Full Text Archive logoFull Text Archive — Free Classic E-books

Atlantic Monthly, Vol. 9, No. 55, May, 1862 by Various

Part 4 out of 5

Adobe PDF icon
Download Atlantic Monthly, Vol. 9, No. 55, May, 1862 pdf
File size: 0.5 MB
What's this? light bulb idea Many people prefer to read off-line or to print out text and read from the real printed page. Others want to carry documents around with them on their mobile phones and read while they are on the move. We have created .pdf files of all out documents to accommodate all these groups of people. We recommend that you download .pdfs onto your mobile phone when it is connected to a WiFi connection for reading off-line.

them with it. But his method was sharper and shorter. He seized both,
and executed both on the Place de Greve,--the place of execution for the
vilest malefactors.

No doubt, that, under the present domineering of the pettifogger caste,
there are hosts of men whose minds run in such small old grooves that
they hold legal forms not a means, but an end: these will cry out
against this proceeding as tyrannical. No doubt, too, that, under the
present palaver of the "sensationist" caste, the old ladies of both
sexes have come to regard crime as mere misfortune: these will lament
this proceeding as cruel. But, for this act, if for no other, an earnest
man's heart ought in these times to warm toward the great statesman. The
man had a spine. To his mind crime was cot mere misfortune: crime was
CRIME. Crime was strong; it would pay him well to screen it; it might
cost him dear to fight it. But he was not a modern "smart" lawyer, to
seek popularity by screening criminals,--nor a modern soft juryman,
to suffer his eyes to be blinded by quirks and quibbles to the great
purposes of law,--nor a modern bland governor, who lets a murderer loose
out of politeness to the murderer's mistress. He hated crime; he whipped
the criminal; no petty forms and no petty men of forms could stand
between him and a rascal. He had the sense to see that this course was
not cruel, but merciful. See that for yourselves. In the eighteen years
before Richelieu's administration, four thousand men perished in duels;
in the ten years after Richelieu's death, nearly a thousand thus
perished; but during his whole administration, duelling was checked
completely. Which policy was tyrannical? which policy was cruel?

The hatred of the serf-mastering caste toward their new ruler grew
blacker and blacker; but he never flinched. The two brothers Marillac,
proud of birth, high in office, endeavored to stir revolt as in their
good days of old. The first, who was Keeper of the Seals, Richelieu
threw into prison; with the second, who was a Marshal of France,
Richelieu took another course. For this Marshal had added to revolt
things more vile and more insidiously hurtful: he had defrauded the
Government in army-contracts. Richelieu tore him from his army and
put him on trial. The Queen-Mother, whose pet he was, insisted on his
liberation. Marillac himself blubbered, that it "was all about a little
straw and hay, a matter for which a master would not whip a lackey."
Marshal Marillac was executed. So, when statesmen rule, fare all who
take advantage of the agonies of a nation to pilfer a nation's treasure.

To crown all, the Queen-Mother began now to plot against Richelieu,
because he would not be her puppet,--and he banished her from France

The high nobles were now exasperate. Gaston tied the country, first
issuing against Richelieu a threatening manifesto. Now awoke the Duke
of Montmorency. By birth he stood next the King's family: by office, as
Constable of France, he stood next the King himself. Montmorency was
defeated and taken. The nobles supplicated for him lustily: they looked
on crimes of nobles resulting in deaths of plebeians as lightly as the
English House of Lords afterward looked on Lord Mohun's murder of Will
Mountfort, or as another body of lords looked on Matt Ward's murder of
Professor Butler: but Montmorency was executed. Says Richelieu, in his
Memoirs, "Many murmured at this act, and called it severe; but others,
more wise, praised the justice of the King, _who preferred the good of
the State to the vain reputation of a hurtful clemency._"

Nor did the great minister grow indolent as he grew old. The Duke of
Epernon, who seems to have had more direct power of the old feudal sort
than any other man in France, and who had been so turbulent under the
Regency,--him Richelieu humbled completely. The Duke of La Valette
disobeyed orders in the army, and he was executed as a common soldier
would have been for the same offence. The Count of Soissons tried to see
if he could not revive the good old turbulent times, and raised a rebel
army; but Richelieu hunted him down like a wild beast. Then certain
Court nobles,--pets of the King,--Cinq-Mars and De Thou, wove a new
plot, and, to strengthen it, made a secret treaty with Spain; but the
Cardinal, though dying, obtained a copy of the treaty, through his
agent, and the traitors expiated their treason with their blood.

But this was not all. The Parliament of Paris,--a court of
justice,--filled with the idea that law is not a means, but an end,
tried to interpose _forms_ between the Master of France and the vermin
he was exterminating. That Parisian court might, years before, have done
something. They might have insisted that petty quibbles set forth by the
lawyers of Paris should not defeat the eternal laws of retribution set
forth by the Lawgiver of the Universe. That they had not done, and the
time for legal forms had gone by. The Paris Parliament would not see
this, and Richelieu crushed the Parliament. Then the Court of Aids
refused to grant supplies, and he crushed that court. In all this the
nation braced him. Woe to the courts of a nation, when they have forced
the great body of plain men to regard legality as injustice!--woe to the
councils of a nation, when they have forced the great body of plain men
to regard legislation as traffic!--woe, thrice repeated, to gentlemen of
the small pettifogger sort, when they have brought such times, and God
has brought a man to fit them!

There was now in France no man who could stand against the statesman's

And so, having hewn, through all that anarchy and bigotry and
selfishness, a way for the people, he called them to the work. In 1626
he summoned an assembly to carry out reforms. It was essentially a
people's assembly. That anarchical States-General, domineered by great
nobles, he would not call; but he called an Assembly of Notables. In
this was not one prince or duke, and two-thirds of the members came
directly from the people. Into this body he thrust some of his own
energy. Measures were taken for the creation of a navy. An idea was now
carried into effect which many suppose to have sprung from the French
Revolution; for the army was made more effective by opening its high
grades to the commons.[A] A reform was also made in taxation, and shrewd
measures were taken to spread commerce and industry by calling the
nobility into them.

[Footnote A: See the ordonnances in Thierry, Histoire du Tiers Etat.]

Thus did France, under his guidance, secure order and progress. Calmly
he destroyed all useless feudal castles which had so long overawed the
people and defied the monarchy. He abolished also the military titles of
Grand Admiral and High Constable, which had hitherto given the army
and navy into the hands of leading noble families. He destroyed some
troublesome remnants of feudal courts, and created royal courts: in one
year that of Poitiers alone punished for exactions and violence against
the people more than two hundred nobles. Greatest step of all, he
deposed the hereditary noble governors, and placed in their stead
governors taken from the people,--_Intendants,_--responsible to the
central authority alone.[B]

[Footnote B: For the best sketch of this see Caillet, _L'Administration
sous Richelieu._]

We are brought now to the _third_ great object of Richelieu's policy.
He saw from the beginning that Austria and her satellite Spain must be
humbled, if France was to take her rightful place in Europe.

Hardly, then, had he entered the council, when he negotiated a marriage
of the King's sister with the son of James I. of England; next he signed
an alliance with Holland; next he sent ten thousand soldiers to drive
the troops of the Pope and Spain out of the Valtelline district of the
Alps, and thus secured an alliance with the Swiss. We are to note here
the fact which Buckle wields so well, that, though Richelieu was a
Cardinal of the Roman Church, all these alliances were with Protestant
powers against Catholic.[C] Austria and Spain intrigued against
him,--sowing money in the mountain-districts of South France which
brought forth those crops of armed men who defended La Rochelle. But he
beat them at their own game. He set loose Count Mansfyld, who revived
the Thirty Tears' War by raising a rebellion in Bohemia; and when one
great man, Wallenstein, stood between Austria and ruin, Richelieu sent
his monkish diplomatist, Father Joseph, to the German Assembly of
Electors, and persuaded them to dismiss Wallenstein and to disgrace him.

[Footnote C: History of Civilisation in England, Vol. I. Chap. VIII.]

But the great Frenchman's master-stroke was his treaty with Gustavus
Adolphus. With that keen glance of his, he saw and knew Gustavus while
yet the world knew him not,--while he was battling afar off in the wilds
of Poland. Richelieu's plan was formed at once. He brought about a
treaty between Gustavus and Poland; then he filled Gustavus's mind with
pictures of the wrongs inflicted by Austria on German Protestants,
hinted to him probably of a new realm, filled his treasury, and finally
hurled against Austria the man who destroyed Tilly, who conquered
Wallenstein, who annihilated Austrian supremacy at the Battle of Lueizen,
who, though in his grave, wrenched Protestant rights from Austria at the
Treaty of Westphalia, who pierced the Austrian monarchy with the most
terrible sorrows it ever saw before the time of Napoleon.

To the main objects of Richelieu's policy already given might be added
two subordinate objects.

The first of these was a healthful extension of French territory. In
this Richelieu planned better than the first Napoleon; for, while he did
much to carry France out to her natural boundaries, he kept her always
within them. On the South he added Roussillon, on the East, Alsace, on
the Northeast, Artois.

The second subordinate object of his policy sometimes flashed forth
brilliantly. He was determined that England should never again interfere
on French soil. We have seen him driving the English from La Rochelle
and from the Isle of Rhe; but he went farther. In 1628, on making some
proposals to England, he was repulsed with English haughtiness.
"They shall know," said the Cardinal, "that they cannot despise me."
Straightway one sees protests and revolts of the Presbyterians of
Scotland, and Richelieu's agents in the thickest of them.

And now what was Richelieu's statesmanship in its sum?

I. In the Political Progress of France, his work has already been
sketched as building monarchy and breaking anarchy.

Therefore have men said that he swept away old French liberties. What
old liberties? Richelieu but tore away the decaying, poisonous husks
and rinds which hindered French liberties from their chance at life and

Therefore, also, have men said that Richelieu built up absolutism. The
charge is true and welcome. For, evidently, absolutism was the only
force, in that age, which could destroy the serf-mastering caste. Many a
Polish patriot, as he to-day wanders through the Polish villages, groans
that absolutism was not built to crush that serf-owning aristocracy
which has been the real architect of Poland's ruin. Any one who reads to
much purpose in De Mably, or Guizot, or Henri Martin, knows that this
part of Richelieu's statesmanship was but a masterful continuation of
all great French statesmanship since the twelfth-century league of king
and commons against nobles, and that Richelieu stood in the heirship of
all great French statesmen since Suger. That part of Richelieu's work,
then, was evidently bedded in the great line of Divine Purpose running
through that age and through all ages.

II. In the _Internal Development of France_, Richelieu proved himself a
true builder. The founding of the French Academy and of the Jardin des
Plantes, the building of the College of Plessis, and the rebuilding of
the College of the Sorbonne, are among the monuments of this part of his
statesmanship. His, also, is much of that praise usually lavished on
Louis XIV. for the career opened in the seventeenth century to science,
literature, and art. He was also a reformer, and his zeal was proved,
when, in the fiercest of the La Rochelle struggle, he found time to
institute great reforms not only in the army and navy, but even in the

III. On the _General Progress of Europe_, his work must be judged as
mainly for good. Austria was the chief barrier to European progress, and
that barrier he broke. But a far greater impulse to the general progress
of Europe was given by the idea of Toleration which he thrust into the
methods of European statesmen. He, first of all statesmen in France,
saw, that, in French policy, to use his own words, "A Protestant
Frenchman is better than a Catholic Spaniard"; and he, first of all
statesmen in Europe, saw, that, in European policy, patriotism, must
outweigh bigotry.

IV. His _Faults in Method_ were many. His under-estimate of the
sacredness of human life was one; but that was the fault of his age.
His frequent working by intrigue was another; but that also was a vile
method accepted by his age. The fair questions, then, are,--Did he not
commit the fewest and smallest wrongs possible in beating back those
many and great wrongs? Wrong has often a quick, spasmodic force; but was
there not in _his_ arm a steady growing force, which could only be a
force of right?

V. His _Faults in Policy_ crystallized about one: for, while he subdued
the serf-mastering nobility, he struck no final blow at the serf-system

Our running readers of French history need here a word of caution. They
follow De Tocqueville, and De Tocqueville follows Biot in speaking of
the serf-system as abolished in most of France hundreds of years before
this. But Biot and De Tocqueville take for granted a knowledge in their
readers that the essential vileness of the system, and even many of its
most shocking outward features, remained.

Richelieu might have crushed the serf-system, really, as easily as Louis
X. and Philip the Long had crushed it nominally. This Richelieu did not.

And the consequences of this great man's great fault were terrible.
Hardly was he in his grave, when the nobles perverted the effort of
the Paris Parliament for advance in liberty, and took the lead in the
fearful revolts and massacres of the Fronde. Then came Richelieu's
pupil, Mazarin, who tricked the nobles into order, and Mazarin's pupil,
Louis XIV., who bribed them into order. But a nobility borne on high by
the labor of a servile class must despise labor; so there came those
weary years of indolent gambling and debauchery and "serf-eating" at

Then came Louis XV., who was too feeble to maintain even the poor decent
restraints imposed by Louis XIV.; so the serf-mastering caste became
active in a new way, and their leaders in vileness unutterable became at
last Fronsac and De Sade.

Then came "the deluge." The spirit of the serf-mastering caste, as left
by Richelieu, was a main cause of the miseries which brought on the
French Revolution. When the Third Estate brought up their "portfolio of
grievances," for one complaint against the exactions of the monarchy
there were fifty complaints against the exactions of the nobility.[D]

[Footnote D: See any _Resume des Cahiers_,--even the meagre ones in
Buchez and Roux, or Le Bas, or Cheruel.]

Then came the failure of the Revolution in its direct purpose; and of
this failure the serf-mastering caste was a main cause. For this caste,
hardened by ages of domineering over a servile class, despite fourth of
August renunciations, would not, could not, accept a position compatible
with freedom and order: so earnest men were maddened, and sought to tear
out this cancerous mass, with all its burning roots.

But for Richelieu's great fault there is an excuse. His mind was
saturated with ideas of the impossibility of inducing freed peasants to
work,--the impossibility of making them citizens,--the impossibility, in
short, of making them _men_. To his view was not unrolled the rich newer
world-history, to show that a working class is most dangerous when
restricted,--that oppression is more dangerous to the oppressor than to
the oppressed,--that, if man will hew out paths to liberty, God will
hew out paths to prosperity. But Richelieu's fault teaches the world not
less than his virtues.

At last, on the third of December, 1642, the great statesman lay upon
his death-bed. The death-hour is a great revealer of motives, and as
with weaker men, so with Richelieu. Light then shot over the secret of
his whole life's plan and work.

He was told that he must die: he received the words with calmness. As
the Host, which he believed the veritable body of the Crucified, was
brought him, he said, "Behold my Judge before whom I must shortly
appear! I pray Him to condemn me, if I have ever had any other motive
than the cause of religion and my country." The confessor asked him if
he pardoned his enemies: he answered, "I have none but those of the

So passed from earth this strong man. Keen he was in sight, steady in
aim, strong in act. A true man,--not "non-committal," but wedded to a
great policy in the sight of all men: seen by earnest men of all times
to have marshalled against riot and bigotry and unreason divine forces
and purposes; seen by earnest men of these times to have taught the true
method of grasping desperate revolt, and of strangling that worst foe of
liberty and order in every age,--a serf-owning aristocracy.


The spring had tripped and lost her flowers,
The summer sauntered through the glades,
The wounded feet of autumn hours
Left ruddy footprints on the blades.

And all the glories of the woods
Had flung their shadowy silence down,--
When, wilder than the storm it broods,
She fled before the winter's frown.

For _her_ sweet spring had lost its flowers,
She fell, and passion's tongues of flame
Ran reddening through the blushing bowers,
Now haggard as her naked shame.

One secret thought her soul had screened,
When prying matrons sought her wrong,
And Blame stalked on, a mouthing fiend,
And mocked her as she fled along.

And now she bore its weight aloof,
To hide it where one ghastly birch
Held up the rafters of the roof,
And grim old pine-trees formed a church.

'Twas there her spring-time vows were sworn,
And there upon its frozen sod,
While wintry midnight reigned forlorn,
She knelt, and held her hands to God.

The cautious creatures of the air
Looked out from many a secret place,
To see the embers of despair
Flush the gray ashes of her face.

And where the last week's snow had caught
The gray beard of a cypress limb,
She heard the music of a thought
More sweet than her own childhood's hymn.

For rising in that cadence low,
With "Now I lay me down to sleep,"
Her mother rocked her to and fro,
And prayed the Lord her soul to keep.

And still her prayer was humbly raised,
Held up in two cold hands to God,
That, white as some old pine-tree blazed,
Gleamed far o'er that dark frozen sod.

The storm stole out beyond the wood,
She grew the vision of a cloud,
Her dark hair was a misty hood,
Her stark face shone as from a shroud.

Still sped the wild storm's rustling feet
To martial music of the pines,
And to her cold heart's muffled beat
Wheeled grandly into solemn lines.

And still, as if her secret's woe
No mortal words had ever found,
This dying sinner draped in snow
Held up her prayer without a sound.

But when the holy angel bands
Saw this lone vigil, lowly kept,
They gathered from her frozen hands
The prayer thus folded, and they wept.

Some snow-flakes--wiser than the rest--
Soon faltered o'er a thing of clay,
First read this secret of her breast,
Then gently robed her where she lay.

The dead dark hair, made white with snow,
A still stark face, two folded palms,
And (mothers, breathe her secret low!)
An unborn infant--asking alms.

God kept her counsel; cold and mute
His steadfast mourners closed her eyes,
Her head-stone was an old tree's root,
Be mine to utter,--"Here she lies."


Within the memory of men still in the vigor of life, American Slavery
was considered by a vast majority of the North, and by a large minority
of the South, as an evil which should, at best, be tolerated, and not
a good which deserved to be extended and protected. A kind of
lazy acquiescence in it as a local matter, to be managed by local
legislation, was the feeling of the Free States. In both the Slave and
the Free States, the discussion of the essential principles on which
Slavery rests was confined to a few disappointed Nullifiers and a few
uncompromising Abolitionists, and we can recollect the time when Calhoun
and Garrison were both classed by practical statesmen of the South and
North in one category of pestilent "abstractionists." Negro Slavery
was considered simply as a fact; and general irritation among most
politicians of all sections was sure to follow any attempt to explore
the principles on which the fact reposed. That these principles had the
mischievous vitality which events have proved them to possess, few of
our wisest statesmen then dreamed, and we have drifted by degrees into
the present war without any clear perception of its animating causes.

The future historian will trace the steps by which the subject of
Slavery was forced on the reluctant attention of the citizens of the
Free States, so that at last the most cautious conservative could not
ignore its intrusive presence, could not banish its reality from his
eyes, or its image from his mind. He will show why Slavery, disdaining
its old argument from expediency, challenged discussion on its
principles. He will explain the process by which it became discontented
with toleration within its old limits, and demanded the championship
or connivance of the National Government in a plan for its limitless
extension. He will indicate the means by which it corrupted the Southern
heart and Southern brain, so that at last the elemental principles of
morals and religion were boldly denied, and the people came to "believe
a lie." He will, not unnaturally, indulge in a little sarcasm, when
he comes to consider the occupation of Southern professors of ethics,
compelled by their position to scoff at the "rights" of man, and
Southern professors of theology, compelled by their position to teach
that Christ came into the world, not so much to save sinners, as to
enslave negroes. He will be forced to class these among the meanest
and most abject slaves that the planters owned. In treating of the
subserviency of the North, he will be constrained to write many a page
which will flush the cheeks of our descendants with indignation and
shame. He will show the method by which Slavery, after vitiating the
conscience and intelligence of the South, contrived to vitiate in part,
and for a time, the conscience and intelligence of the North. It will
be his ungrateful task to point to many instances of compliance and
concession on the part of able Northern statesmen which will deeply
affect their fame with posterity, though he will doubtless refuse to
adopt to the full the contemporary clamor against their motives. He will
understand, better than we, the amount of patriotism which entered
into their "concessions," and the amount of fraternal good-will which
prompted their fatal "compromises." But he will also declare that the
object of the Slave Power was not attained. Vacillating statesmen and
corrupt politicians it might address, the first through their fears,
the second through their interests; but the intrepid and incorruptible
"people" were but superficially affected. A few elections were gained,
but the victories were barren of results. From political defeat the free
people of the North came forth more earnest and more united than ever.

The insolent pretensions of the Slavocracy were repudiated; its
political and ethical maxims were disowned; and after having stirred the
noblest impulses of the human heart by the spectacle of its tyranny, its
attempt to extend that tyranny only roused an insurrection of the human
understanding against the impudence of its logic. The historian can then
only say, that the Slave Power "seceded," being determined to form a
part of no government which it could not control. The present war is to
decide whether its real force corresponds to the political force it has
exerted heretofore in our affairs.

That this war has been forced upon the Free States by the "aggressions"
of the Slave Power is so plain that no argument is necessary to sustain
the proposition. It is not so universally understood that the Slave
Power is aggressive by the necessities of the wretched system of labor
on which its existence is based. By a short exposition of the principles
of Slavery, and the expedients it has practised during the last twenty
or thirty years, we think that this proposition can be established.

And first it must be always borne in mind, that Slavery, as a system,
is based on the most audacious, inhuman, and self-evident of lies,--the
assertion, namely, that property can be held in men. Property applies to
things. There is a meta-physical impossibility implied in the attempt to
extend its application to persons. It is possible, we admit, to ordain
by local law that four and four make ten, but such an exercise of
legislative wisdom could not overcome certain arithmetical prejudices
innate in our minds, or dethrone the stubborn eight from its accustomed
position in our thoughts. But you might as well ordain that four and
four make ten as ordain that a man has no right to himself, but can
properly be held as the chattel of another. Yet this arrogant falsehood
of property in men has been organized into a colossal institution. The
South calls it a "peculiar" institution; and herein perhaps consists
its peculiarity, that it is an absurdity which has lied itself into a
substantial form, and now argues its right to exist from the fact of its
existence. Doubtless, the fact that a thing exists proves that it has
its roots in human nature; but before we accept this as decisive of
its right to exist, it may be well to explore those qualities in human
nature, "peculiar" and perverse as itself, from which it derives
its poisonous vitality and strength. It is plain, we think, that an
institution embodying an essential falsity, which equally affronts the
common sense and the moral sense of mankind, and which, as respects
chronology, was as repugnant to the instincts of Homer as it is to the
instincts of Whittier, must have sprung from the unblessed union of
wilfulness and avarice, of avarice which knows no conscience, and of
wilfulness that tramples on reason; and the marks of this parentage,
the signs of these its boasted roots in human nature, are, we are
constrained to concede, visible in every stage of its growth, in every
argument for its existence, in every motive for its extension.

It is not, perhaps, surprising that some of the advocates of Slavery do
not relish the analysis which reveals the origin of their institution
in those dispositions which connect man with the tiger and the wolf.
Accordingly they discourage, with true democratic humility, all
genealogical inquiries into the ancestry of their system, substitute
generalization for analysis, and, twisting the maxims of religion into
a philosophy of servitude, bear down all arguments with the sounding
proposition, that Slavery is included in the plan of God's providence,
and therefore cannot be wrong. Certain thinkers of our day have asserted
the universality of the religious element in human nature: and it must
be admitted that men become very pious when their minds are illuminated
by the discernment of a Providential sanction for their darling sins,
and by the discovery that God is on the side of their interests and
passions. Napoleon's religious perceptions were somewhat obtuse, as
tried by the standards of the Church, yet nothing could exceed the depth
of his belief that God "was with the heaviest column"; and the most
obdurate jobber in human flesh may well glow with apostolic fervor, as,
from the height of philosophic contemplation to which this principle
lifts him, he discerns the sublime import of his Providential mission.
It is true, he is now willing to concede, that a man's right to himself,
being given by God, can only by God be taken away. "But," he exultingly
exclaims, "it _has_ been taken away by God. The negro, having always
been a slave, must have been so by divine appointment; and I, the mark
of obloquy to a few fanatical enthusiasts, am really an humble agent in
carrying out the designs of a higher law even than that of the State, of
a higher will even than my own." This mode of baptizing man's sin and
calling it God's providence has not altogether lacked the aid of certain
Southern clergymen, who ostentatiously profess to preach Christ and Him
crucified, and by such arguments, we may fear, crucified _by them_.
Here is Slavery's abhorred riot of vices and crimes, from whose
soul-sickening details the human imagination shrinks aghast,--and over
all, to complete the picture, these theologians bring in the seraphic
countenance of the Saviour of mankind, smiling celestial approval of the
multitudinous miseries and infamies it serenely beholds!

It may be presumptuous to proffer counsel to such authorized expositors
of religion, but one can hardly help insinuating the humble suggestion,
that it would be as well, if they must give up the principles of
liberty, not to throw Christianity in. We may be permitted to doubt the
theory of Providence which teaches that a man never so much serves God
as when he serves the Devil. Doubtless, Slavery, though opposed to God's
laws, is included in the plan of God's providence, but, in the long run,
the providence most terribly confirms the laws. The stream of events,
having its fountains in iniquity, has its end in retribution. It is
because God's laws are immutable that God's providence can be _foreseen_
as well as seen. The mere fact that a thing exists, and persists in
existing, is of little importance in determining its right to exist,
or its eventual destiny. These must be found in an inspection of the
principles by which it exists; and from the nature of its principles,
we can predict its future history. The confidence of bad men and the
despair of good men proceed equally from a too fixed attention to the
facts and events before their eyes, to the exclusion of the principles
which underlie and animate them; for no insight of principles, and of
the moral laws which govern human events, could ever cause tyrants to
exult or philanthropists to despond.

If we go farther into this question, we shall commonly find that the
facts and events to which we give the name of Providence are the acts
of human wills divinely overruled. There is iniquity and wrong in these
facts and events, because they are the work of free human wills. But
when these free human wills organize falsehood, institute injustice, and
establish oppression, they have passed into that mental state where
will has been perverted into wilfulness, and self-direction has been
exaggerated into self-worship. It is the essence of wilfulness that it
exalts the impulses of its pride above the intuitions of conscience
and intelligence, and puts force in the place of reason and right. The
person has thus emancipated himself from all restraints of a law higher
than his personality, and acts _from_ self, _for_ self, and in sole
obedience _to_ self. But this is personality in its Satanic form; yet it
is just here that some of our theologians have discovered in a person's
actions the purposes of Providence, and discerned the Divine intention
in the fact of guilt instead of in the certainty of retribution.
The tyrant element in man is found in this Satanic form of his
individuality. His will, self-released from restraint, preys upon and
crushes other wills. He asserts himself by enslaving others, and mimics
Divinity on the stilts of diabolism. Like the barbarian who thought
himself enriched by the powers and gifts of the enemy he slew, he
aggrandizes his own personality, and heightens his own sense of freedom,
through the subjection of feebler natures. Ruthless, rapacious, greedy
of power, greedy of gain, it is in Slavery that he wantons in all
the luxury of injustice, for it is here that he tastes the exquisite
pleasure of depriving others of that which he most values in himself.

Thus, whether we examine this system in the light of conscience and
intelligence, or in the light of history and experience, we come to but
one result,--that it has its source and sustenance in Satanic energy, in
Satanic pride, and in Satanic greed. This is Slavery in itself, detached
from the ameliorations it may receive from individual slaveholders.
Now a bad system is not continued or extended by the virtues of any
individuals who are but partially corrupted by it, but by those who
work in the spirit and with the implements of its originators. Every
amelioration is a confession of the essential injustice of the thing
ameliorated, and a step towards its abolition; and the humane and
Christian slaveholders owe their safety, and the security of what they
are pleased to call their property, to the vices of the hard and stern
spirits whom they profess to abhor. If they invest in stock of the
Devil's corporation, they ought not to be severe on those who look out
that they punctually receive their dividends. The true slaveholder feels
that he is encamped among his slaves, that he holds them by the right of
conquest, that the relation is one of war, and that there is no crime he
may not be compelled to commit in self-defence. Disdaining all cant,
he clearly perceives that the system, in its practical working, must
conform to the principles on which it is based. He accordingly believes
in the lash and the fear of the lash. If he is cruel and brutal, it may
as often be from policy as from disposition, for brutality and cruelty
are the means by which weaker races are best kept "subordinated" to
stronger races; and the influence of his brutality and cruelty is felt
as restraint and terror on the plantation of his less resolute neighbor.
And when we speak of brutality and cruelty, we do not limit the
application of the words to those who scourge, but extend it to some of
those who preach,--who hold up heaven as the reward of those slaves who
are sufficiently abject on earth, and threaten damnation in the next
world to all who dare to assert their manhood in this.

If, however, any one still doubts that this system develops itself
logically and naturally, and tramples down the resistance offered by the
better sentiments of human nature, let him look at the legislation which
defines and protects it,--a legislation which, as expressing the average
sense and purpose of the community, is to be quoted as conclusive
against the testimony of any of its individual members. This legislation
evinces the dominion of a malignant principle. You can hear the crack
of the whip and the clank of the chain in all its enactments. Yet these
laws, which cannot be read in any civilized country without mingled
horror and derision, indicate a mastery of the whole theory and practice
of oppression, are admirably adapted to the end they have in view, and
bear the unmistakable marks of being the work of practical men,--of men
who know their sin, and "knowing, dare maintain." They do not, it
is true, enrich the science of jurisprudence with any large or wise
additions, but we do not look for such luxuries as justice, reason, and
beneficence in ordinances devised to prop up iniquity, falsehood, and
tyranny. Ghastly caricatures of justice as these offshoots of Slavery
are, they are still dictated by the nature and necessities of the
system. They have the flavor of the rank soil whence they spring.

If we desire any stronger evidence that slaveholders constitute a
general Slave Power, that this Slave Power acts as a unit, the unity of
a great interest impelled by powerful passions, and that the virtues of
individual slaveholders have little effect in checking the vices of the
system, we can find that evidence in the zeal and audacity with which
this power engaged in extending its dominion. Seemingly aggressive in
this, it was really acting on the defensive,--on the defensive, however,
not against the assaults of men, but against the immutable decrees of
God. The world is so constituted, that wrong and oppression are not, in
a large view, politic. They heavily mortgage the future, when they
glut the avarice of the present. The avenging Providence, which the
slaveholder cannot find in the New Testament, or in the teachings of
conscience, he is at last compelled to find in political economy; and
however indifferent to the Gospel according to Saint John, he must give
heed to the gospel according to Adam Smith and Malthus. He discovers, no
doubt to his surprise, and somewhat to his indignation, that there is an
intimate relation between industrial success and justice; and however
much, as a practical man, he may despise the abstract principles which
declare Slavery a nonsensical enormity, he cannot fail to read its
nature, when it slowly, but legibly, writes itself out in curses on the
land. He finds how true is the old proverb, that, "if God moves with
leaden feet, He strikes with iron hands." The law of Slavery is, that,
to be lucrative, it must have a scanty population diffused over large
areas. To limit it is therefore to doom it to come to an end by the laws
of population. To limit it is to force the planters, in the end, to free
their slaves, from an inability to support them, and to force the slaves
into more energy and intelligence in labor, in order that they may
subsist as freemen. People prattle about the necessity of compulsory
labor; but the true compulsory labor, the labor which has produced the
miracles of modern industry, is the labor to which a man is compelled by
the necessity of saving himself, and those who are dearer to him than
self, from ignominy and want. It was by this policy of territorial
limitation, that Henry Clay, before the annexation of Texas, declared
that Slavery must eventually expire. The way was gradual, it was
prudent, it was safe, it was distant, it was sure, it was according to
the nature of things. It would have been accepted, had there been any
general truth in the assertion that the slaveholders were honestly
desirous of reconverting, at any time, and on any practicable plan,
their chattels into men. But true to the malignant principles of their
system, they accepted the law of its existence, but determined to evade
the law of its extinction. As Slavery required large areas and scanty
population, large areas and scanty population it should at all times
have. New markets should be opened for the surplus slave-population;
to open new markets was to acquire new territory; and to acquire new
territory was to gain additional political strength. The expansive
tendencies of freedom would thus be checked by the tendencies no less
expansive of bondage. To acquire Texas was not merely to acquire an
additional Slave State, but it was to keep up a demand for slaves which
would prevent Virginia, North Carolina, Maryland, and Kentucky from
becoming Free States. As soon as old soils were worn out, new soils were
to be ready to receive the curse; and where slave-labor ceased to be
profitable, slave-breeding was to take its place.

This purpose was so diabolical, that, when first announced, it
was treated as a caprice of certain hot spirits, irritated by the
declamations of the Abolitionists. But it is idle to refer to transient
heat thoughts which bear all the signs of cool atrocity; and needless
to seek for the causes of actions in extraneous sources, when they
are plainly but steps in the development of principles already known.
Slave-breeding and Slavery-extension are necessities of the system. Like
Romulus and Remus, "they are both suckled from one wolf."

But it was just here that the question became to the Free States a
practical question. There could be no "fanaticism" in meeting it at this
stage. What usually goes under the name of fanaticism is the habit of
uncompromising assault on a thing because its principles are absurd
or wicked; what usually goes under the name of common sense is the
disposition to assail it at that point where, in the development of its
principles, it has become immediately and pressingly dangerous. Now by
no sophistry could we of the Free States evade the responsibility of
being the extenders of Slavery, if we allowed Slavery to be extended. If
we did not oppose it from a sense of right, we were bound to oppose it
from a sense of decency. It may be said that we had nothing to do with
Slavery at the South; but we had something to do with rescuing the
national character from infamy, and unhappily we could not have anything
to do with rescuing the national character from infamy without having
something to do with Slavery at the South. The question with us was,
whether we would allow the whole force of the National Government to be
employed in upholding, extending, and perpetuating this detestable and
nonsensical enormity?--especially, whether we would be guilty of that
last and foulest atheism to free principles, the deliberate planting of
slave institutions on virgin soil? If this question had been put to
any despot of Europe,--we had almost said, to any despot of Asia,--his
answer would undoubtedly have been an indignant negative. Yet the South
confidently expected so to wheedle or bully us into dragging our common
sense through the mud and mire of momentary expedients, that we should
connive at the commission of this execrable crime!

There can be no doubt, that, if the question had been fairly put to the
inhabitants of the Free States, their answer would have been at once
decisive for freedom. Even the strongest conservatives would have been
"Free-Soilers,"--not only those who are conservatives in virtue of
their prudence, moderation, sagacity, and temper, but prejudiced
conservatives, conservatives who are tolerant of all iniquity which is
decorous, inert, long-established, and disposed to die when its time
comes, conservatives as thorough in their hatred of change as Lamennais
himself. "What a noise," says Paul Louis Courier, "Lamennais would have
made on the day of creation, could he have witnessed it. His first cry
to the Divinity would have been to respect that ancient chaos." But even
to conservatives of this class, the attempt to extend Slavery, though
really in the order of its natural development, must still have appeared
a monstrous innovation, and they were bound to oppose the Marats and
Robespierres of despotism who were busy in the bad work. Indeed, in our
country, conservatism, through the presence of Slavery, has inverted
its usual order. In other countries, the radical of one century is the
conservative of the next; in ours, the conservative of one generation
is the radical of the next. The American conservative of 1790 is the
so-called fanatic of 1820; the conservative of 1820 is the fanatic
of 1856. The American conservative, indeed, descended the stairs of
compromise until his descent into utter abnegation of all that civilized
humanity holds dear was arrested by the Rebellion. And the reason of
this strange inversion of conservative principles was, that the movement
of Slavery is towards barbarism, while the movement of all countries
in which labor is not positively chattellized is towards freedom and
civilization. True conservatism, it must never be forgotten, is the
refusal to give up a positive, though imperfect good, for a possible,
but uncertain improvement: in the United States it has been misused to
denote the cowardly surrender of a positive good from a fear to resist
the innovations of an advancing evil and wrong.

There was, therefore, little danger that Slavery would be extended
through the conscious thought and will of the people, but there
was danger that its extension might, somehow or other, _occur_.
Misconception of the question, devotion to party or the memory of
party, prejudice against the men who more immediately represented the
Anti-Slavery principle, might make the people unconsciously slide into
this crime. And it must be said that for the divisions in the Free
States as to the mode in which the free sentiment of the people should
operate the strictly Anti-Slavery men were to some extent responsible.
It is difficult to convince an ardent reformer that the principle
for which he contends, being impersonal, should be purified from the
passions and whims of his own personality. The more fervid he is, the
more he is identified in the public mind with his cause; and, in a large
view, he is bound not merely to defend his cause, but to see that the
cause, through him, does not become offensive. Men are ever ready to
dodge disagreeable duties by converting questions of principles into
criticisms on the men who represent principles; and the men who
represent principles should therefore look to it that they make no
needless enemies and give no needless shock to public opinion for
the purpose of pushing pet opinions, wreaking personal grudges, or
gratifying individual antipathies. The artillery of the North has
heretofore played altogether too much on Northerners.

But to return. The South expected to fool the North into a compliance
with its designs, by availing itself of the divisions among its
professed opponents, and by dazzling away the attention of the people
from the real nature of the wickedness to be perpetrated. Slavery was to
be extended, and the North was to be an accomplice in the business; but
the Slave Power did not expect that we should be active and enthusiastic
in this work of self-degradation. It did not ask us to extend Slavery,
but simply to allow its extension to occur; and in this appeal to our
moral timidity and moral laziness, it contemptuously tossed us a few
fig-leaves of fallacy and false statement to save appearances.

We were informed, for instance, that by the equality of men is meant the
equality of those whom Providence has made equal. But this is exactly
the sense in which no sane man ever understood the doctrine of equality;
for Providence has palpably made men unequal, white men as well as

Then we were told that the white and black races could dwell together
only in the relation of masters and slaves,--and, in the same breath,
that in this relation the slaves were steadily advancing in civilization
and Christianity. But, if steadily advancing in civilization and
Christianity, the time must inevitably come when they would not submit
to be slaves; and then what becomes of the statement that the white
and black races cannot dwell together as freemen? Why boast of their
improvement, when you are improving them only that you may exterminate
them, or they _you?_

Then, with a composure of face which touches the exquisite in
effrontery, we were assured that this antithesis of master and slave, of
tyrant and abject natures, is really a perfect harmony. Slavery--so said
these logicians of liberticide--has solved the great social problem of
the working-classes, comfortably for capital, happily for labor; and has
effected this by an ingenious expedient which could have occurred only
to minds of the greatest depth and comprehension, the expedient, namely,
of enslaving labor. Now doubtless there has always been a struggle
between employers and employed, and this struggle will probably continue
until the relations between the two are more humane and Christian. But
Slavery exhibits this struggle in its earliest and most savage stage,
a stage answering to the rude energies and still ruder conceptions of
barbarians. The issue of the struggle, it is plain, will not be that
capital will own labor, but that labor will own capital, and no _man_ be

Still we were vehemently told, that, though the slaves, for their own
good, were deprived of their rights as men, they were in a fine state
of physical comfort. This was not and could not be true; but even if it
were, it only represented the slaveholder as addressing his slave in
some such words of derisive scorn as Byron hurls at Duke Alphonso,--

"Thou! born to eat, and be despised, and die, Even as the brutes that

though we doubt if he could truly add,--

"save that thou Hast a more splendid trough and wider sty."

Then we were solemnly warned of our patriotic duty to "know no North and
no South." This was the very impudence of ingratitude; for we had long
known no North, and unhappily had known altogether too much South.

Then we were most plaintively adjured to to comply with the demands of
the Slave Power, in order to save the Union. But how save the Union?
Why, by violating the principles on which the Union was formed, and
scouting the objects it was intended to serve.

But lastly came the question, on which the South confidently relied as
a decisive argument, "What could we do with our slaves, provided we
emancipated them?" The peculiarity which distinguished this question
from all other interrogatories ever addressed to human beings was this,
that it was asked for the purpose of not being answered. The moment a
reply was begun, the ground was swiftly shifted, and we were overwhelmed
with a torrent of words about State Rights and the duty of minding our
own business.

But it is needless to continue the examination of these substitutes and
apologies for fact and reason, especially as their chief characteristic
consisted in their having nothing to do with the practical question
before the people. They were thrown out by the interested defenders of
Slavery, North and South, to divert attention from the main issue. In
the fine felicity of their in appropriateness to the actual condition of
the struggle between the Free and Slave States, they were almost a match
for that renowned sermon, preached by a metropolitan bishop before an
asylum for the blind, the halt, and the legless, on "The Moral Dangers
of Foreign Travel." But still they were infinitely mischievous,
considered as pretences under which Northern men could skulk from their
duties, and as sophistries to lull into a sleepy acquiescence the
consciences of those political adventurers who are always seeking
occasions for being tempted and reasons for being rogues. They were all
the more influential from the circumstance that their show of argument
was backed by the solid substance of patronage. These false facts and
bad reasons were the keys to many fat offices. The South had succeeded
in instituting a new political test, namely, that no man is qualified
serve the United States unless he is the champion or the sycophant of
the Slave Power. Proscription to the friends of American freedom, honors
and emoluments to the friends of American slavery,--adopt that creed,
or you did not belong to any "healthy" political organization! Now we
have heard of civil disabilities for opinion's sake before. In some
countries no Catholics are allowed to hold office, in others no
Protestants, in others no Jews. But it is not, we believe, in Protestant
countries that Protestants are proscribed; it is not in Catholic
countries that Catholics are incompetent to serve the State. It was left
for a free country to establish, practically, civil disabilities against
freemen,--for Republican America to proscribe Republicans! Think of
it,--that no American, whatever his worth, talents, or patriotism,--could
two years ago serve his country in any branch of its executive
administration, unless he was unfortunate enough to agree with the
slaveholders, or base enough to sham an agreement with them! The test,
at Washington, of political orthodoxy was modelled on the pattern of
the test of religious orthodoxy established by Napoleon's minister of
police. "You are not orthodox," he said to a priest "In what," inquired
the astonished ecclesiastic, "have I sinned against orthodoxy?"
"You have not pronounced the eulogium of the Emperor, or proved the
righteousness of the conscription."

Now we had been often warned of the danger of sectional parties, on
account of their tendency to break up the Government. The people gave
heed to this warning; for here was a sectional party in possession
of the Government. We had been often advised not to form political
combinations on one idea. The people gave heed to this advice; for here
was a triumphant political combination, formed not only on one idea, but
that the worst idea that ever animated any political combination. Here
was an association of three hundred and fifty thousand persons, spread
over some nine hundred and fifty thousand square miles of territory, and
wielding its whole political power, engaged in the work of turning the
United States into a sort of slave plantation, of which they were to be
overseers. We opposed them by argument, passion, and numerical power;
and they read us long homilies on the beauty of law and order,--order
sustained by Border Ruffians, law which was but the legalizing of
criminal instincts,--law and order which, judged by the code established
for Kansas, seemed based on legislative ideas imported from the Fegee
Islands. We opposed them again, and they talked to us about the
necessity of preserving the Union;--as if, in the Free States, the love
of the Union had not been a principle and a passion, proof against many
losses, and insensible to many humiliations; as if, with our teachers,
disunion had not been for half a century a stereotyped menace to scare
us into compliance with their rascalities; as if it were not known that
only so long as they could wield the powers of the National Government
to accomplish their designs, were they loyal to the Union! We opposed
them again, and they clamored about their Constitutional rights and our
Constitutional obligations; but they adopted for themselves a theory of
the Constitution which made each State the judge of the Constitution in
the last resort, while they held us to that view of it which made the
Supreme Court the judge in the last resort. Written constitutions, by a
process of interpretation, are always made to follow the drift of great
forces; they are twisted and tortured into conformity with the views
of the power dominant in the State; and our Constitution, originally
a charter of freedom, was converted into an instrument which the
slaveholders seemed to possess by right of squatter sovereignty and
eminent domain.

Did any one suppose that we could retard the ever-onward movement of
their unscrupulous force and defiant wills by timely compromises and
concessions? Every compromise we made with them only stimulated their
rapacity, heightened their arrogance, increased their demands. Every
concession we made to their insolent threats was only a step downwards
to a deeper abasement; and we parted with our most cherished convictions
of duty to purchase, not their gratitude, but their contempt. Every
concession, too, weakened us and strengthened them for the inevitable
struggle, into which the Free States were eventually goaded, to preserve
what remained of their dignity, their honor, and their self-respect. In
1850 we conceded the application of the Wilmot Proviso; in 1856 we were
compelled to concede the principle of the Wilmot Proviso. In 1850 we had
no fears that slaves would enter New Mexico; in 1861 we were threatened
with a view of the flag of the rattlesnake floating over Faneuil Hall.
If any principle has been established by events, with the certainty of
mathematical demonstration, it is this, that concession to the Slave
Power is the suicide of Freedom. We are purchasing this fact at the
expense of arming five hundred thousand men and spending a thousand
millions of dollars. More than this, if any concessions were to be made,
they ought, on all principles of concession, to have been made to the
North. Concessions, historically, are not made by freedom to privilege,
but by privilege to freedom. Thus King John conceded Magna Charta; thus
King Charles conceded the Petition of Right; thus Protestant England
conceded Catholic Emancipation to Ireland; thus aristocratic England
conceded the Reform Bill to the English middle class. And had not we,
the misgoverned many, a right to demand from the slaveholders, the
governing few, some concessions to our sense of justice and our
prejudices for freedom? Concession indeed! If any class of men hold in
their grasp one of the dear-bought chartered "rights of man," it is
infamous to concede it.

"Make it the darling of your precious eye!
_To lose or give 't away_ were such perdition
As nothing else could match."

Considerations so obvious as these could not, by any ingenuity of
party-contrivance, be prevented from forcing themselves by degrees into
the minds of the great body of the voters of the Free States. The common
sense, the "large roundabout common sense" of the people, slowly, and
somewhat reluctantly, came up to the demands of the occasion. The
sophistries and fallacies of the Northern defenders of the pretensions
of the slave-holding sectional minority were gradually exposed, and were
repudiated in the lump. The conviction was implanted in the minds of the
people of the Free States, that the Slave Power, representing only a
thirtieth part of the population of the Slave States, and a ninth part
of the property of the country, was bent on governing the nation, and
on subordinating all principles and all interests to its own. Not being
ambitious of having the United States converted into a Western Congo,
with the traffic in "niggers" as its fundamental idea, the people
elected Abraham Lincoln, in a perfectly Constitutional way, President.
As the majority of the House of Representatives, of the Senate, and of
the Supreme Court was still left, by this election, on the side of the
"rights of the South," (humorously so styled,) and as the President
could do little to advance Republican principles with all the other
branches of the Government opposed to him, the people naturally imagined
that the slaveholders would acquiesce in their decision.

But such was not the result. The election was in November. The new
President could not assume office until March. The triumphs of the Slave
Power had been heretofore owing to its willingness and readiness to
peril everything on each question as it arose, and each event as it
occurred. South Carolina, perhaps the only one of the Slave States that
was thoroughly in earnest, at once "seceded." The "Gulf States" and
others followed its example, not so much from any fixed intention of
forming a Southern Confederacy as for the purpose of intimidating the
Free States into compliance with the extreme demands of the South. The
Border Slave States were avowedly neutral between the "belligerents,"
but indicated their purpose to stand by their "Southern brethren," in
case the Government of the United States attempted to carry out the
Constitution and the laws in the seceded States by the process of

The combination was perfect. The heart of the Rebellion was in South
Carolina, a State whose free population was about equal to that of the
city of Brooklyn, and whose annual productions were exceeded by those
of Essex County, in the State of Massachusetts. Around this centre was
congregated as base a set of politicians as ever disgraced human nature.
A conspiracy was formed to compel a first-class power, representing
thirty millions of people, to submit to the dictation of about three
hundred thousand of its citizens. The conspirators did not dream of
failure. They were sure, as they thought, of the Gulf States and of the
Border States, of the whole Slave Power, in fact. They also felt sure
of that large minority in the Free States which had formerly acted with
them, and obeyed their most humiliating behests. They therefore entered
the Congress of the nation with a confident front, knowing that
President Buchanan and the majority of his Cabinet were practically on
their side. Before Mr. Lincoln could be inaugurated they imagined they
could accomplish all their designs, and make the Government of the
United States a Pro-Slavery power in the eyes of all the nations of the
world. Mr. Calhoun's paradoxes had heretofore been indorsed only by
majorities in the national legislature and by the Supreme Court. What a
victory it would be, if, by threatening rebellion, they could induce
the people of the United States to incorporate those paradoxes into
the fundamental law of the nation, dominant over both Congress and the
Court! All their previous "compromises" had been merely legislative
compromises, which, as their cause advanced, they had themselves
annulled. They now seized the occasion, when the "people" had risen
against them, to compel the people to sanction their most extreme
demands. They determined to convert defeat, sustained at the polls, into
a victory which would have far transcended any victory they might have
gained by electing their candidate, Breckinridge, as President.

A portion of the Republicans, seeing clearly the force arrayed against
them, and disbelieving that the population of the Free States would be
willing, _en masse_, to sustain the cause of free labor by force of
arms, tried to avert the blow by proposing a new compromise. Mr.
Seward, the calmest, most moderate, and most obnoxious statesman of the
Republican party, offered to divide the existing territories of the
United States by the Missouri line, all south of which should be open
to slave labor. As he at the same time stated that by natural laws the
South could obtain no material advantage by his seeming concession, the
concession only made him enemies among the uncompromising champions of
the Wilmot Proviso. The conspirators demanded that the Missouri line
should be the boundary, not only between the territories which the
United States then possessed, but between the territories they might
hereafter _acquire_. As the country north of the Missouri line was held
by powerful European States which it would be madness to offend, and as
the country south of that line was held by feeble States which it would
be easy to conquer, no Northern or Western statesman could vote for such
a measure without proving himself a rogue or a simpleton. Hence all
measures of "compromise" necessarily failed during the last days of the
administration of James Buchanan.

It is plain, that, when Mr. Lincoln--after having escaped assassination
from the "Chivalry" of Maryland, and after having been subjected to a
virulence of invective such as no other President had incurred--arrived
at Washington, his mind was utterly unaffected by the illusions of
passion. His Inaugural Message was eminently moderate. The Slave
Power, having failed to delude or bully Congress, or to intimidate the
people,--having failed to murder the elected President on his way to
the capital,--was at wits' end. It thought it could still rely on its
Northern supporters, as James II. of England thought he could rely
on the Church of England. While the nation, therefore, was busy in
expedients to call back the seceded States to their allegiance, the
latter suddenly bombarded Fort Sumter, trampled on the American flag,
threatened to wave the rattlesnake rag over Faneuil Hall, and to make
the Yankees "smell Southern powder and feel Southern steel." All this
was done with the idea that the Northern "Democracy" would rally to the
support of their "Southern brethren." The result proved that the South
was, in the words of Mr. Davis's last and most melancholy Message, the
victim of "misplaced confidence" in its Northern "associates." The
moment a gun was fired, the honest Democratic voters of the North were
even more furious than the Republican voters; the leaders, including
those who had been the obedient servants of Slavery, were ravenous for
commands in the great army which was to "coerce" and "subjugate" the
South; and the whole organization of the "Democratic party" of the North
melted away at once in the fierce fires of a reawakened patriotism. The
slaveholders ventured everything on their last stake, and lost. A North,
for the first time, sprang into being; and it issued, like Minerva from
the brain of Jove, full-armed. The much-vaunted engineer, Beauregard,
was "hoist with his own petard."

Now that the slaveholders have been so foolish as to appeal to physical
force, abandoning their vantage-ground of political influence, they must
be not only politically overthrown, but physically humiliated. Their
arrogant sense of superiority must be beaten out of them by main force.
The feeling with which every Texan and Arkansas bully and assassin
regarded a Northern mechanic--a feeling akin to that with which the old
Norman robber looked on the sturdy Saxon laborer--must be changed, by
showing the bully that his bowie-knife is dangerous only to peaceful,
and is imbecile before armed citizens. The Southerner has appealed to
force, and force he should have, until, by the laws of force, he is not
only beaten, but compelled to admit the humiliating fact. That he is not
disposed "to die in the last ditch," that he has none of the practical
heroism of desperation, is proved by the actual results of battles.
When defeated, and his means of escape are such as only desperation can
surmount, he quickly surrenders, and is even disposed to take the oath
of allegiance. The martial virtues of the common European soldier he has
displayed in exceedingly scanty measure in the present conflict. He
has relied on engineers; and the moment his fortresses are turned or
stormed, he retreats or becomes a prisoner of war. Let Mr. Davis's
Message to the Confederate Congress, and his order suspending Pillow
and Floyd, testify to this unquestionable statement. Even if we grant
martial intrepidity to the members of the Slavocracy, the present war
proves that the system of Slavery is not one which develops martial
virtues among the "free whites" it has cajoled or forced into its
hateful service. Indeed, the armies of Jefferson Davis are weak on the
same principle on which the slave-system is weak. Everything depends on
the intelligence and courage of the commanders, and the moment these
fail the soldiers become a mere mob.

American Slavery, by the laws which control its existence, first rose
from a local power, dominant in certain States, to a national power,
assuming to dominate over the United States. At the first faint fact
which indicated the intention of the Free States to check its progress
and overturn its insolent dominion, it rebelled. The rebellion now
promises to be a failure; but it will cost the Free States the arming of
half a million of men and the spending of a thousand millions of dollars
to make it a failure. Can we afford to trifle with the cause which
produced it? We note that some of the representatives of the loyal Slave
States in Congress are furious to hang individual Rebels, but at the
same time are anxious to surround the system those Rebels represent
with new guaranties. When they speak of Jeff Davis and his crew, their
feeling is as fierce as that of Tilly and Pappenheim towards the
Protestants of Germany. They would burn, destroy, confiscate, and kill
without any mercy, and without any regard to the laws of civilized war;
but when they come to speak of Slavery, their whole tone is changed.
They wish us to do everything barbarous and inhuman, provided we do not
go to the last extent of barbarity and inhumanity, which, according to
their notions, is, to inaugurate a system of freedom, equality, and
justice. Provided the negro is held in bondage and denied the rights of
human nature, they are willing that any severity should be exercised
towards his rebellious master. Now we have no revengeful feeling towards
the master at all. We think that he is a victim as well as an oppressor.
We wish to emancipate the master as well as the slave, and we think that
thousands of masters are persons who merely submit to the conditions
of labor established in their respective localities. Our opposition is
directed, not against Jefferson Davis, but against the system whose
cumulative corruptions and enormities Jefferson Davis very fairly
represents. As an individual, Jefferson Davis is not worse than many
people whom a general amnesty would preserve in their persons and
property. To hang him, and at the same time guaranty Slavery, would be
like destroying a plant by a vain attempt to kill its most poisonous
blossom. Our opposition is not to the blossom, but to the root.

We admit that to strike at the root is a very difficult operation. In
the present condition of the country it may present obstacles which will
practically prove insuperable. But it is plain that we can strike lower
than the blossom; and it is also plain that we must, as practical
men, devise some method by which the existence of the Slavocracy as a
political power may be annihilated. The President of the United States
has lately recommended that Congress offer the cooperation and financial
aid of the whole nation in a peaceful effort to abolish Slavery,--with
a significant hint, that, unless the loyal Slave States accept the
proposition, the necessities of the war may dictate severer measures.
Emancipation is the policy of the Government, and will soon be the
determination of the people. Whether it shall be gradual or immediate
depends altogether on the slaveholders themselves. The prolongation of
the war for a year, and the operation of the internal tax bill, will
convert all the voters of the Free States, whether Republicans or
Democrats, into practical Emancipationists. The tax bill alone will
teach the people important lessons which no politicians can gainsay.
Every person who buys a piece of broadcloth or calico,--every person who
takes a cup of tea or coffee,--every person who lives from day to day
on the energy he thinks he derives from patent medicines, or beer, or
whiskey,--every person who signs a note, or draws a bill of exchange, or
sends a telegraphic despatch, or advertises in a newspaper, or makes a
will, or "raises" anything, or manufactures anything, will naturally
inquire why he or she is compelled to submit to an irritating as well as
an onerous tax. The only answer that can possibly be returned is this,--
that all these vexatious burdens are necessary because a comparatively
few persons out of an immense population have chosen to get up a civil
war in order to protect and foster their slave-property, and the
political power it confers. As this property is but a small fraction of
the whole property of the country, and as its owners are not a hundredth
part of the population of the country, does any sane man doubt that the
slave-property will be relentlessly confiscated in order that the Slave
Power may be forever crushed?

There are, we know, persons in the Free States who pretend to believe
that the war will leave Slavery where the war found it,--that our half
a million of soldiers have gone South on a sort of military picnic,
and will return in a cordial mood towards their Southern brethren in
arms,--and that there is no real depth and earnestness of purpose in the
Free States. Though one year has done the ordinary work of a century
in effecting or confirming changes in the ideas and sentiments of the
people, these persons still sagely rely on the party-phrases current
some eighteen months ago to reconstruct the Union on the old basis of
the domination of the Slave Power, through the combination of a divided
North with a united South. By the theory of these persons, there is
something peculiarly sacred in property in men, distinguishing it from
the more vulgar form of property in things; and though the cost of
putting down the Rebellion will nearly equal the value of the Southern
slaves, considered as chattels, they suppose that the owners of property
in things will cheerfully submit to be taxed for a thousand millions,--a
fourth of the almost fabulous debt of England,--without any irritation
against the chivalric owners of property in men, whose pride, caprice,
and insubordination have made the taxation necessary. Such may possibly
be the fact, but as sane men we cannot but disbelieve it. Our conviction
is, that, whether the war is ended in three months or in twelve months,
the Slave Power is sure to be undermined or overthrown.

The sooner the war is ended, the more favorable will be the terms
granted to the Slavocracy; but no terms will be granted which do not
look to its extinction. The slaveholders are impelled by their system to
complete victory or utter ruin. If they obey the laws of their system,
they have, from present appearances, nothing but defeat, beggary, and
despair to expect. If they violate the laws of their system, they must
take their place in some one of the numerous degrees, orders, and ranks
of the Abolitionists. It will be well for them, if the wilfulness
developed by their miserable system gives way to the plain reason and
logic of facts and events. It will be well for them, if they submit to a
necessity, not only inherent in the inevitable operation of divine laws,
but propelled by half a million of men in arms. Be it that God is on the
side of the heaviest column,--there can be no doubt that the heaviest
column is now the column of Freedom.

* * * * *


"At dawn," he said, "I bid them all farewell,
To go where bugles call and rifles gleam."
And with the restless thought asleep he fell,
And glided into dream.

A great hot plain from sea to mountain spread,--
Through it a level river slowly drawn.
He moved with a vast crowd, and at its head
Streamed banners like the dawn.

There came a blinding flash, a deafening roar,
And dissonant cries of triumph and dismay;
Blood trickled down the river's reedy shore,
And with the dead he lay.

The morn broke in upon his solemn dream;
And still, with steady pulse and deepening eye,
"Where bugles call," he said, "and rifles gleam,
I follow, though I die!"

Wise youth! By few is glory's wreath attained;
But death or late or soon awaiteth all.
To fight in Freedom's cause is something gained,--
And nothing lost, to fall.


_To the Editors of the_ ATLANTIC MONTHLY.

Jaalam, 12th April, 1862.

GENTLEMEN,--As I cannot but hope that the ultimate, if not speedy,
success of the national arms is now sufficiently ascertained, sure as
I am of the righteousness of our cause and its consequent claim on the
blessing of God, (for I would not show a faith inferiour to that of the
pagan historian with his _Facile evenit quod Dis cordi est_,) it seems
to me a suitable occasion to withdraw our minds a moment from the
confusing din of battle to objects of peaceful and permanent interest.
Let us not neglect the monuments of preterite history because what
shall be history is so diligently making under our eyes. _Cras ingens
iterabimus aequor_; to-morrow will be time enough for that stormy sea;
to-day let me engage the attention of your readers with the Runick
inscription to whose fortunate discovery I have heretofore alluded. Well
may we say with the poet, _Multa renascuntur quae jam cecidere_. And I
would premise, that, although I can no longer resist the evidence of my
own senses from the stone before me to the ante-Columbian discovery of
this continent by the Northmen, _gens inclytissima_, as they are called
in Palermitan inscription, written fortunately in a less debatable
character than that which I am about to decypher, yet I would by no
means be understood as wishing to vilipend the merits of the great
Genoese, whose name will never be forgotten so long as the inspiring
strains of "Hail Columbia" shall continue to be heard. Though he must
be stripped also of whatever praise may belong to the experiment of the
egg, which I find proverbially attributed by Castilian authours to a
certain Juanito or Jack, (perhaps an offshoot of our giant-killing my
thus,) his name will still remain one of the most illustrious of modern
times. But the impartial historian owes a duty likewise to obscure
merit, and my solicitude to render a tardy justice is perhaps quickened
by my having known those who, had their own field of labour been less
secluded, might have found a readier acceptance with the reading
publick. I could give an example, but I forbear: _forsitan nostris ex
ossibus oritur ultor_.

Touching Runick inscriptions, I find that they may be classed under
three general heads: 1 deg.. Those which are understood by the Danish Royal
Society of Northern Antiquaries, and Professor Rafn, their Secretary;
2 deg.. Those which are comprehensible only by Mr Rafn; and 3. Those which
neither the Society, Mr Rafn, nor anybody else can be said in any
definite sense to understand, and which accordingly offer peculiar
temptations to enucleating sagacity. These last are naturally deemed the
most valuable by intelligent antiquaries, and to this class the stone
now in my possession fortunately belongs. Such give a picturesque
variety to ancient events, because susceptible oftentimes of as many
interpretations as there are individual archaeologists; and since facts
are only the pulp in which the Idea or event-seed is softly imbedded
till it ripen, it is of little consequence what colour or flavour we
attribute to them, provided it be agreeable. Availing myself of the
obliging assistance of Mr. Arphaxad Bowers, an ingenious photographick
artist, whose house-on-wheels has now stood for three years on our
Meeting-House Green, with the somewhat contradictory inscription,--"_Our
motto is onward_,"--I have sent accurate copies of my treasure to many
learned men and societies, both native and European. I may hereafter
communicate their different and (_me judice_) equally erroneous
solutions. I solicit also, Messrs. Editors, your own acceptance of the
copy herewith inclosed. I need only premise further, that the stone
itself is a goodly block of metamorphick sandstone, and that the Runes
resemble very nearly the ornithichnites or fossil bird-tracks of Dr.
Hitchcock, but with less regularity or apparent design than is displayed
by those remarkable geological monuments. These are rather the _non bene
junctarum discordia semina rerum_. Resolved to leave no door open to
cavil, I first of all attempted the elucidation of this remarkable
example of lithick literature by the ordinary modes, but with no
adequate return for my labour. I then considered myself amply justified
in resorting to that heroick treatment the felicity of which, as applied
by the great Bentley to Milton, had long ago enlisted my admiration.
Indeed, I had already made up my mind, that, in case good-fortune should
throw any such invaluable record in my way, I would proceed with it
in the following simple and satisfactory method. After a cursory
examination, merely sufficing for an approximative estimate of its
length, I would write down a hypothetical inscription based upon
antecedent probabilities, and then proceed to extract from the
characters engraven on the stone a meaning as nearly as possible
conformed to this _a priori_ product of my own ingenuity. The result
more than justified my hopes, inasmuch as the two inscriptions were made
without any great violence to tally in all essential particulars. I then
proceeded, not without some anxiety, to my second test, which was, to
read the Runick letters diagonally, and again with the same success.
With an excitement pardonable under the circumstances, yet tempered
with thankful humility, I now applied my last and severest trial, my
_experimentum crucis_. I turned the stone, now doubly precious in my
eyes, with scrupulous exactness upside down. The physical exertion so
far displaced my spectacles as to derange for a moment the focus of
vision. I confess that it was with some tremulousness that I readjusted
them upon my nose, and prepared my mind to bear with calmness any
disappointment that might ensue. But, _O albo dies notanda lapillo!_
what was my delight to find that the change of position had effected
none in the sense of the writing, even by so much as a single letter!
I was now, and justly, as I think, satisfied of the conscientious
exactness of my interpretation. It is as follows:--





that is, drew smoke through a reed stem. In other words, we have here
a record of the first smoking of the herb _Nicotiana Tabacum_ by a
European on this continent. The probable results of this discovery are
so vast as to baffle conjecture. If it be objected, that the smoking
of a pipe would hardly justify the setting up of a memorial stone, I
answer, that even now the Moquis Indian, ere he takes his first whiff,
bows reverently toward the four quarters of the sky in succession, and
that the loftiest monuments have been reared to perpetuate fame, which
is the dream of the shadow of smoke. The _Saga_, it will be remembered,
leaves this Bjarna to a fate something like that of Sir Humphrey
Gilbert, on board a sinking ship in the "wormy sea," having generously
given up his place in the boat to a certain Icelander. It is doubly
pleasant, therefore, to meet with this proof that the brave old man
arrived safely in Vinland, and that his declining years were cheered by
the respectful attentions of the dusky denizens of our then uninvaded
forests. Most of all was I gratified, however, in thus linking forever
the name of my native town with one of the most momentous occurrences of
modern times. Hitherto Jaalam, though in soil, climate, and geographical
position as highly qualified to be the theatre of remarkable historical
incidents as any spot on the earth's surface, has been, if I may say it
without seeming to question the wisdom of Providence, almost maliciously
neglected, as it might appear, by occurrences of world-wide interest in
want of a situation. And in matters of this nature it must be confessed
that adequate events are as necessary as the _vates sacer_ to record
them. Jaalam stood always modestly ready, but circumstances made no
fitting response to her generous intentions. Now, however, she assumes
her place on the historick roll. I have hitherto been a zealous opponent
of the Circean herb, but I shall now reexamine the question without

I am aware that the Rev'd Jonas Tutchel, in a recent communication to
the Bogus Four Corners Weekly Meridian, has endeavoured to show that
this is the sepulchral inscription of Thorwald Eriksson, who, as is well
known, was slain in Vinland by the natives. But I think he has been
misled by a preconceived theory, and cannot but feel that he has thus
made an ungracious return for my allowing him to inspect the stone with
the aid of my own glasses (he having by accident left his at home)
and in my own study. The heathen ancients might have instructed this
Christian minister in the rites of hospitality; but much is to be
pardoned to the spirit of self-love. He must indeed be ingenious who can
make out the words _her hrilir_ from any characters in the inscription
in question, which, whatever else it may be, is certainly not mortuary.
And even should the reverend gentleman succeed in persuading some
fantastical wits of the soundness of his views, I do not see what useful
end he will have gained. For if the English Courts of Law hold the
testimony of grave-stones from the burial-grounds of Protestant
dissenters to be questionable, even where it is essential in proving a
descent, I cannot conceive that the epitaphial assertions of heathens
should be esteemed of more authority by any man of orthodox sentiments.

At this moment, happening to cast my eyes upon the stone, on which a
transverse light from my southern window brings out the characters
with singular distinctness, another interpretation has occurred to me,
promising even more interesting results. I hasten to close my letter in
order to follow at once the clue thus providentially suggested.

I inclose, as usual, a contribution from Mr. Biglow, and remain,
Gentlemen, with esteem and respect,

Your Ob't Humble Servant,


I thank ye, my friens, for the warmth o' your greetin':
Ther' 's few airthly blessins but wut's vain an' fleetin';
But ef ther' is one thet hain't _no_ cracks an' flaws,
An' is wuth goin' in for, it's pop'lar applause;
It sends up the sperits ez lively ez rockets,
An' I feel it--wal, down to the eend o' my pockets.
Jes' lovin' the people is Canaan in view,
But it's Canaan paid quarterly t' hev 'em love you;
It's a blessin' thet's breakin' out ollus in fresh spots;
It's a-follerin' Moses 'thout losin' the flesh-pots.

But, Gennlemen,'scuse me, I ain't sech a raw cus
Ez to go luggin' ellerkence into a caucus,--
Thet is, into one where the call comprehens
Nut the People in person, but on'y their friens;
I'm so kin' o' used to convincin' the masses
Of th' edvantage o' bein' self-governin' asses,
I forgut thet _we_ 're all o' the sort thet pull wires
An' arrange for the public their wants an' desires,
An' thet wut we hed met for wuz jes' to agree
Wut the People's opinions in futur' should be.

But to come to the nuh, we've ben all disappinted,
An' our leadin' idees are a kind o' disjinted,--
Though, fur ez the nateral man could discern,
Things ough' to ha' took most an oppersite turn.
But The'ry is jes' like a train on the rail,
Thet, weather or no, puts her thru without fail,
While Fac's the ole stage thet gits sloughed in the ruts,
An' hez to allow for your darned efs an' buts,
An' so, nut intendin' no pers'nal reflections,
They don't--don't nut allus, thet is--make connections:
Sometimes, when it really doos seem thet they'd oughter
Combine jest ez kindly ez new rum an' water,
Both 'll be jest ez sot in their ways ez a bagnet,
Ez otherwise-minded ez th' eends of a magnet,
An' folks like you 'n me, thet ain't ept to be sold,
Git somehow or 'nother left out in the cold.

I expected 'fore this, 'thout no gret of a row,
Jeff D. would ha' ben where A. Lincoln is now,
With Taney to say 't wuz all legle an' fair,
An' a jury o' Deemocrats ready to swear
Thet the ingin o' State gut throwed into the ditch
By the fault o' the North in misplacin' the switch.
Things wuz ripenin' fust-rate with Buchanan to nuss 'em;
But the People they wouldn't be Mexicans, cuss 'em!
Ain't the safeguards o' freedom upsot, 'z you may say,
Ef the right o' rev'lution is took clean away?
An' doosn't the right primy-fashy include
The bein' entitled to nut be subdued?
The fact is, we'd gone for the Union so strong,
When Union meant South ollus right an' North wrong,
Thet the people gut fooled into thinkin' it might
Worry on middlin' wal with the North in the right.
We might ha' ben now jest ez prosp'rous ez France,
Where politikle enterprise hez a fair chance,
An' the people is heppy an' proud et this hour,
Long ez they hev the votes, to let Nap hev the power;
But _our_ folks they went an' believed wut we'd told 'em,
An', the flag once insulted, no mortle could hold 'em.
'T wuz pervokin' jest when we wuz cert'in to win,--
An' I, for one, wunt trust the masses agin:
For a people thet knows much ain't fit to be free
In the self-cockin', back-action style o' J.D.

I can't believe now but wut half on't is lies;
For who'd thought the North wuz a-goin' to rise,
Or take the pervokin'est kin' of a stump,
'Thout't wuz sunthin' ez pressin' ez Gabr'el's las' trump?
Or who'd ha' supposed, arter _sech_ swell an' bluster
'Bout the lick-ary-ten-on-ye fighters they'd muster,
Raised by hand on briled lightnin', ez op'lent 'z you please
In a primitive furrest o' femmily-trees,
Who'd ha' thought thet them Southerners ever 'ud show
Starns with pedigrees to 'em like theirn to the foe,
Or, when the vamosin' come, ever to find
Nat'ral masters in front an' mean white folks behind?
By ginger, ef I'd ha' known half I know now,
When I wuz to Congress, I wouldn't, I swow,
Hev let 'em cair on so high-minded an' sarsy,
'Thout _some_ show o' wut you may call vicy-varsy.
To be sure, we wuz under a contrac' jes' then
To be dreffle forbearin' towards Southun men;
We hed to go sheers in preservin' the bellance:
An' ez they seemed to feel they wuz wastin' their tellents
'Thout some un to kick, 't warn't more 'n proper, you know,
Each should funnish his part; an' sence they found the toe,
An' we wuzn't cherubs--wal, we found the buffer,
For fear thet the Compromise System should suffer.

I wun't say the plan hed n't onpleasant featurs,--
For men are perverse an' onreasonin' creaturs,
An' forgit thet in this life 't ain't likely to heppen
Their own privit fancy should oltus be cappen,--
But it worked jest ez smooth ez the key of a safe,
An' the gret Union bearins played free from all chafe.
They warn't hard to suit, ef they hed their own way;
An' we (thet is, some on us) made the thing pay:
'T wuz a fair give-an'-take out of Uncle Sam's heap;
Ef they took wut warn't theirn, wut we give come ez cheap;
The elect gut the offices down to tidewaiter,
The people took skinnin' ez mild ez a tater,
Seemed to choose who they wanted tu, footed the bills,
An' felt kind o' 'z though they wuz havin' their wills,
Which kep' 'em ez harmless an' clerfle ez crickets,
While all we invested wuz names on the tickets:
Wal, ther' 's nothin' for folks fond o' lib'ral consumption,
Free o' charge, like democ'acy tempered with gumption!

Now warn't thet a system wuth pains in presarvin',
Where the people found jints an' their friens done the carvin',--
Where the many done all o' their thinkin' by proxy,
An' were proud on't ez long ez't wuz christened Democ'cy,--
Where the few let us sap all o' Freedom's foundations,
Ef you called it reformin' with prudence an' patience,
An' were willin' Jeff's snake-egg should hetch with the rest,
Ef you writ "Constitootional" over the nest?
But it's all out o' kilter, ('t wuz too good to last,)
An' all jes' by J.D.'s perceedin' too fast;
Ef he'd on'y hung on for a month or two more,
We'd ha' gut things fixed nicer 'n they hed ben before:
Afore he drawed off an' lef all in confusion,
We wuz safely intrenched in the ole Constitootion,
With an outlyin', heavy-gun, casemated fort
To rake all assailants,--I mean th' S.J. Court.
Now I never 'II acknowledge (nut ef you should skin me)
'T wuz wise to abandon sech works to the in'my,
An' let him fin' out thet wut scared him so long,
Our whole line of argyments, lookin' so strong,
All our Scriptur' an' law, every the'ry an' fac',
Wuz Quaker-guns daubed with Pro-slavery black.
Why, ef the Republicans ever should git
Andy Johnson or some one to lend 'em the wit
An' the spunk jes' to mount Constitootion an' Court
With Columbiad guns, your real ekle-rights sort,
Or drill out the spike from the ole Declaration
Thet can kerry a solid shot clearn roun' creation,
We'd better take maysures for shettin' up shop,
An' put off our stock by a vendoo or swop.

But they wun't never dare tu; you 'll see 'em in Edom
'Fore they ventur' to go where their doctrines 'ud lead 'em:
They 've ben takin' our princerples up ez we dropt 'em,
An' thought it wuz terrible 'cute to adopt 'em;
But they'll fin' out 'fore long thet their hope 's ben deceivin' 'em,
An' thet princerples ain't o' no good, ef you b'lieve in 'em;
It makes 'em tu stiff for a party to use,
Where they'd ough' to be easy 'z an ole pair o' shoes.
Ef _we_ say 'n our pletform thet all men are brothers,
We don't mean thet some folks ain't more so 'n some others;
An' it's wal understood thet we make a selection,
An' thet brotherhood kin' o' subsides arter 'lection.
The fust thing for sound politicians to larn is,
Thet Truth, to dror kindly in all sorts o' harness,
Mus' be kep' in the abstract,--for, 'come to apply it,
You're ept to hurt some folks's interists by it.
Wal, these 'ere Republicans (some on 'em) acs
Ez though gineral mexims 'ud suit speshle facs;
An' there's where we 'll nick 'em, there 's where they 'll be lost:
For applyin' your princerple's wut makes it cost,
An' folks don't want Fourth o' July t' interfere
With the business-consarns o' the rest o' the year,
No more 'n they want Sunday to pry an' to peek
Into wut they are doin' the rest o' the week.

A ginooine statesman should be on his guard,
Ef he _must_ hev beliefs, nut to b'lieve 'em tu hard;
For, ez sure ez he doos, he'll be blartin' 'em out
'Thout regardin' the natur' o' man more 'n a spout,
Nor it don't ask much gumption to pick out a flaw
In a party whose leaders are loose in the jaw:
An' so in our own case I ventur' to hint
Thet we'd better nut air our perceedins in print,
Nor pass resserlootions ez long ez your arm
Thet may, ez things heppen to turn, do us harm;
For when you've done all your real meanin' to smother,
The darned things'll up an' mean sunthin' or 'nother.
Jeff'son prob'ly meant wal with his "born free an' ekle,"
But it's turned out a real crooked stick in the sekle;
It's taken full eighty-odd year--don't you see?--
From the pop'lar belief to root out thet idee,
An', arter all, sprouts on 't keep on buddin' forth
In the nat'lly onprincipled mind o' the North.
No, never say nothin' without you're compelled tu,
An' then don't say nothin' thet you can be held tu,
Nor don't leave no friction-idees layin' loose
For the ign'ant to put to incend'ary use.

You know I'm a feller thet keeps a skinned eye
On the leetle events thet go skurryin' by,
Coz it's of'ner by them than by gret ones you'll see
Wut the p'litickle weather is likely to be.
Now I don't think the South's more 'n begun to be licked,
But I _du_ think, ez Jeff says, the wind-bag's gut pricked;
It'll blow for a spell an' keep puffin' an' wheezin',
The tighter our army an' navy keep squeezin',--
For they can't help spread-eaglein' long 'z ther's a mouth
To blow Enfield's Speaker thru lef' at the South.
But it's high time for us to be settin' our faces
Towards reconstructin' the national basis,
With an eye to beginnin' agin on the jolly ticks
We used to chalk up 'hind the back-door o' politics;
An' the fus' thing's to save wut of Slav'ry ther's lef'
Arter this (I mus' call it) imprudence o' Jeff:
For a real good Abuse, with its roots fur an' wide,
Is the kin' o' thing _I_ like to hev on my side;
A Scriptur' name makes it ez sweet ez a rose,
An' it's tougher the older an' uglier it grows--
(I ain't speakin' now o' the righteousness of it,
But the p'litickle purchase it gives, an' the profit).

Things looks pooty squally, it must be allowed,
An' I don't see much signs of a bow in the cloud:
Ther' 's too many Decmocrats--leaders, wut's wuss--
Thet go for the Union 'thout carin' a cuss
Ef it helps ary party thet ever wuz heard on,
So our eagle ain't made a split Austrian bird on.
But ther' 's still some conservative signs to be found
Thet shows the gret heart o' the People is sound:
(Excuse me for usin' a stump-phrase agin,
But, once in the way on 't, they _will_ stick like sin:)
There's Phillips, for instance, hez jes' ketched a Tartar
In the Law-'n'-Order Party of ole Cincinnater;
An' the Compromise System ain't gone out o' reach,
Long 'z you keep the right limits on freedom o' speech;
'T warn't none too late, neither, to put on the gag,
For he's dangerous now he goes in for the flag:
Nut thet I altogether approve o' bad eggs,
They're mos' gin'lly argymunt on its las' legs,--
An' their logic is ept to be tu indiscriminate,
Nor don't ollus wait the right objecs to 'liminate;
But there is a variety on 'em, you 'll find,
Jest ez usefie an' more, besides bein' refined,--
I mean o' the sort thet are laid by the dictionary,
Sech ez sophisms an' cant thet'll kerry conviction ary
Way thet you want to the right class o' men,
An' are staler than all't ever come from a hen:
"Disunion" done wal till our resh Soutlun friends
Took the savor all out on't for national ends;
But I guess "Abolition" 'll work a spell yit,
When the war's done, an' so will "Forgive-an'-forgit."
Times mus' be pooty thoroughly out o' all jint,
Ef we can't make a good constitootional pint;
An' the good time 'll come to be grindin' our exes,
When the war goes to seed in the nettle o' texes:
Ef Jon'than don't squirm, with sech helps to assist him,
I give up my faith in the free-suffrage system;
Democ'cy wun't be nut a mite interestin',
Nor p'litikle capital much wuth investin';
An' my notion is, to keep dark an' lay low
Till we see the right minute to put in our blow.--

But I've talked longer now 'n I hed any idee,
An' ther's others you want to hear more 'n you du me;
So I'll set down an' give thet 'ere bottle a skrimmage,
For I've spoke till I'm dry ez a real graven image.


_Record of an Obscure Man. Tragedy of Errors_, Parts I. and II. Boston:
Ticknor and Fields. 1861, 1862.

Among the marked literary productions long to be associated with our
present struggle--among them, yet not of them--are the volumes whose
titles we have quoted. They differ from the recent electric messages of
Holmes, Whittier, and Mrs. Howe, in not being obvious results of vivid
events. "Bread and the Newspaper," "The Song of the Negro Boatmen," and
"Our Orders" will reproduce for another generation the fervid feelings
of to-day. But the pathetic warnings exquisitely breathed in the
writings before us will then come to their place as a deep and tender
prelude to the voices heard in this passing tragedy.

The "Record of an Obscure Man" is the modest introduction to a dramatic
poem of singular pathos and beauty. A New-Englander of culture and
sensibility, naturalized at the South, is supposed to communicate the
results of his study and observation of that outcast race which has been
the easy contempt of ignorance in both sections of the country. Our
instructor has not only a clear judgment Of the value of different
testimonies, and the scholarly instinct of arrangement and
classification, but also that divine gift of sympathy, which alone, in
this world given for our observation, can tell us what to observe.
The illustrations of the negro's character, and the answers to vulgar
depreciation of his tendencies and capacities, are given with the simple
directness of real comprehension. It is the privilege of one acquainted
in no common degree with languages and their history to expose that
dreary joke of the dialect of the oppressed, which superficial people
have so long found funny or contemptible. The simplicity and earnestness
which give dignity to any phraseology come from the humanity behind it.
We are well reminded that divergences from the common use of language,
never held to degrade the meaning in Milton or Shakespeare, need not
render thought despicable when the negro uses identical forms. If he
calls a leopard a "libbard," he only imitates the most sublime of
English poets; and the first word of his petition, "_Gib_ us this day
our daily bread," is pronounced as it rose from the lips of Luther.
The highest truths the faith of man may reach are symbolized more
definitely, and often more picturesquely, by the warm imagination of the
African than by the cultivated genius of the Caucasian. Also it is shown
how the laziness and ferocity with which the negro is sometimes charged
may be more than matched in the history of his assumed superior.
Yet, while acknowledging how well-considered is the matter of this
introductory volume, we regret what seems to be an imperfection in
the form in which it is presented. There is too much _story_, or too
little,--too little to command the assistance of fiction, too much to
prevent a feeling of disappointment that romance is attempted at
all. The concluding autobiography of the friend of Colvil is hardly
consistent with his character as previously suggested; it seems
unnecessary to the author's purpose, and is not drawn with the
minuteness or power which might justify its introduction. We notice this
circumstance as explaining why this Introduction may possibly fail of a
popularity more extended than that which its tenderness of thought and
style at once claimed from the best readers.

The "Tragedy of Errors" presents, with the vivid idealization of
art, some of the results of American Slavery. Travellers, novelists,
ethnologists have spoken with various ability of the laborers of the
South; and now the poet breaks through the hard monotony of their
external lives, and lends the plasticity of a cultivated mind to take
impress of feeling to which the gift of utterance is denied. And it is
often only through the imagination of another that the human bosom can
be delivered "of that perilous stuff which weighs upon the heart." For
it is a very common error to estimate mental activity by a command
of the arts of expression; whereas, at its best estate, speech is an
imperfect sign of perception, and one which without special cultivation
must be wholly inadequate. Thus it will be seen that an employment of
the dialect and limited vocabulary of the negro would be obviously
unsuitable to the purpose of the poem; and these have been wisely
discarded. In doing this, however, the common license of dramatists
is not exceeded; and the critical censure we have read about "the
extravagant idealization of the negro" merely amounts to saying that the
writer has been bold enough to stem the current of traditional opinion,
and find a poetic view of humanity at the present time and in its most
despised portion. The end of dramatic writing is not to reproduce
Nature, but to idealize it; a literal copying of the same, as everybody
knows, is the merit of the photographer, not of the artist. Again, it
should be remembered that the highly wrought characters among the slaves
are whites, or whites slightly tinged with African blood. With the
commonest allowance for the exigencies of poetic presentation, we find
no individual character unnatural or improbable; though the particular
grouping of these characters is necessarily improbable. For grace of
position and arrangement every dramatist must claim. If the poet will
but take observations from real persons, however widely scattered,
discretion may be exercised in the conjunction of those persons, and
in the sequence of incidents by which they are affected. An aesthetic
invention may be as _natural_ as a mechanical one, although the
materials for each are collected from a wide surface, and placed in new
relations. Thus much we say as expressing dissent from objections which
have been hastily made to this poem.

Of the plot of the "Tragedy of Errors" we have only space to say that
the writer has cut a channel for very delicate verses through the heart
of a Southern plantation. Here, at length, seems to be one of those
thoroughly national subjects for which critics have long been clamorous.
The deepest passion is expressed without touching the tawdry properties
of the "intense" school of poetry. The language passes from the ease of
perfect simplicity to the conciseness of power, while the relation of
emotion to character is admirably preserved. The moral--which, let us
observe in passing, is decently covered with artistic beauty--relates,
not to the most obvious, but to the most dangerous mischiefs of Slavery.
Indeed, the story is only saved from being too painful by a fine
appreciation of the medicinal quality of all wretchedness that the
writer everywhere displays. In the First Part, the nice intelligence
shown in the rough contrast between Hermann and Stanley, and in the
finished contrast between Alice and Helen, will claim the reader's
attention. The sketches of American life and tendencies, both Northern
and Southern, are given with discrimination and truth. The dying scene,
which closes the First Part, seems to us nobly wrought. The "death-bed
hymn" of the slaves sounds a pathetic wail over an abortive life
shivering on the brink of the Unknown. In the Second Part we find less
of the color and music of a poem, and more of the rapid movement of a
drama. The doom of Slavery upon the master now comes into full relief.
The characters of Herbert and his father are favorable specimens of
well-meaning, even honorable, Southern gentlemen,--only not endowed
with such exceptional moral heroism as to offer the pride of life to be
crushed before hideous laws. The connection between lyric and tragic
power is shown in the "Tragedy of Errors." The songs and chants of the
slaves mingle with the higher dialogue like the chorus of the Greek
stage; they mediate with gentle authority between the worlds of natural
feeling and barbarous usage. Let us also say that the _sentiment_
throughout this drama is sound and sweet; for it is that mature
sentiment, born again of discipline, which is the pledge of fidelity to
the highest business of life.

Before concluding, we take the liberty to remove a mask, not
impenetrable to the careful reader, by saying that the writer is a
woman. And let us be thankful that a woman so representative of the best
culture and instinct of New England cannot wholly conceal herself by the
modesty of a pseudonyme. In no way has the Northern spirit roused to
oppose the usurpations of Slavery more truly vindicated its high quality
than by giving development to that feminine element which has mingled
with our national life an influence of genuine power. And to-day there
are few men justly claiming the much-abused title of thinkers who do
not perceive that the opportunity of our regenerated republic cannot be
fully realized, until we cease to press into factitious conformity
the faculties, tastes, and--let us not shrink from the odious
word--_missions_ of women. The merely literary privilege accorded a
generation or two ago is in itself of slight value. Since the success of
"Evelina," women have been freely permitted to jingle pretty verses for
family newspapers, and to _novelize_ morbid sentiments of the feebler
sort. And we see one legitimate result in that flightiness of the
feminine mind which, in a lower stratum of current literature, displays
inaccurate opinions, feeble prejudices, and finally blossoms into pert
vulgarity. But instances of perverted license increase our obligation to
Mrs. Child, Mrs. Stowe and to others whose eloquence is only in deeds.
Of such as these, and of her whom we may now associate with them, it is
not impossible some unborn historian may write, that in certain great
perils of American liberty, when the best men could only offer rhetoric,
women came forward with demonstration. Yet, after all, our deepest
indebtedness to the present series of volumes seems to be this: they
bear gentle testimony to what the wise ever believed, that the delicacy
of spirit we love to characterize by the dear word "womanly" is not
inconsistent with varied and exact information, independent opinion, and
the insights of genius.

Finally, we venture to mention, what has been in the minds of many
New-England readers, that these books are indissolubly associated with a
young life offered in the nation's great necessity. At the time when the
first of the series was made public, a shudder ran through our homes, as
a regiment, rich in historic names, stood face to face with death. Among
the fallen was the only son of her whose writings have been given us.
Let us think without bitterness of the sacrifice of one influenced and
formed by the rare nature we find in these poems. What better result of
culture than to dissipate intellectual mists and uncertainties, and to
fix the grasp firmly upon some great practical good? There is nothing
wasted in one who lived long enough to show that the refinement acquired
and inherited was of the noble kind which could prefer the roughest
action for humanity to elegant allurements of gratified taste. The best
gift of scholarship is the power it gives a man to descend with all the
force of his acquired position, and come into effective union with the
world of facts. For it is the crucial test of brave qualities that they
are truer and more practical for being filtered through libraries. In
reading the "Theages" of Plato we feel a certain respect for the young
seeker of wisdom whose only wish is to associate with Socrates; and
there is a certain admiration for the father, Demodocus, who joyfully
resigns his son, if the teacher will admit him to his friendship and
impart all that he can. But it is a higher result of a higher order of
society, when a young man with aptitude to follow science and assimilate
knowledge sees in the most perilous service of civilization a rarer
illumination of mind and heart. In the great scheme of things, where all
grades of human worthiness are shown for the benefit of man, this costly
instruction shall not fail of fruit. And so the deepest moral that comes
to us from the "Tragedy of Errors" seems a prophetic memorial of the
soldier for constitutional liberty with whom it will be long connected.
The wealth of life--so we read the final meaning of these verses--is in
its discipline; and the graceful dreams of the poet, and the quickened
intellect of the scholar, are but humble instruments for the helping of

_A Discourse on the Life, Character, and Policy of Count Cavour_.
Delivered in the Hall of the New York Historical Society, February 20,
1862. By VINCENZO BOTTA, Ph.D., Professor of Italian Literature in the
New York University, late Member of the Parliament, and Professor of
Philosophy in the Colleges of Sardinia. New York: G.P. Putnam. 8vo. pp.

This is a most admirable tribute to one of the greatest men of our age,
by a writer singularly well qualified in all respects to do justice
to his rich and comprehensive theme. Professor Botta is a native of
Northern Italy, in the first place, and thus by inheritance and natural
transmission is heir to a great deal of knowledge as to the important
movements of which Cavour was the mainspring, which a foreigner could
acquire only by diligent study and inquiry. In the next place, he has
not been exclusively a secluded student, but he has taken part in the
great political drama which he commemorates, and has been brought into
personal relations with the illustrious man whose worth he here sets
forth with such ample knowledge, such generous devotion, such patriotic
fervor. And lastly, he is a man of distinguished literary ability,
wielding the language of his adopted country with an ease and grace
which hardly leave a suspicion that he was not writing his vernacular
tongue. A namesake of his--whether a relation or not, we are not
informed--has written "in very choice Italian" a history of the American
Revolution; and the work before us, relating in such excellent English
the leading events of a glorious Italian revolution, is a partial
payment of the debt of gratitude contracted by the publication of that
classical production.

But a writer of inferior opportunities and inferior capacity to
Professor Botta could hardly have failed to produce an attractive and
interesting work, with such a subject. There never was a life which
stood less in need of the embellishments of rhetoric, which could rest
more confidently and securely upon its plain, unvarnished truth, than
that of Count Cavour. He was a man of the highest order of greatness;
and when we have said that, we have also said that he was a man of
simplicity, directness, and transparency. A man of the first class is
always easily interpreted and understood. The biographer of Cavour has
nothing to do but to recount simply and consecutively what he said and
what he did, and his task is accomplished: no great statesman has less
need of apology or justification; no one's name is less associated with
doubtful acts or questionable policy. His ends were not more noble than
was the path in which he moved towards them direct. Professor Botta
has fully comprehended the advantages derived from the nature of his
subject, and has confined himself to the task of relating in simple
and vigorous English the life and acts of Cavour from his birth to his
death. He has given us a rapid and condensed summary, but nothing of
importance is omitted, and surely enough is told to vindicate for Cavour
the highest rank which the enthusiastic admiration and gratitude of his
countrymen have accorded to him. Where can we find a nobler life? And,
take him all in all, whom shall we pronounce to have been a greater
statesman? What variety of power he showed, and what wealth of resources
he had at command! Without the pride and coldness of Pitt, the private
vices of Fox, the tempestuous and ill-regulated sensibility of Burke, he
had the useful and commanding intellectual qualities of all the three,
except the splendid and imaginative eloquence of the last.

This life of Cavour, and the incidental sketches of his associates which
it includes, will have a tendency to correct some of the erroneous
impressions current among us as to the intellectual qualities and
temperament of the Italian people. The common, or, at least, a very
prevalent, notion concerning them is that they are an impassioned,
imaginative, excitable, visionary race, capable of brilliant individual
efforts, but deficient in the power of organization and combination,
and in patience and practical sagacity. Some of us go, or have gone,
farther, and have supposed that the Austrian domination in Italy was the
necessary consequence of want of manliness and persistency in the people
of Italy, and was perhaps as much for their good as the dangerous boon
of independence would have been. All such prejudices will be removed by
a candid perusal of this memoir. Cavour himself, as a statesman and a
man, was of exactly that stamp which we flatter ourselves to be the
exclusive growth of America and England. He was nothing of a visionary,
nothing of a political pedant, nothing of a _doctrinaire_. Franklin
himself had not a more practical understanding, or more of large, plain,
roundabout sense. He had, too, Franklin's shrewdness, his love of humor,
and his relish for the natural pleasures of life. He had a large amount
of patience, the least showy, but perhaps the most important, of the
qualifications of a great statesman. And in his glorious career he was
warmly and generously sustained, not merely by the king, and by the
favored classes, but by the people, whose efforts and sacrifices have
shown how worthy they were of the freedom they have won. We speak here
more particularly of the people of the kingdom of Sardinia; but what we
say in praise of them may be extended to the people of Italy generally.
The history of Italy for the last fifteen years is a glorious chapter
in the history of the world. Whatever of active courage and passive
endurance has in times past made the name of Roman illustrious, the
events of these years have proved to belong equally to the name of

But we are wandering from Count Cavour and Professor Botta. We have to
thank the latter for enriching the literature of his adopted country
with a memoir which in the lucid beauty and transparent flow of its
style reminds the Italian scholar of the charm of Boccaccio's limpid
narrative, and is besides animated with a patriot's enthusiasm and
elevated by a statesman's comprehension. A more cordial, heart-warming
book we have not for a long time read.

_A Treatise on Some of the Insects Injurious to Vegetation_. By THADDEUS
WILLIAM HARRIS, M.D. A New Edition, enlarged and improved, with
Additions from the Author's Manuscripts, and Original Notes. Illustrated
by Engravings drawn from Nature under the Supervision of Professor
Agassiz. Edited by Charles L. Flint, Secretary of the Massachusetts
State Board of Agriculture. 8vo.

This handsome octavo, prepared with such scientific care, is for
the special benefit of Agriculture; and the order, method, and
comprehensiveness so evident throughout the Treatise compel the
admiration of all who study its beautifully illustrated pages. The
community is largely benefited by such an aid to the improvement of
pursuits in which so many are concerned; and no cultivator of the soil
can safely be ignorant of what Dr. Harris has studied and put on record
for the use of those whose honorable occupation it is to till the earth.

As a work of Art we cannot refrain from special praise of the book
before us. Turning over its leaves is like a spring or summer ramble in
the country. All creeping and flying things seem harmlessly swarming in
vivid beauty of color over its pages. Such gorgeous moths we never
saw before out of the flower-beds, and there are some butterflies and
caterpillars reposing here and there between the leaves that must have
slipped in and gone to sleep on a fine warm day in July.

The printing of the volume reaches the highest rank of excellence.
Messrs. Welch, Bigelow, & Company may take their place among the
Typographical Masters of this or any other century.

Facebook Google Reddit Twitter Pinterest