previous next

Cannot be Subjugated.

[From the London Standard] The South seeks for disunion. It wishes to be left alone as a separate people. It does not desire the conquest, it does not him at the humiliation of the North. It will never be satisfied with anything less than disunion — with the complete and unreserved recognition of the State rights guaranteed by the Constitution of the late United States. Disunion is inevitable. If every army of the South were dispersed; if the Northerners were to gain a hundred battles; if every city in the South were garrisoned by Northern troops, every river swept by Northern armaments, it would but delay for a time the accomplishment of the end, which is about as certain as that the sun rises and sets. In the war of Independence the English drove the Americans about like sheep, and occupied every strategic point in the States for months together. They were obliged in the end to give way to the indomitable will of a people determined to be free.

The Americans of that time were but a handful in comparison to the Southerners of to-day. You cannot hold down by any known forces ten millions of people who have sworn to achieve their independence. The armies of Lee and Johnston might be disbanded to-morrow; they might go, like Israel, "every man to his tent." and all the military operations of the Confederate Government be suspended. The Federals would be as far as ever from the conquest of the South. There would still be an enemy in every cottage, a rebel in every field. To reduce this whole population to a condition worse than that of negro slavery would be a task beyond the strength of the mightiest nation on earth. It is not in the power of the North to make the South the Poland of America, nor, if it could be done, would it ever prove profitable or pleasant.

The time has now arrived when the of the North are alive to the truth of what is told us by every man of Southern blood, that there is now between North and South so impassable a barrier of hatred that never under any circumstances, can they be reconciled and reunited. It is perhaps within the power of the Northern belligerents to drive their antagonists to such a last extremity of despair as that which maddened the people of Carthage when their extermination had been decreed by the Roman Senate. When every city has been sacked, every village given to the flames, every farm laid waste, when every Southern man has been slain in battle, every woman has offered herself up on the altar of her country, when every State south of the Potomac is a desert of ashes and of corpses — then, and then only, may the North take possession. Those who think that there is a Providence that rules the world will not believe in the possibility of such a catastrophe.

The people of the North are all jubilant just now at the late successes of their armies. The disastrous defeats of the armies of McClellan, Pope, Burnside and Hooker plunged them not very long ago into the depths of despair. In presuming on the subjugation of the South because Lee has retired and Vicksburg has fallen, they are as much in the wrong as they were in regarding these Southern victories as decisive of the war. With such power of raising armies, and with so vast an extent of ground on which to deploy them, the war must go on indefinitely, so long as either North or South choose to continue it.

The fall of Vicksburg, of Port Hudson, and the opening of the Mississippi to the Federal armaments are great calamities to the Confederate cause in the West, because they cut off from the rest of the South those States which are west of the river. But, as in all contests where naval forces are brought into play, the North has an immense advantage over the South, these occurrences cannot be said to have been unforeseen. The defence of Vicksburg is one of the most heroic feats recorded in history. It is one of those struggles which, successful or unsuccessful, go to form the character and mature the spirit of a people. It is perhaps well for the South that it should meet with misfortunes and undergo heavy trials. It might have presumed too much on an unbroken tide of success, and, in its presumption, rushed upon its ruin. Its manful struggles have earned for it the sympathy of Europe and a place in history.

Centuries after it has emerged from its baptism of fire, and taken its proud place among the nations, the Southern father and the Southern mother will narrate to their children by the fireside, in burning words, the story of their ancestors' prowess, and bid them emulate the deeds of their fathers in the olden time. They will tell their sons of those conquering veterans of Virginia, those dauntless defenders of the blood stained Mississippi bastions. They will tell their daughters how women of Charleston tire off their jewels for the war, how the women of New Orleans hurled defiance at the Northern tyrant in the midst of his troops. Those sons and daughters will then grow up into a people that will be worthy of those from whom they sprung. To us here in England there will be an abiding regret.

We did not one stretch out a band to aid the combatants in this noble struggle for independence. Even Northerners tells us now that we might have stopped the war long ago by the simple recognition of the South. We might have made these brave men our brothers and friends, detached them forever from their selfish kinsmen of the North. As partners in commerce, we should have become the providers of the world, when New York and Philadelphia were as desolate as Tyre and Sydon. We have left the South alone to win its spurs. Our neutrality is designated as selfish. If rightly understood, it is unselfish in the extreme — but it is now unwise and cruel.

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 Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Sort places alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a place to search for it in this document.
United States (United States) (1)
Port Hudson (Louisiana, United States) (1)
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.
Gen Lee (2)
Tyre (1)
McClellan (1)
Johnston (1)
Hooker (1)
Burnside (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: