THE CONTINENTAL MONTHLY: DEVOTED TO LITERATURE AND NATIONAL POLICY.
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VOL. III.—JUNE, 1863.—No. VI.
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THE VALUE OF THE UNION.
Having taken a hasty survey, in our first number, of the value and progress of the Union, let us now, turning our gaze to the opposite quarter, consider the pro-slavery rebellion and its tendencies, and mark the contrast.
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We have seen, in glancing along the past, that while a benevolent Providence has evidently been in the constant endeavor to lead mankind onward and upward to a higher, more united, and happier life, even on this earth—this divine effort has always encountered great opposition from human selfishness and ignorance.
We have also observed, that nevertheless, through the ages-long external discipline of incessant political revolutions and changes, and also by the internal influences of such religious ideas as men could, from time to time, receive, appreciate, and profit by, that through all this they have at length been brought to that religious, political, intellectual, social, and industrial condition which constituted the civilization of Europe some two and a half centuries since; and which was, taken all in all, far in advance of any previous condition.
Under these circumstances, the period was ripe for the germs of a religious and political liberty to start into being or to be quickened into fresh life, with a far better prospect of final development than they could have had at an earlier epoch. Born thus anew in Europe, they were transplanted to the shores of the new world. The results of their comparatively unrestricted growth are seen in the establishment and marvellous expansion of the republic.
Great, however, as these results have been, the fact is so plain that he who runs may read, that they would have been vastly greater but for a malignant influence which has met the elements of progress, even on these shores. Disengaged from the opposing influences which surrounded them in Europe—from the spirit of absolutism, of hereditary aristocracy, of ecclesiastical despotism, from the habits, the customs, the institutions of earlier times, more or less rigid, unyielding on that account, and hard to change by the new forces, disengaged from these hampering influences, and planted on the shores of America—these elements of progress, so retarded even up to the present moment in Europe, found themselves most unexpectedly side by side with an outbirth of human selfishness in its pure and most undisguised form. This was not the spirit of absolutism, or of hereditary aristocracy, nor of ecclesiastical and priestly domination. All of these, which have so conspicuously figured in Europe, have perhaps done more at certain periods for the advancement of civilization, by their restraining, educating influence, than they have done harm at others, when less needed. All of these institutions arose naturally out of the circumstances, the character, and wants of men, at the time, and have been of essential service in their day. But the great antagonist which free principles encountered on American soil; which was planted alongside of the tree of liberty; which grew with its growth, and strengthened with its strength; which, like a noxious parasitic vine, wound its insidious coils around the trunk that supported it—binding its expanding branches, rooted in its tissues, and living on its vital fluids;—this insidious enemy was slavery—a thoroughly undisguised manifestation of human selfishness and greed; without a single redeeming trait—simply an unmitigated evil: a two-edged weapon, cutting and maiming both ways, up and down—the master perhaps even more than the slave; a huge evil committed, reacting in evil, in the exact degree of its hugeness and momentum. Yes! this great antagonist was slavery—an institution long thrown out of European life; a relic of the lowest barbarism and savagism, the very antipodes of freedom, and flourishing best only in the rudest forms of society; but now rearing its hideous visage in the midst of principles, forms, and institutions the most free and advanced of any that the world has ever witnessed.
In the presence of this great fact, one is led to exclaim: 'How strange!' How monstrous an anomaly! What singular fatality has brought two such irreconcilable opposites together? It is as if two individuals, deadly foes, should by a mysterious chance, encounter each other unexpectedly on some wide, dreary waste of the Arctic solitudes. Whither no other souls of the earth's teeming millions come, thither these two alone, of all the world beside, are, as if helplessly impelled, to settle their quarrel by the death of one or the other. Thus singular and inexplicable does it at first sight seem—this juxtaposition of freedom and slavery on the shores of the new world.
On second thoughts, however, we shall find this apparent singularity and mystery to disappear. We are surprised only because we see a familiar fact under a new aspect, and do not at once recognize it. What we see before us in this great event is only an underlying fact of every individual's personal experience, expanded into the gigantic proportions of a nation's experience. In every child of Adam are the seeds of good and of evil. Side by side they lie together in the same soil; they are nourished and developed together; they become more and more marked and individualized with advancing years, swaying the child and the youth, hither and thither, according as one or the other prevails; until at some period in the full rationality of riper age comes the deadly contest between the power of darkness and the power of light—one or the other conquers; the man's character is fixed; and he travels along the path he has chosen, upward or downward.
So it is now with the great collective individual, the American republic. So it is and has been with every other nation. The powers of good and evil contend no less in communities and nations than in the individuals who compose them; and, according as one or the other influence prevails in rulers or in ruled, have human civilization and human welfare been advanced or retarded.
In the American Union, the contrast has been more marked, more vivid, and of greater extent than the world has ever seen, because of the higher, freer, more humane character of our institutions, and the extent of region which they cover. The brighter the sunshine, the darker the shadow; the higher the good to be enjoyed, the darker, more deplorable is the evil which is the inverse and opposite of that good. Hence, with a knowledge of this prevalent fact of fallen human nature, and also of the fact that nations are but individuals repeated—one might almost have foreseen that if institutions, more free and enlightened than had ever before blessed a people, were to arise upon any region of the globe—something proportionately hideous and repulsive in the other direction would be seen to start up alongside of them, and seek their destruction.
Is this so strange then? It is only in agreement with the great truth, that the best men endure the strongest temptations. He who was sinless endured and overcame what no mere mortal could have borne for an instant. So the highest truths have ever encountered the most violent opposition. The most salutary reforms have had to struggle the hardest to obtain a footing; in a word, the higher and holier the heaven from whence blessings descend to earth, the deeper and more malignant is the hell that rises in opposition. With the truly-sought aid of Him, however, who alone has all power in heaven, earth, and hell, victory is certain to be achieved in national no less than in individual trials.
But in both national and individual difficulties it is indispensable, in order that courage may not waver, that hope may not falter—it is indispensable that there should be, as already urged, a clear intellectual comprehension of the full nature of the good thing for which battle is waged. The brilliant vision of attainable good must be preserved undimmed—ever present in sharp and radiant outline to the mental eye; and so its lustre may also fall in a flood of searching light on the evil which is battled against, clearly revealing all its hideousness.
A clear understanding by the people at large, of what that is in which the value of the Union consists, is only next in importance to the Union itself; since the preservation of the Union hangs upon the nation's appreciation of its value. Then only can we be intensely, ardently zealous; full of courage and motive force; full of hope and determination that it shall be preserved at whatever cost of life or treasure. But without the deep conviction of the untold blessings that lie yet undeveloped in the Union and its Constitution, without the hearty belief that this Union is a gift of God, to be ours only while we continue fit to hold it, and to be fought for as for life itself (for a large, free individual life for each one of us is involved in the great life of the Union), without this deep, rock-rooted conviction in the heart of the nation, we shall tend to lukewarmness—to an awful indifference as to how this contest shall end; and begin to seek for present peace at any price. We say present peace, for a permanent peace, short of a thorough crushing of the rebellion, is simply a sheer impossibility—a wild hallucination. Nor is it a less mad fantasy to suppose that the rebellion can be effectually crushed without annihilating slavery, the sole and supreme cause of the rebellion. Such lukewarmness and untimely peace sentiments, widely diffused through the loyal States, would be truly alarming. Those who feel and talk thus, are like blind men on the verge of a fathomless abyss; and should a majority ever be animated by such ideas, we are gone—hopelessly fallen under the dark power, never perhaps to rise again in our day or generation. But we have no fears of such a dismal result; the nation is in the divine hands, and we feel confident that all will be right in the end.
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We have presented two reasons why the Union is priceless. Still further may this be seen by a glance at the opposite features and tendencies of the rebellion; and by the consideration of three or four points of radical divergence and antagonism between slavery and republicanism.
We set out with the following general statements:
The less selfish a man becomes—the more that he rises out of himself—in that degree (other conditions being equal) does he seek the society of others from disinterested motives, and the wider becomes the circle of his sympathies.
On the other hand, the more selfish he is—the lower the range of faculties which motive him—in that degree, the more exclusive is he—the more does he tend to isolate himself from others, or to associate only with those whose character or pursuits minister to his own gratification. Beasts of prey are solitary in their habits—the gentle and useful domestic animals are gregarious and social.
Now the same is true of communities. The more elevated their character—the more that the moral and intellectual faculties predominate in a community; or the more virtuous, intelligent, and industrious—in short, the more civilized it is—the closer are the individuals of that community drawn together among themselves, and the greater also is its tendency to unite with other communities into a larger society, while it preserves, at the same time, all necessary freedom and individuality. The more civilized and humanized a nation is, the greater are the tendency and ease with which it organizes a diversified, as distinguished from a homogeneous unity; or, the greater the ease with which it establishes and maintains the integrity and freedom of the component parts, of the individuals and communities of individuals, as indispensable to the freedom and welfare of the whole national body.
Thus advancing civilization will multiply the relations of men with each other, of communities with communities, of states with states, of nations with nations; and will also organize these relations with a perfection proportioned to their multiplicity; and thus draw men ever closer in the fraternal bonds of a common humanity.
On the other hand, the more a community becomes immoral, ignorant, and indolent—the lower its aims and motive, the less it cultivates the mental powers, the fewer industries it prosecutes, and the less diversified are its productions—in proportion as it declines in all these modes, in that degree does it tend to disintegration, to separation and isolation of all its parts, and toward the establishment of many petty and independent communities; in other words, it tends to lapse into barbarism.
Such a movement is, however, against the order of Providence, and thus is an evil that corrects itself. Men are happier (other conditions being equal) in large communities than in small; and when selfishness and ambition have broken up a large state into many small and independent ones, the same principle of selfishness, still operating, keeps them in perpetual mutual jealousy and collision, until, whether they will or not, they are forced into a mass again by some strong military despot, or conquered by a superior foreign power, and quiet is for a time again restored.
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From these considerations we conclude that civilization, as it advances, is but the index of the capacity of human beings to form themselves into larger and larger nationalities (perhaps ultimately to result in a federal union of all nations), each consisting of numerous parts, performing distinct functions; yet so organized harmoniously that each part shall preserve all the freedom that it requires for its utmost development and happiness, and yet depend for its own life upon the life of the entire national body.
It may also be concluded that this capacity of men so to organize is just in proportion to the development of the higher elements and faculties of the mind, the religious, moral, social, and intellectual, and the diminished influence of the lower, animal, and selfish nature.
Consequently, when in such a large and harmoniously organized nationality as the American Union, there arises a movement which, without the slightest rational or high moral cause, aims to break away from this advanced, this free and humanizing political organization; and not only to break away from the main body, but also maintains the right of the seceding portion itself to break up into independent sovereignties; then, the conclusion is forced upon every impartial mind that the spirit which animates such a disruptive movement is a spirit opposed to civilization, since it runs in precisely the opposite direction; as, instead of tending to unity, to accord, to a large organization with individual freedom, it tends to disunity, separation, the splitting up of society into many independent sovereign states, or fractions of states, certain, absolutely certain to clash and war with each other, especially with slavery as their woof and warp; and thus bring back the reign of barbarism, and the ultimate subjection of these warring little sovereignties to one or more iron despotisms.
The inevitable tendency of the rebellion, if successful, and its doctrine of secession ad libitum, is (even without slavery—how much more with it!) to hurl society to the bottom of the steep and rugged declivity up which, through the long ages, divine Providence, the guide of man, has been in the ceaseless and finally successful endeavor to raise it. The American republic is the highest level, the loftiest table land yet reached by man in his political ascent; and the forces that would drag him from thence are forces from beneath, the animal, selfish, devilish element of depraved human nature, which so long have held the race in bondage; and which, now that they see their victim slipping from their grasp, and rising beyond reach into the high region of unity, peace, and progress, are moving all the powers of darkness for one final and successful assault. Will it be successful? We cannot believe it.
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What is the cause of this wicked, heaven-defying, insane movement on the part of the South? The answer is written in flames of light along the sky, and in letters of blood upon the breadth of the land. Slavery first, slavery middle, and slavery last. Accursed slavery! firstborn of the evil one—the lust of dominion over others for one's own selfish purposes, in its naked, most shameless, and undisguised form. Dominion of man over man in other modes, such as absolute monarchy, aristocracy, feudalism, ecclesiastical rule—all these justify their exactions under the plea of the welfare of the subject, or the salvation of souls. Slavery has nothing of the kind behind which to hide its monstrosity; nor does it care to do so, except when hard pushed, and then it feebly pleads the christianization of the negro! A plea at which the common sense of mankind and of Christendom simply laughs.
Now slavery, we know, is just the reverse of freedom, and hence it is only natural to expect that the fruits, the results of slavery, wherever its influence extends, would closely partake of the nature of their parent and cause. Slavery, then, as the antipodes of freedom, must engender in the community that harbors and fosters it, habits, sentiments, and modes of life continually diverging from, and ever more and more antagonistic to, whatever proceeds from free institutions.
Let us look at some of these. There are four points of antagonism between free and slave institutions that seem to stand out more prominently than others; at any rate, we shall not now extend our inquiry beyond them.
Slavery, then, begets in the ruling class:
1. An excessive spirit of domineering and command;
2. A contempt of labor;
3. A want of diversified industry;
4. These three results produce a fourth, viz., a division of slave society into a wealthy, all-powerful slaveholding aristocracy on the one hand; and an ignorant, impoverished, and more or less degraded non-slaveholding class on the other.
It is at once seen how slavery develops to the utmost, in the master and dominant race, a habit of command, of self-will, of determination to have one's own way at all hazards, of intolerance of any contradiction or opposition; of quickness to take offence, and to avenge and right one's self. The possession and exercise of almost irresponsible power over others tend to destroy in the master all power of self-control; foster intolerance of any legal restraint, of any law but one's own will, that must either rule or ruin. It is a spirit that is cultivated assiduously from childhood to youth, and from youth to full age, by constant and ubiquitous subjection of the negro, young and old, to the petty tyranny, the whims and caprices of little master and miss, and by the exercise of authority at all times and in all places by the white over the black race. It is a spirit that is essential to the slave driver; and when the habit of dictation and command to inferiors has grown into every fibre of his nature, he cannot dismiss it when he deals with his equals, whenever his wishes are opposed. Hence the violence, the lawlessness, the carrying and free use of deadly weapons, the duels and murders that are so rife in the South, and the haughty manners of so many Southern Congressmen. The rebellion is simply the culmination and breaking forth of this arrogant, domineering, slavery-fostered spirit on a vast scale. Failing to hold the reins of the National Government, it must needs destroy it.
Such a temper and disposition is evidently incompatible with human equality and equal rights; and in it we have one of the roots of Southern ill-concealed antagonism to free republican government.
2d. The second Southern, or slavery-engendered element that is antagonistic to free institutions, is contempt of labor.
Could anything else be expected? Because slaves work, and are compelled to it by the overseer's lash, all labor necessarily partakes of the disgrace which is thus attached to it. It is surprising how perverted the Southern mind is upon this point. Because slavery degrades labor, they maintain that the converse must also be true, viz., that all who labor must unavoidably possess the spirit of slaves; and hence they supposed that the North would not make a vigorous opposition, because all Northerners are addicted to labor.
The truth however is this: Where labor is despised no community can flourish as it is capable of doing; much less one with free institutions. We might just as well talk of a body without flesh and bones; of a house without walls or timbers; of a country without land and water, as of free institutions without skilled and honorable labor. It is the very ground on which they stand.
This then is another source of antagonism between slave and free institutions.
3d. A third point, not only of difference, but also of antagonism between slave society and free, consists in the permanent contraction or limitation of the field of labor in the former, and its perpetual expansion and multiplication of the branches of industry in the latter. Not only does the slave perform as little work as he can with safety, but besides this, the sphere in which slave labor can be profitably employed is a limited one. Agriculture on an extensive scale, on large plantations, is the only one that the slaveholder finds to repay him. All articles, or the vast majority of them, used by the South, that require for their production a great number of different and subdivided branches of labor, come from the North.
We have said that labor, skilled, honored, educated labor, is the material foundation, the solid ground upon which free institutions rest. We now further add this undeniable and important truth, viz., that as branches of labor are multiplied; as each branch itself is subdivided and diversified; as new branches and new details are established by the aid of the ever-increasing light of scientific discovery, and the exhaustless fertility of human inventive genius; as all these numerous industries are more or less connected and interlocked; as this great network of ever-multiplying and diversified human labors expands its circumference, while also filling up its interior meshes, in the degree that all this takes place, the broader and firmer becomes this industrial foundation for free institutions.
It is on this broad platform of diversified and interlocked labors that man meets his brother man and equal. The variety and diversity of labors adapts itself to a like and analogous diversity of human characters, tastes, and industrial aptitudes and capacities. And the mutual dependence and interlocking of these multiplied branches of industry bring the laborers themselves into more numerous, more close, and independent relations. Men are first drawn together by their mutual wants and their social impulses; but when thus brought together, they tend to remain united, not merely by affinity of character, but also, and often mainly by their having something to do in common—by their common labors and pursuits. Advancing civilization, since it ever brings out and develops more and more of man's nature, must, as a natural result, ever also multiply his wants. These multiplying wants can be satisfied for each individual only by the diversified activities of multitudes of his fellows; the results of whose united labors, brought to his door, are seen in the countless articles that go to make up a well-built and well-furnished modern dwelling. Labor is thus the great social cement; and can any one fail to see that it is upon the basis of such a diversified and interwoven industry that a corresponding multiplicity, intermingling, and union of human relations are established; and also that it is only under free institutions in the enjoyment of equal rights, where all are equal before the law, and where political authority and order emanate from the people themselves, that labor itself can be free; and not only free, but ennobled, and at full liberty to expand itself broadly and widely in all departments, without any conceivable limits? While at the same time, by the interlacing of its countless details, it cements the laborers, the respective communities, the entire nation into a noble brotherhood of useful workers.
We have yet to learn the elevating, refining power of labor, when organized as it can, and assuredly will be. At present we have no adequate conception of this influence. It is solely for the sake of labor, for the sake of human activity, that it may fill as many and as wide and deep channels as possible, and thus permit man's varied life and capacities to flow freely forth, and expand to the utmost; it is solely for this end that all government is instituted; and under a free, popular government, under the guidance of religion and science, labor is destined to reach a degree of development and a perfection of organization, and to exert a reactive influence in ennobling human character that shall surpass the farthest stretch of our present imaginings. Our rare political organization is but the coarse, bold outlines—the rugged trunk and branches of the great tree of liberty. Out of this will grow the delicate and luxuriant foliage of a varied, beautiful, scientific, and dignified industry and social life.
This is the glorious, towering, expanding structure, which the insane rebellion, the dark slave power, is raging to destroy! to tear it, branch by branch, to pieces, and scatter the ruins to the four winds, in order to set up, what? in its place. A foul, decaying object—a slave oligarchy, which, do what it will, is, at each decennial census, seen to fall steadily farther and farther into the rear even of the most laggard of the Free States, in all that goes to make up our American civilization. And all this because it sees that the life of the republic is the death of slavery, and free labor the eternal enemy of slave.
This difference in the conditions of labor, then, forms the third point of antagonism between free and slave institutions.
It is an antagonism that is ever on the increase—ever intensifying, and utterly irremediable in any conceivable way or mode. Much as the nation longs for peace, this is utterly hopeless, let it do what it will—compromise, try arbitration, mediation—nothing can bring lasting peace but the death of slavery. Freedom may be crushed for a season, but as it is the breath of God himself, it will live and struggle on from year to year, and from age to age, and give the world no rest until it has vanquished all opposition, and asserted its divine right to be supreme.
If slave society, therefore, thus necessarily diverges ever farther and farther from the conditions which characterize, and those which result from the operations of free institutions, such society must of course be fast on its way to a monarchical, or even an absolute and despotic government. The whites of the South even now may be considered as separated into two distinct classes—the governing and the governed. The slaveholders are virtually the governing class, through their superior wealth, education, and influence; and the non-slaveholders are as virtually the subject class, since slavery, being the great, paramount, leading interest, overtopping and overshadowing all things else, tinging every other social element with its own sombre hue, is fatal to any movement adverse to it on the part of the non-slaveholder. Everything must drift in the whirl of its powerful eddy, a terrible maelstrom, into which the North was fast floating, when the thunder of the Fort Sumter bombardment awoke it just in time to see its awful peril and strike out, with God's help, into the free waters once more.
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From these considerations, can we be surprised at the rumors that now and then come from the South, of incipient movements toward a monarchical government? Not at all. Should the rebellion succeed—a supposition which is, of course, not to be harbored for a moment—but in such an improbable contingency there can be hardly a reasonable doubt that a monarchy would be the result. Not probably at first. The individual States would like to amuse themselves awhile with the game of secession, and the joys of independent sovereignty, State rights, etc., as Georgia has already begun to do, in nullifying the conscription law on their bogus congress. But eventually their mutual jealousies, their 'quick sense of honor,' their contentious and intestine wars (and nothing else can reasonably be looked for) will bring them under an absolute monarchy, more or less arbitrary, or under the yoke of some foreign power.
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The antagonism between free and slave institutions, which we have inferred, from a glance at the peculiar workings of each, finds its complete confirmation in certain statements made by Mr. Calhoun, some twenty years ago, which were to this effect, viz.:
'Democracy in the North is engendering social anarchy; it is tending to the loosening of the bonds of society. Society is not governed by the will of a mob, but by education and talent. Therefore the South, resting on slavery as a stable foundation, is a principle of authority: it must restrain the North; must resist the anarchical influence of the North; must counterbalance the dissolving influence of the North. He upheld slavery because it was a bulwark to counterbalance the dissolving democracy of the North; that the dissolving doctrines of democracy took their rise in England, passed into France, and caused the French Revolution; that they have been carried out in the democracy of the North, and will there ultimate in revolution, anarchy, and dissolution.' (Taken from Horace Greeley, in Independent of December 25th, 1862.)
These are Mr. Calhoun's own words, and he will probably be allowed to be a fair exponent of Southern sentiment: we may gather from these utterances how the free republicanism of the North is regarded by the slave oligarchy.
We cannot forbear adding another statement of Mr. Calhoun, made to Commodore Stuart, as far back as 1812, in a private conversation at Washington, which was in substance as follows, viz.: That the South, on account of slavery, found it necessary to ally herself with one of the political parties; but that if ever events should so turn out as to break this alliance, or cause that the South could not control the Government, that then it would break it up.
Comment upon this is unnecessary. Let no loyal man forget these expressions; they reveal the egg from whence, after fifty years' incubation, this rebellion has been hatched.
But our theme, 'The Value of the Union,' continually expands before us; nevertheless we must bring our article to a close. We do so with the following remarks:
An individual is truly free, not in the degree only in which he governs himself, but in the degree that he governs himself according to the central truth and right of things, or according to the loftiness of the standard by which he regulates his conduct.
It is by the possession of truth, and by obedience to what that truth teaches, that a man rises out of evil and error, and out of bondage thereto.
The possession of truth constitutes intelligence.
But intelligence is worse than useless without obedience to its highest requirements, which is virtue.
Virtue, or morality, in its turn (or decent exterior conduct), is nothing without that which constitutes the soul's topmost and central faculty, viz., the religious sentiment, or that which links the soul to God, the centre of all things. As the parts of any organism, as we have seen, fall into confusion and discord when the central bond is wanting; so do the powers of the soul, when it closes itself by evil doing against the entrance of the beams of life and light that unceasingly flow upon it from God, the spiritual sun and centre of the universe.
Now, as individuals make up the nation, this will be free, and the Union valued and preserved, in the degree that each individual is intelligent, virtuous, and religious.
Upon those, then, who educate the individual, those to whom the infant, the child, the youth, is entrusted, to mould and imbue at the most pliant and receptive period of life—on those, whose office it is to form the young mind into the love and practice of all things good and true, and an abhorrence of their opposites; upon these, the parents, the teachers, and the pastors of the land; upon these, when this hurricane of civil war shall have passed away, do the preservation of this Union and the hopes of mankind more than ever depend. Upon home education and influence; on the schools and on the churches on these three forces centred upon, interwoven, and vitalized by true Christian doctrine, as revealed in the Sacred Scriptures or inspired Word of God, rest the destinies of the American republic. May those who wield them live and act with an ever more vivid and growing consciousness of their great responsibility.
A MERCHANT'S STORY.
'All of which I saw, and part of which I was.'
Joe led Slema away, and, springing from the block, I pressed through the crowd to where Larkin was standing.
'Larkin,' I said, placing my hand on his arm, 'come with me.'
'Who in h—— ar ye?' he asked, turning on me rather roughly.
'My name is Kirke. You ought to know me.'
'Kirke! Why ye ar! I'm right down glad ter see ye, Mr. Kirke,' he exclaimed, seizing me warmly by the hand.
'Come with me; I want to talk with you.'
He sprang from the bench, and followed me into the mansion.
Entering the library, I locked the door. When he was seated, I said:
'Now, Larkin, who do you want this girl for?'
'Wall, I swar! Mr. Kirke, ye fire right at th' bull's eye!' Then, hesitating a moment, he added:
'No, you don't; you know that isn't true.'
'Ha!—ha! This ar th' second time ye've told me I lied. Nary other man ever done it twice, Mr. Kirke; but I karn't take no 'fence with ye, nohow—ha! ha!'
'Come, Larkin, don't waste time. Tell me squarely—who do you want this girl for?'
'Wall, Mr. Kirke, I can't answer thet—not in honor.'
'Shall I tell you?'
'Yas, ef ye kin!'
'Wall, I'm d——d ef ye doan't take th' papers. Who in creashun told ye thet?'
'No one; I know it, Hallet's only son is engaged to this girl. He wants her, to balk him.'
'Ye're wrong thar. He wants har fur himself.'
'Yas; he's got a couple now. He's a sly old fox; but he's one on 'em.'
'Is he willing to pay eighty-two hundred dollars for a mistress?'
'Wall, Preston owes him a debt, an' he reckons 'tain't wuth a hill o' beans. Thet's th' amount uv it.'
Thus the wrong of the father was to be atoned for by the dishonor of the child! Preston was right: the curse which followed his sin had fallen on all he loved—on his wife, his mistress, the octoroon girl, his manly, noble son; and now, the cloud which held the thunderbolt was hovering over the head of his best-loved child! And so He visiteth 'the sins of the fathers upon the children!'
'But he is wrong! Preston's estate will pay its debts. If it does not, Joe will make good the deficiency, I will guarantee Hallet's claim. See him, and tell him so.'
'He hain't yere, an' woan't be yere. He allers fights shy. An' 'twouldn't be uv no use. He's made up his mind to hev th' gal, an' hev har he will. He's come all th' way from Orleans ter make sure uv it.'
'But, Larkin, you've a heart under your waistcoat; you won't lend yourself to the designs of such a consummate scoundrel as Hallet!'
'Scoundrel's a hard word, Mr. Kirke. 'Tain't used much round yere; when it ar, it draws blood like a lancet.'
'I mean no offence to you, Larkin; but it's true—I will prove it;' and I went on to detail my early acquaintance with Hallet; his vast profession and small performance of piety; his betrayal of Frank's mother; his treatment of his son, and all the damning record I have spread before the reader.
As I talked, Larkin rose, and walked the room, evidently affected; but, when I concluded, he said:
''Tain't no use, Mr. Kirke; I'd ruther ye wouldn't say no more. It makes me feel like the cholera. An' 'tain't no use! I've got ter buy th' gal.'
'You have not got to buy her! You need only go away. I will give you a thousand dollars, if you will go at once.'
'No, no, Mr. Kirke; I karn't do it. I'd like ter 'blige ye, and I need money like th' devil; but I karn't leave Hallet in th' lurch. 'Twouldn't be far dealin' 'tween man an' man. He trusts me ter do it, an' I'm in with him. I must act honest.'
'How in with him?'
'Why, he an' ole Roye ar tergether. The' find th' money fur my bis'ness—done it fur fifteen yar. The' git th' biggest sheer, but I karn't help myself, I went inter cotton, like a d—d fool, 'bout a yar ago, an' lost all I hed—every red cent; an' now I shud be on my beam ends ef it warn't fur them.'
'Then Hallet has made his money dealing in negroes!'
'Yas, a right smart pile, in thet, an' cotton. He got me inter th' d—d staple. I hed nigh on ter sixty thousan' then—hard rocks; but I lost it all—every dollar—at one slap; though I reckon he managed, somehow, ter get out.'
'Yes, of course, he got out, and saddled the loss upon you. Were you such a fool as not to see that?'
'P'raps he did; but he covered his trail. He's smart; ye karn't track him. But it makes no odds; I hev ter keep in with him. I couldn't do a thing, ef I didn't.'
'Yes, you could. Come North. I'll give you honest work to do.'
'You're a gentleman, Mr. Kirke, an' I'm 'bliged ter ye; but I karn't leave yere. I've got a wife an' chil'ren, an' the' wouldn't live 'mong ye abolitionists, nohow.'
'You have a wife and children?'
'Yas'; a wife, an' two as likely young 'uns as ye ever seed—boy 'bout seven, an' gal 'bout twelve.'
'Well, Larkin, suppose your little girl was upon that auction block; suppose some villain had hired me to aid in debauching her; suppose you, her father, should come to me and plead with me not to do it; suppose I should tell you what you have told me, and then—should go out and buy your child; what would you do? Would you not curse me with your very last breath?'
He seated himself, and hung down his head, but made no reply.
'Answer me, like the honest man you are.'
'Wall, I reckon I shud.'
'Selma is to marry my adopted son. She is as dear to me as your child is to you. Can you do to her, what you would curse me for doing to your child? Look me in the face. Don't flinch—answer me!'
I rose, and stood before him. In a few moments he also rose, and, looking me squarely in the eye—there was a tear in his—he brought his hand down upon mine with a concussion that might have been heard a mile off, and said:
'No, I'm d—d ter h—ef I kin.'
'You are a splendid, noble fellow, Larkin.'
'Ye're 'bout th' fust man thet ever said so, Mr. Kirke. Ye told me suthin' like thet nigh on ter twelve yar ago. I hain't forgot it yit, an' I never shill.'
'You're rough on the outside, Larkin, but sound at the core—sound as a nut. I wish the world had more like you. Leave this wretched work!'
'I'd like ter, but I karn't. What kin a feller do, with neither money nor friends?'
'Get into some honest business. I know you can. I'll help you—Joe will help you. We'll talk things over to-night, and I know Joe will rig out something for you.'
He remained seated for a while, saying nothing; then he rose, and, the moisture dimming his eyes, said:
'I reckon ye're not over pious, Mr. Kirke, an' I know ye'd stand a hand at a rough an' tumble; but d—d ef thet ain't th' sort o' religion I like. Come, sir; ef I stay yere, ye'll make a 'ooman on me.'
As we passed into the parlor, I said to Joe, who was seated there with Selma:
'Give Larkin your hand, Joe; he's a glorious fellow.'
'My heart is in it, Larkin,' said the young man, very cordially. 'It would have come hard to draw a bead on you.'
'I knows it would, Joe, an' I wus ter blame; but I never could stand a bluff.'
We passed out together to the auction stand. Selma and her brother ascended the block, while Larkin and I mingled with the buyers, who had collected in even larger numbers than before. The auctioneer brought down his hammer:
'Attention, gentlemen! The sale has begun. I offer you again the girl, Lucy Selma. You've h'ard the description, and (glancing at Joe, and smiling) you know the conditions of the sale. A thousand dollars is bid for the girl, Lucy Selma; do I hear any more? Talk quick, gentlemen; I shan't dwell on this lot; so speak up, if you've anything to say. One thousand once—one thousand twice—one thousand third and last call. Do I hear any more?' A pause of a moment. 'Last call, gentlemen. Going—g-o-i-n-g—go—'
The word was unfinished; the hammer was descending, when a voice called out:
'Whose bid is that?' cried Joe, striding across the bench, the glare of a hyena in his eyes.
'Mine, sir!' said the man, with a look of sudden surprise. His face was shaded by a broad-brimmed Panama hat, and his hair and whiskers were dyed, but there was no mistaking his large, eagle nose, his sharp, pointed chin, and his rat-trap of a mouth. It was Hallet! Springing upon a bench near by, I cried out:
'John Hallet, withdraw that bid, or your time has come! I warn you. You cannot leave this place alive!'
He gave me a quick, startled look—the look of a thief caught in the act—but said nothing.
'Who is he?' cried a dozen voices.
'A Yankee nigger-trader! A man that seduced and murdered the woman who should have been his wife; that cast out and starved his own child, and now would debauch this poor girl, who is to marry his only son!'
'Wall, he ar a han'some critter.' ''Bout like th' Yankees gin'rally.' 'Clar him out!' cried several voices.
'If you allow him to bid here, you are as bad as he,' I continued, unintentionally fanning the growing excitement.
'Wall, we woan't.' 'Pitch inter him!' 'Douse him in th' pond!' 'Ride him on a rail!' 'Give him a coat uv tar!' and a hundred similar exclamations rose from the crowd, which swayed toward the obnoxious man with a quick, tumultuous motion.
'He'm in de darky trade; leff de darkies handle him!' cried Ally, seizing Hallet by the collar, and dragging him toward the pond.
The face of the great merchant turned ghastly pale. Paralyzed with fear, he made no resistance.
Pressing rapidly through the crowd, and tossing Ally aside as if he had been a bundle of feathers, Larkin was at Hallet's side in an instant. Planting himself before him, and drawing his revolver, he cried out:
'Far play, gentlemen, far play. He's a cowardly scoundrel, but he shill hev far play, or my name ain't Jake Larkin!'
Instinctively the crowd fell back a few paces, and Larkin, with more coolness, continued:
'Th' only man yere thet's got anything ter say in this bis'ness ar Joe Preston; an' he'll guv even a Yankee far play. Woan't ye, Joe?' he cried. Then, turning quickly to his partner, he added: 'Ye didn't know th' kunditions, Mr. Hallet, did ye? Speak quick.'
'No—I—didn't know I was—giving offence,' stammered Hallet, looking in the direction in which Larkin's eyes were turned.
Selma had taken the auctioneer's chair, and Joe stood, with folded arms, glaring on Hallet.
'Come, Joe,' continued Larkin, 'I've done ye a good turn ter-day. Let him off, an' put it ter my 'count.'
'As you say, Larkin; but he must withdraw his bid, and leave the ground at once.'
'I withdraw it, sir,' said Hallet, in a cringing tone, clinging fast to the negro trader.
'Doan't hold on so tight, Mr. Hallet. Lord bless ye! nary one yere'll hurt ye; they'm gentler'n lambs—ha! ha! But when ye want anuther gal, doan't ye come yere fur yer darter-in-law—ha! ha!'
Putting his arm within Hallet's, he then attempted to press through the crowd; but the blood of the chivalry had risen, and, spite of Joe's remarks, they showed no inclination to let the Yankee off so cheaply. Forming a solid wall around him, they blocked Larkin's way at every turn, and cries of 'Let him alone, Larkin!' 'Cool him off, boys!' 'Doan't ye spile th' fun, Larkin!' 'Guv th' feller a little hosspitality!' echoed from all directions.
Putting up his revolver, Larkin turned to them, and said, in the mildest and blandest tone conceivable:
'Thet's right, boys—ye orter hev some fun; but this gintleman's sick. Doan't ye see how pale he ar? He couldn't stand it, nohow. But thar's a feller thet kin,' pointing to Mulock, who stood looking on, at the outer edge of the crowd. 'Ef ye're spilin' fur sport, ye moight try yer hand on him!'
'Yas, he'm de man!' cried Ally. 'He holped whip de young missus. He telled on har fur twenty dollar. He'm de man!'
Mulock did not seem to realize, at once, that he was the subject of these remarks. The moment he did, he sprang out of the crowd, and darted off for the woods at the top of his speed. A hundred men followed him, with cries of 'Mount, head him off!' 'Five dollars ter th' man thet kotches him!' 'Take him, dead or alive!'
Amid the universal excitement and confusion that followed, Larkin walked rapidly away with Hallet.
'You can heat the kettle, boys; Mulock can't run,' cried Joe, from the platform. 'But you must give him a fair trial.
'We'll do thet, never ye fear!' echoed a dozen voices.
'I nominate his friend, Mr. Gaston, for judge,' said Joe.
'Gaston it is!' Gaston it is!' 'Mount the bench, Mr. Gaston!' shouted a hundred 'natives.'
Gaston got upon the auction stand, and said:
'I'll serve, gentlemen; but, before we select jurors, the sale must go on. Miss Preston is not sold yet.'
'All right! all right! Hurry up, Mr. Hammerman!' shouted the crowd.
The auctioneer took his place:
'A thousand dollars is bid for this young lady. Going—gone—gone, to Mr. Joseph Preston.'
Selma put her arms about Joe's neck, and, in broken tones, said: 'My brother! my dear brother!' Then she laid her head on his shoulder, and wept—wept unrestrainedly.
Who can fathom the untold misery she had endured within those two hours?
The impromptu judge took his seat on the bench, and the excited multitude once more subsided into quiet. In about fifteen minutes a tumult arose in a remote quarter of the ground, and Mulock and his pursuers appeared in sight, shouting, screaming, and swearing in a decidedly boisterous manner. The most of the profanity—to the credit of the self-appointed posse comitatus be it said—was indulged in by the ex-overseer, who, with his clothes torn in shreds, and his face covered with blood, looked like the battered relic of a forty years' war. A red bandanna pinioned his arms to his sides, and a strong man at each elbow spurred his flagging footsteps by an occasional poke with a pine branch. Ally followed at a few paces, looking about as dilapidated as the culprit himself. To him evidently belonged the glory of the capture.
As they approached the stand. Gaston rose, and called out:
'Do not insult justice, by bringing the prisoner into court in this condition. Let his face be washed, his garments changed, and his wounds bound up, before he appears for trial. Dr. Rawson, I commission you special officer for the duty.'
'I'm at your service, Major Gaston,' said the doctor, stepping out from the crowd into the open semicircle in front of the bench. 'Will some one procure the loan of a coat, hat, and trousers at the mansion?'
Ally started for the needed clothing, and the physician led the way to the small lake. In about twenty minutes the volunteer officials returned with the criminal, clothed in a more respectable manner, and Gaston said to him.
'Prisoner, take your place.'
Resistance was useless, and Mulock, with a slow step, and a sullen, dogged air, ascended the platform, and seated himself in the chair provided for him at its further extremity. Gaston sat at the other end, facing him; and four brawny 'natives,' with revolvers in their hands, took positions by his side.
'Silence in the court!' cried Gaston.
The noisy multitude became quiet, and the extempore official proceeded—with greater solemnity than many another judge of more regular appointment exhibits on similar occasions—to say:
'Prisoner, you are charged with two of the highest offences known to our laws; namely, with aiding and abetting an illegal and cruel assault on a white woman, and with procuring and inciting the murder of your own wife. You are about to be tried for these crimes by a jury of your countrymen and I am appointed judge, that full and impartial justice may be done you. It shall be done. Counsel will be awarded you; and, that you may not be condemned by prejudiced men, you will be given the privilege of peremptory challenge against four out of every five of the jurors I shall nominate, I shall now proceed to name the jury, and you will signify your objection to those you do not approve. Thomas Murchison.'
That gentleman came forward, and Mulock said:
'I take him.'
'He's inimy ter me.'
The man stepped aside; and thus they proceeded, the prisoner taking full advantage of the liberty of choice allowed him, until, out of a panel of nearly sixty, twelve respectable, yeomanly-looking men had been selected. As each juror was approved of by the crowd (who had the final decision), he took a seat on a row of benches facing the 'judge' and the prisoner. When the last one had taken his place, Gaston said:
'Prisoner, you have heard the charges against you; are you guilty, or not guilty? If you think proper to acknowledge your guilt of either or both the crimes with which you are charged, I shall feel it my duty to award you a lighter punishment.'
'I hain't guilty uv 'ary one on 'em,' said Mulock, without looking up.
'What legal gentleman will appear for the people?' cried Gaston, turning to the audience. Several sprigs of the law shot out from the multitude, 'I accept you, Mr. Flanders. Who will act for the prisoner?'
Each one of the volunteers fell back, and no response came from any part of the ground. Mulock evidently was neither blessed nor cursed with many friends.
'Does no one appear for the prisoner? Gentlemen of the legal profession, I am sorry to see this reluctance to aid a defenceless man. Will not some one oblige me, by volunteering? I shall consider it a personal service,' said Gaston.
Still no response was heard. At least five minutes passed, and the 'judge's' face was assuming a look of painful concern, when Larkin approached the bench.
'Gintlemen,' he said, 'th' man hain't no friends, an' it's a d—d shame not ter come out fur a feller as stands alone. Ef I knowed lor, I'd go in fur him, ef he wus th' devil himself.'
No one came forward in answer to even this appeal; and, turning on the crowd, while warm, manly scorn glowed on his every feature, the negro-trader cried out:
'Ye're a set uv d—d sneakin' hounds, every one on ye. Ye're wuss than th' parsons, an' the' hain't fit ter tote vittles ter a bar.' Turning to the 'judge,' he added, in a more respectful tone: 'I doan't know th' fust thing 'bout lor, Major Gaston, an' this man's nigh as mean a cuss as th' Lord ever made; but ef ye'll 'cept me, I'll go in fur him!'
'I will accept you with pleasure. You're doing a gentlemanly thing, Mr. Larkin.'
A murmur of applause went round the assemblage, as Larkin and the other counsel took seats near the jury.
The 'judge' then rose, and said:
'Gentlemen of the jury: You have engaged in a solemn office. You are about to try a fellow being for his life. It is a painful duty, but it is an obligation you owe to the community, and to yourselves, and you will not shrink from it. Society is held together by laws made to protect the innocent and punish the guilty. But, as our society is organized, there are some offences which our tribunals cannot reach. In such cases the people, from whom all laws proceed, have a right to take the law into their own hands.
'The prisoner is charged with crimes which, from the circumstances surrounding their commission, cannot be reached by regular courts of justice. They were witnessed by none but blacks, whose testimony, by our statutes, is not admissible. We, the people, therefore, are to try him; and, to get at the facts, we shall receive the evidence of negroes. You will judge for yourselves as to its credibility. If any doubt of the prisoner's guilt rests in your minds, you will give him the benefit of it, and acquit him; but if, on the other hand, you are fully persuaded that he committed either or both the crimes of which he is accused, you will convict him. You will patiently hear the testimony that may be presented; I will honestly and impartially give sentence, according to the decision at which you may arrive. The trial will now proceed.'
The witnesses were then examined. Ally was the first one sworn. He deposed to the circumstances attending the whipping of Phyllis, and the assault on Selma; but, as his evidence was altogether hearsay—he not being present on either occasion—it was ruled out, as was also his account of the bribing of Mulock by the mistress.
Three other negroes were then called, and they proved that Mulock aided in dragging Selma to the whipping rack, and witnessed the beating; but they failed to show that he was privy to or participated in the assault on his wife. Others were examined, who saw parts of the two transactions, and then the testimony closed.
As the last witness left the stand, Gaston said:
'I shall allow the prisoner the benefit of the final appeal. The attorney for the people will now address the jury.'
The lawyer, a young man of no especial brilliancy or ability, rose, and, going rapidly over the testimony, drew the conclusion from it that Mulock had instigated the beating of both mother and daughter, and was therefore guilty of the assault and the murder, and should accordingly be punished with death.
The motive actuating him he held to be revenge on Preston, for having, long previously, debauched his wife Phyllis. This passion, held in check during Preston's lifetime by fear of the consequences which might follow its indulgence, had broken out after his death, and wreaked itself on the two defenceless women.
The gentleman's reasoning was not very cogent, but, what he lacked in logic, he made up in bitter denunciation of Mulock, who, according to his showing, was a little blacker than the prime minister of the lower regions.
As he took his seat, Larkin rose, and, addressing himself to both the jury and the multitude, spoke, as near as I can recollect, as follows:
'Gintlemen, this yere sort o' bis'ness is out uv my line. I'm not used ter speechifyin', an' I may murder whot's called good English; but I'd a durned sight ruther murder thet, then ter joodiciously, or ary other how, murder a human bein'; an' it's my private 'pinion ye'll murder Mulock, ef ye bring him in guilty uv death.
'A man hain't no right ter take human life, 'cept in self-defence. Even ef Mulock was so bad as this loryer feller tries ter make him out—but he hain't, 'cause 'tain't in natur for a man ter be wuss than th' devil himself—ye'd hev no right to stop his breath. Ye didn't guv it ter him; it doan't b'long ter ye, an' th' lor doan't 'low ye ter take what hain't your'n. Ef ye does, it's stealin', an' I knows thet none on the gintlemen uv the jury ar so allfired mean as ter steal—'ticularly ter steal whot woan't be uv no sort o' use ter 'em, nohow.
'The loryer yere, hes spread hisself on Mulock's motive fur doin' this thing; 'sistin' thet fur seventeen yar he's ben a nussin' suthin—nussin' it as keerfully as a mother nusses her chil'ren. Now, young 'uns gin'rally walks when they's 'bout a yar old; but this one thet Mulock's ben a nussin' didn't git 'round till it wus seventeen; an' I reckon a bantlin' thet karn't gwo alone afore it's thet age, woan't never do much hurt ter nobody.
'But these hain't th' raal p'ints uv th' case. I'm loryer 'nuff ter tell ye, ye must gwo on th' evidence; an' thar hain't no evidence ter show thet Mulock hed anything ter do with th' whippin' uv his wife; an' th' murder wus in thet. He did—so th' nigs say, an' I reckon the' tells th' truth; an' thet's whot nary loryer kin do ef he try; so ye sees, a nig is smarter nor a loryer. Wall, the nigs say he holped in whippin' th' white 'ooman; an', as 'torney fur th' truth, gintlemen, which I'm gwine in fur yere, I've got ter 'low it. He did aid an' 'bet, as the loryers call it, in thet, an' thet proves him 'bout as mean as a white man ever gits ter be; an', 'sides thet, he did sell har fur twenty dollars—a 'ooman thet even th' 'judge'—an' he ar a judge uv sech things—was willin' ter pay twenty-five hun'red fur; he did sell har fur twenty dollars; an' thet proves him a fool! Now, fur bein' both mean an' a fool, I 'low he orter be punished. But doan't ye kill him, gintlemen! Guv it ter him 'cordin' ter his natur an' his merits.' Just luk at him. Hev ye ever seed sech a face, an' sech an eye as thet, in ary human bein'? Why, his eye ar jest like a snake's; an' its natural, ye knows, fur snakes ter crawl; the' karn't do nuthin' else, an' the' hain't ter blame fur it. No more ye karn't blame Mulock for bein' whot he ar. So guv him a coat uv tar—a ride on a rail—a duckin' in th' pond—arything thet's 'cordin' ter his natur an' his merits; but doan't ye take 'way his life! Ef ye does thet, he's lost—LOST furever; fur, I swar ter ye, his soul ar so small, thet ef it was once out uv his body, th' LORD himself couldn't find it, an' th' pore feller'd hev ter gwo wand'rin' 'round with nary whar ter stay, an' nary friends, aither in heaven or t'other place! So be easy with him, gintlemen! Guv him one more chance. Let him stay yere a spell longer, fur yere his soul may grow. An' it kin grow! Everything in natur grows—even skunks; an' who knows but Mulock may sprout out yit, an' grow ter be a MAN!
'I'se nuthin' more ter say, gintlemen, only this: Afore ye make up yer minds ter bring Mulock in guilty uv death, jest put yerselfs inter his place, an' ax yerselfs ef ye'd like ter hev a rope put 'round yer windpipe, as ye'd put it 'round his'n! Ef ye wudn't, jest remember, 'tain't manly ter use ary 'nother man in a how ye wudn't like ter be used yerselfs. I'm done.'
Larkin was frequently interrupted, during the delivery of this address, by the loud shouts and laughter of the crowd; but, at its close, a perfect tornado of applause swept over the multitude, and a hundred voices called out:
'No; doan't ye hang him.' 'Give him one more chance.' 'Doan't gwo more'n the tar.' 'Larkin's a loryer, shore.'
Amid these and similar exclamations, the jury retired to the little grove of liveoaks. In about fifteen minutes they returned to their seats.
'Gentlemen of the jury,' said Gaston, 'have you agreed on your verdict?'
''Greed on one thing, Major Gaston,' said the foreman, rising; 'hain't on t'other.'
'On what have you agreed?'
'On whippin' th' young 'ooman.'
'What say you on that—guilty, or not guilty?'
'And so say you all?'
'How do you stand on the other charge?'
'Four gwo in fur guilty; th' rest on us think Jake Larkin 'bout right as ter hangin' on him.'
'It is not for Mr. Larkin, or you, to say what shall be done with the prisoner. You are to decide whether he is or is not guilty of instigating the murder of his wife. You must retire again, until you agree upon that.'
''Twouldn't be uv no use; Major. We reckon he's mean 'nuff ter hev done it; but whether he done it, or no, we gwo fur givin' him a chance ter live.
'Ye're white men, I swar!' cried Larkin, springing from his seat, and grasping the hands of several of the jurors in turn.
'Take your seat, and observe order, Mr. Larkin,' said the judge, smiling in spite of himself.
'All right,' said Larkin; 'ye're some as a judge, Major—'bout up ter me as a loryer, an' thet's saying a heap; so jest be easy on th' pore devil. Do, yer Honor!'
'Silence, sir!' said Gaston, laughing.
Larkin took his seat, and the 'judge' continued:
'Prisoner, you have heard the verdict. Have you anything to say why sentence for aiding in the assault on the white lady should not now be passed upon you?'
'No, Major Gaston; I've nothin' ter say,' said Mulock, dejectedly.
Gaston continued: 'You have been tried by a jury of your own selection. They are unanimous in pronouncing you guilty of a cowardly and unwarrantable assault on a white woman. They evidently deem you guilty of the worse crime of abetting the murder of your own wife, and humane feelings only deter them from saying so. In these circumstances, I feel it my duty to award you a more severe punishment than I should have done had you been fully acquitted of the last charge. I shall therefore sentence you to be coated with warm tar, ducked, in that condition, three times in the pond, and then ridden on a rail to your shop at Trenton; and may this example of public indignation lead you to a better life in future. Mr. Larkin, I commission you to superintend the execution of the sentence.'
'No, ye don't, Major—yer Honor, I mean! I'll stand by, an' see Mulock hes far play; but I woan't do nary one's dirty work, I swar.'
'Well, who will volunteer for the duty?' said Gaston, appealing to the audience.
About a score of 'natives' offered themselves; but, fixing his eye on a stout, goodnatured-looking man, who had not volunteered, Gaston said:
'Won't you do it, Mr. Moore?'
'Yas, ter 'blige ye, Major, I will,' replied the man.
The 'judge' then pronounced the court adjourned, and the crowd escorted Mulock and the impromptu executioners to the site of the old distilleries. There an iron kettle filled with tar was already simmering over a light-wood fire, and, being divested of his borrowed plumage, Mulock was soon clad in a close-fitting suit of black. He was about to be led to the pond, when Ally appeared on the ground. Making his way through the crowd, he called out:
'De young missus doan't want dis ting to gwo no fudder. She'll 'sider it a 'ticular favor ef de gemmen'll leff Mulock gwo.'
'We karn't let him off without consent uv the judge,' said Mr. Moore.
A messenger was sent for Gaston, who soon appeared, and consented that further proceedings should be stopped. Mulock was at once released, and, coatless, hatless, and all but trouserless, he made his way through the hooting multitude, and left the plantation, a blacker, if not a wiser and a better man.
As we walked away from the 'scene of execution,' I said to the negro-trader:
'Larkin, you should have been a lawyer; you managed that thing admirably.'
'Th' boys hed got thar blood up, an' I know'd I couldn't clar him. A man stands a sorry chance in sech a crowd, ef they's raally bent on mischief.'
On the following morning the remainder of the negroes were purchased by Joe; and in the afternoon I was on my way home.
As I was sitting in my library, late one evening, rather more than a month after the events recorded in the last chapter, a hasty ring came at the street door.
'Who can be calling so late?' said Kate. 'Had you not better go?'
Drawing on my boots, I went to the door. As I opened it, my hand was suddenly seized, and a familiar voice exclaimed:
'What about Selly? How is she?'
'Lord bless you, Frank! is this you? How did you get here?'
'How is Selma! Tell me!'
'Safe and well—in Mobile with Joe.'
'Thank GOD! thank GOD for that!'
'How did you get here?'
'By the Africa; she's below. I managed to get up by a small boat. I couldn't wait.'
'Well, go up stairs. Your mother is in the library.'
After the first greeting had passed between Kate and the newcomer, he plied me with questions in regard to Selma, I told him all, keeping nothing back. Meanwhile, he walked the room, struggling with contending emotions—now joy, now rage, now grief. He said nothing till I mentioned Hallet's connection with the affair; then he spoke, and his words came like the rushing of the tornado when it mows down the trees.
'That is the one thing too much. I have held back till now. Now he dies!'
'Don't say that, my son!' exclaimed Kate. 'Leave him to his conscience, and to GOD. 'Vengeance is mine, I will repay, saith the LORD!''
'Vengeance is MINE! Don't talk to me mother! I want no sermons now!'
She looked at him sadly through her tears, and said:
'Have I deserved this of you, Frank?'
'Forgive me! forgive me, my mother!' and he buried his face in her dress, and wept—wept as he never did when a child.
A half hour passed, and no one spoke. Then he rose, and said to me:
'When did you hear from her last?'
'I had a letter yesterday; here it is,' said Kate. 'You see, she is expecting you.'
He took it, and read it over slowly. All trace of his recent emotion had gone, and on his face was an expression I had never seen there before. For the first time I noticed his resemblance to his father!
'When will you go!' continued Kate.
'I don't know. I cannot now.'
'Why not now? What is there to prevent?'
'I must go home first. I must see Cragin.'
'Cragin does not expect you for a fortnight,' I said; 'you can be back by that time.'
'But I cannot go now!' and again he rose, and walked the room. 'I'm not ready yet. My mind isn't made up.' After a pause, he added: 'Would you have me marry a slave—a woman of negro blood?'
'I would have you do as your feelings and your conscience dictate.'
'You cannot love her, if you ask that question,' said Kate, kindly, but sorrowfully.
'I do love her. I love her better than man ever loved woman; but can I make her my wife? A negro wife! negro children!—ha! ha!' and he clasped his hands above his head, and laughed that bitter, hollow laugh, which is the sure echo of fearful misery within.
'I cannot advise you, my son. You must act, now, on your own judgment. I will only say, that through it all—when put at slave work—when bound to the whipping stake—when she stood on the auction block for two long hours—she was sustained only by trust in you. It is true—she told me so; and if you forsake her now, it will'——
'Kill her! I know it! I know it, O my GOD! my GOD!' and he groaned in agony—such agony as I never before saw rend the spirit of mortal man.
* * * * *
The next morning he started for Mobile. Ten days afterward, the following telegram was handed me:
'Selma is dead. Frank is here, raving crazy. Come on at once.
* * * * *
That night I was on my way, and that day week I reached Mobile. The first person I met, as I entered Joe's warehouse, was Larkin.
'Where is Joe?'
'Ter th' plantation. He's lookin' fur ye. I'll tote ye thar ter onst.'
In half an hour we were on the road. We arrived just before dark, and at once I entered the mansion. Joe's hand was in mine in a moment.
'What caused this terrible thing?' I asked, hastily, eagerly.
'I don't know. When he arrived, Frank was low-spirited and moody, but very glad to see me. I brought him up here at once. He seemed overjoyed at meeting Selma, and would not let her go out of his sight for a moment. Still he appeared excited and uneasy, till I met him at the supper table. Then he was more like himself. I went with them into the parlor, and there conversed with Frank on business matters for fully two hours. We planned some shipments to Europe, and talked over sending Larkin to Texas to buy cattle for the New Orleans market. We agreed on it. I was to provide means, by keeping ninety-day drafts afloat on them (I'm short, just now, having paid out so much for the negroes), and they and I were to divide the profits with Larkin. Frank's head was as clear as a bell. I had no idea he was so good a business man. Well, about eight o'clock I left them together, and, a little after nine, went to bed. Selma's room is next to mine, and it couldn't have been later than eleven when I heard her go to it.
'The next morning she didn't come down as usual. I had a servant call her. She made no reply; but I thought nothing of it, till half an hour afterward. Then I went up myself. I rapped repeatedly, but got no answer. Becoming alarmed, I sent a servant for an axe. Frank brought it up, and I battered down the door, and found her lying on the bed, dressed as usual, a half-empty bottle of laudanum beside her—DEAD!'
'My GOD! And Frank made her do it!'
'Don't say that. If he did, he is fearfully punished; he has suffered terribly.'
'Where is he?'
'In the front room. He has raved incessantly. At first four men couldn't hold him. Somehow, he got a knife, and cut himself badly. I got it away, but he threw me in the struggle, and nearly throttled me. He's calmer now, and I've had him untied; but old Joe has to stay with him night and day. Nobody else can manage him.'
We went into the room. Frank sat in one corner, pale, haggard, only the shadow of what he was but ten days before. His head was leaning against the wall, and he was gazing out of the window.
As I entered, 'Boss Joe' came forward and greeted me, but neither of us spoke. Approaching Frank, I laid my hand on his shoulder.
'My boy, I have come for you.'
He rose, and looked at me, a wild glare in his eyes.
'Well, it's high time; I've waited long enough. I'm ready. I don't deny it—I killed her. Make short work of it. I'd have saved you the trouble, but this infernal nigger told me I'd go to hell if I did it; and I know she isn't there. I want to see her again! I want her to forgive me—to forgive me! Oh! oh!' and he sank into his chair, and moaned piteously.
'He tinks you'm de sheriff, massa Kirke,' whispered Joe.
I leaned over him. The tears started from my eyes, and fell on his face, as I said:
'You will see her again. She does pity and forgive you.'
He sprang from his seat, and clutched my hands. 'Do you believe it? Joe says so; but Joe is a nigger, and what does a nigger know?' Then, putting his mouth close to my ear, he added: 'They told me she was one. It was false—false as hell; but'—and he threw his arms above his head, and groaned the rest—'but it made me say it. O my GOD! my GOD! it made me say it!' His head sank on my shoulder, and again he gave out those piteous moans.
'Have comfort, my boy. I know she loves and pities you, now!'
He looked up. 'Say that again! For the love of God say that again!'
'It is so! As sure as there's another life, it is so!'
He gazed at me fixedly for a few moments—then again commenced pacing the room.
'I wish I could believe it. But you ought to know; you look like a parson. You are a parson, aren't you?'
'Yes; I'm a parson. I know it is so!'
'Well, tell them to hurry up. I want to go to her at once—now! I can't live another week in this way. Tell them to hurry up.'
'Yes, I will; and you'll go with me to-morrow, won't you?'
He gave me again, a long, scrutinizing look. 'You're the sheriff, aren't you?'
'Well, then, I'll go with you. But you must promise to make short work of it.'
'Yes, yes; I'll promise that. But lie down now, and be quiet. I'll be ready for you in the morning.'
'Well, well, I'll try to be patient;' and he threw himself on the small cot in one corner of the room. 'But you'll let old Joe stay with me, won't you?'
'Thank you, sir. Joe, bring me a cigar—that's a good fellow. You're the decentest nigger I ever knew. It's an awful pity you're black. They told me she was black. 'Twas an infernal lie! I know it, for I saw her last night, and she was whiter than any woman you ever saw. Black! Pshaw! nobody but the devil's black; and she—she's an angel NOW!'
As we passed out of the room, Joe said to me:
'Would you like to see Selma?'
'Have you kept the body?'
'Yes; I knew you would want to see her.'
He led the way up stairs to her chamber. In a plain, air-tight coffin, lay all that was left of the slave girl. Her hands were crossed on her bosom; her long, glossy, brown hair fell over her neck, and on her face was the look the angels wear. She seemed not dead, but sleeping!
As I turned away, Joe took my hand, and, while a nervous spasm passed over his face, he said:
'She was all that I had; but I—I forgive him!'
'And for that, GOD will forgive you!'
The next day we buried her.
* * * * *
'Boss Joe' accompanied us to the North. We reached home just after dark. When we entered the parlor, Frank gazed around with an eager, curious look, as if some familiar scene was returning to him. In a few moments Kate entered. She rushed to him, and clasped him in her arms. He took her face between his two hands, and looked long and earnestly at her. Then, dropping his head on her shoulder, and bursting into tears, he cried:
'My mother! O my mother!'
He had awoke. The terrible dream was over. From that moment he was himself.
What passed between him and Selma on that fatal evening, I never knew. He has not spoken her name since that night.
Mrs. Dawsey lay at the mansion, under guard, for several weeks. When finally able to be moved she was conveyed to the 'furnished apartments' bespoken for her by Joe. Her husband, after a short confinement in jail, was set at liberty, and then made strenuous efforts to effect his wife's release on bail. He did not succeed. Public feeling ran very high against her; and that, probably more than the fact that she was charged with an unbailable crime, operated to prolong her residence at the public boarding house kept for runaway slaves and common felons at Trenton.
At the next session of the 'county court,' after an imprisonment of four months, she was arraigned for trial. Owing to the death of Selma, Mulock was the only white witness against her. He told a straightforward story, the most rigid cross-examination not swerving him from it, and deposed to Dawsey's having attempted to bribe him to go away. His evidence was conclusive as to the prisoner's guilt; but her counsel, an able man, made so damaging an assault on his personal character, that the jury disagreed. Mrs. Dawsey was then remanded to jail to await a new trial, at the next sitting of the court.
Shortly after the trial, Mulock suddenly disappeared. Hearing of it, and suspecting he had been spirited away by Dawsey, Joseph Preston went to Trenton, and, procuring a judge's order for Mulock's arrest as an absconding witness, caused a thorough search to be made for him in Jones and the adjoining counties. He himself visited Chalk Level, in Harnett County, and there found him, living again with his white wife. That lady had previously won and lost a second spouse, but, it appeared, was then in such straits for another husband, that she was willing to take up with her own cast-off household furniture. Whether a new marriage ceremony was performed, or not, I never learned; but I have been reliably informed that Mulock complained bitterly of his wife for having defrauded him of twenty-five of the fifty dollars she had agreed to pay as consideration for his again sharing her 'bed and board.'
Mulock admitted having received four hundred dollars from Dawsey for absenting himself, and gave, as an excuse for accepting the bribe, his conviction that Mrs. Dawsey could not be found guilty on his testimony. After his arrest he was confined in the same jail with the 'retired' schoolmistress.
The second trial was approaching; but, late on the night preceding the sitting of the court, the jailer's house—which adjoined and communicated with the prison—was forcibly entered by four armed men disguised as negroes. They bound and gagged the jailer, his wife, and two female servants, and, seizing the keys, entered the jail, and carried Mulock off by force. The keeper heard a desperate struggle, and it was supposed Mulock was foully dealt by. The footprints of four men were the next morning detected leading to a spot on the bank of the river, where a boat appeared to have been moored; but there all traces were lost, and the overseer's fate is still shrouded in mystery.
Mrs. Dawsey, whose cell adjoined Mulock's, was not disturbed, but public suspicion connected her husband with the affair. There was, however, no evidence against him, and he went 'unwhipped of justice.'
The lady was arraigned for trial on the following day, but, no witnesses appearing against her, she was—after a tedious confinement of ten months—set at liberty. Thus, at last, she achieved 'a plantation and a rich planter;' but her darling object in life—to lead and shine in society, for which her education and character peculiarly fitted her—she missed. With the exception of her brutal husband, an ignorant overseer, and a superannuated 'schulemarm,' imported from the North, she has no associates. Society has built up a wall about her, and, with the brand of Cain on her forehead, she is going through the world.
Larkin, after breaking off his connection with his 'respectable associates,' descended from trading in human cattle, to trafficking in fourfooted beasts, and all manner of horned animals. Joe offered him an interest in his business; but the negro-trader had too long led a roving life to be content with the dull routine of regular business. Young Preston, and Cragin, Mandell & Co., stipulating for a half of his profits, furnished him a capital of fifty thousand dollars; and with that he embarked largely in 'cattle driving.' He bought in Texas, and sold in New Orleans, and did a profitable business until the breaking out of the rebellion. Since that event he has been an officer in the confederate army.
Frank remained at my house for a fortnight after his return from the South, and then, apparently restored, went to Boston. Business had grown distasteful to him, and he sought a dissolution with Cragin; but the latter prevailed on him to remain in the firm, and go to Europe. He continued there until news reached Liverpool of the fall of Fort Sumter. Then he took the first steamer for home. Arriving in Boston, he at once effected a dissolution with Cragin, and then came on to New York to make his 'mother' a short visit prior to entering the army. He expressed the intention of enlisting as a private, and I tried to dissuade him from it, by representing how easily he could raise a company in Boston, and go as an officer. 'No,' he replied; 'I know nothing of tactics. I am unfit to lead; I can only fire a musket. With one on my shoulder, I will go and sell my life as dearly as I can.'
On the 18th of May, 1861, he left New York, a private in Duryee's Zouaves (5th Regiment N. Y. V.), and on the 10th of June following, while fighting bravely by the side of York, Winthrop, and Greble, at Big Bethel, fell, badly wounded by a musket ball.
When he was fit to be moved, I had him conveyed home. His recovery was slow, but, as soon as he was able to go out, and, while still suffering from his wound, he went on to Boston to render Cragin some assistance in his business. General Butler's expedition was then fitting out for New Orleans. Weak as he was, Frank raised a company of Boston boys for it, and went off as their captain.
He was present at the bombardment and capture of New Orleans; but growing weary of the inactivity which followed those events, and hearing of the stirring times in Tennessee, he resolved to resign his commission, and seek service in the Western army.
After his resignation had been accepted, and on the eve of his departure for the North, when returning, one night, to his lodgings, he was accosted by a woman of the street. Her face seemed familiar, and he asked her name. She answered, 'Rosey Preston.' He went with her to her home—a miserable room in the third story of a tumbledown shanty in Chartres street—and there found her child, a bright little fellow of about six years. With them, on the following day, he sailed for the North.
Arriving here, he settled on Rosey the income of a small sum, and procured her apartments in a modest tenement house in East Thirtieth street. There Rosey now works at her needle, and the little boy attends a public school.
Within the week of Frank's arrival, and when he was about setting out for the West, I was surprised one morning, by Ally's appearance in my office. Newbern had fallen, and he had made his way, with his mother, into the Union lines, and, after a good deal of difficulty, had secured a passage on a return transport to New York. I provided employment for his mother, but Ally insisted on going into the war with Frank. He went as his servant, but fought at his side at Lawrenceburgh, Dog Walk, Chaplin Hills, and Frankfort, and in three of those engagements was wounded. His bones now whiten the plains of Tennessee. Rosey he never saw, and never forgave.
Frank was with the small body of regulars who, at Murfreesboro, on the 31st of December, checked the advance of Hardee's corps after McCook's division had been driven from the field, and who saved the day. He was wounded in the arm, early in the morning, but kept the field, and joined in that heroic movement wherein fifteen hundred men marched through an open field, and charged a body of ten thousand posted in a grove of cedars. Six hundred and forty-six of the brave band were left on the field. Frank was one of them. A Belgian ball pierced his side, and came out at his back. He saw and recognized the man who gave him the wound, and, raising himself on his elbow, fired a last shot. It did its work. The rebel lies buried where Frank fell.
The telegram which informed me of this event, said: 'He is desperately wounded, but may survive.' He is now at home, slowly recovering. What he saw and did while serving in Kentucky and Tennessee, I may at some future time narrate to the reader.
In relating actual events, a writer cannot in all cases visit artistic justice on each one of his characters; for, in real life, retribution does not always appear to follow crime. But, whatever appearances may be, who is there that does not feel that virtue is ever its own reward, and vice its own punishment? and what one of my readers would exchange 'a quiet conscience, void of offence toward God and toward man,' for the princely fortune of John Hallet—who is still the great merchant, the 'exemplary citizen,' the 'honest man'?
Whoever comes before the American people in a time of great deeds like this, with mere words, should have no idle story to tell. He should have something to say; some fact to relate, or truth to communicate, which may awaken his countrymen to a true estimate of their interests, or a true sense of their duties.
The writer of these articles has something to say; some facts to relate which have not been told; some truths to communicate about Southern life and society, which the public ought to know. Some of these facts, gathered during sixteen years of intimate business and social intercourse with the planters and merchants of the South, he has endeavored to embody in this volume.
He has woven them into a story, but they are nevertheless facts, and all, excepting one, occurred under his own observation. That one—the death of old Jack—was communicated to him as a fact, by his friend, Dr. W. H. Holcombe, of Waterproof, La., now an officer in the confederate army.
The author does not mean to say that his story is true as a connected whole. It is not. In it, persons are brought into intimate relations who never had any connection in life; events are grouped together which happened at widely different times; and incidents are described as occurring in the vicinity of Newbern—the slave auction, for instance—parts of which occurred in Alabama, parts in Georgia, and parts in Louisiana. But all of the characters he has described have lived, and all of the events he has related have transpired. He would, however, not have the reader believe that all he says of himself is true. Some of it is; some of it is not. The story needed some one to revolve around; and, as he began by using the personal pronoun, he continued its use, even in parts—like the scenes with Hallet, wherein the I stands for entirely another individual.
The real name of the character whom he has called Selma (he can state this without wounding the feelings of any one, as none of her relatives are now living), was Selma Winchester. She was educated at Cambridge, Mass., was a slave, and died of a broken heart shortly after being put at menial labor in her mother-in-law's kitchen. Her character and appearance, even the costume she wore on the occasion of her visit to the opera—a scene which many residents of Boston and vicinity will remember—are attempted to be described literally. She was not the daughter of Preston; her father was a very different sort of man. Nor was she sold at auction. The young woman who was engaged to 'Frank Mandell,' and bought at the sale by her brother, was equally as accomplished, though not so beautiful as Selma. She committed suicide, as herein related. The author has blended the two characters into one, but in no particular has he departed from the truth.
The gentleman called Preston in the story was for many years one of the writer's correspondents. He had two wives, such as are described, and was the father of Joe and Rosey, whose connection was as is related. He was not the owner of 'Boss Joe.' The original of that character belonged (and the writer trusts still belongs) to a cotton planter in Alabama. He managed two hundred hands, and in no respect is he overdrawn in the story. His sermon is repeated from memory, and is far inferior to the original. He was a Swedenborgian, and one of the finest natural orators the writer ever listened to. Old Deborah was his mother, and died comfortably in her bed. The old woman who fell dead on the auction block, was the nurse of the young woman who was engaged to Frank. The excitement of the scene, and her anxiety for her 'young missus,' killed her.
Larkin's real name is Jacob Larkin. He was at one time connected with the person called Hallet. He was well known in many parts of the South, and relinquished Negro trading under circumstances similar to those related in the story. He is now—though a rebel in arms against his country—an honest man.
John Hallet, the writer is sorry to say, is also a real character; but he does not disgrace the good city of Boston. He operates on a wider field.
* * * * *
That most excellent woman, Mrs. C. M. Kirkland, said to the author, shortly after the fall of Fort Sumter: 'If you cannot shoulder a musket, you can blow a bugle.' In this, and in a previous book, he has attempted to blow that bugle. If the blasts are not as musical as they might be, he has no apology to make for them. They have, at least, the ring of truth; and whether they please the public ear, or not, the author is satisfied; for he knows that each one of his children will say of him, when he is gone:
'My father did not stand by with folded arms, while this great nation was threatened with ruin. Against his best friends—against the convictions of a lifetime—he spoke the TRUTH! He tried to do something for his country.'
Oh! the sky is blue, and the sward is green, And the soft winds wake from the balmy west,— The leaves unfold in their gilded sheen, And the bird, in the tree top, builds its nest; The truant zephyr plumes her wings Once more, and quitting her perfumed bed, Soft calls on the sleeping flowers to wake, And sportive roams o'er each dewclad head.
The bluebells nod within the wood, The snowdrop peeps from its milky bell, The motley Thora bends her hood, Whilst beauteous wild flowers line the dell; The wildbrier rose its fragrance breathes, The violet opes her cup of blue, The timid primrose lifts its leaves, And kingcups wake, all bathed in dew.
From flower to flower the wild bee roams, Then buried within the cowslip's cup, He murmurs his low and music tones, Till she folds the wanton intruder up; The spring bird, wakening, soars on high, Gushing aloft its melting lay; Whilst painted clouds flit o'er the sky, All ushering in the dawn of May!
Like a laughing nymph she springs to light, And tripping along in the world of flowers, Brushes the dew, in the morning bright, And weaves a joy for each heart of ours! With frolic hands, the daisy meek, From her lap of green she playful throws; Whilst the loveliest flowers spring round her feet, And fragrance bursts from the wild wood rose!
Oh! glad is the heart, as through leafing trees The soft winds roam and in music play; Whilst the sick come forth for the healing breeze, And rejoice in the birth of the beauteous May, And glad is the heart of the joyous child, As bounding away through the tangled dell, It roams 'mid the flowers in greenwoods mild, And hunts the caged bee in the cowslip's bell!
Oh! bright is this world—'tis a world of gems— And loveliness lingers where'er we tread; On the mountain top—or in lone wood glens: A spirit of beauty o'er all is spread! Then warmed be our hearts to that kindly Power That scatters bright roses o'er life's rough way; That unfolds the cup of the snowdrop's flower, And mantles the earth with the gems of May!
THE NAVY OF THE UNITED STATES.
There is perhaps no branch of our service which is more efficient at the present time than that of the navy. Since the war of 1812, we have been comparatively inactive, with the exception of some coast service during the Mexican war, which was scarcely worth mentioning. In the present civil war, however, our navy has increased in a tenfold proportion—increased in activity and efficiency—and to-day, with its superior force of iron-clad steamers, will favorably compare with any navy on the globe in power, even though it may be inferior in a numerical point.
Though crippled at first at the commencement of this rebellion by the traitors among her officers in command—crippled by the loss of vessels and property destroyed by rebels—her ranks thinned by resignations and desertions, the navy struggled onward, slowly but surely, gaining vitality and power, until, under the present administration, it has 'lengthened its cords and strengthened its stakes,' attaining its present efficiency. Accessions have been made in vessels, new grades of officers have been appointed, the various bureaus have been enlarged, and an immense number of volunteer officers have been appointed, mostly chosen from petty officers and seamen, or from the merchant service, to command armed transports and the smaller craft used for the shallow waters of the Atlantic coast. A strong blockade has been effected, a number of valuable prizes taken, and the navy has rendered invaluable service by its bombardments of the enemy's towns and fortifications, on the coast of the United States as well as along the banks of the Mississippi, Ohio, and Tennessee rivers. In fact, much is due to the navy for its great efficiency in the present civil war in America.
We will give to the reader some statistics, taken from the September issue of the Naval Register for 1862, from which an idea can be formed of the great strength of this branch of our service. As these statistics are official, they will serve as a valuable source of information to those who are interested in the welfare of the country. Let us then review the organization of the United States navy.
The organization of the navy is as follows: The Navy Department, which consists of the office of the Secretary of the Navy and its various bureaus, and the officers of the navy, consisting of officers of the navy, officers of the marine corps, and warrant officers, besides volunteer and acting volunteer officers, these two last being new grades. There is no list of petty officers and seamen published in the Register, these being simply kept on the unpublished rolls, kept in the office of the Secretary of the Navy.
In the Navy Department proper may be found the following officers: The Secretary of the Navy; his Assistant; the chiefs of the bureaus of yards and docks, equipment, and recruiting, navigation, ordnance, construction and repair, steam engineering, provisions and clothing, and medicine and surgery. Since the publishing of the last annual Register, one of these bureaus is a new organization—the bureau of navigation not yet perfected. It will be seen by referring to this Register that the office of the Secretary of the Navy and the bureaus attached, require, besides the chief officers, one engineer, forty-four clerks, five draughtsmen, and eight messengers.
The officers of the navy proper are divided into the following grades: Rear admirals, commodores, captains, commanders, lieutenant commanders, lieutenants, surgeons ranking with commanders, surgeons ranking with lieutenants, passed assistant surgeons ranking next after lieutenants, assistant surgeons ranking next after masters, paymasters ranking with commanders, paymasters ranking with lieutenants, assistant paymasters, chaplains, professors of mathematics, masters in the line of promotion, masters not in the line of promotion, passed midshipmen, midshipmen detached from the naval academy and ordered into active service, boatswains, gunners, carpenters, sailmakers, navy agents, naval store keepers, naval constructors, officers of the naval academy, officers on special service, engineers in chief, first assistants, second assistants, third assistants, and officers of the marine corps.
The volunteer officers of the navy are acting lieutenants, acting volunteer lieutenants, acting masters, acting ensigns, acting master's mates, acting assistant surgeons, acting assistant paymasters and clerks, and acting first, second, and third engineers.
The petty officers of the navy are comprised as follows: Yeomen, armorers, boatswains, gunners, carpenters, sailmakers, and armorer's mates, master-at-arms, ship's corporals, coxswains, quarter masters, quarter gunners, captains of forecastle, tops, afterguard, and hold, coopers, painters, stewards, ship's officers, surgeons, assistant surgeons and paymasters, stewards, nurses, cooks, masters of the band, musicians, first and second class, seamen, ordinary seamen, landsmen, boys, first and second class firemen, and coal heavers.
The ranking of officers of the navy compared to the grades of the army may thus be enumerated: An admiral of the navy ranks with a major general in the army, a commodore as a brigadier general, a captain as a colonel, a commander as a lieutenant colonel, a lieutenant commander as a major, a lieutenant as a captain, a master as a first lieutenant, and an ensign (the new grade) as second lieutenant. The senior rear admiral of the navy, Charles Stewart of Pennsylvania, now on the retired list, ranks as a major general commanding in chief, and is the highest official in the navy except the Secretary.
The pay of the navy is quite an item in the list of Government expenditures. A few statistics relative to the expenditures will not prove uninteresting to the reader. The pay of seven admirals in the active list, commanding squadrons, and of fourteen rear admirals in the retired list, is $87,000; of twenty-six commanders and six on the retired list, is $117,860; of seventy captains on the active list, $239,300; thirty-two on the retired list, $85,400; one hundred and seventy commanders on active list, $554,380, and nine on the reserved list, $18,800; two hundred and forty-four lieutenant commanders, active list, $672,000; one hundred and eighty surgeons of various grades, $708,000; ten passed assistant surgeons, $8,700; two hundred and eighteen assistant surgeons, $422,900; eighty-one paymasters, $81,000; sixty assistant paymasters, $67,850; twenty-three chaplains, $34,500; twelve professors of mathematics, $21,600; seventeen masters, $18,320; three passed midshipmen, and one midshipman (old list), $4,308; four hundred and eighteen midshipmen, graduates of the naval academy, $259,600; fifty-four gunners, $67,500; forty-two acting gunners, $33,600; sixty carpenters, $60,000; forty-six sailmakers, $43,650; eight navy agents, $25,000; twelve naval store keepers, $18,000; nine naval constructors, $16,200; engineers and assistants, $756,700; officers of the naval academy, $759,000; officers of the marine corps, $536,000; acting volunteer officers of the navy of all grades, $2,975,300, and petty officers and seamen, $2,560,000; making a total of $10,863,118, for pay alone.
Let us add to this, other expenses to swell out the list. For clerk hire alone it is said that $600,000 is annually paid out; for navy yards and depots, $12,583,280 64; for the different bureaus, $8,325,161; and for contingent expenses, $2,600,000. Add to this the pay of the hospitals, $1,200,000; for magazines, $200,000; repair and equipment, $11,400,000; chartering and purchasing of vessels for naval purposes, $10,800,000; thus making a total of $47,708,441 64, which, added to the pay of the navy, makes the annual expenditure $58,571,559 64.