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Robert E. Lee Portrait
ROANOKE ISLAND, FEBRUARY 8, 1862.
On, well the Ninth New Jersey
fought On bloody Roanoke!
Its front stood firm, its colors
Its line was never broke!
And every eye flashed bright that
And every heart beat strong;
For every manly soul kept time
To the musket-buIlet's song.
Brave men grew braver as they
How Corporal Lorence fought,
And ever while the contest raged
The post of danger sought.
Columbia's grand, inspiring voice
Was sounding in his ear:
"Strike nobly now," it seemed to
"And cast away all fear!"
Alas! before the day was won,
While fiercer grew the fray,
And John was rushing on, a shot
Took both his legs away!
Oh, not a man that saw him fall
But wished it had been he:
Each struggled, when they bore
His chief support to be.
The hero lay insensible
While knives and probes pierced
God bless the noble art of man
That caused that painless sleep!
At last the surgeon's task is
The sleeper wakes. What sound
Has thrilled his soul, and made
So eagerly around?
"Victory!" is the thrilling cry
Borne in upon the gale.
The patriot rose upon his arm,
His face, till now so pale,
Flushed with new joy: he waved
his cap, And gave three hearty cheers
For the Union and the glorious
Ninth New Jersey Volunteers!
And now he lies, unmurmuring,
A cripple, thin and weak:
Yet none mistake the patriot fire
Who chance to hear him speak.
He longs to go, though on his
And serve his country more:
Brave Lorence! well your country
Your fighting days are o'er!
MAY 31, 1862.
WE publish in another column the
President's Proclamation rescinding the General Order of
General Hunter, by which the
slaves in South Carolina,
Georgia, and Florida were freed. The President
takes the ground that the right of emancipating negroes under the war power
belongs to him, and that he does not choose to delegate it to commanders in the
This message will satisfy the
conservative people in the Northern States. So grave a question as the
of slavery in the States can not be left to the discretion of military officers.
A uniform policy must be adopted by the Government, and carried out in every
case. The only person who can determine that policy is the President, and he
only does his duty when be refuses to share the privilege and the
The closing paragraph of the
Proclamation indicates clearly enough to which side the President's sympathies
and inclinations lean. Indeed, it may be regarded somewhat in the light of a
threat and a warning. He appeals to the people of the
slaveholding States to accept the generous
offer made to them by Congress while it is yet time. The "signs of the times,"
he warns them, point to the abolition of an institution which is not in harmony
with the spirit of the age or reconcilable with the peace of the country. It is
Slave States to decide whether they will run
the risk of having it abolished under the war power, with suddenness and
disaster, and without compensation, or whether they will have the sagacity to
anticipate necessity, and avail themselves of a Congressional subsidy. The
country pauses to hear Maryland's answer.
FOOD QUESTION IN
THE rebel Legislature of Virginia
is debating resolutions affirming the determination of the insurgents in that
State to persevere in their purpose of rebellion, notwithstanding the fall of
New Orleans and the other mishaps which have
lately befallen the "Confederate" cause.
The fall of New Orleans and
Pensacola, the capture of Fort Macon, and the successful advance of
McClellan to within a day's march of
Richmond, may not prove, in
themselves, fatal to the rebel cause. They must operate to dishearten the
soldiery enlisted in the service of
Jeff Davis, and they must serve to correct the
impression, once widely prevalent at the South, that one Southerner was a match
for five or ten Yankees. But the mere seizure by our troops of one or two more
points on the Southern coast does not in itself involve the failure of the
It is the material results
flowing from the seizure of these points which are important. The capture of New
Orleans and the presence of our gun-boats in the Mississippi cut off the rebel
armies from their principal supplies of food. When the cotton States first
seceded their leaders insisted that the possession of the rich States of
Virginia, Kentucky, and Missouri was essential to their success, because without
them they could not feed their armies. They lost Missouri in January, and
Kentucky in March; they long since consumed all that Virginia could supply.
Texas and Arkansas, both large producers of beef, still remained to them, and
from them the bulk of the meat used by the rebels during the past sixty days has
been drawn. They have now lost them too, and the question arises, whence can the
rebel army in Virginia and the rebel army of the Southwest draw rations?
They can get corn every where,
and there is some pork in Alabama, Mississippi, and the other cotton States. But
in the Confederacy, as at present bounded, there is no beef. How long can the
armies fight without beef?
The rebels comfort themselves by
reading accounts of the Whig partisan corps during the Revolutionary war, and
assert their readiness to endure the same privations as were borne by those
heroes. There is more chivalry than calculation in this. Marion, leading a small
squadron of horse, could manage to exist on sweet-potatoes and the accidental
products of occasional foraging expeditions. But when fifty or seventy-five
thousand men are to be fed the question of commissariat assumes an entirely
different shape. Such an army can not live on sweet-potatoes, nor, if they
could, does the favorite Southern esculent exist any where in sufficient
quantity to satisfy their wants. A successful foraging expedition may gather
food enough to supply a regiment for a few days. But when it comes to feeding
brigades and divisions, foraging, in a country already somewhat exhausted, is a
very inadequate resource. Armies can only be fed through the agency of a regular
commissariat which has depots of provisions at central points, and constant and
reliable communication with regions where all kinds of food are produced.
If McClellan and
Halleck remain quietly where they are, the
rebellion will be starved out in a few weeks. It is not probable they will do
so, because the public require battles, and the army would be impatient in
inactivity. But for the main purpose of the war they need not move.
SOUTHERN bribes have again
purchased intimations in European journals to the effect that England and France
are about to intervene in this country. As of old, the Emperor Napoleon is
represented as panting for intervention, while England is feebly holding him
There is not a word of truth in
the whole story. The Emperor Napoleon has never desired to intervene in our
quarrel. He knows that intervention, so far from procuring the cotton he needs,
would protract the cotton famine indefinitely. The United States would fight for
fifty years rather than submit to have their internal politics regulated by
foreigners. From first to last the Emperor of the French has exhibited a
statesmanlike appreciation of the merits of the war which shines in bright
contrast with the mean policy of the British Government, and the besotted
opinions of the person who misrepresents France at Washington.
Mr. Gladstone and several British
newspapers expatiate upon the suffering inflicted by the war upon British
artisans. Whose fault is this? As Mr. Seward well said when the war broke out,
the rebellion would collapse in ninety days but for the hope of foreign
The thousands of Englishmen who
are starving in consequence of the want of cotton have only their own Government
and their own aristocracy to blame. If the British Government had not been so
eager to see this country divided and democracy discredited, the rebellion would
have been crushed long ago. It was the moral aid and comfort they gave the
rebels which induced the latter to persevere in their insane policy. The British
aristocracy is alone responsible for the starvation which now desolates the
seats of manufacturing industry in England.
FREEDOM IN THE TERRITORIES.
THE Thirty- Seventh Congress of
the United States has just confirmed the policy of the First Congress,
seventy-three years ago. That body declared that "there shall be neither slavery
nor involuntary servitude in the said Territory, otherwise than in punishment of
crimes whereof the
parties shall be duly convicted."
The act of the present Congress is in similar and even more comprehensive terms:
"That slavery, or involuntary servitude, in all cases whatsoever other than in
punishment of crime, whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall
henceforth cease and be prohibited forever in all the Territories of the United
States now existing or hereafter to be formed or to be acquired in any way."
It would be thought that in any
civilized Christian nation the vote for such a proposition would be unanimous;
but in a nation which was a popular republic that it would be a matter of
course. And yet, while the consequences of slavery are showing themselves in the
most desperate and bloody
civil war, there were fifty representatives who
voted against it. And to complete the extraordinary story, they claim to be
Yet no man can look over the list
of names of the representatives who voted against this act—O woeful list for
their children to read!—and not feel that it comprises some men who are as
patriotic and humane as many who voted for it. They would say in explanation,
that whether slavery were right or wrong the people of the Territory are the
persons to decide whether they will have
slaves or not. Then these men are not
Democrats, for Democracy asserts certain human rights which no power can justly
take away, while their vote upon this act declares that men have no rights
except such as the majority chooses to confer. Is that their political faith?
Among the negative votes are some
from this State. If they think slavery a fair, and profitable, and peaceful
system for civilized society, we may reject their conviction, but we must
applaud their fidelity. But if they voted in the negative because they think
that although it may be a great wrong yet the majority of any political
community may enslave a minority, they have deliberately sanctioned a principle
which puts the life, liberty, property, and welfare of every man in this
State—white, black, yellow, or red—at the mercy of a majority. Such a principle
is not only the most dangerous conceivable to human society, but it is directly
repugnant to the spirit and letter of the Constitution. Our system is a constant
check upon the tyranny of a majority. A striking illustration was the choice of
Mr. Lincoln. The moment his constitutional
election was announced the newspapers, which at that time clamored for the
submission of the nation to a rebellious faction, loudly and constantly declared
that he had not a majority of all the votes cast. It was true, but the
Constitution did not require that he should have. On the other hand, an
overpowering majority, or a unanimous vote of the people, could not shorten or
lengthen his term by a single year. For the Constitution regulates the action of
majorities. Nor only that, but it declares itself to be established to protect
those rights of the individual which the Revolution had vindicated.
The enormity of the principle
involved in the negative vote upon Territorial freedom is easily tested. "Leave
it to a majority of the people in the Territory" is the argument by which that
vote is justified. Leave what? In the words of the bill, "Slavery, or
involuntary servitude, in all cases whatsoever other than in punishment for
crime." But who are to vote? What possible standard can you set up which will
not include some that may be enslaved? The fact that some of the population of
the Territory may have been slaves before does not avail, for, by the argument,
they are like any other men until the vote is taken.
But if it be a tolerable
principle in a Territory that a majority can dispose of the liberty and other
rights of one man or of a minority, it is no less so in a State—in New York, for
instance; and if, acting in due legal form, a majority should decide that one or
all of the representatives who voted in the negative should be hung, upon their
own principle it would be all right. "Oh no!" they would reply. "The State
Constitution secures our life and liberty except for crime." Yes, but why does
it do so? Simply because you have a natural right to your life and liberty,
except for crime. And so has every other man in the world. And as no majority
can override your right in your own State, you were sent to Congress to take
care that in the National State, or Territory, every man should be as secure as
you are. As representatives of this State you were no more justified in
abandoning the rights of men in the Territories, for which you are the
constitutional legislators, to the will of a majority, than you would be in
destroying the safeguards that protect those rights in your own State. Liberty
is not something that men enjoy because other men choose that they shall. It is
theirs of right, and no force can alter it.
The majority of voters in this
State might constitutionally amend the Constitution, by declaring that the blind
residents of the State should be drowned. Being the majority, and having the
power, they might enforce the law. What then? Suppose it were a majority of
every voter in the State except the blind themselves that decreed it. What then?
It would be law. What then? It would be the direst conceivable wrong and
wickedness. Would it be right, justifiable, human, decent? Would any one whose
heart was not black excuse it upon the ground that the majority chose to do it?
No! the human instinct rejects and scorns such a plea. But, gentlemen, it is no
more valid against the liberty of black men in Nevada than against the lives of
blind men in New York. If it is right that the majority should decide in the one
case, it can not be wrong in the other.
This is the principle which your
votes have sustained. It is the principle of brute force. It is the principle of
the King of Dahomey and of Bomba of Naples. It is the denial of human rights. It
is the assertion that men owe Liberty to the favor of a majority, and not to the
grace of God. And, gentlemen, it is the effort to make that the creed of the
Democratic party which has annihilated that party, by driving from it the true
Democrats, who held that men have rights as well as majorities.
THE END OF GINGERBREAD.
THE progress of the National
victory shows itself in nothing more than in the character of the proclamations
of the Generals commanding in the insurgent section. They are no longer
gingerly. The Government no longer apologizes to rebels for enforcing the law.
The "Southern brethren" talk is ended. If there are loyal citizens of the United
States in the revolted region, the proclamations are not addressed to them. They
are not designed, for instance, for such men as Parson Brownlow, but for such as
the Mayor Monroe of
New Orleans—for such as carve into drinking-cups the skulls
of their Northern brethren whom they have murdered, and who whittle the bones of
loyal men into bracelets for slave-driving viragoes.
It is clearly idle to expect any
thing but sullenness and hatred from the men who have staked every thing upon
the bloody destruction of this Government, and who have been educated to despise
those whom they call Yankees—which is the Southern nickname for those who
believe that a man ought to live by the sweat of his own brow, and not by that
of other people. Parson Brownlow says that Tennessee will return to the Union by
fifty thousand majority. Let us hope so. But meanwhile we remember that Missouri
gave nearly eighty thousand majority for the Union sentiment, and Kentucky on
the 17th of May a year ago announced a "Union" victory. The history of the year
shows simply that the minority controlled those States. And the words and votes
of the senators and representatives from those States, with a few noble
exceptions, indicate at least a doubt upon their part whether the "Union"
feeling of their States is not entirely conditional—which is the simple doctrine
In Western Virginia
Fremont has hung two men taken in the act of guerrilla fighting. In New Orleans
General Butler has proclaimed martial law under the most stringent conditions.
In Tennessee Governor Andrew Johnson has frankly warned the rebels that he shall
retaliate fivefold all their severity. In the Department of the South General
Hunter has also established martial law. In North Carolina
General Burnside has
taken military possession—issued summary warning to all traitors to seal their
mouths, and imposed silence upon a man who wanted to talk politics out of
This is pure despotism. This is
the arbitrary will of one man in each department. Certainly it is. When the
rebels invoked war they invoked despotism. War is the appeal to brute force. War
reaches and maintains its ends by violence.
Jeff Davis and his friends Vallandigham, and Powell, and Saulsbury, and Bayard, and the rest of them in
Congress, are very nervous about the violation, as they call it, of the
Constitution. To attempt to destroy it by force is a constitutional right,
according to their logic; but to maintain it by force is its overthrow.
But when the Government drew the
sword to maintain its authority, it knew that it must use the sword according to
its nature. It was not an instrument to tickle with, but to kill with. And all
that belongs to the sword goes with it. When it has thrust open a way for the
Government to enter a rebellious region it is used to enforce respect there for
the Government, and to protect its friends who have been oppressed. To allow
Monroe to talk defiant treason was, under the circumstances, as foolish for all
the purposes of our occupation of New Orleans as to allow Lovell to hold a
battery that commanded the city. What Union man would dare to discover himself
when a rebel magistrate talked pure rebellion to the Government unrebuked, and
the national flag was torn down? At such times words are things.
The Union feeling in the
insurgent section will not spontaneously appear; it must be developed by the
conviction of overwhelming superiority of force. When men are convinced that
resistance is hopeless the mass will begin to see why they had better submit.
This nation will never encounter an enemy so savage and remorseless as that
which is now making war upon it. And none know this so well as the faithful
citizens in the rebellious section. They are not afraid of irritating the
rebels. They are the most vehement for vigorous measures. And they are the men
at the South for the Government to consider.
PARSON BROWNLOW'S speech at the
Academy of Music ought to be published and scattered every where in the land.
Every man and woman and child who can read should read it, and those who can not
read should hear it. All the speeches on the war together are not such a cordial
stimulant. He did not mention the words slavery or
slave, but no anti-slavery
orator or scores of orators ever dealt suck deadly blows at slavery. It was a
glimpse of the black interior of this rebellion. It was a thrilling picture of
the ghastly spirit which engendered and sustains it. "This," cried the weary,
pale, sad man, as he paused after calmly recounting horrors at which the heart
stopped, "this is the spirit of secession, the spirit of murder, of
assassination, of death, of hell!" and every soul there said inwardly Amen. "And
yet you have among you men who palliate and excuse and befriend it." The
audience answered with a yell of indignation.
The speaker himself was a living
illustration of the spirit of the society in which he had lived. Listening to
the intense vindictiveness of his tones and words, it was impossible not to
think of Browning's Italian, who had seen his brother fall under the bullets of
Metternich's soldiers, who had been hated, hunted, exiled, losing every thing
under the fell tyranny but life, and who says, calmly, that his utmost hope of
happiness is to feel Metternich's "Red, wet throat distill In blood through my two hands."
Dr. Brownlow's appearance only
deepened the effect. He is not the thick, coarse, loud man that the descriptions
and his reported speeches prefigure; but he is tall, wiry, of decided and