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Atlantic Monthly, Vol. 11, No. 65, March, 1863 by Various

Part 4 out of 5

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with the most delicate hint of a whipcord, and said confidentially to
the off wheel,--

"What a sleepy old porpus that is in there!"

* * * * *


An actor in the scenes of that wild night when the Monitor went down
craves permission to relate the story of her last cruise.

Her work is now over. She lies a hundred fathoms deep under the stormy
waters off Cape Hatteras. But "the little cheese-box on a raft" has made
herself a name which will not soon be forgotten by the American people.

Every child knows her early story,--it is one of the thousand romances
of the war,--how, as our ships lay at anchor in Hampton Roads, and the
army of the Potomac covered the Peninsula, one shining March day,--

"Far away to the South uprose
A little feather of snow-white smoke;
And we knew that the iron ship of our foes
Was steadily steering its course
To try the force
Of our ribs of oak."

Iron conquered oak; the balls from the Congress and Cumberland rattled
from the sides of the Rebel ship like hail; she passed on resistless,

"Down went the Cumberland, all a wrack."

The Congress struck her flag, and the band of men on the Peninsula
waited their turn,--for the iron monster belched out fire and shell
to both sea and land. Evening cut short her work, and she returned to
Norfolk, leaving terror and confusion behind her.

The morning saw her return; but now between her expected prey, the
Minnesota, and herself, lay a low, black raft, to the lookers-on
from the Merrimack no more formidable than the masts of the sunken
Cumberland, or the useless guns of the Congress, near whose shattered
hulks the Monitor kept guard, the avenger of their loss.

As the haughty monster approached the scene of her triumph, the shock
of an unexampled cannonade checked her career. That little black turret
poured out a fire so tremendous, so continuous, that the jubilant crew
of the Merrimack faltered, surprised, terrified. The revolving tower was
a marvel to them. One on board of her at the time has since told me,
that, though at first entirely confident of victory, consternation
finally took hold of all.

"D--n it!" said one, "the thing is full of guns."

An hour the contest raged, and then the iron scales of the invincible
began to crumble under repeated blows thundered from that strange
revolving terror. A slaughtering, destroying shot smashing through the
port, a great seam battered in the side, crippled and defeated, the
Merrimack turned prow and steamed away.

This was the end of her career, as really as when, a few weeks later,
early morning saw her wrapped in sudden flame and smoke, and the people
of Norfolk heard in their beds the report which was her death-knell.

So fear ended for a time, and the Monitor saw little service, until at
Fort Darling she dismounted every gun, save one, when all her comrades
failed to reach the mark. Then, a little worn by hard fighting, she went
to Washington for some slight repairs, but specially to have better
arrangements made for ventilation, as those on board suffered from the
confined air during action.

The first of September a fresh alarm came, when she went down to Hampton
Roads to meet the new Merrimack, said to be coming out, and stationed
herself at the mouth of the James River, between the buried Congress
and Cumberland, whose masts still rose above water, a monument of Rebel
outrage and Union heroism. Here she remained expectant for more than two
months, all on board desiring action, but thinking the new year must
come in before anything could be done.

The last week in December found her lying under the guns of Fortress
Monroe, and busily fitting for sea. Her own guns had been put in perfect
working order, and shone like silver, one bearing the name of Worden,
the other that of Ericsson. Her engineer, Mr. Campbell, was in the act
of giving some final touches to the machinery, when his leg was caught
between the piston-rod and frame of one of the oscillating engines,
with such force as to bend the rod, which was an inch and a quarter in
diameter and about eight inches long, and break its cast-iron frame,
five-eighths of an inch in thickness. The most remarkable fact in
this case is, that the limb, though jammed and bruised, remained
unbroken,--our men in this iron craft seeming themselves to be iron.

The surgeon who examined the limb, astonished at the narrow escape,
thought at first that it might, by energetic treatment, be cured in a
few days; and as the engineer, who had been with the vessel from her
launching, was extremely anxious to remain on board, he was disposed at
first to yield to his wishes, but afterwards, reflecting that confined
air and sea-sickness would have a bad effect, concluded to transfer him
to the hospital, the engineer remarking, as he was carried off,--"Well,
this may be Providential."

It was Providential indeed!

His place was filled, and the preparations went on briskly. The turret
and sight-holes were calked, and every possible, entrance for water made
secure, only the smallest openings being left in the turret-top, and the
blower-stacks, through which the ship was ventilated. On the afternoon
of December 29, 1862, she put on steam, and, in tow of the Rhode Island,
passed the fort, and out to sea under sealed orders.

General joy was expressed at this relief from long inaction. The sick
came upon deck, and in the clear sky, fresh air, and sense of motion,
seemed to gain new life.

The Rhode Island, like all side-wheel steamers, left in her wake a
rolling, foaming track of waves, which the Monitor, as she passed over
it, seemed to smooth out like an immense flat-iron. In the course of the
afternoon, we saw the Passaic in tow of the State of Georgia, like a
white speck, far in advance of us.

As we gradually passed out to sea, the wind freshened somewhat; but the
sun went down in glorious clouds of purple and crimson, and the night
was fair and calm above us, though in the interior of our little vessel
the air had already begun to lose its freshness. We suffered more or
less from its closeness through the night, and woke in the morning to
find it heavy with impurity from the breaths of some sixty persons,
composing the officers and crew. Sunrise found us on deck, enjoying pure
air, and watching the East.

"Where yonder dancing billows dip,
Far off to Ocean's misty verge,
Ploughs Morning, like a full-sailed ship,
The Orient's cloudy surge.
With spray of scarlet fire, before
The ruffled gold that round her dies,
She sails above the sleeping shore,
Across the waking skies."

During the night we had passed Cape Henry, and now, at dawn, found
ourselves on the ocean,--the land only a blue line in the distance. A
few more hours, and that had vanished. No sails were visible, and the
Passaic, which we had noticed the evening before, was now out of sight.
The morning and afternoon passed quietly; we spent most of our time on
deck, on account of the confined air below, and, being on a level with
the sea, with the spray dashing over us occasionally, amused ourselves
with noting its shifting hues and forms, from the deep green of the
first long roll to the foam-crest and prismatic tints of the falling

As the afternoon advanced, the freshening wind, the thickening clouds,
and the increasing roll of the sea gave those most accustomed to
ordinary ship-life some new experiences. The little vessel plunged
through the rising waves, instead of riding them, and, as they increased
in violence, lay, as it were, under their crests, which washed over
her continually, so that, even when we considered ourselves safe, the
appearance was that of a vessel sinking.

"I'd rather go to sea in a diving-bell!" said one, as the waves dashed
over the pilot-house, and the little craft seemed buried in water.

"Give me an oyster-scow!" cried another,--"anything!--only let it be
wood, and something that will float over, instead of under the water!"

Still she plunged on, and about six thirty P.M. we made Cape Hatteras;
in half an hour we had rounded the point, and many on board expressed
regret that the Monitor should not have been before the Passaic in doing
so. Our spy-glasses were in constant use; we saw several vessels in the
distance, and about seven P.M. discovered the Passaic four or five miles
_astern_ to the north of us, in tow of the steamer State of Georgia.

A general hurrah went up,--"Hurrah for the first iron-clad that ever
rounded Cape Hatteras! Hurrah for the little boat that is first in
everything!" The distance between ourselves and the Passaic widened, and
we gradually lost sight of her.

At half-past seven a heavy shower fell, lasting about twenty minutes.
At this time the gale increased; black, heavy clouds covered the sky,
through which the moon glimmered fitfully, allowing us to see in the
distance a long line of white, plunging foam, rushing towards us,--sure
indication, to a sailor's eye, of a stormy time.

A gloom overhung everything; the banks of cloud seemed to settle around
us; the moan of the ocean grew louder and more fearful. Still our little
boat pushed doggedly on: victorious through all, we thought that here,
too, she would conquer, though the beating waves sent shudders through
her whole frame. Bearing still the marks of one of the fiercest battles
of the war, we had grown to think her invulnerable to any assault of man
or element, and as she breasted these huge waves, plunging through one
only to meet another more mighty, we thought,--"She is stanch! she will
weather it!"

An hour passed; the air below, which had all day been increasing in
closeness, was now almost stifling, but our men lost no courage. Some
sang as they worked, and the cadence of the voices, mingling with the
roar of waters, sounded like a defiance to Ocean.

Some stationed themselves on top of the turret, and a general enthusiasm
filled all breasts, as huge waves, twenty feet high, rose up on all
sides, hung suspended for a moment like jaws open to devour, and then,
breaking, gnashed over in foam from side to side. Those of us new to the
sea, and not appreciating our peril, hurrahed for the largest wave; but
the captain and one or two others, old sailors, knowing its power, grew
momentarily more and more anxious, feeling, with a dread instinctive
to the sailor, that, in case of extremity, no wreck yet known to ocean
could be so hopeless as this. Solid iron from keelson to turret-top,
clinging to anything for safety, if the Monitor should go down, would
only insure a share in her fate. No mast, no spar, no floating thing, to
meet the outstretched hand in the last moment.

The sea, like the old-world giant, gathered force from each attack.
Thick and fast came the blows on the iron mail of the Monitor, and still
the brave little vessel held her own, until, at half-past eight, the
engineer, Waters, faithful to the end, reported a leak. The pumps were
instantly set in motion, and we watched their progress with an intense
interest. She had seemed to us like an old-time knight in armor,
battling against fearful odds, but still holding his ground. We who
watched, when the blow came which made the strong man reel and the
life-blood spout, felt our hearts faint within us; then again ground was
gained, and the fight went on, the water lowering somewhat under the
laboring pumps.

From nine to ten it kept pace with them. From ten to eleven the sea
increased in violence, the waves now dashing entirely over the turret,
blinding the eyes and causing quick catchings of the breath, as they
swept against us. At ten the engineer had reported the leak as gaining
on us; at half-past ten, with several pumps in constant motion, one of
which threw out three thousand gallons a minute, the water was rising
rapidly, and nearing the fires. When these were reached, the vessel's
doom was sealed; for with their extinction the pumps must cease, and all
hope of keeping the Monitor above water more than an hour or two expire.
Our knight had received his death-blow, and lay struggling and helpless
under the power of a stronger than he.

A consultation was held, and, not without a conflict of feeling, it
was decided that signals of distress should be made. Ocean claimed our
little vessel, and her trembling frame and failing fire proved she would
soon answer his call; yet a pang went through us, as we thought of the
first iron-clad lying alone at the bottom of this stormy sea, her guns
silenced, herself a useless mass of metal. Each quiver of her strong
frame seemed to plead with us not to abandon her. The work she had done,
the work she was to do, rose before us; might there not be a possibility
of saving her yet?--her time could not have come so soon. We seemed to
hear a voice from her saying,--"Save me, for once I have saved you!
My frame is stanch still; my guns may again silence the roar of Rebel
batteries. The night will pass, and calm come to us once more. Save me!"
The roar of Ocean drowned her voice, and we who descended for a moment
to the cabin knew, by the rising water through which we waded, that the
end was near.

Small time was there for regrets. Rockets were thrown up, and answered
by the Rhode Island, whose brave men prepared at once to lower boats,
though, in that wild sea, it was almost madness.

The Monitor had been attached to the Rhode Island by two hawsers, one of
which had parted at about seven P.M. The other remained firm, but now it
was necessary it should be cut. How was that possible, when every wave
washed clean over her deck? what man could reach it alive? "Who'll
cut the hawser?" shouted Captain Bankhead. Acting-Master Stodder
volunteered, and was followed by another. Holding by one hand to the
ropes at her side, they cut through, by many blows of the hatchet, the
immense rope which united the vessels. Stodder returned in safety, but
his brave companion was washed over and went down.

The men were quiet and controlled, but all felt anxiety. Master's-Mate
Peter Williams suggested bailing, in the faint hope that in this way the
vessel might be kept longer above water. A bailing party was organized
by John Stocking, boatswain, who, brave man, at last went down.
Paymaster Keeler led the way, in company with Stocking, Williams, and
one or two others; and though the water was now waist-deep, and they
knew the vessel was liable to go down at almost any moment, they worked
on nobly, throwing out a constant stream of water from the turret.

Meanwhile the boat launched from the Rhode Island had started, manned by
a crew of picked men.

A mere heroic impulse could not have accomplished this most noble deed.
For hours they had watched the raging sea. Their captain and they knew
the danger; every man who entered that boat did it at peril of his life;
and yet all were ready. Are not such acts as these convincing proof of
the divinity in human nature?

We watched her with straining eyes, for few thought she could live to
reach us. She neared; we were sure of her, thank God!

In this interval the cut hawser had become entangled in the paddle-wheel
of the Rhode Island, and she drifted down upon us: we, not knowing this
fact, supposed her coming to our assistance; but a moment undeceived us.
The launch sent for our relief was now between us and her,--too near for
safety. The steamer bore swiftly down, stern first, upon our starboard
quarter. "Keep off! keep off!" we cried, and then first saw she was
helpless. Even as we looked, the devoted boat was caught between
the steamer and the iron-clad,--a sharp sound of crushing wood was
heard,--thwarts, oars, and splinters flew in air,--the boat's crew
leaped to the Monitor's deck. Death stared us in the face; our iron prow
must go through the Rhode Island's side, and then an end to all. One
awful moment we held our breath,--then the hawser was cleared,--the
steamer moved off, as it were, step by step, first one, then another,
till a ship's-length lay between us, and then we breathed freely. But
the boat!--had she gone to the bottom, carrying brave souls with her?
No, there she lay, beating against our iron sides, but still, though
bruised and broken, a life-boat to us.

There was no hasty scramble for life when it was found she floated; all
held back. The men kept steadily on at their work of bailing,--only
those leaving, and in the order named, whom the captain bade save
themselves. They descended from the turret to the deck with mingled fear
and hope, for the waves tore from side to side, and the coolest head and
bravest heart could not guaranty safety. Some were washed over as they
left the turret, and, with a vain clutch at the iron deck, a wild
throwing-up of the arms, went down, their death-cry ringing in the ears
of their companions.

The boat sometimes held her place by the Monitor's side, then was dashed
hopelessly out of reach, rising and falling on the waves. A sailor would
spring from the deck to reach her, be seen for a moment in mid-air, and
then, as she rose, fall into her. So she gradually filled up; but some
poor souls who sought to reach her failed even as they touched her
receding sides, and went down.

We had on board a little messenger-boy, the special charge of one of the
sailors, and the pet of all; he must inevitably have been lost, but for
the care of his adopted father, who, holding him firmly in his arms,
escaped as by miracle, being washed overboard, and succeeded in placing
him safely in the boat.

The last but one to make the desperate venture was the surgeon; he
leaped from the deck, and at the very instant saw the boat being swept
away by the merciless sea. Making one final effort, he threw his body
forward as he fell, striking across the boat's side so violently, it was
thought some of his ribs must be broken. "Haul the Doctor in!" shouted
Lieutenant Greene, perhaps remembering how, a little time back, he
himself, almost gone down in the unknown sea, had been "hauled in" by a
quinine rope flung him by the Doctor. Stout sailor-arms pulled him
in, one more sprang to a place in her, and the boat, now full, pushed
off,--in a sinking condition, it is true, but still bearing hope with
her, for _she_ was _wood_.

Over the waves we toiled slowly, pulling for life. The men stuffed their
pea-jackets into the holes in her side, and bailed incessantly. We
neared the Rhode Island; but now a new peril appeared. Right down upon
our centre, borne by the might of rushing water, came the whale-boat
sent to rescue others from the iron-clad. We barely floated; if she
struck us with her bows full on us, we must go to the bottom. One
sprang, and, as she neared, with outstretched arms, met and turned her
course. She passed against us, and his hand, caught between the two, was
crushed, and the arm, wrenched from its socket, fell a helpless weight
at his side; but life remained. We were saved, and an arm was a small
price to pay for life.

We reached the Rhode Island; ropes were flung over her side, and caught
with a death-grip. Some lost their hold, were washed away, and again
dragged in by the boat's crew. What chance had one whose right arm hung
a dead weight, when strong men with their two hands went down before
him? He caught at a rope, found it impossible to save himself alone,
and then for the first time said,--"I am injured; can any one aid me?"
Ensign Taylor, at the risk of his own life, brought the rope around his
shoulder in such a way it could not slip, and he was drawn up in safety.

In the mean time the whale-boat, nearly our destruction, had reached the
side of the Monitor, and now the captain said,--"It is madness to remain
here longer; let each man save himself." For a moment he descended to
the cabin for a coat, and his faithful servant followed to secure a
jewel-box, containing the accumulated treasure of years. A sad, sorry
sight it was. In the heavy air the lamps burned dimly, and the water,
waist-deep, splashed sullenly against the wardroom's sides. One
lingering look, and he left the Monitor's cabin forever.

Time was precious; he hastened to the deck, where, in the midst of a
terrible sea, Lieutenant Greene nobly held his post. He seized the rope
from the whale-boat, wound it about an iron stanchion, and then around
his wrists, for days afterward swollen and useless from the strain. His
black body-servant stood near him.

"Can you swim, William?" he asked.

"No," replied the man.

"Then keep by me, and I'll save you."

One by one, watching their time between the waves, the men filled in,
the captain helping the poor black to a place, and at last, after
all effort for others and none for themselves, Captain Bankhead and
Lieutenant Greene took their places in the boat. Two or three still
remained, clinging to the turret; the captain had begged them to come
down, but, paralyzed with fear, they sat immovable, and the gallant
Brown, promising to return for them, pushed off, and soon had his
boat-load safe upon the Rhode Island's deck.

Here the heartiest and most tender reception met us. Our drenched
clothing was replaced by warm and dry garments, and all on board vied
with each other in acts of kindness. The only one who had received any
injury, Surgeon Weeks, was carefully attended to, the dislocated
arm set, and the crushed fingers amputated by the gentlest and most
considerate of surgeons, Dr. Webber of the Rhode Island.

For an hour or more we watched from the deck of the Rhode Island the
lonely light upon the Monitor's turret; a hundred times we thought it
gone forever,--a hundred times it reappeared, till at last, about two
o'clock, Wednesday morning, it sank, and we saw it no more.

We had looked, too, most anxiously, for the whale-boat which had last
gone out, under the command of Master's-Mate Brown, but saw no signs
of it. We knew it had reached the Monitor, but whether swamped by the
waved, or drawn in as the Monitor went down, we could not tell. Captain
Trenchard would not leave the spot, but sailed about, looking in vain
for the missing boat, till late Wednesday afternoon, when it would have
been given up as hopelessly lost, except for the captain's dependence on
the coolness and skill of its tried officer. He thought it useless to
search longer, but, hoping it might have been picked up by some coasting
vessel, turned towards Fortress Monroe.

Two days' sail brought us to the fort, whence we had started on Monday
with so many glowing hopes, and, alas! with some who were never to
return. The same kindness met us here as on the Rhode Island; loans of
money, clothing, and other necessaries, were offered us. It was almost
well to have suffered, so much beautiful feeling did it bring out.

A day or two at the fort, waiting for official permission to return to
our homes, and we were on our way,--the week seeming, as we looked back
upon it, like some wild dream. One thing only appeared real: our little
vessel was lost, and we, who, in months gone by, had learned to love
her, felt a strange pang go through us as we remembered that never more
might we tread her deck, or gather in her little cabin at evening.

We had left her behind us, one more treasure added to the priceless
store which Ocean so jealously hides. The Cumberland and Congress went
first; the little boat that avenged their loss has followed; in both
noble souls have gone down. Their names are for history; and so long as
we remain a people, so long will the work of the Monitor be remembered,
and her story told to our children's children.

* * * * *




One year ago, this dreary night,
This house, that, in my way,
Checks the swift pulses of delight,
Was cordial glad, and gay.

The household angels tended there
Their ivy-cinctured bower,
And by the hardier plant grew fair
A lovely lily-flower.

The skies rained sunshine on its head,
It throve in summer air:
"How straight and sound!" the father said;
The mother said, "How fair!"

One little year is gathering up
Its glories to depart;
The skies have left one marble drop
Within the lily's heart.

For growth and bloom no more avails
The Seasons' changing breath;
With sudden constancy it feels
The sculpture-touch of Death

But from its breast let golden rays,
Immortal, break and rise,
Linking the sorrow-clouded days
With dawning Paradise.

* * * * *


First-born among the Continents, though so much later in culture and
civilization than some of more recent birth, America, so far as her
physical history is concerned, has been falsely denominated the _New
World_. Hers was the first dry land lifted out of the waters, hers the
first shore washed by the ocean that enveloped all the earth beside; and
while Europe was represented only by islands rising here and there above
the sea, America already stretched an unbroken line of land from Nova
Scotia to the far West.

In the present state of our knowledge, our conclusions respecting the
beginning of the earth's history, the way in which it took form and
shape as a distinct, separate planet, must, of course, be very vague and
hypothetical. Yet the progress of science is so rapidly reconstructing
the past that we may hope to solve even this problem; and to one who
looks upon man's appearance upon the earth as the crowning work in a
succession of creative acts, all of which have had relation to his
coming in the end, it will not seem strange that he should at last be
allowed to understand a history which was but the introduction to his
own existence. It is my belief that not only the future, but the past
also, is the inheritance of man, and that we shall yet conquer our lost

Even now our knowledge carries us far enough to warrant the assertion
that there was a time when our earth was in a state of igneous fusion,
when no ocean bathed it and no atmosphere surrounded it, when no wind
blew over it and no rain fell upon it, but an intense heat held all its
materials in solution. In those days the rocks which are now the very
bones and sinews of our mother earth--her granites, her porphyries, her
basalts, her syenites--were melted into a liquid mass. As I am writing
for the unscientific reader, who may not be familiar with the facts
through which these inferences have been reached, I will answer here a
question which, were we talking together, he might naturally ask in a
somewhat skeptical tone. How do you know that this state of things ever
existed, and, supposing that the solid materials of which our earth
consists were ever in a liquid condition, what right have you to infer
that this condition was caused by the action of heat upon them? I
answer, Because it is acting upon them still; because the earth we
tread is but a thin crust floating on a liquid sea of fire; because the
agencies that were at work then are at work now, and the present is the
logical sequence of the past. From artesian wells, from mines, from
geysers, from hot springs, a mass of facts has been collected proving
incontestably the heated condition of all materials at a certain depth
below the earth's surface; and if we need more positive evidence, we
have it in the fiery eruptions that even now bear fearful testimony to
the molten ocean seething within the globe and forcing its way out from
time to time. The modern progress of Geology has led us by successive
and perfectly connected steps back to a time when what is now only an
occasional and rare phenomenon was the normal condition of our earth;
when those internal fires were inclosed in an envelope so thin that
it opposed but little resistance to their frequent outbreak, and they
constantly forced themselves through this crust, pouring out melted
materials that subsequently cooled and consolidated on its surface. So
constant were these eruptions, and so slight was the resistance they
encountered, that some portions of the earlier rock-deposits are
perforated with numerous chimneys, narrow tunnels as it were, bored by
the liquid masses that poured out through them and greatly modified
their first condition.

The question at once suggests itself, How was even this thin crust
formed? what should cause any solid envelope, however slight and filmy
when compared to the whole bulk of the globe, to form upon the surface
of such a molten mass? At this point of the investigation the geologist
must appeal to the astronomer; for in this vague and nebulous
border-land, where the very rocks lose their outlines and flow into
each other, where matter exists only in its essential elements, not yet
specialized into definite forms and substances,--there the two sciences
meet. Astronomy shows us our planet thrown off from the central mass of
which it once formed a part, to move henceforth in an independent orbit
of its own. That orbit, it tells us, passed through celestial spaces
cold enough to chill this heated globe, and of course to consolidate
it externally. We know, from the action of similar causes on a smaller
scale and on comparatively insignificant objects immediately about us,
what must have been the effect of this cooling process upon the heated
mass of the globe. All substances when heated occupy more space than
they do when cold. Water, which expands when freezing, is the only
exception to this rule. The first effect of cooling the surface of our
planet must have been to solidify it, and thus to form a film or crust
over it. That crust would shrink as the cooling process went on; in
consequence of the shrinking, wrinkles and folds would arise upon it,
and here and there, where the tension was too great, cracks and fissures
would be produced. In proportion as the surface cooled, the masses
within would be affected by the change of temperature outside of them,
and would consolidate internally also, the crust gradually thickening by
this process.

But there was another element without the globe, equally powerful in
building it up. Fire and water wrought together in this work, if not
always harmoniously, at least with equal force and persistency. I have
said that there was a time when no atmosphere surrounded the earth; but
one of the first results of the cooling of its crust must have been
the formation of an atmosphere, with all the phenomena connected with
it,--the rising of vapors, their condensation into clouds, the falling
of rains, the gathering of waters upon its surface. Water is a very
active agent of destruction, but it works over again the materials it
pulls down or wears away, and builds them up anew in other forms. As
soon as an ocean washed over the consolidated crust of the globe, it
would begin to abrade the surfaces upon which it moved, gradually
loosening and detaching materials, to deposit them again as sand or mud
or pebbles at its bottom in successive layers, one above another. Thus,
in analyzing the crust of the globe, we find at once two kinds of rocks,
the respective work of fire and water: the first poured out from the
furnaces within, and cooling, as one may see any mass of metal cool
that is poured out from a smelting-furnace today, in solid crystalline
masses, without any division into separate layers or leaves; and the
latter in successive beds, one over another, the heavier materials
below, the lighter above, or sometimes in alternate layers, as special
causes may have determined successive deposits of lighter or heavier
materials at some given spot.

There were many well-fought battles between geologists before it was
understood that these two elements had been equally active in building
up the crust of the earth. The ground was hotly contested by the
disciples of the two geological schools, one of which held that the
solid envelope of the earth was exclusively due to the influence of
fire, while the other insisted that it had been accumulated wholly under
the agency of water. This difference of opinion grew up very naturally;
for the great leaders of the two schools lived in different localities,
and pursued their investigations over regions where the geological
phenomena were of an entirely opposite character,--the one exhibiting
the effect of volcanic eruptions, the other that of stratified deposits.
It was the old story of the two knights on opposite sides of the shield,
one swearing that it was made of gold, the other that it was made of
silver, and almost killing each other before they discovered that it was
made of both. So prone are men to hug their theories and shut their
eyes to any antagonistic facts, that it is related of Werner, the great
leader of the Aqueons school, that he was actually on his way to see
a geological locality of especial interest, but, being told that it
confirmed the views of his opponents, he turned round and went home
again, refusing to see what might force him to change his opinions.
If the rocks did not confirm his theory, so much the worse for the
rocks,--he would none of them. At last it was found that the two great
chemists, fire and water, had worked together in the vast laboratory of
the globe, and since then scientific men have decided to work together
also; and if they still have a passage at arms occasionally over some
doubtful point, yet the results of their investigations are ever drawing
them nearer to each other,--since men who study truth, when they reach
their goal, must always meet at last on common ground.

The rocks formed under the influence of heat are called, in geological
language, the Igneous, or, as some naturalists have named them, the
Plutonic rocks, alluding to their fiery origin, while the others have
been called Aqueous or Neptunic rocks, in reference to their origin
under the agency of water. A simpler term, however, quite as
distinctive, and more descriptive of their structure, is that of the
stratified and unstratified or massive rocks. We shall see hereafter how
the relative position of these two kinds of rocks and their action upon
each other enables us to determine the chronology of the earth, to
compare the age of her mountains, and if we have no standard by which to
estimate the positive duration of her continents, to say at least which
was the first-born among them, and how their characteristic features
have been successively worked out. I am aware that many of these
inferences, drawn from what is called "the geological record," must seem
to be the work of the imagination. In a certain sense this is true,--for
imagination, chastened by correct observation, is our best guide in
the study of Nature. We are too apt to associate the exercise of this
faculty with works of fiction, while it is in fact the keenest detective
of truth.

Beside the stratified and unstratified rocks, there is still a third
set, produced by the contact of these two, and called, in consequence
of the changes thus brought about, the Metamorphic rocks. The effect of
heat upon clay is to bake it into slate; limestone under the influence
of heat becomes quick-lime, or if subjected afterwards to the action of
water, it is changed to mortar; sand under the same agency is changed to
a coarse kind of glass. Suppose, then, that a volcanic eruption takes
place in a region of the earth's surface where successive layers of
limestone, of clay, and of sandstone have been previously deposited
by the action of water. If such an eruption has force enough to break
through these beds, the hot, melted masses will pour out through the
rent, flow over its edges, and fill all the lesser cracks and fissures
produced by such a disturbance. What will be the effect upon the
stratified rocks? Wherever these liquid masses, melted by a heat more
intense than can be produced by any artificial means, have flowed over
them or cooled in immediate contact with them, the clays will be changed
to slate, the limestone will have assumed a character more like marble,
while the sandstones will be vitrified. This is exactly what has been
found to be the case, wherever the stratified rocks have been penetrated
by the melted masses from beneath. They have been themselves partially
melted by the contact, and when they have cooled again, their
stratification, though still perceptible, has been partly obliterated,
and their substance changed. Such effects may often be traced in dikes,
which are only the cracks in rocks filled by materials poured into them
at some period of eruption when the melted masses within the earth were
thrown out and flowed like water into any inequality or depression of
the surface around. The walls that inclose such a dike are often found
to be completely altered by contact with its burning contents, and to
have assumed a character quite different from the rocks of which they
make a part; while the mass itself which fills the fissure shows by the
character of its crystallization that it has cooled more quickly on the
outside, where it meets the walls, than at the centre.

The first two great classes of rocks, the unstratified and stratified
rocks, represent different epochs in the world's physical history: the
former mark its revolutions, while the latter chronicle its periods of
rest. All mountains and mountain-chains have been upheaved by great
convulsions of the globe, which rent asunder the surface of the earth,
destroyed the animals and plants living upon it at the time, and were
then succeeded by long intervals of repose, when all things returned
to their accustomed order, ocean and river deposited fresh beds in
uninterrupted succession, the accumulation of materials went on as
before, a new set of animals and plants were introduced, and a time of
building up and renewing followed the time of destruction. These periods
of revolution are naturally more difficult to decipher than the periods
of rest; for they have so torn and shattered the beds they uplifted,
disturbing them from their natural relations to each other, that it
is not easy to reconstruct the parts and give them coherence and
completeness again. But within the last half-century this work has
been accomplished in many parts of the world with an amazing degree of
accuracy, considering the disconnected character of the phenomena to be
studied; and I think I shall be able to convince my readers that the
modern results of geological investigation are perfectly sound logical
inferences from well-established facts. In this, as in so many other
things, we are but "children of a larger growth." The world is the
geologist's great puzzle-box; he stands before it like the child to whom
the separate pieces of his puzzle remain a mystery till he detects their
relation and sees where they fit, and then his fragments grow at once
into a connected picture beneath his hand.

It is a curious fact in the history of progress, that, by a kind of
intuitive insight, the earlier observers seem to have had a wider, more
comprehensive recognition of natural phenomena as a whole than their
successors, who far excel them in their knowledge of special points,
but often lose their grasp of broader relations in the more minute
investigation of details. When geologists first turned their attention
to the physical history of the earth, they saw at once certain great
features which they took to be the skeleton and basis of the whole
structure. They saw the great masses of granite forming the mountains
and mountain-chains, with the stratified rocks resting against their
slopes; and they assumed that granite was the first primary agent, and
that all stratified rocks must be of a later formation. Although this
involved a partial error, as we shall see hereafter, when we trace the
upheavals of granite even into comparatively modern periods, yet it held
a great geological truth also; for, though granite formations are by
no means limited to those early periods, they are nevertheless very
characteristic of them, and are indeed the great foundation-stones on
which the physical history of the globe is built.

Starting from this landmark, the earlier geologists divided the world's
history into three periods. As the historian recognizes as distinct
phases in the growth of the human race Ancient History, the Middle Ages,
and Modern History, so they distinguished between what they called the
Primary period, when, as they believed, no life stirred on the surface
of the earth, the Secondary or middle period, when animals and plants
were introduced and the land began to assume continental proportions,
and the Tertiary period, or comparatively modern geological times, when
the aspect of the earth as well as its inhabitants was approaching more
nearly to the present condition of things. But as their investigations
proceeded, they found that every one of these great ages of the world's
history was divided into numerous lesser epochs, each of which had been
characterized by a peculiar set of animals and plants, and had been
closed by some great physical convulsion, that disturbed and displaced
the materials accumulated during such a period of rest. The further
study of these subordinate periods showed that what had been called
Primary formations, the volcanic or Plutonic rocks, formerly believed to
be confined to the first geological ages, belonged to all the periods,
successive eruptions having taken place at all times, pouring up through
the accumulated deposits, penetrating and injecting their cracks,
fissures, and inequalities, as well as throwing out large masses on
the surface. Up to our own day there has never been a period when
such eruptions have not taken place, though they have been constantly
diminishing in frequency and extent. In consequence of this discovery,
that rocks of igneous character were by no means exclusively
characteristic of the earliest times, they are now classified together
upon very different grounds from those on which geologists first united
them; though, as the name _Primary_ was long retained, we still find it
applied to them, even in geological works of quite recent date. This
defect of nomenclature is to be regretted as likely to mislead the
student, because it seems to refer to time; whereas it no longer
signifies the age of the rocks, but simply their character. The
name Plutonic or Massive rocks is, however, now almost universally
substituted for that of Primary.

There is still a wide field of investigation to be explored by the
chemist and the geologist together, in the mineralogical character of
the Plutonic rocks, which differs greatly in the different periods. The
earlier eruptions seem to have been chiefly granitic, though this
must not be understood in too wide a sense, since there are granite
formations even as late as the Tertiary period; those of the middle
periods were mostly porphyries and basalts; while in the more recent
ones, lavas predominate. We have as yet no clue to the laws by which
this distribution of volcanic elements in the formation of the earth is
regulated; but there is found to be a difference in the crystals of
the Plutonic rocks belonging to different ages, which, when fully
understood, enables us to determine the age of any Plutonic rock by its
mode of crystallization; so that the mineralogist will as readily tell
you by its crystals whether a bit of stone of igneous origin belongs to
this or that period of the world's history, as the palaeontologist
will tell you by its fossils whether a piece of rock of aqueous origin
belongs to the Silurian or Devonian or Carboniferous deposits. Although
subsequent investigations have multiplied so extensively not only the
number of geological periods, but also the successive creations that
have characterized them, yet the first general division into three great
eras was nevertheless founded upon a broad and true generalization. In
the first stratified rocks in which any organic remains are found, the
highest animals are fishes, and the highest plants are cryptogams;
in the middle periods reptiles come in, accompanied by fern and moss
forests; in later times quadrupeds are introduced, with a dicotyledonous
vegetation. So closely does the march of animal and vegetable life keep
pace with the material progress of the world, that we may well consider
these three divisions, included under the first general classification
of its physical history, as the three Ages of Nature; the more important
epochs which subdivide them may be compared to so many great dynasties,
while the lesser periods are the separate reigns contained therein.
Of such epochs there are ten, well known to geologists; of the lesser
periods about sixty are already distinguished, while many more loom up
from the dim regions of the past, just discerned by the eye of science,
though their history is not yet unravelled.

Before proceeding farther, I will enumerate the geological epochs in
their succession, confining myself, however, to such as are perfectly
well established, without alluding to those of which the limits are
less definitely determined, and which are still subject to doubts and
discussions among geologists. As I do not propose to make here any
treatise of Geology, but simply to place before my readers some pictures
of the old world, with the animals and plants that inhabited it at
various times, I shall avoid, as far as possible, all debatable ground,
and confine myself to those parts of my subject which are best known,
and can therefore be more clearly presented.

First, we have the Azoic period, _devoid of life_, as its name
signifies,--namely, the earliest stratified deposits upon the heated
film forming the first solid surface of the earth, in which no trace of
living thing has ever been found. Next comes the Silurian period, when
the crust of the earth had thickened and cooled sufficiently to render
the existence of animals and plants upon it possible, and when the
atmospheric conditions necessary to their maintenance were already
established. Many of the names given to these periods are by no means
significant of their character, but are merely the result of accident:
as, for instance, that of Silurian, given by Sir Roderick Murchison to
this set of beds, because he first studied them in that part of Wales
occupied by the ancient tribe of the Silures. The next period, the
Devonian, was for a similar reason named after the county of Devonshire,
in England, where it was first investigated. Upon this follows the
Carboniferous period, with the immense deposits of coal from which it
derives its name. Then comes the Permian period, named, again, from
local circumstances, the first investigation of its deposits having
taken place in the province of Permia, in Russia. Next in succession
we have the Triassic period, so called from the trio of rocks, the red
sandstone, Muschel Kalk, (shell-limestone.) and Keuper, (clay,)
most frequently combined in its formations; the Jurassic, so amply
illustrated in the chain of the Jura, where geologists first found the
clue to its history; and the Cretaceous period, to which the chalk
cliffs of England and all the extensive chalk deposits belong. Upon
these follow the so-called Tertiary formations, divided into three
periods, all of which have received most characteristic names. In this
epoch of the world's history we see the first approach to a condition of
things resembling that now prevailing, and Sir Charles Lyell has
most fitly named its three divisions, the "Eocene," or the dawn, the
"Miocene," meaning the continuance and increase of that light, and
lastly, the "Pliocene," signifying its fulness and completion. Above
these deposits comes what has been called in science the present
period,--_the modern times_ of the geologist,--that period to which man
himself belongs, and since the beginning of which, though its duration
be counted by hundreds of thousands of years, there has been no
alteration in the general configuration of the earth, consequently no
important modification of its climatic conditions, and no change in the
animals and plants inhabiting it.

I have spoken of the first of these periods, the Azoic, as having been
absolutely devoid of life, and I believe this statement to be strictly
true; but I ought to add that there is a difference of opinion among
geologists upon this point, many believing that the first surface of our
globe may have been inhabited by living beings, but that all traces
of their existence have been obliterated by the eruptions of melted
materials, which not only altered the character of those earliest
stratified rocks, but destroyed all the organic remains contained in
them. It will be my object to show in this series of papers, not only
that the absence of the climatic and atmospheric conditions essential
to organic life as we understand it, must have rendered the previous
existence of any living beings impossible, but also that the
completeness of the Animal Kingdom in those deposits where we first
find organic remains, its intelligible and coherent connection with the
successive creations of all geological times and with the animals now
living, affords the strongest internal evidence that we have indeed
found in the lower Silurian formations, immediately following the Azoic,
the beginning of life upon earth. When a story seems to us complete and
consistent from the beginning to the end, we shall not seek for a first
chapter, even though the copy in which we have read it be so torn and
defaced as to suggest the idea that some portion of it may have been
lost. The unity of the work, as a whole, is an incontestable proof that
we possess it in its original integrity. The validity of this argument
will be recognized, perhaps, only by those naturalists to whom the
Animal Kingdom has begun to appear as a connected whole. For those who
do not see order in Nature it can have no value.

For a table containing the geological periods in their succession, I
would refer to any modern text-book of Geology; or to an article in the
"Atlantic Monthly" for March, 1862, upon "Methods of Study in Natural
History," where they are given in connection with the order of
introduction of animals upon earth.

Were these sets of rocks found always in the regular sequence in which I
have enumerated them, their relative ago would be easily determined, for
their superposition would tell the whole story: the lowest would, of
course, be the oldest, and we might follow without difficulty the
ascending series, till we reached the youngest and uppermost deposits.
But their succession has been broken up by frequent and violent
alterations in the configuration of the globe. Land and water
have changed their level,--islands have been transformed to
continents,--sea-bottoms have become dry land, and dry land has sunk
to form sea-bottom,--Alps and Himalayas, Pyrenees and Apennines,
Alleghanies and Rocky Mountains, have had their stormy birthdays since
many of these beds have been piled one above another, and there are but
few spots on the earth's surface where any number of them may be found
in their original order and natural position. When we remember that
Europe, which lies before us on the map as a continent, was once an
archipelago of islands,--that, where the Pyrenees raise their rocky
barrier between France and Spain, the waters of the Mediterranean and
Atlantic met,--that, where the British Channel flows, dry land united
England and France, and Nature in those days made one country of
the lands parted since by enmities deeper than the waters that run
between,--when we remember, in short, all the fearful convulsions that
have torn asunder the surface of the earth, as if her rocky record
had indeed been written on paper, we shall find a new evidence of the
intellectual unity which holds together the whole physical history
of the globe in the fact that through all the storms of time the
investigator is able to trace one unbroken thread of thought from the
beginning to the present hour.

The tree is known by its fruits,--and the fruits of chance are
incoherence, incompleteness, unsteadiness, the stammering utterance of
blind, unreasoning force. A coherence that binds all the geological ages
in one chain, a stability of purpose that completes in the beings born
to-day an intention expressed in the first creatures that swam in the
Silurian ocean or crept upon its shores, a steadfastness of thought,
practically recognized by man, if not acknowledged by him, whenever
he traces the intelligent connection between the facts of Nature and
combines them into what he is pleased to call his system of Geology, or
Zoology, or Botany,--these things are not the fruits of chance or of an
unreasoning force, but the legitimate results of intellectual power.
There is a singular lack of logic, as it seems to me, in the views of
the materialistic naturalists. While they consider classification, or,
in other words, their expression of the relations between animals or
between physical facts of any kind, as the work of their intelligence,
they believe the relations themselves to be the work of physical causes.
The more direct inference surely is, that, if it requires an intelligent
mind to recognize them, it must have required an intelligent mind to
establish them. These relations existed before man was created; they
have existed ever since the beginning of time; hence, what we call
the classification of facts is not the work of his mind in any direct
original sense, but the recognition of an intelligent action prior to
his own existence.

There is, perhaps, no part of the world, certainly none familiar to
science, where the early geological periods can be studied with so
much ease and precision as in the United States. Along their northern
borders, between Canada and the United States, there runs the low line
of hills known as the Laurentian Hills. Insignificant in height, nowhere
rising more than fifteen hundred or two thousand feet above the level
of the sea, these are nevertheless the first mountains that broke the
uniform level of the earth's surface and lifted themselves above the
waters. Their low stature, as compared with that of other more lofty
mountain-ranges, is in accordance with an invariable rule, by which the
relative age of mountains may be estimated. The oldest mountains are the
lowest, while the younger and more recent ones tower above their
elders, and are usually more torn and dislocated also. This is easily
understood, when we remember that all mountains and mountain-chains are
the result of upheavals, and that the violence of the outbreak must have
been in proportion to the strength of the resistance. When the crust of
the earth was so thin that the heated masses within easily broke through
it, they were not thrown to so great a height, and formed comparatively
low elevations, such as the Canadian hills or the mountains of Bretagne
and Wales. But in later times, when young, vigorous giants, such as the
Alps, the Himalayas, or, later still, the Rocky Mountains, forced their
way out from their fiery prison-house, the crust of the earth was
much thicker, and fearful indeed must have been the convulsions which
attended their exit.

The Laurentian Hills form, then, a granite range, stretching from
Eastern Canada to the Upper Mississippi, and immediately along its base
are gathered the Azoic deposits, the first stratified beds, in which the
absence of life need not surprise us, since they were formed beneath a
heated ocean. As well might we expect to find the remains of fish or
shells or crabs at the bottom of geysers or of boiling springs, as on
those early shores bathed by an ocean of which the heat must have been
so intense. Although, from the condition in which we find it, this
first granite range has evidently never been disturbed by any violent
convulsion since its first upheaval, yet there has been a gradual
rising of that part of the continent, for the Azoic beds do not lie
horizontally along the base of the Laurentian Hills in the position in
which they must originally have been deposited, but are lifted and rest
against their slopes. They have been more or less dislocated in this
process, and are greatly metamorphized by the intense heat to which they
must have been exposed. Indeed, all the oldest stratified rocks have
been baked by the prolonged action of heat.

It may be asked how the materials for those first stratified deposits
were provided. In later times, when an abundant and various soil covered
the earth, when every river brought down to the ocean, not only its
yearly tribute of mud or clay or lime, but the _debris_ of animals and
plants that lived and died in its waters or along its banks, when every
lake and pond deposited at its bottom in successive layers the lighter
or heavier materials floating in its waters and settling gradually
beneath them, the process by which stratified materials are collected
and gradually harden into rock is more easily understood. But when the
solid surface of the earth was only just beginning to form, it would
seem that the floating matter in the sea can hardly have been in
sufficient quantity to form any extensive deposits. No doubt there was
some abrasion even of that first crust; but the more abundant source of
the earliest stratification is to be found in the submarine volcanoes
that poured their liquid streams into the first ocean. At what rate
these materials would be distributed and precipitated in regular strata
it is impossible to determine; but that volcanic materials were so
deposited in layers is evident from the relative position of the
earliest rocks. I have already spoken of the innumerable chimneys
perforating the Azoic beds, narrow outlets of Plutonic rock, protruding
through the earliest strata. Not only are such funnels filled with the
crystalline mass of granite that flowed through them in a liquid state,
but it has often poured over their sides, mingling with the stratified
beds around. In the present state of our knowledge, we can explain such
appearances only by supposing that the heated materials within the
earth's crust poured out frequently, meeting little resistance,--that
they then scattered and were precipitated in the ocean around, settling
in successive strata at its bottom,--that through such strata the heated
masses within continued to pour again and again, forming for themselves
the chimney-like outlets above mentioned.

Such, then, was the earliest American land,--a long, narrow island,
almost continental in its proportions, since it stretches from the
eastern borders of Canada nearly to the point where now the base of the
Rocky Mountains meets the plain of the Mississippi Valley. We may still
walk along its ridge and know that we tread upon the ancient granite
that first divided the waters into a northern and southern ocean; and if
our imaginations will carry us so far, we may look down toward its base
and fancy how the sea washed against this earliest shore of a lifeless
world. This is no romance, but the bald, simple truth; for the fact that
this granite band was lifted out of the waters so early in the history
of the world, and has not since been submerged, has, of course,
prevented any subsequent deposits from forming above it. And this is
true of all the northern part of the United States. It has been lifted
gradually, the beds deposited in one period being subsequently raised,
and forming a shore along which those of the succeeding one collected,
so that we have their whole sequence before us. In regions where all
the geological deposits, Silurian, Devonian, Carboniferous, Permian,
Triassic, etc., are piled one upon another, and we can get a glimpse of
their internal relations only where some rent has laid them open, or
where their ragged edges, worn away by the abrading action of external
influences, expose to view their successive layers, it must, of course,
be more difficult to follow their connection. For this reason the
American continent offers facilities to the geologist denied to him in
the so-called Old World, where the earlier deposits are comparatively
hidden, and the broken character of the land, intersected by mountains
in every direction, renders his investigation still more difficult.
Of course, when I speak of the geological deposits as so completely
unveiled to us here, I do not forget the sheet of drift which covers the
continent from North to South, and which we shall discuss hereafter,
when I reach that part of my subject. But the drift is only a
superficial and recent addition to the soil, resting loosely above the
other geological deposits, and arising, as we shall see, from very
different causes.

In this article I have intended to limit myself to a general sketch of
the formation of the Laurentian Hills with the Azoic stratified beds
resting against them. In the Silurian epoch following the Azoic we have
the first beach on which any life stirred; it extended along the base of
the Azoic beds, widening by its extensive deposits the narrow strip of
land already upheaved. I propose in my next article to invite my readers
to a stroll with me along that beach.

* * * * *


Ancient history is forever indispensable to the speculative historian.
The ground of its value is the very fact of its antiquity; by which
we mean, not simply distance in time, but distance as the result of
separate construction,--distance as between two systems of reality, each
orbicularly distinct from the other. One system--that with which our
destiny is concurrent--is still flying its rounds in space; the other
has whirled itself out of space, and through a maze of scattered myths
and records, into human remembrances. This latter system, though
hermetically sealed to the realities of outward existence, still, and
by this very exclusion from all practical uses, becomes of paramount
interest to the philosophic historian; indeed, it is only because the
shadowy planets of the ancient cycle still repeat their revolutions
in human thought, that the philosophy of history is at all possible.
Philosophy, in its ideal pretensions, frequently forgets its material
conditions: it claims for itself the power of constructing wholes in
thought where only parts have been given in reality, as if, dispensing
with material supports, it could bridge over a chasm in Nature. And so
it seems to do, but so in fact it never does; it never builds but on
models; it never in any system gives ideal completeness, until a real
completeness is furnished, either through this system or some other that
is analogous. There can, therefore, be no speculative anticipation in
history, save as it makes its way into the blank future along the line
of diagrams furnished by the past; the splendid composition, in our
thoughts, of realities as yet undeveloped, is set up in the skeleton
types left us of realities that not only have themselves been
accomplished, but which belong to a system that is concluded.

Else,--if the philosophy of history does not thus depend upon some sort
of _real_ conclusions for its _notional_ ones,--why is it that no such
philosophy existed, even in name, among the ancients? It may be said
that some prevailing practical motive is necessary to the existence of
philosophy in any field, and that no such motive was present to the
ancient mind in this particular field of history. Admitted; yet this
does not at all disturb our position. No motive would have sufficed for
so grand an aim, short of a sublime consciousness regarding the destiny
of the human race. But whence was this consciousness to be derived?
To the ancient mind, the development of the human drama, considered
strictly as human, moved within narrow boundaries; traced backward
through a number of generations so limited that they might be counted on
one's fingers, the human _personae_, did not absolutely disappear, but
they emerged again, and in a precedent cycle, only as divinities. The
consciousness of human destiny was thus elevated by infinite grades, but
not of this destiny _as_ human, as depending for its splendors upon the
human will. It was an exaltation that consisted in the sacrifice of
humanity. No definite records existed through which any previous cycle
of human events could be translated into thought; and in default of a
human, there was substituted a divine cycle. From this mythologic past
of the ancients was reflected upon their present every-day existence a
peculiar glory; but it was not the glory of humanity. To celestial or
infernal powers were attributed the motives and impulses out of which
their life was developed, not to the human will. The future, as a matter
of course, partook of this divine investment; so that history to the
ancients was something which in either direction was lost in mystery,
not a system to be philosophically analyzed, or to be based on
principles of any sort. It is true that in the time of Herodotus, when
nations, hitherto insulated, came to know each other better, an interest
began to be awakened in history as resting upon a human basis; but this
is to be accounted for only by the fact, that each nation coming in
contact with another received from it the record of a development
differing from its own in the details of outward circumstances, yet
similar in certain general features; and in some cases, as in that of
Egypt, there was presented an historic _epos_ anterior in time. But
in no case were furnished hints so suggestive as those which ancient
history furnishes to us, nor any which would answer the purposes of
philosophy; in no case was there presented a completed arch, but only
antecedent parts of a structure yet in suspense respecting its own
conclusion. Fate uncourteously insisted upon making her disclosures by
separate instalments; she would advance nothing at any rate of discount.
What, therefore, was the ancient philosopher to do? His reflections
concerning the past must of necessity be partial; how much more would
his anticipations of the future fail of anything like demonstrative

We moderns, on the other hand, are eminently fortunate, because within
the cycle of our thoughts revolves the entire _epos_ of the ancient
world. Here there is the element of _completeness_: it is our privilege
to look upon the final _tableau_ before the curtain falls, to have
gathered in the concluding no less than the prelusive signals, to have
seen where the last stone in the arch bottoms upon a real basis. Let it
be that to us it is a drama of shadows; yet are none of the prominent
features lost; indeed, they are rather magnified by the distance; our
actors upon the ancient _proscenium_ walk in buskins and look upon us
out of masks whose significance has been intensified by remoteness
in time. This view of the case yields an ample refutation of those
arguments frequently adduced of late, in certain quarters, to prove
the inutility of classical studies. Thus, it is urged, that, in
every department of human knowledge, we transcend the most splendid
acquirements of the ancients, and therefore that it is so much time
wasted which we devote towards keeping up an acquaintance with
antiquity. But how is it that we so far overtop the ancients? Simply by
preserving our conscious connection with them, just as manhood towers
above childhood through the remembered experiences of childhood. As an
evidence of this, we need only note the sudden impulse which modern
civilization received through the revival of ancient literature. As it
is by resolving into constellations the _nebulae_, disconnected from the
earth by vast intervals of space, that we conjecture the awful magnitude
of the universe, so do we conjecture the magnitude of human life by
resolving into distinct shapes the nebulous mist of antiquity separated
from us by vast intervals in time. The profoundest lessons, such as are
heeded by the race, such as are universally intelligible, have this
obliquity of origin. Thus, in the distractions of the present, no relief
is found through compensatory consolations from the present; but we turn
to the figures of the past,--figures caught in the mind, and held fixed,
as in bas-relief,--figures in the attitude of antagonistic strife or of
sublime rest,--figures that master our intellects as can none from the
tumultuous present, (excepting the present of dreams,) and that out of
their eternal repose anticipate for us contingencies that do not yet
exist, but are representatively typified through such as have existed
and passed away.

It is a fact well ascertained in physical geography, that the New World
and the Old stand over against each other, not merely as antipodal
opposites, but so corresponding in outline that a promontory in one is
met by a gulf in the other, and sinuous seas by outstanding continents,
(so that over against the Gulf of Mexico, for instance, is opposed the
projection of Western Africa,) as if the gods had, in the registry of
some important covenant, rent the earth in twain for indentures. In this
way, also, do the two great hemispheres of Time stand opposed; so that,
from the shaping of the ancient, we may anticipate even the undeveloped
conformation of the modern: in place of the direct reality, which is of
necessity wanting, we have the next best thing to guide us even in our
most perilous coastings, namely, its well-defined _analogue_ in the
remote past.

Thus, considering merely this _analogism_, might one have prophetically
announced, even in the generations immediately succeeding to Christ,
when Christianity bade fair to become a world-power in a new
civilization, that here, indeed, was a new planting of Mysteries, which,
although infinitely transcending them in fulness and meaning, were
yet the counterparts of mysteries which had hitherto swayed the human
heart,--but that, pure and holy as were these mysteries, they should
yet, in their human connections, share the vicissitudes of the
old,--that, like them, they should march through tribulations on to
triumph,--that, like them, once having triumphed and become a recognized
source of power, they should be linked with hierarchical delusions and
the degradations of despotism,--that, like them, too, in some future
generation, they should, through the protesting intellect, be uplifted
from these delusions and degradations. Thus, also, and following the
same guidance, might our prophet have foretold the _political_ shapings
of the newly emerging hemisphere of Christendom. He would thus, through
a precise analogy in ancient history, have anticipated the conjunction
of principles so novel in their operation as were those of Christianity
with the new races, then lying in wait along the skirts of the Roman
Empire, and biding their time. From a necessity already demonstrated in
the ancient world, he would have foreseen the necessity of Feudalism for
the modern, as following inevitably in the train of barbarian conquest,
the recurrence of which had been distinctly foreshadowed. In connection
with the Protestantism of intellect in religious matters, he would have
anticipated a similar movement in politics; he would have prefigured the
conflict that was to be renewed between the many and the few for
power; and if by some miracle his material vision could have been made
coextensive in space with the scope which was possible for him in
thought, if he could have followed the sails of Columbus across the
Atlantic, then, in connection with the transference of European
civilization to the New World, and foreseeing the revulsion in habits
and institutions that must follow such local separation, he might
have indicated the arena which _representatively_ was to stand for
Christendom, and in which, if anywhere, the great problem of human
freedom should be solved, either by a success so grand that the very
reflex of its splendor should illumine the universal heart of man, or by
a failure so overwhelming and disastrous that the ruinous impulse should
be communicated with the crushing effect of a thunderbolt through the
whole structure of Christian civilization.

Standing, as we do, face to face with the crisis in which this problem
is to be solved, and through one part or the other of the alternative
just stated, it is evident, from what has already been said, that no
light can so fully illustrate the position and its contingencies as that
which reaches us from antiquity, and through analogies such as we have
hinted at in the preceding paragraphs.

In the first place, in order properly to understand the specific analogy
which we now proceed to develop and apply to the case in hand, it is
absolutely necessary that the reader should fix Hellas in his mind's eye
as the counterpart of Christendom. Let it be understood, then, that all
that preceded Hellenism in the ancient world was but the vestibule of
its magnificent temple, and that the sole function of the Roman Empire,
which came afterwards, was to tide the world over from Hellenic
realities to the more sublime realities of Christianity. The mighty
deeds of Egyptian conquerors, the imperial splendors of Persian
dynasties,--these were but miniature gems that gilded the corridors and
archways in the _propylaea_ of ancient civilization; and on the other
side, the brilliancy of the Caesars was not that of an original sun in
the heavens, since, in one half of their course, they did but reflect
the sunset glories of Greece, and, in the other, the rising glories of
Christianity. From Macedonia, then, in the North, southward to the sea,
and from the heroic age to the Battle of Pydna, (168 B.C.,) extended, in
space and time, the original and peculiar splendors of antiquity.

But two of the Hellenic States were consecrated to a _special_ office of
glory. These two were Athens and Sparta; and the sublime mission which
it was allotted them to fulfil in history was this, that they,
within limited boundaries, should concentrate all ante-Christian
excellence,--that these two States, opposite in their whole character,
should, through the conflict between their antagonistic elements, test
the strength and worthiness of ante-Christian principles. Precisely in
the same relation to Christendom stands America, with her two opposite
types of civilization arrayed against each other in mortal conflict.
Here must be tested the merits of modern civilization, just as in
Peloponnesus and Attica were tested those of the old; here, too, must
be tested the strength even of Christianity as a practical power in
the political world. Where Ionic and Doric Greece stood twenty-three
centuries ago, stand today the Northern and Southern sections of this
country; they hold between them, as did their Hellenic prototypes, the
heritage of laborious ages, and to their eyes alone have the slowly
growing fruits of time seemed ready, from very ripeness, to fall into
the lap of man. In either case, Hellenic or American, we look upon
generations totally different in circumstance from those which came
before them,--generations, freed not only from the despotic tutelage of
Nature, (from whom they exact tribute, instead of, as formerly, paying
it to her,) but also from the still more galling tutelage of ignorance
and of the social necessities imposed by ignorance,--generations which,
in either the ancient or modern instance, stand representatively for
the whole race, and by necessity, since they only could fairly be said,
unimpeded by external conditions, perfectly to represent themselves. It
matters not whether we take the particular generation contemporary with
Pericles or with President Lincoln (his modern _redivivus_); each stands
illustrious as the last reach upward of the towering civilizations that
respectively pushed them to this eminence; the highest point is in each
case reached, and all that remains is to make this sublime elevation
tenable for the race universally, so that, instead of the pyramidal
mountain, we shall have the widely extended _plateau_.

Here we will anticipate a question which the reader, we imagine, is
already about to put. He will readily admit that Greece, in her palmiest
era, politically, grasped, in form and conception at least, the highest
ideal of rational liberty; but why, he will ask, was not this divine
boon made universally available? Why was it not extended to Persia, and
to the Asiatic hosts that for security hid themselves in the folds of
her garments? why not to the dwellers on the Nile? Why was it that it
was not even retained by Greece herself? The truth is, that no sooner
was the golden fleece in the hands of the adventurers that had sought it
so zealously than it was rent by their discords. Elements of barbarism
had run uncurbed alongside of intellectual and artistic refinements.
Mingled with high-minded heroes were a set of treacherous Iscariots.
But why, it will naturally be asked, had there not been _hitherto_ some
outbreak of these discordant elements? That question is easily answered,
if we consider that up to this time there had existed certain external
elements, which, by arousing incessantly the patriotic feelings of all
Greece against hostilities from without, had administered an opiate to
the Cerberus of domestic strife. The terrible storm was maturing its
thunderbolts treacherously and in subterranean chambers; but its
mutterings were effectually silenced by the more audible thunderings
that burst across the Aegean from the Persian throne. Treachery was
lulled to sleep, while the nobler sentiment which united Greece against
Asiatic despotism was perpetually stung into activity in the popular
heart, and inspired the utterances of eloquence. Thus it might not
have been, if Greece had first come within hail of Persia through the
ordinary commerce of peace; since, in that case, after receiving from
the latter her treacherous gifts, her voluptuous effeminacies, she would
easily have fallen into the vast net-work that already trammelled all
Asia, and would then, through her own entanglement, include the whole
world. But it was not in peace that they met. The first question put to
Hellas by her Oriental neighbor was in effect this:--Are you willing,
without going to the trouble of subjecting the matter to the test of
actual conflict, to consider yourself as having been whipped? This,
it must be confessed, was a shivering introduction to the world for
Greece,--something like a Lacedaemonian baptism,--but it stood her
in good stead. Like the dip in the Styx, it insured immortality. The
menaces of despotism, coming from the East, gave birth to the impulses
of freedom in the West; and the latter sustained themselves at a more
exalted height, in proportion as the former were backed by substantial
support. Subtract anything from that deafening chorus of slaves which
follows in the train of Xerxes, and we must by the same amount take
from the paeans of aspiring Greece. Abolish the outlying provinces that
acknowledge a forced allegiance to the Persian monarch, or turn out of
their course the tributary streams that from every part of Asia swell
the current of Eastern barbarism, and there arises the necessity, also,
of circumscribing within narrower limits the glories of the Western
civilization. Against the dangers of external invasion, against all the
menaces of barbarians, Greece was secure through the forces which by
opposition were developed in herself,--and for so long a period was she
secure against herself. But the very rapidity and decisiveness of her
triumphs over the barbarian cut this period short, and cut short also
the rising column of Hellenic power. At the same time that Cimon
is finishing up the fleet of Persia, Pericles is preparing for the
culmination of Greece. In all this there seemed nothing final; from the
serenity of the Grecian sky, and from the summer silence which inwrapt
her statues and Pentelic colonnades, there was heralded the promise of a
ceaseless aeon of splendor. Resting from one mighty effort, and, in the
moment of rest, clothing herself in the majesty of beauty, Hellas
yet seemed ready to burst forth out of this rest into an effort more
gigantic, to be followed by a more memorable rest as the reflex of a
destiny more nearly consummated. But in this promise there was the
very hollowness of deception. Just because the intense strain against
external barbarism had relaxed, those elements which common necessity
had made tributary to success and triumph began to suffer dissolution;
each separate interest became a prominent centre of a distinct political
crystallization; and it was in this way that certain elements of
barbarism, inherent in Spartan civilization, now for the first time
arrayed it in direct opposition to the Athenian. It was this defection,
on the part of Sparta, from the cause of freedom, which cut the world
off from those benefits that it was in the power of Greece to confer.
Athens, whatever other faults she may have had, stood ready to extend
these benefits. As she alone had awakened for herself an echo of
Hellenic victory in her world of Art, so was she alone prepared, through
a world-wide extension of this victory over slavery, to multiply
the intellectual reflexes of so splendid a triumph; hers it was to
disenthrall and illuminate the world. And here, where she had a right to
look for the cooeperation of all Greece, as hitherto, was she thwarted;
here, holding the van in a procession of triumph, which, as carrying
forward a glorious disinthralment into Asia and into Egypt, and as
outfacing the most inveterate of all despotisms, should far out-rival
the fabled procession of Dionysus,--here was she not merely hindered by
the _vis inertias_ of her southern neighbor, but was actually stopped in
her movement by a newly revealed force of opposition, was flanked by an
ancient ally, now turned traitor, in the summertime of a most auspicious
peace; and in her efforts to disembarrass herself of this enemy in the
rear, were her energies totally exhausted.

A position precisely similar, in its main features, does Republican
America hold to-day. She has established her own freedom against all
European intrusion; and in her efforts to do this she arrived at
political union as an indispensable necessity, and merged all separate
interests in a common one. That interest, already vindicated for
herself, has become world-wide in its meaning; so that, in virtue
of what she has accomplished in the cause of freedom, she takes an
authoritative position of leadership in modern civilization. And what
is it that hinders the fulfilment of her exalted mission? She, too, has
been flanked in her march by a traitor within her own borders;
against her, and doing violence to her high office, are opposed the
backward-tending elements of barbarism, which, if not immediately
neutralized, if not summarily crushed, will drag her to the lowest
stages of weakness and exhaustion.

A very minute parallel might be, drawn between the opposing
civilizations that are to-day in this country contending for the mastery
and those which were engaged in a similar conflict in the days of
Pericles. New England would be found to be the Attica of America; while,
on the other hand, the Southrons would most exactly correspond to the
ancient Lacedaemonians. As the Cavaliers who first settled Virginia
helped on the Puritan exodus, so did the Dorians that settled Sparta,
through the tumult of their overwhelming invasion, drive the Ionians
from their old homes to the barren wastes of Attica,--barren as compared
with the fertile valleys of the Eurotas, just as New England would be
considered sterile when contrasted with Virginia or the Valley of the
Mississippi. Like the Ionian Greeks, the "Yankees" stand before the
world as the recognized advocates and supporters of a pure democracy.
The descendants of the Cavaliers, on the contrary, join hands, as did
the ancient Dorians, in favor of an oligarchy, and of an oligarchy, too,
based on the institution of slavery. Upon this difference rested the
political dissensions of Greece, as do now those of our own country. The
negro plays no more important part in the difference between the North
and South than did the Helot in the contests between the Spartans and
the Athenians. It is not in either case the simple fact of human slavery
which necessitates the civil strife, but it is the radical opposition
between _a government that is founded upon slavery_ and one which is
not. The Athenians had slaves; and so, for that matter, might New
England have to-day: yet, for all that, the civil strife would have been
inevitable, because both in Greece and America this strife evidently
arises out of the conflict between the interests of an oligarchy based
upon slavery and a democracy in which slavery, if it exists at all,
exists as a mere accident that may be dispensed with without any radical
social revolution. Slavery, as opposed to divine law or to abstract
justice, never has brought, nor ever will bring, two countries into
conflict with each other; but slavery made indispensable as _a peculiar
institution_, as an organized fact, as a fundamental social necessity,
_must_ come into conflict with the totally opposite institutions of
democracy, and that not because it is merely or nominally slavery,
but because it is a political organ modifying the entire structure of
government. Slavery, as it existed in Athens, slavery, as it existed
formerly in the Northern States, was in everything, except its name and
accidents, consistent with democracy; and, in either case, to dispense
with the institution was to introduce no radical change, but only to do
away with the name and accidents.[A]

[Footnote A: Here, however, the reader must understand that the infernal
system of slave-stealing is left entirely out of the account.]

In Sparta, or in the South, the case was far otherwise. Here, slavery
existed in its strict severity; it came into being in connection with
material conditions,--that is, in connection with a soil especially
favorable to agriculture,--and it maintained its existence by reason of
its fitness, its indispensableness, to certain social conditions; it
could not, therefore, be changed or annulled without running counter
both to the inveterate tendencies of Nature and the still more
inveterate tendencies of habit. This difference between the two estates
of slavery is evident also from the fact, that, while, in the one case,
the law would admit of no emancipation, in the other, the emancipation
was effected legally, either in the lump, as in New England, or by
instalments, as in Athens; and in the latter State we must remember that
the process was rendered the more easy and natural by the fact that the
slaves were, in the first instance, generally prisoners taken in war,
and not unfrequently stood upon the same social level, before their
capture, with their captors, while in Sparta the slaves were taken as a
subject race, and held as inferiors.

Much glory has been given to Lacedaemon on the score of her martial
merits. To ourselves this glory seems rather her shame, since these
merits are inseparable from her grand political mistake. We might as
justly exalt Feudalism on the ground of its military establishment,
which, after all, we must admit to be an absolute necessity in the
system. To the Spartan oligarchy it was equally necessary that the whole
State should exist perpetually under martial law. In the first place, it
was necessary, if for nothing else, for the intimidation of the Helots,
who were continually watching their opportunity for insurrection, as is
shown in that memorable attempt made in connection with the Messenian
War. It was, moreover, necessary for a government not strong by sea
to extend its boundaries by military conquest; for by each successive
conquest a possible enemy is actually forced into subjection, and made
to contribute to the central power which subdues it.

Indeed, it is true that every feature of the State polity which that
old rascal Lycurgus gave to Sparta must be considered and judged in
connection with this grand martial establishment, upon which the
Lacedaemonian oligarchy was based, and through which the nefarious
attempt to establish oligarchies in all the rest of the world was
supported. The establishment itself was barbarous, and could not
possibly have thrived under the art-loving, home-protecting eye of the
Athenian Pallas. All domestic sanctities were rudely invaded, and even
the infant's privilege to live depended upon its martial promise; the
aspirations of religion were levelled down into sympathy with the most
brutal enthusiasm, as afterwards happened in the case of Rome; the very
idea of Beauty was demolished, and with it all that was sacred in human
nature, and all hope of progress. The whole State was sacred to the idea
of Military Despotism.

Thus it happened that Sparta, from her first introduction in history to
her exit, was at a stand-still in whatever involved anything higher than
brute force. In this respect she differed from Athens as much as the
South at this day differs from the North, and from precisely the same
causes, the principal of which, in each case, was barbarism,--barbarism
deliberately organized, and maintained in conscious preference to
intellectual refinement.

And yet it is remarkable that both Lacedaemon and the South, as compared
with their respective rivals, started in life at an immense advantage,
and seemingly with a far more auspicious prospect before them. The early
Virginian turned up his nose at Plymouth as a very despicable affair,
and wondered that the Puritans did not set sail _en masse_ for the
Bahamas. Gorgeous were the descriptions of Virginia sent home by some of
the first settlers, in which lions and tigers, and a whole menagerie
of tropical animals, came in for no small share of wonder; and, as an
offset to this summer luxuriance of life, most disparaging pictures were
drawn of the bleak sterility of New England,--and even that which was
the only compensation for this barrenness of the earth, namely, the
abundance of fish in the sea, was, as respects the revenue derived from
it, made an especial subject of derision. Thus, doubtless, did the
ancient Peloponnesian look upon Attica in the small beginnings of
her infinite growth; he had exactly the same topics for his
ridicule,--sterility, fishery, and all; and just as in the case of the
South, was the laugh in the end turned against himself. But to the very
last there was one stinging jest on the lips of the Spartan,--the very
same which the modern slaveholder flings with so great gusto against the
unfortunate Yankee,--and that was Athenian cupidity. The ancient and the
modern jester are alike condemned on their own indictment, since upon
cupidity the most petulant, upon cupidity the most voracious in its
greedy demands, rested the whole Spartan polity, as does the system of
slaveholding in the South. The Spartan, like the Southern planter, might
protest that money was of no consequence whatever, that to him it was
only so much iron,--but why? Only because that, by the satisfaction of
a cupidity more profound, he was able to dispense with the ordinary
necessities of an honest democrat.

In peace, Sparta was a nonentity; in the resources which enrich and
glorify the time of peace she was a bankrupt. Fine arts or education she
had none: these centred in Athens. These were elements of progress, and
could no more be tolerated in Peloponnesus than in our Gulf States.
Taking our Southern civilization or that of Lacedaemon, we must say of
each that it is thoroughly brutalized; we may challenge either to show
us a single master-piece of intellect, whether in the way of analysis or
of construction,--but none can they show.

Even in a military sense, the forces which Democracy could marshal,
either in ancient Greece or in modern America, were more than a match
for the corresponding oligarchical factions. Athens, like New England,
was a commercial centre, and therefore a prominent naval power; and this
naval prominence, in each instance, was so great as to give a decisive
superiority over a non-commercial rival. Sparta used her influence and
power to establish oligarchic institutions in the various provinces
of Greece, which generally corresponded to our Territories,--in which
latter the South has, with an equally unworthy zeal, been for several
years seeking to establish her peculiar institutions. Epidamnus proved
a Grecian Kansas. As in our own country, the hostile factions refrained
from war as long as human nature would allow; but, once engaged in
it, it became a vital struggle, that could be terminated only by the
exhaustion of one of the parties.

Athens was the stronger: why, then, did she not conquer her rival? With
equal pertinence we might ask, Why have not we, who are the stronger,
subjugated the South? The answer to both questions is the same.
Political prejudice overmasters patriotism. Neither ourselves nor the
ancient Athenians appear to have the remotest idea of the importance of
the cause for which we are contending. To us, as to them, the avenue
to future glory lies through the blood-red path of war, of desperate,
unrelenting war. Nothing else, no compromise, no negotiations of any
sort, would suffice. This the Athenians never realized; this _we_ do not
seem to understand. Among ourselves, as among them, the peace-party--a
party in direct sympathy with the aims and purposes of the
enemy--blusters and intrigues. President Lincoln meets with the same
embarrassments in connection with this party that Pericles met in his
campaigns against Sparta: it was his coming into power that precipitated
the violence of war; his determined action against all sympathizers
with the enemy draws down upon him the intensified wrath of these
sympathizers; the generals whom he sends into the field, if, like
Alcibiades, they are characterized by any spirit in their undertakings,
are trammelled with political entanglements and rendered useless, while
some slow, half-brained Nicias, with no heart in the cause, is placed at
the head of expeditions that result only in defeat.

There is the same diffusiveness connected with our military plans which
characterized the operations of the Athenians against Sparta. We do not
make the special advantage which we have over the South through our
naval superiority available against her special vulnerability. We
intimidate her, as Pericles did the Peloponnesians, by circumnavigating
her territories with a great display of our naval power; we effect a
few landings upon her coasts; but all these invasions lead to no grand
results, they do not subdue our armed enemy. What with these errors
in the general conduct of the war, and the lack of energy which
characterizes every part, our prospects of ultimate success are fast
being ruined. Unless some change be quickly effected, unless political
sentiment can be made to give place to the original enthusiasm with
which we commenced the war, and this enthusiasm be embodied in military
enterprise, our case is a hopeless one. One the other hand, if things go
on as they have been going on, the political opposition to the war will
rise to such a height as to overturn the Administration, and in its
place install those who are desirous of a reconstruction of the Union on
a Southern basis. The same errors on the part of Athens led to just
this result in Greece; an oligarchy came at last to rule even over the
democratic city itself. The consequence was the downfall of Greece, and
in her ruin was demonstrated the failure of ancient civilization. In
a like event, nothing could save us, nothing could save modern
civilization, from the same disastrous ruin.

The barbarism which at successive intervals in history has swept
southward over Asia was, at the least, something fresher and better than
that which it displaced. The Gothic barbarians were, in very truth,
the scourges of God to the inferior and more despicable barbarians of
Southern Europe. The former exemplified a barbarism unconscious of
itself, and carrying in its very rudeness the hope of the world; and the
more complete and overwhelming its revolutions, the more glorious the
promise involved in them. But, from the establishment over a continent
of a system so deliberately barbarous that it dares to array its brutal
features against the sunlight of this nineteenth century, that it dares
even to oppose itself, with a distinct confession of its base purposes,
against the only free, beneficent, and hope-giving government in the
world,--from the triumph of such a system and over such a government
there is not the shadow of a hope, but rather the widest possible field
for dismal apprehension. From this barbarism we have everything to fear;
and the only way to successfully oppose it is through the movements
of war. Only through a triumph gained in the battle-field, and held
decisive for all future time, can we, as a nation, make our way out
of the fatal entanglements of this present time into the bright and
glorious heritage of the future.

* * * * *


_My Diary, North and South_. By W.H. RUSSELL. Boston: T.O.H.P. Burnham,
pp. xxii., 602.

Plutarch, as a patriotic Boeotian, felt called on to write a tract
concerning the malice of Herodotus in having told some unpleasant truths
about the Thebans; and many of our countrymen have shown themselves as
Boeotian, at least, if not as patriotic, in their diatribes against Mr.
Russell, who is certainly very far from being an Herodotus, least of all
in that winning simplicity of style which made him so dangerous in
the eyes of Plutarch. It was foolish to take Mr. Russell at his own
valuation, to elevate a clever Irish reporter of the London "Times" into
a representative of England; but it was still more foolish, in attacking
him, to mistake violence for force, and sensible people will be apt to
think that there must have been some truth in criticisms which were
resented with such unreasoning clamor. It is only too easy to force the
growth of those national antipathies which ripen the seeds of danger
and calamity to mankind; for there are few minds that are not capacious
enough for a prejudice, and it has sometimes seemed as if, in our hasty
resentment of the littlenesses of Englishmen, we were in danger of
forgetting the greatness of England. A nation risks nothing in being
underrated; the real peril is in underrating and misunderstanding a
rival who may at any moment become an antagonist,--who will almost
certainly become such, if we do our best to help him in it. Especially
in judging the qualities of a people, we should be careful to take our
measure by the highest, and not the lowest, types it has shown itself
capable of producing. In moments of alarm, danger, or suffering, a
nation is apt to relapse into that intellectual and moral condition of
Mob from which it has slowly struggled upward; and this is especially
true in an age of newspapers, where Cleon finds his way to every
breakfast-table. It is her mob side that England has been showing us
lately; but this should not blind us to the fact that in the long run
the character of a nation tends more and more to assimilate itself to
that ideal typified in its wisest thinkers and best citizens. In the
qualities which historians and poets love to attribute to their country,
national tendencies and aspirations are more or loss consciously
represented; these qualities the nation will by-and-by learn to
attribute to itself, until, becoming gradually traditional, they will at
length realize themselves as active principles. The selfish clamor of
Liverpool merchants, who see a rival in New York, and of London bankers
who have dipped into Confederate stock, should not lead us to conclude,
with M. Albert Blanc, that the foreign policy of England is nothing
more or less than _une haine de commercants et d'industriels, haine
implacable et inflexible comme les chiffres_.[A]

[Footnote A: _Memoires et Correspondence de_ J. DE MAISTRE, p. 92.]

Mr. Russell's book purports to be, and probably is in substance, the
diary from which he made up his letters to the London "Times"; and it
is rather amusing, as well as instructive, to see the somewhat muddy
sources which, swelled by affluents of verbiage and invention, gather
head enough to contribute their share to the sonorous shallowness of
"the leading journal of Europe." When we learn, as we do from this
"Diary," what a contributor to that eminent journal is, when left to his
own devices,--that he does not know the difference between _would_ and
_should_, (which, to be sure, is excusable in an Irishman,) that he
believes _in petto_ to mean _in miniature_, uses _protagonist_ with as
vague a notion of its sense as Mrs. Malaprop had of her derangement of
epitaphs, and then recall to mind the comparative correctness of Mr.
Russell's correspondence in point of style, we conceive a hearty respect
for the proof-reader in Printing-House Square. We should hardly have
noticed these trifles, except that Mr. Russell has a weakness for
displaying the cheap jewelry of what we may call _lingo_, and that he is
rather fond of criticizing the dialect and accent of persons who were
indiscreet enough to trust him with their confidences. There is one
respect, however, in which the matter has more importance,--in its
bearing on our estimate of Mr. Russell as a trustworthy reporter of what
he saw and heard. Conscientious exactness is something predicable of the
whole moral and intellectual nature, and not of any special faculty; so
that, when we find a man using words without any sense of their meaning,
and assuming to be familiar with things of which he is wholly ignorant,
we are justified in suspecting him of an habitual inaccuracy of mind,
which to a greater or less degree disqualifies him both as observer
and reporter. We say this with no intention of imputing any wilful
misstatements to Mr. Russell, but as something to be borne in mind while
reading his record of private conversations. A scrupulous fidelity is
absolutely essential, where the whole meaning may depend on a tone of
voice or the use of one word instead of another. Any one accustomed to
the study of dialects will understand what we mean, if he compare
Mr. Olmsted's extracts from his diary with Mr. Russell's. The latter
represents himself as constantly hearing the word _Britisher_
used seriously and in good faith, and remarks expressly on an odd
pronunciation of _Europe_ with the accent on the last syllable, which be
noticed in Mr. Seward among others. Mr. Russell's memory is at fault.
What he heard was _European_; and _Britisher_ is not, and never was, an

We do not, however, mean to doubt the general truthfulness of Mr.
Russell's reports. We find nothing in his book which leads us to modify
the opinion we expressed of him more than a year ago.[B] We still think
him "a shrewd, practised, and, for a foreigner, singularly accurate
observer." We still believe that his "strictures, if rightly taken, may
do us infinite service." But we must enter our earnest protest against
a violation of hospitality and confidence, which, if it became common,
would render all society impossible. Any lively man might write a
readable and salable book by _exploiting_ his acquaintances; but such a
proceeding would be looked upon by all right-minded people as an offence
similar in kind, if not in degree, to the publication of private
letters. A shrewd French writer has remarked, that a clever man in
a foreign country should always know two things,--_what_ he is, and
_where_ he is. Mr. Russell seems habitually to have forgotten both. Even
Montaigne, the most garrulous of writers, becomes discreet in speaking
of other people. If we learn from him that the Duke of Florence mixed a
great deal of water with his wine and the Duchess hardly any at all.
we learn it, without any connivance of his, from his diary, and that a
hundred and fifty years after his death.

[Footnote B: _Atlantic Monthly_, Vol. VIII., p. 765.]

One of the first reflections which occur to the reader, as he closes Mr.
Russell's book, with a half-guilty feeling of being an accomplice after
the fact in his indiscretions, to use the mildest term, is a general one
on the characteristic difference between the traveller as he is and as
he was hardly a century ago. A man goes abroad now not so much to see
countries and learn something from them, as to write a book that shall
pay his travelling-charges. The object which men formerly proposed to
themselves, in visiting foreign lands, seems to have been to find out
something which might be of advantage to their own country, in the way
either of trade, agriculture, or manufactures,--and they treated of
manners, when they touched upon them at all, with the coolness and
impartiality of naturalists: They did not conclude things to be
necessarily worse because they were different. A modern Tom Coryat,
instead of introducing the use of the fork among his countrymen, would
find some excuse for thinking the Italians a _nasty_ people because they
used it. In our day it would appear that the chief aim of a traveller
was to discover (or where that failed, to invent) all that he possibly
can to the disadvantage of the country he visits; and he is so
scrupulous a censor of individual manners that he has no eyes left for
national characteristics. Another striking difference between the older
traveller and his modern successor is that the observer and the object
to be observed seem to have reversed their relations to each other, so
that the man, with his sensations, prejudices, and annoyances, fills up
the greater part of the book, while the foreign country becomes merely
incidental, a sort of canvas, on which his own portrait is to be painted
for the instruction of his readers. Pliny used to say that something was
to be learned from the worst book; and accordingly let us be thankful to
the voyagers of the last thirty years that they have taught us where
we can get the toughest steak and the coldest coffee which this world
offers to the diligent seeker after wisdom, and have made us intimately
acquainted with the peculiarities of the fleas, if with those of none
of the other dwellers in every corner of the globe. Such interesting
particulars, to be sure, may claim a kind of classic authority in
Horace's journey to Brundusium; but perhaps a gnat or a frog that kept
Horace awake may fairly assume a greater historical importance than
would be granted to similar tormentors of Brown, Jones, and Robinson.
Were it not for Mr. Olmsted, we should conclude the Arthur-Young type of
traveller to be extinct, and that people go abroad merely for an excuse
to write about themselves,--it is so much easier to write a clever book
than a solid one. The plan of Montaigne, who wrote his travels round
himself without stirring beyond his library, was as much wiser and
cheaper as the result was more entertaining.

But, apart from the self-consciousness and impertinence which detract so
much from the value of most recent books of travel, it may be doubted
whether, since the French Revolution gave birth to the Caliban of
Democracy, there has been a tourist without political bias toward one
side or the other; and now that the "Special Correspondent" has been
invented, whose business it is to be one-sided, if possible, and at all
events entertaining, the last hope of rational information from anywhere
would seem to be cut off. And of all travellers, the Englishman is apt
to be the worst. What Fuller said of him two centuries ago is still in
the main true,--that, "though some years abroad, he is never out of
England." He carries with him an ideal England, made up of all that is
good, great, refined, and, above all, "in easy circumstances," by which
to measure the short-comings of other less-favored nations. He may have
dined contentedly for years at the "Cock" or the "Mitre," but he must go
first to Paris or New York to be astonished at dirt or to miss napkins.
He may have been the life-long victim of the London _cabby_, but he
first becomes aware of extortion as he struggles with the porters of
Avignon or the hackmen of Jersey City. We are not finding fault with
this insularity as a feature of national character,--on the contrary,
we rather like it, for the first business of an Englishman is to be
an Englishman, and we wish that Americanism were as common among
Americans,--but, since no man can see more than is in his own mind, it
is a somewhat dangerous quality in a traveller. Moreover, the Englishman
in America is at a double disadvantage; for his understanding the
language leads him to think that everything is easy to understand, while
at the same time he cannot help looking on every divergence of manners
or ideas from the present British standard in a nation speaking the same
tongue, as a barbarism, if not as a personal insult to himself. Worse
then all, he has perhaps less than anybody of that quality, we might
almost say faculty, which Mirabeau called "political sociability,"
and accordingly can form no conception of a democracy which levels
upward,--of any democracy, indeed, except one expressly invented to
endanger the stability of English institutions, certainly the most
comfortable in the world for any one who belongs to the class which
has only to enjoy and not to endure them. The travels of an average
Englishman are generally little more than a "Why, bless me, you don't
say so! how very extraordinary!" in two volumes octavo.

Mr. Russell is only an Irishman with an English veneer, and, to borrow
the Kalewala formula, is neither the best nor the worst of tourists. In
range of mind and breadth of culture he is not to be compared with Mr.
Dicey, who was in America at the same time, and whose letters we hope
soon to see published in a collected form; but he had opportunities,
especially in the Seceding States, such as did not fall, and
indeed could not have fallen, to the lot of any other man. As the
representative of an English journal, he was welcomed by the South,
eager to show him its best side; as a foreigner, his impressions were
fresh and vivid; and his report of the condition of things there is the
only even presumably trustworthy one we have had since the beginning of
the Rebellion. The New England States, he tells us, he did not visit;
but that does not prevent his speaking glibly of their "bloody-minded
and serious people," and of the "frigid intellectuality" of Boston,
about both of which he knows as little as of Juvenal. This should serve
to put us on our guard against some of his other generalizations,
which may be based on premises as purely theoretic. But it is not in
generalizations that Mr. Russell is strong, nor, to do him justice, does
he often indulge in them,--always excepting, of course, the _ex officio_
one which he owes his employers, and which he was sent out to find
arguments for, that the Union is irrevocably split asunder. It is as a
reporter that he has had his training, and it is as a reporter that he
is valuable. Quick to catch impressions, and from among them to single
out the _taking_ parts, his sketches of what he saw and heard, if
without any high artistic merit, have a coarse truth that will make them
of worth to the future student of these times. They are all the better
that Mr. Russell was unable, from the nature of the case, to elaborate
and _Timesify_ them.

The first half of the book is both the most interesting and the most
valuable,--the second half being so largely made up of personal
grievances (which, if Mr. Russell had not the dignity to despise them,
he might at least have been wise enough to be silent about) as to be
tedious in comparison. We regret that Mr. Russell should have been
subjected to so many personal indignities for having written what we
believe to have been as impartial an account of what he saw of the
panic-rout which followed the Battle of Manassas as any one could have
written under the same conditions,--though we doubt if the correspondent
of a French newspaper would come off much better, under like
circumstances, in England. It is not beyond the memory of man that the
Duke of Wellington himself was pelted in London. But we are surprised
that Mr. Russell should have so far misapprehended his position, should
have so readily learned to look upon himself as an ambassador, (we
believe the "Times" is not yet recognized by our Government as anything
more than a belligerent power,) as to consider it a hardship that he was
not allowed to accompany General McClellan's army to the Peninsula.
He seems to have thought that every thing happens in America, as La
Rochefoucauld said of France. We are sorry that he was not permitted
to go, for he would have helped us to some clearer understanding of a
campaign about whose conduct and results there seems to be plenty of
passionate misjudgment and very little real knowledge. But when should
we hear the last of the vulgar presumption of an American reporter who
should try to hitch himself in the same way to the staff of a British

Mr. Russell's testimony to the ill effects of slavery is as emphatic, if
not so circumstantial, as that of Mr. Olmsted. It is of the more weight
as coming from a man who saw the system under its least repulsive
aspect. His report also of what he heard from some of the chief plotters
in the Secession conspiracy as to their plans and theories is very
instructive, and deserves special attention now that their allies in the
Free States are beginning to raise their heads again. We have always
believed, and our impression is strengthened by Mr. Russell's testimony,
that the Southern leaders originally intended nothing more than a _coup
d'etat_, which, by the help of their fellow-conspirators at the North,
was to put them in possession of the Government. It is plain, also, from
what Mr. Russell tells us, that the movers of the slaveholding treason
reckoned confidently on aid from abroad, especially from England;
and this may help Englishmen to understand that the sensitiveness of
Northern people and statesmen to the open sympathy which the Rebellion
received from the leading journals and public men of Great Britain was
not so unreasonable as they have been taught to regard it. Cousins of
England, we feel inclined to say, remember that there is nothing so hard
to bear as contempt; that there may be patriotism where there are no
pedigrees; that family-trees are not the best timber for a frame of
government; that truth is no less true because it is spoken through the
nose; and that there may be devotion to great principles and national
duties among men who have not the air of good society,--nay, that, in
the long run, good society itself is found to consist, not of Grammonts
and Chesterfields, but of the men who have been loyal to conviction and
duty, and who have had more faith in ideas than in Vanity Fair. People
on both sides of the water may learn something from Mr. Russell's book,
if they read it with open minds, especially the lesson above all others
important to the statesman, that even being right is dangerous, if one
be not right at the right time and in the right way.

_The Results of Emancipation_. By Augustin Cochin, Ex-Maire and
Municipal Councillor of Paris. Translated by Mary L. Booth, Translator
of Count De Gasparin's Works on America, etc. Boston: Walker, Wise, &

It is doubtless a little unfashionable to question the all-sufficiency
of statistics to the salvation of men or nations. Nevertheless we
believe that their power is of a secondary and derivative character. The
confidence which first leads brave souls to put forth their energies
against a giant evil comes through deductive, not inductive, inquiry.
The men and women who have efficiently devoted themselves to awaken the
American people to the element of guilt and peril in their national life
have seldom been exhaustively acquainted with the facts of slavery or
those of emancipation. Few of them were political economists, or had
much concern with scientific relations. They were persons of emotional
organization, and of a delicate moral susceptibility. It was sufficient
for them to know that one God reigned, and that whatever He had caused
to be a true political economy must accord with those Christian ethics
which command acknowledgment from the human soul. They wanted no
catalogue of abuses to convince them that an institution which began by
denying a man all right in his own person was not and could not come to
good. And this fine impressibility of nature, which needs no statistics,
when it is combined with genius,--if we may be pardoned an Hibernicism
which almost writes itself,--may be said to create its own statistics.
Shakspeare needed not to dog murderers, note-book in hand, in order to
give in Macbeth a comprehensive summary of their pitiable estate. It
may, indeed, be necessary for physicians to study minutely many
special cases of insanity in order to build up by induction the grand
generalization of Lear; but he who gave it grasped it entire in an ideal
world, and left to less happy natures the task of imitating its august
proportions by patiently piling together a thousand facts. The abolition
of slavery must be demanded by the moral instinct of a people before
their understanding may be satisfied of its practical fitness and
material success. The evidences in favor of emancipation are useful
after the same manner as the evidences of Christianity: the man whose
heart cannot he stirred by the tender appeal of the Gospel shall not be
persuaded by the exegetical charming of the most orthodox expositor.

But now that circumstances have caused loyal American citizens to think
upon slavery, and to mark with a quickened moral perception its enormous
usurpations, there could be no publication more timely than this volume
by M. Cochin. To be sure, all illustration of the results of this
legalized injustice, derived from a past experience, must be tame to
those who stand face to face with the gigantic conspiracy in which it
has concentrated its venom, and from which it must stagger to its doom.
The familiar proverb which declares that the gods make mad those whom
they would destroy has a significance not always considered. For when a
man loses his intellectual equilibrium, a baseness of character which
never broke through the crust of conventionality may be suddenly
revealed; and when a wicked system goes mad, such depths of perfidy are
disclosed as few imagined to exist. During the last two years, while our
Southern sky has been aglow with the red light of the slave-masters'
insurrection, few of us could probe and pry about among details of
lesser villanies than those pertinent to the day. And so it is fortunate
that M. Cochin now comes to address a people instinctively grasping at
the principle which may give them peace, and to offer them his calm and
thorough investigation of the material basis whereon that principle may
surely rest.

"L'Abolition de l'Esclavage," of which the first volume is translated
under the title at the head of this notice, was published in 1861. It is
a diligent study of official and other testimony bearing upon slavery
and emancipation. M. Cochin had access to the unpublished records
of every ministry in Europe, and gives his evidence with scientific
precision. He has faithfully detailed the effects of liberating the
slaves in the colonies of France and England, as well as in those of
Denmark, Sweden, and Holland. By an admirable clearness of arrangement,
and a certain _netiete_ of statement, the reader retains an impression
of the experience in slavery and its abolition which each colony
represents. That no disturbance should follow emancipation, we apprehend
that no one, who believes in the moral government of the world, can
seriously expect. Ceasing to persist in sin frees neither man nor nation
from the penalty it entails. But the distressing consequences of any
social upheaval make a far greater impression upon the common mind than
the familiar evils of the condition from which the community emerges.
The amount of suffering which must temporarily follow an act of justice
long delayed is always over-estimated. Many half-measures for the public
safety, many blunders easy to be avoided, produce the derangement
of affairs which the enemies of human freedom are never tired of
proclaiming. It is the merit of M. Cochin to separate that penalty of
wrong which it is impossible to extinguish from the disastrous results
of causes peculiar to the politics of a given nation, or to the private
character of its officers. He certainly shows that production and
commerce have not been annihilated by the abolition of slavery, while
the moral condition of both races has been manifestly improved.
Recognizing the immutable laws which are potent in the life of nations,
M. Cochin touches upon the remote antecedents of slavery as well as the
immediate antecedents of emancipation. His results are divided into
groups, material, economical, and moral; thus the reader may easily
systematize the information of the book. There are practical lessons in
relation to the great deed to which our nation has been called that
may well be laid to heart. The insurrection of San Domingo preceded
emancipation, and was due to the absurd law of the Constituent Assembly
which gave the same privileges to freemen of every color and every
degree of education and capacity. While we recognize the negro as a man,
let us remember that the time for recognizing him as a citizen is not
yet. We must also mark the importance of paying with promptness the
indemnity to the master, in order that the greater part of it may pass
in the form of wages into the hands of the servant. Forewarned of
mistakes in the methods of emancipation, which other nations deplore, we
encounter the question with many important aids to its solution.

M. Cochin, though not a Protestant like Count de Gasparin, writes in a
similar spirit of fervent Christian belief. In the second volume of
his work, which we trust will soon appear in America, the relation of
Christianity to slavery is powerfully discussed. The Catholic Church
is shown to oppose this crime against humanity, and the Pope, as if to
indorse the conclusion, has conferred an order of knighthood upon the
author since the publication of his book. It is worth while to note that
the most logical and effective assailants of slavery that these last
years have produced have been devout Catholics,--Augustin Cochin in
France, and Orestes A. Brownson in America. And while we think that it
will require a goodly amount of special pleading to clear either the
Catholic Church or most Protestant sects from former complicity
with this iniquity, we heartily rejoice that those liberal men who
intelligently encourage and direct the noblest instinct of the time are
the exclusive possession of no form of religious belief. From every
ritual of worship, from every variety of speculative creed, earnest
minds have reached the same practical ground of labor for the freedom
of man. Such minds realize that Christianity can approximate its
exact application only as the machinery of human society is rightly
comprehended. The Gospel, acting through the church, the meeting-house,
the lecture-room, and the press, is demanding the redemption of master
and slave from the mutual curse of their relation. Every affliction and
struggle of this civil war may be sanctified, not only to the moral
improvement, but also to the material prosperity of our land.

Great events are required to inspire a people with great ideas. _Sicut
patribus sit Deus nobis_ is the motto of the city whence the "Atlantic"

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