previous next


Piracy and thieving on the Seaboard.

It was a saying of one of the ancient philosophers, that if you drive Nature out of the house with a pitch-fork, she will come in again at the window. The Yankee nature asserts it ruling presence even in the heroic role of war. The Yankee race commenced the campaign with magnificent schemes of conquest; it has degenerated, under the irresistible impulse of Yankee nature, into the petty business of theft, pillage, and arson. Upon the cowardly calculation of four to one, they commenced a war which they otherwise would not have dared to undertake. They thought by the more force of numbers, and without any necessity of hard fighting, to overrun and trample us down. Even in their boastings of these grand intentions, they could not suppress the ruling instincts of the Yankee nature.--Their talk was of property seized, farms confiscated, and wealth and treasure appropriated to the avaricious victors. In the easy conquest which a power of four to one was to give them over the South, their talk was of robbery on the grand scale, and of appropriating other men's goods by the million's worth.

They failed to whip us anywhere. They have gained advantage over us nowhere, except where our own Southern people basely yielded to their corrupting and thieving domination, or took part with them against their Southern brethren. But for this unworthy and unexpected alliance, and but for the advantage which our delay to take up arms and to adopt measures of defence gave them, we should have had them long ago lighting on the defensive within their own boundaries. They have been repelled in every field where they have found an army to oppose them. Disappointed in pushing forward their grand overland expeditions, and in reaping the wholesale plunder expected, they now content themselves with smaller and meaner spoils.

Their grand naval expedition is to become the instrument of an extensive scheme of piracy. It is not to attack our cities or to land its forces and to make head against our troops where they are ready to make fight; but small islands, exposed border plantations, unprotected hen- roosts and pig sties, household and kitchen furniture left under the guard of women, and negro non-combatant peasants laboring in the fields, are the subjects upon which they are to exert their prowess and their valor. The effort of Lincoln and Seward to convert a nation of sharpers into a nation of warriors has already failed. Nature is too strong for art. The overpowering prenatally of the Yankee race to possess what is not their own, has overridden all artifice and all obstacles. Unless they are allowed to turn was into piracy, they can't be made to stomach war.

In the Revolution they quarrelled with England about a trilling tax, and bought and obtained the aid of the Southern colonies on the plea that it was a case of principle. They wanted to throw off a trilling tax, and to liberate their shipping and manufacturing interests from the crossing yoke of British monopoly. The fight on their part was for a selfish end, on ours, for an abstract principle, in which we had but little pecuniary interest. We went with them into the war. We generously sent our troops to their aid and helped them fight all their battles, from Boston, round by Quebec, Saratoga, Bennington, Long Island, Princeton, Trenton, Monmouth, to Germantown and Brandywine. When we had helped them break the enemy's power at the North, and he sought to crush the military power of America, in its sents in the Southern colonies, the selfish Yankees doggedly staid at home, and we had to fight all our battles alone. When we had penned up and caught the enemy at Yorktown, they sent a regiment, which on the way to that place, to reap at a cheap expense of patriotism, some of the glory of that grand culmination of the came.

In 1812 they quarrelled with England about impressing their seamen. We generously, for the national honor, united with them in that quarrel and went into the war to redress the wrongs of New England sailors. The first thing we knew New England refused to fight, burned blue lights to signal the enemy's ships against danger and called a Convention to dissolve the Union they present now to be fighting for. They took a disgust at the tax for the support of the war; and refused to fight. Under the pure Madison, there was no chance for theft in the conduct of it; and unable to play either pirate or plunderer, they opposed it with all their might.

Lincoln and Seward understand the Yankee nature, and know how to make the war popular. By extravagance of expenditure they interest every man in the plunder the war brings; and lest this should prove insufficient a bait, they organize a grand thieving and pirating expedition against our Southern coasts. To give an air of sanctify and philanthropy to the stealing of pigs, the robbing of hen-roosts, and the pillaging of country mansions, they permit negroes, too, to be stolen; and call the whole a blow at slavery.

Are these pirates and thieves to be indulged in the usual amenities of civilized warfare? When caught in straggling parties, after insulting females, pillaging and burning houses, with pigs and chickens on their persons, are they to be taken as prisoners, and treated with the civilities of war; or ought they not to be swung up with ropes, or shot by a file of soldiers?

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
Seward (2)
Lincoln (2)
hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
1812 AD (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: