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By the Author of "John Halifax,
So, Christmas is here again!—
While the house sleeps, quiet as
'Neath the midnight moon comes
the Waits' shrill tune And we listen and hold our breath.
The Christmas that never was—
On this foggy November air,
With clear pale gleam, like the
ghost of a dream,
It is painted every where.
The Christmas that might have
It is borne in the far-off sound,
Down the empty street, with the
tread of feet That lie silent underground.
The Christmas that yet may be—
Like the Bethlehem star, leads
Yet our life chimes past, hour by
hour, fast, fast, Few before—and many behind.
The Christmas we have and hold,
With a tremulous tender strain,
Half joy, halt fears—Be the psalm
of the years,
"Grief passes, blessings remain!"
The Christmas that sure will
Let us think of, at fireside
When church bells will sound o'er
one small green mound, Which the neighbors pass to prayer.
The Christmas that God will give—
Long after all these are o'er,
When is day nor night, for the
LAMB is our Light, And we live for evermore.
NEW ORLEANS MARKET.
OUR artist, Mr. Davis, some time
since sent us a sketch which we reproduce on
page 49. It represents our troops in
New Orleans "swapping" their rations of flour
for tropical fruits and other farm-produce in the markets of New Orleans. Flour
has long been extremely scarce at New Orleans; our brave boys, who receive a
fair modicum of it daily as part of their ration, manage to dispose of it in
market in such a way as, to use their own words, "to live like fighting cocks."
The scene is rather a striking one.
How the huge waves smite her
The waves she has long defied,
In mockery of her doom!
The massy rivet snaps!
The jointed armor gapes!
The prompt wave rushes dark!
The great pumps labor fast!
The eager men rush past,
With sweat-disfigured cheek.
For a ship appears in sight:
But faster comes the night,
And the waves with fury boil.
The floods to the hot fires
And the cannonry of the deep
Bates not a single roar.
Ye eager friends within hail!
Your perilous scheme will fail
If but one breath you waste!
Lower the swiftest boat:
Death has them by the throat,
And darkness gathers fast!
Are the mighty rolling waves:
But the boat a handful saves,
And now once more turns back.
The sea, with an awful frown,
Beats the mailed warrior down—
He never will rise again!
Sinks the pride of the Union
tars, Away from the glowing stars
To the sullen ooze and drift.
IN this Number we conclude
Mr. WILKIE COLLINS'S magnificent Tale, NO NAME
and we begin the publication of a New Story by the Author of "MARY BARTON,"
A DARK NIGHT'S WORK.
This will be followed, in March,
by a New Serial Work of Fiction by
CHARLES READE, D.C.L.,
Author of "IT IS NEVER TOO LATE
TO MEND," etc.
SATURDAY, JANUARY 24, 1863.
OPENING OF THE MISSISSIPPI.
IN view of the characteristic
perseverance of the American people, the repulse at Vicksburg, and the annoying
raids of the rebel guerrillas upon our supply
trains and railway communications out West, only render it the more certain that
within a given space of time we shall reopen the
Mississippi River. Our people are not the sort
of men whom obstacles frighten or reverses weary. The greater the difficulties
the greater the energy put forth to overcome them. Like our forefathers the
English, who always began their wars by getting soundly thrashed by their
enemies, and only commenced to achieve success when it was thought they were
exhausted, we are warming to the work with each mishap, and learning from each
defeat how to secure victory hereafter. Let no man doubt for an instant but that
our armies and our fleets will accomplish the business of opening the
It may serve to encourage the
faint-hearted to state that the expeditions fitted out for the purpose of
opening that river are entirely without parallel in history. No monarch of
Europe ever gathered together so many men, so many vessels of war, and so many
guns for any single purpose. If the figures were printed they would remind the
reader of the semi-fabulous records of the expedition of Xerxes for the conquest
of Greece. In comparison with the force commanded by
Farragut, the allied expedition to the Crimea
was an insignificant affair. Napoleon had perhaps more men when he set out for
the invasion of Russia; but he had no naval force, while Porter commands a fleet
which alone would constitute a respectable national navy. The British army under
Wellington, which carried on the Peninsula War, was less than any of the flying
columns of our army of the Mississippi. Lord Clyde crushed the rebellion in
India, and reduced 100,000,000 people to subjection with fewer men than Grant
commands. Should the war be finally settled by a pitched battle in the heart of
Jeff Davis shrewdly predicts, the forces
engaged will probably be twice as numerous as those that fought at Waterloo, and
our army ought to exceed that of the rebels by a large percentage.
If it be asked why, with so many
advantages and so vast a development of strength, we seem to make so little
headway, the answer is, that it is easier to hold a strong-hold than to take it.
The rebels choose their position, fortify themselves, throw up earth-works, dig
rifle-pits, plant their guns, and wait for us. If we succeed, against such odds,
in taking their works, as we did at
Fort Donelson, they fall back and repeat the
performance elsewhere: and with so vast a territory as theirs, there is plenty
of room for repeated defeats and repeated retreats to new strong-holds. In the
end, there can be but one result: but it must not be forgotten that if our
resources and our strength are great, and our hopes high, the job we have
undertaken is of the most monstrous character, and its progress will most
certainly "try men's souls" at the North.
IF there is any maxim which
peculiarly expresses the true spirit of American civilization it is Fair Play
for all. Our system rests upon a very simple doctrine—equal human rights based
upon a common humanity. The departure in practice from that original doctrine
has inevitably brought us to this sanguinary war, which is the struggle of the
nation to restore its practice to its true faith and fundamental principle. In
obedience to the instinct, as vital in states as in individuals, which
temporarily subordinates every right, every guarantee, every principle, and
every law to the paramount necessity of self-preservation, the President,
Commander-in-Chief, has decreed
emancipation in the chief slave section of the
country. Precisely as by his order, and by the necessity of the case, the lives
of citizens are taken in battle, without due ordinary process of law, as by the
same order and necessity the supply trains and property which aid the rebellion
are without process of law cut off and seized; and in obedience to the rule of
common sense that in a state of war all persons concerned are either friends or
foes, and are accordingly to be protected or coerced, he has, in the only way
possible, summoned all the friends of the Union and the country to the national
standard, promising that all whose liberty is restrained by the rebels shall be
protected by the supreme national power.
It is a war-measure which
involves the most vital consequences to the civilization and development of a
class of human beings, who have hitherto been the subjects of the most
remorseless oppression. In peace the power to take the step was dormant and
could not be exercised. But the war upon the Government, waged by those who
wished to perpetuate the injustice, awakes that sleeping power, clothes the
President with that magnificent
authority, and calling God and
the world to witness the rectitude of his purpose, and invoking the divine
blessing and the national support upon an act just in itself, and justified by
the national peril, he has spoken the word which is an edict of fair play to
every man in the land: which at once releases a people which has been outraged,
and a nation which has been unwillingly privy to injustice. It clears the
individual conscience and the national escutcheon. It is an invocation of the
spirit of the Constitution to save its form—being merely an exercise of that
supreme and irresponsible discretion, vested by the fundamental law in its chief
magistrate, during a state of war, for its own protection. This is the spirit in
which the noble picture is this day's paper is conceived. It is a summary of the
scope of the act, looking before and after. The picture shows what was in
America, and what shall be. It commemorates the restoration of the nation to the
faith of the fathers, and to their expressed intention in the practice of the
Government they formed, and it depicts at a stroke the sublime scope of a
measure which is in its form simply a necessary military order.
Mr. Nast reveals in this work not
only the masterly skill of the artist and the eye of the poet, but the
perception of the patriot and the heart of the man. His picture presents the
equal humanity of the colored race. It shows them swayed by the same emotions,
inspired by the same hopes, capable of the same human development, as those of
us who belong to another race. For America does not say that all men are equal
in any thing but rights. But it does say, and, please God, will forever say and
maintain, that all men, whether of the Shemitic or anti-Shemitic families,
whether Mongolians or Caucasians, whether Saxons or Celts, whether Asians,
Africans, Europeans, or Americans, are men, and therefore are born with a
natural equality of right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
THE LOUNGER IN THE NEXT BOX.
IF every Lounger could take a
part in all the conversation which be hears around him and which greatly
interests him, what a general talking he would keep up! I was very anxious, for
instance, the other evening, when, dining at a chop-house, I heard a pleasant
voice in the next box remark, "Well, I don't think the negroes are worth the
half-million of lives they are costing us"—I was anxious, I say, to put my head
over the box and say, "Well, what then?"
The remark which I heard is said
in a great many boxes, and thought in a great many more. What is the sense of
it? Suppose you do or do not think that the security of equal rights to every
man is worth a war, what do you think of a war to save a nation from causeless
and cruel destruction? That is the question. We had not the option of not
fighting, except upon the condition of submission to the demands of the enemy.
There had been no unconstitutional act upon the part of the Government—was
there? friend in the next box! The new party in power did not even control
Congress, did they?
—What do you say? That they had
made a great row about Slavery? Certainly they had freely discussed it. Was that
unconstitutional? They had said that they hoped to keep it within the States
where it was. Was that unconstitutional?
The friends of slavery, on the
other hand, said they liked it. Did any body infringe their right to say so?
They said they would carry it every where. Did any body propose any other than a
perfectly constitutional resistance? Meanwhile they annulled, so far as they
could, the Constitutional right of free discussion. They imprisoned and sold
into slavery free citizens of other parts of the country. They brutally smote a
Senator to the floor—
—Hallo! you friend in the next
box! you think the friends of liberty were aggravating, do you? Well, these
things were rules before the question arose into general public discussion. The
offense of the North was that it chose to resist constitutionally the effort of
the South to subvert the Government quietly and overrun the country with its
extremely "peculiar institution."
Do you say the North passed
Personal Liberty bills? Did you ever read one of them? Do you know what they
proposed? Of course you do not. But even assuming them to be exactly what you
suppose them to be, that is, a legalized State resistance to the national law,
have you asked why they were passed? Simply because your friends of the
slave-holding interest had for many years absolutely nullified the national
Constitution by State laws imprisoning and selling citizens of other States
without the least charge of crime. You think that the Personal Liberty laws of
the North were very "aggravating," what do you think of the Personal Slavery
laws of the South?
You are perfectly right in saying
that one wrong does not excuse another. But even allowing that they were wrongs,
it does not lie in the mouths of those who have done infinitely worse wrongs,
and who proposed no change, to make this objection. The Personal Liberty laws
were in no sense such a flat and scornful violation of the Constitution as the
laws of the South enslaving free citizens. But even had they been so, the course
of the discontented Southerners was clearly to say, "Here, we will give up our
enslaving laws of your citizens, and we will guarantee you the same rights of
speech that you secure to us, and do you repeal your Personal Liberty laws."
They chose not to do so. They
chose to shout that we trampled upon the Constitution, and then they fired upon
the flag. Now what would you have done? You say that the slaves are not worth
such bloodshed. Then you would have surrendered. You would have said: "Any thing
for a quiet house. We will repeal our liberty bills, and you shall keep your
slavery bills. You shall hang people who say what you do not like, and we will
mob them. You shall take your slaves into the Territories, and we will help you.
You shall bring
them North, and sell them here at
your pleasure. Don't let us quarrel about negroes, who are only fit for slaves."
Friend in the next box, if the
nation had said this, who do you think that history would have recorded as only
fit for slaves?
THE novel of "Romola," by the
author of "Adam Bede," which is now publishing in Harper's Magazine, is one of
the most striking stories that has of late appeared in English literature. The
lofty tone, the power, the freshness and the beauty of the work, are all
remarkable, while it is the most signal proof of the affluent genius of the
author. Turning away from England, and the life, and motives, and characters of
to-day, she steps back four centuries; plants herself in Florence; makes the
daughter of an old Italian scholar of the revival of letters her heroine; a
young Greek, bright and shallow, her hero; weaves her plot of the threads of
tragical fate that interlace two natures so entirely different; surrounds it
with the most vivid and picturesque grouping of the costume, the conversation,
the spirit and life of the time; and develops her hero and heroine into two of
the most individual creations of modern fiction—one of the few heroines in
literature whose lofty beauty and womanly soul impress the reader as they affect
her lover, and one of the few heroes whose fascination is as intelligible as his
The story is not yet ended, nor
is the catastrophe discernible. But no woman has written a tale of such interest
and power since "Jane Eyre," although "Romola" differs as entirely from "Jane
Eyre" as the Florence of four centuries ago from the Yorkshire of last year.
SUPPOSE, AND SUPPOSE.
SUPPOSE that a Cavalier, in the
time of the great civil war in England, had said in the King's camp at
Nottingham, or in his court at Oxford, "Sire, the Cavaliers and Roundheads are
both guilty. They are both responsible for the war. The limit of the prerogative
is not the cause, but only the subject, of the war. Let us look to our own
faults. Let us correct ourselves, your Majesty, and let us tell the Parliament
that all its rights shall be conceded."
Suppose that, after talking to
the King in this vein for an hour or two, the Cavalier had added, as he was
leaving the royal presence, "But, of course, the prerogative must be maintained,
your Majesty; of course, of course."
Do you think that Charles would
have counted much upon the sympathy or service of that gentleman? Would he have
called him to his Privy Council? Would he have given him a responsible command
upon the eve of Edgehill or Marston Moor?
Suppose that the same words,
changing King to Parliament, had been spoken by a member of the Commons. Would
Hampden have trusted him? Would Pym have counseled with him? Would Cromwell have
tolerated him? Would it not have been perfectly clear that such a Cavalier would
have been willing to see the King defeated, and such a Roundhead to see the
Or again, suppose that in the
Continental Congress a man had said, "Gentlemen, we have certainly very much
aggravated the King. If Lord North has been too slow, we have palpably been too
fast. We ought to have averted the war. When our General, the worthy Mr.
Washington, of Virginia, says to Governor Trumbull that 'persons who are preying
upon the vitals of their country ought not to be suffered to stalk at large,' he
forgets himself; he overlooks the important truth that a state of war is exactly
the same as a state of peace. In fact, gentleman, if we are to countenance such
an extravagant document as the hot-headed gentleman from Virginia, Mr.
Jefferson, has prepared, where is this war to end? How can we ever hope to make
peace with Great Britain? Let us never be deluded into forgetfulness of the fact
that when war is once established as this is, the only hope of fighting to a
successful issue lies, not in swords and cannon, which always exasperate people,
but in palm-branches, and smooth talk, and buncomb, at which if the enemy sneer,
they only show their ill-manners. And why should we be ill-mannered because they
are? Does an impoliteness excuse an impoliteness?"
And so on, and so on, for a
couple of hours. Don't you think that is the spirit that would have given us the
victory? Don't you think that is the policy that would have overthrown North,
and humiliated King George, and have brought every nation in the world to our
side, full of sympathy and respect? If you had heard those words, would you not
have believed that you heard Washington, or Adams, or Jefferson, or Otis, or
Patrick Henry, or General Greene, or
Christopher Gadsden, or Old Put? Would you
ever for an instant have imagined that it was Conway, or Charles Lee, or
Benedict Arnold, who was speaking?
There might be many similar
suppositions made by an ingenious mind; but these will answer for to-day.
RIGHTS AND THEIR VIOLATIONS.
MR. BEECHER seems to fall under
the high displeasure of the Conservatives. A few weeks since, while he was
attending to a Maine regiment at his church in the evening, they daubed his
house with filth; and a few evenings since they threatened to mob him if he
lectured in a town in New Jersey. Nevertheless he did lecture, and the only
Conservative demonstration was a hooting and howling as he returned to the cars.
Now it is an interesting and suggestive fact that if, instead of ministering to
our soldiers, he had gone to his church to set forth the sinfulness of Northern
men in exasperating Wigfall and
Toombs, his house would not have been defiled.
And if he had gone to Elizabeth to lecture the Jerseymen upon their duty of
letting (Next Page)