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Atlantic Monthly, Volume 8, No. 48, October, 1861 by Various

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which as yet he kept darkly to himself. For this reason he tried to
fancy how her new life would seem to her. It should be hard enough, her
work,--he was determined on that; her strength and endurance must be
tested to the uttermost. He must know what stuff was in the weapon
before he used it. He had been reading the slow, cold thing for
years,--had not got into its secret yet. But there was power there, and
it was the power he wanted. Her history was simple enough: she was going
into the mill to support a helpless father and mother; it was a common
story; she had given up much for them;--other women did the same. He
gave her scanty praise. Two years ago (he had keen, watchful eyes, this
man) he had fancied that the poor homely girl had a dream, as most women
have, of love and marriage: she had put it aside, he thought, forever;
it was too expensive a luxury; she had to begin the life-long battle for
bread and butter. Her dream had been real and pure, perhaps; for she
accepted no sham love in its place: if it had left an empty hunger in
her heart, she had not tried to fill it. Well, well, it was the old
story. Yet he looked after her kindly, as he thought of it; as some
people look sorrowfully at children, going back to their own childhood.
For a moment he half relented in his purpose, thinking, perhaps, her
work for life was hard enough. But no: this woman had been planned and
kept by God for higher uses than daughter or wife or mother. It was his
part to put her work into her hands.

The road was creeping drowsily now between high grass-banks, out through
the hills. A sleepy, quiet road. The restless dust of the town never had
been heard of out there. It (the road) went wandering lazily through the
corn-fields, down by the river, into the very depths of the woods,--the
low October sunshine slanting warmly down it all the way, touching the
grass-banks and the corn-fields with patches of russet gold. Nobody in
such a road could be in a hurry. The quiet was so deep, the free air,
the heavy trees, the sunshine, all so full and certain and fixed, one
could be sure of finding them the same a hundred years from now. Nobody
ever was in a hurry. The brown bees came along there, when their work
was over, and hummed into the great purple thistles on the roadside in a
voluptuous stupor of delight. The cows sauntered through the clover
by the fences, until they wound up by lying down in it and sleeping
outright. The country-people, jogging along to the mill, walked their
fat old nags through the stillness and warmth so slowly that even
Margaret left them far behind. As the road went deeper into the hills,
the solitude and quiet grew even more penetrating and certain,--so
certain in these grand old mountains that one called them eternal, and,
looking up to the peaks fixed in the clear blue, grew surer of a world
beyond this where there is neither change nor death.

It was growing late; the evening air grew more motionless and cool;
the russet gold of the sunshine mottled only the hill-tops now; in the
valleys there was a duskier brown, deepening every moment. Margaret
turned from the road and went down the fields. One did not wonder,
feeling the silence of these hills and broad sweeps of meadow, that this
woman, coming down from among them, should be strangely still, with dark
questioning eyes dumb to their own secrets.

Looking into her face now, you could be sure of one thing: that she had
left the town, the factory, the dust far away, shaken the thought of
them off her brain. No miles could measure the distance between her
home and them. At a stile across the field an old man sat waiting. She
hurried now, her cheek coloring. Dr. Knowles could see them going to the
house beyond, talking earnestly. He sat down in the darkening twilight
on the stile, and waited half an hour. He did not care to hear the story
of Margaret's first day at the mill, knowing how her father and mother
would writhe under it, soften it as she would. It was nothing to her,
he knew. So he waited. After a while he heard the old man's laugh, like
that of a pleased child, and then went in and took her place beside him.
She went out, but came back presently, every grain of dust gone, in her
clear dress of pearl gray. The neutral tint suited her well. As she
stood by the window, listening gravely to them, the homely face and
waiting figure came into full relief. Nature had made this woman in a
freak of rare sincerity. There were no reflected lights about her: no
gloss on her skin, no glitter in her eyes, no varnish on her soul.
Simple and dark and pure, there she was, for God and her master alone to
conquer and understand. Her flesh was cold and colorless,--there were no
surface tints on it,--it warmed sometimes slowly from far within; her
voice was quiet,--out of her heart; her hair, the only beauty of the
woman, was lustreless brown, lay in unpolished folds of dark shadow. I
saw such hair once, only once. It had been cut from the head of a man,
who, quiet and simple as a child, lived out the law of his nature, and
set the world at defiance,--Bysshe Shelley.

The Doctor, talking to her father, watched the girl furtively, took in
every point, as one might critically survey a Damascus blade which he
was going to carry into battle. There was neither love nor scorn in
his look,--a mere fixedness of purpose to make use of her some day. He
talked, meanwhile, glancing at her now and then, as if the subject they
discussed were indirectly linked with his plan for her. If it were, she
was unconscious of it. She sat on the wooden step of the porch, looking
out on the melancholy sweep of meadow and hill range growing cool and
dimmer in the dun twilight, not hearing what they said, until the
sharpened, earnest tones roused her.

"You will fail, Knowles."

It was her father who spoke.

"Nothing can save such a scheme from failure. Neither the French nor
German Socialists attempted to base their systems on the lowest class,
as you design."

"I know," said Knowles. "That accounts for their partial success."

"Let me understand your plan practically," eagerly demanded her father.

She thought Knowles evaded the question,--wished to leave the subject.
Perhaps he did not regard the poor old schoolmaster as a practical judge
of practical matters. All his life he had called him thriftless and

"It never will do, Knowles," he went on in his slow way. "Any plan,
Phalanstery or Community, call it what you please, founded on
self-government, is based on a sham, the tawdriest of shams."

The old schoolmaster shook his head as one who knows, and tried to push
the thin gray hairs out of his eyes in a groping way. Margaret lifted
them back so quietly that he did not feel her.

"You'll call the Republic a sham next!" said the Doctor, coolly

"The Republic!" The old man quickened his tone, like a war-horse
scenting the battle near at hand. "There never was a thinner-crusted
Devil's egg in the world than democracy. I think I've told you that

"I think you have," said the other, dryly.

"You always were a Tory, Mr. Howth," said his wife, in her placid,
creamy way. "It is in the blood, I think, Doctor. The Howths fought
under Cornwallis, you know."

The schoolmaster waited until his wife had ended.

"Very true, Mrs. Howth," he said, with a grave smile. Then his thin face
grew hot again.

"No, Dr. Knowles. Your scheme is but a sign of the mad age we live
in. Since the thirteenth century, when the anarchic element sprang
full-grown into the history of humanity, that history has been chaos.
And this republic is the culmination of chaos."

"Out of chaos came the new-born earth," suggested the Doctor.

"But its foundations were granite," rejoined the old man with nervous
eagerness,--"granite, not the slime of yesterday. When you found
empires, go to work as God worked."

The Doctor did not answer; sat looking, instead, out into the dark
indifferently, as if the heresies which the old man hurled at him were
some old worn-out song. Seeing, however, that the schoolmaster's flush
of enthusiasm seemed on the point of dying out, he roused himself to
gibe it into life.

"Well, Mr. Howth, what will you have? If the trodden rights of the human
soul are the slime of yesterday, how shall we found our empire to last?
On despotism? Civil or theocratic?"

"Any despotism is better than that of newly enfranchised serfs," replied
the schoolmaster.

The Doctor laughed.

"What a successful politician you would have made! You would have had
such a winning way to the hearts of the great unwashed!"

Mrs. Howth laid down her knitting.

"My dear," she said, timidly, "I think that is treason."

The angry heat died out of his face instantly, as he turned to her,
without the glimmer of a covert smile at her simplicity. She was a
woman; and when he spoke to the Doctor, it was in a tone less sharp.

"What is it the boys used to declaim, their Yankee hearts throbbing
under their roundabouts? 'Happy, proud America!' Somehow in that way.
'Cursed, abased America!' better if they had said. Look at her, in the
warm vigor of her youth, most vigorous in decay! Look at the dregs of
nations, creeds, religions, fermenting together! As for the theory
of self-government, it will muddle down here, as in the three great
archetypes of the experiment, into a puling, miserable failure!"

The Doctor did not hear. Some sharper shadow seemed to haunt him than
the downfall of the Republic. What help did he seek in this girl? His
keen, deep eyes never left her unconscious face.

"No," Mr. Howth went on, having the field to himself,--"we left Order
back there in the ages you call dark, and Progress will trumpet the
world into the ditch."

"Comte!" growled the Doctor.

The schoolmaster's cane beat an angry tattoo on the hearth.

"You sneer at Comte? Because, having the clearest eye, the widest
sweeping eye ever given to man, he had no more? It was to show how far
flesh can go alone. Could he help it, if God refused the prophet's

"I'm sure, Samuel," interrupted his wife with a sorrowful earnestness,
"your own eyes were as strong as a man's could be. It was ten years
after I wore spectacles that you began. Only for that miserable fever,
you could read short-hand now."

Her own quiet eyes filled with tears. There was a sudden silence.
Margaret shivered, as if some pain stung her. Holding her father's bony
hand in hers, she patted it on her knee. The hand trembled a little.
Knowles's sharp eyes darted from one to the other; then, with a
smothered growl, he shook himself, and rushed headlong into the old
battle which he and the schoolmaster had been waging now, off and on,
some six years. That was a fight, I can tell you! None of your shallow,
polite clashing of modern theories,--no talk of your Jeffersonian
Democracy, your high-bred Federalism! They took hold of the matter by
the roots, clear at the beginning.

Mrs. Howth's breath fairly left her, they went into the soul of the
matter in such a dangerous way. What if Joel should hear? No doubt he
would report that his master was an infidel,--that would be the next
thing they would hear. He was in the kitchen now: he finished his
wood-chopping an hour ago. Asleep, doubtless; that was one comfort.
Well, if he were awake, he could not understand. That class of
people----And Mrs. Howth (into whose kindly brain just enough of her
husband's creed had glimmered to make her say, "that class of people,"
in the tone with which Abraham would _not_ have spoken of Dives over the
gulf) went tranquilly back to her knitting, wondering why Dr. Knowles
should come ten times now where he used to come once, to provoke Samuel
into these wearisome arguments. Ever since their misfortune came on
them, he had been there every night, always at it. She should think he
might be a little more considerate. Mr. Howth surely had enough to think
of, what with his--his misfortune, and the starvation waiting for them,
and poor Margaret's degradation, (she sighed here,) without bothering
his head about the theocratic principle, or the Battle of Armageddon.
She had hinted as much to Dr. Knowles one day, and he had muttered out
something about its being "the life of the dog, Ma'am." She wondered
what he meant by that! She looked over at his bearish figure,
snuff-drabbled waistcoat, and shock of black hair. Well, poor man,
he could not help it, if he were coarse, and an Abolitionist, and
a Fourierite, and----She was getting a little muddy now, she was
conscious, so turned her mind back to the repose of her stocking.
Margaret took it very quietly, seeing her father flaming so. But
Margaret never had any opinions to express. She was not like the
Parnells: they were noted for their clear judgment. Mrs. Howth was a

"The combat deepens,--on, ye brave!"

The Doctor's fat, leathery face was quite red now, and his sentences
were hurled out in a sarcastic bass, enough to wither the marrow of a
weak man. But the schoolmaster was no weak man. His foot was entirely on
his native heath, I assure you. He knew every inch of the ground, from
the domination of the absolute faith in the ages of Fetichism, to its
pseudo-presentment in the tenth century, and its actual subversion in
the nineteenth. Every step. Our politicians might have picked up an idea
or two there, I should think! Then he was so cool about it, so skilful!
He fairly rubbed his hands with glee, enjoying the combat. And he was so
sure that the Doctor was savagely in earnest: why, any one with half an
ear could hear that! He did not see how, in the very heat of the fray,
his eyes would wander off listlessly. But Mr. Howth did not wander;
there was nothing careless or two-sided in the making of this man,--no
sham about him, or borrowing. They came down gradually, or out,--for, as
I told you, they dug into the very heart of the matter at first,--they
came out gradually to modern times. Things began to assume a more
familiar aspect. Spinoza, Fichte, Saint Simon,--one heard about them
now. If you could but have heard the schoolmaster deal with these his
enemies! With what tender charity for the man, what relentless vengeance
for the belief, he pounced on them, dragging the soul out of their
systems, holding it up for slow slaughter! As for Humanity, (how Knowles
lingered on that word, with a tenderness curious in so uncouth a mass of
flesh!)--as for Humanity, it was a study to see it stripped and flouted
and thrown out of doors like a filthy rag by this poor old Howth, a man
too child-hearted to kill a spider. It was pleasanter to hear him when
he defended the great Past in which his ideal truth had been faintly
shadowed. How he caught the salient tints of the feudal life! How the
fine womanly nature of the man rose exulting in the free picturesque
glow of the day of crusader and heroic deed! How he crowded in traits of
perfected manhood in the conqueror, simple trust in the serf, to color
and weaken his argument, not seeing that he weakened it! How, when he
thought he had cornered the Doctor, he would color and laugh like a boy,
then suddenly check himself, lest he might wound him! A curious laugh,
genial, cheery,--bubbling out of his weak voice in a way that put you in
mind of some old and rare wine. When he would check himself in one of
these triumphant glows, he would turn to the Doctor with a deprecatory
gravity, and for a few moments be almost submissive in his reply. So
earnest and worn it looked then, the poor old face, in the dim light!
The black clothes he wore were so threadbare and shining at the knees
and elbows, the coarse leather shoes brought to so fine a polish! The
Doctor idly wondered who had blacked them, glancing at Margaret's

There was a flower stuck in the buttonhole of the schoolmaster's coat, a
pale tea-rose. If Dr. Knowles had been a man of fine instincts, (which
his opaque shining eyes would seem to deny,) he might have thought it
was not unapt or ill-placed even in the shabby, scuffed coat. A scholar,
a gentleman, though in patched shoes and trousers a world too short. Old
and gaunt, hunger-bitten even it may be, with loose-jointed, bony limbs,
and yellow face; clinging, loyal and brave, to the knightly honor, to
the quaint, delicate fancies of his youth, that were dust and ashes to
other men. In the very haggard face you could find the quiet purity of
the child he had been, and the old child's smile, fresh and credulous,
on the mouth.

The Doctor had not spoken for a moment. It might be that he was careless
of the poetic lights with which Mr. Howth tenderly decorated his old
faith, or it might be that even he, with the terrible intentness of a
real life-purpose in his brain, was touched by the picture of the far
old chivalry, dead long ago. The master's voice grew low and lingering
now. It was a labor of love, this. Oh, it is so easy to go back out of
the broil of dust and meanness and barter into the clear shadow of that
old life where love and bravery stand eternal verities,--never to be
bought and sold in that dusty town yonder! To go back? To dream back,
rather. To drag out of our own hearts, as the hungry old master did,
whatever is truest and highest there, and clothe it with name and deed
in the dim days of chivalry. Make a poem of it,--so much easier than to
make a life!

Knowles shuffled uneasily, watching the girl keenly, to know how the
picture touched her. Was, then, she thought, this grand dead Past so
shallow to him? These knights, pure, unstained, searching until death
for the Holy Greal, could he understand the life-long agony, the triumph
of their conflict over Self? These women, content to live in solitude
forever because they once had loved, could any man understand that?
Or the dead queen, dead that the man she loved might be free and
happy,--why, this _was_ life,--this death! But did pain, and martyrdom,
and victory lie back in the days of Galahad and Arthur alone? The
homely face grew stiller than before, looking out into the dun sweep of
moorland,--cold, unrevealing. It baffled the man that looked at it. He
shuffled, chewed tobacco vehemently, tilted his chair on two legs, broke
out in a thunder-gust at last.

"Dead days for dead men! The world hears a bugle-call to-day more noble
than any of your piping troubadours. We have something better to fight
for than a vacant tomb."

The old man drew himself up haughtily.

"I know what you would say,--Liberty for the low and vile. It is a
good word. That was a better which they hid in their hearts in the old

Honor! I think, Calvinist though he was, that word was his religion. Men
have had worse. Perhaps the Doctor thought this; for he rose abruptly,
and, leaning on the old man's chair, said, gently,--

"It is better, even here. Yet you poison this child's mind. You make her
despise To-Day; make honor live for her now."

"It does not," the schoolmaster said, bitterly. "The world's a failure.
All the great old dreams are dead. Your own phantom, your Republic, your
experiment to prove that all men are born free and equal,--what is it

Knowles lifted his head, looking out into the brown twilight. Some word
of pregnant meaning flashed in his eye and trembled on his lip; but he
kept it back. His face glowed, though, and the glow and strength gave to
the huge misshapen features a grand repose.

"You talk of To-Day," the old man continued, querulously. "I am tired of
it. Here is its type and history," touching a county newspaper,--"a fair
type, with its cant, and bigotry, and weight of uncomprehended
fact. Bargain and sale,--it taints our religion, our brains, our
flags,--yours and mine, Knowles, with the rest. Did you never hear of
those abject spirits who entered neither heaven nor hell, who were
neither faithful to God nor rebellious, caring only for themselves?"

He paused, fairly out of breath. Margaret looked up. Knowles was
silent. There was a smothered look of pain on the coarse face; the
schoolmaster's words were sinking deeper than he knew.

"No, father," said Margaret, hastily ending his quotation, "'_io non
averei creduto, che [vita] tanta n' avesse disfatta._'"

Skilful Margaret! The broil must have been turbid in the old man's brain
which the grand, slow-stepping music of the Florentine could not calm.
She had learned that long ago, and used it as a nurse does some old song
to quiet her pettish infant. His face brightened instantly.

"Do not believe, then, child," he said, after a pause. "It is a noble
doubt in Dante or in you."

The Doctor had turned away; she could not see his face. The angry scorn
was gone from the old master's countenance; it was bent with its
usual wistful quiet on the floor. A moment after he looked up with a
flickering smile.

"'_Onorate l' altissimo poeta!_'" he said, gently lifting his finger to
his forehead in a military fashion. "Where is my cane, Margaret? The
Doctor and I will go and walk on the porch before it grows dark."

The sun had gone down long before, and the stars were out; but no one
spoke of this. Knowles lighted the schoolmaster's pipe and his own
cigar, and then moved the chairs out of their way, stepping softly that
the old man might not hear him. Margaret, in the room, watched them as
they went, seeing how gentle the rough, burly man was with her father,
and how, every time they passed the sweet-brier, he bent the branches
aside, that they might not touch his face. Slow, childish tears came
into her eyes as she saw it; for the schoolmaster was blind. This had
been their regular walk every evening, since it grew too cold for them
to go down under the lindens. The Doctor had not missed a night since
her father gave up the school, a month ago: at first, under pretence of
attending to his eyes; but since the day he had told them there was no
hope of cure, he had never spoken of it again. Only, since then, he had
grown doubly quarrelsome,--standing ready armed to dispute with the old
man every inch of every subject in earth or air, keeping the old man in
a state of boyish excitement during the long, idle days, looking forward
to this nightly battle.

It was very still; for the house, with its half-dozen acres, lay in an
angle of the hills, looking out on the river, which shut out all
distant noises. Only the men's footsteps broke the silence, passing
and repassing the window. Without, the October starlight lay white and
frosty on the moors, the old barn, the sharp, dark hills, and the river,
which was half hidden by the orchard. One could hear it, like some huge
giant moaning in his sleep, at times, and see broad patches of steel
blue glittering through the thick apple-trees and the bushes. Her mother
had fallen into a doze. Margaret looked at her, thinking how sallow the
plump, fair face had grown, and how faded the kindly blue eyes were now.
Dim with crying,--she knew that, though she never saw her shed a tear.
Always cheery and quiet, going placidly about the house in her gray
dress and Quaker cap, as if there were no such things in the world as
debt or blindness. But Margaret knew, though she said nothing. When her
mother came in from those wonderful foraging expeditions in search of
late pease or corn, she could see the swollen circle round the eyes,
and hear her breath like that of a child which has sobbed itself tired.
Then, one night, when she had gone late into her mother's room, the blue
eyes were set in a wild, hopeless way, as if staring down into years of
starvation and misery. The fire on the hearth burned low and clear; the
old worn furniture stood out cheerfully in the red glow, and threw a
maze of twisted shadow on the floor. But the glow was all that was
cheerful. To-morrow, when the hard daylight should jeer away the
screening shadows, it would unbare a desolate, shabby home. She knew;
struck with the white leprosy of poverty; the blank walls, the faded
hangings, the old stone house itself, looking vacantly out on the fields
with a pitiful significance of loss. Upon the mantel-shelf there was a
small marble figure, one of the Dancing Graces: the other two were gone,
gone in pledge. This one was left, twirling her foot, and stretching out
her hands in a dreary sort of ecstasy, with no one to respond. For a
moment, so empty and bitter seemed her home and her life, that she
thought the lonely dancer with her flaunting joy mocked her,--taunted
them with the slow, gray desolation that had been creeping on them for
years. Only for a moment the morbid fancy hurt her.

The red glow was healthier, suited her temperament better. She chose to
fancy the house as it had been once,--should be again, please God.
She chose to see the old comfort and the old beauty which the poor
schoolmaster had gathered about their home. Gone now. But it should
return. It was well, perhaps, that he was blind, he knew so little of
what had come on them. There, where the black marks were on the wall,
there had hung two pictures. Margaret and her father religiously
believed them to be a Tintoret and Copley. Well, they were gone now. He
had been used to dust them with a light brush every morning, himself,
but now he said,--

"You can clean the pictures to-day, Margaret. Be careful, my child."

And Margaret would remember the greasy Irishman who had tucked them
under his arm, and flung them into a cart, her blood growing hotter in
her veins.

It was the same through all the house; there was not a niche in the bare
rooms that did not recall a something gone,--something that should
return. She willed that, that evening, standing by the dim fire. What
women will, whose eyes are slow, attentive, still, as this Margaret's,
usually comes to pass.

The red fire-glow suited her; another glow, warming her floating fancy,
mingled with it, giving her quiet purpose the trait of heroism. The
old spirit of the dead chivalry, of succor to the weak, life-long
self-denial,--did it need the sand waste of Palestine or a tournament to
call it into life? Down in that trading town, in the thick of its mills
and drays, it could live, she thought. That very night, perhaps, in some
of those fetid cellars or sunken shanties, there were vigils kept of
purpose as unselfish, prayer as heaven-commanding, as that of the old
aspirants for knighthood. She, too,--her quiet face stirred with a
simple, childish smile, like her father's.

"Why, mother!" she said, stroking down the gray hair under the cap,
"shall you sleep here all night?" laughing.

A cheery, tender laugh, this woman's was,--seldom heard,--not far from

Mrs. Howth roused herself. Just then, a broad, high-shouldered man, in
a gray flannel shirt, and shoes redolent of the stable, appeared at the
door. Margaret looked at him as if he were an accusing spirit,--coming
down, as every woman must, from heights of self-renunciation or bold
resolve, to an undarned stocking or an uncooked meal.

"Kittle's b'ilin'," he announced, flinging in the information as a
general gratuity.

"That will do, Joel," said Mrs. Howth.

The tone of stately blandness which Mrs. Howth erected as a shield
between herself and "that class of people" was a study: a success, I
think; the _resume_ of her experience in the combat that had devoured
half her life, like that of other American housekeepers. "Be gentle,
but let them know their place, my dear!" The class having its type and
exponent in Joel stopped at the door, and hitched up its suspenders.

"That will _do_, Joel," with a stern suavity.

Some idea was in Joel's head under the brush of red hair,--probably the
"anarchic element."

"Uh was wishin' toh read the G'zette." Whereupon he advanced into the
teeth of the enemy and bore off the newspaper, going before Margaret,
as she went to the kitchen, and seating himself beside a flaring
tallow-candle on the table.

Reading, with Joel, was not the idle pastime that more trivial minds
find it: a thing, on the contrary, to be gone into with slow spelling,
and face knitted up into savage sternness, especially now, when, as he
gravely explained to Margaret, "in _his_ opinion the crissis was jest at
hand, and ev'ry man must be seein' ef the gover'ment was carryin' out
the views of the people."

With which intent, Joel, in company with five thousand other sovereigns,
consulted, as definitive oracle, "The Daily Gazette" of Towbridge. The
schoolmaster need not have grumbled for the old time: feudality in the
days of Warwick and of "The Daily Gazette" was not so widely different
as he and Joel thought.

Now and then, partly as an escape-valve for his overcharged conviction,
partly in compassion to the ignorance of women in political economics,
he threw off to Margaret divers commentaries on the text, as she passed
in and out.

If she had risen to the full level of Joel's views, she might have
considered these views tinctured with radicalism, as they consisted in
the propriety of the immediate "impinging of the President." Besides,
(Joel was a good-natured man, too, merciful to his beast,) Nero-like, he
wished, with the tiger drop of blood that lies hid in everybody's heart,
that the few millions who differed with himself and the "Gazette" had
but one neck for their more convenient hanging. "It's all that'll save
the kentry," he said, and believed it, too.

If Margaret fell suddenly from the peak of outlook on life to the
homely labor of cooking supper, some of the healthy heroic flush of
the knightly days and the hearth-fire went down with her, I think. It
brightened and reddened the square kitchen with its cracked stove and
meagre array of tins; she bustled about in her quaint way, as if it
had been filled up and running over with comforts. It brightened and
reddened her face when she came in to put the last dish on the table,--a
cozy, snug table, set for four. Heroic dreams with poets, I suppose,
make them unfit for food other than some feast such as Eve set for the
angel. But then Margaret was no poet. So, with the kindling of her hope,
its healthful light struck out, and warmed and glorified these common
things. Such common things! Only a coarse white cloth, redeemed by
neither silver nor china, the amber coffee, (some that Knowles had
brought out to her father,--"thrown on his hands; he couldn't use
it,--product of slave-labor!--never, Sir!") the delicate brown fish that
Joel had caught, the bread her mother had made, the golden butter,--all
of them touched her nerves with a quick sense of beauty and pleasure.
And more, the gaunt face of the blind old man, his bony hand trembling
as he raised the cup to his lips, her mother and the Doctor managing
silently to place everything he liked best near his plate. Wasn't it
all part of the fresh, hopeful glow burning in her consciousness? It
brightened and deepened. It blotted out the hard, dusty path of the
future, and showed warm and clear the success at the end. Not much
to show, you think. Only the old home as it once was, full of quiet
laughter and content; only her mother's eyes clear shining again; only
that gaunt old head raised proudly, owing no man anything but courtesy.
The glow deepened, as she thought of it. It was strange, too, that, with
the deep, slow-moving nature of this girl, she should have striven so
eagerly to throw this light over the future. Commoner natures have done
more and hoped less. It was a poor gift, you think, this of the labor of
a life for so plain a duty; hardly heroic. She knew it. Yet, if there
lay in this coming labor any pain, any wearing effort, she clung to it
desperately, as if this should banish, it might be, worse loss. She
tried desperately, I say, to clutch the far, uncertain hope at the end,
to make happiness out of it, to give it to her silent hungry heart to
feed on. She thrust out of sight all possible life that might have
called her true self into being, and clung to this present shallow duty
and shallow reward. Pitiful and vain so to cling! It is the way of
women. As if any human soul could bury that which might have been in
that which is!

The Doctor, peering into her thought with sharp, suspicious eyes, heeded
the transient flush of enthusiasm but little. Even the pleasant cheery
talk that pleased her father so was but surface-deep, he knew. The woman
he must conquer for his great end lay beneath, dark and cold. It was
only for that end he cared for her. Through what cold depths of solitude
her soul breathed faintly mattered little. Yet an idle fancy touched
him, what a triumph the man had gained, whoever he might be, who had
held the master-key to a nature so rare as this, who had the kingly
power in his hand to break its silence into electric shivers of laughter
and tears,--terrible subtle pain, or joy as terrible. Did he hold the
power still, he wondered? Meanwhile she sat there quiet, unread.

The evening came on, slow and cold. Life itself, the Doctor thought,
impatiently, was cool and tardy here among the hills. Even he fell into
the tranquil tone, and chafed under it. Nowhere else did the evening
gray and sombre into the mysterious night impalpably as here. The quiet,
wide and deep, folded him in, forced his trivial heat into silence and
thought. The world seemed to think there. Quiet in the dead seas of fog,
that filled the valleys like restless vapor curdled into silence; quiet
in the listening air, stretching gray up to the stars,--in the solemn
mountains, that stood motionless, like hoary-headed prophets, waiting
with uplifted hands, day and night, to hear the Voice, silent now
for centuries; the very air, heavy with the breath of the sleeping
pine-forests, moved slowly and cold, like some human voice weary with
preaching to unbelieving hearts of a peace on earth. This man's heart
was unbelieving; he chafed in the oppressive quiet; it was unfeeling
mockery to a sick and hungry world,--a dead torpor of indifference.
Years of hot and turbid pain had dulled his eyes to the eternal secret
of the night; his soul was too sore with stumbling, stung, inflamed with
the needs and suffering of the countless lives that hemmed him in, to
accept the great prophetic calm. He was blind to the prophecy written on
the earth since the day God first bade it tell thwarted man of the great

He turned from the night in-doors. Human hearts were his proper study.
The old house, he thought, slept with the rest. One did not wonder that
the pendulum of the clock swung long and slow. The frantic, nervous
haste of town-clocks chorded better with the pulse of human life. Yet
life in the veins of these people flowed slow and cool; their sorrows
and joys were few and life-long. The slow, enduring air suited this
woman, Margaret Howth. Her blood could never ebb or flow with sudden
gusts of passion, like his own, throbbing, heating continually: one
current, absorbing, deep, would carry its tide from one eternity to the
other, one love or one hate. Whatever power was in the tide should
be his, in its entirety. It was his right. Was not his aim high, the
highest? It was his right.

Margaret, looking up, saw the man's intolerant eye fixed on her. She met
it coolly. All her short life, this strange man, so tender to the weak,
had watched her with a sort of savage scorn, sneering at her apathy, her
childish, dreamy quiet, driving her from effort to effort with a scourge
of impatient contempt. What did he want now with her? Her duty was
light; she took it up,--she was glad to take it up; what more would he
have? She put the whole matter away from her.

It grew late. She sat down by the lamp and began to read to her father,
as usual. Her mother put away her knitting; Joel came in half-asleep;
the Doctor put out his everlasting cigar, and listened, as he did
everything else, intently. It was an old story that she read,--the story
of a man who walked the fields and crowded streets of Galilee eighteen
hundred years ago. Knowles, with his heated brain, fancied that the
silence without in the night grew deeper, that the slow-moving air
stopped in its course to listen. Perhaps the simple story carried a
deeper meaning to these brooding mountains and this solemn sky than to
the purblind hearts within. It was a dim, far-off story to them,--very
far off. The old schoolmaster heard it with a lowered head, with the
proud obedience with which a cavalier would receive his leader's orders.
Was not the leader a knight, the knight of truest courage? All that was
high, chivalric in the old man sprang up to own him Lord. That he not
only preached to, but ate and drank with publicans and sinners, was a
requirement of his mission; nowadays----. Joel heard the "good word"
with a bewildered consciousness of certain rules of honesty to be
observed the next day, and a maze of crowns and harps shining somewhere
beyond. As for any immediate connection between the teachings of this
book and "The Daily Gazette," it was pure blasphemy to think of it. The
Lord held those old Jews in His hand, of course; but as for the election
next month, that was quite another thing. If Joel thrust the history out
of the touch of common life, the Doctor brought it down, and held it
there on trial. To him it was the story of a Reformer who had served
his day. Could he serve this day? Could he? The need was desperate. Was
there anything in this Christianity, freed from bigotry, to work out
the awful problem which the ages had left for America to solve? People
called this old Knowles an infidel, said his brain was as unnatural and
distorted as his body. God, looking down into his heart that night, saw
the fierce earnestness of the man to know the truth, and judged him with
other eyes than ours.

When the girl had finished reading, she went out and stood in the cool
air. The Doctor passed her without notice. The story stood alive in his
throbbing brain, demanding a hearing; it stood there always, needing but
a touch to waken it. All things were real to this man, this uncouth mass
of flesh that his companions sneered at; most real of all the unhelped
pain of life, the great seething mire of dumb wretchedness in our
streets and alleys, the cry for aid from the starved souls of the world.
You and I have other work to do than to listen,--pleasanter. But this
man, coming out of the mire, his veins thick with the blood of a
despised race, had carried up their pain and hunger with him: it was the
most real thing on earth to him,--more real than his own share in the
unseen heaven or hell. By the reality, the peril of the world's instant
need, he tried the offered help from Calvary. It was the work of years,
not of this night. Perhaps, if they who preach Christ crucified had
first doubted and tried him as this man did, their place in the coming
heaven might be higher,--and ours, who hear them.

He went, in his lumbering way, down the hill into the city. He was glad
to go back; the trustful, waiting quiet oppressed, taunted him. It sent
him back more mad against Destiny, his heart more bitter in its
great pity. Let him go back into the great city, with its stifling
gambling-hells, its negro-pens, its foul cellars. It is his place and
work. If he stumble blindly against unconquerable ills, and die, others
have so stumbled and so died. Do you think their work is lost?

* * * * *


Time is a lowly peasant, with whom bred
Are sons of kings, of an immortal race.
Their garb to their condition they debase,
Eat of his fare, make on his straw their bed,
Conversing, use his homely dialect,
(Giving the words some meaning of their own,)
Till, half forgetting purple, sceptre, throne,
Themselves his children mere they nigh suspect.
And when, divinely moved, one goes away,
His royal right and glory to resume,
Loss of his rags appears his life's decay,
He weeps, and his companions mourn his doom.
Yet doth a voice in every bosom say,
"So perish buds while bursting into bloom."


In the year 1745 Charles Edward Stuart landed in the wilds of Moidart
and set up the standard of rebellion. The Kingdom of Scotland was then,
in nearly all but political rights, an independent nation. A very large
part of its population was of different blood from that of the southern
portion of the British Island. The Highland clans were as distinct in
manners, disposition, and race from their English neighbors as are the
Indian tribes remaining in our midst from the men of Massachusetts and
New York. They held to the old religion, the cardinal principle of which
is to admit the right of no other form, and which never has obtained the
upper hand without immediately attempting to put down all rivalry. They
were devotedly attached to their chiefs. They represented a patriarchal
system. They lived by means of a little agriculture and a great deal of
plunder. They were bred to arms, and despised every other calling. The
whole country of Scotland was possessed with an inextinguishable spirit
of nationality, stronger than that of Hungary or Poland. They were
traditional allies of France, the hereditary foe of England. Seven
hundred years of fighting had filled the border-land with battle-fields,
some of glorious and some of mournful memory, on which the Cross of
Saint Andrew had been matched against that of Saint George. Some of the
noblest families of the realm had won their knightly spurs and their
ancient earldoms by warlike prowess against the Southron. Flodden and
Bannockburn were household words, as potent as Agincourt and Cressy. Nor
had the conduct of the House of Hanover been such as to conciliate the
unwilling people. There was known to be a widespread disaffection even
in England to the German princes. These had governed their adopted for
the benefit of their native country. The sentiment of many counties was
thoroughly Jacobite. A corrupt and venal administration was filled with
secret adherents of the king over the water. One great university was in
sympathy with the fallen dynasty. A large part of the Church was imbued
with doctrines of divine right and passive obedience, of which the only
logical conclusion was the return of the Stuarts.

Between the two countries there was an antagonism of customs, of
manners, of character, more marked, more offensively displayed, and
breeding more rancorous hatred than any which can now exist between the
people of Boston and Charleston, between the Knickerbockers of New
York and the Creoles of New Orleans. A Scotchman was to the South a
comprehensive name for a greedy, beggarly adventurer, knavish and
money-loving to the last degree, full of absurd pride of pedigree,
clannish and cold-blooded, vindictive as a Corsican, and treacherous
as a modern Greek. An Englishman was to the North a bullying, arrogant
coward,--purse-proud, yet cringing to rank,--without loyalty and without
sentiment,--given over to mere material interests, not comprehending the
idea of honor, and believing, as the fortieth of his religious articles,
that any injury, even to a blow, could be compensated by money.

Into an island thus divided the heir of the ancient family to whom in
undoubted right of legitimacy the crown belonged, a young, gallant, and
handsome prince, had thrown himself with a chivalrous confidence
that touched every heart. There was every reason to suppose that the
interests of England's powerful enemy across the Channel were secretly
pledged to sustain his cause. Scotland was soon ablaze with sympathy and
devotion. The Prince advanced on Edinburgh. The city opened its gates.
He was acknowledged, and held his court in the old Palace of Holyrood,
where generation after generation of Stuarts had maintained their state.
The castle alone, closely beleaguered, held out like our own Sumter in
the centre of rebellion. A battle was fought almost beneath the walls of
the Scotch capital, and the first great army upon which the English hope
depended was ignominiously routed. A portion of the soldiery fled in
disgraceful panic; those who stood were cut to pieces by the charges
of a fiery valor against which discipline seemed powerless. The border
fortress of Carlisle was soon after taken. Liverpool, not the great
commercial port it now is, but of rising importance, and Manchester,
were menaced. Even London was in dismay. Men like Horace Walpole wrote
to their friends of a retreat to the garrets of Hanover. The funds fell.
The leading minister had been a man of eminently pacific policy, whose
chief state-maxim was _Quieta non movere_, and was taken by surprise.
There are many historians and students of history who now admit,
in looking back upon those times, that the fate of the established
government hung upon a thread, and that the daring advance of the
Pretender followed by another victory might have converted him into a
Possessor and Defender. Had any one then asked as to the possibilities
of a reconstruction of the severed Union, the answer would probably
have been not much unlike the predictions of the croakers of to-day who
clamor for acceptance of the Davisian olive-branch and an acknowledgment
of the fact of Secession. Yet the strength of numbers, of means, and of
public sentiment was altogether on the English side. Though paralyzed
somewhat by the sense of private treachery, with the feeling that all
branches of the public service were harboring men of doubtful loyalty,
and the knowledge that a great body of "submissionists" were ready
to acquiesce in the course of events, whatever that might be, the
Government prepared for an unconditional resistance. _From the outset
they treated it as a rebellion, and the adherents of the Stuarts as
rebels_. Time, the ablest of generals and wisest of statesmen, happened
to be on their side. The Pretender turned northward from Derby, and on
the field of Culloden the last hope of the exiled house was forever
broken. Yet it would even then seem as if reconstruction had been
rendered impossible. The Chevalier escaped to France, guarded by the
fond loyalty of men and women who defied alike torture and temptation.
While he lived, or the family remained, the danger continued to threaten
England, and the heart of Scotland to be fevered with a secret hope.
The old conflict of nationalities had been terribly envenomed by the
cruelties of Cumberland and the license of the conquering troops. There
was the same temptation ever lurking at the ear of France to whisper new
assaults upon England. Ireland was held as a subjugated province, and
was in a state of chronic discontent. To either wing of the British
empire, alliance with, nay, submission to France, was considered
preferable to remaining in the Union.

Thus far we have been looking at probabilities from the stand-point of
their times. There is a curious parallelism in the essentials of that
conflict with the present attempt to elevate King Cotton to the throne
of this Republic. It is close enough to show that the same great
rules have hitherto governed human action with unerring fidelity. The
Government displayed at the outset the same vacillation; the people were
apparently as thoroughly indifferent to the Hanoverian cause as the
Northern merchants, before the fall of Sumter, to the prosperity of
Lincoln's administration. The Russell of 1745, writing to the French
court his views of the public sentiment of England and especially of
London, probably gave an account of it not very dissimilar to that
which the Russell of 1861 wrote to the London "Times" after his first
encounter with the feeling of New York. There were doubtless the same
assurances on the part of confident partisans that the whole framework
of the British government would crumble at the first attack. There were,
too, the same extravagant alarms, the same wild misrepresentations, the
same volunteer enthusiasm on the part of loyal subjects a little
later on in the history. There was on the part of the rebels the same
confidence in the justice of their cause, the same utter blindness to
results, as in the devotees of Slavery. There was then, as now, an
educated and cultivated set of plotters, moved by personal ambition,
swaying with almost absolute power the minds of an ignorant and
passionate class. It was the combat so often begun in the world, yet so
inevitably ending always in the same way, between misguided enthusiasm
and the great public conviction of the value of order, security, and

The enmity seemed hopeless; the insurrection was a smouldering fire,
put out in one corner only to be renewed in another. If Virginia is a
country in which a guerrilla resistance can be indefinitely prolonged,
it is more open than the plains of Holland in comparison with
the Highlands of that era. Few Lowlanders had ever penetrated
them,--scarcely an Englishman. It was supposed that in those impregnable
fastnesses an army of hundreds might defy the thousands of the crown. At
Killiecrankie, Dundee and his Highlanders had beaten a well-appointed
and superior force. Dundee had himself been repulsed by a handful of
Covenanters at Loudoun Heath through the strength of their position.
Montrose had carried on a partisan war against apparently hopeless odds.
To overrun England might be a mad ambition, but to stand at bay in
Scotland was a thing which had been again and again attempted with no
inconsiderable success.

The rebellion failed, and there were several causes for the failure:
Dissensions among the rebels, the want of efficient aid from France,
the want of money, _and the conviction of a large part of the Scots
themselves of the value of the Union_. The rebellion failed, and sullen
submission to confiscation, military cruelty, and political proscription

On Sunday, the 18th of June, 1815, not quite seventy years after, there
charged side by side upon the _elite_ of a French army, with the men of
London, the Highlanders and Irish. A descendant of Cameron of Lochiel
fell leading them on. The last spark of Jacobite enthusiasm and Scottish
hatred of Englishmen had died out years before. Those who witnessed the
entry of the Chevalier into Edinburgh lived to see the whole nation
devouring with enthusiasm the novel of "Waverley,"--so entirely had the
bitterness of what had happened "sixty years since" passed from their

We have thus selected two points of history as the short answer to the
cry, "You can never reconstruct the Union," which History, the impartial
judge on the bench, pronounces to the wranglers at the bar below.
"Never" is a long word to speak, if it be a short one to spell. Events
move fast, and the logic of Fate is more convincing than the arguments
of daily editors. The "_tout arrive en France_" is true of the world in
general, so far as relates to isolated circumstances. The very fact that
a threatened disruption of our Union has been possible ought to forbid
any one from concluding that reconstruction, or rather restoration, is
impossible. Twenty years after the Battle of Culloden, Jacobitism was a
dream; fifty years after, it was a memory; a century after, it was an
antiquarian study.

The real question we are to ask concerning the present rebellion, and
the only one which is of importance, is, What is it based upon? an
eternal or an arbitrary principle? An eternal principle renews itself
till it succeeds,--if not in one century, then in another. An arbitrary
principle makes its fierce fight and then is slain, and men bury it as
soon as they can. The Stuarts represented an arbitrary principle. They
were the impersonation of unconstitutional power. Hereditary right
they had, and the Hanoverians had not. According to Mr. Thackeray, and
according to the strictest fact, we suspect the Georges were no
more personally estimable than the Jameses, and they were far less
kingly-mannered. But they were willing to govern England according to
law, and the Stuarts wore determined to govern according to prerogative.

What is the present issue? It is a contest, when reduced to its ultimate
terms, between free labor and slavery. It is very true that this
secession was planned before slavery considered itself aggrieved,
before abolitionism became a word of war. But the antipathy between
the slaveholder and the payer or receiver of wages was none the less
radical. The systems were just as hostile. We admit that the South can
make out its title of legitimacy. It has a slave population it must take
care of and is bound to take care of till somebody can tell what better
to do with it. It can show a refined condition of its highest society,
which contrasts not unfavorably with the tawdry display and vulgar
ostentation of the _nouveaux riches_ whom sudden success in trade or
invention has made conspicuous at the North. There is a fascination
about the Southern life and character which charms those who do not look
at it too closely into ardent championship. Even Mr. Russell, so long as
he looked into white faces in South Carolina, was fascinated, and only
when he came to look into black faces along the Mississippi found the
disenchantment. The decisive difference is, that the North is purposing
to settle and possess this land according to the law of right, and the
South according to the law of might.

We say, therefore, that the issue of the contest need not be doubtful.
The events of it may be very uncertain, but, from the parallel we have
sketched, we think we can indicate the four chief causes of the Scottish
failure as existing in the present crisis.

DISSENSIONS AMONG THE REBELS. These of course are hid from us by the
veil of smoke that rises above Bull Run. But as between the party of
advance and the party of defence, between the would-be spoilers of New
York bank-vaults and Philadelphia mint-coffers, and the more prudent who
desire "to be let alone," there is already an issue created. There are
State jealousies, and that impatience of control which is inherent in
the Southern mind, as it was in that of the Highland chieftains. There
will be, as events move on, the same feud developed between the Palmetto
of Carolina and the Pride-of-China of the Georgian, as then burned
between Glen-Garry of that ilk and Vich Ian Vohr. There are rivalries of
interest quite as fierce as those which roused the anti-tariff _furor_
of Mr. Calhoun. Much as Great Britain may covet the cotton of South
Carolina, she will not be disposed to encourage Louisiana to a
competition in sugar with her own Jamaica. Virginia will hardly brook
the opening of a rival Dahomey which shall cheapen into unprofitableness
her rearing of slaves. While fighting is to be done, these questions are
in abeyance; but so soon as men come to ask what they are fighting
for, they revive. There is selfishness inherent in the very idea of

There is a capital story, we think, in the "Gesta Romanorum," of three
thieves who have robbed a man of a large sum of gold. They propose a
carouse over their booty, and one is sent to the town to buy wine. While
he is gone, the two left behind plot to murder him on his return, so
as to have a half instead of a third to their shares. He, meanwhile,
coveting the whole, buys poison to put into the wine. They cut his
throat and sit down to drinking, which soon finishes them. It is an
admirable illustration of the probable future of successful secession.
Something very like this ruined the cause of James III., and something
not unlike it may be even now damaging the cause of H.S.I.M.,--His
Sea-Island Majesty, Cotton the First.

THE WANT OF EFFICIENT AID FROM ABROAD. We are not yet quite out of the
woods, and it behooveth us not to halloo that we certainly have found
the path. But it is more than probable that the Southern hope of English
or French aid has failed. Either nation by itself might be won over but
for the other. He is a bold and a good charioteer who can drive those
two steeds in double harness.

Either without the other is simply an addition of _x--x_ to the
equation. If by next November we can get a single cotton-port open, we
shall have settled that Uncle Tom and the Duchess of Sutherland may
return to the social cabinet of Great Britain,--and that being so, the
political cabinet is of small account.

With the want of foreign aid comes the next want, that of MONEY. The
Emperor of Austria has a convenient currency in his dominions, which
you can carry in sheets and clip off just what you need. But cross a
frontier and the very beggars' dogs turn up their noses at the _K.K.
Schein-Muenze_. The Virginian and other Confederate scrip appears to be
at par of exchange with Austrian bank-notes,--in fact, of the same worth
as that "Brandon Money" of which Sol. Smith once brought away a hatful
from Vicksburg, and was fain to swap it for a box of cigars. The South
cannot long hold out under the wastefulness of war, unless relief come.
"With bread and gunpowder one may go anywhere," said Napoleon,--but with
limited hoecake and _no_ gunpowder, even Governor Wise would wisely

But most certain of all in the long run is THE CONVICTION OF THE MEN
Union feeling is all gone at the South. That may be, and yet the facts
on which it was based remain. Feeling is a thing which comes and goes.
The value to the South of Federal care, Federal offices, Federal mail
facilities, and the like, is not lessened. The weight of direct taxation
is a marvellous corrector of the exciting effects of rhetoric. It is
pleasanter to have Federal troops line State Street in Boston to guard
the homeward passage of Onesimus to the longing Philemon than to have
them receiving without a challenge the fugitive Contrabands. It is
pleasanter to have B.F. Butler, Esq., argue in favor of the Dred Scott
decision than to have General Butler enforcing the Fortress Monroe
doctrine. Better to look up to a whole galaxy of stars, and to live
under a baker's dozen of stripes, than to dwell in perpetual fear of
choosing between the calaboose and the drill-room of the Louisiana
Zouaves. We have noticed that the sympathizers of the North are quoting
the sentence from Mr. Lincoln's inaugural to this effect,--What is to be
gained after fighting? We have got to negotiate at last, be the war long
or short. This is a very potent argument, as Mr. Lincoln meant it. To
men who must sooner or later negotiate their way back into the Union, it
is a very important consideration how much fighting and how much money
they can afford before negotiating. To us who cannot at any cost afford
to stop until they are thus ready to negotiate, it is only comparatively
a question. He says to the South, as a lawyer sure of a judgment and
confident of execution to be thereafter satisfied might say to his
adversary's client,--"Don't litigate longer than you can help, for you
are only making costs which must come out of your own pocket." To his
own client, he says,--"They may delay, but they cannot hinder, our

Meanwhile what shall we do with the root of bitterness, the real cause
of antagonism? That will do for itself. We probably cannot do much to
help or hinder now. The negro and the white man will remain on the old
ground, but new relations must be established between them. What those
shall be will depend on many yet undeveloped contingencies. But--when
we reconstruct, it will be with a North stronger than ever before and a
government too strong for rebellion ever to touch it again. Under a
free government of majorities, such as ours, rebellion is simply the
resistance of a minority. Secession has been acted out to the bitter
end on a small scale ere now in this country. Daniel Shays tried it in
Massachusetts; Thomas Wilson Dorr tried it in Rhode Island. When they
had tried it sufficiently, they gave in. We remember the Dorr War, and
how bitterly the "Algerines," as they were called, were reviled. We
doubt if a remnant of that hostility could be dug up anywhere between
Beavertail Light and Woonsocket Falls. We have no doubt that men who
then were on the point of fighting with each other fought side by side
under Sprague, and fought all the better for having once before faced
the possibilities of real war. When the minority are satisfied that they
must give in, they do give in.

We do not purpose to debate now the question of the mode of
reconstruction. When the seceded States return, though they come back to
the old Constitution, they will come under circumstances demanding new
conditions. The wisdom of legislation will be needed to establish as
rapidly as possible pacification. What the circumstances will be
none can now say. But we are better satisfied than ever of the
impracticability of permanent secession. The American Revolution is not
a parallel case. The only parallel in history that we can now recall is
the one we have used so freely in this article. It is one in which the
parallel fails chiefly in presenting stronger grounds for a permanent
disruption. Scotland struggled against a geographical necessity. She did
so under the influence of far more powerful motives than now exist at
the South. She had far less binding ties than now are still living
between us and our revolted States. A geographical necessity as vast and
potent now links the Gulf of Mexico to the Great Lakes. The struggle is
a more gigantic one, and in its fierce convulsions men's minds may well
lose their present balance, and men's hearts their calm courage.

But everlasting laws are not to be put aside. The tornadoes which sweep
the tropic seas seem for a time to reverse the course of Nature. The
waters become turbid with the sands of the ocean's bed. The air strikes
and smites down with a solid force. The heaviest stones and beams of
massy buildings fly like feathers on the blast. Vessels are found far
up on the land, with the torn stumps of trees driven through their
planking. Life and property are buried in utter ruin. But the storm
passes, the sunshine comes back into the darkened skies, and the blue
waves sparkle within their ancient limits. The awful tempest passes away
into history,--for it is God, and not man, who measures the waters in
the hollow of His hand, and sends forth and restrains the breath of the
blasting of His displeasure.

* * * * *


In those long-gone days when the gods of Olympus were in all their
glory, and when those gods were in the habit of disturbing the domestic
peace of worthy men, there was born unto an Arcadian nymph a son, for
whom no proper father could be found. The father was Mercury, who was a
_Dieu a bonnes fortunes_, and he did not, like some Christian gentlemen
in similar circumstances, altogether neglect his boy; for (so goes the
story) the child was "such a fright" that his mother was shocked and his
nurse ran away (Richard III. did not make a worse first appearance);
whereupon Mercury seized him, and bore him to Olympus, where he showed
him, with paternal partiality, to all the gods, who were so pleased with
the little monster that they named him _Pan_, as evidence that they were
_All_ delighted with his charming ugliness,--they being, it should seem,
as fond of hideous pets as if they had been mere mortals, and endowed
with a liberal share of humanity's bad taste. There are other accounts
of the birth of Pan, one of which is, that he was the child of Penelope,
born while she was waiting for the return of the crafty Ulysses, and
that his fathers were _all_ the aspirants to her favor,--a piece of
scandal to be rejected, as reflecting very severely upon the reputation
of a lady who is mostly regarded as having been a very model of
chastity. It would have astonished the gods, who were so joyous over the
consequence of their associate's irregularities, had they been told that
their pet was destined to outlast them all, and to affect human affairs,
by his action, long after their sway should be over. Jupiter has been
dethroned for ages, and exists only in marble or bronze; and Apollo,
and Mercury, and Bacchus, and all the rest of the old deities, are but
names, or the shadows of names; but Pan is as active to-day as he was,
when, nearly four-and-twenty centuries ago, he asked the worship of
the Athenians, and intimated that he might be useful to them in
return,--which intimation he probably made good but a little later
on the immortal field of Marathon. For not only was Pan the god of
shepherds, and the protector of bees, and the patron of sportsmen, but
to him were attributed those terrors which have decided the event of
many battles. He is generally identified with the Faunus of the Latins,
and a new interest in the _Fauni_ has been created by the genius of
Hawthorne. If it be true that the popular idea of Satan is derived from
Pan, we have another evidence therein of the breadth as well as the
length of his dominion over human affairs; for Satan, judging from men's
conduct, was never more active, more successful, and more grimly joyous
than he is in this year of grace (and disgrace) one thousand eight
hundred and sixty-one. "The harmless Faun," says Bulwer Lytton, "has
been the figuration of the most implacable of fiends." Satan and Pan
ought to be one, if we regard the kind of work in which the latter has
lately been engaged. The former's sympathies are undoubtedly with the
Secessionists, and to his active aid we must attribute their successes,
both as thieves and as soldiers.

The number of instances of panic terror in armies is enormous. Panics
have taken place in all armies, from that brief campaign in which Abram
smote the hosts of the plundering kings, hard by Damascus, to that
briefer campaign in which General McDowell did _not_ smite the
Secessionists, hard by Washington. The Athenians religiously believed
that Pan aided them at Marathon; and it would go far to account for
the defeat of the vast Oriental host, in that action, by a handful of
Greeks, if we could believe that that host became panic-stricken. At
Plataea, the allies of the Persians fell into a panic as soon as the
Persians were beaten, and fled without striking a blow. At the Battle
of Amphipolis, in the Peloponnesian War, and which was so fatal to the
Athenians, the Athenian left wing and centre fled in a panic, without
making any resistance. The Battle of Pydna, which placed the Macedonian
monarchy in the hands of the Romans, was decided by a panic befalling
the Macedonian cavalry after the phalanx had been broken. At Leuctra and
at Mantinea, battles so fatal to the Spartan supremacy in Greece, the
defeated armies suffered from panics. The decision at Pharsalia was in
some measure owing to a panic occurring among the Pompeian cavalry; and
at Thapsus, the panic terror that came upon the Pompeians gave to Caesar
so easy a victory that it cost him only fifty men, while the other
side were not only broken, but butchered. At Munda, the last and most
desperate of Caesar's battles, and in which he came very nearly losing
all that he had previously gained, a panic occurred in his army, from
the effects of which it recovered through admiration of its leader's
splendid personal example. The defeat of the Romans at Carrhae by the
Parthians was followed by a panic, against the effects of which not even
the discipline of the legions was a preventive. At the first Battle of
Philippi, the young Octavius came near being killed or captured, in
consequence of the success of Brutus's attack, which had the effect of
throwing his men into utter confusion, so that they fled in dismay. What
a change would have taken place in the ocean-stream of history, had the
future Augustus been slain or taken by the Republicans on that field on
which the Roman Republic fell forever! But the success of Antonius over
Cassius more than compensated for the failure of Octavius, and prepared
the way for the close of "the world's debate" at Actium. Actium, by the
way, was one of the few sea-fights which have had their decision through
the occurrence of panics, water not being so favorable to flight as
land. Whether the flight of Cleopatra was the result of terror, or
followed from preconcerted action, is still a question for discussion;
and one would not readily believe that the most gallant and manly of all
the Roman leaders--one of the very few of his race who were capable of
generous actions--was also capable of plotting deliberately to abandon
his followers, when the chances of battle had not been tried. Whether
that memorable flight was planned or not, the imitation of it by
Antonius created a panic in at least a portion of his fleet; and the
victory of the hard-minded Octavius over the "soft triumvir"--he was
"soft" in every sense on that day--was the speedy consequence of the
strangest exhibition of cowardice ever made by a brave man.

In modern wars, panics have been as common as ever they were in the
contests of antiquity. No people has been exempt from them. It has
pleased the English critics on our defeat at Bull Run to speak with much
bitterness of the panic that occurred to the Union army on that field,
and in some instances to employ language that would leave the impression
that never before did it happen to an army to suffer from panic terror.
No reflecting American ought to object to severe foreign criticism on
our recent military history; for through such criticism, perhaps, our
faults may be amended, and so our cause finally be vindicated. The
spectacle of soldiers running from a field of battle is a tempting one
to the enemies of the country to whom such soldiers may belong, and few
critics are able to speak of it in any other than a contemptuous tone.
Would Americans have spoken with more justice of Englishmen than
Englishmen have spoken of Americans, had the English army failed at the
Alma through a panic, as our army failed at Bull Run? Not they! The
bitter comments of our countrymen on the inefficiency of the British
forces in the Crimea, and the general American tendency to attribute
the successes of the Allies in the Russian War to the French, to the
Sardinians, or to the Turks,--to anybody and everybody but to the
English, who really were the principal actors in it,--are in evidence
that we are drinking from a bitter cup the contents of which were brewed
by ourselves. It is wicked and it is foolish to accuse our armies of
cowardice and inefficiency because they have met with some painful
reverses; but the sin and the folly of foreigners in this respect are no
greater than the sin and the folly that have characterized most American
criticism on the recent military history of England.

The most important fruitful battle mentioned in British history, next
to that of Hastings, is the Battle of Bannockburn, the event of which
secured the independence and nationality of Scotland, with all the
consequences thereof; and that event was the effect of a panic. The day
was with Bruce and his brave army; but it was by no means certain that
their success would be of that decisive character which endures forever,
until the English host became panic-stricken. Brilliant deeds had been
done by the Scotch, who had been successful in all their undertakings,
when Bruce brought up his reserve, which forced even the bravest of his
opponents either to retreat or to think of it; but their retreat might
have been conducted with order, and the English army have been saved
from utter destruction and for future work, had it not been for the
occurrence of one of those events, in which the elements of tragedy
and of farce are combined, by which the destinies of nations are often
decided, in spite of "the wisdom of the wise and the valor of the
brave." The followers of the Scottish camp, anxious to see how the
day went, or to obtain a share of the expected spoil, at that moment
appeared upon the ridge of an eminence, known as the Gillies' Hill,
behind their countrymen's line of battle, displaying horse-cloths and
similar articles for ensigns of war. The struggling English, believing
that they saw a new Scottish army rising as it were from the earth, were
struck with panic, and broke and fled; and all that followed was mere
butchery, though perfectly in accordance with the stern laws of the
field. The English army was routed even more completely than was the
French army, five centuries later, at Waterloo. Scott, with his usual
skill, has made use of this incident in "The Lord of the Isles," but he
ascribes to patriotic feeling what had a less lofty origin, which was an
exercise of his license as a poet.[A]

[Footnote A: An incident closely resembling that which created the
English panic at Bannockburn happened, with the same results, in one of
the battles won by the Swiss over their invaders; but we cannot call to
mind the name of the action in which it occurred.]

"To arms they flew,--axe, club, or spear,--
And mimic ensigns high they rear,
And, like a bannered host afar,
Bear down on England's wearied war.

"Already scattered o'er the plain,
Reproof, command, and counsel vain,
The rearward squadrons fled amain,
Or made but fearful stay:
But when they marked the seeming show
Of fresh and fierce and marshalled foe,
The boldest broke array."

The last three lines describe almost exactly what, we are told, took
place at Bull Run, where our soldiers were beaten, it is asserted, in
consequence of the coming up of fresh men to the assistance of the
enemy, but who were not camp-followers, but the flower of that enemy's
force. The reinforcements, contrary to what was supposed, were not
numerous; but a fatigued, worn-out, ill-handled army cannot be expected
to be very clever at its arithmetic. Our men greatly overrated the
strength of the new column that presented itself,--at least, so we
judge from some powerful narratives of the crisis at Manassas that have
appeared. The eye of the mind did the counting, not the more trustworthy
bodily organ. They "looked, and saw what numbers numberless" "the sacred
soil of Virginia" appeared to be sending up to aid in its defence
against "the advance," and it cannot be surprising that their hearts
failed them at the moment, as has happened to veterans who had grown
gray since they had received the baptism of fire. Had there been a
couple of trained regiments at the command of General McDowell, at that
time, with which to have met the regiments that were restoring the
enemy's battle, the day would, perhaps, have remained with the Union
army; but, as there was no reserve force, trained or untrained, a
retreat became inevitable; and a retreat, in the case of a new army that
had become exhausted and alarmed, meant a rout, and could have meant
nothing else. We shall never hear the last of it, particularly from our
English friends, who are yet jeered and joked about the business at
Gladsmuir, in 1745, where and when their army was beaten in five minutes
and some odd seconds by Prince Charles Edward's Highlanders, their
cavalry running off in a panic, and their General never stopping
until he had put twenty miles between himself and the nearest of the
plaid-men. Indeed, he did not consider himself safe until he had left
even all Scotland behind him, and had got within his Britannic Majesty's
town of Berwick-upon-Tweed, which, as it was well fortified, promised
him protection for the time. Four months later, at Falkirk, a portion of
another English army was thrown into a panic by the sight of "the wild
petticoat-men," and made capital time in getting out of their way. Two
regiments of cavalry rushed right over a body of infantry lying on the
ground, bellowing, as they galloped, "Dear brethren, we shall all be
massacred this day!" They did their best to make their prediction true.
A third regiment, and that composed of veterans, were so frightened,
that, though they ran away with the utmost celerity, they did not have
sense enough to run out of danger, but galloped along the Highland line,
and received its entire fire. Some of the infantry were literally
so swift to follow the example of the cavalry, that the Highlanders
believed they were shamming, and so did not follow up their success with
sufficient promptitude to reap its proper fruits. One of the regiments
that ran was the Scots Royals, seeing which, Lord John Drummond
exclaimed, "These men behaved admirably at Fontenoy: surely this is a
feint." This suspicion of the enemy's purpose to entrap them actually
paralyzed the Highland army for so long a time that the panic-stricken
English were enabled for the most part to escape; so that to the
completeness of their fright the English owed their power to rally their
army, which did not stop in its retreat until it reached Edinburgh, the
next day. In the same war, half a dozen MacIntosh Highlanders, commanded
by a blacksmith, so acted as to throw fifteen hundred men, under Lord
Loudoun, into a panic, which caused them all to fly; and though but
one of their number was hurt by the enemy, they did much mischief to
themselves. This incident is known as "The Rout of Moy," as Loudoun's
force was marching upon Moy Castle, the principal seat of the
MacIntoshes, for the purpose of capturing Prince Charles Edward, who was
the guest of Lady MacIntosh, whose husband was with Lord Loudoun. To
render the mortification of the flying party complete, the affair was
suggested by a woman, Lady MacIntosh herself.

"The Races of Castlebar" are very renowned in the military history of
Britain. In 1798 _after_ the Irish Rebellion had been suppressed, a
small French force was landed at Killala, under command of General
Humbert, and soon established itself in that town. A British army, full
four thousand strong, was assembled to act against the invader, at the
head of which was General Lake, afterward Lord Lake,--elevated to the
peerage in reward of services performed in India, and one of the most
ruthless of those harsh and brutal proconsuls employed by England to
destroy the spirit of the people of Ireland. The two armies met at
Castlebar, the French numbering only eight hundred men, with whom were
about a thousand raw Irish peasants, most of whom had never had a
musket in their hands until within the few days that preceded the
battle,--races, we mean. A panic seized the British army, and it fled
from the field with the swiftness of the wind, but not with the wind's
power of destruction. The French had one small gun,--the British,
fourteen guns. Humbert afterward kept the whole British force at bay for
more than a fortnight, and did not surrender until his little army
had been surrounded by thirty thousand men. It is calculated that the
British made the best time from Castlebar that ever was made by a flying
army. It was no exaggeration to say that "the speed of thought was in
_their_ limbs" for a short time. Bull Run was a slow piece of business
compared to Castlebar; and our countrymen did not run from a foe that
was not half so strong as themselves, and who had neither position nor
artillery. The English have accused the Irish of not always standing
well to their work on the battle-field; but it would have required two
Irishmen to run half the distance in an hour that was made at Castlebar
by one Englishman. The most flagrant cases of panic that happened in the
'Forty-Five affair befell Englishmen, and rarely occurred to Irishmen or
to Scotchmen. The conduct of the Scots Royals at Falkirk was the only
striking exception to what closely approached to the nature of a general

The civil war which ours most resembles is that which was waged in
England a little more than two centuries ago, and which is known in
English history as "The Great Civil War," though in fact it was but a
small affair, if we compare it with that which took place nearly two
centuries earlier than Cromwell's time,--the so-called Wars of the
Roses. The resemblance between our contest and that in which the English
rose against, fought with, defeated, dethroned, tried, and beheaded
their king, is not very strong, we must confess; but the main thing is,
that both contests belong to that class of wars in which, to borrow
Shakspeare's words, "Civil blood makes civil hands unclean." Were there
no exhibitions of fear in that war, no flights, no panics on the _grand
scale_? Unless history is as great a liar as Talleyrand said it was,
when he declared that it was founded on a general conspiracy against
truth,--and who could suppose an English historian capable of
lying?--shameful exhibitions of fear, flights of whole bodies of troops,
and displays of panic terror were very common things with our English
ancestors who fought and flourished _tempore Caroli Primi_. The first
battle between the forces of the King and those of the Parliament was
that of Edgehill, which was fought on _Sunday_, October 23d, 1642.
Prince Rupert led his Cavaliers to the charge, ordering them, like a
true soldier, to use only the sword, which is the weapon that horsemen
always should employ. "The Roundheads," says Mr. Warburton, "seemed
swept away by the very wind of that wild charge. No sword was crossed,
no saddle emptied, no trooper waited to abide the shock; they fled with
_frantic fear_, but fell fast under the sabres of their pursuers. The
cavalry galloped furiously until they reached such shelter as the town
could give them; nor did their infantry fare better. No sooner were
the Royal horse upon them than they broke and fled; Mandeville and
Cholmondely vainly strove to rally their _terror-stricken_ followers;
they were swept away by the fiery Cavaliers." If this was not exactly
the effect of a panic, then it was something worse: it followed from
abject, craven fear. The bravest and best of armies have been known to
suffer from panic terror, but none but cowards run away at the first
charge that is made upon them. It is said, by way of excuse for the men
who thus fled, in spite of the gallant efforts of their officers to
rally them, that they were new troops. So were our men at Bull Run
new troops; and this much can be said of them, that, if they became
panic-stricken, it was not until after they had fought for several
hours on a hot day, and that they were not well commanded, the officers
setting the example of abandoning the field, and not seeking to
encourage the soldiers, as was done by the English Parliamentary
commanders at Edgehill. Therefore the English Bull Run was a far more
disgraceful affair than was that of America.

We shall not dwell upon the multitudinous panics and flights that
happened on both sides in the Great Civil War, but come at once to what
took place on the grand field-days of that contest,--Long-Marston Moor
and Naseby. At Long-Marston Moor, fought July 2, 1644, English, Irish,
and Scotch soldiers were present, so that all the island races were
on the field in the persons of some of the best of their number. The
Royalists charged the Scotch centre, and were twice repulsed; but their
third charge was more successful, and then most of the gallant Scotch
force broke in every direction, only some fragments of three regiments
standing their ground. "The Earl of Leven in vain hastened from one part
of the line to the other," says Mr. Langton Sanford, "endeavoring by
words and blows to keep the soldiers in the field, exclaiming, 'Though
you run from your enemies, yet leave not your general; though you fly
from them, yet forsake not me!' The Earl of Manchester, with great
exertions, rallied five hundred of the fugitives, and brought them back
to the battle. But these efforts to turn the fate of the day in this
quarter were fruitless, and at length the three generals of the
Parliament were compelled to seek safety in flight. Leven himself,
conceiving the battle utterly lost, in which he was confirmed by the
opinion of others then on the place near him, seeing they were fleeing
upon all hands toward Tadcaster and Cawood, was persuaded by his
attendants to retire and wait his better fortune. He did so, and never
drew bridle till he came to Leeds, nearly forty miles distant, having
ridden all that night with a cloak of _drap-de-berrie_ about him
belonging to the gentleman from whom we derive the information, then in
his retinue, with many other officers of good quality. Manchester and
Fairfax, carried away in the flight, soon returned to the field, but the
centre and right wing of their army were utterly broken. 'It was a sad
sight,' exclaims Mr. Ash, [an eye-witness of the affair,] 'to behold
many thousands posting away, amazed with _panic fears_!' Many fled
without striking a blow; _and multitudes of people that were spectators
ran away in such fear as daunted the soldiers still more_, some of the
horse never looking back till they got as far as Lincoln, some others
toward Hull, and others to Halifax and Wakefield, pursued by the enemy's
horse for nearly two miles from the field. Wherever they came, the
fugitives carried the news of the utter rout of the Parliament's
army."[B] This strong picture of the panic that prevailed in the very
army that won the Battle of Long-Marston Moor is confirmed by Sir Walter
Scott, who says that the Earl of Leven was driven from the field, and
was thirty miles distant, in full flight toward Scotland, when he was
overtaken by the news that his party had gained a complete victory. Yet
Leven was an experienced soldier, having served in the army of Gustavus
Adolphus, in which he rose to very high rank; and the Scottish forces
had many soldiers who had been trained in the same admirable school.
That there were many spectators of the battle, whose fright "daunted
the soldiers still more," shows that people were as fond of witnessing
battles in 1644 as they are in 1861, and that their presence on the Moor
was productive of almost as much evil to the Roundheads as the presence
of Congressmen and other civilians at Manassas was to the Federal troops
on the 21st of July. There would seem to be indeed nothing new under
the sun, and folly is eternally reproducing itself. One of the names
connected with our defeat is that of one of the most gallant of the
Parliament's commanders at Long-Marston: Fairfax being named after the
sixth Lord Fairfax, whose singular history furnished to Mr. Thackeray
the plan for his "Virginians."

[Footnote B: Mr. Sanford quotes from a letter written by a spectator
of the panic at Long-Marston Moor, which is so descriptive of what we
should expect such a scene to be, that we copy it. "I could not," says
the writer, "meet the Prince [Rupert] until after the battle was joined;
and in fire, smoke, and confusion of the day I knew not for my soul
whither to incline. The runaways on both sides were so many, so
breathless, so speechless, so full of fears, that I should not have
taken them for men but by their motion, which still served them very
well, not a man of them being able to give me the least hope where the
Prince was to be found, both armies being mingled, both horse and foot,
no side keeping their own posts. In this terrible distraction did I
scour the country; here meeting with a shoal of Scots crying out, 'Wae's
me! We're a' undone!' and so full of lamentations and mourning, as if
their day of doom had overtaken them, and from which they knew not
whither to fly. And anon I met with a ragged troop, reduced to four and
a cornet; by-and-by, a little foot-officer, without a hat, band, or
indeed anything but feet, and so much tongue as would serve to inquire
the way to the next garrisons, which, to say truth, were well filled
with stragglers on both sides within a few hours, though they lay
distant from the place of fight twenty or thirty miles."--See _Studies
and Illustrations of the Great Rebellion_, (p. 606,) the best work ever
written on the grand constitutional struggle made by the English against
the usurpations of the Stuarts. The letter here quoted was written by an
English gentleman, Mr. Trevor, to the best of the Royalist leaders, the
Marquis (afterward first Duke) of Ormond.]

The panic at Naseby (June 14, 1645) was not of so pronounced a character
as that at Long-Marston; but it helps to prove the Englishman's aptitude
for running, and shows, that, if we have skill in the use of heels, we
have inherited it: it is, in a double sense, matter of race. In spite of
the exertions of Ireton, the cavalry of the left wing of the Roundheads
was swept out of the field by Prince Rupert's dashing charge; while the
foot were as deaf to the entreaties of old Skippon that they would keep
their ranks. Later in the day the Cavaliers took their turn at the panic
business, their horse flying over the hills, and leaving the infantry
and the artillery, the women and the baggage, to the mercy of the
Puritans,--and everybody knows what that was. The Cavaliers were even
more subject to panics than the Puritans, as was but natural, seeing
that they could not or would not be disciplined; and there were many of
the leaders of the deboshed, godless crew of whom it could have been
sung, as it was of Peveril of the Peak,--

"There was bluff old Sir Geoffrey loved brandy and mum well,
And to see a beer-glass turned over the thumb well;
But he fled like the wind, before Fairfax and Cromwell,
Which nobody can deny!"

Cromwell's last victory but one, that of Dunbar, (September 3, 1650,)
was due to the impertinent interference of "outsiders" with the business
of the Scotch general, and to the occurrence of a panic in the Scotch
army. The priests did for Leslie's army what the politicians are charged
with having done for that of General McDowell. The Scotch were mostly
raw troops, and soon fell into confusion; and then came one of those
scenes of slaughter which were so common after the Cromwellian
victories, and which, in spite of Mr. Carlyle's crazy admiration of
them, must ever be regarded by sane and humane people as the work of the
Devil. It is in dispute whether Cromwell's last great victory, that of
Worcester, (September 3, 1651,) was a panic affair or not; for while
Cromwell himself wrote that "indeed it was a stiff business," and that
the dimensions of the mercy were above his thoughts, he complacently
says, "Yet I do not think we have lost above two hundred men." Now, as
the English critics on the Battle of Bull Run will have it that it was
but a cowardly affair on our side, because but few men were at one
time reported to have fallen in it, it follows that Cromwell's army at
Worcester must have been an army of cowards, as it lost less than two
hundred men, though it had to fight hard for several hours for victory.
"As stiff a contest, for four or five hours," said the Lord-General,
"as ever I have seen." And what shall we think of the Scotch, who lost
fourteen thousand men? Mr. Lodge, whose sympathies are all with the
Cavaliers, says that the action is undeservedly called the Battle of
Worcester, "for it was in fact the mere rout of a _panic-stricken_
army." Certainly all the circumstances of the day tend to confirm this
view of what occurred on it: the heavy loss of the Scotch, the small
loss of the English, and the all but total destruction of the Royal
army. That Cromwell should make the most of his victory, of the
"crowning mercy," as he hoped it might prove, was natural enough.
Nothing is more common than for the victor to sound the praises of the
vanquished, that being a delicate form of self-praise. If they were so
clever and so brave, how much greater must have been the cleverness and
bravery of the man who conquered them? The difficulty is in inducing
the vanquished to praise the victor. We have no doubt that General
Beauregard speaks very handsomely of General McDowell; but how speaks
General McDowell of General Beauregard? Wellington often spoke well of
Napoleon's conduct in the campaign of 1815; but among the bitterest
things ever said by one great man of another great man are Napoleon's
criticisms on the conduct of Wellington in that campaign. We are not to
suppose that Wellington was a more magnanimous person than Napoleon,
which he assuredly was not; but he was praising himself, after an
allowable fashion, when he praised Napoleon. There would have been a
complete change of words in the mouths of the two men, had the result of
Waterloo been, as it should have been, favorable to the French. Napoleon
said that he never saw the Prussians behave well but at Jena, where he
broke the army of the Great Frederick to pieces. He had not a word to
say in praise of the Prussians who fought at the Katzbach, at Dennewitz,
and at Waterloo. Human nature is a very small thing even in very great

As we see that the Roundheads triumphed in England, notwithstanding the
panics from which their armies suffered, subduing the descendants of
the conquering chivalry of Normandy, "to whom victory and triumph were
traditional, habitual, hereditary things," may we not hope that the
American descendants and successors of the Roundheads will be able
to subdue the descendants of the conquered chivalry of the South, a
chivalry that has as many parents as had the Romans who proceeded from
the loins of the "robbers and reivers" who had been assembled, as per
proclamation, at the Rogues' Asylum on the Palatine Hill? The bravery
of the Southern troops is not to be questioned, and it never has been
questioned by sensible men; but their pretensions to Cavalier descent
are at the head of the long list of historical false pretences, and tend
to destroy all confidence in their words. They may be aristocrats, but
they have not the shadow of a claim to aristocratical origin.

Lord Macaulay's brilliant account of the Battle of Landen (July 19,
1693) establishes the fact, that it is possible for an army of veterans,
led by some of the best officers of their time, to become panic-stricken
while defending intrenchments and a strong position. "A little after
four in the afternoon," he says, "the whole line gave way." "Amidst
the rout and uproar, while arms and standards were flung away, while
multitudes of fugitives were choking up the bridges and fords of the
Gette or perishing in its waters, the King, [William III.,] having
directed Talmash to superintend the retreat, put himself at the head of
a few brave regiments, and by desperate efforts arrested the progress
of the enemy." Luxembourg failed to follow up his victory, or all would
have been lost. The French behaved as did the Southrons after Bull Run:
they gave their formidable foe time to rally, and to recover from the
effect of the panic that had covered the country with fugitives; and
time was all that was necessary for either the English King or the
American General to prevent defeat from being extended into conquest.

Two of Marlborough's greatest victories were largely owing to the
occurrence of panic among the veteran troops of France. At Ramillies,
the French left, which was partially engaged in covering the retreat of
the rest of their army, were struck with a panic, fled, and were pursued
for five leagues. At Oudenarde, (July 11, 1708,) the French commander,
Vendome, "urged the Duke of Burgundy and a crowd of panic-struck
generals to take advantage of the night, and restore order; but finding
his arguments nugatory, he gave the word for a retreat, and generals
and privates, horse and foot, instantly hurried in the utmost disorder
toward Ghent." The retreat of this crowd, which was a complete flight,
he covered by the aid of a few brave men whom he had rallied and formed,
and whose firm countenance prevented the entire destruction of
the French army. Yet the French soldiers of that time were men of
experience, and were accustomed to all the phases of war.

At the Battle of Rossbach, (November 5, 1757,) the troops of France and
of the German Empire fell into a panic, and were routed by half their
number of Prussians. That defeat was the most disgraceful that ever
befell the arms of a military nation. The panic was complete, and no
body of terrified militia ever fled more rapidly than did the veteran
troops of Germany and France on that eventful day. Napoleon, half a
century later, said that Rossbach produced a permanent effect on the
French military, and on France, and was one of the causes of the
Revolution. The disgrace was laid to the account of the French
commander, the Prince de Soubise, who was a profligate, a coward, and a
booby, and who neither knew war nor was known by it.

The English army experienced whatever of pleasure there may be in a
panic, or rather in a pair of panics, at the grand Battle of Fontenoy,
(May 11, 1745,) on which field they were so unutterably thrashed by the
French and the Irish. In the first part of the action, the Allies were
successful, when suddenly the Dutch troops fell into a panic, and fled
as fast as it is ever given to Dutchmen to fly. There is nothing so
contagious as panic terror, and the rest of the army, exposed as it was
to a tremendous fire, soon caught the disease, and was giving way under
it, when their commander, the Duke of Cumberland, who was well seconded
by his officers, succeeded in rallying them. They renewed the combat,
and their enemy became so alarmed in their turn that even the French
King, and his son the Dauphin, were in danger of being swept away in the
rout. Again there came a turn in the battle, and, mostly because of the
daring and dash of the famous Irish Brigade, the Allies were beaten and
forced to retreat. It is stated that the whole body of heroic British
Grenadiers who were engaged at Fontenoy gave a strong proof of the
effect of the panic upon their minds--and bodies; thus establishing the
fact that they had stomachs for something besides the fight. "Not to put
too fine a point upon it," they, with a unity of place and time that
speaks well for their discipline, did that which was done by the valiant
General Sterling Price at the Battle of Boonville, and which has caused
them to leave a deep impression on the historic page, though nothing can
be said in support of the attractiveness of the illustration which those
gallant men contributed to that page.

There was a partial exhibition of panic terror made by the English
troops at the Battle of Bunker's Hill. They were twice made to run on
that Seventeenth of June of which something has been said during the
last six-and-eighty years; and they were brought up to the point
of making a third attack only by the greatest exertions of their
commanders, and after having been considerably reinforced. This third
attack would have been as promptly repulsed as its predecessors had
been, but that the American troops had used up all their powder, and few
of them had bayonets. The firmness, and skill as marksmen, of a body of
militia had caused a larger body of British veterans twice to retreat
in great disorder, and under circumstances much resembling those that
characterize what is known as a panic. Had a third repulse of the
assailants occurred, nothing could have prevented their flight to their
boats. But it was written that the Americans should retreat; and it is
safe to say that they showed much more steadiness in the retreat than
the enemy did alacrity in the pursuit.

Panic terror was no uncommon thing during the Reign of Terror in France,
in the armies of the French Republic. The early efforts of the French
Republicans in the field sometimes failed because of panics occurring in
their armies; and they were not unknown to any of the armies that took
part in the long series of wars that began in 1792 and lasted, with
brief intervals of peace, down to the summer of 1815. At Marengo, both
armies suffered from panics. As early as ten o'clock in the forenoon,
a portion of Victor's corps retired in disorder, crying out, "All is
lost!" There were, in fact, three Battles of Marengo, the Austrians
winning the first and second, and losing the third, which was losing
all,--war not exactly resembling whist. When Desaix said, at three
o'clock in the afternoon, that the battle was lost, but there was time
enough to win another, he spoke the truth, and like a good soldier. The
new movements that followed his arrival and advice caused surprise to
the Austrians, and surprise soon passed into panic. The panic extended
to a portion of the cavalry, no one has ever been able to say why;
and it galloped off the field toward the Bormida, shouting, "To the
bridges!" The panic then reached to men of all arms, and cavalry,
artillery, and infantry were soon crowded together on the banks of the
stream which they had crossed in high hopes but a few hours before. The
artillery sought to cross by a ford, but failed, and the French made
prisoners, and seized guns, horses, baggage, and all the rest of
the trophies of victory. Thus a battle which confirmed the Consular
government of Bonaparte, which prepared the way for the creation of
the French Empire, and which settled the fate of Europe for years, was
decided by the panic cries of a few horse-soldiers. The Austrian cavalry
has long and justly been reputed second to no other in the world, and in
1800 it was a veteran body, and had been steadily engaged in war, with
small interruption, for eight years; but neither its experience, nor its
valor, nor regard for the character which it had to maintain, could save
it from the common lot of armies. It became terrified, and senselessly
fled, and its evil example was swiftly communicated to the other troops:
for there is nothing so contagious as a panic, every man that runs
thinking, that, while he is himself ignorant of the existence of any
peculiar danger, all the others must know of it, and are acting upon
their knowledge. That Austrian panic made the conqueror master of Italy,
and with France and Italy at his command he could aspire to the dominion
of Europe. The man who began the panic at Marengo really opened the way
to Vienna to the legions of France, and to Berlin, and (but that brought
compensation) to Moscow also.

There were panics in most of the great battles of the French Empire,
or those battles were followed by panics. At Austerlitz the Austrians
suffered from them; and though the Russian soldiers are among the
steadiest of men, and keep up discipline under very extraordinary
difficulties, they fared no better than their associates on that
terrible field. They had more than one panic, and the confusion
was prodigious. It was while flying in terror, that the dense, yet
disorderly crowds sought to escape over some ponds, the ice of which
broke, and two thousand of them were ingulfed. One of their generals,
writing of that day, said,--"I had previously seen some lost battles,
but I had no conception of such a defeat." Jena was followed by panics
which extended throughout the army and over the monarchy, so that the
Prussian army and the Prussian kingdom disappeared in a month, though
Napoleon had anticipated a long, difficult, and doubtful contest with so
renowned a military organization as that which had been created by the
immortal Frederick; and he had remarked, at the beginning of the war,
that there would be much use for the spade in the course of it. In the
Austrian campaign of 1809, there was the beginning of a panic that might
have produced serious consequences. The Archduke John, the Patterson of
those days, was at the head of an Austrian army which was expected to
take part in the Battle of Wagram; but it was not until after that
battle had been gained by the French that that prince arrived near the
Marchfeld, in the rear of the victors. A panic broke out among
the persons who saw the heads of his columns,--camp-followers,
_vivandieres_, long lines of soldiers bearing off wounded men, and
others. The young soldiers, who were exhausted by their labors and the
heat, were conspicuous among the runaways, and there was a general race
to "the banks of the dark-rolling Danube." Nay, it is said that the
panic was taken up on the other side of the river, and that quite a
number of individuals did not stop till they had reached Vienna. Terror
prevailed, and the confusion was fast spreading, when Napoleon, who had
been roused from an attempt to obtain some rest under a shelter formed
of drums, fit materials for a house for him, arrived on the scene. In
reply to his questions, Charles Lebrun, one of his officers, answered,
"It is nothing, Sire,--merely a few marauders." "What do you call
nothing?" exclaimed the Emperor. "Know, Sir, that there are no trifling
events in war: nothing endangers an army like an imprudent security.
Return and see what is the matter, and come back quickly and render me
an account." The Emperor succeeded in restoring order, but not without
difficulty, and the Archduke withdrew his forces without molestation.
The circumstances of the panic show, that, if he had arrived at his
intended place a few hours earlier, the French would have been beaten,
and probably the French Empire have fallen at Vienna in 1809, instead
of falling at Paris in 1814; and then the House of Austria would have
achieved one of those extraordinary triumphs over its most powerful
enemies that are so common in its extraordinary history. The incident
bears some resemblance to the singular panic that happened the day after
the Battle of Solferino, and which was brought on by the appearance of a
few Austrian hussars, who came out of their hiding-place to surrender,
many thousand men running for miles, and showing that the most
successful army of modern days could be converted into a mob by--

Seldom has the world seen such a panic as followed the Battle of
Vittoria, in which Wellington dealt the French Empire the deadly blow
under which it reeled and fell; for, if that battle had not been fought
and won, the Allies would probably have made peace with Napoleon,
following up the armistice into which they had already entered with him;
but Vittoria encouraged them to hope for victory, and not in vain. The
French King of Spain there lost his crown and his carriage; the Marshal
of France commanding lost his _baton_, and the honorable fame which he
had won nineteen years before at Fleurus; and the French army lost its
artillery, all but one piece, and, what was of more consequence, its
honor. It was the completest rout ever seen in that age of routs and
balls. And yet the defeated army was a veteran army, and most of its
officers were men whose skill was as little to be doubted as their

There were panics at Waterloo, not a few; and, what is remarkable, they
happened principally on the side of the victors, the French suffering
nothing from them till after the battle was lost, when the pressure of
circumstances threw their beaten army into much confusion, and it was
not possible that it should be otherwise. Bylandt's Dutch-Belgian
brigade ran away from the French about two o'clock in the afternoon, and
swept others with them in their rush, much to the rage of the British,
some of whom hissed, hooted, and cursed, forgetting that quite as
discreditable incidents had occurred in the course of the military
history of their own country. One portion of the British troops that
desired to fire upon those exhibitors of "Dutch courage" actually
belonged to the most conspicuous of the regiments that ran away at
Falkirk, seventy years before. At a later hour Trip's Dutch-Belgian
cavalry-brigade ran away in such haste and disorder that some squadrons
of German hussars experienced great difficulty in maintaining their
ground against the dense crowd of fugitives. The Cumberland regiment
of Hanoverian hussars was deliberately taken out of the field by its
colonel when the shot began to fall about it, and neither orders nor
entreaties nor arguments nor execrations could induce it to form under
fire. Nay, it refused to form across the high-road, _out_ of fire, but
"went altogether to the rear, spreading alarm and confusion all the
way to Brussels." Nothing but the coming up of the cavalry-brigades
of Vivian and Vandeleur, at a late hour, prevented large numbers of
Wellington's infantry from leaving the field. The troops of Nassau fell
"back _en masse_ against the horses' heads of the Tenth Hussars, who,
keeping their files closed, prevented further retreat." The Tenth
belonged to Vivian's command. D'Aubreme's Dutch-Belgian infantry-brigade
was prevented from running off when the Imperial Guard began their
charge, only because Vandeleur's cavalry-brigade was in their rear, with
even the squadron-intervals closed, so that they had to elect between
the French bayonet and the English sabre. There was something resembling
a temporary panic among Maitland's British Guards, after the repulse
of the first column of the Imperial Guard, but order was very promptly
restored. It is impossible to read any extended account of the Battle of
Waterloo without seeing that it was a desperate business on the part of
the Allies, and that, if the Prussians could have been kept out of the
action, their English friends would have had an excellent chance to keep
the field--as the killed and wounded. Wellington never had the ghost of
a chance without the aid of Buelow, Zieten, and Bluecher.[C]

[Footnote C: There is no great battle concerning which so much nonsense
has been written and spoken as that of Waterloo, which ought to console
us for the hundred-and-one accounts that are current concerning the
action of the 21st of July, no two of which are more alike than if the
one related to Culloden and the other to Arbela. The common belief is,
that toward the close of the day Napoleon formed two columns of the
_Old_ Guard, and sent them against the Allied line; that they advanced,
and were simultaneously repulsed by the weight and precision of the
English fire in front; and that, on seeing the columns of the Guard fall
into disorder, the French all fled, and Wellington immediately ordered
his whole line to advance, which prevented the French from rallying,
they flying in a disorderly mass, which was incapable of resistance. So
far is this view of the "Crisis of Waterloo" from being correct, that
the repulse of the Guard would not have earned with it the loss of the
battle, had it not been for a number of circumstances, some of
which made as directly in favor of the English as the others worked
unfavorably to the French. When Napoleon found that the operations of
Buelow's Prussians threatened to compromise his right flank and rear, he
determined to make a vigorous attempt to drive the Allies from their
position in his front, not merely by employing two columns of his Guard,
but by making a general attack on Wellington's line. For this purpose,
he formed one column of four battalions of the _Middle_ Guard, and
another of four other battalions of the _Middle_ Guard and two
battalions of the Old Guard. At the same time the corps of D'Erlon and
Reille were to advance, and a severe _tiraillade_ was opened by a great
number of skirmishers; and the attack was supported by a tremendous fire
from artillery. So animated and effective were the operations of the
various bodies of French not belonging to the Guard, that nothing but
the arrival of the cavalry brigades of Vandeleur and Vivian, from the
extreme left of the Allied line, prevented that line from being pierced
in several places. Those brigades had been relieved by the arrival of
the advance of Zieten's Prussian corps, and were made available for the
support of the points threatened by the French. They were drawn up in
rear of bodies of infantry, whom they would not permit to run away,
which they sought to do. The first column of the Guard was repulsed by
a fire of cannon and musketry, and when disordered it was charged by
Maitland's brigade of British Guards. The interval between the advance
of that column and that of the second column was from ten to twelve
minutes; and the appearance of the second column caused Maitland's
Guards to fall into confusion, and the whole body went to the rear. This
confusion, we are told, was not consequent upon either defeat or panic,
but resulted simply from a misunderstanding of the command. The coming
up of the second column led to a panic in a Dutch-Belgian brigade, which
would have left the field but for the presence of Vandeleur's cavalry,
through which the men could not penetrate; and yet the panic-stricken
men could not even see the soldiers before whose shouts they endeavored
to fly! The second column was partially supported, at first, by a body
of cavalry; but it failed in consequence of a flank attack made by the
Fifty-Second Regiment, which was aided by the operations of some other
regiments, all belonging to General Adam's brigade. This attack on its
left flank was assisted by the fire of a battery in front, and by the
musketry of the British Guards on its right flank. Thus assailed, the
defeat of the second column was inevitable. Had it been supported by
cavalry, so that it could not have been attacked on either flank, it
would have succeeded in its purpose. Adam's brigade followed up its
success, and Vivian's cavalry was ordered forward by Wellington, to
check the French cavalry, should it advance, and to deal generally
with the French reserves. Adam and Vivian did their work so well that
Wellington ordered his whole line of infantry to advance, supported by
cavalry and artillery. The French made considerable resistance after
this, but their retreat became inevitable, and soon degenerated into a
rout. An exception to the general disorganization was observed by the
victors, not unlike to an incident which we have seen mentioned in an
account of the Bull Run flight. In the midst of the crowd of fugitives
on the 21st of July, and forcing its way through that crowd, was seen a
company of infantry, marching as coolly and steadily as if on parade. So
it was after Waterloo, when the _grenadiers a cheval_ moved off at a
walk, "in close column, and in perfect order, as if disdaining to allow
itself to be contaminated by the confusion that prevailed around it." It
was unsuccessfully attacked, and the regiment "literally walked from the
field in the most orderly manner, moving majestically along the stream,
the surface of which was covered with the innumerable wrecks into which
the rest of the French army had been scattered." It was supposed that
this body of cavalry was engaged in protecting the retreat of the
Emperor, and, had all the French been as cool and determined as were
those veteran horsemen, the army might have been saved. Troops in
retreat, who hold firmly together, and show a bold countenance to the
enemy, are seldom made to suffer much.]

The Russian War was not of a nature to afford room for the occurrence of
any panic on an extensive scale, but between that contest and ours there
is one point of resemblance that may be noted. The failures and losses
of the Allies, who had at their command unlimited means, and the bravest
of soldiers in the greatest numbers, were all owing to bad management;
and our reverses in every instance are owing to the same cause. The
disaster at Bull Run, and the inability of our men to keep the ground
they had won at Wilson's Creek, in Missouri, (August 10,) were the
legitimate consequences of action over which the mass of the soldiers
could have no control. It is due to the soldiers to say this, for it
is the truth, as every man knows who has observed the course of the
contest, and who has seen it proceed from a political squabble to the
dimensions of a mighty war, the end of which mortal vision cannot

It would be no difficult task to add a hundred instances to those we
have mentioned of the occurrence of panics in European armies; but it
is not necessary to pursue the subject farther. Nothing is better known
than that almost every eminent commander has suffered from panic terror
having taken control of the minds of his men, and nothing is more unjust
than to speak of the American panic of the 21st of July as if it were
something quite out of the common way of war. True, its origin has never
been fully explained; but in this point it only resembles most other
panics, the causes of which never have been explained and never will be.
It is characteristic of a panic that its occurrence cannot be accounted
for; and therefore it was that the ancients attributed it to the direct
interposition of a god, as arising from some cause quite beyond human
comprehension. If panics could be clearly explained, some device might
be hit upon, perhaps, for their prevention. But we see that they
occurred at the very dawn of history, that they have happened repeatedly
for five-and-twenty centuries, and that they are as common now in the
nineteenth Christian century as they were in those days when Pan was a
god. "Great Pan is _not_ dead," but sends armies to pot now as readily
as he did when there were hoplites and peltasts on earth. We can console
ourselves, though the consolation be but a poor one, with the reflection
that all military peoples have suffered from the same cause that has
brought so much mortification and so great loss immediately home to us.
Our panic is the greatest that ever was known only because it is the
latest one that has happened, and because it has happened to ourselves.
It is idle, and even laughable, to attempt to argue it out of sight. We
should admit its occurrence as freely as it is asserted by the bitterest
and most unfair of our critics; and we should recognize the truth of
what has been well said on the subject, that the only possible answer to
the attacks that have been made on the national character for military
capacity and courage is _victory_. If we shall succeed in this war, the
rout of Bull Run will no more destroy our character for manliness than
the rout of Landen destroyed the character of Englishmen for the same
virtue. If we fail, we must submit to be considered cowards: and we
shall deserve to be so held, if, with our superior numbers, and still
more superior means, we cannot maintain the Republic against the rebels.


On primal rocks she wrote her name;
Her towers were reared on holy graves;
The golden seed that bore her came
Swift-winged with prayer o'er ocean waves.

The Forest bowed his solemn crest,
And open flung his sylvan doors;
Meek Rivers led the appointed Guest
To clasp the wide-embracing shores;

Till, fold by fold, the broidered land
To swell her virgin vestments grew,
While Sages, strong in heart and hand,
Her virtue's fiery girdle drew.

O Exile of the wrath of kings!
O Pilgrim Ark of Liberty!
The refuge of divinest things,
Their record must abide in thee!

First in the glories of thy front
Let the crown-jewel, Truth, be found;
Thy right hand fling, with generous wont,
Love's happy chain to farthest bound!

Let Justice, with the faultless scales,
Hold fast the worship of thy sons;
Thy Commerce spread her shining sails
Where no dark tide of rapine runs!

So link thy ways to those of God,
So follow firm the heavenly laws,
That stars may greet thee, warrior-browed,
And storm-sped Angels hail thy cause!

O Land, the measure of our prayers,
Hope of the world in grief and wrong,
Be thine the tribute of the years,
The gift of Faith, the crown of Song!



The great war which is upon us is shaking us down into solidity as corn
is shaken down in the measure. We were heaped up in our own opinion,
and sometimes running over in expressions of it. This rude jostling is
showing us the difference between bulk and weight, space and substance.

In one point of view we have a right to be proud of our inexperience,
and hardly need to blush for our shortcomings. These are the tributes we
are paying to our own past innocence and tranquillity. We have lived
a peaceful life so long that the traditional cunning and cruelty of a
state of warfare have become almost obsolete among us. No wonder that
hard men, bred in foreign camps, find us too good-natured, wanting in
hatred towards our enemies. We can readily believe that it is a special
Providence which has suffered us to meet with a reverse or two, just
enough to sting, without crippling us, only to wake up the slumbering
passion which is the legitimate and chosen instrument of the higher
powers for working out the ends of justice and the good of man.

There are a few far-seeing persons to whom our present sudden mighty
conflict may not have come as a surprise; but to all except these it
is a prodigy as startling as it would be, if the farmers of the North
should find a ripened harvest of blood-red ears of maize upon the
succulent stalks of midsummer. We have lived for peace: as individuals,
to get food, comfort, luxuries for ourselves and others; as communities,
to insure the best conditions we could for each human being, so that he
might become what God meant him to be. The verdict of the world was,
that we were succeeding. Many came to us from the old civilizations;
few went away from us, and most of these such as we could spare without
public loss.

We had almost forgotten the meaning and use of the machinery of
destruction. We had come to look upon our fortresses as the ornaments,
rather than as the defences of our harbors. Our war-ships were the
Government's yacht-squadron, our arsenals museums for the entertainment
of peaceful visitors. The roar of cannon has roused us from this
Arcadian dream. A ship of the line, we said, reproachfully, costs as
much as a college; but we are finding out that its masts are a part of
the fence round the college. The Springfield Arsenal inspired a noble
poem; but that, as we are learning, was not all it was meant for. What
poets would be born to us in the future without the "_placida quies_"
which "_sub libertate_" the sword alone can secure for our children?

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