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´╗┐Title: Letters of Major Jack Downing, of the Downingville Militia
Author: Smith, Seba
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Letters of Major Jack Downing, of the Downingville Militia" ***

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produced from images generously made available by The
Internet Archive)



[Illustration: Yours till deth
               Majer Jack Downing]



LETTERS OF MAJOR JACK DOWNING,

OF THE DOWNINGVILLE MILITIA.


"The Constitution is a Dimmycratic machine, and it's got to be
run as a Dimmycratic machine, or it _won't run at all_!"

--MAJER JACK DOWNING TO LINCOLN.


THIRD EDITION.

NEW YORK:
VAN EVRIE, HORTON & CO.,
No. 162 NASSAU STREET,
PRINTING HOUSE SQUARE.
1866.


Entered according to Act of Congress, by BROMLEY & CO., in the year
1864, in the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the United States
for the Southern District of New York

LOVEJOY & SON,
ELECTROTYPERS & STEREOTYPERS,
15 Vandewater st., N.Y.



CONTENTS.


                                                                PAGE.

LETTER I.

The Major Announces that he "Still Lives"--The Reason why he has not
Spoken before--Writes to "President Linkin," who at once Sends for
him--How Lincoln Shakes Hands--His Troubles--The Major's Advice--
Lincoln to get an "Appintment on Gineral McClellan's Staff"--A Story
About Old Rye, from Mr. Lincoln.                                   15


LETTER II.

Deacon Jenkins, of Downingville, Sent for to Cut and Make the
President's Uniform--A Provoking Accident--Mr. Lincoln Tells a
Story--The Major as a "Commentater" on the Constitution--Mrs.
Lincoln's Party--"Insine Stebbins, of the Downingville Insensibles,
Writes a Paradox for the Occasion"--The Major gets Angry--Lincoln
Tells a Story About Virginia Mud.                                  23


LETTER III.

The Major has an Attack of the Ague and Fever--Begins to get the
Hang of Matters at Washington--Mr. Lincoln's Improvement in
"Military Nollege"--Studying "Stratygims" for Gen. McClellan--The
Major Suggests a Difficulty--Mr. Stanton Called on--The Negroes at
Port Royal--"The Nigger-Teachin Fever"--Deacon Jenkins' Daughter
goes to Port Royal to Teach the Negroes.                           32


LETTER IV.

A Delegation Calls upon the President--The Major Indignant--Mr.
Lincoln Tells a Story--Curious Composition of the Republican
Party--Difficulty of Keeping it Together--The President Hopes to do
it by "Sloshin About"--Deacon Jenkins Again--He is a Temperance Man,
but Takes a Glass of Old Rye.                                      40


LETTER V.

A Blue Time--The Major Wins a Hat of the President--The Richmond
Expedition of Gen. McClellan--Mr. Lincoln's Trick on the Major--A
Letter from Jerusha Matilda Jenkins--She gives her Experience in
Negro-Teaching--Priscella Huggins and Elder Sniffles--Cloe, the
Negro Girl who "Could not be Good unless she was Licked"--A Negro
Meeting--Dancing and Singing--The Unpleasant Odor--Negroes Steal
Miss Huggins' Clothes--They Purloin Jerusha's Petticoat--It is
Thought that their Religion is not "Very Deep"--Mr. Lincoln Hears
the Letter Read--He Declares that Port Royal is a "Cussed Hole"
--Deacon Jenkins Shocked--He Proves it by the Scriptures.          48


LETTER VI.

The Question of the "Contrybands"--Lincoln and the Major Discuss
it--The Major tells a Story--Shows Mr. Lincoln That the Government
is out of Order--Says it's a "Dimmycratic Machine," and that
Seward and Chase don't know How to Run it--They are Like Old Jim
Dumbutter and the Thrashing Machine--The Major Tells Another
Story--"The Kernel" Gets a Joke on Seward--Tells a Story about the
"Giascutis."                                                       59


LETTER VII.

War "Noose"--The President's Anxiety--Mr. Lincoln Determines to
Apply "the Principle"--The Story of Zenas Homespun--The Major's
Views on Negroes--Poetry--The Emancipation Ball--The Major going to
"Cifer" on the Finances.                                           67


LETTER VIII.

Matters get Confused--The "Kernel and the Major" Compelled to go
to Fortress Monroe to Straighten Things Out--Mr. Lincoln takes his
Revolver--The Major Sticks to His Hickory--Arrival at Fort Monroe
--They go on a "Tippergraphical Rekonnisanze"--A Night Alarm--
Secretary Stanton tries to get on the President's Pantaloons.      75


LETTER IX.

The Major Figures on the "Nashinal Debt"--Horse Contracts and
"Abolishin Preechers"--Banks Defeated--The Major Suggests a
New-Fashioned Shield, expressly for Retreats--A Wheelbarrow for
every Soldier!--Excitement in Washington--The President not Scared
"a Hooter."                                                        82


LETTER X.

The Major Troubled with his Old Complaint, the "Rumatics"--He
Examines the Finances--Mr. Chase Frightened--The Major Figures up
the Accounts on His Slate--Returns and Shows the Result to Mr.
Lincoln--He is Astounded--The "Kernel and the Major" take some Old
Rye--The Major Proposes to Return to Downingville to Spend the
Fourth of July.                                                    88


LETTER XI.

The Major does not go to Downingville--Loses His Hickory--Gets a
Bottle of Whiskey by Adams Express Co.--The Major declines to Sign
the Receipt at First--Whiskey and the Constitution--"The
Constitushinal Teliskope"--A Magical Change--Mr. Seward's Trick--
The Major discovers it--A Negro in It.                             99


LETTER XII.

The Major Disappointed--Meets the President at West Point--Sees Gen.
Scott--They Talk over Strategy--Returns to Philadelphia with the
President--Makes a Speech at Jersey City--Mr. Lincoln also
Speaks--Meets Seward at the Astor House--A Wheel within a Wheel--
Mr. Seward Caught.                                                108


LETTER XIII.

The Major Returns to Washington--Things Get Mixed Up--Lincoln and
the Panther--Splitting Rails and the Union--The Major and the
President Visit Gen. McClellan's Army--Going up James River--Alarm
of the Rebels--Exciting Scene on Board the Boat--Nobody hurt--The
President Reviews the Troops at Harrison's Landing--The Return
Trip--The President and Party Bathe in the Potomac--Almost a
Catastrophe--The Major's Life-Preserver--The Moral of it--The
President Proposes a Conundrum.                                   116


LETTER XIV.

The President has an Attack of Fever and Ague--The Major Prescribes
Elder-Bark Tea--A Fearful Mistake--The Bark Scraped the Wrong
Way--Mr. Lincoln has to be Rolled--Stanton, Seward and the Major--
A Ludicrous Scene--The "Kernel" comes to and Begins to Joke--The
Moral of taking the wrong Medicine--"The Irrepressible Conflict." 125


LETTER XV.

Gen. McClellan's Change of Base--A Bear Story--A Delegation of
Clergymen--The Major's Opinion on Negroes and "Edecated Peepel"--How
General Jackson Saw Through Them--How the War is to End--Mr. Lincoln
tells Another Story.                                              133


LETTER XVI.

The Science of "Military Strutegy"--The Major's Opinion upon it--A
Call from the Secretary of the American and Foreign Benevolent
Society for Ameliorating the Condition of the Colored Race--His
Speech--The President's Reply--A Curious Prayer--The Major's Opinion
on Slavery--The Critical Condition of Affairs--Mr. Lincoln Tells a
Story.                                                            141


LETTER XVII.

A Cabinet Meeting--The President Calls for the Opinion of Each
Member--Speeches of Seward, Chase, Stanton, Blair, Welles, Smith
and Bates--The Major Called on for an Opinion--The Peperage Log
Story--The Major Proposes an Armistice--No Conclusion Arrived at. 150


LETTER XVIII.

The Major not Ill--The President has "the Gripes"--The Witch-Hazel
Medicine--Going to the bottom of a Subject--The Democrats and the
War--The Emancipation Proclamation--A Visit to Gen. McClellan's
Army--The Soldiers Cool--Mr. Lincoln tells a Story--"Sloshing
About."                                                           159


LETTER XIX.

The President Nervous--The State Elections--Mr. Lincoln Astonished
--He takes Cordial--Mr. Seward Turns Democrat--The Major tells a
Story--Mr. Seward and the Major Take a Drink--How John Van Buren
got Gen. Scott's Letter--Mr. Stanton on the Elections.            168


LETTER XX.

The New York Election--Mr. Lincoln tells a Story--Cannot do Justice
to the Subject--Mr. Lincoln Feels Bad--The Major Amuses him by a
Joke--How to get up a Message--Keeping a Party Together--The
Excelsior Political Prepared Glue--The Different Stripes of
Abolitionists--Boating on the Mississippi River--Poleing Along.   175


LETTER XXI.

The Message--A Cabinet Council--Speeches of Seward, Chase, Stanton,
Welles, Blair and Bates--Mr. Lincoln tells a Story--The Major gives
His Opinion--Mr. Chase Accuses Him of Disloyalty--The Major Demands
a Retraction--It is Given.                                        182


LETTER XXII.

The Message Finished--Mr. Sumner says it is not Grammatical--The
Major's Excuse--Mr. Sumner Finds Fault with the Major's Spelling
--The Major Stumps Him--He Gives His Views on "Edication"--Mr.
Lincoln Proposes a Conundrum--The Major tells a Story--Mr.
Seward's Opinion on the War.                                      191


LETTER XXIII.

The Major Goes to See the Postmaster-General about Stopping
Papers--Mr. Blair Promises to Release Them--The President Again in
Trouble--A Change in the Cabinet Demanded--The Major Suggests a
Remedy for "the Crysis."                                          199


LETTER XXIV.

The Emancipation Proclamation--The Way to Get to Richmond--Splitting
the Union--The Major tells a Story about Splitting--The President
Gets Indignant--Seizes the Boot-jack--The Major Pacifies Him--A
Dream--The Major Returns to Downingville.                         207


LETTER XXV.

The Major Feels Sorrowful over the Fate of His Country--The Story of
the Black Heifer--The Man who Made a "Siss"--The Union--"Insine"
Stebbins Again--His Reception at Downingville--"The Insensibles"--A
Provoking Accident.                                               214


LETTER XXVI.

The Democratic Party Whipped--Things as bad as they can be--A Story
in Point--Mr. Lincoln sends for the Major again--The Major writes
him a Letter--The Return of "Kernel" Stebbins, formerly "Insine"
--His Reception at Downingville--"Kernel" Doolittle's Speech--
"Kernel" Stebbins' Reply--Elder Sniffles' Preaches a Sermon.      221


LETTER XXVII.

The Major starts for Washington--Takes his Axe with Him--Mr. Lincoln
Glad to see Him--The Cabinet in Session--The opinion of Seward,
Chase, Stanton and others--The Major called on for an opinion--The
Story of Old Sam Odum--Mr. Stanton gets Excited.                  228


LETTER XXVIII.

The Major and the "Kernel" at work on the Message--The Major visits
Mr. Chase again--Sees the Machines for Printing Greenbacks--A
Machine for every General--The Accounts mixed Up--Mr. Lincoln gets
Flighty over them--The Major Puts him to bed, and applies a
mustard-plaster--He Revives, and proposes a Conundrum--The Major
also proposes one.                                                235


LETTER XXIX.

The Trouble about the Message--Chase and Seward Find Fault with
it--The Story of Old Deacon Grimes' Oven--Mr. Lincoln Overrun with
Visitors--The Major Suggests a Way to Get Rid of Them--The Small Pox
dodge--The Message Finished--Mr. Lincoln tells a Story.           242


LETTER XXX.

The Major visits Parson Blair--The Loyal Leaguers of the White
House--A Wonderful Dream--The Grave of the Union--The President
Don't Like It--About Leather--How the Capital Looks.              248



INTRODUCTION.


DOWNINGVILLE, July 15, 1864.

_To the Editors of the Da-Book_:

SURS: I got your letter tellin me that Mister Bromley and Kumpany
wanted to print my letters in book form, and as you seem to think they
understand such kind of work, and are proper persons to do it, I ain't
got eny perticaler objecshins. It is now jest thirty years sence my
first Book of Letters was printed by Harper and Kumpany, but I hear
that they have turned Abolishinists sence then, and if that is so, I
wouldn't let 'em print a book of mine for love nor money.

After I got your letter, I sot down and writ the Kernel, askin his
opinion as to printin the Letters in book form, and he wrote back to me
rite off, saying I must do it without fale. The Kernel has got 'em all
cut out of the papers and put in a scrap book, but it's kinder onhandy,
and he wants to get 'em in better shape. I've promised him that you
would send him a copy jest as soon as it was out, and you must not fale
to tell Bromley and Kumpany to do so. I also writ the Kernel that I
thought it would be a good idee to issue a Proclamashin, ordering all
the people to buy the book, espeshilly the Loyal Leegers, the soldiers
in the army, all the Tax-Collectors, Custom-House Officers,
Provo-Marshalls, Postmasters, Copperheads, War Dimmecrats,
Abolishinists, Black Republikins, etc., etc. The Kernel sed it was a
capital idee, and he told me to write it for him. He sed Seward had
wrote most all of his Proclamashins, but he would trust me to write
this. He sed he looked upon my letters as "Pub. Doc," and hence
Congrissmen ought to frank 'em, and reed 'em, too. He said he didn't
mind the little jokes in 'em on him, for ef there was anything on arth
he could forgive a man for, it was for makin a joke. He didn't see how
eny one who knew enuf to make one could help doin it.

So I have writ a Proclamashin, which you will find at the bottom of
this letter, which you can print with it. I think when Ginneral Banks,
and Rosykrans, and all them Ginnerals who sometimes stop books and
papers, read it, they will understand that it will not answer to
interfere with my book.

There is one thing that makes me a little bashful about publishin a
book. My eddicashin was not very well taken keer of when I was a boy,
and the consequence is, I ain't quite so smart in grammer and spellin
as sum peepil. But one thing is certain, I allers make myself
understood, and that, after all, is the main thing. I want Bromley and
Kumpany to fix up the spellin a leetle, and then I think the book will
pass muster.

I don't ever expect to live to write anuther book; in fact, I don't
want to. I have labored as hard for the good of my kentry as any man in
it, and yet I've lived to see it all go to rack and ruin. I don't raly
know whether I shall write anuther letter, for a man of my years don't
feel like such work. But there is one thing I feel sure of. Though the
clouds look dark and black now, and though I don't expect to live to
see everything all rite again, yet the Dimmocracy will triumph in the
end. There is no blottin that out. It is in the natur of things. Peepel
are naterally Dimmocrats, so old Ginneral Jackson used to say, and it
takes a good deal of hard lying to make 'em enything else. Sometimes
the liars get the upper-hand for a time, jest as they have now, but it
can't last always.

I don't want you to put any preface to my book, for I have most always
found that prefaces are filled full of falsehoods. I jest want my book
to go on its merits, if it has eny. I've tried to tell the truth about
politics, as I understand it, and ef Linkin had only taken my advice,
the kentry would now be nigh about as good as new. But he wouldn't do
it, and so I've left him to get out of the scrape he is in the best way
he can. The Kernel, however, don't think any the less of me because
I've been plane with him. He thinks my idees of niggers are all rong,
and I think his are all rong, and there is jest where we split, for
turn this question upside down or inside out, and, after all, the
nigger is at the bottom of it. Jest as a man's idees run on niggers,
jest about in that style will be his views on the war. Take an
out-an-out Abolishinist, who thinks niggers are a little better than
white folks, and he is for subjugashin, confiskashin, and exterminashin
to the bitter end. Ef he thinks niggers are jest as good as white
folks, but no better, then he is a little milder on the South; and so
on down through every grade of a war man, the bitterness agin the South
runs jest about even with the ignorince about niggers. Finally, the man
who knows jest what niggers are fit for and what they need to make 'em
useful and happy, is the strongest opponent of the war. So you see this
proves that the nigger is at the bottom of the hull war.

There are, however, a good many things that make matters worse.
Greenbacks, offices, &c. are terribul upon corruptin the peepul. Almost
every other man has an office now-a-days, and them that ain't got
office are interested in greenbacks. It will take a hard pull to get
the present party out of power; but ef the Dimmocrats will only be
honest and plucky, they can do it. I want to live long enuff to vote
the Dimmocratic ticket this fall, and help do it.

Yours till deth,

MAJER JACK DOWNING

                 *       *       *       *       *

    "A. LINKIN'S PROCLAMASHIN CONCERNING MAJER JACK DOWNING'S BOOK.

    "WASHINGTON, July 15, 1864.

    "Whereas, my friend, Majer Jack Downing, of the Downingville
    Milisha, has issued a Book of Letters, containing his views on
    Public Affairs, the War, &c., &c.

    "Now, therefore, I do hereby issue this my Proclamashin, enjoyning
    upon every loyal as well as disloyal citisen, includin Loyal
    Leegers, Abolishinists, Republikans, War Dimmocrats, Copperheads,
    Clay Banks, Charcoals, &c., to buy this book and to read the same,
    under penalty of the confiscation of all their property, including
    niggers of every decripshin. Furthermore, all officers under me,
    whether civil, military, or otherwise, are hereby ordered, under
    penalty of court marshal, to purchase the sed book and read it.
    This order applies to all Postmasters and their clerks (who are
    also ordered to assist in the sale of the book), to all
    Custom-House officials, to all Provo-Marshalls, to all Tax
    Collectors, Assessors, Recruteing officers, Runners, Brokers,
    Bounty Jumpers, and espeshally to all Government Swindlers,
    Contractors, Defaulters, &c., to all Furrin Ambassadors, Ministers
    Penetentiaries, and their Secretaries of Litigation, also to
    Ministers of the Gospil, Tract Distributers, Nigger Missionaries,
    male and female, &c., &c. Furthermore, Ginnerals Grant, Sherman,
    and all other Ginnerals, includin Ginneral Banks, will see to it
    that the Majer's letters are widely circulated in their armies, as
    the menny good stories of mine, as well as the Majer's, in the
    book, will keep the sojers in good sperits.

    "Furthermore, if eny disloyal edditer shall presume to say enything
    against this book, or advise eny person not to sell or circulate
    the same, or aid and abet them in so doing, he shall at once be
    arrested and his paper stopped.

    "Further, if eny person, in order to avoid the penalties mentioned
    above, shall borrow said book, he shall, if it be proved, be fined
    $1000 in gold. If there be no proof, he shall be sent to Fort La
    Fayette.

    "Finally, every person purchasing a copy of the Majer's Letters
    shall be exempt from the draft. All others are at once to be seized
    and sent to the front.

    "Done in this my city of Washington, in the fourth year of my
    reign.

    "A. LINKIN."



LETTERS OF MAJOR JACK DOWNING.



LETTER I.

_The Major Announces that he "Still Lives"--The Reason why he has
not Spoken before--Writes to "President Linkin," who at once Sends
for him--How Lincoln Shakes Hands--His Troubles--The Major's Advice
--Lincoln to get an "Appintment on Gineral McClellan's Staff"--A
Story About Old Rye, from Mr. Lincoln._


WASHINGTON, Feb. 4th, 1862.

_To the Editers of The Cawcashin, New York:_

SURS: I 'spose eenamost everybody believed I wus ded, 'cause they 'aint
seen any letters of mine in the papers for a good while. But it taint
so. I'me alive, and though I can't kick quite as spry as I used to, yet
I kin ride a hossback about as good as I could twenty year ago. I am
now nigh on eighty years old, and yet, except getting tuckered out
easier than I used to, I believe I feel jest about as smart as I did
when I was a boy. The last letters I writ fer the papers was about ten
years ago, when I went all around the country with Kossoot, and showed
him the sights. Sence then I've been livin' in Downingville, county of
Penobscot, State of Maine, and enjoyin' in gineral a good state of
helth. But if the public haint heard from me it taint because I wasn't
keepin' a close eye on matters and things. But the sartin truth is jest
here: I seen, a good while ago, how things was shapin'. I told Kossoot
that the pesky Abolishunests would ruin him, and thay did, and I've
knowed for a long time that thay would run this country off the
Dimokratic track and smash it all to flinders. Wall, they've done it.
You may wunder why I haint spoke and told the country all this before.
Wall, the reason is jest here: I saw that the breechin' was broke some
years ago, and there is no use of talkin or hollerin "whoa!" "whoa!"
after that. I've seen the laziest old hoss that ever lived kick and run
like all possessed as soon as the shafts tetched his heels, and that's
jest the condishun we've been in in this country for some time. We've
been kickin' and runnin' and raisin' the old scratch ginerally for ten
years, all about these darned kinky-heded niggers. As there is no use
of tryin' to stop a runaway hoss after the breechin' brakes until he
gets to the bottom of the hill, so there is no use of talkin' to a
country while it is goin' in the same direcshun. Didn't Noah preech to
a hull generashun of aunty-Deluvens, and it warn't any use. They lafed
him rite in the face; and cum round him and axed what he intended to do
with a boat full of chicken coops, hoss stables, and so on. And at
last, when the rain begun to cum down like all possessed, they swore it
"warn't much of a freshet arter all." Wall, jest so it is with this
generashun. I spect the _aunty_-slaveryites are sum relashun to the
_aunty_-Deluvens, and that accounts for their simelur behaveyur.

But I think that we've got most to the bottom of the hill now, and it
is about time to get things rited up in some sort of shape. Havin come
to this conclushin, about ten days ago I wrote a letter to President
Linkin, tellin him how that Gineral Jackson's old friend was yet alive,
and that if he wanted my sarvices or advice I would come on to
Washington and help him thro'. Wall, I got a letter rite back, in which
Linkin said he "was tickled all into a heap to hear that Gineral
Jackson's old friend, Major Jack Downing, was still alive, and that he
wanted me to cum on to Washington rite off." So I put off, like shot
off a shovel, and dident even stop in York a day, or I should have
called to see you. The truth is, I'me darned glad I cum. I went rite up
to the White House, which looks as nateral as when Gineral Jackson and
I lived there, and sent in my keerd. In a minnit the sarvent cum back,
and ses he, "walk up." I went up-stairs, and then into Linkin's room,
and you never seed a feller gladder to see a man than he was to see me.
He got hold of my hand, and ses he, "Major, you are a brick. I've
thought a thousand times that if I only had such a friend as Gineral
Jackson had in you, that I could git along as easy as snuff. But ye
see, Major, all these pollyticens are a set of tarnel hyppercrits, and
I hate 'em." And he kept talkin and shakin my hand until I thot hed
sprain my rist. So I ses, "Mr. Linkin, I can't stand hard squeezin as
well as I used to, so don't hold on quite so hard." Then he apologized,
and said "how he was so anxus to see me that he was almost crazy." I
told him that "I hed cum to see him through, jist as I did Gineral
Jackson, and that I would stick by him as long as their was a shirt to
his back, if he would only do rite."

"Wall," ses he, "Major, that is jist what I want to do. But its awful
hard work to tell what is rite. Here I am pulled first one way and then
tother."

Now, ses I, "Linkin, I'me goin to talk rite out to you. The fact is,
there never was a President that had such a party at his back as you've
got. You see its made up of old Whigs, Abolitionists and free sile
Dimmycrats. Now, there ain't any more rale mixture to this
conglommyrate than there is to ile and water. The truth is, I'd as soon
take Illinoy muck, and Jersey mud, and Massachusetts cobble stuns to
make a fine coat mortar of, as I would to get such materials to put
into a pollytical party. You can't never make them gee."

"Wal," ses he, "Major, I've began to think that way myself. The truth
is, I've been trying all summer to please everybody, and the more I try
to do it the more I don't succeed. When I am conservative, then the
aunty-slaveryites come down on me like all possessed, with old Hor_ass_
Gree_lie_ at their hed. When I go a little t'other way, then the
conservatives and my old neighbors, the Kentuckians, they come down
upon me, and that takes me right off the handle. I can't stand it. So
you see, Major, I'm in hot water all the time."

"I see your troubles," ses I, "Mr. Linkin, and I'll have to look about
some days afore I can get the exact hang of things, but as soon as I
do, I'll make matters as clear as a pipe stem."

"Wal," ses he, "Major, I want you to make yourself to hum, and jist
call for anything you want."

I told him there warn't but two things that I keered for except
victuals, and that was a pipe and tobacco, and jist a little old rye,
now and then. That gave him the hint, and Linkin rang a bell, and a
sneakin lookin feller, in putty bad clothes, made his appearance.
Linkin told him to get some tobacco and the black bottle. The feller
soon fetched them in, and Linkin said that that "old rye" was twenty
years old, and jist about the best licker he ever drank. He said he
found it very good to quiet his nerves after a hard day's work. I told
him that that was jist what Gineral Jackson always said--"Did he?" ses
Linkin; "Wal," ses he, "I only want to imitate Jackson. That would be
glory enough for me."

"Wal, now," ses I, "Linkin, the first thing you must do, in order to be
poplar, is to be a military man. That was the way Jackson got up in the
world, and if I had never been a Major, I really believe I'de never
been heerd of out of Downingville. Now, jist as soon as the people
believe you are an officer, with epaulettes on, they'll think you are
the greatest man that ever lived."

"Wal," ses Linkin, "I think that is a first chop idea. How can it be
carried out?"

"Wal," ses I, "you must get _an appintment on Gin. McClellan's staff_!
with the rank of _Kernel_. Nothing short of that will answer at all.
Then get a splendid uniform and a fine hoss, and have the papers
describe them, and get up pictures, and the shop-keepers will have
their windows full of lithographs, and in six months you will be the
most poplar man in the country, and sure to be next President."

When I sed that, he jumped right up, and ses he, "Major, you're worth
your weight in gold. You have hit the nail right on the head. I'll do
it; by the Eternal, I'll settle this trouble yet."

"That's the talk," ses I. "Just put your foot down, and let it stay
down, and you may be sure it will all come out right."

Then Linkin sed to me, ses he, "Major, take a good swig of this old
rye. If you feel sick, have got a cold, or looseness in the bowells, or
need physic, or have got the rheumatiz, or pane in the back, or the
headache, there's nothen like old rye to set you on your pins just as
good as new. Why, Major, let me tell you a story:--There was a feller
out West, who got a splinter in his foot. He was splittin' rails one
day, and the axe glanced off, and sent a piece of chestnut timber in
his heel about as big as an axe-handle. Wal, he tried everything on
'arth. Finally, he came to me, and I gave him some old rye, and the
splinter came out in five minutes afterwards."

"Wal," ses I, "Linkin, that is a purty good story, and old rye is a
capital drink, but as for medicin', giv' me my old stuff, elderberry
bark tea. It's handy to use. Scrape it downwards, and it makes a fust
rate fisic, and scrape it upwards it is a capital emetic. The only
danger is that you scrape it round-about-ways, when it stirs up a young
earthquake in a man's bowells equal to Mount Vesuvius on a bust.
Kossoot made a mistake of this kind once, and I had to hed him up in a
flour barrel, and roll him round the room afore he cum to."

When Linkin heard how I rolled Kossoot in a flour barrel, he laid back
and larfed as hard as he could roar, and said he hadn't felt in such
good spirits since he had been in Washington.

I telled him he musn't get the blews, and that I should cheer him up.
Then he tuk me by the han' and bid me a very feelin' good-night, and
the feller in bad clothes showed me to my room. I slept as sound as a
bug in a rug all night, and feel good as new this mornin'.

I shall soon get things straightened out here, I hope, and if anything
interestin' happens, you may hear from me agin.

Your friend till deth,

MAJER JACK DOWNING.



LETTER II.

_Deacon Jenkins, of Downingville, Sent for to Cut and Make the
President's Uniform--A Provoking Accident--Mr. Lincoln Tells a
Story--The Major as a "Commentater" on the Constitution--Mrs. Lincoln's
Party--"Insine Stebbins, of the Downingville Insensibles, Writes a
Paradox for the Occasion"--The Major gets Angry--Lincoln Tells a Story
About Virginia Mud._


WASHINGTON, Feb. 15, 1862.

_To the Editers of The Cawcashin_:

SURS:--Didn't I tell you that, as soon as I got here, I would straiten
things out? You never see a happier man, now-a-days, than Linkin is.
When I cum here he was eenamost reddy to go into a hasty consumpshin.
He had been lettin things go on at loose eends, with two or three
fellers managing things, and they were eternally pullin' jest as many
ways. Linkin had been in the habit of sayin' that he warnt no military
man. I telled him he must stop that at onct--that he knowed jest as
much as eny of 'em. So when I told him he must be a Kernel, he at once
went in for it. Wal, I hev bin jist as busy as a bee in a tar bucket
gettin' his solger clothes reddy. I sent clear to Maine to get Deacon
Jenkins, who made all the clothes for the Downingville Insensibles, and
he arrived here last week. It ain't no easy matter to cut for Linkin's
figer, but I knowed the Deacon could do it, if eny body on arth could.
But Deacon Jenkins, you see, is a small, stumpy man, not much longer
than he is wide--while Linkin is eenamost as tall as a rail, and mity
near as slim. Wal, I hadn't thought of this; so when the Deacon cum he
couldn't measure Linkin round the neck for a military stand up coller,
eny more than he could climb a been pole. Linkin sed he'd git down on
his nees, or on all fores, if necessary, but I wouldn't let him, 'cause
it would be wantin' in dignity. So I got two cheers, and laid a board
acrost 'em, and Deacon Jenkins got up on 'em. While he was standin'
ther, the board broke, and down come the Deacon rite on the floor,
makin' the White House all shake agin. He turned dredful red in the
face, but Linkin sed "it warnt a suckemstance to a fall he onct had out
of a chestnut tree. He sed, when he was a boy he used to go out, and
jest for a breakfast spell split a load of rails. One mornin' he clumb
a tree to get some young crows out of a nest, and the lim broke and
down he cum full thirty feet. Sum people thought he was ded, but he
allers believed it was the resin he was so tall, for he started groin
rite off after that, and didn't stop till he was six feet five inches!"

[Illustration: "While he was standin' there, the boord broke, and down
cum the Deacon rite on the floor."--Page 24.]

By the time Linkin got tru tellin' his story, the Deacon hed got up on
the cheers agin and tuk the measure. Then he hed the clothes made, and
in three days they cum hum all rite. Wal, I wish the hull country could
see the Kernel (I call him Kernel all the time now) in his new clothes.
He looks like a new man, and, what is more, he acts like a new one.

The other day I telled him he must giv the orders to the new Seckretary
of War, but he kinder held back, and sed he didn't like tu take too
much on his shoulders at onct. Besides, he didn't feel it was right for
a Kernel tu dictate in that way. Then I telled him that the place was
only a complimentery one, but that he was raley a Ginneral and a
Commydore all in one. Wal, he sed "he couldn't see intu that." Them I
telled him how that the Constetushin sed that he was "Commander-in-Cheef
of the Army and Navy," and that that made him a Ginneral and a
Commydore. Wen I sed that, he jumped out of his cheer and ses he,
"Majer, you are jest about the keenest commentater on the Constetushin
I ever heerd talk. Why, Majer, ef I had only thought of that, I would
hev put it into my Inaugerole. Wouldn't it hev made a sensashin?"

Wal, ever since the Kernel has tuk the ribbins into his hands, he has
been puttin' things rite thru, and victeries hev cum along jest as fast
as possibul. Linkin is a terribul feller to work wen he has a mind to.
He run Secketary Stantin into a fit of the vertegris the very furst
week he went into the harniss, and as for the other members of the
Cabbynet, there ain't one that kin hold a kandil to him.

Ther's bin a terribul time about the financies since I hev bin here;
but the victeries in Kentuckee and Rowingoak hev made a good many long
faces look as good-natured as ef the Union was all rite agin. I telled
Ginneral Wilsin, from Massa-chew-sits, the other day, that he orter
vote a gold meddle to the President in honer of the good noose, but
Somnure wanted to insart the Wilmut Proviso in the bill, and so I
wouldn't hev nothin to du with it. I don' expec' that, after all,
they'll be willin' to giv' Linkin the credit he desarves, for ther'
ain't a man here, from a Senatur in Congriss down to a sargant of the
hoss mareens, who don't expec' tu be next President.

Wall, I hev run on so about politicks and so forth, that I eenamost
forgot to tell you about Mrs. Linkin's party. I've seen a good many big
things in that way sence I was a boy, but this was a leetle ahead of
all. The sojers, and the wimmen, and the cabbynet, and the forren
Ministers Pennitenshery, with their Seckateries of Litegashin, were all
ther. The tables were all kivered over with sugar frost, eenamost as
white as a Maine snow bank, and Mrs. Linkin luked like a young gal jest
out of schule. The way she did intertane the kumpany was a caushin to
peepul who don't know the ropes. Insine Stebbins, of the Downingville
Insensibles, was ther, and ef ther is a smart feller in the army, the
Insine is one. He kin rite poetry almost equil to Longfeller, and as
for singin', the Italian band-ditty can't begin with him. Wen the
kumpany were sot down to the table, Deacon Jenkins was kalled on to say
grace, and wen they got thru, the hull kumpany kalled on Insine
Stebbins to sing a paradox which he had kumposed specially for the
occashin, as follers:

    From Varmount's icy mountins,
      From licker hatin' Maine,
    Where streems of goldin wisky
      Go strate agin the grane;
    From menny a country cawkis,
      From menny a country shop,
    We cum to greet thee, Linkin,
      At this here Linkin hop!

    Wot tho' the Nor'-West breezes
      Blow sum o'er Georgetown hill,
    And likewise also freezes
      The troops at Turner's Mill?
    Wat tho' the army hosses
      Die off for want of food?
    We'll drink Old Rye with Abram,
      Because Old Rye is good.

    Wot tho' the Yankee nashin
      Pores out the warlike flud,
    And sogers of all stashin
      Are stashined in the mud?
    Wot tho' the sly contracters
      Defraud us rite and left,
    And Uncle Sam's old stockin'
      Of all his cash is reft?

    Wot tho' the taxis plague us,
      And heeps of corn must spile,
    Wile poor folks three times over
      Their coffee-grounds must bile?
    Does not grate Dr. Cheever,
      (And shall he speke in vain?)
    Command us to delivur
      The land from slavery's chane?

    Shall we whose harts are litened
      With Rye, and cake and wine,
    Shall we to Cuff and Dinah
      Give nought but crust and rine?
    Abolition! Abolition!
      The joyful sound proclame,
    Till each remotest nigger
      Has learned the Linkin name!

"Amen! seel-er!" yelled out Deacon Jenkins, at the very tip-top of his
voice, wile nigh about the hull kumpany seemed to be hily tickled,
except Linkin and his wife and me. I was so mad that I eenamost bust my
biler. I went rite strate up to the Insine, and ses I, "Insine
Stebbins, I knowed you and Deacon Jenkins was both red-hot
Abolishunests, but I tho't all the folks in Downingville had kommun
sence, and wood know better than to interduce pollyticks on a festiv
occashin, specially anything faverabul to Cheever and Gree-lie and
kumpany, who are the hull time abusin' Linkin and Mrs. Linkin." Then
the Insine said that Sumnure had helped him rite the paradox, jest on
purpose to see how Linkin wood like it. "Wal," I told him, "that that
was jest as much sence as well as manners as I shud expect from
Sumnure." Then Deacon Jenkins cum up and sed sumthing, and I lit on him
for hollerin' "Amen" rite afore the hull diplomatick core, jest as ef
he'd been at a prayer meetin' in the Downingville schule house. Mrs.
Linkin was very much pleased at the way I laid down the law to the
Deacon. The Kernel didn't say much, but looked daggers out of his ize,
and seemed nigh about as cross as a cross-cut saw all the rest of the
evenin'. The bawl, how-sumever, went off in all other respecs in furst
rate stile, and Mrs. Linkin is now regarded as the very a-leet of
fashin.

There's not much else that's new this week. The roads have been in an
impassabul condishin for some time, and unless some feller kin invent a
patent rite for settin' them up edge ways to drene, I don't believe
they'll be scasely settled before the summer solstis. I telled Linkin I
never seed such mud in my born days. "Wal," ses he, "let me tell you a
story about mud. Virginny can't hold a kandel to Illinoy in that
respect. One time a man was travellin' 'long the road jest a little
nor-east of Springfield, wen he found a hat layin' in the mud, rite in
the middel of the road. He stepped out keerful to get it, and he was
all struck up a heep to find a man's hed under it, and he in the mud
clean up to his very chin. 'Darn my pectur, nabor, if you ain't in a
fix. Cum, let me git hold of you, and I'll help pull you out.' 'No!
No!' sed the feller in the mud, spittin' out the dirty water; 'No! No!
I don't want your help--much ableeged to you--for I've got a good hoss
under me, and he'll fetch me out as sure as preachin!'"

"Wal," ses I, "Kernel, I shan't try to match that story to-day." The
truth is, that I didn't feel like it. I've bin kinder under the wether
since the bawl. Washington is a terrible place for nager and fever, and
all kinds of billyus kemplantes. One of the President's leetle shavers
has bin dangrus sick for sum daze, but I hope he'll rekiver.

I got yuere letter tellin' me that sum of yuere subscriburs wanted me
to rite a letter every week for yuere paper. Wal, I will, if I kin, but
I can't promis sartin. You see an old man nigh on eighty years old
don't feel jest limber enuf to rite at any and all times, but wenever I
hevn't got the lumbager or rumatiz, and my ideas ain't froze up, you'll
heer from me, once in two weeks, and perhaps oftener, wen the weather
gets more stedy.

Your friend,

MAJER JACK DOWNING.



LETTER III.

_The Major has an Attack of the Ague and Fever--Begins to get the
Hang of Matters at Washington--Mr. Lincoln's Improvement in "Military
Nollege"--Studying "Stratygims" for Gen. McClellan--The Major Suggests
a Difficulty--Mr. Stanton Called on--The Negroes at Port Royal--"The
Nigger Teachin Fever"--Deacon Jenkins' Daughter goes to Port Royal to
Teach the Negroes._


WASHINGTON, March 1st, 1862.

_To the Editurs of The Cawcashin:_

I've had a terribul fit of the ager sence I writ yu last, and one time
I thought it was about "nip and go tuck" wether the ager or natur wud
whip, but I've got a strong constetushin and it cum out best, as it
allers has so far in life. Linkin, too, has been kinder under the
wether. The loss of his little boy affected him terribully. Ef it
hadn't ben for the good noose and the Union victories I don't know how
we could have got along. But we are all gettin' better very fast now,
and things begin to look brighter.

I begin to get the hang of matters here now, and the way Linkin and
Stantin and me will settle affairs before long will be a cawshin.
Stantin is a steem injine in breeches. The grate trubbul Linkin now has
is the Abolishinests. They are tryin' to drive him to free all the
niggers down South, and all the preechers, moril reformers and
lecterers are constantly writin' letters here prayin' Linkin to go rite
on and turn the niggers all loose. Sometimes we get as many as three
bushels of letters in one mornin', from the strong-minded wimmin and
week-minded men in the North, who don't know any more about niggers
than they do about the man in the moon. Linkin don't pretend to read
'em or even take a look at 'em. He told me one day that I might look
'em over, and see ef thar wus enny sence in enny of 'em, but I couldn't
find ennything but texts of Scriptur, and sams and hims and extracts
from Gree_lie's_ paper and Cheevur's sarmons. Wen I told Linkin that he
sed he didn't want to know enny more about 'em, for he had had about
enuff of such pesky fanaticks. I kin jist tell them fellers that are
writin' here such long letters, that it aint any use.

But the grate subject that has occupied the attenshin of all of us for
two weeks past, has ben the grand forrard movement. Linkin improves
mitey fast in military nollige, and is eenamost reddy to graduate from
a Kernel into a Ginneral. Wal, as I was sayin', we've been as bizzy as
bees in gittin things reddy for a start. Ef Stantin and Ginneral
McClellin, and the Kernal and me didn't work hard at stratygims, then
thar aint any such word in the dickshinnery. We had charts, and maps,
and diaphragms, and kumpasses to measure the distances with, and all
sorts of queer looking instruments that I can't remember the name of.
But Ginneral McClellin knew all about 'em, I tell you. He could tell
how fur it wus from one place to tother on the map, jest as easy as if
he'd been over the ground and measured it with a ten foot pole. Wal,
wen he'd tell the distense from one place to tother, the Kernel would
put it down on a piece of paper so as to see jest how fur the grand
army would have to travil afore they got to Richmond. Wal, bime by
Linkin had got a string of figers which kivered a hull page of writin
paper, and then he undertook to ad 'em up. It warn't long, however,
before he got things so mixed up that he couldn't tell hed from tale.
Finally he turned to me and ses he, "Majer, can't you help me out of
this scrape?" I told him I would ef he would only send for a slate, but
that I couldn't figer on paper, that I larned to sifer on a slate, and
that it allers cum terribel onhandy for me to figer in enny uther
stile. So he called that feller in purty bad clothes, and told him to
get a slate. Wen it cum I went to work, and tho' my hand aint ben in
the business much sense I sifered up the ackounts for Ginneral Jackson
in Squire Biddle's bank, yet I soon stratened matters out, and Linkin
was dredful tickeled at it. He sed "Apostle Paul couldn't beet it
himself." I forgot to tell you that the Kernel calls Ginneral McClellin
his Apostle Paul, so you needn't believe enny of the stories in the
Abolishin papers about the Kernel and Ginneral McClellin being at
logger-heds. Even General Jackson and Mr. Van Buren were never better
friends than Linkin and McClellin. Wal, to make a long story short, we
got every thing all settled, tho' it took the last night till eenamost
mornin before we got thru. I had bent over the tabil so long, lookin at
the diaphragms, that I had a stitch in my back, and Linkin was bent
eenamost dubil.

After it was all over with and every thing had been decided on, ses
Linkin, ses he, "Majer, don't you think that that is a capytal
stratygim?" Ses I, "Yes, Kernel, that is jest about as nigh rite as you
kin get it; but," ses I, "there's one thing you ain't provided for."
Ses he, "What's that?" "Wal," ses I, "for a fire in the rear!" "Wal,"
ses Linkin, "now the Majer is gettin off a joke on us, for thar ain't
no chance for a fire in the rear, except it comes from John Bull, and
ain't Seward spiked his guns?" "Now," ses I, "Kernel, you ain't as old
as I am; ef you was you would see jest what I mean." Ses I, "Don't you
know that the Aboleshin papers hate Ginneral McClellan as bad as they
do Jeff Davis, and jest as soon as the grand army begins to move
they'll expose all his plans, and the rebils will have em all in
Richmund in time to defeat em?" "Wal, that is a fact," ses Linkin, "I
never thought of that; but they will as sure as preachen do jest what
the Majer ses; but what kin we do?" "Wal," ses I, "I'll tell you what
to do. Jest let Secketary Stantin issu an order stopping all war news,
and put every Aboleshin editer that dares to disobey it into Fort La
Fayette. Giv em a dose of their own fisic, and see how they'll like
it."

When Linkin heard that he jumped rite up, and ses he, "that is jest the
checker. These Aboleshinests have bin as much trubble to me as the
secesh, and I don't know but a leetle more. I spect I'll have to hang a
few on em yet before I can git a settled peece."

Then Linkin asked Secketary Stantin what he thought of my idee, and he
sed it was jest what was needed, and so Linkin told him to draw up the
order and put it thru strong. Wal, so you see how the "Youkase," as sum
of our York editors call it, cum to be issued. I see sum of em growled
and snarled over it like mad dogs, but it warn't no use. They know now
how it feels to be put under the thum screws. So ef you can git the
news, jest keep quiet a leetle while and you'll hear music.

There ain't much else that's new here jest now. But tother day there
was a feller cum on here from York to see Linkin about what should be
done for the niggers at Port Royal. He asked Linkin what could be done?
"Wal," ses Linkin, "I spose you've heerd the story about a feller who
won an elephant at a raffle, and after he got him didn't know what to
do with him? Wal, so it is with the niggers we've got. There they are,
but ef any live man kin tell what to do with em, I'de like to hear him.
They eat more than the sojers, are lazy, and cost more than they cum
to, jest like the old Injin's dog."

Then this feller, who seemed to be a spirital chap, something like a
dominy, put on a long face, and sed how these culered peepal were our
bretheren in the Lord, and that they had been brought up as hethens,
hed never been taught reedin, or ritin, or rithmetic, but ground down
to the arth with chains and slavery. He said he felt deeply for 'em,
and that his conshence wouldn't let him rest day nor nite, but he was
willin' tu devote his dazs tu preachin' the Gospel tu 'em, &c., &c.,
but the cute feller wound up by axing Linkin wether he wouldn't
reckermend Congress tu approprate sum money for the good of these poor
creturs. Wen he sed that I seen rite thru' him, and I give Linkin the
wink. So he put him off by sayin' he would think it over. Wen he went
away I told Linkin jest what I thought of him. How that he was one of
that kind of salm singin' Yankees who was allers lookin' out for sum
way tu git a livin' without workin.'

It is astonishin' tho' how this nigger teachin' fever is goin'. It has
broke out even here in Washin'ton. Deacon Jenkins' darter, Jerushy
Matilda, who cum on with her par, when he was sent for tu make Linkin's
sojer clothes, cum across that feller, an he talked her intu goin' down
to Port Royal tu tech nigger schules. Now, Jerushy is a smart gal; her
mother an my wife were second cuzzins. She kin rite poetry purty good
for a gal of her age, for she ain't more than twenty-two, but she's got
all the nigger nonsense in her hed, and I can't no more drive it out
than I kin fly. Somehow Abolishin gits hold of the feelins of the
wimmin folks, an it cums from their not knowin' what the nigger realy
is; so I telled Jerushy tu go, an ef she didn't get sick of tryin' to
make niggers do an act, and larn, an sifer, an read, like white folks,
then I would pay all her expenses, an turn nigger misheenery myself.
But she sed I was an old fogy. It appears that solem feller told her
that the niggers hed been whipped by their masters every mornin' before
breakfast, with a cat-a'-nine-tailes, an that all they had tu eat was
corn-stalks and cotton seeds! This tuck hold of Jerushy's feelins
amazinly, an she packed up her best clothes, an went off with him. She
promised tu rite me how she got along, an what she thinks of things
down there. Ef ther's eny thing interestin' in the letter, I'll send it
tu you tu print.

Your friend,

MAJER JACK DOWNING.



LETTER IV.

_A Delegation calls Upon the President--The Major Indignant--Mr.
Lincoln Tells a Story--Curious Composition of the Republican Party
--Difficulty of Keeping it Together--The President Hopes to do it
by "Sloshin About"--Deacon Jenkins Again--He is a Temperance Man, but
Takes a Glass of Old Rye._


WASHINGTON, March 18th, 1862.

_To the Editers of The Cawcashin:_

SURS:--We've all ben at sixes and sevens here since I writ you last.
The rebils have knocked all our stratygims into a kocked hat. The fact
was, we had the plan fixed to catch 'em jest as easy as you can kill a
rabbit under a ded fall, but they wouldn't stay to be catched. Linkin
ses "they are like to Paddy's flee, when you git where they are they
ain't ther." It is ginerally believed here that some of the Somnure
click who hate Ginneral McClellan so much, ralely informed the inemy of
our movements, and that that give 'em time to pack up their trumpery
and git out of the trap. You see Somnure, Gree_lie_ & Co. are afeerd
that McClellen will be the next President, and they are doin all they
kin to brake him down. The other day a hull boodle of these
Abolishinists come in a boddy to the President to demand "justis to
Freemount." I was standin jest back of Linkin up in the office room,
when old Moril, of my State, and Luvjoy, and Somnure, and Hale, and
Julian, and Ashley, and a hull lot more of the same stripe, cum in.
They sed "they cum as a committy from a cawkis of the party to
_demand_, as an act of justis, that Freemount should be appointed
to sum kommand." Wen I heered 'em say that they demanded it, I felt my
blud bileing away down to my bootes; in fac, it seemed as ef my bootes
was full of bileing water. They sed they represented the Republican
party, and that the party demanded it, that the peopul demanded it, and
that the noosepapers demanded it, and that ef he didn't do it, they
would consider that he intended to forsake his party, and go over to
the Dimmycrats. All the wile I felt as ef I'd giv a thousan dollars for
one hour of Old Hickery. How he would hev made the fur fly ef any body
had undertuk to dictate to him in that way. But Linkin didn't say
nothing until after they got all thro, then he rez up kinder limpsey,
and ses he, "Gentlemen, I will considder this ere matter over, and see
what I kin do. I reckon I kin kinder fix things out to suit you." Then
they went off.

After they were gone Linkin turned to me and ses he, "Majer, what do
you think of that?" "Wal," ses I. "Kernel, I tell you jest what I was
thinkin while that insultin feller was talkin. I was wishin that
Ginneral Jackson was alive and President for about twenty-four hours.
Why, ef that feller had talked to him in that way, he would have seized
his hickery and kaned him out of the room." Ses I, "Kernel, you are too
good-natured. These pesky pollyticians will driv you to perdishin, and
the country, too, ef you ain't kerful."

"Wal," ses Linkin, "what am I to do? There ain't no doubt that my party
are all aunty-slavery, and a good menny of 'em out and out immediate
Abolishinists. They are a pullin me like all possessed. They've got
hold of my feet, my toes, my cote tale, my trowsers, and pullin away as
ef they ment to rip every rag of clothin off me, and I don't feel sure
but they'll pull my legs off my boddy. I am holdin on as hard as I kin,
but I feel as ef my hold was slippin. Now, what on arth am I to do?"

"Wal," ses I, "Kernel, there's nothin like getten a fresh hold wen you
feel that you are slippin. So jest spit on your hands, as the sailyers
do, and take a new hold."

"Now, Majer," says Linkin, "that reminds me of a story. Some Irishmen
were once diggin a well, and by sum means the rope on the windless
broke, and the bucket went down to the bottom. How to get it was the
questshin. After plannin and thinkin for some time, Paddy O'Brien, who
was the boss, he ses to Teddy O'Flanagan, ses he, 'I will take hold of
the windless with my hands, and Teddy, you take hold of my legs, and
let Patrick take hold of Teddy's legs, and so on, until we can git down
to the bucket and rache it up.' So they all went at it, but it warnt
long before Paddy found that the heft was too grate for him, an he felt
that his hold on the windless was slippin. So he sung out tu Teddy, who
was below him, ses he, 'Teddy, me boy, hould fast there till I spit on
me hands,' an as he let go tu spit on his hands, down the hull party
went tu the bottom of the well. Now," ses Linkin, ses he, "that would
be jest the way with me. Ef I let go to spit on me hands, down my hull
party will go, and no one will ever see it agin."

"Wal," ses I, "Kernel, ef you do go down in that way you will be _on
top_!" "That's a fact," ses Linkin. "I didn't think of that, but then,
who would want tu be on the top of _such_ a party! You see, ef the
party had any timber in it that you could use tu make another out of,
there would be sum prospec ahed. But ye see thar aint. The stuff is
cross-grained and knotty, and a good deal of it mity rotten. Ef I could
split it about half in two, so as tu weld one piece on tu the
Demmycratic party, I would do that. But you can't split it any more
than you kin a pepperage log. I know sumthin about splittin, and ef any
man could do it I could. No, Majer, ef my party goes tu pieces at all,
it will brake up intu a thousand splinters, jest like a chesnut tree
wen it is struck by lightnin."

"Wal," ses I, "Kernel, are you goin to give Freemount a kommand?" Wal,
ses he, "I 'spose I'll hev tu do sumthin for him. I'll give him some
place where he can't do any harm; ef I don't, these fellers will stop
the wheels of government, an I can't run it any longer." Wal, ses I,
"Kernal, ef they stop the _wheels_ of the government then I'de run
it on the axletrees afore I'de giv in tu these pesky critters. You
kinder giv in tu em on your emancipashin proclamashin, and ef yu keep
on your gone, and the government is gone tu. You can't restore the
Union in that way enny more than you can build a stone wall out of clam
shells. Besides, you'll break off your Kentuckee frends.

"Wal, yes, that's so," ses Linkin, "but don't you see, Majer, I've got
to break off with _sumbody_? Ef I do as the Kentuckians want me tu,
then I shall break with my party, and ef I don't, then I shall have to
break off with them. Now which shall it be? That's the question. Now,
thar ain't Dimmycrats enuff in Congress tu be of enny sarvice to me,
and the few that are thar are most of em like the last run of shad,
very poor and very mean. Thar aint more than three or four that dare
say their souls are their own, and I can't git along with such a party
as that. I hope I'll git thru by sloshin first one way and then tother,
without havin a rumpus with enny of em, but ef I don't, 'sufficient to
the day is the evil of it,' as the Scriptur ses."

I aint had a letter from Jerushy Matilda, the darter of Deacon Jenkins,
sense she went off to Port Royil with that solem feller. Her par,
Deacon Jenkins, who made Linkin's sojer clothes, is still here. He is a
very pious man, the Deacon is, and he thinks Jerusha is goin to do a
heep of good to the niggers in turning mishinary. He thinks the niggers
are all brought up as hethens, and never heerd the name of God. I
telled him "I guessed ef they went around much whar the Maine sojers
were, that they would here his name pretty often, for they kin outsware
any set of men I ever heerd talk." Wen the Deacon heerd how that
Mannassah was taken, he cum rite up to the White House and
congratulated Linkin on his success. Linkin felt kinder tickled at
first about it, but wen I telled him how it warent much of a victory to
let a hull army slip thru our fingers, Linkin seemed to think so, too.
But Deacon Jenkins, he sed he could prove it frum Scriptur, and so he
got a big Bibil and red the 61st Sam, which is all about Manassah and
Gil-ed and Mo-abe and washpots, and so on. I telled him I could'nt see
no simurlarity in it, but he stuck to it that it tiperfied the retreat
of the rebils. Linkin red it over two or three times, and sed it red
for all the world like one of Seward's non-committal letters. First he
thought it did, and then he thought it didn't, and finally he giv it up
in dispare. I telled 'em them they might try to draw conserlashin from
the Bibil, but I felt down about the matter, and didn't know as I could
sleep. Linkin sed he felt bad, too, but the Deacon declared he felt
first rate. I telled Linkin I must have sum Old Rye afore I could go to
bed, and he sed his nerves were very oneasy too. So the feller in bad
clothes fetched in the black bottle, and we tuk a good swig. I telled
the Deacon that he needn't take enny, as he felt so good, but he would
have sum. The Deacon pretends to be a grate temperance man wen he is
hum, but I find he likes a glass of wisky now and then, espeshily if he
thinks the Downingville folks won't heer of it. I hope I shall heer
frum Jerusha by the time I rite to you agin.

Your frend,

MAJER JACK DOWNING.



LETTER V.

_A Blue Time--The Major Wins a Hat of the President--The Richmond
Expedition of Gen. McClellan--Mr. Lincoln's Trick on the Major--A
Letter From Jerusha Matilda Jenkins--She Gives Her Experience in Negro
Teaching--Priscella Huggins and Elder Sniffles--Cloe, the Negro Girl
who "Could not be Good unless she was Licked"--A Negro Meeting--Dancing
and Singing--The Unpleasant Odor--Negroes Steal Miss Huggins' Clothes
--They Purloin Jerusha's Petticoat--It is Thought that their Religion
is not "Very Deep"--Mr. Lincoln Hears the Letter Read--He Declares
that Port Royal is a "Cussed Hole"--Deacon Jenkins Shocked--He Proves
it by the Scriptures._


WASHINGTON, April 1st, 1862.

_To the Editers of The Cawcashin_:

SURS:--I've ben awfully down in the mouth sence I writ you last. Things
don't move nigh as fast as we all expected they would a spell ago; but
I can't tell you the resin, for it wouldn't do to rite noose, for the
rebils would get it. Linkin has ben feelin amazin bad; one day, wen we
both had the dumps, Seward cum in, and ses he, "cheer up; its all goin
to be over in thirty days." Linkin ses Seward reminds him of fellers
he's seen out West who had the ager and fever. One day they think they
are well, and the next they are shakin agin like all possessed. Wal,
Linkin ralely did think that McClellan would be in Richmond by the 1st
of April, even McClellan thought so. I telled Linkin he wouldn't, and
bet him a bran new hat on it. So to-day I won it, but will you believe
it, Linkin got a bet on me. He's a dredful cute critter in his way. Ses
he to me, kinder funnin me I thought, ses he, "Majer, will you make a
bet with me?" Ses I, "Yes, Kernel, I've jest won a bet of you, and
taint more than fair to let you have a chanst now." "Wal," ses he,
"I'll bet you a hat that I kin sneeze jest wen I've a mind to." Ses I,
"Kernel, I don't believe it, and so I'll bet you. Now," ses I, "let's
see you sneeze." "Wal," ses he, "I aint a _mind_ to now. So," ses he,
"hand over that new hat." Ses he, "Majer, you aint quite as smart as
you thought you was." Ses I, "Kernel, now jest hold on about the
forty-leventh part of a minit. You bet me a _new_ hat, but I only bet
you a _hat_, so," ses I, "you kin take the _old one_!" "Wal," ses
Linkin, "Majer, you are jest the keenest Yankee I ever heerd tell on.
You allers contrive to git ahed of me after all."

The other day I got a letter from Jerushy Matilda, Deacon Jenkins'
darter, and Linkin was eenamost crazy to see how Chase's missionaries
cum on. So I sot down, Deacon Jenkins was thar too, and read it all to
Linkin, and I send it to you to print, jest as I promised. So here it
is in full. Jerushy is a proper smart gal, and I guess thar aint menny
of her age who can beat her:


    BEAUFORT, S.C., March 25, 1862.

    DEER UNCLE--I take my pen in hand to fulfil my promise to you. Now,
    I'm goin to rite you the hull truth about things in this part of
    the Lord's vinyard. I shall tell you some grate news, so you must
    not tell par of it, for ef you do he'll rite hum about it, and then
    it will soon be all over Downingville. I jest as live mar would
    know it as not, but then she'll tell aunt Betsy Wiggles, and aunt
    Betsy will go rite over to old Deliverance Grimes, and tell her,
    and then Deliverance she'll put on her bonnet and start all over
    town, and ef Jim Pendergrass gets hold of it he'll hector me to
    death, for he's a rale pro-slavery Dimmycrat, and thinks that our
    colored brethren and sisters are fit only for slaves. I can't deny
    that I've been much disencurriged sence I've been here. You see
    we've got a very queer set of gals and men here with us. Some of
    'em are quite old gals, who haint been very lucky in life, and
    naturally they feel kinder sour towards men in gineral. Some of 'em
    have been schule marms for a good many years, and some have been
    milliner gals. Two of 'em had a rale spat on the boat while we were
    comin here. The way it happened was this: There is a spruce looking
    old maid by the name of Priscilla Huggins, from Bosting, who is
    very gifted in prayer, and she tuk a great notion to Elder
    Sniffles, a young preacher, who is one of the piesest men I ever
    see. She is quite an old gal, and there was another gal, a nice
    looking and quite young gal, from York. Her name was Melissy Buggs.
    One day Melissy giv Miss Huggins a terribel slap by tellin her that
    she guessed she made believe being so pious jest to ketch Elder
    Sniffles. When Miss Huggins heerd this, she sed something
    unrespectful of milliner gals. "She didn't believe," she sed, "that
    eny of 'em had religion, and what's more than that, they want eny
    more respectable than they oughter be." When she sed that, Melissy
    she jumped rite at her with both her hands, and ketched hold of her
    har, and bless me, if she didn't pull nigh about all the har off
    her hed, for it turned out it was false har and not genoine. When
    Miss Huggins see her har on the floor, she turned as red as a beet,
    and Melissy said she guessed her hart was jest as false as her har.
    This made her redder yet, and jest at this point Elder Sniffles
    came along. He cum up, and ses he, "My dear sis-ters, this is not
    the way to walk in the fear of the Lord, and with gordly
    conversashen edefin one another. I fear that the Lo-rd will not
    bless your labors with our dear col-ored brethren, who have so long
    been groanin and cryin to the saints for deliverance from chains
    and slavery." This sort of rebuked them, but there's been a
    constant jingle in our company ever since.

    When we arrived here, we were all very much disappented not to find
    a stage reddy to take us to the hotel, but las me! they aint got
    any kind of decent livin here. Instead of a hotel, they telled us
    we must cook our own vitals, and what do you think they giv us? The
    government promised to board us an lodge us for teachin the poor
    dear colored people, and takin keer of their souls, an we thought
    they would do it in decent stile. Instead of that, all we could get
    was sum salt pork and dry bread, jest the same as they giv to the
    common sojers. I tell you, didn't all of us feel hoppin, when the
    feller in brass buttons told us that was all he had for us. To
    think of turnin ladies an gentlemen with such stuff was shockin. I
    tell you, didn't Elder Sniffles giv him a piece of his mind, an
    brothers Sleek and Goodenough, and Elder Wattles, and young Deacon
    Dolittle all jined in, but they couldn't move the feller a mite. So
    we took a house, the best one we could find empty, an commenced
    doing for ourselves.

    But I must tell you something about our colored brethren an
    sisters. The sojers here treat 'em very badly, kick and cuff 'em,
    an swear at 'em such horribel oaths that it makes the blood run
    cold. But we have taken 'em by the hand and leadin 'em by love.
    That old gal from Bosting, Priscella Huggins, actually hugged and
    kissed one old colored lady, until all the others laughed and
    jumped as if they thought it was very funny. For my part, I took a
    great notion to a young black gal, wen I first come here. She sed
    her name was Cloe, but she acted so much like Topsey, in that dear
    good novel of that dear good woman, Miss Stowe, that I took Topsey
    for me to teach. First off, I got along very with her. I axed her a
    good many questions, among others, where she was born. She sed she
    warn't born at all, but "was _raised_ over on the Edisto." But
    jest as soon as I got done talkin to her, she seemed to forget all
    about it, an would go to dancin an cuttin up Jim Crow capers. In a
    day or two she got rale sassy, an I couldn't do nothin with her.
    One day I had to actually drive her out of my room, but it warn't
    but a little while before she put her wooly head in again. Then I
    told her again "how that I had come down there on purpose to
    elevate her, an to educate her, that she was jest as free as I was,
    and that she would never have to mind her old mistress agin." Wen I
    sed that, she bust out a cryin jest like a baby. Ses I, "What is
    the matter, dear Topsey?" "Oh," ses she, "I can't nebber hear ole
    missus talked of, but I bust rite out cryin. Oh! what a good missus
    she was! boo! boo! boo!" an she kept on cryin as if her heart would
    break. I thought it was dredful queer that she should be cryin to
    go back to bondage. But pretty soon it was all over, an she began
    to dance around the room jest as if she never thought of cryin.
    Pretty soon she upset a chair, on which I had laid some things, an
    I was awfully provoked. I took hold of her, and felt jest like
    shakin her to pieces, wen I axed her, ses I, "Topsey, why don't you
    be good?" "Las me! missus," she replied, "_I can't be good unless
    I'm lickt_." I tell you I was discurriged. That night I went to
    a colored meeting. The colored people are very religious, though
    their religion don't seem to be so deep as it ought to be. They
    danced and sung somethin like the Shaking Quakers, and I can't say
    that it was very edefyin. There was nothing spiritual about it, and
    the smell in the room was very unpleasant. Somehow colored people
    have a very singular smell, that I never knew of before I come down
    here, and the brothers and sisters don't like it at all. I had
    actually to hold my nose all through meeting in my pocket
    handkerchief, and yet it was almost more than I could stand. When
    meeting was over I was mighty glad to get out, I tell you. I don't
    know what we will do here all summer, but I expect we shall soon
    get used to it. The very next day after the meeting, what do you
    think happened? Why, we all went out to see a plantation, and while
    we were gone, the colored brethren that we made so much of, and who
    had pretended to be so pious, stole all the provisions that the
    government gave us! They were all gone, and what is more, I lost my
    best dress and a bran new petticoat that aunt Betsey Wiggles gave
    me just before I started for Washington. But you would have laughed
    to see old Miss Huggins go on about what she lost. They took all
    but one pair of stockings, and the best night gown she had. When
    Melisy Buggs heered of it she jumped rite up, and slapped her hands
    and cried good. They also took off old Miss Huggins' stuff for
    cleaning her false teeth, and you never heerd a woman go on so in
    all your life. I guess if Elder Sniffles had heerd her rave and
    tare as I did, he would think her piety warn't very deep. I didn't
    keer so much for the loss of my petticoat, but if aunt Betsey finds
    it out I'll never heer the last of it, and then if Jim Pendergrass
    gets hold of it, what shall I do? He is the most awful hectorer
    that ever lived, and he sets in church at Downingville, rite in
    front of par's pew. He'll grin at me the hull time. But I cum off
    good, I tell you. The other gals had to divide up with Miss
    Huggins, or I don't know what she would have done. As it is, ef
    much more is stolen from us we will all have to come home and get
    new wardrobes. All the brothers and sisters have been very much
    puzzled about this strange affair. The colored people all seem to
    be so very pious that was not believed for a long time that they
    could have stolen the things, but it seems they did, for old Miss
    Huggins was determined to find out, and she went off to some of the
    cabins, and there she found them tryin to comb their woolly heads
    with one of her fine teeth combs!

    I tell you what it is, uncle Jack, I am afraid I've come on a
    fool's errand. Some how there aint the right look to things here,
    and ef we don't succeed better in the future than we have so far,
    in educating these colored people, I fear our labor will be lost.
    They will talk well enough before your face, but it don't last. But
    don't you let on to the Downingville folks that I'm at all
    disencouraged. If I come home it will be on the excuse that the
    climate don't agree with me. Elder Sniffles says no one must leave
    for any other reason, for that would bring down odium on the great
    cause. Elder Sniffles is going to preach hereafter regularly to the
    colored brethren, and he hopes he will soon teach them how wicked
    it is to steal. As soon as he teaches them that, then he is going
    on to other subjects, but that must be taught them at once, for one
    or two more hauls on us would send us all home with "nothing to
    wear."

    Your affectionate neece,

    JERUSHA MATILDA JENKINS.

Wen I got thrue, Linkin jumped rite up out of his cheer and stomped his
foot so as to make the house shake. Ses he, "What a cussed hole that
Port Royal must be!" Decon Jenkins ses he, "Don't speak wickedly with
your lips, Mr. President." "Wal," ses Linkin, "it _is_ a _cussed_ hole,
and I ken prove it by the Scriptur." "I guess not," ses the Decon.
"Wal," ses Linkin, "didn't the Lord cuss the earth for man's sins?"
"Yes," ses the Decon. "Wal, I'de like to know," ses Linkin, "whether
you think Port Royal _was an excepshin_?" I never seed a feller look so
chop-fallen as the Decon did, and I snorted rite out a laughin, for the
Decon thinks he's so smart on Scriptur. Linkin, however, declares that
he ain't got nothin to do with this nigger schule teachin, but that it
is all Chase's plans. But its turnin out jest as I expected; Jerusha
now begins to see that what I telled her was true. The gal will be
comin back afore long, you may be sure, but she'll be cured of
niggerism; that will be one good thing. I only wish I could send all
the old maids and silly gals in New England down there. They would soon
get the nigger notions out of their heads.

Your frend,

MAJER JACK DOWNING.



LETTER VI.

_The Question of the "Contrybands"--Lincoln and the Major Discuss
It--The Major Tells a Story--Shows Mr. Lincoln That the Government is
out of Order--Says It's a "Dimmycratic Machine" and that Seward and
Chase Don't Know How to Run It--They are Like Old Jim Dumbutter and the
Threshing Machine--The Major Tells Another Story--"The Kernel" Gets a
Joke on Seward--Tells a Story About the "Giascutis."_


WASHINGTON, April 15th, 1862.

_To the Editers of The Cawcashin:_

SURS: I've ben kinder sick sence I writ you last. The truth is, this
clymate in the spring is ralely very weeknin to the constitushin.
Linkin, too, has been terribully anxus about war noose, and the nigh
approach of hot weather. But the great subjeck which the Kernel and I
have been considerin is the "contrybands." What is to be done with 'em?
That's the questshin, and Linkin ses he'd like to see the feller that
can tell him. One night Linkin got a big map, an he sot down, and
"Now," ses he, "Majer, let's take a look at all creashin, an see ef
ther aint sum place whar we kin send these pesky kinky heds, and git
red of 'em." "Wal," ses I, "Kernel, I'm agreed." So we went at it.
First Linkin put his finger on Haty. "Now," ses he, "ther's an iland
that jest suits the nigger constitushin. Suppose they go thar?" "But,"
ses I, "Kernel, they won't go, an ef they did, they wouldn't do
nothin." "Wal," ses he, "no matter, ef they won't trouble us here enny
longer." "But," ses I, "ther's one more resin. The iland aint large
enuff to hold all the niggers--four millions or thereabouts." "Wal,"
ses he, "ther's Centril Ameriky--what do you think of that spot?"
"Wal," ses I, "Kernel, that's a fine country, naterally. The Creator
fixed it up on a grand skale, but you can't make a treaty with it, enny
more than you can count the spots on a little pig, when he keeps runin
about the hull time. The truth is, you can't tell who'll be President
of it from one mornin to the next, and the niggers you send there might
all git their throats cut jest as soon as they landed." "Wal," ses
Linkin, "that's a _slight_ objecshin. But let's turn over to Afriky.
There's Libery, how would that do, Major?" "Wal," ses I, "Kernel, that
country is about the biggest humbug of the hull lot. Fust off, sum raly
good peopul thought it was goin to amount to sumthin, but after forty
years of spendin money on it, ther aint enny more chanst of civilizin
Afriky in that way than ther is of makin a rifled cannon out of a
basswood log. A few dominys, who can't git enny boddy willin to hear
'em preach, hev got hold of it, an are makin a good thing out of it. As
for sending our niggers ther, why it would take all the shippin of the
world, and more money than Chase could print by steam in a year."
"Wal," ses Linkin, "where on arth kin we send 'em?" "Now," ses I,
"Kernel, I've got an idee of my own about that matter. I think they are
best off where they are and jest as they are, but ef you must git red
of 'em, I would send 'em all to Massa-chews-its! Peepul who are so
anxus to have other folks overrun with free niggers ought to be willin
to share sum of the blessins themselves. So let all that are here in
Washington be sent rite off to Boston." "Yes, that might do," ses
Linkin, "but then, ef they are entitled to their freedom, they orter be
allowed to go where they are a mind to." "But," ses I, "sum States
won't have 'em at all, an they can't go there. So what's to be done?"
"Wal," ses Linkin, "I tell you what it is, Majer, this is an almighty
tuff subjeck. I know somethin about splittin rails, and what hard work
is ginerally, but this nigger questshin has puzzled me more than enny
thing I ever got hold of before." "Wal," ses I, "Kernel, I kin explain
the resin why." Ses he, "Let's hear you, Majer." "Wal," ses I, "Kernel,
where do you carry your pocket-book?" Ses he, "What on arth has that to
do with the subjeck?" Ses I, "Hold on, you'll see." "Wal," ses he, "I
always carry it rite there, in my left hand trowsers pocket." Ses I,
"Didn't you ever have a hole in that pocket for a day or two, and had
to put your pocket-book in sum other?" Ses he, "Majer, I have." Ses I,
"What did you do with it then?" "Wal," ses he, "I put it in my right
hand pocket, but it kinder chafed my leg there, cause it warn't used to
it, and it also felt mity onhandy. So I put it in my side coat pocket,
but every time I stooped over it would drop out. Then I put it in my
coat tail pocket, but I was kept all the time on the _qui vivers_,
afeerd sum pickpocket would steal it. At last, in order to make it
safe, and sure, I put it in the top of my hat, under sum papers, but
the hat was too top-heavy, and over it went, spilling everything. I
tell you I was glad when my pocket was fixed, and I got it back in the
old spot."

"Now," ses I, "Kernel, that's jest the case with the niggers. The
minnit you get 'em out of ther place, you don't know what on arth to do
with 'em. Now, we've been here all the evenin sarchin over the map to
see ef we can't find sum place to put 'em. But it is all no manner of
use. You've got to do with 'em jest as you did with your pocket-book.
Put 'em whar they belong, an then you won't have any more trubbil."

Linkin didn't see eggzatly how I was gwin to apply the story, an wen he
did, he looked kinder struck up. Wen I saw that I hed made a hit on
him, I follered it up. Ses I, "Kernel, this government ain't out of
order, as Seward an Chase kontend. They are only tryin to run it _the
rong way_--that's what makes all the trubbil. I once hed a thrashin
machine, an I sold it to old Jim Dumbutter, an after he got it he sed
it warn't good for nothin--that it wouldn't run, &c. So I went over to
see it, an I vow ef he didn't have the machine all rong eend foremist.
I went to work at it, an, after a leetle wile, it went off like grease,
jest as slick as a whistle. You see, old Dumbutter didn't onderstand
the machine, an, therefore, he couldn't make it go. Now," ses I,
"Kernel, our Constitushin is a Dimmycratic machine, an its got to be
run as a Dimmycratic machine, or it _won't run at all_! Now, you see,
Seward is tryin to run it on his 'higher law' principle, but it warn't
made for that, an the consekence is, the thing is pretty nigh smashed
up."

"Wal," ses Linkin, "things do look kinder dark. I don't know whar we
will come out, but I guess I'll issoo a proclamashin for the ministers
to pray for us. Perhaps they will do sum good." Ses I, "Kernel, that
reminds me of old Elder Doolittle, who cum along the road one day rite
by whar old Sol Hopkins, a very wicked old sinner, was hoein corn. The
season was late, as the corn was mity slim. Ses the Elder: 'Mr.
Hopkins, your corn is not very forrard this year.' 'No, its monstrus
poor,' ses Hopkins, 'an I guess I shan't have half a crop.' 'Wal,' ses
the Elder, 'Mister Hopkins, you ought to pray to the Lord for good
crops; perhaps He will hear you.' 'Wal, perhaps He will, an perhaps He
won't;' ses old Sol, 'but I'll be darned ef I don't beleave that this
corn needs _manure_ a tarnel sight more than it does prayin for.' Now,"
ses I, "Linkin, I think this country is somethin like old Hopkinses
corn. _It_ needs _statesmanship a good deal more than prayin for._"
Linkin didn't seem to like that observashin of mine much, for he turned
the subjick, an he ain't axed me what it was best to do with the
niggers sence.

The other day the Kernel got off a good joke on Seward. You know what a
solem looking chap he is naterally. Wal, since he has got to be Chief
Clark of the President, he seems to look solemer than ever. He cum into
Linkin's room, an the Kernel ses, "Have you heerd the news, Boss?"
"No," ses Seward, "what is it?" "Wal," ses Linkin, "the Giascutis is
loose." "What's that?" ses Seward. "Why," ses Linkin, "ain't you never
heerd the story of the Giascutis?" Seward sed he never had. "Wal," ses
the Kernel, "I must tell you. Several years ago, a couple of Yankees
were travellin out West, an they got out of money. So they koncluded to
'raise the wind' as follers:--They were to go into a village; an
announce a show, pretendin that they had a remarkabul animal, which
they had jest captured on the Rocky Mountings. A bran new beast such as
was never seen before. The name was the 'Giascutis.' It was to be shown
in a room, and one of the fellers was to play 'Giascutis.' He was put
behind a screen an had some chains to shake, an he also contrived to
growl or howl as no critter ever did before. Wal, the peeple of the
village all cum to see the Giascutis, an, after the room was filled,
his companion began to explain to the audience what a terribul beast he
had, how he killed ten men, two boys and five hosses in ketchin him, an
now how had got him, at 'enormous expense,' to show him. Jest as
everybody was gapin an starin, thar was, all at once, a most terrific
growlin, and howlin, an rattlin of chains; an, in the excitement, the
showman, almost breathless, yelled out, at the top of his voice, 'the
Giascutis is loose. Run! run! run!' An away went the people down
stairs, heels over head, losin all they had paid, an seein nothin.
Now," ses Linkin, "'the Merrymac is out,' an when I read about the
vessels, an tug-boats, an steamers, all scamperin off as soon as she
was seen, I thought she was the 'Giascutis,' sure, only I'm afraid she
is a real Giascutis, an no mistake." Since then, Linkin calls the
Merrymac the Giascutis all the time.

Your friend,

MAJER JACK DOWNING.



LETTER VII.

_War "Noose"--The President's Anxiety--Mr. Lincoln Determines to
Apply "the Principle"--The Story of Zenas Homespun--The Major's Views
on Negroes--Poetry--The Emancipation Ball--The Major Going to "Cifer"
on the Finances._


WASHINGTON, April 29th, 1862.

_To the Editers of The Cawcashin:_

SURS:--We are all on the _qui vivers_ here for war noose. Linkin gets
up sometimes in the middul of the nite to hear a dispach received by
Sekratary Stantin, and as much of it as is thought good for the health
of the peepil is sent to the papers. The other nite Linkin called me.
This was very unushul for him, for he ginrally tells me in the mornin,
at the breckfast tabel, and axes my opinion, but he sent for me that
nite and sed that I must git up and read the noose. So I went down and
he showed me the dispach that Gennerral Mitchell got of Bowregards.
"Now," ses the Kernel, "you see, Majer, we've got the raskils in a
korner. They've got to fite or run, and if they fite they're licked,
and if they run they're licked. We shall now soon have Memfus, and that
jest pens up Jeff Davis in Virginny. You see, Majer, Bowregard ses he
ain't got but 35,000 troops." Ses I, "Kernel, let me take a look at
that dispach." I put on my specs and read it over twice or three times
very kerfully, and then ses I, "Kernel, I don't think you orter put
grate faith in that. As Elder Doolittle used to say, 'it may be a bee,
and then agin it may be a wasp.' That Bowregard is a grate feller at
stratagy, and it might be another dodge of his. And then agin, Kernel,
that was afore you signed the bill abolishin slavery in the District of
Columby. As sure as your born that will be worth a hundred thousan
sojers to Jeff Davis." "Wal," ses Linkin, "let it, who cares? The truth
is, Majer, we Republicans have been talkin about the great principle of
the equality of all men, includin Injins, niggers, Chinees and so on,
and now they want me to apply the principle, and I'm goin to do it. I
think there is sum humbug in it sumwhere, but I don't exactly see
where, and as they will give me no peace, and will never be satisfied
ennyhow until it is dun, I'm goin to put it thru." "Wal," ses I,
"Kernel, go ahed, but look out for squalls. Perhaps," ses I, "you never
heerd the story about Zenas Humspum 'applyin the principle. I hope you
won't hev as bad luck as he did." "No," ses Linkin, "I never heerd that
story. What was it?" "Wal," ses I, "Zenas was a good-natered feller,
who lived in Downingville, and a wonderful inquirin sort of a chap,
allers and forever prying into things. If he bought a clock he'd take
it all apart with his jack-nife, jest to see how it went together. So
about the time that the telegraph was started and an offis was set up
in our town, Zenas was eenamost puzzled to deth to get the hang of the
critter, as he called it. One day he went to the offis and axed the
feller to show him all about it. The chap was very perlite, and
explained to him the grate principle on which it worked, but Zenas
didn't exactly see through it, and kept axing questions and botherin
the feller till he got clean out of pashins. Finally, ses he to Zenas,
'Perhaps you would like to see me apply the principle.' Zenas said he
would, of course. 'Wal,' ses he, 'then you jest take hold of them brass
nobs and stick to 'em tight.' So Zenas grabbed hold of 'em like all
possessed, but he hadn't more than fairly got hold before he lay
sprawlin on the floor. The 'principle' had knocked him clean over. Now,
Zenas was a terribul feller to smoke, and allers carried his pockets
full of lusifer matches to lite his pipe with. It so happened that he
had a hull box-full in his coat-tail pocket as he keeled over on the
floor, and as he fell they scratched agin one another so strong that
they all got afire. It warn't but a little while afore Zenas' coat-tail
was all in a blaze, and before it could be put out it had burnt an
awful big hole in the seat of his trowsers, and schorched him
thereabouts amazinly. Zenas yelled and hollered awful, and sed he
didn't want to know enthing more about 'applyin the principle.' Now,"
ses I, "Kernel, I hope you won't hev as bad luck as Zenas did, but
depend on't, this applyin principles you don't exactly understand is
dangerous business. If you don't get burnt somewhere it will be a
wonder."

"Wal," ses Linkin, "Majer, you are a cute chap in tellin a story, but
now, tell me, do you think the nigger an the white man didn't cum from
the same parrient?" "Now," ses I, "Kernel, that's axin a deep question.
You see its onpossibul to tell what the Creatur may have done. He might
have made only one kind of man at fust, an then altered their
constitushins, an complexions, an brains afterwards. You see everything
is possibul to the Creatur. Or the nigger may have cum from Ham, who
was cussed for his sins, but then I don't see that it is enything agin
the scriptoors to believe that all the kinds of men were made at the
beginnin jest as they are now. But it don't make eny difference how
they cum so, so long as they _are_ different. You can't eny more
make a white man out of a nigger now than you can breed a lion out of a
polecat. You see, it's clar agin natur to expect to make the nigger
enything but a nigger. You can't get a peach out of a crab-apple, nor a
pumpkin out of a watermelon, nor eagles out of ducks' eggs. You can't
raise chickens from egg-plants, or produce goslins from gooseberries.
You see, Kernel, everything in natur must go accordin to natur. If the
nigger had been intended to be equil to the white man, hed been made
jest like a white man, and the very fact that he ain't made so, is
proof positive that he warn't intended to be put in a white man's
place. Trying to make a nigger act like a white man is jest like old
Sol Hopkins, one year harnessing his off ox an his hoss together to
plow corn. The ox was lazy as he could be, an the hoss was a young,
high-strung animil, an such a pullin an haulin team you never did see.
It almost killed both. You see, it was workin agin natur. It was tryin
to make a hoss an ox, and an ox a hoss, neither of which things can be
did. You see, Kernel, _everything in natur must go according to
natur_."

"Wal," ses Linkin, "there is a good deal in what you say, but then the
peepil don't believe it. They think the nigger is only accidentally
black, and if he lacks in mind and capacity, it is all owin to slavery,
an they won't believe eny other way until they see for themselves. I
tell you, Majer, the principle has got to be applied, no matter how
meny coat-tails or how meny trowsers are burnt."

"But," ses I, "Kernel, can't they see how the thing has worked in
places whar nigger equality has been tried?" "That don't settle the
question, Majer. Peepil are jest like hogs in that respect. Did you
ever see a lot of hot swill put in a trough, an every single hog in the
pen would go an stick in his snoot an get it burned? Not one would larn
from the others. After we've tried nigger equality, we'll know what it
is, an how we like it. We must apply the principle, an in some way, you
may depend upon it Majer, all the niggers down South will be sot free."

"Wal," ses I, "Kernel, I guess that there are other folks who think
jest as you do, for somebody has sent me some varses in relashin to the
nex great emancipashin which is to cum off, cut from some noospaper. I
will read 'em to you:

    THE EMANCIPATION BALL,

    GIVEN TO FOUR MILLIONS OF NEGROES, BY THE GREAT REPUBLICAN
    P-A-I-R-T-Y.

           *       *       *

    Anodder Great Ball is soon to be,
    De like of which you nebber did see,
    De bids is out I's seen a few,
    De guests I know, and so do you.
        Lubly Rosa! Sambo come!
        Don't you hear de banjo?
          Tum! Tum! Tum!

    De fust on de list is Mistah Snow,
    And de nex is Jeemes and Dinah Crow;
    Chalk and ivory! heels and shins!
    White man wait till the dance begins!
        Lubly Rosa! Sambo come!
        Don't you hear de banjo?
          Tum! Tum! Tum!

    Pompey Smash, and his lady fair!
    You may bet your life dey will bofe be dare!
    And Mistah Ducklegs--bully for he!
    Such a gizzard foot you nebber did see.
        Lubly Rosa! Sambo come!
        Don't you hear de banjo?
          Tum! Tum! Tum!

    And Gumbo Squash wid his bressed grin,
    His curling har, and his cho-shin--
    De King ob Hearts will come to de Bal,
    Let the gals look out for dare feckshuns all!
        Lubly Rosa! Sambo come!
        Don't you hear de banjo?
          Tum! Tum! Tum!

    Ole Uncle Ned, frow down dat hoe!
    And Dinah, drop dat kitchen dough!
    All Dixie's free, wid noffin to do
    But to dance all night, and all day too.
        Lubly Rosa! Sambo come!
        Don't you hear de banjo?
          Tum! Tum! Tum!

    De white trash dey have nuffin to say,
    But to work! work! and de taxes pay;
    While the bressed darkies dance dere fill,
    Let de white trash foot de fiddler's bill!
        Lubly Rosa! Sambo come!
        Don't you hear de banjo!
          Tum! Tum! Tum!

    White Men! White Men! Sure as you're born,
    The crows are going to take your corn!
    They surround your fields on every tree,
    And they blacken the sky as far as we see.
        Lubly Rosa! Sambo stay,
        In the land of Dixie,
          Far away."

Linkin laughed at it when I got thru, an sed it done very well for some
sore-hed Dimmycrat, but that Whittiur could write one on 'tother side
that this would not be a primin to. I telled him Whittiur might make
better poetry, but I doubted whether ther would as much truth in it as
this had.

Linkin ses he wants me to study up the finances for him. He ses the
debt is gettin fearful, an as I am good at cyferin, he ses I must try
to help him out on that subject. He wants to put it in his nex message.
It is some time since I did such work, but if I feel like it, I will go
into it, an will write you how I get along.

Your frend,

MAJER JACK DOWNING.



LETTER VIII.

_Matters get Confused--The "Kernel and the Major" Compelled to go to
Fortress Monroe to Straighten Things Out--Mr. Lincoln Takes his
Revolver--The Major Sticks to His Hickory--Arrival at Fort Monroe--They
go on a "Tippergraphical Rekonnisanze"--A Night Alarm--Secretary
Stanton Tries to get on the President's Pantaloons._


WASHINGTON, May 13th, 1862.

_To the Editers of The Cawcashin:_

SURS:--Wal, if I ain't eenamost tired out, I wouldn't say so. Wen I
writ you last, I told you that Linkin wanted me to look into the
financies and cifer where we was a comin to, but I ain't had time to do
it yet. Things have ben in a kind of a dubbel and twisted snarl here
lately. Sekretary Stantin and Gins. McClellin and McDowell have been
almost by the ears. One of em halls Linkin one way and another t'other
way, until he got eenamost crazy. McClellin wanted more sojers. Stantin
sed he didn't have em for him. McDowell sed he wanted more, and Banks
wanted more. So you see here was a pretty kittle of fish. Finally, Mr.
Linkin, ses he, "Majer, wat on erth shall I do?" "Wal," ses I, "Kernel,
I tell you my idee. You better go down to Fort Monrow, an see for
yourself. I allers found, when I had a lot of hands in the field a
mowin, there was nothin like havin the boss on hand. If he ain't there,
they all want to be boss." "Wal," ses Linkin, "I think that is a good
plan, Majer; and if you will go along with me, I will go down there,
and if I don't straiten things out there, my name ain't Abe Linkin.
But, Major, how shall we go?" "Wal," ses I, "Kernel, do jist as
Ginneral Jackson used to; step of kinder unbeknown to eny one, but you
kin invite all your a mind to go along." "Wal," ses he, "I guess I'll
take Chase and Stantin along. I want Stantin so as to ask questions; an
if I leave Chase here, he an Seward will git a quarrelin sure as you
live. I never see two men so jealous of each other. They both want to
be President so bad, that I expect nothin else but some day they'll
steal my old boots."

The next day Linkin got all ready, put on his best close, and slicked
up so he looked purty nice. Then he got his six-barreled revolver, and
put it in his side coat pocket. Ses I, "Kernel, what on arth do want of
revolvers?" "Wal," ses he, "Majer, aint we goin down to the land of the
Secesh, and who knows but we may git in an ambushcade?" "Wal," ses I,
"Kernel, that's a fact; but I shan't carry anything but my old hickory.
Ginneral Jackson cum pretty nigh killin a man once with his hickory,
and I believe, Kernel, old as I am, I'de give any Secesher a pretty
good tussel with that old shag bark."

"Wal," ses Linkin, "I wan't brought up that way. I'de rather have an ax
than any other weepin, for I believe I could split the Southern
Confederacy into rails in a week, and fence it in, if it were only
fashionable to warfare in that manner; but you see, Majer, we've got to
lick the rebils according to science, or John Bull and Looe Napoleon
will kick up a rumpus. So I'll have to stick to revolvers."

"Wal," ses I, "Kernel, that's right; but give me the hickory. If I
don't defend myself with that, then my name ain't Majer Jack Downing. I
ain't goin to make a masked battery of myself."

So we all got reddy and went off in the Miamy, so quiet like, that
Washington peeple didn't scasely know it. Ginneral Wool was terribully
tickled to see us, and he shook me by the hand jest as hard as he
could. I hadn't seen the old Ginneral for a great manny years, but he
don't seem a mite older than he did nigh on twenty years ago. The next
day after we got there, we had a council of war, and it was decided to
attack Norfolk. But how to do it was the question. "Wal," ses Linkin,
"I tell you what, I know somethin about boatin, and the Majer here he
is quick at eenamost anything. So we'll go on a tippergraphical
rekonnisanze to-morrow." Ses I, "Kernel, them big words may be all
right, but I'll be darned if I believe they're English." Ses I, "Ain't
it jist as easy to say that we're goin on a military tower of
obsevashin?"

The next mornin we started off in the Miamy, and went towards Norfolk.
Every place we cum to, the naval offesers sed wouldn't answer to land
troops on. It couldn't be done. Finerally, I showed Linkin a spot close
in shore, and ses he, "Them old canal-botes up there at the Fort, that
you sed looked as if they were the runin gear of Noah's ark, are fit
for nothin else but to be towed over here for the troops to land on."
Ses I, "Kernel, that's so, and if the sea captains can't do it, I kin,
for I sailed a sloop once down in Maine, and I know sumthin about the
bizness." So wen Linkin pinted out the spot, they tried to find fault
agin, and talked about the tide and the sinkin of the boats, etc. Just
then I stepped up, and ses I, "Mr. President, I'm an old man, but if
you want sojers landed there, I'll land 'em safe and sound as a pipe
stem; if I don't, then my name ain't Majer Jack Downing." Wen the brass
button, pompous chaps heered me say that I was Majer Jack Downing, you
never seen a wisker set of fellers. They all at once began to make
apologys, and sed that they would try it, that they guessed it could be
done, and so on. I see thru the fellers at once. They didn't want
Linkin to have _eny_ of the credit of it; but when they see that I was
goin to do it, and take _all_ the credit, then they were willin to go
to work. I ralely believe there ain't a officer in the navy or army but
what expects to get glory enuff in this war to make him a President.
Wal, after we fixed on this place, we all went back to the Fort, and
Ginneral Wool give us all first rate rooms in the offiser's quarters.
The next mornin, bright and arly, the sojers were off, and Ginneral
Wool leadin 'em. As it turned out, everything went off jest as slick as
could be. The rebils had cut sticks and run, and there was no one to
take. The Ginneral went into town, run up the stars and stripes, and it
was all over with. Norfolk was ours.

[Illustration: "I'm darned if the critter warnt bizzy tryin' to git on
Linkin's trowsers."--Page 80.]

Ginneral Wool was so tickled with his success that the old man cum post
haste back agin, late at nite, to tell Linkin and Stantin of it. We had
all got to bed. We slept in rooms that jined each other, Linkin
occupyin the middle room, an myself an Stantin one on each side, with
the doors openin into Linkin's room. Wen we went to bed, ses the Kernel
to me, kinder jokin, ses he, "Majer, if the Secesh attack us to-nite,
you must have your hickory reddy." Ses I, "Kernel, look out for your
revolver, an put it under your piller, so you kin grab it handy." Wal,
what should happen along towards mornin but a most terribul noise, some
one beatin, an stampin, an yellin, like all possessed. First, I thought
of the Secesh, and I grabbed my hickory at once, an made for the
Kernel's room in my nite-shirt to see how he was feelin. I came pretty
nigh bustin my sides a laughin, for there Linkin stood up on a cheer,
lookin for all the world like a treed porcupine; his hair stood on
eends, and he was a shaking his pistol around as if he meant to shoot.
Ses I, "Hold on, Kernel; don't fire. Let's see what this rumpus is all
about before you shoot." Stantin, was in Linkin's room, lookin like a
spook in his white nite-gown; an I'm darned if the critter warn't bizzy
trying to git on Linkin's trowsers! He got 'em on after a fashen, but
his legs didn't more than go half thru 'em, an there he stood kinder
tangled up like, lookin awful sorry about somethin, as if he'ed wanted
to issue a bulletin an couldn't? All the while the noise kept growin
louder, an finally ses I, "Who on arth is that makin such a tarnal
racket?" "It's me. It's me," ses a voice. Ses I, "Who is me? Are you
Union or Secesh?" "I'm Ginneral Wool," ses he, "an I want to tell you
the noose." Now, we didn't no more expect to see Ginneral Wool than we
did Jeff Davis; but sure enuff, it was him, and he cum thunderin in an
brought his old cane down on the floor with a ring. Ses he, "Norfolk is
ours, by ----." I won't put in the swearing part. You never did see
such a change. Linkin jumped down out of the cheer, and ketched the old
Ginneral by the hand, and cum pretty nigh shakin it off, while Stantin
took him rite in his arms. Wen the story had all been heerd, and Linkin
went to look for his trowsers, there was Stantin with his legs in 'em,
holden them up by his hands. Ses I, "Kernel, Mr. Stantin will get to be
President if you ain't kerful, for I see he's got on the President's
trowsers." Wen I sed that, I thought Stantin would wilt. He looked
awfully struck up, but sed he'd no idee them was Linkin's trowsers, and
he backed out of them quick.

The next day there was great rejoicing in the hull army, and we all cum
back to Washington in the Miamy. I've jist got back, and have only had
time to write you this letter. Wen yew hear from me agin I hope I
shan't be so tired, and try to give you a more interesting letter.

Your friend,

MAJER JACK DOWNING.



LETTER IX.

_The Major Figures on the "Nashinal Debt"--Horse Contracts and
"Abolishin Preechers"--Banks Defeated--The Major Suggests a New
Fashioned Shield expressly for Retreats--A Wheelbarrow for every
Soldier!--Excitement in Washington--The President not Scared "a
Hooter"_


WASHINGTON, May 26th, 1862.

_To the Editers of The Cawcashin:_

SURS:--Sence I writ you last, I've been figering on the nashinul debt,
and I tell you what it is, it is jest about the most intricit subjec I
ever got hold of. I've used up two duzzen slates and about a cart load
of slate pencils. Linkin has sent on to York for a fresh supply, and
wen they cum I'm goin' at it agin. Squire Biddle's Bank warn't a primin
to this war debt. You see the contracters and the pollyticians, and the
Members of Congress and the Guvernors of the States, and the editers
and even the Abolishin preechers are mixed up in it cleen to their ize.
It's very queer how so many of these preechers have had hoss contracts.
It seems as if Abolishin and hoss jockeying goes together. One pius
chap wrote on the back of his contract, "An horse is a vain thing for
safety. Put your trust in the Lord." I should think that such hosses as
he furnished would be a vain thing for safety, for nigh about the hull
of 'em was spavined, or ring-boned, or foundered, or had the blind
staggers. I tell you it's edefyin to look over these contracts. Linkin
has giv me a cart blank to pry into the hull subjec, but Chase squirms
terribully wen I questshin him close. But I ain't got half done. The
other day, as I was porerin over my last slate, which was pretty nigh
sifered full, Linkin sent for me in a grate hurry. I started rite off,
wunderin what on arth was up. Wen I went in, the Kernel had his cote
off and his sleeves rolled up, an ses he, "Majer, do you know where I
kin get a first-rate axe?" Ses I, "Kernel, I know where there is the
best axe that ever chopped wood, but," ses I, "it's way up in
Downingville." Ses he, "That won't do, Majer; I must have an axe rite
off, or I shall bust; I can't live unless I work off this steem." I see
the Kernel had on a high-pressure excitement, and ses I, "Hold on a
minnit, Kernel, and tell me what on arth's the matter?" "Matter!" ses
he, "jest read that, Majer, and tell me whether you don't think that
that infernal cuss, Stantin, ought to be kicked out of the Cabinet?" I
took up the paper and there was a despatch from Ginneral Banks, sayin
how the rebils had licked him and was drivin him back like all
possessed, and all because Stantin had takin away his troops and sent
'em away where they warn't wanted. Ses I, "Kernel, I have had a good
deal of doubt about that feller, Stantin, ever sence he tried to get on
your trowsers down at Fort Munrow. You see you can't never depend a
grate deal on a turn coat. He once perfessed to be a pro-slavery man,
but now he goes in for the Abolishinists even stronger than the
Simon-pures. I tell you, Kernel, you better look out for him." "Wal,"
ses Linkin, "we ain't got no time to talk about that. The Secesh are
almost on Washington agin, and jest think what France and England will
say. Why, Seward rote 'em at the last steamer that it was all
over--that New Orleans was open--that Richmond would be taken in a few
days; and here, by this stupid blunder, we are agin jest back where we
were a year ago, and I've got to call fer more troops to defend the
Capital. What on arth will we do?" "Wal," ses I, "Kernel, if swarein or
even choppin wood do any good, I would advise you to do one or both;
but you see they won't. So put on your coat and let's talk this matter
over." So we jest went over the subjec, and soon decided what to do. I
tell you we made the telegraff fly all day Sunday, and by night we all
began to feel a grate deal easier. That nite the Kernel and I had a
long talk, and I told him I had invented a new military system to
prevent the dangers of a retreat, and that, ef it had been adopted in
Ginneral Banks' case he would have come off with all his men, and
almost without a scratch. The Kernel he was dredful anxious to know
what it was. So I told him that my idee was to have every man supplied
with a sheet-iron shield, about five foot long and about two foot wide,
to strap rite on his back when he commenced to retreat. Then the enemy
might fire as hard as they pleased, while our sojers could take their
time and not be compelled to run themselves out of breath.

"Wal," ses Linkin, "how would they carry it when marchin?" He thought
he had me there, but ses I, "Kernel, my plan involves a hull change in
the art of war. Insted of so many baggage waggins and such long trains,
I would have a wheelbarrow for every sojer! Don't you see," ses I,
"Kernel, how nice that would work? Every man could carry his own
vittals, and his ammunition, his shield, &c., &c., jest as complete as
could be. Wen there was any fighten to be done, the wheelbarrows could
all be placed in the rear, the sojers arm themselves and go out and
fight. If they were whipped all they would have to do would be to fall
back to the wheelbarrows, strap on their shield and walk off! There
would be no runnin then to get out of the reach of bullets, and
retreats of thirty-five miles a day would be useless. With an army of
that kind, Kernel, we could subdue the Southern Confederacy in 'sixty
days,' and make out Seward a prophet after all." "I'm afraid, Majer,
it's too late in the day to introduce your new military system. This
infernal Southern Confederacy has got to be whipped pretty soon with
such old hosses and waggins as we have got, or this Union is split jest
as sure as my name is Abe Linkin. You see, Majer, you can't make a
whistle out of a pig's tail, and it seems to me jest about impossibul
ever to make Union men agin out of the rebils. However, they shan't
have Washington, ef I have to call every man in the North here to
defend it." Ses I, "Kernel, that's right. I'de stick to the White House
until the top blowed off and the cellar caved in."

You better believe we've been in an awful excitement here sence the
news about Banks cum. Seward looks paler than ever, while Chase is
skeert half to deth for fear of its effect on the Treasury. The Kernel
and I, however, keep cool, and we are getting things pretty well
straightened out, so ef the Secesh come here now, they may wish they
had never got so nigh Washington.

Linkin ses "he warn't skeered a hooter, but was only rarin mad." At any
rate, he looked awful savage, and ef he had had my axe, I ralely
believe he might have split rails enough to fence the Southern
Confederacy in.

I had intended to be back to Downingville before the first of June, but
Linkin says he won't hear of my goin until he sees more daylight down
South. I must be there the 4th of July, at any rate, for I never allow
that day to go by without reviewin the Downingville melisha.

Your friend,

MAJER JACK DOWNING.



LETTER X.

_The Major Troubled with his old Complaint, the "Rumatics"--He
Examines the Finances--Mr. Chase Frightened--The Major Figures up the
Accounts on His Slate--Returns and Shows the Result to Mr. Lincoln--He
is Astounded--The "Kernel and the Majer" Take Some Old Rye--The Major
Proposes to Return to Downingville to Spend the 4th of July._


WASHINGTON, June 8th, 1862.

_To the Editers of The Cawcashin:_

SURS:--It has been mity onpleasant wether sence I writ you last, an I
have had a rale sharp twinge of the rumatics. These cold rains in June
are hard on a constitushin that has had a tussle with nigh on to about
eighty winters; but howsever, with a little elder bark tee, my favorit
remedy wen it's mixed with a good deal of old rye, I've got now about
as good as new agin. So the other day I telled Linkin I was going to
finish up my sifering on the financies. He sed he wished I would, for
he was alreddy beginning to think about laying the foundashin for his
nex message, an he wanted the facts to put in. So I telled him he must
give me a letter of authority that I might show the Seckatary of the
Treasury, so that he would see that I warn't eny common chap coming to
pry into what was none of my business. So Linkin sat down an writ a
letter as follows:

    "DEAR SUR:--Majer Jack Downing is authorized to examine into the
    state of the financies _in partickelar_.

    "A. LINKIN."

Wen the Kernel first writ the letter, he didn't have on the last two
words in italicks. I asked him to put 'em on, an he did. "Majer, what
do you want them words for?" "Wal," ses I, "Kernel, them words will
puzzle Chase eenamost to death, an will so trubbel him that he will
think ef he dares to keep back the truth, that you'll be sure to give
him his walkin papers. You see, Kernel, you must be a little mysterous
with these pollyticians, or else they don't get afeered of you."

I then put the letter in my hat, rite under the linin, an, takin my
slate under my arm, and my hickory in my hand, I started for the
Treasury buildin. It aint far from the White House, an I soon got
there. It's a mity big pile of stones, I tell you, and must have cost a
heep of money to have got it fixed up so nice. Jest as I was goin in
the door, I met Mr. Chase comin out. He knew me an I knew him, tho' he
didn't suspect for a minnit what I was after. Ses he, "Majer, I'm
mighty tickled to see you. It does my heart good to see a genuwine
loyal man in these days of rebellyn, an I know you're one." "Wal," says
I, "Mr. Seckatary, ef Ginneral Jackson was a loyal man, then I'm one,
and ef he warn't loyal then there ain't eny sich thing as loyalty." Ses
he, "Majer, you're rite, an what kin I do for you this mornin?" "Wal,"
says I, "Mr. Seckatary, I've come around to inquire into the state of
the financies. The President ses he's very busy, an bein as I was good
at figers, he wanted me to jest take a look at the books an see how the
ackounts stand."

Wen I sed this, I see he didn't look pleased at all. He began to make
sum sort of apologies, that the ackounts were behindhand, and so on,
but I telled him I warn't partickelar about all the little items, an
that I only wanted to get at the ginneral sum; but as he still seemed
to be hesitatin, thinks I to myself, now's the time to show him the
President's letter--that will fix him, sure. So I took off my hat and
showed it to him. Wen he red it he was as perlite as a nigger wen he
wants to humbug you. He looked at it a long time before he sed
enything. Wen he did speak, ses he, "Majer, what do these last words
'in partickelar' mean?" "Wal," ses I, "I don't know as I can tell. The
President put 'em in there, and I didn't ask him what he meant by 'em."
You see, I warn't goin to be fool enough to let him think I had
suggested his putting 'em there, for that would have spoilt all my
plans. I see he was worried, an that was jest what I wanted.

After that he asked me to come in his office, and he began to tell me
that the financies were in a very prosperous condishun. He took down a
big book which he sed his clarks had prepared for him, so that he could
see every Saturday night jest how much the Government was in debt. I
took a look at it, but I couldn't tell head nor tail to it. He sed they
kept their books by dubbel entry. I telled him that I should think that
a single entry would be as many times as such a debt as ours ought to
be chalked down. "Now," ses I, "Mr. Seckatary, I want to get at this
subject in a way that 'plain people,' as the Kernel says, can
understand it." Ses I, "What is the debt now?" "Wal," ses he, "it is
$491,000,000." "Is that all?" ses I. "Why, in your report last winter
you estimated that it would be $517,000,000, and you don't say that it
is less than the estimate." "Wal," ses he, "Majer, that is what the
books say." "Now," ses I, "Mr. Seckatary, them books by dubbel entry ain't
worth a peck of saw-dust. There was Deacon Doolittle's son, Hosea, of
Downingville, who went to York and set up the dry-goods business. Wen
he failed, his books showed that he was worth two hundred thousand
dollars, and yet he didn't have money enough to get his wife hum to his
father's. You see dubbel entry is a good deal like riding two horses at
once; you can't manage 'em, and things get so kinder mixed up in profit
and loss, and notes payable and notes receevable, that you can't tell
how you stand. Now," ses I, "Mr. Seckatary, I want to ask you some
questshins by single entry, and I will put the ansers down on the
slate." Ses I, "Didn't you say in your report that the estemate for the
army was for 400,000 soldiers, $400,000,000; for 500,000 soldiers,
$500,000,000, and so on?" "Yes, Majer, that was the statement, I
beleeve." "Wal, now," ses I, "we can figer this down in short meter.
How many soldiers have you had?" "Wal," ses he, "over 600,000 have been
paid for, nigh about 700,000." "Now," ses I, "Mr. Seckatary, you don't
want any dubbel entry, or threbbel entry to get at that; the
multiplicashun tabel is just as good a document as I want. Take that
and my slate, and I ken figer it up in a minnit. You see, there is
$700,000,000 at one slap. Your books may show what you have paid, but
you see, Mr. Seckatary, you are running this war on credit, and because
you ain't paid all your debts, that is no sign that you won't have to.
Besides," ses I, "Mr. Seckatary, you have made, you know, some
miscalculashuns, and mebby you may make more. In your first report in
July, 1861, I've ben readin it keerfully, and I've got it marked down
on the slate here, you sed the expenses for 1862 would be $318,000,000,
but in December, you said they would be $543,000,000. Now, here was
mistake of over $200,000,000. You sed in July, the tariff would yield
$57,000,000. In December you said you could not calculate on over
$32,000,000. You estemated the receipts from land sales, in July, at
$3,000,000. You cut it down in December to $2,300,000; and now
Congress, by passing the Homestead bill, will whittle it all off. Here,
you see, are some great mistakes, but there are some on the other side
of the account. There are some items of expenses, too, which you have
omitted. There's the $30,000,000 recently passed to settle up Cameron's
ackounts. Then there is a $100,000,000 of outstandin debts. Then there
is $100 bounty to each soldier, which, by the time the war is over will
amount to $100,000,000 anyhow. Then there is $1,000,000 given to buy
the niggers in this District. Let us see how much that makes. I'll add
it up--$250,000,000, which, added to the $700,000,000, makes
$950,000,000, as the present debt Uncle Sam has on his shoulders. You
might just as well call it a THOUSAND MILLION OF DOLLARS and be done
with it."

Wen I got through, the Seckatary looked amazin red in the face, and ses
he, "Majer, the truth is, where there is so many peopul spendin money
its mity hard to keep track of all the items." "Wal," ses I, "there
ain't only one more pint on which I want to show you you have made a
mistake. In December last, you calkelated that the war expenses for
1863 would be $360,000,000, but the House has already passed bills for
the army amounting to $520,000,000. Then you thought, Mr. Seckatary,
that the war would be ended by July, but here it is about that time,
and we only seem to be jest fairly getting into the shank of the
fight."

"Wal, to tell the truth, Majer, this war has disappinted the hull of
us, but I think I havn't been so foolish as Seward. I never sed it
would end in 'sixty days.'"

"That's so," ses I, "but you see there's nothin like tellin the truth
rite out, and its allus very bad to deceive the people on money
matters. You may love the niggers, Mr. Seckratary, as much as you want
to, but don't try to pull _the wool_ over white folks' eyes, or let
other people do it, for it will break down the administration as sure
as my name is Majer Jack Downing."

"Wal," ses he, "Majer, that's so, and when I send in my next report,
I'm goin to jest speak rite out. I've tried to do my best to keep down
expenses, but I can't, and when I get another chance I'me goin to put
the blame where it belongs."

Ses I, "That's rite, Mr. Seckratary. Don't let the raskils git clear
without bein exposed. But ef you undertake to cover up their tracks,
you will come out jest as old Squire Biddle did in that United States
Bank matter."

I then bid the Seckratary "good mornin," and started back to the White
House. He was very perlite to me, and said he hoped the President and
me would look at the subjeck favorably. I telled him that the Kernel
would do what was jest rite, and that ef he would only keep a sharp
lookout on the plunderers and stealers, I would be his friend till
deth. He sed he would, and we shook hands and parted.

Wen I got back Linkin sot in a cheer fast asleep, with his feet up on a
tabel. I giv the tabel a rap with my hickory, and the Kernel stratened
up jest like openin a jack nife, and ses he, "Was I asleep, Majer?"
"Yes, jest as solid as a saw-log. What on arth makes you sleep," ses I,
"rite in the middle of the day?" "Wal," ses he, "Majer, the truth is, I
was readin the Nashinal _Intelligencer!_" "Sure enuf," ses I, "that's
worse than opium." "But," says he, "what about the finances?" Then I
showed him the slate, and how I had figered up the debt, and told him
all I sed to Mr. Chase. I never see a man so flustrated as Linkin was.
"Wal," ses he, "Majer, ef I was only back to Illinoy safe and sound,
you wouldn't never ketch me a runnin for President agin. I had no idee
that the debt was anything like this. But ef the music has to be faced,
I'll face it. There's one thing, Majer, that we've got the advantage of
any other administrashin in. We can say that this debt was a 'military
necessity!' That cuts off debate." "Wal," ses I, "Kernel, perhaps the
people will be satisfied with that, and perhaps they won't. Any how,
that won't make it any easier to pay the taxis." "Wal," says Linkin,
"we'll leave that subjec to posterity." Ses I, "Is that fair, Kernel,
to burden posterity in that fashun?" "Wal," ses he, "what's posterity
ever done for us?"

The Kernel then took down the figers off my slate in his book, and sed
he would keep 'em for his nex message.

Then Linkin, ses he, "Majer, you've worked like a nailer on these
figers, an it's an awful dry an tough subjec. So I think you better
have some old rye to sort of top off with." Then he called the feller
in purty bad clothes, who does arrands, and telled him to bring out the
black bottle. "Now, Majer," ses the Kernel, "take a good swig. It will
be healthy for your rumatiz. As for me, I'll jest take a little for
company sake. I don't drink myself, you know, Majer, but I like to have
a little old rye aroun; an I allus tell the old woman ef there's eny of
it missin not to ask eny questshins." After we got dun drinking, ses I,
"Kernel, I have been here with you ever sence the 1st of February, an
wen I cum I didn't expec to stay more than a month. Now, the 4th of
July is comin along close at hand, an I must be thinking about gettin
back to Downingville, for I must be there before the 4th. Now," ses I,
"Kernel, ef you'll only go along with me down there, as Ginneral
Jackson did, I'll promise you a great recepshun."

"Wal," ses he, "Majer, I can't go. The truth is, the rebils need
watchin. But you tell the Downingville folks that jest as soon as the
rebelyun is put down, I'm comin down ther. A town that can turn out
such a loyall regiment as the 'Downingville Insensibles,' and such
talented officers as Insine Stebbins, must be, as we Westerners say, 'a
heep of a place.' I'm sorry to have you go, Majer, but I hope you'll be
able to cum back after the nashinul annyversary."

"Wal," ses I, "Kernel, I can't promis, but I'll see how my rumatiz gets
on."

I shall pack up in a few days, onless somethin onexpected occurs, and
it may be the next time you heer from me, will be from Downingville. If
you print this letter, I hope you'll apologize for its dullness, for
figgers are mity dry readin for most peepel. However, ef they don't
study into figgers about these days, it won't be long, I'me afeered,
before they'll be sorry they didn't.

Your frend,

MAJER JACK DOWNING.



LETTER XI.

_The Major Does not go to Downingville--Loses His Hickory--Gets a
Bottle of Whiskey by Adams Express Co.--The Major Declines to Sign the
Receipt at First--Whiskey and the Constitution--"The Constitushinal
Teliskope"--A Magical Change--Mr. Seward's Trick--The Major Discovers
it--A Negro in It._


WASHINGTON, June 18, 1862.

_To the Editers of The Cawcashin:_

SURS:--I expect you'll be struck all aback to git anuther letter from
me, dated Washington, and I'm kinder surprised myself, for I expected
to be in Downingville, long afore this. But you'll see by the time you
git through this letter, that it was impossibul for me to leave. I got
my trunks all packed up and ready to start, when lo! and beheld, my
hickery, that Ginneral Jackson give me, was missin! Now, I couldn't no
more travil without my hickery cane then I could sodder up this broken
Union with skim milk. I told Linkin I was all ready, but that my
hickery was missin. So he called the feller in putty bad close, who
does chores around the White House, and asked him if he'd seen it? He
sed he hadn't. Then I reckollected that there had been a Cabbynet
meetin the night before, and it struck me that some of the members had
walked off with it. So Linkin sent the feller around to see. After he'd
gone, I told Linkin ef any of 'em had it that I'd bet it was Stantin,
for ses I, "Kernel, ever sense he tried to get on your trowsers down to
Fort Monrow, he's acted jest as ef he wanted to play Ginneral Jackson,
and ef he can git a piece of hickery that the old Ginneral has handled,
he'd think that he was on the road to glory." Sure enuf he had it, but
pretended it was all a mistake, jest as he did when I caught him in the
Kernel's trowsers. Depend upon it, Stantin needs watchin, for he is one
of them kind of fellers who's got it into ther head that they are
forordained for somethin, and they don't know what.

The loss of my hickery kept me over one day longer, and the next day I
got the bottle of Borebon whiskey which you sent to me. A feller by the
name of Adams fetched it, and he wouldn't take any pay for his trubble
either. I asked him ef he was eny relashin to Phil Adams, who used to
keep a tanyard in Downingville, as he was a very clever man, and used
to do enything for his naybors for nothin. The chap laughed rite out
loud at this, and sed "He didn't see it." Ses I, "What don't you see?"
"Wal," sed he, "never mind, old feller, about tellin long stories, but
jest put your name rite down there," and he handed out a big book full
of writin. Ses I, "Mr. Adams, I never put my name to enything that I
don't understand." Ses I, "That may be a secesh docyment for all I
know." Ses the feller, ses he, "Git out! this is only a receipt for
that bottle." "Wal," ses I, "ef that's all, then here goes." So I got
my spectacles and a quill pen, for I never rite with eny of the
new-fangled kinds, and I jest rote out "Majer Jack Downing" in a stile
that made the fellow stare. Ses I, "Mr. Adams, you have some awful poor
riters among the fellers you deal with, but I ain't ashamed of that
ritin enywhere." The chap he looked at it a moment, and then he looked
at me, and finally ses he, "Bully for you," and in a jiffy he was off,
without even shakin hands or sayin good by.

After he was gone I took the bottle into Linkin's room and opened it.
"Now," ses I, "Kernel, let's try this licker." "Wal," ses he, "Major,
I'm a good judge of Borebon, for it comes from my old State of
Kentuck." Wen Linkin saw the name on the bottle, "Mr. Cotton, 306
Washington street, N.Y.," ses he, "Major, do you think this is loyal
wiskey?" "Why," ses I, "Kernel, what makes you ask that questshin?"
"Wal," ses he, "don't you see the man's name is _Cotton_!" "Now,"
ses I, "Kernel, what an idee that is! Do you suppose it would be
dangerous for him to live down in Secesh, where they are burning
_cotton_ as fast as they kin?" "Wal, never mind the name, Majer,
let us taste of the wiskey. I can tell whether its loyal or not." So I
opened the bottle and poured out some, and the Kernel took a good swig.
I also took a snifter, and we both pronounced it A No. 1 licker, and
loyal, too. "Now," ses I, "Kernel, can you tell me why this wiskey is
like the Constitushin of the United States?" "No," ses he, "I don't see
eny simularity." "Wal," ses I, "Kernel, this wiskey was made for _White
Men_, jest as the Constitushin was." Ses he, "Majer, how do you know it
was made for white men?" "Wal," see I, "it is jest as plain to me as
daylight. You see, Kernel, the licker agrees with you. It tastes good.
It won't hurt you; in a word, it corresponds with natur. That's a sign
it was made for you. Jest so it was with the Constitushin. It applies
to white men exactly, and they've always got along together with it
fust rate. Now, you give this wiskey to the niggers, and they get drunk
on it, and cut up all sorts of scrapes, but white men, whom it was made
for, know jest how to use it, and it don't do them eny hurt. Jest so
with the Constitushin; you apply it to niggers and it is jest as bad
for 'em as wiskey. They don't know how to use it, an they'll destroy
everything, an make themselves an everybody else ten times worse off."
"Wal," ses the Kernel, ses he, "Majer, I wish I could see how it is
that the Constitushin don't apply to niggers jest as much as to white
men." Ses I, "Kernel, you don't look at the Constitushin thru
constitushinal spectacles. That Chicago Platform bothers you." "Now,"
ses I, "Kernel, ef I'll make you a Constitushinal Tellskope, will you
promise me to use it? If you will, it will be about as good a guide to
you as ef I staid here all summer myself?" Ses I, "It will show the
Constitushin as it is, an the Union as it was." Wen I spoke of this,
Linkin sed he'd be tickled eenamost to deth ef I would make him one. So
I told him I could do it in one day, an that although I was very anxus
to get hum, yet I'd fix this up before I started. So I jest went up to
my room and began to plan. I had a pair of old spectacles, which
Ginneral Jackson give me, and I knew that the glasses were jest as
sound constitushinal glasses as were ever looked thru. So I took 'em
out of the cases, an got a magnifyin glass and put between 'em, an
fixed 'em in a long, narrer box. It took me about all day before I got
it finished. Wen it was all done, I looked thru it, and you never see
sech a glorious site. I could see jest as ef it was the hull Union
layin out before me. There was the Stars and Stripes, an the eagle, an
thirty millions of white people, all happy an contented, an joy an
prosperity smilin everywhere. An the sky seemed to be bendin down so as
to almost tech the arth, an away up in the clouds I could see rais of
light streemin forth, an I thought I could even see the angil robes of
Washington, an Jefferson, an Madison, and the old Ginneral lookin down,
an rite over the hull was the words, "GLORY" and "PEACE," in grate big
letters. It was raley beautiful. I got a lookin at it, an forgot all
about myself, in a sort of a reveree, and wen I cum to, I found I'd
been cryin, because, you see, that was the Union _as it was_, an not as
it is now. In fact, wen I got awake, I found it was eenamost pitch
dark, an so Linkin couldn't look thru the Teliskope that nite. Then I
got a piece of chalk, an marked it "LINKIN'S TELISKOPE," an took it to
him.

"There," ses I, "Kernel, that Teliskope is done, an to-morrow you kin
take a look at the Union as it was, an the Constitushin as it is." Ses
I, "The scene is a glorious one." So I left the Teliskope in Linkin's
room that nite, an went to bed.

The next morning after I got my breakfast, I went in, "And now," ses I,
"Kernel, we must try the Teliskope." So I thought I'd look thru fust to
see ef the glasses were set all rite, wen I was never so took aback in
my life. Instead of the joy and happiness, and the smilin faces, and
the thirty millions of white people, the rais of lite in the sky with
"GLORY and PEACE" on em, all was dark and dismal. All I could see was
some 4,000,000 of niggers, and war, and bloodshed, and misery, camps
full of sick sojers and broken waggons, wimmen and children cryin, and
the sky was black, and away up on a black cloud, in letters still
blacker, I could see the words "NEGRO FREEDOM and WAR."

I jumped back as ef I was hit wen I saw it. Ses Linkin, "What's the
matter, Majer?" Ses I, "Kernel, that Teliskope is all out of order. It
ain't rite." But Linkin sed he hadn't teched it, so I was puzzled. So
after thinkin awhile, ses I, "Kernel, was there enybody here last nite
after I went away!" "Yes," ses he, "Boss Seward came in for a while and
talked over matters." Ses I, "Did he tech this?" "Wal, he was lookin
kinder inquirin at it, and I telled him what it was, and he seemed to
be grately struck, and examined it very clus."

"No," ses I, "that ackounts for it. The pesky critter has been playin
one of his cunnin tricks on me; but my name ain't Jack Downing ef I
don't expose him. No true constitushinal Teliskope will giv such a view
as that of the Union." So I sot down and took out my jack nife, and
went to work takin it all apart. I found the box all rite; there warnt
enything in the tube, and I was puzzlin myself what could be the
matter, when I slipped up the magnifying glass, and rite back of it was
a little bit of a _paper nigger_, black as the ace of spades, that
_that feller Seward had cunninly slipped in there_! You see that at
once ackounted for the hull troubbel, for the magnifin glass reflected
the nigger instead of what it would, naterally, the white man. After I
took the nigger out, it was all rite agin, and wen Linkin looked thru
it, he was perfectly astonished. "Now," ses I, "Kernel, you see that it
is tryin to put the nigger where he don't belong that is the cause of
all our trubbel. He don't belong in the Constitushin, and when we
undertake to put him ther it won't work. This trick of Seward's jest
shows you what he's up to. Now, Kernel, I'm going to start for
Downingville arly to-morrow mornin, and I'll leave you this Teliskope
so you can take a look at the Union _as it was_, and don't you let
Seward or Sumner, or any of them fellers, get hold of it. Wen you get
puzzled, jest go and look thru that, and you may depend upon it it will
lead you strate. If you get inter eny deep troubbel, write me and I'll
give you my advice, or ef you can't get along without me, I'll come
back after the Fourth is over, and stay with you till you get out of
this scrape with the rebils. I told you I would stick to you, and I
will." So I bid good bye to the Kernel and his wife that nite, reddy to
start in the early train in the mornin.

I intend to give you a full ackount of the celebrashin of the Fourth at
Downingville. Insine Stebbins, of the Downingville Insensibles, who
writ the piece of poetry on Mrs. Linkin's ball, and who was wounded at
Chickenhominy and cum hum with a furlong, is to be orater of the
occashin. Jerusha Matilda Jenkins, the darter of Deacon Jenkins, and
who went down to Port Roile to teech the contrarybands their primers,
will also be there. The Insine is a very smart chap, ef he is a
niggerite, and I expect he'll do himself creditable.

Excuse this long letter, and beleeve me

Yours till deth,

MAJER JACK DOWNING.



LETTER XII.

_The Major Disappointed--Meets the President at West Point--Sees Gen.
Scott--They Talk over Strategy--Returns to Philadelphia with the
President--Makes a Speech at Jersey City--Mr. Lincoln also Speaks--
Meets Seward at the Astor House--A Wheel within a Wheel--Mr. Seward
Caught._


DOWNINGVILLE, July 5, 1862.

_To the Editers of The Cawcashin:_

I don't beleeve ther is enything that so sorter gets all my runnin-gear
out of order as onsartinty. Wen I writ you last, I was jest leavin
Washington, and wen you come to hear how I've scooted round the country
sence, you will be astonished. You see I hurried on hum as fast as I
could go, because I wanted to get to Downingville in time to see that
the arrangements for the 4th were got up in the rite stile. But wen I
got to Boston, I was struck all up in a heep by gettin a telliegraff
from Linkin, tellin me not to go eny further till I heerd from him.
That puzzled me terribully, and I was in an awful state of onsartinty.
Thinks I to myself, now there's sumthin up. What on arth can it be? Has
that feller Stantin been cuttin up eny more of his capers? But I was so
puzzled that I couldn't imagin wat was to pay. But I waited a few days,
and then I got a letter from the Kernel, in which he sed he wanted me
to meet him at West Pint with Ginneral Scott, as ther was sum grate
struttygy goin on which he wanted to advise about. Then I knowed ther
was sum trubbel sumwher, so I jest packed up my trunks and tuk the
ralerode for Allbanee, so as to cum down the North River to West Pint.
I got ther in the nite, jest afore Linkin cum, arly in the mornin.

I didn't sleep a wink, but jest went rite over the river in the one
hoss ferry-bote they've got there, and waited at the depow for the
Kernel. He was eenamost as glad to see me as he was wen I fust went to
Washington. He tuk me by the hand, and ses he, "Majer, I feel a good
deal safer wen you're around, for I know you won't deceeve me." Ses I,
"Kernel, that's what I never do to eny man. Ef he don't like my plane
talk, then he needn't heer it, but ef I talk at all, I must talk out
the blunt truth." "Wal," ses he, "Majer, we will go over and see the
old Ginneral, and then I will lay all my trubbel before you."

[Illustration: "He sed he jest cum out to see and be seen, and didn't
intend to blab enything about public affairs."--Page 111.]

After we got our brakefast, we went to the old Ginneral's room, and,
takin out the maps, we went at it. I never studied geographee faster in
my life than we did then. The Kernel sed the news from Ginneral
McClellan was that he would be compelled to go to the Jeemes River for
his supplize, and the grate questshin was, whether he cud turn his
right wing around so as to swing agin the river jest like opening a
barn dore. Ginneral Scott sed he thought it mite be done, provided it
was done quick enuff. I telled em I hed often noticed that wen I opened
one barn dore all at once there would cum a gust of wind, an open would
go the other in spite of all I could do. Ses I, "Kernel, ef the rebels
should pitch at the left wing while the rite is swingin, then both
dores would be open, an they might both get off the hinges." Ginneral
Scott sed he was afrade it might work that way, but ef the thing cum to
the worst, he didn't see eny help for it. You see, the army nigh
Richmond was in a tite fix, an Linkin knew it. Wen the Kernel telled
Ginneral Scott how it was, the old man cried, and sed he didn't want to
live to see the rebils whip that grate army. The whole country have
been in a grate fogo about what Linkin went to see Scott about, but
that was all. Wen he went away the next day, he sed he wanted me to see
Seward, an ef Ginneral McClellan got defeated, advise with him as to
what to do. So I went with the Kernel back as far as Filadelfy, where I
thought I stop a few days to see how things would turn out. Wen we got
to Jarsey City, the people wanted the Kernel to make a speech. He sed
first he wouldn't go out, but finally the cheers got so loud that I
telled him he must go. "Wal," ses he, "Majer, I can't. You jest go and
tell em that I am too tired." So I stepped out on the platform and
swingin my hickery around, ses I, "Feller-citizens, the President has
been up two or three nites travellin, and he ain't abil to speak. You
must excuse him." Wen they heered that, it didn't suit em at all, and a
good meny yelled out, "Who are you?" Then I remembered that I had
forgot to tell em who I was. So I stepped out, and ses I, "I'me Majer
Jack Downing." Then you had ought to hev heered em cheer, and Linkin,
you know is a queer feller, and wants to know all that's goin on, so he
cum out to see what was the matter. After he cum out, of course, he
couldn't back out of a little speech. He sed he "jest cum out to see
and be seen, and didn't intend to blab enything about public affairs."
The whistle soon sounded, and off we went. Nothing happened on the way,
and I bid the Kernel good bye in Filadelfy, and went to the Continental
Hotel to wait and see how the battle cum off. They have nigger waiters
here, dressed up like Quakers, and that is the reason they call it a
Continental hotel--so they say.

In a few days I saw how the battle had turned, and I knew Seward would
be along. The Kernel sent me a telliegraff that he would be at the
Aster House such a day, and I agreed to meet him there. I was
determined to smoke the old fox out this time, ef it was in my power,
and so I began to study him. Weed was there, who thinks he is very
cunnin, and Governor Morgan and others. McClellan bein compelled to
retreat from Richmond, they all thought that France and England would
interfere, and what was to be done? Seward sed we must put the best
face on matters we could, and raise more men to fight the rebils, and
that by showin a bold front we might frighten off the Uropean powers.
He sed he thought it might all be settled in "sixty days" yet, and ef
McClellan couldn't settle it by fightin, he could by deeplomacy. He sed
"he would run the machine as long as ther was a linchpin left, and let
John Bull and Looe Napoleon do their best." Weed wanted to know, ef we
had a war with England, wether it wouldn't be better to have it carried
on by contrack. He thought the government might let it out and make
money by the operashin. He sed he could furnish the powder and shoddy,
and wouldn't charge over five per cent. commission. Gov. Morgan sed he
was in favor of a war with England, and as it would be mostly a naval
fight, the government would need a good menny vessels, and he had a
brother who was a capital judge of sich matters. Stetson sed he thought
a war with England would improve bizness in York, specially
hotel-keepin, and as the Aster House was handy down town, it would be a
first-rate place for officers' head-quarters.

After they all got through, they asked me my opinion. I turned rite to
Mr. Seward, and ses I, "Boss, I'm goin to speak plane." Ses he, "That's
rite, Majer. No one can find fault with you. You're a loyal man, and
you've a rite to speak your mind." "Now," ses I, "in the first place,
Boss, I want to ask you a plane questshin. We all know you are runnin
the government machine, and whenever I look at a machine, I want to
know what the drivin wheel is made of. You see if that is all rite,
things will go putty nigh rite." Ses Seward, ses he, "Majer, I've got a
model of my machine here, and ef you would like to look at it you kin."
So he took out a little curious-looking box, and out of the box a
machine. It was a cute-lookin affair. "There," ses he, "do you see that
big wheel?--that's the drivin wheel." I looked at it, an I see it was
marked aroun the rim, "The Union and the Constitushin." "Wal," ses I,
"Boss, that looks all rite. Eny machine that runs on that basis must be
runnin rite. But," ses I, "somehow it don't seem to work well. We
ought not to get into so much trubbil ef we were jest runnin on the old
constitushinal basis." "Wal," ses he, "Majer, you see so it is." "Now,"
ses I, "Boss, there's somethin rong sumwhere. Either the ile is poor or
the stuff is bad, or our government machine on that basis would run
jest as slick as greese."

The more I looked at the machine the more it puzzled me. I knew what a
fox Seward was, an I remembered how he stuck the little nigger in
Linkin's Teliskope. So all at once the old sayin that "there's allers a
wheel within a wheel," popped into my hed. I didn't say it out loud,
but I sed, ses I, "Boss, will you let me see whether there ain't
sumthin rong about that?" Ses he, "Sartinly, Majer--go ahed." So I jest
out with my jack knife an went at it. I tuck it all apart. Wen I went
at the wheel I saw the Boss begin to wince, but I went rite on, an
purty soon I saw, sure enough, the outside wheel was only a sham, for
the rale wheel which run the government machine was marked "HIGHER
LAW--ABOLITION." "Now," ses I, "Boss Seward, I'm done with you. Here's
a wheel within a wheel, jest as I expected. It shows what an infarnal
hypocrite you are, and ef you're a mind to fite John Bull or the South,
or all the world, as long as you run on that wheel, I won't help you."
So I jest tuck my hickery an went out of the room. You never see such
a dumbfounded, scart set of men in your life, an Seward looked as ef
he would craul through an auger hole. I cum rite on after that to
Downingville, but I didn't get here in time to see about the
arrangements. The Insine made his orashin and Jerusha sung the oad
prepared for the occashin. My letter is so long that I can't tell you
enything about it, but wen I rite agin I may, ef sumthin more important
don't happen.

Yours, till deth,

MAJER JACK DOWNING.



LETTER XIII.

_The Major Returns to Washington--Things Get Mixed Up--Lincoln and
the Panther--Splittin Rails and the Union--The Major and the President
Visit Gen. McClellan's Army--Going up James River--Alarm of the
Rebels--Exciting Scene on Board the Boat--Nobody Hurt--The President
Reviews the Troops at Harrison's Landing--The Return Trip--The
President and Party Bathe in the Potomac--Almost a Catastrophe--The
Major's Life-Preserver--The Moral of it--The President Proposes a
Conundrum._


WASHINGTON, July 21, 1862.

_To the Editers of The Cawcashin:_

Wal, here I am back agin to Washington. I didn't expect to cum on
before fall, at eny rate, but I got a letter from Linkin, tellin me he
couldn't do without me, no how. He sed that the bars were all down
since I left, and that the cattle, an hosses, an hogs, an sheep, an
mules, were all mixed up together. Now, every farmer knows what a mess
it makes of it wen you git fat cattle, an the cows, an the sheep, an
hosses, an hogs, all muddled together in one lot. I see, at once, the
pickle Linkin was in, an so I detarmined to push off for Washington
once more, an see ef I couldn't help him out. It was oncommon hot
wether, an it pulled down purty hard on a constitushin which has had to
go thru about eighty sich summers. Howsoever, no one ought to stand
about hot wether in the sarvice of his country, even ef he don't git a
salary, or have a contrack, or some brother or son where he kin make a
pile. I never had a cent for all I've done, and wouldn't take it. I
think, ef there is any human critter on arth who is meaner than
another, it is the one who plunders the people, all the while
purtending to be a patriot. Wen I arriv, ses I, "Kernel, what's the
matter?" Ses he, "Majer, did you ever hear of the story of a man who
caught a panther by the tail?" Ses I, "Yes, Kernel, I have." "Wal," ses
he, "I'm that man. I've got the biggest he-panther by the tail that you
ever heerd tell of. Ef I was splittin rails I'de know jist what to do."
"Why," ses I, "Kernel, what could you do then?" "Wal," ses he, "jest
stick his tail in the crack of the log, knock out the wedge, and run.
But you see, Majer, I ain't splittin rails now, an that plan won't
work." "Now," ses I, "Kernel, you ain't splittin rails, but I'm afeerd
you're splittin somethin else." Ses he, "What?" Ses I, "THE UNION!"
"Now, Majer," ses the Kernel, "you don't think I want to split the
Union, do you?" "No," ses I, "I don't know as you're raley _tryin_
to split it, but then you've been such a splitter all your life, that
perhaps you are doin it unbeknown to yourself. You see, Kernel, as long
as you stick to them Abolishinists, jest so long the Union will not
only stay split, but the split will grow wider. They are the wedge an
you are the mallet. You jest knock the wedge out, an the Union will cum
together jest like shuttin up a jack-nife. You see, they hold that some
of the States have got an institushin which they consider rong, and
they are detarmined to uproot it. In tryin to do that, they'll split
everything all to smash, an by the time they get thru, it will look as
ef lightnin had struck this country from Maine to Texas, in spots not
more than six inches apart."

"Wal," ses the Kernel, ses he, "Majer, that brings up a great moral
questshin, as the nigger said when he was stealin chickens, an we ain't
got time to discuss it now. You see, Majer, I sent for you to know what
I better do about McClellan. I git all sorts of contradictory stories
from his army, an I'm puzzled most to deth to know what to do." "Wal,"
ses I, "Kernel, there's nothin like goin in the field yourself, an
examine for yourself ef you want to know how things stand." "Wal," ses
he, "that's jest what I've been thinkin of, an as you're a military
man, I wanted you to go with me." I telled him I had no objecshin to
goin, an that ef I had a fair chance I thought I could tell about how
things looked. So we got reddy, and the Kernel asked old Blair's son
Frank and Sekertary Stantin's chief clark to go along with us. We went
down the Potomack, an jest called at Fort Monrow, and then went up the
Jeems River to Harrisin Landin. Goin up the river we kept a sharp
look-out for the rebils, who line the bank and shoot at our botes. I
told the Kernel that he must be mitey kerful an not get hit, as the way
stocks would tumble in Wall street would be a caushin. So I tuk him
down stairs wen we come to the dangerous places. There they had the
bote lined with bales of hay. Ses he, "Majer, which way does the
shootin cum from?" "Wal," ses I, "Kernel, there's no tellin, but," ses
I, "you better get behind that bale, for it's a big one, an here's
another on t'other side, so I guess you'll be safe." While he was
settin there, ses he, "Majer, I ain't afeerd a hooter, but you see I
didn't want them seceshers to brag about killin me." "No," ses I,
"Kernel, that wouldn't do eny how." Jest then "bang" went sumthin like
a shot. The Kernel jumped about ten feet, rite across the bote, and hit
Frank Blair with his left boot rite where he ought not to. Frank
thought he'd been struck with a cannon-ball, and tumbled over, leavin
the seat of honor uppermost. Stantin's chief clark acted as ef he'd
been eatin poke-berries, and had an awful gripin in the bowels. It
seems one of the bales of hay had been tipped over when the Kernel give
his big jump, an hit the chap rite in his bread-basket. We were all
purty badly scart, for I tell you it makes a feller feel mighty narvous
wen he's in an inemies country, an may be hit eny moment with a
cannon-ball or a Minny bullet. Shootin will do very well as long as
sumbody else is shot at; but wen it cums to yourself, it makes you feel
week in the jints, an sumtimes brings on the die-area. Wen we cum to
find out, however, we learned we had a scare for nothin. The pilot, in
turning one of the short bends in the river, had jerked on his chains
too hard, an snapped one of them rite in two. This noise was what
sounded down in the cabin like a shot.

Wen we got to the landin, Ginneral McClellan had hosses reddy for all
of us to ride. Linkin chose a black one, and got on. Ses I, "Kernel, is
black your favorite color?" Ses he, "Majer, no joking now. This is
serious bisiness." So I got a white one. I can't ride quite so handy as
I did thirty or forty years, yet it is not every nag that could throw
me now. Linkin's sterrups were too short for his legs, though they were
let out jest as long as they could be. It kinked him up a good deal, an
before we got through reviewing the troops, ses he, "Majer, I can't
stand this bendin of my jints. I'm going to remedy it;" and so he jest
turned one leg over the hoss's neck and rode sideways the rest of the
time. The sojers cheered him as we went along, an seemed mity glad to
see him. In one place he got up on a brestwork an made a short speech
to 'em. He wound up by telling 'em that he had Majer Jack Downing,
Ginneral Jackson's old frend, with him. When he sed that, the cheers
were dubbled, an I paid my respects to the complyment by takin off my
hat an makin jest about the neetest bow that ever was.

After we had seen all the troops an made all the inquiries we wanted
to, we cum away. The seseshers did not trubbel us comin down the river,
an we soon once more were sailin up the Potomack. Comin up the river
the day was warm, an we all felt first rate that McClellan was as well
off as he was; the Kernel said he felt jest as if he would like to have
a swim. All hands agreed it would be a capital chance, an so Linkin,
and Blair, and Stantin's chief clark, undressed for a splurge in the
water. The Kernal asked me to go in too, but I telled him that, hot as
it was, my rumatiz would not allow it. Wen they got about reddy, now,
ses I, "Kernel, look out and don't go where the water is too deep, for
if you get tuckered out or have the cramp, you may not get back to the
bote." He sed "there warnt eny danger--that he hed swum the Mississippi
River nigh about all over wen he was a boy, and that he guessed he
could stand the Potomack." So off they went. Linkin could outswim the
hull party, and Blair an the other feller with him looked like sunfish
alongside a sturgeon. I thought likely Linkin mite overdo himself, or
get the cramp or sumthin, so I jest went to my valese and tuk out my
patent gutty perchy life-preserver. I ment to have it reddy if enything
happened. Wal, I hadn't more than got back to the side of the bote, wen
I seed the Kernel flounderin and kickin, and blowin, as ef he was
chokin.

Blair and Stantin's chief clark were tryin to help him, but it was like
the blind ledin the blind, an sech another muss in the water you never
did see. I saw it was time for my life-preserver, so I jest blowed it
up and hollered out to Linkin to ketch hold of it, an told Blair an the
other feller to let him alone, that that would save him. Wen Linkin got
hold of it he jest raised himself rite up, an looked as happy as a boy
with a new hat. He floated rite along towards the bote, an soon cum
aboard. Ses he, "Majer, I owe you a debt of etarnal gratitude. You've
saved my life." Ses he, "Majer, this life-preserver of yours is the
greatest article ever invented. Wen I get dressed I want to examine
it." So, purty soon, he cum in, an ses he, "Let's take a good look at
it." So I showed it to him. The first thing he saw on one side of it
was the following words: "_The Constitution as it is, and the Union
as it was._" Ses he, "Majer, what have you got that motto on a
life-preserver for?" "Wal," ses I, "Kernel, I put that there because of
the similarity between the two things. Now, that preserver saved your
life, didn't it?" "Yes," ses he, "Majer, it did." "Wal, the _sentiment
in those words is the life-preserver of the country_. You can't any
more save the country without stickin to them, than you could have
saved yourself without holdin on to the life-preserver. You must stick
to the Constitution _as it is_, and not as Sumner and Greeley want it."
The Kernel began to look kinder struck up wen he see how I had him, an
so, seein my advantage, I kept on. Ses I, "Kernel, the truth is, you
are just now in swimmin with Greeley, an Sumner, an Wilson, an Lovejoy,
an Thad. Stevens, an it is no wonder the country is like you was jest
now, chokin and gaspin, and just reddy to sink. You must git out of
such kumpany, an the only way to do it is to lay hold of the
"_Constitushin as it is_," and ef you do that, you'll save the country
jest as easy as I saved you with that life-preserver." Ses he, "Majer,
hold up, you're drivin your hoss rite into my stable, an you don't give
me a chance to say whoa." Ses I, "Kernel, go ahed, an ef you can refute
what I've sed, I'd like to see you." Ses he, "Majer, do you know why a
man's face is like the eend of an old-fashioned house?" Ses I, "No,
Kernel, can't say I do," "Wal," ses he, "because it's his _gabble_
eend." "Wal," ses I, "that may be a good joke, but after all, Kernel,
it don't answer my arguments." But I couldn't get another word on
politics out of Linkin that day. He seemed to keep up more of a thinkin
than I'd ever seen him before. We all got home to the White House safe
that nite, an, on the hull, the trip had not only bin pleasant, but
profitable, for it will lead to some grate changes in a few days.

Yours, till deth,

MAJER JACK DOWNING.



LETTER XIV.

_The President Has an Attack of Fever and Ague--The Major Prescribes
Elder Bark Tea--A Fearful Mistake--The Bark Scraped the Wrong Way--Mr.
Lincoln has to be Rolled--Stanton, Seward and the Major--A Ludicrous
Scene--The "Kernel" comes to and Begins to Joke--The Moral of Taking
the Wrong Medicine--"The Irrepressible Conflict."_


WASHINGTON, August 1, 1862.

_To the Editers of The Cawcashin:_

SURS:--I tell you I've had my hands full since I writ you last. Linkin
has been nigh about down sick with the fever an ager. Of course it
wouldn't do to let the tel-lie-graf git hold of it, for it would scare
Wall street in spasms, and knock stocks down wus than the retreat of
Ginneral McClellan. So Stantin put his sensership on the news, an that
was the end of it, while I went to work as I could to cure the Kernel
up. You see, the Kernel, for the last month or so, has been very much
broke of his sleep. Sumtimes he's up nigh about the hull nite consulten
with Stantin, an Hallick, an Seward, an the nite air has been too much
for him. The banks of the Potomick in July an August are mity hard on
the constitushin, an ef there is any bilyusness in a man, its purty
sure to bring it out. Linkin says his constitushin is just like the
war, so far, nigh about all _bill_yus. One day I went into the Kernel's
room, an seein he looked kinder blue about the gills, ses I, "Kernel,
what's the matter?" Ses he, "Majer, I feel as cold as a frozen turnip."
Ses I, "Kernel, ain't you gettin the ager?" Ses he, "No, Majer, I don't
think I'm gettin it, for I've got it already." "Wal," ses I, "Kernel,
ef there is eny feller on arth who can cure the fever an ager, it's
me." "Wal," says he, "Majer, I wish you would go ahead, for I can't
afford to be sick now. The truth is, ef I had a good ax an some
chestnut timber I could soon work off the shakes myself. I used to have
them when I was a boy, powerful bad, but I could jest go out eny mornin
and break an ager by splitting up a hundred rails as a breakfast spell;
but now I s'pose I must dose myself with some sort of pizen doctor
stuff, just because it wouldn't look well for a President to split
rails." "No," ses I, "Kernel, you needn't take eny pizen stuff. I'll
fix you sum medecin which was a grate favorite with Ginneral Jackson,
an it will cure you up as sure as my name's Downing." Ses he, "What is
it?" Ses I, "It's elder bark tea." So I jest went to work and got the
feller in bad close, who does chores around the White House, to go out
into the sububs an scrape me sum bark. I told him very particaler how
to do it, an to be very kerful an not to scrape it roundabout-ways of
the wood. You see, elder bark is the queerest stuff in the world. If
you scrape it down it acts as a fisic, an if you scrape it upwards it
becomes an emetick, while by scrapin it around-ways, it ain't nuther
one thing nor tother, but just raises a young arthquake gripin an
panein a feller as ef the cholery, an yaller fever, an kronick rumatiz
had all got hold of him at once. Purty soon the feller cum back, and I
went to work makin the tea. After I got it fixed, I went in an give it
to Linkin, who was shakin away as ef he would fall apart. "Now," says
I, "Kernel, ef you feel bad in the nite jest call me, and I will see
what's the matter." Nigh about mornin sum one was rappin at my door
like all possessed. I bounded out as spry as I could, an down stairs I
went. There was Linkin agroanin an writhin, an lookin as pale as a
ghost, an as lean and lank as a rail. They had sent for Seward an
Stantin, an all hands were in a terribul excitement. Seward seemed to
be awfully worried. Ses he, "Major, what would we do if Linkin dies,
for he's the only one of us left that the peeple's got eny faith in at
all?" Stantin didn't say nothin, but he was lookin round, I thought, to
see where the Kernel's trowsers was. As soon as I got a fair look at
the Kernel, an felt his pulze, I began to suspect what was the matter.
The fust thing I did was to call the feller in bad close who got the
elder bark, an ask him particular how he scraped it. Cum to find out,
the numskull had cut the bushes down, an then scraped them around, jest
what I had telled him not to do. I comprehended the situashin in a
jiffy. Ses I, "Mr. Seward, I understand all about this case, an ef
you'll stand back about four inches, an do jest as I tell you, we'll
have the Kernel all rite in no time." Then, turnin round, ses I,
"Stantin, I want you to lend a hand, too, and make yourself ginnerally
useful, an don't run off an issoo a proclamashin afore you know what is
what." "Now," ses I, "the feller that got the elder bark for the Kernel
scraped it the rong way, an the medicine won't work. The only way to
get it rite is to roll the Kernel over fourteen times clean across the
floor. It is a tough remedy, but desput diseases require desput
remedies." So I telled Seward an Stantin to take hold, and the way we
rolled the Kernel over an over was a caushin. It seemed as ef it might
break every bone in his body, for his frame is so sharp an so full of
angles that it jarred an jolted like rollin over a wagin wheel wen
there's no fellers on the spokes. Finally he cum to, an we lifted him
on the bed, an in a little while he felt like another person. Seward an
Stantin looked skeert yet, but I telled them they needn't have no
fears--that the Kernel was as sound as a dollar. Stantin said he'd hurt
his spine in rollin Linkin; at eny rate, he puffed an blowed like a
porpose. I telled him to go home an take some of Chase's "greenbacks"
for a poultice, an ef that didn't cure him, then there warn't no virtue
in "legal tenders." Seward sed, as I was sich a good doctor he'd like
to know what was good for pizen. Wen he was a boy he sed he pizened one
of his feet, an that it had allers trubbled him, more or less, ever
sence. I telled him to get one of Sumner's speeches, an bind on the
place, for there warn't enything like pizen to draw out pizen, and I
thought Sumner's speeches would draw pizen out of ded men, and that I
wondered the doctors hadn't got to usin them for bringin to life people
who had killed themselves with laudalum, prussick acid, an sich things.

[Illustration: "So I telled Seward an' Stanten to take hold, and the
way we rolled the Kernel over was a caushin."--Page 128.]

As soon as the Kernel cum to, he begun to joke. Ses he, "Majer, do you
know why you and Seward and Stantin rollin me on the floor were like
men spredin hay in a meadow?" Ses I, "No, Kernel, I don't, unless the
pitchen and rollin are a good deal alike." "No, no," ses he, "Majer,
the reason is because it was done to _cure_ me!" "Now," ses I, "Kernel,
that is purty sharp, but do you know why your sickness is like the
Union?" "No," ses he, "I don't see into that, unless it's because we're
both haven a tough time of it." "No," ses I, "that ain't it." "Wal,"
ses he, "what is it?" "Wal," ses I, "because _it has been takin the
rong medicen_!" Ses he, "How is that, Major? I don't understand you."
"Wal," ses I, "it's jest here. You know that feller who does chores for
you scraped the elder bark the wrong way, and wen you took it, it come
nigh on to killin you. But I didn't know but what it was all rite, and
so I give it to you. Now, jest so it's been ever sence you've been
President. Seward's been the feller who has been scrapin the medicen
for the Union, an he has _scraped it all the rong way_, an you've been
giving it all the time without knowing it. You see, the hull country
has got the gripes and the shakes, jest as you had a little while ago,
and it all cum from Seward's rong kind of medicen. You see, Seward is
tryin to make the people swallow the 'irrepressible conflict,' which is
fixed about as follows:

    Higher Law         2 oz.
    Confiscation       2 oz.
    Taxation           2 oz.
    Justice            0 oz.
    Abolition          8 oz.
        (well mixed.)"

"Now, Kernel, such a dose as that would give any country a worse set of
spasms and agers then were ever heard of before. Old John Dumbutter,
the laziest man I ever knew in Maine, sed he once had the fever an ager
in Mishegan so that it shook the buttons off his coat; but such medicen
as Seward is givin the country now will shake even the tail fethers out
of the grate American Eagle."

Ses Linkin, ses he, "Hold on, Majer, don't pour sich hot shot into me
when I'm sick." So I held up; but I tell you, the Kernel has felt very
blue sence that time. One day ses he, "Majer, what a grate mistake I
made in not makin Crittenden's compromise the basis of my administration;
but it's no use cryin over spilt milk. The leaders of our party wanted
the Chicago platform put through, and I'm the man to do what I
undertake or sink in the attempt." "Or split the Union?" ses I. "Wal,"
ses he, "I don't know about that, but what's in the way must cum down."

Things look very bad here jest now, and we all feel afraid that they
may be worse instead of better. Stantin wants to issoo a proclamashin
which he thinks will set all things rite, but Seward ses proclamashins
are played out. Linkin thought at one time to put out a call for a day
of fastin and prayer, but Hallack is opposed to it. So things are
workin along now kinder slip shod, but I'll try to keep you posted as
usual.

Yourn till deth,

MAJER JACK DOWNING.



LETTER XV.

_Gen. McClellan's Change of Base--A Bear Story--A Delegation of
Clergymen--The Major's Opinion on Negroes and "Edecated Peepul"--How
General Jackson Saw Through Them--How the War is to End--Mr. Lincoln
Tells Another Story._


WASHINGTON, August 14, 1862.

_To the Editers of The Cawcashin:_

SURS:--It has been jest about the hottest wether, sence I writ you
last, I ever did see. The Kernel ses he feels as limpsey as an eel, an
I tell you it has taken the starch out of the hull of us. Ef I don't
write a letter this time worth printin, it will be because my idees
have all kinder oozed out through my skin. One day the Kernel ses to
me, ses he, "Majer, what do you think about McClellan's new base on the
Jeemes River?" "Wal," ses I, "Kernel, it reminds me for all the world
of old Truxton Miller's bar hunt, away up in the north part of Maine,
when I was boy." The Kernel likes to hear a story as well as to tell
one, so he insisted that I should tell him all about it. So I
proceeded: Ses I, "Old Truxton was the most noted bar hunter in all
that part, an it warnt often when he got started after a bar that it
ever got away. He could yell an holler equal to wild Injins, an he
ginerally scart away all the varmints for several miles around. One
spring the bars had been very trubbelsome, carryin off his sheep,
lambs, an even calves an yearlins, and Truxton vowed he'd go an attack
the bars in their den. So off he started with his dubbel-barrelled shot
gun an his big dog, Harcules, for a regular bar hunt. He soon got on
their track, an he followed them to their den. Jest as one was goin in
he let go his gun an took one of 'em in the thigh. This only made
matters worse, for out come two or three others, an soon the old feller
was tackled on all sides. He felt pretty safe with Harcules, but soon
the bars made for the dog, an they tore him to pieces in a jiffy.
Truxton shot one of 'em, but that put the infernals in the rest, an the
old feller had to 'skedaddle,' as they say in these days. Seeing a tree
handy by he started to go up, but a powerful beast fetched him a wipe
with his paw an tore off the seat of his trowsers. He got away an that
was all, an looked down on the bars in dismay. Now," ses I, "Kernel, I
think that McClellan's 'new base' is something like old Truxton's. But
all his neighbors turned out, an finally got the old feller out of his
danger, an when he come down he made this remark, ses he, 'Neighbors,
it's one thing to hunt a bar, but it's quite another thing _when the
bar hunts you_!'" So ses I, "Kernel, it's one thing to hunt the secesh,
but it's quite another thing when the secesh hunts you, an it appears
to me as if McClellan is treed in his 'new base.'" "Wal, Majer," ses
the Kernel, "how are we to get him away?" "Wal," ses I, "do jest as old
Truxton's neighbors did--Scare off the bars! Scare off the secesh! Get
around 'em on all sides an make them believe you are goin to attack 'em
from every quarter, an they will soon scatter so that the Ginnerel can
change his base agin. Call it 'a great piece of strutegy,' and the
people won't know the difference." "Wal," ses the Kernel, "that's jest
what has got to be done, and though it's a mity dangerous movement,
rite in the face of the rebils, yet it must be done, or all the troops
will die of disinterry where they are." Before this letter reaches your
readers the tel_lie_graf will announce the hull movement.

The other day the Kernel had a call from some nigger preachers. He sent
for 'em to have a talk about seein whether they wouldn't consent to go
to Centril America, but they didn't seem to like it much. They sed they
would think about it and report. I told the Kernel that when he got
niggers to immigrate, that the next thing he could do would be to get
the kinks out of their hair. Ses he, "Why not, Majer?" "Wal," ses I,
"because it ain't their natur." Ses I, "Kernel, you talk to these
niggers jest as if they were white people, all except their color. You
seem to think that they will do something for their posterity,
sacrifice something, but they won't. The nigger only cares for the
present. The mulattoes have some of the talents of the white men, but
the nigger not a bit."

"Now, Majer," ses Linkin, "you are prejudiced. Don't all the great men
of the world, all the larned men of Europe, and all Christian
phylanthropists, don't they all consider it the highest duty to try an
elevate the black race?" "Now," ses I, "Kernel, I don't care a blue
postage stamp for all the great men in the world. A little plain mother
wit I have always found better than a stack of book larnin, an ef any
one will jest take up the nigger race an study it out practically, they
will see that it has allers been the same uncivilized, heathin people
when white folks did not have control of 'em. You send 'em to Centril
America, an in a gineration or so they will be again eatin lizards an
worshipping snakes, as they do in Africa now."

Ses I, "Kernel, there's no peepul in the world so likely to lead you
astray as edecated peepul. They are all mad as March hares on this
nigger questshin, jest as they were in old Cotton Mather's time on
witches. Edecated peepul, Kernel, ain't got any more wit or common
sense than other folks, but they try to make you believe they have, an
will talk high-falutin words jest to frighten you if they kin. They
tried that on the old Ginneral in the days of the Biddle Bank, but they
couldn't budge him an inch. One time the bankers and moneylenders and
brokers in Wall street, sent on a committee to see the Ginneral, to
honey fuggle him into not vetoing the Bank bill. Ogden Huffman, then
the greatest orater, an jest the smartest lawyer York had, was sent on
as spokesman. He could talk jest as slick as grease, and knew more law
in a minnit than the old Ginneral did in all day. One night he staid
till almost mornin talkin and talkin, scoldin a little an palaverin a
good deal more. The old Ginneral didn't say much, only once in a while
puttin in a questshin. Finally Huffman got reddy to go, an axed what
the Ginneral thought of the argements he had made. The old Ginneral
pushed his spectacles up on his forehead, run his fingers through his
hair, an jumpin out of his cheer, walked across the room as if he was
tarein mad, rite up to Mr. Huffman. When he got there, ses he, 'Mr.
Lawyer, your talk is all very pretty, very eloquent, an very larned
with Latin, but (an here he fetched his old hickory down on the floor)
I shall veto that Bank of Biddle's, by the Eternal!' You see the old
Ginneral couldn't hold a candil to Huffman, as far as larnin an talk
went, but he had the genuine common sense that seen rite through the
hull subject. So I tell you, Kernel, don't put your trust in edecated
peepul. Ef the hull world thinks that you kin make a white man out of a
nigger it only shows that the hull world is made up of fools."

"Wal," ses Linkin, "that all may be very true, but you see, Majer, I've
got these contrybands on my hands, an I've got to fish or cut bait.
We've only got a few thousand free now, an the peepul in the North are
in arms to murder 'em ef I send any more there. I shall soon have two
wars on my hands ef I don't contrive some plan to get rid of the kinky
heads. You, see, Majer, a fire in front an a fire in the rear will be
too much of a good thing."

"I see, I see, Kernel," ses I, "you've got to change your base."

"Exactly, Majer, you hit the nail rite on the hed."

"Wal," ses I, "Kernel, I can't give you a bit of advice except what I
have all along. Put the negro in his place, an he won't be a bit of
trubbel to you, but as long as you try to get along with him out of his
place, you'll be in hot water. As for goin to Centril America, they
won't go thar eny sooner than they will to Kamscatky."

"Wal," ses Linkin, ses he, "if they won't do that, we shall all pretty
soon be in a nice kittle of fish."

"Wal," ses I, "Kernel, can you tell me how you think this war is goin
to end?"

"Wal, Major, I can't exactly see through the hull subject yet, but I'll
tell you a story that about expresses my present idees of the subject.
One night at a tavern out in Illinoy, two drunken men were sent to
sleep in the same room. Now there was two beds in the room, but they
were so drunk that they both got in one bed, but did not know it. No
sooner in than one sung out to the other, 'I say, Bill, some feller is
in my bed.' The other sung out in reply, 'I say, Jim, some feller is in
my bed, too.' After swearing at the landlord for a while for not givin
'em single beds, Bill sung out, 'I say, Jim, I'm goin to kick my feller
out of bed.' Wal, ses Bill, so am I.' So at it they went, kickin like
all possessed, until both of 'em lay sprawlin out on the floor. They
had kicked themselves out of bed! Now, Major, I guess that will be jest
about how this war will end. The way we're goin on, both the North an
the South will kick one another out of bed before they stop, and out of
house and home, too."

"Wal," ses I, "Kernel, that's about my idee, too, and I don't beleeve,
by the time they get through, either side will have a bed-blanket or
even a hull shirt left. They'll be wus off than Billy Bradly when he
fit with the catamount, who didn't have a rag left on him except the
stock around his neck."

Here the conversashin dropped. The Kernel looked very solemncolly, and
I thought I wouldn't say nothing to hurt his feelins.

There ain't enything new here jest now, except the arrival of new
regiments. Seward feels as happy as a little gal with a new doll every
time a regiment comes along. Stantin takes down his big book an adds it
on to the number alreddy in the army, while Chase gets ready to issoo
more greenbacks.

Your frend,

MAJER JACK DOWNING.



LETTER XVI.

_The Science of "Military Strategy"--The Major's Opinion Upon it--A
Call From the Secretary of the American and Foreign Benevolent Society
for Ameliorating the Condition of the Colored Race--His Speech--The
President's Reply--A Curious Prayer--The Major's Opinion on Slavery
--The Critical Condition of Affairs--Mr. Lincoln Tells a Story._


WASHINGTON, Sept. 2, 1862.

_To the Editers of The Cawcashin:_

SURS:--Sence I writ you last I've been studyin military strutegy. It is
a grate science. Our army, down in Virginny, has been in grate strates
lately, an if it hadn't been for military strutegy it would have all
been taken prisoners. Ses the Kernel to me, the other day, ses he,
"Majer, what do you think that military strutegy consists in?" "Wal,"
ses I, "Kernel, it consists in gettin out of your enemy's way wen he's
too much for you, an gettin in his way wen you're too much for him."
Ses I, "Kernel, I don't know whether that is down in the books, but
that's the common sense view of the subject." "Wal," ses Linkin,
"whatever strutegy consists in, we don't seem to have a bit of it, for
we get in the enemy's way jest wen he's too strong for us, an get out
of his way wen he ain't too strong for us. I'm gettin eenamost
discouraged with this kind of military strategy." "Wal," ses I,
"Kernel, you've got too many Ginnerals an too many armies. There's too
many fellers, with more brass in their faces than there is in their
buttons, who want to be the biggest toad in the puddle. Now, there
can't be but one big toad, an so there can't be but one head Ginneral.
You ought to make one man Command-in-Cheef, an make him take the field,
so that he can see for himself how matters are goin. Ginneral Hallick,
here in Washinton, ain't the thing."

"Wal, Majer, there is no use of cryin over spilt milk. The troops down
in Virginny have been very roughly handled agin by the rebils, an have
got so mixed up that it will require a grate deal of strutegy to get
them straitened out. The question is, what is to be done?"

Jest as I was about to give the Kernel some advice, who should come in
but Sumnure, an a feller with a white handkercher around his neck, an
two or three other solemn-lookin chaps. The feller in a white kercher
spoke up, an ses he, "Mr. President, we're come to sympathize with you
in the nashin's afflicshin, for the Lord has agin beat us with
stripes--ah. Mr. President, I'm chief Secretary of the American and
Foreign Benevolent Society for Ameliorating the Condishin of the
Colored Race--ah--an I have been appinted Cheerman of a Committee to
wait on you an express to you our opinions in the present fearful
crisis in our country's history. Our society, which is composed of all
the most pious maiden ladies in our town--ah--who are over forty years
of age, an, therefore, may be considered wise and discreet, desire me
to express to you their deep conviction that God will never bless our
armies with victory--ah--so long as you do not fight for the freedom of
our dearly beloved colored brethren--ah. Our Society, Mr. President,
has given the condishin of our colored brethren great attenshin--ah.
You can judge of the extent of our labor wen I inform you that the
sisters of our Society have distributed the past year to our colored
brethren in Liberia, 500 flannel shirts--ah--600 wool socks--ah--100
Bibles--ah--100 Tracts on Temperance--ah--500 toothpicks--ah--and a
large supply of cologne water--ah! We should have been glad to have
supplied the sufferin bondmen of the same oppressed race in our own
country, but the vile rebellion of the infernal slaveholders has
prevented. We ask you now to proclaim liberty to the captives, and 'let
the people go'--ah. Do not let your heart be hardened as Parroh's was,
but save our land from sorrow, an our armies from further defeat by a
decree of righteousness. Then will the Lord smile on us, an then shall
glory cover the land--ah."

I believe I've got that speech down purty nigh as the feller delivered
it, for he spoke very slow an stately, as if he was tryin to make an
impreshin. Wen he got thru, Linkin got up, and ses he, "Mr. Secretary,
I'm kinder glad to see you, and will only say that we need all the help
about these times we can get, an if I thought the Lord would only help
us lick the rebils, I would free the niggers. An if I thought he would
help us by freein 'em, I would do that. In fact, whatever I do, an
what--I don't do, I do it, or I don't do it, jest as I think the Lord
will be most likely to help us. The great thing is to get the help of
the Lord, an I shall adopt new views on this pint jest as far as I
think they are good views." Wen Linkin got thru, I pulled him by the
coat-tail, an ses I, "Kernel, Seward himself could not have beat that
non-committal speech." Ses he, "Hush, Majer, don't throw all the fat
into the fire." Jest then the feller in the white hankercher spoke up,
an ses he, "let us pray," an at it he went. Ses he, "Oh Lord, throw
grate lite upon the mind of our Chief Magustrate--ah--give us victorys
over the rebils--ah--give us this yere grate victorys--ah--not such
little victories as we had last yere--ah--but crush the rebils with the
arm of thy power. Amen--ah." After this, they all shuck hands, an went
away. After they had gone, ses the Kernel, ses he, "Majer, that's a
wonderful pious chap." "Yes," ses I, "Kernel, I think he is, in his
way, but," ses I, "findin falt with the Lord, bekase He don't give us
bigger victories, ain't much like the Christians of arly days." Ses I,
"His prayer for big victories reminds me of old Joe Bunker's prayer.
Joe was a wicked old sinner who swore wus than a saleyur. One day he
was a swarein' kos he didn't hev better corn. Some one told him he
orter pray for good corn, if he wanted it. So one day some one was
goin' long the road by the old feller's corn-field, and hearin' a
noise, they stopped, and who should the noise cum from but the miserly
old skinflint Bunker, who was prayin. Ses he, 'Oh, Lord! give us a good
crop of corn this yere, long ears, long as your arm, not sich d--d
little nubsbins as we had last yere.' Now," ses I, "Kernel, I think
thar's a great deal of simularity 'tween them two prayers, and I think
the Lord is jest about as likely to answer one as 'tother." Ses I,
"Kernel, you could bust up fifteen Unions easier than you could destroy
slavery." Ses he, "Majer, I don't see into that ezackly, and I'd like
to know the reason why." "Wal," ses I, "Kernel, the reason is jest
this: men made the Union, but God made slavery, and I tell you," ses I,
"Kernel, when you undertake to butt agin that, you butt agin a big
subjec." Ses I, "Ain't every body been fightin slavery for the last
thirty years, and haven't they all cum off second best, while nigger
slavery has been growin' and expandin in spite of 'em? God made the
nigger to sarve and obey the white man, and until he's altered and made
anuther being, you can't make him enything but a sarvent. These
fellers, like that white cravated chap, who was jest here, and who
employ their time sendin flannel shirts and tooth-picks to the wild
nigger in Afriky, don't know nothin' more about niggers than they do
'bout the interior of the arth. You might presarve all the brains
they've got in a drop of brandy, and they would have as much sea-room
as a tad-pole in Lake Superior."

"Wal," ses Linkin, ses he, "Majer, let's drop the nigger jest now, as I
want to ask you whether you think the rebils kin take Washington?"
"Wal," ses I, "Kernel, that depends upon strutegy agin. Ef you keep
Ginnerals in the field who don't pay eny attention to 'lines of
retrete,' afore you know it, Kernel, that feller with a Stonewall in
his name, will be around on the North side of the White House, an I'm
afeered my 'line of retrete' to Downingville will be cut off." "That's
so, Majer, and my retrete to Springfield may be a hard road to travel."
When Linkin made this remark, he looked kinder oneasy. I didn't know
what to say, so I did jest what I allers do in that case, I whistled!
Ses Linkin, ses he, "Majer, are you whistlin to keep your courage up?"
Ses I, "No, Kernel, I ain't afraid a mite, but," ses I, "I'm in what
old Deacon Doolittle calls a quandary." Ses he, "What's your quandary?"
"Wal," ses I, "I was thinkin what I would do ef the rebils should take
Washington." The Kernel didn't say nothin for about a minute. He looked
very serious, and finally, ses he, "Majer, we're in a tight place, an
there is no use denyin it, but it don't do any good to get into a fit
of hysterices about it." "Yes," ses I, "Kernel, but it makes me feel
solem to see this grate Old Ship of State knockin around, an, may be,
jest reddy to sink." "Wal, Majer," ses the Kernel, "that remark reminds
me of a story. A good many years ago, an old feller, a free an easy
chap, owned a steamboat on the Missippi river, an he was a grate
fiddler. He had nothing to do, an ginnerally went up an down the river
on the boat, spending his time in fiddlin, an tellin stories. One day
the boat struck a snag, an was fast fillin with water. The old feller
was in the cabin sawin away on his fiddle when the boat struck, but he
paid no attenshin to it, but kept rite on fiddlin. Finally, one of the
passengers came in an told him that the captain warn't tryin to save
the boat as he ought, and that she would be lost in ten minutes. 'Wal,'
ses the old feller, 'she's been a _loosin_ concarn for five years,' and
he kept on fiddlin. Pretty soon another passenger rushed in, and
screamed out 'She's settlin very fast.' Ses he, 'I wish she'd _settle_
with me before she goes down,' an still he kept on fiddlin. The next
that was seen of him he was swimmin ashore, with his fiddle under his
arm an the bow in his mouth. Now, Majer, if they take Washington, and
the ship sinks, _we'll swim ashore_!"

"Yes," ses I, "Kernel, and I suppose you will take the nigger with you,
jest as that old feller did the fiddle, for the nigger has been the
fiddle your party has played on!"

The Kernel didn't seem to like this application of his story, but he
didn't say a word. I felt very solemn, for I couldn't help feelin
eenamost like crying when I thought how this grate nashin might all be
shipwrecked afore he knew it, by a set of fellers who have been so
taken up with the nigger as to let the country go to destruction.

I went to bed that nite with a heavy hart, an had a terribul attack of
bilyusness, which I had to take nigh onto a gallon of elder-bark tea to
cure. Sence then I've been better, an if God spares my life I'll keep
you posted about our nashinal affairs as long as there is a nashin.

Your frend,

MAJER JACK DOWNING.



LETTER XVII.

_A Cabinet Meeting--The President Calls for the Opinion of Each
Member--Speeches of Seward, Chase, Stanton, Blair, Welles, Smith and
Bates--The Major Called on for an Opinion--The Peperage Log Story--The
Majer oposes an Armistice--No Conclusion Arrived at._


WASHINGTON, Sept. 13th, 1862.

_To the Editers of The Cawcashin:_

SURS:--Sech a time as we've had here sence I writ you last, you never
heered tell on. One time we all thought that the Secesh would take us,
bag and baggage; but we feel easier now, an everybody is hopin that the
crysis is past. Rite in the midst of the tribbelation, Linkin called a
meetin of the Cabynet to consult on the tryin state of affairs, an he
insisted that I must meet with 'em, as it was no time to stand on
precidents an _ceterys_, an beside, he sed he wanted the help of every
ounce of loyal brains in the country. Ses he, "Majer, I kin depend on
you, for though you sometimes give me a hard hit, yet you've allers got
the good of your country at hart." Ses I, "Kernel, I'm much obleeged to
you for your good opinion, an I kin assure you that every word of it is
true. Ef there's a man on this arth that has a truer love for his
country than I have, I would like to see him;" an ses I, "Kernel, I'll
tell you why my country seems so dear to me. I'm an old man now, nigh
on eighty years old; I recollect when Jefferson beat that old Federal,
John Adams, in 1800. I warn't old enough then to vote for him, though I
wanted to; but wen he run the second time I voted for him, an done all
I could for his election. Wal, I've been a Dimmecrat from that day rite
down to the old Ginneral's time, an I'm a Dimmecrat yit; but I love my
country above all parties. An one reason why my country is so dear to
me is, because I haven't got enything else to love now. Nigh about all
my relashins are dead an gone, an there ain't enything on arth left me
to love but my country; an wen I see it distracted, divided an bleedin,
it makes me cry; an," ses I, "Kernel, I can't help it."

"Wal," ses the Kernel, "Majer, it's oncommon hard for old men like you,
I know; but you jest meet with the Cabynet this mornin, an let us see
ef some new plan can't be adopted to get out of this scrape."

So wen the time cum, I took my hickery, an went in. Purty soon the
different members cum droppin in, one by one, an all seemed highly
tickled to see me except Seward, who has never forgiven me for exposin
his decepshin on Linkin wen he altered my "Constitushinal Teliskope."
After they all got seated, ses Linkin, ses he, "Gentlemen, there's no
use eny longer of doin like the ostrich does--stick our heads in a
sandbank an say that we 'don't see it,' for we're whipped an driven
back--in a word, we have failed. Now, the rale question is, Why have we
failed? What is the cause of it? Jest as soon as we kin find out the
reason of our failure, we shall know what to do to remedy it. Now," ses
the Kernel, "I want every one of you to give me your frank, blunt
opinion as to the reason. First, I will call on Mr. Seward."

Seward got up, lookin as pale as a sheet, an ses he, "Wal, it ain't my
fault. I've paid no attenshin to the war, but have had my hands full in
keepin furrin nashins from interferin, an I've succeeded; but ef I
should give my opinion of the cause of the failure of our efforts to
restore the Union, I would say it was owin entirely to the
ultra-Republicans, who wanted to kill slavery before they scotched it.
This let the cat out of our bag before the rite time. It aroused an
united the South an divided the North. They saw what we were after. Ef
my policy had been followed of pacifyin the South an of talkin 'Union'
to the North, we would have scotched the snake of slavery, an then we
could have killed it at our leisure."

Then Linkin called Chase. He commenced by saying that he did not agree
with Mr. Seward as to the cause of our failure. He sed it was jest this
dilly-dally policy that had ruined us. Congress had done its duty, but
the President had not yet dared to make the rebils feel the power of
Congress. He sed he had kept the army supplied with "greenbacks," an
that was all he had to do. He had done his duty, but he didn't beleeve
we would ever succeed until we fit for liberty an the overthrow of
slavery. We should allers fail to restore the Union until we did it.

Then Stantin spoke. He sed "he thought one grate cause of our failure
was because he had not kept on issooing his proclamashins, as he did at
first. He sed he thought his proclamashin about 'the sperit of the
Lord' enabled our soldiers to take Nashville. Then," ses he, "Ginneral
McClellan is too slow. He might have been made for a ralerode engineer,
where there was no hurry about buildin the road, but he was never cut
out for a Ginneral. He was a failure, and hence it wos a failure all
round."

Then Blair spoke up. "Wal," ses he, "ef there's a man done his dooty,
it's me. I've stopped every paper in the mails that wouldn't endorse
the policy of the Administrashin; hence the people have only seen
arguments on one side. Ef we've failed, therefore, it can't be because
the people's readin hasn't been well looked after. I haven't allowed
their minds to be pisened by eny 'copper-head' Dimmocratic doctrines.
Nothin but anti-slavery sentiments kin get through the mails now. Ef
we've failed, I think it must be because Seward and Stantin have not
been more strict in arrestin men who talked----"

Here Seward an Stantin both jumped up an declared that Blair was very
onjust, an sed they had arrested every man they could get anything
agin, an a good menny that they couldn't get anything agin.

Wal, Blair sed, "enyhow, the failure was not his fault. Ef they didn't
beleeve him, let them ask his father, who knew more about politics than
eny other man in the country!"

[Illustration: "Seward an' Stantin both jumped up an' declared that
Blair was very onjust."--page 154.]

Then old Welles got up, looking very sleepy. He sed "the failure could
not be charged agin the Navy. It was the most wide-awake institushin of
the age. It had achieved _all_ the victories." [Here Stantin jumped up
agin, but Welles wouldn't yield the floor.] "The army couldn't do
anything without his gunboats. Every time the rebils got at them, they
had had to retrete to _his_ gunboats. In his opinion the army had
failed, because it could not carry his gunboats with it. He sed he had
been try in to invent a plan to furnish each regiment with a gunboat
for land service. Ef he could do that, he thought Richmond might be
taken early next spring! The only thing in all the war that had not
been a failure were his gunboats!"

Then Mr. Smith, an old man from out West, got up. He sed "he belonged
to the interior, and didn't know much about what was goin on. He had
heered say there was a war in progress, and that there had been some
pretty tall fightin, but he didn't know whether it had been a success
or a failure. Ef we had failed, he thought it must be because we had
not been successful, an ef we had succeeded, he thought it must be
because we hadn't failed!"

Mr. Bates sed "he agreed with Mr. Smith, except in one pint. He had
heerd, within a day or two, for the first time, that we had failed.
Upon lookin over Blackstun to see ef there was eny case like it, he had
been much disappinted in not findin eny. He thought we must have failed
because we had not follered Blackstun."

After he got thru, Linkin called upon me. I jest hauled up my old
hickery and laid it on the tabil, an then puttin my elbows on the tabil
to rest myself, I began. Ses I, "Kernel, I feel kinder scary to giv my
opinion rite here, after sech a display of larnin an eloquince; but,"
ses I, "as I understand the questshin, it is this: We've been fightin
to restore the Union, an we've failed. Now, what is the cause of the
failure?" Ses I, "Is that it, Kernel?" Ses he, "Yes, Majer; that's it,
exactly." "Wal," ses I, "I allers want to get on the track afore I
start, an then I kin tell purty nigh where I will fetch up. Now," ses
I, "Kernel, I want to ask you a questshin: _Did you ever try to split
a peperage log!_" "No," ses he, "Majer, I never did. Nobody would be
sech a consarned fool as to try an split a peperage log." "Wal," ses I,
"Kernel, suppose some feller should cum to you an tell you that he had
been a year an a half tryin to split a peperage log, an couldn't do it,
that he had failed, an wanted you to tell him what to do, what would
you say to him?"--"Say to him!--why, I should tell him he might jest as
well whistle at the log as to try to split it--that it warn't in the
natur of sech knotty, nerly, cross-grained timber to split; in other
words, that he was tryin to do an onpossibul thing." "Now," ses I,
"Kernel, that's jest my idee about tryin to save this Union by fightin!
You're tryin to do an onpossibul thing. After a year an a half of
fightin, you all acknowledge that you have failed, an all the Cabynet
is wonderin why you have failed. Now, it ain't no wonder to me. You
have failed jest because, in the very natur of things, what you are
tryin to do can't be done in that way. You're takin the rong way to do
it."

Wen I sed this, you never did see sech a flutter. Stantin turned very
red in the face, and sed "that I orter be sent to Fort Lafayette." I
telled him that I wasn't afeered of all the Forts this side of
Purgotary, and that I should speak my mind till my dyin day, let what
would happen. That cooled him down. Then I told the Cabynet that the
only way to get out of this scrape was to have an armistiss, stop the
fightin, and go to talkin--that both sides had had enuf of bloodshed
now to satisfy them, an that the only way to get at a settlement was to
do that. They took a vote on it, an all voted for it except Linkin,
Chase and Welles. The Kernel sed he was so committed to the Abolishin
Governors of the North, that he couldn't go for the armistiss. Chase
sed, "ef it comes to that, then all the money has been spent for
nothin, an I shall be cussed for the debt forever an ever." Old Welles
sed that he thought we should be successful jest as soon as he got his
new Patent Land Gunboats in operashin, an he was for fightin the thing
out! The other members of the Cabynet sed they thought they could back
out without much trubbel. Seward sed he never see a hole so small that
he couldn't, on a pinch, get through, especially with Weed to help him.
He thought he should turn Dimmocrat! Stantin sed he intended to jine
the church, and turn Methodist precher. Blair sed he didn't know what
he should do till he consulted his father! He knew the old man could
help him out. Smith an Bates sed they should return to the buzzum of
their families, an, if necessary for their safety, put on krinoline!

No conclusion, however, was cum to about the armistiss. The Kernel
can't bring himself up to the idee yet. Ef the Governors were only in
favor of it, he should do it at once. So I suppose, for the present, we
shall keep on tryin to do an onpossibul thing--to git the Union by
fightin for it. Depend upon it, tryin to split peperage logs ain't
nothin to it.

Yours till deth,

MAJOR JACK DOWNING.



LETTER XVIII.

_The Major not Ill--The President has "the Gripes"--The Witch-Hazel
Medicine--Going to the bottom of a Subject--The Democrats and the
War--The Emancipation Proclamation--A Visit to Gen. McClellan's
Army--The Soldiers Cool--Mr. Lincoln tells a Story--"Sloshing
About."_


WASHINGTON, Oct. 6th, 1862.

_To the Editers of The Cawcashin:_

SURS:--I see you sed in your paper, last week, that perhaps I had the
rheumatiz, and that that was the resin why I had not writ you. Now, you
were dredfully mistaken, for I aint had a twinge of the rheumatics for
a long time. The resin I did not write last week was jest this: Rite
off, after Linkin had issooed that Abolishin Proclymashin, he was taken
with a terribul fit of the gripes. There was noos received that some of
the sojers were gettin onruly, and refusin to fight for the nigger, an
I thought one spell that the Kernel would go crazy. He walked the floor
all nite, an looked as ef he would die. Finerally it brought on the
gripes, an then his condishin was terribul. I tried elder bark tea, but
it didn't do a mite of good, so I telled him there warn't but one
medicin that would cure him, an that was witch hazel sticks mixed up
with molasses. So I sent fur some twigs an cut em up in about inch
pieces, and put the molasses on, an stirred it all up. The Kernel
looked at it very sharp, an ses he, "Majer, you aint going to give me
rale fence to drink, are you? The remedy will be wus than the disease."
"Wal," ses I, "Kernel, then that will be jest like your Abolishin
Proclymashin," an I kept on mixin it with a big spoon. "Now," ses I,
"Kernel, the good pints of this medicin are, that as it goes thru a
feller it cleans him completely out. It confiscates, eradicates,
obliterates an conflusticates everything. It's equal to your Abolishin
Proclymashin an the Confiscashin Bill rolled into one." Ses I, "Kernel,
there's only one thing about it that's wrong. Sometimes the sticks get
twisted together, or tangled up like the logs comin down the river, in
Maine in the spring of the year, and it requires a purty hard jar to
start 'em loose. But," ses I, "there's no danger of it's killin
anybody, and there's no way for you to get rid of that gripin but by
takin it." The Kernel looked at it purty sharp, an ses he, "Majer, I
can't stand this innard arthquake much longer, an ef you say that that
rale fence will cure me, I'll swallow it ef it takes the har off my
hed." So I jest told him to take it, an down he put it as easy as ef it
had ben geniwine Borbone. He hadn't had it down but a little while
before he began to get wus. He walked the floor an groaned as ef he was
goin to die. Ses he, "Majer, this infernal stuff will kill me, sure. I
believe I've swallowed a dose of pitchfork tines, or a half-pint of
darnin needles. It reminds me of a story, Majer, but I feel too bad to
tell it. It's the very first time in my life I was ever so far gone." I
see at a glance what was the matter. The sticks had got tangled
together, an lodged fast, an I knew there was no time to be lost. So
ses I, "Kernel, I kin cure you. You jest cum here an sit down in this
cheer." He cum up, and wen he went to set down, I jerked the cheer rite
out from under him, an down he cum kerslap on the floor. I tell you it
made the hull house shake; but I knowed he must get a good jar, or it
was a gone case with him. It made him see stars for a little while, for
the Kernel, you know, is long-geared, an it was no jokin matter for him
to fall so far. But it was all over within a minnet, an wen he got up
he sed he felt like another man; but, ses he, "Majer, that's what I
call goin to the bottom of a subject." "Wal," ses I, "Kernel, that's
jest what you are tryin to do on the slavery questshin, an ef you don't
see stars on that before you get thru with it, I'll wonder." Ses I,
"Kernel, do you expect Dimmicrats are goin to support you on freein the
niggers?" "Wal," ses he, "Majer, not the rale, geniwine Dimmicrats; but
you see you've got a grate lot of fellers in your party who call
themselves Dimmicrats, who aint Dimmicrats at all. You've had the
offices in your party so long, that you've naterally attracted a hull
lot of chaps who only want offices. These fellers have mostly been the
leaders of your party for years an years, an now, wen we've got the
offices, an there aint scarcely a chance that the South will ever have
eny more to give 'em, they all cum to us, an I kin get 'em at almost
eny price, from a Brigadier-Generalship down to a quarter of a dollar.
I've tried to git some geniwine Dimmicrats to mix in, but you can't
touch em." Ses I, "Kernel, I guess you'll find that the grate bulk of
the Dimmicrats won't fite to free the niggers. They can't be sech a
pack of derned fools." "You've got too high an opinion of your party,
Majer," ses the Kernel. "There's a grate menny more derned fools in it
than you've got eny idee of. You say they won't fite to put down
slavery. Didn't they say they wouldn't fite to coerce the South? And
didn't they do it? Didn't they say they would only defend the Capital,
and wouldn't invade Virginia, and didn't they do it?"

[Illustration: "Majer, that is what I call goin' to the bottom of a
subject."--Page 161.]

"Yes," ses I, "Kernel, I must own that's the truth; but," ses I, "they
called God to witness ef the war was ever made an anti-slavery war,
they would throw down their arms." "Yes," ses he, "but don't they say
now that they aint got nothing to do with the policy of the government,
an that their only duty is to fite." "Wal," ses I, "Kernel, sum of 'em
have sed that, but it can't be possibul that that's the gineral
sentiment. Ef they follow that principul, then ef you should proclaim
yourself Emperor or King, an tell 'em to fite to establish a monarchy,
they would do that." "That's drivin your idees a little too far, Majer,
as you ginnerally do. But what do you think about our goin up to the
army an reviewin the sojers, and seein whether I aint jest as popelar
as ever I was?" "Wal," ses I, "Kernel, I think that that is a good
idee, an I kin judge purty nigh how your Proclymashin sets on the
stumacks of the sojers from the way they cheer you. Ef they cheer as
loud as they did wen they were down at Harrisin Landin, I shall be
mistaken." So we started off the next day for Ginneral McClellan's
head-quarters in a speshal train. First we went to Ginneral Sumnure's
head-quarters, and it warn't long afore Ginneral McClellan cum there.
too. There was sum talk about the Proclymashin, an Linkin told the
Ginneral that there were two great resins why he had made it. One was
to stop furrin nashins from interferin, an the other was to make the
rebils cum to terms. He thought it would feteh 'em, sure.

Ginneral McClellan didn' say a word, one way nor tother, but looked
oncommon solemn, and axed the Kernel whether he didn't want to revew
the troops. I saw at once that the Ginneral didn't like it, and that he
wanted to turn the subject. Then we started off and took a look at the
troops on Merryland Hights and Bollyvare Hights, and all around Mr.
Harper's ferry. Mr. Harper warn't hum, and so we didn't see him, and
the ferry warn't in good order nether, the resen bein that the rebils
had been there and destroyed eenamost everything. As we were goin
along, ses I, "Kernel, them cheers don't sound like they did down on
the Jeemes River." The Kernel didn't say enything, but looked very
serious. Wen Ginneral McClellan showed himself, you oughter have heerd
the sojers yell and scream, and wave their hats. I never see the Kernel
look so pale and thin, and I couldn't get a word out of him. As for
makin a speech, it warn't to be thought on. After we got all done
reviewin the sojers, the Kernel and all hands of us come down from the
Hights, and sot down near the road on an old wagin. Linkin told some
stories to pass away the time, an purty soon we went back to Ginneral
Somnure's head-quarters, where we staid all nite. The next mornin we
went to Ginneral McClellan's head-quarters, an then over the battle
field of Auntyeatem. The next day we cum hum, both of us purty nigh
tired out. The Kernel pulled off his boots as soon as he got in the
house, as he almost allus does, an I got out my pipe for a smoke.

"Wal," ses I, "Kernel, what do you think of your visit?" Ses he,
"Majer, it's jest as you told me. That Proclymashin of mine ain't
popular, and I knowed it wouldn't be. But jest see how I was situated.
There was the Abolishin Guvernurs drivin me on one side, an ther was
France an England on the other side. What was I to do? I couldn't stand
still. I couldn't go back. So I had to 'let her rip.' I've ben poleing
around, Majer, ever sence I've been President, trying to touch bottom,
an I couldn't find it. Now I hope I'll git it." "Yes," ses I, "Kernel,
but may be your pole warnt a constitutional pole. Ef it had ben, you
would hev found bottom long ago." Ses I, "Depend on it, Kernel, there
ain't no bottom where you are poleing, and ef you keep on till
doomsday, you won't find eny."

Ses I, "Kernel, don't you know that you said in your inaugerole that
you had no rite to interfere with slavery, an that you didn't intend
to?"

Ses he, "Did I, Majer? I've forgot all about it. The truth is, Majer,
when I look back the two years I've been President, it reminds me of a
story:--Old Bill Jones got drunk one election day, out in Illinoy, an
had a hand in several fites before nite. The next day he was brought up
before a Justess of the Peace, an the Justess inquired, 'Mr. Jones, did
you strike Tom Smith yesterday?' 'Wal, I don't know, Judge,' ses Bill,
'I was sloshin around considerabul, an can't exzactly say what I did.'
'Wal, Mr. Jones, did you hit Jim Wattles?' 'Wal, now, Judge, I can't be
sartin; the truth is, I was _sloshin_ around most of the day, I
reckon.' 'Now, Mr. Jones, tell me whether you struck Dick Robinson?'
'Can't say, Judge,' replied Bill. 'I believe, on the hull, I was
_sloshin_ around about _all_ day.' 'Wal, Mr. Jones,' said the Justess,
'what do you mean by "sloshin around?"' 'Wal, Judge,' said Bill,
'"_sloshin around_" is jest going rite thru a crowd, an mowin your
swath, hitten rite an left everybody you meet slap over the face an
eyes.' Now, the truth is, Majer, I've been 'sloshin around' sence I've
been President, hittin in the dark, an not knowin exzacly where I
struck. This Proclymashin of mine is a hit in the dark, but as I am the
first anti-slavery President, I've got to mark out a new track, an
hence do as old Bill Jones did, keep 'sloshin around.'"

"Wall," ses I, "Kernel, that's resky business, an ef you don't 'slosh'
once too often, it will be a wonder. But," ses I, "Kernel, I'me
terribul tired after this trip, an what do you say to havin a little
old rye before we go to bed?"--"That's jest what I was thinkin of,
Majer." The Kernel then told the feller in bad close, who does chores
for us, to get us some, an we both tuk a good swig of genewine
rye-juice, an went to bed. I was eenamost tuckered out, but this mornin
I feel nigh about as good as ever agin.

Yours till deth,

MAJER JACK DOWNING.



LETTER XIX.

_The President Nervous--The State Elections--Mr. Lincoln Astonished
--He Takes Cordial--Mr. Seward Turns Democrat--The Major Tells a
Story--Mr. Seward and the Major Take a Drink--How John Van Buren
got Gen. Scott's Letter--Mr. Stanton on the Elections._


WASHINGTON, Oct. 20th, 1862.

_To the Editers of The Cawcashin:_

SURS: Wal, the Kernel has ben sick agin. It is astonishin how littel
takes him down now-a-days. His constitushin seems to be eenamost clean
gone. Old rye don't do much good, an I've tried all sorts of medicin,
but nothin seems to work well. This time his narves were terribly
worked up, an he was so fidgety, that I koncluded to try Godfrey's
Cordial. This cooled him down a dood deal, and but not until he tuk
nigh unto four or five bottles full. The cause of all this flutter was
the recent elecshins in Ohio, Indiany an Pennsylvany. The Kernel had
been told by Sumnure, Greeley an Andrews that the only way to carry the
elecshins this fall, was to issoo an emancipashun proclamashun; that if
he didn't do it, the party would be completely whipped out in every
State. So he koncluded to try it, but wen the returns cum in, you never
did see such a woe-begone lookin man. One nite he heerd sum bad news
from Ohio, an gettin up in his nite gown, he cum to my room and axed
what I thought about it. I struck a light an got out my slate. The
Kernel had Greeley's last year's almanac in his hands. Ses he, "Majer,
let's go down to the telegraf offis, and see how the majorities run, an
we can be able to give a guess that will cum as nigh to it as the jump
of a rabbit." So I jist put on my duds, an off we went. The news cum in
thick an fast, an as the feller at the telegraf read off the figgers, I
put 'em down on my slate, an the Kernel compared them with his own
majorities in Greeley's primer. I see he was turnin all sorts of
colors, an finally, ses he, "Majer, we are gone jist as kompletely as
if we were up Salt River now, instead of bein here. I'de jest like to
swap places with sum hoss-jockey, an go into the hoss contract line."
Ses he, "Majer, let's go hum. I've seen all of this elephant that I
want to." So he crammed his coat-tail pocket full of despatches, an off
we started. When he got hum, ses he, "Majer, my administrashin is the
biggest failyure that ever tuk place in the history of this or eny
other country. I now see that jest as plain as I see that bottle of old
rye there. I've listened to those infernal fools, Sumnure an Greeley,
an a pretty scrape they have got me in."

Ses I, "Kernel, it ain't my natur to hit a man wen he is down, or to
hurt anybody's feelins by referrin to the past. But," ses I, "don't
you rekollect the story about 'applyin the principle?'" Ses he, "Yes,
I do; I recollect it well." "Wal," ses I, "now see the _result_ of
'applyin the principle.' I told you then that you'd get scorched wus
than Zenas Humspun did in meddlin with the telegraf, if you undertook
to carry out the principle of Abolishun, but you sed the thing must
tech the bottom, an you was bound to put it through. Now, you see, the
people don't support you. They don't want niggers made equal to white
men, nor they don't want 'em freed to be a tax on 'em. A few fellers
like Greeley, whose brains all seem to run to bran-bread, an free luv,
or some other moonstruck nonsense, an some larned fools like Sumnure,
want to try the experiment, but they don't represent the people. So you
see, Kernel, that in applyin the principle you have kicked yourself
over, an I only menshin it to show you that if he had followed my
advice you would not have had these grate defeats to mourn over."

The Kernel looked very solem, an ses he, "Majer, I know I'd been a
great deal better off if I'd followed your advice all through these
trubbils, but you see I had to go with my party, and if it had carried
me to the other side of Jordon, I s'pose I should have gone with it."

That nite I thought the Kernel would go into spasms, he was so nervous.
I got some hot water, an soaked his feet in it, rubbed his bowels with
brandy, an laid flannel on 'em, an bathed his temples in camfire an
rum. But he grew wus all the time. Finally, I began to pore the Cordial
down him, an then he commenced to revive. But he didn't sleep scacely a
wink all nite. In the mornin he was the most limpsy piece of mankind I
ever did see. I ralely believe he might have been tied in a knot like
an eel, he was so limber.

Jest a little while after breakfast, who should come in but Seward? He
hadn't hardly spoken to me sence I blowed him for alterin the Kernel's
Constitushinal Teliskope, but this mornin he was as perlite an as
clever as he could be. Ses he, "Majer, the elecshin news is good, an
_our_ party is successful." Ses I, "Mr. Seward, I don't understand
you." "Why, Majer," ses he--and he put on one of the queerest smiles I
ever see on a man's face--"don't you know I have turned Dimmocrat?" Ses
I, "You don't say so." "Yes," ses he, "I'm a Dimmocrat now, an no
mistake." The Kernel looked as if thunder had struck him. "Wal," ses I,
"Mr. Seward, that reminds me of a story, as the Kernel would say."
"Wal," ses he, "Majer, what is it? I always like to hear your stories.
They are so pat." "Wal," ses I, "mebby this will turn out to be a
little patter than you like; but, howsoever, as I never spile a good
story for acquaintance sake, I will tell it. Once on a time, it is
said, an old coon went out of a night to get some fodder among the
cornfields, an did not return to his hole until near mornin. Wen he got
hum he saw a skunk had taken possession of his hole. He went up, an ses
he, 'Who's there?' The skunk replied, 'A coon.' 'Are you a coon?'
'Yes,' said the skunk, 'I'm a coon.' 'Wal,' sed the coon, 'you don't
look like a coon; you don't act like a coon, and I'll be darned ef you
_smell_ like a coon.'"

"Now," ses I, "Mr. Seward, you may be a Dimmocrat, but you don't look
like one, nor act like one, nor smell like one, an I'll be darned ef I
believe you are one."

Ses he, "Majer, you are rather personal." "Wal," ses I, "I don't mean
any offence, an," ses I, "if you really mean to be a Dimmocrat, let's
take a drink of old rye over the victories in Ohio, Pennsylvany and
Indiany." So he cum up an we both took a good swig of wiskey. The
Kernel looked at us an grit his teeth. "Wal," ses he, "ef you are goin
to rejoice in my defeat, I'll go over an call on Stantin, an see ef he
can't cheer me up." So the Kernel went off. After he'd gone, Seward an
I tuk another nip of the old rye, an purty soon we tasted of it agin.
The Seckretary is a capital drinker, an he knows what good licker is as
well as eny feller I ever see. Finally he got in a very good humer, an
ses he, "Majer, we've been bad friends long enough." So he actually
hugged me, and sed there warn't a man that ever lived that he loved so
much as the old Ginneral, an next to him his friend Majer Downing. Wen
I thought I'd got him in a good humer an he was very talkative, ses I,
"Mr. Seckretary, kin you tell me how John Van Buren got that letter of
Ginneral Scott's?" Ses he, "Yes, Majer, I kin. You know I don't want
that feller Wadswurth elected, for he's my bitter political inemy; so
the way the letter got out was this:--Weed, you know, is my chum. Now,
we have an understandin that everything that I can't tell him I put in
my right hand coat-tail pocket. You see then I can deny that I made it
public. That pocket is Weed's pocket, an he always goes to it for
secrets. Wal, I put the letter in that pocket, an Weed got it from
there. Weed also has just such a pocket. All smart politishins have
such a pocket. Now, Weed's chum is Ben Welch, Commissary Ginneral, an
Ben got it out of Weed's pocket. Now, John has long been a chum of
Ben's, an he got it out of Ben's pocket. That's the way that this
letter got out, that there is so much mystery about."

Rite off after this the Kernel came in, an we had to drop the
conversashin, for Seward gave me the wink as much as to say that he
didn't want Linkin to know everything about it.

Then I asked the Kernel what Stantin sed. He sed Stantin was in favor
of issooing a proclamashin, over the grate victories of the
Administrashin in Ohio, Indiany, Pennsylvany an Iway. He sed the people
didn't put any faith in newspapers any more, an a proclamashin declarin
that the elecshins had all gone favorabul would be believed without
winkin. Stantin thinks there ain't nothin so powerful as a
proclamashin. Seward said afore it was done, the Cabbynet had better be
called together. Here the matter dropped, an as the Kernel looked
uncommon blue, I left him to his own reflecshins, an went up-stairs to
my room.

Yours till deth,

MAJER JACK DOWNING.



LETTER XX.

_The New York Election--Mr. Lincoln Tells a Story--Cannot Do Justice
to the Subject--Mr. Lincoln Feels Bad--The Major Amuses him by a
Joke--How to get up a Message--Keeping a Party Together--The Excelsior
Political Prepared Glue--The Different Stripes of Abolitionists--
Boating on the Mississippi River--Poleing Along._


WASHINGTON, Nov. 10th, 1862.

_To the Editers of The Cawcashin:_

I expect you were very much surprised in not gettin a letter from me
last week, but the truth is, I got one partly writ jest as the news of
the elecshins in New York an Jersey cum in, an I should have finished
it an sent it on ef the Kernel had not been taken down sick so sudden.
Wen the rumor fust cum that York city had gone over thirty thousand for
Seemore, an that Fernandow an Ben. Wood an Jeemes Brooks had been
elected to Congriss, the Kernel didn't say a word, but looked as ef
he'd drop down thru the floor. I didn't like to speak fust, but I see
the Kernel warn't going to, an so ses I, "How do you feel, Mr.
Presidint?" "Wal," ses he, "Majer, I'll tell you a story. A good meny
years ago there lived in lower Kentuck an old feller named Josh Miller.
Now, it was ginerally reckoned in that part of the country that old
Josh could out-swear eny feller that ever lived. Josh was a kind of
gineral teamster, an had a two-hoss wagon with which he did chores for
everybody round the village. One day he had on a load of ashes, an was
goin up a steep hill, sittin on the fore part of his wagon. Wen about
half way up the hind-board of his wagon cum out, an old Josh not lookin
round, nigh about all the ashes jarred out, so wen he got to the top of
the hill he didn't have a pan full left. He stopped his hosses,
however, an got out, an a hull lot of fellers, who knew the ability of
old Josh in the swearin line, gathered around expecting to here the
tallest kind of strong words. The old feller looked fust at his wagon
an then at the ashes all strewed along the road, an finally ses he,
'Boys, there's no use in tryin--_I can't do jestice to the subject_.'
An now, Majer," ses the Kernel, "That jest my condition now--I can't do
jestice to the subject, an I don't feel like talkin; in fact, I _can't_
talk."

I see the Kernel felt very bad, an ef he couldn't talk nor tell
stories, I didn't know wat on arth might happen. I was afeered he would
get so full that sumthin like the dropsy would set in. An sure enuf,
that nite not a word did he speak, nor a story did he tell. The
consekence was, he began to swell an bloat like a mad porkepine. I see
at once that I must turn doctor agin, or there was no tellin how soon
he might kick the bucket. He was growin wus fast, actually beginnin to
look _blue_. So ses I, "Kernel, there's no help for it; you must be
tapped!" "Tapped!" ses he, "Majer, tapped! There warn't enything ever
_tapped_ in my house that lasted more that a week. Oh no! I ain't reddy
to die yet." I see the "rulin pashin was strong in deth," jest as the
poet's say; but as soon as I got a joke out of him, I knew that he
would survive. So thinks I to myself, I'll see ef I can fetch him to by
another joke; so ses I, "Kernel, suppose 'tappin' should kill you, you
would go to a _world of spirits_!"

Wen I said this, he jumped rite up out of his chair, laughin, an takin
me by the hand, ses he, "Majer, you are the best frend I've got. Wen
I'm sick you doctor me, an wen I'm down spereted you jest joke me rite
out of the dumps." Ses he, "Majer, I've a good mind to make you
Commander-in-Cheef of the Army." "No, no," ses I, "Kernel, don't do
that, for I should think you had sumthin agin me, an wanted to hand me
over to the Abolishinists to be punished!"

The Kernel and I have also been bizzy sence I wrote you last in getting
up the next message. He has been ritin his ideas on little slips of
paper about two inches wide, as they have happened to pop in his head,
an then submitten 'em to me to sort of polish up. The Kernel ses that
ritin a message is a good deal like gettin out timber for a barn in the
woods. Fust, you want the sills, then the posts, then the girders, then
the plates, an finally the rafters. We ain't got the sills fairly hewed
out and squared yit. The truth is, the Kernel is kinder worried as to
how exactly to lay the foundashin. Wilson, who is now here, ses the
sills must be of Abolishin timber, and no mistake. I telled the Kernel
that sich stuff was the poorest kind of bass-wood, an wouldn't stand
nohow. Then he thought of puttin in a mixture of Abolishin timber an
sum constitutional saw-logs, but I telled him that that would make it
so cross-grained that it wouldn't bear eny weight at all, an by the
time we got the rafters on it would all smash down in a pile. "Wal,"
ses he, "Majer, I must do sumthin to keep my party together. I must
contrive sum sort of a mixture that won't look too much Abolishin, an
yet that won't drive off the old, genewine friends of freedom." "Wal,"
ses I, "I don't think your party kin hold together much longer, enyhow.
It seems to me it is mity nigh now fallen to pieces, an it won't take
much longer to knock it into so menny pieces that you can't no more
putty 'em together than you can find the tail of a rainbow."

"Wal," ses the Kernel, "Majer, don't you think I've done well in keepin
it together as long as I have?" Ses I, "Yes, Kernel, ef there's a
feller in this country that ought to git out a patent for 'Excelsior
Political Prepared Glue,' it is you. You've kept together the most
cross-grained, knotty, knerly lot of political timber that ever was
made up into eny political party." Ses I, "There's the Greeley stripe.
Now, it's enuf to give any party the dyspepsy to have such a set of
bran-bread, free-luv, long-haired set of fellers in it. An ther's
Gerrit Smith an his stripe, a kind of maroon-colored, mongrel breed of
politicians, sumthin like a cross between a Jamacy nigger an an
Esquimaw; an then ther's Wendell Phillips an old Garrison, sort of
Abolishin alligators; an fineally you've got a sort of half-an-half
fellers in your party who try to be conservative, who quote Blackstun
and the law dicschinnaries, an set great stress upon being very
moderate. Now, how you've contrived, Kernel, to keep all these
different ingredients together is a mystery." "Wal, Majer, ef I hadn't
larn't sumthin about boatin on the Mississippi River, wen I was young,
I don't believe I would ever have been able to steer the ship of State
at all." "Why," ses I, "how is that?" "Wal," ses he, "goin up the
Mississippi River is a good deal like being Presidint. Sumtimes you
have to go one way and sumtimes another. Sumtimes you go slam rite in
one bank an sumtimes in t'other, and then it ain't at all oncommon to
get on a sand-bar, an lay there no one can tell how long. Now, Majer,
that's a good deal like being Presidint, an you see I've kept my party
together by jest goin first one way an then t'other. Wen the Abolishin
tide cum along strong, I'de jest let the vessel foller the current, go
with it, an wen she struck the other shore, of course, it would take
another tack. Sumtimes, when all hands got a quarrelin, I jest let her
rip rite on a sand-bar, and there let her lay until I made 'em settle
their disputes. But, I tell you, Majer, there's one that has been the
best of all to keep my party together. Wen they've got purty mutinous,
I've threatened to discharge all hands an get a new set. Then you ought
to see how soon they stop quarrelin. Ther's nothin they so much dred as
to lose the offices. Take away the cow that gives the milk, an they
would all blat jest like weaned calves. So wen I stop the ship an tell
them that I'm goin to clear the deck an put on a new crew, I tell you
they are as whist as mice. So you see, I go poleing along. First this
way, then that, jest like goin up the Mississippi River, for all the
world."

"Wal," ses I, "Kernel, that seems to me a rather hap-hazard, no-policy
way of bein Presidint. It ain't statesmanlike." "Wal, Majer, mebby it
is and mebby it ain't; but I'm goin to make things shake now, sence the
elecshins are over. Things have got to be more lively."

I didn't say nothin, for I see the Kernel was gettin his back up. At
last, ses I, "Kernel, have you tried eny of that old rye lately?" Ses
he, "No, Majer, I ain't, but I feel like wettin my gills to-nite. How
do you feel?" "Wal," ses I, "Kernel, a little good whiskey never goes
agin the grain." At that the Kernel sent for the feller who does
chores, an we both took a swig. Wen I thought he was in purty good
humor, ses I, "Kernel, why did you remove McClellin?" Ses he, "Majer, I
can't tell you now, but jest recollect my story about 'polein around,'
an gettin in 'Abolishin currents,' an you kin guess." I sed nothin, for
I see the Kernel was very mum, so I bid him good-nite, and slept as
sound on that old rye as I ever did wen I was a boy. The Kernel is
famous for good whiskey, anyhow.

Yours, till deth,

MAJER JACK DOWNING.



LETTER XXI.

_The Message--A Cabinet Council--Speeches of Seward, Chase, Stanton,
Welles, Blair and Bates--Mr. Lincoln Tells a Story--The Major Gives His
Opinion--Mr. Chase Accuses Him of Disloyalty--The Major Demands a
Retraction--It is Given._


WASHINGTON, Nov. 22, 1862.

_To the Editers of The Cawcashin:_

SURS:--Wal, the messige ain't done yet. The Kernel keeps tinkerin at it
a little every day. I tell him he is jest like a cooper hammerin at a
barrel. He keeps poundin away, an when he gits thru, he is rite around
jest where he started from. The other day I telled the Kernel that it
mite hurry up matters by havin a Cabinet Council, and perhaps by gettin
all heds together we mite git the messige in sum sort of shape.
Congress would meet afore long, an there was no time to loose. The
Kernel sed he thought that would be a good idee, an so one was called.
The Kernel insisted that I should be present, though I didn't much want
to be, sence I knew how Seward was trying to play the conservative and
turn Dimmycrat. Howsoever, I determined to go but to say nothin. The
Kernel opened the ball by tellin all hands how that he an the Majer had
been to work at the messige for some weeks, off an on, like farmers
sortin their corn, but they couldn't git the docyment into ship-shape
exactly, an hence he had called 'em together to hear their opinions on
the subject, an to larn how each department, stood. He sed he wanted to
tech on all subjects, an fust he would ask Mr. Seward about our furrin
affairs. Seward got up, lookin very pale, an the fust thing he sed was,
that he believed Seemore was elected Guvernor of New York. Mr. Chase
wanted to know "what that had to do with foreign affairs, but," ses he,
an here he looked very knowin, "perhaps Mr. Seward kin tell how Seemore
cum to be elected?" At this Seward brushed up an asked him "what he
meant?" "Wal," ses he, "I mean jest this, that if you an Weed had not
thrown cold water on Wadsworth, Seemore would never have been elected."
"That's false," ses Seward, an Chase jumped up as if he was goin to do
sumthin, but the Kernel at once interfered, an sed that he didn't send
for 'em to quarrel about the elecshins, which were bad enough, Lord
knows, but he wanted to know how the furrin affairs stood. Seward sed,
"that, comin to the pint, furrin affairs never looked better. We were
at peace with all the world, an he didn't doubt but with the aid of his
friend Weed, and a liberal use of secret service money, he would be
able to keep the peace. He sed it looked now as if, in sixty days, that
all idee of furrin intervenshin for the rebils would be given up, an
then the rebelyun would be smashed at once."

Then the Kernel asked Mr. Chase how the financies stood. Wal, Chase sed
that everything was working splendid; that only the other day he got a
loan in Wall street above par; that everything was risin in price, an
that the people was tickled to deth with the good-lookin notes he got
out; that they liked 'em so well, an they were so much handier than
gold an silver, that they didn't use enything else lately. He sed he
thought he was going to be set down as the greatest financier since the
days of Liecurgus, who made money out of iron, an thus made all the
people rich at once. He said that he would make 'em all rich, ef paper
didn't get too high, an there was some danger of it, as the pesky
rebils had all the cotton to make it of. Jest get that, an he would
snap his fingers at the hull world.

Then Stantin got up. He sed everything was now progressin finely sence
the Ralerode Sooperintendent had been discharged. He didn't doubt but
Burnside would be in Richmond by the time Congress met, an he thought
it was so sure, that he advised Linkin to put it in his Message at
once. He sed his idee was, as soon as Richmond was taken, to issoo a
proclamashin appointing a day of thanksgiv'n an prayer for our victory
over the rebils. He sed, ef his plans had been followed, we would have
been in the rebil Capital long ago, but it was all rite now, and no one
need have eny fears.

Then grandfather Welles spoke. He sed Mr. Stantin seemed to think that
the army was goin to do all, but he could tell him that he would find
that his gunboats were to play a big part. He had been all summer
buildin a hull lot of iron-plated monsters, an ef the war didn't cum to
an end too soon, they would make the fur fly. At all events, they would
be reddy to celebrate peace, which would be somethin. For his part, he
didn't think the war was nigh ended; yet in fact, he didn't see how it
could end until all the contracts were finished. It would'nt do to
disappint so many good members of the party, who hadn't yet had their
turn buyin vessels on commission, or makin gunboats.

Then Mr. Blair got up, lookin as if he thought that wisdom would surely
die when he did. He sed he reckoned that the country was safe. He sed
he had kept a pretty close watch on the newspapers to see ef eny of
them opposed the war or advocated slavery. He thought that the people
never had had sich advantages in the Post-Office as they had had sence
he was Postmaster-Gineral. The people, he sed, used to have to pick out
the papers they wanted to take themselves, now he did it for 'em. He
sed he thought he knew best, too, what was good for them, for his
father was an editor a good meny years, an when he needed informashin
he allers called on the old man! When Blair sot down, the Kernel called
upon Mr. Bates, but he had gone to sleep, so they skipped him and
called upon Mr. Smith. He sed that the interior department was in a
flourishin condishin, but he hed lately heered that the loco focos had
agin carried Indianny, and it had so worried him as to give him the
tooth-ache. Ef they wanted to know anythin more about this department,
he would ask his chief clark. Here the Kernel asked Seward ef he
wouldn't wake up Mr. Bates. Seward jest walked up, tuk his finger and
thumb and pinched the old man's nose. As he was breathin very hard thru
it, he jumped up as ef he had ben pricked with a pin. Ses he, "Have the
rebils took Saint Lewis?" Seward telled him that this was a Cabbynet
Council. "Aye," ses he, "what's up?" "Wal," ses Linkin, "we want to
know the condishin of your department?" Ses he, "I ain't a military
Ginneral, an ain't got command of no department!" The old man warn't
fairly awake yet; ses Seward, ses he, "I guess I'll have to give him
another pinch." "Now," ses the Kernel, "that reminds me of a story. An
old Dominy down in Connecticut used to have a very sleepy congregashin.
One day, wen a good many were asleep, he stopped rite in the middle of
his sermon, and called out, 'Deacon Giles, sing the 119th Psalm, to the
tune of Old Hundred.' The Deacon commenced and sung one verse. Wen he
got thru, the Dominy yelled out at the top of his voice, 'sing another
varse, Deacon; they ain't all awake yit.'" Wile all hands were laughing
at the Kernel's story, Mr. Bates got putty wide awake, and sed that his
business had got sorter mixed up with Stantin's, and in fact there
warnt any courts or judges or juries now, an mity little need of
Atturny Ginnerals--the Ginnerals were all of another kind. He sed wen
the war was over he meant to write out a legal opinion agin it, but he
was afeered it wouldn't be loyal to do it now, and so he spent most of
his time in reading a bound volume of the Christian Almanac, which he
had for fifty years back. He thought the country was in a very
prosperous condishin, for he drew his salary regular.

After he got thru, the Kernel called on me to make sum remarks, but I
telled him "I didn't cum there to say enything, but only to listen, an
to see ef I could larn enough of what was goin on to complete the
message." They all set in then, especially Seward, an sed I must give
my impreshins, ef nothin more. "Wal," I telled 'em, "ef I sed enything
I should be jest as blunt as a pump-handle, an they mustn't take no
offence; an that so far as I was consarned, I might jest as well go to
a singin school to larn to dance as to have cum here to find enything
about the state of the country. Every one of 'em seemed to be thinkin
about himself, an nothin about the country. Because they drew their
salary regularly, an had enough to eat and drink, they thought nobody
was hurt. I telled 'em that I guessed they all had on 'Glorification
Spectacles,' an that everything was magnified to 'em. Then I sed that
jest what the Kernel wanted to know to put in his message was, how many
sojers we had, an how much they were costin; an how many sailyurs we
had, an how many ships, an how much they cost. Then I telled 'em that
the people would like to know how many poor fellers had lost their
lives sence the war begun; how many had been crippled, &c., &c.; an how
much the debt would be after we all got thru; an finally, what great
good we had got by it all." Here Chase spoke up. Ses he, "We'll
establish freedom an restore the Union." "Wal," ses I, "ef you want
four millions of niggers to take keer of, you're welcome to 'em, but as
for restorin the Union by war, so far it's jest been like climbin a
greased pole; as fast as you climb up you slip back, an," ses I, "it
will be so to the eend of the chapter, unless I'me mistaken." Ses
Chase, ses he, "The Majer is disloyal." Wen he sed that I jumped rite
up with my hickory, an ses I, "Ain't your name Salmon?" Ses he, "Yes."
"Wal," ses I, "it won't be long if you don't take that back." I never
see a feller look so scart. Ses he, "Majer, I didn't mean eny offence,
an so I'll take it back, for I think you mean well." I telled him "that
I didn't allow enybody to say or to intimate that I warnt a friend to
the Constitushin and the Union."

The Kernel here spoke an sed that his Cabbynet was a good deal like old
Josh Pendleton's boys out in lower Illinoy. They allers cum hum every
New Years to see the old man an have a talk of old times, but afore
they got thru they allers had a regular fite. So he thought he'd adjurn
the Cabbynet for fear there would be a scrimmage here.

Then they all took their departure, an the messige ain't no nearer done
than ever. The Kernel an I have set up nite after nite, an drank old
rye, but it is no use, we can't get it in ship-shape form. The Kernel
ses he guesses he will jest get the messige out in rough and send it
into Congris, an let Sumnure, Chandler, Lovejoy an Thad Stevens lick it
into shape.

Yourn till deth,

MAJER JACK DOWNING.



LETTER XXII.

_The Message Finished--Mr. Sumner says it is not Grammatical--The
Major's Excuse--Mr. Sumner Finds Fault with the Major's Spelling--The
Major Stumps Him--He Gives His Views on "Edication"--Mr. Lincoln
Proposes a Connundrum--The Major Tells a Story--Mr. Seward's Opinion on
the War._


WASHINGTON, Dec. 6th, 1862.

_To the Editers of The Cawcashin:_

SURS:--Wal, I'm glad to say that Congriss has got together, an the
Messige has been red an digested. He wouldn't let Seward or Chase have
enything to do with it, but he jest mauled it all out himself. The next
day arter the Messige was sent in, Sumnure cum in an sed the Messige
warn't exactly grammatikal in all its parts. I telled him that "I
guessed ef he had to work around short corners as the Kernel did,
without gettin tripped up, he would find it mity hard work to get
everything jest according to grammer." I telled him "grammer warn't of
eny ackount wile the rebellyun lasted--that, like the Constitushin, the
grammer was suspended, or locked up where habus korpus couldn't get at
it. In fact," ses I, "Mr. Sumnure, I think that eny man who talks about
its bein necessary to obsarve the laws of grammer, or any other laws,
wen a nashin is in a deth struggle with traiturs, is a disloyal person,
an orter to be sent to Fort La Fieit." Wen I sed this, Sumnure turned
all sorts of colors, an ses he, "Wal, Majer, perhaps you're rite about
grammer; but I think you orter spell the President's name rite in your
letters. It's a disrespect to the Cheef Majestrate not to do it."
"Wal," ses I, "Mr. Sumnure, I've got my own idees on spellin. Spellin
is a good deel like sparkin the gals--it's jest as a feller takes a
noshin. My idee is, ef I spell a word so as to git its sound, I'm rite,
an I don't keer wat you say, it's the only rule of spellin that holds
good in the long run. Now," ses I, "ef L-i-n-k-i-n don't spell Linkin,
what on arth does it spell?" That seemed to stump him. "But," ses he,
"Majer, there's some ginneral rules that orter be observed--rules that
the schools all use." "Wal," ses I, "I don't know much about schools,
an I guess the Kernel don't nether. I went to school six weeks, an the
Kernel ses he went six months. School larnin is mity poor truck to put
into a feller's hed onless he's got a good deal of brains there.
There's more edicated fools now in the world than there are fools of
eny other kind, an there's a great menny of them, Lord knows. And," ses
I, "it's those edicated fools that make all the trubbil."

"Why, Majer," ses he, "you ain't an enemy to edication, I hope."

"Wal, no, Mr. Senator, I ain't no enemy to edication; I only hate
edicated fools."

Ses he, "Majer, what do you mean by edicated fools?"

"Wal," ses I, "wen I was a boy, an went to school the six weeks I speak
of, there was a boy in my class who could beat me a spellin an readin,
an in eenamost everything, but I could lick him jest as easy as I could
whistle. He hadn't eny more spunk, or pluck, or courage than a sick
kitten, an mighty little genewine common sense. His father, however,
sent him to college, an the fust thing I heerd of him, the papers were
callin him a larned man, an he ain't done enything ever sence but to
blab at Abolishin meetins an make Abolishin speeches. Now," ses I,
"that's wat I call an edicated fool. Jest like the larned pig, he can
do wat he larns to do or sees done; but as for real common sense to
tell wether a thing is rite or rong, he ain't worth eny more for it
than a bull-dog is to catch rats."

Sumnure looked kinder streaked wen I sed this, but I didn't say a word,
an jest here the Kernel, who had been down stairs to get his boot-jack,
cum in. Ses he, "Good mornin, Mr. Sumnure. I'll bet you one of Chase's
greenbacks," ses he, "that you can't tell why this boot-jack is like
an offis-seeker." Sumnure sed he couldn't. "Wal," ses the Kernel,
"because it sticks close to the heels of the Presidint."

I telled the Kernel how that Sumnure sed that the Messige warn't
grammatikal. "Wal," ses he, "I beleeve everything goes rong sence I
became Presidint. The country is upside down; the niggers are more
trubbul than ever before; the white men are cuttin one another's
throats, an it seems as if Bedlam was let loose; an now the grammer has
been violated, they say. Wal, I wonder wat on arth I am fit for. I
never succeeded well in flat-botein; I allers had poor craps wen I
tried to be a farmer; I was too tall to split rails handy; and, as a
lawyer, I warn't enything more than from poor to middlin. Ef I can't be
Presidint, I don't see wat on arth I was made for."

"Wal," ses I, "Kernel, perhaps you are like the old Quaker's dog." Ses
he, "How was that, Majer?" "Wal," ses I, "I'll tell you the story. Up in
Maine, not far from Downingville, there used to live an old Quaker
named Hezekiah Peabody. He had a yaller dog that was allus loungin
around the house. One day Sol Hopkins, a rough old feller, cum along,
an ses he, 'Mr. Peabody, I want a dog to hunt foxes. Do you think your
dog is good for foxes?' 'Now,' ses the Quaker, 'neighbor Solomon, I
never tried the dog on foxes for the huntin of any animals is not my
business; but if thee wishes a dog for foxes, accordin to the
Scripters, this dog must be a good dog for foxes.' 'Wal, will you
warrant him a good dog for foxes?' 'I cannot do that, neighbor Solomon,
for I never tried him on foxes; but, accordin to the Scripters, thee
can be sure the dog is good for foxes.' So old Sol, thinkin that
Scripter proof must be good, give the Quaker five dollars for the dog.
He took him hum, an the next day he saw a fox runnin across one of his
lots. So he called the dog an showed him the fox, but he wouldn't stir
an inch after him. This made old Sol terribul mad, an the next day he
took the dog back to the Quaker, an ses he, in his rough way: 'Mr.
Peabody, this dog is not worth a dam!' 'Tut, tut, neighbor Solomon,
thee shouldn't speak profanely with thy lips.' 'That may be,' ses old
Sol, 'but didn't you tell me that this dog was good for foxes.' 'No,
neighbor Solomon, I think not. I said accordin to Scripters he _must_
be good for foxes.' 'Wal,' ses old Sol, 'how do you make that out?'
'Wal, neighbor, the Scripters say, "that there is nothin made in vain,"
_an as I had tried that dog on everything else except fox-huntin, I
thought that that must be what he was made for_!' "Now," ses I, "Kernel,
I hope it won't turn out that you are like the old Quaker's dog, 'made
in vain,' or, as old Sol. Hopkins expressed it, 'not worth a d----!'
but," ses I, "ef you don't restore this Union before your term expires,
the people will think that you were a good deal worse than the Quaker's
dog, for if he warn't good for enything, he didn't do any particular
harm."

The Kernel didn't seem to like this story much, for ses he, "Majer, I
think you are getin kinder personel." Ses I, "No, Kernel; I don't mean
to be, but you know stories sometimes will fit closer than you think
for when you begin to tell 'em."

Jest here Seward cum in, an with his church-yard smile, ses he, "Good
mornin, Mr. President. I've got good news from England. There won't be
any intervenshin now, an the rebellyun will all be over in 60 days. My
friend Weed thinks so, too."

"What's up, Boss?" ses Linkin. That's the name he calls Seward by.
"Oh," ses he, rubbin his hands, "don't you see by the papers what a
large amount of money the merchants in York are subscribin for the
poor, patient, starving English workmen. God bless 'em." Here Seward
drew a deep sigh, and then ses he, "It will produce such a good effect
in England! Intervenshin is dead. The rebellyun is crushed, an all by
this grand an noble idee of mine to feed the starvin poor. What
filanthropy will do, when it is done right!" An here Seward commenced
rubbin his hands an walkin about the room, an actin like a gal that is
jest goin to get married. I didn't say enything, an the Kernel didn't
say enything either, an it warn't a minut afore Seward dodged out of
the door as quick as he cum in. After he hed gone, ses I, "Kernel, how
many times has Seward hed the rebellyun suppressed?" "Oh," ses he, "he
goes to sleep every night with the sartin belief that the Union will be
restored by daylight; that Jeff Davis will be hanging on a sour apple
tree by noon, an that he will be elected next President by sundown."
"Wal," ses I, "Kernel, I think you've got a queer cabinet." "Yes," ses
he, "that I have. Seward thinks that his ritin letters to Europe is
goin to overthrow the rebellyun. Chase thinks it can't be done, except
by his greenbacks an freein the niggers. Old grandfather Welles is
sure that there is nothin will restore the Union except his gunboats;
while Blair feels sure that he kin do it by stoppin Dimmecratic
papers!" Ses I, "Why don't you change 'em?" "Wal," ses he, "what's the
use of swappin jackets? There ain't nothin to be made by it. No, I
won't change my Cabynet onless I'm druv to it. It's bad enough now, but
Lord only knows what it might be ef I ondertake to change it."

I was in hopes I could induce Linkin to put in some new men, an get out
Chase, Seward, Stantin an Blair. But it's no use. So we shall jog along
after the old fashion. Where we shall be in the spring no one kin tell.
Congriss has gone to work in arnest to fix up the financies, an to take
keer that the Dimmecrats don't sue Linkin for suspendin the habus
korpus. The filanthropists are also bizzy, an they are goin to give all
the niggers here a Christmas dinner, which, I suppose, is expected to
last 'em the year round. Eatin like a Turk one day an starvin 364, is,
accordin to my idees, a poor way of livin.

Yours, till deth,

MAJOR JACK DOWNING.



LETTER XXIII.

_The Major Goes to See the Postmaster-General about Stopping
Papers--Mr. Blair Promises to Release Them--The President Again in
Trouble--A Change in the Cabinet Demanded--The Major Suggests a Remedy
for "the Crysis."_


WASHINGTON, Dec. 20, 1862.

_To the Editers of The Cawcashin:_

SURS:--Wal, ef I ain't been bizzy sence I writ you last, I wouldn't say
so. I got your letter about seein Blair on the questshin of sendin
THE CAWCASHIN in the mails, an I hadn't eny doubt but he would
do it as soon as I put the subjec to him in the rite light. Blair's
father, "Parson Blair," as he used to be called in the old Ginneral's
time, an I used to be very thick. He helped me sifer a good deal wen I
was postin the Ginneral up about Biddle's Bank matters. But I hadn't
seen the old man for a long time ontel I called on him tother day. He
was dredful glad to see me, an shuck my hand as ef he thought there
warn't no feelin in it. Ses he, "Majer, it's a long time sence we've
met, an I know you are a loyal man, for there ain't no follerer of
Ginneral Jackson that could be enything else." Ses I, "Ef there's a
loyal man in this country, I'm one. I go for puttin down every feller
that's opposed to the Constitushin, I don't keer who he is. I only wish
we had an Old Hickery to step in now an jest deal out jestiss all
around, without any parshality. I guess there's a good menny fellers
that don't expect it, who might get histed." "Wal," ses he, "Majer, I'm
of your idee exactly. The truth is, I'm thinkin that this
administrashin is played out. The Ultrys will ruin it." "Wal," ses I,
"Mister Blair, I've cum to see you about another matter. Your son
Montgummery, who used to be a little shaver in the old Ginneral's time,
has got the place of Amos Kindle, an he has been stoppin Dimmycratic
papers in the mails." "Oh no," ses he, "I guess not; only sum disloyal
sheets." "No," ses I, "I'll give you a hunderd dollars for every word
of disloyalty agin the Constitushin you'll find in that paper." Here I
took a CAWCASHIN out of my pocket, an handed it to him. He looked it
over an couldn't find nothin to object to. Then I showed him the motto
at its head, taken from his own words about the freedom of the press,
an then I telled him I wanted him to go with me to Montgummery, an see
ef the thing couldn't be fixed. So we went over, an you never see a man
stare so as Montgummery did. Ses he, "Majer Downing, I'm tickled to see
you. I think you have slighted me sence you've been in Washington.
You've been to see nigh about all the members of the Cabynet except
me." "Wal," ses I, "I don't go around much, except on bizness for the
Kernel; but now," ses I, "I've cum on another arrand; I've cum to see
why you don't allow all the Dimmycratic newspapers to go in the mails?"
"Wal," ses he, "Majer, that's jest wat I'm goin to do. It was bad
bizness for us that we ever stopped these papers. It made more votes
for the Dimmycratic party than eny other cause. The truth is, it never
was my policy. I never did beleeve in it, and now they all see it must
be given up." Ses I, "Mister Blair, ef you didn't beleeve in it, you
orter have refused to do it. That ain't the way the old Ginneral acted,
an he's my model. Ef he thought enything was rong, there warn't a
mortal man, high or low, that could have got him to do it. He would
have died afore he would do wat his conscence told him warn't right, an
it's them kind of men that are great men, an will save our country, ef
it ever is saved." "Wal," ses he, "Majer, you're about right, an I
don't think I shall stay in this bote much longer. Things are goin from
bad to wus." "Yes," ses I, "they are like old Sol Hopkins's dyin cow,
'gettin no better very fast.'" "But," ses he, "Majer, you can rest easy
on the papers. We are goin back to the Free Press Principul, an let the
people have their own way." "Wal," ses I, "I'm glad to hear it. It's
about time there was a change."

So I bid him good-by, an went back to see the Kernel, who I found in a
peck of trubbil. Ses I, "What's the matter now!" for I saw at a glance
that sumthin was up. Ses I, "Is Burnside whipped agin, or is Stonewall
Jackson in our rear?" "No," ses he, "Majer, nothin of that sort, but
sumthin jest about as bad." "Wal," ses I, "what is it?" "Wal," ses he,
"there has jest been a committy here from the Senit who demand that I
shall change my Cabbynet. They say we don't have eny success, an the
peopul demand a change." Ses I, "Did you kick em down stairs?" "No,"
ses he, "I didn't." "Wal," ses I, "you orter. They mite jest as well
ask you to resign." Ses I, "Don't your Cabbynet agree in your policy?
Don't they do as you desire?" "Yes," ses he, "they do." "Wal," ses I,
"then what's the use of changin? If you intend to change your policy,
then it is reasonable to ask you to change your Cabbynet, but otherways
not." "Wal," ses he, "Majer, that's my idee exactly, but I didn't tell
em so; I thought I would wait an see what you thought of it." "Wal,"
ses I, "I see the hull cause of the rumpus. The defeat of Burnside has
made em so wrathy that they didn't know what to do, an they thought
they must find fault about sumthin." Ses I, "Fighten the rebils is jest
for all the world like bar huntin. A good menny years ago, when it was
common up in Maine, nigh about all the nabors would now an then turn
out to hunt a bar. If they caught him they used to have a grand time,
get up a big supper an drink whisky till they all got how cum you so.
But if they didn't ketch the bar, then one was blamin tother, an tother
anuther, an sumtimes the affair would end by gettin into a regular fite
all around. Jest so it is now. If Burnside had whipped the rebils, it
would all have been right." Ses Linkin, ses he, "Major, you're right.
But what am I do? They komplain about the Cabbynet, an want me to
change it." "Wal," ses I, "Kernel, I tell you how to fix it. Get the
Committy and Cabbynet face to face, an let 'em quarrel it out." "That
would be a capital idee, Majer, but how am I to do it?" "Wal," ses I,
"you jest call the Cabbynet together for twelve o'clock to-morrow, an
then send for the Committy, an put 'em in the same room together, an
see how the happy family will manage." The Kernel was struck with the
idee, an so the next day the Cabbynet were assembled, an pooty soon
after the Committy, with Fessenden as Cheerman, made their appearance.
You never see a more flustircated set of people in this world than
these men were. But there was no backin out. The Kernel called the
meetin to order, an sed he had received a good many komplaints, an he
wanted the matter fully discussed. Fessenden got up an sed that the
peeple were gettin tired of the war, an that the only way to satisfy
'em was to change the Cabbynet. Burnside had been defeated, Banks had
been sent a great ways off, when he was wanted at home, the sojers
warn't paid, the gunboats warn't finished, &c., &c. Chase got up first;
he sed if the sojers warn't paid it warn't his fault. The fact was,
that paper had riz onexpectedly, an his stock was low. Jest as soon as
paper got more plenty, an he got the new patent National Ten Cylendar
Revolvin Machine at work, the sojers would be all paid regular. Then
Stantin got up, puffin like a porpuss. Ses he, "Mr. President, these
ere remarks are impertinent, an if I had my way, I would send every one
of this Committy to the Old Capitol. I'de like to know what these men
know about war, and strategy. Why, they talk about the defeat of
Burnside. It is nonsense, sir; he ain't been defeated! The people are
humbugged by the newspapers. It's a pity there's a newspaper in the
land. They interfere with my strategy. Burnside has gained a great
success. He has discovered the strength of the enemy's works at that
pint, an now we know that some other route is the one to take, an not
that one. Ef it had not been for this battle, we shouldn't have found
that out. This Committy of old gentlemen, or old women, I had almost
said, don't understand the art of war. Their talk is sheer
impertinence. I'de squelch em with a proclamashin, if no other way."

Then grandfather Welles got up, an sed he didn't like to have fault
found because his gun-boats warn't reddy. He sed he would like to see
eny one who had worked harder than he had. He sed he hadn't slept but
fourteen hours a day for six months, while his naturel rest required
eighteen. He hed sacrificed all that for the good of his country, and
he didn't believe one of the Committy hed done as much. Blair got up
and said he didn't keer how quick they turned him out. He was reddy to
go eny time, as he thought the thing was about played out. Bates sed he
thought things looked more cheerful than ever before, as he hed jest
discovered that niggers could be citizens, and that the Dred Scott
decision was a humbug. When they all got thru, there was a ginnerel
talk all around, and they finally cum to the conclushin that there
warn't eny reason for a change after all, an they all went off in a
pretty good humor.

So the great Cabbynet crysis ended, and the Kernel feels like a new
man. My idee of gettin them all together face to face, the Kernel ses,
saved the nashun. That nite we set up till after midnight, and finally,
after takin a good swig of Old Rye, went to bed. The next morning the
Kernel was as merry as a lark, and could tell stories as well as ever.

Yours till deth,

MAJER JACK DOWNING.



LETTER XXIV.

_The Emancipation Proclamation--The Way to Get Richmond--Splitting
the Union--The Major Tells a Story about Splitting--The President Gets
Indignant--Seizes the Boot-Jack--The Major Pacifies Him--A Dream--The
Major Returns to Downingville._


DOWNINGVILLE, State of Maine,

February 4th, 1863.

_To the Editers of The Cawcashin:_

Surs:--I expect you have bin kinder puzzled to know why you ain't
heered from me in so long a time. I expect you'll wonder, too, why my
letter is dated Downingville instead of Washington. Wal, I'll have to
narrate the hull story:--You know the last letter I rit you was jest
afore the first of Jinewary, when the Kernel had promised to issoo his
Free Nigger Proclamashin. I was allers teetotally down on it, an I
thought I should persuade him out of it, an tharby save the great
disgrace an stane it would be on our country. But the truth is, the
Kernel an I had a row about it, an I left. The story I'll tell jest as
it tuk place: The mornin after New Year's I cum down stairs, an the
Kernel was settin in his cheer with his feet on the tabil. "Wal," ses
he, "I've done it." "Done what?" ses I. "Why," ses he, "I've signed the
Proclamashin." "Wal," ses I, "you had better have signed your own deth
warrant, for that is the deth warrant of the Union." Ses he, "Majer,
I'm sorry you're so hard on that." "Wal," ses I, "Kernel, I ain't too
hard on it, as you'll find out to your sorror." "Now, Majer, let me ask
you one thing. We must take Richmond, an ain't we tried every way but
this? Ain't we gone by the Shanandore Vally, by Jeemes River, by
Manasses, an yet we can't get to Richmond? We must weaken the rebils
afore we can do it, an this is the way to effect it."

Ses I, "Kernel, don't you know there is one way to get to Richmond that
you ain't tried yet?" "No," ses he, "I didn't know it." "Wal," ses I,
"there is." "Wal," ses he, "what on arth is it?" "Wal," ses I, "it is
the _Constitushinal way_!" Ses I, "You've bin tryin to git there agin
the Constitushin, an you can't do it that way. Ef you hadn't called out
75,000 men to whip South Caroliny, old Virginny would never have left
you, an you could have got to Richmond jest as easy as old grandfather
Welles kin go to sleep."

"Wal," ses he, "Majer, mebby that's so, but you can't dip up spilt
milk. Ef the thing is wrong, it's gone so far now that we may as well
drive it thru an see ef we can't clinch it on tother side." "But," ses
I, "there ain't eny tother side to this questshin, eny more than there
is a white side to a nigger or black side to a white man, an you may
drive on and on, an you won't get thru." "Wal," ses the Kernel, "what
will come of it then, Majer?" "Wal," ses I, "you will _split_ the
Union, but that is all you kin do." "Wal," ses he, "Majer, that would
be jest like my tarnel luck. I never got hold of but one thing in my
life that I didn't split." Ses I, "What was that?" Ses he, "A taller
candle, an I defy all creashin to split that." Ses I, "Kernel, I guess
you must be some relashin to the feller out West who split up all the
churches." Ses he, "How was that?" "Wal," ses I, "ef I tell you the
story, you must not get mad, for I'm afeered it will set putty clus."
Ses he, "Majer, I can stand a joak better than eny other feller you
ever see." "Wal," ses I, "here goes: There was a feller out West who
got converted, or thought he did, an jined the Episcopal church. He
hadn't bin in it long afore he got the members by the ears, an split it
all up an broke it down. After he had done all the hurt he could, he
went an jined the Presbyterian church, an he hadn't bin there long
afore he split that all up. Then he went an united with the Baptist
church. It warn't long afore they were all split up an broke to pieces.
Being turned out from there, he went an jined the Methodist church. He
soon got that church into hot water. One day, when the ministers were
consultin as to what to do with him, ses one of them, ses he, 'I've bin
prayin most fervently that that man may go to hell!' 'Tut, tut,
brother,' says the Elder, 'how can you do so? You should pray for him
that he may be better, and be fitted to go to Heaven.' 'No,' ses he, 'I
don't think so. I've prayed earnestly that he might go to hell, an I'll
tell you why. He has split up an broken up every church an neighborhood
he was ever in, an ef he should go to Satan's dominions, I think he
might split an break up that place, an you know what a blessing that
would be.'"

I hadn't more than got the last word out of my mouth, wen the Kernel
jumped up from his cheer, and ketchin hold of his boot-jack, he
flourished it rite over his head in a savage style. I thought he was
stark mad. I got my hickery an backed up agin the door. I seed he was
tarin mad, but I didn't say a word. I knew he'd work off the bile in
his own way. Finally ses he, "Majer, wat are you standin there for?"
"Why," ses I, "I was waitin to see what you was goin to do with that
boot-jack." Ses he, "Have I got the boot-jack?" "Wal," ses I, "you've
got sumthin in your hand that looks a mity site like one." "Wal," ses
he, "Majer, I want to know whether you mean to apply that story to me?"
"No," ses I, "Kernel. Didn't I tell you at the outset that I didn't;
but you was tellin about what you had done in the way of splittin
things, an I was reminded of that story. But I told you to keep your
temper, an not take it as personal, but only as a joak?" "Wal," ses he,
"Majer, I'll forgive you; but ef I thought you meant that story for me,
I'd arrest you for disloyal practices, an put you in the Old Capital
Prison."

Then the Kernel asked me to take some Old Rye with him an make up
friends. So I did; but I noticed, after that, that the Kernel watched
me very clus. The very next day I had an awful attack of rumatiz, an I
also felt sick an discurraged. Thigs never looked so black afore. I had
a dream that nite, an I thought I saw the old Ginneral, an he told me,
ses he, "This ain't any place for you now. The abolitionists have got
full sway, an they will ruin the country as sure as my name is Andrew
Jackson." I also dreamed that I saw thousands of dyin men, an weepin
wimmin, an cryin children. I thought the doors of the houses all over
the North looked red with blood, an a black cloud hung over the hull
land. People seemed to be runnin first one way an then tother, askin
what they should do. Finally, I heered a grate noise, like an
arthquake, that woke me up, an I laid awake the rest of the nite.

The next mornin I was eenamost down sick with trubbel an rumatiz, an I
telled the Kernel I must go hum, where I could get good keer taken of
me. The Kernel didn't say much agin it, for, after all, he didn't
kinder like that story. So ses I, "Mr. President, I've been with you
now for about a year, an I've got a clean conscience, for I've tried to
tell you the rale truth jest as it is. Ef all who have cum around you
had done the same, you would not be where you are; but," ses I, "I
ain't got any feelin on the subject, an whenever I can be of any
sarvice to my country, jest let me know, an I will come to Washinton
agin."

The Kernel ses he, "Majer, I know you are a patriot, and I feel bad to
have you go. I wish now I had taken your advice. But," ses he, "Majer,"
an here he giv my hand a tight squeeze, "you know I've only been a boat
in a current, an yet like the boat I'll be jest the one that will get
the worst smashed to pieces when the precipice is reached." I couldn't
help feelin' kinder sorry for the Kernel as I bid him good-bye, but I
felt still more sorry for my country that it had ever made him
President.

I got hum all safe, an sense then I've been laid up four weeks with the
rumatiz. I never had such a long pull afore. As for writin with it on
me, why I can't any more do it than a shad can climb a bean-pole. I
expect you've been wonderin why you didn't hear from me, but I think
this letter will explain the resin. If the rumatiz don't come on agin,
an I think I kin say anything that would of sarvice in this awful and
solemn crysis of our country's fate, I will drop you a line. I feel as
if the nashin was dyin, however, an that we all orter put on mournin an
sack-cloth, but come what will, I'm for my country

Till deth,

MAJER JACK DOWNING.



LETTER XXV.

_The Major Feels Sorrowful over the Fate of His Country--The Story of
the Black Heifer--The Man who Made a "Siss"--The Union--"Insine"
Stebbins Again--His Reception at Downingville--"The Insensibles"--A
Provoking Accident._


DOWNINGVILLE, March 28, 1863.

_To the Eddyters of The Cawcashin:_

SURS:--You may wonder why you ain't heered from me afore; but the rale
truth is, that I didn't feel like ritin in these times. I went to
Washinton about a year ago, out of pure patriotism. I didn't want a
contrack, nor a commission, nor enything. I went to give the Kernel
good advice, jest as I did Ginneral Jackson; but it warn't no go.
Somnure an Greeley, an Wendil Fillips, an sech stay-at-hum fiten
ginnerals got the advantage of me, an Linkin does jest wat they want
him to. To an old man like me, these are tryin times. I had almost said
_cryin_ times; I can't bear to think of 'em. I dream o'nights of my
country, wen it was all peace an happiness--wen ther warn't any sojers
nor standin army to pay, nor no debt, nor no hospitals full of sick
sojers, nor no sorrow or misery in the land; an wen I wake up an think
how different it is now, I wish I could sleep all the time. The other
day old Deacon Jenkens came over to see me. The Deacon, you know, was
with me in Washinton a short time, wen I first went there, and his
darter Jerusha Matilda went down to Port Royal to teach the contrybands
their primmers. Wal, the Deacon ain't much wiser now than he was a year
ago. He still thinks that by prayin an fightin the rebels will yet be
whipped. He used to like the _Tribune_, but lately he ses he prefers
the _Herald_, as it is more truthful. The old man, however, has been
very blue for some time past, and now ses that prayin an fightin hain't
accomplished much. "Wal," ses I, "Deacon, there hadn't orter been eny
war at all; but," ses I, "while the South have had a single end an
purpose, we've been all at odds and ends. The war has been carried on
by us jest like old Sol Pendergrast's boy ploughed. Old Sol took his
oldest boy, Adam, a thick-heded feller, out one Spring, an set him to
ploughin. He told him to go to work an strike a furrow across a field
to a _black heifer_, an then keep on. After givin this direcshin, old
Sol went off to the house an left Adam alone. The boy started his oxen
in a bee line for the _black heifer_, but wen he got pretty clus
to her, she threw up her tail an ran off in another direcshin. Adam
thought he must foller the heifer, no matter where she went; so he
struck another bee line for her, and with jest the same result. Wen he
got clus to her, the heifer give another frisk to her tail, an off she
went. Adam geed his oxen around, and struck for her agin; an so he kept
on all day. At nite the old man cum out to see how Adam had got along.
He found the field all cut up with furrows, zig-zag, criss-cross, an in
every direcshin, an asked Adam wat on arth it ment. 'Wal,' ses the
thick-headed numskull, 'you told me to steer for the _black_ heifer, an
I've done it all day, but the denied critter wouldn't stand still, an
so the furrows are a kinder criss-cross, you see.' Now," ses I, "that
is jest wat Linkin has been doin. Greeley told him to steer for the
nigger, an the result is jest like Adam Pendergrast's ploughing.
There's a considerable fightin ben done, but it is all criss-cross,
zig-zag, an don't amount to nothin, an so it will be to the end of the
chapter." Wen I sed this, the Deacon knocked the ashes out of his pipe,
an ses he, "Wal, Majer, wat do you think the war will amount to,
enyhow?" "Wall," ses I, "I guess it will end a good deal like the
feller who thought he could make a horse-shoe jest as well as a
blacksmith." Ses the Deacon, ses he, "How was that, Majer?" "Wal," ses
I, "one day a feller in a blacksmith's shop made a bet that he could
make a horse-shoe jest as well as the blacksmith himself, though he
hadn't never heated an iron nor struck a blow on an anvil. The feller
sed it didn't require any great gumption to make a horse-shoe. So he
took a piece of iron an at it he went. He put it in the fire, heated it
an commenced poundin it, but the more he pounded, the more it didn't
look like a horse-shoe. He finally gave up the job, an said if he
couldn't make a horse-shoe he _could_ make a wagon-bolt. So at it he
went, but the more he pounded an the more he heated his iron, the less
it grew, an finally he found that he couldn't make even a wagon-bolt.
Then he declared that he had iron enough left for a horse-shoe nail,
and that he _would_ make, but upon trying, he found that the most
difficult job of all. Finally, giving up in despair, ses he, 'Wal, one
thing I can do enyhow, I can make a _siss_!' an plunging the tongs
an what was left of the iron in the water, he did get up a very
respectable 'siss.' Now," ses I, "when he started out, Linkin sed he
was goin to restore the old Union. That has been given up long ago, and
now they say they are goin to conquer the Southern States, that is,
make a despotism, but the war will turn out jest like the horse-shoe
business. Linkin will, after all, neether make a Union, or a despotism,
or an Empire by it, but it will end with a great big 'siss.' That's all
he will accomplish by it, an a dear 'siss' it will be for many a poor
fellow. A dear 'siss' it will be for the fatherless and the widows, and
a wonderful dear 'siss' it will be for the people who will have to pay
the taxes and foot the bill of war." Wen I said this, the Deacon drew a
long breth, an lookin down on the floor, didn't say enything for some
minutes. Finally, ses he, "Wal, Majer, will we have to give up the
Union after all?" Ses I, "I don't see eny necessity for that, providin
that we kin only stop the war an talk over matters a little. But," ses
I, "ef the Union is goin to be a Union wherein a white man hasn't the
right to express his opinions, then I must say I don't love such a
Union as that, an I'm as strong a Union man as old Ginneral Jackson, an
that was strong enough. I am for the old Union, but ef the Union is to
mean despotism, then I'm for breakin it all to smash, as soon as
possible. Wen a man begins to humbug me by callin things by their wrong
names to try an deceive me, it allus riles me onaccountably. I ain't a
very larned man, but I kin generally see through one of these college
chaps. Wen he talks Union to me, an all the time means despotism, I
allus feel jest like haulin up my old hickory, an givin him a
sockdologer. Why," ses I, "Deacon, the feller who wants to turn this
government into a despotism, an keeps all the time hollerin 'Union,'
while he is doin it, is not only a traitor, but a hypocrite an coward.
He is afeerd to speak his rale sentiments, an so goes around tryin to
deceive the people, jest as the false prophets in the Saviour's time.
I'm teetotally down on such fellers, an I mean to be to the end of the
chapter."

I almost forgot to tell you that Insine Stebbins, who went off to the
war, has jest got hum. He had a recepshun by the military of
Downingville wen he arriv. Col. Doolittle called out the Downingville
Insensibles an the Maroon artillery, an all Downingville was in a blaze
of glory. The Insine has been promoted to be Captin sense he went off,
for ritin a pome for the contrybands at Port Royal, where the Insine
was stashioned. The Insine is not a bad poet. But you orter seen the
turnout in Downingville to receive him. Colonel Doolittle rode down the
street on old Elder Dusenberry's sorrel mare, an jest as the cannon was
blazin forth the joyous news of the Captin's arrival on the ground, old
sorrel's colt, that the elder thought he had locked up safe in the
stable, come tarein through the street, an fairly mowed a swath rite
through the women. Such a yellin an screachin ver never heered afore. A
good many people thought the rebils were comin. Elder Dusenberry's wife
tore her best silk dress, an the Insine who had primed himself for a
big speech on the occashin, had it all scart out of him. If it hadn't
been for that rascally young colt, I think that the celebrashin would
have been the greatest day Downingville had seen sence the time General
Jackson visited it. The Insine brings the news from Washington that the
Kernel thinks some of payin a visit to the North, an maybe to the East,
afore long. Ef he does, he says he wants me to go along with him to
help him make speeches and keep off the offis-seekers. Ef he sends for
me, I spose I shall have to go, though I hate to do it.

Yourn till deth,

MAJER JACK DOWNING.



LETTER XXVI.

_The Democratic Party Whipped--Things as bad as they can be--A Story
in Point--Mr. Lincoln sends for the Major again--The Major writes him a
Letter--The Return of "Kernel" Stebbins, formerly "Insine"--His
Reception at Downingville--"Kernel" Doolittle's Speech--"Kernel"
Stebbins' Reply--Elder Sniffles' Preaches a Sermon._


DOWNINGVILLE, Oct. 26, 1863.

_To the Editers of The Dabook:_

SURS:--'Cause your readers hain't herd from me lately, I 'spose they
think I'm ded, or gone over to the Abolishinists, which is a tarnal
sight wus: but I ain't in neither fix. I'm pretty well jest now. The
hot wether, durin the summer, kinder tried me, but I carry eighty years
jest about as well as any man ever did. The resin you ain't herd from
me is jest this: I've been feelin oncommon gloomy and down-sperited all
summer. Everything seemed to be goin from bad to wus. Linkin wouldn't
take my advice an cum out agin the Abolitionists, but issued his free
nigger proclamashun rite agin the law an the Constitushin both. Wal,
things have gone down hill rapid sence then. The Demmycratic party
didn't cum out bluntly agin this proclamashin, but kept on supportin
the war, an the consequence is, it has whipped all round. Politics are
gettin down to first principles.

Things are jest as bad as they kin be, and that is what encourages me.
I shall never forget Hezekiah Stebbins, who lived away up in the upper
part of Penobscot. One winter it had been awful cold weather, and 'Kiah
had wonderful bad luck, and towards spring it seemed to get worse
instead of better. He had lost his horse, and his cow, and his
chickens, and all his pigs but one. Finally, that died, and the next
day I happened to go up to his house to see how he was gettin along. I
found the old man happy as a lark. He was singin and shoutin as if
nothing had happen'd. When I went in, ses I, "'Kiah, what on airth is
the matter?" "Oh," ses he, "the last pig is ded," and he went to jumpin
and clappin his hands, as if he was the happiest man in the universe.
Ses I, "What possesses you to act so?" "Wal," ses he, "things _can't_
be no wus. The last pig is ded! anything that happens now must be for
the better." And just so it is with the Dimmycratic party. Anything now
that happens to it _must_ be for the better. And I must confess that I
feel a good deal like 'Kiah. I don't feel a bit like settin down and
cryin like a sick baby over spilt milk, because we've been whipt in the
late elecshins. That ain't the way the old Ginral Hickory Jackson
taught me Dimmocracy.

The other day I got a letter from Linkin, askin me to cum on to
Washinton. He ses he is gettin into a heep of trouble about his next
messidge, all on account of the diffikilty which Blair an Chase air
kickin up about what is to be dun with the suthrin States after the
rebelyon is put down. He ses he wants me to help git up the messidge,
and kinder fix things up ginrally. I writ back that cold wether was
cumin on, and my rumatiz would probably trouble me, so I could not tell
exactly what I would do, but if I could be of any service to my
country, as long as life lasted, I would do my duty. I wrote him, also,
about that matter of the southern States, an I told him that it
reminded me of the old receipt for cooking a rabbit. "_First catch
your rabbit._" I told him they had not got the southern States yet,
that they sartainly wouldn't get them this year, an I didn't see any
great likelihood of gettin them next year. In fact, the times of the
soldiers were mostly out, an I didn't believe they would ever get
another sich an army, an if he followed my advice he would get up a
Peace this winter without fail. I ain't got any answer to this letter,
but I shall wait for one before I go. If the Kernel talks huffy, I
won't stir a step, for he knows I allers tell him the plain, blunt
truth, as I believe it. Wen I can't talk that way to a man, I won't
have nothing to do with him. The old Ginneral allers wanted everybody
around him to speak there rale sentiments. Nothing made him so mad as
to suspect any body of flatterin him, or shaming in any way.

The other day Kernel Stebbins cum hum from the war. The Kernel has been
down to Morris Island with Ginneral Gilmur. He ses that the sand on
that island is kinder onaccountable. The Kernel reckons that he has eat
nigh about a bushel. The Kernel used to be very good on writin poetry,
but he says all the flatus has oozed out of him, an he don't believe he
could write a line to save his life. We had a grand recepshin for the
Kernel on his arrival. The Downingville Insensibles turned out as usual
on sich occashins. You recollect that the Kernel went off as an Insine,
an when he was promoted to be Captain he cum hum an we giv him a
recepshin. Now he is raised to Kernel he cums hum agin. He cums every
time he gets promoted, to let his old naybors see how he looks in his
new uniform. I never see the Kernel look so well. He has got a span new
suit of blue uniform, all covered with gold buttons, an gold lace an
gold shoulder-straps. I tell you, the people looked astonished, and the
Downingville folks feel very proud of him. The Kernel expects before
long to be a Ginneral, and then to be called to the command of the Army
of the Potomac! Wen the Kernel was received at the Town Hall, Kernel
Doolittle, who commands the Downingville Insensibles, made the
recepshin speech. The following is the speech, with the Kernel's reply:

"Kernel Stebbins: I am deputed by the citizens of Downingville to
welcome you once more to your native town and hum. We have heard of
your gallant exploits, your glorious bravery, your never-dyin devoshin
to the Star-Spangled Banner. Comin as you do, covered with the dust and
blood of the battle-field, we hail you as the friend of the oppressed
African and the savior of your country."

To which the Kernel replied:

"Kernel Doolittle: I can't begin to express to you the feelins of my
hart. This occashin is techin. Sojers can't make speeches. I've dun my
duty. I've seen the cannons roar. I've heard the flash of a thousand
rifles all at once. There ain't nothin that can equal it for rite down
tall sublimity. But, feller-citizens, we ought to be most rejoiced now
because freedom is going it at such big licks. I'me a manifest destiny
man. I believe freedom is to extend from the frozen planes of Alabama
to the sunny banks of Newfoundland. There ain't nothin kin stop it. It
is comin like an avalanche from the eternal hills of Giberalter.
Freedom! freedom! will resound from creashin come to pullin turnip
time, an all the hopples that bind the legs of American citizens of
Afriken 'scent will fall off. Them's my sentiments, and I don't keer
who knows 'em. The old Union ain't of any more ackount in these 'ere
times than an iron pot with a hole in the bottom. Wat we want is a new
Union which will have for its motto the celebrated words of Daniel
Webster, 'Freedom and niggers--now and forever--one and inspirable.'"

"Amen," yelled out Deacon Jenkins, who had been listenin' attentively,
as the Kernel sat down, and the hull audience broke out into the most
tumultuous applause. There is a little mistake in Kernel Doolittle's
speech, where he speaks of Kernel Stebbins being covered with the dust
an blood of the battle-field. Now, the truth was, the Kernel, with his
new uniform, looked as if he had jest cum out of a band-box, but Kernel
Doolittle had his speech writ out, an he couldn't alter it. Kernel
Stebbins got on such high hosses, that he talked about seeing the
boomin' of cannon an hearin' the flash of guns, but the truth was, he
didn't know exactly what he said an the people were so carried away
with havin' a live Kernel among them, that they didn't notice it. There
ain't been nothin' talked of in Downingville sence the Kernel's return,
except his recepshin. Elder Sniffles preached a sarmon on it, takin'
for his text "There shall be wars an rumors of wars," an provin from
the Bible that war is the duty of all real, genuine Christians. So, you
see, there ain't a more loyal place in the country, unless it be
Washinton, where all the office-holders an contractors live. But I must
close. I did't expect to write you but a few lines this time. If I go
to Washington, I will let you into the secrete of the Blair and Chase
rumpus, an keep you posted up ginerally on things behind the curtin."

Yours, till deth,

MAJER JACK DOWNING.



LETTER XXVII.

_The Major Starts for Washington--Takes his Axe with him--Mr. Lincoln
glad to see him--The Cabinet in Session--The opinion of Seward, Chase,
Stanton and others--The Major called on for an opinion--The Story of
Old Sam Odum--Mr. Stanton gets Excited._


WASHINGTON, Nov. 6, 1863.

_To the Editers of The Dabook:_

The very next day after I writ you my last letter, I got one from
Linkin, tellin me I must cum on without fail. He said he was in a peck
of trubbil about his messige--that Chase an Seward were pullin rite in
contrary direcshins, an what to do he didn't know. So I jest packed up
my things, took my pipe in my mouth an my old hickery in my hand, and
started. I strapped my axe on the outside of my trunk, for this is the
only weepin, besides my hickory cane, that I ever carry. Goin down to
the cars I met Deacon Jenkins, who went on to Washinton, you recollect,
to make the Kernel's sojer clothes, an ses he, "Majer, what are you
takin your axe with you to Washinton for?" "Wal," ses I, "Deacon, I
expect I shall get awful, tarin mad with them Abolitionists this winter
in Washinton, an ther ain't eny way that I kin work off a fit of that
kind except by goin out to the wood-house an choppin wood. So I
determined to take along my axe. It is one the old Ginneral used when
he got mad, an I have always preserved it to remember him, ef nothin
else."

I got to Washinton all safe, an went direct to the White House. The
feller who tends the door didn't know me at first; but when he saw my
hickery he began to open his eyes, I tell you. Ses he, "You are Majer
Downing, I believe," bowin like and scrapen his feet, as ef he thought
I keered for that. Ses I, "Yes, I'm Majer Jack Downing, an you jest
tell the President, about as quick as time will let you, that I'm
here." So he run up-stairs, an I went after him, stoppin in the room
where the offis-seekers have to wait, to take a good look down the
Potomack to see ef things looked nateral. I hadn't stood there more
than a minit when who should cum up behind me but Linkin himself. He
caught rite hold of my hand, an ses he, "Majer, how are you? I'm
tickled to deth to see you;" an he kept shaken my hand as ef he thought
it was made of lether. Ses I, "Kernel, do you want me to help write
your messige?" Ses he, "Of course I do, Majer." "Wal, then," ses I,
"please don't shake that hand eny more, for you've pretty nigh mashed
it now." "Wal," ses he, "Majer, I couldn't help it, for it seems as ef
Providence sent you jest in the nick of time." Ses I, "How is that?"
"Wal," ses he, "the Cabynet is in session, an I've just finished tellin
them one of Artemus Ward's best stories, an got 'em all into a good
humor. The messige is the very thing they met to discuss, an you're cum
rite in the nick of time," hittin me, as he spoke, a slap on the back
that made the cold chills run over me.

Nothin would do but I must go in and hear the discusshin. So I walked
in as large as life. I knew 'em all, an they all knew me. They
pretended to be rale glad to see me, perticularly Stantin; but he
needn't try to deceeve me, for under them spectacles of his I see a
pair of hyena eyes. I tell you that that man will bear watchin.
However, I sed nothin; but after the how-do-doos were over, I laid my
old hickery on the table, took out my pipe, an went to smokin. The
Kernel then called the meetin to order, an sed he wanted a short
ackount of each department, so he could fix up his messige, an he also
wanted the opinion of each one as to what he thought ought to be done
with the southern States after the rebellyon is crushed. Fust, he
called upon Seward.

Wal, Seward said that furrin affairs were all rite; that he had offered
to carry out the policy of England all over the country, an set up a
monarchy, ef necessary, to put down the Dimmycrats, an that upon his
faithfully promising to do this, the British Government at once seized
the rebil rams. That as for the southern States, he thought the best
thing that could be done with them, for the good of the country an the
grate cause of humanity, was to turn 'em all into one big plantation an
make Thurlow Weed Chief Manager.

Then Chase spoke. He sed the finances were in a flourishing condishin.
He now had five hundred printin presses to work makin money; that the
debt warn't only $5,000,000,000,000; that every body was gettin rich,
an that the way to treat the southern States an save the country was
just this: Issue a Proclamashin that only jest enough cotton should be
raised for him to print greenbacks on, an then he could control the
currency in spite of all the copperhead gold speculaters in creashin.

Stantin sed that his department was all right. That he had got rid of
all the copperhed ginrals, and had left the track clear for the next
President to be a genuine Abelishinist. That all that was necessary now
was to keep the war up till after the next Presidential elecshin, and
he thought he could do it. As for the southern States, he was for givin
the niggers the plantations and makin the whites their slaves.

Then old grandfather Welles got up, strokin his long white beard. He
sed that nothin could save the nashin but gunboats; that he was buildin
one a day now, except on the Sabbath, which he piously devoted to
prayin an fastin, and to dividin the contracks among his relashins. He
thought the South ought to be surrounded with a wall of gunboats from
Texas to Maryland.

The next one that spoke was Blair. He said he hadn't stopped a single
paper durin' the hull year, an he was only sorry that he ever did; that
he had only given the papers he stopped more circulashin than they ever
had before; that no one would ever catch him into another such a
scrape. As for the southern States, he was down on all the Radikels. He
sed they might be allowed to cum back jest as they wanted to.

When it cum Daddy Bates' turn, he was fast asleep. When Linkin told him
what he wanted, he sed it warn't for him to say what should be done
with the Southern States. After it was decided what to do with 'em, he
supposed they would want a legal opinion on the subject, an he could
give one on either side, he did'nt care which.

After they had all got thru, Linkin turned to me, an ses he, "Majer,
what do you think about this matter?" I knocked the ashes out of my
pipe, and ses I, "Wal, I don't like to give an opinion on the jump, for
I hain't had time yet to see exactly how the land lays here; but," ses
I, "as near as I understand it, all these men here are tryin to catch
the South first, and then what to do with her afterwards is another
question. Now, the South seems to be a good deal like old Sam Odum, up
in Maine, when he thought the devil was after him. One night he got to
dreaming, and jumped out of bed in his shirt, and ran like all
possessed down the street. About a half a dozen neighbors chased him
until he run up a tree, out of which they couldn't get him anyhow. He
kept a screaming "the devils are after me," and would fite like a tiger
if any one tried to get at him. Finally, old Deacon Peabody cum along,
and ses he, "Sam thinks you fellers are the devils that are goin to
ruin him; you jist go away and let him alone, and Sam will be hum and
in bed afore morning." They tuk his advice, and sure enough, so it was."

When I sed this, Stantin, who is quick as a flash, jumped up, an ses
he, "Majer, do you mean to say that we are devils tryin to catch the
South?" an he walked rite close up to my face, jest as if he thought he
could bully me down. Ses I, "Mr. Secketery, if you will stand back
about six inches, you kin see an hear jest as well." He stepped back a
little, an I picked up my old hickery, an ses I, "Stantin, do you
recollect the time down to Fort Munroe when you tried to get on the
President's trowsers?" I never see a feller wilt so as when I sed this.
He turned all sorts of colors, an wriggled as if he had a pin stickin
in him. "Now," ses I, "I didn't say that you were devils, or anything
of the sort, but it seems putty certain that Mr. Stantin feels the shoe
pinchin. At all events," ses I, "you ain't caught the South yet, an
consultin what you will do with her before that is like countin
chickens before they are hatched."

The Kernel then sed that the session was closed, an after they all axed
me to cum an see 'em, except Stantin, they went away. I think my story
about Sam Odum sot putty strong on 'em, an ef they feel like takin it
to hum let 'em do so, for my rale rite down solemn opinion is, ef these
ere Abolishin Cabynet were to stop trying to catch the South, _she
would be hum an in the Union bed afore mornin_.

Yourn, till deth,

MAJER JACK DOWNING.



LETTER XXVIII.

_The Major and the "Kernel" at work on the Message--The Major visits
Mr. Chase again--Sees the Machines for Printing Greenbacks--A Machine
for every General--The accounts mixed up--Mr. Lincoln gets Flighty
over them--The Major Puts him to bed, and applies a mustard-plaster--He
Revives, and proposes a Conundrum--The Major also proposes one._


WASHINGTON, Nov. 19th, 1863.

_To the Editers of The Dabook:_

SURS:--If I ain't been bizzy sence I writ you last, then never a man
was. Besides, I've had a considerabul twinge of my old inemy, the
rheumatiz. This ere Washington atmosfere is terribul on the
constitushin. The Kernel, too, was nigh about down sick one day; but we
both tuk a good, old-fashioned wiskey-sling, of the very best Old Rye,
and went to bed on it. The next mornin we both felt fust rate. The
Kernel keeps as good wiskey as I ever got enywhere. We have been very
hard at work on the messige, and such a time as we have had of it you
never did see. Stantin don't know how meny sojers he has got in the
field, nor how meny have been killed or wounded. Grandfather Welles
can't tell how meny gunbotes he's got, an as for Chase, he don't
purtend to even guess for a certainty how many greenbacks there are
aflote, or how big the public debt is. The Kernel sed he couldn't even
lay the foundashin timbers of his messige until he had some figgers
about the debt to begin on. So I told him I would go over an see Chase
an have a talk with him. I tuk my slate under my arm an started. Soon
as I went in Chase tuk me by the hand an sed he was rale down rite glad
to see me. I telled him what I wanted, an he sed he would soon have it
reddy for me, but jest then he asked me to go up-stairs an see the
macheenery an printin presses, and so on, that he had got to make
money. He sed the worst of it was that the machenes was constantly
gettin out of order, and he wanted to know if I understood anything
about sich affairs. I telled him there warnt nothing, from
squirrel-traps to dog-churns and thrashing macheenes, that I didn't
know from stem to starn. Then he sed I was jest the chap he wanted. So
I went with him, and I was perfectly thunderstruck when I saw all the
riggin, and fixins, and belts, and shafts, and pulleys, and machenes
all a runnin and whizzin and buzzin, as fast as they could go. Ses the
Secketary, "This here macheen runs to pay off Gineral Grant's troops.
This one runs to pay off Gineral Meade's troops. This one runs for
Gineral Banks. This one is now bizzy for Gineral Burnside, and here is
this ere one completely broken down. It is Gineral Gilmore's macheen!"
"Wal," ses I, "Mr. Secketary, do you have a macheen for every Gineral
and every army?" "Yes," ses he, "about that." "Wal," ses I, "what do
you do about the contracters?" "Oh," ses he, "I ain't showed you them
yet. That's in another room." Ses he, "Come along with me." So I
follered, and we went off into another room. It was nigh about ten
times as big as the first one, and there were hundreds of presses
runnin' as fast as they could go. "There," ses he, "if these here
machenes were to stop one day, it would set all Wall street into a
panic. Sometimes, when the belts give out or the bolts break, or the
coal gits short, or paper don't git in in time, there is a good deal of
troubil, but I've got it so fixed now that I keep 'em putty well
supplied." Ses I, "Mr. Secketary, who is your engineer?" "Wal," ses he,
"he's a good trusty man." "But," ses I, "suppose he should bust your
bilers, what would Wall street do then?" "Wal," ses he, "I never
thought of that, but I guess there ain't eny danger." "Wal," ses I,
"steam is mighty onsartin. Old Aunt Keziah Wiggleton, up in Maine, used
to say that the only safe way to run a steamboat was to take the bilers
out, and my opinion is, that a government run by steam will bust up one
of these days." Chase didn't seem to like this last remark much, but he
didn't say enything. We cum down stairs putty soon after, and a feller
with a brown linen coat on, nigh about all over ink, brought a hull lot
of papers covered over with figgers, and sed that Mr. Linkin could find
out all he wanted to from them. I looked 'em over, but I couldn't make
hed nor tail to them. "Wal," ses I, "perhaps a chap who understands
dubble and twisted entry book-keepin' can onderstand this ere
figgering, but I'll be hanged if I kin." Ses I, "Here's seven thirtys,
and five twentys, and six per cents, and five per cents, and bonds and
stocks and sartificates, and '68s, and '78s, and '96s, and 158s, and
Lord knows how many more 8s, until it gets all mixed up so that you
can't tell enything more about the debt than Stantin kin tell how
sojers has been killed and wounded. Now," ses I, "the people don't care
a straw enything about your six twentys, or your five twentys. All they
want to know is jest how much money this ere war has cost, and that is
what I'me tryin' to figger out for em. When old Ginneral Jackson wanted
me to go into Squire's Biddle's Bank and cifer out how matters stood I
soon did it, but that warn't eny more comparin to this here affair,
than the bunch of elder bushes in Deacon Jenkins's meadow is to the
Dismal Swamp. I tuk the papers, however, over to Linkin, for it was the
best I could do. Wen I handed them to the Kernel, ses he, "Majer, does
Chase expect me to survive after studyin out these figgers?" "Wal," ses
I, "Kernel, I don't know, but _I think Chase wants to be next President_."

The Kernel tuk the hint rite off; but he sed Chase would never be
President, for he wanted to be so bad that he acted all the time as if
a bumble bee was stingin him, and that his flyin round so would kill
him off, if nothin else. We then both sot down and went to studyin the
figgers. I cifered with my slate, and the Kernel made chalk marks on
his hat every time we got up to a million of dollars. Purty soon the
Kernel's eyes began to look wild, and ses he, "Majer, where do we land
next? Is she hedin up stream or side-ways? She'll go down, sure as
thunder. Well, let her rip; she's been a sinkin consarn for years." I
see at once that the Kernel was flighty. Chase's figgers had turned his
hed, and he thought he was flat-botin agin on the Mississippi river.
But he kept on ravin. Ses he, "Majer, knock that nigger off the bow of
the bote; he's rite in the way of the pilot." Ses I, "Kernel, it ain't
safe to hit a nigger in these days; Stanton will put me in Fort La
Fayette." I thought this might bring the Kernel to his senses, but it
didn't. Ses he, "There it goes, Majer, jest as I told you, rite on that
snag. That nigger is to blame for the hull of it." I see it was no use,
that the Kernel was nigh about stark mad, and so I said to him, ses I,
"Let's put up this work to-night, an go to bed." He didn't want to, but
I dragged him off, an he kept ravin' all the time, "That nigger has
ruined me! There he comes--he is after me yet!"

As soon as I got the Kernel in bed, I put a double set of mustard
plasters on his feet, an then gave him a strong dose of my old remedy,
elder-bark tea. I knew that would cure him, if anything on arth. Purty
soon the sweat began to start, and the gripin in the bowels began. Jest
as soon as this took place, it drawed all the disease out of his head,
an the next mornin he was as bright as new dimes used to be when there
was sich things.

The fust thing the Kernel sed to me in the mornin was, ses he, "Majer,
I hed an awful dream last nite." Ses I, "What was it?" "Wal," ses he,
"I dreamt that the nigger had destroyed the Union." "Wal," ses I,
"Kernel, you git nearer the truth in your dreams than you ginrally do
when you are wide awake. If you will only have another dream, you will
see the Abolishinists have killed the Union, and that the poor nigger
is only the means that they have used to do it."

The Kernel didn't say nothin, but looked down on the floor an whistled.
Finally, he tuk out of his pocket one of Chase's new fifty-cent
shinplasters, an ses he, "Majer, kin you tell me why this new currency
has the _odor_ of nashinality about it?" "No," ses I, "Kernel, I don't
see it." "Wal," ses he, "because it is _cented_ paper!" "Wal," ses I,
"Kernel, now kin you tell me why that fifty-cent shinplaster is like
the war?" Ses he, "Majer, you've got me there." "Wal," ses I, "the face
is black, which means that we are fightin to free the nigger, and the
back is red--for the blood--the price we are payin for it!"

When I sed this the Kernel brought his hand down on the tabil like all
possessed, giv a kick with his foot that sent his slipper flyin clear
across the room, an ses he, "Majer, by the ----." Ses I, "Kernel, hold
on. Do you want to take any more elder-bark tea?" When I sed this he
tapered rite down, an ses he, jest as good as pie, "Let's have some old
rye and make frends."

So I didn't object, but the messige ain't finished yet, and the Lord
only knows when it will be dun.

Yourn till deth,

MAJER JACK DOWNING.



LETTER XXIX.

_The Trouble about the Message--Chase and Seward Find Fault with
it--The Story of Old Deacon Grimes' Oven--Mr. Lincoln Overrun with
Visitors--The Major Suggests a Way to Get Rid of Them--The Small Pox
Dodge--The Message Finished--Mr. Lincoln Tells a Story._


WASHINGTON, Dec. 10, 1863.

_To the Editers of The Dabook:_

SURS:--Wen I writ you last, the Messige warn't finished. Wal, sich a
time as we had in finishin that docyment you never did see. The Kernel
an I set up all nite long three or fore nites, but it was nigh about
onpossibul to get it to suit him. He would get it fixed, an then Seward
would cum in an say it was too bold. Then Chase he'd cum in an say it
warn't bold enuf; and finally I telled him to make it as old Deacon
Grimes did his oven. He wanted to know how that was. Wal, I telled him
it was this way: The Deacon built an oven facin to the North, wen one
of his nabors cum along an sed that would never do, as the North wind
would blow rite into the mouth of the oven. So the old man turned it
around, an put the face to the South. Pretty soon another nabor cum
along, an ses he, "Deacon, it will never do to have that oven face the
South, for there ain't any wind so blustering as the South wind." So
the Deacon turned it around to the West. Pretty soon a man cum along,
an ses he, "Deacon, don't you know that the worst showers and
hurry-canes we have always cum from the West? It will never do to face
your oven that way." So the Deacon determined to change it around to
the East. He hadn't more than got it dun, before another nabur cum
along, an ses he, "Why, Deacon Grimes, I'm perfectly astonished to see
you buildin an oven an facin it to the East. There ain't any wind so
sarchin and penetratin as the East wind, an it will blow your fire all
out of the oven." "Wal," ses the old Deacon, perfectly discurriged,
"I'll suit you all; I'll build my oven on a pivot, an wen you cum along
you kin turn it around jest as you want it." "Now," ses I, "Kernel,
that's the way to fix your Messige." Ses he, "That is a fact; the only
trubbil is to fix on a pivot on which it kin turn." "Wal," ses I, "that
is the easiest thing in the world. Take the nigger for the pivot, an it
will suit every man in your party. The only difference between 'em is,
that some don't like to look hin square in the face. That sort kin turn
your Messige around a little, an then they will see the nigger
side-ways; and those that can't stand that kin turn it clear around, an
then they will see the nigger in the back, but it will be nigger all
the time!" The Kernel sed it was a capital idee, an he ment to carry it
out. It got noised around that the Kernel was comin out with some big
thing in his Messige, an every Congressman, wen he got to Washinton,
run rite to the White House to give the Kernel advice. They nigh about
run him to deth. "Wal," ses I, "Kernel, make believe you're sick."
"Sho," ses he, "that won't do a bit of good. I've tried it often, an
they bore me wus than ever." "Wal," ses I, "tell 'em you've got the
scarlet fever, an that will scare 'em away." The Kernel sed it was a
fust-rate idee, an so it was announced in all the papers that the
President had the scarlet fever; but it didn't do much good. Sum staid
away, but the crowd yet was tremenjus. "Now," ses I, "Kernel, this is
too bad; here it is almost time for Congress to meet, and no Messige
dun yet. Jest let the reporters announce that you've got the small-pox,
an there won't be a mother's son of 'em cum within gunshot of you. Then
you kin fix your Messige, put in that patent pivot, and grease things
up generally, so they'll run another year without teching." The Kernel
sed there was no other way than to do it. When it got out that the
Kernel had the small-pox, you never see sech a calm. The White House
was nigh about deserted, an it seemed like a Sunday up in Maine. The
Kernel then set rite down to his Messige, an worked like a beever. He
sed he could allers soon put a thing in shape after the foundashin
timbers were laid. And so he did. Wen he got it finished, he called
Seward and red it to him. He sed it was capital. Then he sent for
Chase, an he sed it was all rite. "No," ses I, "Kernel, send for a War
Dimmycrat, an see how he'll like it." Wen I sed this, the Kernel laffed
rite out. Ses he, "Majer, you're jokin; I know you are." Ses he, "The
War Dimmycrats remind we of a story about bar-huntin out West. Old Josh
Muggin had a young dog wich was very fierce for bars. So one day he tuk
him along in a hunt. In the very first fite the bar bit the dog's tail
off, and away he run yelpin an barkin like mad, an Josh could never get
his dog to fite bars after that. Now, it is jest so with the War
Dimmycrats. They were very fierce to fite me if I issued my
Emancipashin Proclamashin, but I did it, an by so doin, _I cut their
tails off_, and they have never showed any fite agin me sence, an they
won't. No--I rally wish I hadn't eny more trubbil on hand than the War
Dimmycrats will give me."

Ses I, "Kernel, I think you are rather hard on the War Dimmycrats. They
supported you because they thought you was tryin to restore the Union;
but now, wen they read your messige and see that you won't have the
Union back enyhow, they will say you deceived 'em, and you may find 'em
the most trubbelsum customers you've yet had to deal with. They ment to
sustain the government, but now wen they see that _you_ won't sustain
it, they may turn on you wus than the copperheds have;" and ses I,
"Kernel, you jist get the Dimmycrat's united, and I shudn't wonder if
they wud be after this, and then let all your Miss-Nancy Abolishinists
look out, for there won't be as much left of em as there was of Bill
Peeler's dog after his panther fite." Ses the Kernel, ses he, "How much
was that?" "Wal," ses I, "Bill always sed there warn't nothin left but
the collar he hed round his neck, and the tip eend of his tale, about
an inch long." "Wal," ses the Kernel, "I've got to go ahed, no matter
who don't like it, or who gits licked in the fite. I'me in the
Abolishin bote, and you can't stop it now eny more than you kin put
Lake Superior in a quart bottle." Ses I, "Go ahed, Kernel; I allers
like to see a man bold and strong on his own principles. There's nothin
like pluck. Let everybody know jist what you mean, and then if they
support you it is their own fault." "Wal," ses he, "ain't I plain enuf
this time?" "Yes," ses I, "Kernel, all but the amnesty part--that's
kinder petty-fogy." "Wal," ses he, "Majer, men that can't see a hole
through a ladder ought to be humbugged." Ses I, "Mebby that's so, but
we shall all know more about who is humbugged and who isn't, after the
war is over."

But I never did see people so tickled over the Messige as the
Republikins all are. They say it is jest the thing--that it is goin to
wipe out slavery, and prevent the "Union as it was" ever being
restored; and then it is dun so cutely that a good menny people won't
see through it. That amnesty dodge throws dust in their eyes, and
kinder sounds generous like.

There's a great fite coming off among the Abolishinists about who's to
be run for next President, and I think I'll hev some news for you afore
long. Enyhow, I shall keep my eyes open as ushil.

Yourn, till deth,

MAJER JACK DOWNING.



LETTER XXX.

_The Major visits Parson Blair--The Loyal Leagues of the White
House--A Wonderful Dream--The Grave of the Union--The President Don't
Like It--About Leather--How the Capital Looks._


WASHINTON, Jan. 30, 1864.

_To the Editers of The Dabook:_

SURS:--I spose your readers think I'm dead, or mebby they
think I've run away with a pile of greenbacks, as that is kinder
fashionabul now-a-days; but I aint in neithur fix. The rale truth is
that after I writ you my last letter I got completely disgusted and cum
mitey nigh goin back hum to Downingville, and vowin I would never
return to this sink of sin agin. But the Kernel got at me and begged I
wouldn't think of it. I telled him I couldn't stay in the White House
over New Years, and see the knaves and fools that would be there then.
So jest before Christmas, as good luck happened, old Fathur Blair axed
me to go down to his place at Silvur Springs and stay ovur the
hollidays. I tell you I was rale glad, fur the old man has got a fine
place, and I could have it so quiet and cozy there aftur my hard work
ovur the message. When I got there I was tuk down with the rumatiz, and
had to keep my room for more than two weeks. Howevur, the Kernel sent
me some prime old rye, and that, together with some operdildock that
old Aunt Keziah Wiggleton sent to me by my nefu Zeke put me on my pins
agin. Old Father Blair and I had long talks about Ginneral Jackson and
the Kernel, the war, niggers, the next presidency, and so on. My old
friend Blair was a grate man in Ginneral Jackson's time, but the
trubbel with him now is that he don't move along with the world. He
actually thinks that he is yet fitin Calhoun, an havin got in the bote
with the Abolishenists, he don't know how to get out. Last week I cum
back to see the Kernel, and have been looking around for a few days to
see how the land lay. I find that the principel idee in everybody's hed
is, who's to be the next President. But I tell you when I look at the
condishun of the country, it makes me sick to talk about a President.
What is the use of a President when there's a standin army? What is the
use of a President when the ballot-box aint of half so much account as
the cartridge-box? The first day I got back to the White House there
was a lot of Loyel Legers and shoddy contractors cum to tell the Kernel
that they had nominated him for President. After they went out Linkin
ses to me, ses he, "Majer, what do you think of them fellows?" "Wal,"
ses I, "they look to me mean enough to steal niggers." The Kernel did
not say anything, but looked kinder cross-eyed at me. The Kernel and I
then had a long talk about matters and things, and after taking a good
swig of old rye, went to bed. That nite I had a wonderful dream. The
next mornin, when I went in the room where the Kernel was, ses he,
"Majer, you look oncommon serious this mornin; what's the matter?"
"Wal," ses I, "I had a wonderful dream last nite, that eenamost
frightened me to deth." "Wal," ses he, "what on earth was it?" "Wal,"
ses I, "if I tell you the hull of it jest as it appeared to me, you
musn't get mad." "Oh," ses the Kernel, "I don't keer nothin about
dreams, for I allers interpret them by contraries." "Wal," ses I, "you
can cypher out the meanin of it yourself to suit yourself, but I'll
tell it to you jest as it appeared to me, and it seemed to me as plain
as if it was broad daylight." "Wal," ses I, "I thought I was in the
grave-yard, and there was a great big grave dug, large enough to hold
four or five coffins, and while I was standing there wonderin what on
earth the grave was for, I saw a big black hearse comin, and Stantin
was driving it. That kinder startled me; but I looked agin, and I see
it was bein drawn by them War Dimmycrats, Dickinson, Butler, Meagher,
Cochrane, and the hearse itself was marked 'War Dimmycracy.' When
Stantin druv up to the grave, ses he, 'My jack-=asses had a heavy load,
but they pulled it through bravely,' for the poor War Dimmycrats had
heads of men on the bodies of mules. I wondered what on airth could be
in the hearse, for it seemed to be heavily loaded. Right behind the
hearse, walkin along, were you and Sumner, and Greeley, and Chase, and
Beecher, and old Grandfather Welles. Pretty soon you all went to work
takin out the coffins, and gettin ready to put them in the grave. The
first one tuk out was marked 'habeas corpus,' the second one 'trial by
jury,' then 'the Union,' and then 'the Constitution.' When they were
all out on the ground, some dispute riz as to which should be buried
first, but Greeley cut it short by sayin, 'put the Constitution under,
and all else follows.' So Greeley got the rope under one end of the
coffin and Sumner under the other, and begun to let it down. While it
was goin down, you looked kinder anxious at Chase, and ses you, 'Chase,
think it will stay down?' And old Greenbacks, ses he, 'My God, Kernel,
it must stay _down_, or we will all go _up_.' Greeley was tickled
eenamost to death, and ses he, 'We shall bury it now so that it shall
never be heerd of agin.' Old Grandfather Welles, however, seemed half
frightened to deth, and trembled like a sick dog, and ses, 'Oh! that it
was all over.' Sumner was wrathy at this, and ses he, 'Shut up, you old
fool; wait until it is all under.' And there, too, stood Beecher, with
a nigger baby in his arms, lookin up to heaven and prayin all the
while, as follows: 'Oh! Lord, not thy will but _mine_ be done.'
Finally, all the coffins were put in the grave and covered up. I
wondered where Seward could be all this time, and lookin up, there he
was, flyin through the air with wings, and tails, and horns, lookin for
all the world like an evil spirit, and ses he, 'If 'twere done, when it
is done,' just as if he was afraid that a day of resurrection was
comin. I tell you, it made me feel sorrowful and sad when I saw the old
Constitution and the Union put under the ground, out of sight, and when
I woke up, my eyes were full of tears, and I felt more like cryin than
I have sence I was born."

[Illustration: The Majer's Wonderful Dream. The Grave of the
Union.--Page 250.]

After I got thru, ses I, "Kernel, what do you think of my dream?" He
looked down on the floor, and then looked up, then he looked down agin
and then he looked up. I see he was kinder worried, so I said nothin.
Finally, he kicked his slipper off, and ses he, "Majer, do you know
what good lether is?" "Wal," ses I, "Kernel, I used to know something
about lether." "Wal," ses he, "what do you think of the lether in that
slipper. Is it good?" "Yes," ses I, "I think it's pretty good." "Wal,"
ses he, "what kind is it?" Ses I, "It's calf-skin." "Wal," ses he, "kin
you tell me whether the calf _was a heifer or a steer_?" "No," ses
I, "I can't." "Wal," ses he, "I'm in jist the same fix about your
dream. It is a good dream, but I can't tell whether it's a heifer or a
steer. But I ruther reckon it's a _steer_!"

"Wal," ses I, "Kernel, you may think that my dream don't amount to
anythin, but there are thousands of people who will see in it the fate
of their country."

He didn't seem disposed to talk about it, however, and I let it drop.
Since then I've been over to the Capitol once or twice, and looked
around Washington a leetle. I never see such a change in a place since
I was born. It's dirtier, nastier, and meaner lookin than ever. In
fact, it is just like the country, all goin to ruin. If the devil is
ever happy, I think he would be nigh about tickled to deth now-a-days.
I guess everything is goin on to suit him to a fracshin. I kin tell you
one thing. There is goin to be a bigger fite between Linkin and Chase
for President than most pepil suppose. So look out for the musick ahed.
I shall keep a watch on all the doins, and write you when the rumatiz,
like the greenback market, aint too stringent.

MAJER JACK DOWNING.





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