The ocean and the dikes.
A traveler in Holland
, during the peace of Amiens
, says that one night while he was at one of the coast towns, there came a horrible roar of surge and billow and raving Boreas
; so horrible, that even the phlegmatic Dutchmen
were inclined to give it all up, and many of them sent their wives and children, goods and chattels, far into the interior, never doubting that the dike must give way and their whole town be swamped into annihilation.
Next morning, however, the sun rose clear and bright, and when our traveler, among others, took courage to go down and examine the site of the anticipated breach, he found the dike stronger a million times than all the labor of half a dozen plodding centuries had ever been able to make it. The raging ocean, he says, had hurried before him such a mass of sturdy solid stuff that every heave it gave only added a new line of bulwark to the deserted barrier of trembling Mynheer, who, in consequence of that fortunate hurricane, has ever since rejoiced in a circumvallation that would defy a deluge.
Ever afterwards, when the ocean looked hungrily at him over the dikes, or lashed itself into angry waves, he ate his sauerkraut with increased complacency, and felt very much obliged to the winds and waters for getting into such a passion.
The Confederate States
have had a similar experience with the breakwaters which they built at the beginning of the war to keep out the flood of Yankee invasion.
The barriers at first had such a fragile appearance, that when the Yankee
hurricane began to rise in its wrath the despondent apprehended that the waves would make a clean sweep, and many of the inhabitants of the towns sent off their household gods to the interior.
But, after the storm, came the sunshine, and it was discovered that the dikes waxed stronger in proportion to the strength of the storm.
by a year of siege has been rendered perfectly impregnable; and Richmond
, whose weakness once seemed to invite assault, has become the Gibraltar of America
, so that the London Times
correspondent says no such earthwork fortifications are now to be found elsewhere in the world.
We appreciate our obligations to Lee
; but our principal benefactor is the Yankee
With every fresh transport of its rage, new circumvallations rise,--the more force it sends, the more fortifications appear to resist it. If it will only work away with steady violence we shall see the whole South
converted into one huge fortress.--Therefore, cease not,
With all Yankeedom storming at our doors, we go about our daily avocations with as much composure and regularity as the Dutch
behind their impervious dikes, and snap our fingers at the Yankee
ocean and the blue bellied sharks that are hungering for our destruction.
It is not alone in material fortifications that the fury of the Yankee
elements has aided in throwing barriers in their own way which they will never be able to surmount.
Whereas, at the beginning of the war, a humane military policy like that of McClellan
might have undermined the constancy of some weak brethren; the emancipation, confiscation and extermination madness of Lincoln
, aided by the horrible excesses of his brutal soldiery, has consolidated the whole Confederacy into one gigantic mountain of adamant, impervious alike to the breeze and the tornado, the rippling tide and the roaring billow, We tender our profound acknowledgments to the fanatic rage and remorseless cruelty which have rendered our security more secure, and our separation eternal.
Let the sea and the tornado settle their accounts together.
Between them they have made it a matter of indifference to us whether they live in concord and quietness or discontent and storm.