The German and Irish soldiers.
A good deal has been said about the German and Irish soldiers in the Yankee
They seem to be regarded by some as more odious and execrable than the Yankees
by whom they are employed.
We cannot so regard them.
It is true, that in view of the generous and gallant manner in which the South
interposed and saved them from the destruction with which Know Nothingism menaced them politically, socially, and religiously, their conduct in bearing arms for those who would have made them slaves against those who vindicated their freedom is as ungrateful as it is suicidal.
But we can find some extenuating circumstances in their case which the Yankees
Many of them had this alternative presented to them — to enlist in the army or starve.
Others were induced to emigrate to the United States
with the promise of employment as artisans and agriculturists, and then virtually forced into the army.
All were made to believe that the wars which distracted and the taxes which oppressed Europe
could all be avoided here by putting down the rebellion, and thus inaugurating the millennium.
They are at last beginning to find out that they have been deceived, and, if left to their own volition, we believe the majority of them would return to their homes, and leave it to the Yankees
proper to fight out a war in which the Germans and Irish have hitherto been made to bear the brunt of the battle.
In no event ought their conduct to prejudice the Germans and Irish of the South
, who have borne a conspicuous and patriotic part in the defence of their adopted country, and who have illustrated on every battle field the traditional valor of their race.
But, for the Yankees
proper, by which in term we mean the Puritan
breed wherever found, there can be no excuse or extenuation.
They were not forced into the invading army by necessity.
They could have lived and supported their families without invading the South
They took up arms voluntarily against those who had been their own countrymen, who spoke the same language, and worshipped at the same altars with themselves, and who had built them up commercially and materially by the rich products of their soil and industry.
They were prompted by the basest passions in seeking the blood of the Southern
people — by envy, cupidity, and revenge.
Moreover, the war was the natural and legitimate result of the character and principles of that Puritan
race which has always intermeddled with other people's business, which has always been interfering, dictatorial and arrogant, and has never been known willingly to permit any people to enjoy freedom of opinion or conscience but themselves.
of the North
have been but ignorant and helpless tools in the hands of these master villains. --We shall not permit them to shift a particle of the responsibility of the war from themselves to their servile instruments.
The war has been all their own, and if they have not had the nerve to execute with their own hands the vile conception of their evil hearts, so much the blacker is their infamy in the eyes of all mankind.
That we have ever been the countrymen of these Puritan
miscreants is our misfortune and not our fault, but it does not entitle them to any preference over men of different blood and lineage.
On the contrary, it heightens and intensifies their guilt, and makes them more odious and abominable.
It makes their crime, in comparison with that of the foreign mercenaries, like the crime of fratricide in comparison with that of any ordinary murder.
On them, and on them alone, rests the entire responsibility of this war, and of every drop of blood which has been shed, whether of our own soldiers or their own miserable dupes.--As for our own wrongs, we shall be abundantly able to avenge them; as for those which they have inflicted upon their deluded foreign instruments, we live in hopes that the day will come when the Germans and Irish will rise upon them at their own thresholds and take away their name and country.