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SATURDAY, JANUARY 7, 1865.
THE NEW YEAR.
A HAPPY NEW YEAR ! There are few
faithful American citizens who can doubt that the new year will be a happy one,
because it will see the virtual overthrow of the rebellion against the principle
of free popular constitutional government ; the restoration of the Union, and
the destruction of the only present cause of national danger.
This is the moment of the year
when men examine their moral, social, and financial accounts ; when they form
good resolutions ; when some men begin new lives, and magazines and journals
begin new volumes. The Ninth Volume of HARPER'S WEEKLY opens with this Number.
Begun as a literary and social weekly journal with occasional illustrations, it
has become a pictorial history of the times, taking part in the great national
debate which has been carried on in the battle field and in the political arena.
When HARPER'S WEEKLY was first
issued party spirit was fierce, and two great parties were contending,
constitutionally, as was believed, for the possession of the Government. The
WEEKLY maintained a strict party neutrality, and aimed to interest and entertain
men of all parties. But when the political debate ended and parties were
annihilated by the war waged by a faction against the nation and Government, a
war which imperiled every public and private interest, the WEEKLY declared for
the cause of the country, and has maintained that cause ever since, and will
continue to maintain it until, by God's grace and the patriotic valor of
American citizens, it is permanently secure.
The WEEKLY has defended the
President LINCOLN not only because it was the constitutional
administration, but because its measures for the salvation of the country have
seemed entirely honest and generally wise. It advocated Mr. LINCOLN'S
re-election for many reasons, a single one of which was sufficient namely, that
he represented the policy of an unconditional maintenance of the Government, and
his adversary did not. It rejoiced in the result not for the personal success of
its candidate, but for the overwhelming evidence given in the election of the
strength of the free popular system and of the patriotic purpose of the people.
Grateful to the army and navy, by
whose brave hands, skillfully directed, the great war has been and still is
fought, it has been the pleasure and privilege of the WEEKLY to depict the
famous battles, and the heroes on sea and land, by which the salvation of the
country is achieved. It has thus been in peaceful homes a constantly renewed
monument of the bravery and suffering which preserved that peace, and in the
camp and on the deck a regular messenger of the unfailing sympathy and interest
with which the soldiers and sailors are followed at home. Withal, the WEEKLY has
not omitted its literary miscellany or its careful digest of news.
It is but another sign of the
fidelity of the people to their own Government that the course of the paper has
been so cordially approved, that its circulation has greatly increased despite
the withdrawal of its former Southern support. Thankful for its prosperity, and
for the causes of it, and hoping still to retain that public sympathy which
springs from a common devotion to the Union and the principles of the United
States Government, HARPER'S WEEKLY utters to all its friends the wish, which it
believes will be a prophecy, of A HAPPY NEW YEAR !
Look out for me about
SHERMAN, as he began his great
march through Georgia, of which we present
a series of illustrations to day, and which culminated in the capture of
Savannah upon the 22d December. The rebel General HARDER, with the bulk of his
army, escaped ; but General SHERMAN captured one hundred and fifty guns,
locomotives, one hundred and ninety cars, three steamers, a large
quantity of ammunition and materials of war, and thirty-three thousand bales of
This is the triumphant completion
of a campaign which, at its beginning, every one must have felt to be daring and
dangerous, and which, seen from Europe, appeared in its just proportions as one
of the great military movements of modern times. Its success was clearly seen to
be the proof of fatal weakness in the rebel section and to foretell the doom of
the rebellion and it has succeeded. It is a success which can not be extenuated
or explained away. General SHERMAN and his army moved from
Atlanta because neither JOHNSTON, nor HOOD, nor JEFFERSON DAVIS, nor the rebel
Confederacy could help themselves. And SHERMAN and his men made " an agreeable
march" from Atlanta to Savannah because the people of Georgia did not care to
help themselves. He masked his movement, indeed, so
that the fat wits of soldiers
HOWELL COBB never knew where his main body was nor whither he was going.
But if the people of
Georgia had been " fired," as at some times during the war
they have undoubtedly been, they would have desolated the whole region, the
richest belt of Georgia, through which his course lay, and impeding his advance
by the total destruction of roads, crops, and bridges, his march would have been
delayed, and its issue most uncertain.
As it is, the campaign of SHERMAN
from the first of May to the end of December, from Chattanooga to Savannah, is
the most remarkable in American annals. The skill and celerity with which, by
incessant strategy, he pushed
JOHNSTON back upon his own ground, naturally
favorable for defense and carefully defended, and the equal skill with which,
wrapping himself in a cloud, he passed resistlessly from Atlanta to the sea,
will be a military study sure always to kindle admiration and surprise. The
chapters of future history which recount this campaign will be the strangest and
most picturesque of the war. The man whose name it bears will be forever
memorable in his country.
The consequence of the capture of
Savannah is exactly that of the capture of
New Orleans and
Fort Donelson and
Vicksburg and Atlanta and Chattanooga, of the opening of the Mississippi and the
occupation of Mobile Bay, and the march from the north of the Rapidan to the
south of the James and the Shenandoah victories and the terrible rout of
HOOD—that is, the consequence is the suppression of the rebellion. JEFFERSON
DAVIS declares that all such captures and successes are of no importance. His
allies at the North echo his words. He and they inform us that as the rebels
never mean to be subdued, all steps toward subduing them are useless. But we can
not repeat too often that such talk is mere folly. Does any belligerent ever
mean to be subdued ? Do JEFFERSON DAVIS and his Northern parrots suppose that
their loud vociferation of fighting to the death is a very persuasive argument,
in view of the march through Georgia made "agreeable" by the. fact that the
people of that State do not mean to fight to the death ?
Mr. JEFFERSON DAVIS and his crew
may be as gentlemanly and solemnly resolved as their Northern friends announce,
but the laws of nature continue to operate nevertheless. And when the strategic
points of the rebel section are held by the national army, and the rebel forces
are dispersed, and the jealousies that attend a losing cause begin to develop,
and the truth of the whole question begins to shine into the darkened mind of
the Southern States, the chief leaders will begin to escape, the war will
dwindle into guerrilla fighting, and peace will gradually come again, as slowly,
perhaps, but not less surely than Spring will follow this Winter.
BULL UPON SHERMAN.
THE most amusing reading of the
day is the British press upon SHERMAN'S march. That he is a great fool or a
great military genius is the general verdict, with all the chances in favor of
the former view.
The London Saturday Review, for
instance, the organ of the dilettante aristocratic sympathy with Slavery and the
armed attempt to extend and confirm its deadly hold upon this continent,
remarks, after a careful statement of its theory of the necessity and causes of
the movement, a statement which it made with the evident fear of SHERMAN'S
success : " If, however, SHERMAN is baffled in his undertaking, the balance of
advantage during the past year will have been largely in favor of the
Confederates." That is a piece of news for which we trust the rebels will be
duly grateful. " On the other hand," it continues, "Richmond would be in
imminent danger if SHERMAN succeeded in reaching Beaufort with a large and
effective army. It would be almost impossible, against such an addition to the
enemy's force, for LEE to maintain his communications with the South and with
the West. Yet in the last resort, he could easily secure a retreat into
Tennessee, where the Federals are already hard pressed by some of his officers"
General HOOD, for instance.
"The war," it continues, " would
certainly not be terminated by the loss of Virginia, if [there is virtue in an
if] the entire country to the west of the mountains and to the frontier of
Kentucky were occupied by the Confederates.
LEE were forced to evacuate
Richmond, he would probably be able to reconquer
Nashville, which is already annoyed, if not seriously threatened by
the operations of Confederate detachments."
This "if" and "probably," the
exact value of which we can now see, are the only crumbs of comfort the Saturday
Review throws its rebel friends in their dire extremity.
On the other hand, the London
Spectator, friendly to our Government, has a masterly review of the vast
difficulties and dangers which beset SHERMAN'S march, "an episode calculated to
make men who are not Americans hold their breath." It continues ; " Only a
singular combination of circumstances could make such an enterprise a hopeful or
even a possible one ;" and then proceeds to a careful review of the favorable
chances. At the close of this the Spec-
tator says that if SHERMAN takes
Charleston or Savannah, " the South loses one more city, one more centre of
supplies, one more cause for the confidence which supports her people. Her
territory will have been traversed by an invading army from west to east, her
noblest State will be threatened by a formidable invasion from south as well as
north, and her whole power may, if the success is followed up, be cut in two. On
the other hand, if General SHERMAN is defeated, the North loses her finest army
and one of her most efficient Generals, but her territory, her people, and her
resources remain absolutely intact. The risk in any view is a fearful one, but
it is by the successful running of such risks that great campaigns are won and
great Generals extort from the world unwilling recognition. There is not a
General now alive in Europe who, if SHERMAN succeeds, will not recognize the
addition of one more name to the short list of first class leaders of armies."
SHERMAN has succeeded, and his
success more than justifies the expectation of the Spectator, which will now
probably withdraw the opening remark of its article that no commanding genius in
war has been developed upon either side.
DAYTON AND MR. NOYES.
BY the death of
WILLIAM L. DAYTON
WILLIAM CURTIS NOYES this country loses two of its most faithful,
characteristic, and useful citizens. Their various ability, their profound and
earnest convictions, their noble consecration of fine powers to the purest
purpose, are known to all who knew them, and in the story of this trying time
will remain honored and conspicuous.
But there was especially in each
of them the distinctive characteristics of our nationality. They were both of
them men who believed in the original rights of men and the capacity of the
people to frame and maintain a constitutional government, and the consequent
necessity of public education and the elevation of the public morality. In Paris
Mr. DAYTON succeeded a series of ministers who, either holding slaves themselves
or apologizing for Slavery, could not possibly represent that faith in human
rights and the political capacity of the people which distinguishes America from
every other country in the world. The political and social philosophy of Mr.
DAYTON'S immediate predecessors was not only European but medieval and feudal,
and no man who believed in the principle of the American Government, as held by
FRANKLIN, our first Minister in Paris, could fail to see that such persons as
JOHN Y. MASON, WILLIAM C. RIVES, and CHARLES J. FAULKNER fundamentally
JOHN SLIDELL represents in Paris
to day exactly the spirit, purpose, and political faith which were formerly
represented by RIVES, MASON, and FAULKNER a faith and purpose which every humane
and liberal Frenchman who understands it sincerely despises, and a spirit which
is essentially hostile to that of our Government. In the midst of the foul
intrigues of American gamblers, slaveholders, adventurers, and old partisan
tricksters, of whom JOHN SLIDELL is a type, the manly earnestness and honest
courtesy and noble principles of WILLIAM L. DAYTON were as purifying as a north
wind in the hot miasma of a swamp. He was himself a vindication of the cause of
the American Union and Liberty, as SLIDELL is an illustration of that of
national ruin and slavery.
So likewise, in the city of New
York, Mr. NOYES serenely kept the same faith and showed it in his career. There
was no wiser counselor in politics or in law. He was neither timid nor
extravagant, and never failed upon due occasion to speak his faith with that
tranquil sincerity and plain dignity which are finer than eloquence. Technically
speaking, Mr. NOYES was not in public life ; but when he was sent as a delegate
from New York to the Peace Conference in 1861, his position was so purely
patriotic, and all he said was so wise, and firm, and lofty that in the record
of its meetings no truer statesman appears.
When such men die their country
is bereaved. In a time of civil war their fall is like that of tried Generals in
battle. For their harmonious lives and words inspire the faith and the courage
which make armies irresistible, and confirm in the national heart that purpose
which saves the nation and civil liberty together.
IF we were at war with cannibals
who ate alive the prisoners whom they took from our armies, we could not
retaliate in kind. If we were fighting Indians who burned their captives at the
stake, we could not retaliate in kind. We are at war with men whom the long
habit of enslaving other men has imbruted and barbarized, and who starve and
freeze to death the prisoners who fall into their hands. Of the fact there can
be no reasonable doubt. The testimony is conclusive. Nor is there any reason why
men who do not hesitate in time of peace to force other men to work for them
without wages, that they may live in idleness and call themselves "gentlemen,"
should be reluctant to expose their prisoners to starvation. It is not so
barbarous to starve a prisoner who has been fighting
against you as it is to whip a
man to death because he will not work for you for nothing.
What ought to be done? It is a
question which is constantly asked and is no easy to answer. It is estimated
that we have some sixty thousand rebel prisoners, and that the rebels have about
forty-five thousand loyal men in their hands. If we exchange them man for man we
give the staggering rebellion a fresh army. That is one of the purposes of the
rebel starvation of our men: Yet how can we relieve their unhappy condition if
they are not exchanged ?
Retaliation is a policy
authorized by the customs of all nations. It has its limits of course. With us
the object of retaliation would be to put an end to the torture of loyal men.
But it could not use torture as a means. Northern men would not tolerate it.
They are not used to seeing women whipped for so loving their children as to try
to save them from being sold at the shambles, and they could not starve helpless
men to death.
But if retaliation does not admit
torture it does allow death. Retaliation need not necessarily be in kind. If it
be wise to resort to it at all in the present instance and on that there must
always be a question then for the Union prisoners put to death by the slow agony
of starvation and exposure, certain designated rebel prisoners should be shot to
death. When two Union officers were to be hung in Richmond the prompt order of
the Government that two rebel officers in our hands should suffer the same fate
saved our men. So when the rebel officers were placed in the trenches before
Charleston, it procured the release of Union officers who had been put under
fire. And when retaliation on either side has been carried to extremity it has
not occasioned a general massacre, as some unwise persons predicted.
The question at best is very
difficult. No Government ought to be severely censured either for refusing to
reinforce its enemy's army, or for declining to destroy prisoners of war. To
justify retaliation in the abstract is very easy: to advise it in a specific
instance is to assume a very solemn responsibility.
PARDON OF MRS. HUTCHINS.
IT would be a great satisfaction
to know why the President has pardoned Mrs. HUTCHINS, a woman of Baltimore, who
gave a sword to HARRY GILMORE, the leader of the raiders into Maryland last
summer, and by reputation one of the most active and malignant of rebel
emissaries and abettors. Upon trial and conviction she was sentenced a few weeks
since to five years' imprisonment, and now she is turned loose again, nor is
there any intimation that she is to be sent beyond the lines.
A woman like this Mrs. HUTCHINS
may, and constantly does, give the information that
MOSBY and every guerrilla
marauder most desires, and which is of the utmost service to Davis and LEE at
Richmond. From the beginning of the war, from Mrs. GREENHOW down to Mrs.
HUTCHINS, women have been, because of their sex, the most useful agents of the
traitors, and they have very seldom been punished, although in a few instances
they have been sent to the rebels.
How many a precious, noble, loyal
life have such women virtually taken ! To how many massacres have they not
directly shown the way ! Of what infinite sorrow to private hearts and of injury
to the public welfare, have they not been the occasion !
Of course in the absence of all
other knowledge than the public announcements of Mrs. HUTCHINS'S crime, trial,
sentence, imprisonment, for five years, and release at the end of five weeks, we
have no right and no disposition to do more than suggest that in such cases it
is very easy, and would greatly conduce to public satisfaction, if the
Government would state briefly the reasons of the respite. It would cost no more
time or trouble than the announcement that a Colonel is promoted to be General
for heroic conduct in a battle, and it would certainly greatly relieve the minds
and hearts of those whose sons and brothers may have been killed in resisting
HARRY GILMORE'S raid, to know why his accomplice is set free. The fact of the
release graitifies Mrs. HUTCHINS'S friends. To know the reason would satisfy the
friends of her victims.
" Arctic Researches and Life
among the Esquimaux," by CHARLES FRANCIS HALL (HARPER & BROTHERS). This is a
peculiarly fresh and delightful book. The childlike simplicity and earnestness
of Mr. HALL give a charm to his words which recalls the Swiss Family Robinson
and Robinson Crusoe. Living in Ohio, far from the sea, his mind and heart are
interested by the story of the search for Sir JOHN FRANKLIN. His imagination is
oppressed by the horror of the absolute uncertainty that rests upon the
explorer's fate, and he feels himself called to penetrate the mystery as clearly
as any knight of old was called to fight for the holy sepulchre. He is persuaded
that, as traditions of remote events had long survived among the Esquimaux,
there must be true stories of the fate of FRANKLIN, which can be ascertained
only by living among them, and obtaining such familiarity with their language,
and such friendly relations with them, that they would frankly tell all they
knew. No relics could tell the tale. He is sure that the truth lives only in the