Revelations of human nature.
It is strange that a man knows less of the appearance of his own face than he does of that of other men, and a good deal less of his own failings.
Such virtues as he possesses he is not apt to be ignorant of; it is possible be may even over-estimate them; but ‘"the mystery of iniquity"’ in his heart is a thing which he knows nothing of, or, if he suspects, which he ignores as much as possible, and endeavors not to believe in. It is in vain that the records of Inspiration and the teachings of the Church
proclaim that man is very far gone from original righteousness; it is in vain that twice every Sunday the preacher reiterates with solemn emphasis the story of man's guilt, requiring a Divine sacrifice to stone for it, and deserving, if unforgiven, eternal woes.
The people depart, and do not believe a word of it, or, in the graphic language of Holy Writ, are like the man who hath seen his face in a glass and departed and straightway forgeteth what manner of man he was. And as with individuals, so with nations.
A nation, like an individual, is as blind to its own infirmities as it is to the virtues of other nations, and as sharp-sighted to its own merits as it is to their faults.
Among all the nations of the earth, none has been more self complacent and pharisaic than the late United States
We were accustomed to consider cursolves the purest, the wisest, the most humane of all nations.
On every Fourth of July we assembled to make proclamation to the Universe of the superlative virtue of our ancestors and ourselves, and even our preachers, who, on Sunday, denounced us individuality as the chief of sinners, declared on every Fourth of July that collectively, we were the most intelligent and virtuous of human beings.
Whilst there was no part of the country which was troubled with an excess of humility, New England
distanced every other section of the United States
in its sublime self laudation.
It extolled its Pilgrim Fathers
as only second to the Apostles, and its sons as worthy of such fathers.
It declared that freedom of religion, and civil and political liberty, had found their last and an impregnable refuge upon their rock-bound shore.
It never ceased to point out the contrast between the intelligence and the humanity of New Englanders and the ignorance and brutality of the European
It absolutely conceived that the very countenances of its people were more intelligent and humane than those of beef-eating Englishmen, pock-marked Irishmen, and stolid Germans.
It boasted eternally of its various benevolent societies for the relief of suffering humanity, in which large sums were subscribed for various philanthropic objects, and the names of the contributors conspicuously published in the newspapers, so as not to let the left hand know what the right hand death.
They were especially excited upon the subject of African
bondage, and shewed the most earnest desire to atone for the slave-catching of their fathers, by setting at liberty the objects of their cupidity, without regard to the consequences to themselves or anybody else.
They were so compassionate to human misery, that for years they have been endeavoring to mitigate the severity of the criminal code, and have succeeded in some of their States in abolishing the death penalty of murder.
They had even exhibited a considerable degree of activity in endeavoring to procure the passage of laws preventing cruelty to animals.
The angelic tenderness and sympathy of their natures welled out in a flood of crystal tears over the soul subduing stories of the saintly Mrs. Stowe
I find their lives became completely miserable by an excess of sensibility and compassion.
It is scarcely a year since we were all, in the North and South, cursing King Bomba for his alleged cruelties to a people, who, it appears, divert their minds from their own sorrows by scandalous theatrical exhibitions of Southern slavery.
We were astounded that men could be thrust into dungeons without trial; that they could sometimes be even put to death by the soldiery.
We looked down upon a region which had never known habeas corpus,
nor trial by jury, nor free speech, as comfortable travellers would look from the top of the Blue Ridge
upon the cabins of the railroad laborers in the valley below.
We no more dreamed that America
could be reduced to such a state in five hundred years than that we should live to see the end of the world — How often have we read with horror the atrocities of the French Revolution
, and what man in America
has ever believed that his own continent or his own race could ever exhibit such an infernal spirit?
In the pride of our self-complacency, we attributed these unutterable horrors to the peculiar character of the French
, whom we had been taught to believe were the ‘"half monkey, half tiger,"’ they have been described by one of their own writers.
Who could have believed that in 1861 there would be a Republican Bomba in the Executive
chair of the United States
that civil and political liberty would be as completely overthrown at Washington
as in Vienna
and that a policy would be inaugurated towards a large section of this country as bloody, licentious and cruel as ever disgraced the worst era of the French Revolution
The speech of Wendell Phillips
on the battle of Bull Run
and the daily ravings of the New York Tribune
, Times and other Black Republican journals, are brim-full of Jacobin ferocity, and show us behind the meek, sympathizing mask of New England
philanthropy, the undisguised devilism of Rebespierre. In this speech, which has the support of such men as Senators Wade
, Preston King
and others, he says that the guilotine established at Washington
should cut off the heads of everybody suspected of not being a fanatical Abolitionist, and then he says: ‘"Every man, black
, that enters your camp.
hang him or arm him!"’ ‘"To-day,"’ he continues, ‘"belongs to the negro.
To-day is consecrated to the slave.
of every man, woman or child who will not take the oath of allegiance"’--that is, of allegiance to Abolitionism.
He calls for the abrogation of the Constitution
, and reiterates his favorite dictum
that ‘"the Constitution
is a covenant with death and an agreement with hell."’ The sum and end of his wisher is that the plains of the South
shall be deluged with human gore, as a punishment for the past existence of slavery.
Such has the fearful revelations of human nature which did war has made in one section.
The other, thank Heaven, has stood the fiery feat, and has come out pure gold.
We are not so absurd as to fall into the very self delusion that we have just pointed out, by claiming for the South
exemption from the common passions and frailties of humanity.
But her , whatever they may be, are not those of by y stry dishonesty and cruelly.
She who has been denounced as a slaveholding despotism, to the only CL mtion and left in America
of constitution liberty.
Whilst the North
has been thanking God that it is not as other men, the South
, in the presence of such saintly virtue, has scarcely presumed to lift up her eyes to Heaven, but she will come out of this war justified rather than that Pharisee, in humanity and mercy not less than in courage and patriotism.