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Atlantic Monthly, Vol. XI., April, 1863, No. LXVI. by Various

Part 4 out of 5

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"Then he is only fit to be a courier."

Buckle is not a university-man, although both his father and grandfather
were educated at Cambridge.

He has long since abandoned the practice of writing at night, and now
does not put pen to paper after three o'clock in the afternoon. When at
home, in London, he walks every day, for about an hour and a half, at
noon; frequently dines out and reads perhaps an hour after coming home.
He goes exclusively to dinner-parties, because they take less time than
others. When he is engaged in composition, he walks about the room,
sometimes excitedly, his mind engrossed with his subject, until he has
composed an entire paragraph, when he sits down and writes it, never
retouching, nor composing sentence by sentence, which he thinks has a
tendency to give an abrupt and jerky effect to what is written. Traces
of this, he thinks, may be found in Macaulay's style.

Mr. Thayer showed him the little stock of books he happened to have with
him at Cairo. Mr. Buckle looked them over with interest, expressing his
opinions upon them. One of them, Mr. Bayle St. John's little book on the
Turkish question, he borrowed, although he said that he denied himself
all reading on this journey, undertaken for mental rest, and had brought
no books with him. We got upon the inevitable subject of international
copyright, which he discussed in a spirit of remarkable candor. His
own experience was this: that the Messrs. Appleton reprinted his first
volume without compensation, asking him to furnish materials for a
prefatory memoir, of which request he took no notice; afterwards, when
the second volume was published, they sent him something, I believe
fifty pounds. In due course of time, receiving a request from Theodore
Parker to that effect, he wrote a letter to aid him in the preparation
of a memoir for the Messrs. Appleton's Cyclopaedia.[B]

[Footnote B: In this memoir it is stated that Mr. Buckle was born at
Lee, November 24,1822. If this date be correct, his age, at the time of
his death at Damascus, May 29, 1862, fell short of forty years by five
days less than six months. In conversation, however, at this time,
February, 1862, he spoke of his age as thirty-eight, notwithstanding the
surprise that was expressed, for he appeared several years older. Mr.
Glennie, in his letter describing the circumstances of Mr. Buckle's
death, mentions his age as thirty-nine.]

I pointed out to Mr. Buckle the very important distinction between
_copyright for the British author_ and _monopoly for the British
publisher_. I told him that the American people and their
representatives in Congress would not have the least objection to paying
a trifling addition to the cost of books, which would make, upon the
immense editions sold of the popular books, a handsome compensation to
the foreign authors,--but that they have very decided objections to the
English system of enormously high prices for books. I instanced to him
several books which can be bought in the United States for a quarter or
half a dollar, while in England they cannot be purchased for less than
a guinea and a half, that is, for seven or eight dollars,--although the
author gains very little by these high prices, which, indeed, would be
absolutely prohibitory of the circulation of the books in the United
States. And since the great literary market of the United States has
been created at the public expense, by the maintenance of the system of
universal education, it is perhaps not unreasonable that our legislators
should insist upon preserving, by the competition among publishers, the
advantages of low prices of books, in pursuance of a policy which
looks to a wide circulation. In Great Britain the publishers follow
a different policy and insist on selling books at high prices to a
comparatively small circle of readers.

Mr. Buckle was kind enough to listen attentively to this sort of
reasoning and had the candor to admit that it is entitled to some degree
of weight. Indeed, he said at once that he had earnestly wished to bring
out a cheap edition of his own book in England, omitting the notes and
references, for the use of the working-classes, of whose appreciation,
as I have previously mentioned, he had received many gratifying proofs;
he had made his arrangements for this purpose, but was prevented from
carrying them out by the opposition of his publishers, who objected
that such an edition would injure _their_ interest in the more
costly edition. But Mr. Buckle freely declared that he would, in his
circumstances, rather forego the profit on the sale of his book than
restrict its circulation.

I may, perhaps, be permitted to mention that another English author
related to me his home experience, precisely to the same effect, in
which the vested interests of his publishers thwarted him in his wish
to publish an edition of his writings at a low price for general
circulation. It is quite certain that the British public must themselves
be disenthralled from the tyranny of high prices with which they are now
burdened, before they can ask to bring another land under the dominion
of their exclusive system in literature.

This conversation led to a description of the reading public
in America,--of the intelligence and independence of our
working-people,--of their habits of life and of thought,--about which
Buckle manifested great interest, asking many intelligent questions.

Mr. Buckle is in easy circumstances, and attends personally to the
management of his money. He finds no difficulty in letting it upon
first-class mortgages, at five per cent., and does not expect a higher
rate of interest.

_February 13th._ To-night there was a religious celebration, including
an illumination, in the mosque at the Citadel. We had expected to go
and see it; and Mr. T. had invited Mr. B. and his party, as well as Mr.
Buckle, and the two lads by whom he is accompanied in his journeyings,
to go with us. These young gentlemen are sons of a dear friend of Mr.
Buckle's, no longer living.

But at the last moment before dinner the advice was strongly given on
all sides that we should not go, lest some bigoted Mussulmans should
take offence, and there might be a disturbance. Not long ago, a party of
Englishmen behaved very badly in the mosque on a similar occasion, from
which has resulted a disturbed state of feeling. It of course cannot be
pleasant to people of any religious belief to have their ceremonies made
a spectacle for curiosity; and although the _moudier_ (mayor of the
city) promised ample protection, the plan was given up, and the company
being gathered, we had a pleasant evening together. The presence of the
ladies of Mr. B.'s party gave the opportunity to see Mr. Buckle again
under the inspiration of ladies' society, which he especially enjoys,
and in the lighter conversation suited to which he shines with not less
distinction than when conversing upon abstruse topics.

In the course of the evening, in the midst of conversation in which he
was taking an animated part, Mr. Buckle exhibited symptoms of faintness.
Fresh air was at once admitted to the room, which was full of
cigar-smoke; water and more powerful restoratives were brought, but
these he declined. After a few minutes' repose upon the divan, he
declared that he was perfectly recovered, and half an hour afterwards
took his leave with the boys. We were quite anxious until we heard that
he had safely reached his boat, in which he is still living.

_February 14th._ Returning from the Turkish bath, I found a valentine
in the shape of a telegraphic despatch only thirteen days from
Boston,--thirty-six hours from Liverpool. It was dated at Boston the
1st, forwarded from Liverpool at 10 A.M. of the 13th, and reached
Alexandria at 11.55 A.M. of the 14th, whence it was transmitted to Cairo
without delay. This is almost equal to the Arabian Nights. The distance
travelled by the despatch is about six thousand miles.

_February 15th_. This day we had an excursion to the Petrified Forest.
It was got up partly to give us all a taste of camel-riding, and it
was originally expected that everybody would go on camels; then it was
agreed that half should go on camels, and "ride-and-tie." In this view,
one camel and one donkey were ordered for T. and myself. But Mr. B. was
subsequently persuaded that with four horses he could have a carriage
dragged through the desert to the forest, which would be more
comfortable for the ladies; and he made that arrangement in his own and
their behalf. Freddy B. is a first-rate horseman, and an Arab steed was
ordered for him. Mr. Buckle was determined to go in a thing called a
_mazetta_, a sort of huge bedstead with curtains, borne on the back of a
camel, big enough to carry a small family, in which he expected to find
room for himself and the two boys travelling with him. Besides these,
the party included the Reverend Mr. Lansing, the excellent head of the
American mission here, the Honorable W.S., a young Englishman, and his
tutor, the Reverend Mr. S., whose agreeable company had been bespoken
when the camel-project was in full strength.

On looking down from the balcony at the transportation-train marshalled
for the occasion, amid the admiring gaze of all the idlers of Cairo,
I was at first a little chagrined to find, as the final result of the
various arrangements, that, besides the camels, the _mazetta_, the
carriage-and-four, and the proud-stepping horse, there appeared but one
donkey, that selected for me. But I was, in truth, very well off. To
begin with, it was not thought prudent that Mr. Buckle should use the
_mazetta_ until the procession had got beyond the narrow streets of
Cairo, lest the camel bearing it should take fright and knock the whole
thing to pieces against the wall of a house. Accordingly, he and his
charges took donkeys, and I rode off with them, at the head of the
column. By-and-by Mr. Buckle changed to the conveyance originally
proposed, but a very short experiment (literally, I suspect) sickened
him of the _mazetta_, whose motion is precisely that of a ship in a
storm, and he sent back to the town for donkeys. At the next halt the
ladies took him into the carriage, where he found himself, as he said,
"in clover," and that was the end of his greatness in camel-riding. This
remark, by the way, suggested a name ("Clover") for our boat in our
voyage up the Nile just afterwards; but patriotism prevailed, and we
named her "Union." It pretty soon appeared that the camel which T. was
riding was young and frisky; the animal was accordingly pronounced
unsafe, and T. changed to a donkey which had fortunately been brought
along for a reserve. The Honorable W.S.'s camel, from the saddle
becoming unfastened, pitched rider and saddle to the ground, a fall of
five or six feet: fortunately no harm was done, and he bravely mounted
again. The saddle upon the camel which the Reverend Mr. S. rode split
in two, and the seat must have been a torture; but he bore it like a
martyr, never flinching. But camel-stock had so far depreciated,
and donkeys gone up, that I was able to try as much as I liked of
camel-riding now and then, at the same time obliging a friend by the use
of my donkey meanwhile. Riding a camel at a walk is the same sort of
thing as riding a very hard-trotting horse without stirrups, and with
no chance to grasp the animal fairly to hold your seat. When the camel
trots, you may imagine yourself on a treadmill.

The journey to the forest, about ten miles, was safely accomplished. We
found the petrifactions duly wonderful. An excellent luncheon was
laid out, after which we had an hour and a half of very entertaining
conversation, in which Mr. Buckle and Rev. Mr. S. held the leading
parts,--all around us as desolate and silent as one could imagine. It
was interesting to observe the manner in which Buckle estimated eminent
names, grouping them in some instances by threes, a favorite conceit
with him. John Stuart Mill, of all living men, he considers as
possessing the greatest mind in the world. Aristotle, Newton, and
Shakspeare are the greatest the world has produced in past times. Homer,
Dante, and Shakspeare are the only three great poets. Johnson, Gibbon,
and Parr are the three writers who have done the greatest harm to the
English language. Of Hallam he has a strong admiration. He spoke of
Sydney Smith as the greatest English wit, and of Selwyn as next to him,
and described Macaulay's memory as unequalled in conversation.

For the return-trip, the donkeys generally were preferred. Miss B., with
spirit, tried camel-riding for a while, and so did Master F. We stopped
to look at the tombs of the Caliphs, and reached the hotel at nightfall,
somewhat fatigued, but satisfied with the day's expedition.

_February 16th._ The morning was gratefully devoted to rest. In the
afternoon, attended service at the Mission, where Rev. Mr. S. preached
an interesting discourse from John xv. 1-4. On the way home met Mr.
Buckle, who came in, and was persuaded to stay to dinner. In speaking
of religion, he said that there is no doctrine or truth in Christianity
that had not been announced before, but that Christianity is by far the
noblest religion in existence. The chief point of its superiority is
the prominence it gives to the humane and philanthropic element; and
in giving this prominence lies its originality. He believes in a Great
First Cause, but does not arrive at his belief by any process of
reasoning satisfactory to himself. Paley's argument, from the evidence
of design, he regards as futile: if the beauty of this world indicates
a creating cause, the beauty of that great cause would suggest another,
and so on. He believes in a future state, and declared most impressively
that life would be insupportable to him, if he thought he were forever
to be separated from one person,--alluding, it is probable, to his
mother, to whose memory he dedicates the second volume of his book.[C]
He has no doubt that in the future state we shall recognize one another;
whether we shall have the same bodies he has no opinion, although he
regards matter as indestructible. He declares himself unable to form any
judgment as to the mode of future existence. Religion, he says, is on
the increase in the world, but theology is declining.

[Footnote C: The words he uses are,--"To the memory of my mother I
_consecrate_ this volume."]

Mr. Buckle characterized as the sublimest passage in Shakspeare the
lines in the "Merchant of Venice,"--

"Look how the floor of heaven
Is thick inlaid with patines of bright gold!
There's not the smallest orb which thou behold'st
But in his motion like an angel sings,
Still quiring to the young-eyed cherabims:
Such harmony is in immortal souls!
But whilst this muddy vesture of decay
Doth grossly close it in, we cannot hear it."

Mr. Thayer suggested the similarity between the closing part of this
passage, about our deafness to the music of the stars, owing to the
"muddy vesture," and the sonnet of Blanco White which speaks of the
starry splendors to which our eyes are blinded by the light of day:--

"Mysterious Night! when our first parent knew
Thee, from report divine, and heard thy name,
Did he not tremble for this lovely frame,
This glorious canopy of light and blue?
Yet 'neath the curtain of translucent dew,
Bathed in the rays of the great setting flame,
Hesperus with the host of heaven came,
And lo! creation widened in man's view.
Who could have thought such darkness lay concealed
Within thy beams, O Sun? or who could find,
Whilst fly and leaf and insect stood revealed,
That to such countless orbs thou mad'st us blind?
Why do we, then, shun Death with anxious strife?
If Light can thus deceive, wherefore not Life?"

Mr. Buckle seemed to be struck by the comparison. He proceeded to speak
of Blanco White's memoirs as painfully interesting, and said that he
had always liked Archbishop Whately for adhering to White after the
desertion of the latter by old friends on account of his change of

* * * * *

The next few days were occupied in preparations for the voyage up the
Nile in company with my New York friends. Mr. Buckle had very kindly
taken great interest in our plans, and had earnestly advised me to go.
"You will do very wrong indeed," he said, "if you do not go." On the
19th of February we embarked; and as we saluted his boat, lying just
below us in the Nile, while our own shoved off, I little thought that I
should never see him again,--that his brilliant career was so shortly to
come to an untimely end. The serious conversation just recorded was the
last in which I took part with him.

Mr. Buckle remained in Cairo until the beginning of March, when he set
out with the two boys, and Mr. J.S. Stuart Glennie, across the Desert,
for Sinai and Petra. Greatly improved in health by the six weeks in
the Desert, (according to Mr. Glennie's letter,) he undertook the more
fatiguing travelling on horseback through Palestine. He fell ill on the
27th of April, but recovered his health, as it seemed, to such an extent
that Mr. Glennie parted from him on the 21st of May. On the 29th of May,
at Damascus, Mr. Buckle died. Among the incoherent utterances of his
illness, it was possible to distinguish the exclamation, "Oh, my book,
my book, I shall never finish my book!"

And beyond the grief felt in the loss of the kind friend and agreeable
companion, our plaint, in common with the whole world, ever must be,
that he did not live to finish his book.


The squadron is forming, the war-bugles play.
To saddle, brave comrades, stout hearts for a fray!
Our captain is mounted,--strike spurs, and away!

No breeze shakes the blossoms or tosses the grain;
But the wind of our speed floats the galloper's mane,
As he feels the bold rider's firm hand on the rein.

Lo, dim in the starlight their white tents appear!
Ride softly! ride slowly! the onset is near!
More slowly! more softly! the sentry may hear!

Now fall on the Rebel--a tempest of flame!
Strike down the false banner whose triumph were shame!
Strike, strike for the true flag, for freedom and fame!

Hurrah! sheathe your swords! the carnage is done.
All red with our valor, we welcome the sun.
Up, up with the stars! we have won! we have won!


We have reached a point in the history of our national troubles where it
seems desirable to examine our present position, and to consider whether
we ought to surrender ourselves to despair, or congratulate ourselves on
decided success,--whether we should abandon all attempts to restore the
Union, assert the dignity of the Constitution, and punish treason, or
nerve ourselves to new effort, and determine to persevere in a righteous
cause so long as a single able-bodied man remains or a dollar of
available property is unexpended.

It may be, it must be, conceded that we commenced the contest with very
crude and inadequate notions of what war really is. We proposed to
decide the issue by appealing to the census and the tax-list,--tribunals
naturally enough occurring to a mercantile and manufacturing
community,--but how if the enemy prefer cannon and cold steel? Our first
campaign was in the field of statistics, and we found the results highly
satisfactory. Our great numerical superiority, aided by our immense
material resources, gave us an early and an easy victory. We outnumbered
the enemy everywhere, defeated them in every pitched battle, starved
them by a vigilant blockade, secured meanwhile the sympathy and support
of the whole civilized world by the holiness of our cause, and commanded
its respect by the display of our material power and our military
capacity,--and in a few short months crushed the Rebellion, restored
the Union, vindicated the Constitution, hung the arch-traitors, and saw
peace in all our borders. This was our campaign--on paper. But war is
something more than a sum in arithmetic. A campaign cannot be decided by
the rule of three. No finite power can control every contingency, and
have all the chances in its favor.

A Moorish legend, given to us in the graceful narrative of Washington
Irving, relates, that an Arabian astrologer constructed for the pacific
Aben Hafuz, King of Granada, a magical mode of repulsing all invaders
without risking the lives of his subjects or diminishing the contents of
the royal treasury. He caused a tower to be built, in the upper part of
which was a circular hall with windows looking towards every point of
the compass, and before each window a table supporting a mimic army of
horse and foot. On the top of the tower was a bronze figure of a Moorish
horseman, fixed on a pivot, with elevated lance. Whenever a foe was at
hand, the figure would turn in that direction, and level his lance as if
for action. No sooner was it reported to the vigilant monarch that the
magic horseman indicated the approach of an enemy, than His Majesty
hastened to the circular hall, selected the table at the point of the
compass indicated by the horseman's spear, touched with the point of a
magic lance some of the pigmy effigies before him, and belabored others
with the butt-end. A scene of confusion at once ensued in the mimic
army. Part fell dead, and the rest, turning their weapons upon each
other, fought with the utmost fury. The same scene was repeated in the
ranks of the advancing enemy. Each renewed attempt at invasion was
foiled by this easy and economical expedient, until the King enjoyed
rest even from rumors of wars.

Now this is a pleasing fiction, and highly creditable to the light and
airy fancy of the Moors. It almost makes one sigh that an astrologer so
fertile in resources is not still extant. It is difficult to conceive,
indeed, of a more felicitous arrangement for a monarch devoted to his
ease, and proof against all temptations to military glory, or for a
people wedded to peaceful pursuits, and ambitious only of material
prosperity. But no such fascinating substitute for fields of carnage is
available in our degenerate days,--"_C'est charmant, mais ce n'est pas
la guerre_."

Nor yet is any useful example furnished by the warlike qualities of the
army raised by Peter Stuyvesant for the reduction of Fort Casimir: not
even when we remember that it included "the Van Higginbottoms, a race of
schoolmasters, armed with ferules and birchen rods,--the Van Bummels,
renowned for feats of the trenches,--the Van Bunschotens, who were the
first that did kick with the left foot,"--with many other warriors
equally fierce and formidable. We must, however reluctantly, leave such
romantic legends and facetious chronicles, and learn more practical
lessons from the sober and instructive page of history. We shall there
find that war means alternate success and defeat, alternate hope and
disappointment, great suffering in the field, many vacant chairs at
many firesides, immense expenditures with little apparent result, "the
best-laid schemes" foiled by a thousand unexpected contingencies,
lamentable indecision in the cabinet, glaring blunders in the field,
stagnation of industry, and heavy taxation.

"War is a game, which, were the nations wise,
Kings would not play at."

But nations are not always wise, and war often becomes a necessity.
When, then, the necessity arises, it should be met manfully. The
question once deliberately decided that peace is no longer consistent
with national honor or national safety, the dread alternative must be
accepted with all its hazards and all its horrors. To organize only in
anticipation of certain and speedy success, to despise and underrate the
enemy, to inquire with how small an army and how limited an expenditure
the war can be carried on, is as unstatesmanlike as it is in flat
defiance of all historical teaching. But if we carry our folly still
farther in the same direction,--if we fail to take into grave account
the most obvious and inevitable incidents of actual warfare,--if in
our overweening confidence we neglect discipline, underrate the prime
importance of promptness and decision in action, certainty and celerity
in movement, and energy and activity in pursuit,--if, in a word, we
expect that the defences of the enemy are to fall into our hands by
means as unwarlike as those that decided the fate of Jericho, or dream
that because our cause is just every precedent in history and every
principle in human nature will be overruled in our favor,--then we
deserve to be outgeneralled, and are fortunate, if we escape final and
disastrous defeat.

Now has not this been precisely our cardinal and capital error, and
are we not to-day suffering its natural consequences? To the blind and
unreasoning confidence with which we began this war has succeeded a
reaction running into the very opposite extreme. We are given over to
a despondency quite as unwarrantable as the extravagance of our early
hopes. We demanded and expected impossibilities. Forgetting that the age
of miracles has passed, many are now bitterly complaining that nothing
has been accomplished, and predicting that all future efforts will
terminate in similar failure. Two years have not elapsed since the first
gun was fired at Fort Sumter; and yet we are amazed and mortified that
our forces have not overrun the whole South, that victory has not
crowned our arms in every battle, and that our flag does not float
triumphant over every acre of every State once called Confederate.
Whether this most desirable result could have been accomplished, if this
or that policy had been adopted at the outset, is one of those problems
that will never be solved; nor is the inquiry at present pertinent or
profitable. Let us rather ask whether, in view of the means actually
employed, our discontent with the existing condition of affairs is not
unmanly and unreasonable. We are to measure results, not by the efforts
that we ought to have put forth, nor by those which we should put forth,
if, with our dear-bought experience, we were called upon once more to
undertake such a gigantic enterprise. We must recall the aspect of
affairs when we first embarked on this perilous sea. We must remember
how ignorant we were of all the danger before us, how imperfect was the
chart by which our course was to be determined, how many shoals and
sunken rocks and crosscurrents we were to encounter, as yet unknown
to any pilot on board our noble ship of state, how little we knew of
navigation in such angry waters, under so stormy a sky.

Turn back the pages of history for two short years, and dwell a moment
on the picture presented to our eyes. A nation, enjoying to the utmost
the substantial benefits belonging to fifty years of profound peace and
unexampled prosperity, enervated by those habits of luxury which wealth
easily accumulated always fosters, with a standing army hardly large
enough to protect our Western frontier from the incursions of hostile
Indians, and a navy ludicrously small in proportion to the extent of our
sea-coast and the value of our commerce, is suddenly plunged into a war
covering such an extent of territory and calling for such an array of
power by sea and land as to dwarf into insignificance all modern wars,
hardly excepting the military operations of Napoleon I.

And it must be remembered that education and habit had trained us to an
implicit reliance on the sufficiency of our laws and the competency of
our Constitution to meet and decide every issue that could possibly be
presented. We could conceive of no public wrongs which could not be
redressed by an appeal to the ballot-box, and of no private injuries for
which our statutes did not provide a suitable remedy.

We were not only a law-abiding, but a peace-loving people. The report of
the revolver was not heard in our streets, nor was the glitter of the
bowie-knife seen in our bar-rooms. We deprecated mob-violence, and
disliked the summary proceedings of Judge Lynch. We took no pains to
conceal our horror of unnecessary bloodshed, and shared the views of
civilized Christendom about duelling. Now and then, to be sure, a
Southerner in one of his sportive moods would stab an inattentive waiter
in some Northern hotel, or a chivalrous son of South Carolina, elegantly
idling away a few years in a New-England university, would shoot some
base-born tutor, or, as an episode in Congressional proceedings, the
member from Arkansas would threaten to pull the nose, spit in the
face, and gouge out the eyes of the (profane participled) sneaking
Yankee,--meaning thereby a quiet, inoffensive member from Massachusetts.
But these incidents of Southern civilization were not frequent enough to
become fashionable. We still clung to our plebeian prejudices against
lawless violence, and persisted in believing that a swaggering bully
could not be an ornament to cultivated and refined society. In fact,
some excellent individuals at the North went so far as to seek to
disseminate these old-fashioned notions among their Southern brethren,
and made annual subscriptions to what was known (alas, that we must
use the historic tense!) as the "Southern Aid Society," having for its
praiseworthy object the support of ministers who should preach the
gospel to our ardent and impulsive neighbors. What a sad and significant
commentary is it upon the ingratitude of depraved human nature, that the
condescending clergyman who whilom consented to collect the offerings
of these discriminating philanthropists is now a chaplain in the
Confederate army, and is invoking the most signal judgments of Heaven
upon his former friends and fellow-laborers!

This, then, was our condition, and these were our habits, when we were
rudely awakened from our dreams of peace by the roar of cannon and the
clash of arms. What wonder that the startling summons found us all
unready for such a crisis? What wonder that our early preparations to
confront the issue thus forced upon us without note of warning were
hasty, incomplete, and quite inadequate to the emergency? Is it
discreditable to us that we were slow to appreciate the bitterness and
intensity of that hatred, which, long smouldering under the surface of
Southern society, burst forth at once into a wide-spread conflagration,
severing like flax all the ties of kindred, and all the bonds of
individual friendship and national intercourse which had united us for
half a century? Here was a section of our Union which had always
enjoyed equal rights with us under the Constitution, and had known the
Government only by its blessings,--nay, more, had actually, by the
confession of its own statesmen, controlled the internal administration
and dictated the foreign policy of the country since the adoption of the
Constitution; which had no substantial grievance to complain of, and
no fanciful injury which could not be readily redressed by legal and
constitutional methods. Are we to be blamed because we could not easily
bring ourselves to believe that an integral part of our nation, with
such a history, could, under a pretence so bald as to insult the common
sense of Christendom, rush headlong into a war which must close all its
avenues of commerce, paralyze all its industry, threaten the existence
of its cherished and peculiar institution,--in a word, whether
successful or unsuccessful, inevitably result in its political suicide?
At this very moment, accustomed as we have been for many sad and weary
months to the daily development of Southern folly and madness, it is
difficult, when we withdraw our minds from the present, to realize that
the whole war is not a hideous nightmare.

In view of all this, I ask, is it strange that we did not at once
comprehend all our danger, and did not enter the field with all our
forces,--determined to fight with desperate energy until every trace of
rebellion was crushed out? If, disturbed at midnight by footsteps in
your chamber, you start up from sound slumber to see a truculent-looking
vagabond prowling about your room with a lighted candle, do you not at
once spring to your feet, collar the intruder, and shout lustily for
help, if he prove too strong for you? Prompt and vigorous action in such
a case is simply the impulse of instinct. But how if you recognize in
the untimely visitor a member of your own household? Will you seize and
overpower him without asking a single question, or waiting for a word of
explanation? Will you not pause for some overt act of hostility, some
convincing proof of a fell purpose? Suppose it transpire that he really
means mischief, and you lose an important advantage by your delay to
strike. You may regret the result; but does it in the least tend to show
that you were cowardly or careless? Now was not this our exact dilemma?
Although the origin of the war and the circumstances attendant upon its
commencement are a thrice-told tale, are we not in danger of overlooking
their bearing upon all our subsequent action? And shall we not act
wisely, if we recur to them again and again, during this momentous

But, asks a timid Conservative,--from whose patient button the fingers
of an ardent apostle of peace have recently and most reluctantly
parted,--has not this war been shamefully mismanaged by the
Administration? have not contractors grown rich while soldiers have
suffered? have not incompetent generals been unjustly advanced, and
skilful commanders been summarily shelved? have we gained any advantages
at all commensurate with our loss of blood and our expenditure of money?
would not a cessation of hostilities on any terms be better than such
a war as we are now waging? If we might venture to suggest a word of
caution to our desponding friend, before attempting a reply to his
broadside of questions, we would say: Beware how you indulge in too much
conversation with a certain class of our citizens, whose hearty loyalty
has been more than doubted, and whose conversion to the beauties of
peace and the horrors of war is so sudden as to be very suspicious.
Examine their antecedents, and you will find, that, when "border
ruffians" in Kansas threatened with fire and sword the inoffensive
emigrants from New England, these gentlemen saw nothing unusual in such
proceedings, and answered all remonstrances with ridicule. Put them to
the question to-day, and it will appear, that, from the very beginning
of the struggle, all their sympathies have been with the South. They
will tell you that Northern Abolitionists are alone responsible for the
war; that the secession of the Southern States may have been unwise,
but was not unreasonable; that they have always condemned coercion and
advocated compromise; and that there is no safe and satisfactory way out
of our existing difficulties but--_peace_. What do they mean by peace?
Such peace as the highwayman, armed to the teeth, offers to the belated
traveller! Such peace as Benedict Arnold sought to negotiate with the
English general! They know that the South will accept no terms but the
acknowledgment of her independence, or the abject and unconditional
submission of the Free States. They reject the first alternative,
because they dare not go before the North on such an issue. Disguise it
as they may, they are willing to adopt the second. The party to which,
without an exception, these men belong, is powerless without the
cooperation of the South, and would consider no sacrifice of principle
too great, and no humiliation of the North too degrading, if it promised
the restoration of their political supremacy. Avoid all such men.
Distrust their advice. That way dishonor lies, and national disgrace.
If you are not "armed so strong in honesty" as to be proof against
such treasonable talk, you will soon be aware of a softening of your
backbone, and a lamentable loss of earnest, active patriotism. Take
counsel rather of your own common sense. Looking at the question in its
narrowest and most selfish bearings, you _know_ that we can neither
recede nor stand still. Submission Is slavery. Disunion paves the way
for endless secession, and eternal warfare between rising and rival

But there are other symptoms of disloyalty besides this persistent
demand for peace. There are indications of a desire to array sections of
the North against each other, and--Heaven save the mark!--by the
very politicians who have been most bitter in their denunciation of
"geographical parties." Here comes a little Western lawyer, with
unlimited resources of slang and slender capital of ideas, barely
redeemed from being an absolute blackguard by the humanizing influences
of a New England college, but showing fewer and fewer symptoms of
civilization as he forgets the lessons of his collegiate life; and _he_
delights an audience of New York "roughs," adopted citizens of Celtic
extraction, and lager-loving Germans, (do not cocks always crow longest
and loudest on a dung-hill?) by the novel information, that "Puritanism
is a reptile" and the cause of all our troubles, and that we shall never
fulfil our national destiny until Puritanism has been crushed. Let us
not elevate this nauseating nonsense into importance by attempting a
reply. Such men must be left to follow out their inevitable instincts.
They are not worth the trouble necessary to civilize them. Mr. Rarey
succeeded in taming a zebra from the London Zooelogical Gardens; but
a single lesson could not permanently reclaim the beast, and it soon
relapsed into its native and normal ferocity. One experiment sufficed
to show the power of the artist; no possible increase of value in the
educated animal would have justified a prolonged and perfect training.

You ask if we have gained any advantages commensurate with our efforts,
or with the high-sounding phrase of our declared purpose. Let us look at
this a moment. Suppose we begin with a glance at the other side of
the picture. Has all the boasting, have all the promises, been on the
Federal side? Did we hear nothing of the Confederate flag floating over
Faneuil Hall?--nothing of Washington falling into the hands of the
enemy?--nothing of a festive winter in Philadelphia and a
general distribution of spoils in New York?--nothing of foreign
intervention?--nothing of the cowardice of Northern Mudsills and
the omnipotence of King Cotton? Decidedly, the Rebels began with a
sufficiently startling programme. Let us see how far they have carried
it out. As they were clearly the assailants, we have an undoubted right
to ask what they have accomplished _aggressively_. We say, then, that,
excepting in the case of one brief raid, the soil of a single Free State
has never been polluted by the hostile tread of an invading force; that
every battle-field has been within the limits of States claimed as
Confederate; that, while the war has desolated whole States represented
in the Confederate Congress, not an acre north of Mason and Dixon's line
has suffered from the ravages of the Rebel armies. Was ever another
scorpion more completely surrounded and shut in by a cordon of fire?

This is surely something, but it is by no means all. Have _we_
accomplished nothing aggressively? We will call into court a witness
from the enemy's camp. Hear the recent testimony of a leading journal,
published in the Confederate capital:[A]--

[Footnote A: _Richmond Examiner_, January 20th, 1863.]

"It is not altogether an empty boast on the part of the Yankees, that
they hold all that they have ever held, and that another year or two of
such progress as they have already made will find them masters of the
Southern Confederacy. They who think independence is to be achieved by
brilliant but inconsequential victories would do well to look at the
magnitude of Yankee possessions in our country. Maryland, Kentucky, and
Missouri are claimed as constituent parts of the Confederation: they are
as much in the power of Lincoln as Maine and Minnesota. The pledge once
deemed foolish by the South, that he would 'hold, occupy, and possess'
all the forts belonging to the United States Government, has been
redeemed almost to the letter by Lincoln. Forts Pickens, [Sumter?] and
Morgan we still retain; but, with these exceptions, all the strongholds
on the seaboard, from Fortress Monroe to the Rio Grande, are in the
hands of the enemy. Very consoling and very easy to say that it was
impossible to prevent all this, and that the occupation of the outer
edge of the Republic amounts to nothing. Drowry's Bluff and Vicksburg
give the lie to the first assertion; and the onward movement of
Rosecrans towards Alabama, the presence of Grant in North Mississippi
and of Curtis in Middle Arkansas, to say nothing of Banks at New Orleans
and Baton Rouge, set at rest the silly dream that a thin strip of
sea-coast only is in possession of our foes. The truth is, the Yankees
are in great force in the very heart of the Confederacy; they swarm on
all our borders; they threaten every important city yet belonging to us;
and nearly two hundred thousand of them are within two days' march of
the Confederate capital. This is no fiction. It is a fact so positive
that no one can deny it."

But this reluctant recital by no means exhausts the record of our
successes. We have put into the field a volunteer force, fully armed and
equipped, which, whether we consider its magnitude, the rapidity with
which it has been raised, its fighting qualities, its patient endurance
of unaccustomed hardships, or its intelligent appreciation of the
principles involved in the contest, is without a counterpart in history.
And yet more, from the invention and achievements of our iron-clads
dates a new era in naval warfare, while in the value and variety of our
ordnance we have taken the lead of all civilized nations. Can you find
in all this nothing to quicken the pulse of your patriotism? Is here no
ground for encouragement, no incitement to renewed effort?

But you complain of corruption among contractors, and of knavery among
politicians. Will you point me to a single war, ever waged on the face
of the earth, where all the rulers were above reproach and all their
subordinates unselfish? But what will you do about it? Grant that many
contractors have made dishonest fortunes out of the calamities of their
country, and that there are officeholders with whom "Stand by the
Constitution!" means, Stand by the public crib from which we are
richly and regularly fed, and "Uphold the Administration!" should be
translated, Give us our full four years' enjoyment of the loaves and
fishes. What then? Shall a few worthless straws here, and a few heaps
of offal there, arrest or check the onward march of a mighty army,
the steady progression of a great principle? Away with such trumpery
considerations! Punish with the utmost severity of the law every public
plunderer whose crimes can be dragged into the light of day; send to the
Coventry of universal contempt every lagging and lukewarm official; but,
in the name of all that is holy in purpose and noble in action, _move
on!_ To hesitate is worse than folly; to delay is more than madness.
The salvation of our country trembles in the balance. The fate of free
institutions for--who shall say how long?--may hang upon the issue of
the struggle.

Your catalogue of grievances, however, is still incomplete. You are
dissatisfied with our generalship as displayed in the field, and with
the wisdom of our policy as developed by the cabinet. Unquestionably you
have a constitutional right to grumble to your heart's content; but are
you not aware that such complaints are as old as the history of the
human race? Do you believe this to be the first war that was ever
mismanaged, and that our undoubted blunders are either novel or peculiar
to Republics? There never was a greater mistake. If there were brave men
before Agamemnon, and wise counsellors before Ulysses, there certainly
have been incompetent commanders before Major-General A., and shallow
statesmen before Secretary B. We do not monopolize executive imbecility,
nor are our military blunders without parallel or precedent. To
attribute our occasional reverses and our indecisive victories, our
inaction in the field and our confusion in the cabinet, to our peculiar
form of government, is as inconsequential as it would be to trace all
our disasters to the color of President Lincoln's hair or the number of
General Halleck's children.

The enemies of free institutions, hardly yet recovered from their
astonishment at beholding an army of volunteers, superior in number
and quality to any the world ever saw, spring into existence with such
marvellous rapidity as to eclipse, in sober fact, the fabulous birth
of Minerva full-armed from the head of Jove, or their still greater
surprise at seeing the immense expenses of so gigantic a war readily met
without assistance from abroad, by large loans cheerfully made and heavy
taxation patiently borne, are reduced to the necessity of exulting over
what they term our "total want of military genius," and our "incapacity
to conduct a campaign successfully."

It is useless to deny that we may have challenged criticism and provoked
a smile by our large promise and our smaller performance. But are we the
sole and exclusive proprietors of this experience? Where in the past or
the present shall we find a great and powerful nation much addicted to
modesty or self-depreciation? Least of all, should we have expected such
venomous criticism and such unsparing ridicule from England. To be sure,
we have long since ceased to look for sympathy or even justice at her
hands. We have come to understand and appreciate the tone and temper of
her ruling classes towards this country. In addition to their inherited
antipathy to Republics, they believe in sober earnest what one of their
greatest wits said jocosely, that "the great object for which the
Anglo-Saxon race appears to have been created is the making of calico."
And whatever interferes, or threatens to interfere, with this ennobling
occupation is sure to incur their passive displeasure, if not their
active hostility. We expect nothing, therefore, from their good-will;
but we have a right to demand, as a matter of good taste, that, in
criticizing our campaigns, they shall not wholly ignore their own
military blunders, especially those so recent as to be fresh in the
recollection of every third-form school-boy in the kingdom. For, if
campaigns carried on with the smallest possible result in proportion to
the magnitude of the sacrifice of money and life,--if a succession of
incompetent generals in command,--if critical military opportunities
neglected and enormous strategic blunders committed,--if indecision,
nepotism, and red tape at home, envy, want of unity, and incapacity
among officers, and unnecessary and inexcusable hardship among the
privates,--if all this declares the decadence of a Government, then was
the sun of England hastening to its setting during the Crimean War.

We hear much said abroad about our indecisive battles, our barren
victories, our failure to take advantage of the crippled condition of
a defeated enemy, and our unaccountable disinclination to follow up a
successful attack by a prompt pursuit. Now, not for the sake of excusing
or palliating the numerous and grave errors into which we have fallen
during our own unhappy struggle, nor yet to exonerate from censure
any civil officers or military leaders who may be wholly or in part
responsible for these errors, but simply to demonstrate that they are
liable to occur under any form of government, and, indeed, have recently
befallen the very Government whose rulers now hold us to the strictest
account, and are most eager to convict us of extraordinary misconduct
and incapacity, we propose, very briefly, and without further
introduction, to examine the record of the English army during the
Crimean War.

The first important battle fought on the Peninsula was that of the Alma.
We will give, as concisely as possible, so much of the history of this
engagement, compiled from authentic English sources, as will present a
correct picture of the plans formed and the results accomplished.

"The 15th of August, 1854, was the date first fixed for the sailing of
the allied forces from Varna to the Crimea. It was postponed until the
20th, then till the 22d, then the 26th,--then successively to the 1st,
2d, and 7th of September; that is, the French fleet left Varna on the
5th, and the English sailed from the neighboring port of Baltschik
on the 7th." It is admitted that "these delays hazarded not only the
success, but even the practicability of the whole design, as between the
15th and 25th of September the great equinoctial gales sweep over the
Black Sea, and lash it into tempests of the most destructive nature."

The voyage, however, was accomplished in safety, and on the 14th of
September the Allies arrived at the Crimea, off a place called the "Old
Fort," only about thirty miles north of Sebastopol. The whole army was
composed of 27,000 English, 24,000 French, and 8,000 Turks. The landing
occupied the 14th, 15th, and 16th of September. At nine o'clock, A.M.,
of September 19th, the army began the advance, and on the evening of
the same day rested for the night within sight of the Russian forces,
strongly intrenched on the banks of the Alma, about twelve miles distant
from the "Old Fort." Early in the afternoon of the following day the
Allies attacked the stronghold of the enemy, and in less than three
hours the Russian intrenchments were successfully stormed, and the
Russian army was in full retreat. The English and French troops fought
with determined and distinguished bravery, and their victory was
complete. But what was decided by this bloody struggle? Bad generalship
on the part of the Russians, certainly; but what else? Mr. Russell
says,--"This great battle was not decisive, so far as the fate of
Sebastopol was concerned, merely because we lacked either the means or
the military genius to make it so." The victory was not followed up, the
retreating foe were not pursued, ample time was given to the enemy to
reorganize and retrieve their losses, and the evening of the eventful
20th of September found the allied forces no nearer the capture of
Sebastopol than they were before the battle.

Did "the Alma" crown the allied generals with fresh and well-earned
laurels? We appeal once more to Mr. Russell:--"I may inquire, Was there
any generalship shown by any of the allied generals at the Alma? We have
Lord Raglan painted by one of his staff, trotting in front of his army,
amid a shower of balls, 'just as if he were riding down Rotten Row,'
with a kind nod for every one, and leaving his generals to fight it
out as best they could; riding across the stream through the French
Riflemen, not knowing where he was going to, or where the enemy were,
till fate led him to a little knoll, from which he saw some of the
Russian guns on his flank; whereupon he sent an order to Turner's
battery for guns, and seemed surprised that they could not be dragged
across a stream and up a hill which presented some difficulties to an
unencumbered horseman; then cantering off to join the Guards just ere
they made their charge, and finding it all over while he was in a
hollow of the ground." Lord Raglan, let it be remembered, was the
Commander-in-Chief of the English forces. And again:--"The Light
Division was strangely handled. Sir George Brown, whose sight was so
indifferent that he had to get one of his officers to lead his horse
across the river, seemed not to know where his division was.... If the
conduct of a campaign be a succession of errors, the Crimean expedition
was certainly carried on _secundum artem_." Once more, on the same
point, and quoting from the same authority:--"All the Russian officers
with whom I have conversed, all the testimony I have heard or read,
coincide on these two points: first, that, if, on the 25th, we had moved
to Bakschiserai in pursuit of the Russians, we should have found their
army in a state of the most complete demoralization, and might have
forced the great majority of them to surrender as prisoners of war, in a
sort of _cul-de-sac,_ from which but few could have escaped; secondly,
that, had we advanced directly against Sebastopol, the town would have
surrendered, after some slight show of resistance to save the honor of
the officers." Certainly, such generalship as this did not promise very
well for the results of the campaign.

Let us follow the movements of the Allies a little farther. On the
morning of September 25th, the combined forces took up their line of
march southward. On the 26th, they reached and occupied the town of
Balaklava, about six miles distant from Sebastopol. On the 28th of the
same month, Lord Raglan wrote to the Duke of Newcastle, then Secretary
of War, "We are busily engaged in disembarking our siege-train and
provisions, and we are most desirous of undertaking the attack of
Sebastopol _without the loss of a day_." And yet it is not until October
10th that the Allies commence digging their trenches before the town.
Meanwhile the allied army was anxious and impatient. "'When will the
siege commence?' was the constant inquiry of the wearied and expectant
troops. 'To-morrow,' was the usual response, 'most probably to-morrow.'
But day after day came and went, and the Allies still rusted in
inaction, while the Russians worked day and night at strengthening their
defences." "The time dragged heavily on; still the Russians worked with
incredible industry, and still the cannon of the Allies had not yet
opened their thunders upon Sebastopol." On the 17th of October,
twenty-one days after the occupation of Balaklava, the allied forces
commenced fire by land and sea on the stronghold of the enemy. The
bombardment continued from half-past six, A.M., until nightfall, but is
conceded to have been a complete and mortifying failure. From this time
until the 5th of November, it will not be contended that any substantial
advantage was gained by the invading forces, or that material progress
was made towards the reduction of the Russian Gibraltar.

Then came the Battle of Inkerman, a gallant and desperate sortie of the
Russians, bravely and successfully resisted by the besiegers. The loss
of life on both sides was terrible. To what extent was _this_ battle
decisive? Mr. Russell shall give his own testimony on this point:--"We
had nothing to rejoice over, and almost everything to deplore, in the
Battle of Inkerman. We defeated the enemy, indeed, but had not advanced
one step nearer the citadel of Sebastopol." In other words, the Allies
had repulsed the Russians, but had barely escaped annihilation, while,
from having been the besiegers, they became the besieged, and remained
so until largely reinforced from home. "A heavy responsibility," says
Mr. Russell, "rests on those whose neglect enabled the enemy to attack
us where we were least prepared for it, and whose indifference led them
to despise precautions which, taken in time, might have saved us many
valuable lives, and have trebled the loss of the enemy." The English
not only committed the serious error of underrating the enemy, and
neglecting the most ordinary precautions against surprise, but, during
the whole of the desperate and bloody fight, they gave no proof whatever
of generalship. The stubborn, unyielding bravery of the troops was
the salvation of the army. "We owed the victory, such as it was, to
strength, not to superior intelligence and foresight. It was a soldiers'
battle, in which we were saved by the muscle, nerve, and courage of our
men." Humanity shudders and the heart sickens over the sufferings
of that gallant army of martyrs to cabinet incapacity and military
imbecility during the long and dreary winter of 1854-55.

On the 9th of April, 1855, commenced the second grand bombardment of
Sebastopol, which, though continuing for twelve days, resulted, like the
first, in mortifying failure, no serious or irreparable injuries being
caused to the main defences of the enemy. "The real strength of the
place remained unimpaired. That which was injured during the day the
Russians repaired as if by magic during the night. The particulars of
this twelve days' bombardment are wearisome. The same wasted energy, the
same night-skirmishes without effect, the same battering and repairing,
the same unwearied exertions On the part of the Allies and wonderful
endurance and resistance on the part of the Russians, together with, on
each side, the same loss of life and frightful mutilations."

Two months were passed in comparative inaction, the sad monotony being
varied only by ineffective sorties and indecisive skirmishes. On the
18th of June, the first grand assault of the Malakhoff and Redan was
attempted. The allied troops displayed the utmost gallantry, and did all
that brave men could do under disgracefully incompetent commanders, but
were repulsed with horrible slaughter. No one can read the details of
the fruitless massacre, without fully confirming the indignant testimony
of an intelligent eye-witness, writing from the camp:--

"I know not what may have been the feelings of your home public, on
reading the telegraphic news of our defeat, (for I presume the scribes
at head-quarters made no attempt to conceal the naked truth, that our
repulse was neither more nor less than a defeat,) but here mingled shame
and indignation were general throughout the camp. Officers and men alike
felt that disgrace had been incurred, and that solely in consequence
of the unredeemed mismanagement of their generals. Remembering the
confusion which characterized the commencement of our movement, and
coupling this with the murderous preparations made by the enemy, you
will be at no loss to understand that success was most improbable.
During the whole affair, Lord Raglan and Sir George Brown were ensconced
within our eight-gun battery; but, though this afforded a good view of
the scene of the struggle, and of the disorders which marked it,
they appeared to be unable to give any efficient directions for the
correction of our multiplied blunders. When the whole sad scene was
ended, our men straggled back to the camp in a state of dispirited
confusion, well in keeping with the mob-like disorder in which they had
been throughout the assault."

The final bombardment of Sebastopol took place on the 5th of September,
followed on the 8th by the renewed assault of the French on the
Malakhoff and of the English on the Redan. Skilful generalship, adequate
forces, and desperate bravery gave victory to the French, and "the key
to Sebastopol" remained in their hands. Meanwhile the English assault
upon the Redan was repulsed with frightful sacrifice of life. It will
not be contended that the French owed any part of their success to
superior good-fortune. Indeed, all the extrinsic advantages were on the
side of the English. The French were to lead off in the assault, and the
tricolor waving over the captured fortification was to be the signal for
the advance of the English. If the French succeeded, every sentiment of
personal ambition and national pride would stimulate their allies to
achieve an equal victory. If the French failed, the English had only to
remain in their trenches.

Now let us examine the comparative generalship displayed in the two
assaults. We are quite willing that English authority should draw the
contrast. "The preparations of the French were actually scientific in
their vigorous attention to every matter calculated to lead to victory:
nothing appeared to have been forgotten, nothing neglected. Even the
watches of the leading officers had been regulated, that there might not
be the smallest error with regard to time. It is a painful reflection
that this carefulness of preparation, and prescience with respect to
probabilities, was not shown by the English general and his associates
in arranging the mode of attack. When the orders were promulgated, on
the 7th, many officers shook their heads doubtingly, and observed,
in deprecating tones, 'This looks like another 18th of June.' It was
generally observed that the attacking columns were not strong enough,
that they were too far behind, and that the trenches did not afford room
for a sufficient number of men."

The signal for the French assault was given: thirty thousand men, weary
of long inactivity, and burning to add new lustre to the bright record
of their country's military glory,--drums and trumpets meanwhile
sounding the charge, and the air resounding with shouts of _"Vive
l'Empereur,"_--darted from their trenches, swarmed up the embankments,
dashed over the parapet, swept the enemy like chaff before them; and the
Malakhoff was won. Hours of the fiercest fighting found the French still
masters of the situation; at nightfall the Russian general sullenly drew
off his defeated forces, and the victory was complete.

It is painful to turn from this brilliant picture to the sombre coloring
and the dreary details of the attack on the Redan. To three thousand
doomed men was assigned the perilous undertaking. Incredible as it
may appear, in view of previous failure, there seems to have been no
adequate preparation, no intelligible plan, no competent leader. It
was simply brute force assailing brute force. The few men who actually
entered the Redan neglected to spike the guns; no reinforcements came to
their aid; everything was blind excitement, and headlong, undisciplined
haste. "The men of the different regiments became mingled together in
inextricable confusion. The Nineteenth men did not care for the officers
of the Eighty-Eighth, nor did the soldiers of the Twenty-Third heed the
command of an officer who did not belong to their regiment. The officers
could not find their men,--the men lost sight of their officers." But
why dwell on what soon became mere butchery? The loss of the storming
party, in killed, wounded, and missing, was 2447.

Considered as a military movement, it would seem to be conceded that no
grosser blunder could have been made than the selection of so small a
force for so desperate an undertaking. There was no chance of success
but by attacking simultaneously both flanks and the salient of the
Redan. The storming party was barely large enough for the assault of the
salient, thus exposing the handful of men to a murderous and fatally
destructive fire from the flanks. This was bad enough, certainly, but
worse remains behind. English critics have most severely censured
our generals for sometimes placing new recruits in posts of danger,
requiring cool heads, steady nerves, and the habit of discipline.
Perhaps they have forgotten the following incident. Among the picked men
selected out of the entire British forces as this very storming party
were raw recruits from the Ninety-Seventh Regiment, who were designated
for this perilous service as a punishment for their cowardice in a
recent skirmish!--and to make this punishment still more severe, they
were ordered to _lead off_ in the assault! An historian of the war
says,--"The inexperience of some of these recruits seems almost
incredible. One young fellow, who came to the field-hospital with a
broken arm and a bullet in his shoulder, carried his firelock with him,
but confessed that he had never fired it off, _as he was unable to do
so_. The piece, upon being examined, was found to be in perfect order.
Such poor undisciplined lads, fresh from the plough, ought never on
any occasion to have been pitted against the well-drilled soldiers of
Russia; but it was something worse than blundering to lead them on
to the assault of a formidable work like the Redan. Such generalship
recalls to our mind the remark of the Russian officer with regard to
the military force of England, that 'it was an army of lions led by
donkeys.'" Mr. Russell states that many of these recruits "had only been
enlisted a few days, and had never fired a rifle in their lives."

Now will it be believed that General Codrington, to whom was committed
the planning and directing of this ill-starred and disastrous
enterprise, succeeded Sir James Simpson as Commander-in-Chief of Her
Majesty's forces in the Crimea? How must the shade of Admiral Byng have
haunted Her Majesty's Government, unless it was a most forgiving ghost!
If General Codrington's promotion could have been delayed a little
more than eighteen months, it might have occurred appropriately on the
centennial anniversary of the death of that ill-fated naval commander,
convicted by court-martial and shot for "not doing his utmost"!

On the evening of the 8th of September, the Russians blew up their
magazines, fired the buildings, and evacuated the town. So fell
Sebastopol, after a siege of three hundred and forty-five days. It has
been considered by the English a bit of very choice pleasantry to
allude to our oft-recurring statement, that "the decisive blow had been
struck," and that "the backbone of the Rebellion was broken." It may
not be impertinent to remind them, that the report, first circulated in
France and England in the latter part of September, 1854, and fortified
by minute details, that Sebastopol--the backbone of Russian resistance
to the allied arms--had fallen, was repeated and reiterated from time to
time during the war, until the phrase, "_Sebastopol est pris_," passed
into a by-word, and did good service in relieving the cruelly overworked
Greek Kalends.

And now we come naturally to the consideration of another and an
important inquiry. Did the beginning of the war find, or did its
progress develop or create, a single English general of commanding
military capacity, competent to handle in the field even so small an
army as the British contingent in the Crimea? Of Lord Raglan Mr. Russell
says, and without doubt says truly,--"That he was a great chief, or even
a moderately able general, I have every reason to doubt, and I look in
vain for any proof of it, whilst he commanded the English army in the
Crimea." Another authority says,--"The conviction that he was not a
great general is universal and uncontradicted. He could perform the
ordinary duties of a general satisfactorily, but he was lamentably
deficient in those qualities which constitute military genius. He
possessed considerable professional experience, great application, and
remarkable powers of endurance; but he lacked the energy, vehemence,
and decision of character which are essential to the constitution of a
successful military chieftain." To his hesitation in council, and his
want of energy and promptness in action, have always been attributed, in
large measure, the ruinous delays and the fearful suffering in the army
which he commanded. Lord Raglan died in June, 1855, in his sixty-seventh
year. General Simpson succeeded him. "It was believed at the time,"
writes Mr. Russell, "and now is almost notorious, that he opposed his
own appointment, and bore testimony to his own incapacity." "He was slow
and cautious in council, and it is no wonder that where Lord Raglan
failed, General Simpson did not meet with success." The English press
and people demanded his recall. His incompetency was everywhere
acknowledged, and indeed he himself would have been the last man to
deny it. In about three months from the date of General Simpson's
appointment, "the Queen was graciously pleased to permit him to resign
the command of the army." As we have already seen, his place was filled
by General Codrington. This officer was as signally rewarded, because
he had failed, as he could have been, if he had succeeded. Mr.
Russell quotes approvingly the comment of a French officer upon this
appointment:--"If General Codrington had taken the Redan, what more
could you have done for him than to make him General, and to give him
command of the army? But he did not take it, and he is made General and
Commander-in-Chief." With equal discrimination, Sir James Simpson was
created Field-Marshal! The remainder of the campaign gave General
Codrington no further opportunity of displaying his qualities for
command. No other important action occurred before the termination of

Great credit is certainly due to Mr. Russell for fearlessly exposing the
errors and incompetency of the three officers successively at the head
of the English army, in spite of "much obloquy, vituperation, and
injustice," and for bearing his invariable and eloquent testimony to the
bravery, endurance, and patience of the British private soldier.

In this brief recital of English blunders during the Crimean War, we
have made no mention of the desperate and disastrous "charge of the
Light Brigade," the gross and culpable inefficiency of the Baltic fleet
under Admiral Sir Charles Napier, and other instances of military
incapacity no less monstrous. Enough, however, has been told to more
than justify the very mild summing-up of Mr. Russell, that the "war
had exposed the weakness of our military organization in the grave
emergencies of a winter campaign, and the canker of a long peace
was unmistakably manifested in our desolated camps and decimated

Why should we add to this dismal recital the appalling sufferings of
the soldiers,--helpless victims to bad management at home and shameful
neglect in the field,--the long, freezing nights of trench-work under a
driving rain, "without warm or water-proof clothing,--the trenches two
and three feet deep with mud, snow, and half-frozen slush, so that many,
when they took off their shoes, were unable to get their swollen feet
into them again, and might be seen barefooted about the camp, the snow
half a foot deep on the ground,"--creeping for shelter into "miserable
tents pitched as it were at the bottom of a marsh, where twelve or
fourteen unhappy creatures lay soaking without change of clothing" until
they were called out again to their worse than slave-labor,--disease,
brought on by exhaustion, exposure, overwork, and deficient food,
sweeping the men off by thousands, and yet no sufficient supply of
medical stores and no adequate number of medical attendants, not a soul
seeming to care for their comfort or even for their lives,--so neglected
and ill-treated that "the wretched beggar who wandered about the streets
of London led the life of a prince compared with the British soldiers
who were fighting for their country, and who were complacently assured
by the home authorities that they were the best-appointed army in
Europe." The world knows the whole sad story by heart. And is it not
written in the volumes of evidence sworn to before the Commission
appointed by Parliament to inquire into the condition of the army?

Nor is it necessary to dwell upon the extent to which the home
administration was responsible for the general mismanagement of the war,
in its main features and its minute details,--nor the thoroughly English
stolidity with which all complaints were received by every member of the
Government, from the cabinet minister who dictated pompous and unmeaning
despatches, down to the meanest official who measured red tape,--nor the
intense and universal popular indignation which, after a year "full of
horrors," compelled the resignation of the Aberdeen Ministry. Lord Derby
did not, perhaps, overstate the verdict of the nation, when he said in
the House of Lords,--"From the very first to the very last, there has
been apparent in the course pursued by Her Majesty's Government a want
of previous preparation,--a total want of prescience; and they have
appeared to live from day to day providing for each successive exigency
_after it arose, and not before it arose_. TOO LATE have been the fatal
words applicable to the whole conduct of Her Majesty's Government in the
course of the war." The change in the Ministry, however, by no means
cured all the evils which had existed; for, although the sufferings of
the soldiers--thanks in large part to the providential appearance and
heroic conduct of Florence Nightingale--were greatly diminished, still,
as we have seen, the military blunders continued to the close of the

Now, if we do not greatly mistake, the lesson which this country should
learn from the mortifying experience of the English army in the Crimea
is not one of exultation over its lamentable and unnecessary errors, but
rather of indifference to the insulting criticism of a nation which can
so ill afford to be critical, and of determination to profit in every
possible way by those blunders which might have been avoided. The
history of all wars, moreover, should teach us that now and then there
comes a time when to hold the olive-branch in one hand and the sword in
the other, especially if the olive-branch is kept in the foreground and
the sword in the background, involves not only a sad waste of energy,
but is mistaken kindness to our enemies.

Those who have read--and who has not?--the charming story of "Rab and
his Friends" will remember the incident which, for the sake of brevity,
we reluctantly condense. A small, thorough-bred terrier, after being
rudely interrupted in his encounter with a large shepherd's-dog, darts
off, fatally bent on mischief, to seek a new canine antagonist. He
discovers him in the person of a huge mastiff, quietly sauntering along
in a peaceful frame of mind, all unsuspicious of danger. The angry
terrier makes straight at him, and fastens on his throat. The rest of
the story shall be told in the graphic language of the author. "To our
astonishment, the great creature does nothing but stand still, hold
himself up, and roar,--yes, roar: a long, serious, remonstrative roar.
How is this? _He is muzzled_! The bailies had proclaimed a general
muzzling, and his master, studying strength and economy mainly, had
encompassed his huge jaws in a home-made apparatus, constructed out of
the leather of some ancient _breeching_. His mouth was open as far as it
could; his lips curled up in rage,--a sort of terrible grin; his teeth
gleaming, ready, from out the darkness; the strap across his mouth tense
as a bowstring; his whole frame stiff with indignation and surprise; his
roar asking us all round, 'Did you ever see the like of this?' He looked
a statue of anger and astonishment, done in Aberdeen granite. We soon
had a crowd; the chicken held on. 'A knife!' cried Bob; and a cobbler
gave him his knife: you know the kind of knife, worn away obliquely to
a point, and always keen. I put its edge to the tense leather; it ran
before it; and then!--one sudden jerk of that enormous head, a sort of
dirty mist about his mouth, no noise,--and the bright and fierce little
fellow is dropped, limp and dead."

If we draw a useful moral from this homely incident, it will not be the
first time that the unerring sagacity of animals has been serviceable
to man. A stealthy, cunning, unscrupulous, desperate, devilish foe has
seized the nation by the throat and threatens its life. The Government
is strong, courageous, determined, abundantly able to make a successful
resistance, and even to kill the insolent enemy; but--_it is
muzzled_: muzzled here by conservative counsels, and there by radical
complaints,--by the over-cautious policy of one general, and the
headlong haste of another,--by a too tender regard for slavery in
some States, and by a too zealous anxiety for instant emancipation in
others,--by fear of provoking opposition in one quarter, and by a blind
defiance of all obstacles in another. Now what shall be done? Shall we
hesitate, despond, despair? Never! _For Heaven's sake, take off the
muzzle._ Use every weapon which the God of Battles has placed in our
hands. Put forth all the power of the nation. Encourage and promote all
fighting generals; cashier all officers who are determined to make war
on peace principles; arm, equip, and discipline negroes, not to burn,
plunder, and massacre, but to meet their and our enemies in fair and
open fight.[B] Demonstrate to the world that we are terribly in earnest.
Waste no time in discussing the chance of foreign intervention. Postpone
Pacific railroads, international telegraphs, polygamy in Utah, African
colonization, everything, to the engrossing and emergent crisis which
now confronts the Government. Make the contest sharp, short, and
decisive. Put down the Rebellion, vindicate the majesty of the Law, the
sacredness of the Union, and the integrity of the Constitution. There
will be time enough, after this is done, to discuss all minor questions
and all collateral issues. One paramount duty lies directly before us.
Let us perform this duty fearlessly, and leave the future with God.

[Footnote B: The opposition to the employment of negro regiments, if
made by traitors North or South, can be easily comprehended,--if made by
loyal men, is wholly inexplicable. Your neighbor's house takes fire at
night. The flames, long smouldering, make rapid progress, and threaten
the comfort, certainly, if not the lives of his household, and the
total destruction of his property. The alarm is given. An engine comes
promptly to the rescue. It is just in season to save his dwelling.
The firemen spring with ready alacrity to their places. But stop! He
suddenly discovers the appalling fact that they are negroes! True,
there is not a moment to be lost. No other engine is, or can be, within
helping distance. The least delay means poverty and a houseless family.
And yet he rudely dismisses the dusky firemen, folds his arms with
Spartan stoicism, and, looking complacently on the burning building,
says, _"Better this than to rely on the assistance of niggers!"_ _Is it_
Spartan stoicism? Is it not rather stark lunacy? And would you not take
immediate measures to provide such a man with permanent quarters in a


_Roba di Roma_. By WILLIAM W. STORY. 2 vols. 8vo. pp. 355, 369. London:
Chapman & Hall. 1863.

The father of the celebrated Mr. Jonathan Wild was in the habit of
saying, that "travelling was travelling in one part of the world as
well as another; it consisted in being such a time from home, and in
traversing so many leagues; and he appealed to experience whether most
of our travellers in France and Italy did not prove at their return
that they might have been sent as profitably to Norway and Greenland."
Fielding himself, the author of this sarcasm, was a very different kind
of traveller, as his Lisbon journal shows; but we think he told no more
than the truth in regard to the far greater part of those idle people
who powder themselves with dust from the highways and blur their
memories with a whirl through the galleries of Europe. They go out
empty, to come home unprofitably full. They go abroad to escape
themselves, and fail, as Goethe says they always must, in the attempt to
jump away from their own shadows. And yet even the dullest man, if he
went honestly about it, might bring home something worth having from the
dullest place. If Ovid, instead of sentimentalizing in the "Tristia,"
had left behind him a treatise on the language of the Getae which he
learned, we should have thanked him for something more truly valuable
than all his poems. Could men only learn how comfortably the world can
get along without the various information which they bring home about
themselves! Honest observation and report will long continue, we fear,
to be one of the rarest of human things, so much more easily are
spectacles to be had than eyes, so much cheaper is fine writing than
exactness. Let any one who has sincerely endeavored to get anything like
facts with regard to the battles of our civil war only consider how much
more he has learned concerning the splendid emotions of the reporter
than the events of the fight, (unless he has had the good luck of a peep
into the correspondence of some pricelessly uncultivated private,) and
he will feel that narrative, simple as it seems, can be well done by two
kinds of men only,--those of the highest genius and culture, and those
wholly without either.

It gradually becomes clear to us that the easiest things can be done
with ease only by the very fewest people, and those specially endowed to
that end. The English language, for instance, can show but one sincere
diarist, Pepys; and yet it would seem a simple matter enough to jot
down the events of every day for one's self without thinking of Mrs.
Posterity Grundy, who has a perverse way, as if she were a testatrix and
not an heir, of forgetting precisely those who pay most assiduous court
to her. One would think, too, that to travel and tell what you have seen
should be tolerably easy; but in ninety-nine books out of a hundred does
not the tourist bore us with the sensations he thinks he ought to have
experienced, instead of letting us know what he saw and felt? If authors
would only consider that the way to write an enlivening book is not by
seeing and saying just what would be expected of them, but precisely the
reverse, the public would be gainers. What tortures have we not seen the
worthiest people go through in endeavoring to get up the appropriate
emotion before some famous work in a foreign gallery, when the only
sincere feeling they had was a praiseworthy desire to escape! If one
does not like the Venus of Milo, let him not fret about it, for he may
be sure she never will.

Montaigne felt obliged to separate himself from travelling-companions
whose only notion of their function was that of putting so many leagues
a day behind them. His theory was that of Ulysses, who was not content
with seeing the cities of many men, but would learn their minds
also. And this way of taking time enough, while we think it the best
everywhere, is especially excellent in a country so much the reverse of
_ fast_ as Italy, where impressions need to steep themselves in the sun
and ripen slowly as peaches, and where _carpe diem_ should be translated
_take your own time_. But is there any particular reason why everybody
should go to Italy, or, having done so, should tell everybody else what
he supposes he ought to have seen there? Surely, there must be some
adequate cause for so constant an effect.

Boswell, in a letter to Sir Andrew Mitchell, says, that, if he could
only _see Rome_, "it would give him talk for a lifetime." The utmost
stretch of his longing is to pass "four months on classic ground," after
which he will come back to Auchinleck _uti conciva satur_,--a condition
in which we fear the poor fellow returned thither only too often, though
unhappily in no metaphorical sense. We rather think, that, apart from
the pleasure of saying he had been there, Boswell was really drawn to
Italy by the fact that it was classic ground, and this not so much by
its association with great events as with great men, for whom, with
all his weaknesses, he had an invincible predilection. But Italy has a
magnetic virtue quite peculiar to her, which compels alike steel and
straw, finding something in men of the most diverse temperaments by
which to draw them to herself. Like the Siren, she sings to every
voyager a different song, that lays hold on the special weakness of his
nature. The German goes thither because Winckelmann and Goethe went,
and because he can find there a sausage stronger than his own; the
Frenchman, that he may flavor his infidelity with a bitter dash of
Ultramontanism, or find fresher zest in his chattering boulevard
after the sombre loneliness of Rome; the Englishman, because the same
Providence that hears the young ravens when they cry is careful to
furnish prey to the courier also, and because his money will make him
a _Milor in partibus_. But to the American, especially if he be of an
imaginative temper, Italy has a deeper charm. She gives him cheaply what
gold cannot buy for him at home, a Past at once legendary and authentic,
and in which he has an equal claim with every other foreigner. In
England he is a poor relation whose right in the entail of home
traditions has been docked by revolution; of France his notions are
purely English, and he can scarce help feeling something like contempt
for a people who habitually conceal their meaning in French; but Rome is
the mother-country of every boy who has devoured Plutarch or taken his
daily doses of Florus. Italy gives us antiquity with good roads, cheap
living, and, above all, a sense of freedom from responsibility. For
him who has escaped thither there is no longer any tyranny of public
opinion; its fetters drop from his limbs when he touches that
consecrated shore, and he rejoices in the recovery of his own
individuality. He is no longer met at every turn with "Under which king,
bezonian? Speak, or die!" He is not forced to take one side or the
other about table-tipping, or the merits of General Blank, or the
constitutionality of anarchy. He has found an Eden where he need not
hide his natural self in the livery of any opinion, and may be as happy
as Adam, if he be wise enough to keep clear of the apple of High
Art. This may be very weak, but it is also very agreeable to certain
temperaments; and to be weak is to be miserable only where it is a duty
to be strong.

Coming from a country where everything seems shifting like a quicksand,
where men shed their homes as snakes their skins, where you may meet
a three-story house, or even a church, on the highway, bitten by the
universal gad-fly of bettering its position, where we have known a tree
to be cut down merely because "it had got to be so old," the sense
of permanence, unchangeableness, and repose which Italy gives us is
delightful. The oft-repeated _non e piu come era prima_ may be true
enough of Rome politically, but it is not true of it in most other
respects. To be sure, gas and railroads have got in at last; but one may
still read by a _lucerna_ and travel by _vettura_, if he like, using
Alberti as a guide-book, and putting up at the Bearas a certain
keen-eyed Gascon did three centuries ago.

Mr. Story has taken Italy with due deliberation, having lived there now
some fifteen years. He has thus been enabled to let things come to him,
instead of running after them; and his sensations have had time to ripen
slowly toward the true moment of projection, without being shaken and
hurried, or huddled one atop of the other. We doubt if the picturesque
can be profitably done by the job, for in aesthetics the proverb that
half a loaf is better than no bread does not hold. An Italian _festa_,
we suspect, if you make it a matter of business, will turn its
business-side to you, and you will go away without having been admitted
to the delightful confidence of its innocent gayety and unpremeditated
charm. Tourists must often have remarked, in making an excursion to a
ruin or bit of picturesque scenery, that what chance threw in to boot
was by far the best part of their bargain, for the most beautiful
experiences come not by observation. The crumbling temple lured them
forth, but it was only to see a sunset or to hear a nightingale.

What between winters in Rome and summers in one or the other
mountain-town, with intervals of absence now at Florence and now at
Siena, Mr. Story has had such opportunities as fall to the lot of very
few foreigners. For, in studying the ways of a people, it is as with
wild animals,--you must be long enough among them to get them _wonted_,
so that you may catch them at unawares. His book is on the whole a
delightful one, and would have been so without qualification, had he
confined it to a relation of his own experiences. Where he narrates or
describes, he is always lively and interesting; where he disserts or
grows learned, he gives up his vantage-ground, and must consent to be
dull like everybody else. Anybody can be learned, anybody except Dr.
Holmes dull; but not everybody can be a poet and artist. The chapter on
the Evil Eye is a marvel of misplaced erudition. The author has hunted
all antiquity like a policeman, and arrested high and low on the least
suspicion of a squint. Horace and Jodocus Damhouder, (to whose harmless
Dam our impatience tempts us to add an _n_,) Tibullus and Johannes
Wouwerus, St. Augustine and Turnebus, with a motley mob of Jews,
Christians, Greeks, Romans, Arabians, and Lord-knows-whats, are all
thrust into the dock cheek by jowl. For ourselves, we would have taken
Mr. Story's word for it, without the attestation of these long-winded
old monsters, who wrote about charms and enchantments in a style
as potent in disenchantment as holy-water, and who bored their own
generation too thoroughly to have any claim upon the button of ours.
Every age is sure of its own fleas without poking over the rag-bag
of the past; and of all things, a superstition has the least need of
proving the antiquity of its pedigree, since its very etymology is
better than the certificate of all the Heralds' Colleges put together.
We are surprised that so clever and lively a man as Mr. Story, should
not have seen that in such matters one live fact is better than fifty
dead ones, and that even in history it is not so much the facts as what
the historian has contrived to see in them that gives life to his work.

But learning makes a small part of Mr. Story's book; only, as the
concluding chapter happens to bristle with quotations and references,
thickly as the nave of St. Peter's on a festival with bayonets, this is
the last taste left in the mouth. The really valuable parts of the book
(and they make much the larger part of it) are those in which the author
relates his own experiences. After so many volumes stuffed like a
_chiffonnier's_ basket with the shreds of ancient Rome, it is really
refreshing to come upon a book which makes us feel that Italy is still
inhabited by very human beings, and contains something more than the
tombs of the Scipios, and inscriptions interesting only to people
who think a dead Roman donkey better than a living Italian lion. The
chapters on Street-Music in Rome, on Games, on Gaffes and Theatres, on
Villeggiatura and the Vintage, on the Ghetto, the Markets, and Summer
in the City, are all of them delightful and new. They really teach us
something, while the learning, we are sorry to say, does nothing of the
kind. Several of these chapters our readers will remember enjoying in
the "Atlantic." They are good for those who have been in Italy, for
those who are going thither, and, above all, for those who must stay at
home. They contain the most cheerful and picturesque descriptions of
Italian life and scenery we have ever met with. And we cannot be too
thankful to Mr. Story that he leaves a theme so poetical in itself to
_be_ poetical, without any officious help from himself, and that, though
an artist, he does not enter on any of those disquisitions which would
have made Sir Joshua shift his trumpet. On the whole, we are inclined
to forgive him the polyglot lumber of his chapter on the Evil Eye in
consideration of the scenery and galleries which he has spared us. We
think we see symptoms that the Nature-mania which began with Rousseau
is on the decline, and that men and their ways are getting into fashion
again as worth study. The good time is perhaps coming when some gallant
fellow will out with it that he hates mountains, and will be greeted
with a shout of delight from his emancipated brethren.

Mr. Story is a person of very remarkable endowments. An accomplished
musician and poet, (we ought to have said before how remarkably good the
translations in these volumes are,) a skilful draughtsman, the author of
reputable law-books, he would seem to have been in danger of verifying
the old saw, had he not proved himself so eminently a master in
sculpture. We think the country is deeply indebted to Mr. Story for
having won so complete a triumph at the London World's Fair with his
Cleopatra and Libyan Sibyl, at a time when English statesmen and
newspapers were assuring the world that America was relapsing into
barbarism. Those statues, if we may trust the unvarying witness of
judicious persons, are conceived and executed in a style altogether
above the stone-cutting level of the day, and give proof of real
imaginative power. Mr. Story's genius and culture, with the fresh spur
of so marked a success, will, we are sure, produce other works to his
own honor and that of his country. For we feel that we have a country
still,--feel it the more deeply for our suffering, and our hope
deferred,--and out of the darkness of to-day we have still faith to see
a fairer America rising, a higher ideal of freedom, to warm the soul of
the artist and nerve the arm of the soldier.

_Hand-Book of Universal Literature._ From the Latest and Best
Authorities. By MRS. ANNE C.L. BOTTA. A New Edition. 12mo. Boston:
Ticknor and Fields. 1862.

A thing once done assumes a magical simplicity. No matter what may have
been the previous difficulty, or how much work may be involved in
the result, yet, when the work is done, the problem solved, all the
difficulty and labor promptly disappear from view, as if in dread of
being led captive in triumphal procession after the Caesar who has
mastered them. Thus, it does not seem at all strange that we should have
a book professing to guide us through all the intricacies of general
literature; indeed, now that the work is put into our hands, it seems so
easy of accomplishment that the only marvel would appear to be that we
have had none hitherto. Yet the conditions necessary to such a work are
of the rarest to be found; not so rare, indeed, when each is considered
separately, but rarely to be met with in combination.

In order even to attempt a work of this nature, its utility must first
be fully appreciated; but, unfortunately, those whose need is the
greatest, as being immediately present, would on that very account be
incompetent to supply the need, while those who by dint of patient study
have brought themselves up to the point of competency for the task no
longer realize the want,--just as men who have become rich by industry
forget the necessities of poverty, which were the earliest spurs upon
their energy.

The great majority of readers, therefore, have good reason to thank
Mrs. Botta, that, after having met a great educational need in her own
experience, she has benevolently set about supplying the same need in
the experience of others. The same motive which has led her to do
this has also made her work, from the peculiar manner in which it is
conducted, an important contribution toward a more perfect educational
system than generally prevails; though we would not do her the injustice
to imply that what she has done claims merit on this account alone or
chiefly. It _does_ claim merit in this way, and of a very high order,
because it avoids a prominent fault that vitiates most works intended to
promote the general diffusion of knowledge. The fault referred to is the
same which De Quincey, in a note to his "Political Economy," has called
the greatest vice of teaching,--namely, that the teacher does not
readily enter into, as an inheritance, the difficulties of the pupil.
Merely to have corrected this fault, to have met the popular mind
half-way and upon its own ground, was to furnish an important condition
hitherto lacking in the field chosen.

The extent of the work--embracing, as it does, the whole field of
literature--imposes other and more difficult conditions. Originality,
in any primary sense, was of course an impossibility; a single lifetime
would not suffice even for the most cursory examination of original
materials on so grand a scale. It was necessary, therefore, to select
and make use of the best authorities, critical and historical, those
whose researches have been most valuable and comprehensive, in each
particular department of the field. These authorities were to be found,
not in a single language, but in several; and even after they were
found, and the various results of their investigations put at their just
estimate, the important work of selection had then only just
commenced. Here were the master-critics and antiquaries,--the Muellers,
Champollions, and all. Some use must be made of each; but the compass,
no less than the design, of the work demanded the exclusion of all
secondary and unimportant matter, yet in such a manner that the ideal
unity should not be at all disturbed. Here was required, not merely tact
and discrimination, but a high degree of philosophical analysis; and
since this was valueless except as it was followed by comprehensive
synthesis, the power of artistic combination was no less requisite to
the complete result.

From the foregoing remarks it must not be supposed that there has been
throughout a remodelling of all the material used. On the contrary,
it is one of the most important of the features which give value and
interest to the work, that in frequent instances the material has been
presented precisely as it came to hand; a felicitous or humorous turn
of a sentence, a pointed antithesis, a happy grouping of historic
incidents, or a vigorous clinching of manifold thoughts in a single
expression, has been happily preserved where by others it might have
been ejected, or marred in the changing, for the sake of giving to the
work a factitious claim to an originality which, in such a field, is
plainly the least desirable characteristic. Our most hearty thanks are
due to Mrs. Botta that she has been willing to sacrifice what at the
best would have been a spurious claim to the purely legitimate one,
of having conquered almost insuperable difficulties, and, by the most
conscientious fidelity, elaborated a really valuable treatise, where
before there existed none at all.

So great as has been the need of this work, so great will be the
appreciation of it at the hands of the reading public. A whole has been
given where hitherto only parts had existed, and those for the most part
inaccessible to the general reader.

We have no space to enlarge upon the many particular excellences of the
book. It is vivacious in style, having none of the tedium belonging to
most works of this description. There is very much concerning ancient
religion, and concerning the classification of languages, as well
as respecting the peculiarities of each, that has never before been
presented in a popular form. We have rarely, indeed, seen so much that
was valuable, and so well digested, compressed within such limited

_The New American Cyclopaedia_; a Popular Dictionary of General
Knowledge. Edited by GEORGE RIPLEY and CHARLES A. DANA. 16 vols. royal
8vo. New York: D. Appleton & Co.

The sixteenth and concluding volume of the "New American Cyclopaedia"
brings Messrs. Ripley and Dana to the end of one of the most laborious
and important literary works ever undertaken in this country; and
the voice of the public, we are sure, will be all but unanimous in
congratulating them upon the generally satisfactory manner in which they
have performed their task. The cost of the work, according to a New-York
journal, has been over four hundred thousand dollars. Six years have
been spent in its execution, and nearly five hundred writers have been
employed to contribute to it. Naturally, the articles are of very
unequal merit; but it is fair to remark that a high standard of
scholarship and literary polish has evidently been aimed at, from the
first volume to the last, and there is scarcely any point upon which the
"New American Cyclopaedia" may not safely challenge comparison with any
work of similar pretensions in the English language.

Practically, none of the cyclopaedia previously accessible in our
language has now much value. Such works as "Rees's," the "Edinburgh,"
the "London," and the "Penny" Cyclopaedias, the "Encyclopaedia
Metropolitana," and the excellent, though rather brief, "Encyclopedia
Americana" of Dr. Francis Lieber, the only one, except the "New
American," ever written in this country, however good in their day, have
long been entirely out of date. The "English Cyclopaedia" of Charles
Knight, and the eighth edition of the famous "Encyclopaedia Britannica,"
were completed while the work of Messrs. Ripley and Dana was yet in
progress; but they are so different from the latter in their scope and
execution, and so much more costly, that they can hardly be said
to rival it. The first-named is a revised issue of the old "Penny
Cyclopaedia" of the Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge,
and retains some of the best features of that excellent work. Its
arrangement seems to us peculiarly inconvenient; but its most
glaring defect is the lack of American subjects, and the slipshod,
unsatisfactory, and inaccurate manner in which the few that are found in
it have been treated. The "Encyclopaedia Britannica" is open to the same
objection. The first edition of this great work appeared over ninety
years ago. It contained neither historical, biographical, nor
geographical articles, and was rather a collection of treatises on the
principal arts and sciences than a cyclopaedia in the common acceptation
of the term. It has since been five times almost remodelled, arranged
alphabetically, and greatly enlarged; but it still preserves its old
distinguishing feature of treating great scientific and historical
subjects exhaustively under a single head: for instance, there are two
elaborate historical articles on "Britain" and "England," but none
on Charles I. or Charles II.; long articles on "Animal Kingdom" and
"Mammalia,"--so long, in fact, that it is almost impossible to find
anything in them without an index,--but none on the separate animals.
For the scholar, this plan, perhaps, has its advantages; but, for the
unlearned reader, who turns to his cyclopaedia to find an intelligible
account of the habits of some particular creature, without caring
greatly what its precise place may be in the zooelogical kingdom, or
looks for a name without knowing whether it belongs to a fish or a
river, no book that professes to be a manual of reference could well be
arranged on a more inconvenient principle. One of the chief duties of
a cyclopaedia is to save trouble,--to put one on the high-road to
knowledge, without unnecessary delay in finding the guide-boards. But
send a half-educated man to look for a scrap of learning in an article
of a hundred pages, and one might as well at once turn him loose into
a library. And what is worse, the unwieldy dimensions of these great
articles are out of all proportion to the information they contain. We
venture to assert that the ponderous "Encyclopaedia Britannica," with
its twenty-two quarto volumes, will tell less, for instance, about the
Horse, or about Louis XIV., than the much smaller work of Messrs. Ripley
and Dana. In the "New American Cyclopaedia" there are few articles
over twenty pages long. The leading subjects in the sciences, such as
"Anatomy," "Botany," "Physiology," etc., have from three to ten pages
each,--enough to give an outline of the principles and history of the
science. The great geographical and political divisions of the globe are
treated at somewhat greater length. Every important plant, beast, bird,
and fish, every large town, river, lake, province, and mountain, every
notable monarch, and every great battle, (not forgetting "Bull Run" and
the "Chickahominy Campaign,") is the subject of a separate article.

Next to this very convenient subdivision of topics, the most striking
merit of the new cyclopaedia is, perhaps, comprehensiveness. Among its
faults, very few faults of omission can fairly be charged; and, indeed,
it seems to us rather to err in giving too many articles, especially on
American second-rate preachers, politicians, and literary men, all of
whom are no doubt ticketed for immortality by a select circle of friends
and admirers, but in whom the public at large take the faintest possible
interest. On the other hand, the space given to such heroes is small;
and so long as they do not exclude more valuable matter, but only add a
little to the bulk of the volumes, they do no great harm, and may chance
to be useful. In the department of natural history this work is much
fuller than any other general dictionary. It is also especially complete
in technology and law, (the latter department having been under the
care of Professor Theophilus Parsons,) and sufficiently so in medicine,
theology, and other branches of science.

Among the articles upon which its success and reputation will chiefly
rest are those relating to technology. With scarcely an exception, they
are plain, practical, and full of common sense. Those on "Cotton" and
"Wool" and their manufactures, the various metals and the ways of
working them, (the article on "Zinc" is the best we have ever seen on
that subject,) "Gas," "Ship," "Railroad," "Telegraph," "Sewing-Machine,"
"Steam," and "Sugar," are compact summaries of valuable knowledge, and
will go far to commend the work to a class of persons who, except in
our own country, are not much given to reading or book-buying. They
vindicate the claims of the Cyclopaedia to be a popular dictionary, not
intended solely for the scholar's library, but directed to the wants of
the artisan and man of business. It is not too much to say of many of
them,--of "Ship," for instance, and "Telegraph,"--that, apart from
their value as records of industrial progress and invention, they are
interesting enough to furnish a very pleasant hour's occupation to the
desultory reader.

The other scientific articles are mostly written in a clear,
unpretending style, with a sparing use of technical expressions; and
so far as we have discovered, they do ample justice to all recent
discoveries. The articles by Professor Bache on the "Tides," Professor
Dalton on "Embryology," Professor J.D. Dana on "Crystallography,"
Dr. W.H. Draper on the "Nervous System," Professor James Hall on
"Palaeontology," Professor Henry, of the Smithsonian Institution,
on "Magnetism" and "Meteorology," James T. Hodge on "Earth" and
"Electricity," Frank H. Storer on "Chemistry" and kindred subjects, Dr.
Reuben on "Heat," "Light," "Vision," "Winds," etc., and the philological
contributions of Dr. Kraitsir and Professor Whitney, do the highest
credit to the work in which they appear. The forbidding appearance of
Dr. Kraitsir's articles will get more notice than their deep
learning. We cannot but regret that such valuable papers as those on
"Hieroglyphics," "Cuneiform Inscriptions," "Indian Languages," and we
may add, though belonging to another class of subjects, "Brahma" and
"Buddha," by the same author, should not have been dressed with a little
more taste, and the naked deformity of barbarous paradigms covered
with some of the ornaments of a readable style. It is the more a pity,
because the articles are well worth any care that could be spent upon

The biographical articles are sufficiently numerous, and, though rigidly
condensed, are full enough for all ordinary purposes. There are few such
elaborate biographies as those contributed by Macaulay, De Quincey, and
others, to the "Encyclopaedia Britannica"; but Mr. Bancroft's "Jonathan
Edwards," Mr. Everett's "Hallam," "Washington," and "Daniel Webster,"
President Felton's "Agassiz," Professor Lowell's "Dante," Professor
Schaff's "Luther" and "Melancthon," Mr. Seward's "DeWitt Clinton," A.
W. Thayer's "Beethoven," "Handel," "Haydn," and "Mozart," Richard Grant
White's "Shakespeare," and the articles on "Patrick Henry," "Washington
Irving," "Milton," "Southey," "Schiller," "Swift," and many others we
might name, are admirable specimens of literary composition. Among
miscellaneous articles that deserve particular praise are a well-written
and elaborate history of the Jewish people and literature under the
title "Hebrews"; a picturesque account of "London"; a summary of all
that is known about "Japan"; excellent histories of "Newspapers" and
"Periodical Literature"; a brilliant article on "Athens" by the
late President Felton; a review of "Arctic Discovery"; valuable and
exceedingly interesting papers on "Army," "Artillery," "Infantry," and
"Cavalry," with one on "Gunnery" by Commodore Charles Henry Davis;
"Painting"; "Sculpture"; "Serfs"; "Slavery"; "Hungary"; and the best
published account of the "Mormons." The article on the "United States"
fills one hundred and twenty pages, including thirty-three pages of
fresh statistical tables, and gives an admirable summary of our history
down to last September; it closes with a comprehensive survey of
American literature. The supplement gives a biography of nearly every
general in the Union and Rebel armies.

The promises of the editors on the score of impartiality have been well
kept. It would be too much to expect them to satisfy everybody, or
never to be caught tripping; but in the great questions of religion and
politics, they seem to have preserved a happy mean between the outspoken
freedom of the partisan and the halting timidity of the man who never
commits himself because he never has an opinion. Their contributors
represent nearly every Christian creed, every shade of politics, and
every part of the English-speaking world, from Salt Lake City to London,
and from Mobile to Montreal.

We have only to add that the Cyclopaedia does fuller justice to our own
country than she has ever received from such a book before; that the
historical and statistical articles present the latest accessible
information; and that, so far as our opportunities of examination
permit us to judge, the book, though of course not free from errors, is
accurate to a more than ordinary degree. The labor of the editors has
been careful and conscientious; and they have produced a work which must
long endure as a valuable contribution to American literature and a
credit to American scholarship.

_Manual of Geology:_ treating of the Principles of the Science with
Special Reference to American Geological History, etc. By JAMES D. DANA.
8vo. Philadelphia: Theodore Bliss & Co. London: Trabner & Co.

No work on any science has yet been published in our language more
exhaustive of facts, more clear in statement, or more philosophical
in general character and arrangement, than Dana's "Mineralogy," as
presented in its last and revised edition.

Of course, the announcement of a "Manual of Geology" by the same author
could not fail to excite hopes that a long-felt want on the part of the
American public was to be met, a void in our scientific literature to be
filled. Nor are we disappointed in our expectations, now that the work
has appeared and time has been given for its careful perusal. On the
contrary, we feel a degree of satisfaction that might perhaps express
itself too strongly in praise, if we were not withheld by the
supposition that a proper notice of the contents of the volume would do
more for its appreciation by the reader than any language of eulogy.

What, then, is the distinctive character of the work, and wherein do the
contents so differ from previous publications as to claim our especial

In the first place, we would state, that, while it is a manual of
general geological knowledge concerning the history of the earth and of
life on its surface, and full of information concerning the strata and
geological phenomena of all parts of our globe, it is yet peculiar,
inasmuch as it treats of the principles of the science with special
reference to American Geological History. In this will be found its
great value to American students; for who of them has not had his
patience tried, and his enthusiasm often chilled, in vain attempts to
solve the questions which have sometimes arisen in his mind concerning
American geology, and has not sought their solution in the only way
open to him,--a consultation of innumerable State Reports, and other
publications, not half of which were accessible when required?

Another distinctive feature of the work is the prominence given to
Historical Geology, or that portion which treats of the successive
formation of the strata of the different periods, and of the development
and characteristics of the life upon the surface. The whole treatment of
this exhibits in a marked degree the extended research and philosophical
ability of the author.


_Physiographic Geology_.--This embraces a general survey of the earth's
features: its continents, oceans, lakes, river-systems, oceanic and
atmospheric currents, climates, distribution of forest-regions, deserts,

_Lithological Geology_.--This treats of the rocks, and of their
arrangement: the first embracing an account of all the important
chemical elements that enter into their constitution, the minerals and
organic materials that occur in their composition, and the kinds and
distinguishing characteristics of those that make up the earth's
surface; the second presenting the arrangement of rocks, stratified and
unstratified,--the structure due to deposition and other agencies,--the
dislocations of strata, and the consequent faults and distortions of
fossils contained in them,--together with considerations upon the age
and chronological division of all the strata of the earth's surface.

_Historical Geology_.--This third part of the volume, and that which
peculiarly characterizes the work, opens with some general remarks upon
the divisions in Geological History, and the announcement of certain
important principles to be kept in view while considering the subject.
The progress of life is then described as the basis of subdivision into
Geological Ages; and the subdivisions of geological time are presented
as follows:--

I. Azoic Time or Age.

II. Palaeozoic Time.
1. The Age of Mollusks, or Silurian.
2. The Age of Fishes, or Devonian.
3. The Age of Coal Plants, or Carboniferous.

III. Mesozoic Time.
4. The Age of Reptiles.

IV. Cenozoic Time.
5. The Age of Mammals.

V. Era of Mind.
6. The Age of Man.

And in connection with this is given a table of the further subdivision
of this history into Geological Periods, and a map showing the
distribution of the rocks of each of these periods over the surface of
the United States.

The great divisions above given are, as stated, essentially the same as
proposed by Professor Agassiz, who, however, made the era of Fishes to
embrace the first and second ages of Palaeozoic Time, the Silurian and
the Devonian, instead of restricting it, as now done, to the latter, and
calling the former the Age of Mollusks.

Following these general considerations, each great division of geologic
time is successively taken up, commencing with the Azoic. Each period
of the several divisions is treated of in order; and the rocks of
each epoch and their distribution described, first, as they exhibit
themselves in America,--then, more briefly, as they appear in Europe.
A full account of the life that manifested itself in each epoch, both
vegetable and animal, is likewise given in the same order. The igneous
and other disturbing agencies are then considered, and general remarks
added upon the geography, the character of the surface, and various
phenomena of the period.

The whole of this portion of the work is abundantly illustrated with
well-executed figures of all the characteristic species that distinguish
the several periods, mostly drawn from American examples.

_Dynamical Geology_.--This particular branch of the subject is made
less prominent than usual in geological works, but it will not be found
lacking in any point.

The subject is presented in the following order:--

1. Life as an agent in protecting, destroying, and making rocks.

2. Cohesive Attraction.

3. The Atmosphere as a mechanical agent.

4. Water as a mechanical agent.

5. Heat as an agent in volcanic phenomena, igneous eruptions,
metamorphism, veins, etc.

6. Movements of the earth's crust, plication of strata, origin of
mountains, earthquakes, etc.

7. Chemistry of Rocks.

Under the first head, we have much interesting matter concerning peat
and coral formations, coral reefs and their origin, illustrated with

Under the head of Water as an Agent, some plates are given, new to the
general reader, of the remarkable _canons_ of the Colorado, which so
well illustrate the powerful agency of this element in wearing away
for itself deep channels in the strata. Under the same head is an
interesting essay upon Glaciers, with figures, one of which is a reduced
copy of a sketch in Agassiz's great work, representing the Glacier of
Zermatt, in the Monte-Rosa region.

Under the head of Heat as an Agent, we have, as might be expected,
interesting and valuable matter upon volcanic phenomena, and those of

We have thus briefly passed in review the contents of the work, and
without criticism, too, for we would scarcely have a sentence in the
book altered or omitted. Yet we do not always concur in all the views
expressed or implied by the author. For instance, we consider the
evidence of the Jurassic age of the Ichnolitic strata of the sandstone
of the Connecticut River too strong to allow of their being any longer
classed among the Triassic. We certainly differ from him in much that is
said upon the subject of Man, as of one species. Yet we do not care to
dwell upon these points, especially the latter. Our author will not
expect to find all readers agreeing with him upon such mooted questions.

We do not think that we overestimate the value of this work, when
we express our belief that its publication will mark an era in our
geological progress. By this we do not mean to imply that its character
is such as to be of great service to those among us who are already
learned in the geology and palaeontology of our continent; but we do
mean to affirm, that, by the efficient aid which this work will be to
them, thousands and tens of thousands who have sought hitherto for
information on its great subjects, when seeking was literally "groping
in darkness," will be helped forward to a degree of knowledge respecting
the history and life of our globe which they could not otherwise have

_Elements of Military Art and History_: comprising the History and
Tactics of the Separate Arms, the Combination of the Arms, and the Minor
Operations of War. By EDWARD DE LA BARRE DUPARCQ, Captain of Engineers
in the Army of France, and Professor of the Military Art in the School
of Saint-Cyr. Translated and edited by BRIGADIER-GENERAL GEORGE W.
CULLUM, Chief of Staff of the General-in-Chief of the Armies of the
United States. 8vo. New York: D. Van Nostrand.

War has its science and its art. There is a domain of general
_principles_, which have their application in all the active operations
of war; and military _science_ is but the sum of these principles in
their theory and practice. The _art_ of war deals more directly with
the details and practical direction of military affairs, and abounds in
_rules_ of action, organization, and administration. Military science
and art are equally the results of experience in war. Principles of
strategy have grown out of the exercise of the highest military mind in
weighing the general features of campaigns, and from the perceptive and
logical recognition of those elements essential to success. The art
of war has grown up as a body of practices, traditions, and rules,
naturally resulting from the immense sum of experience in military life
and action among all nations. It is, indeed, so inwoven with military
history that the two should be studied in connection. Military art is
more mature than military science; and in war, as in the practice of
other professions and trades, definite and empirical rules for daily
guidance, based mainly on practice, serve almost to exclude science and
to keep it unprogressive. When, however, a Napoleonic mind becomes truly
imbued with vital military principles, its most successful strokes
may result from a bold disregard of rules under the lead of higher
intelligence. But as military science is very imperfect, and as
Hannibals, Fredericks, and Napoleons are not every-day products, it
behooves lesser lights to study the art of war most conscientiously, in
the hope of at least escaping the fatal category of blunders which crude
officers are forever repeating.

The publication of a really good book on Military Art and History is,
just now, a fortunate event, and its appearance two years since might
have saved us much costly and mortifying experience. Enlightened men
of all nations concede to the French school of soldiers and military
authors a certain preeminence, due partly to the genius of the people
and partly to the immense vital growth of war-craft under Napoleon.
Barre Duparcq is one of the most favorably known among recent military
writers in France. As an engineer officer and Professor of Military
Art in the famous school of Saint-Cyr, he has been led to study
fortification, military history, army-organization, and the art of war
with a methodical thoroughness, which, besides other highly valued
works, has given us its ripe fruit in the volume before us. If not the
very best, this is certainly among the best of the numerous volumes
devoted to this topic; and General Cullum's judgment in selecting this
work for translation is fully justified by the admirable system, clear
and learned, but brief exposition, and entirely trustworthy quality,
which even hasty readers must recognize. Could this book be put into the
hands and heads of our numerous intelligent, but untrained officers, it
would work a transformation supremely needed. It is lamentable to think
how many precious lives and how much national honor have been thrown
away from the lack of just that portion of military instruction which
is here offered in a single volume. Though no one book can make an
accomplished officer, we may say that no officer can read Duparcq's
Elements without positive advantage and real progress as a soldier.
The topics treated, with constant illustration from history, are,
the organization and functions of the four arms, infantry, cavalry,
artillery, and engineers; organization of active armies; marches and
battles; outposts; detachments; armed reconnoissances; passage of
rivers; convoys; partisans; redoubts; barricades; heights; roads; farms
or houses; forages; defiles; villages; and field hygiene.

General Cullum is well known as one of the most proficient students
of military science and art in our service, and is amply qualified to
prepare an original textbook on this subject. That he should have
found time to translate Duparcq's work, amid his arduous and important

Book of the day: