pleased really to consider, as well as call, the best and most beneficent government the world has yet been permitted to see—our government!
This, I submit, is cant, pure cant, and at the threshold of discussion we had best free our minds of it, wholly, if we can; if not wholly, then in so far as we can. Philip the Second of Spain
, when he directed his crusade in the name of God, Church, and Government, against William of Orange
, indulged in it in quite as good faith as we, and as for Charles ‘the Martyr’ and the ‘sainted’ Laud
, for two centuries after Cromwell's head was stuck on a pole, all England
annually lamented in sackcloth and ashes the wrongs inflicted by sacrilegious hands on those most assuredly well-meaning rulers and men. All depends on the point of view, and, during our own Civil War, while we unceasingly denounced the wilful wickedness of those who bore parricidal arms against the one immaculate authority yet given the eye of man to look upon, the leading newspaper of the world was referring to us in perfect good faith ‘as an insensate and degenerate people.’
An English member of Parliament, speaking at the same time in equally good faith, declared that throughout the length and breadth of Great Britain
, public sentiment was almost unanimously on the side of ‘the southerners,’ as ours was on the side of the Boers, because our ‘rebels’ were ‘fighting against one of the most grinding, one of the most galling, one of the most irritating attempts to establish tyrranical government that ever disgraced the history of the world.’
Upon the correctness or otherwise of these judgments I do not care to pass.
They certainly cannot be reconciled.
The single point I make is that they were, when made, the expression of views honestly and sincerely entertained.
We sympathize with Great Britain
's rebels; Great Britain
sympathized with our rebels.
Our rebels in 1862, as theirs in 1900, thoroughly believed they were resisting an iniquitous attempt to deprive them of their rights, and to establish over them a ‘grinding,’ a ‘galling,’ and an ‘irritating’ ‘tyrannical government.’
We in 1861, as Great Britain
in 1898, and Charles ‘the Martyr’ and Philip of Spain
some centuries earlier, were fully convinced that we were engaged in God's work while we trod under foot the ‘rebel’ and the ‘traitor.’
Presently, as distance lends a more correct perspective, and things are viewed in their true proportions, we will get perhaps to realize that our case furnishes no exception to the general rule, and that we, too, like the English
‘generally sympathize with everybody's rebels but our own.’
Justice may then be done.