Why Has the North Felt Aggrieved With England?

WE have chosen a guarded and passionless wording for a topic on which we wish to offer a few frankly spoken, but equally passionless remarks. With the bitterness and venom and exaggeration of statement which both English and American papers have interchanged in reference to matters of opinion and matters of feeling connected with our national troubles we do not now intermeddle. We would not imitate it: we regret it, and on our own side we are ashamed of it. We have read editorials and communications in our own papers so grossly vituperative and stinging in the rancor of their spirit, that it would not have surprised, us, if some Englishmen, of a certain class, had organized a hostile association against us in revenge for our truculent defiance. The real spirit of bullyism, of the cockpit and the pugilistic ring, has been exhibited in this interchange of newspaper opinion. The more is the reason why we should not overlook or be blind to the real grievances in the case, nor fail to give expression to them in the strongest way of which their emphatic, but unembittered, statement will admit. Whether the London " Times ” is or is not an authoritative vehicle for the utterance of average English opinion, and an index, in its general tone, of the prevailing sentiment of that people, is a question which, so far from wishing to decide, we must decline to entertain, as mainly irrelevant to our present purpose. As a matter of fact, however, if we did accept that print as an authority and a standard in English opinion, we should throw more of temper than we hope to prevent escaping through our words into the remarks which are to follow. That paper evidently represents the opinion of one class, perhaps of more than one class of Englishmen. An intelligent American reader of its comments on our affairs can always read it, as even the best-informed Englishman cannot, with the skill and ability to discern its spirit, often covertly mean, and to detect its misrepresentations, some of the grossest of which are made the basis of its arguments and inferences. From the very opening of our strife to the last issue of that print which has crossed the water, its comments and records relating to our affairs have presented a most ingenious and mischievous combination of everything false, ill-tempered, malignant, and irritating. It is at present exercising itself upon the financial arrangements of our Government, and uttering prophecies, falsified before they have come to our knowledge, about the inability or the unwillingness of our loyal people to furnish the necessary money.

But enough of the London “ Times.” We have in view matters not identified with the spirit and comments of a single newspaper, however influential. We have in view graver and more comprehensive facts, — facts, too, more significant of feelings and opinion. Stating our point in general terms, which we shall reduce to some particulars before we close, we affirm frankly and emphatically, that the North, we might even say this Nation, as a government standing in solemn treaty relations with Great Britain, has just cause of complaint and offence at the prevailing tone and spirit of the English people, and press, and mercantile classes, towards us, in view of the rebellion which is convulsing our land. That tone and spirit have not been characterized by justice, magnanimity, or true sympathy with a noble and imperilled cause; they have not been in keeping with the professions and avowed principles of that people; they have not been consistent with the former intimations of English opinion towards us, as regards our position and our duty; and they have sadly disappointed the hopes on whose cheering support we had relied when the dark hours which English influence had helped to prepare for us should come.

Before we proceed to our specifications, let us meet the suggestion often thrown out, that we have been unduly and morbidly sensitive to English opinion in this matter; and let us gratefully allow for the exceptions that may require to be recognized in the application of our charges against the English people or press as a whole. It has been said that we have shown a timid and almost craven sensitiveness to the opinions pronounced abroad upon our national struggle, especially those pronounced by our own kinsfolk of England. It is urged, that a strong and prosperous and united people, if conscious of only a rightful cause, and professing the ability to maintain it, should be self-reliant, independent of foreign judgment, and ready to trust to time and the sure candor and fulness of the expositions which it brings with it, to set us right before the eyes of the world. But what if another nation, supposed to be friendly, known even to have recommended and urged upon us the very cause for which we are contending, represents it in such a contumelious and disheartening way as to show us that we have not even her sympathy ? Further, what if there is a spirit and a tone of treatment towards us which suggests the possibility that at some critical moment she may interfere in a way that will embarrass us and encourage our enemies ? The sensitiveness of a people to the possible power of mischief that may lie against them in the hands of a jealous neighbor, ready to be used at the will or caprice of its possessor, may indicate timidity or weakness. But Great Britain, knowing very well what the feeling is, ought to understand that it may consist with real strength, courage, and right purposes. It is notorious now to all the civilized world, as a fact often ludicrously and sometimes lugubriously set forth, that millions of sturdy English folk have lived for many years, and live at this hour, in a state of quaking trepidation as to the designs of a single man of “ ideas ” across their Channel. What bulletin have the English people ever read from day to day with such an intermittent pulse as that with which they peruse quotations from the “ Moniteur ” ? The English people, whatever might have been true of them once, are now the last people in the world — matched and overawed as they are by the French — to charge upon another people a timid sensitiveness for even the slightest intimations of foreign feeling and possible intentions.

We must allow also for exceptions to the sweep of the specific charges under which we shall express our grievances at the general course of English treatment towards us. There have been messages in many private letters from Englishmen and Englishwomen of high public and of dignified private station, there have been editorials and communications in a few English papers, there have been brief utterances in Parliament, and from leading speakers at political, mercantile, literary, and religious assemblies, which have shown a full appreciation of the import of our present strife, and have conveyed to us in words of most precious and grateful encouragement the assurance that many hearts are heating with ours across the sea. That the truculence and venom of some of our own papers may have repressed the feeling and the utterance of this same sympathy in many individuals and ways where it might otherwise have manifested itself is not unnatural, and is very probable. We acknowledge most gratefully the cheer and the inspiration which have come to us from every word, wish, and act from abroad that has recognized the stake of our conflict; and we will take for granted the real existence and the glowing heartiness of much of the same which has not been expressed, or has not reached us. Farther even than this we will go in tempering or qualifying the utterance of our grievances. We will take for granted that very much of the coldness, or antipathy, or contemptuousness, or misrepresentation which we have recognized in the general treatment of us and our cause by Englishmen is to be accounted to actual ignorance or a very partial understanding of our real circumstances and of the conditions of the conflict, and of the relations of parties to it. De Tocqueville is universally regarded among us as the only foreigner who ever divined the theoretical and the practical method of our institutions. Englishmen, English statesmen even, have never penetrated to the mystery of them. Many intelligent British travellers have seemed to wish to do so, and to have tried to do so. But the study bothers them, the secret baffles them. They give it up with a gruff impatience which writes on their features the sentence, “ You have no right to have such complicated and unintelligible arrangements in your governments, State and Federal: they are quite un-English.” Our foreign kinsfolk seem unwilling to realize the extent of our domain, and the size of some of our States as compared with their own island, and incapable of understanding how different institutions, forms, limitations, and governmental arrangements may exist in the several States, independently of, or in subordination to, the province and administration of the Federal Government. Nearly every English journal which undertakes to refer to our affairs will make ludicrous or serious blunders, if venturing to enter into details. The “Edinburgh Review” kindly volunteered to be the champion of American institutions and products in opposition to the extreme Toryism of the “ Quarterly.” Sydney Smith took us, our authors and early enterprises, under his special patronage, and he wrote many favorable articles of that character. One would have supposed, that, in the necessary preparation for such labors, he would have acquired some geographical, statistical, and other rudimentary knowledge about us, enough to have kept him from gross blunders. Unluckily, for him and for us, for the sake of getting here on his money double the interest which he could get at home, and not considering that the greater the promised profit the greater the risk, he made investments in some of our stock companies and bonds. When these investments proved disastrous, he raved and fumed, calling upon our Government— which had nothing more to do with the matter than had the English Parliament — to make good his losses.

We are tempted for a moment to drop the graver thread of our theme to relate an anecdote in illustration of our present point. It happened a few years ago that we had as a household guest for two or three weeks an English gentleman, wellinformed, courteous, and excellent, who had been for several years the editor of a London paper. On the day after his domestication with us, which was within the first week of his arrival at New York, sitting where we are now writing, after breakfast, he announced that “ he had a commission to execute for a friend, with a person residing in Springfield.” Opening his note-book, he handed us a slip of paper bearing the gentleman’s name and address, “ Springfield, Ohio.” Furnishing him with writing-materials, we were about turning to our own occupation, when, suddenly, with a quick exclamation, as if recalling something, he said, “ Sure, I have been in Springfield. I remember a short, a very short time was allowed for dinner, as I came from New York.” We explained, or tried to explain to him, that the Springfield through which he had passed and the Springfield to which he was writing were in different States widely separated, and that there were also several other “ Springfields.” To this he demurred, protesting that it made matters quite confusing to foreigners to have the same names repeated in different parts of the country. In vain did we suggest that all confusion was avoided by adding the abbreviated name of the State. No! “ It was very confusing,” Suddenly, a thought occurred to us, and, refreshing our memory by a glance at the Index of our English “ Road-Book,” we suggested triumphantly that names were repeated for different localities in England: thus, there are four Ashfords, two Dorchesters, six Hortons, seven Newports, etc., etc. Our guest, with an air and vehemence that quite outvied our triumph, exclaimed, — “ Oh ! but they are in different shinvhes, in different shirrrhes ! ” Sure enough, one of his own shires is a larger thing to an Englishman than one of our States. He lives on an island which is to him larger than all the rest of the world, though any one starting from the Centre of it, on a fast horse, unless he crossed the border into Scotland, could Scarcely ride in any direction twenty-four hours without getting overboard.

To the actual ignorance or obfuscation of mind of the majority of the English people, as regards our country and its institutions, we are doubtless to refer much of the ill-toned and seemingly unfriendly comments made upon our affairs in their organs. Thus, it is intimated to us by many English writers, that they regard the North now as simply undertaking to patch up a Union founded and sustained by mean compromises, an object which has already led us into many humiliating concessions, — and that the moment we announce that we are striking a blow for Liberty, we shall have their sympathy without stint or measure. No Englishman who really understood our affairs would talk in that way. One of the chief lures which instigated and encouraged the Southern rebellion was the assurance, adroitly insinuated by the leading traitors into their duped followers, that opposition by the rest of the country to their schemes would take the form of an antislavery crusade, in which form the opposition would be put down by the combined force of those who did not belong to the Republican party. They were deceived. Opposition to them took the form of a rallying by all parties to the defence of the Constitution, the maintenance of the Union. For any anti-slavery zeal to have attempted to divert the aroused patriotism of the laud to a breach of one of its fundamental constitutional provisions would have been treacherous and futile. The majority of our enlisted patriotic soldiers would have laid down their arms. If the leadings of Providence shall direct the thickening strife into an exterminating crusade against slavery, doubtless our patriots will wait on Providence. But we could not have started in our stern work avowing that as an object of our own. And as to the meanness of our concessions and compromises for Union, we have to consider what woes and wrongs that Union has averted. Has England no discreditable passages in her own Parliamentary history ? Have her attempts at governing large masses of men, Christian and heathen, Roman Catholic and Protestant, and of all sects, privileged and oppressed, never led her into any truckling or tyrannical legislation, any concessions or compromises of ideal or abstract right ?

But we must come to our specifications, introducing them with but a single other needful suggestion. We have not to complain of any acts or formal measures of the English Government against us,— nor even of the omission of any possible public manifestation which might have turned to our encouragement or service. But it will be admitted that we have grievances to complain of, if the tone and the strain of English opinion and sentiment have been such as to inspirit the South and to dispirit the North. If English comments have palliated or justified the original and the incidental measures of the Rebellion,— if they have been zealous to find or to exaggerate excuses for it, to overstate the apparent or professed grounds of it, to wink at the meannesses and outrages by which it has thriven, — if they have perverted or misrepresented the real issue, have ridiculed or discouraged the purposes of its patriotic opponents, have embarrassed or impeded their hopes of success, or have prejudged or foreclosed the probable result, — it will be admitted, we say, that we have grievances against those who have so dealt by us in the hour of our dismay and trial. And it is an enormous aggravation of the disappointment or the wrong which we are bearing, that it is visited upon us by England just as we have initiated measures for at least restraining and abating the dominant power of that evil institution for our complicity in the support of which she has long been our unsparing censor. We complain generally of the unsympathizing and contemptuous tone of England towards us, — of the mercurial standard by which she judges our strife, — of the scarcely qualified delight with which she parades our occasional ill-successes and discomfitures, — of the haste which she has made to find tokens of a rising despotism or a military dictatorship in those measures of our Government which are needful and consistent with the exigencies of a state of warfare, such as the suspension, on occasions, of the habeas corpus, the suppression of disloyal publications, the employment of spies, and the requisition of passports,— and finally, of the contemptible service to which England has tried to put our last tariff, and of her evident unwillingness to have us find or furnish the finances of our war. Not to deal, however, with generalities, we proceed to make three distinct points of an argument that crowds us with materials.

Foremost among the grievances which we at the North may allege against our brethren across the water—foremost, both in time and in the harmful influence of its working — we may specify this fact, that the English press, with scarce an exception, made haste, in the very earliest stages of the Southern Rebellion, to judge and announce the hopeless partition of our Union, as an event accomplished and irrevocable. The way in which this judgment was reached and pronounced, the time and circumstances of its utterance, and the foregone conclusions which were drawn from it, gave to it a threatening and mischievous agency, only less prejudicial to our cause, we verily believe, than would have been an open alliance between England and the enemies of the Republic. This baste to announce the positive and accomplished dissolution of our National Union was forced most painfully upon our notice in the darkest days of our opening strife. Those who undertook to guide and instruct English opinion in the matter had easy means of informing themselves about the strangely fortuitous and deplorable, though most opportune and favoring combination of circumstances under which “ Secession ” was initiated and strengthened. They knew that the Administration, then in its last days of power, was half-covertly, half-avowedly in sympathy and in active cooperation with the cause of rebellion. The famous “ Ostend Conference” had had its doings and designs so thoroughly aired in the columns of the English press, that we cannot suppose either the editors or the readers ignorant of the spirit or intentions of those who controlled the policy of that Administration. Early information likewise crossed the water to them of the discreditable and infamous doings and plottings of members of the Cabinet, evidently in league with the fomenting treachery. They knew that the head of the Navy Department had either scattered our ships of war to the ends of the earth, or had moored them in helpless disability at our dockyards, — that the head of the War Department had been plundering the arsenals of loyal States to furnish weapons for intended rebellion, — that the head of the Treasury Department was purloining its funds, — and that the President himself, while allowing national forts to be environed by hostile batteries, had formally announced that both Secession itself and all attempts to resist it were alike unconstitutional, — the effect of which grave opinion was to let Secession have its way till Coercion would seem to be not only unconstitutional, but unavailing. Our English kinsfolk also knew that our prominent diplomatic agents abroad, representing solemn treaty relations with them of this nation as a unit, under sacred oaths of loyalty to it, and living on generous grants from its Treasury, were also in more or less of active sympathy with traitorous schemes. So far, it must be owned, there was little in the promise of whatever might grow from these combined enormities to engage the confidence or the good wishes of true-hearted persons on either side of the water.

But whatever power of mischief lay in this marvellous combination of evil forces, so malignly working together, the Administration in which they found their life and whose agencies they employed was soon to yield up its fearfully desecrated trust. A new order of things, representing at least the spirit and purpose of that philanthropy and public righteousness to which our English brethren had for years been prompting us, was to come in with a new Administration, already constitutionally recognized, but not as yet put into power. It was asking but little of intelligent foreigners of our own blood and language, that they should make due allowance for that recurring period in the terms of our Government— as easily turned to mischievous influences as is an interregnum in a monarchy—by which there is a lapse of four months between the election and the inauguration of our Chief Magistrate. A retiring functionary may work and plan and provide an immense amount of disabling, annoying, and damaging experience to be encountered by his successor. That successor may at a distance, or close at hand, be an observer of all this influence; but whether it be simply of a partisan or of a malignant character, he is powerless to resist it, and good taste and the proprieties of his position seem to suggest that he make no public recognition of it. Every Chief Magistrate of this Republic, before its present head, acceded to office with its powers and dignities and facilities and trusts unimpaired by his predecessor. We have thought that among the thorns of the pillow on which a certain “ old public functionary ” lays his head, as he watches the dismal working of elements which he had more power than any other to have dispelled, not the least sharp one must be that which pierces him with the thought of the difference between the position which his predecessors prepared for him and that which he prepared for his successor. Not among the least of the claims which that successor has upon the profound and respectful sympathy of all good men everywhere is the fact that there has been no public utterance of complaining or reproachful words from his lips, reflecting upon his predecessor, or even asking indulgence on the score of the shattered and almost wrecked fabric of which we have put him in charge. We confess that we have looked through the English papers for months for some magnanimous and high-sealed tribute of this sort to the Man who thus nobly represents a sacred and imperilled cause. If such tribute has been rendered, it has escaped our notice.

Now, as we are reflecting upon the tone and spirit of the English press at the opening of the Rebellion, we have to recall to the minds of our readers the fact, that in all its early stages, even down to and almost after the proclamation of the President summoning a volunteer force to resist it, we ourselves, at the North, utterly refused to consider the Seceders as in earnest. We may have been stupid, besotted, infatuated even, in our blindness and incredulity. Rut none the less did we, that is, the great majority of us, regard all the threats and measures of the South as something less formidable and actual than open war and probable or threatening revolution. We were persuaded that the people of the South had been wrought up by artful and ambitious leaders to wild alarm that the new Administration would visit outrages upon them and try to turn them into a state of vassalage. Utterly unconscious as we were of any purpose to trespass upon or reduce their fullest constitutional rights, we knew how grossly our intentions were misrepresented to them. We applied the same measure to the distance between their threats and the probability that they would carry them out which we knew ought to be applied to the difference between our supposed and our real intentions. In a word,—for this is the simple truth,—we regarded the manifestations of the seceding and rebelling States — or rather of the leaders and their followers in them — as in part bluster and in part a warning of what might ensue, though it would not be likely to ensue when their eyes were open to the truth. We were met by bold defiance, by outrageous abuse, and with an almost overwhelming venting of falsehoods. There was boastfulness, arrogance, assured claims of sufficient strength, and daring prophecies of success, enough to have made any cause triumphant, if triumph comes through such means. Still we were incredulous, perhaps foolishly and culpably so, —but incredulous, and unintimidated, and confident, none the less. We believed that wise, forbearing, and temperate measures of the new Administration would remove all real grievances, dispel all false alarms, and at least leave open the way to bloodless methods of preserving the Union. Part of our infatuation consisted in our seeing so plainly the infatuation of the South, while we did not allow for the lengths of wild, and reckless folly into which it might drive them. We could see most plainly that either success in their schemes, or failure through a struggle to accomplish them, would be alike ruiuous to them; that no cause standing on the basis and contemplating the objects recognized by them could possibly prosper, so long as the throne of heaven had a sovereign seated upon it. Full as much, then, from our conviction that the South would not insist upon doing itself such harm as from any fear of what might happen to us, did we refuse to regard Secession as a fixed fact. At the period of which we are speaking, there was probably not a single man at the North, of well-furnished and well-balanced mind — who stood clear in heart and pocket of all secret or interested bias toward the South — that deliberately recognized the probability of the dissolution of the Union. Very few such men will, indeed, recognize that possibility now, except as they recognize the possibility of the destruction of an edifice of solid blocks and stately columns by the grinding to powder of each large mass of the fabric, so that no rebuilding could restore itThis was the state of mind and feeling with which we, who had so much at stake and could watch every pulsation of the excitement, contemplated the aspect of our opening strife. But with the first echo from abroad of its earliest announcements here came the most positive averments in the English papers, with scarcely a single exception, that the knell of this Union had struck. We had fallen asunder, our bond was broken, we bad repudiated our former league or fellowship, and henceforth what had been a unit was to be two or more fragments, in peaceful or hostile relations as the case might be, but never again One. It would but revive for us the first really sharp and irritating pangs of this dismal experience, to go over the files of papers for those extracts which were like vinegar to our eyes as we first read them. Their substance is repeated to us in the sheets which come by every steamer. There were, of course, variations of tone and spirit in these evil prognostications and these raven-like croaks. Sometimes there was a vein of pity, and of that kind of sorrow which we feel and of that other kind which we express for other people’s troubles. Sometimes there was a start of surprise, an ejaculation of amazement, or even profound dismay, at the calamity which had come upon us. In others of these newspaper comments there was that unmistakable superciliousness, that goading contemptuousness of self-conceit and puffy disdain, which John Bull visits on all “un-English” things, especially when they happen under their unfortunate aspects. In not a few of these same comments there was a tone of exultation, malignant and almost diabolical, as at the discomfiture of a hated and dangerous rival. We have read at least three English newspapers for each week that has passed since our troubles began ; we have been readers of these papers for a score of years. In not one of them have we met the sentence or the line which pronounces hopefully, with bold assurance, for the renewed life of our Union. In by far the most of them there is reiterated the most positive and dogged averment that there is no future for us. We are not unmindful of the manliness and stout cheer with which a very few of them have avowed their wish and faith that the Rebels may be utterly discomfited and bold up before the world in their shame and friendlessness, and have coupled with these utterances words of warm sympathy and approval for the North. But these ill-wishes for the one party and these good wishes for the other party are independent of anything but utter hopelessness as to the preservation or the restoration of the Union.

Now some may suggest that we make altogether too much of what so far is but the expression of an opinion, and, at worst, of an unfavorable opinion, — an opinion, too, which may yet prove to be correct. But the giving of an opinion on some matters has all the effect of taking a side, and often helps much to decide the stake. On very many accounts, this expression of English opinion, at the time it was uttered and with such emphasis, was most unwarranted and most mischievous. It is very easy to distribute its harmful influence upon our interests and prospects into three very different methods, all of which combined to injure or obstruct the Northern cause, — the National cause. Thus, this opinion of the hopelessness of our resistance of the ruin of our Union was of great value to the Echols as an encouragement under any misgivings they might have; it was calculated to prejudice our position in the eyes of the world; and it had a tendency to dispirit many among ourselves. A word upon each of these points. — How quickening must it have been to the flagging hopes or determination of the Rebels to read in the English journals that they were sure of success, that the result was already registered, that they had gained their purpose simply by proposing it! Nor was it possible to regard this opinion as not carrying with it some implication that the cause of the Rebels was a just one, and was sure of success, if for other reasons, for this, too, among them, namely, that it was just. Why else were the Rebels so sure of a triumph ? Was it because of their superior strength or resources ? A very little inquiry would have set aside that suggestion. Was it because of the nobleness of their cause ? A very frank avowal from the VicePresident of the assumed Confederacy announced to liberty-loving Englishmen that that cause was identified with a slavoeracy. Or was the Rebel cause to succeed through the dignity and purity of the means enlisted in its service ? It was equally well known on both sides of the water by what means and appliances of fraud, perfidy, treachery, and other outrages, the schemes of the Rebellion were initiated and pursued. If, in spite of all these negatives, the English press prophesies success to the Rebels, was not the prophecy a great comfort and spur to them ? — Again, this prophecy of our sure discomfiture prejudiced us before the world. It gave a public character and aspect of hopelessness to our cause; it invited coldness of treatment towards us; it seemed to warn off all nations from giving us aid or comfort; and it virtually affiimed that any outlay of means or life by us in a cause seen to be impracticable would be reckless, sanguinary, cruel, and inhuman. —• And, once more, to (hose among ourselves who are influenced by evil prognostications, it was most dispiriting to be told, as if by cool, unprejudiced observers from outside, that no uprising of patriotism, no heroism of sacrifice, no combination of wisdom and power would be of any avail to resist a foreordained catastrophe.—In these three harmful ways of influence, the ill-omened opinion reiterated from abroad had a tendency to fulfil Itself. The whole plea of justification offered abroad for the opinion is given in the assertion that those who have once been bitterly alienated can never be brought into true harmony again, and that it is impossible to govern the unwilling as equals. England has but to read the record of her own strifes arid battles and infuriated passages with Scotland and Ireland, — between whom and herself alienations of tradition, prejudice, and religion seemed to make harmony as impossible as the promise of it is to these warring States, — England has only to refresh her memory on these points, in order to relieve us of the charge of folly in attempting an impossibility. So much for the first grievance we allege against our English brethren.

Another of our specifications of wrong is involved in that already considered. If English opinion decided that our nationality must henceforth be divided, it seemed also to imply that we ought to divide according to terms dictated by the Seccders. This was a precious judgment to be pronounced against us by a sister Government which was standing in solemn treaty relations with us as a unit in our nationality ! What did England suppose had become of our Northern manhood, of the spirit of which she herself once felt the force ? There was something alike humiliating and exasperating in this implied advice from her, that we should tamely and unresistingly submit to a division of continent, bays, and rivers, according to terms defiantly and insultingly proposed by those who had a joint ownership with ourselves. How would England receive such advice from us under like circumstances? But we must cut short the utterance of our feelings on this point, that we may make another specification,—

Which is, that our English critics see only, or chiefly, in the fearful and momentous conflict in which we are engaged, “ a bursting of the bubble of Democracy ” ! Shall we challenge now the intelligence or the moral principle, the lack of one or the other of which is betrayed in this sneering and malignant representation — this utter misrepresentation — of the catastrophe which has befallen our nation ? Intelligent Englishmen know full well that the issue raised among us does not necessarily touch or involve at a single point the principles of Democracy, but stands wide apart and distinct from them. We might with as much propriety have said that the Irish Rebellion and the Indian Mutiny showed “ the bursting of the bubble of Monarchy.” The principles of Democracy stand as firm and find our people as loyal to them in every little town-meeting and in every legislature of each loyal State in the Union as they did in the days of our first enthusiastic and successful trial of them. Supposing even that the main assumption on which so many Englishmen have prematurely vented their scorn were a fact; we cannot but ask if the nation nearest akin to us, and professing to be guided in this century by feelings which forbid a rejoicing over others’ great griefs, has no words of high moral sympathy, no expressions of regretful disappointment in our calamities ? Is it the first or the most emphatic thing which it is most fitting for Christian Englishmen to say over the supposed wreck of a recently noble and promising country, the prospered home of thirty millions of God’s children,— that “ a bubble has burst ” ? Me might interchange with our foreign “ comforters ” a discussion by arguments and facts as to whether a monarchy or a democracy has about it more of the qualities of a bubble, but the debate would be irrelevant to our present purpose. We believe that Democracy in its noblest and all-essential and well-proved principles will survive the shock which has struck upon our nation, whatever the result of that shock may yet prove to he. We believe, further, that the principles of Democracy will come out of the struggle which is trying, not themselves, but something quite distinct from them, with a new affirmation and vindication. But let that be as it may, we are as much ashamed for England’s sake as we are aggrieved on our own account that from the vehicles of public sentiment in “ the foremost realm, in the world for all true culture, advanced progress, and the glorious triumphs of liberty and religion,” what should be a profoundly plaintive lament over our supposed ruin is, in reality, a mocking taunt and a hateful gibe over our failure in daring to try an “ un-English” experiment.1

The stately “ Quarterly Review,” in its number for July, uses a little more of dignity in wording the title of an article upon our affairs thus, — “ Democracy on its Trial" ; but it makes up for the waste of refinement upon its text by a lavish indulgence in scurrility and falsehood in its comments. As a specimen, take the following. Living here in this goodly city of Boston, and knowing and loving well its ways and people, we are asked to credit the following story, which the Reviewer says he heard from “ a wellknown traveller.” The substance of the story is, that a Boston merchant proposed to gild the lamp over his street-door, but was dissuaded from so doing by the suggestion of a friend, that by savoring of aristocracy the ornamented gas-burner would offend the tyrannical people and provoke violence against it! This, the latest joke in the solemn Quarterly, has led many of its readers here to recall the days of Madame Trollope and the Reverend Mr. Fiddler, those veracious and “ well-known travellers.” There are, we are sorry to say, many gilded street-lamps, burnished and blazing every night, in Boston. But instead of standing before the houses of our merchants, they designate quite a different class of edifices. Our merchants, as a general thing, would object, both on the score of good taste and on grounds of disagreeable association with the signal, to raise such an ornament before the doors of their comfortable homes. The common people, however, so far from taking umbrage at the spectacle, would be rather gratified by the generosity of our grandees in being willing to show some of their finery out of doors. This would be the feeling especially of that part of our population which is composed of foreigners, who have been used to the sight of such demonstrations in their native countries, which are not democracies. In fact, we suspect that the reason why English “flunkeys” hate American “flunkeyism,” with its laced coachmen, etc., is because mere money, by aping the insignia of rank, its gewgaws and trumpery, shows too plainly how much of the rank itself depends upon the fabrics and demonstrations through which it sets itself forth. We can conceive that an English nobleman travelling in this country, who might chance in one of our cities to see a turnout with its outriders, tassels, and crests, almost or quite as fine as his own, if he were informed that it belonged to a plebeian who had grown vastly rich through some coarse traffic, might resolve to reduce all the display of his own equipage the moment he reached home. The labored and mean-spirited purpose of the writer of the aforesaid article in the Quarterly, and of other writers of like essays, is to find in our democracy the material and occasion of everything of a discreditable sort which occurs in our land. Now we apprehend, not without some means of observation and inquiry, that the state and features of society in Great Britain and in all our Northern regions are almost identically the same, or run in parallelisms, by which we might match every phenomenon, incident, prejudice, and folly, every good and every bad trait and manifestation in the one place with something exactly like it in the other. During a whole score of years, as we have read the English journals and our own, the thought has over and over again suggested itself to us that any one who had leisure and taste for the task might cut out from each series of papers respectively, for a huge commonplace book, matters of a precisely parallel nature in both countries. A simple difference in the names of men and of places would be all that would appear or exist. Every noble and every mean and every mixed exhibition of character,— every act of munificence and of baseness,—every narrative of thrilling or romantic interest, — every instance and example of popular delusion, humbug, man-worship, breach of trust, domestic infelicity, and of cunning or astounding depravity and hypocrisy, — every religions, social, and political excitement,— every panic,—and every accident even, from carelessness or want of skill,—each and all these have their exact parallels, generally within the same year of time in Great Britain and in our own country. The crimes and the catastrophes, in each locality, have seemed almost repetitions of the same things on either continent. Munificent endowments of charitable institutions, zeal in reformatory enterprises and in the correction of abuses, have shown that the people of both regions stand upon the same plane of humanity and practical Christian culture. The same great frauds have indicated in each the same amount of rottenness in men occupying places of trust. Both regions have had the same sort of unprincipled “ railway kings ” and bankers, similar railroad disasters, similar cases of the tumbling down of insecure walls, and of wife-poisoning. A Chartist insurrection enlists a volunteer police in London, and an apprehended riot among foreigners is met by a similar precaution in one of our cities. An intermittent controversy goes on in England about the interference of religion with common education, and Boston or New York is agitated at the same time with the question about the use of the Bible in the public schools. Boston rowdies mob an English intermeddler with the ticklish matters of our national policy, and English rowdies mob an Austrian Haynau. England goes into ecstasies over the visit of a Continental Prince, and our Northern States repeat the demonstration over the visit of a British Prince. The Duke of Wellington alarms his fellow-subjects by suggesting that their national defences would all prove insufficient against the assaults of a certain terrible Frenchman, and an American cabinet official echoes the suggestion that England may, perhaps, try her strength in turn against us. There are evidently a great many bubbles in this world, and, for all that we know to the contrary, they are all equally liable to burst. Some famous ones, bright in royal hues, have burst within the century. Some more of the same may, not impossibly, suffer a collapse before the century has closed. So that, for this matter, “the bubble of Democracy” must take its chance with the rest.

We have one more specification to make under our general statement of reasons why the North feels aggrieved with the prevailing tone of sentiment and comment in the English journals in reference to our great calamity. We protest against the verdict which finds expression in all sorts of ways and with various aggravations, that, in attempting to rupture our Union, and to withdraw from it on their own terms, at their own pleasure, the seceding States are but repeating the course of the old Thirteen Colonies in declaring themselves independent, and sundering their ties to the mother country. There is evidently the rankling of an old smart in this plea for rebels, which, while it is not intended to justify rebellion in itself, is devised as a vindication of rebels against rebels. There is manifest satisfaction and a high zest, and something of the morally awful and solemnly remonstrative, in the way in which the past is evoked to visit its ghostly retribution upon us. The old sting rankles in the English breast. She is looking on now to see us hoist by our own petard. These pamphlet pages, with their circumscribed limits and their less ambitious aims, do not invite an elaborate dealing with the facts of the case, which would expose the sophistical, if not the vengeful spirit of this English plea, as for rebels against rebels. A thorough exposition of the relations which the present Insurrection bears to the former Revolution would demand an essay. The relations between them, however, whether stated briefly or at length, would be found to be simply relations of difference, without one single point of resemblance, much less of coincidence. We can make but the briefest reference to the points of contrast and unlikeness between the two things, after asserting that they have no one common feature. It might seem evasive in us to suggest to our English critics that they should refresh their memories about the causes and the justification of our Revolution by reading the pages of their own Burke. We are content to rest our case on his argument, simply affirming that on no one point will it cover the alleged parallelism of the Southern Rebellion.

The relations of our States to each other and to the Union are quite unlike those in which the Colonies stood to England. England claimed by right of discovery and exploration the soil on which her Colonies here were planted, though she had rival claimants from the very first. A large number of the Colonists never had any original connection with England, and owed her no allegiance. Holland, Sweden, and other countries furnished much of the first stock of our settlers, who thought they were occupying a wild part of God’s earth rather than a portion of the English dominions. The Colonies were not planted at public charge, by Government cost or enterprise. The English exiles, with but slender grounds of grateful remembrance of the land they had left, brought with them their own private means, subdued a wilderness, extinguished the aboriginal titles, and slowly and wearily developed the resources of the country. Often in their direst straits did they decline to ask aid from England, lest they might thereby furnish a plea for her interference with their internal affairs. Several of the Colonies from the first acted upon their presumed independence, and resolved on the frank assertion of it as soon as they might dare the venture. That time for daring happened to be contemporaneous with a tyrannical demand upon them for tribute without representation. Thus the relations of the Colonies to England were of a hap-hazard, abnormal, incidental, and always unsettled character. They might be modified or changed without any breach of contract. They might be sundered without perjury or perfidy.

How unlike in all respects are the relations of these States to each other and to the Union! Drawn together after dark days and severe trials,—solemnly pledged to each other by the people whom the Union raised to a full citizenship in the Republic,— bound by a compact designed to be without limitation of time, — lifted by their consolidation to a place and fame and prosperity which they would never else have reached, — mutually necessary to each other’s thrift and protection,— making a nation adapted by its organic constitution to the region of the earth which it occupies,—and now, by previous memories and traditions, by millions of social and domestic alliances, knit by heart-strings the sundering of which will be followed by a flow of the life-blood till all is spent, — these terms are but a feeble setting forth of the relations of these States to each other and to the Union. Some of these States which have been voted out of the Union by lawless Conventions owe their creation to the Union. Their very soil has been paid for out of the public treasury. Indeed, the Union is still in debt under obligations incurred by their purchase.

How striking, too, is the contrast between the character and method of the proceedings which originated and now sustain the Rebellion, and those which initiated and carried through the Revolution ! The Rebellion exhibits to us a complete inversion of the course of measures which inaugurated the Revolution. “ Secession ” was the invention of ambitious leaders, who overrode the forms of law, and have not dared to submit their votes and their doings to primary meetings of the people whom they have driven with a despotic tyranny. In the Revolution the people themselves were the prime movers. Each little country town and municipality of the original Colonies, that has a hundred years of history to be written, will point us boastfully to entries in its records showing how it instructed its representatives first to remonstrate against tyranny, and then to resist it by successive measures, each of which, with its limitations and its increating boldness, was dictated by the same people. The people of Virginia, remembering the ancient precedent which won them their renown, intended to follow it in an early stage of our present strife. They allowed a Convention to assemble, under the express and rigid condition, that, if it should see fit to advise any measure which would affect the relations of their State to the Union, a reference should be made of it, prior to any action, to the will of the people. The Convention covertly and treacherously abused its trust. In secret session it authorized measures on the strength of which the Governor of the State proceeded to put it into hostile relations with the Union. When the foregone conclusion was at last farcically submitted to the people, a perjured Senator of the National Congress notified such of them as would not ratify the will of the Convention, that they must leave the State.

Once more, in our Revolution, holders of office and of lucrative trusts in the interest of England were to a man loyal to the Home Government, and our independence was effected without any base appliances. In the work of secession and rebellion, the very officials and sworn guardians of our Government have been the foremost plotters. They have used their opportunities and their trusts for the most perfidious purposes. Nothing but perjury in the very highest places could have initiated secession and rebellion, and to this very moment they derive all their vigor in the council-chamber and on the field from forsworn men, most of whom have been trained from their childhood, nurtured, instructed, and fed, and all of whom have been fostered in their manhood, and gifted with their whole power for harming her, by the kindly mother whose life they are assailing. If the Man with the Withered Hand had used the first thrill of life and vigor coming into it by the word of the Great Physician to aim a blow at his benefactor, his ingratitude would have needed to stand recorded only until this year of our Lord, to have been matched by deeds of men who have thrown this dear land of ours into universal mourning. Yet our English brethren would try to persuade us that these men are but repeating the course and the deeds of the American Revolution!

  1. The following precious utterances of John Bull moralizing, which might have been spoken of the Thugs in India, or of some provincial Chinese enterprise, are extracted from the cotton circular of Messrs. Neill, Brothers, addressed to their correspondents, and dated, Manchester, Aug. 21. We find the circular copied in a religious newspaper published in London, without any rebuke. The North will have to learn the limited extent of her powers as compared with the gigantic task she has undertaken. One and perhaps two defeats will he insufficient to reverse the false education of a lifetime. Many lessons will probably be necessary, and, meantime, any success the Northern troops may obtain will again inflame the national vanity, and the lessons of adversity will need to be learned over again. More effect will probably he produced by sufferings at home, by the ruin of the higher classes and pauperization of the lower, and by the general absorption of the floating capital of the country ” ! There, good reader, what think you of the cotton moralizing of a comfortable factor, dwelling in immaculate England, dealing with us in cotton, and with the Chinese in opium?