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Robert E. Lee Portrait
BEHOLD her now, with restless,
Crouching, a thing forlorn,
beside the way !
Behold her ruined altars heaped
today With ashes of her costly sacrifice !
How changed the once proud State
that led the strife, And flung the war cry first throughout the land! See
helpless now the parricidal hand
Which aimed the first blow at the
nation's life !
The grass is growing in the
Where stand the shattered spires,
the broken walls; And through the solemn noonday silence falls The sentry's
footstep as he treads his beat.
Behold once more the old flag
Above the ruined fortress by the
No longer shall that glorious
The ensign of a land where dwells the slave.
Hark! on the air what swelling
anthems rise--A ransomed people, by the sword set free, Are chanting now a song
Hear how their voices echo to the
0 righteous retribution, great
Behold the palm tree fallen to
Where Freedom, rising from a
second birth, No more shall trail her garments in the dust!
SATURDAY, MARCH 18, 1865.
THE inaugural address of the
President is characteristically simple and solemn. He neither speculates, nor
prophesies, nor sentimentalizes. Four years have revealed to every mind the
ghastly truth that the Government of the United States is struggling in a death
grapple with slavery ; and as a new epoch of the Government opens in civil war,
its Chief Magistrate states the vital point of the contest, and invokes God's
blessing upon the effort of the country to finish its work in triumph. With a
certain grand and quaint vigor, unprecedented in modern politics, the President
says: "Fondly do we hope, fervently do we pray, that this mighty scourge of war
may soon pass away. Yet, if God wills that it continue until all the wealth
piled by the bondman's two hundred and fifty years of unrequited toil shall be
sunk, and until every drop of blood drawn with the lash shall be paid with
another drawn with the sword, as was said three thousand years ago, so, still it
must be said : ' The judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether."'
We are especially glad that the
inaugural does not, as the New York Tribune wishes it did, " appeal to the
rebels for a cessation of hostilities as pleadingly as its prototype [the first
inaugural] urged forbearance from beginning them." Such a tone would have been
neither politic nor humane. When the President speaks of " the progress of our
arms upon which all else chiefly depends," every man is reminded of the peace
history of the last year, and of the terms which have been constantly repeated,
and which are perfectly well known to the rebels and to the world. Those terms
are unconditional submission to the laws of the United States.
We are equally glad that the
President indulges in no observations upon Mexico, England, France, and things
in general. He was taking the oath to continue the work in which his conduct has
so satisfied the country that he is continued in his office by general assent.
With a fine sense of propriety he says, in the gravest and most impressive way,
that he accepts the trust and prays for strength to do his duty. And all true
American hearts say, Amen !
PERILS OF THE RAIL.
THERE have been more than fifty
serious railway accidents in the country since the year opened. In the last week
of February there were ten, and since the first of January more than sixty
people have been killed, and nearly five hundred wounded. The Ohio Senate has
appointed a Committee to report upon some plan by which human life can be better
protected upon railroads. Scarcely a day passes that some disaster is not
recorded, and if the people of the country, in their Legislatures, do not help
themselves they are likely to go unaided.
That Government should not meddle
with private affairs is very true. But wholesale slaughter upon railroads which
derive all their privileges from the people is not a private affair. There is a
contract between the companies and the people. Personal safety is one of the
inevitable although unexpressed conditions of the contract. If it is broken by
the privileged party, the party that grants the privilege may properly take the
steps necessary to secure the fulfillment of the conditions. Legislative control
of a railroad company may be undesirable, but universal accident and slaughter
upon railroads are much less desirable ; and whenever a company established for
the public convenience becomes a public danger, the public will very properly
insist upon taking care of itself, by imposing new conditions upon the company.
So unfortunate a season for
was never known in this country.
The reasons are many. All the roads are well worn. The price of iron has been so
high that, at a time when the roads were most worked, repairs have been delayed.
The long continued frosts have weakened the rails and the iron work of the
locomotives. The throng of passengers and the press of freight have been
unprecedented, and the Government has constantly wanted locomotives and
engineers. Consequently rails have snapped in every direction ;
been disabled; trains have been whirled from the track ; the cars have been
crowded and uncomfortable ; time tables have been utterly useless ; connections
have been seldom made, and trains have been quite uniformly delayed.
If any man thinks that the
Legislature has no right to meddle with private affairs we should like to seat
him in a car from New York to New Haven, and when the train is thundering along
at thirty miles an hour, jerking and jumping from the track and every passenger
waiting for the crash, ask his opinion of the right of any company to play with
human life as it is played with upon that road. Or if he is confident that every
company should be left to mind its own affairs, we should like to stand him up
in a car upon the New York Central from Albany to Utica, with no chance of a
seat, and, reminding him that there was no chance of helping himself by the
competition of another road, ask him whether he paid his fare for the privilege
of discomfort, and whether the charter was granted for the public accommodation
Of course the companies are not
responsible for not overcoming the elements ; but they are responsible for not
accommodating themselves to circumstances. For instance, a traveler lately left
Albany for the West upon the Central Road. The train was very heavy ; there were
twelve cars. It was crowded, and in every car some passengers were standing all
the way. The weather was cold, and when the traveler who sat near the stove
asked the boy who tended the fires to put in some dry wood he replied, good
humoredly : " Dried wood ! Golly, there are twenty four stoves on this train and
only two on 'em has any fire, and yourn's one. Ef yer wait for dry wood yer'll
freeze pretty sudden. This wood was all cut down this mornin'." From eight
o'clock in the morning until nine at night there was no stoppage for eating. The
train was laboring along behind time ; and whether, as one critic said, the
President of the road was interested in coal, and so had had the locomotives
changed from wood burners to coal burners : or whether an untimely parsimony had
compelled the Company to use green wood to make steam, the result was the same,
the most baffling and disastrous delay.
" I advise every body to keep
cool and take it philosophical," said a traveler, who was calmly smoking a
cigar, at ten o'clock in the evening. " I have been on the go since the 28th of
December, and I hain't made but two connections in all that time. Might as well
be cool about it. Here's this Central Road. Out of sixty locomotives, forty of 'em
is in the shop. Two smashed up this morning at Utiky. Better take it
philosophical," All this time no water was to be found for the children. Every
one of these inconveniences could have been easily remedied by an efficient
superintendence ; and if the increased weight of the trains or diminished power
of the locomotives prevented making time the time could be altered.
It was agreeable for the
travelers in that train to reflect that the Company, which was responsible for
all this discomfort, was at that very moment beseeching the Legislature for
additional privilege. But if the Central Road treats its passengers like dogs,
when it can only charge them two cents a mile, it will treat them like pigs when
it can charge them three. There is a profound public sentiment hostile to the
increased grant. But it is undoubtedly true that if the Company had been careful
to be courteous and considerate, and had, by very obvious and simple means,
secured the good feeling instead of the ill feeling of the public, the new grant
would have been regarded very differently.
It remains to be seen whether any
fresh securities of greater public safety and comfort are to be made the
conditions of the new privileges of this dangerous corporation.
THE London Times, in politely
saying to its late pets the rebels, "emancipation will not save you," adds that
such an act upon the part of the confederates" would merely make it absolutely
clear that "the federals were fighting, not for the freedom of the negro or the
soil, but for imperial dominion, and nothing else."
When the Scottish Jacobites were
defeated at Culloden, when SMITH O'BRIEN was seized in Ireland and transported,
when the Sepoys were blown from cannon in India, what was the British Government
doing ? Was it fighting for imperial dominion and nothing else, or was it
fighting to maintain the authority of the Government? Is not every sovereign
power fighting for imperial dominion when it refuses to yield to rebellion upon
its own domain? And has the Government of the United States less rightful
sovereign authority over the United States than England has over Scotland,
Ireland, or India?
It is necessary constantly to
expose this absurdity, because incessant repetition at last works conviction.
Or is it pretended that this
Government is debarred from maintaining its sovereignty by force because it
exists by the consent of the governed ? Does the Times or any Englishman gravely
assert that therefore any citizen may refuse to pay his tax, or to resist a law
which he does not like ? If he does, he should mend his knowledge by a little
When the Parliament took arms
against CHARLES FIRST, what was the justification? That he had violated the
Constitution of England. What was that Constitution? It was a theory and a
series of laws and precedents. The theory was that the Government should consist
of King, Lords, and Commons. Each part had its privilege. The King asserted a
certain extent to his. The Parliament denied it. The most vehement Parliamentary
historians agree that the limits of the prerogative had never been exactly
defined. Why, then, had not the King a right to determine the limits as well as
the Parliament ? Because, rightfully answered Parliament, that would put the
liberties of every Englishman at his mercy. The King must do nothing against the
law, and the law is made by the representatives of the people. The law,
therefore, represents the will or consent of the people. Does the Times deny
that the Government of England exists by the practical consent of Englishmen ?
What else did Lord RUSSELL mean when he said at Blairgowrie, two years ago, that
the British Government would remain neutral in the American war, because
undoubtedly a numerical majority of Englishmen sympathized with the American
Government? What is the danger that threatens England today? That the consent of
the people will be disregarded ; in which case, the London Times would be
terribly taught what is the source of government.
"Yes," says the Times, " but the
English never admitted the right of revolution." But whether they have or not,
they have practiced it. What is the foundation of the present system in England
but " the glorious revolution" of 1688 which drove JAMES SECOND from the throne
? What was its justification ? The wrongs of the English people, which had no
present or prospective legal redress. What was the justification of the American
revolution of 1776 ? The wrongs of the Colonists, which had no present or
prospective legal redress. That is the only right of revolution ever asserted in
America, and that came in direct descent from England.
But the right of revolution can
neither be pleaded for the rebels, nor do they plead it for themselves. It is
the right of secession by which they justify their rebellion. Not only had they
no unredressed wrongs to declare, but General LEE, their captain, confessed that
the rebellion was a mistake, although he did not refuse to yield to the
secession of his State. The American people have no more asserted the right of
any body of citizens to revolt from their government at pleasure than the
English have asserted it ; and any causeless insurrection in Kent or Yorkshire
could as properly plead the revolution of '88 as a justification as the
rebellion in the South can plead the principles of '76.
There is many a man who is
perplexed by such sophistry as this of the Times and of Lord RUSSELL'S dogma,
that " the North is fighting for empire and the South for independence." But a
little reflection will show him the fallacy.
THE Senate of the United States
has appropriated twenty-five thousand dollars for the purchase of a picture, by
Mr. W. H. POWELL, to be placed in the Capitol at Washington. Senator SUMNER in
vain endeavored to provide that no contract should be made until competition had
been invited among the painters of the country. The resolution was pressed to a
vote, and carried by twenty-three yeas against seventeen nays.
Against this action of the Senate
we enter a protest. Mr. POWELL is doubtless a deserving gentleman. We certainly
know nothing to the contrary. But he does not rank among the most eminent
painters in the country ; while the sum appropriated is, we believe, the largest
ever paid by Congress for a picture. Mr. POWELL'S picture of DE SOTO discovering
the Mississippi hangs in the rotunda of the Capitol at Washington, and it is, in
no sense, a work of the highest excellence. But the question involved is not
personal. Our objection to the proceeding would be the same whoever had been
named by the resolution.
We know nothing of the methods
which have been employed to secure this preference of Mr. POWELL ; but we do
know something of the manner in which such a result is usually achieved. It is
what is commonly called lobbying. It has little reference to the capacity of the
artist or to the value of the work. The interest of some Senator or Senators is
enlisted by personal appeals not pecuniary, but personal. The pressure of
private recommendations is brought to bear recommendations well merited
doubtless as to the worth of the individual, but not valu
able as to the ability of the
artist until finally the matter becomes a point of pride, and the project is
consummated. The consequences of such a method may be contemplated in the
Capitol. They are both ludicrous and humiliating.
Plainly the proper course is an
open competition. There is not a painter in the country who would not gladly
compete for such a work and such a price, and the collection of cartoons which
would thus be produced would be both valuable and interesting, while many of
those which were unsuccessful would be privately commissioned. This course would
enhance the dignity of American art and the popular interest in it; and however
opinions might differ as to the propriety of the final decision of the
Congressional Committee, there would be no question that all possible means had
been taken to reach a fair verdict. This can never be the case so long as the
present method is pursued. It is seldom known that a picture is to be ordered
until the preparations are completed to secure the success of a certain
individual. The inevitable result is dissatisfaction and suspicion, by which the
artist himself does not fail to suffer.
The Capitol of the United States
is in many respects a noble building ; and Mr. POWELL is, we have no doubt
whatever, a very worthy gentleman. If there is any good reason why the
Government should make him a valuable present, we do not complain. But why
should the Senate employ a worthy gentleman at a high price to deface the
GILMER'S LITTLE JOKE.
AMONG the reluctant rebels was
Mr. GILMER, of North Carolina. He was formerly conspicuous in Congress, and so
moderate " a Southerner" that his name was mentioned among those of his section
who might be properly invited to a place in
Mr. LINCOLN'S cabinet four years
ago. Mr. GILMER is a large slaveholder, and has been a quiet and conservative
member of the rebel Congress at Richmond.
After the failure of the late
peace negotiations Mr. GILMER introduced some resolutions into the rebel House
which, if despair has not deranged his mind, are in intelligible only as a
cunning satire upon the absurdity of the claims of the rebellion. They are in
the form of a supplement to the resolutions which declare that the rebels will
prosecute the war until they have gained their independence, and resolve that, "
notwithstanding all this, we believe the Confederate States would consent toŚ"
what does the reader suppose ? They would consent, resolves the sly Mr. GILMER,
" that there be a separation between the United States and the Confederate
States of America, each perfectly free and independent of each other."
That is the first thing they
would " consent to." They would farther consent that there should be a " Diet,"
to which each might send as many delegates and in such manner as it chose. In
the Diet there should be but two votes, one by the Northern, the other by the
Southern delegates, and its acts should be binding upon neither party until
ratified by each. Finally, the rebels would consent to allow Kentucky and
Missouri to decide, by a vote of the people resident in those States at the
beginning of the war, whether they would go with the North or the South.
This is grim jesting. It is not
difficult to imagine Mr. GILMER, after hearing BENJAMIN'S speech, which declared
the last hope of the rebellion to be the help of the slaves, rising and
suggesting with Mephistophelian gravity that, whereas the " Confederate States"
took up arms to secure their independence, and whereas, after a war of four
years, they are now manifestly overcome by the superior power of the Government,
and whereas they can not secure their independence by arms, therefore the same "
Confederate States," as a compromise and final adjustment of the quarrel, will "
consent to" the recognition of their independence by the United States
SOUTHERN PEOPLE UNDECEIVED.
WHY should the rebel leaders
wonder that the people around them no longer trust them? The Southern people are
rapidly discovering that they have been fooled by men whose aim was their own
aggrandizement, not the welfare of the whole. These men cry frantically to their
followers to stand fast. But why should they? Don't despond, says
But why should they not ? Have the results of the war or its conduct been such
as to teach them confidence ?
The Richmond Examiner
despairingly exclaims : " If Richmond be held but another six months the fate of
the Confederacy will have been favorably decided."
This was on the 27th of February,
1865 ; but in February, 1861, just four years before, JEFFERSON DAVIS said in
Stevenson, Alabama : "Your border States will gladly come into the Southern
Confederacy within sixty days, as we will be your only friends. England will
recognize us, and a glorious future is before us. The grass will grow in the
Northern cities where the pavements have been worn by the tread of coin- (Next