THE CONTINENTAL MONTHLY:
LITERATURE AND NATIONAL POLICY.
VOL. I.—MARCH, 1862.—No. III.
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SOUTHERN AIDS TO THE NORTH.
Perhaps the most difficult question at present before the American people is that so often and so insolently put by Southern journals, and so ignorantly babbled in weak imitation of them by English newspapers, asking what, after all, in case of a victory, or even of many victories, can we do with the revolted provinces? The British press, prompt to put the worst construction on every hope of the Union, prophesies endless guerilla warfare,—a possibility which, like the blocking up of Charleston harbor by means of the stone fleet, is, of course, something which calls for the instant interference of all cotton-spinning Christian nations. Even among our own countrymen it must be confessed there has been no little indecision as to the end and the means of securing the conquest of a country whose outlines are counted by thousands instead of hundreds of miles, and whose whole extent, it is too generally believed, forms a series of regions where dismal swamps, bayous, lagoons, dense forests, and all manner of impenetrabilities, bid defiance to any save the natives, and where the most deadly fevers are ever being born in the jungles and wafted on the wings of every summer morn over the whole plantation land. The truth is, that the simple facts and figures relative to this country are not generally known. Let the Northern people but once learn the truths existing in their favor, and there will be an end to this misapprehension. There has been thus far no hesitation or irresolution among the people in the conduct of the war. 'Conquer them first,' has been the glorious war-cry from millions of the freest men on earth. But when we are driving a nail it is well to know that it will be possible to eventually clench it. And when the country shall fully understand the ease with which this Union nail may be clenched, there will be, let us hope, a greatly revived spirit in all now interested in forwarding the war.
It is evident enough that if all the millions of the South remain united to the death in the cause of secession, little else than a guerilla warfare of endless length is to be hoped for. The accounts of the enthusiasm and harmony at present prevailing in Eastern Virginia, and in other places controlled by the active secessionists, have struck terror to the hearts of many. But, united though they be, they must be more than mortal if they could resist the influences of a counter-revolution, and of strong bodies of enemies in the heart of their country, aided by a mighty foe without. 'Hercules was a strong man,' says the proverb, 'but he could not pay money when he had none;' and the South may be strong, but she can hardly fail to be entirely crippled when certain agencies shall be brought to bear against her. Let us examine them, and find wherein her weakness consists.
The first is the easy possibility of a counter-revolution among the inhabitants of the mountain districts, who hold but few slaves, who have preserved a devoted love for the Union, and who are, if not at positive feud, at least on anything but social harmony with their aristocratic neighbors of the lowlands and of the plantation. Unlike the 'mean whites' who live among slaves and slave-holders, and are virtually more degraded than the blacks, these mountaineers are men of strong character and common-sense, combining the industrious disposition of the North with the fierce pride of the South. And so numerous are they, and so wide is the range of country which they inhabit, that it would seem miraculous if with their aid, and that of other causes which will be referred to, a counter-revolution could not be established, which would sweep the slaveocracy from existence.
In a pamphlet entitled 'Alleghania,' by James W. Taylor, published at Saint Paul, Minnesota, by James Davenport, the reader will find 'a geographical and statistical memoir, exhibiting the strength of the Union, and the weakness of slavery in the mountain districts of the South,' which is well worth careful study at this crisis. Let the reader take the map and trace on it the dark caterpillar-like lines of the Alleghanies from Pennsylvania southward. Not until he reaches Northern Alabama will he find its end. In these mountain districts which form 'the Switzerland of the South,' a population exists on whom slavery has no hold, who are free and lovers of freedom, and who will undoubtedly co-operate with the Union in reestablishing its power. This 'Alleghania' embraces thirteen counties of North Carolina, three of South Carolina, twenty of Georgia, fifteen of Alabama, and twenty-six of Tennessee.
According to Humboldt and other writers on climatology, an elevation of two hundred and sixty-seven feet above the level of the sea is equivalent in general influence upon vegetation to a degree of latitude northward, at the level of the ocean. Therefore we are not surprised to learn from Olmsted that 'Alleghania' does not differ greatly in climate from Long Island, Southern New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. 'The usual crops are the same, those of most consequence being corn, rye, oats and grass. Fruit is a more precarious crop, from a greater liability to severe frosts after the swelling of the buds in the spring. Snow has fallen several inches in the month of April.'[A]
The Western Virginia portion of Alleghania, which in the counter-secession programme of its inhabitants was to have formed the State of 'Kanawha,' embraced in its total population of 284,796 only 10,820 slaves. Its area is 4,211 square miles larger than the entire State of Maryland. With this we have 'Middle Virginia,' in the valley of the Shenandoah, which extends east of the main Alleghany range to the Blue Ridge. This region also is broadly distinguishable in respect to slavery from the Atlantic counties. With 200,262 freemen according to the census of 1850, it has only 44,742 slaves, and there is reason to believe that this population has largely diminished in favor of freedom. Yet again we have the mountain district of South-western Virginia, where in its ten counties the proportion of freemen to slaves is nearly ten to one, or 76,892 to 8,693. As regards internal resources, beautiful scenery, and all that conduces to pleasant life and profitable labor, this portion of Virginia far surpasses the eastern division, and will eventually attract the great mass of immigration.
The reader is aware that Eastern Kentucky, embracing the counties along the western base of the Cumberland Mountains, 'has nobly responded to the cause of the Union.' 'They represent a population which from the first outbreak have been on fire with loyal zeal, repudiating all sympathy with this war of slavery against the Union.' The proportion of slaves to freemen in these counties, according to the census of 1850, is as follows:—
COUNTIES FREE SLAVE Letcher, 2,440 62 Floyd, 5,503 149 Harlan, 4,108 123 Whitley, 7,222 201 Knox, 6,238 612 Perry, 2,972 117 Clay, 4,734 515 Breathitt, 3,603 170 Morgan, 7,305 187 Johnson, 3,843 30 Lawrence, 6,142 137 Carter, 5,000 257
In contrast to this healthy, temperate Eastern Kentucky, 'a portion of the great central district of mountain slopes and valleys,' let the reader turn to the secession hot-bed of the State. He will find it the largest slaveholding district of Kentucky. It is worth noting that secession is matured in the slave regions, for though it is popularly identified with slavery, they are not wanting among its leaders—no, nor among their traitorous and cowardly sympathizers here at the North—who constantly assert that secession is simply a geographical necessity, and slavery only a secondary cause—that the South will, in fact, eventually emancipate, and that race and latitude are the great fundamental causes of national difference, constituting us in fact 'two peoples.' How completely false and puerile are all these assertions, appears from an examination of the mountain region now under discussion.
Of all these sections of 'Alleghania,' none is of more importance to the Federal Union than East Tennessee. Immensely rich in minerals, with a healthy and agreeable climate and much rich soil, it is one of the finest countries on earth, lying under the temperate zone, and developes the most extraordinary physical perfection in the human form. Its proportion of slaves to freemen is no greater than in the other mountain regions of the South—its area is about equivalent to that of Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Rhode Island united. In considering this with the loyalty of its inhabitants, and in studying 'Cumberland Gap,' the great natural highway of the Alleghany Range, the observer appreciates with pleasure the remark of Secretary Chase, who, in a recent interview with certain eastern capitalists, disclaimed on behalf of the Government and of General M'Clellan any purpose to send the army into winter quarters, remarking with much significance that 'a glance at the map will perhaps astonish those who have never reflected, how short is the distance from East Tennessee to Port Royal Harbor, and may suggest the possibility of cutting a great rebellion into two small pieces.'
In the mountain region of North Carolina we have 'the Piedmont of the Alleghanies.' Its seventeen counties embrace a larger area (11,700 square miles) than the whole of Vermont. Its scenery is of extraordinary beauty, its peaks are the highest east of the Rocky Mountains. There is full ground for the belief that in North Carolina a majority of the people are Union at heart. The following extract from 'Alleghania' will be read with interest as illustrating the assertion:
In the Union camps of East Tennessee, there are numerous volunteers from Watauga and other adjacent counties over the border. At the only popular election suffered to be held upon the question of Union and secession, the Union majority was as two to one; and even after the storm of Sumter, the vote in the convention of North Carolina on a proposition to submit the ordinance of secession to a vote of the people, received thirty-four yeas to seventy-three nays. I have confidence that those thirty-four names, representing one-third of the State, were given by delegates from the western counties,—the Alleghany counties,—from the base and sides of the Blue Ridge,—from a land of corn and cattle, not of cotton. Again, when the news of the capture of Hatteras was announced in the legislature of North Carolina, it is evident from the language of the Raleigh newspapers that an irrepressible explosion of Union feeling—even to an outburst of cheers, according to one statement—occurred. Nor is such a state of feeling surprising, when we remember that not even in Kentucky is the memory of Henry Clay more a fireside treasure of the people. In this respect, the quiet, unobtrusive 'North' State was in striking contrast to its immediate neighbors—South Carolina in one direction, and Atlantic Virginia in the other. Politically, when the pennons of Clay and Calhoun rode the gale, the vote and voice of North Carolina were ever given for the great Kentucky leader. Let us accept these omens for the winter campaign, which will open with the triumph of the Union and the Constitution on the Cumberland heights of East Tennessee.
'In one-fifth of Georgia, over an area of 12,000 square miles, slavery only exists by the usurpation of the cotton aristocracy of the lowland districts of the State.' In all of them, slaves, though in a greater proportion than in the rest of Alleghania, are very greatly in the minority, as appears from the following table:—
COUNTIES FREE SLAVE Madison, 3,763 1,933 Hart,* Franklin, 9,076 2,382 Jackson, 6,808 2,941 Banks,* Hall, 7,370 1,336 Habersham, 7,675 1,218 Rabun, 2,338 110 Towns,* Union, 6,955 278 Lumpkin, 7,995 939 Dawson,* Forsyth, 7,812 1,027 Milton,* Cherokee, 11,630 1,157 Pickens,* Gilmer, 8,236 200 Faunin* Murphy,* Whitefield,* Gordon, 5,156 828 Cass, 10,271 3,008 Floyd, 5,202 2,999 Chattoga, 5,131 1,680 Walker, 11,408 1,664 Catoosa,* Dade, 2,532 148
* Counties marked with an asterisk, organized after the census of 1850, of which the foregoing are returns.
Last in the list we have North-east Alabama, in which we find the following counties:—
COUNTIES FREE SLAVE Cherokee, 12,170 1,691 DeKalb, 7,730 506 Marshall, 7,952 868 Jackson, 11,754 2,292 Morgan, 6,636 3,437 Madison, 11,937 14,329 Limestone, 8,399 8,063 Lawrence, 8,342 6,858
'It will be observed,' says Mr. Taylor,
That the three counties last named have a slave population, in the case of Madison exceeding, and in Limestone and Lawrence nearly equal to the number of free inhabitants. They would seem to be an exception to our former generalization, and are only included because there is other evidence that Athens, in Limestone County, and Huntsville, in Morgan County, were to the last possible moment the head-quarters of resistance to the Montgomery conspirators. It was the Union vote of these highland counties, notwithstanding the number of slaves in some of them, which would inevitably have been rolled down in condemnation of an ordinance of secession. This was well known by Yancey and his associates, and it was to avoid this revelation of their weakness over a compact and populous area of the State, which was in direct communication with East Tennessee, that they refused the ordeal of the ballot upon the consummation of their treason to the Union.
I estimate that the district which could readily be rallied in support of a loyal organization of the government of Alabama, with its capital at Huntsville, to be equal to the area of New Jersey, or 8,320 square miles. With the occupation of the Alleghanies by an army of the Union, and such a base of operations, civil and military, in North Alabama, a counter-revolution in that State would not be difficult of accomplishment.[B]
It will thus be seen, that, in the South itself, there exists a tremendous groundwork of aid to the North, and of weakness to secession. The love of this region for the Union, and its local hatred for planterdom with its arrogance towards free labor, is no chimera; nor do we make the wish the father to the thought when we assert that a Union victory would light up a flame of counter-revolution which would in time, with Northern aid, crush out the foul rebellion. And relying on this fact, we grow confident and exultant. If Europe will only let us alone—if England will refrain from stretching out a helping hand to that slaveocracy for which she has suddenly developed such a strange and unnatural love, we may yet be, at no distant day, great, powerful, and far more united than ever.
But we have, in addition to all these districts of Alleghania, a vast reserve in Texas—that Texas which is now more than half cultivated by free labor, and which is amply capable of producing six times as much cotton as is now raised in the entire South. An armed occupation of Texas, a copious stream of emigration thither, to be encouraged by very liberal grants to settlers, and a speedy completion of its railroads, would be an offset to secession, well worth of itself all that the war has cost. With Texas in our power, with Cumberland Gap firmly held, with the negroes in South Carolina fairly disorganized from slavery, with free Yankee colonies in the Palmetto State, with New Orleans taken—a blockade without and complete financial disorder within, what more could we desire as a basis to secure thorough reestablishment of power? Here our superiority to the South in possessing not only a navy, but, what is of far more importance, a vast merchant marine containing all the elements necessary to form a navy of unparalleled power, appears in clearest light, giving us cause for much congratulation. To effect all this, time is required. Let those who fret, look over the map of a hemisphere—let them reflect on the condition to which Southern perfidy and theft had reduced us ere the war begun, and then let them moderate their cries. It will all be done; but the programme is a tremendous one, and the future of the most glorious country on earth requires that it shall be done thoroughly, and that no risks shall be taken.
But, beyond all the aid which is to be expected from a counter-revolution in the South, to be drawn from the 'Alleghania' region, there is one of vast importance, insisted upon in a series of articles published during the past year in the New York Knickerbocker Magazine, and which may be appropriately reconsidered in this connection. Should the government of the United States, by one or more victories, obtain even a temporary sway over the South, it will only rest with itself to produce a powerful counter-revolution even in those districts which are blackest with slavery. Let it, when the time shall seem fit,—and we urge no undue haste, and no premature meddling with the present plans or programme of those in power,—simply proclaim Emancipation, offering to pay all loyal men for their slaves according to a certain rate. The proportion of Union men who will then start into life, even in South Carolina, will be, doubtless, enormous. It may be objected that many of these will merely profess Union sentiments for the time being. But, on the other hand, those noted rebels who can have no hope of selling their slaves, save indeed to the Union professors, will have small love for the latter, and two parties can not fail to show themselves at once. Those who hope to see the slave principle ultimately triumphant will oppose selling the chattels; those who wish to 'realize' at once on them, owing to temporary embarrassments, will urge it; and dissension of the most formidable character will be at once organized,—precisely such dissension as the Southern press has long hoped to see between the dough-faces and patriots of the North, or between its labor and capital, or in any other disastrous dissension.
Be it borne in mind that the price of slaves is at present greatly depressed in the South. Those who would sell would speedily acquire more, in the hope of a profit by selling to government. Those too who would willingly act as brokers between those who wished to sell, but who would not dare to openly do so, would be very numerous. Between these and the leaders of the ultra pro-slavery party there would be bitter feud. Let a counter-revolutionary party once succeed in holding its own in the South, and the days of secession would speedily be numbered. In a land where all rushes so rapidly to extremes, we should soon see the war carried on for us with a bitterness fully equal to that now manifested towards the North.
It is with no pleasant feelings that we thus commend counter-revolution. It is the worst of war that it drives us to such considerations. But what is to be done when our existence as a nation is at stake, and when we are opposed by a remorseless foe which would gladly ruin us irretrievably? There is no halting half-way. It was these endless scruples which interfered with the prevention of the war under the imbecile or traitorous Buchanan; it is lingering scruple and timidity which still inspires in thousands of cowardly hearts a dislike to face the grim danger and prevent it.
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How the pink-hued morning clouds Go sailing into the west! And the pearl-white breath of noon, Or the mists round the silver moon, In silent, sheeny crowds Go sailing into the west!
The glowing, fire-eyed sun In glory dies in the west; And the bird with dreamy crest, And soft, sun-loving breast, When throbbing day is done, Floats slowly into the west.
Oh, everything lovely and fair Is floating into the west. 'Tis an unknown land, where our hopes must go, And all things beautiful, fluttering slow; Our joys all wait for us there,— Far out in the dim blue west.
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IS COTTON OUR KING?
BY A COTTON-SPINNER.
No falsehood has been so persistently adhered to by the Southern planters and their advocates, and so successfully forced upon the credulity of the North, as the statement that white men can not perform field labor in the cotton States, coupled with the equally false assertion that the emancipated negro lapses into barbarism, and ceases to be an industrious laborer.
It is one of the chief points of weakness in a bad cause, that, although a single advocate may succeed in rendering it plausible, many are certain to present utterly irreconcilable arguments. An impartial man, examining De Bow's Review for a series of years, would arrive at conclusions in regard to the economy of slave labor, and the necessity of colored laborers in the Southern States, the very reverse of what the writers have intended to enforce.
It is constantly asserted that white men can not labor in the tropics, which we may freely admit; but the inference that the climate of the Southern States is tropical we have the best authority for denying: firstly, from the testimony of all Southern writers when describing their own section of country, and not arguing upon the slavery question; and, secondly, from Humboldt's isothermal lines, by which we find that the temperature of the cotton States is the same as that of Portugal, the south of Spain, Italy, and Australia. Do we find Australian emigrants writing home to their friends not to come out because they will not be able to work? We know they do not; and yet the mean annual temperature of Australia is 70 deg.—greater by five to six degrees than that of Texas; and, from the best accounts we can get, the extreme of heat is very much greater.
Examine De Bow's analysis of the census of 1850, and we find him compelled to admit that one-ninth of the force then cultivating cotton were white men. If one-ninth were white men in 1850, when the price of cotton was much less and the crop much smaller than of late years, how many are there now?
One of the most reliable witnesses to the cultivation of cotton by free labor is a Quaker gentleman in Philadelphia, who conducts a cotton factory supplied entirely with free-grown cotton, the goods being sold to the Quakers, who will not use the product of slave labor of any kind. This gentleman writes:—
I learned by correspondence with several intelligent Germans in Texas, that their experiment of raising cotton by their own labor, without the help of slaves, was a complete success. One planter offered to supply me at once with one hundred and forty bales raised in this way. The ground taken by thee that cotton can be raised by white men, as well as by colored men, is entirely correct. A very large portion is every year so raised. I have had particular information of its being thus raised in Texas, Arkansas, Tennessee, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, and North Carolina. In some neighborhoods thousands of bales are thus raised within the limits of two or three adjacent counties.
It may be urged that this is upon uplands almost exclusively, and that upon bottom lands it is not possible, on account of their being unhealthy.
Two statements will be made to disprove this latter assertion, and we will then admit it to be true, and prove it to be of no consequence.
The cotton planters, deserting the rolling land, are fast pouring in upon the 'swamp.' Indeed, the impression of the sickliness of the South generally has been rapidly losing ground (i.e. among the whites of the South), and that blessing, health, is now sought with as much confidence on the swamp lands of the Yazoo and the Mississippi, as among the hills and plains of Carolina and Virginia.—De Bow's Resources of the South and West.
Dr. Barton, of New Orleans, in a paper read before the Academy of Science, says:
The class of diseases most fatal at the South are mainly those of a preventable nature. In another place I have shown that the direct temperature of the sun is not near so great in the South during the summer as in the North. In fact, the climate is much more endurable, all the year round, with our refreshing breezes, and particularly in some of the more elevated parts of it, or within one hundred miles of the coast.
Dr. Barton had forgotten that white men can not perform field labor in the South.
But admit that white men had better work upon uplands,—the crop is surer, owing to the less liability to frost and overflow; and good cultivation will give an equal crop. Intelligent Northern men have taken up exhausted plantations upon the uplands of North Carolina, and, by the application of moderate quantities of guano, phosphate of lime, etc., have carried the crop from two hundred up to eight hundred pounds of clean cotton per acre; and for the last three years the writer has been in the habit of selecting the North Carolina guano-grown cotton, in the New York market, where it has been shipped via Wilmington or Norfolk, on account of its good staple, good color, and extra strength.
There is nothing in the cultivation of cotton involving harder work than that of corn. In the early stages of its growth it is more tender than corn, and requires more care,—which it does not get, since we find Southern writers deploring that the cut-worm and the louse are charged with many sins which are caused by careless cultivation and the bruises inflicted by the clumsy negro hoes. The soil is very light, and most of the work might be done by the plow and cultivator. Except upon very poor soil there is only one plant allowed to eight and even ten square feet. By the admission of Texas planters themselves, in the accounts of their country which they have written to induce emigration and sell their surplus land, there is very little work to be done during the hottest part of the summer; the cultivation taking place in the spring, and the picking in the fall and winter. Dr. J.S. Wilson, of Columbus, Ga., writing upon the diseases of negroes, says there is no article of clothing so needful to them, and so seldom supplied, as an overcoat. Should some shrewd Yankee, starting South to go into the business of raising cotton, lay in a large supply of flannel shirts, thick Guernsey frocks, and woolen stockings, for his field hands, how many of his neighbors would remind him of Lord Timothy Dexter's noted shipment to the West Indies, and ask him why he did not take some warming-pans; and yet, for his supply of thick, warm clothing he would have the authority of all Southern physicians.
Examine the directions given for the cultivation of cotton, and see how much labor could be saved, provided slaves could be induced to use good tools; planting the seed and covering it requiring one horse or mule and four hands,—one to smooth the ground, one to open the furrow, one to plant, and one to cover. All of these operations can be performed by one man with a planting machine. But the negro can not be trusted with one; for the moment you begin to teach him the reasons for using it, you begin to teach him the benefit of using another complicated machine, which he has not before known much about—his own head and arms, and, worse than all, his own legs, all of which you have stolen from him; and then he will misapply his knowledge, as an old fugitive once told me he had done: 'I took my own legs for security, and walked off.'
I know a fugitive slave who was taught the trade of a blacksmith, and who stole the art of writing; and a sad use he made of his accomplishments; he forged free papers with his pen, and the sacred seal of the State of Alabama with his tools, and then started North. In Tennessee he got out of money, and stopped to work at his trade, was suspected, brought before a court, his papers examined and pronounced genuine, and he passed on to Canada or elsewhere. Surely this man did not know how to take care of himself!
There is no great reason why the slave should exert himself very much, and why he should not, cannot be better stated than by the Rev. Mr. McTeyire, the son of a large planter in South Carolina. 'Men,' he says, 'who own few slaves, and who share the labors of the field or workshop with them, are very liable to deceive themselves by a specious process of reasoning: they say, "I carry row for row with my negroes, and I put no more on them than I take on myself." But the master who thus reasons is forgetful or ignorant of the great truth that the negroes' powers of endurance are less than his, while in the case of the latter there are wanting those incentives which animate and actually strengthen the master. This labor is for him, the gains of this excess of industry are to make him rich. What is the servant bettered by the additional bale of cotton extorted from exhausted nature, only that next year he shall have more companions in the field, and the field be enlarged?' This is extremely well put; but Rev. Mr. McTeyire, of South Carolina, must have been unaware of the fact that it is not possible for a white man to work row for row on cotton!
But Southern planters are not without some ingenious machines. In a premium essay upon the cultivation of cotton, read before the Georgia Agricultural Society, the Hon. Mr. Chambers thus describes one invented by himself for covering the seed: 'I would cover with a board made of some hard wood, an inch or an inch and a half thick, about eight inches broad, beveled on the lower edge to make it sharp, slightly notched in the middle so as to straddle the row, and screwed on the foot of a common shovel.' Very safe for negroes to use, not being complicated.
But in the protests of intelligent Southern men, when they occasionally wake up to the terrible results of their mode of cultivation, may be found their own condemnation.
Dr. Cloud, of Alabama, editor of the 'Cotton Plant,' mourning the want of pasturage in his own State, writes thus: 'Our climate is remarkably favorable to rich and luxuriant pasturage. The red man of the forest and the pioneer white man that came here in advance of our scratching plow, tell us they found the wild oat and native grasses waving thick, as high as a man's head, and so entwined with the wild pea-vine as to make it difficult to ride among it, all over this country. Every cotton planter has heard of these fine primitive pasture ranges, and many have seen them. If the country or the climate has been cursed in our appearance as planters here, it has been in the wasting system, that we introduced and continue to practice.'
Gov. Wise, in an address upon the agriculture of Virginia, condenses the whole case in an epigram,—' The negroes skin the land, and the white men skin the negroes.'
The limit to the production of cotton is in the capacity of the plantation force to pick the amount cultivated by the field hands; but the whole available force is insufficient, and large quantities are lost. The policy of the planters being to buy out the small landholders in their neighborhood, they have no extra force upon which to draw. Olmsted says: 'I much doubt if the harvest demand of the principal cotton districts of Mississippi adds five per cent. to their field-hand force. I observed the advantage of the free-labor system exemplified in Western Texas, the cotton-fields in the vicinity of the German village of New Braunfils having been picked far closer than any I had before seen,—in fact perfectly clean. One woman was pointed out to me who had, in the first year she had seen a cotton field, picked more cotton in a day than any slave in the county.'
'Substitute the French system (that of small allotment or parcellement) for the Mississippi system in cotton-growing, and who can doubt that the cotton supply of the United States would be greatly increased?'
Dr. Cloud, the most intelligent writer upon cotton cultivation I have been able to find, is urgent in his advice to manure the land, practice rotation of crops, and produce larger crops upon fewer acres. But the universal practice is precisely the reverse; the process of exhaustion is followed year after year; cotton is planted year after year; the seed—which Northern men would cultivate for oil alone, and which exhausts the land ten times faster than the fibre—is mostly wasted; in the words of a Southern paper, 'The seed is left to rot about the gin-house, producing foul odors, and a constant cause of sickness.' The land is cropped until it is literally skinned, and then the planter migrates to some new region, again to drive out the poor whites, monopolize the soil, and leave it once more to grow up to 'piney woods.'
Note again the warning words of Dr. Cloud: 'With a climate and soil peculiarly adapted to the production of cotton, our country is equally favorable to the production of all the necessary cereals, and as remarkably favorable to the perfect development of the animal economy, in fine horses, good milch cows, sheep and hogs; and for fruit of every variety, not tropical, it is eminently superior. Why is it, then, that we find so many wealthy cotton planters, whose riches consist entirely of their slaves and worn-out plantations?'
No crop would be more remunerative to a small farmer, with a moderate family to assist in the picking season, than cotton.
Upon the fertile lands of Texas, which produce one to two bales of cotton to the acre, ten acres of cotton is the usual allotment to each hand, with also sufficient land in corn and vegetables to furnish food for the laborer and his proportion of the idle force upon the plantation, which are two to one, without reckoning the planter and overseer and their families. Now, upon the absurd supposition that a free man, with a will in his work, would do no more work than a slave, what would be the result of his labor? 1st, food for his family; 2d, 10 acres of cotton, at 500 pounds to the acre, 5000 pounds, at 10 cents per pound, or $500. But the result would be much greater, for, as a Southern man has well said, 'the maximum of slave labor would be the minimum of free labor;' and the writer can bring proof of many instances where each field hand has produced 13, 15, and even 18 bales of cotton in a year. With the denser population which would follow the emancipation of the slaves and the breaking up of the plantation system, a harvest force for the picking season would be available, and one man would as easily cultivate 20 to 25 acres of cotton, with assistance in the picking season, as he could thirty acres of corn, the usual allotment to each hand upon the corn land of Texas.
The very expense of slave labor is a proof of the profit which must be derived from it. The writer has elsewhere estimated the cost of slave labor at $20 per month, which statement has been questioned, because no allowance was made for the increase of the live stock. Now it is well understood that where the women are worked in the fields in such a manner as to make their labor pay, the increase of live stock is much smaller, and the business of breeding is left to the first families in Virginia and other localities where the land has been exhausted (readers will pardon a plain statement,—it will cause them to realize the full horror of the business). The slaves in the cotton States increased from 1850 to 1860 33-88/100 per cent., in all the other slave States 9-61/100 per cent. The surplus increase in the cotton States, above the average, was 190,632. Where did they come from?[C] At $900 each, this surplus represents a capital of $171,568,800. How was this sum earned, and to whom was it paid?
Let us examine the estimate of $20 per month, and, although it is admitted that female field hands do not bear many children, take the average increase of the country, or 2-335/1000 per cent. per annum.
The standard of value for an A 1 field hand is $100 for each cent per pound of the price of cotton, say ten cents per pound, $1000, and the standard of value for all the slaves upon a plantation is one-half the value of a field hand.
Suppose a plantation stocked with 100 slaves, men, women, and piccaninnies, at 8500 each, $50,000 Interest at 8 per cent., a low rate for the South, 4,000 Customary allowance for life insurance or mortality, 1,000 Overseer's wages, 1,000 House and provisions, 500 Doctor's fees, hospital, and medicines, 500 Renewal and repairs of negro quarters, 500 Clothing and food, at $1 per week for each slave, 5,200 _ 12,700
Increase to keep good the mortality, 2 Annual gain, 2-335/1000, say 3 Gain, 5, at $500 2,500 Net cost, 10,200
The usual allowance for field hands is one-third,—allow it to be forty in a hundred, the cost of each would be $255 per annum, or $21.25 per month.
Let each one make his own allowance for the disadvantage of having the larger portion of the capital of a State locked up in a tool which would do more and better work if recognized as a man and representing no invested capital. How much productive industry would there be in New England, if every laborer or mechanic cost his employer $800 to $1500 before he could be set to work, and if each one who undertook to labor upon his own account, and was not so purchased, were stigmatized and degraded and termed 'mean white trash?'
It will again be objected that the theory of the cotton planter is to raise all the food and make all the clothing on the plantation. The cultivation of cotton in the best manner is described by Southern writers as a process of gardening. Now what would be thought of a market gardener at the North who should keep a large extra force for the purpose of spinning yarn on a frame of six to ten spindles, and weaving it up on a rude hand loom? Would this not be protection to home industry in its most absurd extreme? But this is the plantation system.
The correctness of the estimate of cost can be tested in some degree by the rates at which able-bodied slaves are hired out. Many lists can be found in Southern papers; the latest found by the writer is in De Bow's Review of 1860.
A list of fourteen slaves, comprising 'a blacksmith, his wife, eight field hands, a lame negro, an old man, an old woman and a young woman,' were hired out for the year 1860, in Claiborne Parish, La., at an average of $289 each, the highest being $430 for the blacksmith, and $171 for 'Juda, old woman.'
The Southern States have thus far retained almost a monopoly of the cotton trade of the civilized world by promptly furnishing a fair supply of cotton of the best quality, and at prices which defied competition from the only region from which it was to be feared, viz., India. This monopoly has been retained, notwithstanding the steadily increasing demand and higher prices of the last few years.
Improvements in machinery have enabled manufacturers to pay full wages to their operatives, both in this country and in England, and to pay higher prices for their cotton than they did a few years since, without materially enhancing the cost of their goods, the larger product of cloth from a less number of hands and the saving of waste offsetting the higher price of cotton; but it is not probable that the cost of labor upon cotton goods can be hereafter materially reduced. The cost of labor upon the heavy sheetings and drills which form the larger part of our exports is now only one and one-half cents per yard, and the cost of oil, starch, and all other materials except cotton, less than one-half cent, making less than two cents for cost of manufacturing; but with cotton at ten cents to the planter and twelve and one-half cents to the spinner, the cost of cotton in the yard of same goods is five cents.
With cotton at the average price of the last few years, we have supplied a very small portion of India and China with goods, in competition with their hand-made goods of same material. With new markets opening in Japan and China, and by the building of railroads in India, we have to meet a constantly decreasing supply of raw material as compared with the demand. Give us cotton at six to seven cents, at which free labor and skill could well afford it, and the manufacturing industry of New England would receive a development unknown before. But when we ask more cotton of slavery, we are answered by its great prophet, De Bow; that because we are willing to pay a high price we can not have it; for he says, 'Although land is to be had in unlimited quantities, whenever cotton rises to ten cents, labor becomes too dear to increase production rapidly.'
And this is what the great system of slave labor has accomplished. The production of its great staple, cotton, is in the hands of less than 100,000 men. In 1850 there were in all the Southern States only 170,000 men owning more than five slaves each, and they owned 2,800,000 out of 3,300,000.
These men have by their system rendered labor degrading,—they have driven out their non-slaveholding neighbors by hundreds of thousands to find homes and self-respect in the free air of the great West,—they have reduced those who remain to a condition of ignorance scarcely to be found in any other country claiming to be civilized—so low that even the slaves look down upon the 'mean white trash,'—they have sapped the very foundations of honor and morality, so that 'Southern chivalry' has become the synonym for treachery, theft, and dishonor in every form,—they have reached a depth of degradation only to be equalled by those Northern men who would now prevent this war from utterly destroying slavery,—they have literally skinned over a vast area of country, leaving it for the time a desert, and with an area of 368,312,320 acres in the eight cotton States, they have now under cultivation in cotton less than 6,000,000 (an area scarcely larger than the little State of Massachusetts); they have less than two slave laborers to the square mile; and their only opposition to the re-opening of the African slave-trade is upon the ground that an increase of laborers will but reduce the price of cotton, give the planters a great deal more trouble and less profit, and only benefit their enemies in New and Old England.
Have not the manufacturer, the consumer, the business man, the farmer, the soldier, every free man, every friend of the poor whites of the South who are not yet free men, a right and an interest in claiming that this monopoly of 100,000 cotton planters shall cease, their estates be confiscated for their treason, and divided among our soldiers, to repay them for their sacrifices in the cause of their country? First of all, however, let us claim the 100,000,000 acres, not the property of any individual, but fought for and paid for by the United States, and then given to that most ungrateful of all the rebel States, Texas—the great 'Cotton State.'
Upon these fertile lands, and in this most profitable branch of agriculture, let us find the bounty for our soldiers, the reward for their sacrifices, and our own security for the future good order of the state.
By so doing we shall silence the outcry of the South that ours is a war of conquest (since the right of the government to the public lands of Texas is unquestionable), and, at the same time, furnish a powerful incentive to the zeal of our soldiers.
I have compiled a few facts and statements in regard to the soil and climate of Texas from Capt. Marcy's Exploration of the Red River, in which he was accompanied by Captain, now General, McLellan, from the Texas Almanac, a most violent pro-slavery publication, and from the letters of a friend, a loyal Texan, who has been driven from his home, and is now in the North.
In advocating the Memphis and El Paso route for the Pacific Railroad, Captain Marcy writes as follows:—
The road alluded to, immediately after leaving Fulton, Ark., leads to an elevated ridge dividing the waters that flow into Red River from those of the Sulphur and Trinity, and continues upon it, with but few deviations from the direct course for El Paso and Dona Ana to near the Brazos River, a distance of three hundred and twenty miles, and mostly through the northern part of Texas. This portion of the route has its locality in a country of surpassing beauty and fertility, and possesses all the requisites for attracting and sustaining a dense farming population. It is diversified with prairies and woodland, and is bountifully watered with numerous spring brooks, which flow off upon either side of the ridge above-mentioned. The crest of the ridge is exceedingly smooth and level, and is altogether the best natural or artificial road I ever traveled over for the same distance.
After leaving this ridge, the road crosses the Brazos near very extensive fields of bituminous coal, which burns readily, with a clear flame, and is very superior in quality.
From the Brazos, the road skirts small affluents of that stream and the Colorado for two hundred miles. The soil upon this section is principally a red argillaceous loam, similar to that in the Red River bottoms, which is so highly productive.
As this route is included within the thirty-second and thirty-fourth parallels of latitude, it would never be obstructed with snow. The whole surface of the country is covered with a dense coating of the most nutritious grass, which remains green for nine months in the year, and enables cattle to subsist the entire winter without any other forage.
The line of this road east from Fort Smith would intersect the Mississippi in the vicinity of Memphis, Tenn., and would pass through the country bordering the Arkansas River, which can not be surpassed for fertility.—Marcy's Red River Exploration.
The route thus described lies through the following counties, and attention is specially directed to their several products in 1858:—
Acres County White Slave Corn Wheat Cotton Sug. Misc'l Total.
Bowie 2,077 2,321 10,392 1,421 8,240 23 3,232 23,308 Cass 6,112 4,816 28,474 5,552 20,168 36 4,368 58,508 Titus 6,025 1,891 18,987 2,272 9,872 92 6,227 36,450 Upshur 5,999 2,801 22,515 3,092 16,692 45 3,122 46,065 Wood 3,254 733 8,336 1,090 3,194 31 1,841 14,501 Van Zandt 2,548 242 6,504 837 1,213 8 596 8,160 Henderson 2,758 827 8,470 845 4,768 70 908 15,061 Navarro 2,885 1,579 10,531 2,785 4,678 127 2,609 20,730 Hill 1,858 508 5,161 3,189 181 201 761 9,493 Bosque 887 182 2,702 872 224 45 83 4,026 34,403 15,800 121,072 22,564 69,330 678 22,748 236,392
Let us allow the usual proportion of field hands to the whole number of slaves, viz., one-third, and we have a force of 5297; if whites do not labor in the field, each field hand must cultivate 44 64/100 acres of land. The customary allotment is ten cotton and five corn, or, where corn and wheat are the principal products, from twenty to twenty-five acres.
July 15, 1852. We were in motion at two o'clock in the morning, and, taking a north-east course towards the base of the mountain chain, passed through mezquite groves, intersected by brooks of pure water flowing into the south branch of Cache Creek, upon one of which we are encamped.
We find the soil good at all places near the mountains, and the country well wooded and watered. The grass, consisting of several varieties of the grama, is of a superior quality, and grows luxuriantly. The climate is salubrious, and the almost constant cool and bracing breezes of the summer months, with the entire absence of anything like marshes or stagnant water, remove all sources of noxious malaria, with its attendant evils of autumnal fevers.—Marcy's Exploration of the Red River, p. 11.
Our camp is upon the creek last occupied by the Witchitas before they left the mountains. The soil, in point of fertility, surpasses anything we have before seen, and the vegetation in the old corn-fields is so dense that it was with great difficulty I could force my horse through it. It consisted of rank weeds growing to the height of twelve feet. Soil of this character must have produced an enormous yield of corn. The timber is sufficiently abundant for all purposes of the agriculturist, and of a superior quality.
We have now reached the eastern extremity of the Witchita chain of mountains, and shall to-morrow strike our course for Fort Asbuekl.
The more we have seen of the country about these mountains, the more pleased we have been with it. Bounteous nature seems here to have strewed her favors with a lavish hand, and to have held out every inducement for civilized man to occupy it. The numerous tributaries of Cache Creek, flowing from granite fountains, and winding like net-work through the valleys, with the advantages of good timber, soil and grass, the pure, elastic and delicious climate, with a bracing atmosphere, all unite in presenting rare inducements to the husbandman.—Marcy's Red River Exploration.
This section of country is in latitude 34 deg., longitude 99 deg.; the latitude the same as the central part of South Carolina and the southern part of Arkansas.
We will now give statements from the Texas Almanac.
The south winds are the source of comfort and positive luxury to the inhabitants of Texas during the hot weather of summer. The nearer the sea-coast, the cooler and more brisk the current; but the entire area of prairie, and a large portion of the timbered country, feel it as a pleasant, healthful breeze, rendering our highest temperature tolerable.—Prof. Forshey, of the Texas Military Institute.
TRINITY RIVER AND ITS VALLEY.
So far as I have described the river, the climate is pleasant and salubrious, and favorable for planting. The forests and cane-brakes mitigate the cold of the northers in winter, and the south breezes temper the heat of summer. Contrary to the usual opinion, plantations, when once cleared of decaying timber, are found to be remarkably healthy. In fact, there are no causes of sickness. The river in summer is only a deep, sandy ravine, with a clear and rapid stream of water running at its bottom, and in the rear of the plantations, instead of swamps, are high rolling cane-brakes.
The paradox, that there is more good land on the Trinity than on the Mississippi, is one which will be readily sustained by those who are acquainted with the subject.—Texas Almanac, 1861.
TRAVIS COUNTY, TEXAS.
The soil is exceedingly rich, from two to ten feet deep, and when the seasons are favorable it produces from sixty to one hundred bushels of corn, and from one and a half to two bales of cotton, per acre. From twenty-five to thirty acres of corn, or twelve to fifteen acres of cotton to the hand, are usually cultivated.
Our country upon the whole is fertile and well watered, has timber enough to supply its demands, and an everlasting amount of stone for building; it has an eternal range of mesquit grass, on which horses and cattle that never smell corn keep perfectly fat all winter. The climate is delightful, the nights pleasant, a fine south breeze in summer continually playing over the face of our broad prairies, and the atmosphere so pure and invigorating, that it is more conducive to good health to sleep out in the open air than to sleep in-doors. There is something so attractive in this section of country, that those who live here a short time are seldom satisfied to live anywhere else.
Our citizens are generally intelligent, enterprising, industrious, religious, sober, and, laying politics aside, honest.—Texas Almanac.
BY THE ASSESSOR.
Mostly settled by Germans. In this county there are in cultivation 600 acres in cotton, 15,000 acres in corn, 500 acres in wheat. The acre yields 500 pounds of clean cotton, 40 bushels of corn, 20 bushels of wheat. From 3,500 to 4,000 white inhabitants; 188 slaves; 396 farms. Improved lands $30, unimproved $3 an acre. Most of the farms are cultivatd by white labor; a white hand cultivates thirty acres of corn. Peaches yield abundantly; apples and quinces have been tried successfully. The wild grape, plum, cherry, mulberry, and blackberry grow luxuriantly. Wine of good quality has been made here.
New Braunfels is the county seat. It has 2,000 inhabitants, and boasts of having the only free school in the State, supported by aid from the State school fund, and by direct taxation on the property of the school district. Four teachers are employed, and there are 250 pupils.
The letters of my Texas friend give the following description of the climate of Texas:—
The climate of Texas is very peculiar. This is owing to the body of water to the eastward of it, and to the dry and elevated plain of the Llano Estacado, and the lofty mountains which lie to the westward. To these two causes are due the moisture and the cool temperature, and at times and in certain localities the excessive dryness of Texas.
The Gulf stream, in its course along the coast of Florida and in the Gulf of Mexico, has beneath it, running to the south, a cold stream, nearly down to the freezing point. The great equatorial current which strikes north of Cape St. Roque and through the Caribbean Sea is suddenly narrowed between Cape San Antonio and Cape Catoche; here the upper and warmer current, being condensed, strikes deeper, and forces to the surface the cold water from the under current, sometimes occasioning a roaring and very peculiar noise. By this means the Gulf stream is divided, part turning to the eastward around Cuba and between that island and Florida, and part turning to the westward, north of the banks of Campeachy, and striking Padre Island, an island upon the coast of Texas, about one hundred and forty miles this current strikes, there are very deep soundings, almost up with the land. South of this point, upon the beach, are found mahogany and other tropical drift-wood, brought there from the tropics; while north of it the drift wood is oak, ash, and cotton-wood, brought from the north by a current running counter to the Gulf stream, which I will hereafter describe. From Padre Island the Gulf stream strikes off to the north-east to the mouth of the Mississippi, thence around the coast of Florida and through her keys, until it joins the other branch. Inside the Gulf stream, along the coast of Texas, is the counter-current before referred to, making down the coast at the rate of two to three miles per hour, and bringing down the silt and mud of the Mississippi, Sabine, etc. I have seen the water off the Island of Galveston the color of chocolate, after a long norther.
Above the centre of Padre Island the coast of Texas deepens at the rate of about a fathom to the mile, until at twenty fathoms there is a coral reef, and on the easterly side of this reef the water deepens, as by the side of a perpendicular wall, to a very great depth. This reef marks the boundary of the Gulf stream, and also the boundary of the terrible tornado. The tornado of the Gulf of Mexico never passes this barrier, never strikes the land, nor has it been known within memory of man upon the coast.
It seems to confine itself to the course of the warm water of the stream, and the great 'Father of the Waters' spreads his counter-current down the coast of Texas, like a long flowing garment, fending off the storm and the whirlwind, and thus still better fitting Texas for the white man and the white man's labor.
With this freedom from violent storms comes the delicious southerly wind in the summer, which gives health and moisture to the larger part of Texas. This wind varies in the point from which it flows. From Sabine to Matagorda its course is from south-east to south-south-east, growing more and more to the south as the coast tends to the south, until at the Rio Grande it blows from due south with perhaps a little westing in it. The course of this wind will explain the three belts of Texas, the rainy, that of less rain, and that of great drought.
This wind from the south-east corner from across the ocean and gulf (being a continuation of the south-east trades) laden with moisture and of a delightful temperature, when it is met by the cool air from the mountains, and condensed, giving the rains of Eastern and Central Texas. The more southing they have in them, the less moisture, until the extreme south-eastern portion of Texas, or the country near the mouth of the Rio Grande, is one of almost constant drought. There are thus three belts of moisture: first, from the Sabine to the mouth of the Brazos, may be called the belt of greatest rain,—from the Brazos to Lavaca or Victoria, that of moderate rain,—and from Lavaca to the Rio Grande, the dry belt. But even in the dry belt there is moisture enough to give fine grasses, and make the country a fine one for grazing, and the streams taking their rise in great springs, which probably have their source in the melting snows of the Rocky Mountains, flowing under the Llano Estacado and breaking out in great numbers in a line almost north and south, never dry up, even in the dryest seasons.
In the winter months, Texas has winds from the north, which come on very suddenly, and produce great variation in the temperature. They are disagreeable, but wholesome, and clear the atmosphere. They do not extend north of the Red River, nor very far west, but increase in intensity as they go south.
No country in the world can be healthier than Texas, and consumption and pectoral complaints never originate in the area of the northers.
Eastern Texas is generally well wooded; Middle and Western Texas have wood on the banks of the streams, and frequent spots of timber on the prairies.
Most of the country is covered with nutritious grass, affording good pasture throughout the year, capable of supporting an endless number of cattle and sheep, and almost all the soil is suited to the growth of cotton. There are more than five thousand square miles of bituminous coal in Texas, presenting seams five feet thick, and hills of pure gypsum seven hundred feet high. These are all covered by a generous sky and climate beneath which the white man can live and work without fear of malaria or sickness, and where he can enjoy all the blessings of the tropics without their attendant disadvantages.
It is this superb country which we trust General Lane and his forces may soon redeem from the curse of slavery.
The woolen manufacturer has an equal interest with the cotton-spinner in demanding that this shall be done, for with this unequaled country for the production of wool remaining under the curse of slavery, we import annually nearly thirty million pounds of wool,—about one-third of our whole consumption. With Texas free, and emigration from abroad—for a long time reduced almost to nothing—freely encouraged, we should become exporters of wool, not importers.
But I am warned that I have exceeded the space allotted me. The absurd assertion that the emancipated negro lapses into barbarism and will not work, can only be met by the question, 'If he will not work except by compulsion, why does he work extra after his compulsory labor is over?' Evidence that he does so work can be presented ad infinitum, upon Southern testimony; witness that De Bow's Review makes only a few selections.
The peculium of Southern servants, even on the plantation, is sometimes not trifling. We make a few selections, showing—
THE NEGROES' CROP.—A friend has reported to us a sale, on Tuesday, of a crop of cotton belonging to Elijah Cook, of Harris Co., Ga., amounting to $1424 96-100.—Columbus (Ga.) Sun, Dec. 29, 1858.
Mr. J.S. Byington informs us that he made two cotton purchases lately. One was the cotton crop of the negroes of Dr. Lucas, of this vicinity, for which he paid $1,800 in cash, every dollar of which goes to the negroes.—Montgomery (Ala.) Mail, Jan. 21, 1859.
Speaking of negroes' crops, the sales of which our contemporaries are chronicling in various amounts,—the largest which has come to our knowledge is one made in Macon, for the negroes of Allen McWalker. It amounted to $1969.65.—Macon (Ga.) Telegraph, Feb. 3, 1859.
Upon Louisiana sugar plantations, the exhausting work of the grinding season can only be maintained by a system of premiums and rewards equivalent to the payment of wages. Under that system the negroes of the sugar plantations are among the most healthy and contented in the South; while the same labor performed in Cuba, under the most severe compulsion, causes an annual decrease of the slave population, and the product of the island is only maintained by fresh importations of slaves from Africa.
With the following Southern testimony as to the intelligence of the negro, I leave this subject:—
Without book learning the Southern slave will partake more and more of the life-giving civilization of the master. As it is, his intimate relations with the superior race, and the unsystematic instruction he receives in the family, have placed him in point of intelligence above a large portion of the white laborers of Europe.—Plantation Life, by Rev. Dr. McTeyire.
We claim emancipation for the white man; it can only be secured by the freedom of the negro. The infinite justice of the Almighty demands both.
If we now fail to accomplish it, to bear in the future the name of 'American Citizen' will be a badge of shame and dishonor.
* * * * *
GENERAL PATTERSON'S CAMPAIGN IN VIRGINIA.
It seldom happens that the history of any series of events can be written soon after they have transpired. The idea of history implies correctness, impartiality and completeness; and it is of rare occurrence that all these requisites can be obtained in their fullness within a brief period after the time of which the history is required. The historians of this day write of the past; and the historian of our present civil war is not yet born, who shall emulate the completeness and conciseness of Irving's Columbus, or Prescott's Ferdinand and Isabella, or Motley's Dutch Republic. Nor can we expect an early solution to the 'Fremont question,' which shall be full and satisfactory, though the length of time involved be but one hundred days. But it is different with Gen. Patterson. It is true that his loyalty is disputed, and in this question may be involved many complicated issues; but the question of the general result of his three months' campaign in Virginia admits but one answer;—it was a failure. And it is an exception to the general rule that we can, within a few months after his campaign closed, see and understand exactly why and how he failed.
It is not proposed in this article to discuss the loyalty of Gen. Patterson, or to take sides with either those who claim for him a patriot's laurels or those who would have him suffer a traitor's fate. We shall ignore this question entirely, simply examining the acts of his last campaign, with reference to his capability and efficiency, the nature and effects of his policy, and the reasons of his failure. We propose to try him in the same manner and by the same standard as we would if his loyalty had never been questioned.
The early morning of the 12th day of June, 1861, found the writer a volunteer soldier of less than two months' experience in camp, just arrived with his regiment, from the distant Badger State, at Chambersburg, in Pennsylvania, where it was to join Patterson's division of the Federal army. For the next two months ensuing, the writer possessed all the facilities attainable to a private in the ranks for observing the progress of events in that division of the army, judging as to the propriety or necessity of the various movements, and forming opinions as to whether Patterson was using to the best advantage the military means within his control. These facilities were not many, it is true; but the public opinion of the North demanded certain actions from the general, and the writer, though but a private, could judge as to whether those demands of the loyal North were reasonable, and as to whether Patterson could accomplish what was required, if he chose. He was expected to do something; it did not matter in what particular manner; but it was deemed essential that he should in some way hold Johnston in check, and prevent his junction with the main rebel force at Manassas. And this was precisely what Patterson did not do. Bull Run was fought and lost, and the very result attained which Patterson was expected to prevent. Could it have been prevented?
It is fashionable in these days to set up the cry of inefficiency when a general does not do everything that public opinion requires. The Americans are proverbially a fault-finding people; and it will of course be as easy to make out an ex parte case against Gen. Patterson as against our other generals. We propose, nevertheless, at the risk of being unfashionable, to discuss candidly these expectations of the American people which were not realized, together with the actual doings of the unsuccessful general. We deem it susceptible of logical proof that Patterson might and should have prevented Johnston's junction with Beauregard.
Tents pitched, and the dust of travel from a journey of a thousand miles washed off, the 'boys' of the 1st Wisconsin regiment stretched their weary limbs on the fragrant clover of Pennsylvania, and, like American soldiers everywhere, discussed with earnestness and warmth the causes, progress, and prospects of the war. Our own position was not a little interesting. The strength of Patterson's division was not precisely known, but troops were arriving daily, and it was supposed to consist of about twenty thousand men. As was well understood, it was intended to menace Harper's Ferry, a strong natural, military and strategic position, then held by the rebels. A severe struggle was anticipated if the Ferry were attacked, and many were the pictures drawn of bloody scenes and terrible carnage. But the writer, doubting the assumed strength of the rebels at that point, freely expressed the opinion that there would be no fight there, but that the rebels would evacuate the post. And before his regiment left Chambersburg, this prediction was verified. The rebels, alarmed at the prospect which loomed up before them of a strong column of Federal troops, burned the Armory and Arsenal, and fled. And here we may find a key to the whole of the rebel manoeuvring—they were weak, and unable to cope with Patterson, and they knew it. Upon no other hypothesis can we account for their evacuating so strong and so important a point as Harper's Ferry.
Up to this time it had been a foregone conclusion with the army, as well as with the American people, that Patterson was to occupy Harper's Ferry. No other course of action was for a moment thought of. Even so late as the 30th of June, when the different brigades were called together, preparatory to crossing the Potomac, very many were sanguine that Harper's Ferry was to be made the base of operations, and did not give up that opinion till they found themselves en route for Williamsport. But the strong strategic position was neglected for more than a month; and finally, on the very day when Johnston poured his fresh legions upon the bloody field of Bull Run, and forced the Federals to fall back, Patterson, with his back to the foe, entered Harper's Ferry, with his three months' men, whose term of enlistment was expiring, by the very road by which Johnston had left it in June.
This neglect of Patterson to occupy the strongest point in his field of operations puts the stamp of imbecility upon him at the commencement of his campaign. The rebels expected him to occupy that point, as, even so late as the time of his crossing the Potomac, the force which disputed his onward march into the valley of Virginia was not so great as that held at Charleston to dispute his march from Harper's Ferry in case he entered the valley there. Patterson himself confessed his mistake, by retiring to the Ferry in July, for the avowed reason that his three months' men must soon go home, and he must be in such a position as not to tempt an attack from the rebels while his column was thus weakened and disorganized, and before he could be reinforced by three years' men. Why did not this necessity, and the propriety of holding Harper's Ferry as a base of operations for this reason alone, if for no other, occur to the cautious general before, as it did to so many of less military experience than himself? Patterson, at the last day, thus confesses his error. It was the first great mistake of his campaign. The second was one of a different nature.
On the 2d day of July, the army crossed the Potomac at Williamsport, by means of the ford. The crossing was commenced at daylight, and consumed the whole of the day. Just before daylight, a little passage at arms occurred on the Virginia side of the stream, the companies who had been thrown over the night before as pickets having been fired on by a detachment of the 'Berkeley Border Guard,' and returning the fire promptly. But this served only to stimulate the already keen energies of the Federal forces, who waded knee-deep through the clear Potomac, and trudged along over the 'sacred soil' with a willingness unchecked by the cold nor'wester that raged on that July morning. That portion of Berkeley County, Virginia, which lies opposite to Willlamsport, is called 'the Neck,' being in the shape of a horse-shoe, and nearly surrounded by the detour of the Potomac. The turnpike leading from Williamsport to Martinsburg and Winchester traverses the whole length of 'the Neck;' and it was on this road that the advance guard of the division, Abercrombie's Brigade, took its line of march, a brush with the rebels being momentarily expected. The first view of their pickets, after leaving Williamsport, was obtained at Falling Waters, by which sonorous appellation the Virginians designate a small and pretty mill-pond, which loses itself over the dam of a solitary grist-mill, within a stone's throw of the Potomac. Here was a strong natural position, and an excellent place for waging a defensive war, if the rebels had been so disposed. But they did not make a stand till a point was reached a mile south from Falling Waters, and about five miles from Williamsport, where their skirmishers opened fire at 9.15, A.M. The skirmish which ensued, and which has since been styled the Battle of Falling Waters, was sustained on the part of the Federals by Abercrombie's Brigade, consisting of the 1st Wisconsin and the 11th Pennsylvania regiments, McMullen's Philadelphia company of Independent Rangers, the Philadelphia City Troop of cavalry, and Perkins' Field Battery of six guns. This force speedily dislodged a superior force of the enemy, and pursued them for two miles, as far as the hamlet of Hainesville, where orders from Gen. Patterson to cease the pursuit allowed the rear-guard of the rebels to elude their grasp. The contest and the chase lasted but two hours, and at noon the advance guard encamped at Hainesville. The remainder of the day was consumed by the army in selecting grounds and pitching tents; and by night, Gen. Patterson, with twenty thousand men, had succeeded in marching seven miles, routing Col. Jackson's rebel brigade, and occupying Camp Jackson, distant about two and one-half miles from the Maryland shore of the Potomac. On Tuesday, the 3d of July, the indomitable general advanced five and one-half miles farther, to Martinsburg, the county seat of Berkeley County, and occupied the town with his whole force, without firing a gun; the rebel rear-guard leaving Martinsburg for the south as the Federal advance entered it from the north.
It would seem that at such a moment a skillful general would take advantage of such a little success, and follow it up, especially when he had spent as much time in preparation as had Patterson, by a series of crushing blows, if anything could be found to crush. And in view of the facts that Gen. Johnston had thus far made almost no opposition to the advance of the Unionists, and that Patterson's soldiers were without exception eager and anxious to push on, the policy of holding back seems almost unaccountable. But Patterson tarried at Martinsburg for nearly two weeks, and telegraphed for more troops; and on the 15th of July, when he commenced his forward march toward Winchester, he suddenly discovered that Johnston had so fortified that place that it would be unsafe to attack it! It may be that he could get no accurate information as to the strength of the rebel force, and that he supposed them to be superior to himself. Still, there were many signs which a capable general could have read plainly. It was well known that there were in Johnston's advance force no really good troops, except the 'Berkeley Border Guard,' a company of cavalry, composed of citizens of Berkeley County, who, from their complete and minute knowledge of the country, their skill in the saddle, and their zeal in the rebel cause, were as formidable, though not so notorious, as the Black Horse Cavalry of Fairfax and Prince William. The rout of the rebels at Hainesville, or Falling Waters, partook of the nature of a panic, as was evidenced by the profuse scattering of knapsacks, clothing, canteens and provisions along the 'pike.' Indeed, the conduct of the Virginia militia scarcely sustained the loud professions of desire to 'fight and die in defending the sacred soil of Virginia from the invader,' as announced by the letters and papers found in their knapsacks. And the whole course of these events convinced the private soldiers, if not the commanding general, that Johnston's highest ambition at that time was to gain time. Did he not know as well as any one that the time of enlistment of many of Patterson's men had nearly expired? And what more natural than for him to keep the latter at bay till such a time as the withdrawal of very many of his best troops would force him to retire? There were many true Unionists, too, in the ranks of the rebels, who would have been glad of opportunities to escape; this was well known. It seems impossible to resist the conclusion that Patterson should have acceded to the unanimous wish of his rank and file, and followed up his success at Hainesville, by occupying Martinsburg on the 2d, advancing to 'Bunker Hill' on the 3d, and dispersing the small rebel force known to be there, and celebrating the 4th of July by marching on Winchester, and attacking and reducing that post, as it seems he might easily have done at that time. This would of course prevent the apprehended junction of Johnston with Beauregard. The history of the war in the Old Dominion would then have been differently written; Bull Run and its panic would not be a stain upon our national honor, and—but who can not read the rest? It is true, Patterson should bear none of the blame of the Bull Run disaster, if he could have done nothing to avoid it; but we have shown that he could have done what was necessary, and that there were reasons existing at the time for taking such a course, of which he should have been cognizant.
The army left Martinsburg for the south, as we have seen, on Monday, July 15th. The whole division, with trifling exceptions, moved forward, and advanced on that day as far as 'Bunker Hill,' ten miles from Martinsburg. An insignificant rebel force fell back as Patterson advanced, and at 'Bunker Hill' the army encamped around the smoking brands of the rebel camp-fires, just deserted. Here was a small post-town called Mill Creek; and near by, the high ridge called 'Bunker Hill' formed another fine natural position for defence; but the rebels were not disposed to defend it. Patterson lay here two days, within twelve miles of the rebel strong-hold at Winchester, the pickets of the two armies watching each other by night and day. On the 17th the Federal army was astir before daylight, and an advance to the south was commenced. But before the rear-guard filed down from 'Bunker Hill' to the turnpike, a counter-march was ordered; and the whole division proceeded twelve miles to the east, leaving Winchester on their flank, and occupying Charlestown, in Jefferson County. What could have pleased Johnston better? What wonder that he should take the opportunity, as soon as satisfied that this flank movement was not intended to operate against him, to leave his fortifications at Winchester in charge of a small force, and rush to reinforce Beauregard? And is it not more than remarkable that Patterson, after occupying Charlestown for four days, should fall back to Harper's Ferry on the very day when his foe had effected his ruse de guerre, and was actually turning the tide of battle at Bull Run?
There is nothing in all this to change the opinion, previously formed, that Patterson should have pushed on to Winchester early in July. The whole of Johnston's manoeuvering seems to have been calculated merely to deceive Patterson, and to gain time. And so clever was he in his strategy, that, when his march to Manassas commenced, Patterson, learning either of the main movement or of a feint towards himself, aroused his army at midnight, and held them in readiness to fight, in apprehension of instant attack. As early as the middle of June, when Patterson threw a brigade over the Potomac at Williamsport, on a reconnoitering expedition, Johnston heard of the movement, and advanced a small force to engage and delay the Federals, which fell back as soon as the latter retired, as has since been learned from escaped prisoners and deserters. Indeed, the whole of Patterson's campaign shows far superior generalship on the part of his adversary.
Scarcely had the cautious general occupied from necessity that point whose strength and natural facilities he had previously despised, when the term of his appointment as general of the division expired, and the government allowed him to retire to private life. His successor's first act was to retire across the Potomac and occupy the Maryland Heights, opposite to Harper's Ferry, leaving not a foot of rebel soil to be held by our army as an evidence of the 'something' which had been expected of the venerable commander of the army of the Shenandoah. He had spent three months of time, and ten millions of money, and had only emulated the acts of that Gallic sovereign whose great deeds are immortalized in the brief couplet,
'The king of France, with twice ten thousand men, Marched up the hill, and then—marched down again.'
He had done more. He had committed another grave error, which has received but little public attention, but which told with disastrous effect upon the Union cause in Northern Virginia. That section of the State, as is well known, contained many true Union men. Previous to Patterson's entry into Virginia, they had been proscribed and severely treated by the secessionists. Many had been impressed by the rebel troops; the 'Berkeley Border Guard' had dragged many a peaceable Unionist from his bed at night to serve in the ranks of Johnston's army. But many others had been able to keep their true sentiments wholly to themselves, and had feigned sympathy with secession; while many more had fled from their homes across the Potomac, and sought refuge in loyal Maryland, where they hung around the Federal camps, vainly urging an early advance, that they might go home and take care of their families and their crops. Thus was Berkeley County completely shackled, and a reign of terror fully established. And on that bright morning of the 2d of July, as the Federal army marched over the 'sacred soil,' the cleanly cut grain fields, with their deserted houses, told plainly of secessionist owners, who could stay at home and cut their grain while the rebels were in force, but who fled before the advance of Union troops, and deserted their homes; while the fields of standing grain, with the golden kernels ripe and almost rotting on the stalks, and the cheerless-looking houses, tenanted only by women and children, told as plainly of the poor Unionists, driven from home and family by the 'Border Guard' who so bravely 'defended the sacred soil.' With the advance of the Union army came back hundreds of Union refugees from Maryland; poor, half-starved men crept out to the roadside from their hiding-places, and told the Union troops that they now first saw daylight for several weeks; and the lonely yet brave women displayed from their hovels the Union flags, the true 'Red, White, and Blue,' which their loyalty had kept for months concealed. And as the army tarried at Martinsburg, and reinforcements came in, the secret Unionists avowed their real sentiments; the Union flag was displayed from many a dwelling; and the fair hands of Martinsburg women stitched beautiful banners, which, with words of eloquent loyalty, were presented to the favorite Union regiments, and even now are cherished in Northern homes, or in Union encampments, as mementos of the gratitude of Berkeley County for its deliverance from the reign of terror. Yet how was the confidence repaid which these loyal people thus reposed in Gen. Patterson? In less than three weeks, not a Union soldier was left in Martinsburg, and before the first of August they were withdrawn wholly from Berkeley and Jefferson Counties. And the poor refugees who had returned to their homes in good faith, and the loyalists who in equal good faith had spoken out their true patriotism and their love of the Union, were left to the tender mercies of the 'Berkeley Border Guard,' and such braves as the Texan Rangers, the Mississippi Bowie-knives, and the Louisiana Tiger Zouaves. Gray-headed men like Pendleton and Strother were dragged from their homes to languish for weeks in Richmond jails, and the old reign of terror was reestablished with renewed virulence. Shall we ask these poor, deceived Unionists of Northern Virginia what they think of Gen. Patterson, and of the success of his campaign? How can we estimate the injury to the cause of the Union inflicted in this way alone by a grossly inefficient Federal general?
There were other reasons than those already enumerated why Patterson should have occupied Harper's Ferry at an early day, and these were reasons of economy, which commended themselves to the judgment of almost every one except the commanding general. The Baltimore and Ohio Railroad is the natural and only good thoroughfare along the valley of the upper Potomac. Harper's Ferry, confessedly the strongest and best military point in Northern Virginia, and the one best fitted for a base of offensive operations, is on this railroad, and, of course, of easy access from Baltimore and Washington. In June last the road was open from Baltimore to the Point of Rocks, between which last place and the Ferry were some rebel obstructions easy to be removed. Had Gen. Patterson occupied Harper's Ferry in June, and opened the railroad to that point, and from thence carried on the campaign like a brave general, worthy to command the brave men who filled the ranks of his army, the government might by this time have made the whole line of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad of use, as a means of transporting troops and munitions between Cincinnati and Baltimore,—a desideratum then, as now, very strongly urged, as the shortest route between those points is the circuitous one via Harrisburg and Pittsburgh. It could have been of great use, too, to Patterson's division of the army, in transporting supplies from Baltimore, by the most natural and expeditious route. But it was his plan to enter Virginia at Williamsport, so that all supplies for his division must go from Baltimore and Philadelphia to Harrisburg, and thence by rail to Hagerstown, where they were loaded upon army wagons, and transported thus to and across the Potomac, and for fifteen or twenty miles into Virginia, to the Federal camps, at very great outlay and expense. So earnest did Gen. Patterson seem to be, either in doing nothing, or else in causing all the expenditure possible.
These are the arguments which address themselves to our reason, as bearing on the question of Patterson's success or failure, and as explanatory of the latter. As before stated, they are urged, not to show that Patterson should have possessed prophetic knowledge or any extraordinary powers, but to illustrate his failure to understand what was transpiring before his face and eyes. He is culpable, not because he did not achieve impossibilities, but because he did not do what plain common-sense seemed to require. The writer heard, among the Federal camps, but one reason suggested for Patterson's neglect to occupy Harper's Ferry in June, which was, that probably the rebels had concealed sundry infernal machines in its vicinity, which would destroy thousands of the Union soldiers at the proper time. This was building a great military policy on a very small basis. If there was running through Gen. Patterson's policy any such plan of military strategy, or, in fact, any plan whatever, we have the curious spectacle presented of a general of an army ignoring common-sense, and building up a plan of a great campaign solely upon improbabilities. And it strikes us that this may be the key to the general's system of warfare, and a very plain and lucid explanation of his failure.
It is not deemed desirable here to treat of Patterson's other faults, such as his indulgent treatment of rebel spies, his failure to confiscate rebel property, and his distinguishing between the property of rebels and loyalists, by placing strong guards over the former, and neglecting to take equal care of the latter. Such acts only prove him to be either more nice than wise, or less nice than foolish; unless we argue him to be, as many do, a secret secessionist. But we leave it to others to draw inferences as to his loyalty or disloyalty. Our task is accomplished if we have shown that whether loyal or false, whether a patriot or a traitor, his three months' campaign in Virginia proves him unfit to be a commander, by revealing three great faults, each injuring the cause he professed to aid, all combining to render his campaign a failure, and two of the three assisting directly in our disaster at Bull Run, and deepening that dark stain upon our national escutcheon. His neglect to occupy Harper's Ferry in June, his failure to push on against Johnston when there was an opportunity to injure him, and his cool betrayal of the Unionists of Northern Virginia into the clutches of the rebel Thugs, will place the name of Patterson by the side of the names of Lee, Hull, Winder, and Buchanan, who, though not the open enemies of their country, were its false and inefficient friends.
* * * * *
THE GAME OF FATE.
Ever above this earthly ball, There sit two forms, unseen by all, Playing, with fearful earnestness, Through life and death, a game of chess.
Feather of pride and wolfish eye, Judas-bearded, glancing sly; Many a pawn you have gathered in, Through circling ages of shame and sin!
Fair as an angel, tender and true, Is he who measures his might with you; Oft he has lost, in times long gone, But ever the terrible game goes on.
But where are the chessmen to be found?— Where the picket paces his dangerous round; Where the general sits, with chart and map; Where the scout is scrawling his hurried scrap.
Where the Cabinet weigh the chances dread; Where the soldier sleeps with the stars o'erhead; Where rifles are ringing the peal of death, And the dying hero yields his breath.
Where the mother and sister in silence sit, And far into midnight sew and knit, And pray for the soldier-brother or son,— God's blessing on all that the four have done!
Where the traitors plot, in foul debate, To war with God and strive with fate; Digging pitfalls to catch them slaves,— Pitfalls, to serve for their own deep graves.
Where the Bishop-General proves that the rod Which lashes women is blest of God. There's a rod to come, ere the red leaves fall, Which will swallow your rattlesnake, scales and all.
Where the wretched Northern renegade On a Southern journal plies his trade, Swearing and writing, with scowl or smile, That all that is Yankee is low and vile.
Where the cowardly dough-face talks of war But fears we are going a little too far;— Hoping the North may win the fight, But thinking the South is 'partially right.'
Where the trembling, panting contraband Makes tracks in haste from the happy land; And where the officer-gentlemen Catch him and order him home again!
Where the sutler acts like an arrant scamp, And aids the contractor to rob the camp; Both of them serving the South in its sin, And all of them helping the devil to win.
So the game goes on from day to day, But there's ONE behind all who watches the play; Well he knows who at last must beat, And well he will reckon up every cheat.
Wolfish dark player, do your best! There's a reckoning for you as well as the rest; Eastward or westward your glance may wend, But the devil always trips up in the end.
* * * * *
JONATHAN EDWARDS AND THE OLD CLERGY.
Of late years the attention of many thinking men has been much turned to the early clergy of America. One reads of St. Peter's Church that, notwithstanding its immense size above ground, it has an equal amount of masonry under ground. Of the iceberg even more can be said, since its submerged proportions are of vastly greater extent than its visible surface. One may well inquire how much of American greatness is hidden in its foundation. How massive indeed must be the hidden corner-stone on which rests the structure of national character. New England is now turning its attention to the histories of ancient families; genealogy is no small feature in modern literature, and thus the age seems to confess that such research is a token of advance.
I believe that the strength of our ancestors was owing to their pure and simple piety; indeed, one can not go back even for a century without meeting this element in clear developement. The old New England preachers were of a character peculiarly adapted to the severe exigencies of their day. They stood as iron men in an iron age. However rude in other social features, the early settlers, as they worked their way to the frontier, demanded the soothing influences of pastoral care, and the first institution reared in the forest was the pulpit, the next the school-house. The pastors were settled for life, and minister and people abode in communion, with little change but that of age. In seeking a field, the youth just launched into his profession 'candidated' among vacant churches, and was heard with solemn attention by the selectmen and bench of deacons. Notes were taken by the more fastidious for subsequent criticism, and the matter was discussed with all the importance of a national treaty. When the call had been accepted, the stipend was generally fixed at one hundred pounds, and a rude parsonage opened its doors of welcome. To this was almost invariably attached a farm, whose native sterility called for such expenditure of toil that it might truly have been said,
'The furrow oft the stubborn glebe has broke.'
These men indeed united mental and physical labor in a remarkable degree. The long winters were devoted to study, to sermons, or to meetings,—the summer to the plow and the harvest. One instance is on record in which the entire stock of a year's sermons were written between December and April. But, notwithstanding the inevitable drudgery of such a life, the ministry was, upon the whole, noted for study. The course held at Harvard required close application, and even at the chapel exercises the Scriptures were daily read in the original languages. These labors and studies are recorded in that quaintest of all American books, Mather's Magnalia. Whatever be the pedantry and vanity of its author, he is undeniably worthy of rank among the men whom he chronicled. Indeed, the Mathers, father and son, illustrated a race of rare moral and intellectual power. The first of these, who enjoyed the profitable name of 'Increase,' was equally popular and successful as president of Harvard or pastor of the church of Cambridge, and the son takes little pains to conceal his filial pride as he blazons the virtues of 'Crescentius Madderus.' He is particular in recording him as the first American divine who received the honorary title D.D. As one looks back upon the primitive days of the nascent university, he is struck by the contrast between the present numerous and stately array of halls, the magnificent library, and all the pomp of a modern commencement, and the slender procession of rudely clad youth led by Increase Mather. As they marched out of the old shaky college and filed into the antique meeting-house, what would they have said to a glimpse of Gore Hall and its surroundings? But those were the beginnings of greatness, simple as they were.
The pages of the Magnalia are filled with portraits hit off in a masterly style. Mather was a true 'Porte Crayon,' and knew how to bring out salient points with a few happy touches. His picture-gallery is like an ancient Valhalla, full of demigods. Among their characteristics are strong contrasts. Here are piety and poverty and learning, hand in hand. These men, as we have stated, could swing the axe, or chop logic, at a moment's notice; could pull vegetables, or dig out Hebrew roots, with alternate ease. Notwithstanding their long days of labor, their minds kept their edge, being freshly set by incessant doctrinal disputations. Such, indeed, was the public appetite for controversy that polemic warfare never slumbered. Our view of their character is assisted by a contrast with the English clergy of the same day, and which reveals shameful deformities on the part of the latter—avarice, indolence, and gluttony. Of such, Milton spake in Lycidas, with withering contempt, as those who
'for their bellies' sake Creep, and intrude, and climb into the fold.'
If the Puritan poet be charged with prejudice, we have only to turn to the pages of Macaulay for confirmation. Where, indeed, if this be true, did Fielding obtain the originals for the ordinary at Newgate, or 'parson Trulliber' in Joseph Andrews?
Sad and strange was that disappointment which awaited the first emigrants to Massachusetts Bay. But there was a divine mercy in it; they came to seek peace, but a sword awaited them. I refer to the famous Anne Wheelright controversy, which rent the infant settlement of Boston for more than ten years. The excitement extended through the entire colony, affording many a bitter and vindictive argument. The pulpit belabored it in sermons of two hours' length, after which the deacons in their official seats occasionally expatiated to audiences whose patience on this theme was inexhaustible. As the controversy waxed hot, it got into the hands of the civil authorities, and some of its disputants were thrust into jail as heretical. Anna Wheelright was a woman of great mental vigor, and could hold her own in a debate with her reverend disputants. Unfortunate as this controversy may appear, it proved a benefit, by sharpening the public mind to a prodigious degree. Indeed, the very children of Boston could define the terms of the covenant of grace. Weary of a controversy bordering on persecution, Anne Wheelright sought a new home in the wilderness, and was subsequently murdered by the Indians. But the force of mental exercise which she had put in motion still continued. It is worthy of remark that almost the only intellectual peculiarity to which Franklin refers, in speaking of his father, is 'a turn for polemics.' The great features of New England character were, at that day, opinion and faith. It was these, as boldly and defiantly expressed, which excited the fears and jealousy of Charles the Second, and instigated the deprival of the colonial charters.
The studious and prayerful habits of the clergy continued from generation to generation, and their piety was most tender and touching in their ministrations. We might dwell, had we time, on the Cottons, the Mitchells, and the Sheppards, but, revered above all others, comes before us the venerable form of John Elliott, the missionary, clad in homespun apparel, his face shining with inward peace, while his silver locks overhang his shoulders. He was the Nestor of divines, and the character of his labors might be judged from his motto—' Prayers and pains with faith in Christ Jesus can accomplish anything.' His efforts and successes amongst the Indians were remarkable, and it was commonly reported that he possessed the gift of prophecy. But he was not the only man of that day who dwelt so close to the confines of the spiritual world as to be alternately visited by angels and devils. Indeed, what tales of the supernatural Mather relates, what a juxtaposition of saints and demons! Of course, there was a foundation to build upon,—had not Mather himself in his family for more than a year a possessed girl, whose familiar haunted the house and made it ring at times like a bedlam? It was a peculiar characteristic in this chapter of diablerie, that when the Scriptures were being read, or prayers attended, the spasms became terrific; but when any ungodly book was substituted in place of the Bible, there was an immediate relief.
The age was one of wonders, and Mather devotes an entire book to what he calls Thaumaturgia. Many of its statements are bold impositions on the reader's credulity; but there was much which, in those days of ignorance, must have seemed to Mather to be undeniable phenomena of a mysterious nature. After the colony had escaped many minor dangers, a new ordeal of suffering awaited it in a faith in sorcery, resulting in the horrible episode of Salem witchcraft, which may be considered the darkest stain upon the age. The death-beds and parting scenes in such a community were cherished features in domestic history, and almost every cottage could boast its Euthanasy. Ministering angels not only hovered over the couch, but touched their harps in melodies, whose music sometimes reached the human ear. Youth tender and inexperienced claimed a share in these triumphs, and Nathanael Mather, though but seventeen, expires in all the maturity of a saintly old age.