opportunity, and actually bestowed instead a severe blow upon the heads of his allies, is a mournful example of the peril of fighting entirely in the dark.
This we would have supposed at first sight to be absolutely without a parallel, but a few sentences lower down we meet with an assertion that may well be allowed to contest the palm.
“It (the slave power) could permit neither the territorial extension of the North
nor the criticism of a free press beyond its boundaries.”
The last clause of this sentence contains such a flagrant absurdity that we can hardly suppose that even this author intended to say what his language actually conveys.
If he did not, the wording of the sentence should he so altered as to show us what he really did mean; if he did, the statement is too utterly baseless and preposterous to need or deserve contradiction.
The assertion in regard to the extension of Northern territory, if not so utterly and ludicrously absurd, is quite as much at variance with the facts, as the most cursory glance at the history of the country will suffice to demonstrate.
Indeed, the ignorance that can alone explain or palliate such a misrepresentation would be inexcusable in a school boy. What must be thought of it, then, in a man gravely assuming the functions of an accurate and impartial historian?
Has the Count
never heard of the ordinance by which Virginia
bestowed upon the Union
, in the direct interest of the territorial extension of the North
, an empire not far inferior in extent to the France of our own time?
Is he aware that from that period up to the beginning of the late war a territory nearly three times as great in extent had been added to the area of the Northern
section of the Confederacy
as to that of the Southern
Does he know that at the period of the first Confederation the area of the Northern
colonies was to that of the Southern
in the proportion of only about one to four?
If the South
could not, and did not, permit “the territorial extension of the North
,” how was this proportion so essentially altered as to give to the Northern
section of the Union
an overwhelming preponderance?
But we beg pardon for wasting time upon so perfectly obvious a point, especially as the author has done us the favor to contradict himself flatly a few pages further on. It is really unfortunate for him that he cannot determine which view of the matter is on the whole most favorable to the side he has espoused and abide by it. He would at least avoid by this means the necessity of attempting to maintain grossly inconsistent positions.