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" The Union is not dead but
(Motto on a New York banner.)
The Union is not dead ! Her
glorious flag Is too near Heaven to cower in the dust; Only to watchers seems
the time to lag, And we are watching o'er a sacred trust. Our country's dead are
looking to us now, And all earth's nations, leaning breathlessly, Are witnesses
around us, as we vow To save our Union and our liberty.
She is not dead, but sleeping for
Till this dark night of
wickedness shall break; When the sun's warm, bright beams once more shall shine
Upon us, she shall joyously awake.
Crowned with the Stars that
follow in her train—Bearing the Stripes aloft against her foes; Proclaiming
peace unto our land again—Blessed by unnumbered hearts as on she goes! Till then
around her couch our watch we'll keep,
And guard her in her sleep.
She sleeps, Earth trembles, men
recoil in doubt; Murmurs of distant voices fill the air; And from our city
bursts a sterner shout
" Ho, brothers, to the ranks! our
flag is there !" Now swell your bosoms with a holy thrill; One moment to Jehovah
bend the knee; Then up and onward, with undaunted will! Go, stake your lives for
truth and victory! This is no time for us to wail and weep
"Our Union is asleep!"
Nay! Rather go and wake her from
her sleep! Bring back each star by traitor bands disgraced—Each soldier's arm to
grasp the sabre leap,
Till every traitor's footstep is
Then shall the Union rise in
treason's wane, And never sleep again!
S. J. A.
SATURDAY, MAY 25, 1861.
TO OUR SOUTHERN READERS.
WE have received a number of
letters from Maryland, Kentucky, Tennessee, and other
complaining bitterly of the tone of an editorial article published in Harper's
May 4. Some of these letters are from friends, and appeal to the
Christian feelings and kindly disposition of the publishers. Others are from
strangers ; and of these some are simply abusive, while others threaten the
proprietors of this journal with assassination if Harper's Weekly perseveres in
opposing the destruction of the American Union.
The point which exercises these
several classes of correspondents is the statement in our editorial of March 4,
to the effect that civil war between the Free States on one side and the Slave
States on the other will inevitably sooner or later become a war of
emancipation, and that the Free States, when Northern blood begins to flow, will
not fail to turn to account the chief element of weakness in the enemy.
For saying this we are accused by
old friends and valued correspondents of seeking to stir up slave insurrections,
and thirsting for the slaughter of children and the violation of women!
We have laid ourselves open to no
such charge. No United States army will abet such slave insurrections as may
endanger the safety of the defenseless portion of the Southern people. Wherever
women or children are assailed, United States troops will be the first to
protect them. For ourselves, we scorn to defend ourselves against a charge so
monstrously untrue, so basely unjust, and so malignantly false.
At the same time, we should fail
in our duty to our Southern friends if we neglected to warn them that the first
great battle in which Northern blood is shed can not but hasten the destruction
of the slave institution in the States where United States troops are quartered.
In saying this, we express no opinion and no desire. We merely record an obvious
fact. We begin the war with solicitous tenderness for the peculiar institution.
Colonel Dimick, at
Fort Monroe, returns fugitive slaves ;
General Butler, at
Annapolis, offers the services of the
Massachusetts volunteers to suppress slave
insurrections ; a volunteer company in Indiana tenders its aid for a like
service in Kentucky. But our Southern friends must be very blind indeed, and
very ignorant of the impulses which sway human nature, if they suppose that
when, in the progress of their attempt to destroy our Government, they begin to
cut the throats of our brothers and our brave boys, we shall be so complaisant
as this. We should be rendering them a very poor service if we allowed them to
harbor such a delusion without endeavoring to dispel it. It is better that they
should understand the case clearly from the start. The United States, as a
nation, have no concern with
slavery. But from the hour that rebels shed the
blood of citizens of the United States, war will be waged upon them by the most
crushing and overwhelming methods ; and among those methods the liberation of
the slaves will naturally occur.
We say this, not in passion or
from feeling, but simply as the calm statement of a fact as obvious as any in
fixed science. Actual war between Slave and Free States ultimately involves
abolition. 'Tis for the Border States to reject or accept the issue.
Some of our Southern friends
accompany their abuse of this journal with a notice to the publishers to send it
no more to their address.
In Tennessee Vigilance Committees
forbid its being sold. In Louisiana the Governor prohibits its distribution
through the Post-office.
This is a matter which concerns
our Southern subscribers exclusively. It is of very small consequence to us. If
the people of the South don't think they get the worth of their money when they
buy Harper's Weekly, they would exhibit great folly in purchasing it. If they
do, to proscribe Harper's Weekly is their loss. We do not propose, in publishing
this journal, to stand indebted to any man's good-will for its success. We
calculate to produce such a paper that it shall be every man's interest to buy
it. If we fulfill our aim, our Southern friends merely cut off their own noses
when they stop our circulation among them. It is purely their affair. If they
think they can do without an illustrated record of the war we will not object.
We have work enough to supply the Northern demand for Harper's Weekly.
But we will take this opportunity
of reminding those among our Southern friends who still retain capacity for calm
reflection, that the ostrich has never been deemed a sagacious bird because, on
the approach of danger, it buries its head in a hole so as not to see its
surroundings. The proscription of books and periodicals containing doctrines
hostile to those of the Southern aristocracy has been carried to a fatal length
at the South. The Southern people have been kept in a state of gross ignorance
by their leaders. They have only been permitted to see one side of the paramount
question of the day. And the consequence is, that they have been precipitated
into a causeless, wanton rebellion which must inflict immeasurable injury upon
them and their best interests. If the Southern people had adhered to the maxim
of one of the greatest of Southern statesmen, THOMAS JEFFERSON, and had
steadfastly acted upon the great truth that " Error is harmless when truth is
left free to combat it," we should not now have witnessed the most audacious and
most monstrous rebellion of modern times, and the fairest portions of our
country would not now have been threatened with ruin and desolation.
As for Harper's Weekly, it will
continue, as heretofore, to support the Government of the United States, the
Stars and Stripes, and the indivisible union of thirty-four States. We know no
other course consistent with the duty of citizens, Christians, and honest men.
If any subscriber to this journal expects us to give our aid or countenance to
rebellion against the Government, he will be disappointed. If any man buys this
journal expecting to find us apologize for treason, robbery, rebellion, piracy,
or murder, he will be disappointed. That is not our line of business. The
proprietors of Harper's Weekly would rather stop this journal tomorrow than
publish a line in it which would hereafter cause their children to blush for the
patriotism or the manhood of their parents.
ARE THE MONTGOMERY PRIVATEERS
OUR daily contemporaries, in
discussing the principle of international law comprehended in the issue of
letters of marque by
Jefferson Davis, have overlooked a very important Federal
precedent. In 1818 Elias Glenn, United States District-Attorney at Baltimore,
applied to the Hon. Wm. Wirt, Attorney-General, for instructions respecting the
Fourth-of-July—a privateer under that name from La Plata, and taken with a
letter of marque from Artigas, an insurgent chief holding South American
territory claimed by Portugal. The Attorney-General thus curtly advised the
Baltimore official : " I would indict the captain and crew as pirates, under the
original Act of Congress which defines piracy. The prisoners will defend
themselves under the commission of Artigas. I would object to that commission
going before the jury as evidence, on the ground that it is not the commission
of a sovereign recognized by our Government."
The same principle and advice
will undoubtedly be applied by every nation in whose ports the Davis pirates may
be found or by whose cruisers they may be captured. We recommend to the perusal
of Judah P. Benjamin, Esq., Attorney-General of the Southern Confederacy, the
entire letter of Mr. Wirt, in the
Official Opinions," volume first,
and pages 249-253.
HOW SECESSION WORKED IN
THE following extraordinary
historical parallel is furnished to the Lounger by a most competent hand:
" The history of the attempt at
secession in Switzerland, which was terminated by what is known as the
Sonderbund war in 1847, as detailed by Zschokke, is remarkable and instructive
in itself, and is now rendered still more so by the wonderful resemblance of the
action of the rulers of our own seven rebellious States with that of the leaders
of the seven dissatisfied Cantons.
" That attempt had its origin in
the desire of the Catholic Cantons to recover the supremacy they had lost in
consequence of the increase of population and wealth in the other Cantons, and
the general diffusion of education and intelligence consequent upon the spread
of Protestantism. The struggle had the appearance of relating solely to the
Catholic faith, but it was really political. The policy of the reactionists was
dictated by Rome, while they were encouraged by promises of assistance from
France and Austria.
" The organized factious
opposition to the governments of some of the liberal Cantons had become so
serious that the people of those Cantons, to prevent anarchy and bloodshed,
determined to secularize the convents, which were the headquarters of the
opposition and the fomenters of disturbance.
"This was done, with all due
regard to the interests of those concerned, and at once an outcry was raised
that the Constitution, which guaranteed the existence of those convents, had
been infringed. The absolute necessity of the act, to prevent anarchy and civil
war, was clearly demonstrated, but the Catholics would not be appeased.
" Insurrections took place in
several Cantons: in some the reactionary party was triumphant, and party hate
raged throughout the land. Zschokke says : ' The whole country was divided into
two vast camps. On one side floated the holy banner of religion, calling for a
restoration of the institutions of the good old time ; on the other, men stood
in defense of acquired popular rights, and desired a new and stronger bond of
" At last, as a measure of
conciliation, some of the suppressed convents were restored by the Cantons which
had secularized them; and the Diet—in which each Canton, without regard to
population, has an equal vote—decreed, by a small majority, that this was a
sufficient peace-offering, and must be accepted as such.
' The Catholic Cantons demanded
the restoration of all the convents, and refused to accept any compromise as a
settlement. Their leaders prepared for armed resistance to the Federal
Government without consulting the people. Their action was thus a violation of
their own Cantonal Constitutions, as well as a rebellion against the Federal
compact, though under pretext of wishing to preserve it from infringement. This
was in September, 1843.
" Their plans remained secret for
a long time. In the mean while they strengthened their forces; the Jesuits, who
had been expelled from Switzerland, were invited into some of the Catholic
Cantons to take charge of the schools ; and rigorous measures were adopted to
put down the liberals. In various sanguinary conflicts which took place in the
Catholic Cantons the reactionists were generally successful; and the Federal
Diet, in which the representatives of the refractory Cantons retained their
seats, was divided, and powerless to quell the disturbances. In those Cantons,
after a while, speech and the press were no longer free; liberal citizens were
persecuted and driven away, their property was confiscated. The reign of terror,
under the forms of government, prevailed within their boundaries.
"Exasperated by such tyrannical
proceedings, the refugees and their friends, without the sanction of the
governments of the liberal Cantons, organized free corps in order to remedy the
evil by force of arms. Several attempts of this nature were defeated with great
loss of life, and those of the free corps who fell into the hands of the
reactionists, were kept in loathsome prisons until ransomed by their friends or
the governments of their respective Cantons.
" The leaders of the seven
Cantons, emboldened by these successes and still further encouraged by promises
of aid from abroad, now boldly proclaimed the formation of an offensive and
defensive alliance in the shape of a Sonderbund or separate league, and no
longer concealed their intentions. A committee of war was established, stores of
arms and munitions were collected in great quantities, the work on their border
and interior fortifications was pressed day and night, their active militia was
exercised incessantly, all men capable of bearing arms were disciplined, and
efficient officers appointed to command. They prepared for open rebellion. The
liberal governments of the other Cantons were to be deposed by force, and the
recently adopted constitutions annulled. A partition of the territory of some of
those Cantons was agreed upon. Jesuitism, every where predominant, was to give
laws to all Switzerland. The conspirators hardly entertained a doubt of their
success. They reckoned upon division and consequent impotency among the other
Cantons, while they confidently relied on the invincibility of their own people,
united by identical fanaticism.
" In July, 1847, the Diet
assembled, and a bare majority, impressed with the imminence of the danger,
rallied to the support of the Federal compact. In vain did the deputies of the
Sonderbund Cantons oppose them ; in vain did the representatives of other
Cantons, who professed to be neutral, propose mediation. Finally, a decree was
passed for the dissolution of the Sonderbund; the seizure of all arms intended
for the rebellious Cantons was ordered, and they were commanded to cease their
warlike preparations ; the names of all Federal staff officers who remained in
the service of the Sonderbund were struck from the army list ; the Jesuit
Cantons were requested to dismiss all members of that order, and its further
admittance into Switzerland was prohibited. This was in September. The Diet then
adjourned for six weeks to await the execution of their decrees, and to take the
sense of the people.
"But the warlike preparations
were still continued, and such citizens of the rebellious Cantons as yet
remained faithful to the Federal compact were driven from their homes by renewed
persecutions. The question was put to the people of Switzerland in their primary
assemblies, and by their votes a legal majority of the Cantons decided that the
decrees of the Diet should be carried into effect, by force if necessary.
" On the 18th October, the Diet
reassembled. Still desirous to conciliate, they sent some of their own members
as messengers of peace to the rulers of the seven Cantons, and addressed a
proclamation to the people of those Cantons, solemnly assuring
them that the rights and
liberties inherited from their fathers should remain unaltered—that their
religion should not be interfered with—that no oppression was intended, no
nullifying of Cantonal sovereignty, no forced change in the Confederate
compact—but that the existence of a separate league, endangering the welfare of
the whole, could never be allowed, and they appealed to them to dissolve it
while there was yet time.
" Their messages of peace were
rejected with scorn, and the circulation of their proclamation was prohibited by
the rulers of the Sonderbund.
"Then the Diet proceeded to
serious measures. There were no Federal troops. They called upon the loyal
Cantons for 50,000 men, and appointed grayhaired Dufour, of Geneva,
commander-in-chief. The deputies of the seven Cantons left the Diet, appealing
to God, and casting upon their opponents all responsibility for future events.
But the majority remained firm. On the 4th of November they decreed the
dissolution of the Sonderbund by force of arms, and issued a proclamation to
that effect. Two of the Cantons, not included in the Sonderbund, voted to remain
neutral, and refused to furnish their contingent, but favored the rebels by
permitting the transport of arms. Still, 90,000 men responded to the call of the
Diet ; for the people generally felt that their liberties were at stake, and
though it was a bitter thing to march against their Confederate brothers, they
determined to do their duty and fight for their fatherland.
" Before the Federal forces were
arrayed the rebels took the initiative, and gained some advantages. Dufour
delayed the onset for a while. Disposed to act with extreme forbearance, he
preferred to conquer by the display of an overwhelming force rather than by
bloody violence. When fully prepared, he surrounded the principal Cantons of the
Sonderbund with an immense chain of troops, closing every exit, and then marched
upon Freiburg, one of the rebellious Cantons which was geographically separated
from the others. On the 14th November Freiburg, disappointed in her expectations
of assistance, capitulated, the rebel rulers and the Jesuits fled, a new
government was instituted, and separation from the Sonderbund decreed. The
Federal army then entered the territories of the other Sonderbund Cantons, and
Zug, seeing herself threatened, withdrew from the league, giving a peaceful
passage to the troops. On the 20th November a decisive battle took place in the
territory of Lucerne, where the Sonderbund army was entrenched. The rebels were
defeated, and the leaders of the Sonderbund fled by water, taking with them all
the treasure they could collect. The authorities of the city of Lucerne tried to
negotiate, but were compelled to surrender at discretion. The Federal troops
entered as victors, and were welcomed as brothers ; all the buildings were
decorated with Federal flags, and acclamations of joy filled the air. Soon the
smaller Cantons also capitulated, and by the 29th of November the contest was
completely concluded by the submission of all the refractory Cantons. The
Federal action had been so prompt that foreign powers had no time to interfere.
"Then came the reaction and the
suffering. The Diet demanded from the Sonderbund Cantons the repayment of the
expenses of the war, and the armed occupation of those Cantons by the Federal
troops was continued until the first installment had been paid and security
given for the others. Those Cantons which had refused to perform their duty as
confederates were saved from similar occupation only by the payment of a heavy
fine into the Federal treasury. In all those Cantons a violent reaction took
place; legal proceedings were instituted against those who had been members of
the rebel governments, and others who had promoted the war. They were all made
to contribute largely—in some cases their estates were confiscated, and in some
of the Catholic Cantons the convents were secularized by the vote of the people,
and their property seized to defray the expenses incurred; but no blood flowed
except in battle. The Diet, moved by the poverty of the people, afterward
remitted the last installments of the war-debt.
" Thus, in the course of
surprisingly few days, the Sonderbund came to an end, but the rebellious Cantons
long suffered the ruinous consequences of their folly.
"May our Southern brothers take
warning, and dissolve their separate league while there is yet time !"
THE ARGUMENT FOR A STANDING ARMY.
THE latest and concluding volume
of Macaulay's History, which has been published under the supervision of his
sister from his revised manuscripts, opens with a debate which is peculiarly
interesting to us at this moment—the debate upon a standing army. Our own
Constitution is nervously jealous of military power. It is so framed as to bind
the President's hands. The great fear of its makers evidently was, that the head
of the state might become a military despot, and that must be avoided at any
cost. They felt that the reliance of the Government to repress insurrection must
be not upon a regular army, but upon the State militia ; in other words, upon
the people themselves in their military capacity.
But unluckily the very name
militia is partly ridiculous. Not justly so, for our own history has shown what
militia can do. Indeed our Revolution was the triumph of militia over a regular
army. Yet the value of strict discipline is so great that, unless the militia
are truly military, it will be long before they can be of real service.
Macaulay relates with picturesque
vigor the substance of the debate in the English Parliament of 1697, after the
peaceful acknowledgment of William Third, drawing very effective portraits of
the disputants, of whom Lord Somers was chief. And the historian evidently
thinks that Somers had the best of the argument. The advocates of disbanding the
army, he says, laid it down as a fundamental principle of political science that
a standing army and a free constitution could not exist together." (Next
Civil War Harper's Weekly, October 5, 1861
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