Civil War News, February 9, 1861

 

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Harper's Weekly News on the Civil War

The February 9, 1861 Edition of Harper's Weekly

Biographies of Seceding Alabama Delegation | Civil War News, February 9, 1861 | Captain Foster News Article | Iowa Indian Agency | Secession News | Louisiana Secession | Confederate State House, Montgomery Alabama | Vicksburg During Civil War | Vicksburg, Mississippi Civil War News | Civil War Iron Clads | Civil War Iron Clad Story in Harper's Weekly | Civil War Slave Cartoon

 

 

 

FEBRUARY 9, 1861.]

HARPER'S WEEKLY.

83

(Previous Page) enough to justify us in abusing them for declining to join us. In Canada they have a Government.

THE REAL CONDITION OF THE
SOUTH.

WE willingly give place to the following letter, which explains itself:

"MACON, GEORGIA, Jan. 24, 1861.

"MESSRS. HARPER AND BROTHERS, — Permit me to address you a few lines, as a friend, and from an old association of feeling, from having worked in your office in 1821 and 1822. I have favorable associations connected with it, when the elder associate was married, and Wesley and Fletcher Harper were apprentices. I helped to move your office on a cold morning, in 1822, from the north to the south side of Pearl Street, over the book-store of Collins & Hannay, and completed my portion of the work so as to distribute a handful of letter before breakfast. I do not think, from what I saw three years ago, that your office could now be removed in so short a time. But the above is not the object of my writing. I have taken your Monthly and Weekly, since the commencement of their publication, through our book-stores—I have noticed many articles in your Weekly, as news items, with regard to Southern affairs—scarcity of provisions and their prices, etc., which are either highly exaggerated or entirely false. I know the state of the country well, and it does not admit of any such assertions as I see in your columns. I will only say that, although our grain crops were only middling last year, we have plenty in our State to protect every one from hunger or starvation. Also, that very few are out of employment who are disposed to work ; and in a short time there will be more labor than laborers to perform it. It is true, that there is some stagnation in business here, and the usual amount of fine goods have not been imported by our merchants for a short time past. This is all very well for us—as the stock now on hand is sufficient for the next two years—and may tend for a time to check past extravagance with those who think they have "got nothing to eat or nothing to wear," while all that is necessary is in abundance about them. Such items as I have referred to are calculated to irritate sensitive people in the political ferment we are undergoing. Yours, respectfully,   S. Rosh."

We will only remark that the paragraphs alluded to by our correspondent were taken from the Macon correspondence of the New York Herald, a journal not generally supposed to be unfair to the South. Some other paragraphs which have appeared in our news columns, and which have led to some abuse of this journal in the New Orleans Delta and other Southern papers, were taken from the same source, or others of equal responsibility. Our object in compiling our summary of news is to present the truth to our readers : when, in following our daily contemporaries, we are led into error, it will always afford us pleasure to be set right.

A PAINTER'S STUDIO.

THE student of the history of American Art will never fail to be struck with the fact that Washing-ton Allston, after long golden years in Italy and Europe, returned to America and settled himself quietly in the village, or town, or city of Cambridgeport, one of the populous neighborhoods in which the solid city of Boston ravels out into country, and precisely the last spot that the imagination would hold to be propitious to the higher forms of art. That in the vicinity of a few miles dwells the most cultivated society of the region is very probable ; but still you feel that the artist who sits down for life in Cambridgeport has a profound faith in himself and his art.

Somehow our artists gravitate to New York. There are good ones and true in Philadelphia, but they have not the same kind of audience and prestige which are secured in New York. And the other day, in Boston—a cold, chilly, Boston day—. stumbling through streets mealy with snow and crowded with hurrying people, a party of three friends, like good Mr. James's two horsemen, might have been seen making their way to a studio. To a studio in Boston ? Say, rather, to the heart of Italy and Spain. Winter, Boston, disunion, hurry, disappeared ; and we were all golden idlers once more in youth and Italy. That is the delight and secret power of the studio in America. We pretend to go to buy pictures or to sit for a portrait ; but it is really that we may travel back again toward morning, and the hour " of glory in the grass and splendor in the flower."

The charm of Hamilton Wild's studio is not only that the subjects of the pictures are Spanish or Italian life and scenery, but that the spirit and treatment of them are so likewise ; and they are Italian in the sense that the Italian painting is the truest painting of all. Like Page, Wild is a Venetian, in no imitative sense, but because he believes the school of Venice to have been the greatest in the world, and Titian, Tintoretto, Giorgione, and their friends to have been, in the strictest sense of the words, the greatest painters. He has studied them as Tennyson has studied Chaucer, Shakespeare, and Milton ; and with what sympathy he has studied, the remarkable development of his power since he went away, seven or eight years ago, attests.

Upon an easel stood a curtained picture. We talked of Venice and the artist threw the curtain back. The picture was Venice and Italy as Titian's portraits are. The first profound impression as the eye fell upon it was that of sumptuousness, richness, and passionate sadness. Then came the out-

line of the story of the picture, and then the study of the mechanical treatment, the manipulation upon the costly, exquisitely wrought frame which held the picture, as a fit casket a ruby, was graved in German text, La belle dame sans merci. You re-member the line in Keats's " St. Agnes Eve," and his ballad in Leigh Hunt's " Indicator."

"Ah ! what can ail thee, wretched wight !

So haggard and so wobegone,

The squirrel's granary is full,

And harvest's done."

It is not that lady. It is not Keats's lady at all. It is its own conception, its own poem. A lady attired as poets see, in gorgeous velvets, and full sleeves caught with jewels, and buttoned with pearls, lightened with muslin and heavy with costly texture, holds and touches a lute of ebony and ivory and box-wood. The face, smaller than life, looks straight at you, straight and calm and snowy cold, with heavy black hair waving low along the clear, pale forehead, and glittering eyes that turn your eyes away. It is snow, dazzling, serene, pure. But it is not snow that ever melts into impetuous torrents and dashes headlong. Just behind her as she sings leans a youth of the inexpressible tawny beauty of the Italian peasant, his eyes drooping in a dreamy, far-off gaze, beholding her at his side, yet inaccessible forever.

The painting of the picture is masterly. The wood is wood, the ivory ivory, the velvet velvet, and the hair hair. The skill of the hand waits upon the poetic brain—otherwise, quoth an artist, there is no painter.

What, then, is a painter ? I asked.

He who sees pictorially and who can make pictures ; or, again, he who sees in nature what is susceptible of adequate representation under the conditions of painting, and who is master of those conditions. A poet without an eye for color could not be a painter. A poet with an eye for color, but no hand for it, is no more a painter than the other. To indicate with chalk or charcoal or color that you have a fine conceit or a noble thought, is not to be a painter. If Titian had drawn the Presentation in crayon, it would not have been a great picture.

While we talked, Wild placed another picture upon the easel—a woman of Albano looking intently from a window into a tender Italian landscape, with Soracte upon the horizon and the stone pines, that of themselves are Italy. The profile is perfect, the face shadowless, the complexion a wonder of cool gray splendor, the dress with a square neck—all simple, tranquil, beautiful. The beauty of the face is in curious contrast with that of the other picture : the tender, pensive droop of passion, and an alluring inward loveliness.

There was a smaller picture of a Spanish girl, and studies of scenes and character and costume in Spain and Italy. There was also a reminiscence of a villa near Sienna—a morning-reading under the cypresses and ilexes. Old Walter Savage Lander, Robert Browning, and Elizabeth Barrett Browning, and Story, the sculptor of the Zenobia -0 bliss of summer idlesse !

As Mr. Wild's pictures are seen, his remarkable merit will be conceded. The dullest eye can not he blind to the richness of color, and the most delicate imagination will delight in the purely poetic sentiment. It will be the loss of all of us if he does not exhibit at the Academy this year.

TO LITERARY ASPIRANTS.

"SIR,—A person who has unfortunately no acquaintance among editors or publishers, would like to make an engagement to furnish an occasional article for a paying paper or magazine. lie is very anxious to receive a speedy equivalent for the accompanying.

" If, Sir, you can make it convenient and agreeable to aid a stranger by your influence in this matter, you will confer a lasting obligation upon one who is quite ashamed of the request—which is made in a kind of desperation, as a forlorn hope.

"An early answer would very much oblige,

" Yours, with much respect,   - -- "

This is the kind of note which every newspaper man or literary man receives. It is sad to read it : sad to think of the weary hope deferred that lies behind it. There is something so uncertain in the nature of literary success that nothing is more natural than that a person driven to his wits' ends should say, " Well, perhaps I am an author." The same person would not think of applying for employment at a book-bindery, if he knew nothing of book-binding; nor at a shoe-factory, if he knew nothing of shoe-making; nor would he seek any employment any where which required a positive knowledge and familiarity. No—nor would he try the publisher, if he could only know just what is required. But how can he, he argues, until he tries?

No one, if he has not been familiar with periodicals, thinks of the enormous number of failures in such applications. It is a matter in which very little goes by favor, and necessarily ; for the editor of a Magazine contracts with the public to supply what seems to him to be good and valuable literature. If he insert what he knows to be poor, to gratify a friend, or from any personal motive, what happens ? First, he breaks his contract with the publisher, because he was to furnish what seemed to him essentially good, and upon that understanding the publisher risked the enterprise. Second, he breaks the contract with the public. Third, he helps destroy his own reputation as an editor.

It can not be too often stated for the benefit of literary aspirants that a personal introduction to an editor is never necessary. If your object is to submit a manuscript to him, he prefers not to see you. He wishes to judge your work impersonally, and to be spared the possible confusion of a personal application. It is easier and shorter for him to write to you than to say to you, " Dear Sir, your paper does not suit." An editor can not give reasons. In such matters he acts by instinct. " This is good for the public : this is bad for the public," is the method of his ratiocination.

And let him not fear that his MS. will be over-

looked. Manuscripts are not overlooked. If any thing is sent to a paper or magazine which seems serviceable it is accepted and used. It is sad for the author to reflect that his work does not appear because it is not considered suitable. But that is the reason, and rot because it has been lost or overlooked.

These words will be read by a great many per-sons who have tried, or will one day try their luck at sending manuscripts to publishers. Let them send those manuscripts to the editor of the paper or magazine selected, and trust them to their own merits, for that is the test that will be ultimately applied to them by the editor.

THE VASSAR COLLEGE.

IT is not long since we were talking of the singularly fascinating autobiography of Doctor Marie Zakrzweska, who, under remarkable difficulties, has gradually pushed up to a high and honorable and beloved position. But America means to be kinder to women than any country has been hitherto. As various duties are perfectly performed by them, the question whether they can possibly do them, and the imbecile sneer at "learned women," will sink into the proper contempt.

Here, for instance, is Matthew Vassar, a successful merchant of Poughkeepsie, who has endowed a college for women with the princely sum of four hundred thousand dollars. It is to be near Poughkeepsie. The spot is selected, and the plans of a proper building approved. When the charter is obtained and the trustees selected the work will go forward, and every generous heart will cry, God speed !

It is not to be a charity school exclusively, but there will be payment required of all who are able to pay, and the arrangements will save the others from the disadvantage of being considered charity scholars. This is a point that may be reconsidered. The true ground of a college so nobly endowed would be that all courses shall be open to all comers, upon the payment of an honorary fee. The best teachers and the most comprehensive and various studies are included in the plan. Physiology, anatomy, as well as the natural sciences, mathematics and literature will take their turn. In fact, it is intended that nothing shall be assumed about women's capacity or incapacity, but that the whole matter shall demonstrate itself.

Mr. Vassar, like Mr. Cooper, does not leave his design to be executed after he is gone, but will himself see his plan develop as he intends. That plan apparently contemplates nothing less than a University for women, and upon the most munificent foundation ; and such are the monuments that our great fortunes build to their owners, and such the arguments by which the question, Whether art and literature and science can flourish without the patronage of kings? is answered. The City of New York, in the Astor Library and the Cooper Institute, and in the Central Park, has three answers to the question. Mr. Peabody's gift to Baltimore and his institution at Danvers are further indications. The Lawrence School at Cambridge is another, and the Lowell Institute in Boston.

There is as yet no advantage for the individual citizen proved to be peculiar to any monarchical system ; and he must have a dull view of the necessary influence of our popular system who does not see that it is precisely the one iii which the most of every kind is secured to every person. It is the royal heart, and not the royal hand, that lays the corner-stones of so many of our most humane enterprises.

HUMORS OF THE DAY.

THE SYMPATHY OF HOLINESS.

ON New-Year's Day the Pope received the French officers, and made some remarks to them which are of no consequence. But a letter from Rome informs us that "His Holiness also said that, in defending Gaeta, the French fleet serves a just and holy cause."

The Pope's Holiness has heretofore always been regarded as something peculiar; but now by his own showing it is of pretty much the same nature as the holiness of the Bourbon dynasty of Naples. All right ! The Holiness of the Inquisition does well to own its identity with the Holiness of the torture-chamber.

THE PARTING BETWEEN WISDOM AND FOLLY.

It is a very singular thing, but no less true than singular —true, we may say, to a hair—that if a man parts his hair down the middle, we are uncharitably apt to look upon him as a fool; but if a woman parts her hair down the side, we are generally inclined (and with equal want of charity, perhaps) to put her down as a clever woman.

"COUGH NO MORE!"

A great mistake is very often made in the treatment of coughs, which at seasons such as the present are very troublesome in families. The medicines prescribed for the relief of these distracting affections are generally sweetened, with a view to render them palatable. This is a great mistake. Instead of that, a cough mixture, especially if intended for children, ought to be rendered as nauseous as possible. Take of Compound Decoction of Aloes, Infusion of Gentian, Infusion of Senne, Vinegar of Squills, and Tincture of Assafoetida equal parts. Mix A tea-spoonful or less, according to age, to he taken whenever the cough is troublesome. Such is the influence of the mind over the body, that if this compound is promptly and rigorously administered, the most troublesome cough will, in many instances, very soon cease from troubling.

INNOCENCE.

We copy the following from a recent number of The Grandmother's Gazette: "A pretty little child, being asked by her godpapa where cotton grew, replied, with the greatest simplicity, in gentlemen's ears."

A TREMENDOUS BURST OF WIT.—A wretched plumber, writing to another plumber, says, in a foot-note, " Piping times, these!"

THE PRINCIPAL ORNAMENT THAT LADIES SHOULD WEAR AT A RIFLE BALL.—Bugles.

MOTTO FOR A HOMEOPATHIC PHYSICIAN. Nec scio, nec enim curo.

I neither understand, nor cure—oh! (Freely translated.)

~

Ned Shutter thus explained his reason for preferring to wear his stockings with holes to having them darned : " A hole," said he . . .may be the accident of a day, and will pass upon the best gentleman ; but a darn is premeditated poverty.”

CROSS PROVERBS.—Prov. The more the merrier. Cross. Not so; one hand is enough in a purse. Prov. Nothing is hard to a willing mind. Cross. Yes, to get money. Prov. None so blind as they that will not see. Cross. Yes, they that can not see. Prov. Nothing but is good for some-thing. Cross. Not so ; nothing is not good for any thing. Prov. The world is a long journey. Cross. Not so; the sun goes it every day. Prov. It is a great way to the bottom of the sea. Cross. Not so; it is but a stone's cast.

WHY' DON'T YOU BAIL HIM OUT ?—A man, very much intoxicated, was taken to the station-house. "Why did you not bail him out ?" inquired a by-stander of a friend. "Bail him out!" exclaimed the other; "why, you could not pump him out!"

The importance of preserving a good reputation for truth and honesty is quite strikingly set forth in the following: A mortal fever prevailed on board ship at sea, and a negro man was appointed to throw the bodies of those who died from time to time overboard. One day, when the captain was on deck, he saw the negro dragging out of the fore-castle a sick man, who was violently struggling to extricate himself from the negro's grasp, and remonstrating very bitterly against the cruelty of being buried alive. " What are you going to do with that man, you black rascal?" said the captain. "Going to throw him overboard, massa, 'cause he dead."—" Dead, you scoundrel !" said the captain; " don't you see he moves and speaks ?"—" Yes, massa, I know he says he no dead, but he always lie so, nobody ever know when to believe him."

At a party a few evenings since, as a young gentleman named Frost was eating an apple in a quiet corner by him-self, a young lady came up and gayly asked him why he did not share it with her. He good-naturedly turned the side which was not bitten toward her, saying, "Here, take it, if you wish."—" No, thank you," she exclaimed, looking at him archly. "I would rather have one that is not frost-bitten !" and ran off to join the company, leaving poor Frost with a thaw in his heart.

A JOURNEY DOWN-HILL.—A gentleman lying on his death-bed called to his coachman, who had been an old servant, and said, "Ah, Tom! I am going a long and rugged journey, worse than ever you drove me."—" Oh, dear, Sir," replied the fellow (he having been an indifferent master), "never let that discourage you, for it's all down-hill."

A NICE DISTINCTION.—A witness on a recent trial in one of the superior courts admitted that she had seen the respondent "tipsy," but denied that she had seen her "drunk." Upon being asked to define the difference between the two expressions, she said that drunk meant " very stupid," but tipsy only meant "not bright."

LORD ELDON.—It was the habit of Lord Eldon, when Attorney-General, to close his speeches with some remarks justifying his own character. At the trial of Mr. Horne Tooke, speaking of his own reputation, he said : "It is the little inheritance I have to leave my children, and I will leave it unimpaired." Here he shed tears, and, to the astonishment of those present Mitford, the Solicitor-General began to weep. "Just look at Mitford," said a bystander to Horne Tooke. "What on earth is he crying "fort Tooke replied, "He is crying to think what a little inheritance Eldon's children are likely to get."

If a man's horses lose their tails, why should he sell them wholesale?—Because he can't re-tail them.

An Irish lover remarked that it is a great pleasure to be alone, especially when your "swate-heart is wid ye."

A CHILD's POSSESSIONS.—A woman appeared in the court of Louisville, recently, to be appointed guardian for her child, when the following colloquy ensued: "What estate has your child ?"—" Plaze yer honor, I don't understand you."—Judge. " I say, what has she gut ?"—'' Chills and faver, plaze yer honor."

"IT RUNS IN THE BLOOD !"—A certain king had a son born to him. The astrologers predicted that he would lose his sight if he were permitted to see either the sun or a woman before he had reached the age of ten years; on which account the king had him watched and brought up in dark caverns. After ten years were elapsed he caused him to be brought out, and showed him the world, and placed before him many fine jewels and fair damsels—telling him the names of every thing, and that the damsels were demons. Being asked what he liked the best, he re-plied, "The demons please me more than all the rest." The king then marveled greatly, saying, " What a powerful thing is female beauty!"

A blind man, led by a dog, while wandering in the streets of Paris, had his dog seized by some one passing; instantly opening his eyes he gave chase, and, overtaking the thief, cudgeled him severely; after which he closed his eyes and fell to begging again.

On one occasion, in neighborhood of Hampstead Heath, a ruffianly driver was pommeling a miserable bare-boned hack-horse. Lord Erskine's sympathy provoked him to a smart remonstrance "Why," said the fellow, "it's my own ; mayn't I use it as I please?" And . as he spoke, he discharged a fresh shower of blows on the raw back of the beast. Lord Erskine, excessively irritated, laid on his walking-stick sharply over the shoulders of the offender, who, crouching and grumbling, asked him what business he had to touch him with his stick. " Why," re-plied Erskine, to whom the opportunity of a joke was irresistible, "it is my own ; mayn't I use it as I please?"

  WIT AND —WEALTH.

At Beauty's door of glass,

As Wit and Wealth once stood, They asked her who should pass? She answered, "He who could." With golden key Wealth thought To pass, but 'would not do;

While Wit a diamond brought And cut his bright way through.

  "I'd just like to see you," as the blind man said to the policeman when he told him he would take him to the station-house if he did not move on.

A reverend sportsman was once boasting of infallible skill in finding a hare. " If," said a Quaker, who was present," I were a hare, I would take my sent in a place where I should be sure of not being disturbed by thee from the first of January to the last of December."

"Why, where would you go?"

"Into thy study."

Tailors may not be a very terrible set of human beings, but we have seen many a military officer, who, although vain of his courage, couldn't look his tailor in the face.

  A boy not fond of fun and frolic may possibly make a tolerable man, but he is an intolerable boy.

THE LAW'S DELAY.—A few years ago a cargo of ice was imported into England from Norway. Not having such an article on the Custom-house schedules, application was made to the Treasury and to the Board of Trade, and, after some little delay, it was decided that the ice should be entered as "dry goods;" but the whole cargo had melted before the doubt was cleared up!

SIMPLICITY.—A little girl of four years old was recently called as a witness in the Durham police-court, and, in answer to the question as to what became of little glut who told lies, she innocently replied that they were sent to bed.

REFINED PHRASEOLOGY- " You know, Madam, that you can not make a purse out of a sow's car."—" Oh, Sir, please fan me. I have intimations of a swoon. When you use that odious specimen of vulgarity again clothe it in r. fined phraseology. Just say it is impossible to fabricate a pecuniary receptacle from the auricular organ of the soft sex of the genus swine." Many persons are in advance of their age, but an old maid generally manages to be about ten years behind hers.

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