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An eloquent Divine remarked, in a late sermon, that "no generous mind desires a victim." No one will doubt the truth of this observation. But the misfortune is, that generous minds are not as plentiful as Confederate notes. They are not even as abundant as gold. A good many respectable imitations may be found, but the hard times has, in most cases, worn off even the gilding. Here and there, there is a Roman--a real Roman of the times of the Republic--one who actually lives on corn bread and water,--which even a Roman, for good and sufficient reasons, never attempted,--and, on that spare diet, keeps up a most blooming and robust patriotism. These Roman spirits would be willing to live in like manner till the end of time rather than be up to the eyes in fleshpots at the price of subjugation. We know some such persons, never heard of in public places, and not desiring to be heard of — only asking to be free of Yankees. But for one Roman of the Republic, there are, in general, nine Romans of the Empire. For one honest soul, that really practices self-denial, there are nine that devote themselves to descriptions of that excellent virtue. There never was so large a proportion of preachers to people. Nine well-fed and well-clothed orators, holding forth upon the glory of starving and being starved, and one man, who composes the congregation and believes all that he hears, and practices the same. The one man will have his reward, but, most assuredly, not in this world. We should like to believe that there are many unselfish, generous minds who do not desire to victimize anybody, whether an ox or a President. But that the Scriptural account of human nature, as read by the light of the war, is a life-like portrait which nobody can mistake. A good many of the most intelligent and virtuous of mankind turn out, upon close handling, to be deceitful and desperately wicked. In particular, the propensity for having a victim is as universal as humanity. Whether the object be a hare or a deer, or any kind of domestic game; whether it be a member of the family, the community, or the nation; having a victim is an appetite which has no bounds, except the ability of the victim to resist and retaliate. It is that which makes the war upon the South so exhilarating to Black Republicans; they can strike and we cannot strike back. It is that also which is our own consolation. If we cannot strike back at them, we can pummel each other, and thereby relieve our natural indignation. The great use and advantage of an Executive in times of war is to have somebody to blame and abuse. The Earl of Chatham was the only man that ever escaped this all but universal fate of Presidents and Premiers. It is true, he was just the most self-willed, arbitrary and overbearing man that ever lived, and was so absolutely determined to have the control of measures, of which he had the sole responsibility, that he compelled the first Lord of the Admiralty to sign naval orders issued by the Premier — while the writing was covered over from his eyes. England, grumbling, growling England — then, "for the first time and for the last time, presented the astonishing picture of a nation supporting, without murmur, a widely-extended and costly war, and a people, hitherto torn with conflicting parties, so united in the service of the Commonwealth that the voice of faction had ceased in the land, and any discordant whisper was heard no more." But then a nation would be hard to satisfy that, from universal disaster, was raised by the hand of Pitt to a career of the most uninterrupted success ever known in the history of Christianity. With this exception, an Executive, in war times, must expect to be the target for such of his countrymen as like a victim constantly to practice upon. He must expect to be pounded, and maimed, and belabored, as did the amiable Quill, the image of the ancient Admiral, whom he was always beating with iron pokers, and screwing gimlets into, and sticking forks into his eyes, and cutting his name on him, meaning to burn the old fellow at last.
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