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THE Publishers of
congratulate their readers upon the appearance in Number 272 of the first part
of a new serial tale entitled "No NAME," by
WILKIE COLLINS, Esq., author of "The
Woman in White." Its opening gives promise of the same wonderful power and
matchless dramatic skill which entranced the readers of "The Woman in White." It
is seldom that a periodical is enabled to furnish its sub-scribers with such a
series of attractive tales as have appeared consecutively for the past two years
in Harper's Weekly, from the pens of Dickens, Wilkie Collins, and Bulwer. The
commencement of this Tale affords a good opportunity for parties residing in the
country to form clubs, and obtain Harper's Weekly at the reduced price of
The circulation of Harper's
Weekly being now over 125,000 copies each week, it is the best advertising
medium in the country. Price, per line, inside 50 cents, outside 75 cents.
See terms for Clubs, etc., on
SATURDAY, APRIL 12, 1862.
THE COMMAND OF THE ARMY.
THE indignation of an outraged
public has compelled the New York Tribune and its coadjutors to cease their
abuse of the Major-General commanding the army; but many leading politicians at
Washington and a large section of the public continue to complain that matters
are not ordered according to their notions, and to insinuate in very
intelligible terms that the war would be much better conducted if another
officer—shall we say
General Fremont?—were at the head of the army.
We desire to be classed among the
admirers of the genius, bravery, and fortitude of Major-General Fremont. To us
it seems, as to others, that injustice was done him in the publication, if not
in the making, of Adjutant-General Thomas's Report. He certainly crossed the
Osage with his army, which Thomas positively declared he could not do. And it is
likely enough that the waste and corruption in his Department were not more
flagrant than in other Departments. At the same time, no one who has taken the
pains to keep posted on the current events of the day and on the course of
public opinion, can deny that Fremont's campaign in Missouri was not a success,
and that his reputation as a military leader does not stand high among the
people at large. The bare rumor of his appointment to the command of the army
caused a decline of one per cent. on the stock exchange. It may have been his
misfortune that the leading events of his "hundred days" in Missouri were the
defeat at Springfield, the death of Lyon, and the
surrender of Lexington. But
his speech at St. Louis, in which he confessed that his removal had shaken his
faith in democratic institutions, and the open threats of his followers—men in
his confidence and under his control—that they would obey orders from no General
but him, were not only misfortunes: they were faults, for which he must make
amends, and which he must efface from the public memory before he can regain the
confidence of the people. His present command, we are happy to add, will afford
him an opportunity of retrieving these errors; it ought to suffice his friends.
With regard to the course pursued
by Major-General McClellan, there is but one principle which can be safely
adopted by good citizens, and that is, to trust him until the proofs of his
incapacity are so flagrant as to be obvious to every one. His position and his
responsibilities render it incumbent on him to keep his plans secret. If he were
to attempt to vindicate himself from the charges of his civilian critics, he
would be affording to the enemy information which would be priceless. There is
and must be much in the movements of our armies which seems unintelligible and
unwise to persons ignorant of the facts and of military science. But shall we
imitate the savages who batter down steam-engines and tear their constructors to
pieces because they don't understand them?
We do not pretend to have divined
General McClellan's plan of operations; but we can see, as every one can, that
since he assumed command of our armies we have met with but one reverse—Ball's
Bluff and General Stone, the commander on that day, is in
charged with treason. We have won a dozen substantial victories, and the
progress of our armies since they began to move in February has been steady,
incessant, and unchecked. The chief strong-holds of the rebels —
Bowling Green, and Manassas, places deliberately selected, fortified at great
pains and expense, and constituting a strong strategic line—have been occupied
by our forces without the loss of a man or a gun. In Virginia our movements seem
to proceed on a deliberately prearranged plan.
Banks occupies Charlestown, and
McDowell moves to
Centreville; Banks takes Leesburg, and
Hooker crosses the
Potomac; McDowell camps at Manassas, and Banks moves on to
Heintzelman turns up at
Big Bethel; as Sumner occupies Warrenton Junction, Banks
advances to Strasburg, and Hooker occupies
Aquia Creek and Shipping Point. All
this looks like method, especially when it is remembered that Burnside, on the
one hand, and Schoepff on the other, are within striking distance
of the only two lines of railway
by which the rebel army in Virginia can escape to the Gulf States. We claim no
strategic knowledge or military science. But to a civilian eye this looks like
system, and such successful combination as would be called "a forced game" at
chess. Surely the mind which has evolved these results deserves to be trusted a
little longer. So far as we can judge, no General of modern times ever displayed
more sagacity, courage, and, to use his own words, "adaptation of means to
ends," than Major-General McClellan.
One thing is certain. The man who
has the greatest stake in this contest is
Abraham Lincoln. He has the power of
removing McClellan from his command at any moment, and he has the best means of
knowing whether he is fit for the rank he fills. Can we not afford to rely upon
THE LAST DITCH.
THE great defeat of the
Americans, writes a traveler from Timbuctoo, is weakness in the back-bone.
Here are a parcel of men and
women going about wringing their hands and saying, What shall we do if the
rebels continue to hold out after McClellan has beaten them? What if they go to
their mountains after we have taken their sea-ports and the Mississippi, and
continue to flourish the
Really these are questions which
don't concern us at all. When we have got our forts and custom-houses, and
reopened the Mississippi, and raised the blockade, what happens in the interior
will not matter much. We shall not distress ourselves if people collect there
and call themselves Confederates. They may call themselves cannibals if they
like; and judging from the reports from Manassas, the title would not be
inappropriate. If they. try to eat any body or commit robbery or murder, we
shall have to hang them, of course. But otherwise, why disturb them?
These notions of "an
unconquerable people," of "dying in the last ditch," of burning one's house; and
destroying one's property, are mere newspaper gabble. No people in the world
voluntarily doom themselves to pauperdom for pride's sake. In every war there
comes a time when men prefer their wife and babies to political theories. When
we have thrashed the rebels well, they will be readier for submission than we to
specify the terms.
THE NEGRO QUESTION IN
THE Legislature of Kentucky, by a
very large majority, has pronounced in favor of the disfranchisement of any
citizen of that State who advocates the
emancipation of the negroes. The
majority was not large enough—two-thirds—to give to the expression of opinion
the force of law. But in a moral and philosophical point of view it was enough.
A generation since, Kentucky came within two or three votes of being a free
State. Now, to propose such a thing involves ostracism. Such has been the effect
of cotton culture, and of the rapid increase of the negro population.
We should like to have a fresh
vote on this question taken in a Legislature newly elected by the people of
Kentucky. When the present Legislature was chosen, the rebels were contending
for the mastery of the State. Possibly the subsequent progress of the Union army
may have effected a change in public sentiment; though, we confess, we hardly
dare think so.
This vote of the Kentucky
Legislature seems the most discouraging event of the day.
THE papers which think that Mr.
Wendell Phillips was served right when he was mobbed in Cincinnati are the same
papers that thought the speech of Mr. Yancey at the
Cooper Institute, just
before the election of 1860, a very eloquent oration, and profoundly worth
public attention. In that speech Mr. Yancey told us that
slavery was a grand
thing, and that if we undertook to censure it by electing
Mr. Lincoln slavery
could not think of submitting to such an indignity, and must necessarily break
up the Union. There was no report of rotten eggs or rioting upon the occasion.
It was simply a part of the effort to carry the election under threat of
When treason was struggling to
make good what Mr. Yancey had said, Mr. Phillips declared in Cincinnati that he
was an abolitionist and a Union man (the telegraph said disunionist, but that is
the very thing Mr. Phillips repudiated)—and he was mobbed for saying so. "Served
him right!" cry the papers that had so tender a heart and quick an ear for Mr.
Now let us have a fair
understanding of this matter. Mr. Yancey was an open disunionist, so was Mr.
Phillips. Mr. Yancey was for disunion because the dominance of slavery in the
Government was threatened. Mr. Phillips, because he thought the Government
hopelessly committed to the protection of slavery. One thought that the
Government was going to be just, therefore he was its enemy. The other thought
that it was unjust, therefore he opposed it.
Under the Constitution, and by
the manhood of every man in the land, both were equally entitled to express
their convictions, and to make as many converts as they could. Under the
Constitution, in a time of peace, if a man thinks that a monarchy is better than
a republic, that polygamy is better than Christian marriage, that twice two make
seventy, and that a circle is evidently a square, he has the fullest right to
say so to as many persons as wish to hear, and every soldier and every gun at
the service of the nation is pledged for his protection in the exercise of that
right. In time of war the Government, as a military measure of security, may
arrest, of course at its own peril, a man who merely preaches treason. But
whether in peace or war, the mob has no rights, and no sane man will excuse it.
It is easy to understand that a
people whose brave defenders stand upon the battle-field will feel such
impatience of those who defame them that they may break through the forms of law
and threaten the defamer with a summary penalty, as was shown by the mob that
menaced the Herald newspaper in New York last April. But no man of common sense
for a moment defends such an outbreak. There may be a bitter justice in making a
man taste the poison with which he has tried to destroy other men; but when
justice is bitter it is to be suspected. If Mr. Yancey or Mr. Ben Wood should
preach treason in New York or elsewhere, at this moment, it is possible that the
Government would seize them as it seized Mr. Schnable. But the Government is the
judge. If it does not seize them it ought to shoot the mob that tries to do it.
If Mr. Phillips preaches treason the rule is the same. When the military hand of
the Government is not laid upon him, the mob that hounds him is the tool of
treason and traitors.
And who doubts that? The mob in
Cincinnati was an effort to solace treason. It was engineered doubtless by men
who would betray that city to Jeff Davis to-morrow if they could. It is
applauded by men who applauded Yancey—by men so utterly lost to manhood that a
man who would destroy this Government for the sake of Slavery is a more
tolerable character than he who would have destroyed it for the sake of Liberty.
And the men and papers that commend this riot and anarchy, during which the
foundations of society are imperiled, are the newspapers and the politicians who
claim to be especially conservative and law-and-order-loving citizens! To save
and favor slavery, which is the direct personal enemy of every laboring man in
the country, they applaud anarchy. They are as blind as they are vicious.
THE TWO PARTIES.
IN the great struggle between
Liberty and Despotism which is now waged in this country, party-spirit will
inevitably play a prominent part. The enemies, or conditional friends, of
constitutional liberty will sympathize as party men. When the armed resistance
of disloyal citizens is suppressed, it is evident that such Union men as Senator
Carlile of Virginia and Senator Davis of Kentucky will be inclined to strike
hands with such open friends of the rebellion as Mr. Ben Wood and Mr.
Vallandigham. Ought not this fact to make such men as the Union Senators
hesitate? Can a party to which all the secret and silent adherents of disunion
attach themselves, be a party which can possibly promise peace to the country in
the future? Can Mr. Davis cleave to a party which holds that armed rebellion is
a proper remedy for constitutional defeat, without supporting all that
Davis has ever claimed?
There are really but two parties
in the country at this moment. There is the party of absolutely loyal men, who
hold that the integrity of the nation must be preserved at every cost, but who
differ as to the time and way in which slavery should be touched; and there is
the party of disloyal men who are either openly in arms, or who secretly support
those in arms, or who declare that, if slaves are not untouched, however much
they may be used against the Government, they will virtually aid the rebellion.
There are very few men in the
country who do not belong to one of these two parties, and out of these two the
working political organizations of the future are to arise. The question that
will divide them is slavery; and slavery will be the dividing question of all
parties in the country until it absolutely overpowers the Government, or until
it is seen to be in process of extinction. For it is a contest of civilizations.
The party of liberty asserts that every man was born with equal civic rights;
that an injustice which repels the moral sense of mankind is bad political
policy; and that as, in a popular government, the great mass of the citizens
must be laborers, therefore labor must be respected. While the party of slavery
contends, in the words of the Charleston Mercury, that "Slavery is the natural
and normal condition of the laboring man, whether white or black;" that men have
no natural rights, and that therefore for the strong to rob and oppress the weak
is not injustice.
The party of slavery is
intrenched in ignorance and prejudice, and the practical difficulty of dealing
with a vicious system of society. The party of liberty is strengthened by common
sense—by experience of the necessary consequences of slavery, which are war,
taxation, and anarchy—and by the positive advantages of liberty, which are
general prosperity, intelligence, and civil security. The practical weakness of
the party of slavery will be the inhuman avid revolting doctrines and practices
which it must logically assert and defend: the weakness of the party of liberty
will be the difference of opinion as to methods, and the bitterness which such
difference always breeds.
Virtually, of course, we have all
made the election between these parties. Those of us who think that the remnants
of despotism and the barbaric ages are to be weeded out of this nation belong
already to the party of liberty, of civilization, of America, of peace,
progress, and prosperity. Those
of us who believe that there is
no necessary antagonism, in a nation of laborers, between a system which
respects and one which degrades labor, who suppose that the laborers of the Free
States are going to look on quietly and see the homes of their children in the
West preoccupied by slaves, and who think it wise to maintain an overwhelming
servile class restrained by laws of terrorism, and whom it must be necessarily
criminal to teach or to treat as human, belong already to the party of
despotism, ignorance, and anarchy.
CERTAINLY, if Captain Pegram were
on our side, we should give him dinners, and invite him to receive his
fellow-citizens at the City Hall.
The Nashville rivals the Sumter. She dances in
and out under the very noses of our guns. They smell her and snort, but she
skips away. She will arrive blithely in Liverpool or Southampton, and a week
afterward, while she is comfortably lying there, the news we send of her burning
or her capture will set all Europe laughing. It is a joke; we may as well own
it, and laugh too. Certainly crying won't help it. Moreover, we need not say
that it is no matter, for it is matter. Nor need we insist that we don't care
whether Europe laughs or not, for we do care. The very ferocity with which we
assure each other that we are entirely independent of foreign criticism betrays
us; just as the wrath with which the English newspapers vociferate that they
have shown us Christian forbearance betrays the jealousy and the ill feeling
which animate them.
The truth is that our Navy has
been utterly inadequate to its task. It has done well. It has done nobly. At
Port Royal the old Navy, and at Fort Henry the new Navy, were glorious
victories. But the career of the Sumter, and the Nashville, and the Merrimac
upon her first appearance, can not but be mortifying to us; not because they and
their movements are so important in themselves, but because they show a skillful
audacity which inspires admiration and begets confidence; and they also show the
utmost use of the means at the rebels' command.
On the other hand, the
mortification ought not to blind us to the fact that such things are not very
serious in themselves, and that every day constantly makes us readier to meet
them. We have to guard a thousand miles of coast, with intricate inlets. These
passages are known intimately to the enemy. They have one or two swift steamers,
and they choose their point of entrance all along the line. Of course they avoid
our steamers, and laugh at our old fogy sailing ships. For instance, on the 16th
of March the steamer State of Georgia left the mouth of Beaufort harbor, leaving
the bark Gemsbok and the "slow steamer" Cambridge. In the evening of the 17th
the Nashville stole quietly out, showed her heels to the two ships, which
showered her with shells, but in a very few minutes she was safely at sea.
Naturally one question presents
itself, and it may be answered even before it is asked here. Since it was known
that the Nashville was at Beaufort, and that Burnside was threatening it, why
were not arrangements made to have one or two steamers constantly on the watch
to capture or sink her? The probability is that there was no available steamer,
and to have made one available may have been only at the expense of leaving some
other and essential point exposed.
There is, doubtless, a general
feeling that Mr. Welles is an incompetent Secretary of the Navy, and ought to be
removed. That may be, but it is idle to hold him responsible for every naval
mishap. If Mr. Welles is to be made directly accountable for the escape of the
Nashville, then General McClellan must bear the blame of Ball's Bluff. The only
question is, whether the Secretary did all that could be done, under the
circumstances, to intercept the Nashville. Unquestionably the naval resources of
the country ought to have supplied plenty of proper vessels for the purpose. But
did they? It is a mere question of fact whether the Navy furnishes force enough
for our occasions. If it does, then the escape of the Nashville, with the first
outbreak of the Merrimac, should be enough to unseat any Secretary.
POLITICS IN THE DARK.
IN this country there can never
be occasion or excuse for secret political societies. If any such exist, they
are necessarily treasonable either in spirit or in purpose. They are ruled by a
few men, who by means of the secrecy rule more easily, and the objects of the
society, for which the lay members work as blind tools, is the advantage of the
few leaders. In a despotism it may often be necessary for the friends of liberty
to meet secretly to perfect measures for revolution. But in a republic like ours
the public welfare can only be determined by public discussion, while a secret
society is a conclave of persons who practically seek to make themselves
There is no political object
which can be honestly desired by any honest American citizen that can not be
more securely attained by frank debate than by hidden means, which appeal to
fear and prejudice and mystery. Such objects may, indeed, be attained by
mysterious methods, but the triumph is resisted in like manner. The state is
undermined by intrigues, and sinks inevitably into a chronic condition of
anarchy and civil war. The countries in which such societies flourish are those
which are perpetually torn with revolutions.
The difficulty of the "American"
movement, as it was called a few years since in this country was this taint of
secrecy. The American people upon the whole, wish to see fair play; and they had
a very summary answer to this new party—"Dark-lanterns have nothing to do with
politics." The "American" or "Know-Nothing" phenomenon in our political history
was simply a secret conspiracy against foreign citizenship. Now, if it were the
conviction of any man or body of men that the naturalization laws needed
revision, it (Next Page)