Lincoln Offers Slavery Compromise


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Civil War Harper's Weekly, March 22, 1862

This site features online versions of all the Harper's Weekly newspapers published during the Civil War. These newspapers will help you develop a more complete understanding of the Civil War.

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


Monitor and Merrimac

Battle of the Monitor and Merrimac


Lincoln Offers Slavery Compromise

Terror in the South

Terror in the South

Newport News Battle

Newport News

Flag Poem

Flag Poem

Merrimac and Monitor

Battle of Monitor and Merrimac

Rebel Batteries

Story on Rebel Batteries

Wilkie Collins

Wilkie Collins

Cockpit Point

Cockpit Point

Monitor and the Merrimac

Monitor and the Merrimac

Fort Donelson

interior of Fort Donelson







[MARCH 22, 1862.



WHEN a hero goes

Unto his last repose,

When earth's trump of fame shall waken him no more; When in the heavenly land

Another soul doth stand

Who perished for a nation ere he reached the shore; Whose eyes should sorrow dim?

Say, who should mourn for him?

Mourn for the traitor—mourn

When honor is forsworn,

When the base wretch who sells his land for gold

Stands up unblushingly

And boosts his perfidy,

Then, then, O patriots! let your grief be told!

But when God's soldier yieldeth up his breath,

Oh, mourn ye not for him! It is not death!

Where is the flag he bore?

Where is the sword he wore?

Lay one upon his breast, the other spread Around his wasted form,

That perished in the storm,

And name him reverently whom ye call dead. Name him not silently

Shout all, exultingly!

"Lander! Lander! awake!

Thy heavenly armor take,

And gird upon thy thigh again thy sword!

Beside the great white throne, Where sits the Blessed One,

Stand thou forth in the army of the Lord!

Soldier of Christ, arise!

And join Him in the skies!"  


THE Publishers of Harper's Weekly congratulate their readers upon the appearance in last Number 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 subscribers 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 subscription.

The crisis which the war has reached imparts fresh interest to the war-pictures which are appearing in every number of Harper's Weekly. We have now regular Artist Correspondents, to wit:

MR. A. R. WAUD, with the army of the Potomac; MR. ALEXANDER SIMPLOT, with Gen. Grant's army;

MR. HENRY MOSLER, with Gen. Buell's army;

MR. THEO. R. Davis, with Gen. Sherman's army; MR. ANGELO WISER, with Gen. Burnside's army;

besides a large number of occasional and volunteer correspondents in the Army and Navy at various points. These gentlemen will furnish us faithful sketches of every battle which takes place, and every other event of interest, which will be reproduced in our pages in the best style. People who do not see Harper's Weekly will have but a limited comprehension of the momentous events which are occurring.

The circulation of Harper's Weekly being now over 120,000 copies each week, it is the best advertising medium in the country.

In reply to numerous inquiries we would say, that, as Harper's Weekly is electrotyped, we can at any time supply the Numbers for the past year, or from the commencement of the paper (January 3, 1857), if desired.

Persons wishing to complete their files can have the missing Numbers furnished by remitting direct to the Publishers.

To Postmasters and others getting up clubs of ten subscribers we will send an extra copy gratis. To those who prefer them we will send the Numbers of the past year as premium for the club, instead of those for the current Volume.



AT last events are moving with breathless rapidity. The fall of Leesburg is followed by the fall of Winchester, the abandonment of the rebel batteries on the Potomac is no sooner announced than we hear of the capture of Brunswick and Fernandina; the evacuation of Columbus is succeeded by the evacuation of Manassas, now held by Union troops. One by one every rebel strong-hold is forced or turned.

From the far West, where our gallant Curtis is driving the tatterdemalions of McIntosh and Price before him, to the shore of the Atlantic, whose bosom now reflects the stars and stripes, and no other flag, from North Edisto to Key West, the soldiers and sailors of the Union are pressing onward with steady tread, and crushing rebellion as they go. There is not a point in the line of three thousand miles at which the rebels can make a stand.

Last week we announced the commencement of the work of reconstruction in Tennessee by the appointment of Andrew Johnson as Military Governor. As we write, men are discussing whether John Minor Botts should not be Governor of Virginia under the President. In a week or two Governor Harris of Tennessee and Governor Letcher of Virginia will be as thoroughly wiped out as Governor Claib. Jackson of Missouri and the rebel Governor of Kentucky, whose name we have forgotten. Before the anniversary of the bombardment of Fort Sumter we may hear of "reconstruction" in Louisiana, Arkansas, and North Carolina. And what is done is done well. McClellan's motto is-No Step Backward!

The night was very dark and very gloomy; but the dawn is bright indeed, and surpassingly glorious.


THE President last week sent in to Congress a Message recommending the passage of the following or a similar resolution :

Resolved, That the United States ought to co-operate with any State which may adopt a gradual abolishment of slavery, giving to such State pecuniary aid, to be used by such State in its discretion to compensate for the inconveniences, public and private, produced by such change of system.

This Message has been applauded with equal fervor by the opponents and by the supporters of slavery. It is equally approved by the Herald and by the Tribune, by the Evening Post and by the Journal of Commerce.

The old friends of slavery commend it because it recognizes the right of the Southern slave-owners to their slave property, and the exclusive right of the slave States to regulate or abolish the institution within their limits.

The friends of freedom rejoice at it because it places the United States Government squarely on the record as preferring freedom to slavery, in the abstract, and as looking forward, in some future time, and in some yet undetermined way, to the abolition of slavery, and the emancipation of the negro race.

In fact, the difference between the two great parties in the North has been narrowed down by the Message to an almost imperceptible line. So far as can be judged by the public press, there is no party in the North which sets its face positively against the abolition of slavery, at some future time, and under some possible conditions: and, on the other hand, there is no evidence to show that any substantial body of men in any section of the North is opposed to the recognition of slavery as an existing and lawful institution at the South, for the purpose of compassing its abolition. We are all brought by this common-sense Message upon the same platform. The cannon-shot against Fort Sumter effaced three-fourths of our political lines: the President's Message has wiped out the remaining fourth.

It is very instructive to read articles in the Herald recommending the Border States to abolish slavery, and articles in the Journal of Commerce commending the abstract righteousness of emancipation, and admitting that the writers only differ with Garrison and Wendell Phillips in respect of way, time, and detail. Such indications are cheering proofs that even in our time the world moves. Lord Cockburn, in his charming Memorials, tells us that in his youth a man who professed Whig principles was a pariah in that Edinburgh society which now regards with contemptuous curiosity the few remaining adherents of principles not Whig. The Cockburn of our country and our time will record, for the admiration of posterity, that he has seen infuriated New York mobs, encouraged by New York merchants, assail and silence orators whose only crime was that they were opposed to an institution which, a few months afterward, had not a single supporter left in New York.

The Message has achieved another useful result. It has placed the North on a platform of square antagonism to the rebels. Henceforth, no compromise will be possible which obliges the North to recognize the abstract justice or policy of slavery, or to forego the desire that it may some day be abolished. Henceforth, the Northern people may be considered a unit against slavery in principle, and only differing among themselves with regard to the time and way of abolition. When we remember Mr. Adams's proposition of last winter, and how narrowly it escaped being accepted by the rebels, we can measure the stride which the civilization of the North has made during the past twelve months.


IT is seldom that a public man passes away with such strong claims upon the grateful remembrance of the community as the late President of Harvard College. In the best sense of the term, he was peculiarly a man of the people. Born of a quiet New England family, whose modest industry was their only title to distinction, he was early inured to habits of self-reliance and active effort. He was never dandled on the lap of luxury into the pride of exclusive privileges. His native love of learning prompted him to seek a liberal education; but the golden prize did not drop into his hands spontaneously; it was the fruit only of strenuous toil and self-denial on his part. From the first he was obliged to contribute to his own support while pursuing the usual studies of his class. But in Spite of every drawback he attained a high position as a scholar, which he never lost. Not content with the prescribed range of college study, he was ambitious of higher attainments, and marked out a path for himself which few could follow. While yet an undergraduate he became familiar with the principles of physical science, and commenced the study of many languages, in which he subsequently became a master. From the day of leaving college his course was onward and upward. He devoted himself to the drudgery of teaching, if it must so be called, with a peculiar zest; his success in appealing to the best faculties of the young was strongly marked; while the original productions of his pen evinced at once the brilliancy of his intellect

and the soundness of his cultivation. At the age of twenty-two he was appointed tutor in Harvard College; in three years more he became Professor of Greek; and before he was twenty-seven years old he succeeded to the important chair of Greek literature, which had been made famous by the splendid erudition of Mr. Edward Everett, and the classical enthusiasm of Professor Popkin, whose towering figure seemed irradiated by the spirit of Homer and Sophocles. Following such eminent examples, Professor Felton gave a powerful impulse to the study of Greek letters, and became himself certainly one of the best, if not the very best scholar in that department of whom the country can boast. But he never yielded to the indulgences of a recluse student. He had nothing of the arrogance or the exclusiveness of literature. His interest in public affairs was constant and vivid. He was not, indeed, an active politician, but no man watched more closely the course of our statesmen, or was more ardent in the support of the principles which he deemed essential to the national welfare. Without being a partisan, he was the strenuous advocate of a conservative policy, and conscientiously avoided the extremes to which he might have been tempted by private friendship or personal relations with their champions. The cause of general education commanded his warmest sympathies. He never made his position an excuse for declining an active part in popular instruction. As an earnest friend of common schools, as a public lecturer, and a literary counselor, he exerted a wide influence, and invariably challenged the confidence of the community by his wisdom and zeal. He possessed an uncommonly genial temperament; entirely unknown to him were the formality and reserve of the scholar. He had the keenest sense of the ludicrous aspects of social life; and his presence was often indicated by his hearty ringing laugh before you fairly recognized the sunshine of his benignant face. On the resignation of Dr. Walker as President of Harvard College in 1860, Professor Felton was universally looked to as his fittest successor; and his career, after his accession to that high office, amply rewarded the hopes that were formed, but which are now forever quenched by his lamented departure in the glorious ripeness of his manhood and the fullness of his fame.


A YEAR ago there were a great many men who said, and a great many more who felt, "Oh for an Andrew Jackson!" It was thought that he would have laid a heavy hand upon the rebellion, and have ended it by a vigorous blow. That thought was the natural result of impatience and ignorance. Alexander the Great, Hannibal, and Napoleon, all combined in one great military genius, could not have done the work which it was supposed Jackson would have done. The world could be easily moved at any time if you could only get a place to stand upon.

Besides, while all praise that is his due will be gladly granted to Andrew Jackson, it is a great mistake to suppose that he suppressed a rebellion. He compromised with it—he did not conquer it. He suppressed the symptom, but encouraged the disease. If Jackson had finally and absolutely shot away treason and punished traitors in 1833, there would have been no rebellion in 1861. Jackson was neither a philosopher nor a statesman; he was a soldier. But to destroy this rebellion requires more than military skill. Shot and shell may subdue the form of the symptom, but what will annihilate the disease?

It is fortunate for the country and for the world that at this moment it is a wise and calm civilian, and not a soldier, who is our Chief Magistrate. And it is a peculiar satisfaction that, throughout the astonishing events of the last year, this journal has not faltered in its faith in the ability of the President, or in its support of the patriotic policy of his Administration. The country rocked with civil war. Every citizen and editor had his special nostrum for peace. No man was ever called to a task so difficult as the President's. When he left Springfield to undertake it, he said that no President since Washington had a work so weighty. But Washington's work as Chief Magistrate was not greater than Lincoln's. And thus far, at least, History will record that it has been wrought with similar wisdom.

Throughout the wild uproar of the year the President of the United States has held upon his way undisturbed. Openly slandered by his political enemies before the inauguration, he has been stealthily slandered by many of his political friends since. Because he and the Secretary of State, although known to be friendly to a peaceful annihilation of the political supremacy of the slaveholding interest in the Government, did not upon their accession to power advocate an immediate emancipation, they have been pursued with a bitter suspicion of moral cowardice, or pricked with the sharp taunt of treachery to their cause, or insulted by the imputation of incapacity.

Meanwhile the policy of the President slowly vindicates itself. The end and the method proposed by him were clearly stated in two sentences of his December Message. First, "The Union must be preserved, and hence all indispensable means must be employed;" and, second, the sentence that immediately follows it: "We should not be in haste to determine that radical and extreme measures, which may reach the loyal as well as the disloyal, are indispensable." To these he now adds a third in his Message of March 6: "A practical reacknowledgment of the National authority would render the war unnecessary, and it would at once cease. If, however, resistance continues, the war must also continue, and it is impossible to foresee all the incidents which may attend, and all the ruin that may follow it. Such as may seem indispensable, or may obviously promise great efficiency

toward ending the struggle, must and will come."

These words are in perfect harmony with every serious word of Mr. Lincoln's political life. His convictions, evidently, are as profound as ever. Certainly no man who said, as he did, on the 17th June, 1858, "I believe this Government can not endure permanently half slave and half free," has found any reason in the events of the last four years to change his opinion. But Mr. Lincoln and his friends have never desired that the disease should be removed by the sword. He and they do not desire it now. But he and they and all good patriots are resolved that the disease shall not conquer. If the sword must end slavery, it will end it. And it is for the rebellion to decide.


IT is not surprising that the name of John Bright, whenever it was mentioned at the great meeting at the Cooper Institute on Washington's birthday, was hailed with a tumult of applause. Throughout our difficulties of the last year John Bright has been one of the few men in England who truly saw and frankly stated the scope of this rebellion. When Great Britain flamed into rage at the Trent affair, John Bright laid his finger upon the arm of John Bull, and begged that testy and foolish old person not to make himself ridiculous by losing his temper in advance of the occasion, but to wait and hear whether an insult was intended, or whether it was an accident. An accident it proved to be, and the reparation was made which mutual honor demanded; and it is surprising that when Mr. Bright called the affair an accident, and was oh, oh'd from the benches of the Government party in Parliament, he had not covered Lord Palmerston with confusion by stating the notorious fact that at the very time when, as Palmerston had just said, the British Government had every reason to fear war with America, that Government knew officially that war would not spring out of the difficulty.

John Bright is the present representative of that strong common sense and intelligence which has always saved John Bull against the encroachment of privilege. He stands as the Barons stood against King John. It is his spirit, and the nerve, and eloquence, and sagacity of men like him, that perpetually wrests Magna Charta from the itching fingers of despotic power. A representative of the great middle class, the industrial interest of the kingdom, he stands for the peaceful development of popular liberty under law, on the one hand against the aristocracy and on the other against the mob which is at once the consequence and the tool of an aristocracy. In a country so Hindoobound with caste as England, of course such a man stands much alone, for even those who theoretically and politically sympathize with him, may be otherwise alienated by inexorable social prejudice.

During this war of ours his have been the only speeches in England which show a truly comprehensive and sagacious statesmanship. Lord John's, or the Earl Russell's, speeches have been quibbles and subterfuges. Lord Palmerston's have been the bland plausibilities which he always palms off upon the British public as practical common-sense views. Politically, the Earl Russell figures as the artful Dodger, and the spruce, complaisant Palmerston as Charley Bates. Unquestionably the conviction which John Bright so amply and pointedly expresses in his speeches, whether acknowledged by the Government or not, is the conviction which has withheld that Government from blundering into war with this country. The Earls Russell and Palmerston have "forborne" in Parliament: the London Times and the other journals, with a very few noble exceptions, have "forborne" in their daily leaders: private British correspondence and conversation have "forborne," and all in the same way, by torturing the language for insult and invective, by an absurdly haughty assumption of the destruction of this Government as already accomplished, and by an affected impartiality of belligerent concessions.

John Bright sums it all up in one ringing sentence: "The course taken by the Government, not in the demand, not in the dispatch, not in the courteous way in which Lord Lyons managed every thing be had to do with regard to it [hear, hear], but in the instantaneous and alarming menaces of war, followed and accompanied every day by incessant and offensive charges from the press supposed directly to represent the Government—I say that that tends to leave on the minds of even the most moderate men in America the feeling that England in the hour of her trial has not treated them in the magnanimous and friendly manner which they had a right to expect from us."

There is a moral in the position of John Bright which we shall all do well to take to heart. We respect and love him to-day more than any Englishman, and yet we feel that every drop of his blood and particle of his flesh is British. But he dares to expose and criticise the faults of England. Justice, he knows, like charity begins at home. He has not the least respect for venerable error, and crime, although hoary with dignity and respectable with law, is simply criminal in his eyes.

How such a member of the Imperial Parliament would astonish some Republican Senators of the United States !


THE text is Conservatism, of which, brethren, there are two kinds. Let us suppose the case.

A rattlesnake is in your nursery, and trying to dart at your children.

Conservatism number one rushes at the reptile; seizes it; if it has lost a fang, puts it back in its place; if it has dropped any venom, restores it for future emergencies; then shuts the rattlesnake into the closet, saying, "Go, and sting no more."

Conservatism number two rushes at the snake, grinds its head beneath its iron heel, and flings it dead from the window.

Here are two kinds of conservatism. Number one conserves rattlesnakes; number two conserves (Next Page)




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