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Atlantic Monthly, Vol. 8, No. 46, August, 1861 by Various

Part 4 out of 5

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to our Lady's girdle and shoe-strings and thimble and work-basket; and
when one gets through with our Lady, then one has it all to go over
about her mother, the blessed Saint Anne (may her name be ever
praised!). I mean no disrespect, but I am certain the saints are
reasonable folk and must see that poor folk must live, and, in order to
live, must think of something else now and then besides _them_. That's
my mind, brother."

"Well, well, sister," said the monk, placidly, "no doubt you are right.
There shall be no quarrelling in the Lord's vineyard; every one hath his
manner and place, and you follow the lead of the blessed Saint Martha,
which is holy and honorable."

"Honorable! I should think it might be!" said Elsie. "I warrant me, if
everything had been left to Saint Mary's doings, our Blessed Lord and
the Twelve Apostles might have gone supperless. But it's Martha gets all
the work, and Mary all the praise."

"Quite right, quite right," said the monk, abstractedly, while he stood
out in the moonlight busily sketching the fountain. By just such a
fountain, he thought, our Lady might have washed the clothes of the
Blessed Babe. Doubtless there was some such in the court of her
dwelling, all mossy and with sweet waters forever singing a song of
praise therein.

Elsie was heard within the house meanwhile making energetic commotion,
rattling pots and pans, and producing decided movements among the simple
furniture of the dwelling, probably with a view to preparing for the
night's repose of the guest.

Meanwhile Agnes, kneeling before the shrine, was going through with
great feeling and tenderness the various manuals and movements of
nightly devotion which her own religious fervor and the zeal of her
spiritual advisers had enjoined upon her. Christianity, when it entered
Italy, came among a people every act of whose life was colored and
consecrated by symbolic and ritual acts of heathenism. The only possible
way to uproot this was in supplanting it by Christian ritual and
symbolism equally minute and pervading. Besides, in those ages when the
Christian preacher was utterly destitute of all the help which the press
now gives in keeping under the eye of converts the great inspiring
truths of religion, it was one of the first offices of every saint whose
preaching stirred the heart of the people, to devise symbolic forms,
signs, and observances, by which the mobile and fluid heart of the
multitude might crystallize into habits of devout remembrance. The
rosary, the crucifix, the shrine, the banner, the procession, were
catechisms and tracts invented for those who could not read, wherein
the substance of pages was condensed and gave itself to the eye and
the touch. Let us not, from the height of our day, with the better
appliances which a universal press gives us, sneer at the homely rounds
of the ladder by which the first multitudes of the Lord's followers
climbed heavenward.

If there seemed somewhat mechanical in the number of times which Agnes
repeated the "Hail, Mary!"--in the prescribed number of times she rose
or bowed or crossed herself or laid her forehead in low humility on
the flags of the pavement, it was redeemed by the earnest fervor which
inspired each action. However foreign to the habits of a Northern mind
or education such a mode of prayer may be, these forms to her were all
helpful and significant, her soul was borne by them Godward,--and often,
as she prayed, it seemed to her that she could feel the dissolving of
all earthly things, and the pressing nearer and nearer of the great
cloud of witnesses who ever surround the humblest member of Christ's
mystical body.

"Sweet loving hearts around her beat,
Sweet helping hands are stirred,
And palpitates the veil between
With breathings almost heard."

Certain English writers, looking entirely from a worldly and
philosophical standpoint, are utterly at a loss to account for the power
which certain Italian women of obscure birth came to exercise in the
councils of nations merely by the force of a mystical piety; but the
Northern mind of Europe is entirely unfitted to read and appreciate the
psychological religious phenomena of Southern races. The temperament
which in our modern days has been called the mediistic, and which with
us is only exceptional, is more or less a race-peculiarity of Southern
climates, and gives that objectiveness to the conception of spiritual
things from which grew up a whole ritual and a whole world of religious
Art. The Southern saints and religious artists were seers,--men and
women of that peculiar fineness and delicacy of temperament which made
them especially apt to receive and project outward the truths of the
spiritual life; they were in that state of "divine madness" which is
favorable to the most intense conception of the poet and artist, and
something of this influence descended through all the channels of the

When Agnes rose from prayer, she had a serene, exalted expression, like
one who walks with some unseen excellence and meditates on some untold
joy. As she was crossing the court to come towards her uncle, her eye
was attracted by the sparkle of something on the ground, and, stooping,
she picked up a heart-shaped locket, curiously made of a large amethyst,
and fastened with a golden arrow. As she pressed upon this, the locket
opened and disclosed to her view a folded paper. Her mood at this moment
was so calm and elevated that she received the incident with no start or
shiver of the nerves. To her it seemed a Providential token, which would
probably bring to her some further knowledge of this mysterious being
who had been so especially confided to her intercessions.

Agnes had learned of the Superior of the Convent the art of reading
writing, which would never have been the birthright of the peasant-girl
in her times, and the moon had that dazzling clearness which revealed
every letter. She stood by the parapet, one hand lying in the white
blossoming alyssum which filled its marble crevices, while she read and
seriously pondered the contents of the paper.


Sweet saint, sweet lady, may a sinful soul
Approach thee with an offering of love,
And lay at thy dear feet a weary heart
That loves thee, as it loveth God above!
If blessed Mary may without a stain
Receive the love of sinners most defiled,
If the fair saints that walk with her in white
Refuse not love from earth's most guilty child,
Shouldst thou, sweet lady, then that love deny
Which all-unworthy at thy feet is laid?
Ah, gentlest angel, be not more severe
Than the dear heavens unto a loving prayer!
Howe'er unworthily that prayer be said,
Let thine acceptance be like that on high!

There might have been times in Agnes's life when the reception of this
note would have astonished and perplexed her; but the whole strain of
thought and conversation this evening had been in exalted and poetical
regions, and the soft stillness of the hour, the wonderful calmness
and clearness of the moonlight, all seemed in unison with the strange
incident that had occurred, and with the still stranger tenor of the
paper. The soft melancholy, half-religious tone of it was in accordance
with the whole undercurrent of her life, and prevented that start of
alarm which any homage of a more worldly form might have excited. It
is not to be wondered at, therefore, that she read it many times with
pauses and intervals of deep thought, and then with a movement of
natural and girlish curiosity examined the rich jewel which had inclosed
it. At last, seeming to collect her thoughts, she folded the paper and
replaced it in its sparkling casket, and, unlocking the door of the
shrine, laid the gem with its inclosure beneath the lily-spray, as
another offering to the Madonna. "Dear Mother," she said, "if indeed it
be so, may he rise from loving me to loving thee and thy dear Son, who
is Lord of all! Amen!" Thus praying, she locked the door and turned
thoughtfully to her repose, leaving the monk pacing up and down in the
moonlit garden.

Meanwhile the Cavalier was standing on the velvet mossy bridge which
spanned the stream at the bottom of the gorge, watching the play of
moonbeams on layer after layer of tremulous silver foliage in the clefts
of the black, rocky walls on either side. The moon rode so high in the
deep violet-colored sky, that her beams came down almost vertically,
making green and translucent the leaves through which they passed,
and throwing strongly marked shadows here and there on the
flower-embroidered moss of the old bridge. There was that solemn,
plaintive stillness in the air which makes the least sound--the hum
of an insect's wing, the cracking of a twig, the patter of falling
water--so distinct and impressive.

It needs not to be explained how the Cavalier, following the steps of
Agnes and her grandmother at a distance, had threaded the path by which
they ascended to their little sheltered nook,--how he had lingered
within hearing of Agnes's voice, and, moving among the surrounding rocks
and trees, and drawing nearer and nearer as evening shadows drew on, had
listened to the conversation, hoping that some unexpected chance might
gain him a moment's speech with his enchantress.

The reader will have gathered from the preceding chapter that the
conception which Agnes had formed as to the real position of her admirer
from the reports of Giulietta was false, and that in reality he was
not Lord Adrian, the brother of the King, but an outcast and landless
representative of one branch of an ancient and noble Roman family, whose
estates had been confiscated and whose relations had been murdered, to
satisfy the boundless rapacity of Caesar Borgia, the infamous favorite
of the notorious Alexander VI.

The natural temperament of Agostino Sarelli had been rather that of the
poet and artist than of the warrior. In the beautiful gardens of his
ancestral home it had been his delight to muse over the pages of Dante
and Ariosto, to sing to the lute and to write in the facile flowing
rhyme of his native Italian the fancies of the dream-land of his youth.

He was the younger brother of the family,--the favorite son and
companion of his mother, who, being of a tender and religious nature,
had brought him up in habits of the most implicit reverence and devotion
for the institutions of his fathers.

The storm which swept over his house, and blasted all his worldly
prospects, blasted, too, and withered all those religious hopes and
beliefs by which alone sensitive and affectionate natures can be healed
of the wounds of adversity without leaving distortion or scar. For his
house had been overthrown, his elder brother cruelly and treacherously
murdered, himself and his retainers robbed and cast out, by a man who
had the entire sanction and support of the Head of the Christian
Church, the Vicar of Christ on Earth. So said the current belief of his
times,--the faith in which his sainted mother died; and the difficulty
with which a man breaks away from such ties is in exact proportion to
the refinement and elevation of his nature.

In the mind of our young nobleman there was a double current. He was a
Roman, and the traditions of his house went back to the time of Mutius
Scaevola; and his old nurse had often told him that grand story of how
the young hero stood with his right hand in the fire rather than betray
his honor. If the legends of Rome's ancient heroes cause the pulses of
colder climes and alien races to throb with sympathetic heroism, what
must their power be to one who says, "_These were my fathers_"? Agostino
read Plutarch, and thought, "_I_, too, am a Roman!"--and then he looked
on the power that held sway over the Tarpeian Rock and the halls of the
old "Sanctus Senatus," and asked himself, "By what right does it hold
these?" He knew full well that in the popular belief all those hardy
and virtuous old Romans whose deeds of heroism so transported him were
burning in hell for the crime of having been born before Christ; and he
asked himself, as he looked on the horrible and unnatural luxury
and vice which defiled the Papal chair and ran riot through every
ecclesiastical order, whether such men, without faith, without
conscience, and without even decency, were indeed the only authorized
successors of Christ and his Apostles?

To us, of course, from our modern stand-point, the question has an easy
solution,--but not so in those days, when the Christianity of the known
world was in the Romish Church, and when the choice seemed to be between
that and infidelity. Not yet had Luther flared aloft the bold, cheery
torch which showed the faithful how to disentangle Christianity from
Ecclesiasticism. Luther in those days was a star lying low in the gray
horizon of a yet unawakened dawn.

All through Italy at this time there was the restless throbbing and
pulsating, the aimless outreach of the popular heart, which marks
the decline of one cycle of religious faith and calls for some great
awakening and renewal. Savonarola, the priest and prophet of this dumb
desire, was beginning to heave a great heart of conflict towards that
mighty struggle with the vices and immoralities of his time in which he
was yet to sink a martyr; and even now his course was beginning to be
obstructed by the full energy of the whole aroused serpent brood which
hissed and knotted in the holy places of Rome.

Here, then, was our Agostino, with a nature intensely fervent and
poetic, every fibre of whose soul and nervous system had been from
childhood skilfully woven and intertwined with the ritual and faith of
his fathers, yearning towards the grave of his mother, yearning towards
the legends of saints and angels with which she had lulled his cradle
slumbers and sanctified his childhood's pillow, and yet burning with the
indignation of a whole line of old Roman ancestors against an injustice
and oppression wrought under the full approbation of the head of that
religion. Half his nature was all the while battling the other half.
Would he be Roman, or would he be Christian? All the Roman in him said
"No!" when he thought of submission to the patent and open injustice and
fiendish tyranny which had disinherited him, slain his kindred, and held
its impure reign by torture and by blood. He looked on the splendid
snow-crowned mountains whose old silver senate engirdles Rome with an
eternal and silent majesty of presence, and he thought how often in
ancient times they had been a shelter to free blood that would not
endure oppression; and so gathering to his banner the crushed and
scattered retainers of his father's house, and offering refuge and
protection to multitudes of others whom the crimes and rapacities of the
Borgias had stripped of possessions and means of support, he fled to
a fastness in the mountains between Rome and Naples, and became an
independent chieftain, living by his sword.

The rapacity, cruelty, and misgovernment of the various regular
authorities of Italy at this time made brigandage a respectable and
honored institution in the eyes of the people, though it was ostensibly
banned both by Pope and Prince. Besides, in the multitude of contending
factions which were every day wrangling for supremacy, it soon became
apparent, even to the ruling authorities, that a band of fighting-men
under a gallant leader, advantageously posted in the mountains and
understanding all their passes, was a power of no small importance to
be employed on one side or the other; and therefore it happened,
that, though nominally outlawed or excommunicated, they were secretly
protected on both sides, with a view to securing, their assistance in
critical turns of affairs.

Among the common people of the towns and villages their relations were
of the most comfortable kind, their depredations being chiefly confined
to the rich and prosperous, who, as they wrung their wealth out of the
people, were not considered particular objects of compassion when the
same kind of high-handed treatment was extended toward themselves.

The most spirited and brave of the young peasantry, if they wished to
secure the smiles of the girls of their neighborhood, and win hearts
past redemption, found no surer avenue to favor than in joining the
brigands. The leaders of these bands sometimes piqued themselves on
elegant tastes and accomplishments; and one of them is said to have sent
to the poet Tasso, in his misfortunes and exile, an offer of honorable
asylum and protection in his mountain-fortress.

Agostino Sarelli saw himself, in fact, a powerful chief; and there were
times when the splendid scenery of his mountain-fastness, its inspiring
air, its wild eagle-like grandeur, independence, and security, gave him
a proud contentment, and he looked at his sword and loved it as a bride.
But then again there were moods in which he felt all that yearning and
disquiet of soul which the man of wide and tender moral organization
must feel who has had his faith shaken in the religion of his fathers.
To such a man the quarrel with his childhood's faith is a never-ending
anguish; especially is it so with a religion so objective, so pictorial,
and so interwoven with the whole physical and nervous nature of man, as
that which grew up and flowered in modern Italy.

Agostino was like a man who lives in an eternal struggle of
self-justification,--his reason forever going over and over with its
plea before his regretful and never-satisfied heart, which was drawn
every hour of the day by some chain of memory towards the faith whose
visible administrators he detested with the whole force of his moral
being. When the vesper-bell, with its plaintive call, rose amid the
purple shadows of the olive-silvered mountains,--when the distant voices
of chanting priest and choir reached him solemnly from afar,--when
he looked into a church with its cloudy pictures of angels, and its
window-panes flaming with venerable forms of saints and martyrs,--it
roused a yearning anguish, a pain and conflict, which all the efforts
of his reason could not subdue. How to be a Christian and yet defy the
authorized Head of the Christian Church, or how to be a Christian
and recognize foul men of obscene and rapacious deeds as Christ's
representatives, was the inextricable Gordian knot, which his sword
could not divide. He dared not approach the Sacrament, he dared not
pray, and sometimes he felt wild impulses to tread down in riotous
despair every fragment of a religious belief which seemed to live in his
heart only to torture him. He had heard priests scoff over the wafer
they consecrated,--he had known them to mingle poison for rivals in the
sacramental wine,--and yet God had kept silence and not struck them
dead; and like the Psalmist of old he said, "Verily, I have cleansed my
heart in vain, and washed my hands in innocency. Is there a God that
judgeth in the earth?"

The first time he saw Agnes bending like a flower in the slanting
evening sunbeams by the old gate of Sorrento, while he stood looking
down the kneeling street and striving to hold his own soul in the
sarcastic calm of utter indifference, he felt himself struck to the
heart by an influence he could not define. The sight of that young face,
with its clear, beautiful lines, and its tender fervor, recalled a
thousand influences of the happiest and purest hours of his life, and
drew him with an attraction he vainly strove to hide under an air of
mocking gallantry.

When she looked him in the face with such grave, surprised eyes of
innocent confidence, and promised to pray for him, he felt a remorseful
tenderness as if he had profaned a shrine. All that was passionate,
poetic, and romantic in his nature was awakened to blend itself in a
strange mingling of despairing sadness and of tender veneration about
this sweet image of perfect purity and faith. Never does love strike so
deep and immediate a root as in a sorrowful and desolated nature;
there it has nothing to dispute the soil, and soon fills it with its
interlacing fibres.

In this case it was not merely Agnes that he sighed for, but she stood
to him as the fair symbol of that life-peace, that rest of soul which he
had lost, it seemed to him, forever.

"Behold this pure, believing child," he said to himself,--"a true member
of that blessed Church to which thou art a rebel! How peacefully this
lamb walketh the old ways trodden by saints and martyrs, while thou
art an infidel and unbeliever!" And then a stern voice within him
answered,--"What then? Is the Holy Ghost indeed alone dispensed through
the medium of Alexander and his scarlet crew of cardinals? Hath the
power to bind and loose in Christ's Church been indeed given to whoever
can buy it with the wages of robbery and oppression? Why does every
prayer and pious word of the faithful reproach me? Why is God silent? Or
is there any God? Oh, Agnes, Agnes! dear lily! fair lamb! lead a sinner
into the green pastures where thou restest!"

So wrestled the strong nature, tempest-tossed in its strength,--so slept
the trustful, blessed in its trust,--then in Italy, as now in all lands.


Exposed as we are to treason at home and jealousy abroad, it becomes the
policy as well as the duty of our country to prepare with promptitude
for every contingency by availing itself of all improvements in the
art of war. Superior weapons double the courage and efficiency of our
troops, carry dismay to the foe, and diminish the cost and delays
of warfare. The match-lock and the field-piece in their rudest form
triumphed over the shield, the spear, and the javelin, while the
long-bow, once so formidable, is now rarely drawn, except by those who
cater for sensation-journals. The king's-arm and artillery of the last
war cannot stand before the Minie rifle and Whitworth cannon any more
than the sickle can keep pace with the McCormick reaper, or the slow
coach with the railway-car or the telegraph. Mail-clad steamers,
impervious to shells and red-hot balls, and almost, if not quite,
invulnerable by solid shot and balls from rifled cannon at the distance
of a hundred yards, have been launched upon the deep, and already form
an important part of the navies of France and England. They have been
adopted by Russia, Austria, and Spain; and yet, although our country
furnishes iron which has no superior,--although it has taken the lead in
the steamship, the telegraph, and the railway,--although at this moment
it requires the mail-clad steamer more than any other nation, to relieve
its fortresses, to recover the cotton ports, and to defend its great
cities from foreign aggression, not a single one has yet been launched,
or even been authorized by Congress. For years we have had no more
efficient Secretary of the Navy, or more able and energetic chiefs of
the bureaus, if we may judge from what has already been accomplished;
but it depends on Congress to give the proper authority to construct a
mail-clad navy, and to provide the necessary funds.

The importance of defensive armor has ever been felt. The warriors of
ancient times went to the field in coats-of-mail, and both Homer and
Virgil dilate upon the exquisite carving of the shield. The hauberk and
corselet were used by the Crusaders, and the chain-armor of Milan was
nearly or quite impervious to the sword and spear. Mexico and Peru were
won in great part by coats-of-mail. They were used until gunpowder
changed the whole course of war,--and the Chevalier Bayard, that knight
"_sans peur et sans reproche_," who had borne himself bravely and almost
without a scar in a hundred battles, in his last Italian campaign, as
he was borne from the field, after being struck down by a cannon-ball,
mourned that the days of Chivalry were ended. And Shakspeare tells us
that this villanous saltpetre had prevented at least one sensitive
gentleman from being a soldier.

Defensive armor is still used by tribes who are destitute of powder; and
Barth and Barkie, in their African expeditions, found Moorish horsemen
pressing down from the North into the interior of the Soudan, arrayed
in coats-of-mail of the same description with that which figured in the

In the naval contests of the last century armed ships were inferior in
size to those of modern times, and their tough oak sides were not easily
pierced by the six- and nine-pound balls then in general use, and
twelve-pounders were considered of unusual dimension. During the war
between France and America, a merchantman, armed with nine-pounders,
actually beat off a sloop-of-war and several Spanish privateers; but now
frigates, and even sloops-of-war, are armed with Dahlgren guns of
eight- to eleven-inch bore, which throw balls of sixty to one hundred
pounds,--also with superior rifled cannon. Whitworth and Armstrong guns
are in use that throw shot or shell distances of three to five miles,
which "the wooden walls" of neither England nor America are able to

We have recently seen the Freeborn, the Pawnee, and the Harriet Lane,
when assailing the rebel batteries on the James and the Potomac,
compelled to take positions at the distance of two miles, and to keep
constantly moving, and compelled consequently to throw away most of
their costly ammunition in uncertain shots, at the same time that they
were constantly exposed to shots which might destroy their engines and
explode their boilers. There was no lack of courage on the part of their
gallant officers; but, from the insufficiency of the vessels, they were
obliged to use a wise discretion, and to take all reasonable precautions
for the safety of their ships, so important and yet so inadequate to the
service of the country. And when Fort Sumter was about to fall, and when
a single shot-proof gun-boat could have defied the rebel batteries, and
without the loss of a man have conveyed to the fortress stores for six
months and a whole battalion of troops, that single gun-boat,--a mere
gun-boat, which need not have passed within one thousand yards of any
batteries on her way,--could not be commanded by the Government, and the
gallant Anderson was compelled to lower to treason that flag whose fall
has aroused the nation to arms.

The earliest experiments upon the power of iron plate to resist the
force of cannon-balls appear to have been made in France by M. de
Montgery, an officer in the French navy, as far back as 1810. He
proposed to cover the sides of ships with several plates of iron, of the
aggregate thickness of four inches, which he alleged would resist the
force of any projectile. But Napoleon had not confidence in his navy; he
had lost the battles of the Nile and Trafalgar; ever successful on the
land, his ships had been swept by Nelson from the deep; and he
had neither time nor disposition to investigate new plans for the
restoration of the navy, or even to take up Fulton's new discovery. It
was reserved for the third Napoleon to develop the original idea of a
Frenchman, and thus to place France on the sea nearly or quite upon a
footing with England.

Some twelve years later, General Paixhans, who gave his name to the
large guns of modern times, (although their prior invention was claimed
by the late Colonel Bomford,) again commended plate-armor for ships to
his Government; but his advice was not then adopted.

With the improvement of cannon the importance of plate-armor became more
and more apparent; and at length Mr. Stevens, under the sanction of our
Government, instituted a series of experiments upon iron plates, and
soon after commenced building an immense floating battery for the
defence of New York, at Hoboken, which is still unfinished, but which,
it is rumored, will, if Congress appropriates the means, be completed
the present season.

Stevens was the first to carry out the idea of a mail-clad steamer; and
it is alone due to the apathy of the late Administration, which has
neglected our navy while indulging in its Southern proclivities, that
our nation has not the honor of launching the first steamer in a
coat-of-mail. The frame, however, of such a vessel has been long in
place, the hull is nearly complete, the engines are far advanced, and
the finishing stroke may soon be given.

Stevens, in the course of his experiments, made the important discovery,
that a single plate of boiler-iron, five-eighths of an inch in
thickness, and weighing less than twenty-five pounds to the superficial
foot[A], when nailed to the side of a ship, was impenetrable by shell
and red-hot shot, the two missiles most dangerous to wooden walls. When
a solid shot strikes the side of a wooden ship, it passes in and usually
stops before it reaches the opposite side. The fibres of the wood yield
and close up behind it, and it often happens, from the reunion of the
fibres, that it is difficult to find the place perforated by the ball,
and if found, it is often easy to remedy the injury by a simple plug.
But if a red-hot shot enter the ship, it may imbed itself in the wood or
coils of cordage or sails, or reach the magazine, and thus destroy the
whole structure, while the shell may explode within the ship and carry
destruction to both men and vessel. If, then, the iron-plate had
answered no other purpose, the discovery by Stevens of its capacity to
resist the two most formidable weapons of his day would alone have been
of great value to the country; but he went farther, and demonstrated by
actual construction the idea of Montgery, that successive plates of iron
would resist the cold spherical shot thrown by the best artillery, and
his floating battery or frigate is protected by plate within plate of
iron armor.

[Footnote A: Sheet-iron plates of one inch in thickness weigh forty
pounds per superficial foot.]

While our Government slept upon its unfinished frigate, and forgot
the honor and interest of the country in the lap of the siren of the
South,--of that South which sixty years since broke down the navy of
John Adams, and left us to encounter the embargo and war with England
without a navy, or, at most, with a few frigates which sufficed to show
what the navy of Adams might have effected,--the honor of launching the
first iron-clad steamer, the Gloire, was resigned to the French. The
first Napoleon made the army of France the best in Europe, if not in the
world; the third, while he maintains the standing of the army, aspires
to give the same position to her navy.

In 1854, Napoleon, who had long studied the art of war, and during his
stay in New York had doubtless seen or heard of the floating battery,
determined to construct two such batteries, and accordingly built the
Lave and Tonnerre. With one of these, the Lave, during the Russian War,
he assailed and destroyed in the brief space of one hour the strong
fortress of Kinburn, near Sebastopol; and in striking contrast to this
success, a large British steamship, heavily armed, but constructed of
wood, was actually captured near Odessa by a small party of Russians
with two or three thirty-two-pounders worked through a gap in an

The invulnerable battery of France anchored close under the fortress.
Before its cannon, granite walls are shivered into fragments most
dangerous to the gunners, while the shells, burying themselves two or
three feet deep in the brickwork, by their explosion shake the walls to
pieces. Iron, protected by iron, triumphed over both bricks and granite,
which had defied the fleet of England.

The Emperor was not slow to realize the result of the problem he had
solved. He at once proceeded to test the strength of the best kinds of
plate made in his dominions, and found, by actual trial, that plates of
the best iron, but four and three-fourths inches in thickness, were able
to resist repeated shocks of solid balls fired at the distance of twenty
metres (less than four rods) from his sixty-eight-pounders, and from
rifled guns throwing shot of nearly the same calibre,--and this, too,
when the balls were impelled by more than one-fourth their weight of
powder. But ships rarely engage at such close quarters either with
vessels or fortresses, and the effect of the ball is greatly diminished
by distance, a single inch plate sufficing to stop a spherical shot at a
long distance.

As the result of these experiments, the Emperor proceeded to construct
the Gloire, an iron-clad frigate, which has been completed, has made
several voyages, been tried in a severe gale, for nearly a year has
been the pride of the French navy, and has recently run from Toulon to
Algiers in the brief space of sixty-six hours.

The Gloire is a steam-frigate cased in five-inch plates; she is two
hundred and fifty feet in length by twenty-one in width, mounts
thirty-eight rifled fifty-pounders, is moved by engines of nine hundred
horse-power, is manned by six hundred men, has a speed of twelve and a
half knots, and a capacity for five days' coal,--a capacity which might
be easily increased by a little more breadth of beam, but which is
sufficient for a passage to Algiers, or along the coast of Spain,
England, or Italy. This vessel is considered invulnerable by balls
discharged from rifled cannon at the distance of four hundred yards.

Encouraged by his continued success, the Emperor at once ordered the
construction of nine such frigates, several of which are already
finished. He has since ordered ten more iron-cased frigates and
gun-boats, which are now in course of construction. Before the present
season closes, his iron navy will be composed of twenty steamships and
four floating batteries.

During the contest with Russia, England would not venture to expose her
wooden ships of the line to the close fire of the batteries either
at Cronstadt or Sebastopol, and found it safer to shell them at a
respectful distance and with indifferent success. She was deeply
impressed, however, with the performance of the Lave and Tonnerre at
Kinburn, and seriously disturbed by the completion of the great naval
station at Cherbourg, armed with more than three hundred cannon, and
directly opposite her coast.

England at first sought to meet the new invention by improved artillery,
and produced the Whitworth and Armstrong cannon, which have a range of
four to five miles. With these she practised at short distances upon
targets of strong oaken plank faced with iron plates of four to five
inches in diameter, but found the plates impervious to balls, and
vulnerable only by steel bolts of small diameter, fired at short
distances from Whitworth and Armstrong cannon,--bolts so small that the
wounds they made in the frames faced with iron usually closed or did
little mischief. A few plates of inferior iron occasionally gave way
after repeated assaults, for English iron is coarsely made and poorly
welded,--a striking illustration of which may be found in a part of
the hull of the ill-fated steamer Connaught, which is preserved at the
ship-yard near Dorchester Point, South Boston.

England was at length convinced; she determined that she could not
safely permit the Emperor of the French to rule the sea with his iron
navy. She had not forgotten St. Helena. She realized that she had no
fleet that could safely encounter one of his mail-clad warriors, and
found herself obliged to copy the new invention. She commenced last year
ten iron-clad ships of the line, and has nearly or quite finished the
Warrior, Black Prince, Defiance, and Resistance, while others are
progressing. But she could not tamely copy France. Instead of confining
herself to the length of the Gloire, she is constructing vessels of
immense size. The Warrior, recently launched, is four hundred and
twenty-six feet in length, nearly fifty-two feet in depth, has a width
of fifty-eight feet, measures six thousand one hundred and seventy-seven
tons, and is moved by engines of twelve hundred horse-power. She is to
mount thirty-six cannon of the largest class, and her armor weighs nine
hundred tons.

This vessel will be a formidable antagonist upon the open sea; but her
great depth, with the weight of her armor, causes her to draw thirty
feet, which would prohibit her entrance into most of the seaports upon
our coast. She is vulnerable, too, at each extremity. Her iron plates,
four and a half inches thick, extend but half her length, leaving more
than a hundred feet at each end covered by a plate of only five-eighths
of an inch in thickness; and in case these portions should be injured,
she must rely upon her water-tight compartments. An adroit foe, in a
light craft of greater speed, avoiding her batteries, which are planted
behind her armor, might possibly assail her unprotected ends, and,
although he could not sink her, still, by shot between wind and water,
he might render her more unwieldy and less manageable,--a weight of
water being thus admitted which would bring down the ship so as to
endanger her lower ports and prevent the use of them in action. He might
thus also prevent her approach to shoal water. The Warrior and her
companions are, however, formidable ships, and in deep water, with ample
sea-room, must be most powerful antagonists.

The importance attached by England to mail-clad steamers may be inferred
from the debates in the House of Lords on the 11th and 14th of June,
1861, in which it was officially stated that the Government had not
authorized the construction of a single wooden three-decker since 1855,
nor one wooden two-decker since 1859, although it had launched a few
upon the stocks for the purpose of clearing the yards,--and that it now
contemplated culling down a number of the largest wooden steamships
of the line for the purpose of plating them with iron, while it was
constructing nothing but iron ships, except a few light despatch
frigates, corvettes, and gun-boats.

In the same debate it was stated that bolts of steel had been forced by
improved Armstrong cannon through an eight-inch mail composed of iron
bars dovetailed together; but the quality of the iron and the mode of
fastening were both questioned. These experiments did not deter the
Government from constructing mail-clad steamships. Indeed, it must be
obvious that the great cost of Armstrong cannon, fifteen hundred to two
thousand dollars each, together with the cost of steel bolts, combined
with the fact that this description of cannon is easily shattered, if
struck by a ball from the adversary, must long prevent its introduction
into use; and should it eventually succeed, it must prove far more
destructive to wooden walls than to iron-clad vessels.

It has, however, been urged in England against iron ships of all
descriptions, but more as a theory than as an ascertained fact, that a
solid shot would make a large and irregular aperture, if it entered the
side of a vessel, and a much larger orifice as it passed out on the
opposite side. To this theory, however, there are two answers: first,
that a solid ball can neither enter nor pass out of the sides of a
mail-clad steamer; second, that, when it enters a common iron ship,
there is evidence that it does less damage than would be suffered by
a wooden vessel. Captain Charlewood, of the Royal Navy, who recently
commanded the iron frigate Guadaloupe in the service of Mexico,
testified before a Committee of the British Parliament, that "his ship
was under fire almost daily for four or five months," that "the damage
by shot was considerably less than that usually suffered by a wooden
vessel, and that there was nothing like the number of splinters which
are generally forced out by a shot sent through a wooden vessel's side";
that "the vessel was hulled once in the midship part at about one
thousand yards," and the effect was "that the shot passed through the
iron, making a round hole in the iron"; "that at two feet below water
another shot passed through the vessel's side and one or two casks of
provisions, and that the hole was simply plugged by the engineer at the
time." He testified also that none of the shot disturbed any rivets. His
evidence is the more valuable as it relates to an inferior vessel, whose
plates were probably not more than half an inch thick.

The testimony of Captain W.H. Hall, R.N., in command of the iron frigate
Nemesis, in the Chinese war, was still more conclusive in favor of iron.
He stated, "that in one action the Nemesis was hit fourteen times," and
that one shot "went in at one side and came out at the other, and there
were no splinters; in case of that shot, it went through just as if you
put your finger through a piece of paper: nothing could have been more
easily stopped than I could have stopped that shot in the Nemesis";
that, "several wooden steamers were employed in that service, and they
were invariably obliged to lie up for repairs, whilst I could repair the
Nemesis in twenty-four hours and have her always ready for service." The
Nemesis was a common iron steamer, and not a mail-clad steamship.

As respects the strength and durability of these steamers, although
accidents have occurred from defective materials, it is in proof that
the Tyne and Great Britain ran ashore and remained for months exposed to
the open sea without going to pieces, and were finally rescued,--that
the Persia struck on an iceberg, filled one of her compartments with
water, and came safe to port,--that the North America and Edinburgh went
at full speed upon the rocks near Cape Race and yet escaped,--and that
the Sarah Sands, while transporting troops to India, took fire, that in
consequence the interior and contents of one of her compartments were
entirely consumed, that her magazine exploded, and that she then
encountered a ten days' gale, and after this exposure to such a series
of calamities she reached her port without losing one of her crew or

The ambition of England to maintain her ascendancy upon the deep has
led her to disregard the advice of her Defence Commissioners, who
recommended a different class of mail-clad steamers, to measure but two
thousand tons and to draw but sixteen feet of water,--a class admirably
adapted to the sea-ports and requirements of the United States. And
singular as it may appear, by some coincidence at a moment when our
country requires this class of steamers, the enterprise of Boston is
completing two iron steamers whose dimensions and draught of water
conform to the recommendation of the British Commissioners,--steamers
which are nearly ready for launching, but which, if they can receive,
before they leave the stocks, additional plates of iron, would doubtless
prove the most useful and efficient mail-clad vessels which have yet
been constructed.

The stranger who would inspect these beautiful vessels may seat himself
at almost any hour of the day in the cars at the foot of Summer Street,
and in twenty minutes find himself at a point a little north of the
Perkins Asylum for the Blind. A walk of five minutes more will bring him
to a secluded yard sloping gently towards the water, where he will find
extensive offices, and two large buildings which cover the vessels upon
the stocks.

As he approaches these structures, he will notice many plates of
superior iron from the rolling-mills of Baltimore, combining the
toughness and strength and other excellences of the best Pennsylvania
iron; he will notice, too, immense ribs and beams of iron, and hear the
incessant din of hammers riveting the sides and boilers.

Under each of these sheds he will find an iron steamship, two hundred
and seventy-five feet in length by twenty-three in depth, exquisitely
proportioned; he will be struck by the fine entrance and run. The
extreme sharpness of the stem and stern, combined with great capacity,
seems to answer every requirement; and he will be surprised to learn
that the draught of these steamers is but sixteen feet when deeply
laden, and that their engines of thirteen hundred horse-power are
expected to give them a speed of fifteen knots per hour. When they reach
their destined element and have received their lading, the height from
the water-line to the deck will be but seven feet; hence it is apparent
that a belt of iron plates carried around them of eight feet four inches
in height would protect them from the deck to a point sixteen inches
below the water-line, or from the bottom of the deck-beams to a point
two feet below the water-line.

The iron plates which form the sides of these ships range in thickness
from one inch below the water-line to three-fourths of an inch above
it. And if we allow for the superior strength and toughness of American
iron, an additional plate of three inches in thickness would suffice
to give them more strength than that of either the French or English
mail-clad steamers.

By careful computation we have ascertained that each vessel might be
encircled by such plates, weighing but one hundred and twenty pounds per
superficial foot, and have her bulwarks plated also, without adding more
than three hundred tons to her weight,--actually less than one-third of
the cargo she was designed to carry. With an extra planking within, and
an armament of twenty-four rifled fifty-pounders or Whitworth cannon,
and select crews, such vessels need fear no antagonists upon the deep.
Low in the hull, they would offer but little surface to the fire of the
enemy, and their sides would be impervious to shot and shell. Beneath
the decks they could carry in safety a whole regiment of troops.
Selecting their position by superior speed, they could destroy a fleet
of wooden steamers or ships-of-the-line. Entering any of our large
seaports, they could pass the fortress at the entrance uninjured, and
lay cities under contribution, or destroy their ports, without being,
like Achilles, or the English "Warrior," vulnerable in the heel.

When such steamers come into general use, we shall hear no more of the
wooden walls of Greece or England, or of those modern platforms which
had not a stick of sound oak timber in them,--nothing, indeed, but
pitch-pine and cypress. Oak, pine, and cypress would fall into the same
category, when contrasted with the imperishable iron. Some new agency of
steel must be invented to cope with the adamantine iron. And it becomes
our Government, both for the armament of our ships and for defence
against iron steamers, to adopt at the earliest moment every improvement
in rifled cannon.

The Navy Department has recently put under contract seven steamships and
several steam gun-boats. They have intrusted the latter to some of the
ablest ship-builders of the country, and it is well understood that most
of these vessels are to be completed the present season. This measure,
as far as it goes, is eminently wise; but our navy must still be below
the requirements of the nation, and entirely disproportioned to the
extent both of our commerce and of our sea-coast. At a low estimate, our
country requires an additional supply of at least six mail-clad steam
frigates, twelve steam sloops-of-war, and twelve steam gun-boats,
with similar armor. It will require also for long voyages and
distant stations a dozen steam frigates of wood, and as many steam
sloops-of-war, like the best now in our service; and, with the materials
and armament now on hand, an outlay of twenty-five or thirty millions
well applied may suffice for the construction of the whole. With such a
provision we need feel no solicitude as to the intervention of England
or France in our domestic affairs.

The lighter steamships of wood will answer for long voyages to the
Mediterranean, the coast of Africa, India, and the Pacific, and will
protect our grain, flour, and corn, on their way from the West to
Europe. Our iron steamers will defend our commercial cities from attack
or blockade; they will level all rebel batteries on the waters of the
Chesapeake; they can batter down the fortresses of the Southern coast,
and restore to commerce the ports of Charleston, Savannah, Pensacola,
Mobile, Apalachicola, New Orleans, and Galveston.

Most fortunately for our country, at a moment when we cannot immediately
command the live oak of Georgia and Florida, the oak plank of Virginia,
or the yellow pine of the Carolinas, we have the most abundant supplies
of iron easily accessible, and now, relieved from the demands of
railways and factories, ready for the construction of our iron navy. The
iron plates of Pennsylvania and Maryland in strength and toughness know
no superior. The iron mountain near St. Louis and the mines on Lake
Champlain furnish also an article of great purity and excellence. But,
choice as are these deposits of iron, they are all surpassed by the more
recent discoveries on Lake Superior, now opened by the ship-canal at the
Straits of St. Mary. There Nature has stored an inexhaustible amount of
the richest iron ore, free from sulphur, phosphorus, arsenic, and other
deleterious substances, protruding above the surface of hillocks and
underlying the country for miles in extent. This ore is of the specular
and magnetic kind, yields sixty-five per cent. of iron of remarkable
purity, is easily mined and transported to the Lake, and is shipped in
vast quantities to the ports of Lake Erie, where it meets the coal of
Ohio. At least ten companies are now engaged in its shipment, which
has progressed thus far with great rapidity, doubling every year. The
shipments from Lake Superior, in 1858, were thirty thousand five hundred
and twenty-seven tons; in 1859, eighty thousand tons; in 1860, one
hundred and fifty thousand tons. So great are the magnetic powers of
this iron, that, buried as it was in the depths of the forest and
beneath the surface of the earth, it disturbed the compasses of the
United States surveyors while engaged in the survey of Northern
Michigan. For a time their needle would not work, and they were obliged
temporarily to suspend their operations. Their embarrassment led to the
discovery of these vast deposits of ore. It is now mingled with the
inferior ore of Ohio and Pennsylvania, and extensively wrought.

Our nation has strong motives to induce it to construct an iron navy.

_First._ The adoption of such a navy by the great powers of
Europe,--England and France,--followed by Russia, Austria, and Spain.
Our commerce will be in danger, if they once acquire the power of
assailing us with impunity.

_Second._ Our urgent want of this class of vessels to recover our
fortresses, repel blockades, and reopen our Southern ports, without
wearisome sieges, costly both in blood and treasure.

_Third._ Our inability to command our customary supplies of durable

_Fourth._ The abundance of iron, unrivalled in any part of the world.

_Fifth._ The durability of the ships constructed from iron. If well
manned and piloted, they will seldom need repairs; and instead of
failing, as many ships do in the sixth year, and requiring vast
expenditures to discharge and dismantle them for the renewal of the
decaying timber, plank, copper, and other materials, often amounting in
the aggregate to more than their original cost, the mail-clad steamers
built of American iron will outlive successive races of wooden
steamships. The iron such a navy would require will put many idle hands
in motion, which would otherwise be unproductive during war,--the miners
of Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and New York, the colliers of Ohio and
Pennsylvania, the mariners of the Lakes, the navigators of canals, and
the operatives of railways, down to the brawny smiths who fashion the
metal into shapes,--until their combined efforts launch it upon the
deep, and send it forth to

"dare the very elements to strife."

How much better would it be to create such an iron navy than to expend
million after million on wooden walls that must soon perish by decay or
the shells of the enemy, or to lavish three or four millions upon the
conversion of our superannuated ships-of-the-line into steamships!
These, when converted, will still retain their age and constant tendency
to decay, their models long since abandoned, their original design,
height of decks, and other proportions adapted to the eighteen- and
twenty-four-pounders formerly in use, which are now giving place to
Dahlgren and rifled cannon carrying balls of sixty-four to one hundred
pounds weight. Such an expenditure would be like an essay to convert a
Yankee shingle-palace, such as Irving described half a century ago, into
a modern villa, and reminds one of a proposition made to an assembly
some twenty centuries since, which still has its significance.

An orator had proposed to convert an old politician into a general; but
a citizen moved an amendment to convert donkeys into horses, and when
the possibility of doing so was questioned, argued that the horses were
necessary for the war, and that his measure was as feasible as the

To prepare our nation for war, let us select the Enfield rifle, the Colt
revolver, the rifled and cast-steel cannon, the mail-clad steamer, and
not resort to flint arrow-heads and tomahawks, or to any other fossil
remains of antiquity. The policy of creating an iron navy has been
repeatedly urged of late in the foreign journals. It has also been
advocated with signal ability by Donald McKay of Boston, one of our most
eminent naval constructors, who, after building the Great Republic, the
Flying Cloud, and a fleet of other celebrated clippers, has visited the
dockyards of France and England, examined their mail-clad ships upon the
stocks and those already finished. Although himself accustomed to work
on wood, and a candidate for employment as builder of some of our
wooden gun-boats, with great frankness as well as boldness he urges the
construction of mail-clad steamers. We trust Congress will no longer
neglect so important a means of protecting our national prosperity.



Father of Mercies, Heavenly Friend,
We seek Thy gracious throne;
To Thee our faltering prayers ascend,
Our fainting hearts are known!

From blasts that chill, from suns that smite,
From every plague that harms;
In camp and march, in siege and fight,
Protect our men-at-arms!

Though from our darkened lives they take
What makes our life most dear,
We yield them for their country's sake
With no relenting tear.

Our blood their flowing veins will shed,
Their wounds our breasts will share;
Oh, save us from the woes we dread,
Or grant us strength to bear!

Let each unhallowed cause that brings
The stern destroyer cease,
Thy flaming angel fold his wings,
And seraphs whisper Peace!

Thine are the sceptre and the sword,
Stretch forth Thy mighty hand,--
Reign Thou our kingless nation's Lord,
Rule Thou our throneless land!


"The United States are bounded, North, by the British Possessions;
South, by the Gulf of Mexico; East, by the Atlantic Ocean; and West,
by the Pacific." So the school-books told us which we studied in our
childhood; and so, in every school throughout the land, the children
are taught to-day. The armed hosts whose tread resounds through thy
Continent are marching Southward to teach this simple lesson in
geography. They all know it by heart. "This they are ready to verify,"
as the lawyers say. Wherever, in any benighted region, this elementary
proposition shall be henceforth denied or doubted, schools for adults
are to be established, and the needful instruction given. By regiments,
battalions, and brigades, with all necessary apparatus, the teachers
go forth to their work. The proposition is a very simple one, easily
expressed and easily understood; but it tells the whole story. It is the
substance of all men's thoughts, and of all men's speech. Mr. Lincoln
states it in his inaugural. Mr. Douglas impresses it upon the Illinois
legislature. Mr. Seward announces it, briefly and with emphasis, to the
governments of Europe. Sentimental talk about "our country, however
bounded," is obsolete; and how the country is bounded is now the point
to be settled, once and forever. "This territory, from the Great Lakes
to the Gulf, belongs to the people of the United States, and they mean
to hold and keep it. We shall neither alter our school-books nor revise
our maps." So say the American people, rising in their wrath.

The practical question with which Mr. Lincoln's administration had to
deal in the first place was, Whether a popular government is strong
enough to suppress a military rebellion? And that may be regarded as
already settled. But the grounds upon which that rebellion is justified
involve the vital facts of national unity, and even of national
existence. As a people, we have always been extremely tolerant of
theories, however absurd. There is hardly a doctrine of constitutional
law so clear and well settled, that it is not, from time to time,
discussed and disputed among us. But when it comes to reducing
mischievous speculations to practice, the case is altered, and the
practical genius of the people begins to manifest itself. Thus, the
Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions of '98 and '99 declared the Federal
Constitution to be merely a compact between sovereign States, created
for a special and limited purpose; and that each party to the compact
was the exclusive and final judge for itself of the construction of the
contract, with a right to determine for itself when it was violated, and
the measure and mode of redress. As a theory, this doctrine has been
very extensively accepted. Great parties have adopted it as their
platform, and elections have been carried upon it. Its value as a
support to the dignity and self-importance of local politicians was
readily apprehended by them; and it was in perfect harmony with the tone
of bluster which pervaded our politics. The thorough refutation which it
always encountered, whenever it was seriously considered, never seemed
to do its popularity any harm. In truth, mere vaporing hurt nobody, and
caused no great alarm. But when the Hartford Convention was suspected
of covering a little actual heat under the smoke of the customary
resolutions and protests, a bucket of cold water was thrown over it.
When, in 1832, South Carolina developed a spark of real fire, the nation
put its foot on it. And now, when the torch of rebellion has been
circulating among very inflammable materials, until a serious
conflagration is threatened, the instinct of self-preservation has
roused the energies of the whole people for its immediate, complete, and
final extinction.

The present insurrection has been so long meditated, the approaches to
its final consummation have been so steadily made, and the schemes of
the principal traitors have been so well planned and carefully matured,
that they have almost succeeded in making the vocabulary of treason a
part of the vernacular of the country. We all talk of the States which
have seceded or are going to secede,--of a fratricidal war,--of the
measures which this or the other State is determined or likely to adopt;
and a great deal has been said about State sovereignty, and coercion of
a State, and the invasion of the soil of one State and another. There
has been large discussion in times past of the danger of a dissolution
of the Union. Indeed, this danger has been so often held up as a threat
by one section, and so persistently used as a scarecrow by timid or
profligate men in the other, that it has become one of the commonplaces
of political contests. Our ears have hardly ceased to be tormented with
projects of reconstruction, and with suggestions of guaranties, and
pacifications, and mediation, and neutrality, armed or otherwise.
Border-State Conventions are projected, and well-meaning governors have
been arranging interviews or conducting correspondence with governors
who talked of Southern rights, and undertook to say what their States
would or would not permit the United States Government to do. Even a
Cabinet officer, of whom better things might have been expected, and by
whom better things are now nobly said and done, allowed himself to fall
into the error of explaining to the vacillating Governor of Maryland
that the intentions of the National Administration were purely
defensive. While such language is current at home, it is not strange
that foreigners should find themselves in a state of hopeless confusion
about us. Few European writers, except De Tocqueville, have ever shown a
clear comprehension of our political system; and the speeches of British
statesmen on American affairs are perhaps rather to be accounted for and
excused from want of information, than resented as hostile or insulting.
But it is time that this whole pernicious dialect should be exploded,
and the ideas which it represents be eradicated from the minds of
intelligent men everywhere.

The right of revolution it is needless to discuss. Resistance, in any
practicable method, to intolerable oppression, is the natural right of
every human being, and of course of every community. But such a right
is never included in the framework of organized civil society. From its
nature, it can form no part of a plan of government. The only formula
which embraces it is the famous one of "Monarchy tempered by Regicide";
and where that prevails, it seems to be adopted as a practical
expedient, rather than recognized as an established constitutional
maxim. But as a question of revolution the issue is not presented. If
it were, it would be easy to deal with. The only embarrassment in our
present condition, so far as reasoning goes, arises from confused
notions of constitutional law, and the inaccuracy of language which
necessarily attends them. In order, therefore, to know what is before
us, let us first see where we stand.

The London "Times" informs the people of England, that "the resolution
of the North to crush Secession by force involves a denial of the right
of each one of the seceding States to determine the conditions of its
own national existence." Precisely so. It involves all that; but the
whole fact comprehends a great deal more. Not one of the States of the
American Union has any national existence, or ever had any, in the sense
in which the "Times" uses the phrase. Not one of them has any of the
functions or qualities of a nation. In the case of the greater part of
the States in which the rebellion exists, the United States bought and
paid for the territory which they occupy, made States of them under its
own Constitution and laws, upon certain conditions made irrevocable
by the act which created them, and reserved the forts, arsenals, and
custom-houses which their treasonable citizens have since undertaken
to steal. The fundamental idea of the American system is local
self-government for local purposes, and national unity for national
purposes. Our national union is synonymous with our national existence.
When we speak of sovereign and independent States, the phrase has no
other just meaning than that each State is independent of every other in
all matters exclusively appertaining to its own powers and duties, and
sovereign upon all subjects which have not been committed exclusively
to the jurisdiction of the Federal Government. Any encroachment by the
Government of the United States upon the lawful jurisdiction of the
several States would be resisted as a usurpation; but the "reserved
rights" of the States, _ex vi termini_, cannot include any of the
attributes of power which the people of the whole country have conferred
upon the Union. But further,--and this is a point of great practical
importance,--the Federal Government has no relation to the several
States as States, and they have no relations to it, or to each other,
except so far as these relations are expressly defined and specified in
the National Constitution. Beyond these, the authority and jurisdiction
of the nation address themselves and are applied to the individual
citizens of all the States alike. "The king can do no wrong," is the
maxim of English law. A State of the American Union cannot secede, or
commit treason, or make war upon the United States. So the United States
cannot, and do not, make war upon any State. Virginia, for all national
purposes, belongs to the United States,--exactly as it belongs to the
State, for the purposes of local administration. In theory, and in
practice, the State of Virginia is at this moment a peaceful and
faithful member of the American Union. Her Senators and Representatives,
except so far as individuals among them may have disqualified themselves
by resignation, or, what may be held to be equivalent, by deserting
their posts to array themselves in active hostility to their country,
are still entitled to their seats in Congress. The State may be overrun
by armed insurgents, resisting the Federal authority; but so it might be
by a foreign army. The peaceful citizens, who remain faithful to their
constitutional obligations, are entitled to the aid of the national
power to suppress domestic insurrection, whatever proportions that
insurrection may assume. The soldiers of the United States, lawfully
mustered to resist invasion or put down rebellion, have nothing to do
with State lines, and act in perfect harmony with all legitimate State
action. They can no more invade a State than if they were in it to
resist a foreign enemy, or than a United States marshal invades it
when he goes to arrest a counterfeiter. The "Times" would have little
difficulty in understanding a denial of the right of the Isle of Man, or
of Lancashire, or of Ireland, "to determine the conditions of its own
national existence."

There is another fallacy in speaking of the resolution of the North to
crush Secession by force. It is the resolution of the nation,--of all
that is faithful and loyal in it, wherever found. The people of the
Southern States have not had any fair opportunity to express their
opinions. The military usurpers have allowed nothing to be submitted to
the test of a popular vote, except where they were able to take such
measures of precaution, in the way of hanging, confiscation, banishment,
disarming opponents, and the presence of an armed force which should
overawe dissenters, as might secure the unanimity they desired. There
is undoubtedly much more loyalty in the Northern than in the Southern
States of the Union, as there is less of passion, and more of
intelligence and principle,--although treason has, till very lately,
found more than enough apologists or abettors even in the Free States.
But the spirit which now actuates our people has little that is
sectional in it, and the principles at issue have the same application
to Maine that they have to Florida.

When we ask, then, where this rebellion will leave us, and what will be
the condition of the United States when the authority of the Government
has been vindicated and reestablished, the answer must be sought in the
considerations already suggested. The rebellion cannot be ended, until
we have settled as a principle of constitutional law for our own
citizens, and as a fact of which all other nations must take notice,
that this whole country belongs to the people of the United States. No
foreign power shall possess a foot of it. If the majority of the people
of a State can throw off their allegiance to the Union, they can
transfer their allegiance to England or Spain at their pleasure, as
well as to a new confederacy of their own devising. The battles of the
Revolution which secured our independence were fought by the whole
country, and for the whole country, without reference to local
majorities. The accessions to our territory were made by the nation as
a unit, and belong to it as such. We did not acquire Texas, and pay the
millions of its debt, with the reservation that it might sell itself
again the next day to the highest bidder. That no foreign dominion shall
interpose between the Northwest and the Atlantic, or between the Valley
of the Mississippi and the Gulf, is a geographical necessity. But
that, the American Union is indissoluble is essential to our national
existence. If that be not so, we have neither a flag nor a country,--we
can neither contract a debt nor make a treaty,--we have neither honor
abroad nor strength at home,--our experiment of free government is a
blunder and a failure, and for us, "Chaos has come again."

But the further question remains, In what way is it possible that
harmony shall be restored between the parts of the country through which
the rebellion has spread and those which have remained faithful to the
Constitution and the Union? When we have dispersed the armies of the
rebels, and demolished their batteries, and retaken our forts
and arsenals, our navy-yards and armories, our mints and
custom-houses,--when we have visited their leaders with retributive
justice, and made Richmond and Charleston and New Orleans as submissive
to lawful authority as Baltimore or Washington or Boston,--what then?
Will a people we have subjugated ever live with us again on terms of
equality and friendship? Can the wounded pride of the Ancient Dominion
be so far soothed that she can allow us again to bask in the sunshine
of her favor? Will she ever consent to resume her old superiority, and
furnish our audacious army and navy with officers, our committees with
chairmen, and our departments with clerks? Or must we, for a generation,
hold the States we have subdued by military occupation? Must we make
Territories of them, and blot out those malignant stars from our
glorious and triumphant banner?

In all seriousness, there seems but one solution to the problem; and
it must be found, if at all, in the proposition already stated, that
treason is an individual act. A State cannot rebel, as it cannot secede.
A governor of a State may rebel, and a majority of a legislature may
join an insurrection, as a governor or legislators may commit larceny
or join a piratical expedition. But whoever arrays himself in armed
opposition to the Government of the United States, or gives aid and
comfort to its enemies, becomes thereby merely a private rebel and
traitor. Whatever office he may fill, with whatever functions of local
government he may be intrusted, by whatever name he may be called,
governor or judge, senator or representative, it is the treason of the
citizen, and not of the officer. And as a State has no legal existence
except as a member of the Union, and has no constitutional powers or
functions or capacities but those which it exercises in harmony with and
subordination to the rightful authority of the Federal Government, so
the loyal and faithful inhabitants of a State, and they only, constitute
the State. Mr. Mason tells the people of Virginia, that those of them
who, in their consciences, cannot vote to separate Virginia from the
United States, if they retain such opinions, must leave the State. We
thank him for teaching us that word. When the tables are turned, it will
form a valuable theme for his private meditation. The unconditional
Union men, who are of and for their country against all comers, who
neither commit treason openly nor disguise their cowardly treachery
under the shallow cover of neutrality, are to wield the power of their
respective States, and to be the only recognized inhabitants. All others
must submit or fly. If the Governor and Legislature of Virginia have
renounced their allegiance to the United States, and undertaken to
establish a foreign jurisdiction in a portion of our territory, their
relation to that State becomes substantially the same as if they had
gone on board a British fleet in the Chesapeake, or enlisted under the
standard of an invading army. They have abdicated their offices, which
thereby become vacant. It was for "having endeavored to subvert the
constitution of the kingdom by breaking the original contract between
king and people, violated the fundamental laws, and having withdrawn
himself out of the kingdom," that James II. was declared by the House
of Commons to have abdicated the government. Would it have been less an
abdication, if he had remained within the realm, and attempted to hold
it as the viceroy of France? When, in June, 1775, Governor Dunmore and
his Council took refuge on board a British man-of-war, the Virginians of
that day proceeded to meet in convention, and provide new officers to
manage the affairs of their State. Let this historical precedent be
followed now. Wherever, in either of the States which the rebels have
sought to appropriate, the loyal citizens can find a spot in which they
can meet in safety, let them meet by their delegates in convention, and
adopt the necessary measures to elect new officers under their present
constitutions. The only irregularity will be what results from the
fact that treason in such high places and on so large a scale was not
contemplated, nor was a remedy furnished for it, in their frame of
government. It is merely a case not provided for, and the omission must
be supplied in the most practicable way. The new organization should and
undoubtedly would be recognized by the National Government, and by the
other States, as, _de facto_ and _de jure_, the State. It was settled
in the Rhode Island case, under Tyler's administration, that, where
different portions of the people claim to hold and exercise the powers
of a State government, it presents a political question which the
National Executive and Congress must decide; and that judicial
recognition must follow and conform to the political decision.

When, by such a course, the proper relations and functions of each State
should be resumed, there would no longer be any matter of State pride
to interfere with the absolute assertion of national authority. The new
State governments would be protected against armed assailants at home
and invasion from abroad; they would apply for and obtain assistance to
suppress domestic insurrection; every misguided insurgent would have
opportunity to return to his duty under the protection of his own local
authorities; appropriations for the army and navy could be passed with
the aid of Tennessee and Alabama votes in Congress; and Davis, and
Tyler, and Mason be hung upon the verdict of a jury of the vicinage.

In Virginia, a movement based upon this principle has been already
inaugurated. From Western Virginia, the progress toward Eastern
Tennessee and Northern Alabama is natural and certain. The worst case to
deal with, unquestionably, is South Carolina. Hers is a peculiar
people, and zealous, though scarcely of good works. That fiery little
Commonwealth is remarkably constituted. The State is inhabited
principally by negroes; and the remaining minority may be divided into
two classes,--whites who are dependent upon negroes for a subsistence,
and whites whose chief distinction in life and great consolation is that
they are not negroes. The former and much the smaller class possess all
the wealth, all the cultivation, and all the political power, which
they are enabled to retain by an ingenious and systematic use of the
prejudices and passions of the latter. They are reputed to have much
earnestness of conviction, and claim an unusual amount of gallantry and
courage for their soldiers; though it is noticeable that their principal
exploits in our time have been the seizure of friendless colored
sailors, and selling them into slavery,--the achievement of that knight
of the bludgeon, the representative whose noble deed his constituents
could hardly admire enough, but the better part of whose valor was
the discretion that preferred to encounter his antagonist sitting and
incapable of resistance,--and lastly, that heroic and bloodless victory
at Fort Sumter, where imperishable glory was won by the ten thousand who
conquered the seventy. They seem now to be united, and substantially
unanimous. What elements a little adversity would develop in them, time
must determine. Whether there is any reserve of patriotism and fidelity,
overawed and silenced now, but which will come forth to serve as the
nucleus of reconstruction when it can find protection and security, or
whether we must wait for a new generation to grow up, remains to be
tried. Their leaders are subtle reasoners, and it has been shrewdly
observed of them that "they never shrink from following their logic to
its consequences because the conclusion is _immoral_." Perhaps they will
find no more difficulty in accepting the arguments we shall address to
them because the conclusion is a little humiliating. In their case, we
shall have little need to concern ourselves about the wishes of a local
majority. The fact that a majority are blacks, to begin with, must
deprive that consideration of all its force, even to their own
apprehension. It will not be the first time that they have received a
benefit which did not agree with the wishes of the greater part of those
upon whom it was bestowed. The men of Rhode Island and Massachusetts who
achieved the independence of South Carolina did not stop to consider
whether a majority of her white inhabitants were Tories.

When we hear that the colonel of a regiment of Secessionists sends a
flag of truce to Fort Monroe to ask for the return of his fugitive
slaves under the Constitution and laws of the United States, a painful
doubt must be suggested whether such gentlemen really believe themselves
to be so wholly and utterly out of the Union as the theory of Secession
would indicate. And when the novel, but very sensible doctrine with
which that singular demand was met, that slaves are to be regarded as
articles contraband of war, chattels capable of a military use, a kind
of locomotive gun-carriages and intrenching-tools, and as such to be
taken and confiscated when found belonging to armed rebels, shall have
been practically applied for a time, with its natural and obvious
result, it may be that even the Palmetto State will exhibit some general
symptoms of returning reason.


Theodore Winthrop's life, like a fire long smouldering, suddenly blazed
up into a clear, bright flame, and vanished. Those of us who were his
friends and neighbors, by whose firesides he sat familiarly, and of
whose life upon the pleasant Staten Island, where he lived, he was so
important a part, were so impressed by his intense vitality, that his
death strikes us with peculiar strangeness, like sudden winter-silence
falling upon these humming fields of June.

As I look along the wooded brook-side by which he used to come, I should
not be surprised, if I saw that knit, wiry, light figure moving with
quick, firm, leopard tread over the grass,--the keen gray eye, the
clustering fair hair, the kind, serious smile, the mien of undaunted
patience. If you did not know him, you would have found his greeting a
little constrained,--not from shyness, but from genuine modesty and
the habit of society. You would have remarked that he was silent and
observant rather than talkative; and whatever he said, however gay
or grave, would have had the reserve of sadness upon which his whole
character was drawn. If it were a woman who saw him for the first time,
she would inevitably see him through a slight cloud of misapprehension;
for the man and his manner were a little at variance. The chance is that
at the end of five minutes she would have thought him conceited. At the
end of five months she would have known him as one of the simplest and
most truly modest of men.

And he had the heroic sincerity which belongs to such modesty. Of a
noble ambition, and sensitive to applause,--as every delicate nature
veined with genius always is,--he would not provoke the applause by
doing anything which, although it lay easily within his power, was yet
not wholly approved by him as worthy. Many men are ambitious and full
of talent, and when the prize does not fairly come they snatch at it
unfairly. This was precisely what he could not do. He would strive and
deserve; but if the crown were not laid upon his head in the clear light
of day and by confession of absolute merit, he could ride to his place
again and wait, looking with no envy, but in patient wonder and with
critical curiosity upon the victors. It is this which he expresses in
the paper in the July number of this magazine, "Washington as a Camp,"
when he says,--"I have heretofore been proud of my individuality, and
resisted, so far as one may, all the world's attempts to merge me in the

It was this which made many who knew him much, but not truly, feel
that he was purposeless and restless. They knew his talent, his
opportunities. Why does he not concentrate? Why does he not bring
himself to bear? He did not plead his ill-health; nor would they have
allowed the plea. The difficulty was deeper. He felt that he had shown
his credentials, and they were not accepted. "I can wait, I can wait,"
was the answer his life made to the impatience of his friends.

We are all fond of saying that a man of real gifts will fit himself to
the work of any time; and so he will. But it is not necessarily to the
first thing that offers. There is always latent in civilized society a
certain amount of what may be called Sir Philip Sidney genius, which
will seem elegant and listless and aimless enough until the congenial
chance appears. A plant may grow in a cellar; but it will flower only
under the due sun and warmth. Sir Philip Sidney was but a lovely
possibility, until he went to be Governor of Flushing. What else was our
friend, until he went to the war?

The age of Elizabeth did not monopolize the heroes, and they are always
essentially the same. When, for instance, I read in a letter of Hubert
Languet's to Sidney, "You are not over-cheerful by nature," or when, in
another, he speaks of the portrait that Paul Veronese painted of Sidney,
and says, "The painter has represented you sad and thoughtful," I can
believe that he is speaking of my neighbor. Or when I remember what
Sidney wrote to his younger brother,--"Being a gentleman born, you
purpose to furnish yourself with the knowledge of such things as may
be serviceable to your country and calling," or what he wrote to
Languet,--"Our Princes are enjoying too deep a slumber: I cannot think
there is any man possessed of common understanding who does not see to
what these rough storms are driving by which all Christendom has been
agitated now these many years,"--I seem to hear my friend, as he used to
talk on the Sunday evenings when he sat in this huge cane-chair at my
side, in which I saw him last, and in which I shall henceforth always
see him.

Nor is it unfair to remember just here that he bore one of the few
really historic names in this country. He never spoke of it; but we
should all have been sorry not to feel that he was glad to have sprung
straight from that second John Winthrop who was the first Governor of
Connecticut, the younger sister colony of Massachusetts Bay,--the John
Winthrop who obtained the charter of privileges for his colony. How
clearly the quality of the man has been transmitted! How brightly the
old name shines out again!

He was born in New Haven on the 22d of September, 1828, and was a grave,
delicate, rather precocious child. He was at school only in New Haven,
and entered Yale College just as he was sixteen. The pure, manly
morality which was the substance of his character, and his brilliant
exploits of scholarship, made him the idol of his college, friends, who
saw in him the promise of the splendid career which the fond faith of
students allots to the favorite classmate. He studied for the Clark
scholarship, and gained it; and his name, in the order of time, is first
upon the roll of that foundation. He won the Townshend prize for the
best composition on History. For the Berkeleian scholarship he and
another were judged equal, and, drawing lots, the other gained the
scholarship; but they divided the honor.

In college his favorite studies were Greek and mental philosophy. He
never lost the scholarly taste and habit. A wide reader, he retained
knowledge with little effort, and often surprised his friends by the
variety of his information. Yet it was not strange, for he was born
a scholar. His mother was the great-granddaughter of old President
Edwards; and among his ancestors upon the maternal side, Winthrop
counted seven Presidents of Yale. Perhaps also in this learned descent
we may find the secret of his early seriousness. Thoughtful and
self-criticizing, he was peculiarly sensible to religious influences,
under which his criticism easily became self-accusation, and his
sensitive seriousness grew sometimes morbid. He would have studied for
the ministry or a professorship, upon leaving college, except for his
failing health.

In the later days, when I knew him, the feverish ardor of the first
religious impulse was past. It had given place to a faith much too deep
and sacred to talk about, yet holding him always with serene, steady
poise in the purest region of life and feeling. There was no franker or
more sympathetic companion for young men of his own age than he; but his
conversation fell from his lips as unsullied as his soul.

He graduated in 1848, when he was twenty years old; and for the sake of
his health, which was seriously shattered,--an ill-health that colored
all his life, he set out upon his travels. He went first to England,
spending much time at Oxford, where he made pleasant acquaintances, and
walking through Scotland. He then crossed over to France and Germany,
exploring Switzerland very thoroughly upon foot,--once or twice escaping
great dangers among the mountains,--and pushed on to Italy and Greece,
still walking much of the way. In Italy he made the acquaintance of Mr.
W.H. Aspinwall, of New York, and upon his return became tutor to Mr.
Aspinwall's son. He presently accompanied his pupil and a nephew of Mr.
Aspinwall, who were going to a school in Switzerland; and after a second
short tour of six months in Europe he returned to New York, and entered
Mr. Aspinwall's counting-house. In the employ of the Pacific Steamship
Company he went to Panama and resided for about two years, travelling,
and often ill of the fevers of the country. Before his return he
travelled through California and Oregon,--went to Vancouver's Island,
Puget Sound, and the Hudson Bay Company's station there. At the Dalles
he was smitten with the small-pox, and lay ill for six weeks. He often
spoke with the warmest gratitude of the kind care that was taken of him
there. But when only partially recovered he plunged off again into the
wilderness. At another time he fell very ill upon the Plains, and lay
down, as he supposed, to die; but after some time struggled up and on

He returned to the counting-room, but, unsated with adventure, joined
the disastrous expedition of Lieutenant Strain, during which his
health was still more weakened, and he came home again in 1854. In the
following year he studied law and was admitted to the bar. In 1856 he
entered heartily into the Fremont campaign, and from the strongest
conviction. He went into some of the dark districts of Pennsylvania and
spoke incessantly. The roving life and its picturesque episodes, with
the earnest conviction which inspired him, made the summer and autumn
exciting and pleasant. The following year he went to St. Louis to
practise law. The climate was unkind to him, and he returned and began
the practice in New York. But he could not be a lawyer. His health was
too uncertain, and his tastes and ambition allured him elsewhere. His
mind was brimming with the results of observation. His fancy was alert
and inventive, and he wrote tales and novels. At the same time he
delighted to haunt the studio of his friend Church, the painter, and
watch day by day the progress of his picture, the Heart of the Andes. It
so fired his imagination that he wrote a description of it, in which, as
if rivalling the tropical and tangled richness of the picture, he threw
together such heaps and masses of gorgeous words that the reader was
dazzled and bewildered.

The wild campaigning life was always a secret passion with him. His
stories of travel were so graphic and warm, that I remember one evening,
after we had been tracing upon the map a route he had taken, and he had
touched the whole region into life with his description, my younger
brother, who had sat by and listened with wide eyes all the evening,
exclaimed with a sigh of regretful satisfaction, as the door closed upon
our story-teller, "It's as good as Robinson Crusoe!" Yet, with all
his fondness and fitness for that kind of life, or indeed any active
administrative function, his literary ambition seemed to be the deepest
and strongest.

He had always been writing. In college and upon his travels he kept
diaries; and he has left behind him several novels, tales, sketches of
travel, and journals. The first published writing of his which is well
known is his description, in the June number of this magazine, of the
March of the Seventh Regiment of New York to Washington. It was charming
by its graceful, sparkling, crisp, off-hand dash and ease. But it is
only the practised hand that can "dash off" effectively. Let any other
clever member of the clever regiment, who has never written, try to dash
off the story of a day or a week in the life of the regiment, and he
will see that the writer did that little thing well because he had done
large things carefully. Yet, amid all the hurry and brilliant bustle of
the articles, the author is, as he was in the most bustling moment of
the life they described, a spectator, an artist. He looks on at
himself and the scene of which he is part. He is willing to merge his
individuality; but he does not merge it, for he could not.

So, wandering, hoping, trying, waiting, thirty-two years of his life
went by, and they left him true, sympathetic, patient. The sharp private
griefs that sting the heart so deeply, and leave a little poison
behind, did not spare him. But he bore everything so bravely, so
silently,--often silent for a whole evening in the midst of pleasant
talkers, but not impertinently sad, nor ever sullen,--that we all loved
him a little more at such times. The ill-health from which he always
suffered, and a flower-like delicacy of temperament, the yearning desire
to be of some service in the world, coupled with the curious, critical
introspection which marks every sensitive and refined nature and
paralyzes action, overcast his life and manner to the common eye with
pensiveness and even sternness. He wrote verses in which his heart
seems to exhale in a sigh of sadness. But he was not in the least a
sentimentalist. The womanly grace of temperament merely enhanced the
unusual manliness of his character and impression. It was like a
delicate carnation upon the cheek of a robust man. For his humor
was exuberant. He seldom laughed loud, but his smile was sweet and
appreciative. Then the range of his sympathies was so large, that he
enjoyed every kind of life and person, and was everywhere at home. In
walking and riding, in skating and running, in games out of doors and
in, no one of us all in the neighborhood was so expert, so agile as he.
For, above all things, he had what we Yankees call faculty,--the knack
of doing everything. If he rode with a neighbor who was a good horseman,
Theodore, who was a Centaur, when he mounted, would put any horse at any
gate or fence; for it did not occur to him that he could not do whatever
was to be done. Often, after writing for a few hours in the morning, he
stepped out of doors, and, from pure love of the fun, leaped and turned
summersaults on the grass, before going up to town. In walking about the
island, he constantly stopped by the roadside fences, and, grasping the
highest rail, swung himself swiftly and neatly over and back again,
resuming the walk and the talk without delay.

I do not wish to make him too much a hero. "Death," says Bacon, "openeth
the gate to good fame." When a neighbor dies, his form and quality
appear clearly, as if he had been dead a thousand years. Then we see
what we only felt before. Heroes in history seem to us poetic because
they are there. But if we should tell the simple truth of some of our
neighbors, it would sound like poetry. Winthrop was one of the men
who represent the manly and poetic qualities that always exist around
us,--not great genius, which is ever salient, but the fine fibre of
manhood that makes the worth of the race.

Closely engaged with his literary employments, and more quiet than ever,
he took less active part in the last election. But when the menace of
treason became an aggressive act, he saw very clearly the inevitable
necessity of arms. We all talked of it constantly,--watching the
news,--chafing at the sad necessity of delay, which was sure to confuse
foreign opinion and alienate sympathy, as has proved to be the case. As
matters advanced and the war-cloud rolled up thicker and blacker, he
looked at it with the secret satisfaction that war for such a cause
opened his career both as thinker and actor. The admirable coolness, the
promptness, the cheerful patience, the heroic ardor, the intelligence,
the tough experience of campaigning, the profound conviction that the
cause was in truth "the good old cause," which was now to come to the
death-grapple with its old enemy, Justice against Injustice, Order
against Anarchy,--all these should now have their turn, and the wanderer
and waiter "settle himself" at last.

We took a long walk together on the Sunday that brought the news of the
capture of Fort Sumter. He was thoroughly alive with a bright, earnest
forecast of his part in the coming work. Returning home with me, he
sat until late in the evening talking with an unwonted spirit, saying
playfully, I remember, that, if his friends would only give him a horse,
he would ride straight to victory.

Especially he wished that some competent person would keep a careful
record of events as they passed; "for we are making our history," he
said, "hand over hand." He sat quietly in the great chair while he
spoke, and at last rose to go. We went together to the door, and stood
for a little while upon the piazza, where we had sat peacefully through
so many golden summer-hours. The last hour for us had come, but we did
not know it. We shook hands, and he left me, passing rapidly along the
brook-side under the trees, and so in the soft spring starlight vanished
from my sight forever.

The next morning came the President's proclamation. Winthrop went
immediately to town and enrolled himself in the artillery corps of the
Seventh Regiment. During the two or three following days he was very
busy and very happy. On Friday afternoon, the 19th of April, I stood at
the corner of Courtland Street and saw the regiment as it marched away.
Two days before, I had seen the Massachusetts troops going down the same
street. During the day the news had come that they were already engaged,
that some were already dead in Baltimore. And the Seventh, as they went,
blessed and wept over by a great city, went, as we all believed, to
terrible battle. The setting sun in a clear April sky shone full up
the street. Mothers' eyes glistened at the windows upon the glistening
bayonets of their boys below. I knew that Winthrop and other dear
friends were there, but I did not see them. I saw only a thousand men
marching like one hero. The music beat and rang and clashed in the air.
Marching to death or victory or defeat, it mattered not. They marched
for Justice, and God was their captain.

From that moment he has told his own story in these pages until he went
to Fortress Monroe, and was made acting military secretary and aid by
General Butler. Before he went, he wrote the most copious and gayest
letters from the camp. He was thoroughly aroused, and all his powers
happily at play. In a letter to me soon after his arrival in Washington,
he says,--

"I see no present end of this business. We must conquer the South.
Afterward we must be prepared to do its police in its own behalf, and
in behalf of its black population, whom this war must, without
precipitation, emancipate. We must hold the South as the metropolitan
police holds New York. All this is inevitable. Now I wish to enroll
myself at once in the _Police of the Nation_, and for life, if the
nation will take me. I do not see that I can put myself--experience
and character--to any more useful use..... My experience in this short
campaign with the Seventh assures me that volunteers are for one purpose
and regular soldiers entirely another. We want regular soldiers for the
cause of order in these anarchical countries, and we want men in command
who, though they may be valuable as temporary satraps or proconsuls to
make liberty possible where it is now impossible, will never under any
circumstances be disloyal to _Liberty_, will always oppose any scheme of
any one to constitute a military government, and will be ready, when the
time comes, to imitate Washington. We must think of these things, and
prepare for them..... Love to all the dear friends..... This trip has
been all a lark to an old tramper like myself."

Later he writes,--

"It is the loveliest day of fullest spring. An aspen under the window
whispers to me in a chorus of all its leaves, and when I look out, every
leaf turns a sunbeam at me. I am writing in Viele's quarters in the
villa of Somebody Stone, upon whose place or farm we are encamped. The
man who built and set down these four great granite pillars in front of
his house, for a carriage-porch, had an eye or two for a fine _site_.
This seems to be the finest possible about Washington. It is a terrace
called Meridian Hill, two miles north of Pennsylvania Avenue. The house
commands the vista of the Potomac, all the plain of the city, and a
charming lawn of delicious green, with oaks of first dignity just coming
into leaf. It is lovely Nature, and the spot has snatched a grace
from Art. The grounds are laid out after a fashion, and planted with
shrubbery. The snowballs are at their snowballiest..... Have you heard
or--how many times have you used the simile of some one, Bad-muss or
Cadmus, or another hero, who sowed the dragon's teeth, and they came up
dragoons a hundred-fold and infantry a thousand-fold? _Nil admirari_
is, of course, my frame of mind; but I own astonishment at the crop of
soldiers. They must ripen awhile, perhaps, before they are to be named
quite soldiers. Ripening takes care of itself; and by the harvest-time
they will be ready to cut down.

"I find that the men best informed about the South do not anticipate
much severe fighting. Scott's Fabian policy will demoralize their
armies. If the people do not bother the great Cunetator to death before
he is ready to move to assured victory, he will make defeat impossible.
Meanwhile there will be enough outwork going on, like those neat jobs
in Missouri, to keep us all interested...... Know, O comrade, that I
am already a corporal,--an acting corporal, selected by our commanding
officer for my general effect of pipe-clay, my rapidity of heel and toe,
my present arms, etc., but liable to be ousted by suffrage any moment.
_Quod faustum sit_, ... I had already been introduced to the Secretary
of War..... I called at ----'s and saw, with two or three others,----
on the sofa. Him my prophetic soul named my uncle to be..... But in my
uncle's house are many nephews, and whether nepotism or my transcendent
merit will prevail we shall see. I have fun,--I get experience,--I see
much,--it pays. Ah, yes! But in these fair days of May I miss my Staten
Island. War stirs the pulse, but it wounds a little all the time.

"Compliment for me Tib [a little dog] and the Wisterias,--also the mares
and the billiard-table. Ask ---- to give you t'other lump of sugar in my
behalf.... Should ---- return, say that I regret not being present
with an unpremeditated compliment, as thus,--'Ah! the first rose of
summer!'.... I will try to get an enemy's button for ----, should the
enemy attack. If the Seventh returns presently, I am afraid I shall
be obliged to return with them for a time. But I mean to see this job
through, somehow."

In such an airy, sportive vein he wrote, with the firm purpose and the
distinct thought visible under the sparkle. Before the regiment left
Washington, as he has recorded, he said good-bye and went down the bay
to Fortress Monroe. Of his unshrinking and sprightly industry, his good
head, his warm heart, and cool hand, as a soldier, General Butler has
given precious testimony to his family. "I loved him as a brother," the
General writes of his young aid.

The last days of his life at Fortress Monroe were doubtless also the
happiest. His energy and enthusiasm, and kind, winning ways, and the
deep satisfaction of feeling that all his gifts could now be used as he
would have them, showed him and his friends that his day had at length
dawned. He was especially interested in the condition and fate of the
slaves who escaped from the neighboring region and sought refuge at
the fort. He had never for an instant forgotten the secret root of the
treason which was desolating the land with war; and in his view there
would be no peace until that root was destroyed. In his letters written
from the fort he suggests plans of relief and comfort for the refugees;
and one of his last requests was to a lady in New York for clothes for
these poor pensioners. They were promptly sent, but reached the fort too

As I look over these last letters, which gush and throb with the fulness
of his activity, and are so tenderly streaked with touches of constant
affection and remembrance, yet are so calm and duly mindful of every
detail, I do not think with an elder friend, in whom the wisdom of
years has only deepened sympathy for all generous youthful impulse, of
Virgil's Marcellus, "_Heu, miserande puer!_" but I recall rather, still
haunted by Philip Sidney, what he wrote, just before his death, to his
father-in-law, Walsingham,--"I think a wise and constant man ought never
to grieve while he doth play, as a man may say, his own part truly."

The sketches of the campaign in Virginia, which Winthrop had commenced
in this magazine, would have been continued, and have formed an
invaluable memoir of the places, the men, and the operations of which
he was a witness and a part. As a piece of vivid pictorial description,
which gives the spirit as well as the spectacle, his "Washington as a
Camp" is masterly. He knew not only what to see and to describe, but
what to think; so that in his papers you are not at the mercy of a
multitudinous mass of facts, but understand their value and relation.
Immediately upon his arrival at Fort Monroe he had commenced a third
article, which was to have occupied the place of this. It is inserted
here just as he left it, with one brief addition only to make his known
meaning more clear. The part called "Voices of the Contraband" was
written previously, and is not paged in the manuscript. It was to have
been introduced into the article; but it is placed first here, that the
sequence of the paper, as far as the author had written it, may remain


_Solvuntur risu tabulae_. An epigram abolished slavery in the United
States. Large wisdom, stated in fine wit, was the decision. "Negroes are
contraband of war." "They are property," claim the owners. Very well! As
General Butler takes contraband horses used in transport of munitions of
war, so he takes contraband black creatures who tote the powder to the
carts and flagellate the steeds. As he takes a spade used in hostile
earthworks, so he goes a little farther off and takes the black muscle
that wields the spade. As he takes the rations of the foe, so he takes
the sable Soyer whose skilful hand makes those rations savory to the
palates and digestible by the stomachs of the foe and so puts blood and
nerve into them. As he took the steam-gun, so he now takes what might
become the stoker of the steam part of that machine and the aimer of its
gun part. As he takes the musket, so he seizes the object who in the
Virginia army carries that musket on its shoulder until its master
is ready to reach out a lazy hand, nonchalantly lift the piece, and
carelessly pop a Yankee.

The third number of Winthrop's Sketches of the Campaign in Virginia
begins here.


The "Adelaide" is a steamer plying between Baltimore and Norfolk. But as
Norfolk has ceased to be a part of the United States, and is nowhere,
the "Adelaide" goes no farther than Fortress Monroe, Old Point Comfort,
the chief somewhere of this region. A lady, no doubt Adelaide herself,
appears in _alto rilievo_ on the paddle-box. She has a short waist, long
skirt _sans_ crinoline, leg-of-mutton sleeves, lofty bearing, and stands
like Ariadne on an island of pedestal size, surrounded by two or more
pre-Raphaelite trees. In the offing comes or goes a steamboat, also
pre-Raphaelite; and if Ariadne Adelaide's Bacchus is on board, he is out
of sight at the bar.

Such an Adelaide brought me in sight of Fortress Monroe at sunrise, May
29, 1861. The fort, though old enough to be full-grown, has not grown
very tall upon the low sands of Old Point Comfort. It is a big house
with a basement story and a garret. The roof is left off, and the
stories between basement and garret have never been inserted.

But why not be technical? For basement read a tier of casemates, each
with a black Cyclops of a big gun peering out; while above in the open
air, with not even a parasol over their backs, lie the barbette guns,
staring without a wink over sea and shore.

In peace, with a hundred or so soldiers here and there, this vast
inclosure might seem a solitude. Now it is a busy city,--a city of one
idea. I seem to recollect that D'Israeli said somewhere that every great
city was founded on one idea and existed to develop it. This city, into
which we have improvised a population, has its idea,--a unit of an idea
with two halves. The east half is the recovery of Norfolk,--the west
half the occupation of Richmond; and the idea complete is the education
of Virginia's unmannerly and disloyal sons.

Why Secession did not take this great place when its defenders numbered
a squad of officers and three hundred men is mysterious. Floyd and his
gang were treacherous enough. What was it? Were they imbecile? Were they
timid? Was there, till too late, a doubt whether the traitors at home in
Virginia would sustain them in an overt act of such big overture as an
attempt here? But they lost the chance, and with it lost the key of
Virginia, which General Butler now holds, this 30th day of May, and will
presently begin to turn in the lock.

Three hundred men to guard a mile and a half of ramparts! Three hundred
to protect some sixty-five broad acres within the walls! But the place
was a Thermopylae, and there was a fine old Leonidas at the head of its
three hundred. He was enough to make Spartans of them. Colonel Dimmick
was the man,--a quiet, modest, shrewd, faithful, Christian gentleman;
and he held all Virginia at bay. The traitors knew, that, so long as the
Colonel was here, these black muzzles with their white tompions, like
a black eye with a white pupil, meant mischief. To him and his guns,
flanking the approaches and ready to pile the moat full of Seceders, the
country owes the safety of Fortress Monroe.

Within the walls are sundry nice old brick houses for officers'
barracks. The jolly bachelors live in the casemates and the men in long
barracks, now not so new or so convenient as they might be. In fact, the
physiognomy of Fortress Monroe is not so neat, well-shorn, and elegant
as a grand military post should be. Perhaps our Floyds, and the like,
thought, if they kept everything in perfect order here, they, as
Virginians, accustomed to general seediness, would not find themselves
at home. But the new _regime_ must change all this, and make this the
biggest, the best equipped, and the model garrison of the country. For,
of course, this must be strongly held for many, many years to come. It
is idle to suppose that the dull louts we find here, not enlightened
even enough to know that loyalty is the best policy, can be allowed
the highest privilege of the moral, the intelligent, and the
progressive,--self-government. Mind is said to march fast in our time;
but mind must put on steam hereabouts to think and act for itself,
without stern schooling, in half a century.

But no digressing! I have looked far away from the physiognomy of the
fortress. Let us turn to the


The face of this county, Elizabeth City by name, is as flat as a
Chinaman's. I can hardly wonder that the people here have retrograded,
or rather, not advanced. This dull flat would make anybody dull and
flat. I am no longer surprised at John Tyler. He has had a bare blank
brick house, entitled sweetly Margarita Cottage, or some such tender
epithet, at Hampton, a mile and a half from the fort. A summer in this
site would make any man a bore. And as something has done this favor
for His Accidency, I am willing to attribute it to the influence of

The country is flat; the soil is fine sifted loam running to dust, as
the air of England runs to fog; the woods are dense and beautiful
and full of trees unknown to the parallel of New York; the roads are
miserable cart-paths; the cattle are scalawags; so are the horses, not
run away; so are the people, black and white, not run away; the crops
are tolerable, where the invaders have not trampled them.

Altogether the whole concern strikes me as a failure. Captain John Smith
& Co. might as well have stayed at home, if this is the result of the
two hundred and thirty years' occupation. Apparently the colonists
picked out a poor spot; and the longer they stayed, the worse fist they
made of it. Powhattan, Pocahontas, and the others without pantaloons and
petticoats, were really more serviceable colonists.

The farm-houses are mostly miserably mean habitations. I don't wonder
the tenants were glad to make our arrival the excuse for running off.
Here are men claiming to have been worth forty thousand dollars, half in
biped property, half in all other kinds, and they lived in dens such
as a drayman would have disdained and a hod-carrier only accepted on


Always beautiful! the sea cannot be spoilt. Our fleet enlivens it
greatly. Here is the flag-ship "Cumberland" _vis-a-vis_ the fort. Off to
the left are the prizes, unlucky schooners, which ought to be carrying
pine wood to the kitchens of New York, and new potatoes and green peas
for the wood to operate upon. This region, by the way, is New York's
watermelon patch for early melons; and if we do not conquer a peace here
pretty soon, the Jersey fruit will have the market to itself.

Besides stately flag-ships and poor little bumboat schooners, transports
are coming and going with regiments or provisions for the same. Here,
too, are old acquaintances from the bay of New York,--the "Yankee," a
lively tug,--the "Harriet Lane," coquettish and plucky,--the "Catiline,"
ready to reverse her name and put down conspiracy.

On the dock are munitions of war in heaps. Volunteer armies load
themselves with things they do not need, and forget the essentials.
The unlucky army-quartermaster's people, accustomed to the slow and
systematic methods of the by-gone days at Fortress Monroe, fume terribly
over these cargoes. The new men and the new manners of the new army do
not altogether suit the actual men and manners of the obsolete army. The
old men and the new must recombine. What we want now is the vigor of
fresh people to utilize the experience of the experts. The Silver-Gray
Army needs a frisky element interfused. On the other hand, the new army
needs to be taught a lesson in _method_ by the old; and the two combined
will make the grand army of civilization.


When I arrived, Fort Monroe and the neighborhood were occupied by two

1. General Butler.

2. About six thousand men, here and at Newport's News.

Making together more than twelve thousand men.

Of the first army, consisting of the General, I will not speak. Let his
past supreme services speak for him, as I doubt not the future will.

Next to the array of a man comes the army of men. Regulars a few, with
many post officers, among them some very fine and efficient fellows.
These are within the post. Also within is the Third Regiment of
Massachusetts, under Colonel Wardrop, the right kind of man to have, and
commanding a capital regiment of three-months men, neatly uniformed in
gray, with cocked felt hats.

Without the fort, across the moat, and across the bridge connecting this
peninsula of sand with the nearest side of the mainland, are encamped
three New York regiments. Each is in a wheat field, up to its eyes in
dust. In order of precedence they come One, Two, and Five; in order
of personal splendor of uniform they come Five, One, Two; in order of
exploits they are all in the same negative position at present; and the
Second has done rather the most robbing of hen-roosts.

The Fifth, Duryea's Zouaves, lighten up the woods brilliantly with their
scarlet legs and scarlet head-pieces.

* * * * *

These last words were written upon the day that the attack in which
Winthrop fell was arranged.

The disastrous day of the 10th of June, at Great Bethel, need not be
described here. It is already written with tears and vain regrets in our
history. It is useless to prolong the debate as to where the blame of
the defeat, if blame there were, should rest. But there is an impression
somewhat prevalent that Winthrop planned the expedition, which is
incorrect. As military secretary of the commanding general, he made a
memorandum of the outline of the plan as it had been finally settled.
Precisely what that memorandum (which has been published) was he
explains in the last letter he wrote, a few hours before leaving the
fort. He says,--"If I come back safe, I will send you my notes of the
plan of attack, part made up from the General's hints, part my own
fancies." This defines exactly his responsibility. His position as aid
and military secretary, his admirable qualities as adviser under the
circumstances, and his personal friendship for the General, brought him
intimately into the council of war. He embarked in the plan all the
interest of a brave soldier contemplating his first battle. He probably
made suggestions some of which were adopted. The expedition was the
first move from Fort Monroe, to which the country had been long looking
in expectation. These were the reasons why he felt so peculiar a
responsibility for its success; and after the melancholy events of the
earlier part of the day, he saw that its fortunes could be retrieved
only by a dash of heroic enthusiasm. Fired himself, he sought to kindle
others. For one moment that brave, inspiring form is plainly visible
to his whole country, rapt and calm, standing upon the log nearest the
enemy's battery, the mark of their sharpshooters, the admiration of
their leaders, waving his sword, cheering his fellow-soldiers with his
bugle voice of victory,--young, brave, beautiful, for one moment erect
and glowing in the wild whirl of battle, the next falling forward toward
the foe, dead, but triumphant.

On the 19th of April he left the armory-door of the Seventh, with his
hand upon a howitzer; on the 21st of June his body lay upon the same
howitzer at the same door, wrapped in the flag for which he gladly died,
as the symbol of human freedom. And so, drawn by the hands of young men
lately strangers to him, but of whose bravery and loyalty he had been
the laureate, and who fitly mourned him who had honored them, with long,
pealing dirges and muffled drums, he moved forward.

Yet such was the electric vitality of this friend of ours, that those
of us who followed him could only think of him as approving the funeral
pageant, not the object of it, but still the spectator and critic of
every scene in which he was a part. We did not think of him as dead. We
never shall. In the moist, warm midsummer morning, he was alert, alive,



Room for a Soldier! lay him in the clover;
He loved the fields, and they shall be his cover;
Make his mound with hers who called him once her lover:
Where the rain may rain upon it,
Where the sun may shine upon it,
Where the lamb hath lain upon it,
And the bee will dine upon it.

Bear him to no dismal tomb under city churches;
Take him to the fragrant fields, by the silver birches,
Where the whippoorwill shall mourn, where the oriole perches:
Make his mound with sunshine on it,
Where the bee will dine upon it,
Where the lamb hath lain upon it,
And the rain will rain upon it.

Busy as the busy bee, his rest should be the clover;
Gentle as the lamb was he, and the fern should be his cover;
Fern and rosemary shall grow my soldier's pillow over:
Where the rain may rain upon it,
Where the sun may shine upon it,
Where the lamb hath lain upon it,
And the bee will dine upon it.

Sunshine in his heart, the rain would come full often
Out of those tender eyes which evermore did soften;
He never could look cold, till we saw him in his coffin.
Make his mound with sunshine on it,
Where the wind may sigh upon it,
Where the moon may stream upon it,
And Memory shall dream upon it.

"Captain or Colonel,"--whatever invocation
Suit our hymn the best, no matter for thy station,--
On thy grave the rain shall fall from the eyes of a mighty nation!
Long as the sun doth shine upon it
Shall grow the goodly pine upon it,
Long as the stars do gleam upon it

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