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Civil War Harper's Weekly, January 31, 1863

This WEB site features online versions of all the Harper's Weekly newspapers published during the Civil War. These newspapers serve as a resource to allow the serious student to gain new perspective and insights on the War.

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[JANUARY 31, 1863.




Yu offer us ten thaousand fur the hed ov Butler, du ye?

Wa'al, I vaow I wunder at it! But yu may jest spare yure pains.

I tell yu (ef yu know enuff tu git the idee thru yu),

Yu'd better wish, a tarnal site, fur Gineral Butler's brains!

Here's a fust-rate chance to make a pile!—a bribe fur human natur!

Naow is the time fur Judases tu clap thare hands and larf;

Ten thaousand dollars offered fur the sarvice ov a traitor?

Why thare's menny a poor scoundrel thet wood du the work fur half!

Want the hed ov Gineral Butler Wa'al, I never! 'tis surprisin!

Yu fellers daown in Dixie must be fallin off from grace.

Not hevin enny decent hed (that fact thare's no disguisin),

Yu want tu take yure nabor's, es ef that wood help yure case!

Ten thaousand dollars offered! Specie payment is't, I wunder?

Bein a Yankee born, yu know, p'r'aps I am kind o' cute.

Yure promises air fair enuff—but fokes du sumtimes blunder,

And them Confederate notes ov yourn—'tain't every wun they'd suit!

Ten thaousand dollars offered fur the hed ov Butler! Reely!

Haow long is't sense yu larfed et him, and called him "Pickayune?"

Did yu find he was tu big a coin fur yu tu hold genteely?

Or has he put yure notes ov war a leetle aout ov tune?

Yu offer us ten thaousand fur the hed ov Butler, du yu?

Wa'al, I don't mutch wunder at it—but yu may jest spare yure pains;

But I'll tell yu (ef yu know enuff tu git the idee thru yu),

Yu'd better (fur yu need 'em) wish fur Gineral Butler's brains!





THE Army of the Potomac is again in motion. In the Southwest General McClernand, after the brilliant operation against the Post of Arkansas—the most complete triumph won by our arms since the capture of Fort Donelson—is preparing to renew the struggle at Vicksburg. Rosecrans is in the heart of Tennessee. Banks is thundering at the gates of Port Hudson. Foster may have taken Wilmington. Every where our armies are moving; and though success has lately been unequal, there is no diminution of energy on the part of the North.

For the spirit of the North is undaunted. No one has quailed at the reverses which the Union arms have lately encountered. In Wall Street a few craven voices have been heard praying for peace. But the spirit of the country at large is as stout as ever, and the purpose of our Anglo-Saxon millions as fixed as ever upon the preservation under one Government of the entire territory of the United States.

The true reason of this stern and resolute fixity of purpose is simply the practical impossibility of negotiating a peace except upon terms which secure the restoration of the Union. No international division of the territory of the United States can by any ingenuity be devised. No line can be imagined which could be permanent, or which should secure to either section the blessings of peace and a chance of material prosperity. If to-morrow we acknowledged the independence of the rebel Confederacy, and granted them a border line, war would break out in less than twelve months. They would object to Northern travelers expressing Northern sentiments in their midst, and they would demand that we should catch and return their fugitive slaves. On the other hand, our people would be more apt to catch slave-owners than slaves; and if Northern men were molested South, an account of and reparation for the injury would be exacted. The South would attempt to discriminate against our manufactures and in favor of those of their European sympathizers, which would lead to angry and irreconcilable disputes. The freedom of the Mississippi would prove an endless source of quarrel. It might be declared free by statute of the rebel Confederacy; but any slave-driver overflowing with rage and whisky might close it at an hour's notice with a single piece of cannon, and defy the whole State of Mississippi to control him—as was the case in the spring of 1861. Passing

over the impossibility of discovering a boundary which would be satisfactory to both parties, it is obvious that the successful secession of the South would be followed by further steps toward disintegration, which, in the event of the success of the slave-owners' rebellion, would be feebly resisted by the Government at Washington. The West would, in course of time, seek to establish a central empire. New England and the Middle States would agree to differ, and part company. The Pacific States would follow the fatal example. Thus, in the course of ten years, we should witness a repetition of the Central American broils in our own country: and the great republic of which we are citizens would be split up into half a dozen or more "feeble, jarring States, exhausting their strength in internecine conflicts."

Hence it is that, notwithstanding our military failures and the disasters which every now and then befall us, there is no change of sentiment among the people of the North. It was hoped and believed at Richmond that the triumphs of the Northern Democracy at the October and November elections insured the success of a party pledged to the acknowledgment of Southern independence. But in fact the representative Democrats are as stanch in their hostility to the severance of the Union as the best friends of the President. Here, in New York city, we have a few sneaks, who have wormed themselves into positions of political prominence, who have all along sympathized with the rebels, and would now grant them all they ask. But these creatures have no more power or influence than that eminent British prig, Mr. Gladstone. The heart of the Northern Democracy is sound and loyal to the core.

Again, it is because we believe that the dissolution of the Union is the greatest possible misfortune which could befall this country—a misfortune not limited in its effects to this generation alone, but transmitted with geometrically increasing intensity to our children, our children's children, and their posterity forever—that we are about to consent to an unparalleled adulteration of our national currency, which will produce in Northern society and Northern commerce changes as extensive as those which might be caused by a complete political revolution. It is now settled that there is no chance of obtaining more money on loan, and the Treasury Department is consequently preparing to flood the country with irredeemable paper. This policy will enable the Government to carry on the war to a successful issue, which is the one thing desired by loyal people. That it will produce the ruin of thousands, will defraud creditors, impoverish the rich, and press heavily on the mechanic, the working man, and the man of fixed income, create an enormous advance in all articles of necessity, and generate an era of speculation which will eventually cause most of the property of the Northern people to change hands, is too clear for argument. But if it should ruin the entire race of Northern men now alive, a wise judgment would deem the price not too dear for the preservation of the Union. For, though we be all ruined, our sons may still work their way in the world, and achieve success and prosperity; whereas the destruction of the Union would insure not only our ruin but theirs, and their children's.

No such war as ours has ever been waged since the Crusades. It is cheering, in the face of bad news, day after day, to realize that the stout, manly spirit of the Northern people has not yet shown signs of surrender, and that we are all as fixed as ever in our purpose of maintaining intact the integrity of our country, whatever may become of the renegade, degraded, and brutified people who inhabit its Southern section.



IN his Essay upon Milton, Macaulay says what many of us may ponder with profit to-day. He is speaking of the royal Conservatives in England, who foolishly held Liberty responsible for the excesses of License:

"There is only one cure for the evils which newly-acquired freedom produces, and that cure is freedom. When a prisoner first leaves his cell he can not bear the light of day; he is unable to discriminate colors or recognize faces. But the remedy is not to remand him into his dungeon, but to accustom him to the rays of the sun. The blaze of truth and liberty may at first dazzle and bewilder nations which have become half blind in the house of bondage. But let them gaze on, and they will soon be able to bear it. In a few years men learn to reason. The extreme violence of opinion subsides. Hostile theories correct each other. The scattered elements of truth cease to contend, and begin to coalesce. And at length a system of justice and order is educed out of the chaos.

"Many politicians of our time are in the habit of laying it down as a self-evident proposition that no people ought to be free until they are fit to use their freedom. The maxim is worthy of the fool in the old story who resolved not to go into the water until he had learned to swim. If men are to wait for liberty until they become wise and good in slavery, they may wait forever.

"Therefore," he adds, "it is that we decidedly approve of the conduct of Milton, and all other wise and good men, who, in spite of much that was ridiculous

and hateful in the conduct of their associates, stood firmly by the cause of Public Liberty."


"WHEN you spoke some time since of a reaction, dear Mr. Lounger, what did you mean?"

Simply that the purpose of the nation is relaxed. It is no longer resolved, as it was eighteen months ago, to subdue the rebellion at all costs. There is a large party at the North which hates another Northern party more than it does the rebels. A great deal of the energy and eloquence of the North is now devoted to the alienation of various sections of country among ourselves. Some have lost all hope of military success. Some are appalled by the prospect of an enormous debt and commercial distress. Some think the war the result of unlawful agitation. Some openly sigh for peace. And a very large party see in the prosecution of the war by every means the sure destruction of its own party-power, and so, under the plea that the Constitution is unconstitutionally maintained, it embarrasses in every way the action of the Government. There is a frank excuse for secession, if not its plain justification, in many mouths; there is an open repudiation of the principles of the founders of the Government; and a deliberate assent to those laid down by Alexander H. Stephens.

The cause of this reaction is found in the fact that party-spirit is stronger than patriotism. The war is a conflict of principles. It is so understood and stated at the South. It is denied at the North. Consequently the rebels are united, firm, and desperate: and we are divided, languid, or worse. The rebellion says frankly, "We repudiate the Union and Constitution because they will gradually develop the personal liberty of every man; and we don't believe in liberty." The rebellion puts at its head, therefore, the men who most truly represent that infidelity and hate. It knows its aim and strikes steadily. On the other hand, the nation, instead of saying in reply, "Of course the Union and Government will secure personal liberty, but they will achieve it peacefully and under law, and without any grievance of which you can fairly complain," falls to vituperation and crimination in its own ranks: affirms or denies the essential principle involved—and instead of meeting conviction with conviction, unity with unity, and desperation with resolution, halts, higgles, doubts, and paralyzes its own efforts.

The consequence of the reaction, if it continues, will be defeat, disgrace, national dissolution, and anarchy. There is but one road to peace, and that is the absolute suppression of the rebellion by force, and the gradual yielding of the rebel section to the conviction that the will of the nation is a stronger will than its own. Compromise and separation are equally impracticable. There may yet arise a party strong enough to insist upon trying to effect one or the other. But each must fail. The rebels honestly repudiate all reconstruction, for they are not fools. Davis and his men know where the secret of the war is. It is the old secret, despotism and liberty; privilege and right; aristocracy and democracy. The sole safety of the rebels is in secession, for our subjugation is not possible. But separation is equally impracticable, for separation is total dissolution—no line can be devised but by the vote of States; and to concede that States may stay in the Union or leave it, is to allow a principle which justifies Fernando Wood's proposition for the withdrawal of the city of New York from the State.

The reaction and the rebellion are but the Northern and Southern aspects of anarchy. One man in earnest is the match of six who are indifferent. The rebels are the man in earnest. Are we the indifferent six?  


"THERE it is, Sir," said Rusticus to Civicus in the cars, "I can not see why you make such a pother about Slavery. If we had it in this State it would be a different thing. But if you paid a minister for preaching, and liked to go to church and thought it your duty to go, how would you like to hear Sunday after Sunday about the heathen in China? Heathenism is bad, and once in a way a man may say so; but why ding, ding, ding forever about it and never go near China? I don't like slavery, and never did. I wouldn't have a slave if you would give him to me. But there's no fear of our having any slaves in Chautauque, and why should we preach and discuss all the time the sins of other people?"

But, my good friend, if you lived in China and were still a Christian, and knew that any where within the Chinese wall Heathenism was struggling hard, and even with apparent success, to get the whip-hand of Christianity — although there might be no heathen in your town, do you think it would be a question that you had no business to discuss? If you cared any thing at all for your religion, don't you think you would be a zany if you folded your arms and said, "It's none of my business. We haven't any heathen for ten miles round."

"Ah! in that case—"

Yes, but take one nearer home. Let us suppose that you drink no intoxicating liquor; that you think it wrong to make, sell, or drink it; that you believe half of the crime and poverty in the land to be caused by ruin; but still that there is no grog-shop, no drunkard, and, so far as you know, no drop of liquor in your town or county.

"Well, in that case, I hope that we should reserve our censure for our own sins, and not those of the next county or the rest of the State."

Stop a moment. You live in a State of many counties. You are a voter, and you have these views of ruin-selling and drinking. Now in other counties the liquor interest, we will say, is straining every nerve, spending endless money, and openly declares its intention to be to secure the entire political control of the State, so that it may repeal all license laws and submit the State to the direction of one interest, and that interest rum; and suppose that the would-be drunkards in your town and

county cried Amen, and were trying to help that interest in every possible way, do you think that you would then say that you thought you had better reserve your censure, and since you were none of you drunkards, therefore you would not discuss dram-drinking?

"No, by George!"

But if you should hear any body declare that to discuss the Liquor question in your county was an impertinent meddling with the rights of other voters, would you not be tempted to ask, "Friend, how much does the Liquor interest pay you for talking in that style up here?"

"You'd better believe it! I should say to him, I am a citizen of this county, but also of the State. I don't believe in liquor; but if men have made it and bought it, and the law protects them, very well. But when they say we are going to run the State for the benefit of that interest, I say, 'Not if I can help it.' And I turn to and try to persuade every one of my neighbors to vote against it."

Well, and if the Liquor interest says that if it does not succeed it will overthrow the Government, then what?

"If my liver isn't white, that makes no difference."

Well, suppose the Liquor interest is lawfully beaten, and actually tries by force to execute its threat?

"I shall hope to be on hand."

And if it turns upon you fiercely and says that you caused the row, because you insisted upon saying that you didn't like liquor, and thereby helped influence public opinion so that the Liquor interest couldn't get votes enough to obtain lawful control of the Government, then what would you do? Tell me that.

"I should laugh out loud."

You wouldn't think the Liquor question was like that of heathenism in China?

"No, Sir."

Neither should I.


AT the second battle of Bull Run a Maryland Union soldier lost both his eyes by a single shot. Iie was young, brave, devoted. When be recovered from the stunning blow he found himself lying upon the ground, and the noise of battle was dying away. Suddenly he heard a groan near him, and listened intently to the words he heard.

"Hallo!" cried he, at length.

"Hallo!" was the faint reply.

"You're a reb, a'n't you?" said the blind soldier.

"Yes; and I s'pose you're a Yank?" feebly answered the other.

"Yes, I'm a Yank. Where are you wounded?"

"My legs are broken," returned the rebel.

"Well, now, reb, if you'll lend me your eyes I'll lend you my legs. Hey?"

"I'll do it," said the cripple.

The blind man then groped his way to the rebel, and took him upon his back. The rebel guided him safely, and as they were already within the enemy's lines they reached head-quarters without difficulty. Directed to a surgeon, the two wounded men at length lay down together upon the ground. An officer, seeing the blue coat of the blind soldier, approached and said, in a brisk but not unkindly tone,

"Well, Yank?"


"Lost your eyes, hey?"

"Yes, I'm blind."

"Well, now, a'n't you sorry you came? Haven't you got enough of it? What did you come for?"

"To put down the rebs," stoutly answered the Marylander.

"Well, well; don't you wish you'd staid to home?"

"No, I don't," replied the youth, good-humoredly.

"Yank, if you had both your eyes, and were safe out of our lines—come, now—what do you think you would be doing?"

"Well, I reckon I should be sighting a reb," rejoined the indomitable hero; and the officer, finding that the young man was just as much in earnest as he, and understood exactly why he had come to fight, and regretted his lost sight not for himself but for his country, turned and left him, but not without a special charge to the surgeon to treat him well.


MRS. SARAH HOMESPUN writes to the Lounger about plays and theatres. She came to town with her daughter, and she says:

"What I want to ask you is this: We went to the theatre, at Mr. Wallack's in Broadway Street, a few nghts back, and saw a very funny piece, called 'A Bachelor of Arts.' * * * Every once in a while the gentlemen actors on the stage swore horrid oaths, and when they didn't swear, they were vulgar, and said, 'the devil,' and 'devilish,' and all such mean sort of truck as that. Now, Sir, I brought my daughter Sarah up to despise such works, and I know she is as good a girl as can be; but she laughed when these things were said, though I knew she didn't think it was funny. Don't you think it shameful for actors to use such language before decent folks? * * * Mr. Lounger, if people must have theatres, and plays, and that sort of thing, what use is there to cuss and swear, and rip right out, as I tell my old man sometimes? It isn't a bit funny, and I declare I couldn't help feelin' sorry for that young woman on the stage, who was obligated to stand by and hear such pirate's talk. Do write a piece in your paper about it.

"P.S. I guess if them actors heard the comments people made about them behind their backs, they wouldn't use such vulgar talk."

Mrs. Homespun's postscript answers her note. The conduct of actors is not determined by what is said behind them, but before them. If Miss Homespun did not laugh when the actors swore, they would soon cease to be profane. The only proof players have that they are amusing is the response from the audience. If the house hissed when the stage was vulgar, it would very soon be decent. Mrs. Homespun knows probably that hot bread for breakfast is not considered wholesome food. But,




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