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THE regular circulation of
is now between ONE HUNDRED AND TWENTY-FIVE and ONE HUNDRED AND THIRTY THOUSAND
copies. Assuming that each number of the paper is read by ten persons—a moderate
estimate—a million and a quarter people derive instruction and amusement from
this journal. It affords us no little satisfaction to witness this success.
Certainly we may say that no effort on our part has been wanting to deserve it.
Our weekly expenses for traveling
artists are alone as heavy as our total outlay for artistic labor used to be
when Harper's Weekly was first established. This outlay, however, enables us to
depict, week by week, the progress of our arms along the whole circumference of
the Rebellion, with a fidelity and vividness seldom equaled.
We are besides enabled to lay
before our readers each week several pages of the best reading of the day,
including the works of Dickens,
Wilkie Collins, and Bulwer. So remarkable a
combination of artistic and literary excellences has never been presented in any
journal, either in this country or abroad.
We think that this Number, for
instance, will bear comparison with any number of any paper ever produced in the
United States or in Europe.
SATURDAY, MAY 3, 1862.
"HARPER'S WEEKLY" AT FORTRESS
WE learn by telegraph that the
sales of the last Number of Harper's Weekly were stopped at
Fortress Monroe in consequence of
pictures of Yorktown and the vicinity.
The pictures inculpated
Big Bethel as it appeared when it was occupied
by our troops, and the rebel lines at Yorktown, with the position of our forces
when they first appeared before the place on 7th April. Both were from sketches
by an Officer of Topographical Engineers, and were sanctioned by the commanding
officer of the corps. Both, as any competent military man could see, were so
drawn as not to reveal any position permanently occupied by our forces, or to
convey any information whatever to the enemy.
Ever since the contest between
the United States forces and the rebels became grave this journal has been so
conducted as to impart no information to the enemy. We have frequently withheld
from our subscribers interesting pictures, fo`r fear they might prove useful to
the traitors. We have pursued this course not only with regard to our army at
Yorktown but every where. We shall continue to do so. Rather than publish a line
or a sketch which could by any possibility injure the Union cause, or endanger
the success of our gallant soldiers, we would suppress this journal altogether.
With the consciousness of this
purpose we beg leave to state that we shall not allow our business to be
interfered with at the whim of any military officer whomsoever, and that any
General who undertakes to stop the sales of Harper's Weekly, or to interfere
with its circulation, does so at his peril. We shall hold him responsible for
damages before a jury of his country.
We recommend Brigadier-General
Wool, and Censor A.D.C. De Witt Clinton, to devote more attention to the duty of
suppressing the Southern rebellion, and less to the suppression of Northern
By doing so, the former will not
again publish such predictions as the one in which he informed Secretary Stanton
that M'Clellan would meet with no serious resistance at Yorktown; and the latter
will have more time to perform the proper and reputable functions of an A.D.C.
GRADUATING AS SOLDIERS.
A CHANGE has come o'er the
British dream. The bullies who, three months ago, when we were in deepest
trouble, were boasting that they would send the Warrior to bombard "the cities
of New York and Hoboken," and dictate peace with Armstrong cannon pointed at
peaceful dwellings full of women and children, are now humbled and
panic-stricken. The battle of the ninth March has filled them with terror. They
realize that that battle destroyed, not only the Cumberland and the Congress,
but likewise the entire British navy; that the "wooden walls of England" are
gone; that the British Navy "consists of two ships, the Warrior and the Black
Prince," both probably failures; and that, in all probability, before New Year
1863 the United States and France will both be as superior to Great Britain at
sea as they now are on land. Under the pressure of these distressing reflections
John Bull has set to work to build Monitors on the plan of
Captain Ericsson, taking care, after his usual
fashion, to claim our gallant countryman's invention for an Englishman of the
name of Coles.
We think we may safely say that
the panic which appears to be prevailing in London in consequence of the
performance of the
Monitor is only the first of a series of fits
which this war of ours is destined to occasion in Europe.
In the first place, the Monitor
is only an experiment, and by the time Great Britain has spent a few millions in
building copies of her, a very improved model will probably have been adopted
here. The six Ericsson batteries which
are now being constructed for
Government are greatly superior in many respects to the antagonist of the
Merrimac. Another fight will suggest further
improvements. In the course of the next sixty days the
Galena, the Roanoke, and the Kensington will
have been under fire, and will have taught us further lessons. It may be that
the Monitor, though capable of coping with a rude product of Southern skill like
the Merrimac, will be found inferior to one or all of these vessels. Captain
Ericsson himself does not regard his model as a "finality," though it is
obviously a step in advance of previous models. There are many competent sailors
and naval authorities who deem the
Vanderbilt the most formidable war vessel
afloat in our waters.
Commodore Porter, now in command of the mortar
New Orleans, is understood to have declared,
ten years ago, that he would undertake to fight any ship-of-the-line with the
old George Law, which was lost in 1858, and which carried no guns at all. It may
turn out that, for all purposes of naval combats between ship and ship, guns are
a superfluity, and that the only things needful are speed, a sharp beak, and an
invulnerable hull. Thus, while there is every reason to believe that the little
Monitor, now lying in Hampton Roads, would destroy the whole British
navy—including the Warrior and the Black Prince—in a very short time, without
receiving any material injury herself, it is far from likely that the Monitor
will be the most formidable vessel in our navy a few months hence.
Meanwhile the progress made in
offensive weapons is as great as in defensive armor. This war of ours has
revolutionized the science of artillery. At Sebastopol the guns used were smooth
bores. There was a Lancaster gun at one time in battery, but it did not answer
and was discarded. In the Italian war rifled 4 and 6 pounders were used by the
French with satisfactory results. In the Chinese war Armstrong 12-pounders were
used for short periods of time, and their performance was well spoken of: no
opportunity offered for discovering their well-known defects. We are now arming
our ships with rifled 100-pounders; the new Monitors are to carry 15-inch guns,
throwing balls weighing 500 pounds. Our siege batteries consist of rifled 30 and
40 pounders, and 68 and 100 pound Columbiads. The results of the change is seen
in the reports of the bombardment of
Fort Pulaski. Heretofore 400 yards has been
considered fair breaching distance, though artillerists are recommended in the
text-books to get 100 yards nearer if possible. Two years ago a gunner who had
proposed to erect a breaching battery at half a mile from the wall to be
attacked would have been set down as insane. Our breaching batteries at Pulaski
were nearly a mile from the work, yet they made a practicable breach, in a wall
previously deemed impregnable, in the course of thirty hours. This was done by a
judicious combination of rifled guns, carrying 30 and 40 pound shot, and very
heavy Columbiads. The former, as is well described in Commander Rodgers's
report, bored their way into the wall, while the latter, coming into play
afterward, so pounded the honey-combed stone and brick work that it gave way and
crumbled into ruin.
This bombardment demolished not
only Fort Pulaski, but all the stone forts in the world. Not a fort in Europe
could stand 48 hours' bombardment by a combination of heavy rifled guns and
Columbiads. They were well enough when opposed to smooth 18, 24, and 32
pounders. They would crumble directly under a fire of 68 and 100 pounders from
James or Parrott guns.
We have thus, in the course of a
year's war, established the utter inability of any of the existing navies or
forts in the world to resist an attack from the vessels and weapons which we are
now using. And we are only just beginning to learn. In the course of the next
six months our weapons of offense and defense will probably be as far superior
to those now in use as the latter are superior to those which were used a year
ago. We hear already that General Gilmore is prepared to breach
Fort Sumter at
Charleston at a distance of 2000 yards. We
understand that the Monitor has lately been provided with a missile which will
penetrate the iron sides of the Merrimac as easily as if they were made of wood.
Captain Rodman, under whose direction six 15-inch guns are being cast at
Pittsburg for the new Monitors, has cast a 20-inch gun, and is experimenting
with 30-inch guns; he expects to cast guns for coast defense which will throw a
ball weighing three thousand pounds. Should the Warrior, in the course of her
attempt to bombard "New York and Hoboken," come in contact with one of these
little missiles, it would be a matter of difficulty, ten minutes afterward, to
find out what had become of her, or where she was when her voyage was abruptly
In the opinion of a Prussian
officer who recently left this country, there is no army in the world so
completely equipped, in regard to artillery and rifles, as the army of the
Potomac. There are picked regiments in France and in Germany as well armed as
any of ours. And there are batteries of artillery in many countries equal to any
thing on this side the ocean. But nowhere in the world, except on the Potomac,
does there exist a body of 200,000 men all armed with the best possible weapons,
or a park
of 400 pieces of light artillery,
all perfect and of the best make and most effective character. This Prussian
officer declared that the Emperor Napoleon had no such army under his command.
He might have added that no army but ours possesses such a corp as the
Berdan sharp-shooters, with their telescopic
rifles. The sharp-shooting in the Crimea and in Italy was mere boy's play in
comparison with the performance of the men of this regiment, who pick off
gunners at a distance when their forms can barely be descried by the naked eye.
In the words of Colonel Lysons—probably the most experienced officer of the
British army—"as soon as the regimental officers in the army of the Potomac
become more efficient—a matter of time—that army will be simply irresistible."
The Americans have not been a
fighting people for many years. The Mexican war was a diversion, and did not
excite the people at large. Not since 1812 has the whole popular mind been
directed to military pursuits. No people in the world had less knowledge of real
warfare, or less general acquaintance with the practical business of fighting,
than we had when this wretched rebellion forced the sword into our hands. In the
course of a single year, however, we have revolutionized gunnery, naval
architecture, and fortification, and have raised an army which is admitted by
competent foreign judges to be without an equal in the world.
It is to be hoped that, after the
suppression of the rebellion, our foreign friends will permit us to convert our
sword once more into a pruning-hook. But if not, the experience of our present
troubles will probably enable us to effect some important changes in the map of
THE letter of Mr. Yulee, late
Senator from Florida, of which we give a facsimile on page 278, is by far the
most important published document in the secret history of the war. It
establishes the fact of the elaborate conspiracy which resulted in the armed
rebellion. It is an utterly infamous letter; for the writer was, at the moment
of writing, a sworn and paid officer of the Government against which he was
conspiring, while Mallory, now rebel Secretary of the Navy, was chairman of the
Naval Committee of the Senate.
Mason and Hunter, then Senators
from Virginia, were also conspirators. Mason told a friend, in the middle of
February, that he hoped the Union could be saved, and the next day he wrote to a
friend in Paris the details of the plan to destroy it. Hunter and Slidell waited
upon a Northern gentleman in Washington at about the same time, and told him
that every thing was ready—that there might be a little fighting, but no serious
work—that Pennsylvania and the West would adopt the Montgomery Constitution, and
New York would not long delay, while New England might be left out of the
reorganized government, or admitted as a single State. This course was also
urged openly or covertly by certain newspapers in some Northern cities. The
Vice-President, Breckinridge, another conspirator, sneeringly asked
Andrew Johnson, in
Washington, whether he thought the Government
could coerce States? Even the most patriotic citizens could not help at least
wondering whether there would be an overwhelming rally of the whole North for
the Union. They did not wonder after the fall of Sumter.
The plan of the conspiracy
clearly contemplated that some of the Confederates should nominally remain
uncommitted, in order to perplex the Government. Breckinridge was one of these.
And when the developments of Time allow the history of the rebellion to be fully
known and written, it will appear that the Catiline conspirators in Rome, and
the Jacobite malcontents in Great Britain, had never a more thorough
organization than that of which Jefferson Davis is the acknowledged head, and
Yulee proves himself an accomplice.
THE NATIONAL ACADEMY.
THE Derby Gallery is light and
spacious, and an admirable room for the Exhibition. There are two smaller rooms
opening out of it, one of which is lighted by gas, which does not help the
pictures. The general effect upon entering the large room is bright and
agreeable, and it is enhanced by the pleasant anticipation which always invests
pictures which are yet to be seen. The impression upon leaving is one of
That impression must be
understood, of course, of the general effect. There are very fine pictures in
the Exhibition—some of the best portraits, for instance, that we have ever
had—but it has evidently not been a very happy year for painters. The war itself
has not inspired many works. Mr. Gifford's Sunday Morning in the Camp of the
Seventh Regiment near Washington (104) is the chief of these, and it is
remarkable for the fidelity with which the personality of the chaplain. the Rev.
Mr. Weston, is rendered. This Lounger has seen that gentleman but once, and in
the picture his back is to the spectator, but the individuality of the man is
unmistakable. Mr. Gifford is one of the artists who, during the year, have
preserved the traditions of Michael Angelo, by patriotic service under canvas as
well as on it,
The first of the large portraits
is Mr. filches full-length of Dr. Cogswell, late chief of the Astor Library
(14). He is sitting in the Library, holding a book. The picture should be
studied from across the room, and it will then be seen that it one of the most
admirable works of the painter. The likeness is capital. The accessories are
remarkable. They are painted with great fidelity and propriety of detail: the
books are books, the carpet is carpet, the wood is wood. The clothes of the
worthy subject, however, seem rather too shining for broadcloth—and yet the true
bibliophile has always been noted, like the angels, for shining garments. So
characteristic and satisfactory a portrait as this of the famous Librarian of
the Astor ought certainly to belong to the Library. Side by side with a good
likeness of the founder, it would go down to the respect and interest of
posterity, for whom Astor devised and Cogswell collected and arranged. It is
properly a historic portrait, and its fit place is the Astor Library. No. 44 is
Page's portrait of Collector Barney, a picture full of power and skill, but,
from some reason, not pleasing. The likeness is excellent, but the accessories
are disagreeable. Where he is, or what he is doing, it would be difficult to
say. But Mr. Page's works are too important, too carefully considered, and too
thoughtfully wrought, to be hastily dismissed and we shall return to his
portraits, of which there are two others upon the walls, full lengths, of a
gentleman, and a lady and a child.
Mr. Huntington's Chancellor
Ferris (58) is a broad, free, strong, and effective portrait. The Chancellor
stands in his flowing robes; with his hand upon an antique tome and a stained
window before him. The frank, benign dignity of expression is simply true to
life. In the painting the artist has not been in the least afraid of purple. The
coloring is rich and harmonious, and the work is a fine specimen of the artist,
full of talent, and a most valuable portrait to the University.
In No. 111 Mr. Elliott exhibits
the best portrait that we recall from his hands. He has a uniform excellence.
Unlike many artists, authors, and orators, who are sometimes very good and
sometimes bad, Elliott is always good. The spectator is always sure of vigor,
brilliancy, and fidelity. But in this portrait there is a subtlety that he does
not always show. The incisive force of character in the subject, the maturity of
sagacity, alertness and prudence which mark the master of his calling, have been
seized with enthusiasms by the painter, and reproduced with corresponding skill.
He had the good fortune in the portrait of treating a face in which the
individuality is thoroughly indicated, and he has done it ample justice. It was
fortunate too that the very coloring of the subject was most congenial to the
pallet of the painter, so that he has given us one of the most real, living
portraits that have hung in any Academy exhibition.
In the farther room, under the
gas, are sixteen works of Paul Duggan, who died a few months since in Paris.
They are chiefly portrait drawings, and there are two models in plaster, curious
and elaborate studies in anatomy. The portraits are of well-known persons, and
most of them will have a three-fold interest to many visitors of the Exhibition:
first, as Duggan's works; second, as heads of noted people; third, from their
association with the Century Club, upon whose walls they habitually hang.
Indeed, in that dim corner of the Exhibition where they are, we can hardly see
the drawings for Darley's portrait of the artist which hangs among them. How
often before the pictures of the Exhibition that slight, wan, partly stooping
figure stood silent and rapt, intently gazing and calmly discriminating, yet
ever with kindness and sweet humor! How inly smiling and cordial he stole
through the crowds on the gay evening and in the old rooms, as with the same
cheerful silence and genial sympathy he passed through the press of life to his
grave! His patient life, his quiet heroism, his cheerful submission, were they
not all signs of the permanent satisfactions of that keen sense of beauty and
sympathy with it which are the mainsprings of art? The Academy have obeyed a
pious instinct in placing among the paintings of our living artists these works
of their brother so lately dead.
Next week we shall have another
look at the Exhibition.
THE President's signature to the
Emancipation Bill is the first practical proof
of the changed policy of the United States Government. It is the first step in
the return to the principles and practice of the fathers of the Constitution.
Their opinion was nearly unanimous upon this subject. Believing, as Roger
Sherman said that the spirit of the age was abolishing slavery they supposed
that the different States would complete the work. Innocent Roger, who did not
foresee the cotton gin! The testimony to the spirit and intention of our
Government is perfect, and that there might be no possible mistake what kind of
Government they meant to form, the fathers took good care to say expressly that
it was "to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic
tranquillity, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and
secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity."
The most striking testimony to
the anti-slavery feeling of the fathers of the country was given by A. H.
Stephens, the rebel Vice-President, in his, speech, upon retiring from Congress,
at Augusta in June, 1859. He said: "In my judgment there are more thinking men
at the North now who look upon our system of
slavery as right—socially, morally, and politically—than there were
even at the South thirty years ago. The leading public men of the South in our
early history were almost all against it. Jefferson was against it; Madison was
against it; nearly all of them were against it. This I freely admit when the
authority of their names is cited. It was a question which they did not, and
perhaps could not, thoroughly understand at that time.''
Perhaps not; but these are the
men who made (Next Page)