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[196] between them. That fatal apple of discord, the Presidency, never made ally one of them the rival of any other. They acted together for one object; and that was success in the military contest. They resolved to transfer the scene of decisive conflict from the Peninsula to the neighbor-hood of Richmond; and that this was a wise determination is shown by a glance at the map. The Peninsula has York River on one side and James River on the other; these rivers must sooner or later have been commanded by our gunboats, and then their forces would have been turned and defeated. The surrender of Norfolk was a source of mortification; but it was a judicious step. The garrison was wanted at Richmond much more than at Norfolk; and as the Confederates had no navy, and their entire coast was or soon would be blockaded, the possession of Norfolk, though it gratified their pride, was of no substantial advantage to them.

The loss of the Merrimac was a more painful sacrifice still: it was indeed a blow upon the naked heart; but it was a judicious, nay, an inevitable, step, and, as such, it was at last acquiesced in.

In the political contests which have ended in the present civil war, it was often said by Northern writers and speakers that the South was an oligarchy, and that though their political forms were democratic their institutions were aristocratic. The remark is, to some extent, true. In the Southern States the mass of the people have always been content to follow the lead of a comparatively few persons who have practised politics as a profession.

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