A sudden transformation.
This is an extraordinary war. In its best aspect war is not the most agreeable and beneficent of human operations.
But it has been found practicable among civilized nations to bring it under the control of certain laws, which relieve it of many horrors common powers among barbarians.
The present war, considering that it is can led on by a people professing not only to be civilized, but the most enlightened and religious on the face of the earth is a very remarkable contest.
We question whether the history of human society ever presented such a sudden transformation in the aspect of a whole nation as has been effected in the North
by this war. We can scarcely realize that we are living on the same continent or in the same world as three years ago.
From the settlement of America
, the character of the Northern
people had exhibited no special information nor aptitudes for belligerent movements.
Not that it was deficient in courage, nor, at any rate upon the sea, in warlike enterprise.--There have been few equals in any navy to the Truxious and Hinmans of the Revolution, (descendants of both of whom are now found battling on the side of the Confederacy
,) or the Perrys, Huils.
Bainbridges, McDonoughs, of the late war But these cases are not illustrative of the general genius and temper of the nation; and, moreover, not a few of them were of Carolina
The out and out Puritan
, though not deficient in pluck, prefers the peaceful picking of his neighbor's pockets, in the pursuit of trade and commerce, to the perilous plunder of the battle field.
It was only in the bloodless conflicts of bargain and sale that the descendants of the Cavaliers had ever been called on to face the descendants of the Roundheads in America
It is needless to say that in those conflicts we uniformly got the worst of it. And who did not?
They had cheated the Dutch
out of their eyes, and swindled the Indians off the face of the earth.
The offspring of the Cavaliers fell an easy prey to the children of the ritans.. From the time when long lines of pedlar wagons invaded the South
to the time when long lines of railroads carried their better dressed but equally nasal and vulgar drummers to every dwelling, they victimized the Southern
community in every shape and form.
All this was natural, and had become so common that to be commercially skinned by the Yankees
was a luxury which we scarcely knew how to dispense with.
But that all these peaceful traders should some day send an army here to cut the throats of their old customers, seemed a piece of insanity which no one not himself insane could attribute to Yankee Doodle
Moreover, there was another reason why, apparently, such a thing could never happen.
The Yankee race had become the most pious and humane, as well as the most shrewd and commercial of mankind.
They had improved upon the Christian
religion in several important particulars, and as for Moses
, he was an ignorant outside barbarian, in comparison with most of the Yankee Doodle
War and slavery, neither of which are prohibited in the Bible
, had been ascertained to be high crimes by the Puritan
The capital punishment of the vilest murderer made them shudder with horror.
They invented Teetotal Societies and colossal Bible, Tract, Christian
, and a hundred other benevolent and religious associations, which celebrated their anniversaries every May in New York, letting loose such a multitude of cadaverous, dyspeptic and unearthly saints upon the country that scarcely a bird presumed to sing or a flower to bloom in their presence.
So powerful and sanctified had the religious organizations of the North
become, that they confidently expected soon to reform the whole world, and many excellent people in the South
began to believe that the Millennium was at hand!
But it was not the Millennium that was at hand, as we now perceive.
It was something else, very different from the Millennium.
Yet who could have imagined that beneath such a saintly surface should be boiling all the fires of hell, soon to be let loose upon us and all we hold dear?
Who could have believed that the commercial columns which had invaded us in peace would be turned into military columns, and that the legions of Yankee saints and angels would so soon become murderers and demons?
Much of this astonishment arises from the foot that we have only known the Puritan
in peace, and never met him in war till now. Whoever will turn to the annals of that race in England
will find that, in almost every particular, so far as the development of Puritan
character is concerned, history is only repeating itself in this country.
The brutal, cruel, greedy, licentious, hypocritical, and sacrilegious Roundheads are alive again in their descendants.
We have no peace to expect with the North
as long as the Puritan
element is permitted to control their politics or their society.