Gambar halaman
PDF
ePub

read to the people, declaring “that Sumter is reinforced, and Moultrie lies in ruins."

“ To describe the scene which ensued,” says the reporter of the New York Times, "surpasses our ability-it beggars description-cheers, hurrahs, and shouts made the building ring—the waving of hats and handkerchiefs, and the simultaneous uprising of many hundreds of people made the scene one of the most remarkable and solemnly impressive that has ever been witnessed in that church of well defined opinion. Mr. Beecher appeared about six inches taller than usual, and his eye flashed fire as he looked on the enthusiasm of his charge.” The reporter adds that “the audience sat spell-bound by the eloquence of the preacher, and woke from their trance only to sing the magnificent anthem, commencing

• My country, 'tis of thee,
Sweet land of liberty,
Of thee I sing.'

which was given with such a pronounced emphasis as to startle the neighbourhood for blocks around, and cause the very blood of the listener to leap with patriotic fervour." A "majestic uprising of Northern sentiment" for war, it is said, followed the fall of Fort Sumter; although it would have been more majestic to let the “wayward sisters go in peace.” Such are the men who have originated the

war.

FREAKS IN THE CHAPTER OF ACCIDENTS.

Passing over the “War of Tariffs” in South Carolina, and what Massachusetts called the “ War of Commerce" in 1812, when each threatened to secede, we come to the more recent incidents which have threatened an explosion. There had been a considerable encroachment on the rights of the South by the North, on the acknowledged basis of the “Compromises of the Constitution. The Missouri Compromise had been adopted for the sake of peace. This act said to the Southerns, beyond a certain line you shall not bring what both North and South call property, into the common territory which belonged equally to both ; and to which both were entitled on their own terms and

arrangement. The repeal of this act opened up a race for the settlement of Kansas and Nebraska ; brought into existence Ward Beecher's “Holy Rifles," and the mightier and purer heroism of John Brown, who saved Kansas for freedom, in opposition to both North and South—tearing to pieces before their faces the "Black Compromises of the Constitution, in defiance of, and expressing his utter contempt for, the Union.

Lincoln and Seward each in turn threatened a war on the Southern states themselves, by an invasion of their acknowledged claims on which the

Compromises” were based, in order to make a bid

for the presidency. This is shewn in what the Southerns called Seward's “ bloody Rochester speech ;? and in the speech which Lincoln made at Springfield, Illinois—speeches which so enraged the Southerns that it was quite evident to the most cursory observer, if either were elected, the Southerns would secede. Each explained away the offensive paragraphs, or retracted them to appease the South; but their cunning tricks or artifices did not succeed. When Lincoln was elected, the Southerns withdrew; and on the indignity studiously and deliberately put on the Southern Commissioners by Secretary Wm. H. Seward, the subservient tool of Lincoln, the war commenced.

DIFFICULTIES IN THE PATHWAY OF WAR.

ONE of these was the infraction of all treaties which the Federal government had made with foreign nations. When the Southern States seceded and fell back on the rights of self-government, solemnly and sacredly guaranteed to them in our charters of freedom, every treaty which the Federal government had previously made with other nations became invalid; and if the ambassadors of those nations commissioned by their governments had thundered at the door of the Secretary of State with their broken treaties or bonds, our war, with all its frightful tragedies and diabolical atrocities, as well as fearful calamities and wide-spread ruin,

might probably have been averted. It would at once have been self-evident to our administrators at Washington that, in the presence of those. broken treaties and the ambassadors behind them to enforce them, they could not have attempted the blockade of the Southern coast; and, consequently, would have had less prospect or hope of subduing the South ; but, Disraeli-like, neither those governments nor their ambassadors ever called in question the validity of their treaties, or “impugned the conduct of the government of the United States in regard to them.” Surely those governments did not know that the States of America were sovereigns, and that the President was subject to their authority as their servant; or can we suppose that, knowing their rights, they dared not maintain them; or that it was not to their interest to preserve their treaty rights intact? There must have been either great ignorance, or timidity, or negligence somewhere. However this may be, whatever the motive, policy, or example that guided the nations in their conduct towards America at the commencement of our unhappy strife, there can be no doubt that our keensighted and sharp-witted lawyers at Washington must have been thrilled with emotions of joy when they found they were to be regarded by the nations as an absolute government, exercising jurisdiction over the Southern as well as the Northern States, and claiming the right to use supreine power on the sea as well as the land, to force not rebellious sub

jects but sovereign states to an unwilling obedience. Our “Great Armada,” so-called, was consequently got ready, and despatched with all haste to blockade Southern harbours and ports. One of the first consequences of this policy was the "cotton famine.”

AMERICAN BATTLEFIELDS AND DESOLATE BRITISH

HOMES.

Booming o'er the broad Atlantic, breaking on old England's shore, With the waves sad sounds are mingling, sadder than the surges'

roar

A great Continent of brothers, heard wildly o'er the flood,
Mutual desolation working, quenching brotherhood in blood.

And England's hosts of Industry listen eager to the strife,
For to them, as to yon armies, is the struggle Death or Life:
Not on the battlefield itself is battle's power more dread,
Than when it steals from helpless Want its scanty daily bread.

And willing hands are idle, and the wheels of Labour still,
And the swift machines are rusting in the grim deserted mill;
For thousands there's no Saturday-there's now no “wage” to

come, And the wives and the dear little ones must want and weep at

home.

Methinks that nobler battlefields the Poets song may claim,
Than those in which, through seas of blood, the victor rides to

fame, Where no eye but God's may mark the fight-fought faithfully

and long, By many a poor heroic soul ’mid the unregarded throng.

Where Famine finds gaunt women, and lean and haggard men, Patiently, with dim hope, waiting till the good days come again

« SebelumnyaLanjutkan »