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A private Battery.

We find the following paragraph in the Charleston (S. C.) correspondence of a contemporary:
A salute was fired this afternoon by Captain James W. Meridith's private battery in honor of the ratification of the Constitution by South Carolina, and the hoisting of the Confederate States flag.

Well, in the rapid onset of nineteenth century civilization, beautifully bewritten and philosophized as it has been, Charleston does outrun New York. There are a hundred things which are handy to have in the house. Mr. Toodles knew it; Mrs. Toodles knew it; we all know it. But do ever the most prudent of us think of providing, keeping, maintaining, casting mounting, loading, priming and discharging a private battery? There were private fortifications, as we have been informed, in the Middle Ages. There were certain counterscarps, ravelins and moats in My Uncle Toby's garden, which might be generically classed under the head of “Private Battery.” Burglars go [142] about with their pockets full of six-shooters — real private batteries. But in these peaceful times at least in these peaceful regions, we buy pots, pans, kettles, cooking-ranges; but we do not buy private batteries. Mrs. Younghusband does not say to the lord of her bosom: “My love, there is the nicest little Paixhan, second-hand and dirt-cheap, just round the corner — and the man throws in the balls, my dear — and I have found saltpetre going for a song, in a charming shop, and sulphur for nothing at all, and we can grind our own powder, love! and Tommy will help us to cast bullets, and, bless my soul there is a small-arms manufacturer just below us, with the neatest swords that you ever saw — and do not forget to remind John that we are out of cartridges, and really the gardener is quite behindhand with his ditch. We may be assaulted to-morrow, Mr. Younghusband. I wish you would not be forever neglecting our defenses.”

Does this sort of small talk season the South Carolina cakes and coffee? Obviously — for has not Mr. James W. Meredith put up) erected and established a private battery? Where did he get his guns? Really, we do not know! He cast them, we suppose. South Carolina has every blessing which the Creator has ever bestowed upon any State--why should she not have one more, to wit, a brass mine She expects all the results of human ingenuity to come begging for barter at her door — why should not trampers arrive there now and then with a few seventy-sixes at a bargain? Perhaps Mr. James W. Meredith bought the guns and gave his note for the purchase money. Perhaps-- [143]

But why should we speculate? Why should the fact — that is to say, the exceedingly remote fact — that these private guns may be pointed at our private and particular business and bosoms, discompose us into querulous interrogatory? It will be a long time, we fancy, before we shall see Mr. James W. Meredith's guns gaping in this neighborhood. That battery is a fixture. It is for the protection of Capt. Meredith, Mrs. Meredith and all the little Merediths! Old Meredith maintains a battery that he may breakfast, dine, sup, sleep, sow, reap and flog at his ease. It will be an improvident procedure, and one which we hope Mrs. Captain will not consent to, for Meredith to permit the battery to go off the place. “We neither borrow nor lend batteries,” should be the Meredith legend. “Buy your own batteries,” should be the steady answer upon application for a loan.

It is not all of us who can afford the luxury of a “Private Battery.” We have seen fearful statistics of the actual cost of discharging once a single gun. To say nothing of the expense of private gunners and swabbers and rammers and powder-monkeys. But Meredith can do it, we suppose. Meredith can keep horses and slaves and private batteries — no end of them, to be sure! Meredith's cotton is not mortgaged up to the last sprout. Meredith is flush. A whole day's bombardment would be a bagatelle to Meredith.

Of what description are Meredith's guns? Upon our life and soul, we do not know. How many? We really do not know. Long Toms Swivels, Carronades? [144] ronades? Again, we say we do not know. How should we? We have never kept a Private Battery.

April 12, 1861.

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