Two foreign opinions of the Confederate cause and people.As illustrating the absurd opinions which may be published by even an intelligent foreigner whose only view of the facts about our late war has been through the medium of so called “history,” manufactured by fanatics of the North for consumption across the waters, we give the following, as presented by our gallant and accomplished Vice-President for Mississippi-General W. T. Martin, in the Natchez Democrat. We may add that the author from whom General Martin quotes never saw, so far as we know, a copy of the Southern Historical Papers, or anything giving our side of the question.
General Martin's letter.
In vivid contrast to the miserable twaddle of the above extracts from this “Popular history of France,” (which will no doubt be circulated even in the South and used in some of our schools), we give the following beautiful tribute of that accomplished Englishman, Percy Greg, Esq., who was in the Confederacy during a part of the war, who has been since a student of American History, who is a regular reader of the Southern Historical Society Papers, and has made himself familiar with the true history of our great struggle for constitutional freedom. As a regular contributor to the London Standard and other periodicals, he has written a number of articles in defence of Confederates, and their cause, and the following but adds to the many obligations under which he has placed us.
Percy Greg's tribute to Confederate heroes.
Do you forget, then, “rejoined Cleveland,” how often the hand of Providence has been manifestly against the better cause? Do you forget the Pagan saying that reconciles so many readers of history to the fall of the noblest States and the defeat of the truest heroes, “Victrix causa Deis placuit, sed victa Catoni,” or the cynical paradox of the French  Empire, that “ Heaven is on the side of the bigger battalions?” Do you forget, again, that in the American struggle everything that was personally great and noble was to be found almost exclusively on the Southern side? The North produced no gentleman and chevalier worthy to be named in the same day with him who led so long the splendid chivalry of Virginia and the Carolinas, and before whom, on every occasion, the Northern cavalry (often the Northern infantry) were scattered like chaff before the wind. The Unionists had no twenty statesmen whose combined moral and intellectual powers would have reached the level of President Davis; indeed, the comparative quality of the two nations could hardly be better illustrated than by contrasting the Mississippi soldier and gentleman chosen to rule the ‘rebels’ with the “rail-splitter” representative of the “legitimate” democracy, whose term, had he died in his bed four or five years later, would have been remembered only as marking the nadis of American political decline; the culmination of the vulgarity, moral as well as formal, of the unworthiness and ignobleness that had so long dishonored more and more deeply the chair of Washington. Lincoln's uncleanness of language and thought would hardly have been tolerated in a Southern “ bar.” Or, again, take the favorites of the North--the best known names in the camp and Cabinet — Sheridan and Hunter, whose ravages recall the devastation of the Palatinate, political rowdies like Banks and Butler, braggarts like Pope and Hooker, or even professional soldiers like Meade, Sigel, Sherman. These are the ‘household words’ of the North, and any one Southern chief of the second rank — Ewell, Early, Fitzhugh Lee, Hardee, Polk, Hampton, Gilmer, Gordon — alone outweighs them all. Needless to remind you that among the ‘twenty millions--mostly fools’--was no man whom even party spirit dared liken to the stern, simple Virginia professor, the Cavalier-Puritan, whose brigade of recruits stood “like a stone wall” under the convergent fire of artillery and rifles that was closing round them at Mannassas; no A. P. Hill, second only to Jackson among the lieutenants of Lee; no strategist comparable to him whose death by simple self-neglect marred the victory of Corinth, or his namesake, who baffled so long the threefold force of Sherman in the Georgia campaign. Rivers, railways and brute numbers only enabled the Federal power not to conquer, but to exhaust, on fifty battlefields, nearly all disastrous and disgraceful to the Union, the flower of that “incomparable Southern infantry,” whose superiority is acknowledged in these very words by one of the bitterest of Northern historians. Washington himself cannot sustain as soldier, statesman or citizen a comparison with the last and greatest of the long list of Virginia heroes.  Not all the military exploits of all former American history thrown into one can count with the defence of thirty miles of slender earthworks by a force never from the first numbering more than 45,000, and at last dwindling to 28,000, against armies counting as potentially or actually available a quarter of a million. “Since the last Athenian covered his face with his mantle and mutely died,” the world has seen no such example of absolute, unconscious simplicity, utter self-devotion, patriotism, yet more signally exhibited in humiliating disaster than in a brilliant career of victory, as that shown by General Lee--the first military chief of the age, yet greater in the college than even in the camp; the noblest member of a splendid chilvary, yet most noble amid the ruins of his cause, his country, and his fortunes; the one true knight sans tache, sans peur, et sans reproche, the living embodiment of all that is grandest in the ideals of the past as of all that is simplest in the promised republican manhood of the future; ideal soldier, pattern Christian, selfless man, and stainless gentleman. Little as man can know of the ways of Providence, what indication, however clear, of the probable purposes of Heaven could for a moment countervail to my conscience or to yours the warranty given for the righteousness of a cause by the names of Stuart, Stonewall Jackson, and Robert Edward Lee?We are willing that the world shall judge our cause and people, if only the world shall have the facts, and not the false and slanderous version with which the mind of the nations has been poisoned against us. Surely our people ought to sustain this Southern Historical Society, and place it on such a foundation that it may make itself still more potent at home and abroad in vindicating the truth of history.