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longed severance between the North and South States would materially affect the fortunes of the north-west, of the Mississippi States, and of the States bordering the Pacific. “The inhabitants of the United States," says the same writer, “talk a great deal of their attachment to their country; but I confess that I do not rely upon that calculating patriotism which is founded upon interest, and which a change in the interests at stake may obliterate. Nor do I attach much importance to the language of the Americans, when they manifest, in their daily conversation, the intention of maintaining the Federal system adopted by their forefathers. A government retains its sway over a great number of citizens, far less by the voluntary and rational consent of the multitude than by that instinctive, and to a certain extent involuntary, agreement which results from similarity of feelings and resemblances of opinion. I will never admit that men constitute a social body, simply because they obey the same head and the same laws. Society can only exist when a great number of men consider a great number of things in the same point of view; when they hold the same opinions upon many subjects, and when the same occurrences suggest the same thoughts and impressions to their minds."
Again, elsewhere, he says: " Whatever faith I may have in the perfectibility of man, until human nature is altered, and men wholly transformed, I shall refuse to believe in the duration of a government which is called upon to hold together forty different peoples, disseminated over a territory equal to one half of Europe in extent; to avoid rivalry, ambition, and struggles between them; and to direct their independent activity to the accomplishment of the same designs.”
And then on the point now in question: "It is difficult to imagine a durable union of a people which is rich and strong with one which is poor and weak, even if it were proved that the strength and wealth of the one are not the causes of the weakness and the poverty of the other. But union is still more difficult to maintain at a time at which one party is losing strength, and the other is gaining it. This rapid and disproportionate increase of certain States threatens the independence of the others. New York might, perhaps, succeed, with its two millions of inhabitants and its forty representatives, in dictating to the other States in congress. But even if the more powerful States make no attempt to bear down the lesser ones, the danger still exists, for there is almost as much in the possibility of the act as in the act itself. The weak generally mistrust the justice and the reason of the strong. The States which increase less rapidly than the others, look upon those which are more favoured by fortune with envy and suspicion. Hence arise the deep-seated uneasiness and ill-defined agitation which are observable in the South, and which form so striking a contrast to the confidence and prosperity which are common to other parts of the Union. The inhabitants of the Southern States are, of all the Americans, those who are most interested in the maintenance of the Union; they would, assuredly, suffer most from being left to themselves; and yet they are the only citizens who threaten to break the tie of Federation. But it is easy to perceive that the South, which has given four presidents—Washington, Jefferson, Madison, and Monroe-to the Union, which perceives that it is losing its Federal influence, and that the number of its representatives in congress is diminishing from year to year, whilst those of the Northern and Westera
States are increasing; the South, which is peopled with ardent and irascible beings, is becoming more and more irritated and alarmed. The citizens reflect upon their present position, and remember their past influence, with the melancholy uneasiness of men who suspect oppression. If they discover a law of the Union which is not unequivocally favourable to their interests, they protest against it as an abuse of force; and if their ardent remonstrances are not listened to, they threaten to quit an association which loads them with burdens whilst it deprives them of their due profits.
“ The tariff,' said the inhabitants of Carolina as far back as in 1832, enriches the North and ruins the South; for if this were not the case, to what can we attribute the continually increasing power and wealth of the North, with its inclement skies and arid soil; whilst the South, which may be styled the garden of America, is rapidly declining?”
If the changes which are here alluded to were gradual, so that each generation at least might have time to disappear with the order of things under which it had lived, the danger would be less ; but the progress of society in America is precipitate, and almost revolutionary. The same citizen may have lived to see his State take the lead in the Union, and afterwards become powerless in the Federal assemblies; and an Anglo-American republic has been known to grow as rapidly as a man, passing from birth and infancy to maturity in the course of thirty years.
It must not be imagined, however, that the States which lose their preponderance, also lose their population or their riches : no stop is put to their prosperity, and they even go on to increase more rapidly than any kingdom in Europe. But they believe themselves to be impoverished because their wealth does not augment as rapidly as that of their neighbours ; and they think that their power is lost, because they suddenly come into collision with a power greater than their own: thus they are more hurt in their feelings and their passions, than in their interests. But this is amply sufficient to endanger the maintenance of the Union. If kings and peoples had only their true interests in view ever since the beginning of the world, the name of war would scarcely be known among mankind.
Whilst the standing army (such being considered incompatible with a republican government) is estimated at about seventeen to eighteen thousand men of all arms, including about eight hundred commissioned officers, twelve thousand of whom are engaged, some as far off as is New Mexico, in protecting the so-called frontiers against the depredations of the Indians, the militia was calculated when the States were united at upwards of two millions. It may be said, indeed, that every man in the republic is a trained soldier disciplined to arms. Every year calls out a new army of local soldiery from among the peasantry; they thus train the entire rustic population. “ America,” as the once United States pompously designated, could, it was said, if necessary, bring three million of men into the field. The call of the president upon congress for four hundred thousand men is then a mere nothing, were it not for two drawbacks: firstly, what is good of the North is just the same with regard to the South, where the profession of arms is not merely the profession of the few, but the practice, the pride, and the pastime of the many; and secondly, it is admitted, notwithstanding this love of arms,
that the States have not the qualities of a military nation-rather those of an agricultural and commercial, of an industrial and colonising people. As De Tocqueville justly pointed out, the patriotism of the statesmen is a mere matter of interest, and as the interests of each State are local, and those of every individual peculiar to himself, it is almost impossible to expect civil war to be prolonged under such circumstances. A nation may unite to a man in self-defence, and yet not fight for a week for an abstract cause, for which he has to undergo fatigue, privation, and loss, to pay, fight, and shed his blood, without any personal, or sometimes even State interest in the question at issue. Hence it is that, from the onset, malingering on a scale perhaps never witnessed in the history of armies, a wholesale and unblushing desertion, aggravated into a national stampede, has been the characteristic of the civil war and the subject of popular jesting
War was a game which, if the dominant party in congress, or the irascible party of the South had been wise, they would neither have ever played at. It is rare that nations, like England, come out of a civil war unscathed; and even then the experiment is a bad one, and not worthy of being repeated. Prompt and eager to settle every petty quarrel by invading and annexing her neighbour's territory, Rome played out her game and lost her empire. Had the Romans yielded to the Italians rather than drive them to revolt, and to have to arm the Numidians and Gauls against them, no inevitable fate would have quenched Rome, and freedom and civilisation, beneath the feet of Germany. Had Pericles made any moderate concessions to save Spartan honour, instead of at once rushing recklessly to arms, he would have saved Greece from Macedonian despotism and spoliation.
" It appears to me unquestionable,” said De Tocqueville, nigh a quarter of a century ago, " that if any portion of the Union seriously desired to separate itself from the other States, they would not be able, nor, indeed, would they attempt, to prevent it; and that the present Union will only last as long as the states which compose it choose to continue members of the Confederation.” The error in this is not if they were able, but that they would not attempt it. The North has proceeded to treat the South separating, as the South in rebellion ; and it will remain to be seen even if the successes of war, or the holding the main places and strongholds of the South, would subject states voluntarily dissolved : certainly not without the creation of a military despotism upon the ruins of Federal democracy. A compromise is the only alternative that can yet save the once United States. *
* The Earl of Shaftesbury remarked: “That with regard to the struggle now going on, there was no sympathy in this country for either one side or the other, simply because we believed there was no sincerity in either of them.” But admitting that the Federal party are open to a compromise, the rebellion is still
, to a certain extent, a pro-slavery rebellion, the Fugitive Slave Bill has become almost a nonentity, and it is utterly impossible that the struggle can go on for any length of time without affecting the interests of the down-trodden coloured population, or involving them in the tumults and disorders of an impossible position of things. It has been before remarked (New Monthly, p. 392), “That if the Slave States act wisely, and will yield quietly to what is inevitable, the curse of slavery may be gradually removed within the Union, without bloodshed or convulsions, or any material injury to them. We believe that President Lincoln, to Then, again, while the United States are not free from foes within her territories, there is hardly one line of her frontier that is not beset with enemies. Her insane love of aggrandisement has rendered her southern frontier a hornets’-nest. She has, in reality, scarcely a foot in New Mexico and New California, and while her slave population burns to avenge years of tyranny, the red race would be but too ready to avail themselves of civil dissensions to exterminate the whites, where far separated from their fellow-men. This would be a most fearful and terrible catastrophe, which may Heaven avert! The blustering, domineering spirit of the Yankee has made him equally disliked in the North. Arrogance in the Bay of Fundy was not calculated to conciliate the Nova Scotians and the New Brunswickers; open and repeated threats of invasion and annexation, have only added to a host of grievances with the Canadians, while not content with driving the Columbians from the river Oregon to Vancouver's Island and Frazer's River, the attempt to take forcible possession of an island nearly in mid-channel between the two, so as thus to obtain a command over both, has not left an impression of esteem or cordiality in the far north-west. But these have now become questions of little import, for if the once United States do not pursue a wiser and more peaceful policy they will soon crumble to pieces, and while threatening Canada and fighting for San Juan they will lose both Oregon and California.
Add to all this, what would be the effect of disunion among the more compact, civilised, and highly-populated States? Here, again, we will refer to De Tocqueville. "If,” says that intelligent and philosophical writer, “the States were to split, they would not only diminish the strength which they are now able to display towards foreign nations, but
stop bloodshed, would gladly accept a compromise based on the gradual extirpation of slavery, though he would not even have asked for that had not the Southern States acted so foolishly and placed themselves in a false position. The hour in which secession was declared, was also the date of the abolition of the peculiar institution.'
The early and important successes of the Secessionists cannot, however, fail to exercise a most serious influence upon the future. They at once put the off-hand subjugation of the South, so vauntingly anticipated, out of the question, and render the chances of the Union ever being again solidly cemented more remote than ever. On the other hand, there has always been a party which has from the commencement blamed the North for not having at once cut the ground from under the feet of the South, and at the same time earned the sympathies of all European nations and of most European governments, by announcing the entire abolition of slavery in the Union, and taking all possible legislative means to put an end to it. This party has long maintained that nothing would drive the Federals to this course but serious reverses. These have now occurred, and abolitionists do not hesitate to express their gratification and predict that the blood of the North will be so violently heated by these disasters, that all questions connected with slavery will be at once swept away, and the whole force and wealth of the Free States brought to bear like an avalanche upon the Secessionists. There is, however, against this the consideration how strong the slave interest is on the side of the North ? Opinion is powerful, but dollars are still far more so. We know it ourselves, for how much more demonstrative would the tone have been throughout the liberal manufacturing party in England, were it not that a clew of cotton connects the South, New York, Boston, Manchester, and Liverpool! There is also the equally important consideration, whether all such ideas are not now mere vanity, and whether the North has the power to force any one of its ideas upon the South.
they would soon create foreign powers upon their own territory. A system of inland custom-houses would then be established, the valleys would be divided by imaginary boundary lines, the courses of the rivers would be confined by territorial distinctions, and a multitude of hindrances would prevent the Americans from exploring the whole of that vast continent which Providence has allotted to them for a dominion. At present they have no invasion to fear, and, consequently, no standing armies to maintain, no taxes to levy. If the Union were dissolved, all these burdensome measures might, ere long, be required. The Americans are, then, very powerfully interested in the maintenance of the Union.”
It is not only that civil war entails burdensome taxes, and at the onset 400,000,000 dollars were asked for, with four hundred thousand men, but the president was obliged, from the weakness inherent in government, to also ask for what was designated as a large accession of confidence in himself and his cabinet. It is a grievous fact, the more so as hitherto the United States have set a great example of enlightenment, liberality, and prosperity under free institutions to the wise and the good in the world; but most certain it is that any prolonged civil war would be found to be totally incompatible with the existence of those institutions. Either a rapid conquest or a compromise must be effected, or power will be concentrated in the hands of the one who shall have strength or intelligence enough to wield the majority, even against their own inclinations, to subject the minority, and upon such subjection, and upon the means used to bring it about, will be raised, as in all past history, a dictatorship of one kind or another.
The two extremes, severance or despotism, are the more to be regretted, as the United States have admittedly taken the precedence, not in actual amount, but in comparative amount, with respect to time and population of all the nations of the world in regard to commerce. They equal England and excel most other countries in their magnificent lines of river and ocean steamers, in their canals, railroads, and electric telegraphs, in their naval architecture and shipping, in their agricultural products, in their manufactories and manufactures, in their reaping-machines and daguerreotypes-in fact, in all strictly industrial and agricultural arts.
But the country has not yet been distinguished by any large amount of industrial splendour, nor are luxuries, though common, either abundant or wide-spread. Nor may the once United States have ever been considered so rich and dignified, so luxurious and refined, as the old courts and their appanages in Europe ; but this was a mere matter of time, and in the interval it was always pleasant to reflect that what was far more charming existed—the whole mass of the population shared and participated alike in all the blessings that it had pleased Providence to bestow upon the country. In no region, indeed, since the fall of the Roman Empire have the masses of the people been placed in so advantageous a position as in the United States, not only as to the enjoyment of civil rights, but also as to a command of the material necessaries and comforts of life. Contentment and happiness were participated in by the million.
The general absence of beggars, such as infest all the old countries, was proverbial. The Duc de Liancourt affirmed that he saw but one beggar in the United States; and the testimony of the Earl of Carlisle, of Captains Hall, Hamilton, and Marryat, of Charles Dickens and of Miss