« AnteriorContinuar »
let us fortify our frontier. Let us imparting his buccaneering intenlock up Mason and Slidell in Fort tions to Congress. His ideas of Warren on bread and water, and spoliation are on a grand scale; for, then give the gallant Wilkes an ova while Commander Wilkes looks retion. Whereupon these intelligent gretfully back on the escape of a citizens of the greatest nation the single argosy, the Secretary of the world ever saw, join hands and per- Navy looks hopefully forward to form, to the tune of Yankee Doodle, seeing whole fleets of confiscated the most extraordinary dance, round British merchantmen brought into the most extraordinary idol, that American harbours. “The prompt any human beings, civilised or sav and decisive action of Captain Wilkes age, ever did homage to. They not on this occasion,” says Mr Gideon only decree, by the mere will and Welles in his report, “ merited and pleasure of a sovereign people, that received the emphatic approval of England must make no serious stir the Department; and if a too generin the matter, but they also decree ous forbearance was exhibited by that Commander Wilkes has per- him in not capturing the vessel formed some act of singular daring which had these rebel enemies on which entitles him to be admitted board, it may, in view of the special into the very select band of the circumstances and of its patriotic heroes of the American navy. Some motives, be excused; but it must excuse may be found in the fact by no means be permitted to conthat Americans must applaud some stitute a precedent hereafter for the thing American, and that many treatment of any case of similar inmonths of war have given birth to fraction of neutral obligations by no achievement in arms which they any foreign vessels engaged in comcan be more proud of than the merce or the carrying trade.” attack of a mail-packet by a ship Many people seem to anticipate of war. What particularly delights that even should the present diffiGovernor Andrew is, that the packet culty end without war, the Amerithus assailed “bore the British lion cans will not fail very soon to at its head.” Other official person- inflict upon us some other unendurages are equally jocular and con able insult. This anticipation we gratulatory; and, at last, Com do not share ; on the contrary, we mander Wilkes, intoxicated with are confident that if they manage the success of his bid for popularity, in this instance to evade the consenot only believes himself a hero, quences of the outrage, the proof but begins to lament his own weak that we are in earnest will suffice to generosity in letting a rich prize prevent a repetition. Even Mr slip through his fingers. Listen to Gideon Welles will, we are perthe impudent pirate : "I should suaded, consent to forget the corhave felt justified in seizing the sair in the minister, and will apTrent itself, but I concluded to pear before Congress in future allow the vessel to proceed, though in a character less romantic and I thus deprived my men of a prize picturesque, but more official, than worth 150,000 dollars."
that of the Red Rover. These sentiments would have In arguing the question whether been very suitable to another emi or not the Federal Government nent American commander, Captain sanctioned the insult to England, Kid, though we wrong his memory it has been said that the policy by the allusion, for he proved that so often attributed to the North, he could fight hard for his plunder. of attempting, when coercion has But though little surprised that failed, to unite all conflicting parties they should have found expression, against a foreign foe, cannot avail under the circumstances, at the in this case, because the capture of Boston festival, we were scarcely the Southern Commissioners will prepared to find a Cabinet Minister only still more exasperate the South.
But the secession of the South is standers in this cutthroat quarrel. not the only nor the greatest peril The questions of the recognition of that threatens the Republic. There the Southern Confederacy and the is an Abolition party that is hostile raising of the ineffectual blockade, to Union; there is a Union party in conjunction with France, are enthat is hostile to Abolition; and titled to be immediately considered. though these discordant elements As it is, our neutrality tells against have hitherto been held together by the South. We do not impute this the common tie of hatred of the to anybody as a fault-we merely South, yet they threaten speedily to mention it as a fact. For every start asunder. Nor will the North weapon, rifle or cannon, that our be split by party conflicts alone; foundries have supplied to the territorial differences are likely to South, the North have been encause further dismemberment. Is abled, by their possession of safe it strange, then, that a desperate means of water - carriage, to get Cabinet, possessing no influence of twenty. Every intention, opinion, talent or character by which to re- and desire of the South comes to concile contending factions, and us through a distorting Northern feeling the planks starting under its medium.* And, while we continue feet, should seek, even by such a our commercial relations with the desperate expedient as a war with a North, we permit the trade of the powerful enemy, to keep together South to be extinguished by paying the remains of the Republic? On undue respect to a notoriously sham such a theory, the occasion of pro- blockade. Does neutrality mean an voking the war would seem well over-scrupulous regard for the inchosen, as England, in protecting terests of one party? Have the the Southern Commissioners, may Northern Government or people debe made to appear to adopt the served from us a strained interprecause of the South, which it has tation of law in their favour? Have been the object of the Federal they been moderate and courteous Cabinet to accuse her of favouring in prosperity ? Have they been throughout the struggle; and the reasonable and dignified in advernew war may thus be rendered sity? Have they been modest in popular both with Abolitionists and profession and great in action? Republicans. But we do not at- Have their councillors been respecttribute to the presumptuous and able for wisdom, their troops for incapable Phaetons of the North bravery, or their financiers for pruany such deep designs. We rather dence ? Have they defined, or even suppose them to be ready, in their shadowed for themselves, any line extremity, to cling to any measure of policy in the present crisis that that comes to hand, no matter how can be accepted as right or pracpreposterous or fatal, as the pedant ticable by any reasonable Englishin Hierocles, when the ship was man? And if, by any concurrence sinking, laid hold of the anchor. of circumstances (our own interpreWhether war comes or not, we
tation of the duties of neutrals think that the opportunity should among the rest), they should reduce be taken of our state of preparation the South to submission, is it likely to adopt a policy more suitable to that, as victors, the contrivers of the our own position and to the inter- Stone Fleet will be more generous ests of the world, than that of by- than they are as foes ? If these
In our last Number (articles, “A Month with The Rebels,'” and “Some Account of Both Sides of the American War") we gave the first authentic accounts of the position of affairs in the South which had reached this country since the commencement of the struggle, and the statements made in these papers have since been fully confirmed in the interesting letter of Captain Maury published in the Alhenwum of December 21st.-Ed, B. M. VOL. XCI.—NO. DLV.
questions can receive but one an- they respectively advocate, the South swer, what reason is there that we are amply justified for regarding should longer sacrifice our own in- with "the contemptuous astonishterests, and the interests of justice, ment” which Jefferson Davis's lanto an extreme consideration for the guage attributes to them, the promorbid irritability of an arrogant ceedings of the North. Resolution people? If we are, at any rate, and devotion have been shown not certain of the captiousness and hos- merely by the Southern troops, but tility of the North, let us at least by the entire population. They apdo something to secure the friend- pear to bear their privations with ship of the South.
uncommon cheerfulness and courAnd the South, so far as can be age. They make no querulous apseen, deserve recognition, indepen- peals for sympathy nor complaints dence, and sympathy. Their only of neglect. They speak of their crime has been a desire to take no successes with modesty, prepare for further part in a system to which new distresses with fortitude, and not even the letter, far less the express none of the vindictiveness spirit, of the law can prove that so prominent in the measures of they were bound by any principle their enemies. A war between Engstronger than convenience, and the land and the North will, at least, operation of which they declare to have the good effects of shortening have been intolerably oppressive. the sufferings and hastening the It is natural that they should object independence of a people who are to accept an Abraham Lincoln as proving themselves very capable of their chief man, and to have their self-government, who will at once destinies influenced by such a Ca- assume a creditable position among binet and mob as that of the North, nations, and who will act as a perwhen, as they have shown, they can manent check on Northern turbudo so much better for themselves. lence. And it is to be hoped that, They have chosen as President a if war is to be, we may put our man of judgment and conduct, who whole strength and will into it, and can give to their impulses unity of conduct it so as to leave the orators action, and can both excite and con- and writers of the North, with all trol their enthusiasm. If the Mes- their skill and practice in the falsisages of the rival Presidents may be fication of history, no possibility of considered as indicative of the pol- turning its incidents to our disadicy of those who chose the chiefs, vantage and to their own glorificaor of the merits of the causes which tion,
THE PRINCE CONSORT.
“ With trembling fingers did we weave
The holly round the Christmas hearth;
A rainy cloud possess'd the earth,
HAD any foreigner, unacquainted with our national habits of thought and feeling, and whose own education and sympathies were wholly democratic, sought an explanation of the old English term Loyalty—had he desired an illustration of its meaning, not as expressed by the shouts of an excited crowd at a Royal progress or a coronation, but in its gentler and more affecting forms, the spectacle exhibited throughout the length and breadth of England on the third Sunday in December, would not only have explained, but have riveted it for ever on his memory.
From London to the Land's End, in the crowds that gathered round town churches as their congregations slowly filed out—in the little groups that met and talked together in such far-off country villages as the news had somehow reached—there was but one thing spoken of, or thought of, for hours. It was the news that the Prince Consort was dead—“the Queen's husband," as many a rough but kind spoken voice explained it to his neighbour. There were many who had never beheld the persons of the Queen or the Princewho knew them only as their rulers “by the grace of God”—upon whom, nevertheless, those tidings fell as of a private personal loss. The “perceptible movement,” noticed in many congregations when the omission of the familiar name from the prayer gave, as it were, official confirmation to the event, was only the recurrence of the shudder with which they at first had heard it. If any man thinks there is much leaven of republicanism really working in the mass of the English people, he might have undeceived himself at every step on that Sunday afternoon.
For it was not only that there had been taken from us one who had long filled the foremost place in the public eye, and filled it worthily ; it was not merely that there had been struck down-suddenly, as it seemed to most of us--one of the Heads of the people, who had so adorned his high calling as to have won the people's love;
it was all this, but it was something more. The first burst of national sorrow for the Prince was different, not only in degree, but in its very nature ; it was that, being what he was, he was the Husband of the Queen.
The first words that sprang to the lips of thousands were—not of the public loss, great and irreparable as that was felt to be, but“The poor Queen!” Common words—not over courtly; with little in them of the ordinary euphemisms of loyal speech. “Most Gracious Majesty"-"Sovereign Lady" --these were all good, in their time and place; but it was that homely phrase, that hearty English sympathy, that told the real strength of her subjects' love : that showed how the Royal affliction had “bowed the heart of all the men of ‘England,' even as the heart of one man.” Now, when the suddenness of the shock has passed, and we can calmly call to mind all that he was, and all that he might yet have been, we have time to think and say,
“What a loss to England !” But the cry of that Sunday was the spark struck out at heat from the heart of the nation -“The poor Queen!”
What a wonderful principle it is, deeper than can be reached by any logical analysis, this union of a personal love with a loyal obedience to the Sovereign ! How good it is for a great nation that its government should rest in a human personality, living and feeling —not in a mere abstract Code, or body corporate! Nay, have we not the same lesson taught us at this Christmas season? He who knows men's hearts, because He made them, when He vouchsafed a last revelation of Himself, clothed it in Flesh and Blood, gave us, not what philosophers would give us, an abstract idea of the Divine nature, but a Person- living, loving, suffering—that so our unruly wills and affections might be subdued by a personal Love. We must not usurp the preacher's office ; yet not least remarkable among the signs of this time of mourning has been the leading paragraph of a political daily newspaper, closing with words of solemn intercessory prayer.*
Almighty and most merciful God, who art the Helper of all that put their trust in Thee, look, we beseech Thee, on the sadness and sorrow of our beloved Queen. Comfort and sustain her with Thy presence ; be a light to her in darkness; bind up her broken heart; help her to cast all her care on Thee; and bring her again into Thy house with a song of thanksgiving ; through Jesus Christ our Lord."-- Daily News, December 16.
We heartily commend this prayer as a model to our Ecclesiastical authori.