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Civil War Harper's Weekly, February 1, 1862

This WEB site features the Harper's Weekly newspapers that were published during the Civil War. These newspapers are a great source of original Civil War illustrations, and incredible stories on the key battles and people of the War. We hope that you find this collection useful. Check back often as we add new material each day.

 

(Scroll Down to See Entire Page, or Newspaper Thumbnails below will take you to a specific page of interest)

 

Navy Battle

Navy Battle

Financing the Civil War

Mill Springs

The Battle of Mill Springs

Hancock

Hancock, Maryland

Army Around Green River

Events Around Green River

Mississippi Expedition

Mississippi Expedition

Mortar Flotilla

Mortar Flotilla

Steam Sloops

Steam Sloops of War

Green River

Green River, Kentucky

Loading Ships

Loading Ships

Porter's Mortar Boats

Porter's Mortar Boat's

Mason and Slidell, Trent Affair

Mason and Slidell Cartoon

 

 

 

FEBRUARY 1, 1862.]

HARPER'S WEEKLY.

75

"I own," said Faber, with his peculiar smile, arch and genial, " that if I were compelled to make that admission, it would not shock my pride. I do not presume to set any limit to the goodness of the Creator ; and should be as humbly pleased as the Indian, if in

'-yonder sky

My faithful dog should bear me company.'

To me, however, the distinction between man and the lower animals, in reference to a spiritual nature distinct from the mental, is very clear. Whether ideas or even perceptions be innate or all formed by experience is a speculation for metaphysicians, which, so far as affects the question of an immaterial principle, I am quite willing to lay aside. I can well understand that a materialist may admit innate ideas in Man, as he must admit them in the instinct of brutes, tracing them to hereditary predispositions. On the other hand, we know that the most devout believers in our spiritual nature have insisted, with Locke, in denying any idea, even of the Deity, to be innate.

"But here comes my argument. I care not how ideas are formed, the material point is how are the capacities to receive ideas formed. The ideas may all come from experience, but the capacity to receive the ideas must be inherent. I take the word capacity as a good plain English word, rather than the more technical word 'receptivity,' employed by Kant. And by capacity I mean the passive power* to receive ideas, whether in man or in any living thing by which ideas are received. A man and an elephant is each formed with capacities to receive ideas suited to the several places in the universe held by each.

" The more I look through nature the more I find that on all varieties of organized life is carefully bestowed the capacity to receive the impressions, be they called perceptions or ideas, which are adapted to the uses each creature is intended to derive from them. I find, then, that Man alone is endowed with the capacity to receive the ideas of a God, of Soul, of Worship, of a Hereafter. I see no trace of such a capacity in the inferior races ; nor, however their intelligence may be refined by culture, is such capacity ever apparent in them.

"But wherever capacities to receive impressions are sufficiently general in any given species of creature, to be called universal to that species, and yet not given to another species, then, from all analogy throughout Nature, those capacities are surely designed by Providence for the distinct use and conservation of the species to which they are given.

"It is no answer to me to say that the inherent capacities thus bestowed on Man do not suffice in themselves to make him form right notions of a Deity or a Hereafter ; because it is plainly the design of Providence that Man must learn to correct and improve all his notions by his own study and observation. He must build a hut before he can build a Parthenon ; he must believe with the savage or the heathen before he can believe with the philosopher or Christian. In a word, in all his capacities, Man has only given him, not the immediate knowledge of the Perfect, but the means to strive toward the Perfect. And thus one of the most accomplished of modern reasoners, to whose lectures you must have listened with delight in your college days, says well: 'Accordingly, the sciences always studied with keenest interest are those in a state of progress and uncertainty ; absolute certainty and absolute completion would be the paralysis of any study, and the last worst calamity that could befall Man, as he is at present constituted, would be that full and final possession of speculative truth which he now vainly anticipates as the consummation of his intellectual happiness.' **

"Well, then, in all those capacities for the reception of impressions from external Nature, which are given to Man and not to the brutes, I see the evidence of Man's Soul. I can understand why the inferior animal has no capacity to receive the idea of a Deity and of Worship—simply because the inferior animal, even if graciously admitted to a future life, may not therein preserve the sense of its identity. I can understand even why that sympathy with each other that we men possess, and which constitutes the great virtue we emphatically call Humanity, is not possessed by the lesser animals (or, at least, in a very rare and exceptional degree), even where they live in communities like beavers, or bees, or ants ; because men are destined to meet, to know, and to love each other in the life to come, and the bond between the brutes ceases here.

"Now the more, then, we examine the inherent capacities bestowed distinctly and solely on Man, the more they seem to distinguish him from the other races by their comprehension of objects beyond his life upon this earth. ' Man alone,' says Muller,*** 'can conceive abstract notions :' and it is in abstract notions—such as time, space, matter, spirit, light, form, quantity, essence—that Man grounds not only all philosophy, all science, but all that practically improves one generation for the benefit of the next. And why? Because all these abstract notions unconsciously lead the mind away from the material into the immaterial; from the present into the future. But if Man ceases to exist when he disappears in the grave, you must be compelled to say that he is the only creature in existence whom Nature or Providence has condescended to deceive and cheat by capacities for which there are no available objects. How nobly and how truly has Chalmers said : 'What inference shall we draw from this remarkable law in Nature that there is nothing waste and nothing meaningless in the feelings and faculties wherewith

* "Faculty is active power ; capacity is passive power." —Sir W. Hamilton, Lectures on Metaphysics and Logic, vol. i. p. 178.

** Sir W. Hamilton's Lectures, vol. i. p. 10.

*** P. 1351.

living creatures are endowed? For each desire there is a counterpart object ; for each faculty there is room and opportunity for exercise either in the present or in the coming futurity. Now, but for the doctrine of immortality, Man would be an exception to this law—he would stand forth as an anomaly in Nature, with aspirations in his heart for which the universe had no anti-type to offer, with capacities of understanding and thought that never were to be followed by objects of corresponding greatness through the whole history of his being !

*   *   *   *   *

" 'With the inferior animals there is a certain squareness of adjustment, if we may so term it, between each desire and its correspondent gratification. The one is evenly met by the other, and there is a fullness and definiteness of enjoyment up to the capacity of enjoyment. Not so with Man, who, both from the vastness of his propensities and the vastness of his powers, feels himself chained and beset in a field too narrow for him. He alone labors under the discomfort of an incongruity between his circumstances and his powers, and unless there be new circumstances awaiting him in a more advanced state of being, he, the noblest of Nature's products here, would turn out to he the greatest of her failures.'*

"This, then, I take to be the proof of Soul in Man, not that he has a mind—because, as you justly say, inferior animals have that, though in a lesser degree—but because he has the capacities to comprehend, as soon as he is capable of any abstract ideas whatsoever, the very truths not needed for self conservation on earth, and therefore not given to yonder ox and opossum, viz.: the nature of Deity-Soul—Hereafter. And in the recognition of these truths the Human society that excels the society of beavers, bees, and ants by perpetual and progressive improvement on the notions inherited from its progenitors, rests its basis. Thus, in fact, this world is benefited for men by their belief in the next, while the society of brutes remains age after age the same. Neither the bee nor the beaver has, in all probability, improved since the Deluge.

"But inseparable from the conviction of these truths is the impulse of prayer and worship. It does not touch my argument when a philosopher of the school of Bolingbroke or Lucretius says 'that the origin of prayer is in Man's ignorance of the phenomena of Nature.' That it is fear or ignorance which, 'when rocked the mountains or when groaned the ground, taught the weak to bend, the proud to pray,' my answer is—the brutes are much more forcibly impressed by natural phenomena than Man is ; the bird and the beast know before you and I do when the mountain will rock and the ground groan, and their instinct leads them to shelter ; but it does not lead them to prayer. If my theory be right that Soul is to be sought not in the question whether mental ideas be innate or formed by experience, by the senses, by association or habit, but in the inherent capacity to receive ideas—the capacity bestowed on Man alone, to be impressed by Nature herself with the idea of a Power superior to Nature, with which Power he can establish commune, is a proof that to Man alone the Maker has made Nature itself proclaim His existence—that to Man alone the Deity vouchsafes the communion with Himself which comes from prayer."

"Even were this so," said I, "is not the Creator omniscient? if all-wise, all-foreseeing ? if all-foreseeing, all-preordaining ? Can the prayer of His creature alter the ways of His will ?"

"For an answer to that question," returned Faber, " which is so often asked by the clever men of the world, I ought to refer you to the skilled theologians who have so triumphantly carried the reasoner over that ford of doubt which is crossed every day by the infant. But as we have not their books in the wilderness, I am contented to draw my reply as a necessary and logical sequence from the propositions I have sought to ground in the plain observation of Nature. I can only guess at the Deity's Omniscience, or His modes of enforcing His power, by the observation of His general laws ; and of all His laws, I know of none so general as the impulse which bids men pray—which makes Nature so act that all the phenomena of Nature we can conceive, however startling and inexperienced, do not make the brute pray ; but there is not a trouble that can happen to Man but what his impulse is to pray—always provided, indeed, that he is not a philosopher. I say not this in scorn of the philosopher, to whose wildest guess our obligations are infinite, but simply because for all which is impulsive to Man, there is a reason in Nature which no philosophy can explain away. I do not, then, bewilder myself by seeking to bind and limit the Omniscience of the Deity to my finite ideas. I content myself with believing that, somehow or other, He has made it quite compatible with His Omniscience that Man should obey the impulse that leads him to believe that, in addressing a Deity, he is addressing a tender, compassionate, benignant Father, and in that obedience should obtain beneficial results. If that impulse be an illusion, then we must say that Heaven governs the earth by a lie; and that is impossible, because, reasoning by analogy, all Nature is truthful—that is, Nature gives to no species instincts or impulses which are not of service to it. Should I not be a shallow physician if, where I find in the human organization a principle or a property so general that I must believe it normal to the healthful conditions of that organization, I should refuse to admit that Nature intended it for use? Reasoning by all analogy,

* Chalmers, Bridgewater Treatise, vol. ii. p. 28, 30. Perhaps I should observe that here and elsewhere, in the dialogues between Faber and Fenwick, it has been thought better to substitute the words of the author quoted for the mere outline or purport of the quotation which memory afforded to the interlocutor.

must I not say the habitual neglect of its use must more or less injure the harmonious well-being of the whole human system ? I could have much to add upon the point in dispute, by which the creed implied in your question would inthrall the Divine mercy by the necessities of its divine wisdom, and substitute for a benignant Deity a relentless Fate. But here I should exceed my province. I am no theologian. Enough for me that in all affliction, all perplexity, an impulse that I obey as an instinct moves me at once to prayer. Do I find by experience that the prayer is heard, that the affliction is removed, the doubt is solved? That, indeed, would be presumptuous to say. But it is not presumptuous to think that by the efficacy of prayer my heart becomes more fortified against the sorrow, and my reason more serene amidst the doubt."

I listened, and ceased to argue. I felt as if in that solitude. and in the pause of my wonted mental occupations, my intellect was growing languid, and its old weapons rusting in disuse. My pride took alarm. I had so from my boy-hood cherished the idea of fame, and so glorified the search after knowledge, that I recoiled in dismay from the thought that I had relinquished knowledge, and cut myself off from fame. I resolved to resume my once favorite philosophical pursuits, re-examine and complete the Work to which I had once committed my hopes of renown ; and, simultaneously, a restless desire seized me to communicate, though but at brief intervals, with other minds than those immediately within my reach—minds fresh from the old world, and reviving the memories of its vivid civilization. Emigrants frequently passed my doors, but I had hitherto shrunk from tendering the hospitalities so universally accorded in the colony. I could not endure to expose to such rough strangers my Lilian's mournful affliction, and that thought was not less intolerable to Mrs. Ashleigh. I now hastily constructed a log building a few hundred yards from the house, and near the main track taken by travelers through the spacious pastures. I transported to this building my books and scientific instruments. In an upper story I placed my telescopes and lenses, my crucibles and retorts. I renewed my chemical experiments—I sought to invigorate my mind by other branches of science which I had hitherto less cultured—meditated new theories on Light and Color—collected specimens in Natural History-subjected animalcules to my microscope—geological fossils to my hammer. With all these quickened occupations of thought, I sought to distract myself from sorrow, and strengthen my reason against the illusions of my fantasy. The Luminous Shadow was not seen again on my wall, and the thought of Margrave himself was banished.

In this building I passed many hours of each day, more and more earnestly plunging my thoughts into the depths of abstract study, as Lilian's unaccountable dislike to my presence became more and more decided. When I thus ceased to think that my life cheered and comforted hers, my heart's occupation was gone. I had annexed to the apartment reserved for myself in this log-hut a couple of spare rooms, in which I could accommodate passing strangers. I learned to look forward to their coming with interest, and to see them depart with regret; yet, for the most part, they were of the ordinary class of colonial adventurers: bankrupt tradesmen, unlucky farmers, forlorn mechanics, hordes of unskilled laborers, now and then a briefless barrister, or a sporting collegian who had lost his all on the Derby. One day, however, a young man of education and manners that unmistakably proclaimed the cultured gentleman of Europe stopped at my door. He was a cadet, of a noble Prussian family, which for some political reasons had settled itself in Paris ; there he had become intimate with young French nobles, and, living the life of a young French noble, had soon scandalized his German parents, forestalled his slender inheritance, and been compelled to fly his father's frown and his tailors' bills. All this he told me with a lively frankness which proved how much the wit of a German can be quickened in the atmosphere of Paris. An old college friend of birth inferior to his own had been as unfortunate in seeking to make money as this young prodigal had been an adept in spending it. The friend, a few years previously, had joined other Germans in a migration to Australia, and was already thriving ; the spend-thrift noble was on his way to join the bankrupt trader, at a German settlement fifty miles distant from my house. This young man was unlike any German I ever met. He had all the exquisite levity by which the well-bred Frenchman gives to the doctrines of the Cynic the grace of the Epicurean. He owned himself to be good for nothing with an elegance of candor which not only disarmed censure, but seemed to challenge admiration ; and withal the happy spendthrift was so inebriate with hope—sure that he should be rich before he was thirty. How and wherefore rich ?—he could have no more explained than I can square the circle. When the grand serious German nature does Frenchify itself, it can become so extravagantly French !

I listened, almost enviously, to this light-hearted profligate's babble as we sat by my rude fireside—I, sombre man of science and sorrow, he, smiling child of idlesse and pleasure, so much one of Nature's courtier-like nobles, that there, as he smoked his villainous pipe, in his dust-soiled shabby garments, and with his ruffianly revolver stuck into his belt, I would defy the daintiest Aristarch who ever presided as critic over the holiday world not to have said, "There sits the genius beyond my laws, the born darling of the Graces, who in every circumstance, in every age, like Aristippus, would have socially charmed—would have been welcome to the orgies of a Caesar or a Clodius, to the boudoirs of a Montespan or a Pompadour— have lounged

through the Mulberry Gardens with a Rochester and a Buckingham, or smiled from the death-cart with a Richelieu and a Lauzun—a gentleman's disdain of a mob!"

I was so thinking as we sat, his light talk frothing up from his careless lips, when suddenly from the spray and the sparkle of that light talk was flung forth the name of Margrave.

Margrave !" I exclaimed. "Pardon me. What of him ?"

"What of him! I asked if, by chance, you knew the only Englishman I ever had the meanness to envy?"

"Perhaps you speak of one person, and I thought of another."

"Pardieu, my dear host, there can scarcely be two Margraves ! The one I mean flashed like a meteor upon Paris, bought from a prince of the Bourse a palace that might have lodged a prince of the blood royal, eclipsed our Jew bankers in splendor, our jeunesse doree in good looks and hair-brain adventures, and, strangest of all, filled his salons with philosophers and charlatans, chemists and spirit-rappers; insulting the gravest dons of the schools by bringing them face to face with the most impudent quacks, the most ridiculous dreamers—and yet, withal, himself so racy and charming, so bon prince, so bon enfant ! For six months he was the rage at Paris; perhaps he might have continued to be the rage there for six years, but all at once the meteor vanished as suddenly as it had flashed. Is this the Margrave whom you know ?"

"I should not have thought the Margrave whom I knew could have reconciled his tastes to the life of cities."

"Nor could this man: cities were too tame for him. He has gone to some far-remote wilds in the East—some say in search of the Philosopher's stone—for he actually maintained in his house a Sicilian adventurer, who, when at work on that famous discovery, was stifled by the fumes of his own crucible. After that misfortune Margrave took Paris in disgust, and we lost him."

" So this is the only Englishman whom you envy ! Envy him ! Why ?"

"Because he is the only Englishman I ever met who contrived to be rich and yet free from the spleen ; I envied him because one had only to look at his face, and see how thoroughly he enjoyed the life of which your countrymen seem to be so heartily tired ! But now that I have satisfied your curiosity, pray satisfy mine. Who and what is this Englishman ?"

" Who and what was he supposed at Paris to be?"

"Conjectures were numberless. One of your countrymen suggested that which was most generally favored. This gentleman, whose name I forget, but who was one of those old roues who fancy themselves young because they live with the young, no sooner set eyes upon Margrave than he exclaimed, 'Louis Grayle come to life again, as I saw him forty-four years ago! But no—still younger, still handsomer—it must be his son !'

" Louis Grayle, who was said to be murdered at Aleppo?"

"The same. That strange old man was enormously rich, but it seems that he hated his lawful heirs, and left behind him a fortune so far below that which he was known to possess, that he must certainly have disposed of it secretly before his death. Why so dispose of it, if not to enrich some natural son, whom, for private reasons, he might not have wished to acknowledge, or point out to the world by the signal bequest of his will ? All that Margrave ever said of himself and the source of his wealth confirmed his belief. He frankly proclaimed himself a natural son, enriched by a father whose name he knew not nor cared to know."

" It is true. And Margrave quitted Paris for the East ? When ?"

"I can tell you the date within a day or two, for his flight preceded mine by a week; and, happily, all Paris was so busy in talking of it that I slipped away without notice."

And the Prussian then named a date which it thrilled me to hear, for it was in that very month, and about that very day, that the Luminous Shadow had stood within my threshold.

The young Count now struck off into other subjects of talk : nothing more was said of Margrave. An hour or two afterward he went in his way, and I remained long gazing musingly on the embers of the fire dying low on my hearth.

THE MORTAR FLOTILLA.

WE present our readers on page 73 with a picture of the MORTAR FLOTILLA now fitting out for secret service under CAPTAIN DAVID D. PORTER, U.S.N. The vessels are schooners of noted speed, ranging in tonnage from 350 to 125 tons, and each armed with one 13-inch mortar weighing 17,600 pounds, which throws a ball weighing 241 pounds. The range of this destructive weapon is about three miles. Besides the mortars, these vessels will early two or more guns mostly rifled, however. The fleet will be divided into three divisions, each under the command of a "division flag-officer." Captain Porter will fly his flag from the Octorara, a side-wheel steamer which was built at the Brooklyn Navy-yard. She will be armed with two 11-inch guns; and from her peculiar model she can go up or down a narrow stream without turning around, as she has a rudder at each end.

The first division, to be commanded by Lieutenant W. Smith, will consist of the following schooners: Norfolk Packet, Para, O.H. Lee, Arletta, W. Bacon, and C. P. Williams. The second division, commanded by Lieutenant W. W. Queen, will comprise the schooners F. A. Ward, M. J. Carlton, S. C. Jones, G. Mangham, Orwetta, M. Wassar, Jun., and A. Hugel.

The third division, Lieutenant K. R. Breeze commanding, consists of the schooners J. Griffiths, Racer, F. Smith, Sea Foam, H. James, and S. Bruen.


 

 

  

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