This is the anniversary of Austerlitz
should make his grand attack to-day, be may point to the rising sun, as Napoleon
did at Borodino
, and say, "Behold the sun of Austerlitz
." Brilliantly as that luminary rose upon the plains of Moravia
on this day fifty-nine years ago, its splendor was scarcely greater than it appears, at the time we are writing, likely to be on this anniversary of the great event that then occurred.
The 2d of December is a famous day in French history.
On this day, exactly sixty years ago, Napoleon
the First was crowned Emperor
of the French
by the Pope
, who had come all the way from Rome
to perform that office; a thing that the world, so far as we know, had not witnessed since the coronation of Chestermagne, whose iron crown Napoleon
, as he said, in a gutter, and put upon his own head.
It is remarkable that after all, the Holy Father
did not the crown on his head; for, with the natural impatience of his temper, he became tired of the preliminary ceremony, and, snatching the crown from the hand of the Pope
, clapped it on his head, exclaiming. "God gives it to me; woe to him that touches it!" This was the day that Napoleon III.
selected for the which made him Emperor
of the French
So that the 2d of December was already memorable enough, when in rendered still more so by the mention of Old John Brown
We remember that day well.
Though not present at the execution, we were at Charlestown
, with thousands of others; and the events of that day, and of the week that had preceded it, will never fade from our memory.
We shall not forget that we must
then have seen Stonewall Jackson
, for the picket guard to which we were attached had the building in which were the headquarters of the Cadets for a guard-room, and we saw all the officers, of whom he was one.
But he was then unknown to fame, or at least not so well known as to make him an object of especial curiosity.
We may even have conversed with him, for we believe we had something to say to all the officers.
But if we saw him and conversed with him, we did not know his name, and took no more notice of him than we should have taken of any casual acquaintance.
Could we have lifted up the cover of the very near future and taken a peep at the man through its medium, how different would it have been!
There we saw old John Brown
, the Yankee
martyr — the horse-thief and murderer, as we regarded him — a low, snuffling Yankee vagabond as ever we saw — with no more of the hero or the martyr about him than any Yankee pedlar you may pick up in a summer's day. The zeal which all Yankeedom manifested in favor of this ruffianly scoundrel, and the eagerness with which they sought to sanctify his crime — that of willful and deliberate murder — is eminently characteristic of that amiable nation, betraying an entire destitution of what Locke
calls the "Moral Sense"--that is, the capacity to distinguish between right and wrong.
They instated upon it that he was guilty of no crime, inasmuch as he only slew a few slaveholders, under the conviction that he was doing right, and argued to prove that it could not
be wrong to slay a slaveholder, addressing their arguments to the Governor
of a State in which there were four hundred thousand slaves.--They said, in effect, "Governor Wise
, you and your slaveholding constituents are a pack of scoundrels, who deserve to be put to death every day of your lives, and you ought not to hang this saint, who merely did what you know it was his duty to do." Unfortunately for Brown
, the Governor
did not allow the force of this reasoning, and so Brown
was hung; and that was the beginning of this war.
We say we shall never forget the day that Brown
It was one of the most lovely days that ever came from heaven.
It was as mild as though it were the middle of May; and it might well have passed for such, had it not been that the trees were bare of foliage.
But five years, as time is counted, have passed since that memorable day. And yet the events of a whole century have been compressed into that little space.
When we look back upon that day, over the five intervening years, we can scarcely realize the fact that we are the same person, that this is the same country, and that the objects most familiar to us are, in reality, the same objects.
It all seems "like a phantasma or a hideous dream." We had all, then, read of war, and had heard of war; but how few of us had any conception of what it really was!
We had heard old people talk of the trials and troubles of the old Revolution, and their juniors eloquent on the subject of the Mexican
war. But the most lively imagination had never formed a conception of the gigantic struggle of which that day's work was the opening scene.