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 He vigorously protests against what he characterizes as a sort of literary conspiracy on the part of Southern writers “to glorify the achievement which they didn't achieve, to change the apparent motive of the war, to magnify the genius of the rebel generals, and belittle their conquerors — an endeavor to write into respectability the meanest of causes, and invest with a glamor of heroism the most inexcusable of crimes.” “ This disposition,” he says, “first showed itself in the careful substitution of the term “civil war” instead of “rebellion,” uniformly adopted by many standard publications to avoid offending any of their readers. It is true that it was a civil war, and we might generalize still more of its character out of sight by using the invention of a celebrated satirist, and calling it an “onpleasantnis.” Specifically, it was a rebellion and nothing else. It never rose to the character of a revolution, for it never had possession of the capital or the public archives, never stopped the wheels of the Government for a single day, was suppressed in the end, and attained none of its objects. It is always good rhetoric, and generally good policy to call things by the most specific name they will bear. Then came careful corrections of figures. The Confederate General So-and-so only had so many men at such a battle, instead of the larger number he has always been credited with, and only lost so many, while his Federal antagonist had three times the number, and lost two and a half times as many as the records of the War Department say he did. Then, by some ingenious course of reasoning, a battle that has been scored as a victory for the national troops is shown to have been a sort of quiet triumph for the rebels. And this goes on till the reader wonders what became of all the men who were raked into the Confederate service by the wholesale conscriptions, and why the “cause” that won such a succession of victories was not finally successful. This literary conspiracy — which appears to have taken possession of the Historical Society at Richmond, and turned it into something like a bureau for the falsification of history — has culminated in the publication by Jefferson Davis of two large volumes, intended to set forth what he and his Confederacy tried to do for the cause of liberty, and how it happened that the powers of despotism defeated his beneficent plans.” Now we do not care to reply to these “glittering generalities.” When Mr. Rossiter Johnson (we are not informed what part he took in “crushing the rebellion” ), or any one else, points out any particular in which we have been guilty of a “falsification of history,” we promise to confess our error, and do all in our power to correct it. But, to be frank, we confess that we should be slow to accept the guidance of a man who shows such profound ignorance as to say that Lee “never won an offensive battle,” [we wonder what he calls “Seven days” around Richmond, Second Manassas, Chancellorsville, the first days in the Wilderness, Reams's Station, etc.?], and who shows a spirit that would revive the fabrications with which Northern writers flooded the world during and just after the war, and would remand the chief “Rebels” to prison, or the hangman.
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