« PreviousContinue »
THE DANGER OF EXASPERATING THE REBELS.
dued, what cities burned, what districts were wasted with fire and sword, or who was killed, or who made the slaughter on the field of blood; but all of us, who have studied the history of our own freedom, will well remember how the first charter of liberty was wrung from Henry I. at his coronation, and how, with their swords in their hands, the stern old barons compelled its confirmation and extension by King John, in the field between Windsor and Staines, in the form of Magna Charta. True, those charters of liberty were imperfect in their provisions, but a happy facility of interpretation, which in England has generally been used in favor of liberty, has, from their date, made them the safeguard of the rights of the people, and on them, as the lowest of foundation stones, rests the whole glorious superstructure of the English common law. The Normans were pioneers whose names must be immortal.
THE DANGER OF EXASPERATING THE REBELS.
A. A. SARGENT.
In all ages respect for the dead has been held to be a necessary virtue in a brave and generous character. To inflict outrage upon a slain enemy, even, bas heretofore been confined to dark corners of the earth. Such practices are too vile and mean to be tolerated in the light of civilization. Hence the fiendish spirit of the rebel leaders is painfully apparent in the treatment of our heroic dead. They were stripped naked, and left for days unburied. Many were buried in trenches, face downward, as a mark of indignity. Some were boiled, to get the bones for trophies, and heads cut off, that the skulls might be kept for drinking cups. Many human bones were found scattered through the rebel huts, sawed into rings. By acts of violence and crime like these, the rebels signalized their first victory over the army of the Republic. With savage and malignant hate, they tortured, slew, and desecrated. The monstrous treason which was commenced in perjury and theft, was continued in cowardly cruelty and barbarism. Well may I say the climax of malignity
was early reached. But has it diminished by long months of forbearance ? Let the score of brave officers and men of General Curtis's command, who were slain by the poisoned food left by the retreating rebels, bear witness. Let the fireship filled with deadly missiles, sent down upon our vessel, invited by a flag of truce and displaying another, below New Orleans; the throat-cutting of sick and unarmed men at Shiloh, as they lay in their tents; the frequent murder of parties bearing flags of truce; the dismal tales of southern prison-houses; the hanging of Union men; the disregard of age or sex by the rebels in their unrestrained wrath; let these and a thousand other barbarities give testimony how much danger there is of exasperating the traitors in arins. Talk of exasperating men like these! As well might Michael have feared to exasperate the rebellious angels whom he hurled from the battlements of heaven at the fiat of the Almighty. As well might the English have feared to exasperate the Sepoys, who slew in cold blood all whom they overpowered. It is only by sharp and sudden blows you can put down this rebellion ; not by faint-heartedness; not by calculations how your mortal enemies will regard your measures.
SAM WELLER'S VALENTINE.-CHARLES DICKENS.
"I've done now," said Sam, with slight embarrassment; "I've been a writin'."
“So I see,” replied Mr. Weller. “Not to any young 'ooman, I hope, Sammy."
Why, it's no use a sayin' it ain't,” replied Sam. “It's a walentine."
“A what!” exclaimed Mr. Weller, apparently horror-stricken by the word.
“A walentine," replied Sam.
“Samivel, Samivel," said Mr. Weller, in reproachful accents, “I didn't think you'd ha' done it. Arter the warnin' you've had o' your father's wicious propensities, arter all I've said to you upon this here wery subject; arter actiwally seein' and bein' in the
SAM WELLER'S VALENTINE.
company o' your own mother-in-law, vich I should ha' thought was a moral lesson as no man could ever ha' forgotten to his dyin' day! I didn't think you'd ha' done it, Sammy, I didn't think you'd ha' done it.” These reflections were too much for the good old man. He raised Sam's tumbler to his lips and drank off the contents.
"Wot's the matter now?” said Sam.
“Nev'r mind, Sainmy,” replied Mr. Weller, “it'll be a wery agonizin' trial to me at my time of life, but I'm pretty tough, that's vun consolation, as the wery old turkey remarked ven the farmer said he wos afeerd he should be obliged to kill him, for the London market."
“ Wot'll be a trial ?" inquired Sam.
“To see you married, Sammy—to see you a deluded wictim, "and thinkin' in your innocence that its all wery capital,” replied Mr. Weller. “It's a dreadful trial to a father's feelin's, that 'ere, Sammy.”
"Nonsense,” said Sam, “I ain't a goin' to get married, don't you fret yourself about that; I know you're a judge o' these things. Order in your pipe, and I'll read you the letterthere."
Sam dipped his pen into the ink to be ready for any corrections, and began with a very theatrical air
• Lovely 'Stop,” said Mr. Weller, ringing the bell. " A double glass o' the inwariable, my dear.”
“Very well, sir," replied the girl ; who with great quickness appeared, vanished, returned, and disappeared. “They seem to know your ways here," observed Sam.
Yes,” replied his father, “ I've been here before, in my time. Go
on, Sammy." “Lovely creetur',” repeated Sam.
'Taint in poetry, is it?'' interposed the father. “No, no," replied Sam.
“ Wery glad to hear it,” said Mr. Weller. “Poetry's unnat'ral; no man ever talked in poetry 'cept a beadle on boxin'day, or Warren's blackin' or Rowland's oil, or some of them low fellows; never you let yourself down to talk poetry, my boy. Begin again, Sammy.
Mr. Weller resumed his pipe with critical solemnity, and Sam once more commenced and read as follows:
“ • Lovely creetur i feel myself a damned?".
“ That ain't proper,” said Mr. Weller, taking his pipe from his mouth.
“No; it aint damned," observed Sam, holding the letter up to the light, “it's shamed,' there's a blot there—'I feel myself ashamed.'
“ Wery good,” said Mr. Weller. " Go on."
“Feel myself ashamed, and completely cir~,' I forget wot this here word is,” said Sam, scratching his head with the pen, in vain attempts to rernember.
“Why don't you look at it, then ?" inquired Mr. Weller.
“So I am a lookin' at it," replied Sam, “but there's another blot; here's a 'c,' and a ‘i,' and a 'd.'"
“ Circumwented, p’rhaps,” suggested Mr. Weller.
“That ain't as good a word as circumwented, Sammy," said Mr. Weller, gravely.
6. Think not?” said Sam.
“Vell, p’rhaps it's a more tenderer word," said Mr. Weller, after a few moments' reflection. “Go on, Sammy."
"Feel myself ashamed and completely circumscribed in a dressin' of you, for you are a nice gal and nothin' but it.'"
“That’s a wery pretty sentiment,” said the elder Mr. Weller, removing his pipe to make way for the remark.
“Yes, I think it's rayther good,” observed Sam, highly flattered.
“Wot I like in that 'ere style of writin'," said the elder Mr. Weller, “is, that there ain't no callin' names in it,—no Wenuses, nor nothin' o' that kind; wot's the good o' callin' a young 'ooman a Wenus or a angel, Sammy?”
“Ah! what, indeed ?" replied Sam.
“ You might jist as vell call her a griffin, or a unicorn, or å king's arms at once, which is wery well known to be a col-lection o'fabulous animals,” added Mr. Weller,
“Just as well," replied Sam.
SAM WELLEE'S VALENTINE.
“Drive on, Sammy, said Mr. Weller.
Sam complied with the request, and proceeded as follows; li, father continuing to smoke with a mixed expression of wisdor and complacency, which was particularly edifying.
Afore I see you I thought all women was alike.'”
“So they are,” observed the elder Mr. Weller, parenthetic ally.
6. But now,'” continued Sam, “now I find what a reg'lar soft-headed, ink-red’lous turnip I must ha' been, for there ain't nobody like you, though I like you better than nothin' at all." “I thought it best to make that rayther strong,” said Sarn, looking up.
Mr. Weller nodded approvingly, and Sam resumed.
“So I take the privilidge of the day, Mary, my dear—as the gen'lem’n in difficulties did, ven he valked out of a Sunday,—to tell you that the first and only time I see you your likeness was took on my hart in much quicker time and brighter colors than ever a likeness was taken by the profeel macheen (wich p'rhaps you may have heerd on Mary my dear), altho'it does finish a portrait and put the frame and glass on complete with a hook at the end to hang it up by, and all in two minutes and a quarter.
“I am afeerd that werges on the poetical, Sammy,” said Mr. Weller, dubiously.
“No it don't,” replied Sam, reading on very quickly, to avoid contesting the point.
* Except of me Mary my dear as your walentine, and think over what I've said. My dear Mary I will now conclude.' That's all,” said Sam.
“ That's rayther a sudden pull up, ain't it, Sammy ?” inquired Mr. Weller.
“Not a bit on it,” said Sam ; "she'll vish there wos more, and that's the great art o' letter writin'."
"Well," said Mr. Weller, “there's somethin' in that; and I wish your mother-in-law 'ud only conduct her conwersation on the same gen-teel principle. Ain't yon a goin' to sign it ?"
“That's the difficulty,” said Sam; “I don't know what to sign it?"
"Sign it-Veller," said the oldest surviving proprietor of that