could be said in favor of the uses, benefits, and value of the press had found fitting expression. The greatest and best of men have expatiated upon this noble theme, but probably the truest and most eloquent panegyric ever bestowed upon it is that of Sheridan:
'Give me but the liberty of the press, and I will give to the minister a venal House of Peers--I will give him a corrupt and servile House of Commons--I will give him the full sway of the patronage of office--I will give him the whole host of ministerial influence--I will give him all the power that place can confer upon him to purchase up submission and overawe resistance--and yet, armed with the liberty of the press, I will go forth to meet him undismayed--I will attack the mighty fabric he has reared with that mightier engine--I will shake down from its height corruption, and bury it amidst the ruins of the abuses it was meant to shelter.'
Had Sheridan never uttered or written anything besides these burning words, he would have merited immortal fame, and unquestionably obtained it.
The press is not a thing of yesterday, for it is the slow growth of two centuries; neither did it burst upon the world armed at all points, like the fabled Athene. Yet in other respects the comparison holds good, for the press, like Athene, unites in itself the attributes of power and wisdom combined; it fosters and protects science, industry, and art; it is the patron of all useful inventions; it is the preserver of the state, and everything that gives strength and prosperity to the state; it is the champion of law, justice, and order, and extends its protecting ægis over the weak, the downtrodden, and the oppressed. It has taken two centuries, as we have already said, to make the press what it is; and a terrible uphill fight has it had to wage. Tyranny, dogmatism, and intolerance in high places, and ignorance and superstition in low, have ever been its sworn enemies. It has had its saints and martyrs, more worthy of canonization in men's hearts than many written high in the calendar of Rome. But though persecuted, crushed, and at times apparently done to death, its vitality was indestructible, and after every knock-down blow it rose again from the earth, like Antæus, with renewed strength. It was always a vigorous stripling, and even so far back as the days of David Hume its future greatness and magnificent destiny was clearly marked out, so that he wrote: 'Its liberties and the liberties of the people must stand or fall together.' Liberty and the press in England are convertible terms, and this is the true reason of the success and power it enjoys. It is also the cause of the persecutions it has had to undergo. Tyranny and the press are as necessarily opposed to each other as are the principles of good and evil. The word 'tyranny' is not here intended to refer only to the despotic rulers of states and kingdoms, but to include the oppression practiced by the strong upon the weak, the rich upon the poor, the great upon the small, whether nations or individuals. The press, moreover, is the guardian of social, political, and religious morality. The greatest as well as the most trifling affairs which conduce to the well-being and comfort of the multitude are eagerly canvassed. The faults and vices which disfigure and disgrace even the most advanced forms of civilization are unshrinkingly laid bare, and the proper remedies prescribed. The political conduct of nations and of public men is carefully scrutinized, and every false step that they may make is immediately noted, commented upon, and held up to public reprobation. Religious questions, although, ever since the world began, they have been approached in a very different spirit to those of any other description, and have been debated with greater heat and passion than the bitterest political disputes, and with a lamentable disregard of logic and common sense, are now-a-days treated with a candor and fairness that has never yet characterized them. The press is, in fact, the great physician of the mind, whose duty it is to impart a healthy tone to the inner nature of man, to check the ravages of disease in it, and, wherever it may imagine any traces of poison to lurk, to administer a prompt and immediate antidote. It may not always and at once prosper in its endeavors. Wrong-doing may still, in some cases, prove too strong, vices may have become inveterate, diseases chronic, and the poison may have been too completely absorbed. But not, therefore, is the press discouraged: like Robert Bruce's spider, it returns again and again to its task, and--success does and must crown it in the end.
But while faithfully performing these lofty duties, in the discharge of which it employs the trained minds and practised pens of the greatest literary talent of the time, the press has other functions, which, if not of such paramount importance, yet possess no small utility and value. By no means the least of these is that of merely furnishing the news of the day; and that this was the primary intention of the newspaper its very name proves. Comment, argument, and reasoning were after additions. There are thousands of persons at the present day even, who patronize a newspaper solely for its news, and who do not trouble their heads about any other portion of its contents. The births, marriages, and deaths are eagerly perused by many who expect to meet in that domestic chronicle with the names of their friends and acquaintances. The court news and the movements of royalty and the upper ten thousand have great charms for a large section of the community. Accidents and offences and sensation headings, such as 'horrible murder,' 'melancholy suicide,' 'terrific explosion,' 'fatal shipwreck,' 'awful railway collision,' and the like, have powerful attractions for that class which is--alas for human nature!--only too numerous, and which likes to sup full of horrors--in print. In the same category with these may be placed police news, and the proceedings in the divorce court, the full reports of which are a blemish from which not even the greatest of English journals are free. There have been found able and honest men to defend these reports on the ground of the 'interests of morality,' than which there is not a more abused phrase in print. But to the man of ordinary common sense it would appear that more harm than good results from them. Where can the viciously disposed man or the novice in crime apply with better prospects of instruction in the pursuit of his evil designs than to the columns of the newspaper? It is perhaps not too much to say that for every two persons whom these reports deter from crime, there are three who have been either initiated or hardened in wickedness and sin by their means. This is a matter which calls loudly for reform; and let it, with all sorrow and humility, be confessed, one in which the better American journals shine vastly superior to their English brethren. To the general reader for amusement's sake only, those scraps _de omnibus rebus et quibusdam aliis_ with which editors fill up odd corners supply ample gratification. But those who read for amusement's sake only, or from mere idle curiosity, are by no means the majority, and a tolerable insight may be obtained into a man's character and bias of mind by observing what is the part of the paper to which he first turns when he unfolds it. The man who is absorbed in business pursuits turns to the prices of stocks and shares, the values of articles of merchandise, and the rates of discount and exchange. He will also probably glance at the 'latest intelligence' and the most recent telegrams, but only with the view of forming an opinion as to how the world of commerce and speculation will be affected thereby. The politician finds matter to his taste in the leading articles, the Parliamentary debates and the letters of foreign correspondents, and, perhaps, after a careful perusal of them, flatters himself that he has at last mastered the intricacies of the Schleswig-Holstein question, or has arrived at an understanding of the Emperor Napoleon's policy in Rome. The scientific man and the literary man have their attention fixed by the reports of the meetings of the various learned societies, the accounts of new discoveries and inventions, and the reviews of new publications. This enumeration might be extended almost _ad infinitum_, but to sum up briefly, whatever a man's taste or predilections may be, he will be able to gratify them to his heart's content.
There is, however, one portion of the newspaper which must not be passed over without especial notice, and which is so varied in its contents that it appeals to all classes. This is the advertisements. The man who wishes to buy may here ascertain whither he must bend his steps to obtain the article he desires, and the man who wishes to sell may here meet with a purchaser; and it is truly wonderful to observe how the two great requirements of demand and supply, in all their varied ramifications, are satisfied or seem to be satisfied in these columns. If one may put faith in them, it is possible to gratify every mortal wish and every mortal want through their instrumentality, on one condition, and that condition is--money. But even this condition may be satisfied through the same medium. Are there not untold fortunes invested in Government securities and unclaimed for years, only waiting for the lawful owners or rightful heirs to come forward and obtain them through the agency of those obliging gentlemen who make it their business to investigate such matters? Are there not also numbers of benevolent philanthropists eagerly longing for opportunities to lend money in large or small amounts, on personal security only, to such persons even as are not fortunate enough to be rightful owners or lawful heirs? The curious part of the affair, however, is that there are also so many people who want to borrow money upon the same terms. Do these two classes, we wonder, ever come together through the intervention of the advertisement, and does the result wished for on both sides follow, or does it not? If it does, why need both sets of advertisements appear at all? And if it does not, what is the use of repeating either of them day after day and week after week? The man of imagination must take especial delight in the advertising columns. What splendid feasts they afford him to banquet upon! Some of them, in a few pithy lines, contain the plot of a three-volume novel or the materials for a grand sensation melodrama. What tragedies and what comedies he may weave out of one or two mysterious and almost unintelligible sentences! What reveries he may indulge in, what castles in the air--the most harmless and inexpensive of building operations--he may construct, provided he start with the hypothesis, 'If I were to buy this,' or 'If I were to invest in that,' and all the time he has neither the intention nor the ability of purchasing the one or of investing in the other! How seductive are the notifications by auctioneers and land agents of the 'charming and valuable territorial estates, with the disposal of which they have had the honor of being intrusted'! The dweller in towns, who, chained to the one unceasing, unvarying round of official toil, still sighs for the country, and, like Virgil, envies the 'fortunati agricolæ,' may here give the reins to his fancy, and indulge his rural proclivities _ad libitum_. When the day's labors are over, and he sits in slippered ease 'by his own fireside,' what greater enjoyment can he have than to abandon himself in true Barmecidal fashion to the tempting dainties which the last page of the supplement to the _Times_ offers to his keen appetite! How he revels in the luscious descriptions of 'noble parks,' 'swelling lawns,' 'ancestral woods,' 'silver lakes,' and 'endless panoramas of scenery unequalled in the world'! How proudly he lingers over the pictures of 'baronial castles,' and 'time-honored manorial residences, indissolubly linked with the proudest names and proudest deeds of England's history'! If he be a sportsman--and what Englishman is not, more or less?--how intoxicating to him is the enumeration of 'game of all sorts, and countless myriads of wild fowl,' only waiting his advent to fall victims to his prowess! If he be a philanthropist, what visions of model farms, model cottages and model schools, of a happy and contented peasantry, of comely, smiling matrons, and troops of ruddy-cheeked children may he not conjure up! If he be ambitious, what dreams of greatness crowd upon him--the revered benefactor of the parish, the respected chairman of the bench of magistrates, nay, even the county member returned to Parliament without a dis-sentient voice! His fancy runs riot, and there is no limit to the bright future which the skilful hand of the cunning knight of the hammer unfolds before his enraptured gaze.
To the energetic, enterprising man, how tempting must be those prospectuses of schemes for the development of the vast and in many cases untried natural, industrial, and commercial resources of the country, which, combining in an eminent degree both pleasure and profit, invite his coöperation upon the joint-stock principle! How delightful to him must be those announcements of wonderful inventions--secured by a patent--and of old-established business firms, which offer a safe investment for his spare hundreds and thousands by way of partnership, with the certainty of immediate and enormous returns! To the invalid and the valetudinarian, how cheering must be those modest and disinterested encomiums upon the virtues of certain nostrums and specifics, which cannot but carry conviction to his mind that there is a certain cure for 'all the ills that flesh is heir to!' And lastly, not to enlarge the list any further, what a glow of heartfelt pleasure and gratitude must the really good and benevolent man experience when he peruses the reports of charitable societies, with their statistics of poverty, misery, and privation, which afford him a channel for the dispensation in works of mercy of the superfluous wealth with which a bountiful Providence has blessed him!
Such being the manifold uses and advantages of the newspaper, we are tempted for a moment to pause and reflect upon what would be the condition of the world without it. What a dreary waste it would be! Man is an inquisitive animal, and at the present day is just like the Athenians of old, going about seeking for some new thing. What would become of him if the provender supplied him by his newspaper were suddenly cut off? The consequences to society and to individuals would be frightful to contemplate, and the mind especially recoils with horror from the fate which would assuredly overtake those elderly club-loungers, whose sole aim and object in life appears to be the daily perusal of their favorite journal. How disastrous would be the effects of such a stoppage to those persons who are compelled to pass the greater portion of their lives together! They could not possibly contrive to get through the day, and before long life itself would become burdensome to them. Vast numbers of people have no ideas of their own, and are therefore compelled to borrow them elsewhere. How important is the part which the newspaper plays in that elsewhere! Paterfamilias comes down to breakfast--his newspaper fresh, clean, and tidily folded, lies invitingly on the table--he eagerly seizes it, and is forthwith furnished with topics of conversation with his family. When he is thoroughly posted up in the news of the day, he sallies forth, and is ready to interchange ideas at secondhand with any acquaintance he may meet. What would become of Paterfamilias, his family, and his friends, if they were deprived of this resource? The whole framework of society would be unhinged, business and pleasure would alike come to a standstill, and the world would again relapse into barbarism and chaos.
But let us turn from these fanciful speculations to a sober recital of facts in connection with the history of the press.
The derivation of the word 'newspaper' has been the subject of much dispute. Some learned and ingenious writers, disdaining the obvious 'new,' have gone very far afield in their researches. Among other derivations which have been suggested, is one taken from the four cardinal points of the compass, N. E. W. S.; because the intelligence conveyed came from all quarters of the globe. This suggestion is contained in an old epigram:
'The word explains itself without the Muse, And the four letters tell from whence comes News; From N. E. W. S. the solution's made, Each quarter gives account of war and trade.'
And also, probably in jest, in the 'Wit's Recreations,' published in 1640:
'Whence news doth come if any would discusse, The letters of the word resolve it thus: News is conveyed by letter, word, or mouth, And comes to us from North, East, West, and South.'
For the first origin of newspapers in Europe we must look to Rome, and there can be no reasonable doubt that the earliest germs of news sheets are to be found among that wonderful people, who have left such enduring monuments of themselves wherever they carried their victorious eagles. The Roman news sheets were called _Acta Diurna_, and were issued by the Government, and affixed to the walls in the most public places in the city. They were also carefully stored in a building set apart for the purpose, where any person could have access to them, and make copies of them for the benefit of their friends in distant parts of the empire. It is probable also that the Roman historians availed themselves of them in their compilations. They were not only reports of the ordinary occurrences in the city, but journals of the proceedings in the courts and town councils as well, and they contain records of trials, elections, punishments, buildings, deaths, sacrifices, state ceremonials, prodigies, etc., etc. They are alluded to in the correspondence between Cicero and Coelius, when the great orator was governor of Cilicia. Coelius had promised to send him an account of the news of Rome, and encloses in his first letter a journal of the events which had transpired in the city during his absence. Cicero, in reply, complains that his friend had misinterpreted his wishes, and says that he had not desired him to send an account of the matches of gladiators, the adjournments of the courts, and occurrences of that kind, which nobody dared to talk to him about even when he was residing in Rome: what he wanted was a description of the course of politics and but the newspaper of Chrestus. He also refers to these sheets, that is to say, to accounts of public affairs _in actis_ and _ex actis_, in two letters to Cassius and one to Brutus, written previously to the triumvirate. Suetonius also makes mention of them, and says that Julius Cæsar, in his consulship, ordered the diurnal acts of the senate and the people to be published. Tacitus relates a speech of a courtier to Nero to induce him to execute Thrasea, and among other things he says: 'Diurna populi Romani per provinciam per exercitus accuratius leguntur ut noscatur quid Thrasea non fecerit.' Seneca and the younger Pliny also allude to them. Dr. Johnson, in the preface to the tenth volume of the _Gentleman's Magazine_, published in 1740, enters into a disquisition upon these _acta diurna_, and gives an account of the discovery of some of them with the date of 585 A. U. C., and adds some specimens from them. He quotes them from the 'Annals of Rome,' by Stephen Pighius, who declares that he obtained them from James Susius, by whom they were found among the MSS. belonging to Ludovicus Vives. Their authenticity has, as might be expected, been hotly disputed by many learned scholars at various times, but sufficient grounds have not been adduced for their rejection. The most suspicious circumstance connected with them is their resemblance, _mutatis mutandis_, to a newspaper of the present day. Thus among other things we are told that the consul went in grand procession to sacrifice at the temple of Apollo, just as now a-days we might read that Queen Victoria went in state to St. Paul's, or attended divine service at the chapel royal, St. James's. Then we are favored with an account of the setting forth of Lucius Paulus Æmilius, the consul, for the war in Macedonia, and a description of the departure of the embassy of Popilius Lena, Caius Decimus, and Caius Hostilius to Syria and Egypt, with a great attendance of relations and clients, and of their offering up a sacrifice and libations at the temple of Castor and Pollux before commencing their journey. Then we hear how an oak was struck by lightning on the summit of Mount Palatine, which was called _Summa Velia_, and have the particulars given us of a fire which took place on Mount Coelius, together with an account of the crucifixion of a certain noted pirate. Dramatic intelligence is represented by a description of the plays acted in honor of the goddess Cybele; and under the head of 'fashionable intelligence,' the Jenkins of the day chronicles the funeral of Marcia, a noble Roman matron, and remarks that the attendance of images was greater than that of mourners. He also adds an account of the entertainment given to the people by her sons upon the occasion. By way of police news, we find a record of a disturbance in a tavern, in which the tavern keeper was severely wounded; and how Tertinius, the ædile, fined some butchers for selling meat which had not been inspected by the overseers of the market. A counterpart of this transaction may be met with every day in the city of London, but the result of the affair is much the more satisfactory in Rome, for whereas we do not know for certain what becomes of the money obtained from the penalty in London, we learn that the ædile directed it to be devoted to the building of an additional chapel to the temple of the goddess Tellus. Dr. Johnson also quotes a second series of _Acta Diurna_, with the date of 691 A. U. C., from the 'Camdenian Lectures' of Dodwell in 1688 to 1691. Dodwell says that he obtained them from his friend Hadrian Beoerland, who got them from Isaac Vossius, by whom they were copied from certain MSS. in the possession of Petavius. Among other things contained in this second set, we find noted certain trials, with the number of the votes for and against the defendant, a bargain for the repairs of a certain temple, an announcement by one of the prætors that he shall intermit his sittings for five days, in consequence of the marriage of his daughter, and an account of the pleading of Cicero in favor of Cornelius Sulla, and of his gaining his cause by a majority of five judges.
Such are the earliest traces of newspapers to be found, and long centuries elapse before we again catch a glimpse of anything of the kind. Although it is the great Anglo-Saxon race alone which can boast of having developed the usefulness and liberty of the press to its fullest capabilities, both in England and America, yet it is not to us that the credit belongs of having been the first to reintroduce newspapers in Europe. Whether or no the Romans introduced their _Acta Diurna_ into Britain, and whether or no any imitations of them sprang up then or in after times, it is impossible to say. Some writers have asserted that news sheets were in circulation in England at all events so early as the middle of the fifteenth century, but as their assertions rest upon no very trustworthy basis, they must be at once thrown aside. It is to Italy that we must again turn for the reappearance of the newspaper. It was in 1536, or thereabouts, that the Venetian magistracy caused accounts of the progress of the war which they were waging against Suleiman II, in Dalmatia, to be written and read aloud to the people in different parts of the city. The news sheet appeared once a month, and was called _Gazetta_, deriving its name, probably, from a coin so called, of the value of something less than a cent, either because that was the price of the sheet, or the sum paid for reading it, or for having it read. There are thirty volumes of this MS. newspaper preserved in the Maggliabecchi Library at Florence, and there are also some in the British Museum, the earliest date of which is 1570. Printed news letters, with date and number, but not so deserving of the title of newspaper, began to appear about the same time in Germany. They were called _Relations_, and were published at Augsburg and Vienna in 1524, at Ratisbon in 1528, Dollingen in 1569, and Nuremberg in 1571. The first regular German newspaper appeared at Frankfort, and was entitled _Frankfurter Oberpostamtszeitung_, in 1615. The first French was brought out by Renaudot, a physician, in 1632. The first Russian paper came out under the auspices of Peter the Great, in 1703, and was styled the _St. Petersburg Gazette_. Spain did not enter the lists until a year later, and the _Gazeta de Madrid_ was born in 1704. It could not have been worth much as a newspaper, inasmuch as the defeat off Cape St. Vincent did not appear in its columns until four weeks after it had taken place.
There must have been some sort of news sheets in existence in England about the same time as the Venetian _Gazetta_, for in the thirty-sixth year of King Henry VIII, the following proclamation appeared:
'The King's most excellent Majestie, understanding that certain light persones, not regarding what they reported, wrote, or sett forth, had caused to be ymprinted and divulged certaine newes of the prosperous successes of the King's Majestie's army in Scotland, wherein, although the effect of the victory was indeed true, yet the circumstances in divers points were, in some parte over-slenderly, in some parte untruly and amisse reported; his Highness, therefore, not content to have anie such matters of so greate importance sett forthe to the slaunder of his captaines and ministers, nor to be otherwise reported than the truthe was, straightlie chargeth and commandeth all manner of persones into whose hands anie of the said printed bookes should come, ymmediately after they should hear of this proclamation, to bring the said bookes to the Lord Maior of London, or to the recorder or some of the aldermen of the same, to the intent they might suppress and burn them, upon pain that every person keeping anie of the said bookes twenty-four hours after the making of this proclamation, should suffer ymprisonment of his bodye, and be further punished at the King's Majestie's will and pleasure.'
None of these obnoxious 'printed bookes' have survived to the present time, and it has been contended that they were probably nothing more than ballads and copies of doggerel verses. But this is an hypercritical objection, or rather groundless guess, for it is evident that the proclamation points at something far more important. We may safely conclude that they were newspapers, and that journalism had already attained sufficient dimensions to alarm the powers that were, and draw down their hostility. And a few years later, Pope Gregory XIII fulminated a bull, called _Minantes_, against the news sheets, as spreading scandal and defamation, etc.
It was long fondly believed that the British Museum counted among its treasures a full-blown printed English newspaper, dating so far back as 1588. It was entitled the _English Mercurie_, and purported to be 'published by authoritie for the suppression of false reports, ymprinted at London by Christopher Barker, her Highness's Printer.' Writer after writer exulted in the fact, and was loud in the praises of the sagacity and wisdom of Burleigh, under whose direction it was supposed to have been issued. But unfortunately for antiquaries and literati, the matter was carefully investigated by Mr. Watts, of the British Museum, and he pronounced on unquestionable evidence the copies of the _English Mercurie_ to be nothing but a barefaced forgery, of which he went even so far as to accuse, on good grounds, the second Lord Hardwicke of being the perpetrator. But though we must discard this fictitious account of the Spanish armada, etc., other news sheets did actually exist in the reign of Queen Elizabeth, a list of which has been compiled by Dr. Rimbault. The titles of some of them are: _New Newes, containing a short rehearsal of Stukely and Morice's Rebellion_, 1579; _Newes from Scotland, declaring the damnable Life of Doctor Fian, a notable Sorcerer, who was burned in Edenborough in January last_, 1591; _Newes from Spain and Holland_, 1593; _Newes from Flanders_, 1599; _Newes out of Cheshire of the new-found Well_, 1600; _Newes from Gravesend_, 1604. As time went on, these 'pamphlets of newes' increased in number. They treated of all kinds of intelligence; some derived their materials from foreign countries, and some from different parts of the kingdom at home; some were true, and some were false. Thus we find, among others, _Lamentable Newes out of Monmouthshire, in Wales, containinge the wonderfull and fearfull Accounts of the great overflowing of the Waters in the said Countye_, 1607; _Newes from Spain_, 1611; _Newes out of Germanie_, 1612; _Wofull Newes from the west partes of England, of the burning of Tiverton_, 1612; _Good Newes from Florence_, 1614; _Strange Newes from Lancaster, containinge an Account of a prodigious Monster, born in the Township of Addlington, in Lancashire, with two bodyes joined to one back_, 1613; _Newes from Italy_, 1618; _Newes out of Holland_, 1619; _Vox Populi, or Newes from Spain_, 1620. About this time the news sheets began to assume particular and distinctive titles, under which they appeared at uncertain intervals. We meet with _The Courant, or Weekly Newes from Foreign Parts_, 1621; _The certain Newes of this present Week_, 1622; _The Weekly Newes from Italy, Germany, etc._, 1622, a title which was shortly after exchanged for that of _Newes from most Parts of Christendom, London, printed for Nathaniel Butler and William Sheppard_. These names ought to be preserved, as being those of the great pioneers of regular journalism. It appears, however, that they did not always keep the same title for their newspaper, for sometimes it was called _The Last Newes_; at others, _The Weekly Newes continued_; _More Newes_; _Our Last Newes_, and other various renderings of the same theme. This great progenitor of a mighty race also adopted a system of numbering, and, though exposed to many dangers and vicissitudes, did not finally disappear until 1640. Butler and his contemporaries had to struggle with many obstacles, and to contend against many and powerful foes. In 1637, Archbishop Laud procured the passing of an ordinance limiting the number of master printers to twenty, and punishing with whipping and the pillory all such as should print without a license. Butler's name does not occur in this list; so we may conclude that he was particularly obnoxious to the haughty prelate and his party. But this persevering journalist, whose name had for a long time appeared alone as the printer of his newspaper, contrived to surmount this difficulty, for in a manifesto, dated January 11th, 1640, he says:
'Courteous reader! we had thought to have given over printing our foreign avisoes, for that the licenser (out of a partial affection) would not oftentimes let pass apparent truth, and in other things (oftentimes) so crosse and alter, which made us weary of printing; but he being vanished (and that office fallen upon another more understanding in these forraine affaires, and as you will find more candid) we are againe (by the favour of his Majestie and the state) resolved to go on printing, if we shall find the world to give a better acceptation of them (than of late) by their weekly buying of them. It is well known these novels are well esteemed in all parts of the world (but heere) by the more judicious, which we can impute to no other but the discontinuance of them, and the uncertaine daies of publishing them, which, if the post fail us not, we shall keep a constant day everie weeke therein, whereby everie man may constantly expect them, and so we take leave.'
This number of his journal is entitled _The continuation of the Forraine Occurrents, for five Weeks past, containinge many remarkable Passages of Germanie, etc.; examined and licensed by a better and more impartiall hand than heretofore_. Another noticeable thing in this manifesto is the first occurrence of the autocratic editorial 'we.'
Butler had also to contend with the opposition of the news writers or news correspondents, who doubtless found his undertaking interfere with their trade. These gentry covenanted for the sum of £3 or £4 a year to write a news letter every post day to their subscribers in the country. That this curious trade was thoroughly systematized is evident from the following passage in Ben Jonson's 'Staple of News,' published in 1635:
'This is the outer room where my clerks sit And keep their sides, the register i' the midst; The examiner he sits private there within-- And here I have my several rolls and files Of news by the alphabet, and all put up Under their heads.'
The news writers flourished greatly at this period, but as newspapers began to get a footing, their credit gradually declined--and with reason, if we may put confidence in the following extract from the _Evening Post_, of September 6th, 1709:
'There must be £3 or £4 paid per annum by those gentlemen who are out of town for written news, which is so far generally from having any probability of matter of fact, that it is frequently stuffed up with a 'we hear,' or 'an eminent Jew merchant has received a letter,' being nothing more than downright fiction.'
To Butler belongs the credit of having been the first to introduce street newsboys, with this difference, that his employés were of the other sex, and were styled 'Mercurie women.'
Butler was a stanch royalist, and consequently suffered the vengeance of the Parliamentary party. He fell into great poverty, and, according to Anthony à Wood, died on board Prince Rupert's fleet in Kinsale harbor, in 1649, just as a brighter day was beginning to dawn upon journalism.
The struggle between the Parliament and the king set the press free from the multiplied restrictions by which it had been 'cabined, cribbed, confined' and almost stifled in its cradle. The country became flooded with publications of all kinds, of which, while many were trashy, ridiculous, and extravagant, there still remained a considerable portion which materially helped forward that mighty uprising of the people to which England owes her freedom, her glory, and her might.
And here, having introduced to the reader the first real newspaper, and the great ancestor of all after editors, and having attended the press through its obscure infancy and perilous childhood, we must pause, reserving for consideration in a future article the fair promise of its youth and the development of its still more glorious manhood.
THE CONSCRIPTION ACT OF MARCH 3D.
Few subjects are more difficult of legislation than that of the military service of a nation. The most profound wisdom, the most enlightened statesmanship, the most intimate knowledge of society, are requisite in the legislator. It is easy, indeed, to regulate the military service in times of peace, when the army is small and volunteers are abundant. But when the ordinary methods fail to fill up the ranks, decimated by actual war, when the honor and perpetuity of a nation depend upon a conscription of its citizens, then comes the tug of war, and many legislatures have failed in their deliberations on this subject. In the first place, a Conscription Act is opposed to popular prejudice. Compulsory service of any kind, except for punishment, is contrary to our ideas of personal freedom. We believe in the sovereign privilege of doing what we please, and declining to do what we do not please, to its fullest possible extent. We love to tell our neighbors that we have no standing army to defend our national honor, but that it reposes safely on the _voluntary_ patriotism of the people. We may admit the _necessity_ for a Conscription Act--may confess its justice and impartiality; but few men who are liable to fall into its pitiless clutches, can speak of such an act without a shrug of uneasiness or a wicked expression of anger. Again, it must be universal in its application. It must meet all classes and conditions of society; must be adapted to all shades of religious and political belief; must be inflexible as Justice on his throne, yet tender and sympathetic as a mother to her child. It must take into consideration different branches of industry, and the fields of one section must not be depleted of husbandmen that those of another may be filled with warriors.
The act of March 3d meets these difficulties more successfully, perhaps, than any previous act, whether of a State or National Legislature. It is based upon the broad and well-admitted maxim, that every citizen owes his personal service to the Government which protects him. But while the Government impartially demands this service, the law provides for the exemption of those who would suffer by the unqualified enforcement of this demand.
Many persons outside of the specified limits of age, are physically able to do military service. But, _as a class_, it would have been cruel and impolitic to have forced men into a service which would have wrecked health and happiness for life, or, by a short and swift passage through the military hospitals, have shuffled them into premature graves. Few men under twenty-five have the power of endurance necessary for a long and wearisome campaign. The muscles are not sufficiently knit and hardened for the service, nor the constitution sufficiently fortified to withstand the exposure. Men over forty-five have lost the vigor and elasticity necessary to long and arduous exertion, and are constantly liable to become a burden instead of a benefit to the service.
No previous act has so equally disposed the military duty among the various classes affected by it. It is a well-known fact that the burdens of military service are wont to bear most heavily on the _laboring_ classes. Probably no legislation can entirely remove this inequality. But the act of March 3d makes special provision for the indigent and helpless, and to a great extent relieves the suffering and inconvenience dependent on an enforced military conscription. Poverty is not left without relief, infancy without protection, old age without comfort. The dependent widow, the infirm parent, the homeless orphan, are adopted by the Government, and their support and protection provided for. And in order that the character and dignity of the army may comport with the greatness and purity of the cause for which it is fighting--that it may be both the power and the pride of the nation, it is expressly provided, that 'no person who has been guilty of any felony shall be enrolled or permitted to serve in said forces.' For the benefit of those whose peculiar business or family relations require their services at home, Congress wisely inserted 'the $300 clause.' In this they but followed the established custom in most nations since the days of feudalism. No part of the act has been more violently assailed than this, none more unjustly. It is asserted that this clause discriminates against the poor, in favor of the rich; that it recognizes unjust distinctions between the classes of society, and assigns military duty unequally among the citizens. No assertion could more glaringly display the author's ignorance and lack of judgment.
The law, as originally drawn, required the service of the man drafted or an acceptable substitute within ten days. Had 'the $300 clause' not been inserted, the competition for substitutes would have been so great that their price would have risen far beyond the ability of men in moderate circumstances to pay, and many would have been forced into service who thus have an opportunity for exempting themselves. It has kept the price of substitutes at a low figure, and thus has proven itself emphatically the poor man's provision.
Nor is the law harsh toward those who may be drafted. Abundant time is given for the settlement of any pressing business, the proper disposition of family affairs, or the procuring of a substitute. It is mild toward the infirm and afflicted, making ample provision for the exemption of those who, from any cause, are unfit for service.
It assures to drafted men the same pay, bounty, clothing, and equipments as volunteers receive, and in all respects puts them on the same footing. It thus removes the unjust distinction wont to be made between the drafted man and volunteer, looking upon each as a true soldier of his country, equally interested in its honor and perpetuity. And in order that justice may be secured to the citizen as well as to the Government, the entire business of the enrolment and draft is under the supervision of a board of three men, generally residents of the district.
The prevailing spirit of the act, cropping out in almost every section, is the tenderness with which it handles the subject. It scrupulously seeks to avoid all violence, injustice, and suffering, and while it firmly asks the service of the people, distributes that service equally among all. And herein is its superiority over all previous militia acts. State and national officers, members of Congress, custom-house officials, postmasters, clerks, and the favored and fortunate generally, were heretofore exempt, instead of those who, by misfortune or otherwise, were in circumstances of dependence and want.
But the act of March 3d, thus general in its application, thus humane in its provisions, is not without omissions and imperfections. But these arise rather from the language of its provisions, than from its general design. Let us briefly examine these provisions as they are given in the second section of the act.
Clause second exempts 'the only son liable to military duty of a widow dependent upon his labor for support.'
The Judge Advocate General has decided, that 'a woman divorced from her husband who is still living, is not in the sense of the law a widow--a widow being defined to be a woman who has lost her husband by death.' Her only son, therefore, upon whom she may be dependent for her support, cannot be exempted. A divorced woman, whose husband is still living, may thus be left entirely without support, unless she have several sons 'liable to draft,' in which case, she may elect one for exemption.
Clause third exempts 'the only son of aged or infirm parent or parents dependent upon his labor for support.'
It has been decided that a son cannot be exempted under this clause unless _both_ the parents are 'aged or infirm.' Thus it may happen that, by reason of bodily or mental infirmity, a father, with a family of helpless children, may be totally dependent upon the exertions of the mother and a draftable son. But the law pitilessly takes the son without possibility of exemption, throwing the entire burden of support upon the mother.
But no clause of this section is more liable to objection than the _fourth_, which reads as follows: 'Where there are two or more sons of aged or infirm parents subject to draft, the father, or if he be dead, the mother, may elect which son shall be exempt.' It will be observed that the provision--'dependent upon his labor for support'--is omitted in this clause. Now, to interpret its language by the legal method of construction, by the context, it would seem that such dependence were necessary in order to secure the exemption. For the two clauses immediately preceding exempt 'the only son of a widow or of aged or infirm parent or parents _dependent upon his labor for support_. The two immediately following, exempt 'the brother or father of orphan children under twelve years of age _dependent upon his labor for support_.' That is, _four_ of the five clauses referring strictly to this subject, grant exemption to the applicant only when some one depends upon him for support. Hence it may be presumed, according to an admitted custom of legal interpretation, that in the remaining clause, standing between the other four, the question of dependence, though not expressly _stated_, is clearly _implied_.
But an 'opinion,' published by the Provost-Marshal General's Bureau for the guidance of the boards of enrolment, declares that 'the right to this exemption does not rest upon the parents' dependence on the labor of their sons for their support. The law does not contemplate any such dependence.'
What is the result of this decision?
First, it places the wealthy and independent on the same footing with the indigent and needy, exacting from the one no more service than from the other.
Second, it is more lenient toward the wealthy citizen who has several sons liable to draft, than toward the helpless widow who may have but one.
Third, it makes a distinction against that family which may have contributed most to the military service.
By the 'opinion' just quoted, the only fact to be established by parents electing one of several sons 'subject to draft,' is that they are 'aged or infirm'. When this is done, boards of enrolment must grant the exemption. The parents may live in affluence independent of their children; the sons may all be in the second class except the one elected; they may reside in different districts or States; they may belong to different households: yet, if the same parents, or some indigent widow adjoining them, had but _one_ son 'liable to military duty,' or, having _several_, had sent them all into the army save _one_, that one remaining could not be exempt unless it were proven that they actually depended on him for their support. Why should a helpless widow, having but _one_ son, be required to prove her dependence on him for support in order to have him exempted, when her wealthy neighbor, who has _two_ sons, can have one of them exempted without this dependence?
Another published 'opinion' says: 'Election of the son to be exempted must be made _before_ the draft.' Now amid the chances of a draft it may happen that the brother or brothers of the elected son may not be drawn. Thus the Government loses the services of the entire family. In many cases no election would be necessary unless _all_ the sons were drafted, in which case it could be made as well _after_ as _before_ the draft. Besides, if there be a considerable interval between the time of election and the time of draft, the ground of exemption may no longer exist when the Government calls for the service of the man.
On clause sixth an 'opinion' has been issued, stating that 'the father of motherless children under twelve years of age, dependent upon his labor for their support, is exempt, notwithstanding he may have married a second time and his wife be living.'
A stepmother is not believed to be a 'mother' in the sense of the act. Another 'opinion' declares that the father of children of an insane mother under twelve years of age dependent on his labor for support, is _not_ exempt.
A moment's reflection on these two 'opinions' is sufficient to establish their injustice. A stepmother may and should, in all important respects, take the place of the actual mother. Yet the father is exempt. Children of an insane mother, however, may be left entirely without maternal care and protection, and the father, upon whom may rest the burden of children and wife, is _not_ exempt.
Clause seventh reads as follows: 'Where there are a father and sons in the same family and household, and two of them are in the military service of the United States, as non-commissioned officers, musicians, or privates, the residue of such family or household, not exceeding two, shall be exempt.'
In reading this clause, the question naturally arises: Why is this provision made applicable only to families in which the father is still living? Why should not a widow, having two uncommissioned sons in the army, have her remaining son exempt, as well as if her husband were still living? Judge Holt has decided that 'a widow having four sons, three of whom are already in the military service, the fourth is exempt, _provided_ she is dependent on his labor for support.' If the father were living, the remaining son would be absolutely exempt.
The evident design of this clause is to take into consideration the amount which each family may have contributed to the service. But this generous intention is practically ignored by another 'opinion,' which makes it necessary that two members of the same family must be _now_ in service, in order that the exempting clause may apply. Thus, by the calamities of war, a father and several sons may have been killed or rendered helpless for life, yet if there remains a son liable to draft in the same family, he cannot be exempted unless his mother depends on him for her support. It must be admitted that the parent or parents who have had two sons _killed_ in their country's service, have made quite as great a sacrifice as those who have two sons still engaged in that service. And if the question of support is involved, it is reasonable to suppose that two sons in the army would do quite as much for needy parents as two sons in the grave.
These are some of the inconsistencies of the law, as it has been interpreted by authority. Other cases also may arise that seem to demand an exempting clause equally with those in the act. Of such are the following:
First, the husband and father of a family depending upon his labor for their support.
Second, the only support of an aged or infirm spinster or bachelor.
It is not unusual for persons of this class to adopt the son of a relative or stranger. And when the infirmities of age render such persons unfit for toil, the youth whom they brought up, and who is now by his labor repaying their early attentions to him, should, not be taken away.
Third, the only support of helpless children, having neither parents nor grown brothers.
Orphans are often thrown upon the charity of a relative, and it seems right that their support should not be taken from them. In view of the many difficulties presented by the subject of exemptions, the many diverse claims that arise, and the impossibility of making a special provision for each, would it not be better to adopt a few general principles on the subject, and submit all claims to the judgment of the boards of enrolment? Thus, instead of clauses second to sixth, inclusive of the second section, there might be a single proviso that--No person who is dependent by reason of age, bodily, or mental infirmity, shall, by the operations of this act, be deprived of his or her necessary and accustomed support. This would include all possible cases, and would secure to each the necessary maintenance, as designed by the law. It would do away with the necessity of an unlimited issue of circulars of explanation from the Department at Washington, throwing each case upon the judgment of the board, who are to be presumed able to decide intelligently on proper evidence being given before them. It would avoid the unjust and injurious distinctions noticed under clause fourth, and in the end would secure more men to the Government with less liability of wrong to the citizen. Clause seventh also could easily be so modified as to avoid the objections noticed above.
Another evident objection to the act of March 3d, is the limited power given to boards of enrolment as such. All clerks, deputy marshals, and special officers, are appointed by the Provost-Marshal alone. Yet a large--perhaps the _chief_ part of their duty is directly connected with the enrolment and draft. The judgment of the remaining members of the board would certainly be of some value in making these appointments, as they are always residents of the district, and hence acquainted with the peculiar wants of the service and the character of the applicants. The duties of the commissioner should also be more definitely stated. Special duties are assigned to the marshal and surgeon, but no further definition of the commissioner's labor is given than that he is a member of the board. Thus there is liability to a conflict of authority and a shirking of responsibility, which could easily be avoided by more explicit divisions of duty. The board system is undoubtedly a good one. It gives _the people_ a larger representation in the business of conducting a draft, tends to secure justice to all, and thus relieves the popular prejudice and feeling of opposition to the law itself.
But why should not every board of enrolment throughout the country also be a board of enlistment? The time is fast approaching when the bulk of our present army will return home. It is important that as many of these men be reënlisted as can be, with any new troops that may offer themselves. The Government should avail itself of every opportunity for making voluntary enlistments. And by having a recruiting office within every district, convenient to every man's residence, a surgeon always at hand to examine applicants, offering the authorized Government bounties, much could still be done in this way toward keeping an army in the field, without any additional expense or without in the least interfering with the draft.
The act of March 3d is a law for the present, not for the future. It is an act for the emergency, not for coming time.
During the long years of peace and prosperity that we have enjoyed, the great truth that every able-bodied man owes military service to his country as sacredly as he owes protection to his family, has slumbered in the minds of the people. For half a century there was scarcely anything to remind us of it, and we were fast verging into that hopeless national condition, when
'Wealth accumulates and men decay.'
This act brings duty home to the conscience of the nation. It is an impressive enforcement of a great political principle. But if our quickened sense of obligation fail to make us _act_, if we refuse to receive the lessons of wisdom which the developments of the hour force upon us, if we fail to improve our military organization and instruction, and render our able-bodied men effective for military service at a moment's call--then this act will have done us little permanent good. Our men of education and high social position, instead of aiding to make the militia system respectable by the personal performance of military duty and by using their influence to give tone and character to the service, have evaded its requirements on themselves, and have aided in sinking it into disrepute and contempt. And here is where our militia laws are imperfect. They have done but little toward cherishing the military spirit, developing the military virtues, or securing an effective military force ready at any time to take the field.
In the future of our country we want no large standing army. It is contrary to the genius of our institutions and to national precedent. We must throw the duty of national support and defence directly on the people--to them commit our country's honor. The Swiss motto--'No regular army, but every citizen a soldier'--must be the foundation of our military system. The course of the present war has fully demonstrated the patriotism and loyalty of the people. The Government can rely upon its citizens in any emergency. What we want is discipline, organization, instruction. The act of March 3d does not secure these essential requisites. It has enrolled the people, but has not made them soldiers. We will not here attempt to describe how this can be secured. But we may take it for granted that there must be greater facilities for the military education of the young and the training of officers, a proper division of the country into military districts, and stated times for the drill and review of the citizen soldiery. Thus we shall be able to maintain our national existence against invasion from without and rebellion from within, and, being prepared for war, will be so much the more likely to live in peace.
With the present number, THE CONTINENTAL enters upon a new volume. No efforts will be spared by its editors to increase its value to its many patrons. The high character of its political articles, always emanating from distinguished men and from reliable sources; its loyal tone and catholic spirit; the great ability with which the subjects of the deepest interest to the Government and community are discussed in its pages--entitle it to a high, if not the highest place among the journals of the country.
It is intended to give utterance to the wants, wishes, tastes, views, hopes, culture of every part of our Union. Having no band of sectional collaborators, with local views and prejudices, narrowed horizons and similar cultivation, it is confined to no clique of thinkers however vigorous, no set of men however cultured, but receives thought and light from every part of our vast country, without favor or prejudice. It is the _Continental_, and thus represents and addresses itself to the mind of the continent.
The contributions flowing in, in a continuous stream from every quarter, are subjected to but one great test--the test of real and substantial merit. Thoroughly Christian in the noblest sense of that noble word, it is never sectarian. Accepting Christianity as a _certain_ fact, it rejects no scientific inquiry into its bases, convinced that all true and thorough investigation will but lead men back to faith in a divine Redeemer. Shallow thought and nascent inquiry may be sceptical, but the deep mind is reverential and faithful. The problems of doubt torture the soul, and call for solution. Infinite and finite stand in strange relations in the mind of man; with his finite powers he would grasp the infinite of God. He fails to find the equation of his terms, and, baffled in his search, in the insanity of intellectual pride, denies his Maker. He puts the infinite mysteries of revelation into the narrow crucible of the finite, the residuum is--nothing; he calls it immutable laws, as if laws could exist without a lawgiver, and bows before a pitiless phantom, where he should love and worship the great I AM!
Examine fearlessly into nature, O earnest thinker, for the created is but the veil of the Creator. Revelation and nature are from the same God, and both demand our serious attention. Revelation is indeed the Word of Nature; the sole key to its many wards of mystery. Truth never contradicts itself. Let the savant, whether in material nature or metaphysical realms, examine, classify, and arrange his facts--they, when fairly computed, thoroughly investigated, can lead but to one conclusion.
Nor will the literary department of this magazine be permitted to languish. Tales, poems, and articles on art and artists, are solicited from all who feel they have something to say, to which the human heart will gladly listen. The talent of the East, West, North, and South shall flow through our pages. Genius shall be welcomed and acknowledged, though it may not as yet have registered its name on the radiant walls of the Temple of Fame. It is the design of THE CONTINENTAL to represent humanity in its different phases; to manifest to its readers the thoughts of their fellow beings; to hold up the mirror of our mental being to the complex human soul. Varied modes of thought and views of life will be represented in our pages, for as men, nothing that concerns humanity can be alien to us. We thus hope to be enabled to offer our readers a wide range of subjects, treated from varied standpoints, handled by writers widely scattered in space and severed in social position. May the divergent rays be blended in a bow of beauty, of peace and promise to the ark of truth! No personal bitterness shall find place among us, no immoral lessons sully our record. There may be often want of pruning, but even the undue luxuriance shall tell of the rich soil of genius, ever germing and budding into prolific growth.
Meantime let our patrons continue to trust us, and have patience with our shortcomings. All that is human is liable to error, and the very width and breadth of our base increases the difficulty of the temple we would rear.
Lend us your sympathies and moral aid, courteous reader, for many and complicated are the difficulties with which an editor has to contend. For example: 'Your review is quite too serious for success,' says the first; 'its subjects are too heavy and grave; our people read for amusement; you should give us more stories and light reading.'
'Your review is too light,' says the second; 'the times are pregnant with great events, humanity is on its onward march, and a magazine such as yours ought to be, should have no space to throw away upon sentimental tales and modern poetry. Your articles should lead our statesmen on to the deeper appreciation of political truths, expose vital fallacies, and not strive to amuse silly women and effeminate men.'
'You do not deal sufficiently with metaphysics,' says a third; 'you should reproduce in popular and intelligible form the vast thoughts of Kant, Fichte, Hegel, Schelling, Oken, Ronski, and Trentowski.'
'Why do you give us so much metaphysics?' cries the fourth; 'modern philosophy is essentially infidel; you should not introduce its poisonous elements among our people.'
'Such a review as you conduct,' remarks a fifth, 'should be the vehicle of the thinkers and progressives; they alone are the men to benefit and attract the attention of the community.'
'Take great care to have nothing to do with the men calling themselves progressive thinkers,' remarks a sixth; 'they are full of vital errors, spiritualists, socialists, disorganizers. They have in reality nothing new to offer; they are the old-clothes men of thought, harlequins juggling in old Hindoo raiment, striding along in old German May-fair rags, long since discarded--motley's their only wear--stalking Cagliostros and Kings of Humbug.'
'You are growing old fogy in your views,' says the seventh; 'we can bear sermons enough in church of Sundays; we do not buy magazines to read them there.'
'Your journal is fast becoming an Abolition organ,' says the eighth.
'Do you mean to oppose the Administration and distress the Government?' says the ninth.
'You give us no history,' sighs the tenth.
'What do you mean by your long historical disquisitions?' vociferates the eleventh. 'Nobody cares for the past now. Our hands are full of the present. We are ourselves living the most important history which this globe has yet seen.'
Courteous reader, so it goes on forever, through all the unceasing changes of thought, heart, mind, soul, taste, which characterize the great, acting, struggling, thinking, conservative, progressive, believing, doubting, Young American people.
Meanwhile we will earnestly strive to hold up the glass of the constantly shifting times before you, that you may be enabled to see the flitting shadows of the hour as they pass across it, grave or gay, portentous or hopeful, draped in solid political vesture, the toga of the statesman, or robed in the blue gossamer of metaphysics, in the drapery of sorrow or light hues of joy, in the tried armor of the Divine, or the dubious motley of the progressive, in the soft, floating, lustrous, aërial texture of the woman, or the monotonous Shanghai of the man--while we will forever strive to point you to the Cross of Peace, the Heavenly City, and the starry diadem of Eternal Truth. You may read in our pages of 'immutable laws,' for such is the term now in vogue, but you will remember that these words are but a veil used by the scientist to hide the Eternal and Unchangeable Will, the Personal God, the Hearer of Prayer, the Father of Creation. The kaleidoscope of nature, however rudely shaken, through all its multiplicity of fragments, forever falls back into the holy figure of God:
'Mirrors God maketh all atoms in space, And fronteth each one with His perfect Face.'
How long, lovely, and glowing has our autumn been, with its dreamy days and soft shadowy mists. In its surpassing beauty it is peculiar to our own loved land, and thus doubly dear to the hearts of Americans. Our mountains borrowed the rainbow, dressing themselves in its changing hues, holding up the great forests, like clustered bouquets, in their giant palms, as if offering their dying children to God in the very hour of their mature beauty. Crimsons and purples, oranges, golds, yellows, browns, greens, and scarlet dye the trees; gathered sheaves and golden pumpkins, marguerites, feathery golden rods, and bright blue gorse are on every field. Have we not, in very truth, a country for which a patriot should gladly die, and the devout heart never cease to quiver in prayer that God may vouchsafe to bless?
One of our patriot poets has sent us the stirring hymn of the Cumberland. Let him chant it here, while we grave in our hearts the grateful memory of the brave crew who perished with her, martyrs in a holy cause:
Fast poured the traitors' shot and shell, Where at their posts our gunners fell: Our starboard portholes make reply-- Each takes his comrade's place to die; All time shall yield no battle field Grand as thy deck, our Cumberland!
Oh, crashing shock! our beams divide, And death flows inward with the tide. O'er gory decks,'mid sulphur smoke, The climbing waters madly broke; Our banner spread, still waved o'er head, Above the sinking Cumberland.
The wounded cheer,--the dying wave, While sinking to their watery grave, With straining sight and grateful prayer, Exultant that the Flag is there;-- Nor thought of life to glory's strife, But of their ship, the Cumberland.
The vessel sinks;--her latest breath Hurls through the cannons' mouth of death Defiance at the traitor foes! O'er guns the throttling waters close-- The hungry wave devours the brave-- The gallant crew of Cumberland!
No sailor yields; they gladly die; Above them still the colors fly! High o'er the black and surging flood, That reels as drunk with patriots' blood, Those glorious bars and Freedom's stars Float o'er the sunken Cumberland!
Deeds like these will live forever-- Loyal hearts forget them never! Hark! echoes from the brave and free, Greet us from far Thermopylæ: All time shall ring while bards shall sing The Martyrs of the Cumberland!
In Glory's sky, 'mid heroes bright, Immortal galaxy of light, Through future ages shall they be, The _Color Bearers_ of the Free! The sleeping brave, in ocean's wave, Who manned the Frigate Cumberland.
Our monthly will enter many a home during the coming holidays--the eight days consecrated to the memory of the most sublime record in the history of mankind, the union of the Divine with the human, the introduction of a human heart into the impenetrable but truly philosophical mystery of the Trinity. Do we ever sufficiently realize the duties which this marvellous union has enjoined upon us, the privileges with which it has endowed us?
We shall enter many a home--some joyous with the mirth of children, the hopefulness of youth, the serene happiness of useful and contented men and women;--some shadowed by recent sorrow, where perhaps patriots, as in the olden time, learn to endure for the sake of a beloved country;--or others, perchance, where worldliness, discord, and egotism have severed hearts that should be united. God grant the number of the latter may be few! Happy should we be, could we know that our arrival would bring one more smile to the lips of the gay, a single ray of support or consolation to the souls of the sorrowing--could we cause the world-worn to dream of better and brighter things than mere matter can ever afford, give the thinker a pregnant thought, soothe earth's weary art-children with the hope of wider comprehension and sympathy, lead the rich to open upward paths to their poorer brethren, or the poor nobly to bear or to better their humble condition--in a word, could we offer but single drops of that wine of immortal life for which every human soul is thirsting.
Frost and cold now are upon us; Christmas passing with its typal evergreens and mystic chants; the old year dying fast with its weird secrets buried until the Day of Doom; the New Year close upon us, with its demands and duties. May the Heavenly Father bless its fleeting hours, and enable us to sow them closely with the precious seeds of good deeds,--germs to blossom on the Eternal Shore!
AMERICAN THANKSGIVING DAY IN LONDON.
NOVEMBER 25, 1863.
[The following report of the proceedings at the Thanksgiving Dinner in London arrived too late to be incorporated in the body of THE CONTINENTAL; in consequence, however, of its immediate interest to our readers, we have decided upon giving it to them, even if it must appear as a supplement. It is surely a very pleasant thing to know that our patriots abroad consecrated the festival by grateful thanks to the Giver of all good; and that public and loyal utterances were made of the great national truths which, in our present crisis, it is of such vital importance to make known to the men and governments of other countries.--ED. CONTINENTAL.]
In pursuance of the proclamation of the President of the United States, addressed to all citizens, at home and abroad, the loyal Americans now in England, to the number of several hundred, assembled at St. James Hall to dinner. The Hon. Robert J. Walker presided, assisted by Hon. Freeman H. Morse (our Consul here), and Girard Ralston, Esq. On the right of Mr. Walker sat the American Minister, Mr. Adams, and on the left, George Thompson, Esq., late M. P. from London. After the reading of the proclamation, the prayer, and the hymn, Mr. Walker addressed the company as follows:
LADIES AND GENTLEMEN: By the request of my countrymen, I shall preface the toasts prepared for the occasion, by a few introductory remarks. This day has been set apart by the President of the United States for thanksgiving to Almighty God for all the blessings which he has vouchsafed to us as a people. Among these are abundant crops, great prosperity in all our industrial pursuits, and a vast addition, even during the war, to our material wealth. Our finances have been conducted with great ability and success by the Secretary of the Treasury, Mr. Chase, who has also succeeded in giving us, for the first time in our history, a uniform national currency, which, as a bond of union, and as an addition to our wealth and resources, is nearly equal to all the expenses of the great contest. During the present year, nearly 400,000,000 of dollars of the six per cent. stock of the United States has been taken at home, at or above par; whilst, within the last few months, European capitalists, unsolicited by us, are making large investments in the securities of the Union. But, above all, we have to thank God for those great victories in the field, which are bringing this great contest to a successful conclusion.
This rebellion is indeed the most stupendous in history. It absorbs the attention and affects the political institutions and material interests of the world. The armies engaged exceed those of Napoleon. Death never had such a carnival, and each week consumes millions of treasure. Great is the sacrifice, but the cause is peerless and sublime. (_Cheers._) If God has placed us in the van of the great contest for the rights and liberties of man, if he has assigned us the post of danger and of suffering, it is that of unfading glory and imperishable renown. (_Loud cheers._) The question with us, which is so misunderstood here, is that of national unity (_hear, hear_), which is the vital element of our existence; and any settlement which does not secure this with the entire integrity of the Union, and freedom throughout all its borders, will be treason to our country and to mankind. (_Loud cheers._) To acknowledge the absurd and anarchical doctrine of secession, as is demanded of us here, to abdicate the power of self-preservation, and permit the Union to be dissolved, is ruin, disgrace, and suicide. There is but one alternative--we must and will fight it out to the last. (_Loud and prolonged applause._) If need be, all who can bear arms must take the field, and leave to those who cannot the pursuits of industry. (_Hear, hear._) If we count not the cost of this contest in men and money, it is because all loyal Americans believe that the value of our Union cannot be estimated. (_Hear, hear._) If martyrs from every State, from England, and from nearly every nation of Christendom have fallen in our defence, never, in humble faith we trust, has any blood, since that of Calvary, been shed in a cause so holy. (_Cheers._) Most of the rebellions which have disturbed or overthrown governments, ave been caused by oppression on their part. Such rebellions have been the rising of the oppressed against the oppressor; but this rebellion was caused exclusively by slavery. (_Cheers._) To extend, and perpetuate, and nationalize slavery, to demand of the American Congress the direct and explicit recognition of the right of property in man, to cover the whole vast territory of the Union with chattel servitude, to keep open the interstate slave-trade between the Border and the Cotton States, to give the institution absolute mastery over the Government and people, to carry it into every new State by fraud, and violence, and forgery, as was exemplified in Kansas, and then, as a final result, to force it upon every Free State of the Union--these were the objects conceived by those who are engaged in this foul conspiracy to dissolve the American Union. (_Cheers._) 'I have said that the American Union never will be dissolved.' (_Loud and continued cheers._) This was the advice of the peerless Washington, the Father of his country, in his Farewell Address, and this was the course of the immortal Andrew Jackson, when he suppressed the Carolina rebellion of 1833, by coercion and a force bill. The American Union is the great citadel of self-government, intrusted to our charge by Providence; and we must defend it against all assailants, until our last man has fallen. This is the cause of labor and humanity, and the toiling and disfranchised masses of the world feel that their fate is involved in the result of our struggle. In England, especially, this feeling on the part of the working classes has been manifested in more than one hundred meetings, and the resolutions in favor of the Union, passed by the operatives of Manchester, who were the great sufferers from this contest, indicate a sublimity of feeling, and a devotion to principle on the part of these noble martyrs, which exalt and dignify the character of man. (_Cheers._) The working classes of England, of France, and of Germany, who are all with us, in case of foreign intervention, must have constituted the armies that would have been taken to our shores to make war upon the American people. The men who are for us would have been transported across the ocean to fight against us in the cause of slavery, and for the degradation of labor. Can there be any doubt as to the result of such a conflict? It is now quite certain that this rebellion will receive no foreign aid; but if any foreign despot or usurper had thus intervened and sent his myrmidons to our shores, the result, though it might have been prolonged, would have been equally certain--he would have lost his crown, and destroyed his dynasty. (_Cheers._) Our whole country would have been a camp, we should have risen to the magnitude of the contest, and all who could bear arms would have taken the field. We know, as Americans, that our national unity is the essential condition of our existence. Without it we should be disintegrated into sections, States, counties, and cities, and ruin and anarchy would reign supreme. (_Cheers._) No, the Lakes can never be separated from the Gulf, the Atlantic from the Pacific, the source from the mouth of the Mississippi, nor the sons of New England from the home of their kindred in the great West. (_Cheers._) But, above all, the entire valley of the Mississippi was ordained by God as the residence of a united people. Over every acre of its soil, and over every drop of its waters, must forever float the banner of the Union (_loud applause_), and all its waters, as they roll on together to the Gulf, proclaim that what 'God has joined together' man shall never 'put asunder.' (_Loud cheers._) The nation's life blood courses this vast arterial system; and to sever it is death. No line of latitude or longitude shall ever separate the mouth from the centre or sources of the Mississippi. All the waters of the imperial river, from their mountain springs and crystal fountains, shall ever flow in commingling currents to the Gulf, uniting ever more, in one undivided whole, the blessed homes of a free and happy people. This great valley is one vast plain, without an intervening mountain, and can never be separated by any line but that of blood, to be followed, surely, by military despotism. No! separation, by any line, is death; disunion is suicide. Slavery having made war upon the Union, the result is not doubtful. Slavery will die. (_Cheers._) Slavery having selected a traitor's position, will meet a traitor's doom. (_Loud cheers._) The Union will still live. It is written by the finger of God on the scroll of destiny, that neither principalities nor powers shall effect its overthrow, nor shall 'the gates of hell prevail against it.' But what as to the results? It is said that we have accomplished nothing, and this is re-echoed every morning by the proslavery press of England. We have done nothing! Why, we have conquered and now occupy two thirds of the entire territory of the South, an area far larger (and overcoming a greater resisting force) than that traversed by the armies of Cæsar or Alexander. The whole of the Mississippi River, from its source to its mouth, with, all its tributaries, is exclusively ours. (_Cheers._) So is the great Chesapeake Bay. Slavery is not only abolished in the Federal District, containing the capital of the Union, but in all our vast territorial domain, comprising more than eight hundred millions of acres, and nearly half the size of all Europe. The four slaveholding States of Delaware, Maryland, Kentucky, and Missouri, are all devotedly loyal, and thoroughly sustaining the Union. And how as to Virginia? Why, all the counties of Virginia east of the Chesapeake are ours. All that vast portion of Eastern Virginia north of the Rappahannock is ours also; but still more, all that great territory of Virginia, from the mountains to the Ohio, is ours also, and, not only ours, but, by the overwhelming voice of her people, has formed a State government. By their own votes they have abolished slavery, and have been admitted as one of the Free States of the American Union. (_Loud cheers._) And where is the great giant State of the West--Missouri? She is not only ours, but, by an overwhelming majority of the popular vote, carried into effect by her constitutional convention, has abolished slavery, and enrolled herself as one of the Free States of the American Union. (_Cheers._) And now as to Maryland. The last steamers bring us the news of the recent elections in Maryland, which have not only sustained the Union, but have sent an overwhelming majority to Congress and to State Legislature in favor of immediate emancipation. (_Applause._) Tennessee also is ours. From the Mississippi to the Cumberland and Tennessee Rivers, from Knoxville, in the mountains of the east, to Nashville, the capital, in the centre, and Memphis, the commercial metropolis in the west, Tennessee is wholly ours. So is Arkansas; so is Louisiana, including the great city of New Orleans. So is North Alabama; so is two thirds of the State of Mississippi; and now the Union troops hold Chattanooga, the great impregnable fortress of Northwestern Georgia. From Chattanooga, which may be regarded as the great geographical central pivotal point of the rebellion, the armies of the republic will march down through the heart of Georgia, and join our troops upon the seaboard of that State, and thus terminate the rebellion. (_Loud cheers._) Into Georgia and the Carolinas nearly half a million slaves have been driven by their masters, in advance of the Union army. From Virginia, from Kentucky, Missouri, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee, and North Alabama, nearly all these slaves have been driven and huddled together in the two Carolinas and Georgia, because, if they had been left where they were, they would have joined the Northern armies. They preferred to be freemen rather than slaves; they preferred to be men and women, rather than chattels; they preferred freedom to chains and bondage; and just so soon as that Union army advances into the Carolinas and Georgia will the slaves rush to the standard of freedom, and fight as they have fought, with undaunted courage, for liberty and Union. (_Loud applause._) But how is it with the South? Why, months ago they had called out by a levy _en masse_, all who were capable of bearing arms. They have exhausted their entire military resources; they have raised their last army. And how as to money? Why, they are in a state of absolute bankruptcy. Their money, all that they have, that which they call money, according to their own estimation as fixed and taken by themselves, one dollar of gold purchases twelve dollars of confederate paper. The price of flour is now one hundred dollars a barrel, and other articles in like proportion. No revenue is collected, or can be. The army and the Government are supported exclusively by force, by seizing the crops of the farms and planters, and using them for the benefit of the so-called confederate government. Starvation is staring them in the face. The collapse is imminent; and, so far as we may venture to predict any future event, nothing can be more certain than that before the end of the coming year, the rebellion will be brought entirely to a close. (_Hear, hear._) We must recollect, also, that there is not a single State of the South in which a large majority of the population (including the blacks) is not now, and always has been, devoted to the Union. Why, in the State of South Carolina alone, the blacks, who are devoted to the Union, exceed the whites more than one hundred thousand in number. The recent elections have all gone for the Union by overwhelming majorities, and volunteering for the army progresses with renewed vigor. For all these blessings the President of the United States has asked us to render thanks to Almighty God. Our cause is that of humanity, of civilization, of Christianity. We write upon our banners, from the inspired words of Holy Writ: 'God has made of one blood all the nations of the earth.' We acknowledge all as brothers, and invite them to partake with us alike in the grand inheritance of freedom; and we repeat the divine sentiment from the Sermon on the Mount: 'Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.' (_Loud cheers._)
Nor let it be supposed that we, as Americans, are entirely selfish in this matter. We believe that this Union is the most sacred trust ever confided by God to man. We believe that this American Union is the best, the brightest, the last experiment of self-government; and as it shall be maintained and perpetuated, or broken and dissolved, the light of liberty shall beam upon the hopes of mankind, or be forever extinguished amid the scoffs of exulting tyrants, and the groans of a world in bondage. (_Loud applause._) Thanking you, ladies and gentlemen, for the kind indulgence with which you have been pleased to receive these remarks, I will now proceed to the toasts which have been prepared for the occasion. Ladies and gentlemen, the first toast will be, 'The President of the United States,' under whose proclamation we are this day convened. Before asking you to respond to that toast, I would say that we are honored by the presence this evening of his excellency, the American Minister, Mr. Adams. (_Prolonged applause._) This is a name for a century, and during three generations most honorably and conspicuously connected with the cause of our country and of human liberty. The grandfather and father of our American minister were each elevated to the presidency of the United States by the votes of the American people. The first, the illustrious John Adams, moved in 1776 the Declaration of American Independence, and supported that motion by an immortal and most eloquent address. He was the successor of the peerless Washington as the President of the United States. The second, John Quincy Adams, eminent for courage, for integrity, for opposition to slavery, for devotion to the cause of liberty, for learning, science, eloquence, diplomacy, and statesmanship, was the successor of President Monroe. His son, our honored guest, inheriting all these great qualities and noble principles of an illustrious ancestry, is requested to respond to the first toast, 'The President of the United States.' (_The toast was drunk amid the most enthusiastic applause._)
Order of Exercises.
_I.--Reading of Thanksgiving Proclamation, R. Hunting._
_III.--Hymn_ (prepared for the occasion).
TUNE--_Auld Lang Syne_.
We meet, the Sons of Freedom's Sires Unchanged, where'er we roam, While gather round their household fires The happy bands of home; And while across the far blue wave Their prayers go up to God, We pledge the faith our fathers gave,-- The land by Freemen trod!
The heroes of our Native Land Their sacred trust still hold, The freedom from a mighty band Wrenched by the men of old. That lesson to the broad earth given We pledge beyond the sea,-- The land from dark oppression riven, A blessing on the free!
_VI.--Address of Hon. Robert J. Walker, introducing Toasts._
1. The President of the United States.
Responded to by His Excellency Mr. Adams.
2. Her Majesty the Queen.
3. The Day. Devoted to thanking God for our victories in the cause of LIBERTY and UNION.
Responded to by George Thompson, Esq.
4. The Union. From the Atlantic to the Pacific, from the Lakes to the Gulf, from the Source to the Mouth of the Mississippi, forever one and inseparable.
Responded to by Z. K. Pangborn.
5. The Emancipation Proclamation--Slavery's Epitaph, written by the finger of God on the heart of the American President.
Responded to by Hon. Freeman H. Morse.
6. The Army and Navy--Immortal champions of freedom, who bleed that our country may live.
Responded to by Capt. Mayne Reid.
7. WASHINGTON. The Man without a Peer. We follow his farewell advice--NEVER TO SURRENDER THE UNION.
Responded to by Capt. J. C. Hoadley.
8. The Press. The Tyrant's foe, the People's friend--where it is free, despotism must perish.
Responded to by Mr. Snow.
9. The Ladies. Our Sweethearts, Wives, Mothers, Daughters, Sisters, Friends. Their holy influence will break all chains but those which bind our hearts to them.
RUMOR. By the Author of 'Charles Anchester,' 'Counterparts,' etc. Boston: Published by T. O. H. P. Burnham, No. 143 Washington street. New York: H. Dexter Hamilton & Co., 113 Nassau street; O. S. Felt, 36 Walker street.
'Rumor' is a book of genius, but genius of a peculiar character. Gleams of intuition into the most secret recesses of the heart, analyses of hidden feelings, flash brilliantly upon us from every leaf, and yet a vague mysticism broods over all. No steady light illumes the pages; scenes and characters float before as if shrouded in mist, or dimmed by distance. The shadowy forms, held only by the heart, shimmer and float before us, draped in starry veils and seen through hues of opal. We are in Dreamland, or in the fair clime of the Ideal. 'Porphyro' we know to be Louis Napoleon, but who are 'Rodomant and Diamid?' Adelaida and deafness would point to Beethoven, but other circumstances forbid the identification. Nor do we think Rodomant a fair type of a musical genius; arrogant, overbearing, and positively ill-mannered as he invariably is. He may be true to German nature, as he is pictured as a German, but he is no study of the graceful Italian or elegant and suave Sclavic Artist. We think the authoress unjust and cruel in her sketch of that ethereal child of genius and suffering, Chopin. Did she study exclusively in the German schools of musical art? If Beethoven is grand and majestic, Chopin is sublime; if Beethoven is pathetic, Chopin is pathos itself; if the one is broad and comprehensive, the other is high and deep; the one appealing to the soul through a noble intellect, the other reaching it through every nerve and fibre of our basic being. Rubens is a great artist, but does that gainsay Raphael? Are not Beethoven and Chopin twin stars of undying glory in the musical firmament, and can we not offer _true_ homage to _both_, as they blaze so high above us? Shall the royal purple so daze our eyes, that we cannot see the depths of heavenly blue?
Meantime we advise the admirers of 'Charles Anchester' to read 'Rumor;' it is a book of wider knowledge and deeper intuitions.
GENERAL BUTLER IN NEW ORLEANS. History of the Administration of the Department of the Gulf, in the year 1862; with an account of the Capture of New Orleans, and a sketch of the previous career of the General, civil and military. By JAMES PARTON, Author of the 'Life and Times of Aaron Burr,' 'Life of Andrew Jackson,' etc., etc. New York: Mason Brothers, 5 and 7 Mercer street. Boston: Mason & Hamlin. Philadelphia: J. B. Lippincott & Co. London: D. Appleton &. Co., 16 Little Britain, 1864.
Nothing is more difficult than, amid the whirl of passing events, to form just estimates of living men. Either our knowledge of the facts may be incomplete, or, if the external facts be known, we may be ignorant of the character and motives of the individual. No public man has made warmer friends or more bitter enemies than General Butler. History will probably, in the future, pronounce a just and impartial decision in the case. Meantime all that the public can learn regarding his political and military career will be eagerly examined.
TALES OF A WAY-SIDE INN. By HENRY WADSWORTH LONGFELLOW. Boston: Ticknor & Fields. For sale by D. Appleton & Co., New York.
The mere announcement of a new book by H. W. Longfellow, is sufficient to secure for it the attention of all who read or love poetry. Long before the critic can pronounce upon its merits, it will be found in the hands of thousands. Longfellow is perhaps the most popular among American poets. His rhythm is always varied and musical, his diction in good taste, his treatment ever adapted to the subject he has in hand. If he seldom strikes the deepest chords of being, his touch is always true, tender, and sympathetic. 'The Birds of Killingworth' is full of beauty. If the 'Tale of a Poet,' it is also a song of the sage. The 'Children's Hour' is charming in its home love and naive grace. 'Weariness' is simple as a child's song, but full of natural and true pathos. Let it pleasure our poet that in this sweet, sad chant of his, he has the warm sympathies of his fellow men. Let him not weary thinking of the task yet before the 'little feet,' but rather rejoice in the sunshine he has himself been able to throw o'er the path in which the 'little feet' must walk.
THE THOUGHTS OF THE EMPEROR M. AURELIUS ANTONINUS. Translated by GEORGE LONG. Boston; Ticknor & Fields. For sale by D. Appleton & Co., New York.
Antoninus was born at Rome, A. D. 121, embraced the Stoic philosophy from conviction, and, though an emperor, lived in accordance with its stern spirit. This little book has been the companion of many of our greatest men. That it still lives, and is still read by all who delight in bold and vigorous thought, is sufficient proof of its excellence. It has been rendered into English, French, Italian, and Spanish. It was translated by Cardinal Francis Barberini, nephew of Pope Urban VIII. as he said, 'in order to diffuse among the faithful the fertilizing and vivifying seeds he found within it.' He dedicated this translation to his own soul, to make it, as he says, 'redder than purple at the sight of the virtues of this Gentile.' The strong pages act like a tonic upon the spirit, and give the reader courage to endure.
REVERIES OF A BACHELOR; or, A Book of the Heart. By IK. MARVEL. A new edition. New York: Charles Scribner, 124 Grand street.
DREAM LIFE: A Fable of the Seasons. By IK. MARVEL. A new edition. Charles Scribner, 124 Grand street, New York.
The old type of these books has from constant use grown so worn and battered as to be unfit for further use, and it has been found necessary from the constant demand, to issue entirely new editions. And beautiful editions indeed we have before us. Print and paper alike excellent, and pleasant binding in vivid green and lustrous gold. It were surely useless to commend Ik. Marvel now to our readers, since no one ever attained to more rapid popularity. His sketches are always graceful and genial, his style of singular elegance. He wins his way to our heart and awakens our interest we scarcely know how, for he is marvellously unpretending and simple in his delineations of life. Our author says in his Preface to the new edition of the 'Reveries of a Bachelor:' 'The houses where I was accustomed to linger, show other faces at the windows; bright and cheery faces, it is true; but they are looking over at a young fellow upon the other side of the way.'
We would whisper to him: 'Nay, not so. Humanity is ever grateful to its true and earnest friends, and have borne thee over in triumph to the fair clime of the Ideal, where undying affections await thee; and ever-yearning loves shall keep thee ever young. Spring flowers are forever blooming in our hearts as thou breathest upon them, and age is but a name for thy immortal youth, O friend of dreamy hours and tender reveries.'
MY FARM OF EDGEWOOD: A Country Book. By the Author of 'Reveries of a Bachelor.' Eighth Edition. New York: Charles Scribner.
A book of farm experience from Ik. Marvel cannot fail to awaken the interest of the community. If the author sees with the eye of the poet, his imagination is no ignis-fatuus fire to mislead and bewilder him when moving among the practical things of life. He begins with the beginning, the search and finding of the farm. Every page is pregnant with valuable hints to the farmer as well as to the gentleman and scholar. The book is a real picture of country life, its pains, trials, pursuits, and pleasures, and the most varied information is given with respect to what it might be made, what it should become. A single glance at the varied table of contents would be sufficient to convince the reader of the great interest of the topics so pleasantly treated in the volume before us. We extract a few of them: Around the House; My Bees; What to do with the Farm; A Sunny Frontage; Laborers; Farm Buildings; The Cattle; The Hill Land; The Farm Flat; Soiling; An Old Orchard; The Pears; My Garden; Fine Tilth makes Fine Crops; Seeding and Trenching; How a Garden should look; The lesser Fruits; Grapes; Plums, Apricots, and Peaches; The Poultry; Is it Profitable? Debit and Credit; Money-making Farmers; Does Farming Pay? Agricultural Chemistry; Isolation of Farmers; Dickering; The Bright Side; Place for Science; Æsthetics of the Business; Walks; Shrubbery; Rural Decoration; Flowers; L'Envoi.
LETTERS TO THE JONESES. By TIMOTHY TITCOMB, Author of 'Letters to Young People,' 'Gold Foil,' 'Lessons in Life,' etc., etc. Eighth edition. Charles Scribner, 124 Grand street, New York.
A work evincing strong practical common sense, and acute discrimination. Our author is a poet, but no mysticism or sentimentalism disfigures his pages; he is a clear, keen observer and analyzer of human nature, lashing its vices, discerning its foibles, and reading its subterfuges and petty vanities. He says: 'The only apologies which he offers for appearing as a censor and a teacher, are his love of men, his honest wish to do them good, and his sad consciousness that his nominal criticisms of others are too often actual condemnations of himself.'
He addresses himself in a series of letters to the Joneses of Jonesville, each Jones addressed being a typal character and such as is of frequent occurrence in our midst. Homely and excellent advice, appropriate to their faults and needs, is administered to each individual Jones in turn, as he falls under the salutary but sharp scalpel of this keen dissector. There are twenty-four letters, consequently twenty-four studies from life, true to reality and detailed as a Dutch picture. We feel our own faults and foibles bared before us as we read. While these pages are very interesting to the general reader, the divine may learn from them how best in his preaching to aim his shafts at personal follies, and the novelist find models for his living portraitures and varied pictures.
THE WATER BABIES: a Fairy Tale for a Land Baby. By the Rev. Charles Kingsley, Author of 'Two Years Ago,' 'Amyas Leigh,' etc. With illustrations by J. Noel Paten, B. S. A. Boston: T. O. H. P. Burnham. New York: O. S. Felt, 36 Walker St., 1864.
A lively tale, dedicated to the author's youngest son, and calculated to entertain the elders who read aloud, as well as the children who listen. There are in it many tender touches, and numberless satiric blows administered in Mr. Kingsley's own peculiar way.
ADVENTURES OF DICK ONSLOW AMONG THE RED SKINS. A Book for Boys. With Illustrations. Edited by William H. G. Kingston. Boston: J. E. Tilton & Co. 1864.
Stories of the Western wilderness, and of life among the Indians, are sure to meet with favor in the eyes of American boys, the descendants of a race of pioneers.
MY DAYS AND NIGHTS ON THE BATTLE FIELD. A Book for Boys. By 'Carleton.' Boston: Ticknor & Fields, 1864. For sale by D. Appleton & Co., New York.
This is a useful book, containing sundry items of military information, and many vivid descriptions of land and naval engagements during the present war--all interesting to young people.
LOUIE'S LAST TERM AT ST. MARY'S. By the author of 'Rutledge,' 'The Sutherlands,' 'Frank Warrington,' etc. New York: Carleton, publisher, 413 Broadway, 1864.
A book of school life, intended not less for teachers than for the youthful maidens whose various typal forms act, love, hate, and suffer through its very natural and interesting pages.
MILTON'S PARADISE LOST. In Twelve Books. New York: Frank H. Dodd, 506 Broadway, 1863.
The text is a literal reprint from Keightley's Library edition. Print, binding, and size all render the tasteful little book a pleasant form in which to possess the greatest epic in the English tongue.
THE GAME OF DRAUGHTS. By HENRY SPAYTH, Author of 'American Draught Player.' Buffalo: Printed for the Author. For sale by Sinclair Tousey, New York.
This book has been pronounced by the highest authorities on checkers, both in the Old and New World, the best work of the kind ever written. It is said to contain 'lucid instructions for beginners, laws of the game, diagrams, the score of 364 games, together with a series of novel, instructive, and ingenious critical positions.'
PECULIAR. A Tale of the Great Transition. By EPES SARGENT. New York: Carleton, publisher, 413 Broadway.
Mr. Sargent has given us a tale of the times--his scenes are laid in our midst. He grapples with the questions of the hour, handling even Spiritualism as he passes on. Abraham Lincoln, Jefferson Davis, George Saunders, Senator Wigfall, &c., are sketched in these pages. The story is founded on the social revelations which Gen. Butler, Gov. Shepley, Gen. Ullman, the Provost-Marshal, &c., authenticated in New Orleans after the occupation of that city by the United States forces. These materials have been skilfully handled by the author of 'Peculiar,' and the result is a novel of graphic power and sustained interest. It will make its own way, as it has the elements of success. We must, however, give a caution to our readers: 'Kunnle Delaney Hyde' and 'Carberry Ratcliff' are true as _individuals_ of the South, but it would not be fair to regard them as _typal_ characters. Let the magnanimous North be just, even to its enemies. Slavery is a great wrong, as well as a great mistake in political economy; men are by no means good enough to be trusted with irresponsible power; slaves have been treated with savage cruelty, and the institution is indeed demoralizing: all this, and a great deal more, we readily grant our writer; and yet we cannot help wishing he had shown us something to love, to hope for, in our enemy. He makes an earnest and able protest against a great wrong, and as such we gladly accept his book; but as a work of art, we think his tale would have held a higher rank had he given us some of the softer lights of the picture. In this we may be wrong, for a dread Nemesis stalks even through the plains of the Ideal. To stand up truly for the Right, we must comprehend the Wrong; meanwhile an important end is answered. We are taught, a lesson we should all learn, compassion for the negro, and enabled to understand some of his latent traits. For the ability and tenderness with which this has been done, we have reason to thank Mr. Sargent. The tale of Estelle is one of pathos and beauty, and 'Peculiar,' the negro, shines in it like a black diamond of the purest water. The book cannot fail to interest all who trace the cause of the mighty transition through which we are passing to its true source, the heart of man.
POEMS BY JEAN INGELOW. Boston: Roberts Brothers.
Many of these poems are vague and incomplete, others evince maturity of thought, and are of singular beauty. We are quite charmed with the 'Songs of Seven.' It is highly original and tender. The rhythms vary with the chimes of the different ages, always in tune with the joys and sorrows sung. The poem is full of nature and simple pathos. There is a dewy freshness on these leaves, as if a young soul were thus pouring its spring carols into song, Jean Ingelow has been highly commended by the English critics. In regard to her poems the _London Athenæum_ says: 'Here is the power to fill common earthly facts with heavenly fire; a power to gladden wisely and to sadden nobly; to shake the heart, and bring moist tears into the eyes through which the spirit may catch its loftiest light.'
ALICE OF MONMOUTH, an Idyl of the Great War, with Other Poems. By EDMUND C. STEDMAN. New York: Carleton, publisher, 413 Broadway. London: Sampson Low, Son & Company.
With the many stirring events passing around us, the heroic deeds enacted in our midst, it is fitting that the poet should begin to find his scenes in his own country. Mr. Stedman has so done in his 'Alice of Monmonth.' The story of the Poem leads us from the fruit fields and plains of New Jersey, from love scenes and songs, to the din of battle, and the sufferings of hospitals in Virginia. There are various changes rung in the rhythm, so that it never becomes monotonous; and many of the descriptive passages are full of beauty.
DEEP WATERS. A Novel. By ANNA H. DRURY, Author of 'Misrepresentation,' 'Friends and Fortune,' &c. Boston: Published by T. O. H. P. Burnham, No. 143 Washington street. New York: H. Dexter Hamilton & Co., 113 Nassau street. O. S. Felt, 36 Walker street.
Never having before met with a work by Miss Drury, we were quite surprised to find 'Deep Waters' a novel of so much power. The plot is original, and well managed throughout, the characters well conceived and sustained, the morals entirely unobjectionable, the style pure, simple, and unaffected, and the interest uninterrupted. The tale is indeed one of singular beauty.
IN WAR TIME, and other Poems. By JOHN GREENLEAF WHITTIER. Ticknor & Fields, Boston. D. Appleton & Co., New York.
If bold, varied, musical rhythm; high and tender thought; hatred of oppression; warm sympathy with suffering; correct and flowing diction; intense love of nature and power to depict her in all her moods, joined with a glowing imagination and devout soul, entitle a man to be classed with the great poets, then may we justly claim that glorious rank for John Greenleaf Whittier. All honor to him, who, while he charms our fancy and warms our heart, strengthens our souls, ennobles our views, and bears us, on the wings of his pure imagination, to the gates of heaven. We are ready to accord him the highest rank among our _living_ poets. No affectations deform his lines, no conceits his thoughts, no puerilities his descriptions. His 'Huskers,' should be graven on every American heart; his 'Andrew Rykman's Prayer' on that of every Christian. We regard this poem as one of the noblest of the age. Humble devotion and heavenly grace are in its every line. We pity the being who could read it unmoved. We deem 'the world within his reach' is indeed
'Somewhat the better for his living, And gladder for his human speech.'
It seems useless to us to commend this volume to our readers; the name of its author must be all-sufficient to attract due attention. Has not this truly national and patriotic poet a home in every American heart? If not, he deserves it, and we for one offer him our grateful homage. Not only shall the refined and cultivated in the coming ages praise the noble singer, but the 'dark sad millions,' whose long 'night of wrong is brightening into day,' shall bless him, as,
'With oar strokes timing to their song, They weave in simple lays The pathos of remembered wrong, The hope of better days,-- The triumph note that Miriam sung, The joy of uncaged birds: Softening with Afric's mellow song Their broken Saxon words.'
MENTAL HYGIENE. By J. RAY, M. D. Ticknor & Fields, Boston.
This work is not offered as a systematic treatise on Mental Hygiene. Its purpose is to expose the bad effects of many customs prevalent in modern society, and to present practical suggestions relative to the attainment of mental soundness and vigor. Many important facts are clearly stated, and sound deductions drawn from them. The law of sympathy is clearly traced in the propagation of tastes, aptitudes, and habits. Many curious and startling examples of its effects are detailed. The author traces the laws of mind, exhibits the consequences that flow from obeying or disobeying them, in a succinct and able manner. The art of preserving the health of the mind against incidents and influences calculated to deteriorate its qualities; the management of the bodily powers in regard to exercise, rest, food, clothing, climate; the laws of breeding, the government of the passions, the sympathy with current emotions and opinions, the discipline of the intellect--all come within the scope of the work. It is designed for the general reader, and will interest all who care for the preservation of mental or physical health.
The subject is one of great importance in our excitable country, where so many minds are overtasked, so many brains too early stimulated, and insanity so rapidly on the increase. We heartily commend it to all readers interested in the subjects of which it treats.
* * * * *
[Continuation of Literary Notices prepared for the present issue unavoidably crowded out; they will however appear in our next number.]
* * * * *
 Since the above was written, the speech of Earl Russell, in Scotland, indicates a disposition on the part of the British Government to do us justice, at least in the future; and it is to be hoped that a satisfactory adjustment of all differences on the whole matter may be peacefully made.
 In the 'Letters to Professor Morse,' in the November number of THE CONTINENTAL, a sentence on page 521, relating to the Confiscation Law, was left incomplete. The whole sentence should have been as follows: 'As to the _Confiscation_ Acts--it is enough to say that the Constitution gives Congress power 'to declare the punishment of treason';--_or if the constitutionality of the Confiscation law cannot be concluded from the terms of that grant--about which there may be a doubt--it is undoubtedly contained in the war powers vested in Congress._'
I have here put in italics the clause omitted in that article, and hope my readers will insert it in the proper place. The sentence, as thus completed, contains all I cared then to say on the point--my object being mainly to vindicate the justice and conformity to public law of the policy of confiscation. In the present article I have gone more at length into the question of the constitutionality of the law of Congress, and have come to the conclusions herein expressed.
 Our whole area is more than sixty times as large as England.
 One hundred years have elapsed since that treaty, and the London _Times_ proclaims that England will not fight for Canada now.
 See Alison's History, chap. xxxvii, p. 269.
 Kinglake's Crimea Invasion, p. 250.
 See Kinglake's remarks on the design of Louis Napoleon in making St. Arnaud commander-in-chief of the French army in the Crimean war, p. 321.
 Written in August, 1863.
 The following story, in substance, is to be found in Joinville's Memoirs.
 There may be extreme cases, few and far between, when the evil contained in laws may justify their overthrow by revolutionary force--witness our own separation from Great Britain; but the doctrine is one most unsafe when lightly broached, and we doubt not the Constitution and laws of the United States offer a basis broad enough for the legal as well as the most judicious mode of settlement under the present difficulties.--ED. CON.