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SATURDAY, JUNE 8, 1861.
ENGLAND AND THE REBELLION.
SINCE speaking, last week, of
England as an ally, the news of the proclamation has arrived. The English
Government warns all subjects not to take sides in the war at their peril, and
not to try to break a blockade actually established. It also forbids the selling
of arms to either party. How a friendly power can justify this conduct it is not
easy to say. If the United States Government had ordered the citizens not to
sell arms to Englishmen, nor carry them in American ships—had, in fact, declared
its absolute neutrality between England and the Sepoys in their late rebellion,
the English Government might have justly called it an unfriendly act.
The rebellion in this country has
not half the excuse that the Sepoys had. The Indian soldiers were at least
standing upon their own soil, and opposing a foreign race which had vanquished
them by arms. It was a blind stroke for the independence of their nationality.
Davis rebellion is the resistance of a faction
of citizens against the government of all ; and the liberty for which they claim
that they are fighting means baldly and only the liberty of holding other
That England should recognize
such a rebellion for such a cause is, as we said last week, incredible. And she
has not done it. Acting upon imperfect knowledge she has told her subjects to
keep hands off. She is not positively friendly, and she is obviously unwise ;
but she is not hostile. The dearest dream of
Jefferson Davis has been that she would raise
the blockade. The whole rebellion has rested upon two points : first, that the
North was cowardly and divided, and then that England, which must have cotton,
would open the
Southern ports. But the traitors forgot how much the one depended
upon the other. If England had seen the Slave States united in the movement, and
the Free States hesitating and divided, she would doubtless have taken some more
decided action. But she has seen just in time, in the Free States, an
enthusiastic unanimity unparalleled in history—all the vast resources of a
great, intelligent, skillful, industrious, and wealthy people, she has seen
heaped and lavished in the measures of defense against this conspiracy. The full
influence of this spectacle upon her action we have not yet seen. But the result
of the suspicion of it is shown in her declaration that she will not break the
blockade. When she understands, as she will from
Mr. Adams and the history of recent events,
exactly what the character and chances of the rebellion are, she will hardly be
so nervous about taking sides.
Her hesitation, we ought to
remember, is not altogether unnatural. Our late minister in England probably
neither understood the difficulty at home nor sympathized with the Government.
England saw a great conspiracy — an empty
treasury—the army and navy crumbling—Congress
paralyzed and foolishly alienating sympathy by the Morrill tariff—the Border
States longing to go—the States that had elected the President hesitating and
divided. The moneyed interest of New York city was represented to her in private
letters and by the public performances of "W.
H. Russell, LL.D., Barrister at Law," as secretly favoring the
insurrection. She knew that the capital of the nation was sorely threatened, and
President and Cabinet were in personal danger
of capture. England thought she saw—and ought we to be surprised that she so
thought ?—all the signs of speedy national dissolution. Lord Palmerston, the
head of the ministry, frankly said so. She felt obliged to take some action, and
she did precisely what might have been expected, acting, as she did, under the
convictions which Lord Palmerston expressed, tempered as they must have been by
the magnificent spectacle of a national Samson awaking, in full strength, from
slumber, which Lord Palmerston could not have failed to see, but without yet
Had a great statesman been in
power we should have seen another sight. The British empire, whose great
tradition and strength is constitutional liberty, and which is pledged
irretrievably against human slavery, would have waited until she was fully
informed by our Government of the nature of the rebellion and its own purposes.
Then admitting the rebellious agents, as individuals, she would have said to
them : " England is the fast friend of the United
States Government, and in
obedience to her instincts, her national principle, and the interest of her
subjects most intimately concerned in the American trade, she will support that
Government, founded upon the constitutional will of the people, against every
effort to substitute for it a military despotism for the protection of slavery.
Go, gentlemen. The conscience, the heart, the common sense and interest of
civilization and humanity are against you. You hope to lead us by cotton—but
cotton is more
certainly secured to us by our
cordial alliance with the Government we have so long known, and whose flag in
this contest is the flag of popular liberty regulated by law—the flag of the
principles which England has always defended."
She has not yet done that—but she
will do it. Meanwhile, although the rebellion will be comforted that she has not
entirely turned her back, yet by her respecting the blockade the second and last
great hope of treason disappears.
OUR SOUTHERN PICTURES.
THERE is now no communication,
either by mail or by express, with the rebel States, and our friends in that
section can not get Harper's Weekly if they would. But for this, our respectful
sympathies would have been at the service of those old readers who have lately
been deprived of this sheet by zealous Vigilance Committees and State Governors.
In the last number of this
journal we published the only portraits ever printed of the
Confederate Cabinet ; the only good view ever
Montgomery and of the White House there ;
besides a number of other Southern scenes. In this number we give a splendid
birds-eye view of part of the
Southern States. Even assuming that our Southern
friends don't care about seeing pictures of the Northern people and their
military doings, it must surely be a privation to be debarred from enjoying
illustrations of their own side in the war.
CONTRABAND OF WAR.
BUTLER'S refusal to surrender fugitive slaves to their masters, on
the ground that they are " contraband of war," appears to be equally sound in
law and sensible in practice. He has established a precedent which will probably
be faithfully followed throughout the war.
It can not be complained of by
the South, for it rests upon the cardinal principle of the Breckinridge party at
the last election, that slaves are property under United States law. If they are
property, the fact that they can be of service to the enemy—like horses or
carts—places them at once in the list of articles which are " contraband of
The practical effect of this
decision will verify the prediction uttered in this journal when the war first
broke out, namely, that, in one way or another, actual hostilities would prove
fatal to the slave institution. The North has not sought this result. The
officer who establishes the precedent was the Breckinridge candidate for
Governor in Massachusetts. It is the secessionist politicians who have rendered
its adoption unavoidable : if it is hard to bear, the South must look to them
No man dies too soon whose name
his country remembers with love and honor. Eighty-six years ago a young man went
from Boston to Bunker Hill, and through the sharp battle of that summer day he
cheered and consoled his fellow-soldiers fighting for liberty. As the troops
slowly retired Joseph Warren fell, " the last in the trenches." Since that day
no figure in our history is more beloved and inspiring. He seems to smile upon
us brightly with the hope of liberty, and the words he often quoted are his fit
epitaph : " It is sweet to die for your country."
As Warren died in the beginning
of the struggle to obtain constitutional liberty, so dies Ellsworth at the
opening of the war to maintain and perpetuate it. They both belong to those
heroes whose death serves their country not less than their life. The shade of
Warren led Massachusetts through the war : the memory of
Ellsworth marshals New York to victory.
Those who knew the young Colonel
Zouaves feel how much the country has lost in
his death. His unquestionable military genius would have soon made his name as
conspicuous for good service as it was already for heroic energy and skill and
sagacity. But his death also helps the good cause. For in his grave private
feuds are buried. By his blood all patriot hearts are more closely sealed
together. Remembering him, brave men will be braver, and the strong arm strike
more strongly. War has many terrible aspects ; but it also develops grand and
noble qualities. And this is among them, that private griefs are hushed and lost
in the common weal. While the mother's heart breaks for her dead boy, it beats
with gratitude that his death gives life to his country.
AN AMIABLE FRIEND.
AN amiable friend in Kentucky
writes to the Lounger to ask why he has become so sanguinary. He invites him to
discuss the drama, and the fine arts, and the fashions, and the new novels, and
promises to forgive him if he will only not allude to any thing in which the
public is interested.
The nerves of the amiable
Kentucky friend are doubtless delicate. But he must remember that it is not
every man who can see a desperate and causeless rebellion strike at the
foundations of society without being swept away by the wild enthusiasm of
loyalty to liberty and social order which kindles all the hearts around him.
While every family is sending off its sons and brothers to fight for their
country against a murderous and ignoble
enemy—while all business is
suspended because time, money, and industry must be devoted to the same holy
cause—while there is but one supreme and universal interest, and that the
deepest and most sacred possible—nobody hereabouts has time to discuss the new
fashions and the new novels.
Perhaps the amiable friend in
Kentucky is not aware that there is a conspiracy against the peace of his
country. Perhaps he has not heard that the flag of his country has been shot at
and shot down by traitors. Perhaps he has yet to learn that the
President of the United States has summoned an
army of the people to see that the laws of the people are maintained. Perhaps he
is ignorant that loyal citizens marching to defend their Government have been
murdered. Perhaps he does not even know that there are States which are debating
whether to be patriots or traitors. Perhaps he has not been informed that there
are State Governors who think it marvelously inhuman that the beneficent and
constitutional laws of the land shall be enforced at every, cost, but a most
proper and praiseworthy thing that those laws should be resisted and that
Government destroyed. Perhaps he does not yet understand that the industrious,
intelligent, law and liberty loving mass of the inhabitants of this country have
taken up arms to cut down the crop of treason, and to destroy its seeds, and to
settle once and forever the point that the United States are a nation and not a
club—that they have a Government which is supreme, being ordained and constantly
renewed by the people according to the Constitution they have adopted ; and that
this Government shall be implicitly obeyed every where in the land.
When the amiable friend in
Kentucky shall have learned some of these facts, he may perhaps vaguely surmise
why the Lounger does not devote himself exclusively to the discussion of the
THE Constitution, in its third
section, says that "Treason against the United States shall consist only in
levying war against them, or in adhering to their enemies, giving them aid and
comfort." The first article of the Amendments declares, that " Congress shall
make no law . . . abridging the freedom of speech or of the press." The
Constitution of the State of New York says, in the eighth section of the first
article, that " Every citizen may freely speak, write, and publish his
sentiments on all subjects, being responsible for the abuse of that right ; and
no law shall be passed to restrain or abridge the liberty of speech or of the
Any man may therefore say, in a
newspaper or a speech, that he thinks the Government of the United States ought
to permit itself to be outraged and destroyed ; he may say that he thinks the
vast loyal mass of the people ought to substitute the League of the Slave States
for the Constitution of the United States; he may say that the present
Government of the people of this country is " accidentally in power ;" he may
say that he hopes the traitors may subdue the faithful citizens of the land ; he
may call maintaining the laws of the country "coercion;" he may call the
necessary measures for ferreting out traitors and suppressing rebellion "
invasion of a State ;" he may seek by every kind of falsehood and calumny and
appeal to the baser passions to sow dissension among the friends of the
Government to the end that its enemies may conquer, and yet he has not forfeited
his claim to the protection of the very government and laws he seeks to destroy.
But it is always wise to make due
allowance for human nature. The Constitution has from the beginning guaranteed
this absolute right of free speech to every citizen of the United States, any
State law to the contrary notwithstanding. But for all that Mr. Wendell Phillips
has always been sensible enough not to try to exercise that right south of the
city of Philadelphia, because although he had precisely the same constitutional
right to say what he thought of Slavery that
Mr. Jeff Davis had to say what he thought of
it, yet he knew that his legal rights would be disdained both by the constituted
authorities and the public sentiment.
When, therefore, the blood of the
brave sons of the loyal States of this Union has flowed freely in defense of
their Government, their
national flag, and civil society itself; when
the full horror of the war which has been forced upon the country by rebellious
citizens bursts over the land, it will be the part of wisdom for those who have
adhered to the rebels in every way which did not bring their own necks into
immediate peril, who have given all the aid of sympathy, all the comfort which
falsehood and incessant efforts to sow dissension could impart, to make due
allowance for human nature.
WHILE every allowance is to be
made for human nature, it is the clear duty of every loyal citizen to protect
every other citizen in the expression of his opinion. That it differs radically
from the general opinion, that it is notoriously expressed, not from any
conviction, but from the most venomous party rancor that would willingly see the
Government ruined, does not disturb the right of protection and the duty of
protecting free speech.
Heretofore, when there has been
complaint that it was dangerous in some parts of the country to quote the
Declaration of Independence, the reply has been made with a fine air of
indignation, "would you allow people to poison wells?" To which the answer is
plain enough : if the mere free discussion of any question any where in the
country is so dangerous to something or other, why, as that free discussion is
one of the express privileges guaranteed by the Constitution, if something or
other undertakes to deny or abridge that right it does so at its peril.
It is an interesting and
instructive fact that the papers which now most loudly deprecate mob law are
those which have most freely justified it hitherto, when somebody else was to be
paper in the city of New York
which encourages treason would feel sadly injured if it were served as it would
heartily approve the serving of the Liberator, if that paper were published in
Charleston. " Served it right," it would say ;
" what business has a man to put the peace of a neighborhood in peril?" Let it
remember that that is precisely what would be said in its own case here and now.
The whirligig of Time is a very
droll machine. When you excite a mob to attack a man who is merely exercising a
lawful right, suppose you ask yourself, " How should I like to have a mob set
upon me for doing what I have a right to do ?"
Meanwhile it is one of the
pleasantest evidences of the spirit of society in the loyal States that every
symptom of riot, for any purpose, would be no more sternly and effectually
repressed than ever. For the faithful citizens of this country are armed in
defense of law and orderly government, and their lives will illustrate their
loyalty ; and when the people, by their blood and money, have re-established the
National Government every where in the land, they will take good care that every
right it guarantees shall be every where and forever respected. And the most
sacred of those rights is that of free speech upon every question of public
MORALS IN MACHINERY.
MANUAL machinery is valuable
according to the intelligence of the operator, and nothing is more striking than
the fact that immorality paralyzes machinery. The telegraph, for instance,
trembles all day long with weighty news ; but how if your weighty news proves to
be utterly false? The telegraph is a delicate ear-trumpet that coils all over
the land, but if the person who takes one end of it in California to whisper to
Maine, breathes a lie into the tube, it may travel very quickly, but that is
all. No, it is not all. That lie has tainted the tube. After that even truth
exudes from it suspected.
This has become so true during
the last few months that the old proverb is entirely reversed and reports are
disbelieved, not believed, because they are printed in the newspapers. It is
enough that a sensible man reads a telegram from Washington. He doubts it for
that reason. It wants confirmation. A man who had been expecting or hoping for
an office should have trembled to read his name as that of the lucky aspirant.
The chances were against him.
Of course nothing could feed the
fire of public fever more than this uncertainty. And when on the melancholy
evening of the twelfth of April of this year the fatal news flashed into the
city that hostilities had begun before Charleston, the instinct of every man was
first to express his opinion of the fact ; and then to doubt seriously whether
it were a fact or not ; and finally to wonder, if it were true at all, how much
and in what way it was true. Every body felt that the hands which held the wires
might manipulate the news as they chose. And thus the country was at the mercy
of one man's impulses.
Well, we can not have any thing
without paying the price for it. If we have telegraphs we must take the risk of
not believing them, and of the abuse to which they may so readily be subjected.
The moral of the matter is that we must reserve our judgments and our actions.
If it be a ludicrous thing to believe a newspaper, how much more so is it to
believe the telegraph from which the newspaper is so largely made !
PATRIOTISM AND PARTY.
THE present condition of the
country enables us to make some essential and beneficial changes in the
management of public affairs, for which times of peace would never have seemed
to offer the fitting opportunity. Among the chief of these is the practical
refutation of the fatal doctrine that to the victors belong the spoils. It was a
doctrine unknown in the earlier days of our national history, and its expression
showed how entirely the person who first said it was blinded to the character
and peculiar dangers of our system.
In this stirring crisis it is
well understood that there are but two parties—that of the country and its
government, and that of the rebellion. One marshals its hosts under the
and stripes ; the other " wishes only to be let alone" under the rattlesnake.
The present Administration has announced that its policy in appointments to
office is not one of vengeance. It adds but one question to Jefferson's famous
two: "Is he honest ? Is he capable ? Is he loyal?"
Of course, at a time when the
number of office-seekers is beyond precedent, there must be terrible swearing at
such a policy as this. The man who has worked hard for the incoming of the
Administration to power, and against the old army of office-holders who worked
hard for another party, grumbles bitterly that his opponent is retained in his
office by the very power against which he devoted his time and efforts and
The reply to this is obvious
enough. In the first place, since nothing is more dangerous to our permanent
peace than this incessant shifting of office at every election, a stop to it
must begin at some time. In the second place, no time could be so fitting as one
in which party issues and discipline were forgotten in the necessity of
maintaining the Government itself under which the parties are possible.
In the ordinary course of events
the new Administration could not have made this wide departure from the usual
custom, without imperiling the great principles upon which it was elected by the
people. But Providence has now given us a chance of escaping the consequences of
political folly hitherto. It is, indeed, easy enough for an office-holder who is
treasonable at heart to profess loudly his loyalty. But if he be actively
disloyal it will soon enough appear ; and if not, he may be counted as one of
those who will be very loudly loyal when treason is suppressed. The case is
simply one of those risks which no general policy can (Next