The Irrepressible New Englander
We frequently meet with agreeable pictures of the hopeless isolation and ruin which will be brought upon New England
by the eventual separation of the Northwestern
and Middle States from the Land of the Pilgrims.
Chained to a barren rock, with a vulture devouring her liver, she would expiate her crimes against humanity, and present an example of the final tribulations of sinners, which would prove a perpetual warning to all mankind.
We wish we could share these pleasing anticipations.
But, in the first place, the wicked rarely receive their deserts in this world; and, in the second place, we have grave doubts of the capacity of the Western
and Middle States to reduce New England
to that state of solitary punishment which would prove so beneficial to the rest of the world.--The lock has not been invented that a Yankee cannot pick.
Try it, by all means; but if you shut him out at the door, he will come in by the window, or clamber, like an enterprising grimalkin, upon the roof and come down through the chimney.
He has as many lives as a cat; and if you tic him up in a bag, and send him to a mill-pond to be drowned, ten to one that he is back before his executioner, and purring away in his old corner with as much composure and gravity as if nothing had happened.
It would be pleasant to get rid of this elastic and pervading nuisance, but we might as well expect to be free from mosquitoes and fevers in swamps as of New Englanders where anything is to be made.
The Middle States and the West
shut out New England
! Why, the former were once separate from them, of different colonies, a different race, and hating the very name of them, and yet they could not keep them out. The more they execrated them, the more the Yankees
delighted in them, beguiled them with resplendent tinware, made love to their daughters and sisters, and became their sons-in-law and their brothers-in-law.
Thus, in process of time, they got possession of the whole country, so that there are few families in the Middle States
or Northwest which cannot trace their pedigree, by either the paternal or maternal ancestry, to Plymouth Rock
Sons of the Pilgrims ! The very name indicates that they are not to be kept in one place, and least of all, the Land of their Fathers.
It is no news to them that their country is as unproductive as a grindstone.
On the contrary, it is their traditional glory and pride.
On that grindstone they sharpen their wits, and holding the world to be their oyster, they go forth to open it. They are just the cutest, sharpest critters alive.
The finest Sheffield
cutlery cannot be made as keen.
They rejoice in their smartness as saints do in virtue.
Fixed local attachments, they have none.
They look upon New England
as a mere base from which to operate upon other regions.
As soon as they are fledged, they fly away to seek their fortunes elsewhere.
They keep nothing at home but a reserve class of manufacturers, shipping merchants and old maids.
Even these would not stay if their union with the North and West was dissolved.
The land, it is true, would become a wilderness; but it is the people we want to punish, and not the land.
The land has been punished enough already in being inhabited by such a race.
How will the North and West keep the people out?
Nothing but sword and fire have kept them out of our own borders.
We fear that even here, after the war is over, they will come back in swarms, like flies when winter is ended, and settle in hungry myriads upon every living thing.
The New York Herald
complains that New England
, with so small a population, has a preponderating influence over New York and other larger States in the national councils, and contrives to make them bear the burthens and perils of the war while she reaps the profits.
This is the sweet simplicity of dotage.
What a charming provision of nature it is that as a man grows old he grows green ! Did the venerable Sawney
of the Herald
ever expect New England
to do anything else?
Did he suppose that the Sons of the Pilgrims were going to bear the burthens, and leave other people the profits, of a war. We should like to know what passage in New England
history furnishes the foundation for such an imputation.
We can easily imagine the indignant scorn with which it will be received by every true New Englander.
It is the vocation of New England
to be 'smart,' and he who questions her smartness stabs her character to the heart.
It is not smart to go and be killed for the purpose of putting money into other men's pockets.
A smart people prefer that other folk should be killed for their behoof, provided other folk are fools enough to submit to the operation.
complaint is as unmanly as it is senseless.
If the giant permits the dwarf to become his master, the presumption is that the dwarf has the most brains, and is entitled to the ascendancy.--A horse is a more powerful animal than a man, but the man rides him for the same reason that New England
rides the Middle States
and the West
. --These latter are a money-making and farming people, Well enough at their counters and plough tails, but not overstocked with genius.
They need a master, and New England
supplies the need.
For this, they should be thankful.
Moreover, if, as they say, their population is so much larger than that of New England
, it is obvious that they ought not to look to her for fighting men. She furnishes them with ideas and machinery; but her human stock is small, and she is compelled to be economical in its expenditure.
What would become of the world if the race of the Pilgrims should become extinct; if the seed-corn of the civilization, religion and progress of the world should be exhausted?
Who would emancipate the Africans?
Who would evangelize the dark places of the earth?
Who would disseminate light and liberty among the down-trodden masses of Europe
What would America
do for an Athens?
Or the Northern
on for an owner and a master?
And this enterprising and exemplary people they propose to shut out in the cold ! Do they not fear that the same smartness which has proved too much for the stupid, vicious masses of the Middle States
will contrive to make a lodgment among them under any and all circumstances?
Do they imagine that the New England
cat will not always alight on his feet?
We have no sympathy with their tribulations, Execrating the New Englanders as they profess to do, and having the power to crush the Puritan
spirit, they have permitted themselves to become the willing tools of a minority, contemptible in numbers, but fiend like in malice and wickedness.
They have become possessed of devils, and now, when they find themselves, like swine, rushing headlong into the sea, they are eager to get rid of the motive power.
If the devils had led them into green pastures and smooth rivers, they would have considered them demigods, and grunted out thanksgivings.
It matters little to us, outside barbarians, what becomes hereafter of New England
if we can only exclude its infernal influences from our own borders.
It is one of the consolations of this war that for three years and more we have kept it out in the cold, so far as our own firesides are concerned.
Its books, its newspapers, its pedlars, its wooden nutmegs and cake hams, its political and religious humbuggery of every kind, have been confined to Northern victims.
If it has made them bleed at every pore, they have deserved it, and we are glad of it. It has not fingered much of our great staples, and will not while the war lasts.
The only fear we have of its intrusion will come with peace.
The legislator who will then devise an efficient plan, not inconsistent with pacific relations, to prevent the Sons of the Pilgrims from ever setting foot in the Southern Confederacy will entitle himself to a statue.