a war between brethren, is a disgrace to civilization-and any war is a drain upon the life-blood of a nation, and originates in wrong Evil spirits give power to evil men for its inauguration, that amid conflicts of blood they may cast all roaring down to the dark regions, where the waves of oblivion will close over them.
Its evils cannot be written, even in human blood.
It sweeps our race from earth, as if Heaven had repented the making of man. It lays its skinny hand upon society, and leaves it deformed by wretchedness and black with gore.
It marches on its mission of destruction through a red sea
of blood, and tinges the fruits of earth with a sanguine hue, as the mulberry reddened in sympathy with the romantic fate of the devoted lovers.
It “spoils the dance of youthful blood,” and writes sorrow and grief prematurely upon the glad brow of childhood.
It chills the heart and hope of youth.
It drinks the life current of early manhood, and brings down the gray hairs of the aged with sorrow to the grave.
It weaves the widow's weeds with the bridal wreath
, and our land, like Rama, is filled with wailing and lamentation.
It lights up the darkness with the flames of happy homes.
It consumes, like the locusts of Egypt
, every living thing in its pathway.
It wrecks fortunes, brings bankruptcy and repudiation, and blasts the fields of the husbandman — it depopulates towns, and leaves cities a modern Herculaneum
It desolates the firesides, and covers the family dwelling with gloom, and an awful vacancy rests where, like the haunted mansion:
No human figure stirred to go or come,
No face looked forth from open shut or casement,
No chimney smoked; there was no sign of home,
From parapet to basement.
No dog was on the threshold great or small,
No pigeon on the roof, no household creature,
No cat demurely dozing on the wall,
Not one domestic feature.
It loads the people with debt to pass down from one generation to another, like the curse of original sin; upon its merciless errand of violence, it fills the land with crime and tumult and rapine, and it “gluts the grave with untimely victims and peoples the world of perdition.”
In the struggle of its death throes, it heaves the moral elements with convulsions, and leaves few traces of utility behind it to mitigate its curse, and he who inaugurates it, like the ferocious Hun
, should be denominated the scourge of God, and when his day of reckoning shall come, he will call upon the rocks and mountains to hide him from popular indignation.
But with all its attending evils, such a Union cannot be yielded to its demands, nor to avoid its terrors, even though, like the Republic
, we may exchange for a time “liberty, equality, and fraternity,” for infantry, cavalry, and artillery.
Nor are tame and timid measures the guarantors of peace.
It is as much the nature of faction to be base as of patriotism to be noble; and a divided Union, instead of securing peace, would present constant occasion for conflict, and be a fruitful source of war. Let the rabble cry of divide and crucify go on from the throat of faction, and the cold and calculating political Pilates wash their hands, and proclaim their innocence, while their souls are stained with guilt and crime for urging it forward; but let the faithful, conscious of their integrity and strong in truth, endure to the end. Yet ruthless as is the sway, and devastating as the course of war, it is not the greatest of evils nor the last lesson in humiliation.
“Sweet are the uses of adversity.”
In its current of violence and blood, it may purify an atmosphere too long surcharged with discontent and corruption, and apostasy and treachery and littleness, and prove how poor a remedy it is for social grievances.
It may correct the dry-rot of demoralization in public station, and raise us, as a people, above the dead level of a mean and morbid ambition.
It may scatter the tribe of bloated hangers — on who seek to serve their country that they may plunder and betray it; and above all it may arouse the popular mind to a just sense of its responsibility, until it shall select its servants with care, and hold them to a faithful discharge of their duties; until deficient morals shall be held questionable, falsehood a social fault, violations of truth a disqualification and bribery a disgrace-until integrity shall be a recommendation, and treason and larceny crimes.
Can a Union once dissevered be reconstructed by the arrangement of all parties concerned in its formation?
No! When it is once destroyed it is destroyed forever.
Let those who believe it can be, first raise the dead, place the dimpling laugh of childhood upon the lip of age, gather up the petals of May flowers and bind them upon their native stems in primeval freshness amid the frosts of December, bring back the withered leaves of Autumn and breathe into them their early luxuriance, and then bring together again the scattered elements of a dissevered Union, when the generous spring-time of our Republic has passed away, and selfishness and ambition have come upon us with their premature frosts and “Winter of discontent.”
Shall we then surrender to turbulence, and faction, and rebellion, and give up the Union
with all its elements of good, all its holy memories, all its hallowed associations, all its bloodbought history?
No! let the eagle change his plume,
The leaf its hue, the flower its bloom.
But do not give up the Union
Preserve it to “flourish in immortal youth,” until it is dissolved amid the “wreck of matter and the crash of worlds.”
Let the patriot and statesman stand by it to the last, whether assailed by foreign or domestic foes, and if he perishes in the conflict, let him fall like Rienzi
, the last of the Tribunes, upon the same stand where he has preached liberty and equality to his countrymen.
Preserve it in the name of the Fathers of