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Horace Walpole, in a letter to Sir Horace Mann, written during the Seven Years War, expresses himself wearied with the slow process of military events. He says that no doubt the occurrences of Cæsar's day seemed to drag themselves along quite as tediously, although the conquests of Cæsar are proverbial for their rapidity. We read the commentaries, or the campaigns of Frederick, all in the bulk. We do not go through the tedious details of military operations in the newspapers, catching the news of a moment one day, and resting upon our information thus picked up for several others to come. The newspapers, and the dispatches and bulletins of the generals, only let us see a little at a time. A six months campaign gathered this way, in detail, is wearisome enough. We must wait for the historian if we wish to read operations in the mass. In addition to other causes of uneasiness, the great anxiety necessarily felt by contemporaries — especially by that portion of them whose countrymen and friends are engaged in the conflict — renders delay still more painful. Every moment is protracted into an hour — every hour apparently grows into a week — weeks become years, and years seem expanded to ages. Every man who looks back to the beginning of a war in which he is immediately interested, and which has already lasted four or five years, without looking at the intermediate events, will feel that he is contemplating the events of yesterday. It is like looking across a tremendous precipice, directly to the other side. He sees what is on the opposite cliff, but he sees nothing of the obstacles that lie between him and it. Let him look down, however, and he will find his brain reel and his eye sink. Even so is it with the man who looks, not merely at the starting point of a bloody war, but at the incidents which lie between him and it.--When he breaks the great whole into separate parts, for analysis and contemplation, he becomes overwhelmed and stupefied with the scene. The events of this war have, no doubt, succeeded each other with sufficient rapidity, yet they are tedious to us, whatever they may be to the future historian. It seems to us like an age since Major Anderson was upturned at Fort Sumter; and when we read, the other day, that Mr. Dudley Field proposed to carry him back, and make him hoist his flag there again, we involuntarily asked whether he was still alive, or had not died of old age. Xerxes is reported, by Herodotus, to have wept when he beheld his mighty comprehending five millions of the human race drawn out in the vast plain of Abydos, because the thought suddenly struck him that in one hundred years not a man of them would be left alive. In much less time than that the combatants in the present war will all have disappeared from the face of the earth, and then we may repeat Montaigne's standing question--Au bono? What is it all for? Oppressed and oppressors, so far as the vile integuments of humanity are concerned, will all have shared a common fate. Yet the glory of the patriot will last forever. We write the above by way of experiment. We wish to see whether the public will tolerate anything not appertaining directly to the war.
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