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its independence or violate its territory; but all the latter had to do was to attack Friburg, Lucerne, and the Tessino, when the new confederacy fell to pieces." This we intended as a friendly warning against the rash counsels which first then seemed to prevail. Nor did we fail to make a distinction between the Southerners and the revolted Swiss; we admitted that the former would make a very different resistance from that of the latter, but insisted that the final result would be essentially the same.
Before our next number appeared the rebellion had commenced in earnest. While journalists who now boast loudly of their superior loyalty, and who have enjoyed no inconsiderable amount of government patronage, alternately whined and exulted-wavered like a broken reed-asking whether after all it was not better to let the rebels withdraw in peace-we, who never got one penny of government patronage, and never asked one penny, nor its value, from the day the war commenced until it was ended, spoke of the situation as follows:
"Under all circumstances war is a calamity as long as it lasts; but peace is not always a blessing. It is never such when maintained or secured at the expense of national honor or national dismemberment. Nay, it is rather a curse-certainly a disgrace to those who sacrifice all for it. We are all suffering more or less just now from the existing war. But how much better is it that we should undergo privations for awhile than that we should submit to see our noble Republic torn to pieces without raising a hand to save it! The government and the millions who sustain it have, therefore, reason rather to congratulate themselves that they did not hesitate to draw the sword when they saw that the enemies of the Union were in earnest."*
This will show that we were in favor of no parleying with those who would dismember the Republic. Because vigor and severity were then necessary, we earnestly urged both; now for the opposite reasons we urge moderation and clemency. But as we may not yet have satisfied all that we have some claim to be heard in the matter, we will turn to another article or two. Few have forgotten the effect of the Bull Run disaster and others that followed it; hundreds who made a great display of their loyalty exclaimed ominously, "I told you so!" In commenting on the same events we observed, in our September number :† "We have but little to say on the subject of the war on the present occasion; not that we are
National Quarterly Review for June, 1861, art. "The Secession Rebellion; why it must be put down." † 1861.
a whit less sanguine now as to the result than we were three months ago. We expressed no opinion in our June number which any recent occurrences have altered; in other words, we have as much faith to-day in the stability of the United States government, and its ability to overcome its enemies and put down the rebellion, as we ever had."
When so many of our own people shook their heads, and said that the Union was lost, it was to be expected that those who had long been jealous of our increasing power and prosperity would readily believe them. But that periodicals having a well-deserved reputation for shrewdness and foresight should fall into the same error surprised us not a little, and we commented on their views accordingly, quoting them as curiosities. Still more curious, we think, must they now be regarded; we will therefore extract two or three passages, the very same we quoted in September, 1861. We do this all the more readily because we were accused at the time by some of the same journals of being far too sanguine.
The Quarterly (London) displayed its farsightedness and wisdom as follows: "No one can see so mighty a ruin so suddenly achieved, without speculating on the causes of decay. A bereaved family look upon a surgeon as very hardhearted if he wishes to dissect a patient who has just died of some obscure disease, and in the same way the Americans may think it pitiless of us to philosophize over the coffin in which their beloved Union lies." Our readers will remember that we were somewhat amused at the time with this quotation; but still more with the following: "It is a spectacle, (the downfall of the Republic,) which we should study deeply, for so striking a warning is rarely granted to a nation. If in spite of it we suffer the intrigues of politicians to lure us into democracy, we shall deserve our downfall, for we shall have perished by that wilful infatuation which no warning can dispel."+ In commenting on these passages we showed that the Quarterly had made certain slight mistakes in its predictions on former occasions, so that everybody need not regard the Union as "in its coffin" merely because that journal did.
Blackwood took a somewhat similar view of the case, but avowed it saw no reason why any sympathy should be felt for a nation that commenced its existence only by setting itself up in opposition to British supremacy. Upon the whole, therefore, the critic thought it rather a good thing
* Quarterly Review, for July, 1861, art. “Democracy on its Trial." †Ib.
that we should slaughter each other on a large scale; as a specimen of the language used we copy the same passage we did nearly four years ago:
"It is impossible to blame the South for preparing to maintain its secession, or the North for attempting to retain its privileges. The hostile attitude of the South is a necessity; but setting the dictates of natural feeling aside, and speaking only of policy, the attitude of the North is judicious only in one or two cases.-Blackwood's Magazine for July, 1861, art. "Disruption of the Union."
Another English journal, entitled the National Review, said by a certain class to be peculiarly friendly to this. country, regarded our downfall as equally certain, and was willing to bestow some pity on us. It commenced in July, 1861, to speculate on the subject, as follows:
"When our last number issued from the press, a mighty catastrophe hung over the great Republic of the West, a catastrophe which many hoped might be averted, and which nearly every one combined to deprecate. We shared neither of these prevailing sentiments; we were satisfied that the menaced disruption was inevitable, and we even ventured to think it was desirable.”—National Review, for July, art. "Civil War in America."
The critic then proceeds to show that the rebels had a perfect right to secede as they did. They were very bad people he admitted in having slaves, and differing with Exeter Hall, but still they did a good thing in breaking up the Union, the same (as we remarked at the time) as the wife of Samson did in cutting off his locks, the source of his irresistible strength, and leaving him in the power of his enemies. After a good deal of logic, the reviewer had no difficulty in coming to the conclusion that "they (the Federal government) cannot compel the South to come into the Union."* Thus all the leading journals of England regarded the great Republic as a thing of the past; they held that its resuscitation was impossible; and were of opinion that, upon the whole, the catastrophe was rather fortunate for the world than otherwise.
In a similar spirit the Federal troops were charged with barbarity, both by the rebels and all who sympathized with them at home and abroad. As a reply to these accusations we published an article entitled "The Laws and Ethics of War," based on the works of Grotius, Puffendorf, Vattel,, and Wheaton, and maintained that "no impartial, intelligent
*National Review, for July, art. "Civil War in America."
observer could take a careful retrospect of this war since it first commenced at FortSumter, without being forced to admit that, so far as the Federal government is concerned, no war has ever been carried on in a less vindictive or more humane spirit. We gave ample proof, upon the other hand, that no similar statement could be made in regard to the mode of warfare of our censors. The rebels were consoled, it will be remembered, with the hope that the yellow fever alone would decimate our troops in the summer, and force them to withdraw from the South, while it afforded comparative immunity to the rebel troops.
In reply to those who would discourage enlistments as far as possible in this way, we prepared a careful article, * in which we showed from various authorities that the disease is a worse enemy to civilians than to soldiers; and subsequent experience has proved that in this also our views were correct. Thus it was that we published article after article, against the rebellion, and those who aided and encouraged it, from the day it commenced until the day it virtually ended.
In quoting the above extracts from English journals, however, our object is not to excite any feeling against England; we distinctly disclaim any such intention. It would be very wrong to hold either the British government or people responsible for what some British journal thought proper to say on the subject of our difficulties. But were the facts otherwise had even the British government themselves made those comments--had we the clearest evidence that they wished our downfall, it would still be an unwise course to quarrel with them about it. There will always be rivalry and jealousy between nations, as there always have been; and it is but rarely, if ever, that the most warlike states have made war on each other merely because the citizens or subjects of one thought proper to make unfriendly criticisms on
Far from desiring peace at any time, except on condition that the rebel states would return to the Union, we deprecated it as a calamity, because we felt an unwavering confidence in the final triumph of the Union. Hence it was that we concluded our article on the President's message in the number for December, 1864, with the wish that the rebels would accept the terms offered them, as follows:
"It seems to us that it would be their own interest, quite as much as that of the North, to put an end to the horrors of war, by simply laying
*Nat. Q. R., No. X.
down their arms, especially as there can be little doubt that they will have to do so eventually. Not, indeed, because they are wanting in courage or bravery; none could have displayed more heroism than they; but their resources in men and money-in all that is essential for carrying on a protracted war-being confessedly so much less than those of the North, they must necessarily become exhausted in time, and none can admit this without also admitting that the sooner they put an end to the war the better. Let us hope, for the sake of North and South alike, that the success of General Sherman now before Savannah may be such as to convince the bravest and most desperate that any further resistance to the power of the inexhaustible and resolute North can only result in disaster and ruin to themselves."
We need adduce no more evidence in order to show that we have acted in strict accordance with the motto on our own titlepage; and if this be admitted, it must also be admitted that we are entitled to a voice in the question under consideration. Indeed, the course of President Johnson thus far may be regarded as sufficient proof that he is disposed to do what is right without being urged to do so by any one; and what is more, that he understands what is right. If we are correct in this impression, Jefferson Davis will neither be executed nor harshly treated, however much he has deserved both. The best way to deprive him of all power and influence is to grant him pretty nearly his own former requestthat is, to let him alone; let him go to England, to France, or to any other country he may choose to select for his future residence. But we really do not believe that, if he were left at home, his influence could ever again do us the least harm. Those whom he has deceived and ruined detest or despise him too much to encounter any danger on his account in future. If, however, there are those in authority who think otherwise, or if our leading jurists do so, let him be confined in some of our fortresses, from which he cannot escape. Should this be the course finally decided upon, as we think most likely, it would not be well, for the reasons already mentioned, to treat him with any more harshness than is absolutely necessary to prevent his escape.
With regard to General Lee, whom present rumors represent as likely to be arrested and put on trial, we think that, however clearly guilty he has been in drawing his sword against the Republic, the manner in which he surrendered entitles him to his liberty. Had he been captured in the field of battle, he would have had a right to claim to be treated simply as a prisoner of war. This right we ourselves recognised in advance the very first year the war commenced, --that is, when we entered into stipulations with the rebels