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[507] leaders which was wanting in ours. The bitter distich--

Heaven takes the good, too good on earth to stay,
And leaves the bad, too bad to take away,

has a qualified application to this case. Of the army officers — some two hundred in number — who went over to the Rebellion, not one fancied that he was consulting his own ease or physical comfort in so doing. Say they were ambitious, “sectional,” traitorous, forsworn, or whatever you will: it is barely possible that some of them shared the prevalent Southern delusion that the North would not fight; but it is not probable that their error on this point at all approached that of their stay-at-home compatriots,who supposed the North1 a small patch of country mainly devoted to the production of schoolmasters, counter-jumpers, peddlers, and keepers of watering-place hotels, all keen at a bargain, but never to be driven into a fight. Perhaps no other class of the Southern people were so free from the prevalent delusion on this head as were their relatively educated, widely-traveled, observant army officers, who, abandoning the service of their whole country, proffered their swords and their lives to the cause of Human Slavery. On the other hand, the indolent, the stolid, the consciously inefficient, who aspired to light work and easy living, naturally clung to a service wherein they had found what they most desired. The Confederacy might fail; the Union, even though defeated and curtailed, could not well absolutely go down. Many thus remained whose hearts inclined to the other side, but who did not believe the overthrow or disruption of the Union would prove a light undertaking.

X. The more flagrant instances of official cowardice or imbecility which these pages must often record, will sometimes prompt the question--“Were these men downright traitors?” And the general answer must be: Consciously, purposely, according to their own conceptions, they were not. They did not desire, nor seek to compass, tile division of the republic. Many of them were not even bewildered by the fatal delusion of State omnipotence. They hoped for and sought such an issue from our perilous complications as would leave our country undivided, and stronger, more powerful, greater than before. But they had undoubtingly imbibed that one-sided, narrow, false conception of the genius and history of our political fabric which identifies Slavery with the Constitution, making the protection and conservation of the former the chief end of our National existence — not a local and sectional. excrescence, alien and hostile to the true nature and paramount ends of our system, to be borne with patience and restrained from diffusing its virus until opportunity should be presented for its safe eradication. To this large and influential class of our officers, the Rebellion seemed a sad mistake, impelled and excused by the factious, malignant, unjustifiable refusal of the Republicans to give “the South” her ‘rights’ in the territories; and they controllingly desired that there should be the least possible

1 “Do you know John Williams?” asked a Southern young lady of average education, addressing her Yankee school-mistress.--“No, I do not happen to recollect any person of that name.” “Why, I supposed you must know him — he came from the North.”

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