Convulsions in America.
That the sentiment of the English
people has been misrepresented and falsified by the Northern
press, no man can doubt who read the extracts from the speeches delivered at the opening of Parliament, which we gave in yesterday's paper.
We have been led to believe that a feeling of decided hostility to the Confederate States
exists among the people, and that the Government
is strongly against all claims for recognition.
Now however, since we have heard the real sentiment from England
's representative men we can but believe exactly the reverse is true.--Added to the favorable remarks in yesterday's edition, we give, to-day, some extracts from an article in the January number of Blackwood
, undoubtedly the most influential magazine of the day. It commences as follows:
Everybody-who-has thought, talked and read much about America
of late, must feel that English opinions on the subject, as rendered by the tone of our press, have been qualified by the medium that them.--Nobody in private life talks about out ‘"trans.
Atlantic kinsmen,"’ nobody desires to claim familiarities with the performers on the barbarous dances which the American
nation executes around its idols of the hour, any more than with the worshippers of Mumbo Gumbo.
Our conversion on this subject is not silly or sentimental.
We do not speak of the least sanguinary of civil wars as ‘" the terrible and fraternal struggle which is drenching America
with blood."’ It is not in fact, as is sometimes asserted in print and in public speeches, that every Englishman worthy of the name deplores the separation between the North and South.
The view commonly taken by Englishmen; who do not on that account consider themselves unworthy of the name, is that every day tends to justify the judgment and policy of the South
in withdrawing from a system, the results of which are what we contemptuously witness.
We do not desire above all things, that the struggle should be at once concluded, no matter how; because a conclusion which would leave the South
at the mercy of a vindictive, unfair, and ungenerous enemy, would gratify nobody.
We do not lament over the unexampled display of weakness made by the Great Republic, because we know that such weakness existed, and it is not for the interest of truth nor of the world that it should any longer be disguised, or allowed to vaunt itself as a matchless force.
Nor do we, as a people, desire to accept any slight, shifty pretence of reparation for the recent ruffianly outrage, which may be held by some among us, to whom honor is but a fantastic name, to absolve us from the necessity of war, for previous insults from the same quarter still remain unstained for; and now that we have, at enormous cost, and with patient and self-denying efforts, amassed an armament which adequately represents the power of England
, we should have no objection to employ it in administering a sharp chastisement to the vainglorious people who have so often cheaply defied us. Sentiments conciliatory even to poltroonery, and pacific even to disgrace, are frequently ascribed to us; yet they have no real origin in the heart of the nation.
It would be impossible for the national vanity of America
, hungry as it is, to extract any nourishment from what is expressed on the subject in the conversation of intelligent Englishmen.
When they read the speeches of American public men, and the articles of American newspapers, they feel only scorn for the blind followers to whom such blind guides are possible.
They are unable to see anything peculiarly tragical in the fact that half a million of men have been brought together in arms to hurl big words at each other across a river.
Nor do we see anything in the circumstance that America
was first colonized from our own shores to induce us to treat with extraordinary indulgence the composite population with whose manners, customs, and character, we have so little in common.
What truth can there be in the plea of relationship as an inducement to conceal our real sentiments, when we so loudly derided our own fellow-subjects of the Irish brigade, who went forth from among us to make themselves ridiculous?
And why should we conceal our contempt when absurdities far more mischievous, and on an immensely extended scale, are committed by those whom twaddling sentimentalists term our American cousins?
* * * * * *
It is a remarkable fact, and one that may puzzle future historians, that, in the same year, we, a people, having no more sympathy with mob rule than with despotism, viewed the downfall of despotic dynasties, not only without pity, but with derision and contempt, yet preserved a respectful demeanor, while a worse and more hopeless tyranny was every hour growing more despicable and ridiculous.
We discuss the statecraft of the Americans
as if it were really directed by statesmen capable of planning and executing operations of finance and policy.
We speak of the operations of their army, and the designs of its leaders, as if they had established a claim upon the consideration of a sensible people who have some reputation in war. We repeat or refute the assertions, prophecies and denunciations of their orators and journalists, as if any human being, even the speakers and writers themselves, could consider them entitled to a particle of credit.
The apparent consequence is, that they imagine they are impressing the old, decried and worn-out powers, who have so long regarded their great and free institutions with envy, with a profound respect for their military skill, their wonderful sagacity, the unrivalled perfection of their political system and their indisputable claim to be regarded as foremost among the nations of the earth.
Through their politicians, their journals, their public meetings, and their actions, they frankly write themselves down as they are in the broadest characters yet we refrain from accepting the description given on such undeniable authority.
It is in vain that they gesticulate, tumble, and perform the most extravagant antes; we persist in regarding the dreary farce as a grand melodrama, or even a tragedy.
We, who ground our best claims to consideration as a nation on the great men, great actions, great principles, which illustrate the massive volume of our history grant the claim of this people to greatness on the single ground of material prosperity.--And although happily we are as far removed from universal suffrage as from autocracy, and although the aspect in which republicanism appears unmistakably in America
has caused the democratic tendencies of our own institutions to be powerfully arrested, yet we continue to appear reluctant to draw from passing events deductions which would seem to reflect upon democracy.
This course we believe to have been injudicious and unfortunate.
Had the Americans
been permitted to see the true reflections of our minds — had they been aware of the extent and depth of the contempt with which we have regarded their doings — it could scarcely have failed to modify their conduct of the civil war. Nor, as a question of policy when we would avoid war, do we think it advisable to dwell on our pacific disposition as the key-note.
To profess a disinclination to fight, is not the best way to deal with a bully.
Even were it true that we would sacrifice everything for peace and that Messrs. Bright
and Jos. Peace
were the great representatives of English feeling, it would be impolitic to say so?
But when we are giving proof of our readiness for war on sufficient occasion, there seems more than ever reason to regret that we had not given the Northern Americans
the word more plainly before the blow.
They have seen us solicitous to observe a neutrality, the operation of which was unfavorable, even unfair to the South
They have seen us foregoing our undoubted right to recognize the Southern Confederacy, and permitting them to enforce an ineffectual blockade which was most injurious to our interests, and which the law of nations would have warranted us in disregarding; and they have heard us professing a desire for peace above all things.
They remember the patience with which previous insults-have been borne by us, and they take a childish delight in shaking their fists in the face of a great, strong country.
And, accustomed to hear us deprecate, as something to be scarcely thought of, an appeal to arms, the natural consequence is that when they have gone so far as to place themselves in the predicament of having to choose between humiliation and war, they are almost universally persuaded that we shall bear this insult like the rest.
Had our language been different from the first--had we given them plainly to understand that we meant to use our strength on due vocation, even the mob that originates and the Cabinet
that conveys their vulgar affronts would lower their tone of defiance, and would never have pushed matters to their present extremity.
We have said that in our view, it is to be regretted that the apparent faults of democracy should be so tenderly treated.
We are all ready to join in reprobation of absolute government, but when did any civilized and absolute government show less claim on our indulgence than the American Republic
?--What despotism has displayed so little moderation in prosperity, so little dignity in adversity, less
for hereditary princes less fit to wield the destinies of nations than the obscure and commonplace man whose decrees now stand in the place of public law in the North
It may be said that at least he is the choice of the nation.
But was he chosen by the intelligence of the nation?
Or, to take lower ground, does he represent the material interests and responsibilities of the nation?
Not at all; he is the choice of a numerical majority of a people who have derived the principal accessions to their numbers from the scum of Europe
Every four years the Constitution
is in travel — all man kind are invited, or rather commanded, to watch the interesting event — all is convulsion, the throes of the mountain are prodigious, and the latest result to Mr. Abraham Lincoln
The great achievement in self-government of this vaunted democracy, which we have been so loudly and arrogantly called on to admire, is to drag from his proper obscurity an ex-railspliter and country attorney, and to place what it calls its liberals at his august disposal.
No country furnishes so many examples as England
of great men who have risen from humble beginnings.
But it would have been impossible for him or any of his Cabinet to have emerged, under British institutions, from the mediocrity to which nature had condemned them, and from which pure democracy alone was capable of rescuing them.
Are the best Americans
willing to accept Mr. Abraham Lincoln
and Mr. W. H. Seward
as their best men?
If not, can they substitute better men?
If they cannot, what other proof is needed of the inefficacy of their boasted institutions?
An imbecile Executive above, a restless, purposeless multitude below, linked together like a kite tied to a balloon, and drifting at the mercy of the air currents, while respectability, moderation and sense are pushed aside, or dragged helplessly along — such is the spectacle presented in the first storm by the model Republic.
A gallant army, whose energies have been displayed chiefly in flight — a free country, whose judges are overlooked by sentries — disinterested patriotism, that requires to be bribed by eight per cent.--a united nation, where the elements of dissolution are rife — a practical people who are spending more than they possess for an object they cannot define — such are a few of the results of those remarkable institutions that have been recommended for our imitation as immense improvements on our own.
The writer is very severe upon Mr. Lincoln
and considers him a very unfortunate man to merit such a visitation as to be set at the head of an unruly nation that is going to pieces in convulsions.
The Yankee Congress is also a subject of severe comment.
The article continues:
If it were necessary that an American idol should perform anything really great in order to justify the panegyrics of his countrymen we should look on General McClellan
as the most unfortunate man alive.
He cannot, unless he be more than mortal, redeem the pledges that have been given for him. He has received in advance, as a small instalment of public admiration, the title of ‘"the Young Napoleon
."’ From this we gather that, according to popular belief in America
was solely remarkable as a soldier for making reviews the most serious business of his army, for complimenting his subordinates on their blunders and disasters, and for spending months in presence of his enemy informing a plan of campaign which he never ventured to execute.
It is this singular way of estimating events and men that renders it so easy to maintain a position as a celebrity in America
The nation confers its fame as, according to the cynic, people give their gratitude — from a lively sense of favors to come The prospect of taking up these heavy bills on the events of the future, would appal most untried men. But luckily Gen. McClellan
, who is a great man for what he is going to do, has before him the reassuring example of Commander Wilkes
, who is a great man for what he has only done.
There are many other circumstances to soothe and comfort the future hero.
and Gen. Scott
are among the greatest commanders the world has ever seen.
The battle of somebody's Bluff and somebody else's Ferry are among the most important actions that were ever fought, as the victors of Waterloo
, Juryman, and Solferino
are bound to admit.
was a great victory.
All American history is written to prove, not that Americans
have performed great actions, but that the actions were great because they were performed by Americans
Let him who doubts it refer to some history of modern America
written by a native, and he will be speedily satisfied that no foreigner would ever willingly undertake the dreary task of wading through the voluminous records, the grand object of which is to render trivialities important and nobodies illustrious.
All timorous candidates for celebrity may learn from these chronicles that no American need think himself too insignificant to figure in the annals of his country.
The materials for history now in course of preparation.
In speeches and newspapers, are equally authentic, and much more entertaining.
The bulletin and telegrams are frequently as comic as anything in Punch.
The sporting enterprises of Mr. Briggs
are not more amusing than the military exhibitions of Jonathan.
And the clever creation of Dickens
--Mr. Jefferson Brick
--who has been accepted as a caricature, proves to be a faithful and even flattering portrait of that most indefatigable of modern American fictionist, the War Correspondent
We admit that there is a serious and even tragic side to the aspect of American affairs, but it is not what commonly passes for such.
It is not in the dissolution of a system that had become rotten and offensive while yet it preserved the appearance of life — not in the parades which Americans
mistake for campaigns, nor which they call great battles; it is in the fiendish spirit in which the contest is carried on, on the part of the North
--a spirit without example in modern conflicts, and to find a parallel for which we must go back to the time when Louis XIV affixed an everlasting stain to his name by ravaging the Palatinate, or when the Spaniards, under Alva, so richly earned the curses of the Dutch
by turning a prosperous territory into a frightful desert.
But the Spaniards showed at least that, while doing the work of fiends, they had the courage of men. Not so with these Northern destroyers, who, while they launch nothing but big words against the armies of the South
, take advantage of their command of the sea to blot out of the map of the world those Southern harbors which were meant for the benefit, not of the South
only, but of mankind.
The stone fleet, which is supposed already to have done its diabolical office, is intended to choke permanently the channels of Savannah and Charleston harbors
How long will the great Powers of Europe
stand by and see such enormities committed?
They do not hesitate to interpose by force to stop, the barbarities of savages.
In the Lebanon
they stop between Druse and Christian
, and forbid the indulgence of the vindictiveness which will be satisfied only with the extermination of the foe. But this measure — which would destroy not merely the works of man, which may be restored, but the works of nature, and which seeks, in revenge for a political difference, to condemn to sterility a region of the earth to which all nations have long been accustomed to look as a source of supply — is the most atrocious that has for centuries disgraced the annals of civilized warfare.
It reveals, at once, a consciousness that the subjugation of the South
is hopeless, and the blackness of the spirit of Northern revenge, On the assumption that the South
is ever to return to the Union
, it is absurd; and, admitting that war is possible between the North
and a European naval power, it is suicidal, For what reason can the inhabitants of N. York
, who have seen the stone fleet depart with acclamations on its dastardly errand, urge, to avert a similar doom from their own harbors?
Why should not the mariners of Charleston
, who see their occupation gone forever, sink a retributive stone fleet in the channels of the harbors blockaded by the squadrons of France
, and leave the American
continent to rot behind the barrier of the Atlantic
It would be a deed of most righteous retribution, and the fact that we could not, in the interests of mankind, permit it, only shows more forcibly the nature of an act which is so villainous as to forbid reprisal, and the perfect warrant that the powers who guard civilization possess to interfere in the name of mankind in this envenomed struggle.
Imagine a war between France
conducted on such a principle — on the one side, the channels of the Clyde
and the Mersey
, on the other, those of the Shine and Garonne, choked to gratify an insane and insatiate spirit of revenge; while the inflicters of these deadly injuries exulted in the facts that Glasgow
, Houen, and Bordeaux
, were to be destroyed by ‘"a silent blight, falling on them as though out of the night — deadly, inevitable!"’ Would not the whole world be justified in raising its universal voice against such mad vindictiveness?
Let the apologists of the North
, whether of the Bright
or the Tom Brown school
, (if there be such schools,) read the New York 7 Years, and then say whether, as professed humanitarians, they wish any judge to identify themselves with the savage Abolitionists or the frenzied Unionists
of the North
And if, naturally doubtful whether in this age of the world men are indeed relapsing in to barbarism, they wish further to ascertain what the spirit is in which the war is waged, let them ask the next ardent Northern American whom they meet; whether if the Union
is only to be maintained by the rain and desolation of the South
, he would wish the struggle to proceed?
They will be surprised to hear the calm, cool, highly civilized gentleman at their side testifying to the extent of his fanatic devotion to Abolition or to the Union
, by a reply that would disgrace the savages of Central Africa
; and we advise these enthusiasms to deliberate before they become known as the abettors of those who have devised the commission of the abomination of desolation.
That stone fleet ought to sink the Northern
* * * * * * * * *
Many people seem to anticipate that even should the present difficulty end without war, the Americans
will not fail very soon to inflict upon us some other unendurable insult.
This anticipation we do not share; on the contrary, we are confident that if they manage in this instance to evade the consequences of the outrage, the proof that we are in earnest will suffice to prevent a repetition.
Even Mr. Gideon Welles
will we are persuaded, consent to forget the corsair in the minister, and will appear before Congress in future in a character less romantic and picturesque, but more official than that of the Red Rover
In arguing the question whether or not the Government
sanctioned the insult to England
, it has been said that the policy so often attributed to the North
, of attempting when coercion has failed, to unite all conflicting parties against a foreign foe, cannot avail in this case, because the capture of the Southern Commissioners
will only still more exasperate the South
But the secession of the South
is not the only nor the greatest peril that threatens the Republic
There is an Abolition party that is hostile to Union; there is a Union party that is hostile to Abolition; and though these discordant elements have hitherto been held together by the common tie of hatred of the South
, yet they threaten speedily to start asunder.
Nor will the North
be split by party conflicts alone; territorial differences are likely to cause further dismemberment.
Is it strange, then, that a desperate Cabinet; possessing no influence of talent or character by which to reconcile contending factions, and feeling the planks starting under its feet, should seek, even by such a desperate expedient as a war with a powerful enemy, to keep together the remains of the Republic
On such a theory, the occasion of provoking the war would seem well chosen, as England
, in protecting the Southern Commissioners
, may be made to appear to adopt the cause of the South
, which it has been the object of the Federal Cabinet
to accuse her of favoring throughout the struggle; and the new war may thus be rendered popular both with Abolitionists and Republicans.
But we do not attribute to the presumptuous and incapable Phæcons of the North
any such deep designs.
We rather suppose them to be ready, in their extremity, to cling to any measure that comes to hand, no matter how preposterous or fatal, as the pedant in Hercules
, when the ship was sinking, laid hold of the anchor.
Whether war comes or not, we think that the opportunity should be taken of our state of preparation to adopt a policy more suitable to our own position and to the interests of the world, than that of bystanders in this cut-throat quarrel.
The question of the recognition of the Southern Confederacy, and the raising of the ineffectual blockade, in conjunction with France
, are entitled to be immediately considered.
As it is, our neutrality tells against the South
We do not impute this to anybody as a fault — we merely mention it as a fact.
For every weapon, rifle or cannon, that our laundries have supplied to the South
, the North
have been enabled, by their possession of safe means of water carriage, to get twenty.
Every intention, opinion, and desire of the South
comes to us through a distorting Northern medium; and while we continue our commercial relations with the North
, we permit the trade of the South
to be extinguished by paying undue respect to a notoriously sham blockade.--Does neutrality mean an over-scrupulous regard for the interests of one party?
Have the Northern Government
or people deserved from us a strained interpretation of law in their favor?
Have they been moderate and courteous in prosperity?
Have they been reasonable and dignified in adversity?
Have they been modest in profession and great in action?
Have their councillors been respectable for wisdom, their troops for bravery, or their financiers for prudence?--Have they defined, or even shadowed for themselves, any line of policy in the present crisis that can be accepted as right or practicable by any reasonable Englishman?
And if, by any concurrence of circumstances, (our own interpretation of the duties of neutrals among the rest,) they should reduce the South
to submission, is it likely that, as victors, the contrivers of the stone fleet will be more generous than they are as foes?
If these questions can receive but one answer, what reason is there that we should longer sacrifice our own interests, and the interests of justice, to an extreme consideration for the morbid irritability of an arrogant people?
If we are, at any rate, certain of the captiousness and hostility of the North
, let us at least do something to secure the friendship of the South
And the South
as far as can be seen, deserves recognition, independence, and sympathy.
Their only crime has been a desire to take no further part in a system to which not even the letter, far less the spirit of the law can prove that they were bound by any principle stronger than convenience, and the operations of which they declare to have been intolerably oppressive.
It is natural that they should object to accept an Abraham Lincoln
as their chief man, and to have its destinies influenced by such a Cabinet and mob as that of the North
, when, as they have shown, they can do much better for themselves.
They have chosen as President
a man of judgment and conduct, who can give to their impulses unity of action, and can both excite and control their enthusiasm.
If the messages of the rival Presidents
may be considered as indicative of the policy of those who chose the chiefs, or of the causes which they respectively advocate, the South
are amply justified for regarding with ‘"the contemptuous astonishment"’ which Jefferson Davis
's language attributes to them, the proceedings of the North
Resolution and devotion have been shown not merely by the Southern
troops, but by the entire population.
They appear to bear their privations with uncommon cheerfulness and courage.
They make no querulous appeals for sympathy, nor complaints of neglect.
They speak of their successes with modesty, prepare for new distresses with fortitude, and express none of the vindictiveness so prominent in the measures of their enemies.
A war between England
and the North
will at least have the good effects of shortening the sufferings and hastening the independence of a people who are proving themselves very capable of self-government, who will at once assume a creditable position among nations, and who will act as a permanent check on Northern turbulence.
And it is to be hoped that, if war is to be, we may put our whole strength and will into it, and conduct it so as to leave the orators and writers of the North
with all their skill and practice in the falsification of history, no possibility of turning its incidents to our disadvantage, and to their own glorification.