Pacification of the South

 

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Civil War Harper's Weekly, May 6, 1865

The May 6, 1865 Edition of Harper's Weekly includes a touching portrait of President Abraham Lincoln, and his son Tad.  This issue was published shortly after President Lincoln's Assassination, and includes incredible historical content on Lincoln, the Assassination, Reconstruction, Lincoln's funeral, and news of a mourning nation. 

 

Abraham Lincoln and his Son Tad Lincoln

President Abraham Lincoln and His Son Tad

Pacification of Confederate States

Pacification of the South

Lincoln Funeral in New York

Abraham Lincoln's Funeral in New York

Abraham Lincoln Funeral

Ford's Theater

Ford's Theater

President Lincoln's Dead Body

Abraham Lincoln Lying In State

Abraham Lincoln's Funeral Procession

Abraham Lincoln Across Street from Ford's Theater

Abraham Lincoln on His Death Bed Across from Ford's Theater

Abraham Lincoln in White House Green Room

Abraham Lincoln Lying in State in White House East Room

 

 

274

HARPER'S WEEKLY.

MAY 6, 1865.

FUNERAL ODE.

WHEN raging earthquakes bury towns, Or fierce volcanoes lash their manes

Of boundless, fiery ruin round

The groaning hills and shrieking plains, he world may fitting emblems find To speak the horror of its heart,

In cities craped, in banners furled, And all the solemn show of art.

But when a Human Hand is turned Into a ruthless demon-power,

And smites a nation in its Chief,

Even at his triumph's crowning hour,

What emblems shall Man fitting find, What types sad, grand enough to show

The horror shaking continents,

And their infinity of woe?

Alas! alas ! we wildly feel

There should be still some outward sign, And so we furl the shining flag

And darkly cloud the glowing shrine.

How vain ! At last the Nation lifts

Its naked hands to Heaven, and owns

The impotence of every type

Before the awful Throne of Thrones :

Then silent stands and thinks of him

The swerveless Good, the calmly Great : In wonder would the reason pierce

Of their Beloved's mystic fate.

Was he too dear an Idol here ?

Too merciful for this dread time? Did Heaven now will a sterner hand, With justice mailed, to guard the clime?

O God of Nations, if we sin

In questioning, forgive, for we

Are by our woe driven on to seek The meaning of Eternity !

Forgive, and bless, and make us feel' That Thou wilt still love, watch, save all,

Though even the best of rulers die, Though earth should sink and planets fall !

 

HARPER'S WEEKLY.

 

SATURDAY, MAY 6, 1865.

THE PRESIDENT AND THE
REBEL CHIEFS.

IN his sermon upon the Sunday morning after his return from Charleston the Rev. Mr. BEECHER said it was a fact, which would be soon authenticated, that before the war began by the shot at Sumter the chief conspirators took a military officer of the United States, now living, into their secret council, and said that they knew that the South had never been oppressed ; that it had always governed the country ; and that the denunciation of the agitation of the Slavery question, and of the injustice of Northern tariffs, etc., was merely the method by which they dragged the people of the South into their plans. For the two sections, they said, can no longer live together, and we mean that they shall be separated.

These are the men whom President JOHNSON describes as leaders. These are they whose tender mercies he and the faithful Union men of the Border and of the South have experienced. These are the chiefs whom he has in mind when he says that treason is a crime which is justly punishable by the laws. These are the leaders, of whom JOHN C. BRECKINRIDGE is one, who doubtless dictated the terms of SHERMAN'S extraordinary convention with JOHNSTON. They are men whom ANDREW JOHNSON has known all his life—their spirit, their purpose, their cruel despotism, their guilty ambition—and he says steadily, upon every occasion, holding them full in his eye, that he does not think the enormity of the crime should remit the penalty.

From this opinion, which he reiterates, we gather at least one conclusion. The men hitherto known as political leaders at the South, the chiefs of the rebellion that has wet the land with innocent blood, will not be allowed to tamper with the pacification of the country. The men who, upon the plea of the supreme sovereignty of States, have arrayed the people of the South against those of the North, now that they are defeated in the field, will not be suffered to continue their work in the Legislature. President JOHNSON is clearly of opinion that the American people are not disposed to surrender to arts what they have refused to arms. He does not believe that the rebel leaders are less rebellious because they are baffled. He knows that the cause to which they are devoted is a perpetual rebellion against the Union and Government, and the spirit which inspires them a necessary treason to man and God. Every speech he has made is a warning to those leaders, and an encouragement to the men they have betrayed. For those who have been deceived are the men of the class from which the President himself sprang, and his hostility to the betrayers is based upon long and bitter knowledge.

President JOHNSON can do this country no better service than by persuading it of the cardinal truth that the regeneration of the South is not to come from men like Davis, HUNTER,

WIGFALL, BENJAMIN, SLIDELL, MASON, and their fellow-conspirators and " eminent confederates," but will proceed from the mass of the Southern people white and black. The slave-holding class is not large. The actual pecuniary and political interest of the mass of the population in slavery has been very slight. They have been influenced by it as a prejudice, not a palpable advantage. The great proprietors of the South, who owned the land and the slaves, and who monopolized political power, have always purposely kept the poorer class of whites ignorant. They were painfully degraded. The faithful reports of the best observers for many years have shown us how sad their condition was. And this class could be kept silent while slavery endured. So long as their color was itself a symbol of superiority, and being wretched and poor, they could yet claim to be-long, though but in name, to the ruling class, and despise a servile race, so long they were content to eat clay and submit to a condition against which every man bearing the name of American ought instinctively to protest.

But when slavery goes, when contact with Northern men in the army shows the Southern people what their rights are, they will be ready to claim them. When they find by actual experience that Yankees are neither savages nor brutes—when they perceive that they are not cowards nor base tinkers, but brave men who have overpowered the utmost resources of the South —when the Southern people learn how basely and cruelly they have been deceived by the men whom they trusted, and that they have been fighting DAVIS'S battle, and HUNTER'S, and TOOMBS's, and JACOB THOMPSON'S, and CLEMENT CLAY'S, but have not been fighting their own, then they too will be emancipated from the long bondage of blindness and ignorance which slavery imposes upon the mass of any slaveholding community, and they will be the men, with the slaves who have been instinctively and always faithful to the country, by whom the South will be regenerated.

It is because in the speeches of President JOHNSON we find the indications of this whole-some disbelief in the rebel chiefs and this cordial faith in the multitude that we regard them as peculiarly significant. He is clearly also of opinion that those who are good enough to fight for the Government are good enough to vote for it ; and that a black heart is a more serious defect in an American citizen than a black face. If the measures of the policy now foreshadowed shall be as temperate and firm as its spirit is true the work that ABRAHAM LINCOLN wisely began ANDREW JOHNSON will wisely finish.

GENERAL SHERMAN.

THE convention of General SHERMAN with the rebel General JOHNSTON is not the least of the astounding events of the last few weeks. The rebellion had failed. Its chief army was disbanded. Its military chief had surrendered. Its civil chief was a fugitive. Its capital had fallen. Its last sea-port was gone. The sudden dispersion of its offensive force had been marvelous, when the hero of Georgia and of the Carolinas, the soldier who had led his army through the rebel section from the Ohio to the coast, the Lieutenant who had just returned from an interview with his superior at City Point, and who knew as every body in the country knew that the idea of an armistice had been steadily repelled by the people and the Government, who knew that when President LINCOLN went to Hampton Roads to meet the rebel commissioners he expressly told General GRANT not to suspend military operations for a moment, who knew that General GRANT himself while corresponding with General LEE was still fighting him, the soldier who knew all this and the terms upon which JOHNSTON'S superior had just surrendered to his own superior officer, suddenly quits the military sphere, and dashing into the political and diplomatic, fails as signally and sadly as before he had gloriously triumphed.

General SHERMAN not only treats with the rebel General JOHNSTON, but with " high officials"—that is to say, with the conspirators who have formed what was called " the Confederate Government." He says to his army that, when ratified, the terms will secure peace from the Potomac to the Rio Grande. Ratified by whom ? He has already told us in the convention with JOHNSTON : " Not being fully empowered by our respective principals to fulfill these terms," etc. They are then to be ratified by the principals—that is, by the Government of the United States and the " Confederate Government."

General SHERMAN could not have surprised his country more if he had surrendered his army to JOHNSTON, and the first emotion of every loyal man was the wish to await some explanation of conduct apparently inexplicable. In the absence of such assistance we must seek the solution in what we already know.

General SHERMAN had lived long in Louisiana when the war began. He has been constantly in the remote field of operations, far from the knowledge of current opinion, and he has shown a peculiar hostility to newspapers and correspondents. He had no special sympathy with the moral sentiment which animated the patriotism of the Northern States. He probably

held the Southern view of slavery, although he did not hesitate to say, while opposed to the arming of colored men, that whoever was worthy to carry a musket in defense of the Government was not unworthy to cast a ballot. He has, however, always taken a purely military view of the rebellion. His demand has constantly been merely that the insurgents should lay down their arms ; and he said last autumn that the war had but just begun. By this we understood him to mean that the spirit of rebellion was so desperate that it would prevent the possibility of peace so long as any considerable number of rebels remained in arms.

It was a necessary result of such opinions that he should believe a consent to disband its military forces was a result to be bought of the rebellion at almost any price. We must assume that his experience in Georgia and the Carolinas had confirmed this view. But it still remains inexplicable why he should suppose that he could not make as favorable terms for his country with the miscellaneous army of JOHNSTON as General GRANT had, as he knew, already made with the veterans of ROBERT E. LEE ; or why he should undertake to do upon his own responsibility what he knew the Government had refused to allow his superior to do under circumstances a thousand-fold more unpromising than those in which he stood.

It is hardly possible to believe that he sup-posed his convention would be approved by the country and Government, even before the murder of President LINCOLN ; and equally difficult to perceive how any man of ordinary common sense could anticipate peace upon the terms of his arrangement. But the painful event vindicates the wisdom of President LINCOLN in refusing from the beginning to allow the Generals in the field to decide the questions that were really political. He disapproved all such action in the instances of Generals FREMONT, HUNTER, and McCLELLAN, and his last official act in his first term was an express instruction to General GRANT to confine himself to military operations. General SHERMAN knew that this was the undeviating policy of the Government. He has yet to explain why he utterly disregarded it.

That he had any personal political advantage in view the country will hesitate to believe. That some vision of being the great final Pacificator for a moment bewildered an impetuous and imperious nature is not inconceivable. But that he utterly misunderstands the scope of the war in which he has been so conspicuous and successful a soldier—that he comprehends neither the spirit nor the purpose nor the character of the " high officials" who have been now for four years by arms, and for thirty years by the most unscrupulous and appalling debauchery of the national mind and heart, seeking to destroy the Government of his country—this humiliating proposal to the conspirators is the final and painful proof. That the best of soldiers may be the worst of statesmen is easily credible ; but it is lamentable to have the truth illustrated by a man of whom we were all so proud as we were of General SHERMAN.

THE TRUEST MOURNERS.

WHILE the nation mourns, and cities are solemnly tapestried with the signs of sorrow, and the funeral train moves across the land amidst tolling bells and minute-guns and slow pealing dirges ; while orators and societies and communities speak their grief in impassioned eloquence or in sober narrative of a life devoted in every heart-beat to the common welfare—there is one class of mourners little seen or rudely repulsed, yet whose grief for ABRAHAM LINCOLN is profounder and more universal than all.

To the unhappy race upon whose equal natural rights with ourselves this nation had so long trampled — upon our dusky brothers for whom God has so long asked of us in vain while we haughtily responded that we were not our brothers' keepers, the death that bereaves us all falls with an overwhelming and appalling force. The name of ABRAHAM LINCOLN meant to them freedom, justice, home, family, happiness. In his life they knew that they lived. In his perfect benignity and just purpose, inflexible as the laws of seed-time and harvest, they trusted with all their souls, whoever doubted. Their deliverer, their emancipator, their friend, their father, he was known to them as the impersonation of that liberty for which they had wept and watched, hoping against hope, praying in the very extremity of despair, and waiting with patience so sublime that fat prosperity beguiled us into the meanness of saying that their long endurance of oppression proved that God had created them to be oppressed.

The warm imagination of this people cherished ABRAHAM LINCOLN as more than mortal. He dies ; and in his death slavery doubtless seems to them again possible. It is a sorrow beyond any words, beyond any comfort, except the slow conviction of time that the work he did for them was not his work ; that he was but the minister of the nation ; and that ABRAHAM LINCOLN emancipated them because the American people had declared they should be free. Yet none the less, as the terrible tale is whispered all over the region where for four years a black face has been the sure sign of a true heart, the nameless and inconceivable fear will paralyze

that people. Of the operations of Government, of the tides and currents of public opinion, of the grateful sympathy of a nation, they can know little, but they knew that ABRAHAM LINCOLN was the name of the power that was lifting them from darkness into light, from death into life, from a hopeless past into a jubilant future, and the shock of our sorrow can not re-veal to us, even in kind, the depth and reality of theirs.

And when the story of his life is told, it will be seen that it was one long act of unwearied service to these least of the little ones. He saw clearly from the beginning that the danger to his country lay out of sight—that it lay deep down in the condition of the most friendless of all classes. He saw that the national peril lay in the demoralization of the conscience of the country, wrought by a growing inhumanity and injustice. He saw and said that all prosperity was delusive which was founded upon immorality ; and in a part of the country where the prejudice against the colored race was fiercest, where political disgrace seemed to await the man who persistently pleaded their cause, he never failed to declare in the face of the most subtle sophistry, of the coarsest and most injurious ribaldry, and of the most passionate denunciation, that slavery was, beneath all other considerations, a moral question ; that it was a moral wrong; and that not until all the lights of truth and morality were extinguished could it cease to vex the country, and then cease only because it had ruined it.

He did not unite with " the abolitionists"—he did not even plead for political privileges for colored men—but he unswervingly proclaimed the right of all innocent men to personal liberty; and while he expressly disclaimed any intention of interfering with slavery in the States which tolerated it, he did not hesitate to say, with incisive and irresistible logic, that the Union could not endure half slave and half free. He hoped that slavery would disappear from the country. He knew that if it did not, liberty would ; and he unfolded the details of the great conspiracy, of which the country showed that at last it was aware by electing him President. He believed, also, that the extinction of slavery would be accomplished by legal and peaceful methods. In that he was mistaken. This simple, homely, sagacious man, who declared that the Government could not endure half slave and half free, was called to be the minister of securing its permanence by making it wholly free, and the statesman whom slavery had never deceived, who had exposed its immorality, as the clear calm eye of the old philosopher exposed the serpent in the woman's form, died by a stealthy blow from its desperate, dying hand. His death justifies every word of his life. The shot of the assassin completed the absolute extirpation of the loathsome system which that of the rebels at Sumter four years before had begun.

We are all grateful to the good man whom we are burying, but if we had all been Carolina slaves what speechless woe, what eternal gratitude, would ours be 1 As time passes they will learn that their cause is also ours. They will see that slavery, not LINCOLN, is dead. For the work in which he was but the minister of the people, the people will fulfill to the utmost with a sacred devotion.

RICHARD COBDEN.

THE English Liberals bewail in the death of RICHARD COBDEN one of the great Englishmen; even the London Times confesses that his eminence must remain unquestionable ; and the Emperor Louis NAPOLEON orders his bust to be placed in the gallery at Versailles. Yet he held no office ; he had refused to be made a baronet; but he was universally honored for the sincerity of his life and character, and for the devotion of noble powers to the welfare of his country.

RICHARD COBDEN was what is called a self-made man, which means simply that he used his opportunities, and had the happy gift of knowing when and how to use them. In this he was like Mr. LINCOLN. There are plenty of poor boys, sons of small farmers in England, like RICHARD COBDEN, or of poor Western settlers in America, like ABRAHAM LINCOLN, who are thrown upon the world, and after a desperate struggle succeed in living respectable lives. But it is a peculiar energy, clearness, tenacity, and purity of purpose which enables them to become what LINCOLN and COBDEN were.

It is the good fortune of England at this time that she never had an abler group of liberal leaders. They are a distinct body from the Whig chiefs. In the days of Sir FRANCIS BURDETT the folly of the radical party defeated its best purposes. But the liberal leaders of to-day, such men as RICHARD COBDEN, JOHN STUART MILL, JOHN BRIGHT, with their immediate allies, belittle both the Whig and Tory giants. They represent what is noblest, best, and most humane in English political thought and progress.

Mr. COBDEN'S signal and most illustrious service was his advocacy of free trade. In 1839 ho led the movement for establishing the Anti-Corn Law League, and after a tremendous and incessant agitation, which exasperated the agricultural, as the anti-slavery agitation had exasperated the commercial, interest in England. (Continued next Page)


 

 

  

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