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Our country and our Government.

We constantly see in the Northern journals the most mendacious accounts of tyranny and oppression practiced by the Confederate Government, libellous caricatures of the persons who compose the administration, and false statements of their universal unpopularity with the Southern people. From these assumed facts they argue that the Southern Confederacy is on its last legs, and the Southern cause becoming extinct in that which was the only source of strength it ever possessed, the affections and will of the people.

If all this were ever so true, it might be answered that the same argument would prove the Federal Government on its last legs, and the Union cause at the point of perdition. The Lincoln Government has deprived its people of every vestige of constitutional liberty, thrusts into its dungeons every man who dares to breathe a free thought, and substitutes the rule of the bayonet for the rule of law everywhere. He and his Cabinet are at this moment so unpopular in the North that if they were not kept in their places by the army, the storm of suppressed public indignation would scatter them to the four winds of Heaven. Therefore, we might take it for granted that the Union cause is near its last end in the North, having lost all that ever gave it cohesive power — the confidence and affections of its people.

But there is another and better reply to the arguments against our Government, by which the Northern writers attempt to prove that the rebellion, as they call it, is near its extinction. It is this: Our country and our Government are two wholly different things; and, though the last were as weak, selfish, and tyrannical, as malignant enemies describe it, the loyalty of our people would not be affected, because they are fighting for a cause, and not for any man or set of men. It was not the Southern administration which produced this revolution; it was the Southern people. The individuals who compose its Government are but sparks from the great popular locomotive. Or to change the figure, they are but drops of water on the paddle-wheel of the steamboat, which a revolution has brought to the summit, where they remain but a short time, and are consigned again to their native deep. If each and every one of them were as dead as Julius Caesar, the onward course of the Southern movement would no more be retarded by it than the Great Eastern is by the myriads of phosphorescent stomas which she dashes off in every encounter with the waves. It is ridiculous, then, to talk of Southern disaffection on account of the alleged imbecility and selfishness of Southern leaders. It is the country and not the Government; it is our homes, our wives and children, our institutions, our honor, and property, and freedom, we are fighting for, and not for any Government, except as the representative and agent of our cause. Were these representatives and agents ever so arrogant and incapable, they could not wean us from the cause, which involves all that makes existence precious. Never was there a revolution which was so universally a revolution of the people as this of the Southern States. Even the American Revolution itself was not as much so.--There was a large and influential class of the community which opposed that movement from beginning to end. Most of the literary men of the time were its uncompromising antagonists. Many of the men of wealth and of political influence, and numbers of the yeomanry of the day, were opposed to it. What is there in the South which can compare with the Toryism of the American Revolution! In the Southern Confederacy the only enemies of our cause are secret enemies, who have never dared to take arms in their hands, and even these are in a minority so pitiful as not to deserve consideration. The people have given their children, their sons, and brothers, themselves, and all that they have, to the war. If the Government has in any degree incurred censure, it has not been by being ahead of, but being behind, the people. But whilst no one claims for the agent of the people infallibility, it has conducted its difficult task with a degree of wisdom and prudence which the Lincoln Administration, has not been able, with all its resources, to equal. It is in vain for the stipendiary tools of Lincolnism to try to sow tares among the wheat. The people of the South are true to themselves, and in that loyalty they are not to be disturbed by the machinations of their enemies.

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Julius Caesar (1)
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