The Montgomery Muddle — a specimen day.
Mr. Thoma Carlyle
has given somewhere a droll and piquantly cynical description of a new-born baby, with its pink skin, its irrelevant motions, and its many and meaningless wants.
A new Government, when extemporized, not because it is needed, when rather it starts from a stercoraceous bed of corruption and venality, is always the object of laughter to settled States and solid statesmen.
In its assumption of regal airs, in its strut and swagger, in its monkeyfied politics, it reminds us of nothing more forcibly than
of “The two right kings of Brentford” in “The Rehearsal :”
|1st King.||Hasten, brother King, we are sent from above.|
|2d King.||Let us move, let us move--|
| ||Move to remove the fate|
| ||Of Brentford's long united state.|
|1st King.||Tarra, ran tarra, full east by south.|
|2d King.||We sail with thunder in our mouth;|
| ||Busy, busy, busy, we bustle along.|
Or if we may be permitted to make another quotation from the same pregnant play, it shall be this:
|King's Phys.||What man is this that dares disturb our feast.|
|Drawcansir.||He that dares drink, and for that drink dares die;|
| ||And knowing this dares yet drink on, am I!
We suspect that there are a sufficient number of Drawcansirs in the Southern
armies who not only dare drink, and dare die for drink, but who would be very apt to die without drink ; yet we take it for granted that the men of Montgomery
are all solid philosophers, who leave liquor to the poets and the common soldiers, and whose sole and sublime amusements are the construction of paper Constitutions, the begetting of bodies politic, the evocation of cash out of chaos, and the general transmogrification of a small slice of the late Union into a Confederacy.
The millinery department of Mr. Jefferson Davis
's new political concern seems, however, to make the weightiest drafts upon the Southern Congressional
A nation without a flag is no nation at all — hat sublime truth,
at least, has dawned upon the Southern Confederated
, of Alabama
, the other day brought a bushel of flags, of striped and of starry flags, of white
flags before the Congress
, and exhibited them to the delegates just as that abhorred creature, a Yankee peddler, shows his rainbow merchandize to the old ladies.
One he dwelt upon affectionately, as it was “designed by a gentleman of rare intellectual endowments;” and upon its ample and variegated folds the eagle was preserved in all his plumed and pugnacious perfection.
The name of the rare and intellectual gentleman is not given; but with all the rarity of his intellectual powers, his pipe was soon put out, so to speak, by a lady, who sent a piece of patch-work which was exceedingly admired — a remarkable fact, since it is said to “preserve much of the resemblance of the dear old flag” which we should not think would make it exceedingly beautiful in the eyes of thieves and traitors.
The Congress, being much dazzled by all this display of bunting, referred the whole subject to the Flag Committee
, which, without delay, has created and reported the necessary banner.
Thus the Confederacy
is provided for in that respect at least, and what more can it desire?
, clearly; for even a Southern Confederacy cannot live upon loquacity alone.
, therefore, the Congress
has proceeded to raise, or rather, not to speak with frightful inaccuracy, has resolved to raise, to the extent of fifteen millions, whenever anybody with more bullion than brains will lend that trifling
sum for eight per cent. One cannot but notice the exceeding modesty of this proposition, and particularly the high rate of interest which the Confederates
promise to pay. The Rothschilds
will be upon their knees for that loan, and, with tears in their eyes, the Barings will beg for it. But what we exceedingly wonder at, is the moderation of Congress.
Why limit the “raise” to $15,000,000? Why not resolve to borrow $150,000,000? It will be just as easy to obtain the larger sum as the lesser, and it hardly appears respectable for the new nation to set itself up in business upon a petty fifteen million capital.
What will the pickings and stealings, so necessary for the development of patriotism, be worth with such a trifling stock as that to filch from?
Why it will hardly keep some men, heads and fronts of the Confederacy
, too, in pocket money for a quarter!
Do you suppose that peculators who only stood by the United States
while there was a dollar in the treasury, which they could “convey,” will render their inestimable services for any such petty plunder?
Then, too, we are sorry to say that the Congress
, on this same specimen day, wasted its precious time in hearing petitions for patents, and in referring them.
Now when we consider that discovery and invention are shown by the facts and the figures to be quite out of the Southern
line, we cannot but regret to see the energy of the Congress
wasted in raising a Patent Committee at all. In 1856--and other years will show a like proportion--South Carolina
took out seven
letters patent; Georgia
, nine; Florida
, one; Alabama
all the Slave States
, two hundred and ninety-one
against one thousand nine hundred and eighty-two
taken out by the Free States
There would seem to be several things making more imperative demands upon the Confederate Congress than a Patent Office.
A poor but honest State, struggling with financial difficulties, and striving in good faith to secure a position in the family of nations, is worthy of the respect of all mankind; but a State seeking existence at the cost of a cruel and unnecessary rebellion; a State false to its traditions, and traitorous out of mere petulance, must be very strong indeed in money, men, and all other material resources, in order to maintain itself The South cannot complain that it has been slandered by its foes.
It stands to-day self-accused and self-convicted.
From its own newspapers, and from the speeches of its leading men, and by their own passionate confession, we can prove it behindhand in commerce, in intelligent agriculture, in letters and in popular enlightenment.
has said this over and over again, in numberless letters, of his own State of Virginia
; and what is true of Virginia
is true of her Southern sisters.
Do the really intelligent men of these unfortunate States, imagine that acts of Congress, whether in Montgomery
or in Washington
, will bring wealth, industry, prudence, energy — lines of steamers, miles of railway, great commercial centres?
Secede, and secede again, but the curse and blight of Slavery will still remain!
It will be a lesson to the world; it will fill a sad but priceless chapter
in history; but we may well ask that our erring brethren may be spared the sorrow and mortification of teaching it.
March 11, 1861.