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Civil War Harper's Weekly, May 7, 1864

This site features our online archive of Harper's Weekly newspapers. These newspapers have impressive illustrations of the key people, events, and battles of the War. This archive will enable you to study the war in a way not possible before. Browse these papers and watch the war unfold before your eyes.

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Union Scout

Union Scout

Equal Pay for Colored Troops

Pleasant Hill

Battle of Pleasant Hill

Chicago Lake Tunnel

Runaway Slave

Runaway Slave

General Gregg

Cane River

Cane River

Plymouth

Battle of Plymouth

Escaping Slaves

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Battle of Pleasant Hill

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HARPER'S WEEKLY.

[ MAY 7, 1864.

290

OUR DEAD ARMIES.

Two hundred thousand rank and file are they, Under the Captains of fulfilled renown, Led to immortal triumph since the day

On which they won the hero's perfect crown.

They march in silent lines compact and strong,

Enfranchised from all human doubt and dread; No mortal tremors through faint pulses throng

In the unshrinking armies of the dead.

No straggler slinks away in pallid fear,

No sick list swells before the battle day—No mixed and broken columns throng the rear When on the front war's booming engines play.

They are invincible in hand and heart;

Before the fight their victory is sure ;

From elbow-touching comrade none shall part—None shall the after-thirst of wounds endure.

No cry for help from front ranks pressed and sore

Rises above the storm of fire and hail ; They hold each forward post forevermore,

And no supports are needed lest they fail.

The fortresses they guard shall never yield

To gnawing famine or to bursting shell ; No widening breach shall ever be revealed,

No pallid flag its tale of shame shall tell.

They ask no furlough ere the next campaign;

Through the dark winter hours of storm and frost, Fixed as the earth's foundations they remain,

The whole two hundred thousand, at their post.

Their term of service with no time expires ;

The hidden future need shall see them stand With changeless front to guard the altar fires

Set up to Freedom on a ransomed land.

Oh, Armies of the Dead! In tears and pain

They were enlisted for the eternal years, To keep humanity's fair name from stain,

To lay forever all its rising fears.

HARPER'S WEEKLY.

SATURDAY, MAY 7, 1864.

UNION FOR UNION.

THERE are three classes of persons engaged in manufacturing opinion hostile to the Union Convention called at Baltimore. First, the enemies of the American Government and human liberty known as Copperheads. Second, the declared opponents of Mr. Lincoln's nomination in any case whatever. This class calls the Baltimore call "insolent!" and criticises the Administration with all the acridity of the fiercest rebel journals. Third, the class which is wholly devoted to the country and to liberty, but is dissatisfied with the influences that surround the President, and are persuaded that Mr. SEWARD and Mr. BLAIR are almost as dangerous to the good cause as JEFFERSON DAVIS or LEE. This class wishes the Convention to be postponed until after General GRANT has fought, and, in any case, asks that the terms of the call may be so changed as to include War Democrats and all other loyal Union men.

As to the first part of their objection, it is clear that under no circumstances whatever could the policy of a man like the President be altogether agreeable to them. It will always be a more cautious and patient policy than they approve. The practical point, therefore, for them to decide is, whether, looking at the whole course of his administration, the cause will be imperiled by its continuance ; or whether, all the circumstances considered, any other man known to us is more likely than he to accomplish the great work. If they know such a man, clearly it is their duty to persuade the country to adopt him. If they merely wish that there were such a one, do not the times require something else than expressions of regret and dissatisfaetion ? If they believe the continued presence of Mr. SEWARD and Mr. BLAIR in the Cabinet to be detrimental to the country, let the attack upon those gentlemen be made openly, fairly, and incessantly. But let it be based upon facts, and not upon rumors nor bald assertions. When the President is persuaded that the cause is injured by any of his advisers, and that public opinion demands their removal, we are very sure they will be removed. But a dumb dissatisfaction is of no use. Why should a few men go to Washington and privately decry any secretary to the President ? The public have a right to know, at such a time as this, why any great change is made in high public officers, and therefore the discussion should be as open as possible. The treatment of General BUTLER was formerly one of the chief charges against what was called the influence of Mr. SEWARD. Well, Mr. SEWARD remains, and General BUTLER declares himself to be entirely satisfied with his present treatment. We are not defending Mr. SEWARD nor denouncing him ; but our friends ought to bear in mind that it is very easy to overestimate the influence of an obnoxious person.

Now in the matter of the call to the Convention. It is surprising that any man who has carefully read it should call it narrow, partisan, or exclusive. It is as comprehensive as patriotism, and as little tainted by party-spirit. Indeed we do not understand how a better call could have been issued. It is addressed to "all

qualified voters who desire the unconditional maintenance of the Union, the supremacy of the Constitution, and the complete suppression of the existing rebellion, with the cause thereof, by vigorous war, and all apt and efficient means." Such voters are requested to elect delegates. Is this not a platform upon which every loyal Union man can stand, Generals BUTLER and Dix, Mr. DICKINSON and Senator JOHNSON equally with Generals FREMONT and BANKS, Mr. WEED and Senator SUMNER? How could it be simpler, broader, better?

Every man who wishes to see equal popular rights established in all the States, and the final overthrow of the oligarchical spirit which generated the rebellion, and is a perpetual insurrection against our national peace and freedom, is invited to take part in the elections to the Convention by the very terms of the call, " the complete suppression * * * of the cause of the rebellion." Its complete suppression is its total destruction by the establishing of equal rights. To change the form of the call to " all who are in favor of the people against an aristocracy" does not change its nature, nor make it broader or stronger. It is already addressed to those very persons and to none other. It certainly is not addressed to gentlemen like the SEYMOURS, VALLANDIGHAM, the WOODS, LONG, and HARRIS, nor to JEFFERSON DAVIS and his Confederates. But to every loyal Union man who wishes to establish peace upon equal liberty it is addressed with a directness that he can not avoid,

And how is it a party call ? It is issued, indeed, by the Chicago Committee ; but that is a necessity of the case. That Committee is the recognized representative of a great mass of voters, and speaks by their authority. And by that authority a party platform is repudiated altogether. Had a few gentlemen of the several late political organizations combined in a call, it would have had the force of their personal influence, but it could not have been so weighty as if they had been by consent of the voters, their representatives. And it is obvious that at this time the fact of the late party ties of the Committee is of no importance whatever, in view of the entire absence of partisan character in their call. They propose nothing but the salvation of the country by every necessary means, specifying the destruction of slavery as one of them. Can this, in candor, be stigmatized as a party call or a narrow call ? Is there a loyal citizen any where in the country, whatever his party antecedents, who may not heartily and wholly respond to it ? And is it not the duty of all men who wish as little division as possible among the true enemies of the rebellion to refrain from hypercriticism upon the terms of a call which was intended and is framed to include every earnest and unconditional Union man in the country?

The Union men are unquestionably the mass of the people of the free States. But they must not forget that every spring and autumn the elections are not unanimous. They must remember that last November Pennsylvania was carried by less than twenty thousand majority for the Union, and that if the summer campaign in the field is unsuccessful we shall need all our unity and ardor to withstand the disarrangement which will ensue. Let us seek, then, rather for grounds of union than of difference. We can not all be satisfied altogether. Shall we not take counsel of our patience and faith in justice and the people rather than of impatience and distrust ?

THREATS.

IT is a very important question how far the menaces of refusal to abide by the nomination of the Union Convention at Baltimore which are uttered by the immediate friends and supporters of General FREMONT are authorized by him. Has General FREMONT interests different from those of the country ? Is his nomination so essential to the national cause that the cause itself may be risked in order to secure it ? We are unwilling to believe that he would acknowledge it. Yet he must be fully aware that it is privately and publicly asserted that he means to be a candidate in any case ; that those who declare their intention under no circumstances to vote for Mr. LINCOLN, even if he be nominated, use the name of FREMONT as their rallying cry; and that his continued silence under such circumstances is an injury to the national cause. Certainly if General FREMONT should declare that he means to abide by the decision of the Convention, he would neither decrease the favor of the Convention toward him nor the respect with which so many Union men, who intend to support the Baltimore nomination, have been accustomed to regard him.

Those who speak in his name repudiate the action of the Union Convention in advance, because they declare that it will not represent the people, but the politicians ; and they propose to obviate this difficulty by galling another Convention. Quis custodiet custodes? How is the new Convention to be purged of politicians? These gentlemen object that the Baltimore Convention will be packed to nominate Mr. LINCOLN. And what is their remedy? To pack another at Cleveland to nominate General FREMONT, But which is the more promising aternative?

 —an unpledged assembly called to nominate the best candidate, whoever he may be, or one which is called to defeat the nomination of a certain candidate? The friends of General FREMONT have as fair a chance to send delegates to the Baltimore Convention as the friends of any other candidate ; and when they declare that they will have nothing to do with it, they say very frankly that, as they can not hope to control it, they will repudiate it.

If this is the spirit which animates them—if the interests of one man are dearer to them than the welfare of the country—if they are seriously resolved to resist the nomination of the Union Convention, if it should not be that of their favorite, and to bring a third candidate into the field, the incalculable misfortunes which may befall the country in consequence will be justly attributable to them. When the order relieving General FREMONT of the command of the Western Department reached him in camp near Springfield, Missouri, more than a hundred officers came to his tent, threw their swords upon the ground, and declared their intention to retire with him. "Take up your swords, gentlemen," said FREMONT ; " remember that you are the soldiers of a cause, not of a man." Has the General himself now ceased to be the soldier of a cause ?

RELUCTANT JUSTICE.

THE Senate has at length done its duty in providing for the equal payment of the colored troops, and for the fulfillment of the promises made by authority to those already enlisted. The House ought not to delay for a day to agree to the bill. For nothing is clearer than that the policy of employing colored troops should be renounced altogether, or that we should treat them honorably. Professor PECK, of Oberlin College, who has investigated the condition of these troops on the Atlantic coast, reports that the difference of pay between them and white soldiers is rapidly demoralizing them. Chaplain CONWAY writes to the same effect. At Fort Esperenza, in Texas, a colored battalion of the Fourteenth Rhode Island Artillery refused to receive their pay, and declared themselves out of the service ; and the sad case of Sergeant WALKER in Florida, who was shot because he would not submit to be cheated by the authority of the United States, is fresh in our memories, and will always be shameful for our name. And while we refuse to treat these brave men honorably the rebels massacre them like dogs. The rebel conduct is fiendish, but at least it is consistent. If men, because they are of a certain color, may justly be deprived of liberty and all the other rights of human nature, they may certainly be deprived of life at the will of their captors. Massacre, barbarism, the most shocking inhumanity, are to be expected in a people who have been unfortunately bred under the slave system. But we have the right to require manliness and honor and justice of those who have been more fortunate. Shall we sacrifice the good name of our native land to the indulgence of a wretched prejudice ?

" Well," says some reader, " I think they had better be paid—but what a pity that we had to call upon them to help us!" Why so ? Why should the Government be dearer to any one class of citizens than to another? When it is threatened why should not the call for its defense be universal? You don't think it a pity to call in the aid, as soldiers, of foreigners of every race ; why is it so that native Americans of every hue should be summoned? The remark is only an evidence of. the far-reaching taint of the slavery from which our troubles spring. For, except for the system which brands black men as pariahs, it would be as natural, and as much of course, that they should fight for the Government which protected their rights in common with all others, as that Gaseous and Normans should fight together for France, or Scotchmen, Welshmen, and Yorkshiremen for England.

Of all the inane remarks with which the earlier days of the war were rife none was more ludicrously silly than the exclamation, " Well, if white men can't put down this rebellion it had better succeed." It might as wisely have been said, " If the men with pug noses, or red whiskers, or who are five feet high, or the blue-eyed men, or the left-handed men, can't suppress it, it had better not be suppressed." The spirit which makes this kind of discrimination is one which entirely misapprehends the character of our Government. It is not a Government of any class of men whatever, but of all the people, of every descent, complexion, or race they may be. The cause of the United States is the cause of human nature, said JAMES MADISON, speaking for the Continental Congress. And in the introduction to the edition of the Federalist, just published by LIPPINCOTT, Mr. JOHN C. HAMILTON records with emphasis the well known sentiments of his father : "All men have one common original : they participate in one common nature, and consequently have one common right." His son and editor adds, " He meant the whole human race, and looked to the emancipation of the blacks as part of the great sacrifice to be laid by the American people on the altar of freedom." If we had always believed and acted as the fathers of our Government believed we should have had no war. Long ago

the purely arbitrary distinctions between citizens would have been destroyed. And when we fully believe our own principle, and bring the Government to conform, we shall have permanent and prosperous peace, and not before.

ART CRITICISM.

LAST week we welcomed the art criticisms of the Tribune for their sincerity and ability, however we might differ with the judgments they expressed. This week we wish to speak of the utterly unfair way in which those criticisms have been attacked. They are the plainest opinions of pictures founded upon principles plainly stated, and they are denounced as " personal injuries." The critic is insulted, if not threatened, in private speech and in published communications, for a faithful performance of his duty. But the insult is addressed to every man who discusses art quite as much as to the individual critic, and every journalist ought to take up the gage thus truculently thrown down.

The only open question in the whole matter is, whether there has been any personal attack made by the critic ; a question which the most exasperated artist will not dare to answer in the affirmative. Their names are used merely as representatives of their paintings, as we say " a Titian," " a Raphael," " a Teniers." When, for instance, the critic says that the promise of Mr. KENSETT is fading away in such pictures as the October Afternoon upon Lake George and the Massachusetts Coast, you may not agree with him ; but it is perfectly clear that he is no more insulting Mr. KENSETT than if he should say that he thought Mr. FARMER had a truer eye for nature than Mr. KENSETT. And even if there had been personality in the criticisms, certainly the account has been balanced by the petulant, and contemptuous, and, we must add, contemptible personality of the rejoinders.

But what right has the critic to write as he does ? Simply the right that every span has to express his opinions. If he have insufficient knowledge—if he be merely presumptuous, shallow, and conceited, he writes himself down an ass much more emphatically than any one else can write him by calling him so. If you ask what right he has to have an opinion, you ask a question not worth an answer. Or, again, if you demand what he knows of pictures, the reply is, that the articles themselves answer. If they show that he knows nothing, why all the exasperation ? Mr. LEUTZE, for instance, paints a picture of Washington Crossing the Delaware. He has thought upon his subject, he has studied and practiced his art. His picture may be assumed to be the result of long reflection and preparation. He paints it so and not otherwise, because he is convinced that so it ought to be. Now, is it conceivable that, if the artist be correct in his conception and method, so elaborate a work is to lose in reputation because somebody who knows nothing looks at it and says, " It is all false ?" If the artist be as profoundly convinced as he should be before painting that or any picture that it is all true, are he or his friends likely to be more than amused or interested if some ignoramus pronounces it unnatural in conception and extravagant in execution?

Or is nobody to express an opinion of pictures except painters themselves? The same rule must then be applied to all other arts. Only poets must criticise poetry; only musicians music. MOTLEY only may be allowed to criticise BANCROFT. BRYANT must be the sole critic of LONGFELLOW. But if any one has often listened to music in the company of musicians, or if he recalls what he may have heard painters say of each other's pictures, he can readily fancy whether criticism would be gentler if it were confined in every art to experts in that art. Are pictures painted for painters or for the public ? Do poets sing for poets or for the world? Why are the works of the year annually exhibited in the National Academy if it be not that their merits may be judged by the public taste? Has a man no right as he looks at the present Exhibition to prefer M'ENTEE to GIFFORD, or GIFFORD to COLE, or COLE to HUBBARD, or HUBBARD to COLEMAN, or COLEMAN to any body else ? We can not too strongly condemn the spirit which has been displayed in the rejoinders to the Tribune criticisms, as if it were a mortal offense in a critic to say that CHURCH is not a great painter and that FARRER is ; that LAFARGE is untrue to nature and HIENNESSY is true.

But is it, not unkind, you ask, to speak of any men as HUNTINGTON and DURAND are spoken of in those articles? They are denied every kind of excellence. Very well, grant that it is unpleasant; but what is the way to meet such criticism ? Is it to declare that gentlemen of such unblemished lives and amiable characters must necessarily paint fine pictures ; or to show that they do paint them ? We are very sure of the answer both of the gentlemen named would give to the question. They would say that neither they nor any painters had a prescriptive claim to praise, and that, as artists, they must be judged by their works. They stand exactly as BRYANT stands in a kindred art—as indeed every artist always stands, at the mercy of any man who can show that their reputation is unfounded.

Yet once more, we shall be asked if it is not ungenerous in any man to spoil another man's market for his wares? Here, we are told, are some young artists who club together, and hope to realize a pretty sum by the sale of their studies and pictures, and on the very eve of the sale an article appears, with a knowing air, in a leading paper, declaring that the pictures are unworthy the gentlemen who offer them for sale. The community of buyers, who are not very sure of their own taste, are alarmed, and they refrain from buying lest they should make themselves ridiculous. Is this, we are asked, not rather hard upon young artists who, in any case, have no very easy path to tread? Now surely this is not an honorable question for the friends of the artists to put, since it implies that the pictures would, except for the criticism, have been sold under a misapprehension. Do the artists wish higher prices paid for their works than they are fairly worth ; and (Next Page)


 

 

  

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