« PreviousContinue »
the world or from books, a reasonable propriety of thought he cannot for any time uphold," and the latter said, “Hamlet seems the work of a drunken savage.” They are personal and autobiographic, crowded with glorious opulence of genius, art, and tenderness to a degree which few even of their fondest readers have yet discerned. Whoever would see the interior of Shakespeare must look at him here, in these spirit-mirrors which reflect the deepest phases of his heart. They show that he was gifted to admire and love in the same transcendent degree as to see and write. Indeed, the popular separation of intellect and affection, as if they were endowments quite apart, one often being mighty while the other is petty, is essentially a fallacy. They are but different phases of one process of spirit. Under equally favorable conditions the same mass and motion of spirit go to each, and they are mutual measures. Normally, the greater and finer the mind, the greater and finer also the heart.
ART. VI. — THE WAR POLICY, AND THE FUTURE OF THE
1. The Cotton Kingdom. By FREDERICK Law Olmsted. New
York: Mason Brothers. 1861. 2 vols. 2. Letters to the President, on the Foreign and Domestic Policy of the
Union, and its Effects, as exhibited in the Condition of the People and the State. By H. C. CAREY. Philadelphia : M. Polock.
1858. 3. The Future Civilization of the South A Sermon preached on the
13th of April, 1862, in the South Congregational Church, Boston. By EDWARD E. HALE.
The month of September, just passed, will be looked back to, in future time, as the turning-point in the history of the war and of the nation. In the history of the war it marks the termination of the second period of military operations. Twice since the war began we have moved upon the rebel capital; both times we were foiled, and both times, by a curious coincidence, the plains of Manasses witnessed the crowning success of the enemy's arms. The first period was short,
and characterized by a feverish excitement and impatience. Its military history may be summed up in our occupation of Cairo and Fortress Monroe, the most important strategic points west and east, and Fort Pickens; also by the triumphant career of Lyon in Missouri, and of McClellan in Western Virginia. But politicians were not satisfied with the slowmaturing plans of the general-in-chief, and succeeded in July in precipitating the advance of a half-organized, poorly disciplined, and ill-provided army upon the strong position of the enemy. It was driven back in utter rout and confusion, and before many weeks our line had given way before the surging hosts of the rebels, who were only checked by our fast hold upon the three positions of Cairo, Fortress Monroe, and Washington. Missouri was overrun, hostilities renewed in Western Virginia, and the war carried into Kentucky.
Then followed weary months of inaction, in which the country, profiting well by the severe lesson of July, waited with wonderful patience until this undisciplined body of men was transformed, in the words of General McClellan, into “a real army, — magnificent in material, admirable in discipline and instruction, excellently equipped and armed.”
The rapid and solid successes gained testify to the comprehensiveness and good judgment of the plans at head-quarters. All the Southern coast, except the three ports of Wilmington, Charleston, and Mobile, and the coast of Texas, all the line of the Mississippi except Vicksburg, nearly the whole State of Tennessee, and a part of Arkansas, were speedily in our possession. In those few glorious weeks the American flag was planted on the soil of seven States from which it had been defiantly driven a year before. The two powers — the Republic and the Rebellion — were fairly measured, with all resources and energies called into action, and the rebel invariably went to the wall. It seemed as if we had but to send a fleet of gunboats, and the fort surrendered. Our armies advanced, and, as General Mitchell said, found their only difficulty in getting a sight of the enemy. The chief censure our commanders received was for suffering the foe to run away. But a change came, - we will not inquire whence. Historians will be able to decide whose is the responsibility for the mismanagement that sacrificed so many of these gains,
reduced this splendid army by a half, and drove it back in disgrace to the fortifications of Washington. We have nothing to do with this question, and have only introduced this sketch to show how it is that the month of September saw the third campaign for the suppression of the rebellion open auspiciously with the victories of South Mountain and Antietam.
But this memorable month will form an era in a second and still more important respect, by reason of the proclamation of President Lincoln, announcing a new line of policy with relation to slavery. Until this time the administration has made a sincere effort to suppress the rebellion by purely military means; now it resorts to extraordinary measures, grounded indeed in military usage and necessity, but designed to act especially upon a social and political institution, and that too one which has been the subject of the most violent political disputes. In this proclamation the President declares that the war will continue to be prosecuted, as heretofore, “ for the object of practically restoring the constitutional relation between the United States and the people thereof” in the revolted States; that the executive policy heretofore announced, of compensated emancipation and colonization, will continue to be urged; that, meanwhile, the recent acts of Congress relating to slavery are to be faithfully enforced, — the claim of loyal citizens being respected, to compensation for losses incurred by acts of the United States, “ including the loss of slaves." In addition, he proclaims,
“ That on the first day of January, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, all persons held as slaves within any State, or any designated part of a State, the people whereof shall then be in rebellion against the United States, shall be then, thenceforward, and forever free, and the executive government of the United States, including the military and naval authority thereof, will recognize and maintain the freedom of such persons, and will do no act or acts to repress such persons or any of them in any efforts they may make for their actual freedom.
“ That the executive will, on the first day of January aforesaid, by proclamation, designate the States and parts of States, if any, in which the people thereof respectively shall then be in rebellion against the United States, and the fact that any State or the people thereof shall on that day be in good faith represented in the Congress of the United States by members chosen thereto, at elections wherein a majority of
the qualified voters of such State shall have participated, shall, in the absence of strong countervailing testimony, be deemed conclusive evidence that such State and the people thereof are not then in rebellion against the United States.”
Thus the war has changed, ostensibly if not really, its character and aims. Before, it was Republicanism and American nationality that were at stake. Slavery everybody felt in his heart was doomed to perish by the war it had evoked, but it was not possible that this should be the immediate and declared object. Slavery had excited men to take up arms, and by this act a political contest became a military one, and was to be treated as such, with the weapons of war. It does not follow as a matter of course, because slavery was the cause, that to have destroyed this would have destroyed the war, any more than that to shoot the incendiary will put out the fire. But it soon became manifest, what was not seen at first, that slavery was not merely the cause, but to a large extent the support, of the rebellion; and now it became only a question of time when it would be judicious to take away from it its chief support. The special considerations which have influenced the decision of the President are beyond the sphere of our judgment. He is the only person in the country, excepting one or two, who is in a situation to judge accurately the immediate needs of the campaign. It is the duty of one portion of the community to acquiesce in the policy now it is declared, as it was for another portion to wait patiently while the cautious President waited for the ripening of events to teach him. The decision he has at last come to has this important effect, — that the war assumes now, to some extent, a political character, because it is impossible so hotly debated a political question as this should become the subject of executive action without exciting the opposition of one party or another; and also because another and a larger idea has been given us as a watchword. Our object in the war is republicanism and nationality as much as ever, but by the side of these, freedom.
This proclamation was issued on the 22d of September, sixty days after the proclamation of July 25, and its immediate object was to carry into effect the provisions of the “ Confiscation Act” so called, of which the previous procla
mation gave warning. This occasion was taken advantage of to renew the offer of compensated emancipation to the Slave States, and to recommend further legislation on the subject; and as a further step in the same direction, and, as is probable, a part of the same general plan, emancipation was declared in all States or parts of a State which shall be in rebellion on the 1st of January next, — the test of loyalty being representation in Congress. These two measures of emancipation cover the whole ground. It would be desired that all the Southern States should open their eyes to the approaching fate of their cherished institution, and accept the liberal offer of the government; if they will not do so, loyal States may maintain slavery awhile if they please, but in disloyal it shall not exist any longer. It is in the way of the Union, and must be removed. After that, the loyal slaveholding States may reckon how much slavery is worth to them, when they are wholly surrounded by free communities. It is not likely they will delay long to receive the price offered, and enter the same path of progress with the North.
We would notice in this connection the change in popular sentiment which the year's experience has produced, not merely on the general subject of emancipation, but with regard to making it immediate. The experiment has been tried, and has succeeded. The testimony of Port Royal coincides with that of the West India Islands, that the most direct way is the best. Any other course will lead to perplexities and dangers without end. At best, society in the seceded States will be for years in such a state of anarchy and transition, that there is little fear of mischief in this direction, while all the evidence we have goes to show that society will come into a condition of orderly industry much more rapidly if its laborers are recognized at once as freemen, and that they will value their new manhood higher and turn it to better advantage if it is granted freely and unconditionally.
We wish now to consider the effects of this proclamation upon the South, assuming, as we think we are entitled to do, our military success. We are beginning a third campaign, with better promise than ever before. We have more of the South in our possession than last winter, our resources are greater and better organized, we know our strength better,