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قراءة كتاب The Continental Monthly, Vol 6, No 5, November 1864 Devoted To Literature And National Policy

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‏اللغة: English
The Continental Monthly, Vol 6, No 5, November 1864
Devoted To Literature And National Policy

The Continental Monthly, Vol 6, No 5, November 1864 Devoted To Literature And National Policy

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دار النشر: Project Gutenberg
الصفحة رقم: 8

beginning of war by the North, we have conquered from the aristocracy and now hold fast in Slave States an area of two hundred thousand square miles, inhabited by four millions of people—a district larger than France. Three years ago, every Slave State was virtually in the grasp of the rebels, and the Union was really put upon the defensive to protect freedom in the Free States and the national capital. Now, by a masterly series of campaigns in the West and Southwest, ranging from the Alleghanies to the Gulf, in which we have never lost a decisive battle, we have saved all the Territories of the United States, cut the 'Confederacy' in two equal parts, holding the western division at our mercy, opened the Mississippi and all its tributaries, and crowded the rebellion into the five States nearest the Atlantic coast. In the east we have fought a score of battles with the most formidable army ever marshalled on this continent, composed of the flower of the rebel soldiery led by their best generalship, and, spite of frequent repulses, have forced it from the Potomac and below the Rappahannock to the James, away from the smell of salt water, holding firmly every seaport from Washington to Wilmington, North Carolina, and a belt of land and water commanding the approach to the interior of every Atlantic State. The military force of the rebellion is rapidly being crowded into one army, not exceeding two hundred and fifty thousand men, against which the mighty power of the Union can be marshalled in overwhelming array. I know well enough that the decisive moment will really come when we confront that desperate and veteran host, on which the fate of aristocratic government upon this continent depends. But we shall then have a great army of veterans, marshalled under commanders fit to lead them in the name of liberty and the people.

It is not strange it has taken us three years to find who can fight among us. The Germans fought fifty years against religious despotism before they found Gustavus Adolphus to lead them to victory. The English fought ten years before Cromwell took command of his Ironsides. The French blundered ten years before the 'little corporal' led the army of the republic over the Alps to dethrone half the monarchs of Europe. The people had but one great general in the Revolutionary War. Until 1860 the aristocracy had furnished the only great American commander. But great generals have now appeared among the people; and if we fight stoutly and treat men fairly, our commander will appear when his army of veterans is ready.

The aristocracy at first moved armies faster than the people, for the same reason that the Tartars, the Cossacks, the Arabs, the Indians, and all semi-barbarians move more rapidly in war than a civilized people. A semi-barbarous oligarchy fights because it loves war; a civilized people fights to establish civilization and peace. The Southern army carries little along, lives on the food and wears the dress of the semi-savage, and overruns vast spaces, leaving a smoking desolation and a ruined society. The Northern army moves slowly, because it carries American civilization in its knapsack and baggage wagons, organizes republican society as it goes, and prepares to hold for liberty all it has gained. The people's army has paved the way for liberty and a democratic order of society over two hundred thousand square miles, among four millions of people, in three years. New Orleans, Nashville, Memphis, Beaufort, Alexandria, every slave city in our possession, is being made over into a free city.

The army goes slow because it is only the people's pioneer to level the mountains and fill up the valleys, and construct the highway of liberty from the Potomac to the Rio Grande. The Secretary of State has well said: 'The war means the dissolution of slave society.' It was entered into with the distinct understanding that it was the last expedient to save the negro oligarchy from ruin, and every day it goes on its thundering course it more emphatically pronounces its doom. The war for the Union is the people's final contest for liberty, a contest in which they will be victorious, as in the strife of industry, morals, and politics. The people, like John Brown's soul, are 'marching on' to dissolve the slave oligarchy and establish democracy. The people now possess three fourths the territory, population, and wealth of the republic. There are yet some six million black and white people in the South to rescue from their masters, who now use them against us. They are being prepared for Union with us by this war. The poor white man will be made better, more intelligent, more ambitious even, by service in the rebel army, and on the return of peace will become the small farmer of a free soil. The black men will be raised, in due time made freemen, and start as a free peasantry on a new career. A hundred thousand slaveholders, with their families, not more than one million of people in all, will hate the Union permanently. They will be defeated, we hope and believe, and disorganized as a social and political power, and the people rule in every State they have cursed by their ambition for the last fifty years.

We do not prophesy just when or how the people will triumph. The victory, we believe, will come; but whether all at once, or through temporary revulsions of purpose and alternate truce and war, whether finished by arms or yet cast again into the arena of polities, whether by occupying all this three millions of square miles of territory or gaining on despotism year by year, nobody knows. The Slave Power has not yet played its trump card. It has a hundred devilish resources yet to foil us. It may yet try to use the negroes it still holds against us by emancipation. It may yet drag us into a war with Europe, and Saratoga and Lake Erie and Plattsburg, and Long Island and Trenton and Bunker Hill, and Detroit and New Orleans may yet be fought over again. But we have seen how, for the last forty years, the people of the United States have strode on toward supremacy, led by a Power they did not always recognize, and sometimes scorned, but led to victory spite of themselves.

There has indeed been a Divine Intelligence guiding the destiny of our republic by the 'higher law' of the progress of free society toward a Christian democracy. We do not think the Peace Party will be able to abolish that 'higher law,' as certain of our politicians expect. We believe God Almighty is shaping a free and exalted civilized nation out of this republic, by a law of progress which we did not make and cannot repeal. We may postpone that nation by our folly and sins, but it must be made. Through labor and education, and religion and arts, and politics and war, 'it marches' on to supremacy—the people's nation. And when it is established it will be the controlling nation of this continent, one of the firmest powers on the earth, the terror of every aristocracy, and the joy and hope of every people on the round globe.


Dedicated to Mary