Imágenes de página

worth reciting as specimens of American popular poetry :

“ Loftier waved the flags of freedom,

Louder rolled the Union drums,
When th' inspiring shout went upward,

Old Manhattan's army comes !'
Washington once more invoked us,

And we rose in columns grand;
Marching round the flag of Sumter,

Grasped within his sculptured hand.
“ Then Manhattan's loyal legions

Shook the earth with martial tramp,
And she kissed her noblest children,

Hurrying down to Freedom's camp.
And the sundered coils of treason

Writhed upon her loyal shore,
When she flung her gallant 'Seventh'

In the scales of righteous war.

[ocr errors][merged small]

“ Where the old primeval forests

Gloom around like shades of night,
There the young backwoodsman opens

With his axe the gates of light;
And the intellect of labour,

Clasping Honour's guiding hand,
Climbs aloft with Abraham Lincoln-

Rules with him our glorious land.

“ Type of Freedom's highest manhood,

And the genius of her soil,
Stands to-day this brave backwoodsman,

Representative of toil.
And the lesson of his greatness,

Writ in faith and hope sublime,
Tells the humblest of the people

How to triumph he may climb.

And the nations gazing westward,

O'er Atlantic's stormy deep,
May behold this chosen people

In the Lord Jehovah's keep.
May behold how loyal manhood

Up to royal grandeur springs,
Where the realms are fields of labour,

And the toilers are the kings.

“ In the fiery trial of conflict,

Freedom proves her purest ore,
And the bands of peace are welded

Underneath the blows of war.
From the iron and gold of armies,

From the broken links of wrong,
God will weld the works together,

God will make the Union strong."

Besides this, there were some national glees sung without much spirit; a few patriotic airs played by a brass band; and a recital of the “Declaration of Independence," in which the narrative of poor old George the Third's offences and shortcomings sounded strangely out of place in the midst of the dread struggle of the passing hour. But the whole affair was tame and spiritless to a strange degree. All hearts and thoughts were far away on the banks of the James River.

Later on there was a mass-meeting of the Democratic party, in honour of the day, at Old Tammany Hall. Here the great attraction consisted in hooting at Secretary Stanton, Mr. Beecher, and the Abolitionists. The chairman, Mr. Waterbury, stated in his speech, “that “ Mr. Edwin M. Stanton had shown that the worst foe “ was a renegade pretending to be a Democrat. He “ had been honoured with a position by President “ Lincoln, in which he had betrayed his party, its young “and gallant General, and all who trusted him.” A Mr. Morford, too, delivered a poem of his own composition, called, “Tammany and the Union,” from which I have picked out the following poetic gem :

“We have claimed, and yet we claim it,

That the struggle must not be
To put down the white in slavery,

While it sets the negro free.
Honour, then, to Abraham Lincoln,

That thus far his course is true ;
Doing for the nation's welfare

All an honest man can do.
Honour to his name for ever,

That no Abolition force

Seems to have the power to move him

Far from safety's middle course.
Long ago he learnt the lesson

That they all must learn at length,
That the black Chicago platform

Had no element of strength;
That Republican support at

Last must prove a rope of sand ;
That Democracy must aid him,

If he wish to save the land.”

And so on. There was an attempt made during the day to reduce these doctrines to their practical application. Early in the morning placards were stuck over the town, headed, “ To the People," and signed “By many Union Men," calling for vengeance on the Abolitionists, on Greeley and Beecher, and others, who had brought on this reverse of McClellan's army by their diabolical machinations; and summoning a public open-air meeting for the afternoon, in the City Park, to denounce Abolition. The Tribune office faces the park, and if a mob could have been collected, the intention of the ringleaders was to storm the office. The placards, however, were all torn down in an hour's time; no crowd whatever assembled, except a score or so of rowdies and a dozen policemen, and no one was found bold enough to ascend the hustings, which had been erected expressly for the meeting.

There was no general illumination at night; the fireworks exhibited by the municipality were very poor, and the day closed tamely and quietly.


I HAVE made it my rule, in these pages, to allude as little as possible to the passing incidents of the military campaign. With regard, however, to the great battles of the Chickahominy, I am obliged in some measure to depart from my rule, because these battles mark a most important crisis in the period of my visit to America. From the time when McClellan sailed for the peninsula, down to the period of Banks' defeat in the Shenandoah Valley, the universal expectation of the North was that the capture of Richmond was a mere question of days. Anybody who expressed doubt of this conclusion would have been set down as a Secessionist, and I think that there were very few persons who even entertained any doubt upon the matter. Since the event, the adherents of General McClellan have attributed his failure to the interference of the Government with his plans. For my own part, from what I heard at the time, I believe this defence not to have been valid. As far as McClellan's strategy has ever been understood, his original idea seems to have been to march the army of the Potomac in three

« AnteriorContinuar »