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THE earth has been cursed with civil wars from the earliest times in which we have records of the race. Though characterized by more or less ferocity, and assuming various shapes, they all may be divided into two general classes. Those that occur under a despotic form of government, spring from oppression which the people, no longer able to bear, venture all the terrible hazard of a revolution to throw off. Those that take place under a democratic form of government, are brought about by a few ambitious men, who seek by faction to obtain power. Those of the former class possess dignity and grandeur, from the fact that they are based on the great doctrine of human rights. Man asserting his inherent, God-given rights on the battle field against overwhelming odds, is a sublime spectacle.
The latter are based on falsehoods, and kept alive by deception. Such were the civil wars of the early Republics.
- In the time of Cromwell, both religious and civil liberty were the grand prizes of the struggle; and whether we look at Hampden, calmly suffering for the sake of liberty, or at Cromwell's Ironsides, sweeping like a thunder cloud to battle, with the fearful war cry "RELIGION” on their lips, our deepest sympathies and admiration are excited, and we forget the horrors of tbe carnage in the mighty stake at issue. So in the bloody revolution of France; though the views of the masses were vague, and their speech often incoherent, yet when we behold inscribed on their banner the great charter of human rights, and the head of a king thrown down as the gage of battle, we no longer see the crimson field with its "garments rolled in blood,” we see only the divine image of human liberty hovering over it.
THE GREAT REBELLION,
Ours is of a mixed character, and hence in some respects' uplike all others that have preceded it; but like all civil wars in Republics, it sprung from a faction who sought only political". power. Those make a great mistake who suppose it grew out of a desire merely to perpetuate slavery. Slavery was used as a means to an end-a bugbear to frighten the timid into obedience, and a rallying cry for the ignorant, deluded masses. The accursed lust of power lay at the bottom of it.
The entire north, including the Republican party, had repeatedly declared, in the most emphatic manner, that it had no intention to intertere with slavery in the states where it existed; for they had no right to do so under the Constitution. Its per: petuity there was conceded, until the States themselves should get rid of it. Hence, the southern conspirators had no fear on that point, but they knew they could not carry the people with them unless they convinced them that slavery was to be assailed in their very homes, to be followed by a servile insurrection. They désired, of course, to extend slavery, because in that way alone they could extend their power. The perpetuity of slavery was a necessary consequence of all this; because the power they sought to obtain was founded on it-it was the chief cornerstone. Here is where the mistake is made in getting at the true cause of the rebellion.'
The whole question may be stated thus: southern politicians saw in the rapid increase of the free states, both in number and population, and the deep hostility to the admission of any more slave states, that the power they had so long wielded in the Gov. ernment would be broken.
The only course left them was to set up an independent gov. ernment. Thougi they might be weak at first, slave states could be added, as circumstances should determine. To effect their purpose they would seize on the tariff or slavery, or any thing else that would unite the South, Calhoun tried the former and failed, they, the latter and succeeded. Thus it will be seen that
the perpetuity and extension of slavery is a necessary consequence of the present rebellion, if successful; pot its first cause,-just as free trade would have followed the attempt of Calhoan to take the South out of the Union, had it succeeded.
The great, moving cause was the desire of power~slavery the platform on which they worked their diabolical machinery.
This was unquestionably the view taken by our Government, and the cause of its extreme leniency at first, which so many condemned. It sought to disabuse the people of the idea that we meant to attack their peculiar institutions, and hoped they would see that they were being duped and led into ruin by desperate, unscrupulous, ambitious men. So also did the mass of the northern people view it, and hence rushed to arms, feeling but little animosity, except towards the leaders. The CONSTITUTION” was their rallying cry—the preservation of the Government the sublime motive that sent them to the field of carnage.
On the one hand the world saw men crowding to battle, pretending to fight for the very freedom which they were all tuo time in the full enjoyment of-on the other hand more than a million of citizens rising in arms, with no object beyond the desire to see their enemies secure in that
freedom. The future historian will stand amazed at this strange spectacle.' No wonder European nations are puzzled as they contemplate us from beyond the ocean. They can understand the struggle of a brave people to overthrow a Government that robs them oi liberty, but not one to destroy the very charter of human liberty.
True, there has become mixed up with the determination of the orth to uphold the Constitution, a desire to strike a deadi: blow at slavery. Forbidden by this Fery charter to touch it in the States where it existed, many believe the rebellion was canc:sled all obligations growing out of the provisions it containe:, and that in its wasting, bloody track, it will sweep that relic or barbarism from the bosom of the Republic.
Clouds and darkness wrap the future, and we are safe only as .we look up to the Throne that is founded in “Justice and Judgment."