FEBRUARY 28, 1864

[From the Round Table.]

Despite the foul fiend Apoplexy and the Protean imp Dyspepsia, man will sometimes eat late and luxurious suppers. If inordinate cups are unblessed, inordinate meals eaten at late hours when the inner man requires a rest after after the chemical and mechanical labors of the day, are equally undeserving of heaven’s benison; and when the two evils are combined, as they often are, the double excess deserves something more than a negative rebuke from Nature, and sooner or later, always gets it. People who gorge and stupefy themselves with indigestible food and strong drinks just before going to bed, are not bon vivants, but the reverse, and although they may say grace over their feast, it will assuredly not be blessed, but, as poor Joe says in “Bleak House,” “t’othered.” Such suppers are not included in the æsthetics of epicureanism. They are the carnivals of Debauch, and utterly abhorrent to that “quintessence of dust,” the refined epicure. To such a one it is unnecessary to say “pray you avoid them.”

It is our belief that immoderate suppers were at the bottom of the decline and fall of the Roman Empire. Gibbon does not say so, it is true. It would have spoiled the sonorous march of his stately periods to intimate that to over indulgence, at untimely seasons, in minced hedgehogs, stewed lampreys, fried grasshoppers, baked dog, escalloped snails, and such “small deer,” the nation “that filled seven centuries with a rapid succession of triumphs” owed its demoralization and decay. Yet we know that from the period when the world-conquerors became gluttonous, and commenced drinking Falernian ad libitum, as if it had been lager beer, the diminuendo movement of the Empire commenced. As its suppers increased, its territories diminished. It became dyspeptic and peakish. Its armed hand trembled, its legs grew gouty, and under the heavy blows of barbarians, who lived on simple fare and retired to rest with the crows, it finally went to the bad.

It was the same with the Greeks. As long as they adhered to their “bloodless suppers” of herbs and fruit and bread, they did well. But when their sensualism attained such a pitch that a parasite on his way to a nocturnal feats turned back unless he heard a roaring in the kitchen chimney of his patron and saw thick clouds of smoke ascending from it, too, then Greece began to lose its prestige. In vain did that sage, that henpecked heathen, Socrates, stride into the supper saloons crying, “Beware of such food as persuades a man to eat though he is not hungry, and of those liquors that will prevail with a man to drink though he be not thirsty.” Laïs gave her petits soupers in spite of the sages, and the fast men and women of the day thronged to her evening parties, surfeited themselves with unwholesome viands, and got disgracefully drunk on Chian wine. National indigestion, superinduced by late suppers, predisposed the Greeks to defeat, and hence their overthrow at the battle of Chaeronea, and entire subjugation by Philip and Alexander. As long as the Spartans supped on coarse bread, sopped in Lenten broth, they were invincible.

If we go further back in antiquity, we still find nocturnal gluttony exercising a disastrous influence over public affairs. It was at a sumptuous midnight banquet, in his pavilion on the Euphrates, that Sardauapaius was surprised by the non-supper-eating Arbaces and Beleses, and hence the downfall of Nineveh and the collapse of the first empire of Assyria. Belshazzar, although the grandson of a vegetarian (Nebuchadnezzar), appears to have been fearfully addicted to excessive eating and drinking after dark, and he too was suddenly pounced upon in the midst of his midnight repast, when he was unable either to fight or fly; and the next morning, at breakfast time, it was announced by the heralds of King Cyrus that Babylon the Great had fallen. In this event we have a remarkable manifestation of the fact that Providence does not approve of later suppers. ->

The Anglo-Saxons, prior to the Norman invasion, were the most prodigious eaters of their day, and they sometimes prolonged their evening feasts into the small hours, devouring immense quantities of solid meat and swilling vast beakers of spiced mead and hydromel. It may have been the obese habit of body and shortness of breath, engendered by such gormandizing, that led to their defeat by the more temperate and active Normans at the battle of Hastings. Certain it is is that the Normans introduced into England a more rational, and at the same time a more enjoyable dietary than that of the “Saxon hogs,” as they were wont to call the subjugated race, and that the Normandized English waxed in strength and wisdom on their improved fare. William the Conqueror and his followers supped at 5 o’clock p.m., and turned in at 9. Their final meal for the day was therefore thoroughly digested before they went to bed. When they sought repose they found it, and the next morning awoke like giants refreshed, and ready for raids, captures and confiscations.

Until the days of the Stuarts, the English supper hour was from 4 to 6, but that unhappy race made it later, and, with the aid of strong Hungarian wines, converted the meal into a prolonged debauch. And see what came of it. Charles I lost his head; Charles II died of apoplexy or something of the kind, superinduced, probably, by over-loading his stomach at untimely seasons; and James II succumbed to a second William the Conqueror, who supped at about the same hour as William I.

In the reigns of the Georges, however, the English got in the habit of taking their supper later than ever, and of drinking three or four glasses of ho spirits-and-water after them, by way of nightcap. The fourth of that interesting quaternity, humorously styled “the first gentleman in Europe,” ate  monstrously at night, and generally reeled to bed (when he was not carried there), full of meat and fiery potables. He lived longer than could have been expected under the circumstances, but during the last fifteen years of his life was decidedly the most bloated and unwholesome-looking animal within the limits of his own dominions.

Fortunately the day when enormous suppers were followed by enormous drinking has gone by in Great Britain, and the health of the United Kingdom, physical, moral, and political, has, we have no doubt, been vastly improved by the changes. The quiet and exemplary Victoria put her little foot down peremptorily against such doings, and thereby saved thousands of her lieges from the nightmare and other ills that arise from over-stuffing and tippling at hours when all Christian people, except policemen and military sentinels, should be in their bedchambers.

We Americans ordinarily take our last meal for the day from 6 to 7 o’clock. We have our game suppers, and oyster suppers, to be sure, now and then; but even these are comparatively light affairs, and the half bottle or so of champagne apiece but helps to give them zest, does not stultify us. Nevertheless it is better to avoid such indulgences. Breakfast at 8, dinner at 2, and tea and supper together at 7, will be found a good regime for health. And then to bed (as a rule) at half past 10 or 1, with an even pulse, a cool head, a quiet stomach, and a clear conscience.

To live well is one thing, to live “fast” another. The man who desires to enjoy life cannot afford to play tricks with his digestion. The stomach is a most unruly member, and resents all such cavalier treatment, to the pain and sorrow of the experimenter. To outrage the organ at bedtime, is to risk being haunted by retributive demons all night long, and to be in peril of a fit of hypochondria the next day. Temperance and regularity are essential portions of the æsthetics of epicureanism.

FEBRUARY 29, 1864

More Fires in the East.
Exploits of the Alabama.

[From the Liverpool Post.]

By the arrival of the Cape mail we learn that two vessels had arrived at Table Bay, at the end of December, with news of the Alabama. Captain Cato, of the Beautiful Star, reports that in passing the Straits of Sunda, on the 25th of October last, he was informed that the Alabama had passed Augier a day or two before.  She had 25 men and sick and did not report any captures. Capt. Sedgwick, of the Latona, from Singapore, reported that he had heard of the Alabama being in the Chinese Seas, and on the night of the 6th of November, off the Java Heads, saw a fine vessel of about 500 tons, with all sails set, on fire, and the bark-rigged steamer near her, which he supposed to be the Alabama.  A private letter describes the latter occurrence as follows:

“On the night of the 6th of November, about 150 miles W. S. W. of Java Heads, I was called about 11 o'clock by the third officer, to look at ship on fire.  I jumped up and hurried on deck.

“It was rather a dirty, rainy sort of a night, and we were under easy sails, royal mizzen top gallant sail, and mainsail stowed; and right ahead almost was seen a bright glare. The Latona was close-hauled, so as to make a little of windward of it, and under the impression that she was one of the cotton ships from China, which had accidentally caught fire, we burned blue lights to let her know assistance was at hand.  As we got near her we could see her plain–the fine double topsail yard bark, royals hauled up, but not stowed, and the main yard backed, in fact, properly hove to, as any other ship would be, for the boat to board her.  She was on fire fore and aft, masts all standing, not a soul aboard her, and no boats in sight.  It was one of the finest sights I have ever seen at sea.  It was, as I have said, rather dirty night, and though, as we were close to the unfortunate bark, it was as light as day, all outside the halo of her light was doubly dim and black.

“Out of this darkness came in low craft, which we soon found out to be a steamer, but we could not distinguish her colors.  She passed close between us and the bark.  We guessed what she was at once, more especially as we heard at Singapore that she had been at the Cape, and was probably going towards the China Seas.  The comments of our crew were rather curious, greatly in favor of the Southerners, but it was a source of lamentation, the burning of the bark's fine white cotton canvas, enough to make jumpers and trousers for all hands for some years!  We expected a visit from the Alabama, but she did not come near us, so we kept away on our course.  On our arrival here, the Lieutenant of the United States steamer Mohican team aboard and got an extract from our log, and two days after that she left, bound eastward, on a cruise.  It will take a much smarter craft than she is to capture the Alabama.”

The following is an extract from another private letter:

“We are a little excited with intelligence from Penang that the Confederate states steamer Alabama is cruising about here.  She took two Yankees in the Straits of Sunda, and was pursued by the Vanderbilt.  When night came on the Alabama was about 20 miles ahead, and under cover of darkness she unshipped our funnel, put out her fires, and set sail.  The ship was then put about, and stood in the direction all where they had last seen the Vanderbilt.  At daybreak she was within a mile of the Vanderbilt, who bore down and inquired if they had seen a large steamer standing to the northward. Capt. Semmes replied, ‘Yes, she was going ahead, full speed, and must be 100 miles away by this.’ The Vanderbilt immediately put on all steam, and went on a wild goose chase, while Semmes quietly shipped his funnel, and bore away in an opposite direction.  It was reported last night that the Alabama was outside of Amherst.”

The Yankee Congress on Negro Equality.

We clip the following from recent proceedings of the U. S. Senate:

Mr. Sumner, (Mass.) Introduced a resolution directing the Committee on the District of Columbia, to inquire into the expediency of a law granting quality of privileges to colored people on the railroads of the District.  He called attention to the subject for the reason that and outrage was recently committed in this District upon an officer with the rank of Major of the United States service.  This officer had been recently ejected from one of those streetcars by the conductor because he was a black man.  He thought we had better break up all railroads if we would not have them carried on without such outrages, which did more to injure our cause abroad and at home than a defeat in battle.

Mr. Hendricks, (Ind.) said, if he expressed any opinion he would say the outrage was the other way.  Separate cars were provided for the colored people, and this case occurred because the Negro declined to ride with persons of his own color, and wished to force himself with white men.

Mr. Grimes did not think there were any cars running now for the accommodation of colored people.

Mr. Hendricks knew differently, for he had entered one, and was glad to get out the best way he could.

Mr. Grimes did not think it a disgrace to ride with these colored people.

Mr. Sumner read the letter of Dr. Augusta, Surgeon of the 7th colored volunteers.  He believed it was as great an outrage as it would be to eject the senator from his seat here.

Without meaning any personal this respect, Mr. Wilson said he believed the largest quantity of information, in and out of this Senate, was from the New York papers, and his attention was called to this subject from them.  This was not the only place with the reform was needed.  He had information of another outrage perpetrated on a railroad, where two colored men were ejected from an empty car, and forced into a cattle car.

This was part of the malignant system of slavery, but the country was being rapidly abolitionized and civilized.

Mr. Hendricks believed, from the expressions he had heard to-day, that social as well as political equality was to be forced upon the white race.  He was glad that the Senator from Massachusetts had now plainly presented the issue before the country.

Mr. Wilson said he had no desire to force the equality upon the Senator from Indiana.  What he wanted was to let every man assume the station God intended him to attain.

The yeas and nays were ordered, and resulted as follows:

Yeas–Messrs. Anthony, Brown, Chandler, Clark, Collamer, Conness, Cowan, Dixon, Fessenden, Foot, Foster, Grimes, Hale, Harland, Harris, Howard, Howe, Lane (Indiana), Lane (Kansas), Morgan, Morrill, Pomeroy, Ramsey, Sherman, Sprague, Sumner, Ten Eyck, Trumbull, Wade, Wilkinson, Willey, Wilson–34. [sic.]

Nays–Messrs. Buckalew, Davis, Harding, Hendricks, Nesmith, Powell, Richardson, Saulsbury, Van Winkle–12. [sic.]



The War and the Soldiers.

One of the questions most frequently asked of the State agents, by the soldiers in the Department of the gulf, when asked to re-enlist, is: “Suppose a man re-enlists and gets married when he goes home–does his wife draw the State bounty for families?” Sometimes the succeeding question, hesitatingly put, is: “How many children can a man draw pay for?” It looked as though a good many veterans were contemplating matrimony, and a few looking out for the contingency of twins.

A young Rhode Islander gives the following reasons for re-enlisting: “First, I am young; second, I am able-bodied; third, I am in good health; fourth, my country needs me; and fifth, my mother would not be proud of her son should he prove recreant to the holy cause for which she has already sacrificed so much.”

Two soldiers were killed by a copperhead named Lee, at Lancaster, Ohio, on the 17th inst. The soldiers endeavored to burn, and did succeed in cleaning out, the house where the murder was perpetrated; the son of the murderer was also caught and severely beaten.

Out of 30,000 veterans in the army of the Potomac, whose terms expire within the next nine months, at least 25,000 have re-enlisted, and of 6,000 granted furloughs, 5,500 have returned to duty.

The New Hampshire Patriot gives the aggregate debt of one hundred and fifty towns in the State as $3,973,600–for bounties principally.

The Rochester city police are charged with running off men and boys into the army under discreditable circumstances.


A “Success.”–Gen. Smith’s cavalry expedition, intended to co-operate with Gen. Sherman, has, as was announced yesterday, returned to Memphis, having been unable to reach Sherman on account of the number of rebels in the way! And yet the telegraph calls it a “success”–with an exception. This is precisely the sort of treatment the people have received on almost every occasion when a reverse has been sustained. The dispatches allowed to go to the people have been “doctored,” and given a false, or evasive, coloring. Sometimes this was the work of the commanders, as in the Chickahominy campaign; but oftener of the War Department. The idea seems to be that bad news must be broken gently, else the nerves of the dear public will be unstrung! Even to this day the full extent of the losses at Ball’s Bluff and Chancellorsville is not known, and although the country is supposed to have quite full confidence in its perpetuity, besides being anxious to continue an Administration in power which exhibits so much strategy in hiding the extent of misfortunes, yet now this contemptible game of suppressing news is again being practiced. We shall be glad to see the day when the government shall give up its silly censorship of the telegraph in regard to war matters, but it is certainly a long while in coming.

Affairs at Acapulco.

New York, March 1.

The World’s special says: News has reached the navy department that during the latter part of January two French frigates entered Acapulco, and proceeded to overhaul everything there, intending to bombard the town if molested. They examined all the American vessels in port, and caused much consternation among other neutrals.

Accounts via Panama state that a French frigate is keeping strict blockade at Acapulco, and has seized a quantity of goods contraband of war. The U. S. frigates Lancaster and Saginaw are there. The former would leave for Panama on the arrival of the French admiral. The French will then take possession of the town, probably without resistance from Juarists.


The Lieutenant Generalship and the Draft.–Though we announced yesterday that Gen. Grant’s commission as Lieutenant-General had been forwarded to him, and that the draft had been postponed, both were a little premature. The Lieutenant-General joint resolution had not been quite perfected, not having yet reached the President, though on its way; while as to drafting, the Senate seemed to think that if the War Secretary wanted the draft postponed and the bounties continued to April, he ought to say so on his own responsibility, and as they didn’t concur in the House resolution for a continuation of bounties, they probably mean to hear from Mr. Stanton when he gets ready to speak. So to-day bounties probably expire. We say probably, because very possibly before this is printed the telegraph may announce that the Senate receded from its decision late last night, that the President approved of the measure in a hurry, &c. At any rate we do not look for a draft until it comes. The Administration don’t want to draft, and evidently don’t mean to as long as our armies can hold their ground without it. If it comes at all it will probably follow on the heel of some great disaster.


A Chance to Howl.–The Copperheads now have a chance to howl loud and strong. A Negro regiment in the late Florida battle is reported to have run, instead of standing to fight at the critical moment; and though it is not even clear that by fighting the result would have been changed, still the fact that they did run–as Lieutenant of Captain Somebody says in a reliable private letter–must be nuts and apples to the negrophobist gentry. They will, of course, forget that the Anglo-Saxons ran at rather a lively gait from Bull Run, and that on various occasions white regiments and brigades have stampeded when they should have stood firm. Negro troops for once have shown the white feather, (if that figure will answer for black soldiers), and so here is proof positive that they are not worth the salt junk they will eat. If in consequence of this alleged misfortune we could see the gentlemen of the Copperhead persuasion rushing to the recruiting station to enroll their precious names in order to take the place of the salt junk troops, we might look upon the misfortune as a blessing in disguise; but as it is, it looks as if the Negro troops were determined to be no better than white soldiers–at least not until they get the same pay.

MARCH 2, 1864


The Battle of Olustee.

The reader will find elsewhere in our paper to-day, an abbreviated though clear and intelligible account of the late disaster in Florida. The blame for the disaster for the  seems to rest entirely on Gen. Seymour, who, for some inexplicable reason, pitted less than five thousand men against fifteen thousand rebels, and was besides accommodating enough to accept the exact position the rebels had prepared for him. We presume he will be able to furnish some sort of a plausible defense for his course, but at present it looks as if incompetency was the simple explanation.

It also appears that the Negro troops, instead of producing the disasters, saved the little army from complete rout and annihilation. The Negro regiment alluded to in the letter published in the Providence Journal may have done all that is sad of them, but there is no mention of it elsewhere, that we have seen. And the men of the Massachusetts 54th have given this State additional reason to be proud of them. The 1st North Caroline and the 8th United States, both colored, also did splendidly, and contributed largely to retrieve the murderous blunder of Gen. Seymour.

We hope there will be a rigid investigation in Seymour’s case, and, if incompetency is proved against him, that he will be at once broken of his command. It may hurt his feelings and those of his friends, but as the war is not supposed to be carried on for the benefit or glory of individuals, it is time that there was a little prompt dealing in such matters. The President was quick to remove Fremont for supposed incompetency, and delayed a long time with McClellan when the case was clear enough; let us see now which example of his own he will follow in this case.


During the month of February, in which there were 24 working days, 1,000 guns per day, or 24,000 for the month, were manufactured at the Armory in this city. It will be seen by these figures, that the government works here are arming a full regiment every day. It is said that the facilities for manufacturing arms in these works are now sufficient to supply all the demands of the government, besides providing for contingencies. There are a number of private contracts, however, which will not be filled for a year. There are arms enough–what we want now is men to use them.


All Deserters Sentenced to Death to be Sent to Tortugas.

Washington, March 2.

The President has directed that the sentence of all deserters who have been condemned by Court Martial to death, and that have not been otherwise acted upon by him, be mitigated to imprisonment during the war at the Dry Tortugas, where they will be sent under suitable guards by orders from army commanders.


Business Paragraphs.

The bluestone cutters and flaggers of New York have struck for $2.50 per day, and the plumbers demand an increase of fifty cents per day on their present wages.


The French Frigates at Acapulco.

New York, March 2.

The World’s Washington special says: I am authorized to state that the [blockade of the] entrance of Acapulco by two French frigates, and the searching of American vessels in that port, has taken place in virtue of the blockade notification, transmitted by the French government to the Secretary of State, and does not violate in any way the relations existing between this country and France. The proceedings of the French in the Pacific Ocean can be accounted for by the fact that since the beginning of the war, New York houses have been in the habit of shipping large amounts of provisions, arms and munitions of war to Acapulco for Juarez’s account, in open transgression of established usages and customs. These articles, according to the rules established in such a case, were contraband of war, and as such were subject to be seized. This is what the French government has decided to do. Informed by his agents of the illegitimate trade which was going on between New York and Mexico, anxious, on the other hand, to put an end to a transaction which had for its object to give life and strength to its enemy, he has determined to search all vessels trafficking with Acapulco, and to confiscate all goods found on board, and has communicated its intentions officially to the government at Washington in order to avoid all difficulties in the matter.


From New Orleans.

Cairo, Ill., March 2.

By the arrival of the steamer Empress, we have New Orleans dates of the 23d ult. The total vote of the State of Louisiana as far as received is 9,292. Hahn’s majority for Governor over Fellows is 3,542; over Flanders 3,595; and over Bath 1,727. The other candidates on the free State ticket are elected.

The clerk of the steamer Pringle makes the following statement: While the steamer Pringle was on a foraging expedition at Tecumseh Landing, five miles above Grand Lake, Miss., on the 14th of February, a band of sixty well mounted and armed guerrillas, dressed in federal uniforms, surprised a company of the 1st Mississippi federal colored infantry, who were standing guard about a mile from the main body of the foraging party, capturing and disarming them, and before assistance could be rendered, all were killed or mortally wounded except two, who feigned death, viz: Lieut. Cox Sergt. Spencer. Some of the Negroes were pinned to the ground with bayonets; others had their brains knocked out, and others were shot through the head while on their knees begging for quarter.

After the dead had been buried, the princely mansion around which a guard had been posted, and none allowed to enter previous to the slaughter of our troops, was fired by the guerrillas and its furniture consumed. Four thousand bushels of corn were taken from a crib containing 15,000 bushels when the foraging party returned to Vicksburg. Four hundred guerrillas, of which the murderers were a part, were reported by citizens to be encamped a short distance back in the country from Tecumseh Landing.


A Bold Admission.

The Richmond Whig deserves a medal. It is the most outspoken print in Dixie. While its more timid neighbors endeavor to mask the real motives of the Southern leaders, it boldly announces them in such plain Saxon that the most dull-witted cannot fail to understand it. Repudiating the authorship of the remark attributed to it “that Slavery has stabbed itself to death,” “sinned against the light,” and “committed the unpardonable sin,” it ingenuously adds:

“So far from believing that Slavery must die, we have long held the opinion that it is the normal and only humane relation which labor can sustain toward capital. When this war is over, we shall urge that every Yankee who ventures to put foot on Southern soil be made a slave for life, and wear an iron collar as a badge of inferiority to the African.”

Such sentiments as these sound strange, because we have not heard them decidedly expressed of late. And yet they are the cardinal idea in the Rebel creed. They form the basis of the Rebel superstructure. They are the distinguishing peculiarity of the rebel system of Government. Alex. H. Stephens has declared, in the earlier stages of the war, that Slavery was the corner stone of the Confederate temple.1 DeBow’s Review proclaimed that the enslavement of the laboring classes was the fixed intent and purpose of the founders of the Dahomey. The Charleston Mercury declared that free labor was incompatible with good Government, and that the South would never realize the full measure of her power and greatness until she had converted her “poor whites” into chattels. The idea of an absolute Aristocracy–an Aristocracy founded on wealth and the possession of landed estates–from which every vestige of Republicanism should be eliminated–was a prevailing motive of the Rebellion. It was not merely to destroy the fabric our Fathers had reared; it was not merely to assimilate our institutions to those of the more despotic Powers of Europe–it was to revive the barbaric usages of the Middle Ages.2

But it will not succeed. Slavery, in striking for supreme dominion, missed its mark. The power it sought to monopolize, has slipped from its grasp. The scepter it sought to wield over thirty millions of people, is broken in its hand. The throne it sought to rear on the necks of the people, has been shattered as by an earthquake. The monster that threatened our liberties a few months ago–at whose scowl the nation trembled–in whose hands parties became as wax and Statesmen as puppets–has fallen, to rise no more. And there are to-day none so poor as to do it reverence. Even the Democratic party threatens to leave it to its fate.–Albany Journal.


Progress of Gen. Sherman.

By Richmond papers of Feb. 20th, and by other sources, the rapid and successful movement of Gen. Sherman across the state of Mississippi to Meridian, on the line of the Mobile and Ohio railroad, is confirmed. ->

An official dispatch to the Rebel War Department announces his arrival at Quitman, a point on the railroad 20 miles below Meridian, & 100 miles above Mobile. The rebels were in fear about the safety of Mobile, and Gov. Watts of Alabama had issued a proclamation announcing that the city was about to be attacked, and requiring non-combatants to leave. According to dispatches from Mobile, Admiral Farragut’s fleet had made its appearance off Pascagoula on the 14th, moving eastward, and on the 18th evidently made an attack on the rebel fortifications at Grant’s Pass, which leads from Mobile Bay to Pascagoula Bay, between Dauphin Island and the mainland. A dispatch of the 19th says he had not renewed his attack, but gives no details of the one that had evidently taken place. Stormy weather prevailed, which was the cause of the delay.

A Rule that Works Only One Way.

Mr. Calhoun’s famous dogma of sovereign States rights was adopted and defended with a view to the contingency of disunion. It was an adroit appeal to pride which has proved as strong as Calhoun hoped. It was the argument of the rebels for secession, and of their Northern allies for letting them go. In the South it declared that the Constitution was a treaty among equal sovereign States, and that any one might withdraw at its option. In the North it asserted that the national Government had no right “to coerce States,” and could not prevent its own destruction. In both it did the work it was designed to do–it connived at the helpless ruin of the Government.

But of our pleasant vices the gods make whips to scourge us. State sovereignty was an admirable doctrine for the purpose of destroying the Union; but when it threatens the Confederacy, its own friends howl. Sauce for the goose, it seems, is not sauce for the gander. North Carolina, according to the State-rights doctors, had a perfect right to secede from the Union; but to mention secession from the Confederacy is in their opinion infamy itself. The Wilmington Journal, one of the most State-rights newspapers, exclaims: “The man who would strike down the Confederacy, while at the same time professing extravagant and exclusive veneration for and devotion to North Carolina, deceives, and deceives for a purpose. The thing ought to mark its own reprobation, and this reprobation ought further to be stamped so plainly by public opinion that the hypocritical cant would for very shame’s sake–if shame be left with such men–be silenced forever.”

If the word Confederacy be changed to Union, there is no more wholesome doctrine than this. But it was just as true before North Carolina plunged into the pit as it is now, and its condemnation is just as applicable to Copperheads at the North now as it always was to secession at the South.–Harper’s Weekly.

4, 1864

The News.

The expedition to Florida has met with a decided repulse. Full particulars have not been received, as Gen. Gilmore prevented any reports from coming north. On the afternoon of the 20th, Gen. Seymour met the enemy, 15,000 strong, 55 miles beyond Jacksonville. The battle was desperately fought during three hours, and at sunset our forces, overpowered by numbers, retired to Sanderson, taking with them the greater part of the wounded. Our loss is estimated from 1,200 to 1,500 in killed and wounded and 5 guns. Gen. Seymour had been put under arrest, and his successor, Gen. Vodges, had gone forward with reinforcements. It seems that our men were led into an ambuscade. It was reported that Gen. Beauregard was in command of the rebel forces.

It is possible that we may yet hear a similar report from Gen. Sherman. He has penetrated a long distance from any assistance. The enemy may concentrate a large force upon him, and cut him to pieces before Grant, who is a long way off, can get near. The rebel Generals are active and the obvious tactics of the case will be most likely tried by them. Grant is on the move, but a comparatively small force can delay and embarrass his movements, till the concentration upon Sherman shall have accomplished its object. Most of the news from Sherman is through rebel sources. The General, if he has does all that is said, has accomplished by far the greatest feat of the war. From rebel sources we learn that the confederate forces evacuated Meridian, Miss., on the 4th ult., and that Sherman’s army 35,000 strong, took possession of the place, and on the 18th ult. captured Quitman, and was following the line of the railroad direct for Mobile. The same authority informs us that “they tear up the railroad and bridges in their rear, and meditate no steps backward,” all of which is gratifying intelligence. The rebels themselves are beginning to tremble at the prospect before them. Already has Gov. Watts, of Alabama, issued a proclamation, exhorting the non-combatants of Mobile to leave the city, as “it is about to be attacked.” Further, we are told that Sherman “will not be allowed to take the city without a decisive battle,” which is not the language of men confident of victory.

The New York papers give out mysterious hints of a grand movement of Meade’s army and great news expected; but as we have reason to believe the move is confined to the 6th army corps and is a mere reconnoisance, we do not look for anything startling.

The Senate refused to concur with the House in postponing  the draft till the first of April, because of the extra expense of Government to pay the large bounties, and the secretary of war had not signified his desire that it should be delayed.

The cavalry expedition under Gen. Smith was unable to form a junction with Gen. Sherman, having met with a superior force of the enemy, and had returned to Memphis.

Gen. Thomas made a forward movement last week, advancing to Tunnel Hill, where he had a sharp engagement with the enemy, who were driven out of the place and pursued nearly to Dalton, where the rebs were found in force; we took 300 prisoners. Our losses are reported at 75 killed and wounded.

Gen. Grant seems to be feeling of the enemy at all points. He is not going to wait for them to open the spring campaign when they get ready, but he is giving them enough to do to hold their own. He has ordered a force into East Tennessee after Longstreet, which has sent that general off on the back track, and has dispatched Gen. Sherman on an expedition that will give employment to no small force of the enemy.


The Democrats, Slavery and the Presidency.

The democratic change of front on the slavery question marks an era in our political progress. Some of the republican presses, taken by surprise, interpret this unexpected movement as merely strategic, and doubt whether the democratic leaders are sincere in it or will hold to it more than long enough to get the republican party committed to the most extreme radical position. The theory is that the democrats foresee a popular reaction against radical anti-slavery measures and think by encouraging the party in power to a reckless course to promote that reaction and so get the benefit of it in the presidential canvass. ->

With this motive they take, or feign to take, the identical ground occupied by the administration party at the beginning of the present struggle, and say that while the single object of the war should be the maintenance of the Union, slavery must suffer the inevitable consequences of the war. Many of them, like representative Brooks of New York, go farther, and acknowledge that the destruction of slavery is certainly to be accomplished, and that this fact is to be recognized and acquiesced in. In Mr. Brooks’ case we can suppose there is something like the feeling of a recovered backslider, for in his early day he was an earnest anti-slavery man and only denied his original faith from the influence of bad political associations. Mr. Brooks in his late speech in Congress pretended to base his belief in the extinction of slavery upon the statement that the rebel congress had authorized the arming of Negroes; [as] both sides have made soldiers of the Negroes, he insisted that both were alike committed to the ultimate removal of the institution. Here Mr. Brooks stretched a point to cover his own retreat from a false position, for the rebel congress has not authorized the arming of Negroes, but merely their conscription as teamsters and laborers in the camps and trenches–labors quite as consistent with slavery as work in the cotton fields. That the rebels would arm Negroes if they dared trust them may be readily believed, but they dare not put arms in to the hands of even free Negroes, and there is no reason to believe that they will under any circumstances. They know that their Negroes are against them.

Nevertheless, Mr. Brooks is right in the general conclusion that slavery is doomed, the opposition presses and politicians show more than their usual sagacity in determining they will not sacrifice themselves in the vain effort to resist the current of events. Their denial, however, that the democracy has ever defended or protected slavery is a little too impudent. Why, even after the war commenced, they organized a society in New York “for the diffusion of political information,” and the tracts they have scattered most profusely over the country have been the scriptural arguments for slavery as a divine institution, written by Rev. Dr. Lord and Rev. Bishop Hopkins, two of the toughest old theological bruisers of this age, who, if they live long enough, will probably be found, after the slave shave been freed, still arguing the Christian duty of compelling the sons of Ham to work without wages.

What the democrats mean to say about slavery and their own politics is that secession and abolition have killed it; and they wash their hands of all responsibility for its death, but are not such fools as to attempt to galvanize the corpse; that they do not yet know as they will oppose a constitutional amendment abolishing and prohibiting slavery–they wait to see how public opinion sets in that matter; and they will make all they can out of the alleged unconstitutional and oppressive acts of the administration, the official corruption, the military blunders, and the general faults of the party in power; and especially they will do their utmost to stimulate the feuds and personal rivalries which threaten division and weakness to the Republican party. Of course they will make the most of Gen. McClellan as a martyr to radicalism and military ignorance in the government, but that is already a dead issue. The people have no interest in it, and if it could be proved that McClellan is the greatest captain of the age and has been badly abused, it by no means follows that he is the man for President. The Presidential contest must turn upon some issue of more vital and national importance than the reputation of any general. If the slavery issue is to [be] taken out of the canvass by general consent, as would now seem likely, then modes of reconstruction and questions of finance will become prominent, and the issue will be, shall we go through with and settle the whole thing according to present politics, or shall we change and so incur the risks of untried and doubtful experiments? There is no mistake as to what is the general feeling at this moment; Abraham, you are doing well–put it through.–Springfield Republican.

MARCH 5, 1864


The latest news upon subjects already noticed is of a more startling importance. The tendencies of the whole world appear to be rushing from matters of principle to matters of control without respect to principle. The scenes in any one part of the earth are but the reflections of scenes in another. Commotion at one point may be of a nature to shake more or less the whole mass of human interests. The man who wondered what he had to do with “Schleswig” in the morning, found that he was connected with that question perhaps before night. The condition and disposition of Europe have a most important bearing upon the American States. The news a few days ago that the rebel steamer Florida had been permitted to escape from Brest, though closely watched, (as it was supposed,) by the Kearsarge–and though under the control of the Emperor–and later, the intelligence that the Georgia, a consort of the Florida, has left Brest, no doubt in the same vocation of plunder and waste, are not likely to be everywhere received without alarm. The Georgia, as last noticed, was lying in Cherbourg–but probably the report is true in substance–as to her having left some French port. But dates to the 21st give no account of the Rappahannock, supposed to be the third rebel steamer from the port of France, and the one before noticed as allowed to be fitted out in the French port of Calais. The war fever, however, in Europe, was at those dates very evidently beginning to be again more directed to the affair on the Danish peninsula. The news that the Germans on the 18th had been repulsed all along the line may have some effect to delay intervention on the part of England or France, as it may be supposed that the Danes are capable of defending their independence. The speech of Lord Palmerston shows that the British government will not hastily interfere if the Danes shall be able to maintain their control of Denmark proper, whatever may be the fate of the Duchies. But he declined saying what that government would do, if the Germans should enter Jutland. This was no doubt a delicate suggestion, and understood to mean the protection of King Christian by the last argument of Kings. But hardly had his Lordship’s words been put in print, when the news came to England that the Germans had already entered Jutland.


No sooner does the English newspaper press get a little relief from the fear of being dragged into a war for the protection of Denmark, then it falls into the old habit of making disparaging remarks upon the conduct of the war by the Federal States. After all the reports to the contrary, it appears that the British government does not yet considered itself committed to defend the Danes against the invasion all of their country by the German Allies.  Perhaps the British government will contrived to stand aloof from so serious a conflict.  But it is evident there is a spark of war on the Danish peninsula which may yet set all Europe in a blaze.  Until such an event shall occur, however, it would not be strange if that press should improve the interval and discoursing upon American affairs in the style of criticism so peculiar to the leading English journals.  The London Morning Post illustrates the progress of the war for the suppression of the Southern rebellion by geological allusions.  It says the North has not yet penetrated the crest of the South.  A point in Virginia is taken as the first example, a point where it is said the greatest efforts have been put forth, and yet that no considerable progress has been made in reaching the substratum of the rebellion.  And yet the work still remains where it was three years ago, after McDowell had been defeated on that spot by Beauregard.  ->

The next instance given is the long and expensive operation a boring through the rock of Charleston, or rather of boring into that rock, which is said to be the hardest and depressed specimen of the Southern crust, and to have been impenetrable to any considerable distance by the use of the best tools.  The case is represented to have been somewhat different in the West, where the primitive formations lay deeper, and were covered with lighter and softer substances.  But that the result was the same, after perforating the outer layers in reaching the solid mass beneath the surface.  And the Post seems to think that we would do better not to penetrate too far, because if we should go quite through, nothing but a boiling chaos would it be found below, that New Orleans is only an epitome of what all of the South would be under a like subjugation.


The special southern correspondent of the London Times, has given an account of his experience and observations in the South, and of his travels from Richmond to Washington, and from Washington to New York.  And though he is evidently an Englishman and partial to the southern cause, yet some of his hints may be considered with profit.  He says there is nothing to prevent a man from crossing backwards and forwards from Richmond to Washington, as often as he pleases, except some exposure on the Potomac and perhaps a rather long walk upon either bank.  This he supposes is inevitable because the same language is spoken in both capitals, and the lines of separation are necessarily so long.  But he thinks this circumstance is not felt as an evil in Richmond, and presumes that the same is the case in Washington, because spies are of little importance in either place.  The South he sets down as the most harmonious and most homogenous people ever known–and the North as destined to drain the bitter cup of King George III, sooner or later; though they may have become more united since the retreat of Lee from Pennsylvania, and the long delayed capture of Vicksburg.  Finding himself in Washington he is unable to tell how much that capital differs from Richmond.  In the latter city, “War is breathed in in every breath, wafted upon every breeze, heard in every sound, visible at every step.” Anything else he considers as not in keeping with the sublime earnestness of temper in every man and woman.  The chorus of thousands of Negroes is heard every morning going cheerfully to their work on the fortifications.  But the chief symptoms of war which he sought in Washington wear “uniforms.” To be sure he mentions theaters and other places of amusement in abundance, but these are not the signs of war, but at best of a heedless or heartless dissipation under all the circumstances of the country.  But when he arrived in New York these signs were magnified beyond the power of description.  The luxury and ostentation seen and Broadway would be, he says, as indescribable as the Falls of Niagara.  And while they cheer the tattered the battle flag as it passes in the street, they seem to resolve to keep far away from the reach of the enemy's bullets.  But this English correspondent is most astonished at the credulity of our Northern public.  He says we believe the Southern armies are melting away by desertion; and that Lee and Longstreet can hardly keep the field.3

1 Delivered on 21 March 1861 at Savannah, Georgia, Stephens’ cornerstone speech refutes in no uncertain terms that the South was, indeed, fighting for slavery. Any argument that “the war was not about slavery” is thoroughly refuted by the plain statements made by the vice president of the Confederacy, even before Fort Sumter was fired upon. Full text of the speech.

2 Ref. Colin Woodard’s excellent book, American Nations. This 1864 article is accurate.

3 See the Daily Picayune for 20 March 1864 for a lengthier and more detailed treatment of this report.

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