Civil War Hymn - Give Thanks, All Ye People


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Civil War Harper's Weekly, December 5, 1863

Welcome to our online archive of Harper's Weekly newspapers. This collection includes all the Harper's created during the Civil War. The collection allows you to browse an incredible group of illustrations created within hours of the battles and events depicted.

(Scroll Down to See Entire Page, or Newspaper Thumbnails below will take you to the page of interest)


Lincoln's Hymn

Lincoln's Hymn

Civil War Hymn

Civil War Hymn

Balloon Crash

Balloon Crash


Nadar's Balloon

Broken Sword

Broken Sword

Union Prisoners

Union Prisoners

General Granger

General Granger



Kelly's Ford

Battle of Kelly's Ford

Belle Island Prison

Belle Isle


Thanksgiving Day







[DECEMBER 5, 1863.


Give Thanks, all ye People.

1. GIVE thanks, all ye people give thanks to the Lord,

Alleluias of freedom, with joyful accord:

Let the East and the West, North and South roll along,

Sea, mountain, and prairie, one thanksgiving song.


Chorus after each verse.

Give thanks, all ye people, give thanks to the Lord,

Alleluias of freedom, with joyful accord.


2. For the sunshine and rainfall, enriching again

Our acres in myriads, with treasures of grain;

For the Earth still unloading her manifold wealth,

For the Skies beaming vigor, the Winds breathing health:

               Give thanks—

3. For the Nation's wide table, o'erflowingly spread,

Where the many have feasted, and all have been fed,

With no bondage their God-given rights to enthrall,

But Liberty guarded by Justice for all:

               Give thanks—

4. In the realms of the Anvil, the Loom, and the Plow,

Whose the mines and the fields, to Him gratefully bow:

His the flocks and the herds, sing ye hill-sides and vales;

On His Ocean domains chant His Name with the gales.

               Give thanks—

5. Of commerce and traffic, ye princes, behold

Your riches from Him Whose the silver and gold.

Happier children of Labor, true lords of the soil,

Bless the Great Master-Workman, who blesseth your toil,

               Give thanks—

6. Brave men of our forces, Life-guard of our coasts,

To your Leader be loyal, Jehovah of Hosts:

Glow the Stripes and the Stars aye with victory bright,

Reflecting His glory—He crowneth the Right,

               Give thanks—

7. Nor shall ye through our borders, ye stricken of heart,

Only wailing your dead in the joy have no part:

God's solace be yours, and for you there shall flow

All that honor and sympathy's gifts can bestow.

               Give thanks—

8. In the Domes of Messiah, ye worshiping throngs,

Solemn litanies mingle with jubilant songs;

The Ruler of Nations beseeching to spare,

And our Empire still keep the Elect of His care.

               Give thanks—

9. Our guilt and transgressions remember no more;

Peace, Lord! righteous Peace, of Thy gift we implore,

And the Banner of Union, restored by Thy Hand,

Be the Banner of Freedom o'er All in the Land.

            And the Banner of Union, etc.

            Give thanks—




THE most reliable exposition we have of British feeling toward this country is to be found in the speech which Mr. Beecher made to his friends on his return home. That speech, which was in marked contrast—in point of manner, method, and tone—to any of Mr. Beecher's previous performances, may be said to have solved the problem involved in the singular divergence between the written and spoken opinions of the leaders of British society, and the policy pursued by the British Government. There is hardly a public man in England—with a few bright exceptions—who has not either espoused the cause of the South, or expressed an utter disbelief in the capacity of the United States to preserve their nationality; a vast majority of the leading newspapers of England are arrayed against us; and yet the Government arrests the Alexandra and the Laird pirate rams, and steadfastly sets its face against the recognition of the South.

The secret is that the great masses of the British people, who are not represented in Parliament, in the Press: or in the Clubs, are on our side. They believe that ours is the cause of freedem against slavery, of democracy against privilege, of labor against hereditary capital and property. Hence their unions vote addresses to President Lincoln, and at mass meetings they almost invariably overpower the champions of the Slave Confederacy, and pass resolutions of sympathy with the United States.

Now these great unrepresented masses, who have no newspaper to express their views, and who elect no man in Parliament to speak for them, constitute nevertheless a most important section of the British people. They are Great Britain's dangerous class. They can not vote, or help make the laws which govern them. But they can make revolutions, and, if goaded too far, the presumption is that they would do so.

If they ever did, the throne and aristocracy of England would crumble in an afternoon. Hence the politic caution of the Government of England in dealing with questions on which this dangerous class has formed an opinion.

It has long been believed by sound thinkers, both in Europe and in this country, that the Constitution of Great Britain was obsolete, and that a new and sweeping reform—which should recognize the rights of mere manhood as contra-distinguished from the rights of mere property —could not be delayed for many years. Accidents have postponed the fulfillment of these expectations. The Chartist follies, the potato rebellion in Ireland, and the disastrous end of the Continental movements of 1848, gave Privilege an extension of its lease, and threw Democracy in England back for nearly a generation. But great truths, though kept under for ever so long, will eventually assert themselves. The working population of England, kept poor by aristocratic laws, denied representation in Parliament, and persistently hidden out of sight by the leading organs of British opinion, will ultimately fight their way to power just as surely as the people of France fought their way in 1789.

It is to avoid a rupture with this working population that Lord Palmerston has refused to recognize the rebels. He doubtless honestly expects to see the United States destroyed: and calculates that, when that cheerful catastrophe occurs, he will crush out democracy in England, We think differently; believing that we shall succeed. and that our success will lead to more systematic, and at the same time, we trust, peaceful efforts for the recognition in Great Britain of the rights of labor. Time will show which is right. Meanwhile it is right we should understand that it is to the dread of the British working-men that we owe the present forbearance of the British Government.


TWENTY months have elapsed since we had occasion in this journal to comment pretty severely on the article which was then known as "Kentucky loyalty," which was a composite

mixture of sympathy with rebellion, lukewarm regard for the United States, chronic aversion to being plundered, and vague hopes of maintaining neutrality when every other State in the Union was plunged into war.

On that occasion Kentucky scoffed at the counsels of those who, like ourselves, urged her to take sides manfully. A Kentucky loyalist, in May, 1861, was of the same stripe as a New York Copperhead in December, 1863. The loyalty of the best of the Kentuckians was so slim that it couldn't be trusted in the open air on a windy day.

Twenty months have passed, and Kentucky has been pretty thoroughly ravaged. Three-fourths of the State have been overrun by hostile armies. Whole counties have been depopulated. Fences, houses, barns, and whole villages have disappeared. Opulent families have been reduced to poverty. The State has been a battle-ground, and has suffered as much as Tennessee or Virginia.

But the suffering has proved wholesome, and has borne good fruit. We know of no public address which has a truer ring than the recently-published letter of Governor Bramlette, of Kentucky, to a malcontent slaveholder, who complained that the war was prosecuted not for the restoration of the Union, but for the abolition of slavery. No one has more effectually squelched the Copperhead slang about the violation of the Constitution by Mr. Lincoln; no one has more clearly set forth the true duty of an American citizen at the present crisis in the nation's fate.

First save the nation, says Governor Bramlette: we'll talk about slavery afterward. If the slave-owners had not rebelled the institution would have been safe. They have taken up the sword: they and their institution must now abide the issue; and if slavery perishes in the conflict, it is easy to see that the Governor of Kentucky will not be the last man to say Amen. Under the leadership of such men Kentuckians will resume their old place among the statesmen of the nation.



THE solemn ceremony at Gettysburg is one of the most striking events of the war. There are grave-yards enough in the land—what is Virginia but a cemetery?—and the brave who have died for us in this fierce war consecrate the soil from the ocean to the Mississippi. But there is peculiar significance in the field of Gettysburg, for there "thus far" was thundered to the rebellion. This it is which separates it from all the other battlefields of this war. Elsewhere the men in the ranks have fought as nobly, and their officers have directed as bravely; but here their valor stayed the flood of barbarism, and like the precious shells that the highest storm-tides strew upon the beach, showing how far the waters came, so the dead heroes of Gettysburg marked the highest tide of the war. Therefore shall their graves be peculiarly honored, and their memory especially sacred; and all that living men can bring of pomp and solemnity and significance to hallow their resting-place shall not be wanting.

The President and the Cabinet were there, with famous soldiers and civilians. The oration by Mr. Everett was smooth and cold. Delivered, doubtless, with his accustomed graces, it yet wanted one stirring thought, one vivid picture, one thrilling appeal.

The few words of the President were from the heart to the heart. They can not be read, even, without kindling emotion. "The world will little note nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here." It was as simple and felicitous and earnest a word as was ever spoken.

Among the Governors present was Horatio Seymour. He came to honor the dead of Gettysburg. But when they were dying he stood in New York sneeringly asking where was the victory promised for the Fourth of July? These men were winning that victory, and dying for us all; and now he mourns, ex officio, over their graves.

When the war is over and the verdict of history is rendered, it is not those who have steadily perplexed the Government in every way—those who first incited and then palliated massacre and riot—who will be known as the friends of the soldiers, but those whose faith was firmest in the darkest hours, and who did not falter though the foe were at the door.


SOMEBODY has written a brief and capital satire upon Bishop Hopkins's Letter defending slavery upon Bible grounds. By substituting the word Polygamy for Slavery, the exact value of the Bishop's argument is exposed. For if slavery be a good thing because Jewish patriarchs had slaves, polygamy is equally lovely because they had hareems. And if slavery be tolerable because Christ did not verbally condemn it, polygamy must be desirable because he did not even allude to it at all.

In fact, what is called the Bible argument deserves only such treatment as the ridicule, the contempt, and the sarcasm which are so delicately dealt it by this little squib. If we are to excuse our sins by those of the Jewish patriarchs, and if the whole spirit and tendency of Christ's teaching are to go for naught because he did not chance to specify some offense, there is no absurdity that may not be defended, and no crime that may not be justified.

The slave party treats the Bible exactly as it does the Constitution The whole meaning and

scope are ignored, in order to make a fight upon a doubtful word or phrase. Does Bishop Hopkins seriously wish to see in the United States the polity and civilization of the ancient tribes in Judea? Does he propose, since he gives his right hand to Calhoun, to insist upon Brigham Young's taking his left? Solomon was called the wisest of men. Does the Bishop think it logically follows that a man grows in wisdom as he increases his hareem, and that perfect wisdom requires a man to have, like Solomon, seven hundred wives and three hundred concubines?

It is just as logical to say that as to say that a man may rightfully buy and sell human beings, and tear children from parents, and wives from husbands, and scourge them to work without wages, and deny them all mental light, and doom them to abject submission to a despotic will, because the old Jews held slaves. Nor can we see the force of the argument which commends slavery to a Christian because Abraham had slaves, when Christ had none. To say that he did not forbid it is to quibble, because verbally he condemned very few sins. Did he condemn burning a neighbor's barn? No; no more than he condemned enslaving him. But he bade us love our neighbor as ourselves; and he told us that all men were our neighbors.

The Bishop of Vermont announces a took in which he proposes to establish the right of slavery from the Bible. Let him be entreated. He is judged in advance. The Eastern criminal did not know until he moved that his head had been sliced off, so smoothly had the sharp sword cut it. Does the good Bishop not know that he has been taken upon a toasting-fork and scorched at the fire of common-sense?


ONE of the chief works to which the country will henceforth have to devote itself is the care of the colored race. General Grant has sent Chaplain Fiske, of the Fourth Minnesota volunteers, to lay before the public the condition and wants of the black refugees in his Department, and from Mr. Fiske's account it appears that there are forty or fifty thousand between Helena and Natchez, upon the Mississippi, who need immediate aid. As our armies advance, and the blacks are able to reach our lines, the capable men enter the service as soldiers, teamsters, or otherwise. But the women, the children, and the infirm are sorely pinched. They come from deserted plantations, and bring only their children and the clothes upon their backs. The Government gives them scanty rations, as it does to all loyal refugees, but these people need shelter and clothing. They must have them, or they will perish by hundreds during the winter.

Nobody need fear that this is a great mass of permanent pauperism. In General Sexton's Department, in South Carolina, the colored people, not yet two years free, are nearly self-supporting, needing only aid for their schools and churches. The colony on Roanoke Island, under charge of Rev. Horace James, is rapidly advancing toward self-support; while General Thomas shows that the leased plantations have been worked to a profit under very disadvantageous circumstances.

Nobody supposed that a system of slavery, which has plunged the country into so terrible a war, although inevitably destroyed in the struggle, could disappear without imposing enormous suffering upon the slaves and vast responsibility upon the country. Upon the innocent and defenseless people, to perpetuate whose slavery the war is waged by the rebels, falls the sharp pang inseparable from their liberation. But the call is therefore all the more stirring to every loyal soul in the land to do what he can to lighten the burden. It is not the nature and character of the colored man, but of the white man, that has made the negro so fruitful a source of woe to the country. We all pay the penalty of the wrong to which we all consented. And having resolved that the national flag shall be henceforth the symbol of liberty and not of slavery; that no brave hand shall be repelled because of its color; that all faithful human hearts shall beat together for the maintenance of the Union, which is the sole hope of peace and liberty—here is the way opened to every man, woman, and child in which something may be at once and effectively done.

As soon as land which they can cultivate can be provided for the freed people along the Mississippi, and secured from rebel raids, the contraband camps will be cleared, and their old laborers will take care of themselves. But until then, during this bitter winter, they must be helped. Send warm clothing to C. C. Leigh, No. 1 Mercer Street, and money to Joseph B. Collins, 40 Wall Street; or, if preferred, to Chaplain Fiske, care of F. G. Shaw, 86 Trinity Building, New York.


THE Government is anxiously considering what shall be done to relieve the suffering of our men in the hands of the rebels. That they are pinched and starving there can be no doubt. That it is the duty of the Government to succor them is equally clear. How shall it be done?

Retaliation in kind is impossible. We can not torture prisoners to death. If we were fighting Indians we could not scalp nor roast the captives whom we took, although our captured friends would be tormented; nor, fighting with other barbarians, can we starve our prisoners because they starve theirs. They do not do it intentionally, perhaps, but that does not help the matter. It would be no excuse for murdering our men that the rebels had not jails enough to contain them. If they can not keep prisoners decently, they have no right to hold them.

It seems possible and practicable for the Government to ascertain exactly the condition of the mass of our captured men. Should it prove to be what is so universally represented, might the President not demand of the rebel authorities fair treatment




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