Harper's Weekly Endorses Lincoln for President


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Civil War Harper's Weekly, March 12, 1864

Welcome to our archive of Civil War Harper's Weekly newspapers. We have posted our collection of newspapers online to serve as a research tool for students and history buffs. These papers are a valuable source of original material on the War, and contain a wealth of incredible illustrations.

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


General Sherman

General Sherman

Endorsement of Lincoln

Battle of Olustee

Battle of Olustee

General Palmer

General Palmer

Sanderson Florida

Sanderson Florida

General Seymour

General Seymour




Slaves Helping Escaping Soldiers

Map of the South

Map of the South







[MARCH 12, 1864.



How They went forth to die!

Pale, earnest thousands from the dizzy mills,

And sunburnt thousands from the harvest hills;

Quick, eager thousands from the city's streets,

And storm-tried thousands from the fisher fleets;

How They went forth to die!


How Ye went forth to save!

O Merciful! with swift and tireless heed

Along the myriad ways of pain and need,

With laden hand and ever-watchful eye

Fixed on the thousands going forth to die;

How Ye went forth to save!


How They went forth to die!

Heeding yet shrinking not from the hot breath

Of the fire-angel in the front of death;

Seeing afar yet meeting without fear

The fever-angel lurking in the rear;

How They went forth to die!


How Ye went forth to save!

To close the purple wells torn open by

The fiery angel ere he drank them dry;

To fan to bloom the pallid forms anew

Struck with the fever-angel's deathly hue;

How Ye went forth to save!


How They went forth to die!

Counting themselves as the unvalued dust

Trod by a nation; bearing on its trust,

Content if but their sunken graves should be

The footprints of the progress of the free;

How They went forth to die!


How Ye went forth to save

The precious offerings, like the patriarch's given

On high Moriah, in the faith of Heaven,

To stay the knife ere yet its point be hurled

Through hearts that hold the promise of the world;

How Ye went forth to save!


How They went forth to die!

Unnamed, unnumbered like the desert sand,

Blown to build up a bulwark round some land,

To stay the sea of wrong that vainly raves

Forever on a shore of patriot graves;

How They went forth to die!


How Ye went forth to save!

Embodied wills of thousands far and near

In love's wild agony of hope and fear;

Embodied answers from the throne above,

Enwinged by gifts, of prayers enwinged by love;

How Ye went forth to save!



THE friends of Mr. CHASE can not but regret the appearance of the POMEROY circular. It is understood, indeed, that the Secretary himself denies any previous knowledge of it. That could hardly be otherwise, for it would clearly be inconsonant with the self-respect of any honorable man to continue to form part of an Administration which he condemned as injurious to "the cause of human liberty and the dignity and honor of the nation," or to be the confidential adviser of a President whom he had denounced as so corrupt as to make the "one-term principle absolutely essential to the certain safety of our republican institutions."

But while we fully exonerate the Secretary from any actual complicity in the preparation or publication of such a document, there can be no doubt that the movement to present his name for the Presidency has been fully known to him and not disapproved. Long used as we have been to respect Mr. CHASE, we regret this fact profoundly; not, certainly, because any citizen may not honorably wish such a distinction, nor because we believe him to be inadequate to the office, but because his action inevitably divides and distracts the loyal men of the country, and because we can not see in what way his removal from the Treasury to the White House will counterbalance the immense disadvantage of such a change at the present juncture.

If it were true, as the POMEROY programme sets forth, that the re-election of Mr. LINCOLN is impossible; or that his re-election would endanger the country and human liberty; or that he has corruptly used his power of patronage, we should, on any one of those grounds, advocate some other candidate; because the defeat of the Union standard-bearer, the peril of the nation and of liberty, and official corruption, are greater dangers to the country than a change in the Presidency.

But as Mr. LINCOLN'S re-election seems to us infinitely more possible and probable than his original election; as his administration can by no impartial spectator be said to have imperiled the country, or to have injured human liberty; and as the imputation of corruption no more cleaves to him than to Washington, we must look for other reasons before sympathizing with any effort to expose the country to the consequences of all the changes that follow a change of the President. It is not that Mr. LINCOLN has any other "claim" than his record that we

so earnestly wish his re-election. Ability and honesty are the only claims to the Presidency which we recognize. We find both in him, while we certainly do not deny them to others. But this is not a question of "claims." If it were, on what grounds could General FREMONT and other good men be overlooked? It is a question of national policy and good sense. How can the country be carried through the necessary excitement of a Presidential election in the midst of civil war with the least danger and distraction?—that is the question. Is it likely to be done by a general wrangle among Union men as to whether Mr. CHASE, or General FREMONT, or General BUTLER, or General GRANT, or somebody else, are more likely to carry out the present policy of the war, and secure peace by liberty; or by the general assent of the friends of all these gentlemen that the man who is no less a lover of liberty than they, who has officially initiated and pursued that policy, and who has borne himself with marvelous sagacity in his difficult post, is the man to pursue that policy to the end? We know not what either of the gentlemen named would do; but we do know what Mr. LINCOLN has done. Is it perfectly clear that any one of them—and no man can respect and admire them more than we—would have achieved nobler results for the country and human liberty than he? And is the chance that they might do so worth the inevitable risk?

It is a wise friend in another State who writes us: "It is difficult to understand how men really desirous to advance the cause of liberty and of the Union can, with the remembrance of the 200,000 votes cast for WOODWARD, Slavery, and Disunion last October in Pennsylvania, think it desirable to support any candidate whose only claim to superiority over Mr. LINCOLN lies in the fact of his being supported by a smaller party. * * * In Mr. LINCOLN'S words, 'It is very difficult to do sensible things.' "


THE spectator of the political drama will observe that the remnant of the late Democratic party has opened its campaign both in New York and Connecticut; and if he would understand what the spirit of the movement is he must look not only at what the formal resolutions say, but at the known views of the leaders. He will then find that in Connecticut the platform is essentially that of last year, upon which stood Mr. THOMAS H. SEYMOUR, a practical disunionist, who was supported by FERNANDO WOOD, CHAUNCEY BURR, and their friends, and was signally defeated by the loyal men of the State after one of the most thorough and exciting campaigns ever known. This year Mr. ORIGEN SEYMOUR is the candidate—a gentleman whose views justify his name. For the name of SEYMOUR stands in this country in the same relation to the great democratic doctrine of equal rights and the Union as its guarantee that the name of BOURBON holds in Europe to the rights of the people. There is no more essential difference between the Connecticut SEYMOUR of this year and the SEYMOUR of last year than between the platforms upon which they stand. The rebels will as earnestly desire the success of the one as they did of the other. The President of the Convention was Mr. W. W. EATON, who is a political brother of VALLANDIGHAM. With full rebel sympathy, his speech was a furious denunciation of the Government of the United States, and of the war for its preservation, and an effort to sow distrust between the East and the West. Mr. EATON is a notorious apostle of the "peace," which means submission to the rebellion: and the issue in Connecticut is as simple as that between loyal men and rebels. There can be no doubt that every vote for Mr. EATON'S candidate will be justly counted as a vote in favor of settling the war upon such terms as JEFFERSON DAVIS may dictate.

In New York the Convention of the same party has elected its delegates to the National Convention. Its leaders were Mr. GIDEON J. TUCKER and Mr. JOHN M'KEON, who carried the Convention against the "War Democrats." Mr. TUCKER is an open enemy of the war and friend of the rebels. Mr. M'KEON is the leader of the "Peace Democracy." All the speeches that denounced the Government were loudly applauded, while those that appealed to the national honor and love of the Union were heard in silence. The delegates selected, with the exception of Mr. DEAN RICHMOND, who is understood to be in favor of saving the Union and the Government, and possibly a few others, were of the extremest wing of VALLANDIGIIAM sympathizers. No patriotic resolutions were passed, nor was any word in disapproval of the war waged by traitors against the country uttered by the voice of the Convention.

The issue is thus far not less clearly joined in New York than in Connecticut. The question is between the ignominious defeat of the Government and its unconditional triumph. According to the speeches and views which were approved by these Conventions, the danger to the country is not from the rebellion, but from the loyal people who are suppressing it. Could any thing so plainly indicate political fatuity and desperation as making such an issue at such a time?


IN a late speech in Congress Mr. Henry Winter Davis referred to "the exposition of the views of President Lincoln as given by Postmaster-General Blair," whose comments upon public affairs were attacks upon the emancipation policy, and never having been disavowed by the President were to be gravely considered.

Now we know that Mr. Lincoln knew nothing of Mr. Blair's first and important speech in New Hampshire until long after it was delivered, but did know of Mr. Whiting's letter to the Poughkeepsie meeting, which was by no means an attack upon the emancipation policy, but entirely satisfactory to its warmest friends. Mr. Blair no more speaks for the President than any other member of the Cabinet speaks for him.

As to the principle of holding the President responsible for what any Secretary may say, unless he formally denies it, does Mr. Davis seriously assert it or mean to be tried by it? Mr. Seward at the beginning of the war thought that the rebellion might be ended in a very short time. Did Mr. Lincoln, therefore, think so? Mr. Chase at the same time was not opposed to letting the seceding States go, thinking, probably, that they could not be held. Was Mr. Lincoln, therefore, of that opinion? Undoubtedly the theoretical views of the Cabinet are as different as its members; and we need not ask any of them, nor search in their speeches to find, what the President thinks. He speaks plainly to the people, to whom he feels himself to be directly accountable. Mr. Blair may have his own views of the colored race in this country. Mr. Lincoln has certainly never concealed his. Their part in the great struggle has never been more finely stated than at the close of his letter to the Springfield Convention.

"Peace does not appear so distant as it did. I hope it will come soon and come to stay; and so come as to be worth the keeping in all future time. It will then have been proved that among freemen there can be no successful appeal from the ballot to the bullet, and that they who take such appeal are sure to lose their case and pay the cost. And then there will be some black men who can remember that with silent tongue, and clenched teeth, and steady eye, and well-poised bayonet, they have helped mankind on to this great consummation; while I fear there will be some white ones unable to forget that with malignant heart and deceitful speech they have striven to hinder it."

Does that sound to Mr. Davis as if it were cut out of one of Mr. Blair's speeches? And is it not quite as worthy of "grave and respectful consideration" as the assumption that Mr. Blair speaks for Mr. Lincoln?


AT the Albany Convention Judge Parker, the President, said that "the world will look with intense interest on the great struggle between power and the people." The orator meant that the spectacle of Copperheads trying to conciliate traitors would be interesting to mankind: for by "power" he means the Government of the United States, and by "people" his own faction. But inasmuch as in this country it is the very essence of the Democratic doctrine that the people are the Government, and as Judge Parker proposes a peaceable and constitutional expression of their will, and as they have continually confirmed in that manner their own action in the Government, how is it that the spectacle of the people who are the only "power" in the country, contending with the people, is to be presented? Judge Parker wisely refrains from explanations.

In quite another sense than he intended, however, the world is at this very moment witnessing with intense interest the struggle between power and the people: between the power of an oligarchy, heading an insurrection, and the people who are engaged in subduing the rebels and maintaining their own national existence. Judge Parker exhorts his hearers to "enjoy the proud satisfaction of having done our whole duty." The faithful people, with the exception of the rebels and their allies, respond heartily "Amen." They have done and are doing that duty. Is the worthy Judge aware that during the last year the people in every State, with some exceptions in New Jersey, stood steadfastly by the great cause of American Liberty? They have blazoned on their banner Liberty and Union, and not, with certain political doctors of the old school at Albany—"Vallandigham and Slavery."


OUR excellent neighbor the Tribune asks whether it is not possible by mutual consent to adjourn the Presidential canvass? It is just about as practicable as to adjourn the coming of the spring and to postpone crocuses until May. The spring is opening. The canvass has begun. The signs of it appear in the Tribune every day.

Upon the same page of that paper, which asks the question of postponement, we find, under the head of Special Dispatch from Washington, an allusion to the proposition of inquiry into Secretary Chase's regulation of trade in the Mississippi Valley as a "tender of services to butcher the reputation of a statesman to whom the nation owes a debt of gratitude."

Just below we find: "It is stated here in military circles that this Florida operation was devised and ordered by the President."

Very well. It is stated by common sense that such paragraphs do not mean a postponement of the Presidential canvass; but that one of them, if the Tribune will pardon such language, is a "dig" at the President, and the other a "boost" for the Secretary of the Treasury.

The campaign for the nomination has begun. The Tribune takes naturally an active part in it. It is opposed to the nomination of Mr. Lincoln, and is doing what it can to create public opinion against it. It says that Union men will make a grave mistake

if they do not apply the one-term principle to Mr. Lincoln. Nobody can quarrel with it for saying so, however opinions may differ. But let us have fair play. The Tribune is not an ostrich. It surely does not seriously suppose that it is taking no side any more than it can seriously believe that the President ordered an army to advance into the enemy's country without skirmishers whatever may be "stated" in military circles. But it does seriously injure itself, both in the estimation of its friends with whom it differs and those with whom it agrees, when it insinuates, and hints, and shrugs, and sneers, instead of frankly owning and maintaining its opposition to the renomination of Mr. Lincoln.


THE slaveholders and their friends have always tried to avoid using the word Slavery. It is too direct and expressive. It is the synonym of injustice and crime, and every body knows it as such. Therefore we have been regaled with all kinds of euphuisms. The first is in the Constitution—"persons held to labor." Then we have had "the peculiar institution;" and "involuntary servitude;" and "the industrial system of the South"—and a score more. The thing meant was always inhumanity and crime, but it was extremely disagreeable to call a slave-market "human shambles," or the selling of a woman by a "high-toned gentleman" to pay his debts "dealing in human flesh;" because, as Senator Reverdy Johnson informs us, such "gentlemen" are very proud and sensitive. But they have now reached the highest point of euphuism. The address of the Confederate Congress calls what John Wesley had more concisely described as "the sum of all villainies" by an infinitely sweeter name. Human slavery, with all its untold woes and wrongs to the victim and his master—which the Honorable James Brooks described a few years since as "a dead drag upon the body politic," endangering "the peace and happiness of the master, and robbing the slave of his freedom and birthright"—this pleasing system is airily mentioned in the rebel address as "the selected type of social characteristics." Mr. Brooks is now of opinion that the selected type of social characteristics has been thrown into pi—and we heartily agree with him.


ON the second Tuesday in March the electors of the State of New York are to decide whether a citizen is to be disfranchised because he loves his country enough to fight for it. Shall the soldiers vote? is the question to be answered. We should like to see the party which would deny them the right. We should like to see the argument which maintained that in a republic the citizens who cared enough about the system to peril their lives in its defense should be the very ones who by that act should be deprived of their share in the government. The process of voting in camp may have inconveniences, but it has been tried several times during the war, and whatever the disadvantages may be, the injustice and consequent impolicy of any other course are evident enough. The obvious objection to the election is that it assumes the soldiers not to have the right. But that is unavoidable. After the second Tuesday of March it will be secured to them, or New York will make a very fatal mistake, and do gross injustice to many of her most faithful children.


THE "Life of Lyman Beecher" is a most valuable contribution to our biographical literature. In his old age the "Father of the Beechers," seated in the quiet family-room of the author of "Uncle Tom's Cabin," was wont to narrate the incidents and reminiscences of his long and active life. These were taken down by his children; questions were asked and remarks made which brought out more reminiscences; then illustrative correspondence and documents were added in their appropriate places; and so upon this autobiographical thread has been strung a complete memoir of Beecher, with characteristic pictures of his times. The work though edited by Charles Beecher is really the joint production of several members of the family.



SENATE.—February 24. A petition was presented from citizens of Idaho asking for a division of that Territory, on the ground that one portion was inaccessible to the other.—A petition was presented from contractors for gun-boats for an increase of compensation.—The Committee on the District asked to be discharged from further consideration of the question of the expediency of a law securing colored persons equal privileges with whites in the District railroad cars: agreed to.—Mr. Sherman introduced a bill amending the act for aiding the construction of a railroad and telegraph from the Missouri to the Pacific. This amrnduient permits the issue of 1,000,000 shares at $100 each; authorizes the Company to appropriate public lands containing coal and iron at the same rate as paid for agricultural lands: increases the limits of lands which the Company may locate to twenty miles on each side, in regions unfitted for agricultural purposes: extends to one year the time for the completion of the first hundred miles; and allows iron for the first hundred miles to be imported free of duty.—Mr. Harris introduced a bill giving to cadets at West Point the same pay as midshipmen, exempting them from draft, and ordering their dismissal if found deficient in any examination.—The Secretary of War was requested to furnish the report of the Military Commission of which General M'Dowell was President, relative to cotton and other speculations by officers of the army.—Bills authorizing the people of Colorado and Nevada to form State Governments and enter the Union, were passed. The bills provide for the exclusion of slavery, and secure perfect religious toleration.—The amendments of the Military Committee to the house resolution on the Lieutenant-Generalship came up. Mr. Grimes opposed the resolution on the ground of its inexpediency. If carried into effect it would either take General Grant from the field and make him a man of counsel at Washington, or, while making him nominally commander-in-chief, would leave him liable to be assigned to a mere local command; it would confer no distinction except an increase of rank and (Next Page)




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