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Robert E. Lee Portrait
WE publish on the preceding page
a picture of the morning of the 1st April, opposite the
Astor House, on the
Park, in New York City. Some of the personages in the picture are enjoying the
usual frolics of the day.
The origin of this fool-making
custom, like that of may other of our oldest customs, is involved in
considerable doubt and uncertainty. It prevails, besides in this country, in
Scotland, Germany, Sweden, and France—in which latter place the victims of the
jokes are styled poissons d'Avril, or April fishes. But in none of these
countries is its origin reasonably explained. Some suppose it to be derived from
the abduction of the Sabine women by the Romans under Romulus, at the feast in
honor of Neptune, which occurred on the 1st of April; others trace it from the
mockery of our Saviour by the Jews ; while still others ascribe it to the act of
old father Noah, in sending out the dove from the ark before the waters of the
deluge had subsided.
The following extract from an old
poem will certify to the antiquity of the custom :
"The first of April some do say
Is set apart for All-Fools' Day; But why the people call it so
Nor I nor they themselves do
know. But on this day are people sent
On purpose for pure merriment;
And though the day is known
before, Yet frequently there is great store
Of these forgetfuls to be found,
Who're sent to dance Moll Dixon's
round; And having tried each shop and stall,
And disappointed at them all, At
last some tell them of the cheat, And then they hurry from the street,
And straightway home with shame
they run, And others laugh at what is done. But 'tis a tiling to be disputed,
Which is the greater fool reputed, The man that innocently went, Or he that him
A city reporter says
" The number of tricks and hard
practical jokes played upon unsophisticated persons, such as sending Jimmy for a
bottle of 'stirrup oil,' dispatching Betty in search of a pint and a half of '
pigeons milk,' or requesting your illiterate friend to buy you a copy of the
Life and Adventures of Eve's Mother,' in the Bowery, would require several
volumes for their description. The most common methods of fooling people
practiced in this city consist in pinning endless rag-tails to ladies' dresses,
fastening paper appendages to the men's coat skirts, perpetrating cruel stories
about the arrival of rich cousins from California with bags of the auriferous
metal, and sending people extraordinary letters, containing extraordinary
intelligence, and asking the most extraordinary things. Sometimes these
nonsensical jokes result in the most serious consequences, and we have known
'pistols and coffee' for two to be the not unfrequent denouement. Latterly the
sport of fool making is confined principally to little boys and girls, who
indulge in a regular carnival of merriment. Those whose mammas and papas allow
them ' the freedom of the city' kick up a most beautiful excitement among their
grown-up superiors, while"—in-door young ones club their wicked wits, And almost
frighten servants into fits."
OBIT FEBRUARY 4, 1861.
OH, wistful eyes ! that will not
cease From gazing sadly after one
Who went out in the dark, alone
Although ye say, "He is at
Oh, hearts ! that will not turn
But questioning, linger at the
He passeth through it—never more
! For he hath reached the perfect day.
Even when we thought him most our
His crown was ready for his brow;
And he redeemed his early vow,
And passed, with all his armor on.
He bent to clasp a shadowy
hand—Unreal to our duller eyes ;
He saw the gleams of paradise
Break through the twilight of the land!
His gain o'ermeasureth our loss;
We linger on these barren
He is a dweller in the lands
Bequeathed the followers of the cross !
ST. Loris, Mrssouri, March,
1861. L. C. R.
SATURDAY, MARCH 30, 1861.
THE TWO CONSTITUTIONS.
THE Constitution of the Southern
Confederacy has been published. It is a copy of the original Constitution of the
United States, with some variations. The principal variations are :
1) In the preamble, the words
"We, the people of the Confederate States, each State acting in .its sovereign
and independent character," etc., are substituted for the old words, " We, the
people of the United States," etc. The object of this change is to assert
separate State sovereignty, which involves the right of secession at will.
2) In the article on the House of
Representatives, it is stated that " no person of foreign birth, not a citizen
of the Confederate States, shall be allowed to vote for any officer, civil or
political, State or Federal." No such provision is found in the old
Constitution, and owing to its omission the States of Michigan, Wisconsin, and
others have granted the suffrage to
foreigners before naturalization.
It was to guard against this abuse that the new proviso was adopted. If the
Confederate States do not extend their borders the proviso will prove
3) In the section on the
apportionment of Representatives, the word "slaves" is substituted for the old
expression, "other persons ;" and it is stated that representation shall be in
the ratio of not more than one Representative to every 50,000, instead of
30,000, as fixed in our Constitution.
4) The proviso of the old
Constitution requiring Senators to have been nine years citizens is omitted in
the Constitution of the Confederate States.
5) The new Constitution states
that "Congress may, by law, grant to the principal officer in each of the
executive departments a seat upon the floor of either House, with the privilege
of discussing any measures pertaining to his department." This is borrowed from
the British system. In England, ministers must be members of one or other House,
and are expected to defend their policy in person. The obvious advantages of the
method, both to the Government and the opposition, commended it to the adoption
of the Southern Congress. If, however, the right of occupying a seat is merely a
privilege of which the Cabinet officer may avail himself or not as he pleases,
the opposition will gain little by the change.
6) Power is given to the
President to approve certain appropriations, while disapproving others in the
same bill. This is an obvious improvement upon the present system, which often
operates to compel the Executive to sanction appropriations of which he
disapproves for fear of defeating others which are necessary.
7) It is expressly stated that
the revenue to be raised by taxes and imports shall be "to pay the debts,
provide for the common defense, and carry on the Government of the Confederate
States." In our Constitution no restriction is laid upon Congress as to the
manner in which the revenue may be employed. It is further stated that "no
bounties shall be granted from the Treasury, nor shall any duties or taxes on
importations from foreign nations be laid to promote or foster any branch of
industry." Thus the axe is laid at the root of the fatal protective system which
has done so much injury to this country. Again, to the clause respecting
commerce, the new Constitution adds that "no clause . . . shall ever be
construed to delegate the power to Congress to appropriate money for any
internal improvement intended to facilitate commerce, except for the purpose of
furnishing lights, beacons, and buoys, and other aids to navigation upon the
coasts, and the improvement of harbors and the removal of obstructions in river
navigation, in all which cases such duties shall be laid upon the navigation
facilitated thereby as may be necessary to pay the costs and expenses thereof."
This again is a blow at the old theories of internal improvements, which have
proved so fruitful of corruption, and have militated so gravely against the
satisfactory working of our system of government.
8) It is expressly stated that "
no law of Congress shall discharge any debt contracted before the passage
9) It is provided that "the
expenses of the Post Office Department after March 1, 1863, shall be paid out of
its own revenues." This section opens a wide field of controversy. We have
always held, in this country, that as it was politic to tax the people at large
for the maintenance of schools, so it was wise to tax them for postal service on
unproductive routes. In the South they think otherwise. We are inclined to the
opinion that the difference grows out of the different condition of the two
peoples. In the South, the class which requires the Post-Office is small, and
can afford to pay high rates of postage. In the North, every body uses the
Post-Office, and low rates are essential. The new regulation will operate
against popular education in the Confederate States.
10) We now come to the most
important innovations attempted at Montgomery. The old Constitution, as every
body knows, avoided the use of the word " slave," and called slaves " other
persons." The framers of the old Constitution — Jefferson, Washington, Madison,
Hamilton, Adams, etc.—were all heartily ashamed of
slavery, and desired to see
it abolished. The framers of the new Constitution entertain no such scruples. We
have enumerated above one mention of the word slave. In the clause respecting
fugitive slaves, which is otherwise copied from the old Constitution, the same
word is used. The following are other clauses bearing, upon the subject of
The importation of negroes of the
African race from any foreign country other than the slaveholding States or
Territories of the United States of America, is hereby forbidden; and Congress
is required to pass such laws as shall effectually prevent the same..
Congress shall also have power to
prohibit the introduction of slaves from any State not a member of, or Territory
not belonging to, this Confederacy.
The citizens of each State shall
be entitled to all the privileges and immunities of citizens in the several
States, and shall have the right of transit and sojourn in any State of this
Confederacy, with their slaves and other property; and the right of property in
said slaves shall not be thereby impaired.
The Confederate States may
acquire new territory, and Congress shall have power to legislate and provide
governments for the inhabitants of all territory belonging to the Confederate
States lying without the limits of the several
States, and may permit them, at
such times and in such manner as it may by law provide, to form States to be
admitted into the Confederacy. In all such territory the institution of negro
slavery, as it now exists in the Confederate States, shall be recognized and
protected by Congress and by the Territorial Government, and the inhabitants of
the several Confederate States and Territories shall have the right to take to
such territory any slaves lawfully held by them in any of the States or
Territories of the Confederate States.
These clauses require no comment.
They embrace the principles embodied in the Breckinridge platform, and would
doubtless constitute a formidable objection to the adoption of the new
Constitution by the three million eight hundred thousand voters who voted
against that platform at the last election.
11)Permission is given to lay
export duties on articles exported from any State by a vote of two-thirds of
both Houses. This is of course in order to lay an export duty on cotton.
12) In order to provide against
the corruptions and lobby schemes which have disgraced Congressional legislation
in our time, the following clauses are added to the old section providing that
no money shall be paid except under an appropriation :
Congress shall appropriate no
money from the treasury except by a vote of two-thirds of both Houses, taken by
yeas and nays, unless it be asked and estimated for by some one of the heads of
department, and submitted to Congress by the President; or for the purpose of
paying its own expenses and contingencies ; or for the payment of claims against
the Confederate States, the justice of which shall have been judicially declared
by a tribunal for the investigation of claims against the Government, which it
is hereby made the duty of Congress to establish.
All bills appropriating money
shall specify in Federal currency the exact amount of each appropriation and the
purposes for which it is made; and Congress shall grant no extra compensation to
any public contractor, officer, agent, or servant, after such contract shall
have been made or such service rendered.
13) In order to defeat the
tacking of lobby riders to appropriation bills, by which method many corrupt
schemes have recently been forced through Congress, a clause states that "every
law or resolution having the force of law shall relate to but one subject, and
that shall be expressed in the title."
14) The new Constitution fixes
the Presidential term at six, instead of four, years, and renders the President
ineligible. These innovations will commend themselves to the approval of all who
have watched the mischiefs produced by the too speedy recurrence of elections,
and by the manoeuvres of acting Presidents for reelection. They would be gladly
adopted by the people throughout the Union. The new Constitution declares that
the President must have been fourteen years a resident of the Confederate States
; the old Constitution contains a similar provision — the word "united" being
used instead of " confederate."
15) In order to guard against the
gross abuses arising from the rotation in office at present established, the new
Constitution contains the following section :
The principal officer in each of
the executive departments, and all persons connected with the diplomatic
service, may be removed from office at the pleasure of the President. All other
civil officers of the executive department may be removed at any time by the
President, or other appointing power, when their services are unnecessary, or
for dishonesty, incapacity, inefficiency, misconduct, or neglect of duty; and
when so removed, the removal shall be reported to the Senate, together with the
reasons therefor. If this section be faithfully carried, the chief source of
corruption in our political system will be stopped.
16) By the old Constitution
power to admit new States. The
Southern Congress requires a vote of two-thirds of both Houses to admit a new
17) By the old Constitution
power " to make all needful rules
and regulations respecting the territory or other property belonging to the
United States." In the Southern Constitution the words " the territory or" are
omitted—thus removing the territorial question from the control of Congress.
18) Under the old Constitution
amendments can only be proposed by two-thirds of both Houses of Congress, or
two-thirds of the State Legislatures. Under the Southern Constitution any three
States may propose amendments. The ratification by nine of the old thirteen
States was required to establish the old Constitution. The Southern Constitution
requires only the ratification of five out of seven. We have thus enumerated the
principal alterations in the Constitution effected by the Congress at
Montgomery. Most of them would receive the hearty support of the people of the
North. But further comment is supernuous at the present time.
A FRAUD ATTEMPTED.
THE Committee on Insurance
Companies in the State Legislature have reported favorably a bill to the effect
that no costs exceeding $10 shall be recovered in any action brought or to be
brought by Receivers of Mutual Insurance Companies. The object of this is to
deprive the public of a remedy to which they are entitled. Under the Act of 1849
a large number of Mutual Insurance Companies were formed in various parts of
this State, and notes given for policies of insurance—said notes being, under
the law and several judgments of Court, legally and equitably applicable to the
payment of losses. Within the past six or eight years several of these Companies
have failed, and Receivers have been appointed who have proceed-
ed to sue on the notes. These
suits have been strenuously resisted in Court after Court ; and now, after many
years of litigation, just as the creditors of the broken Companies are about to
collect the amounts due to them, this bill steps in to cheat them of their
costs. Will not some honest man in the Senate or Assembly just state the facts
respecting this bill, so that members who support it may know what they are
voting for ?
LAYING ANCHORS TO WINDWARD—AN
EPISODE. PLAY-ACTORS perform their parts with the full consciousness that they
are known to be acting. But there are comedies of which the comic point is that
the excellent and respected actors pretend that the spectators do not know that
it is all a pretty play.
When the Prince of Wales came
last autumn, some worthy American citizens, who were born in Ireland, refused to
parade as a military company in honor of the guest. It was a question of taste.
It might have occurred to them, as it did to the great mass of the American
people, that it was very proper to honor one of our most faithful and friendly
allies in the manner proposed. Still, these citizens took a different view, as
they had a right, and they staid severely at home. It has since been made a
question of military law.
The whole thing was unimportant.
Do you think so, gentle reader ? Alas ! you do not know the political
playwright; you do not know that there is no nut so unpromisingly empty that he
will not get a dinner or, at least, a lunch or a supper out of it.
So, upon a recent evening, the
excellent citizens who sympathized with those who staid at home when the little
Prince drove up Broadway, assembled to express their sympathy and to present a
sword and flags in token of it. That was all pleasant. There was a band of music
; there were lovely ladies; there was a fine military array; there was an
enthusiastic crowd; and then the most distinguished sympathizers stepped upon
the stage, or, more properly, advanced to the foot-lights, there was a thrilling
roll of drums and rattle of presenting arms. The sword of honor was presented
and received in glowing and, eloquent addresses ; then the flags of sympathy
were brought forward, and that excellent citizen and fluent orator, Mr. Meagher,
appeared to make an address. When the "shouting plaudits" of the audience had
ceased, he began. He said that his words should be few and plain—that the
language of soldiers was direct and brief, and he should emlate it. And he added
that he said so much to repress " the inordinate expectations of rhetoric" which
might be indulged by some of the audience. Skirmishing, at first, with the light
rapier of ridicule at the princely ovation, he proceeded to graver work, and
held the strict legality of the commander's conduct; and then, passing to the
immediate ceremony, he presented the flags, and ended in a "few plain words,"
evidently meant to squelch those luckless and untimely " expectations of
rhetoric :" " I do so with the assurance that the superb gift passes into the
hands of soldiers who will never permit the gold with which it abounds to be
tarnished by cowardice, insubordination, or neglect of duty—who will never
permit the green field, which to-night looks so ample and luxuriant, to lose its
freshness and deep wealth of color, if love of country and jealousness of its
honor will perpetuate it—and who will carry it into the battle, wherever the
Eumenides wave their torches and the trumpet of Alecto peals, nerved and
quickened by the faith that the stn, bursting from it in a flood and storm of
glory, will maintain its light, as did the sun of victory over the mountains of
There was more music, more
sympathy, more congratulation, and good feeling, and the satisfied company
Do you think that was the whole
play ? Do you think the excellent citizens, Mr. Stout, Mr. Chanler, Mr. Hearne,
Mr. Maguire, Mr. J. Henessy, " Dunphy,"* Mr. Alderman Farley, and others, who
were received with the thrilling martial salute, as they bounded upon the stage,
were moved solely by sympathy with the severe staying at home of the gallant
Sixty-ninth? Perhaps that was the sole reason, for it was surely sufficient,
which brought them there. But wouldn't it be very droll if these citizens
chanced to be statesmen, and the regiment chanced to comprise several hundred
most desirable voters, whose laver might be wooed and haply won by a little gush
of timely sympathy ? And if those statesmen chanced to have political projects
of any kind, wouldn't it possibly be convenient to have propitiated the worthy
voters of the Sixty-ninth ?
Is there any objection to laying
anchors to windward? Not the least. Only don't suppose that the spectators shut
their eyes. In " Cranford" Mrs. Forrester had her little householding hum-bugs ;
but then "she knew and we knew, and she knew that we knew, and we knew that she
knew that we knew, she had been busy all the morning making tea-bread and
sponge-cakes." The political world is wonderfully like Cranford ; and the
shrewdest statesmen are those who behave like Mrs. Forrester. If you have a wart
on your nose, it is not advisable to brush at it casually, as if it were a fly.
If you are a great statesman, don't look so very innocent as if you supposed
that we outsiders believed you to be so. When you present swords and rout
rhetoric, we shall all believe that it is pure sympathy with the hereditary
scruples of the Sixty-ninth, if you are of the same blood as the regiment. If
you are not, we shall believe in as much pure sympathy as we can—Liebchen was
willst Du mehr?
* See the Times report.