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Title: The Battle of Principles - A Study of the Heroism and Eloquence of the Anti-Slavery Conflict
Author: Hillis, Newell Dwight, 1858-1929
Language: English
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  The Battle of Principles



  WORKS OF

  NEWELL DWIGHT HILLIS

  THE BATTLE OF PRINCIPLES
  A Study of the Heroism and Eloquence of the Anti-Slavery
  Conflict
  _12mo, cloth, gilt top, net, $1.20._

  THE CONTAGION OF CHARACTER
  Studies in Culture and Success
  _12mo, cloth, gilt top, net, $1.20._

  THE FORTUNE OF THE REPUBLIC
  Studies, National and Patriotic on America of To-day
  and To-morrow
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  GREAT BOOKS AS LIFE-TEACHERS
  Studies of Character, Real and Ideal
  _12mo, cloth, gilt top, $1.50._

  THE INVESTMENT OF INFLUENCE
  A Study of Social Sympathy and Service
  _12mo, cloth, gilt top, $1.25._

  A MAN'S VALUE TO SOCIETY
  Studies in Self-Culture and Character
  _12mo, cloth, gilt top, $1.25._

  FAITH AND CHARACTER
  _12mo, cloth, gilt top, net, 75 cents_

  FORETOKENS OF IMMORTALITY
  Studies for "The Hour When the Immortal Hope Burns
  Low in the Heart"
  _12mo, cloth, net, 50 cents._

  DAVID THE POET AND KING
  _8vo, two colors, deckle edges, net, 75 cents._

  HOW THE INNER LIGHT FAILED
  A Study of the Atrophy of the Spiritual Sense
  _18mo, cloth, net, 25 cents._

  RIGHT LIVING AS A FINE ART
  A Study of Channing's Symphony
  _12mo, boards, net, 35 cents._

  THE MASTER OF THE SCIENCE OF RIGHT LIVING
  _12mo, boards, net, 35 cents._

  ACROSS THE CONTINENT OF THE YEARS
  _16mo, old English boards, net, 25 cents._

  THE SCHOOL IN THE HOME
  _Net, 50 cents._



  The
  Battle of Principles

  A Study of the Heroism
  and Eloquence of the
  Anti-Slavery Conflict

  By
  NEWELL DWIGHT HILLIS, D. D.



  NEW YORK  CHICAGO  TORONTO
  Fleming H. Revell Company
  LONDON AND EDINBURGH

  Copyright, 1912, by
  FLEMING H. REVELL COMPANY

  New York: 158 Fifth Avenue
  Chicago: 125 North Wabash Ave.
  Toronto: 25 Richmond Street, W.
  London: 21 Paternoster Square
  Edinburgh: 100 Princes Street



Foreword


These are days of destiny for the people of the Republic. Democracy,
like a beautiful civilization, is sweeping over all the earth. From
Portugal comes the news of a monarchy that is taking on democratic
forms. Turkey has announced the liberty of the printing press, Russia is
planning a new system of popular education, China is in process of
adopting a constitutional government, with a cabinet responsible to the
people. Unless one reads the newspapers in many languages, the observer
will miss daily some new victory for democracy. Great changes are on
also for the Republic. Now that the Civil War is fifty years away, the
new North and the new South represent a solid nation. Indeed, if every
Northern soldier were to die to-day, not one interest or liberty of this
Republic would be permitted to suffer by the sons of the Confederate
soldiers, who would defend the nation unto blood as bravely as men born
north of Mason and Dixon's line--indeed, who fought gallantly for it in
the Cuban war. The North has entered upon a new industrial epoch, but
the South also is in the midst of its greatest industrial movement, and
in sight of its enlargement, by reason of the Panama Canal.

The Western Continent is not large, but it holds more than half the farm
land of the planet, and it is already evident that the United States and
Canada, with their free institutions, will indirectly and directly
control the thousand millions of people that will soon live between the
Aleutian Islands of Alaska, and Cape Horn. The one question of the hour
is how to make all the coming millions patriots towards their country,
scholars towards the intellect, obedient citizens towards the laws of
nature and God. Our national peril is Mammonism, and the sordid pursuit
of gold. Our fathers came hither in pursuit of God and liberty,--not
gold and territory. Sixty of our present ninety millions of people have
entered the earthly scene since the Civil War. Our young men and women,
and the children of foreign born peoples need to open the pages of
history, setting forth the great men and events of the Anti-Slavery
epoch in this land.

The time has come for the teachers in the schoolroom and the preachers
in their pulpits to assemble the youth of the nation, and drill them in
the history of industrial democracy, and of political liberty. If our
youth are to make the twentieth century glorious, they must realize the
continuity of our institutions, and often return to the nineteenth
century and the Anti-Slavery epoch. The phrase, "For God, home and
native land," is often on the lips of our teachers. Love towards God
gives religion; the love of home gives marriage; the love of country,
patriotism. But patriotism is a fire that must be fed with the fuel of
ideas. These chapters are written in the belief that the youth of to-day
will find in the history of their fathers a storehouse filled with seed
for a world sowing, an armoury filled with weapons for to-morrow's
battle, a library rich with wisdom for the morrow's emergency, a
cathedral, bright with memorials of yesterday's heroes, its soldiers and
scholars, its statesmen, and above all, its martyred President.

                       NEWELL DWIGHT HILLIS.

  _Plymouth Church,
   Brooklyn, N. Y._



  Contents


  I. Rise of American Slavery: Growth of
  the Traffic                                                         11

  II. Webster and Calhoun: The Battle Line
  in Array                                                            40

  III. Garrison and Phillips: Anti-Slavery
  Agitation                                                           68

  IV. Charles Sumner: The Appeal to Educated
  Men                                                                 95

  V. Horace Greeley: The Appeal to the
  Common People                                                      117

  VI. Harriet Beecher Stowe; John Brown:
  The Conflict Precipitated                                          136

  VII. Lincoln and Douglas: Influence of the
  Great Debate                                                       160

  VIII. Reasons for Secession: Southern Leaders                      188

  IX. Henry Ward Beecher: The Appeal to
  England                                                            212

  X. Heroes of Battle: American Soldiers
  and Sailors                                                        242

  XI. The Life of the People at Home Who
  Supported the Soldiers at the Front                                263

  XII. Abraham Lincoln: The Martyred President                       288

  INDEX                                                              327



I

RISE OF AMERICAN SLAVERY: GROWTH OF THE TRAFFIC


The history of the nineteenth century holds some ten wars that disturbed
the nations of the earth, but perhaps our Civil War alone can be fully
justified at the bar of intellect and conscience. That war was fought,
not in the interest of territory or of national honour,--it was fought
by the white race for the enfranchisement of the black race, and to show
that a democratic government, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the
proposition that all men are created equal, could permanently endure.

In retrospect, the Great Rebellion seems the mightiest battle and the
most glorious victory in the annals of time. The battle-field was a
thousand miles in length; the combatants numbered two million men; the
struggle was protracted over four years; the hillsides of the whole
South were made billowy with the country's dead; a million men were
killed or wounded in the two thousand two hundred battles; thousands of
gifted boys who might have permanently enriched the North and South
alike, through literature, art or science, were cut off as unfulfilled
prophecies in the beginning of their career, and what is more pathetic,
another million women, desolate and widowed, remained to look with
altered eyes upon an altered world, while alone they walked their Via
Dolorosa. In the physical realm the black shadow of the sun's eclipse
remains but for a few minutes, but through four awful years the nation
dwelt in blackness and dreadful night, while fifty more years passed,
and the shadow has not yet disappeared fully from the land.

Strictly speaking, the Civil War began with the debate between Daniel
Webster and Calhoun in 1830. These intellectual giants set the battle
lines in array in the halls of the Senate. The warfare that began with
arguments in Congress was soon transferred to the lyceum and lecture
hall, then to the pulpit and press, then to the assembly rooms of State
legislatures, until finally it was submitted to the soldiers. At last
Grant, Sherman and Thomas witnessed to the truth of Webster's argument,
that the Union is one and inseparable, that it should endure now and
forever, but the endorsement was written with the sword's point, and in
letters of blood. The conflict raged, therefore, for thirty-five years,
and some of the most desperate battles were fought not with guns and
cannon, but with arguments, in the presence of assembled thousands, who
listened to the intellectual attack and defense. In their famous debate,
Lincoln and Douglas were over against one another like two fortresses,
bristling with bayonets, and with cannon shotted to the muzzle.

The many millions of people in the United States, born or immigrated
here since the Civil War, busied with many things during this rich,
complex and prosperous era, have suffered a grievous loss, through the
weakening of their patriotism. Multitudes have forgotten that with great
price their fathers bought our industrial liberty for white and black
alike. The study of no era, perhaps, is so rewarding to the youth of the
country as the study of the Anti-Slavery epoch. It was an era of
intellectual giants and moral heroes. Great men walked in regiments up
and down the land. It was the age of our greatest statesmen of the North
and South,--Webster and Calhoun; of our greatest soldiers,--Grant,
Sherman, Thomas and Sheridan, and of Lee and Stonewall Jackson. It was
the era of our greatest orators, Phillips and Beecher; of our greatest
editors, led by Greeley and Raymond; of our greatest poets and scholars,
Whittier and Lowell and Emerson; and of our greatest President, the
Martyr of Emancipation. So wonderful are those scenes named Gettysburg,
Appomattox, and the room where the Emancipation Act was signed, that
even the most skeptical have felt that the issues of liberty and life
for millions of slaves justified the entrance of a Divine Figure upon
the human battle-field. This Unseen Leader and Captain of the host had
dipped His sword in heaven, and carried a blade that was red with
insufferable wrath against oppression, cruelty and wrong.

Now that fifty years have passed since the Civil War, the events of that
conflict have taken on their true perspective, and movements once
clouded have become clear. For great men and nations alike, the
suggestive hours are the critical hours and epochs. That was a critical
epoch for Athens, when Demosthenes plead the cause of the republic, and
insisted that Athens must defend her liberties, her art, her laws, her
social institutions, and in the spirit of democracy resist the tyrant
Philip, who came with gifts in his hands. That was a critical hour for
brave little Holland, dreaming her dreams of liberty,--when the burghers
resisted the regiments of bloody Alva, and, clinging to the dykes with
their finger-tips, fought their way back to the fields, expelled Philip
of Spain, and, having no fortresses, lifted up their hands and
exclaimed, "These are our bayonets and walls of defense!" Big with
destiny also for this republic was that critical hour when Lincoln, in
his first inaugural, pleaded with the South not to destroy the Union,
nor to turn their cannon against the free institutions that seemed "the
last, best hope of men." But the eyes of the men of the South were
holden, and they were drunk with passion. They lighted the torch that
kindled a conflagration making the Southern city a waste and the rich
cotton-field a desolation.

At the very beginning, the founders and fathers of the nation were under
the delusion that it was possible to unite in one land two antagonistic
principles,--liberty and slavery. It has been said that the Republic,
founded in New England, was nothing but an attempt to translate into
terms of prose the dreams that haunted the soul of John Milton his long
life through. The founders believed that every man must give an account
of himself to God, and because his responsibility was so great, they
felt that he must be absolutely free. Since no king, no priest, and no
master could give an account for him, he must be self-governing in
politics, self-controlling in industry, and free to go immediately into
the presence of God with his penitence and his prayer. The fathers
sought religious and political freedom,--not money or lands. But the new
temple of liberty was to be for the white race alone, and these builders
of the new commonwealth never thought of the black man, save as a
servant in the house. For more than two centuries, therefore, the wheat
and the tares grew together in the soil. When the tares began to choke
out the wheat, the uprooting of the foul growth became inevitable.
Perhaps the Civil War was a necessity,--for this reason, the disease of
slavery had struck in upon the vitals of the nation and the only cure
was the surgeon's knife. Therefore God raised up soldiers, and anointed
them as surgeons, with "the ointment of war, black and sulphurous."

By a remarkable coincidence, the year that brought a slave ship to
Jamestown, Virginia, brought the _Mayflower_ and the Pilgrim fathers to
Plymouth Rock. It is a singular fact that the star of hope and the orb
of night rose at one and the same hour upon the horizon. At first the
rich men of London counted the Virginia tobacco a luxury, but the weed
soon became a necessity, and the captain of the African ship exchanged
one slave for ten huge bales of tobacco. A second cargo of slaves
brought even larger dividends to the owners of the slave ship. Soon the
story of the financial returns of the traffic began to inflame the
avarice of England, Spain and Portugal. The slave trade was exalted to
the dignity of commerce in wheat and flour, coal and iron. Just as ships
are now built to carry China's tea and silk, India's indigo and spices,
so ships were built in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries for the
kidnapping of African slaves, and the sale of these men to the sugar and
cotton planters of the West Indies and of America. Even the stories of
the gold and diamond fields of South Africa and Alaska have had less
power to inflame men's minds than the stories of the black men in the
forests of Africa, every one of whom was good for twenty guineas.

The London of 1700 experienced a boom in slave stocks as the London of
1900 in rubber stocks. Merchants and captains, after a few years'
absence, returned to London to buy houses, carriages and gold plate, and
by their political largesses to win the title of baronet, and even seats
in the House of Lords. This illusion of gold finally fell upon the
throne itself, and King William and Queen Mary lent the traffic royal
patronage. At the very time when men in Boston, exultant over the
success of their experiment in democracy, were writing home to London
about this ideal republic of God that had been set up at Plymouth, and
the orb of liberty began to flame with light and hope for New England,
this other orb began to fling out its rays of sorrow, disease and death
across Africa and the southern sands.

At length, in 1713, Queen Anne, in the Treaty of Utrecht, after a long
and arduous series of diplomatic negotiations, secured for the English
throne a monopoly of the slave traffic, and the writers of the time
spoke of this treaty as an event that would make the queen's name to be
eulogized as long as time should last. But two hundred years have
reversed the judgment of the civilized world. History now recalls Queen
Anne's monopoly of the slave traffic as it recalls the Black Death in
England, the era of smallpox in Scotland,--for one such treaty is
probably equal to two bubonic plagues, or three epidemics of cholera and
yellow fever.

Finally, an informal agreement was entered upon between the English
slave dealers, the Spaniards and Portuguese,--an agreement that was
literally a "covenant with death and a compact with hell." The
Portuguese became the explorers of the interior, the advance agents of
the traffic, who reported what tribes had the tallest, strongest men,
and the most comely women. The Spaniards maintained the slave stations
on the coast, and took over from the Portuguese the gangs of slaves who
were chained together and driven down to the coast; the English slave
dealers owned the ships, bought the slaves at wholesale, transported the
wretches across the sea, and retailed the poor creatures to the planters
of the various colonies. Between 1620 and 1770 three million slaves were
driven in gangs down to the African seacoast, and transported to the
colonies. At this time some of the greatest houses in London, Lisbon and
Madrid were founded, and some of the greatest family names were
established during these one hundred and fifty years when the slave
traffic was most prosperous. De Bau thinks that another 250,000 slaves
perished during the voyages across the sea. For the eighteenth century
was a century of cruelty as well as gold,--of crime and art,--of
murderous hate and increasing commerce. If the prophet Daniel had been
describing the Spain, Portugal and England of that time, he would have
portrayed them as an image of mud and gold,--but chiefly mud. Little
wonder that Thomas Jefferson, in his "Notes on Virginia," treating of
the influence and possible consequences of slavery, wrote, "Indeed, I
tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just." As England
anchored war-ships in the harbour of Shanghai, and forced the opium
traffic upon China, so she forced the slave traffic upon the American
colonies by gun and cannon. The story of the English kings who crowded
slavery upon the South makes up one of the blackest pages in the history
of a country that has been like unto a sower who went forth to sow with
one hand the good seed of liberty and justice, while with the other she
sowed the tares of slavery and oppression.

From the very beginning, the climate and the general atmosphere of the
North was unfriendly to slavery, just as the cotton, sugar and indigo,
as well as the warm climate of the South encouraged slave labour. At
first, neither Boston nor New York associated wrong with the custom of
buying and using slave labour. And when, after a short time, opposition
began to develop, this antagonism to slavery was based upon economic,
rather than upon moral considerations.

Jonathan Edwards was our great theologian, but at the very time that
Jonathan Edwards was writing his "Freedom of the Will" and preaching his
revival sermons on "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God," he was the
owner of slaves. When that philosopher, whose writings had sent his name
into all Europe, died, he bequeathed a favourite slave to his
descendants. Whitefield was the great evangelist of that era, but
Whitefield during his visit to the colonies purchased a Southern
plantation, stocked it with seventy-five slaves, and when he died
bequeathed it to a relative, whom he characterizes as "an elect lady,"
who, notwithstanding she was "elect," was quite willing to derive her
livelihood from the sweat of another's brow.

And yet even in the Providence plantations, where more slaves were
bought and sold than in any other of the Northern colonies, the traffic
soon began to wane. The simple fact is that the rigour of the climate
and the severity of the winters of New England made the life of the
African brief. The slave was the child of a tropic clime, unaccustomed
to clothing, and the January snows and the March winds soon developed
consumption and chilled to death the child of the tropics. It was found
impracticable to use the black man in either the forests or fields, and
in a short time slaves were purchased only as domestic servants.

But about 1750 the conscience of New England awakened. Men in the pulpit
took a strong position against the traffic. The Congregational churches
of Vermont, Massachusetts, and Connecticut declared against slavery and
asked the legislatures to adopt the Jewish law, emancipating all slaves
whatsoever at the end of the tenth year of servitude. A little later,
slavery was made illegal in all the New England colonies, Pennsylvania
at length remembered William Penn, who had freed all his slaves in his
will, while the German churches of that State began to expel all members
who were known to have bought or held a slave. When, therefore, the
convention met in Philadelphia, in 1776, preparatory to the Declaration
of Independence, the delegates were able to say that as a whole the
Northern colonies had cleansed their borders of the abuse, and had
decided to build their institutions and civilization upon free labour,
as the sure foundation of individual and social prosperity.

But the antagonism to slavery in the Southern colonies was only less
pronounced, and this, not because of economic reasons, but because of
moral considerations. The Southern climate was friendly to cotton and
tobacco, indigo and rice. These products made heavy demands upon labour,
but white labour was unequal to the intense heat of the Southern summer
and workmen were scarce. During the revolutions under King Charles I and
Charles II and the wars at the beginning of the eighteenth century,
England needed every man at home. Virginia offered high wages and large
land rewards, but it was well-nigh impossible for her to secure
immigrants and the labour she needed. In that hour the captain of a
slave ship appeared in the House of Burgesses and offered to supply the
need, but the people of Virginia instructed the delegates to the
assembly to protest against the traffic. Finally, the colony imposed a
duty upon each slave landing, and made the duty so high as to destroy
the profits of the slave trade. King George was furious with anger, and
sent out a royal proclamation forbidding all interference with the slave
traffic under heavy penalty, and affirming that this trade was "highly
beneficial to the colonies, as well as remunerative to the throne."
Growing more antagonistic to slavery, the planters of Fairfax County
called a convention at which Washington presided. Later, in
Philadelphia, Benjamin Franklin brought in the resolutions condemning
slavery as "a wicked, cruel and unjustifiable trade." Soon the leading
men of the Southern colonies sent a formal protest to England. Lord
Mansfield supported them in a decision that in English countries,
governed by English laws, freedom was the rule, and slavery illegal,
unless the colony, through its assembly, expressly legalized the slave
traffic.

When the first convention met in Philadelphia, Jefferson included among
the articles of indictment against George the Third this paragraph: "He
has waged cruel war against human nature itself, violating its most
sacred rights of life and liberty in the persons of a distant people who
never offended him, captivating and carrying them into slavery or to
incur a miserable death in the transportation thither." This passage,
however, was struck out of the Declaration in compliance with the wishes
of the delegates from two colonies, who desired to continue slavery. But
in 1784 Jefferson reopened the question by reporting an ordinance
prohibiting slavery after the year 1800 in the territory that afterwards
became Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee and Kentucky, as well as the
territory north of the Ohio River. This anti-slavery clause was lost in
the convention by only a single vote. "The voice of a single
individual," wrote Jefferson, "would have prevented this abominable
crime. But Heaven will not always be silent. The friends to the rights
of human nature will in the end prevail."

Indeed, in the Southern States up to the very beginning of the Civil War
there was a strong anti-slavery sentiment. When the first meeting was
held in Baltimore to organize the Abolition Society, eighty-five
abolition societies in various counties of Southern States sent
delegates to the convention. It is a striking fact that the South can
claim as much credit for the organization of the Abolition Society as
William Lloyd Garrison and his friends in the North. For the real
responsibility for slavery does not rest upon Virginia, the Carolinas or
Georgia, but upon the mother-land, upon the avarice of the throne, the
cupidity of English merchants and the power of English guns and cannon.

By the year 1790, therefore, slavery in the North had either died of
inanition, or had been rendered illegal by the action of State
legislatures, and the chapter was closed. There are the best of reasons
also for believing that in the South slavery was waning, while the
influence of planters who believed free labour more economical was
waxing. Suddenly an unexpected event changed the whole situation. The
commerce of the world rests upon food and clothing. The food of the
world is in wheat and corn, the clothing in cotton and wool. But wool
was so expensive that for the millions in Europe cotton garments were a
necessity. England had the looms and the spindles, but she could not
secure the cotton, and the Southern planters could not grow it. The
cotton pod, as large as a hen's egg, bursts when ripe and the cotton
gushes out in a white mass. Unfortunately, each pod holds eight or ten
seeds, each as large as an orange seed. To clean a single pound of
cotton required a long day's work by a slave. The production of cotton
was slow and costly, the acreage therefore small, and the profits
slender. The South was burdened with debt, the plantations were
mortgaged, and in 1792 the outlook for the cotton planters was very
dark, and all hearts were filled with foreboding and fear. One winter's
night Mrs. General Greene, wife of the Revolutionary soldier, was
entertaining at dinner a company of planters. In those days the planters
had but one thought--how to rid their plantations of their mortgages. It
happened that the conversation turned upon some possible mechanism for
cleaning the cotton. Mrs. Greene turned to her guests, and, reminding
Eli Whitney, a young New Englander who was in her home teaching her
children, that he had invented two or three playthings for her children,
suggested that he turn his attention to the problem.

Young Whitney had no tools, but he soon made them; had no wire, but he
drew his own wire, and within a few months he perfected the cotton gin.
When the cat climbs upon the crate filled with chickens, it thrusts its
paw between the laths and pulls off the feathers, leaving the chicken
behind the laths. Young Whitney substituted wires for laths, and a
toothed wheel for the cat's paw, and soon pulled all the cotton out at
the top, leaving the seeds to drop through a hole in the bottom of the
gin. Within a year every great planter had a carpenter manufacturing
gins for the fields. With Whitney's machine one man in a single day
could clean more cotton than ten negroes could clean in an entire
winter. Planters annexed wild land, a hundred acres at a time. For the
first time the South was able to supply all the cotton that England's
manufacturers desired. The cities in England awakened to redoubled
industry. Southern cotton lands jumped from $5 to $50 an acre. Whitney
found the South producing 10,000 bales in 1793. Sixty years later it
produced 4,000,000 bales. Historians affirm that this single invention
added $1,000,000,000 as a free gift to the planters of the South.

Although Eli Whitney took out patents, every planter infringed them.
Whole States organized movements to fight Whitney before the courts. In
1808, when his patent expired, he was poorer than when he began. Feeling
that the Southern planters had robbed him of the legitimate reward of
his invention, Whitney came North and gave himself to the study of
firearms. He invented what is now known as the Colt's revolver, the
Remington rifle and the modern machine gun. Beginning with the feeling
that he had been robbed of his just rights by Southern planters, Whitney
ended by inventing the very weapons that deprived the planters of their
slaves and preserved the Union.

But the new prosperity and the increased acreage for cotton in the South
created an enormous market for slaves, and soon the sea swarmed with
slave ships. Prices advanced five hundred per cent, until a slave that
had brought $100 brought $500, and some even $1,000. What made slavery
no scourge, but a great religious moral blessing? The answer is, the
cotton gin and the cotton interest that gave a new desire to promote
slavery, to spread it, and to use its labour. For Eli Whitney had made
cotton to be king. Cotton encouraged slavery; slavery at last
threatened the Union and so brought on the Civil War.

The value of the slave as an economic machine depended upon his
physique, health and general endurance. The slave hunters were
Portuguese, Spaniards and Arabs, who drove the negroes in gangs down to
the coast, where they were loaded upon the slave ships. When the trade
was brisk and prices high, the hold of the ship was crowded to
suffocation, and intense suffering was inevitable. Landing at Savannah
or Charleston, Mobile or New Orleans, the slaves were sold at wholesale,
in the auction place. Later, the slave dealer drove them in gangs
through the villages, where they were sold at retail. The cost of a
slave varied with the price of cotton. Of the three million one hundred
thousand slaves living in the South in 1850, one million eight hundred
thousand were raising cotton. That was the great export, the basis of
prosperity. So great was the demand in England for Southern cotton that
profits were enormous. The Secretary of the Treasury in Buchanan's time
published a list of forty Southern planters in Louisiana and
Mississippi. One of them had five hundred negroes and sold the cotton
from his plantation at a net profit of one hundred thousand dollars.
Each negro, therefore, netted his master that year five hundred dollars.
The working life of a slave was short, scarcely more than seven years,
and for that reason the ablest negro was never worth more than from a
thousand to twelve hundred dollars.

But if the cost of free labour was high, the cost of supporting the
slave under the Southern climate was very low. The climate of the Gulf
States is gentle, soft and propitious. Of forty planters who published
their statements, the average cost of clothing and feeding a slave for
one year was thirty dollars. One Louisiana planter, however, showed that
one hundred slaves on his plantation had cost him in cash outlay seven
hundred and fifty dollars for the entire year. This planter states that
his slaves raised their own corn, converted it into meal and bread,
raised their own sugar-cane, made their own molasses, built their own
houses out of the forest hard by. The slaves also raised their own
bacon, but unfortunately the price of meat was so high as to make its
use only an occasional luxury. North Carolina passed a law commanding
the planters to give their slaves meat at certain intervals, but the
law remained a dead letter. Other states, by legal enactment, fixed the
amount of meal that should be given to slaves.

When Fanny Kemble, the English actress, retired from the stage, it was
to marry a Southern planter, and her autobiography and private letters
throw a flood of light upon the life of the slaves upon a typical
plantation in the cotton States. She says that the planter expected that
about once in seven years he must buy a new set of hands; that the
slaves did little in the winter, but they worked fifteen hours a day in
the spring, and often eighteen hours a day in the summer until the
cotton was picked. She adds that the negro children used to beg her for
a taste of meat, just as English children plead for a little candy. She
states that on her husband's estate slave breeding was most important
and remunerative, and that the increase and the young slaves sold made
it possible for the plantation to pay its interest. "Every negro child
born was worth two hundred dollars the moment it drew breath."

It was this separation of families that touched the heart of Fanny
Kemble Butler, and stirred the indignation of Harriet Martineau, who at
the end of her year at the South wrote that she would rather walk
through a penitentiary or a lunatic asylum than through the slave
quarters that stood in the rear of the great house where she was
entertained. It is this element that explains the statement of John
Randolph of Virginia. Conversing one evening about the notable orations
to which he had listened, the great lawyer said that the most eloquent
words he had ever heard were "spoken on the auction block by a slave
mother." It seemed that she pleaded with the auctioneer and the
spectators not to separate her from her children and her husband, and
she made these men, who were trafficking in human life, realize the
meaning of Christ's words, "Woe unto him that doth offend one of My
little ones; it were better for him that a millstone were placed about
his neck and that he were cast into the depths of the sea."

In this era of industrial education for the coloured race it is
interesting to note that five of the slave States imposed heavy
penalties upon any one who should teach the slaves to read or write.
Virginia, however, permitted the owner to teach his slave in the
interest of better management of the plantation. North Carolina finally
consented to arithmetic. After 1831 and the Nat Turner negro
insurrection more stringent laws were passed to prevent the slaves
learning how to read, lest they chance upon abolition documents. A
Georgian planter said that "The very slightest amount of education
impairs their value as slaves, for it instantly destroys their
contentedness; and since you do not contemplate changing their
condition, it is surely doing them an ill service to destroy their
acquiescence in it." In spite of the law, however, domestic servants
were frequently taught to read. Frederick Douglass found a teacher in
his mistress, where he was held as a domestic slave, and Douglass in
turn taught his fellow slaves on the plantation by stealth. The
advertisements of slaves that mention the slave's ability to read and
cipher, as a reason for special value, prove that the more intelligent
slaves had at least the rudiments of knowledge. Olmstead, in his "Cotton
Kingdom," says he visited a plantation in Mississippi, where one of the
negroes had, with the full permission of his master, taught all his
fellows how to read.

An examination of the influence of slavery upon the poorer whites shows
that two-thirds of the white population suffered hardly less than did
the coloured people. The slaveholding class formed an aristocracy, who
dominated and ruled as lords. When the war broke out, there were about
four hundred thousand slave-holders, and nine and a half million people.
But of these four hundred thousand slave-holders, only about eight
thousand owned more than fifty slaves each, and it was this mere handful
who lived in splendid homes, surrounded with luxury, beauty, and
refinement. Travellers who have thrown the veil of romance and
enchantment about the Southern home, with a great house embowered in
magnolia trees, its rooms stored with art treasures, its walls lined
with marbles and bronzes, and its banqueting room at night crowded with
beautiful women and handsome men--these travellers speak of what was as
a matter of fact exceptional. We must remember that these men
represented a small aristocracy; that their mode of life, so charmingly
pictured by many accomplished writers, was the life of a select group,
and that the great slave plantations numbered not more than eight
thousand in that vast area.

From the hour of the organization of the Abolition Society, these
Southern planters assumed an aggressive position. Their editors,
politicians and lawyers began to publish briefs, in support of the
peculiar institution. The usual argument began with ridicule of Thomas
Jefferson's famous statement that all men are born equal. The second
argument was an economic one, based on the value of the slaves. Three
million slaves would average a value of five hundred dollars each, and
this meant a billion five hundred millions of property, that had to be
considered as so much property in ships, factories, engines, reapers,
pastures, meadows, herds and flocks. All planters invoked the words of
Moses, permitting the Hebrews to hold slaves, and therefore exhibiting
slavery as a divine institution. Statesmen justified the Fugitive Slave
Law by triumphantly quoting Paul's letter, sending Onesimus back to his
rich master, Philemon. Jefferson Davis rested his argument upon the
curse that God pronounced upon Canaan, and asserted that slavery was
established by a decree of Almighty God and that through the portal of
slavery alone the descendant of the graceless son of Noah entered the
temple of civilization. Once a year the Southern minister preached from
the text, "Cursed be Canaan, the son of Ham. A servant of servants shall
he be unto his brethren."

A few scholars grounded themselves on the scientific argument. These men
held that the black man was separated from the Saxon by a great chasm,
that if freed he was not equal to self-government, that he was a mere
child when placed in competition with the white man, and that the strong
owed it to the weak, that it was the duty of every superior man to take
charge of the inferior, and impose government from without.

The politician had a stronger argument in defense of slavery. He held
that the nation that was strong, educated, prosperous, with an army and
navy, had not only the right but the duty of imposing government upon a
colony that was ignorant, poor, and degraded, and that this example of
the nation governing a colony by force of arms proved that the white
man, as master, should impose government from without upon the slave.

Not until years after the war was over did men fully realize that
slavery was weight and free labour wings to the people. The North
believed that the working man should be free, that he should be
educated in the public schools, and that the only way to increase his
wage was to increase his intelligence. Each new knowledge, therefore,
brought a new economic hunger, and made the free labourer a good buyer
in the market, thus supporting factories and shops. Contrariwise the
slave was a poor buyer. The negro picking cotton out of the pod had few
wants,--one garment about his loins, a pone of corn bread, a husk
mattress,--no more. For that reason the slave starved the factory and
shop. Invention in the South perished. Every attempt to found a factory
was attended with failure. Of necessity, the North grew steadily richer
straight through the war, while the South grew steadily poorer. The war
closed with Northern factories and shops and trade at the high tide of
prosperity. The free working man asked many forms of clothing for the
body, books and magazines for the mind, pictures for the walls,
sewing-machine, the reed organ, every conceivable comfort and
convenience for his family, and these many forms of hunger nourished
invention, made the towns centres of manufacturing life, and built a
rich nation. The Northern working man put his head into his task, the
slave, his heel. When the war was over, the South was like a crushed
egg, impoverished by slavery. The peculiar institution had served well
eight thousand slave planters, each of whom owned more than fifty
slaves. But slavery had starved the remaining millions.

Now that the new era has come, no statesman, no scholar, no editor, has
ever indicted slavery as the costliest possible form of production, with
half the skill, eloquence and conviction of Southern writers. What
Northern men believe, the Southerner knows. Unconsciously the Southern
youth was handicapped in the commercial race. His Northern brother was
an athlete, stripped to the skin, while he dragged a fetter, invisible.
That he should have come so near to winning the race is a tribute to his
courage, endurance, and a mental resource that can never be praised too
highly. If the rest of the world could only fight for good causes, with
half the ability, chivalry and bravery that the South fought for a bad
economic system, the world would soon enter upon the millennium.



II

WEBSTER AND CALHOUN: THE BATTLE LINE IN ARRAY


The year was 1830; the scene, the Senate Chamber in Washington; the
combatants, Daniel Webster and John C. Calhoun. Two hundred and ten
years had now passed since the ship of liberty had come to New England,
and the ship of slavery had landed in Virginia. These centuries had
given ample time for the development of the real genius and influence of
liberty and free labour in the civilization of the North, and of slave
labour upon the institutions of the South. Little by little the
merchants, manufacturers and professional classes of the North had come
to feel that a free and educated working class produces wealth more
cheaply and rapidly than slave labour, and that the working people of
America must be educated and free, if they were to compete with the free
working people of Great Britain and Europe. Contrariwise, the South
believed that manual labour was a task for slaves, that cotton, rice
and sugar were produced more rapidly by slave labour than by free
labour. The Southern civilization was built on the plan of producing raw
cotton, and exchanging it for manufactured goods. It did not escape the
notice of Southern leaders, however, that under free labour the North
had nearly double the population and wealth of the South. But Senator
Hayne explained this by saying that the biggest nations had never been
the greatest, and that the renowned peoples had been like Athens,--small
states, elect and patrician.

But darkness and light, summer and winter, liberty and slavery cannot
exist side by side, in peace and tranquility. Unite hydrogen and
chlorine, and the chemist has an explosion that takes off the roof of
the house. And because liberty and slavery were antagonistic, and
mutually destructive, whenever the representatives of both came together
there was inevitably an explosion either on the platform or through the
press. It could not have been otherwise. In Palestine two opposing
civilizations came into collision,--one the Hebrew and the other the
Philistine,--and the Philistine went down. In Holland the Dutchmen,
working towards democracy, collided with the Spaniards, working towards
autocracy, and the Spaniard went down. In England, Hampden and Pym came
into collision with Charles the First and Archbishop Laud. The two
leaders of democracy wished to increase the privileges of the common
people by diffusing property, liberty, office and honours, while Charles
the First and Laud wished to lessen the powers of the people, and to
increase the privileges of the throne; democracy won, and autocracy
lost. And now in this republic, a civilization based upon the freedom
and education of the working classes came into collision with the
Southern civilization, based upon ignorant slave labour, and there were
upheavals and political outbreaks everywhere. In vain Abraham tried to
house Isaac, the son of the free woman, and Ishmael, the son of the
slave woman, under one and the same roof. Slowly the men in the North
and the manufacturers of England came to feel that slavery was
interfering with the commerce and prosperity, not simply of the people
of this republic, but of Europe also. Slavery was an economic
obstruction, lying directly in the path of progress.

The two men who marked out the lines of struggle and precipitated the
conflict were Daniel Webster and John C. Calhoun. Daniel Webster, the
defender of the Constitution, affirmed that the Union was one and
inseparable, now and forever. John C. Calhoun said, "The State is
sovereign and supreme, and the Union secondary." In effect Webster said,
"The central government is the sun, and the States are planets, moving
round about the central orb." Calhoun answered, "There is no central sun
in our political system, but only planets, each revolving in any orbit
it elects for itself." Webster said, "In the cosmic and political system
alike, it is the central sun that causes the States like planets to move
in order and harmony, without collision, and with rich harvests."
Calhoun answered that every planet should be its own sun, and, if it
choose, be a runaway orb, and collide with whom it will.

Finally, the argument of Webster and Calhoun was submitted to armies.
Grant and Sherman said, "Webster is right; the Union must be
maintained." Lee and Jackson answered, "Calhoun is right; the Union must
go, and the sovereign State remain." At Bull Run, Calhoun's doctrine
seemed to be in the ascendancy; at Gettysburg, Webster's argument seemed
to have the more cogency; at Appomattox Lee withdrew his support from
Calhoun, and allowed Daniel Webster's plea that the Union must abide and
be now and forever, one and inseparable.

The Northern statesman, Daniel Webster, was probably the greatest
political genius our country has produced. He was born in New Hampshire,
in 1782, and was seven years old when his father gave him a copy of the
newly-adopted Constitution, which he soon committed to memory. His
father belonged to the farmer class, who read by night and brooded upon
his reading by day. In an era of privation for the colonists, by stern
denial he put his son through Phillips Exeter Academy and Dartmouth
College. While still a young man, Daniel Webster leaped into fame by a
single argument before the Supreme Court of Massachusetts, and became
the competitor of jurists like Rufus Choate. His orations on "Bunker
Hill Monument," the "Landing of the Pilgrim Fathers," the "Death of
Adams and Jefferson," are among the really sublime passages in the
history of eloquence. In the Girard College case Webster established the
point that Christianity is a part of the common law of the land.
Criminal lawyers quote Webster's argument in the great Knapp murder
trial, that the voice of conscience is the voice of God, as the world's
best statement of the moral imperative, and the automatic judgment seat
God has set up in the city of man's soul.

Even from the physical view-point he deserved his epithet, "the godlike
Daniel." Not so tall as Calhoun or Clay, he was more solidly built than
either of the Southern orators. His head was so large and beautiful,
that Crawford, the sculptor, thought Webster his ideal model for a
statue of Jupiter. His skin was a deep bronze and copper hue, but when
excited his face became luminous, and translucent as a lamp of
alabaster. His opponents say that Webster had the finest vocal
instrument of his generation, and that he was a master of all possible
effects through speech. His voice was mellow and sweet, with an
extraordinary range, extending from the ringing clarion tenor note, to
the bass of a deep-toned organ. The historian tells us "Webster had the
faculty of magnifying a word into such prodigious volume that it was
dropped from his lips as a great boulder might drop into the sea, and it
jarred the Senate Chamber like a clap of thunder." The Kentucky lawyer,
Thomas Marshall, said when Webster came to his peroration in his reply
to Hayne, that he "listened as to one inspired." He finally thought he
saw a halo around the orator's head, like the one seen in the old
masters' depictions of saints.

Webster's opponent was John C. Calhoun, senator from South Carolina.
Calhoun was the first Southern statesman to mark out the lines of battle
and indicate the methods of attack and defense for the supporters of
slavery. Graduating with high honours at Yale, in the class of 1802,
Calhoun studied law for three years at Litchfield, Connecticut, and then
decided to enter politics. In the lecture halls and class rooms, he
stood at the very forefront, as orator and logician. One day, in Yale
College, Calhoun delivered a speech on an apparently absurd proposition,
which he defended with great acuteness. When he had finished, President
Dwight said, "Calhoun, that is a brilliant piece of logic, and if I ever
want any one to prove that shad grow upon apple trees, I shall appoint
you."

Upon the lines of broad patriotism, with reference to the interests of
the country as a whole, Calhoun supported the war with England in 1812.
From city to city the young lawyer journeyed, travelling all the way
from Charleston and Savannah to Boston and Portland, urging the right
and the duty of the Republic to resist England's claim to the right of
search of American vessels. Calhoun was widely read in history, he was
full of intense patriotism, his arguments were clear, he had unity,
order and movement in his thinking, he had the art of putting things,
and was a perfect master of his audience. At thirty years of age Calhoun
was as popular in Boston as he was later in Savannah and Charleston. In
1824, he was elected Vice-President,--the only man on the ticket to be
chosen by popular vote. From that hour until his death he remained a
member of the triumvirate that controlled the destinies of the Republic,
sharing honours with Henry Clay and Daniel Webster.

In the South Calhoun was all but idolized. He was tall and slender of
person, refined and elegant in manners, carrying with him great personal
charm. He was a puritan in his morals, maintained a spotless reputation,
and escaped all criticism with reference to private life that was
visited upon his competitors. Many a Northern man who went to Congress
hating the very name of Calhoun, the arch-secessionist, was compelled
to confess that he had to steel his heart against the charm of Calhoun's
speech and personality. The simplicity of his character, the clearness
of his thinking, the sincerity and moral earnestness of his nature, all
united to lend him the influence that he exerted over men like Oliver
Dyer, Webster's friend, who said of Calhoun, "He was by all odds the
most fascinating man in private intercourse that I have ever met."

When Webster and Clay came into collision, it was over a subject
apparently far removed from the bondage of slaves. If slavery was the
spark that fired the magazine for the great explosion in 1861, the
tariff furnished the powder. The South produced raw material, and
imported all her tools, comforts and conveniences, while the North had
free labour, and her educated working classes were good purchasers, and
lent generous support to manufacturers. Exporting its raw cotton to
England, the South sent its leaders to Congress to ask for free trade
with foreign countries, or in any event, a lower tariff. The Northern
manufacturers sent their leaders to Congress to ask for protection
against foreign woollens, cottons, and all English tools and French
silks, and luxuries. Therefore the interests of the North antagonized
the interests of the South. In the South the anti-slavery sentiment had
disappeared because of Whitney's cotton gin. As Beecher wittily put it
in his Manchester speech: "Slaves that before had been worth three to
four hundred dollars began to be worth six hundred. That knocked away
one-third of adherence to the moral law. Then they became worth seven
hundred dollars, and half the law went; then eight or nine hundred
dollars, and there was no such thing as moral law; then one thousand or
twelve hundred dollars, and slavery became one of the beatitudes."

The Southern leaders, therefore, wanted free trade with England; the
North urged protection, in the interest of the whole country, rather
than a group of States. The South believed that Northern politics was
selfish; the North believed that the Southern leaders were building up
English manufacturers, and weakening their own country! The people
became one great debating club, and the dispute waxed more bitter day by
day. Every new event seemed to widen the breach. The war of the
Revolution made for unity between North and South, just as the hammer
welds together two pieces of red hot iron. The soldiers of the
Revolution had marched under the same flag, supported the same
Declaration of Independence, and fought for the same Constitution.
Slavery in the North had died through inanition, and during the
eighteenth century in the South also slavery seemed in process of
extinction. But now, in 1830, slavery had become a great source of
immeasurable wealth to the South, just as manufacturing had built up the
prosperity of the North.

The tariff discussion came to a climax in 1828, through the passing of a
customs act, known as the Tariff of Abominations. Sparks falling on ice
carry no peril, but sparks falling on the dry prairie cause
conflagrations. The news of the passing of the protective tariff created
intense excitement in South Carolina. Public meetings were called in all
the towns in the land, and protests were made against the execution of
the new law. Legislators in the State capital, orators on the platform,
editors through their columns, urged nullification. There were two
reasons for this growing hostility to protection on the part of the
citizens of Calhoun's State; first the belief that as England was the
largest purchaser of cotton, it was to South Carolina's best interest to
have English goods brought in free; second the conviction that the
tariff was a strictly sectional movement in the interest of the
manufacturing North, as opposed to the South with her raw cotton and
slave labour.

As a candidate for the vice-presidency in 1828 on the same ticket as
General Jackson, Calhoun took no definite step until after the election,
when he published a paper showing the evil which the protective tariff
was doing the Southern states, and asserting the right to interpose a
veto. In January, 1830, having broken with Jackson and abandoned all
hope of later obtaining the presidency by his aid, Calhoun decided to
test the theory of nullification upon the national theatre. Accordingly,
under his direction, Senator Hayne inserted in his speech on the Foote
Resolution on the public lands the defense of what was to be known later
as the South Carolina Doctrine,--that, if a State considered a law of
Congress unconstitutional (as South Carolina asserted the recent tariff
act to be) the State had the right to nullify the law, and, if
obedience was sought to be enforced, the right to secede from the Union.

His position has been stated by no one so clearly as by himself, for he
spent the next three years perfecting and elaborating his argument. As
the basis of his structure he employed a distinction between "a nation"
and "a union." England was a nation--the United States was a union.
Russia, Austria and Turkey were nations--this republic a union of
sovereign states. Prussia was presided over by a king and was a
nation--the United States was a republic and the citizens ruled
themselves. Calhoun distinguished also between sovereignty and
government; sovereignty is a birthright, a natural and inalienable right
vouchsafed by God; government is an artificial right established by law.
Sovereignty is an inexpungable and inherent privilege; government is a
secondary and artificial privilege. When any sovereign State is injured,
it has not only the right but the duty to withdraw from the compact that
has been broken. The popular notion is that this idea of _Secession_ was
originated by Calhoun and was a South Carolina heresy; as a matter of
fact, it was first presented in Congress by Josiah Quincy, and should
be called "A Massachusetts heresy."

In 1811, as one of the results of the purchase of Louisiana by
Jefferson, a bill had been offered providing for the reception of the
State of Orleans into the Union. The people of New Orleans spoke the
French language, lived under the code of Napoleon, were monarchial in
their sympathy, and Quincy opposed the bill, just as many men to-day
would oppose the reception into the Union of the Philippines, the
Hawaiians or the Porto Ricans. Mr. Quincy declared that if Orleans were
admitted, the several States would be freed from the federal bonds and
that "as it will be the right of all States, so it will be the duty of
some, to prepare definitely for separation, amicably if they can,
violently if they must." When the speaker ruled out of order these
remarks, Quincy appealed, and the House of Representatives sustained his
appeal by a vote of fifty-six to fifty-three. Congress, under the lead
of Massachusetts, went on record that "it was permissible to discuss a
dissolution of the Union, amicably if we can--forcibly if we must."

Two years later, Henry Clay taunted the Massachusetts leaders with this
threat to dismember the Union. In 1844, Charles Francis Adams, in a
speech opposing the annexation of Texas, affirmed the right of the
Northern States to dissolve the Union. Even Charles Sumner and Horace
Greeley held the same views in 1861. The editor was anxious to "let the
erring sisters go," believing that the withdrawal was parliamentary;
while Charles Sumner said: "If they will only go, we will build a bridge
of gold for them to go over on."

But it was Calhoun who carried the doctrine of _Nullification_ to its
full development, and who worked out the theory of sovereignty. In the
debate with Webster, on the Force Bill, he stated his argument as
follows: "The people of Carolina believe that the Union is a union of
States and not of individuals; that it was formed by the States, and
that the citizens of the several States were bound to it through the
acts of their several States; that each State ratified the Constitution
for itself, and that it was only by such ratification of the States that
any obligation was imposed upon its citizens.... On this principle the
people of the State [South Carolina] have declared by the ordinance that
the Acts of Congress which imposed duties under the authority to lay
imposts, were acts not for revenue, as intended by the Constitution, but
for protection, and therefore null and void." "The terms union, federal,
united, all imply a combination of sovereignties, a confederation of
States. The sovereignty is in the several States, and our system is a
union of twenty-four sovereign powers, under a constitutional compact,
and not of a divided sovereignty between the States severally and the
United States."

His attitude towards slavery is illustrated by the remarks he delivered
in the Senate. "This agitation has produced one happy effect at least;
it has compelled us of the South to look into the nature and character
of this great institution of slavery, and correct many false impressions
that even we had entertained in relation to it. Many in the South once
believed that it was a moral and political evil. That folly and delusion
are gone. We see it now in its true light, and regard it as a most safe
and stable basis for free institutions in the world. It is impossible
with us that the conflict can take place between labour and capital,
which makes it so difficult to establish and maintain free institutions
in all wealthy and highly civilized nations, where such institutions as
ours do not exist."

Calhoun's attempt to have his doctrine set forth on the floor of the
Senate Chamber met a crushing blow. When the hour came, he chose, to
present his view, Hayne of South Carolina, who defended the doctrine of
nullification with great brilliancy and energy. Hayne took the ground
that nullification was the old view always held by Virginia, that it was
the doctrine of Thomas Jefferson, and had been urged by Josiah Quincy of
Massachusetts itself. He was a most gifted orator. After a century of
preparation, at length slavery had chosen its strategic position and
drawn the battle line. From that moment it was certain that slavery must
go, or that the Union must go. A feeling of apprehension spread over the
land. Fear fell upon the hearts of the people. The one question of the
hour was whether Webster could answer the Southern orator and sweep away
the fog with which Hayne had enveloped the discussion, and make the old
Constitution stand out as firm as a mountain, with principles as bright
as the stars.

By universal consent Webster's reply is our finest example of forensic
eloquence. The essence of the argument was the right of the majority to
control the minority. That one State could nullify and secede whenever
the majority outvoted it, practically destroyed the jury system which is
embedded in Saxon history, destroyed the right of the majority of the
aldermen to control the great city, destroyed the right of the majority
of the supreme justices to make their decision. Webster's argument
crushed the doctrine of secession, and made the Republic a nation. Thus
Calhoun and Webster marked out the line of battle, for when the men in
gray and the men in blue met at Gettysburg and Appomattox it was to
determine whether Calhoun or Webster was right. Grant's final victory
simply stamped with a seal of blood the great charter that Webster's
genius had formulated.

In retrospect the wonderful thing about Webster's reply is that his
notes were confined to a sheet of letter paper. Afterwards Webster said
that it had been carefully prepared, for while there is such a thing as
extemporaneous delivery, there is "no extemporaneous acquisition." Not
until he entered the Senate Chamber and saw the crowds did he feel the
slightest trepidation. "A strange sensation came. My brain was free.
All that I had ever read or thought or acted, in literature, in history,
in law, in politics, seemed to unroll before me in glowing panorama, and
then it was easy, if I wanted a thunderbolt, to reach out and take it,
as it went smoking by." When Lyman Beecher had read Webster's reply to
Hayne, he turned to a friend and exclaimed, "It makes me think of a
red-hot cannon-ball going through a bucket of empty egg-shells."

From that hour patriotism rose like a flood. For two generations the
reply has been to Americans what Demosthenes on the Crown was to the
Athenians. Webster placed the nation above the union, made the Nation,
in its constitutionally specified sphere of action, sovereign and
primary, the States secondary and subordinate. He thus made possible a
world-wide victory for free institutions, by which, to-day, democracy
and self-government are making thrones totter and tyrants tremble, and
giving us the assurance that no government is so stable as a government
conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are
free and equal. Webster made logical use of "government of the people,
by the people, and for the people." The soldiers of Gettysburg
exhibited their willingness to defend such a government, to live for
free institutions, and if necessary to die for them.

Now that long time has passed, Southerners and Northerners alike concede
that Calhoun made three mistakes. He fought against progress and
civilization that has destroyed slavery on moral grounds. He also failed
to see that slavery was the worst possible system of production, for if
the South produced under slavery 4,000,000 bales of cotton in 1861, now
that the coloured man is free she produces 15,000,000 bales of cotton
per year. His theory of the right of the minority as a sovereign right
of secession has broken down at the bar of civilization. If South
Carolina or any State has the right to withdraw, whenever the majority
of other States outvote it, it means that the minority always has a
right to disobey the majority, which means not simply the withdrawal of
the one State from the many States, but later, the withdrawal of a few
counties from a majority of the counties in that State, giving an
endless series of confusions. If any single doctrine is established
among civilized nations to-day it is this one, under democratic
institutions--the right of the majority to rule.

Three years later Webster once more marked out the basis of the North's
position for all time in a debate with Calhoun himself. Without the
magnificent flights of eloquence which distinguished the Reply to Hayne,
this speech of February 16, 1833, was filled with close and powerful
reasoning. Once and for all he maintained:

"1. That the Constitution of the United States is not a league,
confederacy, or compact between the people of the several States, in
their sovereign capacities, but a government proper, founded on the
adoption of the people, and creating direct relations between itself and
individuals.

"2. That no State authority has power to dissolve these relations; that
nothing can dissolve them but revolution. And that consequently there
can be no such thing as secession without revolution."

The importance of that argument in the history of our country cannot be
overestimated. As James Ford Rhodes has put it: "The justification
alleged by the South for her secession in 1861 was based on the
principles enunciated by Calhoun; the cause was slavery. Had there been
no slavery, the Calhoun theory of the Constitution would never have been
propounded, or had it been, it would have been crushed beyond
resurrection by Webster's speeches of 1830 and 1833. The South could not
in 1861 justify her right to revolution, for there was no oppression nor
invalidation of rights. She could, however, proclaim to the civilized
world what was true, that she went to war to extend slavery. Her defense
therefore is that she made the contest for her constitutional rights,
and this attempted vindication is founded on the Calhoun theory. On the
other hand, the ideas of Webster waxed strong with the years; and the
Northern people, thoroughly imbued with these sentiments, and holding
them as sacred truths, could not do otherwise than resist the
dismemberment of the Union."

The great crisis that broke Mr. Webster's health and perhaps his heart
came through a misunderstanding. In 1850 the discussion over the Wilmot
proviso was stirring the Senate; Henry Clay had brought in his series of
compromise resolutions, based on the sober belief that the Union was in
imminent danger, and that once again the skillful hand that had penned
the Missouri Compromise might turn the country back into the path of
peace and prosperity. Calhoun, the second of the great Triumvirate, was
already within a month of death. Too weak to read his speech, he was
wheeled into the Senate Chamber, to sit with closed eyes while his last
haughty, arrogant defense of the South's rights was read by Senator
Mason. But the greatest of them all was yet to speak. Webster had the
foresight of Civil War, with rivers of blood, and a man on horseback.
Influenced by what we now see was the broadest patriotism, he delivered
his "Seventh of March Speech,"--the opening words of which disclose a
motive and a purpose too often overlooked by his critics. "I speak
to-day for the preservation of the Union. 'Hear me for my cause.'"
Briefly, his position was this:--that the Union was primary, dealing
with the liberties of fifty and later one hundred millions of
people,--white men as well as black,--and that the slavery question was
secondary, involving an artificial, less important and less permanent
institution. He discussed slavery from the view-point of history, with
arguments of the philosopher rather than those of the orator. He
defended the compromise measures, with their clause in favour of strict
enforcement of the Fugitive Slave Law, on the ground that the Government
was solemnly pledged by law and contract, and, indeed, "had been pledged
to it again and again." He closed with that famous paragraph
demonstrating the impossibility of peaceable secession. "Sir, he who
sees these States now revolving in harmony around a common centre, and
expects them to quit their places, and fly off without convulsion, may
look the next hour to see the heavenly bodies rush from their spheres,
and jostle against each other in the realms of space, without causing
the wreck of the universe."

But he had defended the Fugitive Slave Law!--Therefore Abolitionists
burned Webster in effigy. Wendell Phillips called him a second Judas
Iscariot. Whittier wrote "Ichabod" across his forehead. Horace Mann
described him as a "fallen star--Lucifer descending from heaven!" Every
arrow was barbed and poisoned. Webster suffered like a great eagle with
a dart through its heart, beating its bloody wings upward through the
pathless air.

But now that long time has passed, thoughtful men realize that Webster
had studied the fundamental question more deeply, knew the facts better,
and saw clearer than his detractors. It is true that he erred when he
criticized the Abolitionists on the ground that in the last twenty years
they had "produced nothing good or valuable,"--that his words were
chosen in a way that irritated the North unduly,--and, more important
still, that in his remarks on the Fugitive Slave Law he swerved from the
broad statesmanship which distinguished the rest of the speech. But
twelve years later Abraham Lincoln read Daniel Webster's Seventh of
March Speech, and said Webster was right and Boston was wrong. Lincoln
put Webster's position into his letter to Greeley: "My paramount object
in this struggle is to save the Union, and not either to save or to
destroy slavery. If I could save the Union without freeing any slave, I
would do it; if I could save the Union by freeing all the slaves, I
would do it, and if I could save the Union by freeing some, and leaving
others alone, I would also do that. What I do about slavery I do because
I believe it helps to save the Union; and what I forbear I forbear
because I do not believe it would help to save the Union." And to-day,
after sixty years, our foremost writers are agreeing that "from the
historical view-point Webster's position was one of the highest
statesmanship." But the recognition of Webster unfortunately came too
late.

As time passed Webster felt more and more keenly the injustice done him.
Bitterness poisoned his days, and sorrow shortened his life. When the
autumn came, he made ready for the end, knowing he would not survive
another winter. One October morning Webster said to his physician, "I
shall die to-night." The physician, an old friend, answered, "You are
right, sir." When the twilight fell, and all had gathered about his
bedside, Mr. Webster, in a tone that could be heard throughout the
house, slowly uttered these words, "My general wish on earth has been to
do my Master's will. That there is a God, all must acknowledge. I see
Him in all these wondrous works, Himself how wondrous! What would be the
condition of any of us if we had not the hope of immortality? What
ground is there to rest upon but the Gospel? There were scattered hopes
of the immortality of the soul, especially among the Jews. The Jews
believed in a spiritual origin of creation; the Romans never reached it;
the Greeks never reached it. It is a tradition that communication was
made to the Jews by God Himself through Moses. There were intimations
crepuscular, but--but--but--thank God! the Gospel of Jesus Christ
brought immortality to light, rescued it, brought it to light."

Then, while all knelt in his death chamber and wept, Webster, in a
strong, firm voice, repeated the whole of the Lord's Prayer, closing
with these words: "Peace on earth and good will to men. That is the
happiness, the essence--good will to men." And so the defender of the
Constitution, the greatest reasoner on political matters of the
Republic, fell upon death.

       *       *       *       *       *

Reflecting upon Webster's unconscious influence as set forth in the
words, "I still live," one of his eulogists says that when Rufus Choate
took ship for that port where he died, a friend exclaimed: "You will be
here a year hence." "Sir," said the lawyer, "I shall be here a hundred
years hence, and a thousand years hence." With his biographer let us
also believe that Daniel Webster is still here; that he watches with
intense interest the spread of democracy; that he now perceives our free
institutions extending their influence around the globe, beneficently
victorious in many a foreign state; that he rejoices as he beholds "the
gorgeous ensign of the Republic, now known and honoured throughout the
world, bearing that sentiment dear to every true American heart, liberty
and union, now and forever, one and inseparable."



III

GARRISON AND PHILLIPS: ANTI-SLAVERY AGITATION


In retrospect, historians make a large place for the eloquence of the
anti-slavery epoch, as a force explaining the abolition movement. Every
great movement must have its advocate and voice. Garrison was the pen
for abolition, Emerson its philosopher, Greeley its editor, and in
Wendell Phillips abolition had its advocate. Political kings are
oftentimes artificial kings. The orator is God's natural king, divinely
enthroned. Back of all eloquence is a great soul, a great cause and a
great peril. Our history holds three supreme moments in the story of
eloquence--the hour of Patrick Henry's speech at Williamsburg, Wendell
Phillips' at Faneuil Hall and Lincoln's at Gettysburg. The great hour
and the great crisis, the great cause and the great man, all met and
melted together at a psychologic moment. In retrospect Phillips seems
like a special gift of God to the anti-slavery period. Webster had more
weight and majesty, Everett a higher polish, Douglas more pathos,
Beecher was more of an embodied thunder-storm, but John Bright was
probably right when he pronounced Wendell Phillips one of the first
orators of his century, or of any century.

The man back of Wendell Phillips and the abolition movement was William
Lloyd Garrison. This reformer began his career in 1825, as a practical
printer and occasional writer of articles for the daily press. Among
Garrison's friends were two Quakers, one a young farmer, John Greenleaf
Whittier; the other was Benjamin Lundy, who for several years had spent
his time and fortune protesting against the slave traffic. Lundy had
visited Hayti, to examine the conditions of negro life there,--had
returned to Baltimore, where he had been brutally beaten by a slave
dealer, and had finally come to Boston to test out the anti-slavery
sentiment in New England. He held a meeting in a Baptist church, only to
have it broken up by the pastor, who refused to allow Lundy to continue
his remarks, on the ground that his position could only be offensive to
the South, and therefore dangerous. But Lundy succeeded in having a
committee appointed to consider the problem, and young Garrison was one
of its members. A few months later, Garrison was made the editor of a
journal in Bedford, where he began to advance more and more radical
theories, until a rival editor was irritated to the point of charging
him with "the pert loquacity of a blue jay." But Garrison's fidelity to
his own convictions, and his courage in airing them in public, had won
the respect of the Quaker enthusiast, Lundy, and the old man walked all
the way from Baltimore to Bedford to ask Garrison to join him in his
work of agitation. A year later the two men, one old and discouraged,
the other young and hopeful, both being practically penniless,--started
work in Baltimore. Troubles came thick and fast. The slave dealer who
had beaten Lundy now attacked young Garrison. Carelessly worded
criticisms of a Northern slave dealer from Garrison's own town of
Newburyport led to a suit for libel, and a fine of fifty dollars;
neither man could raise the money to pay the fine, and Garrison went to
jail for forty-nine days. But the youth was full of courage and faith,
and in 1831 we find him once more in Boston, starting a new paper, that
was, if possible, more radical than ever.

In this second venture he was alone, his office was a garret, his only
helper a negro boy whom he had freed. His paper was called the
_Liberator_, and the first edition appeared in January, 1831. Garrison
registered his sublime vow in his opening editorial: "I will be as harsh
as truth and as uncompromising as justice.... I am in earnest,--I will
not equivocate,--I will not excuse,--I will not retract a single
inch,--and I will be heard." His battle cry was "Immediate,
unconditional emancipation on the soil."

No movement that wrought so great a national convulsion ever had a more
feeble origin. The Revolutionary fathers had three million colonists as
supporters. The leaders of the Home Rule movement had four millions of
Irishmen to back them. Cobden and Bright were supported and cheered on
by the manufacturers of Central England. But young Garrison stood alone,
with empty hands, a slave boy to support, a hand-press printing a sheet
twelve inches square, never knowing where the money for the next edition
was to come from. His motto was "Our country is the world, and our
countrymen all men, black or white." The genius of his message was
unmistakable: "Is slavery wrong anywhere? Then it is wrong everywhere.
Was it wrong once in Palestine? Then it is wrong in all lands. Is a
wrongdoer bound to do right at any time? Then he is bound to do right
instantly." He distributed his sheets among the merchants of Boston.
Beacon Street shook with laughter, for a new Don Quixote had arisen. But
from the first the South was alarmed, for that little sheet from the
printing-press fell upon the South like the stroke and tread of armed
men.

The _Liberator_ soon brought friends to this unknown youth. But in
August of this same year, 1831, an event occurred which lifted
Garrison,--almost without his being aware of it,--into truly national
prominence. This was the Nat Turner rebellion in Virginia,--a negro
uprising under the leadership of a genuine African slave who knew the
Bible by heart, who claimed to have communication with the Holy Spirit,
and who finally employed an eclipse of the sun as a sign to his
followers that they were to arise and slay their masters. The massacre
which resulted lasted forty-eight hours, and sixty-one white people on
the neighbouring plantations lost their lives. Retribution followed
swiftly, and where the slightest suspicion of guilt was to be found,
negroes were shot at sight or burned against the nearest tree.
Southampton County saw a veritable reign of terror. A storm of
indignation swept over the South; thousands of slave owners living on
their great estates, miles from the nearest military station, feared
themselves victims of a servile insurrection. The cause of the uprising
was at once sought for, and a hundred writers laid the blame at the door
of the Boston _Liberator_. Garrison was indicted for felony in North
Carolina. The legislature of Georgia offered a reward for $5,000 to any
one who would kidnap him and deliver his body within the limits of the
state. With one voice the entire South cried out that the _Liberator_
must be suppressed.

Later it became clear that Garrison's part in the Nat Turner rebellion
was nil. The _Liberator_ had not a single subscriber in the South; Nat
Turner had never seen a copy of the paper,--and Garrison had been
specific in his statements that he did not believe in active resistance
to authority, or in the use of force of any kind. But the storm had
broken, and Garrison had to fight his way through it.

Even in Boston Garrison had to face the mob, and meet the scorn of the
ruling classes of the city. His movement had no popular support, in the
true sense of the word, as it had twenty years later, when Wendell
Phillips led the forces of abolition. Cotton was king, and the fear of
losing the Southern trade sent the mercantile classes into a panic of
fear. Garrison's enemies were by no means confined to the South. He was
like David with his sling; and slavery, with all its vassals, North as
well as South, was Goliath armed with steel. But for Garrison there were
only two words, Right and Wrong, and he would not compromise concerning
either.

Within two years he succeeded in organizing in Philadelphia the American
Anti-Slavery Society; by 1835 he convinced William Ellery Channing that
the time had fully come for an active crusade, and this old minister,
with a literary reputation in Europe almost as great as that of
Washington Irving, published an abolition book called "Slavery," which
is said to have been read by every prominent man in public life. In 1840
the society numbered not less than 200,000, and the hardest of
Garrison's work was done.

But he was to have a potent ally in Wendell Phillips, the explanation of
whose career is in his birth gifts. One of his ancestors was a Cambridge
graduate, who rebelled against the tyranny of Charles, and exchanged
wealth and position for a New England wilderness. It was one of his
forefathers who was the first mayor of Boston. Another founded Phillips
Exeter Academy. Wendell Phillips himself began his career at the moment
when Madison's State Papers had won him the presidency, when John Adams
was the glory of the city, when Channing was the light of the pulpit,
and Lyman Beecher was the idol of orthodox Boston. He was in his early
teens when he waited four hours on a Boston wharf to see Lafayette's
boat come in. He was thirteen when he heard Daniel Webster's oration on
Adams and Jefferson. He was sixteen when he entered Harvard College, and
formed his lifelong friendship with his roommate, John Lothrop Motley.
He studied law with Charles Sumner, in the office of Judge Story, a
legal star of the first magnitude. He was counted one of the handsomest
youths in Boston. There was nothing too bright or too hard for Wendell
Phillips to aspire to, or hope for. At the critical moment, when he had
to decide upon his future career, ambition sang to him, as to every
noble youth. George William Curtis represents Phillips as sometimes
forecasting the future, as he saw himself "succeeding Ames, and Otis and
Webster, rising from the bar to the Legislature, from the Legislature to
the Senate, from the Senate--who knows whither? He was already the idol
of society, the applauded orator, the brilliant champion of the eloquent
refinement and the conservatism of Massachusetts. The delight of social
ease, the refined enjoyment of taste and letters and art, opulence,
leisure, professional distinction, gratified ambition, all offered
bribes to the young student." The measure of his manhood is in the way
he thrust aside all honours and emoluments that stood in the path of
duty. Only he who knows what he renounces gains the true blessing of
renunciation.

The young orator's attitude towards slavery was determined by the
mobbing of Garrison. One October afternoon in 1835 Wendell Phillips sat
reading by an open window in his office on Court Street. Suddenly his
attention was diverted from the page by voices, angry and profane,
rising from the street without. Looking down he saw a multitude moving
up the street, and soon found that the multitude had become a mob. Five
thousand men were collected in front of the anti-slavery office, and
were trying to crowd their way up the stairs in search of Garrison. In
another room thirty women were assembled to organize a woman's abolition
society. When the women found that the mob wanted to put them out also,
they sent a message to Mayor Lyman asking protection. When the mayor
arrived with the police, instead of dispelling the mob and protecting
liberty of speech, the mayor dispelled the women and protected the mob.
Discovering that they had the sympathy of the mayor and would be
protected by the police, the lawless element rushed upon the office of
the _Liberator_, smashed in the doors and windows, and dragged Garrison
forth. Bareheaded, with a rope about his waist, his coat torn off, but
with erect head, set lips, flashing eyes, Garrison was dragged down the
street to the City Hall. On every side rose the shout "Kill him! Lynch
him! ---- the abolitionist!" Asking who the man was, Phillips was told
that this was Garrison, the editor of the _Liberator_. Meeting the
commander of the Boston regiment, of which he was a member, he
exclaimed, "Why does not the mayor call out the troops? This is
outrageous!" "Why," answered the officer, "don't you see that our
militia are also the mob?" It was all too true. The mob was made up of
men of property and standing. In that hour Wendell Phillips had his
call. In the person of that man dragged down the street with a rope
around his waist, the most gifted speaker in Boston had found his
client; in the crusade against slavery he found his cause, and soon his
clarion voice was heard sounding the onset.

To Garrison's organized agitation, begun in 1832, that soon spread all
over the country, must be added a second cause for anti-slavery
sentiment,--the murder of Lovejoy. This was on the night of November 7,
1837. The Rev. Elijah P. Lovejoy was a young Presbyterian minister, a
graduate of Princeton Seminary. He began his career as pastor of a
little church in St. Louis and editor of the _Presbyterian Observer_. At
that time he was not an abolitionist, and, perhaps because he had
married the daughter of a slave owner, he had taken no strong position
either for or against slavery. One day an officer arrested a black man
in St. Louis who resisted arrest, and in the mêlée the officer was
killed. His friends claimed that the negro was a freeman, and that there
was a plot to kidnap him and sell him into the Southern cotton fields,
and that he had a right to resist. The real facts will, doubtless, never
be known. To slave owners, however, it was intolerable that a black man
should resist an officer under any circumstances. A mob collected, the
negro was bound to a stake, wood piled round about, and the prisoner was
burned to death.

Efforts were made to punish the murderers. In the irony of events the
name of the judge was Lawless, and he charged the grand jury
substantially as follows: "When men are hurried by some mysterious
metaphysical electric frenzy to commit a deed of violence they are
absolved from guilt. If you should find that such was the fact in this
case, then act not at all. The case transcends your jurisdiction, and is
beyond the reach of human law." Of course all the murderers went free.
When Mr. Lovejoy commented editorially upon this outrageous charge,
encouraging lynch law, once again the "mysterious, metaphysical
electric frenzy" broke forth, only this time it destroyed his printing
office. The young minister decided to leave the slave State, and crossed
to Alton, Illinois, where there was not only liberty of speech but
liberty of the printing-press. But a mob crossed over from Missouri and
destroyed his press. Determined to maintain his rights, Lovejoy then
brought another press down the Ohio River from Cincinnati. A group of
his friends carried the type from the steamboat to the warehouse, but
the next night a second mob collected, and when Lovejoy stepped from the
building he was riddled with bullets, the warehouse burned, and the
press, for the third time, flung into the Mississippi. The news of this
murder aroused the continent, filling the South with exultation, and the
North with alarm. Slavery, a subject which had long been tabooed,
suddenly became the one topic of conversation in the home, the store,
the street-car. All editors wrote about it; all Northern pulpits began
to preach on the subject. More faggots had been flung upon the fire, and
oil added to the fierce flames.

Every explosion asks for powder, but also a spark. Falling on ice, a
spark is impotent, falling on powder, an explosion is inevitable.
Wendell Phillips had already been aroused to sympathy with Garrison and
hatred of slavery, and news of the murder of Lovejoy fell upon his heart
like a spark on a powder magazine. When Boston heard that Lovejoy had
been shot by the mob in Alton, Illinois, while defending his
printing-press, the leading men of Boston came together in Faneuil Hall.
William Ellery Channing made the opening address, and asked that the
meeting go on record through an indignant protest against this assault
upon the rights of free citizens. James T. Austin, attorney-general of
the commonwealth, replied in a bitter and insulting reference to
Channing, asserting that a clergyman with a gun in his hand, or mingling
in the debate of a popular assembly in Faneuil Hall, was marvellously
out of place. Austin compared the slaves of the South to a menagerie of
wild beasts, and asserted that Lovejoy in defending them was
presumptuous, and died as a fool dieth. He added that the rioters in
Alton killed Lovejoy and flung his press into the river in the spirit of
the Boston mob that boarded the British ships in 1773, and threw the
tea overboard on the night of the "Boston Tea Party."

That was a great moment in the history not only of liberty, but also in
that of eloquence. Wendell Phillips, then but six years out of Harvard
College, rose to reply. "A comparison has been drawn between the events
of the Revolution and the tragedy at Alton. We have heard it asserted
here in Faneuil Hall that Great Britain had a right to tax the colonies.
And we have heard the mob at Alton, drunken murderers of Lovejoy,
compared to those patriot fathers who threw the tea overboard! Fellow
citizens, is this Faneuil Hall doctrine? The mob at Alton were met to
wrest from a citizen his just rights,--met to resist the laws. Lovejoy
had stationed himself within constitutional bulwarks. He was not only
defending the freedom of the press, but he was under his own roof, in
arms with the sanction of the civil authority. The men who assailed him
went against and over the laws. The mob, as the gentleman terms it (mob,
forsooth!--certainly we sons of the tea-spillers are a marvellously
patient generation!), the 'orderly mob' which assembled in the Old South
to destroy the tea were met to resist, not the laws, but illegal
exactions. Shame on the American who calls the tea tax and Stamp Act
laws! Our fathers resisted, not the king's prerogative, but the king's
usurpation. To find any other account you must read our revolutionary
history upside down. To draw the conduct of our ancestors into a
precedent for mobs is an insult to their memory. They were the people
rising to sustain the laws and constitution of the province. The rioters
of our day go for their own wills, right or wrong. Sir, when I heard the
gentleman lay down principles which place the murderers of Alton side by
side with Otis and Hancock, with Quincy and Adams, I thought those
pictured lips [pointing to the portraits in the hall] would have broken
into voice to rebuke the recreant American,--the slanderer of the dead.
Sir, for the sentiments he has uttered, on soil consecrated by the
prayers of Puritans and the blood of patriots, the earth should have
yawned and swallowed him up. Imprudent to defend the liberty of the
press! Why? Because the defense was unsuccessful? Does success gild
crime into patriotism, and the want of it change heroic self-devotion
into imprudence? Was Hampden imprudent when he drew the sword and threw
away the scabbard?"

The next morning young Phillips, like Lord Byron, awoke to find himself
famous. Merchants, politicians, who had long been staggering like
drunken men, indifferent to their rights, and confused in their
feelings, were stunned into sobriety, and began to discuss principles,
and weigh characters, and analyze public leaders, and wakening, men
found that they had been standing on the edge of a precipice. Phillips,
already devoted to the slave, became now his tireless champion through
many years, till the emancipation of 1863.

One evening in May, 1854, a negro was seen skulking in the shadows near
a dock in Boston. This coloured man, Anthony Burns by name, was a slave,
who had escaped from his Southern master, and after weeks had reached
Philadelphia, where a Quaker had stowed him away in a ship bound for
Boston. A Boston policeman who caught sight of the negro recalled the
rewards offered for the capture of slaves, and soon ran the fugitive
down, and had him before United States Commissioner Loring. The next
morning Theodore Parker hastened to the court-room to say that he was
the chaplain of the Abolition Society, and had come to offer counsel.
But the fugitive was afraid to accept the overture, lest his master
punish him the more severely.

The news spread quickly throughout the city, and two nights later a
meeting in Faneuil Hall was attended by an enormous gathering, aroused
to the highest pitch of excitement. Hand-bills had been put out, stating
that kidnappers were in the city. The people were in a frenzy. Theodore
Parker delivered one of his most impassioned addresses. "I am an old
man; I have heard hurrahs and cheers for liberty many times; I have not
seen a great many _deeds_ done for liberty. I ask you, Are we to have
deeds as well as words?" Parker moved that, when the meeting adjourned,
it should be to meet the following morning in the square before the
court-house. But he had raised too great a storm to control; a rumour
that a mob of negroes was at that very moment trying to rescue Burns was
all that was needed to empty the room; and the crowd rushed out to the
court-house square. There they discovered a small party of men, led by
Thomas W. Higginson, trying to batter down the court-house doors. The
crowd lent them willing hands. But the marshall defended the
building,--shots were fired,--Higginson wounded, and several of his
followers arrested. Two companies of artillery were at once ordered out
by the mayor, and the attempt to rescue the negro met with complete and
disastrous failure. Wendell Phillips and Parker were the leaders in the
fight. When asked what he would regard as grounds for the return of
Burns to his master, Phillips answered, "Nothing short of a bill of sale
from Almighty God."

The day of the transfer of the slave to the United States revenue cutter
found Boston in a state of siege. Twenty-two companies of Massachusetts
soldiers patrolled the city; two rows of soldiers, armed with muskets,
shotted to kill, stood on either side of the street through which Burns
was to be led to the vessel. The windows were filled with people, the
houses hung in black, the United States flags were draped in mourning.
From a window near the court-house hung a coffin, with the legend: "The
funeral of liberty." The procession itself was composed of a battalion
of United States artillery, one of United States marines, the
marshall's posse of 125 men guarding the fugitive, and a small cannon,
with two more platoons of marines to guard it. To such a pass had come
Boston, with its respect for law, and its reputation for obedience to
those clothed in authority. A Charleston paper spoke of the return of
Burns as a Southern victory, but added that two or three such victories
would ruin the cause. For the movement against slavery was now rising,
with all the advance of a tidal wave and a mighty storm.

The public excitement was greatly increased by the Fugitive Slave
legislation of 1850 and 1854. Many Northern men who were opposed to
slavery in the North condoned slavery in the South. Just as Demetrius
urged that by the making of images of Diana "we have our gain," so timid
capital in the North bowed like a suitor at the feet of the imperial
South, and advised silence, remembering that through the money of
Southern planters it had its livelihood. Wendell Phillips went up and
down the land stirring up opinion against the law. He spoke three
hundred times in one year and two hundred and seventy-five times in
another year. Phillips rose upon the opposition like a war eagle
against an advancing storm. Brave men defied the law, organized the
Underground Railroad, and in every way possible defeated the purpose of
the Fugitive Slave Law. So in 1854 when Senator Douglas engineered
through Congress the famous Kansas-Nebraska Bill, repealing the Missouri
Compromise, the North refused to accept what was so palpably pro-slavery
legislation. This was revolutionary. Instantly the North divided into
two camps. The one question of the hour was "Shall a fugitive slave be
furnished with weapons with which to defend his person, and has he the
right of self-defense?" The whole land became a debating society, and
heaved with excitement, like the heaving of an earthquake. The merchant
pointed to his ledger, and urged caution. But liberty was stronger than
the ledger, and the heaving emotion burst through the statutes and rent
the laws asunder. Soon the Fugitive Slave Law, had become a dead letter.
The South had gone one step too far. Abolition stood suddenly in a new
light; "More abolitionists had been made by this single piece of hostile
legislation," said Greeley, "than Garrison and Phillips could have made
in half a century."

For thirty years Wendell Phillips was the crowned king of the lecture
platform. It was the golden age of the lyceum. Men had more leisure than
to-day. Our era of the drama, music, and travel pictures had not yet
come. The winter nights were long, books few, magazines had not yet
developed, and the people were hungry for instruction and eloquence.
Wendell Phillips achieved the astonishing feat of speaking three hundred
times a year. Eloquence is born of a great theme like the woes and
wrongs of three million slaves. It is sometimes said that oratory is
dying out in our Congress. But Congress is now a board of trade,
discussing duties, protective tariffs on wool, cotton, and hides.
Beecher and Phillips had a great theme--liberty, the emancipation of
millions of slaves. The modern orator in the Senate discusses the
mathematics of woolen goods. It is hard to be eloquent over one salt
barrel and two piles of cowhides. A sermon or a lecture on topics that
fifty years ago would have crowded the greatest room and the street
outside would not to-day draw a corporal's guard.

But in those heroic days, there was a great opportunity, and the
opportunity was matched by the man. Phillips was handsome as an Apollo.
His voice was sweet as a harp. No man ever studied the art of public
speech more scientifically. He played upon an audience as a skillful
musician upon the banks of keys in an organ. A Southern slaveholder
heard him in the Academy of Music, hating him, but paying him this
tribute, "That man is an infernal machine set to music." His method was
practically the memoriter method. A gentleman, who heard him give his
"Daniel O'Connell" four times in succession, found that the lecture was
repeated without the slightest variation whatsoever, in ideas,
sentences, inflection of the voice, or even gesture. Phillips prepared
his lectures with the greatest care, and then repeated them hundreds of
times. From the moment when he came upon the platform his presence
filled the eye and satisfied it. His very ease and poise begat
confidence and delight. He carved each sentence out of solid sunshine.
He stood quietly, made few gestures, adopted the conversational tone and
took the audience into his confidence.

Some of his finest effects were produced by the injection of a
parenthesis. Once in an evening sermon in Plymouth Church, when Beecher
was urging the reëlection of Lincoln and defending the Republican party,
a disputatious individual called out from the congregation, "What about
Wendell Phillips?" To which Mr. Beecher made the instant answer,
"Wendell Phillips is not a Republican. Wendell Phillips is a radical and
an independent. What this country needs is not a man of words but a man
of deeds." A few nights later Wendell Phillips was lecturing in the
Brooklyn Academy of Music before the St. Patrick's Society, and made his
reply in the form of a parenthesis, barbing his shaft with an exquisite
inflection of his voice. "Mr. Beecher said last Sunday night
(_forgetting his own vocation_), 'Wendell Phillips is a man of words,
instead of a man of deeds.'"

Not that the two men were ever unfriendly, for they were co-workers,
standing side by side in the great movement. Once when the trustees of
yonder Academy refused to allow Mr. Phillips to speak, Mr. Beecher made
it a point of honour with his trustees to let Wendell Phillips speak in
Plymouth Church, and ran the risk of the mob destroying the building.
The tumultuous scenes of that night, when bricks came through the
windows, and the police were stationed in Cranberry and Orange Streets,
were repeated all over the land. Again and again Wendell Phillips was
mobbed. Once, at the very beginning of his career as an abolitionist, he
spoke with an old Quaker. People waited to greet the old Quaker and
asked him home for the night; but they pelted Wendell Phillips with
rotten eggs as he went down the street in the dark. Afterwards Wendell
Phillips said to the old Quaker, "I said just what you did, and yet you
were invited home to fried chicken and a bed, while I received raw eggs
and stone."

"I will tell thee the difference, Wendell. Thou said, 'If thou art a
holder of slaves, thou wilt go to hell.' I said, 'If thou dost not hold
slaves, thou wilt not go to hell.'"

But Wendell Phillips would not butter parsnips with fine words. Once in
Boston four hundred men surrounded him, got possession of the hall, and
jeered him for an hour and a half. Finally he leaned over the desk and
shouted down to a reporter, "Thank God there is no manacle for the
printing-press." Armed friends rescued him, guarded him home, and for a
week, night and day, the Boston police guarded the house. Those were
tumultuous days. But this great man braved and outlived the storm.

When the Emancipation Proclamation was declared, William Lloyd Garrison
said nothing remained now but to die. But Phillips opposed the
dissolution of the Anti-Slavery Society, because he saw that when the
physical fetters were broken, there still remained the fetters of the
mind and heart that must be destroyed. So far from ending his labours,
Phillips now redoubled his activities. He threw himself into the labour
movement and helped organize the working classes into a solid force
against capitalism. He took up the cause of suffrage and the higher
education of woman, gave himself to the temperance problem and
prohibition. He lectured oftentimes two hundred nights a year in the
great cities of the land, seeking always to manufacture manhood of a
good quality. He became himself our finest example of the power and
influence of the scholar in the Republic. And when the end came, he
received from his fellow countrymen the admiration and the love that he
had deserved. And the friends who knew him best were not surprised that
the last words on his lips were the words of his friend James Russell
Lowell, that summarized the ideal that Wendell Phillips had pursued for
thirty years.

  "New occasions teach new duties; Time makes ancient good uncouth;
  They must upward still, and onward, who would keep abreast of Truth;
  Lo, before us gleam her camp-fires! we ourselves must Pilgrims be,
  Launch our _Mayflower_, and steer boldly through the desperate winter
      sea,
  Nor attempt the Future's portal with the Past's blood-rusted key."



IV

CHARLES SUMNER: THE APPEAL TO EDUCATED MEN


In every country and time, the era of national peril has been the
creative era for the intellect. The eloquence of Greece was at its best
when Philip attacked Athens and Demosthenes defended its liberties.
Dante's poems were born of the collision between the despots who sought
to enslave Florence, and the patriots who dreamed of democracy. Milton's
songs were written during the English Revolution, when the Puritan,
seeking to diffuse the good things of life, and the Cavalier, who wished
to monopolize the earth's treasure, came into a deadly collision.

In accordance with that principle it seems natural to expect that the
scholars of the Republic should do their best work during the era of
agitation, when the national intellect was white hot, and public
excitement burned by day and night. The anti-slavery epoch, therefore,
was the Augustan Era of American literature, when the historians, poets
and philosophers lent distinction to American literature. At that time
Motley was writing his "History of the Netherlands"; Prescott, his
"History of Mexico and Spain"; Whittier, his songs of slavery and
freedom; Lowell was the satirist of the debate, and was writing his
"Biglow Papers," and Emerson, the philosopher, was undermining the
foundations and shaking the principles of slavery, even as Samson pulled
down the temple of the olden time.

Emerson, the philosopher, did the thinking, and furnished the
intellectual implements to the abolitionists. Beginning his career as a
preacher, he resigned his position, moved to Concord, and dwelt apart
from men, but "as he mused, the fire burned." Easily our first man of
American letters, he is among the first essayists of all ages and
climes. Essentially, however, he was a man of intellect, an American
Plato, "a Greek head screwed upon Yankee shoulders," to use Holmes'
expression. His essay upon "The American Scholar," and his book on
"Nature," brought him fame in England, and invitations to lecture before
their colleges. Early in his career he won the friendship of Arnold of
Rugby, of Matthew Arnold the son, of Arthur Hugh Clough, and of Thomas
Carlyle. He returned from his honours in England to find himself the
centre of the intellectual movement of New England. A number of younger
men gathered around him, until Emerson's group at Concord became like
unto Goethe's group at Weimar, and Coleridge's in London. During the
late forties American educators, orators and statesmen began to quote
the striking sentences from Emerson. Little by little it came about that
the fighters went to Emerson as to an arsenal for their intellectual
weapons. His first notable contribution to abolitionism was his "Story
of the West India Emancipation." Then came his "Essay on the Fugitive
Slave Law," his speech on the Assault on Mr. Sumner, his writings on
Kansas, and on John Brown. Few men have had such power to condense a
statement of philosophy into a single epigram. Grant once said of his
soldiers that while each man took aim for himself, Winchester slew all
the thousands. Not otherwise, hundreds of orators and reformers went up
and down the land attacking slavery, but while the voices were many,
the argument was one, and Emerson for a time did the speaking for the
abolitionists.

What Emerson stated in pure white light, Whittier made popular through
his poems of Slavery and Freedom. By way of preëminence he was the poet
of the abolition movement, and the Sir Galahad among our singers. Reared
among the Friends, he had the simplicity of the Quaker, but the solidity
and massiveness of the fighting Puritan. Strange as it may seem, he was
at once the poet of peace, insisting upon the crime of war, and the poet
of freedom, insisting upon the destruction of slavery. The fire and
glow, the moral earnestness, the spiritual passion of Whittier, are best
illustrated in his "Lost Occasion," and "Ichabod." At length the
newspapers of the North took up his work. For some years before the war
broke out, scarcely a month passed by without a new poem of liberty by
Whittier. Soon these poems that were published in the newspapers were
recited in the schools by the children, quoted in the pulpits by the
preachers, and used by the orators as feathers for their arrows. Once
Wendell Phillips concluded an impassioned oration by reciting one of
Whittier's stanzas, when a man in the audience shouted, "That arrow
went home!" to which Wendell Phillips answered, "Yes, and I have a
quiver full of arrows, every one of which was made by a man of
peace,--John Greenleaf Whittier." If Emerson's philosophy was like the
diffused white daylight that makes clear the landscape for an army,
Whittier's occasional poems like "Ichabod" were thunderbolts that
blasted forever all compromise and expediency.

Sometimes what the essayist fails to achieve ridicule easily
accomplishes. James Russell Lowell was the satirist of the abolition
movement. With biting scorn and irony he laughed men out of narrowness,
ignorance, and selfishness. During the last epoch in his career Lowell
achieved world-wide fame as a diplomat, and was universally admired as
the all round man of letters. But now that he has gone, in retrospect,
the historian perceives that the first era of Lowell's career was the
influential era. He was the Milton of the anti-slavery epoch, as Lincoln
was its Cromwell. His influence in England, in developing an
anti-slavery sentiment there, was, if possible, more influential than in
the home country. The great English editor, William Stead, tells us
that he owes to Lowell's message the influences that made him an editor
and a reformer. In the critical moments of his life he found in Lowell
the inspiration and support that he found in no other books, save in
Carlyle's "Cromwell" and the Bible. "In Russia, in Ireland, in Rome, and
in prison, Lowell's poems have been my constant companions." The poet
used the story of Moses emancipating the Hebrew slaves as an
illustration of the abolitionist as the unknown leader whom God would
raise up to lead the three million black men out of Southern slavery.
"What God did for the Egyptian bondsmen, he believed God would do;
because what God was, God is. He goes on:--

"From what a Bible can a man choose his text to-day! A Bible which needs
no translation; and which no priestcraft can close from the laity,--the
open volume of the world, upon which, with a pen of sunshine and
destroying fire, the inspired Present is even now writing the annals of
God. Methinks the editor who should understand his calling, and be equal
thereto, would truly deserve that title that Homer bestows upon princes.
He would be the Moses of our nineteenth century; and whereas the old
Sinai, silent now, is but a common mountain, stared at by the elegant
tourist, and crawled over by the hammer of the geologist, he must find
his tables of the new law here among factories and cities in this
wilderness of sin, called the progress of civilization, and be the
captain of our exodus into the Canaan of a truer social order."

Certain stanzas of Lowell, also, were quoted even more widely, and were
ever upon the lips of college students. Many a soldier boy who went to
battle from the forest and factory, the fields and the mines, scarcely
knew that his inspiration--like Phillip's oratory--was embodied in
Lowell's poem, "The Present Crisis":--

  "Once to every man and nation comes the moment to decide,
  In the strife of Truth with Falsehood, for the good or evil side;
  Some great cause, God's new Messiah, offering each the bloom or blight,
  Parts the goats upon the left hand, and the sheep upon the right,
  And the choice goes by forever 'twixt that darkness and that light.

  "Careless seems the great Avenger; history's pages but record
  One death-grapple in the darkness 'twixt old systems and the Word;
  Truth forever on the scaffold, Wrong forever on the throne,--
  Yet that scaffold sways the future, and, behind the dim unknown,
  Standeth God within the shadow, keeping watch above His own."

Then came Charles Sumner, the scholar in politics, to make practical the
student's message. Daniel Webster's defense of Massachusetts in his
reply to Hayne, and his wonderful eloquence in the years which followed
that first great address, lifted the old Bay State into unique
preëminence in the Senate: when, therefore, Webster left the Senate and
entered the cabinet of Millard Fillmore, the North and the South alike
asked, with intense interest, who should succeed the defender of the
Constitution. That no dramatic interest might be lacking when, in 1851,
Charles Sumner entered the Senate chamber to take the oath of office, it
came about that Henry Clay, the great Compromiser, left the Senate,
going out at one door, on the very day that Conscience, in the person of
this Puritan, entered it by the other door. John C. Calhoun, inflexible,
iron to the end, adhering tenaciously to his doctrine of secession, had
just died, quite unconscious of the fact that his speeches held the
explosives that were to shatter the South and destroy half a million of
his beloved people. Clay, too, was death-stricken, and with great pathos
referred to himself as "a stag scarred by spears, worried by wounds,
dragging his mutilated body to his lair to lie down and die." Webster
was now gray and broken, with the shadow of the eclipse already drawing
near. In such a moment Charles Sumner began his career by an appeal to
the "everlasting yea" and the "everlasting nay."--"I desire to speak
to-day of some laws greater than any passed in this capital or this
country; older than America, older than India--I mean the laws of God."

Hitherto slavery had been the aggressor, crowding into Texas, edging
into Missouri, with bullets forcing its way into Kansas. Freedom had
always been on the defensive. Now all was changed, with the coming of a
man whose watchword was "Slavery must be destroyed; liberty must be
preserved." That cold body called the Senate became immediately
conscious of the new influence that entered into the very being of the
government, like iron into the rich blood of the physical system.
Charles Sumner made it clear from the beginning that the movement
against slavery was from the Everlasting Arm. With expediency he had
nothing to do, but only with eternal right and eternal wrong. One day
Daniel Webster reminded his young successor of the importance of looking
on the other side, indicating that a shield that was gold on one side
might at least be silver on the other, to which Sumner replied, "There
is no other side." This Boston scholar became a voice for law, "whose
seat is the bosom of God, and whose speech is the melody of the world."
These eternal laws of God rose up to stay the progress of slavery like
the beetling granite cliffs of Maine, that send forth their voice to the
onrushing tides, saying, "Here stay your proud waves--thus far, and no
farther."

Ancestry, opportunity and events all conspired to equip Charles Sumner
with those implements that make man great. Like Phillips, he was a
descendant of the early settlers of Boston. His father led the men who
delivered Garrison out of the hands of the mob, and who told the excited
populace that unless Boston was careful "our children's heads will be
broken by cannon-balls." The plastic, critical hours of his youth were
spent in Harvard College and in the law office of Judge Story. Never
interested in philosophy and metaphysics, he was surpassed by few as a
master of the humanities, general literature, and the story of the rise
and progress of democracy and free institutions. Not a man of genius,
Charles Sumner was gifted with talent of a very high order. He had, what
is perhaps better than genius, a capacity for sustained labour and
prodigious industry. He did nothing by halves. In his chosen realm he
became a master of the details of every movement related to free
institutions, since the days of the republics of Greece and Switzerland,
Holland and England. Long after other students had blown out their
lights, Charles Sumner's window was still flaming. At a very early epoch
he exhibited his tenacity of will and his constitutional inability to
change his mind. Once he planned with a companion to walk to Boston on
Saturday morning, starting at half-past seven. When the hour struck, a
snow-storm was raging. But having decided to go to Boston, to Boston the
student went alone, floundering through the blizzard. Snow-drifts were
little things, but changing his plan was an impossible thing. The
centre of his character, about which all else revolved, was a certain
axis of pride and self-esteem, which may be pardoned, perhaps, in view
of the fact that the world takes a man largely upon his own estimate of
personal worth.

In those days the atmosphere of Boston was charged with enthusiasm for
education and the humanities. Among young Sumner's friends were
Prescott, who was writing the history of Spain and Mexico; Bancroft, who
was outlining his history of the United States; Story, the jurist;
Horace Mann, the educator; Dr. Howe, the father of the movement for the
education of the deaf and dumb; Emerson, Longfellow, Channing and
Whittier--all were not simply friends but correspondents of Charles
Sumner.

Nor must we forget the Boston of earlier days, the Boston of Adams, and
Otis, of Warren and Quincy. In such a city, surrounded by the noblest
traditions of patriotism, stimulated by the greatest group of scholars
that the Republic has produced, Charles Sumner passed his early manhood.
Then, remembering that Edward Everett had fitted himself for his work in
Harvard University by four years abroad, Sumner, in his twenty-seventh
year, went to Europe. He spent five months in Germany, where the spirits
of Goethe, Richter and Luther lingered upon the scene. In Paris he
studied French, French art, French literature, French philosophy, and
finally attended the debates in the French Parliament, examining the
problems with all the care of a member. He lingered long in England,
where he was welcomed and lionized by the foremost men of letters,
science, philosophy, as well as by the leading clergymen and statesmen
of London. He was an honoured guest not at some, but "at most of the
country seats of England and Scotland." He travelled the circuits as the
companion of the greatest English judges, Vaughan, Parke and Alderson.
He met on a familiar footing Macaulay and Grote, Carlyle and Jeffrey,
Sidney Smith and Wordsworth. But his great year was in Italy, in the
Eternal City, the city of Cæsar and Cicero, the city of Horace and
Virgil. In all, Sumner spent thirty years in preparation for his labour.
Few men in American politics have had a wider horizon, a better
equipment in history and literature, or have known so intimately all the
great men in the world of his own generation who were worth knowing. He
went away to Europe an American; he returned a universal man, a citizen
of the world.

Not until 1845, when he was thirty-four years of age, did a really great
opportunity come to Sumner. Boston at that far-off day made much of the
Fourth of July, and looked forward to the holiday as the great event of
the year. During the previous autumn the mayor and aldermen of the city
invited Sumner to deliver the oration. Webster made John Adams say,
"When we are in our graves, our children will celebrate the day with
song and story, with oration and pageant, and the explosion of cannon,
and greet it with tears of joy and exultation." But unfortunately the
speeches of that time had degenerated into false rhetoric, full of
insincerity. In his oration, Sumner left the beaten track and plunged
into an unknown way. His theme was the crime of war. He attacked his
city and his country for spending millions upon fortifications in the
harbour. He affirmed that the best protection of a nation was not dead
stones but living patriots and heroes. He called the roll of the great
wars of history, and found only one or two, like our Revolution, that
were really justifiable. He defined war as the temporary repeal of all
the ten commandments, and an enthronement of all the crimes.

In retrospect we know that Sumner overstated his case. His argument
against physical force would forbid the police in great cities, the
militia on the frontier, and would leave communities exposed to the
ravages of brigands on land and pirates by sea. But for the most part,
Sumner's argument in favour of peace was sound. To-day all civilized
countries are coming to recognize war as a blunder, since questions of
justice cannot be settled by brute force.

When we consider that France is an armed camp, Germany and Austria
countries of bristling bayonets, that three years at the most critical
epoch of the boy's life are consumed in a camp exposed to all manner of
temptations and dangers, at the very time when the youth should be
mastering his trade or his profession, war seems the capitalization of
all the possible follies and wastes. The peasants of Europe plough, each
carrying a soldier upon his back. The brick-mason builds, but staggers
up the ladder with a heavier load than bricks,--the soldier upon his
back. The symbols of nations are still the lion, the eagle and the wolf.
Some political leaders even yet talk about the necessity of an
occasional war to put boys upon their mettle, as if invention, the
building of railways, the founding of cities, the fighting of economic
and social wrongs would not put a man upon his mettle! To put a German
on one side of a fence and a Frenchman on the other, and have one
peasant empty his shotgun into the bowels of the other is about as noble
as going out into a yard and shooting a Jersey cow. The best way to
protect a nation is to build boys into men, through the processes of
productive industry. Machine gun and dreadnought will soon be as
obsolete in the presence of arbitration and the court at the Hague as an
ox-cart is obsolete in the presence of a Pullman palace car.

Wendell Phillips once said that Lord Bacon had a right to lay his hand
on the steam engine and say to Watt: "This engine is mine; I gave you
the method." So Charles Sumner, after sixty-five years, has a right to
stand yonder at the entrance of the Parliament House of Peace, now being
completed in the capital of Holland, and say: "I laid the foundation
stones of this structure and started a war against war." This oration
of Sumner's on "The True Grandeur of Nations" made him a most unpopular
figure at home, but Europe soon called for his speech. It was translated
into many languages, two hundred and fifty-thousand copies were
published and sold, and for the time Sumner was the most talked of man
of the year.

Now the one man who was not on the defensive, who was not content to
merely stay the forward progress of slavery, but insisted on driving it
back into the Gulf and ultimately into the sea, to be drowned forever,
was Charles Sumner, with his "Carthago est delenda." His favourite
phrase was "freedom is national, slavery is sectional." Burke himself,
depicting the sufferings of India, scarcely surpassed Sumner's speech on
the devastation of Kansas by outlaws and guerrillas. Commenting upon the
fact that a company of armed slave owners had crossed the borders at
night, and destroyed the homes of a group of Northern settlers, Sumner
said: "Border incursions, which in barbarous lands fretted and harried
an exposed people, are here renewed, with this peculiarity, that our
border robbers do not simply levy blackmail and drive off a few cattle,
they do not seize a few persons and sweep them away into captivity, like
the African slave-traders whom we brand as tyrants, but they commit a
succession of deeds in which border sorrows and African wrongs are
revived together on American soil, while the whole territory is
enslaved. I do not dwell on the anxieties of families exposed to sudden
assault, and lying down to rest with the alarms of war ringing in the
ears, not knowing that another day may be spared them. Throughout this
bitter winter, with the thermometer thirty degrees below zero, the
citizens of Lawrence have slept under arms, with sentinels pacing. In
vain do we condemn the cruelties of another age--the refinement of
torture, the rack and thumbscrew of the Inquisition; for kindred
outrages disgrace these borders. Murder stalks, assassination skulks in
the tall grass; where a candidate for the Legislature was gashed with
knives and hatchets, and after weltering in blood on the snow-clad
earth, trundled along with gaping wounds to fall dead before the face of
his wife."

With speeches like these, Sumner attacked slavery. The edge of his
argument was keen, but his blows had also the power of sledgehammers.
The Southern leaders were in a frenzy of anger. Harriet Martineau said
of the situation that from 1830 to 1850, by general agreement, men in
Congress referred to slavery under their breath, believing that only by
silence could the Union be preserved. Now came a man who believed that
silence was criminal, who would not be bullied, and would be heard, who
believed in the Golden Rule, insisted on the Declaration of
Independence, and who, in the name of freedom that was national, wished
to destroy the Fugitive Slave Law and bring about the immediate and
unconditional emancipation of all slaves on the ground.

When two opposing gases come together, an explosion is inevitable. One
day in 1856, after the adjournment of the Senate, a Southern member of
Congress entered the Chamber, and finding Sumner seated, with his legs
under an iron desk screwed to the floor, and, therefore, helpless for
defense, with a heavy walking-stick the assailant beat the powerless man
into insensibility, two of his friends protecting him from those who
would interfere in his murderous assault. Having lost enough blood to
soak through the carpet and stain the very floor, unconscious, and
hovering between life and death, Sumner was carried to a sofa, thence to
his hotel. From that time on the scholar endured a living death. He was
carried to Paris, where Dr. Brown-Sequard tried "the fire cure" upon the
spine. But for years his desk was vacant. Massachusetts insisted that
the empty seat should proclaim to the world her abhorrence of the
barbarism that, unequal to intellectual debate, betakes itself to clubs
and murder. Later on Sumner did return to his seat, but he was broken in
health, and to the end was tortured with pain. Nevertheless, despite all
the physical distresses, he remained the Puritan in politics, adhering
inflexibly to his old ideals of liberty. The great lesson of Sumner's
life is the importance of fidelity to conviction and singleness of
purpose. All Sumner's speeches in Congress, all his lectures on the
platform, his appeals to the people of the North during the years when
he travelled incessantly, addressing great crowds all over the land, had
a single theme, "Liberty is national, Slavery is sectional; Liberty must
be established, Slavery must be destroyed." He had his faults and
limitations, but men without faults are generally men without force.
Limitations are like banks to a river; they increase the strength of the
current for a mill wheel. Sumner's concentration made his enemies call
him a narrow man and a fanatic. But Paul was narrow when he said, "This
one thing I do." Luther was narrow when he nailed his theses to the door
of the church in Wittenberg. Garrison was narrow and a fanatic when he
said, "I will not equivocate, I will not retreat a single inch, and I
will be heard." Rushing between the cliffs of its banks, the Rhine has
power through confinement; spreading out over the plains of North
Germany, the Rhine becomes a mere marsh, laden with miasm, blown to and
fro with the winds.

The tallow candle is small, while the summer lightning flashes across
the midnight sky. But for the purpose of studying a guide book in the
dark, one lucifer match is worth a sky full of lightning.

Sumner had the courage of his convictions; he was brave as a lion.
Having no physical fear, he was devoid also of moral fear. He had the
foresight of far-off things, and could look beyond to-day's defeat to
the coming victory for his cause. He had many bitter enemies. His
intolerance and intellectual arrogance offended men. When a friend said
to President Grant, "Sumner is a skeptic; I fear he does not believe in
the Bible," Grant's instant retort was, "Certainly he does not; he did
not write it."

But we can forgive much to a man who sacrificed much, and endured the
murderous cross of cruelty, obloquy and shame. A lonely and
companionless man, at the end, he trod the wine-press of sorrow in
solitude and isolation. He had no woman's love to heal his wounded
spirit. His one support was the cause he loved. To this cause he clung
with a tenacity that was as sublime as it was pathetic. The last time he
opened his eyes it was to repeat unconsciously the dearest thoughts of
his life, "All humanity is my country." "Take care of my civil rights
bill."

When long time has passed, many other great names will pass out of view
like tapers that have burned down to the socket. But the name and memory
of this Puritan will probably survive, as the highest type of the
scholar toiling in the heroic age of the Republic.



V

HORACE GREELEY: THE APPEAL TO THE COMMON PEOPLE


To the work of the statesmen and jurists, the agitators and orators,
must now be added the contribution of the editors. A loaf of bread
represents many elements united in a single body. The sun lends heat,
the clouds lend rain, the soil its chemical elements, the air its rich
dust, and the result is the wheaten loaf. Not otherwise is it with the
moral and political treasure named the Union and the Emancipation of
slaves. The soldier boys at the front stayed the advancing tide of
rebellion, and flung back from Pennsylvania waves all tipped with fire.
With not less heroism farmer boys at home toiled in the fields to feed
and support the boys in blue. Physicians in the hospitals, nurses at the
front, lived also and died, caring for crippled heroes. Mothers and
daughters, sisters, sweethearts and wives wrought innumerable garments
and hospital supplies, while from full hearts giving inspiration or
courageously bearing the miseries of bereavement. Orators went forth to
incite, ministers brought divine sanctions to inspire men towards
patriotism and self-sacrifice. Statesmen supported the leaders by war
measures, manufacturers and bankers stood behind the government. But to
all these workers must be added the work of the correspondents at the
front, with the editors who consecrated the press to liberty.

The power and wealth of the newspaper of to-day is explained, in no
small measure, by the battles of the Civil War, that kindled the
interest of millions who had never before read the daily newspaper, but
who became after the first battle students of God's book of daily
events. During those terrible days men slept in dread and wakened in
fear as to what might have happened on the Potomac or the Mississippi.
Out of these tumultuous conditions the Sunday newspaper was born. Before
the battle of Bull Run people of New York and Chicago frowned upon the
Sunday newspaper, just as the people of London and Edinburgh to-day will
have none of it. But when there were a million men in arms and the whole
land trembled with the thunder of cannon and the stroke of battle,
anxious parents, fearful wives, knowing that the conflict was on, when
Saturday's sun set felt that they could not wait till Monday morning for
news from the front.

But if the war did much for the press, newspaper men did much for
liberty. To supply the people of the country with news from the field, a
veritable army of war correspondents was organized, a telegraphic
service was organized and built up, plans were laid that developed into
the Associated Press. This telegraphic service became a vast and shining
web lying all over this land, with wires that trembled by night and day,
flashing out now despair, and now hope, to innumerable hearts. Liberty
owes a great debt to the press, for it assembled all the people in one
vast speaking chamber, and told them how events were going with the
slave and the Union.

If we are to appreciate fully the place of the press during the
anti-slavery epoch, we must recall the conditions of American life in
the olden time. When the colonies revolted and published their
Declaration there were in the United States only forty-three newspapers,
most of them weeklies. There were fourteen papers in New England, four
in New York State, two in Virginia, two in Carolina and nine in
Pennsylvania. The entire forty-three papers, however, held less printed
matter than any ten pages of our morning journals. The papers of that
time contained no editorials, and were strictly purveyors of the gossip
and news of the week, with rude advertisements--now a cut of a horse
that had strayed, an apprentice that had escaped, a slave that had run
away, enlivened, indeed, by frantic and pathetic appeals for the
subscribers to pay up their dues. There were no public libraries, no
reading rooms, no inns where men could go on winter evenings and read
the papers.

That which starved the newspaper was the lack of facilities for
distribution. It cost twenty-five cents to send a letter. Most of the
correspondents were widely separated lovers. Romeo, knowing that Juliet
would not be able to pay twenty-five cents for his weekly effusion,
learned the use of the cypher, and by means of a large circle on the
outside of the letter and a pink spot within it succeeded in conveying
certain mystic symbols of osculation, that told the story of undying
fidelity without paying the postman for the letter that was left in his
hands. The old postman who jogged along between Philadelphia and New
York spent three days on the trip, and put in his time knitting
stockings. John Adams tells us that it took him six days on the coach
from Boston to New York, and that he rose every morning long before day,
took his seat in the cold, dark coach, and listened to the creaking of
the wheels on the snow until two hours after dark until late Saturday
night, cold and exhausted, he entered the little inn near Castle Garden.
For these reasons no newspaper had any circulation beyond its own
county.

The first railroads that helped distribute the newspapers began to be
built about 1836, and the first ship to carry our newspapers to England
sailed in 1838. The first telegraphic message was sent from Washington
to Baltimore in 1844. The first cablegram in the interest of the press
was sent in 1858. Meanwhile the people were isolated, starved, being
fully conscious that they were like peasants shut in between mountain
walls, while they longed to be citizens of the universe. A single
illustration from history will explain the isolation of communities at
that time:--the news that Jackson had been elected President in early
November did not reach his own State of Tennessee until after New Year's
Day!

Horace Greeley entered the scene at a great crisis for the people, and
was raised up to fill a national need. God had prepared the soldiers to
fight for the people, the orators to speak to the people, the physicians
to heal the people, the educators to instruct the people. He had raised
up the statesmen to make the laws, but the world waited for men to cause
knowledge to run up and down the land. The common people found a friend
in Horace Greeley. He was born in 1811, in Amherst, Massachusetts, near
the very cabin in which his forefathers had settled. God gave him a
hungry mind, which literally consumed facts of nature and life. Not John
Stuart Mill himself was more precocious than Horace Greeley. He was
reading without difficulty at three years of age, and read any ordinary
book at five. There never was an hour when he was not the best scholar
in the little log schoolhouse, where he suffered the long winter
through, scorched if he was on the inside circle next to the fire, or
freezing if he was on the outer rim.

Reading was the boy's master passion. Like the locust, he consumed every
dry twig and green branch of knowledge. Before he was ten years of age
he believed he had read every book that could be borrowed within a
radius of six miles. He read the Bible through, every word, when he was
five years old; at eleven he had read Shakespeare and Byron. Spelling
was at once a taste and an acquisition. The people of his neighbourhood
put the child up against other crack spellers in the school districts.
It is said that in the old evening spelling-bees, his school-teacher,
who had him in charge, had to wake the child up when his turn came
around to spell. The trustees of Bedford Academy passed a resolution
permitting Horace Greeley, although outside of the district, to enter
their school, while a few teachers raised a purse, and made an offer to
his father to send the boy to Phillips Exeter Academy. But pride
prevented. Horace Greeley's childhood fell on evil days. Men were
miserably poor. It was one long warfare with hunger and cold. The
ravages of disease among children were really the result of insufficient
food in those poverty-stricken times. Although the mortgage on the farm
was a mere bagatelle, the father lost the homestead, and became a hired
man on fifty cents a day, on which amount he had to feed and clothe his
family. This boy worked by day and studied by night. History and
politics, poetry and science, formed the staples of his reading and
reflection. For two years he pleaded with his father to apprentice him
to a printer; the day that the printer refused the boy and showed the
poor farmer and his son the door, brought black gloom to his heart, for
when the door of the printing office closed before him, the gates of
paradise seemed shut forever.

Trained in the school of experience, and a graduate of the university of
hard-knocks, at twenty years of age the boy determined to seek his
fortune in New York. There are few scenes more pathetic than the
spectacle of this friendless boy starting to walk from Erie, Pa., to
this metropolis, then a city of only two hundred thousand people. He had
a tow head, a bent form, a singular dress, and carried his entire
belongings in a little bundle, supported by a walking stick thrown over
his shoulder. Partly on foot, partly on the wagon of some farmer, who
gave the traveller a lift, partly on the canal boats, Horace Greeley
made his way until, after many days, in August, 1831, he landed at the
foot of Wall Street.

Not Benjamin Franklin, landing on the wharves of Philadelphia, and
buying a fresh roll on which he breakfasted while he went about looking
for work, is so fascinating a figure as this simple-hearted, unworldly,
artless, unsophisticated youth, with the step of a clodhopper and the
face of an angel. Counting his coin, the boy found he had ten dollars
left, and straightway took lodgings on West Street, for which he
promised to pay two dollars and a half a week. He soon found a job and
began to set type on an edition of the New Testament, with marginal
notes in Greek and Latin. In two years he had his own printing office,
and in 1834 the youth found his place as the editor of the _New Yorker_,
a weekly that first of all took stories and the name of Charles Dickens
to the people of New York. He soon carried the newspaper up to nine
thousand subscribers, and a gross income of $25,000. Genius makes its
own way. The world is always looking for unique ability. Horace Greeley
had the art of putting things. He could make a statement that would go
to the intellect like an arrow to the bull's-eye. There is always
plenty of room for the man who has a gift and can do a thing better than
any one else.

But the panic of 1837 bankrupted Greeley, who knew nothing about the
business end of his enterprise. He had 9,000 subscribers, but none of
them would pay their bills, and the more his paper grew the worse off he
was. One day he struck from the roll the names of 2,500 subscribers. A
little later he offered to give the entire establishment to a friend,
and pay him $2,000 for taking it off his hands, agreeing to work out by
typesetting the large debt. Then came an overture from Thurlow Weed and
Benedict, and Greeley founded the _Log Cabin_, a campaign paper
advocating the election of General Harrison as president, and sent out
the slogan "Tippecanoe and Tyler, too." Politics was his passion and
delight. An ardent Whig, he loved Henry Clay as an enthusiast, and
worshipped him like a disciple. The death of Harrison in 1841,
therefore, brought another crisis into Greeley's life. Then he founded
the _New York Tribune_. In later years Horace Greeley used to say that
the first half of his life was preparatory to founding the _Tribune_,
and the other half to building up the newspaper that was his pride.

On April 3, 1841, the _Log Cabin_ contained an announcement of the
appearance of "a morning journal of politics, literature and general
intelligence." It was to be sold for one penny, was to be free from all
immoral reports, to be accurate in its statements, impartial in its
judgments, unbiassed and unfettered in its opinions. The _New Yorker_
and the _Log Cabin_ were merged in the new journal. The expenses for the
first week of the _Tribune's_ existence were $525, and its income $92.
Greeley was thirty years old, full of health and vigour, pluck and
determination. He never knew when he was defeated, and when events
knocked him down, he quietly got up again. In seven weeks the _Tribune_
had a circulation of 11,000. Fertile in resources, full of plans to
advertise his journal, he gained 20,000 during a single political
campaign. Later he sent carrier pigeons to Halifax to bring home special
news. When Daniel Webster was to make an important speech in Albany, he
sent a case of type up by the night boat, and when the Albany boat
reached New York the report of the speech was all ready to be locked up
for the press. When the heart sings, the hand works easily. Work for the
_Tribune_ was literally food and medicine for Greeley. His daily stint
was three or four columns, besides his correspondence, lectures and
addresses. For twenty years he had no vacation and no rest. His one
ideal was to make the _Tribune_ an accurate and trustworthy guide for
the political thinking of the common people.

What literature was to Burke, what patriotism was to Webster, what all
mankind was to Paul, that politics and political writing were to Horace
Greeley. Dr. Bacon once said of a secretary of the State Association of
Connecticut that he was "possessed of a statistical devil." And Horace
Greeley's _Tribune Almanac_ became so great a power that an envious
competitor once said that Horace Greeley was possessed of a political
devil, who helped him in his statistics on Protection. At last the
_Tribune_ became a national organ, an acknowledged power. Horace Greeley
began to make history, and in 1860 prevented Seward's nomination for the
presidency. It was Greeley's personal preference for Governor Bates of
Missouri that made possible the nomination of Abraham Lincoln.

As a reformer, Greeley was an extremist in politics. Whatever he wanted,
he wanted on the moment, and had no patience in waiting. He was as
uncompromising as Garrison, as insistent as Wendell Phillips, and as
bitter in his criticism of Lincoln for postponing emancipation as
Theodore Parker himself could have been. When the South seceded Greeley
said that we must "let the erring sisters go." He thought that the North
could do without the South quite as well as the South could do without
the North; that is no true marriage that binds husband and wife together
with chains when love has fled away. He urged that if any six States
would send their representatives to Washington and say: "We wish to
withdraw from the Union," the North had better let those States depart.
It was not that Greeley felt it was best to dissolve the Union, but that
he loathed the idea of compelling States by force to remain in it.

For a long time he carried the head-lines "On to Richmond" and roused
the North into such a frenzy of feeling that he goaded the President,
the Cabinet and General Winfield Scott into action before they were
ready. Scott was at the head of the army. He was a Virginian, and loved
the Old Dominion State with every drop of blood in his veins. The great
men of the South on their knees begged Scott to join the South and lead
the host of rebellion. Scott answered that he had sworn a solemn oath to
defend the Constitution and the country, and made himself an outcast
that he might be true to God and the Union. But the cry "On to Richmond"
became the cry of an unreasoning multitude of editors and their readers.
All unprepared, the advance was ordered and Bull Run was the result.
Greeley, being the leading editor of the land, was made the
scapegoat--the target of universal criticism. The barbed arrows found
his brain, and becoming excited, sleepless and overwrought, Greeley went
into an attack of brain fever, from which he recovered only after long
time, to register a vow that he would never again discuss the management
of the army. Then came his editorials urging emancipation, illustrated
by "The prayer of twenty millions," and Lincoln's wonderful reply,
written to Greeley, "in deference to an old friend whose heart I have
always found to be right." It is honour enough for any editor to have
called out Lincoln's letter (August 22, 1862), a letter that placed the
President in the first rank as a master of epigrammatic speech, and put
in a nutshell the whole position of the government in relation to the
war.

Greeley was wrong again in 1864, when he met certain representatives of
the South at Niagara Falls and suggested a plan of adjustment for the
ending of the war. These so-called peace commissioners, without doubt,
used Greeley as a convenient tool, and exhibited him as Don Quixote,
riding forth upon a windmill enterprise. But Greeley had the courage of
his opinions; threats could not cow him nor blows terrify him, nor scorn
and hate drive him from a position which he had taken upon grounds of
conscience and sound reasoning.

During the draft riots, in 1863, the mob attacked the _Tribune_,
smashing the windows and doors, and it seemed a miracle that Greeley was
not killed. When his friends rescued him the great editor seemed quite
unwilling to be forced into a place of safety. "Well, it doesn't matter;
I have done my work; I may as well be killed by the mob as die in my
bed; between now and the next time is only a little while."

In May, 1867, Greeley signed the bail bond for Jefferson Davis,
ex-president of the Confederacy. Burning with anger his friends in the
Union League Club of New York called a meeting to expel him. He returned
a defiant answer: "Gentlemen, I shall not attend your meeting; I have an
engagement out of town and I shall keep it. I do not recognize you as
capable of judging me. You evidently regard me as a weak sentimentalist,
misled by a maudlin philosophy. I arraign you as narrow-minded
blockheads, who would like to be useful to a great and good cause but
don't know how. Your attempt to base a great and enduring party on the
hate and wrath engendered by a bloody civil war is as though you should
plant a colony on an iceberg which had somehow drifted into a tropical
ocean. I tell you here that out of a life earnestly devoted to the good
of human kind, your children will select my going to Richmond and
signing that bail bond as the wisest act of my life, and will feel that
it did more for freedom and humanity than all of you were competent to
do though you lived to the age of Methuselah. Understand, once for all,
that I dare you and defy you. So long as any man was seeking to
overthrow our government he was my enemy; from the hour when he laid
down his arms he was my formerly erring countryman."

In 1872, Greeley became the Republican who was a candidate of the
Democratic party for the presidency, and was defeated by Grant.
Doubtless he was actuated by the highest sense of duty. He took the
stump and spoke in every great city in the North and South, without
swerving a hair's breadth in his pacific attitude towards the South, or
in his championship of the coloured race. His great work, "The American
Conflict," on which he spent ten hours a day for many, many months, had
made Greeley a master of all the facts bearing upon the reconciliation
of the North and South. He showed almost superhuman endurance during
that intense campaign. But Grant had captured the imagination of the
people. The old soldiers voted as one solid band, the Republican party
was looked upon as the saviour of the nation, and the people doubted Mr.
Greeley's fitness for the presidency in a national crisis. He was
defeated in November, and went home to watch over his wife during her
illness and death. Just before she died, he wrote a friend saying: "I am
a broken old man; I have not slept one hour in twenty-four; if she
lasts, poor soul, another week, I shall go before her." Sleeplessness
brought on brain fever, his old enemy, and on November 29th, the
worn-out editor fell on sleep.

His fellow countrymen wakened to realize that the great tribune of the
people had left the country poor. His own city rose as one man, in mood
of profound grief and affectionate admiration and sympathy. His body lay
in state in our city hall the long day through. The poor poured by in
unending column, to pay their last tribute to a man who had never
betrayed the people. The funeral services were attended by the president
and vice-president of the United States, the president-elect, and
numerous officials and citizens of distinction. Mr. Beecher made one
address and then Greeley's pastor, Dr. Chapin, spoke. Men forgot the
wreck of his political fortunes and the tragedy of his later career. He
expressed the ambition of his life in the wish "that the stone which
covers my ashes may bear to future eyes the still intelligible
inscription: 'Founder of the New York Tribune.'"

A Universalist in his religious faith, Horace Greeley believed that
right was stronger than wrong, good more powerful than evil, and that
there will be in eternal ages no endless perdition for the evil ones of
earth, but that God and all the resources of His power and love will
here or there compel every knee to bow and every will surrender to the
will divine. He earned the right to say at the end of his noble career,
"I have been spared to see the end of giant wrongs that I once deemed
invincible in this country, and to note the silent upspringing and
growth of principles and influences which I hail as destined to root out
some of the most flagrant and pervading influences that remain. So,
looking calmly, yet humbly, for that close of my mortal career which
cannot be far distant, I reverently thank God for the blessings
vouchsafed me in the past; and with an awe that is not fear, and a
consciousness of demerit which does not exclude hope, await the opening
before my steps of the gates of the Eternal World."



VI

HARRIET BEECHER STOWE; JOHN BROWN: THE CONFLICT PRECIPITATED


About 1850, as the result of the long agitation of the editors and
orators, preachers and poets, the people of this country entered upon a
heated mood, when excitement dwelt like fire in the intellect and
conscience. For thinking men, it was becoming clear that civil war was
inevitable, and that commercial relations between North and South would
soon be broken off. But the North had goods to sell, and the South had
money with which to buy; so the word was passed that every one must keep
silence about slavery, lest discussion bring on a financial panic. It
was the era of imprisoned moral sense. In the ocean, some waves are
tidal waves, and on land sometimes the soil is heaved by an earthquake;
at this time God began to heave the conscience of the people as the full
moon heaves the sea. And although we now see that God was behind the
movement, foolish men then tried to stay these moral forces. Northern
merchants and politicians cried, "Peace!" and the Southern successors of
Calhoun lifted the old club, the threat of secession; but the agitation
went on all over the North. Toombs, the Southern senator, tried sheer
bombast, and said he would call the roll of his slaves at the foot of
Bunker Hill monument. Timid men in the North began to cry: "Conciliate,
conciliate!" But there can be warfare, and only warfare between darkness
and light, between sickness and health, between wrong and right. At
length Phillips and Greeley took up the cry: "Let the South go!" But the
answer was: "Shall a strong man who has hold of a mad dog let the beast
go into a crowd of little children?" Compromise did something for a
time, as a safety valve, relieving men's pent-up feelings. But God had
His own counsels. Plainly, "every drop of blood shed by the lash was to
be paid for by blood shed by the sword," for "the judgments of God are
true and righteous altogether."

During those heated days of 1850, when the men of light and leading
began to see their way clearly, the masses were still timid, hesitant
and vacillating in their judgments on slavery. Scholars and thinking men
had already been reached by poets, authors and editors, while the
preachers and lecturers had driven their message home to the conviction
of the ruling classes. Later on was to come the revival of 1857 that
should stir the conscience, but preparatory to that movement it was
necessary to inform the intellect and rouse the affections of the
millions. Then it was that God raised up an author to touch the heart of
the people.

Wonderful the power of the novel in social reform! The novels of "Oliver
Twist," and "Dombey and Son," were what roused the English people to a
realization of the woes and wrongs of chimney sweeps, of children in the
factories and mines of Great Britain. It was a novel, "All Sorts and
Conditions of Men," that later built People's Palace in the Whitechapel
district of London. And it was a novel, named "Uncle Tom's Cabin," that
created the atmosphere of sympathy in which the flowers of
self-sacrifice and heroism unfolded.

The authoress was the daughter of Lyman Beecher, who had seven sons and
four daughters, each one of whom was either a preacher or reformer in
some field. His daughter, Harriet, married Prof. Calvin E. Stowe, of
Lane Seminary in Cincinnati, where, on the border between the free soil
of Ohio and the slave soil of Kentucky, people were in a state of
constant excitement and upheaval. The old Blue Grass State exhibited
slavery in its very best condition and also in its worst form. The
harrowing tales and incidents that were afterwards worked up into
literary form by the gifted authoress were all matters of observation,
conversation and experience. One of the earliest incidents of the
Stowes' life in Cincinnati was an experience of Professor Stowe with one
of the Beecher boys. While travelling in Kentucky, the two young men
witnessed the flight of a negro woman, who was running away with her
little child, whom they helped across the Ohio River, to be sent on by
the Underground Railway to Oberlin, on the shore of Lake Erie. And the
similar incident, Eliza's flight across the ice, her son Charles[1]
writes in his recent story of her life, "was an actual occurrence. She
had known and had often talked with the very man who helped Eliza up the
bank of the river."

Later during their Cincinnati residence, Mrs. Stowe conducted a small
private school and made a practice of allowing a few coloured children
to attend it. One evening the mother of one of these coloured children
came to the Stowes' house in a frenzy of terror, saying that her little
girl had been seized and carried to the river, to be sold as a slave in
Kentucky. Mrs. Stowe raised the money to ransom the beautiful child.

It was during this period that the Kentucky editor, Bailey, moved across
the river and began to publish a paper in Cincinnati. One night the
editor knocked at the door of the Stowe home, seeking refuge from a mob
that had smashed in his doors and windows, looted his printing-office,
and flung his type into the river.

On another occasion a Kentuckian named Van Zandt freed his slaves and
carried them across the river into Ohio. His old friends counted him a
traitor, and charges were trumped up that he had used his new home in
Ohio as an underground station for the receiving of runaway slaves.
Professor Stowe was asked to assist in Van Zandt's defense. When other
lawyers were afraid of the mob spirit, a young attorney named Salmon P.
Chase volunteered his services without pay. As the courts were then
entirely under the influence of the Fugitive Slave law, young Chase lost
his case; but that no dramatic note might be wanting, this young
attorney later became chief justice of the United States Supreme Court
and wrote a decision that reversed the former action. All these and many
other facts and events went into Mrs. Stowe's mind as raw silk, and came
out tapestry and brocade. The fuel of events fed the flames of
enthusiasm. It was a great age, when men had to speak. The time was
ripe, the soil was ready, God gave the good seed of liberty, and the
sower went forth to sow.

Mrs. Stowe tells us how she came to write the last chapter of the book,
the death of "Uncle Tom." She had a coloured woman in her family whose
husband was a slave, living in Kentucky. This black man had invented a
simple tool, was a good salesman, and was permitted to travel from town
to town, and even to cross the river into the Ohio, under no bond save
his solemn pledge to his master not to run away. Mrs. Stowe wrote the
letters for her servant, to this black man in Covington, Ky. One day,
while visiting his wife, in the Stowe home, he said that he would rather
cut off his right hand than break the word he had given to his master.
What white man could boast a more delicate sense of truth? How keen and
delicate the conscience! What weight of manhood in a slave! What
reserves of morality! What latent heroism! The slave's story captured
the imagination of the authoress, and kindled her mind into a creative
mood.

Out of the incident Mrs. Stowe evolved the character of "Uncle Tom." One
Sunday morning, as she sat at the communion table, the picture of Tom's
death rose and passed before her mind. "At the same time," writes her
son, "the words of Jesus were sounding in her ears: 'Inasmuch as ye have
done it unto one of the least of these My brethren, ye have done it unto
Me.' It seemed as if the crucified but now risen and glorified Christ
were speaking to her through the poor black man, cut and bleeding under
the blows of the slave whip." Long afterwards some one asked Mrs. Stowe
how she came to write the death of Uncle Tom, and she answered that she
did not write it, that God gave it to her in a vision, that she saw the
overseer flog him to death, and heard his dying words, and merely wrote
down the vision as she saw it. At the time, she had no idea of writing
more: it was a year later when she began the tale of which this incident
became the crisis.

For nearly two years the story ran in the _National Era_, published in
Washington. The book was completed on March 20, 1852, and in spite of
Mrs. Stowe's despondency and apprehension of failure, it sold 3,000
copies the first day, 10,000 in a week, and 300,000 in a year. Save
"Pilgrim's Progress" alone, perhaps no book ever had a wider
circulation, the Bible, of course, and "The Imitation of Christ," by à
Kempis, always excepted. "Uncle Tom's Cabin" was translated into German,
French, Italian and Spanish, and later appeared in almost every known
language. Written for the people at large, the book struck a chord of
universal human nature, and aroused the learned as well as the simple.
Soon letters began to pour in from the most distinguished men in foreign
countries. Charles Dickens wrote that he had read "Uncle Tom's Cabin"
with the deepest interest and sympathy. Lord Carlisle sent a message of
"deep and solemn thanks to Almighty God, who has enabled you to write
this book." Charles Kingsley expressed the judgment that the story would
take away the reproach of slavery from the great and growing nation. Men
like Shaftesbury, Arthur Helps, women like George Sand and Frederika
Bremer added their tribute of praise. Eighteen different publishing
houses in England were issuing the book at one time, and a million and a
half copies were sold in Great Britain.

Even Heinrich Heine, the poet, the cynic, who carried more power of
sarcasm and irony than any man of his generation, was so moved by the
book that he seems to have returned to the reading of the Bible, and to
Christ the Consoler, in the hour when night and death were falling.
"Astonishing! That after I have whirled about all my life, over all the
dance floors of philosophy, and yielded myself to all the orgies of the
intellect, and paid my addresses to all possible systems, without
satisfaction, like Messalina after a licentious night, I now find myself
on the same standpoint where poor Uncle Tom stands--on that of the
Bible. I kneel down by my black brother in the same prayer. What a
humiliation! With all my sense I have come no farther than the poor
ignorant negro who has just learned to spell. Poor Tom indeed seems to
have seen deeper things in the holy book than I, but I, who used to make
citations from Homer, now begin to quote the Bible as Uncle Tom does!"
Praise can go no farther than this, that "Uncle Tom's Cabin" has shown
how the love of God can support a slave, under the lash, in the hour
when he is flogged to death, and fill his heart with pity while he
cries, "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do!" It was
this that conquered the intellect of the scholar, and broke his heart,
and flooded his eyes with tears.

Perhaps the most striking testimony to the influence of "Uncle Tom's
Cabin" grew out of a suggestion of Lord Shaftesbury's that the women of
England and Europe send their signatures to a testimonial to be
presented to Mrs. Stowe, for, when this testimonial came in, it filled
twenty-six thick folio volumes, solidly bound in morocco, and it held
the names of 562,448 women, representing every rank, from the throne of
England to the wives of the humblest artisans in Wales or the peasants
in Italy.

The message of "Uncle Tom's Cabin" is so simple that he who runs may
read. It was not written for literary critics, for scholars or for
college graduates. George Eliot wrote her "Romola" with the historian
and the philosopher and the editor of reviews ever in mind. Harriet
Beecher Stowe wrote "Uncle Tom's Cabin" for farmers, factory men,
merchants and clerks, the miscellaneous mass that make up the millions,
to rouse them to the wrongs of slavery.

In it she tried to prove two things. First, that slavery, as a system,
reacted upon the loftiest natures, distorting and injuring them. Witness
the Kentucky gentleman, Mr. Shelby. His wife was a patrician, the very
embodiment of courtesy and good-will, affection and sympathy. Her
husband was a man of honour, a representative of the bluest blood of the
old Lexington families, with a heart so gentle that the sight of a young
bird that had fallen out of the nest in the tree moved him to tears;
but, little by little, pressed by his necessities and hardened by the
spectacle of slaves bought and slaves sold, he himself sells the woman
who has been a nurse to his children, and Uncle Tom who has been like a
saviour to his own boys in the hour of their peril in forest and river,
sends both of the slaves into the cotton plantations of Louisiana,
breaking his solemn pledge to his wife and his family, in the hope that
he could escape from debt, that like a millstone weighed him into the
abyss.

Then, the book tries to show how slavery develops the worst men, of the
stamp of Simon Legree, the brutal overseer. Legree pours out the vials
of his wrath upon the slaves about him, debauching a young octaroon to
the level of his mistress, hunting his slaves with bloodhounds, killing
them without trial before a jury. Power is dangerous; there is the czar
spirit in every man. Slavery made a brute still more brutal--made the
sensual man more sensual, and finally debased Legree to the level of the
demon.

It is a book full of pathos and tears. Remembering that the book was
written for the miscellaneous millions, to rouse the nation at large to
moral indignation, it is doubtful whether any book was ever more
perfectly adapted to the end aimed at. Literary artists have criticized
"Uncle Tom's Cabin," and contrasted it with "Henry Esmond," "Vanity
Fair" and "Adam Bede." But if Thackeray, Dickens and George Eliot
achieved unique success in creating books that should reach their set,
one thing is certain,--the boys, who afterwards became the soldiers of
the Civil War, read "Uncle Tom's Cabin" with dim eyes and indignant
hearts, because the book found their judgment and their conscience, and
lifted them to the point where they were made ready in the day of God's
power, to fight the battle for freedom.

When all the school children had read the death of little Eva and of
Uncle Tom, and all the farmers and working men--the dwellers in city and
country, from seaboard to mountains and prairie--had followed the career
of these slaves to the end, and the people of the North were fully awake
to the horror of the slave traffic, the multitudes began to look with
questioning eyes into each other's faces, asking, "What can be done?
What is the next step?" And then it was that a fanatic entered the
scene.

His name was John Brown, descended from Peter Brown, a Pilgrim of the
_Mayflower_. He had been cattle-drover, tanner and wool-merchant. When
about forty years of age he was living in Springfield, Massachusetts.
One night, in 1849, a runaway slave knocked at his door and told Brown
the story of his flight, of the weeks he had spent hiding in the swamps,
of his escape to the fastnesses of the mountains, of his life in the
forest, and how he finally reached New York and Springfield. It was a
story of starvation, hunger, cold, blows and piercing anguish. Long
after the children had gone to bed at midnight, while the slave was
sleeping in a blanket beside the fire, John Brown sat musing over the
national infamy. All the next day and night the conference continued
with this runaway, who was also a negro preacher. The following night
John Brown assembled his sons. He closed the door and told his family
his decision. He was a tall man, over six feet, straight and lithe,
slightly gray, with thin lips and smooth face. The Bible was almost the
only book in the house, and no sound was so familiar as the voice of
prayer. Brown was lifted into the prophetic mood. He told his family
that he had decided to give himself, and to consecrate them, to
righting the wrongs of the slaves; that he had heard a voice calling him
to the work of the deliverer; that he would be killed, and that they
must expect also to die the martyr's death, and that henceforth they
must expect only crusts, wounds, bitter enmity, and finally martyrdom. A
little later and Brown had moved the younger children of his family to
North Elba, in the Adirondack woods, that the slaves on the underground
route might be able to hide in the forest, in the event of the pursuers
overtaking them. Brown then began to travel along Mason and Dixon's line
from the city of Washington through to Topeka, Kan. From time to time he
would cross the line, take charge of a little group of slaves, and
hiding by day and travelling by night, carry them from one underground
station to another. It was said that he had personally conducted runaway
slaves along every route for a thousand miles from East to West, between
the Atlantic and the Missouri River.

One of the friends of Brown's childhood was the Hon. James B. Grinnell,
who founded the town and college in Iowa. This congressman loved to tell
the story of the night when John Brown knocked at his door. Outside was
a wagon, packed with slaves, whom Brown had carried across the line from
Missouri. He had driven four horses at their limit of speed for a
hundred miles and had no defenders, save two or three men and as many
guns. "I am a dealer in wool," said the stranger, "and my name is
Captain John Brown of Kansas." The first thing Mr. Grinnell did was to
find a shelter for these slaves, with food and beds. The next thing was
to hide the wagon and the horses in the thick grove near by. Early the
next morning the news spread like wild-fire, and the settlers began to
pour in. John Brown made a speech to the farmers and justified his act.
The villagers were terrified lest the pursuers come any moment and burn
their houses. The three Congregational ministers offered prayers, asked
for help, and started out to raise money. When the night fell the slaves
were rushed to the terminus of the railway and carried through to
Chicago, being shipped in a freight car as sheep, to distinguish their
woolly heads from the goats, named white men.

In 1855 John Brown led his five sons and their families into Kansas, to
help preëmpt the State for freedom. When at length the free state
voters won an election and enthroned their governor, two thousand
pro-slavery men from Missouri crossed the State line, burned the little
town of Lawrence, and at the point of the pistol compelled the State
officials to resign; issued writs for a new election, put in a slavery
governor, captured the government, and started back into Missouri. On
their way they passed through Pottawatamie. It was a guerrilla warfare.
When John Brown reached his son's cabin, he found the settlers preparing
for flight. He denounced them as cowards, and when one urged caution,
answered, "I am tired of that word Caution. It is nothing but
cowardice!" Either the border ruffians had to go, or else the settlers
must leave without striking a single blow in defense of their homes. A
man's cabin was his castle. Without waiting for the next attack to be
made, John Brown pointed the settlers to the smoking ashes of cabins
already burned and to the bodies that the Missouri guerrillas had left
on the ground, and took the aggressive himself. He seized five of the
outlaws and killed them for their crime.

The deed fired Kansas, some say freed Kansas, while others think it
opened the Civil War. Withdrawing to the forest, hiding in the
cottonwood swamps, John Brown organized his company. A reporter of the
_New York Tribune_ finally penetrated the thicket. "Near the edge of the
creek a dozen horses were tied, already saddled for a ride for life. A
dozen rifles were stacked against the trees. In an open space was a
blazing fire with a pot above it. Three or four armed men were lying on
red and blue blankets on the grass. John Brown himself stood near the
fire with his shirt sleeves rolled up and a piece of pork in his hand.
He was poorly clad, and his toes protruded from his boots. The old man
received me with great cordiality, and the little band gathered about
me. He respectfully, but firmly, forbade conversation on the
Pottawatamie affair. After the meal, thanks were returned to the
bountiful Giver. Often, I was told, the old man would retire to the
densest solitudes to wrestle with his God in prayer. He said he was
fighting God's battles for his children's sake: 'Give me men of good
principles, God-fearing men, men who respect themselves, and with a
dozen of them I will oppose a hundred such men as these border
ruffians.' I remained in the camp about an hour. Never before had I met
such a band of men. They were not earnest, but earnestness incarnate."

After several years of bloody conflict and political struggles between
the pro-slavery and anti-slavery parties, in 1859 the Constitution
prohibiting slavery was passed, and freedom had won in Kansas. In
January of that year John Brown returned to the mountains of Virginia,
and "The Great Black Way," and the dark shadows of the night following
the North Star to liberty. For many years he had been planning an
uprising of the slaves, and an attack upon Virginia. Some biographers
think he conceived the plan as early as 1849. Away back in 1834 Brown
wrote to his brother his determination to war on slavery; but at first
only through educating the blacks. As time went on he came into sterner
conflict with it.

Brown, in fact, became a fanatic who really believed that the millions
of slaves would rise at his call, and that he could lead his host as a
new Moses, out of the land of bondage. He intended to operate in the
Blue Ridge Mountains, because the paths into the black belt of slavery
were easily followed. Men like Douglas and other escaped slaves who
were living in the North did not see their way clear to join the
movement.

On Sunday, October 16, 1859, John Brown, with sixteen men, started out
to capture Harper's Ferry and redeem three million slaves. Brown rode in
a one-horse wagon, that held provisions, pikes, one sledge-hammer and
one crowbar; his sixteen men, with guns, followed on foot. Without a
single shot they captured the armoury and the rifle factory, and at
daylight, without the snap of a gun or any violence whatsoever, they
were in possession of Harper's Ferry. On Monday morning the panic spread
like wild-fire. The rumour went abroad of an uprising of all the slaves
of the South. In a few hours the governor called out the militia,
Jefferson guards marched down the Potomac, and two local companies took
positions on the heights. The assault began in the afternoon. One by one
Brown's handful were killed, his two sons, Oliver and Watson, were shot
down, and Brown, badly wounded, was captured.

The trial and examination of the old fanatic makes a fascinating story.
At noon of Tuesday, the governor of Virginia bent over him as he lay
wounded and blood-stained upon the floor. "Who are you?" asked the
governor. "My name is John Brown; I have been well known as old John
Brown of Kansas. Two of my sons were killed here to-day, and I am dying
too. I came here to liberate slaves, and was to receive no reward. I
have acted from a sense of duty, and am content to await my fate. I am
an old man. If I had succeeded in running off slaves this time, I could
have raised twenty times as many men as I have now for a similar
expedition; but I have failed."

Then Governor Wise said, "The silver of your hair is reddened by the
blood of crime. You should think upon eternity."

John Brown replied, "Governor, I have not more than fifteen or twenty
years the start of you to that eternity, and I am prepared to go. There
is an eternity behind and an eternity before, and this little speck in
the centre is but a minute. The difference between your time and mine is
trifling, and I therefore tell you--be prepared. I am prepared--you have
a heavy responsibility. It behooves you to prepare, and more than it
does me."

Friends in the North tried to secure Brown's release, but he answered
them: "I think I cannot now better serve the cause I love so much than
to die for it, and in my death I may do more than in my life. I believe
that for me, at this time, to seal my testimony for God and humanity
through my blood will do vastly more towards advancing the cause I have
earnestly endeavoured to promote than all I have done in my life
before."

When the court asked Brown if he had any reason why he should not be
hung, he answered: "This court acknowledges the validity of the law of
God. I see a book kissed here which I suppose to be the Bible. That book
teaches me to remember them that are in bonds as bound with them. I
endeavoured to act up to that instruction. I believe that to interfere
as I have done, in behalf of God's poor, was not wrong, but right. I am
quite certain that the crimes of this guilty land will never be purged
away but with blood. If it is deemed necessary that I should forfeit my
life for the furtherance of the ends of justice, and mingle my blood
further with the blood of my children, and with the blood of millions in
this slave country, whose rights are disregarded by wicked, cruel and
unjust enactments, I submit. So let it be done."

On the morning of his hanging he visited his doomed companions, and then
kissed his wife good-bye. A thousand soldiers stood round about his
scaffold. "This is a beautiful land," said Brown, as he rode, looking
across the landscape. As he climbed the steps of the scaffold a negro
child stood between some black men, and some say he stooped and kissed
the child. And this was his prayer:

"My love to all who love their neighbours. I have asked to be spared
from having any weak or hypocritical prayers said over me when I am
publicly murdered, and that my only religious attendants be poor,
little, dirty, ragged, bareheaded, and barefooted slave boys and girls,
led by some gray-headed slave mother.... Farewell, farewell." He died in
the spirit of the letter written the day before, when he said, "I think
I feel as happy as Paul did when he lay in prison, for men cannot chain
or hang the soul."

His deed puzzled the world. For multitudes it is still an enigma. To
many, John Brown seems not only a fanatic but a lunatic. To others, now
that long time has passed, this white-haired old man, weltering in his
blood, which he had spilled for a broken and despised race, seems
right, and he seems to have died, not as a fool dies, but as martyrs
die. That his enterprise was doomed to failure in advance, all knew.
That it was not the wisest plan, Brown's best friends must grant. But
that its fanaticism was overruled by God to release the great South from
the incubus of slavery, Brown's friends and Brown's enemies alike must
concede.

What other men had been writing about, John Brown did in action. The
attack on Harper's Ferry was the first blow struck during the Civil War.
Other men and women assembled the explosives, but John Brown dropped the
spark in the magazine, which finally blew up that hindrance to progress,
slavery--the Hell Gate obstruction in the passageway of the South and of
all civilization.



VII

LINCOLN AND DOUGLAS: INFLUENCE OF THE GREAT DEBATE


Strictly speaking, there were three stages in the development of the
anti-slavery sentiment leading up to the Civil War. There was the period
of indifference, from 1759 to 1830, when the North winked at slavery,
ignored the traffic and avoided the whole subject. There was the epoch
of agitation, from 1831 to 1850, when Garrison and his friends insisted
upon "the immediate and unconditional emancipation of the slaves on the
soil," and the agitation was kept up by men who "would not retreat, who
would not equivocate, who would not be silent and who would be heard."
Then came the stage when men tried legislative palliatives; when all
manner of political medicaments and poultices were tried as cures, which
were about as effective in destroying the poison as a porous plaster
would be to draw out the fire from a volcano. For more than sixty years
a veil had hung before men's minds, and it was as if they saw slaves as
trees walking, in an unreal world. The sea captain fears a fog more than
an equinoctial storm. When the mist falls, and obscures the glass, and
the ship is surrounded with white darkness, and the surf is thundering
on some Nantucket, as a graveyard of the sea, the captain longs for a
cold, sharp wind out of the North, to cut the fog and bring out the
stars and sun. And not otherwise was it with the great debate between
Lincoln and Douglas--it lifted the veil from men's eyes, it swept the
fog out of the air, it made the issue clear. Then it was that for the
first time the North saw that the conflict was inevitable, because the
Union could not endure permanently, half slave and half free; saw that
liberty and slavery were as irreconcilable as day and night.

Before considering the influence of Lincoln's clear thinking and
speaking upon the eternal principles of right, we must note the general
reawakening of the popular intelligence which preceded it, and which was
due to two causes, the panic of 1857 and the religious revival which
swept over the land during the same year. As the Northern merchant
began to see that the South had determined to secede and try her fate
alone, he became afraid to sell his goods to Southern customers. The
Northern manufacturer, in turn, was overstocked, and if the banker
called his loans there was no response, for the chain was broken; the
result was the panic of 1857. Hunger and Want stalked through the
land--Winter and Poverty became bosom friends. Black despair fell upon
the people and in the hour of need they cried unto God, and God heard
them.

When a nation prospers and grows rich, religion languishes. When nations
enter upon disaster and peril, the people turn unto God. Abundance
enervates. Morals always sink to a low level when men's eyes stand out
with fatness.

What agitation, what the liberator and the lecture platform, what
statesmen and compromisers could not achieve, was accomplished by the
spirit of God working upon the hearts of men, clarifying the intellect,
deepening the sympathy and lending vigour to the will.

The first thing the leader of an orchestra does is to see to it that the
instruments are all unified and brought up to concert pitch, and the
revival of religion made the people one in self-sacrifice and their
willingness to live and die for their convictions.

Multitudes returned to the churches. Thoughtless youth discovered that
there are only two great things in the universe--God and the soul.
Personal religion became the supreme interest of the hour. Men went into
the crucible commonplace; they came out of it heroic stuff. All over the
country the churches were open every night in the week. Moving across
the country the traveller saw the candles burning in the little
schoolhouses, while the farmers assembled to pray and read God's word.
The Fulton Street prayer-meeting in New York attracted the interest of
the nation. The morning newspapers of 1858 carried columns concerning
the business men's noon prayer-meeting, just as to-day they carry the
column on the stock news and the stock market. In his "History of the
United States" Rhodes calls attention to the fact that 230 persons
joined Plymouth Church on profession of faith on a single Sunday
morning. That revival all over the land put its moral stamp upon boys
and girls who afterwards became the leaders of the generation.

Now every reform and every great war for principle proceeds along
intellectual lines clearly laid out. Twenty-seven years before the
Lincoln-Douglas debates, the "Tariff of Abominations" had brought up the
question of the right of the Southern states to secede. Calhoun had set
up his famous doctrine, and Webster, in his "Second Reply to Hayne," had
knocked it down. The feeling had been intense, but Webster's wonderful
oration in defense of the Constitution and the Union had succeeded in
meeting the crisis, and settling for a time the vexing problem. Yet the
evil of slavery continued its fatal gnawing at the heart of the nation.
By 1855-6 the old question was up again in much the same form. The
atmosphere was clouded, the black shroud of the approaching storm
already discernible on the horizon. A hundred minor problems united in
complicating the discussion of the one all-important thing. Another
leader was wanted to set the battle in array, to mark out the lines of
conflict. Webster and Calhoun were gone, but another was to come to
preserve "liberty and union, one and inseparable." This man was Abraham
Lincoln, and the opponent who was to call out his clearest expositions
of the situation, and spur him on to his greatest arguments, was
Stephen A. Douglas of Illinois.

Douglas was born in 1813, in Brandon, Vermont. His father was a
physician of great promise, who fell with a stroke of apoplexy at a
moment when he was carrying the child Stephen in his arms. The ambitions
of the father for intellectual leadership were fulfilled in the son, who
at fifteen years of age had attracted the notice of the best minds in
his region. Strong men became interested in the boy, and advised his
mother to take him to a relative in Canandaigua, N. Y., where there was
an excellent academy. At seventeen he entered a lawyer's office,
attended every trial before the justice of the peace or the county
clerk, and made a local reputation as a student of politics and law. At
twenty years of age, he started West, to make his fortune, but fell ill
in Cleveland, O., and all but lost his life. A few months later he
entered the town of Winchester, Ill., a stranger, in a strange land. He
carried his coat on one arm and a little bundle of clothes on the other.
There was a crowd on the corner of the street, where an auctioneer was
selling the personal effects and live stock of some settler, and within
a few minutes Douglas was engaged as clerk at the auction. At the end of
three days he found himself the possessor of six dollars, which was the
first money he had ever earned, and what was far more important, he had
by his accuracy, good nature and kindliness won the hearts of the
purchasers, and attracted the attention of the two or three leading men
of the town. That winter he opened a private school, in which forty
scholars were enrolled, while he continued his studies of law during the
long evenings. Ten crowded and successful years soon swept by, and those
years held remarkable achievements. He was admitted to the bar, elected
to the Legislature, made Secretary of State, judge of the Supreme Court,
and at thirty was sent to Congress. He spent three years in Congress; at
thirty-six was chosen to fill out an unexpired term in the Senate, was
reëlected to represent Illinois, and a third time was chosen senator--a
career of uniform and splendid success from the material view-point.

But the career of Douglas in Washington was the career of an
opportunist, at once full of good and full of evil, full of right and
full of wrong. He was a born politician, an expert manager of men and a
natural machine builder. Many others outranked Douglas in set speeches,
but few equalled him in "catch as catch can" methods of the politician.
What Douglas prided himself upon was his skill in getting through the
committee measures that were difficult to pass. When it became necessary
to get a man's vote for his measure, Douglas would put that man up as a
leader, give him the glory, obliterate himself, and after the bill was
passed, hop up like a jack in the pulpit, as the real manager who
manoeuvred the bill through the Senate. He spent two years on the
legislation that brought about the Illinois Central Railroad, and as
long a time in founding the University of Chicago.

Often Douglas did things that he believed to be morally wrong because he
discovered that they were politically necessary. For example, a reaction
followed upon the election of the Democrat, James K. Polk, to the
presidency. When his leadership was imperilled, Polk cast about for some
issue that would bring together the remnants of his party, and restore
leadership, and he hit upon the device of the Mexican War. No party was
ever defeated that was fighting a war for the defense of the country.
Douglas criticized Polk most sharply, charged the war upon Polk as a
crime against the people, and yet, under the whip of party policy,
Douglas supported Polk. Slowly he deteriorated in his moral fibre. One
by one the moral lights seem to have gone out. He was intoxicated by his
own success. Ambition deluded him. He began to follow the
will-o'-the-wisp, the light that rises from putrescence and decay in the
swamp, and forgot the eternal stars in God's sky. In 1854 he entered the
valley of decision, and like the rich young ruler made the great
refusal, and chose compromise instead of principle. Later Douglas led
his party along a false route, and became a mistaken leader.

The circumstances were these; the compromise measures of 1850 had
succeeded apparently in achieving the aim of their author, Henry Clay.
The close of the year 1853 was marked by political repose and calm. The
slavery question seemed practically settled. As President Pierce
expressed it in his message, "A sense of security" had been "restored to
the public mind throughout the Confederacy." Prosperity was blessing the
country, times were good, the future bright with the promise of immense
industrial achievements. In Congress, a bill for the organization of the
territory of Nebraska had passed the House at the previous session, and
was being reported to the Senate, but the bill was in the usual form and
contained no reference to slavery. Suddenly the press announced that
Senator Douglas had read a report on this bill, purporting to show that
the compromise measures of 1850 had established a great principle; that
this principle stated the perpetual right of the residents of new States
to decide all questions pertaining to slavery; and that therefore,
contrary to the old Missouri Compromise, ruling slavery out of that
Northwest territory, it left the slavery question entirely in the hands
of the residents of the new territory of Nebraska.

The announcement created a profound sensation. Twelve days later a
Kentucky senator by the name of Dixon introduced an amendment to the
Nebraska Act, providing for the repeal of the Missouri Compromise. The
daring of this move startled even Douglas, but within a few days the
Illinois senator had decided to support the Dixon Amendment. With all
the skill and political engineering at his command, he steered the bill
through the tempest which immediately rose against it like a tidal wave;
and on the third of March, in spite of protests which poured in from
every State in the North, in spite of indignation meetings held in New
York, Boston and Philadelphia, in spite of the opposition of the leaders
like Seward, Chase and Sumner, he actually succeeded in persuading the
Senate to pass the bill. That he was able to do this, is a great tribute
to his powers as a politician and as an orator. He spoke from midnight
until dawn, employing every possible trick of rhetoric and logic to
carry his point, and showing a courtesy and restraint in his attack
which won the sympathy even of his opponents. "Never had a bad cause
been more splendidly advocated."

But the victory was a costly one; he had made the Fugitive Slave Law a
dead letter in the North; he had introduced a new term, "popular
sovereignty," which was to rouse the nation as a red rag rouses a bull.
He had started a storm, wrote Seward, "such as this country has never
yet seen." Every great newspaper editor in the North,--Greeley, Dana,
Raymond, Webb, Bigelow, Weed,--broke into violent protest against the
bill. Not since the fight at Lexington had such a fierce and universal
cry of reproach arisen in the land.

And for what had he done all this? Simply that he might increase his
chances of obtaining the presidential nomination in 1856. The "solid
South" had just begun to be spoken of. Douglas was an acute observer,
and he saw that if he could secure the backing of the South, he would
have an immense advantage over his rival Cass. It is said that his
objection to the Dixon Amendment was overborne solely by the fear that
Cass would be before him in supporting it, and thus win the favour of
the South. It is the old story of the mess of pottage. Douglas
afterwards tried to defend himself on the ground that he was offering to
the Democratic party "fresh ammunition," but all knew, and none better
than Douglas, that the Democratic party was in no need of a fresh issue.
He had ruthlessly destroyed the peace of the whole nation, for the sake
of promoting his own selfish interests,--and that, in vain; as in 1853,
Douglas failed to secure the Democratic nomination for the presidency in
1856, which was won by Buchanan.

The bill cost Douglas his prestige, and lost him the confidence of one
half the people of Chicago and Illinois. His friends called him home in
the hope that he might win back the popularity he had lost. But Chicago
would have none of him. He entered the city unwelcomed, had to hire a
building in which to speak, advertised his own meeting, and on the day
of the meeting found the flags at half-mast, while the church bells
tolled the funeral of liberty, where hitherto the bells had pealed the
notes of joy.

It is impossible not to admire Douglas's courage in that trying ordeal.
He found the hall filled with his opponents, yet he began by saying, "My
fellow citizens, I appear before you to vindicate the Kansas-Nebraska
Bill." The words evoked a perfect tumult, which continued for half an
hour. He appealed to their sense of fair play and honour, but they asked
him whether he had played fair with liberty in Washington. Growing
angry, he tried to denounce them as cowards, afraid to listen to a
discussion, and they answered that it was cowardly to desert a slave who
needed a defender. At eleven o'clock he flung his arms in the air and
dared them to shoot, because a man had waved a pistol. The crowd
answered with a shower of eggs, while a man shouted that bullets were
too valuable to be wasted on traitors. At twelve o'clock the bells rang
out the midnight. Douglas pulled out his watch and shouted, "It is
midnight. I am going home and to church, and you may go to Hades!"
Douglas met a mob in Chicago, just as Beecher met a mob in England. But
Beecher conquered his mob in Manchester; the mob in Chicago conquered
Douglas. Beecher won, because he was right and the mob was wrong;
Douglas lost, because he was wrong and the mob was right. "You can fool
all of the people some of the time, and you can fool some of the people
all the time; you cannot fool all of the people all of the time" on the
great principles of liberty. Douglas's Kansas-Nebraska Bill brought on
an era of civil war in Kansas, sent the guerrillas over the Sunflower
State, burned Lawrence, destroyed the State government and filled the
whole land with tumult and bitterness. And it cost Douglas his fame and
place among the great men of the Republic.

In that critical hour for liberty, Abraham Lincoln entered upon the
scene, and challenged Douglas to a debate. It was in the summer of 1858.
Both men were candidates for the Senate--Lincoln, the leader of the new
Republican party State ticket; Douglas, the best known figure in the
land since the death of Clay and Webster. No contrast between two men
could have been greater. Lincoln was tall, angular, lanky, awkward, six
feet four inches in height. Douglas was short, thick-set, graceful,
polished, a man of fine presence, with a great, beautiful head, a high
forehead, square chin, perfectly at home on the platform, a master of
all the tricks of debate, a born king of assemblies. Lincoln was the
stronger man, Douglas the more polished. Lincoln was the better thinker,
Douglas the better orator. Lincoln relied upon fundamental principles,
Douglas wanted to win his case. Lincoln's mind was analytical, and he
loved to take a theme and unfold it, peeling it like an onion, layer by
layer. For Douglas, an oration was a pile of ideas, three hours high.
Lincoln's voice was a high dusty tenor, with small range, and
monotonous; Douglas's voice was a magnificent vocal instrument,
extending from the flute-like tone to the deepest roar. Lincoln lacked
every grace of the great orator; Douglas had every art that makes the
speaker master of his audience. Morally, Lincoln's essential qualities
were his honesty, fairness, and his spirit of good will. Intellectually,
he was a thinker, slow, intense, profound, always trying to find a
mother principle that would explain a concrete fact. He was reared in
childhood on three works--the Bible, Bunyan's "Pilgrim's Progress" and
the Constitution of the United States. The style of the parable of Jesus
and the simple words of the "Pilgrim's Progress" entered into his
thinking like iron into the rich blood of the physical system. His
thought was as clear as crystal, his language the simple home words,
full of music and old associations. Lincoln knew what he wanted to say,
said it, and sat down. Douglas stormed, threatened, cajoled, bribed, and
could not stop until he had carried his audience. Lincoln wanted to get
the truth out; Douglas wanted to win a crowd over. The one was a
statesman, the other was an opportunist, struggling for place.
Principles are eternal, and because Lincoln loved principles, Lincoln
belongs to the ages. Douglas wanted office, and because the longest
office is six years, when the six years were over, the people put
another man in his niche; Douglas practically disappeared.

The interest of the people in the seven great joint debates arranged
for this senatorial campaign was beyond all description. Douglas
travelled in a special train and car, with a flat car carrying a cannon
that boomed the announcement of his arrival. He had the wealth and
prestige of the Illinois Central Railroad to support him. Lincoln
trusted to some friend to drive him across country, or had to be
contented with a seat in a caboose of a freight train, waiting on a
switch at a siding, while Douglas's special went whizzing by. The people
of each county made the day of the debate a great holiday. From daylight
until noon all the converging roads were crowded with wagons, carts and
buggies, loaded with people, while other thousands hurried on foot along
the dusty road to the meeting place. From the first Douglas knew his
peril, in that the eyes of the nation were fixed upon his platform, and
that if Lincoln won the debate he won everything. He paid Lincoln the
compliment of saying, "He is the strong man of his party, full of wit,
facts, dates, and the best stump-speaker, with his droll ways and his
dry jokes, in the West. He is as honest as he is shrewd, and if I beat
him my victory will be hardly won."

Very different was the praise that Lincoln gave Douglas, as he
contrasted the dazzling fame of the great senator with his own unknown
name. "With me," said Lincoln, "the race of ambition has been a failure,
a flat failure; with him it has been one of splendid success. I affect
no contempt for the high eminence he has reached; ... I would rather
stand on that eminence than wear the richest crown that ever pressed a
monarch's brow." Douglas's speeches do not read well, and there are no
nuggets, proverbs, bright sayings or brilliant epigrams which one can
quote. The substance of his speeches was one and the same, for he
traversed the same ground in each of the seven debates, urging ever that
the new Republican party was simply disguised abolitionism, that Lincoln
wanted to repeal the Fugitive Slave Law, establish the equality of the
blacks, that this was a threat of war against the South, and therefore
revolutionary and sectional. Over against this mark consider the clarity
of Lincoln's method of thinking and speaking.

In his address to the convention, accepting the senatorial nomination,
he had said: "If we could first know where we are and whither we are
tending, we could better judge what to do and how to do it. We are now
far into the fifth year since a policy was initiated with the avowed
object and confident promise of putting an end to slavery agitation.
Under the operation of that policy that agitation has not only not
ceased, but has constantly augmented. In my opinion it will not cease
until a crisis has been reached and passed. A house divided against
itself cannot stand. I believe this government cannot endure permanently
half slave and half free. I do not expect the Union to be dissolved; I
do not expect the house to fall; but I do expect it will cease to be
divided. It will become all one thing or all the other."

When the campaign opened he challenged Douglas to the debate, and the
critical contest began.

After several meetings, in which the senator proved himself a slippery
wrestler, Lincoln determined to force Douglas into a corner. He wrote a
question, and with such skill that Douglas was compelled to answer one
way or the other, either answer being fatal to his political ambition.
When Lincoln read this question to his advisers, Medill, Washburne and
Judd, all begged him not to ask it, saying that it would cost him the
senatorship. "Yes, but my loss of the senatorship is nothing. Later on
it will cost Douglas the presidency. I am killing bigger game. The
battle of 1860 is worth a hundred of 1858." The question with which
Douglas was confronted was this: "Can the people of any United States
territory, in any lawful way, against the wish of any citizen of the
United States, exclude slavery from its limit prior to the formation of
a State constitution?"

What a path perilous was this for Douglas's feet! The path up the edge
of the Matterhorn is a foot wide, yet it is granite, even if the climber
does look down thousands of feet upon his right and thousands of feet
upon his left. But Lincoln made Douglas walk not upon a narrow granite
way, but on a sharp sword. He who tries to walk a tight rope across
Niagara has two alternatives--he either arrives, or he does not. Yonder
is Stephen Douglas, trying to walk a tight rope over the Niagara.

Forced to an answer, Douglas finally spoke:

"It matters not what way the Supreme Court may hereafter decide as to
the abstract question whether slavery may or may not go into any
territory under a constitution. The people have the lawful means to
exclude it if they please, for the reason that slavery cannot exist a
day or an hour anywhere unless it is supported by local police
legislation. Those police regulations can only be established by the
local legislature; and if the people are opposed to slavery they will
elect representatives to that body who will by unfriendly legislation
effectually prevent its introduction into their midst; if, on the
contrary, they are for it, their legislation will favour its extension."
Douglas had decided. Southern newspapers took up his statement and the
tide of anger rose against the "little giant" that cost him the
presidency. Lincoln had digged a pitfall for unwary feet, and the great
opportunist fell therein.

After this, Douglas became bitter, excited, and increasingly angry, for
the tide was plainly beginning to run against him. Lincoln's speeches
fairly blazed with quotable sentences. "If you think you can slander a
woman into loving you, or a man into voting for you, try it till you are
satisfied." Again: "Has Douglas the exclusive right in this country to
be on all sides of all questions?" Again: "The plainest print cannot be
read through a gold eagle." Again: "Douglas shirks the responsibility of
pulling the national house down, but he digs under it, that it may fall
of its own weight."

To the astonishment of the country, when the debate was over, Lincoln
carried Illinois on the popular vote, although he lost the senatorship
through the arrangement of legislative districts that gave the election
to the Democrats. Disappointed, Lincoln retained his good humour, and
laughed over what he called the little episode. "I feel," said Lincoln,
"like the boy who stubbed his toe; it hurt too hard to laugh, and he was
too big to cry. But I have been heard on the great subject of the age,
and though I now sink out of view and shall be forgotten, I believe I
have made some marks which will tell for the cause of civil liberty long
after I am gone."

Lincoln had now become a national figure. In February, 1860, Mr. Beecher
and Henry C. Bowen invited him to speak in New York. The first plan was
for him to speak in Plymouth Church, but later considerations led to a
change to Cooper Institute. Lincoln arrived in the city late in the
week; on Sunday morning he heard Mr. Beecher preach. He sat in the Bowen
pew, just back of the Beecher pew, in the morning; in the evening he
arrived very late, and sat in a front pew, in the gallery, with Mr.
Bowen and a friend who had waited in the hall for Mr. Lincoln's arrival.
Lincoln spent the afternoon at the Sunday-school mission, over in Five
Points. As the superintendent of the mission was always casting about
for somebody to talk to his ragamuffins, he asked the tall stranger if
he would say a few words. When they reached the platform, the
superintendent asked Lincoln by what name he should introduce him, to
which Lincoln gave the answer, "Tell them Abraham Lincoln of Illinois,"
which was answer enough. The meeting the next day in Cooper Institute
was perhaps the most memorable assembly ever held in New York. William
Cullen Bryant presided, Horace Greeley sat on Lincoln's right, Peter
Cooper close by. "No man," said the _Tribune_, "since the days of Clay
and Webster, spoke to a larger assemblage of the intellect and mental
culture of our city. The speech was packed with reason, facts, but
stripped bare of rhetorical flourish. Its keynote was, 'Let us have
faith that right makes might, and in that faith let us to the end dare
to do our duty as we understand it.'" Four morning newspapers reported
the speech in full, and Greeley called him the Great Convincer, saying
no man ever before made such an impression in his first appeal to a New
York audience. That speech probably made Lincoln President.

By universal consent, Lincoln's nomination in 1860 is one of the
mysteries of politics. Every man of light and leading conceded Seward's
nomination in advance, and two-thirds of the delegates went to the
convention pledged, while eight of the Illinois delegates were against
Lincoln in his own State. The East could not believe that the sceptre
could pass from their hands. Special trains from New York carried
brilliant banners, and New York bands and drilled clubs marched and
countermarched up and down the streets of Chicago. A great wooden wigwam
set up for the occasion held 10,000 spectators. The placing of Seward in
nomination was wildly applauded. But, to the surprise of everybody, the
naming of Lincoln was the signal of an outburst of such enthusiasm as
had never been known. Men held their breath as the votes were
registered. Seward had 1731/2 against Lincoln's 102. As noted in a
former chapter, it has been thought that Horace Greeley's standing out
for Governor Bates of Missouri made possible the shifting of votes for
another Western man. At all events, on the third ballot Lincoln was
nominated. Now hundreds of correspondents began to write stories of this
great unknown. The next day Wendell Phillips demanded from Boston: "Who
is this county court advocate?" But there was a man in Washington who
could speak intelligently concerning the great unknown--his name was
Stephen A. Douglas.

In that hour Douglas knew the great mistake he had made. The Democratic
convention of that year at Charleston split their party asunder; the
Southerners clamoring for secession should Lincoln be elected, and
nominating John C. Breckinridge of Kentucky; the Northerners standing
fast for the Union and compromise, and nominating Stephen A. Douglas;
while a "Constitutional Union" party of old-line Whigs nominated John
Bell of Tennessee. Lincoln's election was the signal for secession.

In all the subsequent turmoil, Douglas vigorously sustained the Union
and the Constitution, both in Congress and before the people. When
Sumter was fired upon, he hastened to pledge his influence to Lincoln as
well as to the Union. "There are no neutrals in this war--only patriots
and traitors." Douglas hurried back to Illinois to unify the state for
the Union; he had borrowed $80,000 for his campaign, and he staggered
under the burden of debt. Also he had injured his constitution by
excess, and burned the candle at both ends by overwork. But above all
else was the thought that he had made the great mistake, and lost his
place in history, in saying that he did not care whether a new State
voted slavery up or voted slavery down. During his last sickness he
murmured incessantly, "Failure--I have failed." His last words were:
"Telegraph to the President and let the columns move on."

Douglas died on June 3, 1861, at the age of forty-eight. The lesson of
his life is the danger of compromise, the peril of refusing adherence to
the highest ideals of principle, and the failure of expediency and
opportunism.

As Douglas's star went down, Lincoln's star began to climb the sky. It
was Douglas himself who held Lincoln's hat while he made his first
inaugural address. By the irony of fate it was Chief Justice Taney of
the Dred Scott Decision who inaugurated Lincoln into office, that
Lincoln might later make Taney's decision forever null and void.

And that no dramatic note might be wanted, both Taney and Douglas heard
Lincoln plead with indescribable pathos, majesty and beauty, for the
very Union whose existence their words had threatened. "Physically
speaking, we [the North and South] cannot separate. We cannot remove our
respective sections from each other, nor build an impassable wall
between them. Can aliens make treaties easier than friends can make
laws? Can treaties be more faithfully enforced between aliens than laws
can among friends? Suppose you go to war? You cannot fight always, and
after much loss on both sides and no gain on either, you cease fighting,
the identical old questions as to terms of intercourse are again upon
you. In your hands, my dissatisfied fellow countrymen, and not in mine,
is the momentous issue of civil war. The government will not assail
you. You can have no conflict without being yourselves the aggressors.
You have no oath registered in heaven to destroy the government, while I
shall have the most solemn one to preserve, protect and defend it. I am
loath to close. We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies.
Though passion may have strained, it must not break our bonds of
affection. The mystic chords of memory, stretching from every
battle-field and patriotic grave to every living heart and hearthstone
all over this broad land, will yet swell the chorus of the Union when
again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our
nature."

But the great debate through arguments was ended. Henceforth, the appeal
was to arms.



VIII

REASONS FOR SECESSION: SOUTHERN LEADERS


The seven debates between Lincoln and Douglas convinced both the North
and the South: but, confirming the one for union and liberty, it
confirmed the other for independence and slavery. Lincoln convinced the
North that the Union could not endure permanently half slave and half
free; on the other hand, the South saw just as clearly that the Union,
if it endured, must become all free or all slave. When the men of
light and leading in the North fully understood Lincoln's
"House-divided-against-itself" speech, they went over to the Republican
party, and nominated and elected Lincoln president, that he might put
slavery in a position of gradual extinction, by forbidding its future
growth. The South acted with even greater energy and decision, by making
ready to secede, and arming her citizens for the defense of slavery. The
great debate, through words, had lasted thirty years; now the South
made its appeal to regiments of armed men.

At that moment slavery controlled the President, the Cabinet, the Senate
and the House. And yet immediately after the election, and before the
inauguration of Lincoln, the Secretary of War, Floyd, secretly began the
transfer of munitions of war from the nation's arsenals to the Southern
States.

Late one December day in 1860, a Southern gentleman hastened to the
White House. On the steps he met an old friend who had just left
Buchanan. Waving his hat, he shouted, "This is a glorious day! South
Carolina has seceded!" That night an impromptu banquet was held in
Washington, at which the Southern leaders drank to the success of the
slave empire that was to be founded, and talked about a Southern army, a
Southern navy, the annexation of Mexico and the West India Islands. Then
swiftly followed the secession of Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas
and Florida.

Almost every week during the winter of 1861 witnessed the spectacle of
Southern Senators and Representatives saying good-bye to Congress and
announcing the withdrawal of their State from the Union. Those were
days of thick darkness at Washington. Gloom fell upon the North. Already
the shadow of the great eclipse was stealing across the face of Abraham
Lincoln. It seemed as if the government, "conceived in liberty and
dedicated to the proposition that all men were created equal," was about
to "perish from the earth." Hamilton had called the Republic "the last,
best hope of earth." Burke had characterized the Constitution "an event
as wonderful as if a new star had arisen on the horizon to shine as
bright as the planets." Now the star was to fall out of the sky! Up to
the day of his inauguration Lincoln could not believe the South would
ever fire on the flag, or take up arms against the Union. "We are
friends, and not enemies--we must not be enemies." But it was not to be
as Lincoln wished. There are some diseases so terrible that they must be
cured by the knife and the cautery. Slavery had fastened on the very
vitals of the South. Therefore, God permitted the surgery of war.

Lincoln's inaugural address on March 4, 1861, caused a certain solemn
hush to fall upon the land. Its logic, the facts it contained, the
principles it presented, were so convincing for the intellect and yet
so suffused with pathos and beauty and majesty, that the people, North
and South alike, stood uncertain and expectant.

But the silence was premonitory. In summer, after a hot, sultry day,
when the great city has exhaled poisonous gases, the clouds are piled
mountain high on the horizon. Then a hush comes. Not a leaf stirs. It is
hard to breathe. Suddenly one bolt leaps from the east to the west--the
precursor of ten thousand fiery darts that are to burn the poison away,
and of the heavy rains and winds that will wash the air and make it
sweet and clean. On the 12th of April the silence for the nation was
broken by the shot fired at Fort Sumter. The bomb that went shrieking
through the air was the precursor of a million men in arms, the most
frightful carnage, the most terrible war in history, when brother took
up arms against brother, and the whole land became one vast cemetery.

It is often said that South Carolina fired on Fort Sumter and began an
aggressive war to destroy the Union, before the South was ready.
Probably the fact in the case is that South Carolina was trying to "fire
the Southern heart," and force the State of Virginia into the secession
movement. The Old Dominion State was naturally a Union State. It was a
Virginian who uttered the most impassioned words in the history of
liberty--Patrick Henry at Williamsburg. It was a Virginian who led the
colonial armies to victory--Washington. It was a Virginian who wrote the
Declaration of Independence--Thomas Jefferson. He too, a Virginian
governor, made the great protest to King George against the further
imposition of slavery by force of arms. He too, a Virginian, the founder
of Washington and Jefferson College, had called upon the men of the
Dominion State to rise up and destroy the curse of slavery. But from the
moment when that shell rose through the pathless air, curved slightly
and burst above Sumter, the die was cast. Five days later, Virginia
passed her ordinance of secession.

Oh, if the veil could have been lifted from Beauregard's eyes when he
began that bombardment! If he could but have seen the riches become
poverty, cities become a waste, happy homes a desolation, the Southern
hillsides covered with graves, the Southern plantations grown up with
weeds, and the whole secession movement futile, what a vision would
have fallen upon the soldier!

On the 15th, President Lincoln called for 75,000 troops. If he had asked
for a million, the President would have had them. That shot had kindled
a fire of patriotism that swept across the North like a prairie fire. In
one day the college students deserted the lecture halls, the students of
law and medicine and theology closed their books, the farmer left his
plow in the furrow, the woodsman dropped his ax, the carpenter his
hammer, and the young men of twenty-three States sprang to arms. What
astonished the South most of all was the attitude of Douglas, and the
Northern Democrats, who had been confidently counted upon to stand by
secession. One Southern fire-eater had said that "Douglas and the
Democrats will fight Lincoln and the Republicans, and it will be another
case of the Kilkenny cats, leaving the South in peace to build up a
great empire." But the first thing that Stephen A. Douglas did was to go
to the White House and pledge his support to Lincoln, as did the leading
Democrats of the North. "The attack upon Sumter," said Douglas, "leaves
us but two parties--patriots and traitors." And now the war was
on,--the one side fighting for the Federal Union and liberty for all
men, and the other side fighting for State sovereignty and slavery.

These great events bring us front to front with the question as to how
Southern men justified their firing upon the old flag and attacking the
Union. Let us confess that men do not make martyrs of themselves unless
they have a cause that commands the intellect and conquers the will.

Skeptics used to say that the apostles invented the character of Jesus.
As if men first of all invent a lie and inflate a bubble myth, and then
go out in support of it to get themselves mobbed, kicked through the
streets, thrown from windows, tortured on the rack, crucified and burned
alive after incredible heroism for thirty years! To say that the
disciples invented the story of Jesus and then martyred themselves for
their falsehood is as intellectually stupid and silly as it is morally
monstrous! Not otherwise these leading men of the South were men of the
loftiest character, of great personal worth, patriotic, high-minded, and
they did not devastate their land and martyr themselves for idle
abstractions. Here is John C. Calhoun, ranked by all as one of the
triumvirate--Webster, Calhoun and Clay. Here is Gen. Robert E. Lee, of
whom Lord Wolsey said that for one State to have given birth to two such
men as Washington and Lee was to have lent it immortal renown. Lincoln
and Grant and our Northern generals understood the Southern men,
sympathized with them, and therefore because the intellect grasped their
position, Grant's heart forgave Lee, and made the two friends. To
understand this, go to-day to a great battle-field of that conflict and
hear the Northern generals and the Southern generals rehearse the story
of the Civil War, and you will understand the magnanimity of the
Northern leader and the argument of the Southern soldier. History has
destroyed the old delusion that secession was a conspiracy, organized by
a few malignant leaders. All historians to-day, Northern and Southern
alike, concede that it was a great popular uprising of the Southern
people.

Indeed, it was not altogether a contest between Northern blood on the
one side, and Southern blood on the other.

Twenty-one of the Southern generals who fought for the Rebellion were
born in New York and New England. Eighty distinguished Confederate
officers were born north of Mason and Dixon's line, were graduates of
West Point, yet these Northern soldiers rejected Webster's argument for
the Union, and accepted Calhoun's theory of State sovereignty. On the
other hand, many of our greatest Union leaders were Southern men by
birth and education, but as Southerners they rejected Calhoun's
philosophy, and accepted Webster's. Virginia gave us the
commander-in-chief of our army, Gen. Winfield Scott; gave us George H.
Thomas, the Rock of Chickamauga. The South gave us Farragut, our
greatest admiral. Twelve of the commanders of our battle-ships that
captured the Mississippi River and made it possible for Lincoln to say,
"Once more the Father of Waters goes unvexed to the sea," were Southern
men. The South also, through Kentucky, gave us the great President,
Abraham Lincoln. It was, therefore, in large measure, a philosophic
contest. The Union forces were the disciples of Daniel Webster, whose
spirit invisible rode upon the wings of the wind, and whose arm bore the
gorgeous ensign, on which were written the words, "Liberty _and_ Union."
On the other hand, the Confederate forces were made up of the disciples
of John C. Calhoun, who followed a banner on which the great citizen of
South Carolina had inscribed these words, "Sovereignty is natural and
inalienable; government is secondary and artificial and can be changed
at the will of the people." In terms of cannon and gun, Grant and Lee
were the leaders of the two opposing armies, but fundamentally the two
armies were led by Daniel Webster on the one side and John C. Calhoun on
the other.

Further, Calhoun's influence explains the attitude of the
non-slaveholding South towards secession. Of the six million white
people in the South, two millions of them did not own slaves, and most
of these were opposed to the slave traffic. Thousands of Southerners
freed their slaves before the war, and moved into Ohio and Pennsylvania.
Other thousands declined to participate in the traffic. A North
Carolinian named Hinton Rowan Helper published in 1857 a very striking
volume called "The Impending Crisis in the South, and How to Meet It."
Dedicated to the non-slaveholding whites, and not on behalf of the
blacks, its theme was slavery as a blight upon Southern white people
and their institutions, and a political peril. Not Garrison himself ever
made so vigorous and powerful an arraignment of slavery as did this
Southerner. Helper pronounced slavery the enemy of invention, the foe of
manufacturing plants, an obstacle to the development of the land, a
barrier to the progress of the sons of white men. He held that slavery
starves to death masters in the long run, while for the moment it
seemingly enriches them. Slavery was like sin, it wore the garb of an
angel of light; while secretly it sharpened a dagger, with which to stab
to the heart the angel of civilization. Within two years this book sold
over 150,000 copies, and set the whole South in a fever of unrest.
Nevertheless, when the storm broke, the large non-slaveholding element
in the South took up arms for the doctrine of State sovereignty. If they
resented interference with slavery, it was because slavery was a
Southern domestic institution. But this was only an incident; the one
thing they wished was the vindication of the sovereignty of each State
of the Union, and the right of its people to govern themselves without
regard to other States who had the same right of self-government.

The character of the Southern leaders throws light upon Calhoun's
principle. Than Robert E. Lee, what general has been more idolized by
those who knew him best? His first ancestor in America was a cavalier
who left England rather than endure the tyranny of Charles II. The son
of "Light Horse Harry" of Revolutionary fame, he loved the Union.
Educated at West Point, he left the institution after four years without
a demerit, and won distinction both in the army during the Mexican War,
and later as an engineer. He was a man of such probity, purity and lofty
character that his followers loved him to the point of worship. He was
deeply religious, and the best expression we can use is that Lee,
like Enoch, walked with God. He was offered the position of
commander-in-chief of the Northern forces. But he could not bear to lead
an invading army against his old college, his ancestral homestead, and
against Washington's house at Mount Vernon, or become the enemy of his
own people in Virginia. On April 17th, Virginia passed her ordinance of
secession, and on the 20th, Lee resigned his commission in the United
States army, because he could not take part against his native
State,--"in whose behalf alone," he said, "will I ever again draw my
sword." By the Calhoun doctrine, Virginia was his country, and no one
has ever doubted his sincerity. Lee is the Sir Philip Sidney of the
Civil War.

Wellington, the Iron Duke, is reported to have said, "A man of fine
Christian sensibilities is totally unfit for the position of soldier."
But Robert E. Lee and Thomas J. Jackson prayed as they fought; in
victory and in defeat alike they turned towards God. Jackson, who won
the name of "Stonewall," might have been the son of old Ironsides
himself. During his entire career he turned his camps into revival
meetings when he was on the Potomac and the Rappahannock, and was a
Puritan of Puritans. It is said that literally hundreds of men who
entered his regiments, careless, profane, drinking boys, went home to
join churches on profession of their faith in Christ. After the battle
of Bull Run, Jackson sent a letter home to his Presbyterian minister at
Lexington, Va. The people assembled to hear the minister read the letter
that would give an account of the conflict. It contained only one
sentence: "I forgot to send you my contribution for the coloured
Sunday-school of which I am superintendent." When Jackson lost his left
arm, General Lee wrote to him, "You have lost your left arm, but I have
lost the right arm of my army." Eight days after, Jackson lay dying,
having been accidentally shot by his own men at Chancellorsville.
Suddenly he cried out, "Let us cross over the river and rest under the
shade of the trees;" a companion had just read the great general that
verse in the Psalm, "There is a river whose streams make glad the city
of God." These two men have been a fountain of inspiration to Southern
youth, and their story makes a bright chapter in the history of all
heroism.

Southern leaders there were also who opposed secession as inexpedient
and wrong. One of the finest exponents of this group was Alexander H.
Stephens, a self-made man, inured in childhood to hardship, and made
sympathetic through his own struggles. Orphaned at fifteen, he worked
his way through college; admitted to the bar at twenty-two, he achieved
fame as a lawyer; elected to Congress, he was one of the noted figures
in the House of Representatives for sixteen years. His slight physique
and his frail health were sad handicaps. He was dyspeptic, sleepless, a
nervous wreck. He ordinarily weighed seventy-two pounds, and during the
best years of his life only ninety-two. When in February, 1865, Lincoln
met Stephens for a peace conference, he saw the commissioner take off a
great outer coat, and unwrap layer after layer of tippet from his
throat, peeling down and down, until finally there stood this tiny man.
Lincoln whispered to his friend, "Did you ever see so small a nubbin
that had so much husk on it?"

Within ten days after the election of Lincoln, Stephens began his
campaign against secession. He urged that Lincoln was friendly to the
South; that he had neither the desire nor the power to destroy slavery;
that John Brown's attack represented the individual and not the millions
of the North; that nothing could be gained by haste nor lost by delay,
and that the Southern people should heed Lincoln's inaugural. Finally,
he despaired; he wrote Toombs that "the South was wild with frenzy and
passion--that whom the gods would destroy they first make mad." He
afterwards explained his later acquiescence with secession by the
statement that when two trains were running under full steam towards a
head-on collision, he got off at the first station.

As vice-president of the Confederacy, Stephens was not always in
sympathy with Jefferson Davis; he was very frank in his criticism of the
Confederate leader. "While I never have regarded Davis as a great man,
or statesman on a large scale, or a man of any marked genius, yet I have
regarded him as a man of good intentions; weak and vacillating, timid,
petulant, peevish, obstinate, but not firm."

To understand Jefferson Davis, however, we must take a broader outlook.

Rhodes ventures the judgment that if the Pilgrim Fathers had settled in
South Carolina they might have held slaves by 1850, and might have
fought to maintain slavery; while if the cavalier had settled in Boston,
where the snow and the winter are unfriendly to the coloured man, the
cavalier would have founded abolition societies. If all scholars do not
see their way clear to fully accept Rhodes' statement, they must confess
that the Scotch-Irish soldiers that followed Cromwell, and after the
restoration of Charles II moved to North Carolina, at last became
slave-holders; while many Southerners, young men who were educated in
Northern colleges and married Northern girls, finally freed their slaves
and moved North, becoming abolitionists. Circumstances, environment, and
association, modify men so profoundly that Buckle believed that climate
and grains determine men's civilization.

Again, in 1820, Northern leaders became alarmed at the invasion by
slavery of the Northern and Western territories, and Northern
representatives threatened to withdraw from the Union if slavery was
extended, just as in 1861 the Southern leaders not only threatened but
withdrew,--the only difference being this, that the North would rather
withdraw from the Union than have slavery, while the South preferred to
secede rather than have free labour enforced.

Nor must we forget that Calhoun's principle of the absolute independence
of each State in political government is freely accepted by all
Congregationalists in church government. In 1875, when a Congregational
Association tried to interfere with Mr. Beecher and the government of
Plymouth Church, Plymouth told them plainly that every church is an
independent and self-governing organization, that sovereignty is
natural and government artificial, and that government by the
Association might be transferred but had not been so transferred. The
Congregational principle in church government is pure democracy.

But the United States were a federal representative republic, under a
constitution; and, to recur again to ecclesiastical illustration, the
Presbyterian form of government is representative and federal. The
Presbyterians base their government on our political institutions. For
the political township, they have a Presbyterian church; for the county,
they set up the Presbytery; for the State, they organized a synod; for
congress, they organized the General Assembly; for the president, they
substituted a moderator.

In politics we believe in representative government, but as to the
church, Congregationalists believe in pure democracy, and the
independent principle.

Now John C. Calhoun took this Congregational principle and translated it
into terms of politics, and called it the States' rights or State
sovereignty theory. If John C. Calhoun had been struggling, not for a
political theory, but for an ecclesiastical one, Henry Ward Beecher
would have backed him to a finish. If there is any one group of people
on earth, therefore, who ought not only to understand but to appreciate
John C. Calhoun's argument, they are the Independents. Now for twenty
years John C. Calhoun went up and down the South, analyzing his
argument, explaining and enforcing it. At the very time Northern boys
were reading in their readers Webster's speech for the Union, Southern
boys were reciting Calhoun's speech for the independence of the States.

Not in consequence of the Calhoun doctrine but in harmony with it,
having always held that the Union was subordinate to the sovereignty of
the States, Jefferson Davis, United States senator from Mississippi,
became the chief organizer of secession after Lincoln's election. A West
Point graduate, a brilliant officer in Indian fights and the Mexican
War, a governor of Mississippi, United States senator, a singularly
efficient Secretary of War under President Pierce, and again an
influential senator, a man of charming personality with many friends,
Mr. Davis was so prominent in the secession movement that he was the
free choice of the Southern people for president of their Confederacy.
And, despite Mr. Stephens' opinion, he probably did as well in that
difficult place as another could have done. To the end of his life he
held to the doctrine of State sovereignty.

But one question persistently forces itself into the foreground. Why was
it that the people of the North did not "let the erring sisters go," to
use Horace Greeley's expression? Just across the Northern line dwells
another nation--Canada. Why should there not have been a second nation
to the south of Mason and Dixon's line, with Mobile or New Orleans for a
capital--a great slave empire, that would have included Texas, Mexico
and Central America? The answer is very simple. The Constitution stood
in the way. Men saw clearly that if this republic, conceived in liberty
and dedicated to the proposition that all men were created equal, could
be destroyed by the minority, that would not respect the rights of the
majority, there was no hope for civilization save in the revival of
despotism, with a monarch ruling the people by military force. The North
by a majority of States and votes had chosen Lincoln, with his statement
that the Union could not permanently endure, half slave and half free.
The minority then answered: "If we cannot have our way, we will destroy
the government." Analyzed, this is seen to be sheer anarchy.

In that hour men remembered what their fathers had endured to found the
Republic and free institutions. When the news came of the attack upon
Fort Sumter, the better angels of men's natures did touch "the mystic
chords of memory, stretching from every battle-field and patriot grave
to every living heart and hearthstone all over this broad land," and the
tones swelled the chorus of the Union. What other land offered poor men
an opportunity for office, wealth and honours, with full liberty of
thought and speech? Had not the fathers lived and died to make education
democratic through the public schools? Had not the fathers given life
itself to establish the freedom of the printing-press and freedom of
discussion? Had not the fathers bought at great price their political
liberty, and the rights of the ballot? Was not the land dedicated to
toleration and charity in religion? Was the work of Washington and
Jefferson and Hamilton to go down in ruin and nothingness? While the old
world, with her tyrannies, scoffed at the failure of the Republic, men
thought of Bunker Hill and Valley Forge and Yorktown. They thought of
the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. They recalled the
tribute of one of the greatest of English statesmen, who characterized
the American Constitution as "the greatest political instrument ever
struck off by the unaided genius of man."

And now the Republic was to be destroyed, the Constitution torn into
shreds and stamped under foot, the Declaration of Independence made a
thing of jibes and scorn in the palaces of Madrid and Constantinople,
while slavery, with black fingers, was to knit its claws into the throat
of the angel of liberty and choke the life out. Suddenly men saw that
the only way to insure liberty for the white race was to destroy slavery
for the black races. Men determined that the majority had their rights,
and that these rights should not be wrested away by the minority,
fighting in the interests of slavery. Democracy, the "last, best hope of
earth," should not fail! In that moment Liberty stretched forth her
sceptre of justice, "red with insufferable wrath," and her clarion voice
rang to the outermost corners of the land. Three millions of men
assembled to swear fealty to God and country. Then they marched away,
through the towns and across the prairies, into thickets and swamps, to
be pierced by bullets, torn by shells, to eat crusts, wear rags, shiver
in the cold, burn in the heat, famish in the prison, welter in the
bloody trench, above them a fiery hail, beside them their dying comrades
falling into the arms of death. It is a strange, wild, chivalrous,
divine story of the world's greatest enthusiasm, our fathers' enthusiasm
for liberty and democracy! What God thinks of freedom, is written in the
price that people paid for it! What God thinks of slavery is in the woe
and sorrow and wreckage it has always brought upon those who have sought
to live on the sweat of other men's faces!

The Russian would not fight against the Japanese because the Russian
peasant owned no lands, had no schoolhouse, no ballot box, no free
printing-press, no religious liberty. The Russian stood sullenly in the
trenches and had to be flogged into the battle. If the Russian peasant
lost, he lost nothing, because he had nothing to lose; if the peasant
won, he gained nothing, because the Russian aristocrat and the baron
took all of the treasure; therefore he would not fight. But the Northern
soldier had everything to fight for. No such treasures were ever thrown
on the earth to be struggled for. Liberty and the Union were worth a
thousand lives and ten thousand deaths.

It was an awful and a gallant fight, waged by the finest of the world's
manhood on both sides. The Southerner fought for local self-government
and the right to enslave and govern other men; the Northerner fought for
universal self-government and the institutions which had made that
possible without injustice to other men. There can be no choice as
between the splendid qualities that entered into the contest--of
sincerity, earnestness, devotion and fidelity on either side: but the
South lost because slavery had eaten out the enduring vigour of its
resources; the North won because free labour and the rights of man had
given it the greater effective power. At last, the theory on which the
South stood for self-justification crumbled under the supreme test.



IX

HENRY WARD BEECHER: THE APPEAL TO ENGLAND


One November morning in the White House, Abraham Lincoln kept his
Cabinet waiting while he finished reading a newspaper, containing an
account of Beecher's speeches in England. At last he laid the paper on
the table before them, and in substance said to Stanton, "When this war
is fought to a successful issue, this man, Henry Ward Beecher, will have
earned the right to lift the old flag back to its place on Fort Sumter,
for without these speeches England might have recognized the
Confederacy, and then there might have been no flag to raise."

Long time has passed since that Friday morning in the capital, and now
all men recognize the justice of the words of the martyred President.
History is a stern judge, and the centuries have given opportunity for
contrast. When a great country, a great emergency, a critical hour, and
a great man meet, a spark is struck out, called great eloquence. Such a
conjunction of city, peril and man once met in Athens, and for
twenty-four centuries boys have been translating Demosthenes' oration
against Philip. Demosthenes spoke, but Philip marched on. Greece bowed
her neck to the yoke, and became subject to Macedonia; Demosthenes
failed. Another crisis came in Westminster Hall, in London, when Edmund
Burke made his plea for the millions of outraged folk in India pillaged
by Warren Hastings. But Hastings became a lord; he died honoured in his
palace; India was left to stagger onward; Burke's splendid oratory
failed. That was a great hour in the history of eloquence when Patrick
Henry and Fisher Ames and Josiah Quincy became voices for liberty and
the new republic. But these orators spoke to sympathetic hearers, and
simply returned to the multitude in a flood what they had received from
the people in dew and rain.

Henry Ward Beecher spoke to mobs, pleaded with unfriendly critics, and
was asked to change hate to love, ice to fire, weapons for attack into
weapons for defense. He went against the English mob as one goes up
against a castle that is locked, barred and bristling with arms, and he
gave sops to Cerberus, charmed the keys out of him who kept the fortress
gate, cast a spell upon those who guarded the walls, stole all the
weapons, and, single handed, at last lifted the banner of victory above
the ramparts of granite. The history of eloquence holds no other
achievement of the same rank and class. What a volume, that contains the
speech delivered within the limit of nine days, with the introduction at
Manchester, the three great arguments at Glasgow, Edinburgh and
Liverpool, and the peroration in Exeter Hall, London! What physical
reserves as the basis of sustained public speech! What mastery of all
the facts of liberty and democracy, not less than slavery! What
familiarity with English law not less than American! The orator moves
across the scene in history like some refulgent planet in the sky. The
story of those nine wonderful days makes illustrious forever the history
of eloquence and patriotism.

The winter of 1862 and '63, with its high-wrought excitements, brought
Beecher the peril of a nervous breakdown. His exhaustion illustrates the
fact that some men who stayed at home endured as much as others who
went to the front. Generals and their marching regiments often suffered
much, but they were not alone in their fortitude and faith. Women who
toiled on farm or in hospital, working men who laboured to support the
boys at the front, orators who went up and down the land inciting
patriotism in the people, preachers who realized that the breakdown of
conscience meant the breakdown of the cause--these all were citizen
soldiers who defended the Union and kept the faith.

Among them all no man poured out his life more generously than Henry
Ward Beecher. Since 1850, through the intensities of the Fugitive Slave
Law, the Fremont campaign, the Kansas troubles, the Lincoln election,
the era of secession and the first two years of the war, he had been
preaching, writing, lecturing, making public addresses, attending to his
great pastorate, and active in every civic and national interest. And
during the war, back and forth, across the land, from city to city, in
church, hall and armoury, he lifted up his voice in the presence of
multitudes, telling the story of the founding of the Republic, showing
that the Republic, with its self-government, was the last, best hope of
man, reminding boys that they must fight and live for the Union that
their fathers had died to found. When at length Antietam was won, and
Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, and the rebellion
staggered like a giant stunned by a crushing blow, Beecher was lifted
into the seventh heaven of hope, and had the vision of coming victory.
In that hour he told his people that he was ready to die, that God might
peel him, and strip away all the leaves of life, and do with him as He
pleased; that he had lived fifty years, that he had had a good time,
that he had "hit the devil many blows and square in the face, that it
was joy enough to have uttered some words because they were incorporated
into the lives of men and could not die."

But we all know that it is possible to stretch the strings of the mental
harp too tightly. Excitement burns the nerve as an electric current
consumes a wire. During those days Beecher wore a garment whose warp and
woof was fiery enthusiasm, and fierce flaming patriotism. The human body
is like a cask of precious liquor. One way to drain off the treasure is
to knock out the bung-hole, and in a few minutes drain the rich
fountain dry; another way is to bore innumerable apertures, that drop by
drop the liquor may waste. And so it was with Beecher, during those
exciting days, with this difference, that sometimes it seemed as if one
great event would drain out all his life in a tumultuous flood, while at
the same time innumerable petitioners taxed his life, drawing away his
strength, drop by drop. Alarmed, the officers and friends in Plymouth
Church insisted upon rest and vacation. They determined to put the sea
between the preacher and his task, planning to lose him for a little
time that they might have him for a long time.

The popular opinion is that Beecher went to England, not openly, but
secretly as a messenger of the government. Like other myths, the fable
grew slowly, but is now well entrenched in the minds of multitudes.
There is no foundation for the story. Indeed, Mr. Beecher is on record
plainly, stating that no request, no suggestion, no hint, even, came
from Washington. At the time, his relations with the Cabinet were
strained. Seward was unfriendly. Stanton was hurt by his insistence,
through the _Independent_, upon immediate emancipation. For a time even
Lincoln classed him with Horace Greeley, as extremist. His editorials
during the spring of 1862 had one thought, "Carthago delenda est." It
was only after Lincoln came around by a gunboat into New York Harbour,
and secretly met General Winfield Scott in a friend's house, and had
another secret interview with Henry Ward Beecher, and returned (letters
exist from Secretary Hay, following an interview with him over the
records in Washington, which establish this trip to New York to see
Scott and Beecher), that Beecher changed the tone of his editorials, and
went over to Lincoln's position,--that the Union was first, and the
destruction of slavery the secondary thing. The Great Emancipator loved
and trusted Beecher, but the Cabinet was critical, and Lincoln, as he
said, "did not have much influence with the administration."

The only power and the whole power behind Beecher was that of Plymouth
Church, that gave him the money for all of his expenses, and took from
him a pledge that if he spoke at all he was to speak at their expense,
but under no circumstances to either preach or lecture until he had
recovered his strength. He was ill during the entire voyage, and was
not able to appear on deck until the vessel entered the Mersey. The news
of Beecher's coming had preceded him, and on opening the papers he found
even church leaders antagonistic. They deplored his coming, lest he
increase the excitement. The nobility was in favour of the South, as
were the ship-builders, the mill-owners, the bankers and all who had
investments or loans in the cotton industry of England and of the South.

One hundred and fifty Congregational ministers greeted Beecher with a
breakfast in London. They asked him to preach and speak on religious
topics, but to avoid all reference to slavery on account of the inflamed
condition of the English mind. The man who introduced him deplored the
war, and described the patience of God in permitting the North to go on.
When Beecher arose to speak he was in a towering rage. He told them that
he would neither preach nor lecture nor speak in a mother land that was
openly hostile to her own daughter, and unfriendly to every principle of
liberty that was dear to England and embedded in English tradition and
history.

In substance, he said: "Your conscience here in England is very
sensitive on the subject of war, providing some one else is fighting the
war, but England has no conscience at all as to war when she is
prosecuting the campaign." At that very hour England was fighting a war
in Japan, and a war in China, and a war in New Zealand for territory.
Three wars being quite proper, if England fought them, but oh, the
patience of God in permitting the North to exist even for one moment,
while fighting for liberty, the Union and the emancipation of slaves! He
told them that they thought it was a crime for the North to have a war
for emancipation, but quite proper for England to threaten a war over
two men named Mason and Slidell! Beecher understood Old England. No
nation in history ever conducted so many wars. No other nation's
statesmen ever had such skill to invent moral excuses for seizing
territory, in Africa, Egypt, India, Thibet, Australia, New Zealand and
all the islands of the sea. He best described it in his final speech in
London, when returned from the Continent: "On what shore has not the
prow of your ships dashed? What land is there with a name and a people
where your banner has not led your soldiers? And when the great
_reveillé_ shall sound, it will muster British soldiers from every clime
and people under the whole heaven." What? "Speak in England on religion
and keep still on slavery, and the North and the South?" When an engine
is full of steam, it is a bad thing to sit on its safety-valve.
Figuratively speaking, the chairman and the hundred and fifty ministers,
who were trying to get Beecher to speak on religion and keep still on
slavery, sat passively and serenely on the safety-valve for about five
minutes, but finally the engine blew up. Mr. Beecher was not the man to
stifle his convictions in the name of peace, for he knew that in an evil
world a good man has no right to dwell at peace with the devil and his
minions. So he declared his hostility, turned his back on England, and
went to the Continent; and thus ended the first chapter in the European
trip.

Looking backward, it is easy to discover the explanation of England's
attitude towards slavery and the Southern leaders. During the early
forties England had herself passed through an industrial revolution.
Because she had little agricultural land, and thirty millions of
people, the cost of living was high. When the cry of the people for
bread became bitter, Cobden, Bright and their associates inaugurated and
carried through the Free Corn Movement. With the incoming of free raw
materials England became the great manufacturing centre. What her
farmers lost through free trade in selling grain they gained in the
lowered price on which they bought. Within ten years after the victory
of free trade England became a hive of industry, filled with clustering
cities, while the whole land resounded with the stroke of engines.
Abundance succeeded to poverty and work trod closely upon the heels of
want. So prosperous had England become that by 1860 she was importing
two million bales of cotton from Southern States. The shipyards of
Glasgow built ships to carry cotton, the bankers in London made loans to
Southern planters, the mill-owners in Manchester bought shares in the
Southern cotton fields. The rich men of the South were constant guests
of the mill-owners in Central England and of the bankers in London.
Little by little England was drawn in through financial channels, and
cast her lot in with the production of cotton,--and slavery.

Then came the Civil War. The planters went to the front with Lee's army;
the slaves freed from overseers would not work. The production of cotton
was halved. The Northern navy blockaded the exit of cotton ships from
the Southern ports. English ships hung around the Southern shores trying
in vain to find access, hoping to run the gauntlet and obtain a cargo of
cotton. One by one the great English mills shut down for want of raw
material, and when two winters had passed, and the autumn of 1863 had
come, and the English working people fronted a third winter, the
spectacle became pathetic and terrible. Gaunt Famine stalked the land.
The skeleton Want stood in the shadow of the poor man's house. But the
courage and fidelity of the English cotton spinners held out for two
years. The poor always love the poor. The classes have always been
wrong, the masses have always been right. Luxury puts wax into the ears
of the aristocrats, but want makes the hearing of the poor very
sensitive to a sob of pain. The sympathy of the cotton spinner was with
the Northern working man. An English working man did not want to be put
in the same class with a Southern slave. He saw that any law that
riveted fetters on black slaves in the South helped forge a manacle for
the cotton spinner's wrist in the mother land. These poor English folk
believed in the dignity of labour, in the right to a good wage, and in
the necessity for all working people standing together.

But the mill-owner wanted raw cotton. The banker wanted the mill-owner
to have his cotton that his loans might be paid. The ship-builders
wanted Southern cotton that their industry might thrive. Investors who
for two years had had no interest on their Southern loans sympathized
with the South; the politicians, controlled by their financial
interests, wanted the South to succeed. In that hour of temptation
Avarice drew near and choked Justice. Greed offered bribes to
Conscience. Old England's ruling classes, with the full sympathy of men
like Gladstone and hundreds of others, favoured the speedy recognition
of the Southern Confederacy in the hope that that would end the war and
restore England's prosperity.

In a word, the situation was this: The North had to fight the South, and
England with her influence as well. For here was the North, struggling
for the principles of the Pilgrim Fathers, for liberty, for democracy
and for the slaves, and just in the darkest hour of the struggle, when
she was burying her dead and the whole North was hung with funeral
crape, England, with ships on every sea, England, strong and powerful,
taking advantage of the capture of two Southern emissaries--Mason and
Slidell--from the British ship _Trent_ on the high seas, declared she
would send an army to Canada and ships to batter down our Northern
cities. Even Gladstone bought Southern bonds, but later Gladstone deeply
lamented his sympathy with slavery and the South, and asked the world to
forgive and forget it. Yet if the North has long ago forgiven England,
it must be a hard thing for England to forgive herself that she gave to
slavery every ounce of influence she had, her threats, her frowns, her
diplomacy and her ships. Long afterwards a court of arbitration in
Geneva punished England with an enormous fine for the American shipping
that she helped destroy in her effort to help break down the North and
defeat liberty in a war that her own statesman, John Bright, has
characterized as one of the few wars not only justifiable but glorious
in all history.

Now this was the attitude of England. Her upper classes and financial
interests were all on the side of slavery and the South. Her great
middle class were largely in favour of liberty. Her working people were
naturally on the side of free labour and the North, but they were
weakened by starvation till their endurance and fortitude were almost
gone. And then it was that Beecher entered the scene, returning from the
Continent to England. Recognition of the Confederacy and other
unfriendly official acts were trembling in the balance; yet there was
hesitation, on account of the common people, who sympathized with the
North. In telling of this afterwards, Mr. Beecher said: "To my amazement
I found that the unvoting English possessed great power in England; a
great deal more power, in fact, than if they had a vote. The aristocracy
and the government felt, 'These men know they have no political
privileges, and we must administer with the strictest regard to their
feelings or there will be a revolution.'" There were many noble
exceptions among the higher classes, and the Queen, doubtless under the
influence of the Prince Consort Albert, who died in 1861, and had been
a firm friend of America, was also friendly to the North; but her
Government was not.

The argument finally used to persuade Beecher to speak was that the
English Anti-Slavery Society was already discredited, unpopular, and
frowned upon by the nobility and the upper classes, and that if Beecher
would not recognize them by at least one speech their cause and ours
would be still further weakened.

He began his work with a speech at Manchester, the very centre of the
cotton spinning industry. For weeks the streets had been placarded
against him. On his way to the Free Trade Hall he found, not a
multitude, but a mob, filling the streets. The meeting had been packed
in advance. Within five minutes after his introduction the storm let
loose its fury. There were two or three centres of conflict that became
veritable whirlpools of excitement. All the rest of the audience climbed
on their chairs to see what was going on in the tumultuous centres.
Everybody seemed to be yelling, some for order, and others with the
purpose of breaking up the meeting. Mr. Beecher saw that many were
determined that he should not speak, and he realized that if they broke
him down, other cities would withdraw their invitation, and it would
appear that all England was unalterably opposed to the North, so that
the recognition of the Confederacy might follow. When his enemies began
to wear themselves out and the tumult to subside, Mr. Beecher shot a few
sentences into the noise. "I have registered a vow that I will not leave
your country until I have spoken in your great cities. I am going to be
heard, and my country shall be vindicated."

The orator soon found that about one-quarter of the audience were
bitterly hostile. Another quarter applauded his sentiment. The great
mass was hesitant, undecided, unconvinced, and he determined to conquer
that undecided class, and add them to that portion that was friendly. He
scornfully reminded them that he had before met men whose cause could
not bear the light of free speech. He roused them by saying that
American institutions were the fruit of English ideas, and that the
fruit of American liberty was from seed corn that was English.

When some one shouted that he was harsh and unfair, he answered, What if
some exquisite dancing master should stand on the edge of a
battle-field where a hero lifted his battle-axe, and criticize him by
saying that "his gestures and postures violated the proprieties of
polite life!" He added, "When dandies fight they think how they look;
when men fight, they think only of deeds." He said that what the North
desired was not material aid, but simply that England should keep hands
off, and that France should keep hands off. He affirmed that even if
they both interfered, the North would fight on, that slavery must be
destroyed, and that liberty must be established on the American
continent; that the victory of democracy and liberty in the North would
mean their victory over the North and South American continent, and that
if the day ever should come when the old flag should wave again over
every state in the South, and the atrocious crime of slavery should be
destroyed, there should be liberty for the press, and liberty for the
poor in the schoolhouse; if plantations should be broken up and
distributed among the poor farmers, and the privileges of civil liberty
be won, that it would be worth all the blood and tears and woe.

When he said that Great Britain had frowned upon the North, but hastened
to fling her arms around the neck of the imperious South, one
Englishman waved his arms and shouted: "She doesn't!" and the six
thousand people began to cheer the disclaimer of England's being Romeo.
To which Beecher answered: "I have only to say that she has been caught
in very suspicious circumstances."

Beecher's unshakable good humour, his witty, lightning-like answers to
their questions and contradictions, his solid sense and--when he got the
chance--his flaming eloquence, finally quelled and captured them. Then
he traversed the entire history of slavery in its relation to the
Colonies, the States, and the different forms of legislation up to the
Kansas and Nebraska Bill. When he concluded his speech, and the
sentiment of the audience was called for, to the astonishment of his
friends, men lifted up their voices with a sound like the sound of many
waters, and lined up for the North and liberty. The enthusiasm was
overwhelming. Within three hours January's frost had turned to the bloom
of June, and the moment was radiant with hope. The London _Times_
contained four columns of this speech, and the address became the topic
of the hour in every club in England. And either of these facts in
those days meant that Henry Ward Beecher was famous in England.

His speeches in Glasgow and Edinburgh took up the second and third steps
in the development of slavery and liberty on the American continent. He
told these ship-builders in Glasgow how the providence of God seemed to
be exhibiting to all the peoples of the world the reflex influence of
slavery upon the strongest people and the richest resources, and how
slavery cursed whatever it touched. That the lesson might be the clearer
He gave liberty an unfriendly clime, and gave slavery a rich arena. To
the North He gave short summers, bleak skies, the rocks of New England
hills, the thin soil of New York, the sand dunes of Michigan. To the
South He gave sunny Virginia, the riches of the Gulf States, the
fruitful skies, the abundant rains, the treasures of the cotton, the
sugar and the rice. Above all, God sifted all the nations of the Old
World to find blood rich enough to people the Southern States. The men
who laid the foundations of the great South were people of a heroic
type, giants and heroes of fortitude. God brought the Huguenots, and
the very flower of French chivalry into Florida and Georgia. He sifted
all Scotland and North Ireland for outstanding men for South Carolina.
He took the best blood of England for Virginia. These Southern founders
and fathers had fought in France, endured for their convictions in
Scotland, conquered their enemies in England and North Ireland, and God
rewarded them with the richest, choicest meadows and valleys of the
sunny South. And yet Slavery wrought weakness, while Liberty made the
bleak North to blossom like the rose.

It is said that plants exude poison from the roots, and soon destroy the
soil unless there is a rotation of crops. Slavery was a noxious plant,
deadlier than the nightshade, and it poisoned the South. The longer
slavery existed, the weaker the Southern giant became, until, toiling
on, the South became bankrupt through slavery, and toiling on, every
year of the war under free labour found the North growing ever richer
and stronger. Liberty is a giant that when it touches the soil renews
its strength.

Oh, if the South had but had a better cause! History affords nothing
finer than the bravery of Southern soldiers and their leaders; had they
been fighting for liberty, or some great cause that would have supported
them during the struggle instead of bankrupting them as slavery did, it
is doubtful whether any army could have defeated their soldiers.

In Liverpool Beecher literally fought with the lions of Ephesus. The
bill-boards were posted with placards in red type. All men in England
who had investments in the South and wanted to break Beecher and his
cause seemed to have assembled. From the moment he entered the room the
great audience became a mob, and with groans, hisses, cat-calls,
epithets, men interrupted the orator with cheers for the South. Speaking
was like lifting up one's voice in the midst of a hurricane, or trying
to speak while a typhoon was raging on the sea. For one hour the tumult
raged. From time to time the police would succeed in carrying out some
obstreperous individual but there were enough men scattered through the
hall, each bellowing like a bull of Bashan, to make hearing impossible.
To add to the tumult, from time to time, an Englishman would climb on
his chair and shout, "I am ashamed of Liverpool and my country," and the
confusion would break out afresh. It took one hour to wear the voices
out. When Beecher told the reporters that he would speak slowly so they
could hear, and thus he could reach all England, the audience grew
quieter.

Beecher urged three arguments,--first, that the national prosperity is
dependent upon the production of wealth, and this meant independence for
the producer; second, that prosperity depends upon manufacturing and
that means a high quality of educated workman; third, that prosperity is
dependent upon commerce and the exchange of commodities between nations,
and that means brotherhood. He urged that the more intelligent and
prosperous the workman, the higher his wage, and, therefore, the better
he supports as a buyer. A slave uses his feet and hands, and produces a
few cents a day. A poor white labourer uses his hands and his lower
head, and earns fifty cents a day. An intelligent Northern working man
uses his hands and his creative intellect, and he produces a dollar a
day. A highly educated worker becomes an inventor as well as a freeman,
and earns five dollars a day. With this wage he buys comforts, tools,
products of the loom, builds up manufactures, and promotes prosperity.
For that reason a few patricians only in the South buy in the English
market, while the millions of slaves demand from Sheffield only whips
and manacles. Therefore slavery starves English trade.--And at last
Liverpool heard him.

In Exeter Hall in London, Beecher closed his argument: "Shall we let the
South go, and carry slavery with her? If a Northern working man has a
mad dog by the throat shall he let that animal go to spread death?
Letting the South go as a free nation is one thing, but letting her go
to spread slavery over Mexico and Central America is another thing. When
we kill the mad dog we will talk about letting the South go."

Beecher returned home to find himself the hero of the hour. In Plymouth
Church, on Sunday morning, the audience stood for five minutes, and with
their tears and silence told him of their gratitude and love. From that
hour Stanton asked for his friendship, and was weekly and even daily in
correspondence. He promised Beecher that immediately upon the receipt of
any news from the battle-field he would send him a telegram. Indeed, the
first news that the country had from Stanton of one of the great
victories came to Beecher's pulpit and was read over his desk. Other
great men, the President, secretaries, the generals, the statesmen,
editors, lecturers, preachers, did their part, but high among co-workers
ranks Henry Ward Beecher. God gave him a great task, and armed him for
the battle. He loved the poor, he broke the shackles from the slave, he
discovered to the world the love of God, and dying he flung his helmet
into the thick of the enemy. It is for us and our children to fight our
way forward to that helmet, and fling our own at last into some new
fight for the emancipation of the mind and heart of earth's troubled
millions.

It must be confessed that the aristocracy of England and her upper
middle class, in the main, still sympathized with the South, while the
English cabinet tried to maintain neutrality. Four-fifths of the House
of Lords were "no well-wishers of anything American, and most of the
House of Commons voted in sympathy with the South."

But the attitude of the "classes" of England was only the reflection of
her scholars. Carlyle, whose early books had no sale in England, and who
wrote Emerson that he had received his first money to keep him from
starvation from Boston and New York, "when not a penny had been realized
in England," had no sympathy with liberty and the North. As soon as his
own physical wants were supplied by the American check which Emerson
sent him, Carlyle began to call the war "a smoky chimney that had taken
fire." "No war ever waged in my time was to me more profoundly foolish
looking." (Slovenly English, contradictory thinking, and poor morals!)
"Neutral I am to a degree." Then Carlyle tried to sum up his view of the
situation: "Now speaks the Northern Peter to the Southern Paul: 'Paul,
you unaccountable scoundrel! I find you hire your servants for life, not
by the month or year as I do. You are going straight to hell.' Paul:
'Good words, Peter; the risk is my own. Hire you your servants by the
month or day, and go straight to heaven. Leave me to my own method.'
Peter: 'No, I won't. I will beat your brains out.' And he's trying
dreadfully ever since, but cannot quite manage it."

No one knew better than Carlyle that there is a world diameter between
the South hiring a man for life, and by force holding him in slavery.
But Carlyle for three years poured out such vapid humbug, cant and
hypocrisy as this, and never once was sound in his thinking or fair in
his view-point during the entire war.

Even Charles Dickens, who had written denouncing slavery in his
"American Notes," returned to England in the spring of 1863 to predict
the overwhelming victory of the South, and to characterize the hopes of
Lincoln as "a harmless hallucination." But little by little, English
sentiment began to change. Goldwin Smith, of Oxford University,
consented to speak at a meeting in Manchester to protest against the
building and sending out of piratical ships in support of the Southern
Confederacy. He affirmed boldly that "no nation ever inflicted upon
another more flagrant or more maddening wrong" [in permitting the
_Alabama_ to escape]. No nation with English blood in its veins had ever
borne such a wrong without resentment.

Richard Cobden wrote to Mr. Beecher as to the feeling in England: "In
every other instance ... the popular sympathy of this country has always
leaped to the side of the insurgents the moment a rebellion has broken
out. In the present case, our masses have an instinctive feeling that
their cause is bound up in the prosperity of the United States. It is
true that they have not much power in the direct form of a vote; but
when the millions of this country are led by the religious middle class
they can together prevent the government from pursuing a policy hostile
to their sympathies."

When Beecher appeared and spoke, he aroused, intensified, unified, and
made effective this great underlying force of English popular feeling,
and the unfriendly purposes of the governmental and "upper-class"
element were paralyzed.

Beecher himself was very modest about his achievement. Said he: "When in
October you go to a tree and give it a jar, and the fruit rains down all
about you, it is not you that ripened and sent down the fruit; the whole
summer has been doing that. It was my good fortune to be there when it
was needed that some one should jar the tree; the fruit was not of my
ripening."

Beecher returned home in November of 1863, conscious that he had risked
everything in the service of his imperilled country. He found the entire
North had constituted itself a Committee of Reception to welcome him
home. A great public meeting was arranged in the Academy of Music in New
York, and the Music Hall was crowded from pit to dome with the leaders
of the city and of the North. Mr. Beecher entered the room at eight
o'clock, and the whole audience rose to its feet to greet him, but not
until many minutes had passed in tumultuous cheering did he have an
opportunity to speak. From that hour his influence in the country was
second only to that of the President, two or three members of his
cabinet, and General Grant. Abraham Lincoln wrote to Mr. Beecher words
of warmest gratitude and invited him to the White House. "Often and
often," wrote Secretary Stanton, "in the dark hours you have come to me,
and I have longed to hear your voice, feeling that above all other men
you could cheer, strengthen, quiet and uplift me in this great battle,
where by God's providence it has fallen upon me to hold a part, and
perform a duty beyond my own strength." When therefore Lee surrendered,
and the war came to a close, President Lincoln and the cabinet felt that
Beecher's service to the cause of liberty had earned for him the most
unique distinction granted to any man during the war. And so it came
about that four years after Beauregard fired upon Fort Sumter, and the
flag of the Union was lowered to give place to the flag of Secession,
that not a general nor an admiral, but that a minister, Henry Ward
Beecher, was selected to lift into its place again the old flag, that
proclaimed to all the nations of the earth that government of the
people, by the people and for the people, shall not perish from the
earth.



X

HEROES OF BATTLE: AMERICAN SOLDIERS AND SAILORS


One of the wariest and most capable of the Confederate commanders was
General Joseph E. Johnston. In his report of the battle of Kenesaw
Mountain in Northwestern Georgia, in June, 1864, when Sherman had at
last driven him to bay, he thus describes the attack and the repulse:
"The Federal troops pressed forward with the resolution always displayed
by the American soldier when properly led. After maintaining the contest
for three-quarters of an hour, they retired unsuccessful, because they
had encountered entrenched infantry, unsurpassed by that of Napoleon's
Old Guard, or that which followed Wellington into France, out of Spain."

It would be difficult to find a more soldierly appreciation of both
officers and men of those two American armies. And in a recent
interesting book on Grant and Lee[2] is cited a remark of Charles
Francis Adams when American Minister to Great Britain in the early years
of our Civil War. Some one sarcastically asked him his opinion of the
Confederate victories of that time. He quietly replied, "I think they
have been won by my countrymen." In all those four strenuous years,
heroic qualities--enterprise, resolution, valour, self-control, exercise
of judgment amid dangers, endurance and fidelity in disaster--were
plentifully developed throughout both parties of the then divided
American people. The lonely picket-duty, the toilsome march, the endless
duties of the soldier, were a constant drain upon enduring faithfulness,
harder to bear, often, than the crashing excitement of the battle, while
the deadly suffering of camp and hospital were at times easily worse
than all.

Most fascinating the story of the leaders of the two armies. The career
of two preëminent military leaders of the South, Lee and Jackson, has
already been reviewed--cursorily, as must be the case in all the
references to example--and we have noted them especially as to
character. But it should be said further that in the opinion of military
critics and soldiers, both American and foreign, Robert E. Lee was one
of the most masterly strategists in warlike annals. In his defense of
Richmond as the vital point of the Confederacy he did have the advantage
of operating on interior lines; but when that is said all is said, for
in numbers of men, equipment and military resources, he was always more
meagrely supplied than his Federal opponents. His available means were
mostly in his fertile brain, his prompt judgment, and his dauntless
heart, together with the spirited support of his officers and the
indomitable marching and fighting energy of his soldiers. The intense
and tireless Jackson was indeed the chief's "right arm," and more than
that, a keen intelligence, instant to see and seize the right way, and
to follow it so swiftly that his rarely defeated infantry earned the
proud nickname of "foot-cavalry."

Out of the many gallant officers of the Southern armies were some others
whose names became familiar throughout the North. Among them were:
Generals Pierre G. T. Beauregard, prominent in service from Bull Run to
the end; the brilliant Albert Sidney Johnston, killed at Pittsburg
Landing in 1862; J. E. B. Stuart, renowned as a fearless cavalry
officer; James Longstreet, a leader of great distinction; the two
Hills--Daniel H. and Ambrose P., both renowned fighters, the latter
immortalized by Stonewall Jackson's last words, "A. P. Hill, prepare for
action!" Another was Richard S. Ewell--not, like all the foregoing, a
West Point graduate, with training and notable service in United States
armies and wars, but, like many Federal generals, a volunteer, who
achieved high rank by efficient activity.

In naval affairs, naturally, the South had little chance to show her
mettle, having neither navy-yards nor navy, and all her ports being
blockaded. The chief attempts on the water were the iron-plated ram
_Merrimac_, commanded by Commodore Franklin Buchanan, which after
sinking several wooden men-of-war in Hampton Roads was defeated by the
new iron-turreted _Monitor_ under Lieutenant (later Admiral) John L.
Worden; the iron-clad ram _Albemarle_, which damaged Northern shipping
until blown up by Lieutenant W. B. Cushing, U. S. Navy, in a daring
personal adventure; and the British built, equipped and manned
_Alabama_, under Commodore Raphael Semmes of the Confederacy, which
destroyed millions of dollars in Northern ships on the high seas in
1862-1864, until sunk by the war-steamer _Kearsarge_ under Captain
(later Admiral) John A. Winslow, off Cherbourg, in June, 1864.

The principal naval activities of the Federals during the war were in
the reduction of fortified places on land in cooperation with the
armies, and in blockading ports of the South to keep in their cotton and
to keep out foreign supplies. One of the earliest feats was the
effective use by Captain Andrew H. Foote in February, 1862, of the
gunboats built in 1861 by Frémont for river warfare, when Foote daringly
shelled Forts Donelson and Henry on the Cumberland River, enabling Grant
to attack and summon them to "unconditional surrender." And on the long
seaboard, the North soon had a line of battle-ships stretching from Cape
Hatteras around to Florida, New Orleans and the further coast of Texas.
Besides its few original war-ships, out of coasters, steamers and old
junk the Navy Department constructed a fleet. But it was the man behind
the gun who maintained the blockade, starved the Confederacy, and
cleared the Mississippi River.

The story of men like Farragut and his boys is like a chapter out of a
wonder book. In April, 1862, with a fleet of wooden frigates,
mortar-schooners, and half-protected boats he entered the mouth of the
Mississippi below New Orleans. The bottom of the river bristled with
torpedoes--kegs filled with powder, and surrounded with long prongs that
rested upon percussion caps. When a ship struck a prong it exploded the
cap and the powder, and again and again a boat went to the bottom. The
forts that protected the Mississippi thirty miles below the city were
sheathed with sand bags, and mounted a hundred guns; while a boom of
logs and chains crossed the river, and a fleet of fifteen vessels
including an armed ram and a floating battery were there to dispute
further progress. But Farragut lashed himself into the rigging of his
flag-ship, and his fleet stormed the passage, raked with chains and
shell. From the 18th to the 25th of April, a battle royal was waged with
splendid valour on both sides; but the forts were passed, the boom was
broken, the defensive fleet defeated, and Farragut had won New Orleans.
Farragut, David D. Porter and other heroes had their full share of war
and of glory not only here but later in Mobile Bay, and in 1863 with
Grant and Sherman at Vicksburg, and at Port Hudson on the Mississippi,
and Porter at Fort Fisher in December, 1864-January, 1865. Of absolute
maritime warfare there was none, except Winslow's sinking of the
_Alabama_, but in all the river and harbour fighting, against both
fleets and forts, there was endless demand for intrepidity, ingenuity,
large intelligence, and heroism--demands never failing of response.

The greatest soldiers of the North were McClellan, Sherman, Thomas and
Sheridan, and, towering above all, Grant. We may not linger in detail
upon them all, and can but mention George H. Thomas, the "Rock of
Chickamauga," stern as war, firm as granite, the bravest of knights;
William T. Sherman, audacious, fertile, perhaps the most brilliant of
them all; and Philip H. Sheridan, an organized thunder-storm, with the
swiftness of the war eagle, impetuous, loving adventure, the idol of his
men.

If at last Grant was the brain of the army, Sherman was, like Jackson to
Lee, its "right arm." From the beginning of his military career, Sherman
won the admiration and confidence of the government and the people of
the North. He achieved honours at Vicksburg, and from that hour on to
his victory at Atlanta and his march to the sea, his name and fame
steadily increased. His victories were won, not only by enthusiasm and
brilliancy, but by a mastery in advance of all the facts in the case.
His knowledge was microscopic, to the last degree, as to the roads,
bridges, and resources of the country through which he was marching. On
approaching Atlanta he came to a region through which he had ridden on
horseback twenty years before. That night in his tent, his guides, spies
and advance scouts spread out their maps before Sherman, and to the
astonishment of all, the soldier corrected and amplified them. It seemed
that a score of years before he had formed the habit of making a
detailed study of each region through which he travelled, and of working
out campaigns of attack and defense. His old notes were so accurate as
to prove the basis of an actual campaign for a great army. His contest
with Johnston represented what has been called an inch by inch struggle,
and although Sherman was victorious, when he passed away, the aged
Southern soldier, Johnston, made the long journey to New York to act as
pall-bearer and to testify to the splendid qualities of his great
opponent.

It was Grant himself who called Sheridan "the left arm of the Union." By
universal consent "little Phil" was the most brilliant campaigner of the
group of soldiers of the first class. The story of his victory at
Winchester captured the imagination of the North. The poem describing
that achievement became the most popular poem of the year, and was
recited by all the schoolboys on Friday afternoons, and quoted by all
the politicians on the platform. The North had suffered so many defeats
in the Shenandoah Valley that Sheridan's victory put new heart into the
Union forces, and helped unite the Republican party, making certain the
election of Lincoln.

Indeed, a great German soldier once expressed the judgment that Sheridan
ranked not only with Grant, but with the greatest soldiers of all time.

The work of George H. McClellan was the work of the pioneer and
pathfinder. It is one thing to take a sword, a Damascus blade, and use
it in leadership, and quite another thing to take raw metal and on the
anvil hammer out the blade for a hero's hand. McClellan made the sword;
Grant used it. There is a pathetic passage in Dante's "Vita Nuova": "It
is easier to sing a song than to create a harp." Dante meant that he had
to create the Italian language before he could write the "Paradiso." Now
McClellan's task was to create an army. He took a body of raw recruits
and drilled them; he organized a system of supplies and built up a
purchasing, transporting and storing department; he tested out all the
guns, the cannons, powder and explosives; he compacted a body of
engineers, weeding out poor ones and educating good ones; he took
officers who at the beginning had their appointments through political
influence and trained them until he had a body of men well knit
together.

But McClellan had to contend with jealousy and insubordination. He was a
commander early in the war, and he had competitors and detractors. It
was charged against him that he was more anxious to make than to use a
splendid army, and possibly his ideals of efficiency were too high for
those early days. Yet "Little Mac" was idolized by his soldiers, with
whom he fought and won bloody battles, and even the indeterminate ones
are held in doubt as to his responsibility. Had Hooker obeyed his
command, and crossed the bridge at Antietam and occupied the heights
beyond, soldiers think to-day that Lee would have been crushed. Another
fact was against him. The North was not ready to behold nor strong
enough to endure the slaughter to which later on they became accustomed.
After one of McClellan's first campaigns, Burnside wrote home that
McClellan could have fought his way to Richmond, but it would have cost
ten thousand men, and that would have been butchery. Later on, Grant, in
a single brief campaign, lost twenty-five thousand men! But if Grant had
suffered such losses in 1861 or 1862, he would have been dropped by
Washington as unfitted for a military campaign.

History will rank Grant as the foremost soldier of the Republic. His
story is full of romance. He was of Scotch Covenanter stock that settled
in New England, and made its way to Ohio and Illinois. Like all the most
successful generals on both sides in our Civil War, he was a graduate of
West Point, showed talent in mathematics and engineering, and made an
honourable name in the Mexican War. Scott praised him for his work as
quartermaster and officer. The two maps that Grant made by questioning
ranchmen and farmers as he went through Texas, and the information he
collected from men who had been in and knew the roads and resources of
Mexico, were later on invaluable. Grant was in every Mexican battle save
one.

Fort Sumter fell on April 14, 1861. On the 15th Lincoln called for
75,000 troops. On the 19th Grant organized a little company in
Springfield, Illinois. Two days later Governor Yates made him colonel.
On the 31st of July he was in command at Mexico, Missouri. On the 7th of
August his victory at Columbus won him the rank of brigadier-general. On
the 10th of February, 1862, he was made major-general; on the 23d of
March, 1864, he was made lieutenant-general of the armies of the United
States. It was one long uninterrupted series of victories, for it has
been said that it will never be known if Grant could conduct a retreat,
because he never was defeated. From the beginning his supreme qualities
as a military commander were fully evidenced.

Columbus was called the Gibraltar of the Mississippi. Halleck had
ordered Grant to feel the strength of the enemy. But Grant was
resourceful, fertile in expedients, a believer in offensive tactics.
Hurling his forces upon Columbus, he won a signal victory. At Fort
Donelson, Grant showed his iron endurance and untiring patience. When it
came to the critical hour of the assault, a cold sleet-storm fell upon
his army; the ground was a sheet of glass, the trees encased in ice.
Grant himself spent half the night under a tree, standing upright,
receiving reports and working out his plans. When a spy brought word
that the Confederates had packed their knapsacks with three days'
rations, Grant said: "They are preparing to retreat; we must assault the
works," and, despite the storm, made an immediate attack. When Halleck
received the news of the fall of Fort Donelson, in announcing the
victory to Washington he did not even mention the name of Grant, but
asked Lincoln to promote Smith, a subordinate commander.

Later, in 1863, after months of siege by river and by land, came the
capture of Vicksburg, coincident with the Battle of Gettysburg, that was
the high-water mark of the war. The announcement of these two victories,
on July 4, 1863, intoxicated the North with joy.

By this time Grant's name was upon all lips, and he stood forth the one
general fitted for command of all the armies--in the West, in the South,
and on the Potomac. Just as some men have the gift of inventing, the
gift of singing, the gift of carving, so Grant had the gift of strategy.
One glance, and Grant had the whole situation in hand--the weak points
to be attacked, the weak points of his own position to be safeguarded,
the danger point for the enemy. Obedient himself, he expected instant
obedience from others. Willing to risk his own life, he expected the
same self-sacrifice on the part of his fellow officers. One biographer
calls him "a master quartermaster," telling us that he knew how to feed
and supply an army. Another calls Grant a great drillmaster, exhibiting
him as the teacher of his own generals. Another terms Grant a natural
engineer, with great gifts, but without detailed training. Another
speaks of him as the greatest soldier in history in the way of attack.
But when all these statements are combined, they tell us that Grant is
the great, all-round soldier of the war, who by natural gifts and long
experience could do many things, and all equally well. It is this that
explains the tributes to his military genius by foreign soldiers, and
the great masters of war in every land.

Grant's last campaign was against the capital of the Southern
Confederacy, as the key to the Atlantic coast, for until Richmond should
be taken and the Confederate government put to flight, the war would not
be broken. Therefore Grant concentrated all his forces upon that:--"I
will fight it out on this line if it takes all summer." In those awful
campaigns Grant came to be called "the butcher," for he was as pitiless
as fate, as unyielding as death. One outpost after another fell; one
Southern regiment after another surrendered. Battles became mere
slaughter-pits. Men went down like forest leaves; the army surgeons, at
the spectacle, grew sick; it seemed more like murder than war. The
Wilderness, Spottsylvania, Chickahominy, Petersburg, were names to make
one shudder. But Lee would not yield, and Grant had one watchword,
"Unconditional surrender."

At last, without food, without equipment, without arms, Southern
soldiers began to desert by thousands. Lee's army was reduced, his
supplies were cut off, his retreat to the mountains and any chance of
joining with Johnston from the Carolinas were blocked. Grant demanded
surrender to save further bloodshed.

On the morning of April 9, 1865, Grant and Lee met in peace conference.
Grant had on an old suit splashed with mud, and was without his sword;
Lee wore a splendid new uniform that had just been sent by admirers in
Baltimore. Lee asked upon what terms Grant would receive the surrender.
Grant answered that officers and men "Shall not hereafter serve in the
armies of the Confederate States or in any military capacity against the
United States of America, or render aid to the enemies of the latter,
until properly exchanged,"--all being then freed on parole. The horses
of the cavalry were the property of the men. And Grant said: "I know
that men--and indeed the whole South--are impoverished; I will instruct
my officers to allow the men to retain their horses and take them home
to work their little farms." Lee's final request was for rations for his
starving men. Grant and Lee shook hands, after which the Virginian
mounted his horse and rode off to his army. The Confederates met their
beloved general with tumultuous shouts. With eyes swimming in tears, Lee
said, in substance: "I have done what I thought to be best and what I
thought was right; go back to your homes, conduct yourselves like good
citizens and you will not be molested."

When certain Northern soldiers were preparing to fire salutes to
celebrate the victory, Grant stopped the demonstration. "The best sign
of rejoicing after victory will be to abstain from all demonstrations in
the field." All men in the North felt that the fall of Lee's army meant
the fall of the Confederacy. Indeed, it did practically end the war. The
final sheaf of victory is reaped when the commander, at the head of his
troops, marches into the enemy's capital and makes the palace of his foe
to shelter his own horses. The whole South expected Grant to lead his
Army of the Potomac into Richmond. But Grant remembered Lee's sorrow,
and had no desire for a dramatic triumph. He sent a subordinate to
occupy Richmond, and quietly began the work of disbanding the army.
Sending his regiments back to the fields and factories, he said, "Let us
have peace." From that sentiment issued the new South and the new North.

But the man who had fought the war through to a successful issue became
the most beloved man in the North, and soon the people bore him to the
White House. The task was one for a giant. Four million slaves, newly
emancipated, had to be cared for. Their fidelity to the families of
their absent masters during the war was beautiful; while, towards the
end of the strife, the enrollment and gallant fighting of 150,000
coloured men (Northern and Southern) in the Federal armies showed their
manfulness. And now their Southern millions were free. They had the
suffrage, but could not read the names of the men for whom they were
voting. They were free men, but they had no land, no plough, no cabin,
no anything. Pitiful their plight! In retrospect, no race has ever made
such wonderful progress in fifty years. With President Eliot we may say
that "their industrial achievements are the wonder of the world."

The second task that confronted President Grant was the reconstruction
of the South. It was the era of the carpet-bagger. Northern regiments
dwelt in Southern cities. Men were talking about hanging Jefferson
Davis, and trying to decide whether or not the Confederate soldiers and
officers should receive again the suffrage. Designing whites and
ignorant coloured men gained control of legislatures. Corruption was
rife. The whole South was prostrated. Ten thousand questions arose in
Congress, bewildering, intricate, and the whole land was divided in
opinion as to the proper courses. Finally, all the Confederate officers,
saving perhaps Jefferson Davis alone, and some who refused to accept,
received again their political rights at the hands of the magnanimous
North. Slowly chaos became cosmos.

Scarcely less heavy were the financial troubles of Grant's
administration. An era of war is an era of extravagance. When hard times
came, men were tempted by the dreams of cheap money, and the greenback
craze was abroad. But Grant stood for honest money, and attacked lying
measures with the zeal of a Hebrew prophet.

After two presidential terms came two years of foreign travel (1877-79),
and wherever the great soldier went he exhibited his confidence in
democracy, his interest in the working people and the poor. He returned
home to receive such an ovation as no American citizen has ever had. Six
years of private life were followed by a financial disaster that
threatened to destroy his good name itself. Grant was one who made
ill-advised haste to become rich. Scandalized by the deceit and
impoverished by the failure of men he had trusted as partners, the great
soldier was now assaulted by worry and fear. Our best physicians believe
that fear, whether related to property or the loss of name, or grievous
disappointment, is in some way related to cancer. And within a few
months after that awful wreckage, Grant knew that his life was coming to
an end.

The soldier became an author. Stricken with death, in the hope of
safeguarding his family against poverty Grant decided to write his
memoirs. It was an astonishing literary achievement. His style is simple
as sunshine. Grant knew what he wanted to say, said it, and had done.
Yet all the time a shadow was falling upon the page,--the shadow made by
the messenger of death, who stood by Grant's shoulder, ready to claim
his own. Slowly the soldier wrote the story of his youth, his campaigns
in the West, his battles in the Wilderness, while every day the hand
grew feebler.

Reared in a religious atmosphere, Grant's nature was essentially moral
and religious. He possessed all the big essential virtues--honesty,
justice, truth, honour, good will. He loved the truth. He felt that he
had done what he could. Southern soldiers and generals as well as
Northern comrades and friends brought to his bedside messages of
affection and good cheer. At length he fell asleep. His tomb on the
height above the Hudson has become a Mecca for innumerable multitudes.

To the end of time, perhaps, Lincoln will be remembered as the Martyr
President, the best loved of all our leaders, the great Emancipator, the
gentlest memory of our world; but side by side with Lincoln will stand
Grant, the man of oak and rock, the man of iron will, who fought the war
to a successful issue, and will be known in history as the greatest
soldier of the Republic.



XI

THE LIFE OF THE PEOPLE AT HOME WHO SUPPORTED THE SOLDIERS AT THE FRONT


It is a proverb that nothing moves men like tales of eloquence and
heroism. Historians and poets alike believe that stories of bravery and
anecdotes of heroes exert a profound influence upon young hearts. Here
is Socrates. His judges condemn him to the jail and poison. Socrates
quails not, and says: "At what price would one not estimate one night of
noble conference with Homer and Hesiod? You, my judges, go home to your
banquets--I to hemlock and death; but whether it is better for you than
for me, God knoweth." It is a moving story. Here is the early missionary
martyr, fettered and brought before a cruel tyrant, to be condemned to
death. The missionary lifts his chains, calls the roll of the king's
crimes, flashes the sword of justice, coerces the monarch from his
throne, makes him crawl, beg, plead, and beseech the missionary's pity
and prayers, for speech has made a prisoner king, and turned a monarch
into a captive. It is a moving tale. And here are the stories of war:
Xenophon's ten thousand young Greeks, lost in the heart of the great
nation, a thousand miles from home, without maps, without food,
outnumbered daily ten to one, living off the country, fighting all day,
surrounded by a fresh army each night, steadily pursuing their famous
retreat. See, too, the handful at Thermopylæ, defending the Pass, and
every one of them giving his life. And here are the Dutch, driven by the
Bloody Alva into the North Sea, clinging to the dykes by their
finger-tips, and fighting their way back to their homes and altars. And
here are the American boys confined to the prison ship, the _Jersey_,
starved victims of scurvy and fever, without food, without medicine,
with the corpses of their brothers floating in the water just outside,
boys whose monument stands yonder in Fort Greene. What a tale of
martyrdom is theirs!

Yet the history of heroism holds no more thrilling story than that of
the soldiers of our Civil War. Every other passage, every other
incident, that we have passed in review can be more than duplicated by
soldier boys who have lent new meaning to patriotism and martyrdom. As
many men died in Southern prisons as fell on both sides at the battle of
Gettysburg. This is their story--they counted life not dear unto
themselves; they struggled unto blood, striving against oppression, and
the world itself, with all its beauty, was not worthy of them.

Our prosperous generation, threatened with effeminacy and softness,
needs to re-open the pages of history and to linger long upon the
portraits of our heroic leaders. Theirs was the greatest war that ever
shook the earth. A million Northern men, and over against them a million
Southern men, and a battle line a thousand miles in length! Including
the long-term men and the short-term service, 3,000,000 men engaged in
the conflict! Two thousand two hundred and sixty-one battles fought--if
we mention conflicts in which there were more than five hundred engaged
on each side. When Lee surrendered, his land was desolate. Armies upon
armies of cripples came home to suffer! There were a million widows and
over three million orphan children! Men who at Lincoln's call for troops
left the college and the university discovered, when it was all over,
that it was too late to take up their studies, and lived on like
unfulfilled prophecies. Others, who during those four years poured out
all the vital nerve forces, brought so little strength out of the long,
bitter struggle that they might better have died, and for years have
been in the invalid's chair, looking with wistful eyes on the great
procession of society moving on to industrial victories! The war all
over? The war has been continued in its influences throughout the entire
generation! It never will be over until the last cripple has dropped his
maimed body, until the last child, robbed of a dead father's care, has
recovered his losses, and the last woman who has lived alone through the
years has found her beloved!

The courage and endurance of the Southern women, who took full charge of
the cotton plantations and helped support Lee's army, stirs the sense of
wonder. There were many Northern women who had no relatives at the
front, but there was scarcely a Southern home where the father, husband
or sons were not on the battle line. For that reason the Southern women
were always in a state of suspense. Homes were entirely broken up during
the four years. The men were at the front, and all the women were
either at work at home or were in the hospitals as nurses. During 1862
and 1863 practically every church in Richmond was a hospital, and there
were twenty-five other buildings used by surgeons. Physicians had no
morphine and no quinine. For coffee they used parched corn. Tea rose to
$500 a pound. For sugar they steeped watermelon rind. For soda these
women burned corncobs and mixed the ashes with their corn-meal. They had
neither ice nor salt. They tore up their ingrain carpets to make
trousers for the soldiers. Women wore coarse hemp and calico. Having no
leather, one little factory turned out five hundred pairs of wooden
shoes a month in Richmond.

When Lee needed bullets, a minister tore the lead pipe out of his house
in Richmond to send the lead to Lee. Flour rose to $400 a barrel. In one
little town iron became so scarce that tenpenny nails were used for
money. No tale more pitiful than that of the women who took charge of
the slaves on the plantation, comforted their little children, buried
their dead, smiled, wept, prayed, worked, compelled their lips to
silence, staggered on, groaned inly while they taught men peace, and
died while others were smiling. Whether or not men are made in the image
of God, these women certainly were. And it was because they believed
with all their mind and soul that independence for the State was the
sovereign gift of God; and they died for independence, just as the boys
in blue lived and died for the Union.

It was this moral earnestness and intensity of conviction that made the
war so terrible. When England hired Hessians to fight Washington's
troops, and they fought for so much a week, the hired soldiers were slow
to begin attack and quick to retreat. Mercenaries have to be scourged
into battle. Stonewall Jackson's men believed in their cause and
thirsted for the excitement of the attack and onslaught. And yet all the
time the two opposing armies maintained mutual respect and even
developed a new sense of brotherhood as the desperate struggle went on.
Never was there a war carried on with such intensity by day and such a
sense of mutual respect at night. Once when the Rappahannock separated
the two armies, and it was evident that there was no campaign beyond, a
revival broke out in one of Stonewall Jackson's regiments and there were
prayer-meetings in almost every tent every night. Becoming acquainted,
a number of boys in blue by previous arrangement crossed the river, and
knelt in the prayer service. One night the sound of the regiments
singing, "Nearer My God to Thee," rolled through the air across the
river, and finally the boys in the Northern army joined in, until at the
last verse, the two regiments, opposed in arms, were one in voice and
heart, as they poured out their souls to God in the old hymn they had
learned at their mother's knee. For the soldier knew that any moment a
shot might bring the end.

The sufferings of men in prisons touch the note of horror. The national
government is planning a monument for those who died in Andersonville.
Gettysburg slew 26,000, Andersonville 32,000. The stockade included
twenty-six acres, but three acres were marsh. Incredible as it may seem,
there was no shelter, no beds, no cook-house, no hospital, no nothing.
Just the cold rain in winter chilling men to death, just the pitiless
glare of the August sun scorching them to death. There was no
sanitation, and when it rained the little stream backed up the sewage,
and after each shower men died by scores. Wirtz wrote Jefferson Davis
that one-fifth of the meal was bran, and that he had no meat, no
medicine, no clothing. Men burrowed in the ground, dug caves like rats,
and not infrequently fifty bodies were carried out in a single day.
Wirtz destroyed men faster than did General Lee. The men imprisoned in
Andersonville urge that there were thousands of cords of wood just
outside the stockade, miles upon miles of forests all about, that the
prisoners could have built their own shanties and hospitals, and
cookhouses. To which Wirtz's friends answer that he did not have weapons
or Confederate soldiers enough to guard the prisoners on parole. While
they also answer that the prisoners in Andersonville had as much food
and the same kind as Lee's army was then enjoying. The plain fact is
that the South was out of medicine, clothing and food, and was itself on
the edge of starvation.

The wonderful thing is that these Union boys, 32,000 of them, who died
at Andersonville, could at any moment have obtained release by taking
the oath not to renew arms against the South. Some few did escape by
digging under the stockade--but what perils they endured to escape from
the enemy's country! They slept in leaves by day, and travelled by
night. They were pursued by bloodhounds, lay in water and swamps, with
only their lips above the filth until the peril had passed by. They wore
rags, ate roots, shivered in the rains, sweltered in the heat, grew more
emaciated, until more dead than alive they reached the Northern lines.

Now that it is all over, Confederate soldiers like General John B.
Gordon have said on a hundred lecture platforms in Northern cities that,
having done what he could for States' rights and to destroy the Union,
he thanked God above all things else that he was not successful. In the
spirit of Abraham Lincoln, that great Southern soldier wrote the last
words of his life, in the hope that they would help cement the Union
between the North and the South:--"The issues that divided the sections
were born when the Republic was born, and were forever buried in an
ocean of fraternal blood. We shall then see that, under God's
providence, every sheet of flame from the blazing rifles of the
contending armies, every whizzing shell that tore through the forests at
Shiloh and Chancellorsville, every cannon shot that shook Chickamauga's
hills or thundered around the heights of Gettysburg, and all the blood
and the tears that were shed are yet to become contributions for the
upbuilding of American manhood and for the future defense of American
freedom. The Christian Church received its baptism of pentecostal power
as it emerged from the shadows of Calvary, and went forth to its
world-wide work with greater unity and a diviner purpose. So the
Republic, rising from its baptism of blood with a national life more
robust, a national union more complete, and a national influence ever
widening, shall go forever forward in its benign mission to humanity."

Nor must we forget the work of nurses, the members of the Sanitary
Commission, and the Christian Commission Movement. The events of the
Russian-Japanese war show what is a wonderful progress of science. Japan
sent along with her army experts on the water, the food, and the placing
of tents, that made typhoid, cholera and the usual diseases impossible.
Her surgeons used antiseptic methods, and gangrene was practically
unknown in the Japanese hospitals. But the situation was different in
1861. Modern sanitation, surgery, antiseptic methods, chloroform and
ether are comparatively recent discoveries. Such anesthetics as the
surgeons had were poor in quality and insufficient in quantity. In the
camps fever was prevalent. Smallpox, measles and lesser diseases became
malignant and wrought terrible ravages. Tents became more dangerous than
battle-fields. What the bullet began, the hospitals completed. More men
died through disease than through leaden hail. But the noble army of
physicians and nurses wrought wonders. Think of it! Twenty-six thousand
men dead or dying on the field of Gettysburg!

Here is a page torn from the journal of one of the nurses there: "We
begin the day with the wounded and sick by washing and freshening them.
Then the surgeons and dressers make their rounds, open the wounds, apply
the remedies and replace the bandages. This is the awful hour. I put my
fingers in my ears this morning. When it is over we go back to the men
and put the ward in order once more, remaking the beds and giving clean
handkerchiefs with a little cologne or bay water upon them, so prized in
the sickening atmosphere of wounds. Then we keep going round and round,
wetting the bandages, going from cot to cot almost without stopping,
giving medicine and brandy according to orders. I am astonished at the
whole-souled and whole-bodied devotion of the surgeons. Men in every
condition of horror, shattered and shrieking, are brought in on
stretchers and dumped down anywhere." Men shattered in the thigh, and
even cases of amputation were shovelled into berths without blanket,
without thought or mercy. It could not have been otherwise. Other
hundreds and thousands were out on the field of Gettysburg bleeding to
death, and every minute was precious.

No page can ever describe the service of nurses, sisters of mercy,
chaplains, brave men and kind women, who took train and went to the
front upon news of the battle and remained there for weeks.

But while the soldier boys were striving unto blood for their
convictions, what about the people at home who loved them? How did they
carry their burdens and fulfill their task that was not less important?
Fortunately, during the war, the North was blessed with four bountiful
harvests that were rich enough, not only to support the people at home,
and the soldiers at the front, but also to furnish an excess of food
that could be sold abroad to obtain money with which to help support the
war. It seemed as if the sun, the rain, and the soil had entered into a
conspiracy to support the North and liberty. The largest crop of wheat
and corn ever garnered before the war was in 1859. At that time, men
thought the harvest would never be surpassed. But strangely enough, that
bumper crop of 1859 was surpassed four times in succession during the
Civil War. Meanwhile the herds of cattle and the flocks of sheep more
than doubled during the conflict, and all of the land that was not
yellow with grain became a rich pasture and meadow, covered with cattle,
sheep and horses.

Even the losses of sugar and cotton usually purchased from the South
were made up to the North. Threatened with the loss of the Southern
sugar, sorghum cane was imported from China, and the people scarcely
missed the Southern sugar. When the cotton failed, the unwonted increase
of the flocks furnished wool for raiment. It stirs wonder to reflect
that one poor crop of wheat and corn might have changed the issue, and
defeated the North. Singularly enough also, the failure of crops in
Europe not only offered a market for the unexpected Northern surplus,
but yielded the highest price ever known, thus bringing in a golden
river to enrich the Northern people. Jefferson Davis had said at the
beginning of the war that "grass would soon be growing not simply in the
streets of the villages of the North, but in Broadway and Wall Street."
Davis believed that the withdrawal of every fourth man would make our
problem of food and clothing impossible of solution. But at that moment
the invention of the reaper enabled one harvester to do the work of ten
men, and the new tools actually more than took the place of the Northern
soldiers who were at the front.

Furthermore, the spirit of patriotism and self-sacrifice descended upon
the Northern women. On the little farms where the farmer's wife was too
poor to buy a reaper, the mother and the daughters went into the field
to plough the corn and thrash the wheat and milk the cows. In many
counties in Iowa and Kansas one-half of the men were at the front, and
in harvest time it is said that there were more women working in the
wheat and corn fields than men.

One other element fought for liberty and the North. A strange unrest
fell upon Europe. Foreign peoples became discontented and began to
migrate. In the summer of 1862 a vast multitude landed upon the shores
in New York, at the very time when there was a scarcity of labour in the
shops and factories. At the very hour when Lincoln was afraid that it
might become impossible to clothe the army and equip it, the providence
of God raised up foreigners who stepped into the place made vacant by
the newly enlisted soldier; thereafter the North throughout the war
actually increased in population, in wealth, in manufacturing interests.
The Civil War ended with the North richer and more prosperous than when
it began; while in 1861 slavery had impoverished the South, and war left
the Confederacy crushed to the very earth, peeled and stripped, famished
and utterly broken. For the South never yielded until she had cast in
the last earthly possession, and knew that only life and breath were
left.

Despite the abundant harvests, during the early part of the war the
Northern people passed through gloom, anxiety and bitter disappointment.
At first the colleges and universities were empty, because the students
had all gone to the front, but the common schools were as full as usual.
The churches were better attended than formerly, while the newspapers
were more widely read than ever before. The crisis sobered the people.
The serious note was manifest. One by one luxuries were given up,
amusements seemed paltry, and people forgot their usual diversions.
After Bull Run came a succession of calamities. Longfellow writes:
"Sumner came to dine last night, but the evening was most gloomy, and
all went away in tears." Governor Morton of Indiana wrote Lincoln,
"Another three months like the last six, and we are lost." Robert
Winthrop of Boston came down to New York, and spoke of three scenes that
he had witnessed. The first was a group of soldiers on their way home,
in charge of friends, some crippled, some emaciated, gaunt and broken,
and the rest carried on stretchers. At another station he saw a group of
young soldiers, intelligent, athletic and sturdy, climbing on the car to
start to the front, but on the platform was a group of pale-cheeked and
weeping women, wives, mothers and sweethearts. "Oh, it was terrible! It
is all black, black, black!" said Winthrop.

But after the battle of Gettysburg, the high-water mark of the war,
men's spirits began to rise. The North became inured to excitement. The
emotion was converted into hard work and endurance, and that dogged
determination to produce the raiment, the weapons and the food to
support the army, or die in the attempt. Depositors took risks and
loaned their money to the banks. Bankers took their courage in their
hands and loaned the money to the manufacturers; manufacturers
advertised for labour in Europe and started up their factories by night
as well as by day. Wages rose, the balance of trade was largely in
favour of the North, the oil regions began to prosper, and industry,
commerce and finance all waxed mighty. In 1864 the whole land was in the
full sweep of industrial prosperity. The debts incident to the panic of
1857 were fully liquidated. Iron is the barometer, and the country
doubled its consumption of iron. An editor writing of his city says,
"Old Hartford seems fat and rich and cozy, and everything is as tranquil
as if there were no war."

But the industrial conditions of life in the South were very different.
Be it remembered that the North was a self-supporting region, both as
to foods and manufactured articles, while the South, under slavery,
produced raw material, and used that raw stuff to build up factories in
England. When the war came the South found herself without the means of
supplying her own wants. Within six months the South discovered that
every axe and saw and steam-engine and iron rail and bolt and nail had
come from the North. Davis sent out men to scurry the country for old
stoves and every iron scrap was picked up to be melted into weapons. At
the close of the war tenpenny nails were used as five-cent pieces and
currency in North Carolina. To crown all other disasters came the
debasement of the currency. Macaulay says that the world has suffered
less from bad kings than from bad shillings and sixpences. The
Confederacy issued one billion dollars of paper money, States issued
another flood of promises to pay, cities put out municipal currency,
fire and life insurances their shin-plasters, and they kept pouring out
paper money until finally all the printing presses broke down. A month
before the collapse, a Confederate soldier, returning to his little
cabin, paid $10,000 for a fifteen-year-old mule, knee sprung in front
and spavined behind, and $7,500 for the shoes for shoeing the mule.

Lee's army would have collapsed but for the marvellous heroism,
resourcefulness and courage of the Southern women. They took charge of
the fields, planted the crops, gathered the harvests, and staggered on
to the end. Not one Northern home in five was death-stricken through the
war, but practically every Southern home had lost one or two members of
the family, through father, son or brother.

Nor must we forget what Lee owed to the fidelity of the negroes. Instead
of insurrection, arson, pillage and murder in Southern towns and old
homesteads, the Southern slave remained true to his mistress, and was
the very soul of fidelity. Yet when the war was over, the town had
become a wilderness, the plantation a desolation, and where there had
been prosperity and even luxury, famine and want and disease had set up
their abiding places. Verily secession sowed the wind and reaped the
whirlwind of destruction.

That the war influenced some people for good and influenced others for
evil is beyond all doubt. During the first two years it was a distinct
tonic to the intellect and conscience of the people. The sense of
national peril quickened the dull and lethargic, steadied the weak
drifters, furnished ballast to all the people, made the strong stronger,
made the brave more heroic. The first sign of national decay is the note
of frivolity. The sure sign of greatness in a generation is the note of
seriousness. In the middle of 1863 James Russell Lowell wrote Bancroft
that the war had been a great, a divine and a wholly unmixed blessing,
and that all of the people were exalted to new levels. Had the war
ceased with the battle of Gettysburg, probably Lowell's statement would
have held true, but later came the reaction towards graft and
corruption, intemperance, profligacy and gambling. Within four years the
representatives of the government expended from seven to eight billions
of dollars. Government contractors bought at a single time 50,000 suits
of clothes, 100,000 rifles, 200,000 blankets. The temptation to graft
was strong for all and irresistible to a few. The government records
speak of one horse-trader in St. Louis who bought his horses and mules
at $75 and sold them to the government for $150, and made enough to buy
Mississippi steamboats for $65,000. He then rented these boats to the
government for one year for $295,000, and at the end of the year still
owned the boats. To what extent charges of graft were made is indicated
by the fact that one claim was reduced from fifty millions to
thirty-three millions. A cartoon of that time with strange exaggeration
represents one man saying to his friend, "So-and-so has obtained a third
contract from the government." To which his friend answers, "Well, well!
A couple of more contracts and he will die worth a million." For any
manufacturer to obtain a government contract was for that man to be on
the highroad to wealth.

Yet the historians who analyze these reports find a large amount of
exaggeration in the statements. Some waste there was, but the
authorities seem to think that it was the waste of inexperience for the
most part. When the war opened the Navy Department was spending
$1,000,000 a year. By 1862 it was spending $145,000,000, and with no
organization to handle such enormous interests. In general, in view of
the sudden emergency thrust upon the people, the marvel is not that
there was so much corruption among government contractors, but that
there were so many honest contractors, and that there was so little
waste through inexperience.

In general it may be said that the moral and religious sentiment of both
North and South alike steadily strengthened during the conflict. After
Gettysburg, the Southern people and army, always deeply religious, in
their distress turned to their fathers' God for support. Jackson and
Lee's men fought by day, and held prayer-meetings by night. In the
North, during 1861 and '62 and '63, religious meetings were held all
over the land. When the winter twilight fell, the candles began to burn
in the little schoolhouses, where the farmers assembled and prayed to
God. In the small towns and tiny villages the little churches were
packed with worshippers, not simply on Sundays but during the evenings
of the week. During this interval the layman became as influential as
the ordained preachers. At this time, the Young Men's Christian
Association took its rise, all of the old men saw visions, and all of
the young men dreamed dreams, and many a Saul was found among the
prophets. Poets like Lowell were moved by deeply religious
inspirations. During the war Whittier wrote his loftiest songs and his
noblest and most exalted prayers. The influence of the great conflict
upon philosophers like Emerson is easily traced. American literature
lost its note of unreality. Preaching became practical. There was a
revival of ethics in politics. The war cleared the atmosphere of the
country by sweeping away slavery with all its foundation of lies.

Wendell Phillips once said the French Revolution was the greatest and
most unmixed blessing of the last one thousand years. Now that it is all
over, and the slain soldiers and the brave women who went down in the
conflict have had all their hard questions asked before the throne of
God, perhaps these heroes and heroines who now live unto God look back
upon this era as an era of sorrow overruled for justice and liberty. The
conclusion of the whole matter is this: a good house must be founded
upon a rock, and no government or civilization can be permanent that is
not based on the freedom, property and intelligence of the working
classes.

To-day the leaders of thought in the South believe that Lee and Gordon
were right in the statement that they "thanked God that they failed to
establish States' rights, and that Northern men had succeeded in
maintaining the Union." Time has cleared the air of misunderstandings.
At last the North and South understand Lincoln's last words regarding
the Civil War: "Both read the same Bible and pray to the same God, and
each invokes His aid against the other. It may seem strange that any men
should dare to ask a just God's assistance in wringing their bread from
the sweat of other men's faces; but let us judge not, that we be not
judged. The prayers of both could not be answered--that of neither has
been answered fully. The Almighty has His own purposes. 'Woe unto the
world because of offenses; for it must needs be that offenses come; but
woe to that man by whom the offense cometh.' If we shall suppose that
American slavery is one of those offenses which, in the Providence of
God, must needs come, but which having continued through His appointed
time, He now wills to remove, and that He gives to both North and South
this terrible war, as the woe due to those by whom the offense came,
shall we discern therein any departure from those divine attributes
which the believers in a living God always ascribe to Him? Fondly do we
hope--fervently do we pray--that this mighty scourge of war may speedily
pass away. Yet, if God wills that it continue until all the wealth piled
by the bondsman's two hundred and fifty years of unrequited toil shall
be sunk, and until every drop of blood drawn by the lash shall be paid
by another drop of blood drawn by the sword, as was said three thousand
years ago, so still it must be said, 'The judgments of the Lord are true
and righteous altogether.' With malice towards none; with charity for
all; with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let
us strive on to finish the work we are in; to bind up the nation's
wounds; to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his
widow and orphan; to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and
lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations."



XII

ABRAHAM LINCOLN: THE MARTYRED PRESIDENT


Among the heroes who helped save the Republic, the last, best hope of
earth, in that it gives liberty to the slaves, that it might assure
freedom to the free, stands Abraham Lincoln, the emancipator and martyr.
Take him all in all, Abraham Lincoln is the greatest thing the Republic
has achieved. History tells of no child who passed from a cradle so
humble to a grave so illustrious. The institutions of the Republic were
founded for the manufacture of a good quality of soul. In the presence
of the greatest men of history we can point with pride to Lincoln,
saying, "This is the kind of man the institutions of the Republic can
produce." For Lincoln's most striking characteristic was his
Americanism. At best, Washington was a patrician, the fine product of
aristocratic institutions, so that England claimed him. Washington was
the richest man of his era, his home an old manor house, his estate
wide inherited acres, his relative an English baronet, his brother the
child of Oxford University. The books he read were English books, the
teachers he had were English tutors. The root was planted in English
soil, though it fruited under American skies. But Americanism is the
very essence of Lincoln's thoughts, Lincoln's enthusiasm, Lincoln's
utterances, and Lincoln's character. One of the golden words of the
Republic is the word "opportunity." Here, all the highways that lead to
office, land and honour must be open unto all young feet. A banker's son
may climb to the governor's mansion, or the White House, but so may the
washerwoman's. The widow's son practices eloquence in the corn fields of
Virginia, but he has ability and patriotism, and we bring Henry Clay to
the Senate chamber. A child out in Ohio goes barefooted over the October
grass, driving an old red cow to the barn lot, but we bring McKinley to
the White House.

Yonder stands the Temple of Fame. The door is open by day and by night,
and a tall, thin, sallow boy turns his back upon a log cabin in Illinois
and seeks entrance. But the angel at the threshold asks hard questions:
"Can you eat crusts? Can you wear rags? Can you sleep in a garret? Can
you endure sleepless nights and days of toil? Can you bear up against
every wind that assails your bark? Can you live for liberty and God's
truth, and can you die for them?" And that boy bowed his assent.
Washington climbed hand over hand up the golden rounds of the ladder of
success; Lincoln built the ladder up which he climbed out of the fence
rails which his own hands had split. Like his Divine Master, he touched
two or three crusts and turned them into bread for the hungry
multitudes.

His little log cabin shames our palaces. His three books, the Bible, the
"Pilgrim's Progress" and "Æsop's Fables" eclipse our libraries. His six
months in a log schoolhouse were more than equal to our eight years in
lecture hall and university. His fidelity to the great convictions
shames our shifting politicians. For fifty years he walked forward under
clouded skies. Like Dante, he held heart-break at bay. During one brief
epoch only did his sun clear itself of clouds. He died without full
recognition or reward. In retrospect he stands forth the saddest and
sweetest, the strongest and gentlest, the most picturesque and the most
pathetic figure in our history. The Saviour of the world was born in a
stable and cradled in a manger, and went by the Via Dolorosa towards the
world's throne. Not otherwise Abraham Lincoln was born in a cabin, more
suited for herds and flocks than for a young mother and a little child;
and by the way of poverty and adversity the great emancipator travelled
towards his throne of influence and world supremacy.

History holds a few deeds so great that they can be done but once. There
are some laws, some reforms and some liberties that once achieved are
always achieved. Thus, Columbus discovered this new world, but his
achievement reduced all the other explorers to the level of imitators.
Thus Isaac Newton discovered gravity, and in a moment every other
astronomer became a pupil and a disciple. There never can be but one
James Watt, for, though a thousand inventors improve his engine, their
names are little tapers, shining over against the sun. The last century
offered men of genius two signal opportunities, and there were a
thousand eager aspirants for the honour. Charles Darwin discovered the
golden key that unlocked the kingdom of nature and life, and carried
off the honours of science. Abraham Lincoln, in an hour when some would
meanly lose it, planned to nobly save the Union, emancipated three
million slaves, and carried off the honours in the realm of reform and
liberty.

How great was the work done by this man and how supreme was the man
himself, we can best understand by comparison and contrast. Among small
men it is easy to be great. In Patagonia, where everybody eats blubber,
a boy in the first reader is a prodigy of learning.

Anybody can be a giant in heroism and reform among Hottentots and South
Sea savages. But the era of the Civil War was an era of heroes. Great
men walked in regiments up and down the land. It was the age of Daniel
Webster, whose genius is so wonderful that he achieved the four supreme
things of four realms,--the greatest legal argument we have, the
Dartmouth College case; the greatest plea before a judge and jury, the
Knapp murder case; our finest outburst of inspirational eloquence, the
oration at Bunker Hill; the greatest argument in defense of the
Constitution, his reply to Hayne. It was the age of John C. Calhoun, a
statesman whose political theories led half a continent to deeds of
daring war. It was the era of Seward, the all-round scholar, of Chase
the greatest secretary of treasury since Alexander Hamilton, a man who
struck the rock with the rod of his genius, and made the waters of
finance flow forth from the desert. It was the age of our greatest
orators, for then Wendell Phillips and Beecher were at their best. It
was the era of Emerson, the philosopher; of Theodore Parker, the
reformer; of Garrison, the abolitionist; of Lovejoy, the martyr; of
Lowell and Whittier, the poets of freedom; of Greeley, the editor; it
was also the age of the greatest soldiers, Grant and Sherman, and
Sheridan and Lee. The great man is a form of fruit ripened in an
atmosphere made warm and genial, and the climate that nurtured Lincoln
unfolded the talents that represented also other forms of mental fruit.
Among these men Lincoln lived and wrote and spoke, and suffered and
died;--but he stands forth a master among men, an indisputable genius,
one of the five supreme statesmen of all history.

Now if we are to understand the unique place of Abraham Lincoln in our
history we must recall again for a moment the men who set the battle
lines in array. Unfortunately, most of our histories tell our children
and youth that the Civil War raged about the slave. As a matter of fact,
slavery was the occasion of the war, but not the cause. Slavery was the
sulphur match that exploded the powder magazine, though the powder
magazine could have been set off by a spark from the flint and steel, or
a hundred other methods.

The Civil War was really fought over the question whether a
constitutionally formed nation dedicated to the proposition that all men
are created equal could permanently endure. The whole period from 1789
to 1865 was a critical period, during which the Constitution was being
tested and tried out.

During this testing many forms of secession were planned, and several
actual rebellions took place. In 1787 there was a Massachusetts
rebellion under Shays, over the question of taxation. In 1794 there was
what was known as the Whiskey Rebellion in Pennsylvania. In 1830 to 1835
there was a secession movement on in South Carolina, and President
Jackson put down that rebellion over the tariff. Then Daniel Webster
marked out the final lines of battle, entrenching the Constitution
against rebellious attempts. Webster fired the first shot of the war,
whose last shot was fired at Appomattox. Webster carried the flag that
Grant followed at Vicksburg, and shook out the folds of the banner that
was crimsoned with blood at Gettysburg. It was Webster's banner that
Anderson pulled down at Fort Sumter, under the stress of fire, and it
was Webster's banner that, four years later to an hour, the same General
Anderson pulled up on the same flagstaff at the same Fort Sumter.

During the period of the thirties and the forties, the conflict was a
conflict of words and arguments between men like Webster and Calhoun and
Garrison and Phillips. Later, the strife took on the form of a guerrilla
warfare, and here and there leaders like Lovejoy were martyred. At last
the strife entered into politics, when Douglas and Lincoln struggled for
the supremacy of their principles,--but always it was a question of
Constitutional interpretation, against whatever interest attacked the
"supreme law."

Soon the conflict entered the Church, and the American Tract Society,
to hold the gifts of slave owners, forbade the distributions of
Testaments to slaves, while the Bishop of New Jersey destroyed an
edition of the Prayer Book because it contained a picture of Ary
Scheffer's picture of "Christ the Emancipator," who was engaged in
striking the shackles from slaves. The bishop was quite willing that
Christ should open the eyes of the blind, make the deaf to hear and the
lame to walk, but as for Jesus freeing the slaves--well, that was too
much. Over the question of the Constitutional power of Congress to
resist the further extension of slavery in newly opened territories, the
whole land rocked with excitement. Liberty and Slavery, like two giants,
grappled for the death struggle. In such an era God raised up Abraham
Lincoln, to lead the people out of the wilderness, and into the Promised
Land of Union, of Liberty, and of Peace.

Never was a candidate for universal fame born under so unfriendly a sky.
His annals are "the short and simple annals of the poor." His home was a
log cabin that had but three sides, the fourth one being a buffalo robe,
swaying to and fro in the wind. When the biting wind of poverty became
unbearable in Kentucky, the scant possessions were loaded upon a horse,
carried across the Ohio, and the child walked barefooted through the
forests of Indiana, where a new shack was built in the wilderness. There
Lincoln's "angel mother" sickened and died--that mother to whom Lincoln
said he owed all that he was or hoped to be. Then when the winter of
poverty and discontent settled down blacker than ever, the father
removed to another State, where the mud was deeper, and the winters
colder, where nature was less propitious. Lying on his face, before
blazing logs, the boy committed to memory the four Gospels, "Æsop's
Fables," and Bunyan's "Pilgrim's Progress." At nineteen he went to New
Orleans, and standing in the slave market saw a young girl sold at
public auction, and told his brother, Dennis Hanks, that if he ever had
a chance he would hit slavery the hardest blow he could. At twenty he
split 1,200 rails for a farmer, whose wife wove for him three yards of
cloth, dyed in walnut juice, with which he had a new suit of clothes. He
started a little store, failed in business, became a surveyor, bought a
copy of the Constitution of the United States and the Declaration of
Independence; was made postmaster; several years later returned to the
government agent the exact silver quarters and copper cents that he had
kept tied up in a bag, because honesty meant that the identical coins
must be returned to the government; entered upon the study and the
practice of the law; was elected to the legislature, and reflected; was
sent to Congress, and on a second campaign for the United States
senatorship from Illinois met his competitor, Stephen A. Douglas, in the
great debate. Beginning this contest, he delivered the "house divided
against itself cannot stand" speech; and in the course of his marvellous
debate made the issue between liberty and slavery so clear that a
wayfaring man, though a fool, could not misunderstand; declared that if
slavery was not wrong, there was nothing that was wrong. Soon he came to
be looked upon as one who each year would coin the happy phrase and the
rhythmical watchword that would be taken upon the lips of 30,000,000 of
people; was made the leader of the new "party of freedom," and
President.

Now, with infinite skill and patience, he entered upon the task of
proving that he was the strongest man in his Cabinet, the strongest man
in the North, the strongest man in the country, and the only man who had
the last fact in the case, and therefore had the right to rule. Seward,
experienced politician and statesman that he was, began by delicately
hinting to Lincoln that if he felt himself unequal to emergencies, he
could rely upon his Secretary of State for guidance, and that he,
Seward, would not evade the responsibility. Lincoln answered by reading
Seward's statement of a possible measure, and then placing beside it a
statement of his own that reduced Seward to the level of a schoolboy
standing up beside a giant. Then Stanton entered the lists as
competitor, and quietly Lincoln asserted himself until Stanton's
attitude became one of almost reverent worship, as he said of Lincoln,
"Henceforth he belongs with the immortals." Then Greeley put in his
claim for supremacy, and after Lincoln had published his answer to
Horace Greeley, in lines as clear as crystal, and in words as gentle as
sunbeams, not a man in the land but saw that Lincoln was intellectually
head and shoulders above Horace Greeley. One by one and step by step he
ascended the hills of difficulty. Round by round he climbed the ladder
of fame. Naturally, therefore, his centennial was observed by a week's
celebration, when all the wheels were still, and all the stores and
factories were silent, when ninety millions of people were gathered into
one vast audience chamber, when one name was upon all lips--the name of
Abraham Lincoln, the emancipator of the slaves, the acknowledged master
of men, who gave liberty to the slaves that he might assure freedom to
the free.

Thoughtless writers have talked Lincoln's ancestry down, and careless
biographers have defamed him. Superficial students speak of him as a
miracle, and say that his genius is surrounded with silence and mystery.
But all that Abraham Lincoln was he had at the hands of his fathers and
his mothers. Although their greatness was latent, his parents had as
much ability in their way as their distinguished son had in his way. How
do we know? Because when God wants to call a strong man He begins by
calling his father and mother. There never was a great man who did not
have a great ancestry, even though the greatness may have been latent
and unconscious.

Every strong man stands upon the shoulders of his ancestors. When you
start for the top of Pike's Peak you start at Omaha. When you reach
Denver you are six thousand feet in the air, and Pike's Peak is
shouldered up on the foot-hills. Socrates is a great teacher, but look
at Sphroniscus, the sculptor, his father. Paganini is a great musician,
but Paganini was born of musicians whose wrists had muscles that stood
out like whip-cords. Bach is a great musician, but there were forty
people of the name of Bach mentioned in musical dictionaries. Charles
Darwin is the great scientist, but there were four generations of
scientists who had made ready for Darwin, just as there were seven
generations of scholars that culminated in Emerson. And standing in the
shadow behind Abraham Lincoln are half a dozen generations of men and
women who handed forward to him a perfect logic engine, a sound mind, in
a sound body; a mental instrument that worked without fever and without
friction and without flaw. At the hands of Stradivarius one piece of
apple wood is fashioned into a violin. If Stradivarius passes by the
other board because he has not time, let no man say the board that was
undeveloped was not full of latent music. The Divine Artist and
Architect shaped Abraham Lincoln's nature into a world instrument, but
the same quality and the stuff were in his father and mother, who lived
and died a bundle of roots that were never planted, a handful of
blossoms that never fruited.

Lincoln's father and mother were like the crystal caves in their own
Kentucky. There the traveller is led through a cave of crystals, newly
discovered. One day a farmer ploughing thought the ground sounded hollow
under his feet. Going to the barn, he brought a spade and opened up an
aperture. Flinging down a rope, his friends let the explorer down, and
when the torches were lighted, lo, a cave as of amethysts, sapphires and
diamonds! For generations the cave had been undiscovered and the jewels
unknown. Wild beasts had wandered above these flashing gems, and still
more savage men had lived and fought and died there. And yet just
beneath was this cave of splendid beauty. Oh, pathetic illustration of
men who are big with talent, of women full of latent gifts, of fathers
and mothers like Thomas Lincoln and his young wife, who struggle on
without opportunity, who are denied their chance, who are imprisoned by
poverty, and fettered by circumstance, who are like birds beating bloody
wings against the bars of an iron cage, who die unfulfilled prophecies,
and dying, transfer their ambitions to their gifted children, believing
that their son shall behold what the father and mother must die without
seeing. God worked no miracle in Abraham Lincoln.

There is a photograph of the signature of the grandfather upon a title
deed in Culpeper County in Virginia. Now, place that signature side by
side with the signature of Abraham Lincoln on the emancipation
proclamation, and the strong, sinewy sweep in the signature of the
grandfather comes down and repeats itself in the strong, steady
clearness of the grandson. And perhaps the strong, sinewy sentence came
down and repeated itself also, for all fine thinking stands with one
foot on fine brain fibre. The time has come for men with a sharp knife
and a hot iron to expunge from two or three of the otherwise best
biographies of Abraham Lincoln these false, superficial and ignorant
statements about his ancestry. Science, observation, experience, history
and sifted facts all unite to tell us that whatever was great in its
unfolding in the talent of Abraham Lincoln was great in the seed form in
his father and mother.

Where were the hidings of his power? Why is Lincoln revered above his
fellows, the orators, the soldiers, and the statesmen and editors and
secretaries of his time? A line of contrast with the other great men who
were his competitors for fame will make Lincoln's supremacy to stand
forth as clear in outline as the mountains, and as bright as the stars.
For example, Wendell Phillips was the agitator and orator of the
abolitionists. Phillips said, "Emancipation is the essential thing. The
Union secondary. If the Southern States will not emancipate the slaves,
force them out of the Union." Horace Greeley was the editor of the war
epoch. Greeley said, "Emancipation is first, the Union secondary. If
they prefer slavery to liberty let the erring sisters go." Beecher was
the all-round man of genius. His great speech in England began with an
exordium at Manchester; he stated the arguments at Edinburgh, Glasgow
and Liverpool; he pronounced the peroration at Exeter Hall, in London,
and no such peroration and eloquence has been heard since Demosthenes'
philippic against the tyrant of Macedon. But Beecher's criticisms of
Lincoln in the New York _Independent_ during April and May of 1862 led
Lincoln to exclaim after reading one of them, "Is Thy servant a dog that
he should do this thing?" If these great men did not appreciate the
national crisis, Lincoln understood it perfectly. Now, over against the
editorials of Beecher and Horace Greeley and the lectures of Phillips,
stands Lincoln, and to these three men he sent words addressed only to
Horace Greeley, explaining to them why the time had not come for the
Emancipation Proclamation. And although a part of this we have quoted in
defense of Webster's position in 1850, that and yet more of the famous
letter may well be repeated here:--

     "I would save the Union.

     "If there be those who would not save the Union unless they could
     at the same time save slavery, I do not agree with them.

     "My paramount object in this struggle is to save the Union, and not
     either to save or destroy slavery.

     "If I could save the Union without freeing any slave, I would do
     it.

     "If I could save it by freeing all the slaves, I would do it.

     "And if I could save it by freeing some and leaving others alone, I
     would also do that.

     "What I do about slavery and the coloured race I do because I
     believe it helps to save the Union; and what I forbear, I forbear
     because I do not believe it would help to save the Union.

     "I shall do less whenever I believe that what I am doing hurts the
     cause.

     "And I shall do more whenever I believe that doing more will help
     the Union."

How wonderfully does this publish the supremacy of Abraham Lincoln!
Lincoln saw clearly, where others had an indistinct vision. As to
gravity, Isaac Newton's vote outweighs all the other millions of men,
and from the hour that Lincoln published this letter to Horace Greeley
the people saw that Abraham Lincoln had the last fact in the case, saw
the whole truth, saw it through and through. By sheer power, clarity of
thought, strength of statement and fairness, Abraham Lincoln finally won
over not only a lukewarm North, but a bitter South, until to-day he
belongs to the ninety millions. If every Northerner should die, the
brave and patriotic men of the South living now would defend everything
for which Abraham Lincoln lived and died. For at last it is true of both
North and South, in Lincoln's own pathetic words, that the mystic chords
of memory, stretching from every battle-field and patriot grave to every
living heart and hearthstone all over this broad land, will yet swell
the chorus of the Union when again touched, as surely they will be, by
the better angels of our nature.

The most striking characteristic of Lincoln's character was his honesty.
Some men are naturally secretive: Lincoln was naturally open as
sunshine. The exact fact, truth in the hidden parts, openness, these
were the innermost fibre of his being. Machiavelli laid out the
diplomat's career on the line of deceit, and concealing the cards.
Lincoln would have made a poor diplomat,--he spread all his cards out on
the table. He won from his opponent, Stephen A. Douglas, the tribute,
"Lincoln was the fairest and most honest man I ever knew." If there ever
lived an absolutely honest lawyer, Lincoln was the man. In his work
before the jury Lincoln never misrepresented his opponent's position,
never twisted the testimony of the witness, never made biassed
statements to win a verdict. Once a young lawyer who was opposing
Lincoln made a poor plea for his client, and overlooked in his argument
before the jury two most important considerations. Lincoln was restless,
and greatly disturbed. He seemed to think that the lawyer's client had
been badly used, and that his attorney had not given him a fair chance,
or guarded his rights. When Lincoln arose, therefore, he began by saying
that the opposing counsel had overlooked the most important point. He
then stated his opponent's position far more strongly than his lawyer
had, and made the best possible statement for his opponent, to the
astonishment and indignation of his own client, whom he was defending.
Then Lincoln turned to answer these arguments,--with the result that for
the first time the two litigants understood the exact facts of both
sides, and at Lincoln's request settled the case, withdrawing it from
the court.

This love of the exact truth and of fair play and of essential justice
shone from the man's face, dominated his arguments, explained his
view-point, revealed his character. The nickname, "Honest Old Abe,"
tells the whole story. Lincoln's final judgment partook of the nature
of a final decree and law. At length his pronouncements became like a
divine fiat. Take the truth out of Lincoln's character, and it would be
like taking the warmth out of a sunbeam. He _was_ truth, he thought
truth, loved the truth, surrendered himself to the truth. Under that
influence he refused to play politics, or fence for position with
Douglas. Once Lincoln won a case so easily that he returned one-half of
the retainer's fee, because he felt that he had not earned it.

Here, therefore, is found the secret of Lincoln's unbounded popularity.
The common people know their friends, and--what with Lincoln's
gentleness, his justice, his boundless kindness, his sympathy with the
poor and the unfortunate, and his honesty--he became the most beloved
man in the Illinois circuit.

Wonderful, too, his literary achievements. His great passages read like
the Bible, and have almost the moral authority thereof. If preachers
ever wear the old Bible out, Lincoln's Second Inaugural, and his speech
at Gettysburg, and certain other passages, will furnish texts for
another hundred years. One thing is certain,--if Chinese students in
their universities two thousand years from now translate any oration out
of the English language, as we now translate the speeches of
Demosthenes, these Chinese students will translate Lincoln's speech at
Gettysburg, and his Second Inaugural Address. Contrary to the usual
idea, it may be confidently affirmed that Lincoln was a well equipped
man, and had the best possible training for literary style. During the
plastic years of memory, Lincoln had three books to study, and two of
these are the finest models for style in all literature,--King James'
Version of the Bible, and Bunyan's "Pilgrim's Progress." These are the
world's great literary masterpieces, these are the wells of English,
pure and undefiled. Upon these two books Robert Burns was reared. To the
fact that his mother made him commit to memory forty chapters of the
Bible before he was seven years old, John Ruskin attributed his mastery
in English style. Second rate men know something about everything.
Lincoln was a first rate man who knew everything about some one thing.
If you want to make a versatile man, turn a boy loose in a library. If
you want a boy to have the note of distinction upon his pages, lock him
out of a library, and send him into solitude, with the English Bible,
with John Bunyan, and with Æsop's Fables, and let him take these three
books into his intellect, as he takes meat and bread into the rich blood
of the physical system.

Literary style is the shadow that the soul flings across the page. Style
is simply the intellect rushing into exhibition and verbal form.
Therefore style is the balance of faculty, symmetry of development. A
man is healthy when he does not know that he has a single organ in his
body, and a page has style when you do not know where to find the note
of distinction. There is a world of difference between "style," and "a
style." Abraham Lincoln's Second Inaugural has style. Carlyle's French
Revolution has a style. A perfect Kentucky horse has style. A
knee-sprung horse has a style. Down the track comes this perfect horse,
eyes flashing, head up, neck arched, feet dancing, not a flaw, not a
blemish, upon leg or body. Looking at the glorious creature you exclaim,
"That horse has style!" For a horse's style is born of perfect health,
perfect lungs and perfect legs, one power balancing another, and all
united to produce an absolutely perfect horse. Now comes a horse that
represents a collection of ringbones, and glanders, and poll-evil. The
one horse limping in front has "a style." Thomas Carlyle's sentences are
knee-sprung in front and his phrases are spavined behind, and,
therefore, Carlyle has "a style" but not "style." You would know one of
his sentences if you saw its skeleton lying in the desert on the road to
Khartoum. But on the other hand, Lincoln has "style,"--that
indescribable bloom and beauty, born of balance, development and
symmetrical growth. Samuel Johnson bulged on the side of Latinity.
Daniel Webster is an example of the magnificent, illustrating
gorgeousness, opulence, and tropic splendour. Lincoln's sentences are
like the Bible and Bunyan,--they are plate-glass windows through which
you look to see the jewelled thought beyond.

Lincoln tells us how he made his style. One day he heard a man use the
word "demonstrate." For days he cudgelled his brains to find out just
what it was to demonstrate a statement. He tells us that when he was
about eight years old, he began to be irritated when men used long
words that he could not understand. He began the habit of thinking over
in the dark before he went to sleep any story he had heard, any
statement that had been made, and he tried to substitute for the long
hard words little short simple words, that a boy could understand.
During those early years, he learned that the rich, racy, homey words
are steeped and perfumed with beautiful associations. He knew that words
are fossil poetry. What would one not give for the old cloak that Paul
had from Troas, a piece of the marble by Phidias, the old threshold worn
by the feet of Socrates, an old missal illuminated by Bellini, an old
note-book in which Shakespeare wrote the first outline of Hamlet! And
the old, sweet, home words with which a mother soothes her babe, with
which a lover woos his bride, the old words of God, and home and native
land, are the words that are rich in association and in power to move
the heart. A bird lines its nest with feathers plucked from its own
breast, and the heart steeps the dear, simple speech of home life in
sacred associations. So Lincoln cut out all the long Latin words, and
substituted the short Saxon ones. Schooled in the two great master books
that are the precious life spirit of earth's greatest souls treasured
up, he developed his style.

Nor must we overlook the fact that the apparent narrowness of his
culture represents a real concentration that made for richness and
depth. If one must choose, take the upper Rhine that is a river deep and
pure and sweet, and strong for bearing the fleets of war and peace
because it is confined between banks and narrowed. But when the Rhine
comes down to the flats and approaches the sea and casts off all
restraints, and tries to include everything, it turns into a swamp, a
morass, losing its power for commerce, and becoming a source of disease
and death. Lincoln's culture was limited to the English, and to a
mastery of the Constitution--the principles of fundamental justice, to
one country--the Republic, to one topic--the Union, and to one
reform--Slavery. Beyond all doubt, this concentration of study during
the critical years of his career made up a much better preparation than
if he had gone to a college, studied half a dozen languages, and fifty
or sixty different subjects, and come out well smattered, but poorly
educated. It may be doubted whether Lincoln would have been much better
off had he been able to read Latin and Greek, and speak French and
German. Many people can say "It is a little yellow dog" in Greek, and
German, and French, and Italian, and English, but after all it is only a
little yellow dog. What educates is the idea, and not the half dozen
names of a thing without an idea.

The important thing about a cistern is water, and not many mouths to the
pump. Having spent many years learning to express one idea in five ways,
one might be glad to trade the five ways of expression for five ideas to
be expressed in one way. Edward Everett, once President of Harvard
University, could talk in five languages, and at Gettysburg spoke for
two hours. Lincoln could speak in one language, and did so for two
minutes. But the next morning Mr. Everett wrote to the President: "I
should be glad if I could flatter myself that I came as near to the
central idea of the occasion in two hours as you did in two minutes."
Lincoln's one language shames our knowledge of four languages, his three
books shame our libraries, and our four years of college culture.

Nor must we overlook the influence upon Lincoln's style of the parables
of Jesus and the fables of Æsop. There are two invariable signs of
genius in a boy,--one is the serious note, and the other is the
picture-making note. All the great things represent serious thinking.
The greatest artist of the last century was the most serious one,--Watt,
with his Love and Life, and Love and Death, and Mammon, and Hope. The
great poems have been the serious poems, the In Memoriam, and the
Intimations of Immortality, the Hamlet and the Lear. The great orators
have been the serious orators.

The next sign of genius is the picture-making faculty. Men of talent
evolve arguments, men of genius create emblems, parables and pictures.
Minds oftentimes called profound use long abstractions, and are called
deep thinkers, because nobody can understand them. But along comes a man
of genius, and he squeezes the juice out of the abstract argument, and
flings the rind away, and tells you what it is like.

Measured in terms of genius, the parables of Jesus are the greatest
literary achievements in history. Æsop's fables teach by pictures.
"Pilgrim's Progress" is pictorial.

Lincoln was exceedingly fortunate in his generation in that the three
great books of pictures were in his hands during the imaginative epoch.
Of course he was born with the talent for parable, because genius is
one-half nature and the other half nurture. It was this natural gift and
the training that taught him how when he had completed an argument and
mastered the principle, to say, Now what is this great principle like,
and how can I condense it into a picture and put it in a happy phrase
that will sing itself across the land? This picture-making gift inspired
him to quote the keen wisdom of that expression of Jesus, "The house
divided against itself cannot stand." This skill in parables gave him
the expression, "Better not swap horses in the middle of the stream,"
that gave him his second election. This vision power gave him that
sentence equal to anything in Shakespeare, when Vicksburg fell, "Once
more the Father of Waters goes unvexed to the sea." This faculty enabled
him to sweep into one illustration a thousand arguments, so that the
people could never forget the mother principle that explained the facts.

Nor may we forget what the great cause did for him. The era of the war
was a great era, because God heaved society as the winds heave the
waves, and men were swept forward with irresistible power upon the great
movement of liberty. Great movements make great epochs and great men. A
great ideal of God and righteousness and liberty lifts Savonarola and
Florence to new levels; a great cathedral inspires Michael Angelo's
great dome; a Divine Saviour and His transfiguration exalt Raphael;
Paradise explains Dante; listening to the sevenfold Hallelujah chorus of
God arouses the sweep and majesty of Milton's epic; the woes of three
million slaves made eloquence possible for Phillips and Beecher. The
saving of a Union, conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition
that all men were created equal, represented a cause into which Lincoln
could fling himself. The thought of meanly losing or nobly saving the
last, best hope of earth, exalted, transformed, and armed the men,
making feeblings strong, and strong men to be giants.

Eloquence and heroism wane during the commercial era. No man can be
eloquent upon the duty on hides, or salt, or the digging of mud out of a
river. But dumb lips will break into glorious speech at the thought of
freeing millions of slaves, and saving free institutions, and handing
liberty forward to other lands, and to generations yet unborn. The era
of Fort Sumter and Gettysburg, when liberty and slavery were in their
death grapple, was an era so great that the ordinary issues of avarice,
self-interest, fame, luxury, became contemptible, and men were exalted
to the point where they spake, and suffered, and marched, and died, more
like gods than men. The great battles to be fought, the great armies to
be moved, the great navies to be directed, the great orators and editors
with whom he counselled, the many slaves for whom he became a voice, the
great days on which he felt that he was making history, the great future
into which he hoped to send the great liberties unimpaired and purified,
the great God over all,--lent greatness to Abraham Lincoln, clothed him
with pathos, with sorrow, with dignity and majesty, as with garments.

Like every giant, he was gentle. The truly great are always sensitive
and sympathetic. In proportion as the mountain goes upward in size does
it gain in power to return the strong man's shout, or the sigh of the
lost child, echoing and reëchoing the cry of need. Sympathy is the soul
journeying abroad, to bind up the wounds of him who has fallen among
thieves. Sympathy cannot feast in a palace while the poor famish.
Selfishness can stop its ears with wax lest it hear the groan of the
poor, but sympathy is knitted in with its kind. Lincoln worked as hard
to help men as slave masters did to recover a fugitive to bondage. It
has been beautifully said that he did kind deeds stealthily, as if he
were afraid of being found out. He became a shield above the fallen; he
stood between the soldier, condemned for the sleep of exhaustion, and
the hangman's noose. He refused to attend a cabinet meeting because he
was trying to find a reason for reprieving a soldier. "It is butchery
day," he said one Friday morning, and he denied himself to a committee
because he did not think that hanging would help the boy who was
condemned to die. "They said he was homely," said a poor woman, going
away from the White House with a reprieve for her son; "he is the
handsomest man I ever saw." It is this sympathy that runs through his
letter to that mother, whose five sons had died gloriously on the field
of battle. For he squeezed the purple clusters of the heart, and let the
crimson tide flow down upon the page, as he prayed that the mother
might carry through the years "only the cherished memory of the loved
and the lost, and the solemn pride that must be yours to have laid so
costly a sacrifice upon the altar of freedom."

More striking still, Lincoln's trust in God and His overruling
providence. Mr. Herndon in his biography and Dr. Abbott in an editorial
and an oration at Cooper Institute emphasize the agnosticism of Lincoln.
The one says that in his youth he wrote an article against Christianity,
and the other that he was not a technical Christian. Dr. Abbott thinks
all this so important that he places the agnosticism of Lincoln at the
forefront. But too much has been made of the schoolboy article of
Lincoln on doubt and infidelity. In his youth Gladstone was a Tory, but
he outgrew it. In the outset Paul was against Christianity. Tennyson and
Wordsworth in their teens wrote puerile verse, just as Lincoln in his
teens wrote a foolish paper. But it is cruelly unfair not to allow
Abraham Lincoln the full benefit of what he came to be, and not to take
the man at his best. It is unfair to say that a man is what he is at his
worst and lowest point; a man is what he is at his best and highest
point. Stephen A. Douglas said Lincoln was the most honest man he ever
knew. Well, if Lincoln was an honest man in his character, he must have
been honest in talking about his religion and his faith in God. Was
Abraham Lincoln an agnostic in that hour when he spoke his farewell
words to his neighbours in Springfield, about starting on the memorable
journey to his inauguration? He said: "I feel that I cannot succeed
without the same divine aid that sustained Washington, and on the same
Almighty Being I place my reliance for support; and I hope you, my
friends, will all pray that I may receive that divine assistance without
which I cannot succeed, but with which success is certain." Was Abraham
Lincoln without faith, and did he play to the gallery, when he set apart
a day of fasting and prayer after the defeat at Bull Run? Having said
that Abraham Lincoln was an honest man, why not remember it, when these
critics read his First Inaugural, in which he declares that
"intelligence, patriotism, Christianity, and a firm reliance on Him who
has never yet forsaken this favoured land, are still competent to adjust
in the best way all our present difficulty." When Abraham Lincoln wrote
the mother, Mrs. Bixby, "I pray that the heavenly Father may assuage the
anguish of your bereavement," he meant that he believed in God, in a God
who answered prayer, in a God who cared for the mother living, and the
five brave boys dead. "The Almighty has His own purposes," said Lincoln,
in the Second Inaugural, an address that is steeped in religion, that
exhales trust in God. Take God out of that Second Inaugural, and it
would be like taking health out of the body, wisdom out of the book,
sweetness out of the song, culture out of the intellect, life out of the
body. You cannot in one breath say that Lincoln was an agnostic, and
then in the next one say that Lincoln was an honest man. I care not one
whit what Mr. Herndon says. I care everything about what Abraham Lincoln
says about himself in his greatest speeches, in his noblest hours, when
he gave his countrymen his latest, deepest, profoundest thoughts.

In trying to explain the character of Lincoln we therefore make our
final appeal unto God, for God alone is equal to the making of this
great man. When long time has passed, the name of Lincoln will probably
be mentioned with Moses, Julius Cæsar, Paul, Shakespeare. Men will read
a few of his paragraphs as a kind of Bible of Patriotism. Washington's
name will not be less, but Lincoln's will certainly be more and more,
and then still more. God and Sorrow made the man great.

And this is his life story. In the darkest hour of the Republic, when
liberty and slavery were struggling to see which should rule the old
homestead, it became evident that slavery would turn the garden into a
desert, and the house into a ruin. And seeking a deliverer and a
saviour, the great God, in His own purpose, passed by the palace with
its silken delights. He took a little babe in His arms, and called to
His side His favourite angel, the angel of Sorrow. Stooping, he
whispered, "Oh, Sorrow, thou well-beloved teacher, take thou this little
child of Mine and make him great. Take him to yonder cabin in the
wilderness; make his home a poor man's house; plant his narrow path
thick with thorns, cut his little feet with sharp and cruel rocks; as he
climbs the hills of difficulty, make each footprint red with his own
life-blood; load his little back with burdens; give to him days of toil
and nights of study and sleeplessness; wrest from his arms whatever he
loves; make his heart, through sorrow, as sensitive to the sigh of a
slave as a thread of silk in a window is sensitive to the slightest wind
that blows; and when you have digged lines of pain in his cheeks, and
made his face more marred than the face of any man of his time, bring
him back to me, and with him I will free three million slaves." That is
how God made Abraham Lincoln great.

And then,--we slew him. For that is the way our ignorant, sinful earth
has always rewarded its greatest souls. Ours is a world where we crucify
the Saviour in Jerusalem, where we poison Socrates in Athens, where we
exile Dante in Italy, and burn Savonarola in Florence, and starve
Cervantes in Madrid, and jail Bunyan in Bedford,--for the greatest
manhood is always rewarded with martyrdom. And what better thing for
Abraham Lincoln than assassination, because he has emancipated three
million slaves and saved the Union, as the last, best hope of earth?

But, lo, who are these in bright array, looking over the battlements of
heaven, while the forces of liberty and slavery in other forms struggle
together on these earthly plains beneath? These with radiant faces
unstained by tears, that seem never to have known the mark of pain or
sorrow? Ah! these are they who have come out of great tribulation,
anguish and martyrdom; Paul from the stones; Homer from his blindness;
Socrates from his cup of poison; Milton from his heart-break; Savonarola
from his fagots, and Lincoln from his long martyrdom--the least part of
which was the shot that freed his spirit in the hour of triumph and
joy.



Index


  Abolition Societies in the South, 25

  Abominations, tariff of, 50, 163

  Æsop's Fables, 290, 297,316

  "Adam Bede," 148

  Adams, Charles F., 54, 243

  Adams, John, 83, 121

  Alabama, secession, 189

  _Alabama_, the, 225, 238, 245

  _Albemarle_, the, 245

  Albert, Prince Consort, 226

  Aldersen, Judge, 107

  Alva, Duke of, 15, 264

  American Tract Society, 296

  Ames, Fisher, 213

  Andersonville, 269, 270

  Anne, Queen, 18

  Anti-Slavery epoch, importance of, 6, 7, 13

  Arab slave-hunters, 30

  Athens, 14, 41, 212

  Atlanta and Sherman, 249

  Austin, James T., 81


  Bach, John S., 301

  Bacon, Lord, 110

  Bailey, Kentucky editor, 140

  Bancroft, George, 104, 282

  Bates, Edward, 184

  Beauregard, P. G. T., 192, 244

  Beecher, Henry Ward, 49, 69, 91, 181, 204;
    Chapter IX, The Appeal to England, 212-241;
    reasons for European trip of, 214-216;
    no official embassy, 217;
    interview of, with Lincoln, 218;
    breakfast to, in London, 219;
    speech at Manchester, 227-230;
    at Glasgow and Edinburgh, 231, 232;
    in Liverpool, 232, 234;
    in London, 235;
    triumph at home, 235, 239;
    raises Sumter flag, 241;
    and Lincoln, 212, 218, 304-305

  Beecher, Lyman, 138

  Bell, John, 184

  Bishop of New Jersey, 296

  Bowen, Henry C., 181

  Breckenridge, J. C., 184

  Bremer, Frederika, 144

  Bright, John, 222, 225

  Brown, John, Chapter VI, 136-159;
    in Springfield, 149;
    North Elba, 150;
    Iowa, 150;
    Kansas, 151-154;
    Virginia, 154;
    Harper's Ferry, 155;
    trial and death, 155-158;
    his fanaticism overruled, 159

  Brown-Sequard, Dr., 114

  Bryant, Wm. C., 182

  Buchanan, Com. Franklin, 245

  Buchanan, James, 189

  Buckle, Thomas, 204

  Bunyan, John, 325

  Burns, Anthony, 84-87

  Burns, Robert, 310

  Burnside, Gen. A. E., 252

  Byron, Lord, 84

  Calhoun, John C., 12;
    early career, 46, 47;
    nullification, 51;
    government and sovereignty, 52;
    mistakes of, 59;
    influence on non-slaveholding South, 196;
    political doctrine of, in church affairs, 204-205

  Carlisle, Lord, 144

  Carlyle, Thomas, 100, 107, 236-238, 311-312

  Carpet-baggers, 259

  Cervantes, 325

  Channing, Wm. E., 74, 75, 81, 104

  Charles I, 23, 42

  Charles II, 23

  Chase, Salmon P., 141

  Christian Commission, 272

  Clay, Henry, 52, 61, 289

  Cobden, Richard, 222, 238

  Columbus, Christopher, 291

  Columbus, Ky., 253

  Congregationalism and State sovereignty, 204-205

  Constitution, the, 206

  Convention of 1776, 23

  Cooper, Peter, 182

  Cotton, 26-29, 49, 222-224

  Cushing, Lieut. W. B., 245


  Dante, 95, 251, 290, 318, 325

  Darwin, Charles, 291, 301

  Davis, Jefferson, Stephens' opinion of, 203;
    early career, 206;
    as Confederate president, 206

  De Bau on slave trade, 20

  Declaration of Independence, 25

  Demetrius, 87

  Democracy, advance of, 5

  Demosthenes, 14, 213

  Dickens, Charles, novels of reform, 139;
    praises "Uncle Tom's Cabin," 143;
    predicts Confederate success, 238

  Donelson, Fort, 246

  Douglass, Frederick, 34

  Douglas, Stephen A.,
    as orator, 69;
    early career, 165-166;
    supports Polk, 167;
    proposes "squatter sovereignty," 169;
    loses prestige, 170-172;
    challenged to debate by Lincoln, 173;
    compared with Lincoln, 174-177;
    the great debate, 178-181;
    nominated for presidency, 184;
    supports Union, 185;
    death, 185;
    and Northern Democrats in 1861, 193

  Dutch revolt, 264

  Dwight, President Yale College, 46

  Dyer, Oliver, 48


  Edwards, Jonathan, 21

  Eliot, George, 146, 148

  England, 26, 49;
    source of American principles, 218;
    as to wars, 220;
    why favourable to South, 221-224;
    non-voters of, favoured North, 225;
    Beecher in, 218-221, 227-235, 239-241

  English Anti-Slavery Society, 227

  Emerson, Ralph W., 68, 96, 236, 285

  Everett, Edward, 69, 106, 315

  Ewell, Gen. Richard S., 245


  Faneuil Hall, 81, 85

  Farragut, Admiral David, 196, 246-247

  Fillmore, Millard, 101

  Florida, secession, 189

  Floyd, John B., 189

  Foote, Admiral Andrew H., 246

  Fort Fisher, 247

  Forts Donelson and Henry, 246

  Fort Sumter, 191, 208, 241

  Franklin, Benjamin, 34

  Frémont, Gen. J. C., 215, 246

  Fugitive Slave legislation, 36, 87, 214

  Fulton Street prayer-meeting, 162


  Garrison, Wm. Lloyd and W. Phillips, Chapter III, 68-94;
    the pen for abolition, 68;
    early career, 69;
    begins agitation with Lundy, 70;
    starts Liberator, 1831, 71;
    accused of Turner uprising, 72;
    organized American Anti-Slavery Society, 74;
    mobbed in Boston, 76;
    satisfied with Lincoln's emancipation, 93

  Geneva Arbitration, 225

  George III, 24

  Gladstone, W. E., 225

  Gordon, Gen. J. B., 271, 285-286

  Government contracts, 282-283

  Grant, Gen. Ulysses S., 246, 248;
    early career, 252;
    rapid promotion, 253;
    Columbus, Donelson and Vicksburg, 254;
    military genius, 255;
    final campaign, 250;
    Appomattox, 257-258;
    President, 259;
    political and financial problems, 259-260;
    unwise speculation, 261;
    authorship, 261;
    character and death, 261-262

  Great men, era of, 292-293

  Great Rebellion, the, 11-13;
    war of the, 265

  Greeley, Horace, 54, 182, 183;
    Chapter V, 117-135;
    early career, 122-126;
    founds N. Y. Tribune, 126;
    extremist as reformer, 129;
    "On to Richmond," 129;
    evokes Lincoln letter, 130;
    peace commissioner, 131;
    draft riots, 131;
    bails Davis, 132;
    Democratic presidential candidate, 133;
    dies, 134-135;
    and Lincoln, 299, 305

  Greenback craze, 260

  Greene, Mrs. Nathanael, 27

  Grinnell, James B., 150

  Grote, George, 107


  Halleck, Gen. H. W., 253

  Hampden, John, 42, 83

  Hancock, John, 83

  Hastings, Warren, 213

  Hay, John, 218

  Hayne, Robert Y., 41, 51, 56, 163

  Hayti, 69

  Heine, Heinrich, 144

  Helper, Hinton Rowan, 197

  Helps, Arthur, 144

  Henry, Fort, 246

  Henry, Patrick, 68, 191, 213

  Hessian troops, 268

  Higginson, T. W., 85

  Hill, Frederic T., 242

  Hill, Gen. A. P., 245

  Hill, Gen. D. H., 245

  Holland, 15, 41, 264

  Homer, 326

  Hooker, Gen. Joseph, 251

  Howe, Dr. Samuel G., 104


  "Imitation of Christ, The," 143

  "Impending Crisis, The," 197

  Irving, Washington, 74


  Jackson, Andrew, 293

  Jackson, Thomas J. (Stonewall), 200-202, 244, 245, 268

  Jamestown, Va., 17

  Japanese sanitation in war, 272

  Jefferson, Thomas, 20, 24, 25, 53, 191

  Jeffrey, Lord, 107

  Jesus, parables of, 315;
     martyrdom of, 325

  Johnson, Samuel, 312

  Johnston, Gen. A. S., 244

  Johnston, Gen. J. E., 242


  Kansas-Nebraska Bill, 88, 169, 172

  _Kearsarge_, the, 246

  Kemble, Fanny, 32

  Kenesaw Mountain, 242

  Kentucky, 196

  Kingsley, Charles, 144


  Laud, Archbishop, 42

  Lawless, Judge, 79

  Lee, Robert E.,
    honour to Virginia, 194;
    early career, 199;
    as strategist, 244;
    final campaign against Grant, 256;
    Appomattox, 257-258;
    quoted, 285-286

  _Liberator_, the, 71-73

  Lincoln, Abraham, new force, 163;
    challenges Douglas to debate, 173;
    compared with Douglas, 174-176;
    "divided-house speech," 177;
    the great debate, 177-180;
    Cooper Institute speech, 181-183;
    presidential nomination, 183;
    election and inauguration, 186-187;
    inaugural address, 190;
    calls for 75,000 troops, 193;
    applauds Beecher, 212;
    interview with Beecher, 218;
    quoted, 286-287;
    the Martyred President, Chapter XII, 288-326;
    Americanism, 288-289;
    three books, 290;
    career, in brief, 296-298;
    opposes Seward, Stanton and Greeley, 299;
    ancestry, 300-303;
    opposes Phillips, Greeley and Beecher, 304-306;
    honesty, 307-308;
    literary style, 309-315;
    concentrated culture, 314-315;
    with Everett at Gettysburg, 315;
    made great by great events, 317-318;
    characteristics, 319-320;
    religious faith, 321-323;
    death, 325

  Lincoln and Douglas, the Great Debate, Chapter VII, 159-186

  London, 16, 18, 235

  _Log Cabin_, the, 125

  Longfellow, H. W., 104, 273

  Longstreet, Gen. James, 244

  Loring, U. S. Commissioner, 84

  Louisiana, secession, 189

  Lovejoy, Rev. E. P., murder of, 78-80

  Lowell, James R., 94, 99-102, 282, 284

  Lundy, Benjamin, 69-70

  Luther, Martin, 115


  Macaulay, T. B., 107, 280

  McClellan, Gen. G. B., 250-252

  Machiavelli, 307

  McKinley, William, 289

  Mammonism, 6

  Mann, Horace, 63, 106

  Mansfield, Lord, 24

  Marshall, Thomas, 46

  Martineau, Harriet, 113

  Mason, James M., 225

  Medill, Joseph, 179

  _Merrimac_, the, 245

  Mexican War, 167, 252

  Michael Angelo, 318

  Milton, John, 16, 93, 318, 326

  Mississippi, secession, 189

  Missouri Compromise, 169

  Mobile Bay, 247

  _Monitor_, the, 245

  Morton, Governor of Indiana, 273

  Moses, 36

  Motley, John L., 75, 96


  Napoleon, 242

  _National Era_, the, 143

  Negro, as faithful servant, as soldier, 259-260;
    as voter, 281

  New Orleans taken, 247

  Newspapers, in 1861-1865, 118, 119

  Newton, Isaac, 291

  _New Yorker_, the, 125

  _New York Tribune_, 126-128

  Northern officers of Southern birth, 196

  Northern resources, 274-279

  Nullification, 51, 54

  Nurses, 272-274


  Otis, James, 83


  Palestine, 41

  Panic of 1857, 160-161

  Parke, Judge, 107

  Parker, Theodore, 84, 85

  Parliament House of Peace, 110

  Paul, the Apostle, 326

  Penn, William, 22

  People at Home during the war, Chapter XI, 263-287

  Philip of Macedon, 15, 213

  Philip of Spain, 15

  Phillips, Wendell, 63;
    Chapter III, 68-94;
    early career, 75;
    aroused by mobbing of Garrison, 76;
    Lovejoy's murder, 78;
    Faneuil Hall meeting, 81-83;
    Burns' rescue party, 85, 86;
    agitation against Fugitive Slave Law, 87, 88;
    Phillips' lecturing, 89;
    oratory, 90;
    defiance of mobs, 91-92;
    influence, 93;
    Lowell's poem, 94;
    quoted, 285

  "Pilgrim's Progress, The," 143

  Plymouth Church, 91, 163, 181, 204, 218, 235

  Plymouth Rock, 17

  Popular sovereignty, 170

  Porter, Admiral D. D., 247

  Port Hudson, 247

  Portuguese slave-traders, 19

  Postal affairs, during Revolution, 120;
    in Jackson's time, 121

  Presbyterianism and Federal government, 205

  Prescott, Wm. H., 96, 106

  Prison-ship martyrs, 264

  Prison sufferings, 269-271

  Pym, John, 42


  Quincy, Josiah, 53, 83, 213


  Randolph, John, 32

  Raphael, 318

  Religious sentiment increased, 284

  Revival of religion in 1857, 161-162

  Rhodes, J. F., 60, 162, 202

  "Romola," 146

  Ruskin, John, 310

  Russo-Japanese War, 210


  Sand, George, 144

  Sanitary Commission, Christian Commission, 272

  Savonarola, 325-326

  Scheffer, Ary, and Christ the Emancipator, 296

  Scott, Winfield, 196

  Secession, first threatened by Massachusetts, 52, 53;
    reasons for, Chapter VIII, 188-211;
    of South Carolina and other States, 189;
    why not accepted by North, 207-209;
    early rebellions of, 294-295

  Semmes, Com. Raphael, 245

  Seward, Wm. H., 128, 183, 184, 217, 299

  Shaftesbury, Lord, 144, 145

  Shays' rebellion, 293

  Shenandoah Valley, 250

  Sheridan, Gen. Philip, 248, 250

  Sherman, Gen. W. T., 242, 248-249

  Slavery, American, Chapter I, 11-39;
    Calhoun's view of, 55;
    controlled government in 1860, 188;
    attacked by North Carolinian, 196;
    destroyed vigour of South, 210;
    to be paid for by war, 287

  Slave-trade begins, 17

  Slidell, John, 225

  Smith, Sidney, 107

  Socrates, 263, 301

  South Carolina, and the tariff, 50;
    nullification
    doctrine of, 51;
    attacked Sumter, 191

  Southern destitution, 267

  Southern officers of Northern birth, 195

  Southern resources, 279, 280

  Southern women, 266-268, 281

  Spanish slave-traders, 19

  "Squatter sovereignty," 169

  Stanton, Edwin M., 235, 240, 299

  Stead, William, 99

  Stephens, Alexander H., 201;
    opposes secession, 202;
    Confederate vice-president, 203;
    opinion of Davis, 203

  Story, Joseph, 75, 104

  Stowe, Calvin E., 139

  Stowe, Charles E., 139

  Stowe, Harriet Beecher, Chapter VI, 136-148;
    daughter of Lyman Beecher, 138;
    married, lived in Cincinnati, 139;
    wrote death of "Uncle Tom," 141;
    "Uncle Tom's Cabin," 143-148

  Stowe, Lyman Beecher, 139

  Stradivarius, 301

  Sumner, Charles, 54, 75;
    Chapter IV, 95-116;
    succeeds Webster in United States Senate, 102;
    early career, 104-110;
    oration on war, 107-109;
    boldly attacks slavery, 110-113;
    beaten by Brooks, 113;
    characterization, 114-116

  Surgeons, 272-274


  Taney, Roger B., 186

  Tariff, the, 48-50

  Texas, secession, 189

  Thackeray, W. M., 148

  Thomas, Gen. G. H., 196, 248

  _Times_, the London, 230

  Tombs, Robert, 137

  _Trent_, the, 225

  _Tribune Almanac_, 128

  _Tribune, The New York_, 126-128

  _Tribune_ reporter and John Brown, 153

  Turner, Nat, 34


  "Uncle Tom," death of, 141

  "Uncle Tom's Cabin," 143-148


  "Vanity Fair," 148

  Van Zandt, frees slaves, 140

  Vaughan, Judge, 107

  Vicksburg, 247

  Victoria, Queen, 146, 226


  War, good and evil influence of the, 281-285

  Washburne, E. B., 179

  Washington, George, 24, 191;
    contrast with Lincoln, 288-289

  Watt, James, 110, 291

  Webster and Calhoun, Chapter II, 40-67

  Webster, Daniel, 12;
    early career, 44, 45;
    answers Hayne, 56-58;
    answers Calhoun, 60, 61;
    7th of March speech, 61-63;
    Lincoln approves, 64;

  Webster dies, 66;
    as orator, 69, 164, 292;
    banner of, 295

  Wellington, 242

  Whiskey rebellion, 293

  Whitefield, George, 21

  Whitney, Eli, 27-29, 45

  Whittier, John G., 63, 69, 96, 106, 285

  Winchester and Sheridan, 250

  Winslow, Admiral John A., 246

  Winthrop, Robert, 273

  Wirtz, Henry, 270

  Wise, Governor of Virginia, 155-156

  Worden, Admiral John L., 245

  Wordsworth, Wm., 107


  Xenophon, 264



FOOTNOTES:

[1] "Harriet Beecher Stowe: The Story of Her Life." By Charles E. Stowe
and Lyman Beecher Stowe. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co.

[2] "On the Trail of Grant and Lee," by Frederic Trevor Hill: New York
and London, D. Appleton & Co.





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