Abbildungen der Seite

said my friend. No. The American Government is not called on to make such proclamations; nor had Ireland ever taken upon herself the nature and labours of a belligerent.

That this anger on the part of the North is unreasonable I cannot doubt. That it is unfortunate, grievous, and very bitter I am quite sure. But I do not think that it is in


degree surprising. I am inclined to think that did I belong to Boston as I do belong to London, I should share in the feeling, and rave as loudly as all men there have raved against the coldness of England. When men have on hand such a job of work as the North has now undertaken they are always guided by their feelings rather than their reason. What two men ever had a quarrel in which each did not think that all the world, if just, would espouse his own side of the dispute ? The North feels that it has been more than loyal to the South, and that the South has taken advantage of that over-loyalty to betray the North. “We have worked for them, and fought for them, and paid for them,” says the North. “By our labour we have raised their indolence to a par with our energy. While we have worked like men, we have allowed them to talk and bluster. We have warmed them in our bosom, and now they turn against us and sting us. The world sees that this is so. England, above all, must see it, and seeing it should speak out her true opinion.” The North is hot with such thoughts as these, and one cannot wonder that she should be angry with her friend, when her friend, with an expression of certain easy good wishes, bids her fight out her own battles. The North has been unreasonable with England ;--but I believe that every reader of this page would have been as unreasonable had that reader been born in Massachusetts.

Mr. and Mrs. Jones are the dearly beloved friends of my fam. ily. My wife and I have lived with Mrs. Jones on terms of intimacy which have been quite endearing. Jones has had the run of my house with perfect freedom, and in Mrs. Jones' drawing-room I have always had my own arm-chair, and have been regaled with large breakfast-cups of tea, quite as though I were at home. But of a sudden Jones and his wife have fallen out, and there is for a while in Jones' Hall a cat and dog life that may end-in one hardly dare to surmise what calamity. Mrs. Jones begs that I will interfere with her husband, and Jones entreats the good offices of my wife in moderating the hot temper of his own. But we know better than that. If we interfere, the chances are that my dear friends will make it


and turn upon us.

I grieve beyond measure in a general way at

the temporary break up of the Jones' Hall happiness. I express general wishes that it may be temporary. But as for saying which is right or which is wrong, -as to expressing special sympathy on either side in such a quarrel,-it is out of the question. “My dear Jones, you must excuse me. Any news in the City to-day ? Sugars have fell; how are teas ? Of course Jones thinks that I'm a brute; but what can I do?

I have been somewhat surprised to find the trouble that has been taken by American orators, statesmen, and logicians to prove that this secession on the part of the South has been reyolutionary ;-that is to say, that it has been undertaken and carried on not in compliance with the Constitution of the United States, but in defiance of it. This has been done over and over again by some of the greatest men of the North, and has been done most successfully. But what then? Of course the movement has been revolutionary and anti-constitutional. Nobody, no single Southerner, can really believe that the Constitution of the United States as framed in 1787, or altered since, intended to give to the separate States the power of seceding as they pleased. It is surely useless going through long arguments to prove this, seeing that it is absolutely proved by the absence of any clause giving such licence to the separate States. Such licence would have been destructive to the very idea of a great nationality. Where would New England have been as a part of the United States, if New York, which stretches from the Atlantic to the borders of Canada, had been endowed with the power of cutting off the six Northern States from the rest of the Union ? No one will for a moment doubt that the movement was revolutionary, and yet infinite pains are taken to prove a fact that is patent to every one.

It is revolutionary, but what then? Have the Northern States of the American Union taken upon themselves in 1861 to proclaim their opinion that revolution is a sin ? Are they going back to the divine right of any sovereignty? Are they going to tell the world that a nation or a people is bound to remain in any political status, because that status is the recognized form of government under which such a people have lived ? Is this to be the doctrine of United States citizens, of all people ? And is this the doctrine preached now, of all times, when the King of Naples and the Italian dukes have just been dismissed from their thrones with such enchanting nonchalance, because their people have not chosen to keep them ? Of course the movement is revolutionary; and why not? It is agreed now among all men and all nations that any people

may change its form of government to any other, if it wills to do so,--and if it can do so.

There are two other points on which these Northern statesmen and logicians also insist, and these two other points are at any rate better worth an argument than that which touches the question of revolution. It being settled that secession on the part of the Southerners is revolution, it is argued, firstly, that no occasion for revolution had been given by the North to the South; and, secondly, that the South has been dishonest in its revolutionary tactics. Men certainly should not raise a revolution for nothing; and it may certainly be declared that whatever men do, they should do honestly.

But in that matter of the cause and ground for revolution, it is so very easy for either party to put in a plea that shall be satisfactory to itself! Mr. and Mrs. Jones each had a separate story. Mr.Jones was sure that the right lay with him: but Mrs. Jones was no less sure. No doubt the North had done much for the South ;-had earned money for it; had fed it;-and had moreover in a great measure fostered all its bad habits. It had not only been generous to the South, but over-indulgent. But also it had continually irritated the South by meddling with that which the Southerners believed to be a question absolutely private to themselves. The matter was illustrated to me by a New Hampshire man who was conversant with black bears. At the hotels in the New Hampshire mountains it is customary to find black bears chained to poles. These bears are caught among the hills, and are thus imprisoned for the amusement of the hotel guests. "Them Southerners,” said my friend, “ are jist as one as that 'ere bear. We feeds him and gives him a house and his belly is ollers full. But then, jist becase he's a black bear, we're ollers a poking him with sticks, and a course the beast is kinder riled. He wants to be back to the mountains. He wouldn't have his belly filled, but he'd have his own way. It's jist so with them Southerners.”

It is of no use proving to any man or to any nation that they have got all they should want, if they have not got all that they do want. If a servant desires to go, it is of no avail to show him that he has all he can desire in his present place. The Northerners say that they have given no offence to the Southerners, and that therefore the South is wrong to raise a revolution. The very fact that the North is the North, is an offence to the South. As long as Mr. and Mrs. Jones were one in heart and one in feeling, having the same hopes and the same joys, it was well that they should remain together. But when it is

proved that they cannot so live without tearing out each other's eyes, Sir Cresswell Cresswell, the revolutionary institution of domestic life, interferes and separates them. This is the age of such separations. I do not wonder that the North should use its logic to show that it has received cause of offence but given none. But I do think that such logic is thrown away. The matter is not one for argument. The South has thought that it can do better without the North than with it; and if it has the power to separate itself, it must be conceded that it has the right.

And then as to that question of honesty. Whatever men do they certainly should do honestly. Speaking broadly one may say that the rule applies to nations as strongly as to individuals, and should be observed in politics as accurately as in other matters. We must, however, confess that men who are scrupulous in their private dealings do too constantly drop those scruples when they handle public affairs,--and especially when they handle them at stirring moments of great national changes. The name of Napoleon III. stands fair now before Europe, and yet he filched the French empire with a falsehood. The union of England and Ireland is a successful fact, but nevertheless it can hardly be said that it was honestly achieved. I heartily believe that the whole of Texas is improved in every sense by having been taken from Mexico and added to the Southern States, but I much doubt whether that annexation was accomplished with absolute honesty. We all reverence the name of Cavour, but Cavour did not consent to abandon Nice to France with clean hands. When men have political ends to gain they regard their opponents as adversaries, and then that old rule of war is brought to bear, Deceit or valour, -- either may be used against a foe. Would it were not so! The rascally rule -rascally in reference to all political contests—is becoming less universal than it was. But it still exists with sufficient force to be urged as an excuse; and while it does exist it seems almost needless to show that a certain amount of fraud has been used by a certain party in a revolution. If the South be ultimately successful, the fraud of which it may have been guilty will be condoned by the world.

The Southern or democratic party of the United States had, as all men know, been in power for many years. Either Southern Presidents had been elected, or Northern Presidents with Southern politics. The South for many years had had the disposition of military matters, and the power of distributing military appliances of all descriptions. It is now alleged by the

North that a conspiracy had long been hatching in the South with the view of giving to the Southern States the power of secession whenever they might think fit to secede; and it is further alleged that President after President for years back has unduly sent the military treasure of the nation away from the North down to the South, in order that the South might be prepared when the day should come. That a President with Southern instincts should unduly favour the South, that he should strengthen the South, and feel that arms and ammunition were stored there with better effect than they could be stored in the North, is very probable. We all understand what is the bias of a man's mind, and how strong that bias may become when the man is not especially scrupulous. But I do not believe that any President previous to Buchanan sent military materials to the South with the self-acknowledged purpose of using them against the Union. That Buchanan did so, or knowingly allowed this to be done, I do believe, and I think that Buchanan was a traitor to the country whose servant he was and whose pay he received.

And now, having said so much in the way of introduction, I will begin my journey.


NEWPORT-RHODE ISLAND. WE—the we consisting of my wife and myself-left Liverpool for Boston on the 24th August, 1861, in the “ Arabia,” one of Cunard's North American mail packets. We had determined that my wife should return alone at the beginning of winter, when I intended to go to a part of the country in which, under the existing circumstances of the war, a lady might not feel herself altogether comfortable. I proposed staying in America over the winter, and returning in the spring; and this programme I have carried out with sufficient exactness.

The “ Arabia” touched at Halifax; and as the touch extended from 11 A.m. to 6 P.M. we had an opportunity of seeing a good deal of that colony;not quite sufficient to justify me at this critical age in writing a chapter of travels in Nova Scotia, but enough perhaps to warrant a paragraph. It chanced that a cousin of mine was then in command of the troops there, so that we saw the fort with all the honours. A dinner on shore was, I think, a greater treat to us even than this. We also in

« ZurückWeiter »