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Page) believe me in error? Still you knew that my object was research
into truth. You employed against your brother in art venomous drugs and a
poisoned probe. Look at me ! Are you satisfied with your work ?"
I sought to draw back and pluck
my arm from the dying man's grasp. I could not do so without using a force that
would have been inhuman. His lips drew nearer still to my ear.
" Vain pretender, do not boast
that you brought a genius for epigram to the service of science. Science is
lenient to all who offer experiment as the test of conjecture. You are of the
stuff of which inquisitors are made. You cry that truth is profaned when your
dogmas are questioned. In your shallow presumption you have meted the dominions
of nature, and where your eye halts its vision, you say, 'There, nature must
close ;' in the bigotry which adds crime to presumption, you would stone the
discoverer who, in annexing new realms to her chart, unsettles your arbitrary
landmarks. Verily, retribution shall await you. In those spaces which your sight
has disdained to explore you shall yourself be a lost and bewildered straggler.
Hist ! I see them already ! The gibbering phantoms are gathering round you !"
The man's voice stopped abruptly;
his eye fixed in a glazing stare ; his hand relaxed its hold; he fell back on
his pillow. I stole from the room; on the landing-place I met the nurse and the
old woman servant. Happily the children were not there. But I heard the wail of
the female child from some room not far distant.
I whispered hurriedly to the
nurse, "All is over!"—passed again under the jaws of the vast anaconda—and on
through the blind lane between the dead walls—on through the ghastly streets,
under the ghastly moon—went back to my solitary home.
SATURDAY, AUGUST 10, 1861.
THE LESSON OF DEFEAT.
IF we are true to ourselves, the
disaster of 21st July will prove a benefit rather than an injury. The
Great Bethel blunder taught us the folly of
going to battle under civilian leadership ; the
Bull Run tragedy is fraught with many valuable
It will teach us, in the first
place, and not only us, but those also who have in charge the national interest
at this crisis, that this war must be prosecuted on scientific principles, and
that popular clamor must not be suffered to override the dictates of experience
and the rules of strategy. We have the best evidence to prove that the march to
Bull Run, and the fight there, were both
undertaken against the judgment of LIEUTENANT-GENERAL
SCOTT, and solely in deference to the popular craving for action
which owed its origin and main virulence to the New York Tribune. The wretched
result must serve as a warning for the future. Hereafter our generals must not
be hurried into premature demonstrations. If any portion of the press should
attempt hereafter to goad them into acting in opposition to their judgment,
public sentiment must rebuke the mischievous endeavor, and our officers and the
Government must withstand it resolutely. No doubt, in the course of the next few
weeks or months, it will often appear that our armies are sluggish, and their
action dilatory. We must remember, when this occurs, that there may be reasons
for delay which the public can not discern. We must, in such cases, remind each
other of the fatal twenty-first of July, and thank God that we can trust
ABRAHAM LINCOLN and
Again. The detailed accounts of
retreat from Bull Run prove that a very large
proportion of our militia officers failed in their duty on that occasion. Some
displayed cowardice, others incapacity. This is no matter of surprise. In
selecting company and even field officers, our militiamen often attach more
weight to wealth and political or social influence than to bravery or soldierly
aptitude. Very many commissions are won by intrigue. Under these circumstances
it was natural that, in the hour of danger, the officers who owed their epaulets
to wealth, political or social influence, or intrigue, should have failed to
develop the coolness, courage, and command over their men which soldiers require
in their leaders. It was to be expected that they would rather lead than check a
panic. This radical flaw in our military system must now be corrected. Great
Bethel emancipated us, cheaply enough, from the mischief of civilian brigadiers.
Bull Run must rid us of cowardly or imbecile colonels, majors, and captains. It
is announced that hereafter the War Department will exercise the right of
reviewing the elections of field officers in each regiment. We trust that no
scruple of delicacy or timidity will interfere with the vigorous execution of
this rule. It should be extended to captains of companies also. Better offend a
thousand ambitious candidates for military rank than have another flight led by
colonels, majors, and captains. And there will be great need of the
pruning-knife. By means best known to themselves most unfit men are even now
obtaining commissions in regiments fitted out here. Intrigue, money, family
connections, and all kinds of improper influences are officering our new
regiments. By the memory of Bull
Run we adjure the War Department and the commanding general to subject all these
officers to a thorough test, and to reject the unsuitable without hesitation. We
have plenty of bravery and plenty of military talent in the country ; for
Heaven's sake let some one see that it is used in the right place.
Let no man be disheartened by the
Bull Run disaster. We were beaten, it is true. But we were beaten by an enemy
twice as strong as we were. They fought in intrenchments elaborately
constructed—we groped our way up to the muzzles of their guns, in total
ignorance of the topography of the battle-field. Wherever our soldiers met
theirs in fair fight, we beat them. They had been drilling and preparing for the
fight for half a year at least: our men were raw levies. And if the battle has
proved that with these disadvantages we could not contend against them, it has
also proved that our troops possess more personal bravery than theirs, and that
our people—whom the defeat has only roused to fresh exertions—have the right
stuff in them.
"With our light, success is a
duty!" Let this be our watch-word. We have every thing in our favor ; more than
twice the population, complete command of the sea, all the industrial capacity
of the country, unrestricted communication with the foreign world, all the money
we need, and, best of all, a just cause.
SEVERAL journals, in the heat of
indignation at the Bull Run defeat, have called for changes in the
Cabinet. We hope that none will be made. That
certain Secretaries have displayed a want of energy, while others have devoted
more time and thought than was decent to securing contracts for political
friends, is probably true enough. But it is no time to punish them when the Gaul
is at the gates. We must first repel the enemy—then we shall have ample time to
settle with unfaithful servants at home. Any change in the Cabinet just now
would have the same moral effect, both abroad and at home, as a defeat in the
At the same time it may be well
for the members of
Mr. Lincoln's Administration to read the
histories of Rome and Greece. They will there discover that republics are
vindictive as well as ungrateful, and that the anger of the most despotic
monarch is light and trivial in comparison with the wrath of an outraged and
betrayed democracy. The country demands that the business of the several
Departments of Government shall be conducted honestly and energetically at the
present crisis. Woe to the Cabinet Minister who, when the day of reckoning
comes, shall be found to have neglected this public mandate !
The two volunteers, GEORGE O.
M'MULLIN and ISAAC BLAKEMORE, who hauled down the secession flag at
Harper's Ferry, belong to the Pennsylvania
Seventeenth, and not to the New York Ninth, as stated in the letter-press under
our recent picture of the exploit.
IT is not in the Saxon heart to
despond or despair. On the Monday night after the action at Bull Run, though it
was the darkest night that ever fell upon this country, the country was never so
strong. Great as we have all felt the contest to be, we knew, that night, that
it was greater than our thoughts; that the urgent duty was neither to regret nor
recriminate, but to "close up," and press more strongly, more unitedly, forward.
It is impossible yet to tell the
story of the day. The newspapers have teemed with differing accounts. Apparently
there was victory at hand, if not in possession, when a sudden order to retire
dismayed the triumphant line. The soldiers, who from exhaustion or whatever
cause had been sent to the rear, and the teamsters and civilians who hovered
along the base of our active line, were struck with terror by a sudden dash of
cavalry from the flank. They fled, panic-stricken, in a promiscuous crowd: while
the soldiers who were really engaged fell back quietly and in good order. It was
the crowd of disengaged soldiers, teamsters, and civilians in the rear who
rushed, a panting rabble, to Washington, and who told the disheartening story
that was flashed over the country at noon on Monday. But our army, our soldiers
who were fighting the battle, fought as heroes fight, and only retired when the
orders came, as the bravest and most reluctant soldiers must.
fight at Bull Run, therefore, was of no evil
auspice to the cause, as it would have been if the truth had proved to be what
we all at first feared. It was, so far as our army was concerned, the orderly
retirement of an inferior force before superior numbers strongly intrenched. Why
they were so exposed, and whether, exposed or not, they would not have remained
upon the field victorious except for the panic in the rear, are questions which
can not be easily decided.
An experienced soldier, an
officer in a foreign army, who has seen much service, writes to the Lounger in a
purely military strain: "I can understand that such news affect you
disagreeably; but you must remember that war is a new thing to
you, especially to some of your officers in
command : and this, also, that it always must take the lives of a good many men
to acquire experience in warfare. There is a rather cruel proverb in French
which is in great favor with military men : it is ; Pour faire un omelette, il
faut d'abord casser des oeufs.
THE men at the South who are trying to destroy
the government, and the men at the North who are trying to save it, can not
contemplate the day at Bull Run without deep reflection. The time for passion
and rhetoric and surprise has passed. The issue is made up before the world. The
arena is our noble country. The combatants are ourselves. The struggle is for
free constitutional government. Shall it be lost, or maintained ?
Now the particular lesson that the friends of a
free government in this country have learned is this : that its enemies are
resolutely prepared to dispute the point in the way most favorable to
themselves. They are under the military command of an engineer whom the
Government educated and who bore off the honors of his class. The system of
defense he adopts is the one most suitable to the country in which he is placed,
and to the habits and character of the people he commands. Those people are as
profoundly ignorant of their fellow-citizens north of the Potomac as they are of
the Chinese. They believe that they are defending all that is dearest and most
sacred from the violating hands of barbarian hordes. And this ignorance is
deepened by the artful falsehoods of
Beauregard, and the other rebel chiefs. For the
war they have commenced they have plenty of artillery and ammunition. They mean
to fight desperately behind their works, but not outside of them, and they will
try to prolong the war long enough for foreign powers to have an excuse to
This is what we have learned ; and what have we
taught them ?
We have taught them that the great mass of the
people of this country, free, intelligent, and comfortable, do not mean to have
the government which secures them every blessing ruined without shedding the
last drop of blood in its defense. The people whom the conspirators thought to
be cowards have proved themselves to be cool and terrible soldiers. The
appalling truth threatens the rebellion even from the
field at Bull Run that the loyal people of this
country are just as fearfully in earnest as the rebels ; and that "the
abstraction" for which the rebels taunt them for fighting is nothing less than
the system which secures each one of those citizens his rights.
Granting the rebels, then, an equal faith with
ourselves in the justice of their cause, which side is likely to prevail—they,
who stand upon
slavery and cotton, the first of which war
makes a deadly danger, and the second is useless if it can not be sold ; or we,
who have abounding men and money, who are a people of every pursuit, with a soil
producing every crop, who have the tradition and possession of the government,
the course of civilization, and the sympathy of mankind?
THE WAY TO PEACE.
A BALTIMORE gentleman, who believes in Mr.
Jefferson Davis and disbelieves in the Government of the United States, is said
to have asked whether after another victory or two we might not hope for peace.
He meant, whether the country at large would not then assent to Mr. Davis's
Constitution as the law of the land.
But how should we have peace from that assent?
Suppose his Constitution accepted by a majority of the States even, and imposed
upon the others. What then ? How do you hope for peace from it ? The Davis
Constitution is a revival of the old Confederation. It is a league among States,
not a government of the people, and each State is to decide for itself when it
will leave the league. That is the fundamental doctrine of this rebellion. A
revolution proceeds upon causes which are cited to justify it to God and men.
But the principle of "the Confederacy" is, as
Mr. Lincoln plainly said at Indianapolis last
February, the free-love principle. When a State is tired it goes off. Its whim
is the constitutional justification of its course.
Does any Baltimore gentleman think that this is
the road to peace ?
Probably not. But he may say that he supposes
that, after a battle or two more lost by us, we shall be willing to seek peace
by assenting to the separation of the States.
Mr. Everett answers this question on the Fourth
of July as it had been often enough answered before. Of secession he says, " It
is in its very nature a perpetual cause of hostility..... If, for the frivolous
reasons assigned, the seceding States have chosen to plunge into this gulf,
while all the peaceful temperaments and constitutional remedies of the Union
were within their reach, and offers of further compromise and additional
guarantees were daily tendered them, what hope, what possibility of peace can
there be when the Union is broken up ; when, in addition to all other sources of
deadly quarrel, a general exodus of the slave population begins (as, beyond all
question, it will), and nothing but war remains for the settlement of
controversies ? The Vice-President of the new Confederacy states that it rests
on slavery ; but from its very nature it must rest equally on war—eternal war
first between North and South, and then between some of the smaller fragments
into which some of the disintegrated parts may crumble."
Is this the way to peace ? Any Baltimore
gentleman can see as plainly as any patriot in the country, that even if peace
were made upon such terms, the army which we have now in the field could not be
reduced by a single soldier.
There is but one way to peace in this emergency,
and that is to establish the national supremacy a hundred-fold more absolutely
than ever before. All other solutions are simply anarchy and war. This alone is
permanent peace. The present generation
at the South have been taught to hate the Union.
They must now be taught to fear it, in order that they may gradually understand
and love it.
"GREAT EXPECTATIONS," AND THE NEW NOVELS.
THE novel of Dickens, which is just completed in
this paper, is among the best novels in our literature. The Athenoeum in London
says of it—and we quote it because it is so parsimonious of praise : " Whether
the library of English fiction contains a romance comparable with 'Great
Expectations' is a matter which admits of doubt......Trying Mr. Dickens by
himself, we find in this his last tale as much force as in the most forcible
portions of 'Oliver Twist,' as much delicacy as in the most delicate passages of
'David Copperfield,' as much quaint humor as in 'Pickwick.' In short, that this
is the creation of a great artist in his prime we have felt from the very first
moment of its appearance......."
The Athenoem is seldom so much excited by any
work as it declares itself to be by this story of Dickens.
The story deserves much if not all that is said
of it. It has all the power, variety, humor, tenderness, grace, wonderful
pathos, and masterly management which are found in the other tales, but not
often so forcibly combined as in this. Its most original character is Joe
Gargery : the soul of a child in the body of a giant: a man in whom the
essential manhood triumphs over every obstacle, and shines out in such lovely
light that our common nature takes fresh hold of our affection and admiration.
There is no sermon preached in the story. Nobody
proses or moralizes or "improves." The plot moves steadily forward from the
first word, with its impenetrable cloud of causes, countercauses, influences,
and fatalities. The many-hued characters, whether hinted, drawn, or elaborated,
play their parts without the least superfluity. The landscape and the aspects of
outward nature adapt themselves to the tale; and when you close the book, sermon
or no sermon, you are a wiser and a sadder man.
That deep, searching skepticism of the course of
human justice, which, while it does not question its general necessity,
alleviates by sympathy particular injustice, and so appeals to a correction of
abuse in our dealings with criminals, and to the great secret pity of mankind
for sinners, is nowhere more satisfactorily put than in " Great Expectations."
And if this great author had no other claim to remembrance, what a sweet and
signal service to humanity it is that he has always shown us the man in the
criminal, and softened with tears the voice of condemnation!
As Dickens retires from the scene Bulwer appears.
His new novel begins in this number of the Weekly. Meanwhile, in the Monthly,
Thackeray tells the tale of " Philip," and Anthony Trollope of " Orley Farm."
The lords of old had " harpers hoar" to sing to them at table. We are all lords
now, and, sitting at our ease, genius tells stories more delightful than ever
the barons heard.
IN his message to the Richmond Congress,
Jefferson Davis says that he sent a flag to
President Lincoln informing him "of
my resolute purpose to check all barbarities on prisoners of war by such
severity of retaliation upon prisoners held by us as should secure the
abandonment of the practice." Mr. Davis makes the fate of certain United States
citizens in his hands depend upon that of the
pirates of the Savannah.
He assumes to be the head of a nation. But no
other nation in the world acknowledges him. Consequently his commission to a
sea-captain to stop and plunder the ships of a great recognized Power in the
world can have no other weight than a similar commission from any body else.
In ordinary battle, as at Bull Run, the
combatants, whatever the justice of their cause, having appealed to arms, are
equally exposed to danger. But a privateer is an armed vessel sailing under
false pretenses, and falling upon unprotected merchantmen. The difference of the
cases is that of a duel and a highway robbery. A man about to fight a duel may
treat his opponent politely. But it is not expected that any body shall be
polite to a footpad. Therefore the law of nations condemns privateering as
With some show of reason Mr. Davis might say that
if we hung all the prisoners we took in battle he would hang all that he took.
But he can have no pretense for including pirates in the same category. Because,
although the sailors sail and the soldiers march equally by his commission, the
difference between them lies in the difference of their method of war.
Argument, however, is of no avail in the case
except for the future record of these events. The point is one of policy. Shall
we save the lives of heroes now in the hands of the enemy by sparing the lives
of the pirates whom they send out to capture our ships and murder the crews if
they resist ? Do we by so doing make it a war of extermination? And if so, who
The answers to these questions involve very
important considerations, which are obvious enough.
UP WITH THE FLAG!
Now, by Saint Paul, the work goes bravely on, The
Stars and Stripes
are up for Liberty! Flag of the Nation—Talisman of the Free! Curs'd be the hand that dares to pluck thee down. Traitors may trample—Rebel
States disown, The clouds of war encompass land and sea;
The stars may fall from heaven, but not from
thee! Thy rainbow stripes shall stand while stands the sun. Up! freemen, up! No
more concession now! Act! act! The hour for words is more than past. Free
thought—free speech—tree limbs, for high and low: From every land rings out this
bugle blast—Strike! 'Tis this hand of God that guides the blow; Strike! 'Tis the
hour that frees the world at last. HOUSATONIC VALLEY, 1861.