It is, in effect, in virtue of this claim to peculiar impartiality — an impartiality supposed naturally to belong to the author's position and antecedents — and because of the undue weight which it is likely to have on this account among persons not well acquainted with the facts of the case, that we have thought it worth while to notice a few of its most glaring errors and perversions.
At this point we find ourselves seriously embarrassed and impeded by the very variety and wealth of our materials.
The text absolutely swarms with blunders.
Errors, misconceptions, misstatements, confront as on every page, not to mention the arrogant prejudice and elaborate one-sidedness that pervade the whole, as instanced in such samples of judicially impartial historical narrative as the following:
In short, the mere fact that a simple Kansas farmer named John Brown, who had been ruined and persecuted by the slave-holders, sought to wreak his revenge upon them in Virginia, and had gathered together a dozen of fugitive slaves at Harper's Ferry, was sufficient to arouse a terrible sensation in the South.
It was thought that a civil war had broken out, preparations were made for a great uprising, and it was found necessary to send regular troops from Washington to seize this man, who expiated upon the gallows the crime of having frightened the proud Virginians.
Whether by accident or intentionally, the Confederates selected the 4th of March to adopt a new flag, and on the day when Mr. Lincoln entered upon the discharge of his functions the Stars and Bars, as the banner of the rebellion was called, were audaciously displayed in seven States.
Comment would be superflous; and it is necessary, moreover, that we should hasten to a more important part of our subject than the taste and temper of the historian.
The task of selection, as we have said, is difficult amid such distracting abundance, but a beginning must be made, and we will take as our first instance a blunder neither more nor less gross than the swarm of others which give the work perhaps a chance of surviving as one of the curiosities of literature.
On page 84 of the volume before us we meet with this truly remarkable statement:
The North, through an imprudent exercise of the spirit of conciliation, had allowed the Constitution to be violated by shameful compromises.
The barriers of the free States had been lowered