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Civil War Harper's Weekly, January 24, 1863

Welcome to our online archive of Harper's Weekly newspapers. This collection is available for your study and research. These old newspapers allow you to gain new insights into this important period in American History.

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General Sherman

General W. T. Sherman

Monitor Wreck

Wreck of the Monitor

Battle of Galveston

Battle of Galveston

Telegraph

Civil War Telegraph

Signal Station

Signal Station

Emancipation

Negro Emancipation

Wreck of the Monitor

Wreck of the Monitor

Slave Pen

Slave Pen

Winter Quarters

Winslow Homer's "Winter Quarters"

Emancipated Slaves

Emancipated Slaves

Shreman Biography

Sherman Biography

Brute Butler

Brute Butler

 

 

 

 

HARPER'S WEEKLY.

[JANUARY 24, 1863

50

THE FIRST WAITS.

A MEDITATION FOR ALL.

By the Author of "John Halifax, Gent."

So, Christmas is here again!—

While the house sleeps, quiet as death,

'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 been—

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 kind:

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 come,

Let us think of, at fireside fair;

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.

THE 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.

THE WRECK OF THE "MONITOR."

BOOM—boom!

How the huge waves smite her side—

The waves she has long defied,

In mockery of her doom!

Hark—hark!

The massy rivet snaps!

The jointed armor gapes!

The prompt wave rushes dark!

Creak—creak!

The great pumps labor fast!

The eager men rush past,

With sweat-disfigured cheek.

Toil—toil!

For a ship appears in sight:

But faster comes the night,

And the waves with fury boil.

More—more!

The floods to the hot fires creep,

And the cannonry of the deep

Bates not a single roar.

Haste—haste!

Ye eager friends within hail!

Your perilous scheme will fail

If but one breath you waste!

Quick—quick!

Lower the swiftest boat:

Death has them by the throat,

And darkness gathers fast!

Black—black!

Are the mighty rolling waves:

But the boat a handful saves,

And now once more turns back.

Vain—vain!
The sea, with an awful frown,
Beats the mailed warrior down—
He never will rise again!

Swift—swift!

Sinks the pride of the Union tars, Away from the glowing stars

To the sullen ooze and drift.

OUR NEW SERIAL.

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," entitled

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.

HARPER'S WEEKLY.

SATURDAY, JANUARY 24, 1863.

THE 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 Mississippi.

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 McClernand, Grant, Banks, Porter, and 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 Mississippi, as 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.

THE LOUNGER.

FAIR PLAY.

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.

TO 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?

"ROMOLA."

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 weakness.

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 Parliament humbled?

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)


 

 

 

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