This surreptitious undermining of General Butler by the Secretary of State, is one more evidence of how truly patriotic was the effort of the Republican Senators and Congressmen to liberate the President and the country from the all-choking and all-poisoning influence of Mr. Seward, and how cursed must remain forever the conduct of Mr. Chase, who, after having during two years cried against Seward, accusing him almost of treason, when the hour struck, preferred to embarrass the patriots and the President rather that to let Mr. Seward retire and deprive the people of his patriotic services. It was moreover expected that, thus warned by the patriots, the President would seize the first occasion to infuse energy into his Cabinet. But there is a Mr. Usher, a docile nonentity, made Secretary of the Interior; of course the Secretary of State will be strengthened thereby.
January 10.—Senator Wright of Indiana, in an ardent and lofty—of course, not rhetorical, speech, hit the nail on the head, when, rendering due homage to Rosecrans, he called him "the first general who fights for the people and not for the White House." The greatest praise for the man, and the most saddening picture of our internal sores.
January 10.—As the pure populus Romanus had an inborn aversion to Kings and diadems, and could not patiently bear their neighborhood, so the genuine American Democrat, one by principles and not by a party name or by a party organization, such a Democrat feels it to be death for his institutions to have slavocracy in his country or in its neighborhood.
Jan. 10.—O how is to be pitied the future historian of this bloody tragedy! Through what a loathsome cesspool of documentary evidence, preserved in the various State Archives, the unhappy historian will have to wade, and wade deep to his chin. Original works of Lincoln, Seward, etc.
It is easy to play a game at chess with a far superior player, then at least one learns something; but impossible to sit at a chess board with a child who throws all into confusion. The national chessboard is very confused in the White House. Cunning is good for, and only succeeds in dealing with, mean and petty facts.
Jan. 10.—Halleck's congratulatory order to Rosecrans and to the Western heroes. How cold and pedantic. How differently, how enthusiastically and fiery rang Stanton's words on the capture of forts Henry and Donelson and to Lander's (now dead) troops. Why is Stanton silent? Is it the Constitution, the Statute, is it the incarnate four years formula which seals Stanton's heart and brains? or is Stanton eaten up by the rats in the Cabinet?
January 10.—The messages of the loyal Governors, not copperheads, (as is Seymour of N. Y.) above all, the message of Andrew of Massachusetts, throw a ray of hope and promise over this dark, cold, unpatriotic confusion so eminent here in Washington. This confusion, this groping, double-dealing and helplessness can be only cured by a wonder, or else all will be lost. The wonder is daily perpetrated by the all enduring, all-sacrificing people.
Those criminals who ought to have been shot, or, at the mildest, cashiered for the slaughter at Fredericksburgh, the engineers, mock-Jominis, the sham soldiers: all these Washington engineers of that recent butchery, assert now, that, after all, the possession of Fredericksburgh was immaterial; that Lee would have then selected a better position. All this is thrown to the public to palliate the crime of the Washington military conclave, and to weaken and invalidate Hooker's evidence before the War Committee. It must be admitted that if Hooker—having fifty thousand in hand, and one hundred thousand in his rear, had seized the Fredericksburgh heights, he would not have allowed Lee to so easily select a position and to fortify it. Nay, I suppose, that not only Hooker, but even a Halleck, a Cullum or a Meigs would have prevented Lee from settling in any comfortable position. However, I might be mistaken. Corinth, Corinth, for Halleck. Those great nightcaps here have so original and so new military conceptions, their general comprehension of warfare so widely differs from science, experience, and from common sense, that, holding Fredericksburgh they might have invited Lee to select whatever he wanted as a strong position.
I learn that Halleck is at work to translate some French military book. What an inimitable narrow-minded pedant. If Halleck had brains, he could not have an hour leisure for translation. But in such way he humbugs Mr. Lincoln, who looks on Halleck as the quintessence of military knowledge and genius. A man who can translate a French book must be a genius. Is it not so, Lincoln? And thus Halleck translates a book instead of taking care that the pontoons be sent in time; and Halleck prepared sheets for the press, and our soldiers to be massacred.
Burnside prepares a movement; Franklin, to undermine Burnside, to appear great, or to get hold of the army, denounces Burnside secretly to the President: the President forbids the movement. What a confusion! Mr. Lincoln, either accept Burnside's resignation, which he has repeatedly offered, or kick down the denouncers. Accident made me discover almost next day, the names of the two generals sent by Franklin on this denunciatory errand—John Cochran and Newton. I instantly told all to Stanton, who was almost ignorant of Franklin's surreptitiousness. I also told it to several Senators.
The Army of the Potomac is altogether demoralized—above all, in the higher grades. It could not be otherwise if they were angels. McClellanism was and is propitious to general disorder, and how Mr. Lincoln improves is exemplified above. Independent men, independent Senators and Representatives who approach Mr. Lincoln, find him peevish, irritable, intractable to all patriots. All these are criteria of a lofty mind and character. Weed, Seward, Harris, Blair, and such ones alone, are agreeable in the White House.
So much is spoken of the war powers of the President; I study, and study, and cannot find them as absolute as the Lincolnites construe them. All that I read in the Constitution are the real war powers in the Congress, and the President is only the executor of those powers. The President must have permission for every thing, almost at every step—and has no right to issue decrees. He has no war powers over those of Congress, and can act very little on his own hook. It seems to me that Congress, misled, confused by casuists, expounders, and by small intellects worshipping routine, that Congress rather abdicated their powers, and that the bunglers around Lincoln, in his name greedily seized the above powers.
Poor Lincoln! As the devil dreads holy water, so Mr. Lincoln dreads to be surrounded with stern, earnest, ardent, patriotic advisers. Such men would not listen to stories!
January 11.—The thus-called metropolitan press is in the hands of old politicians, old hacks—and no new forces or intellects pierce through. It is a phenomenon. In any whatever country in Europe, at every convulsion the press bristles with new, fresh intellects. Here, the old nightcaps have the monopoly. Farther: those respectable fossils reside at a distance from the focus of affairs, are not directly in contact with events and men, and are in no communion with them. The Grand Lamas of the press depend for information upon the correspondents, who catch news and ideas at random, and nourish with them their employers and the public.
January 11.—Senator Sumner has made a motion to give homesteads to the liberated Africo-Americans. That is a better and a nobler action than all his declamations put together.
January 12.—Sentinels in double line surrounding the White House. Odious, ridiculous, unnecessary, and an aspect unwonted in this country—giving the aspect to the White House of an abode of a tyrant, when it is only that of a shifting politician. It is Halleck, who, with the like futilities and absurdities, amuses Lincoln and gets the better of him.
Mr. Lincoln is very depressed at the condition of the Army of the Potomac, and decides—nothing for its reorganization. But for Halleck, Stanton would reorganize and give a new and healthy life to the army. I mean the upper grades, and not the rank and file, who are patriotic and healthy.
After Corinth, Halleck-Buell disorganized the Western, now Halleck is at work to do the same with the Potomac Army. I know that in the presence of a diplomat, Halleck complained that he is paid only five thousand dollars, and earned by far more in California. He had better return to California and to his pettifogging.
Since the beginning of this Administration, Mr. Seward wrote, I am sure, more dispatches than France, England, Prussia, Russia, Austria, Spain, and Italy put together during the Crimean war, and up to this day. Great is ink, and paper is patient!
January 13.—It is more than probable that Mr. Mercier stirred up, or at least heartily supported the mediation scheme. The Frenchmen in New York maintain that Mr. Mercier derives his knowledge of America and his political inspirations from that foul sheet, the Courrier des Etats Unis. There is some truth in this assertion, as the reasons enumerated to justify mediation can be found in various numbers of that sheet. I am sorry that Mr. Mercier has fallen so low; as for his master, he is a fit associate for the Courrier.
January 13.—Ralph Waldo Emerson, inspired and not silenced by the storm. He alone stands up from among the Athenian school. He alone is undaunted. So would be Longfellow, but for the terrible domestic calamity whose crushing blow no man's heart could resist. I never was a great admirer of Emerson, but now I bow, and burn to him my humble incense.
January 15.—The patriotic, and at times inspired orator—not rhetor—Kelly, from Pennsylvania, told me that all is at sixes and sevens in the Administration, and in the army. I believe it. How could it be otherwise, with Lincoln, Seward and Halleck at the head?
Mr. Seward did his utmost to defeat the re-election of Judge Potter from Wisconsin, one among the best and noblest patriots in the country. For this object Mr. Seward used the influence of the pro-Catholic Bonzes. Then Mr. Seward wrote a letter denying all this—a letter which not in the least convinced the brave Judge, as I have it from himself.
If all the lies could only be ferreted out with which Seward bamboozles Lincoln, even the God of Lies himself would shudder.
January 15.—The noble and lofty voice of the genuine English people, the voice of the working classes, begins to be heard. The people re-echo the key-note struck by a J. S. Mills, by a Bright, a Cobden, and others of like pure mind and noble heart. The voice of the genuine English people resounds altogether differently from the shrill falsetto with which turf hunters, rent-roll devourers, lords, lordlings, and all the like shams and whelps try to intimidate the patriotic North, and comfort the traitors, the rebels.
January 16.—But for the truly enlightened and patriotic efforts of the Senators Wade, Lane, (of Kansas) and Trumbull, the debate of yesterday, Thursday, on the appropriation for the West Point Military Academy would have gone to the country, absolutely misleading and stultifying the noble and enlightened people. It was most sorrowful, nay, wholly disgusting to witness how Senators who, until then, had stood firmly against small influences and narrow prejudices, blended together in an unholy alliance to sustain the accursed clique of West Point engineers. Much allowance is to be made for the allied Senators' ignorance of the matter, and for the natural wish to appear wise. The country, the people, ought to treasure the names of the ten patriotic Senators whose voices protested against further sustaining that cursed nursery of arrogance, of pro-slavery, or of something worse.
Whatever might have been the efforts of the Senatorial patrons and the allies of the engineers, the following facts remained for ever unalterable: 1st. That the spirit of close educational corporation which have exclusive monopoly and patronage, is perfectly similar to the spirit which prevailed and still prevails in monasteries, and permeates the pupils during their whole after life; 2d. That the prevailing spirit in West Point was and is rather monarchical and altogether Pro-Slavery; 3d, that of course some noble exceptions are to be found and made,—but they are exceptions; 4th, that such educational monasteries nurse conceit and arrogance; and this the mass of West Pointers have prominently shown during this war in their relations with the noble and devoted volunteers, and that this arrogant spirit of clique and of caste works mischievously in the army; 5th, that exceptions, noble and patriotic, as a Reno, a Lyons, a Bayard, a Stevens, and other such heroes and patriots, do not disprove the general rule; 6th, that Lyons, Grant, Rosecrans, Hooker, Heintzelman, etc., have shown glorious qualities not on account of what they learnt in West Point, but by what they did not learn there; 7th, that these heroes rose above the dry and narrow school wisdom, and are what they are, not because educated in West Point, but notwithstanding their education there. And here I interrupt the further enumeration to give an extract from a private letter directed to me by one of the most eminent pupils from West Point, and the ablest true, not mock, engineer in our army:
"In regard to your views of West Point's influence I am at a loss to make any answer," (the writer is a great defender of West Point,) "but would suggest that it may be after all not West Point, but the want of a supreme hand to our military affairs to combine and use the materials West Point furnishes, that is in fault. * * * West Point cannot make a general—no military school can—but it can and does furnish good soldiers. All the distinguished Confederate generals are West Pointers, and yet we know the men, and know that neither Lee, nor Johnson nor Jackson, nor Beauregard, nor the Hills are men of any very extraordinary ability," etc., etc., etc.
To this I answer: the rebels are with their heart and soul in their cause, and thus their capacities are expanded, they are inspired on the field of battle. (Similar answer I gave to General McDowell about six months ago.) So was our Lyon, so are Rosecrans, Hooker, Grant, and a few others; and for such generals, Senators Trumbull, Wade and Lane ardently called in the above debate.
I continue the enumeration: 8th. The military direction of the war is exclusively in the hands of a West Point clique, and of West Point engineers,—not very much with their hearts in the people's cause; 9th, that that clique of West Point engineers from McClellan down to Halleck prevents any truly higher military capacity getting a free untrammelled scope, (General Halleck with all his might opposes giving the command of the army to Hooker,) and this Halleck, an engineer from West Point, who never saw a cartridge burnt or a file of soldiers fighting, to-day decides the military fate of our country on the authority of a book said to be on military science, but if such a book had been written by any officer in the armies of France, Prussia or Russia, the ignorant author would have had the friendly advice from his superiors to resign and select some pursuit in life more congenial to his intellectual capacities; further, this Halleck complains in following words: "that they (the Administration) made him leave a profitable business in San Francisco, and pay him only 5,000 dollars to fight THEIR (not his) battles." So much for a Halleck. 10th. That the West Point clique of engineers, the McClellans, the Hallecks, the Franklins, etc., have brought the country to the verge of the grave, as stated by Senator Lane.
Such were the facts established by the patriotic and not would-be-wise Senators; and there is an illustration recorded in history as proof that the above not engineering Senators were right in their assertions. Frederick II. was in no military school; the captains second to Napoleon in the French wars were Hoche, Moreau, and Massena, all of them from private life.
—The clique of engineers has the Potomac Army altogether in its grasp, and has reduced and perverted the spirit of the noble children of the people. Oh, the sooner this army shall be torn from the hands of the clique the nearer and surer will be the salvation of the country.
The clique accuses the volunteers; but the clique, the engineers in power have disorganized, morally and materially, and disgraced the Army of the Potomac. They did this from the day of the encampments around Washington, in the fall of 1861, down to the day of Fredericksburgh. Fredericksburgh was altogether prepared by engineers; at Fredericksburgh the engineer Franklin did not even mount his horse when his soldiers were misled and miscommanded—by himself.
—Stragglers are generated by generals. Besides, to explain straggling, I quote from a genuine book on genuine military science, published in Berlin in 1862, by Captain Boehn, the most eminent professor at the military school in Potsdam: "The greatest losses, during a war, inflicted on an army are by maladies and by straggling. Such losses are five times greater than those of killed and wounded; and an intelligent administration takes preparatory measures to meet the losses and to compensate them. Such measures of foresight consist in organizing depots for battalions, which depots ought to equal one sixth of the number of the active army." O, Halleck, where are the depots?
—"In any ordinary campaign, excepting a winter campaign, the losses amount (as established by experience) to one half in infantry, one fourth in cavalry, and to one third in artillery." (Do you know any thing about it, O, Halleck?)
Let the people be warned, and they may understand the location of the cause generating further disasters. If the Army of the Potomac shall win glory, it will win it notwithstanding the West Point clique of engineers. The disasters have root in the White House, where the advice of such a Halleck prevails.
—I know very well that the formation of the volunteers in respective States and by the Governors of such States raises a great difficulty in organizing and preparing reserves. But talent and genius reveal themselves by overpowering difficulties considered to be insurmountable. And Halleck is a man both of genius and talent.
Taking into account the patriotism, the devotion of the governors of the respective states, [not a la Copperhead Seymour], it would have been possible, nay, even easy to organize some kind of reserves. O, Halleck, O, fogies!
January 17.—Mr. Lincoln loads on his shoulders all kinds of responsibilities, more so than even Jackson would have dared to take. Admirable if generated by the boldness of self-consciousness, of faith, and of convictions. True men measure the danger—and the means in their grasp to meet the emergency; others play unconsciously with events, as do children with explosive and death-dealing matters.
January 17.—General and astronomer Mitchel's death may be credited to Halleck. Halleck and Buell's envy—if not worse—paralysed Mitchel and Turtschin's activity in the West. Mitchel and Turtschin were too quick, that is, too patriotic. In early summer, 1862, they were sure to take Chattanooga, a genuine strategic point, one of those principal knots and nurseries in the life of the secesh. How imprudent! Chattanooga is still in the hands of the rebels, and if we ever take it, it will cost streams of blood and millions of money. Down with Mitchel and Turtschin. Mitchel's excrementa were more valuable than are Halleck's heavy, but not expanding, brains. Mitchel revealed at once all the qualities of an eminent, if not of a great general. Quickness of mind, fertility of resources. An astronomer, a mathematician, Mitchel's mind was familiar with broad combinations. Such a mind penetrated space, calculated means and chances, balanced forces and probabilities. Not to compare, however, is it to be borne in mind that Napoleon was a mathematician in the fullest sense, and not an engineer, not a translator.
January 18.—Mr. Lincoln's letter to McClellan when the hero of the Copperheads was in search of mud in the Peninsula. The letter rings as sound common sense; it shows, however, that common sense debarred of strong will remains unproductive of good. Mr. Lincoln commonly shows strong will, in the wrong place.
——ein Theil von jener Krafft, Die stehts das Guthe will, und stehts das Boese schaff.
January 18.—The emancipation proclamation is out. Very well. But until yet not the slightest signs of any measures to execute the proclamation, at once, and in its broadest sense. Now days, even hours, are equal to years in common times. Had Lincoln his heart in the proclamation, on January 2d he would begin to work out its expansion, realization, execution. I wish Lincoln may lift himself, or be lifted by angels to the grandeur of the work. But it is impossible. Surrounded as he is, and led in the strings by Seward, Blair, Halleck, and by border-state politicians, the best that can be expected are belated half measures.
Stanton comprehends broadly and thoroughly the question of emancipation and of arming the Africo-Americans. As I intend to realize my plans of last year and organise Africo-American regiments, I had conversations with Stanton, and find him more thorough about the matter than is any body whom I met. He agreed with me, that the cursed land of Secessia ought to be surrounded by camps to enlist and organise the enslaved, as a scorpion surrounded with burning coals. Such organizations introduced rapidly and simultaneously on all points, would shake Secessia to its foundations, and put an end to guerillas, alias murderers and robbers. We will again think and talk it over. But as is wont with Lincoln, he will hesitate, hesitate, until much of precious time will be lost.
January 18.—A surgeon in one of the hospitals in Alexandria writes in a private note:
"Our wounded bear their sufferings nobly; I have hardly heard a word of complaint from one of them. A soldier from the 'stern and rock bound coast' of Maine—a victim of the slaughter at Fredericksburgh—lay in this hospital, his life ebbing away from a fatal wound. He had a father, brothers and sisters, a wife, and one little boy of two or three years old, on whom his heart seemed set. Half an hour before he ceased to breathe, I stood by his side, holding his hand. He was in the full exercise of his intellectual faculties, and knew he had but a brief time to live. He was asked if he had any message to leave for his dear ones whom he loved so well. "Tell them," said he, "how I died—they know how I lived!"
January 19.—Senator Wright, of Indiana, stirred the hearts of the Senate and of the people. It was not the oration of a rhetor—it was the confession of an ardent, pure patriot. I never heard or witnessed anything so inspiring and so kindling to soul and heart.
January 20.—General Butler palsied and shelved, Halleck all powerful and with full steam running the country and the army to destruction—such is the truest photograph of the situation. But as an adamantine rock among storms, so Mr. Lincoln remains unmoved. Unmoved by the yawning, bleeding wounds of the devoted, noble people—unmoved by the prayers and supplication of patriots—of his—once—best friends. Mr. Lincoln answers, with dignity not Roman, and with obstinacy unparallelled even by Jackson, that he will stand or fall with his present advisers, and that he takes the responsibility for all the cursed misdeeds of Seward, Halleck, Chase, and others. So children are ready to set a match to a powder magazine unconscious of the terrible results—unconscious of the awful responsibility for its destructive action.
A death pang runs through one's body to see how rapidly the dial marks the disappearing hours, and how unrelentingly approaches March 4th, and the death-knell of this present patriotic, devoted Congress. For this terrible storm and clash of events, the people, perhaps, feel not the immensity of the loss. Paralyzed as Congress has been and now is, by the infernal machinations of Seward, Chase, and others, and by Mr. Lincoln's stubborn helplessness, the patriots in both Houses nevertheless, succeeded in redeeming the pledge which the name of America gives to the expansive progress of humanity. The patriots of both Houses, as the exponents of the noble and loftiest aspirations of the American people, whipped in—and this literally, not figuratively—whipped Mr. Lincoln into the glory of having issued the Emancipation Proclamation. The laws promulgated by this dying Congress initiated the Emancipation—generated the Proclamation of the 22d September, and of January 1st. History will not allow one to wear borrowed plumage.
—Congress ought not to have so easily abdicated its well established rights of more absolute and direct control of the deeds of the Administration and of its clerks, alias Secretaries of Departments. It is to be eternally regretted that Congress has shown such unnecessary leniency; but in justice it must be said that the patriotic and high-minded members of Congress wished to avoid the degrading necessity of showing the nation the prurient administrative sores. Advised, directed, tutored and pushed by Seward, Blair and Chase, Mr. Lincoln is—innocently—as grasping for power, as are any of those despots not over respectfully recorded by history.
With all this, the presence of Congress keeps in awe the reckless and unscrupulous Administration, as, according to the pious belief of medieval times, holy water awed the devil. But Congress once out of the way, without having succeeded in rescuing Mr. Lincoln from the hands of those mean, ignorant, egotistic bunglers, all the time squinting towards the succession to the White House, and unable to surround the President with men and patriots, then all the plagues of Egypt may easily overrun this fated country. Such conjurors of evil as the Sewards, Hallecks, and others, will have no dread of any holy water before them, and they will be sure that the great party of the "Copperheads" in the future Congress will applaud them for all the mischief done, and lift them sky high, if they succeed in treading down in the gutter, or in any way palsying emancipation, tarnishing the people's noble creed, and endangering the country's holiest cause.
General Fitz-John Porter's trial before court-martial ended in his dismissal, but ought punishment to fall on him alone, when the butchers of Fredericksburgh and when the pontoon men are in high command? when a Franklin is still sustained, when a Seward and a Halleck remain firm in their high places as the gates of hell?
January 20.—Wrote a respectful letter to the President on Halleck's military science, his book, and capacity. Told respectfully to Mr. Lincoln that not even the Sultan would dare to palm such a Halleck on his army and on his people.
Mr. Lincoln in his greatness says that "he will stand and fall with his Cabinet." O, Mr. Lincoln! O, Mr. Lincoln! purple-born sovereigns can no more speak so!
Mr. Lincoln! with the gang of politicians, your advisers and friends, you all desire immensely, and will feebly. You desire the reconstruction of the Union, and you almost shun the ways and means to do it. And thus this noble people is dragged to a slaughter house.
Parumne campis atque Neptuno super Fusum est—[Yankee] sanguinis?
January 21.—Deep, irreconcilable as is my hatred of slavocrats and rebels, nevertheless I am forced to admire the high intellectual qualities of their chiefs, when compared with that of ours. Of Lincoln versus Jeff Davis I spoke in the first volume. But now Lee, Jackson, Hill, Ewall, versus Halleck, McClellan, McDowell, Franklin, etc.
January 22.—Wendell Phillips's Amen oration to the Proclamation is noble and torrent-like oratory. Greeley is the better Greeley of former times. I heartily wish to admire and speak well of Greeley, as of every body else. Is it my fault that they give me no occasion?
January 23.—General Fitz-John Porter, McClellan's pet, told me to-day, that after the battle at Hanover Court House, he supplicated McClellan to attack Richmond at once—which in Porter's opinion could have been taken without much ado,—and not to change his base to James River; and even Fitz-John could not prevail on this demigod of imbeciles, traitors and intriguers.
January 24.—Here is one of the thousand flagrant lies with which Seward entangles Lincoln, as with a net of steel. Lincoln assured General Ashley that the public is unjust toward Seward in accusing him of having worked for the defeat of Wadsworth. That they have been the best friends for long years; that, when Military Governor of Washington, Wadsworth was a daily visitor in Seward's house; and that, during the canvass, Wadsworth consulted with Seward concerning his (Wadsworth's) actions.
Mr. Seward knows that every one of those assertions which he or Thurlow Weed pushed down the throat of Mr. Lincoln is a flagrant lie. Every one knows that for many, many years the high-toned Wadsworth had in utter detestation Mr. Seward's character as a lawyer or as a public man, and that he never spoke to him, and never was his political or private friend.
I am sorry to bring such details before the public, but how otherwise convict a liar? As for Thurlow Weed's secret and open machinations against the election of Wadsworth, only an idiot or a s.... doubts them. Ask the New York politicians, provided they have manhood to tell the truth.
January 24th.—Caveant Senators and Representatives! cannot be too often hurled into the ears of the people and of the Congressmen. The time runs lightning like—the 4th of March approaches with comet-like velocity. If the tempest is not roaring, its signs are visible, and most of the helmsmen are blind or unsteady. Oh! could every move of the pendulums of the clocks of the Senate Chamber and the Representatives' Hall, thunder-like repeat that caveant, transmitted by the purest and best days of Rome! The Republicans and many of the war Democrats are faithful and true to the people and to its sacred cause; but the names of the "filibustering" traitors in both houses ought to be nailed to the gallows!
European winds bring Louis Napoleon's opening speech, and the confession, that although once rebuked, he, the dissolute, the profligate, with his corrosive breath still intends to pollute the virginity of our country; for such is the indelible stain to any nation, to any people which accepts or submits to any, even the most friendly, foreign mediation or arbitration. Never, never any great nation or any self-respecting government, accepted or submitted to any similar foreign interference. Of the peoples, nations and governments, which allowed such interference, some collapsed into degradation for a long time, only slowly recovering, like Spain; others, like Poland, disappeared. Those who advocate such mediation unveil their weakness, their thorough ignorance of the world's history and of the historic and political bearings of the words, mediation, and arbitration; and to crown all, these advocates bring to market their imbecility.
The Africo-Americans ought to receive military organization and be armed. But it ought to be done instantly and without loss of time; it ought to be done earnestly, boldly, broadly; it ought to be done at once on all points and on the largest scale; it ought to be done here in Washington, under the eyes of the chief of the people; here in the heart of the country; here, so to speak, in the face of slave-breeding Virginia, this most intense focus of treason; it ought to be done here, that the loyal freemen of Virginia's soil be enabled to fight and crush the F. F. V's, the progeny of hell; it ought to be done here on every inch of soil covered with shattered shackles; and not partially on the outskirts, in the Carolinas and Louisiana. Stanton, alone, and Welles among the helmsmen, are so inspired; but alas, for the rest of the crew.
On the flags of the Africo-Americans under my command, I shall inscribe: Hic niger est! hunc tu (rebel) caveto! I shall inculcate upon my men that they had better not make prisoners in the battle, and not allow themselves to be taken alive.
January 25th.—So Gen. McClellan's services to the rebellion are acknowledged by the gift of a splendid mansion situated in New York, in the social sewer of American society. The donors, are the shavers from Wall Street, individuals who coin money from the blood and from the misfortunes of the people, and who by high rents mercilessly crush the poor; who sacrifice nothing for the sacred cause; who, if they put their names as voluntary contributors of a trifle for the war, thousand and thousand times recover that trifle which they ostentatiously throw to gull the good-natured public opinion; not to speak of those so numerous among the McClellanites, who openly or secretly are in mental communion with treason and rebellion. Naturally, all this gang honors its hero.
McClellan's pedestal is already built of the corpses of hundreds of thousands butchered by his generalship, poisoned in the Chickahominy, and decimated by diseases. His trophies are the wooden guns from Centreville and Manassas.
January 25th.—What from the beginning of this war, I witness as administrative acts and dispositions, and further the debates in Congress on the various bills for military organizations and for the organization of the various branches of the military medical, surgical, and quartermaster's service; all this fully convinces me that the military and administrative routine, as transmitted by Gen. Scott, or by his school, and as continued by his pets and remnants, is almost the paramount cause of all mischief and evils. In the medical, surgical, and in the quartermasters' offices, ought have been appointed young civilians and business men as chiefs, having under them some old routinists for the sake of technicalities of the service. Such men would have done by far better than those old intellectual drones. A merchant accustomed to carry on an extensive and complicated business would have been by far a better quartermaster-general—Intendant des armees—than the wholly inexperienced Gen. Meigs. This last would serve as an aid to the merchant. At the beginning of the war, I suggested to Senator Wilson to import such quartermasters from France or Russia, men experienced and accustomed to provide for armies of 100,000 men each. By paying well, such men could have been easily found, and the military medical and surgical bureau, as organized by Scott, was about sixty years behind real science. These senile representatives of non-science snubbed off Professor Van Buren of the New York academy, to whom they compare as the light of a common match to that of calcium. If men like Dr. Van Buren, Dr. Barker, and others of real science from New York, Boston, Philadelphia, etc., had been listened to, thousands and thousands of limbs and lives would have been saved and preserved.
January 25th.—Mr. Lincoln relishes the idea that if the cause of the North is victorious, no one can claim much credit for it. I put this on record for some future assumptions. Mr. Lincoln is the best judge of the merits of his clerks and lieutenants. But Mr. Lincoln forgets that the success will be due exclusively to the people—and, per contra, he alone will be arrayed for the failure. His friends and advisers, as the Sewards, the Weeds, the Blairs, the Hallecks, will very cleverly wash their gored hands from any complicity with him—Lincoln.
The army to be formed from Africo-Americans is to be entrusted to converted conservatives. It is feared that sincere abolitionists if entrusted with the command, may use the forces for some awful, untold aims. It is feared that abolitionists once possessed of arms and troops, may use them indiscriminately, and emancipate right and left, by friend and foe, paying no attention to the shrieks of border-States, of old women, of politicians, of cowards, of Sewardites; nay, it is feared that genuine abolitionists may carry too far their notions of absolute equality of races, and without hesitation treat the white rebels with even more severity than they threaten to treat loyal armed Africo-Americans. And why not?...
The history of England, the history of any free country has not on record a position thus anomalous, even humiliating, as is that of the patriots in Congress, thanks to Mr. Lincoln's helpless stubbornness. The patriots forcibly must consider Mr. Lincoln, even Sewardised, Blairised, Halleckised as he is, as being the only legal power for the salvation of the country. The patriots must support him, and instead of exposing the wretched faults, mistakes, often ill-will of his administration, must defend the administration against the attacks of the Copperheads, who try to destroy or disorganize the administration on account of that atom of good that it accidentally carries out on its own hook. And thus the patriots must suffer and bear patiently abuses heaped on them by the treasonable or by the stupid press, by intriguers and traitors; and patriots cannot make even the slightest attempt to vindicate their names.
January 26th.—The visits to the White House and the "I had a talk with the President," are among the prominent causes of the distracted condition of affairs. With comparatively few exceptions, almost everybody expands a few inches in his own estimation, when he says to his listeners, nay, to his friends: "I had a talk with the President." Of course it is no harm in private individuals to have such a talk, but I have frequently observed and experienced that public men had better refrain from having any talk with him. Very often he is not a jot improved by their talk, and they come out from the interview worsted in some sort or other.
Sumner, the Roman, the Cicero, was to-day urged by several abolitionists from Boston to expose the mischief of both the foreign and the domestic policy of Seward. The Senator replied that he is more certain to succeed against that public nuisance and public enemy by not attacking him openly. I vainly ransack my recollection of my classic reading for the name of any Roman who ever made such a reply.
January 26th: Two o'clock P. M.—Hooker is in command! And patriotic hearts thrill with joy! Mud, bad season, mortality, loss of time, demoralization, such is the inheritance left by McClellan, Halleck and Burnside—such are the results prepared by the infamous West Point and other muddy intriguers in Washington, and in the army,—such is the inheritance transmitted to Hooker, by the cursed Administration procrastinations. In all military history there is seldom, if ever, a record of a commander receiving an army under such ominous circumstances. If Hooker succeeds, then his genius will astonish even his warmest friends.
When Hooker was wounded, and in the hospital, he repeatedly complained to me of the deficiency of the staffs. I reminded him of it, and he promised to do his best to organize a staff without a flaw.
I immediately wrote to Stanton, sending him several pages translated from the German works of Boehn (before spoken of) to give to the Secretary a general idea of what are the qualities, the science, the knowledge and the duties of a good chief of staff. I explained that the staff and the chief of the staff of an army are to it what the brains and the nervous system are to the human body.
9 o'clock, P. M.—I am told that Hooker wished to have for his chief of staff General Stone, (white-washed) who is considered to be one of the most brilliant capacities of the army. If so, it was a good choice, and the opposition made by Stanton is for me—at the best—unintelligible.
Hooker selected Butterfield. What a fall from Stone to Butterfield. Between the two extend hundreds, nay, thousands, of various gradations. Gen. Butterfield is brave, can well organize a regiment or a brigade, but he has not and can not have the first atom of knowledge required in a chief of staff of such a large army. Staff duties require special studies, they are the highest military science; and where, in the name of all, could Butterfield have acquired it? I am certain Butterfield is not even aware that staff duties are a special science. All this is a very bad omen, very bad, very bad. Literally they laugh at me; now they hurrah for Hooker. May they not cry very soon on account of Hooker's staff. When I warn, Senators and Representatives tell me that I am very difficult to be satisfied. We will see.
January 27.—It is said that Franklin, Sumner, and even Heintzelman declared they would not serve under Hooker. Let them go. Bow them out, the hole in the army will be invisible. I am sorry that Heintzelman plays such pranks, as he is a very good general and a very good man. Well, a new galaxy of generals and commanders is the inevitable gestation of every war. Seldom if ever the same men end a war who began it. New men will prove better than the present sickly reputations consecrated by Scott, West Point and Washington.
January 27.—Governor Andrew—the man always to the point, or as the French would say toujours a la hauteur de la question—insists on forming African or black regiments in Boston from free blacks. Such formations interfere not with my project, as I principally, nay exclusively, look to contrabands, to actual slaves. Governor Andrew wishes to give the start, to stir up the Government and other Governors and to drag them in his footsteps. He is the representative man of the new and better generation which ought to have the affairs of the country in hand, and not these old worn-out hacks who are at it now. If such new men were at the helm in both civil and military affairs, Secesh would have been already crushed and Emancipation accomplished. To such a new generation belongs Coffey, one of the Assistant Attorney Generals, Austin Stevens, Jr., Charles Dana, Woodman, etc., etc. The country bristles with such men, and only prejudices, stupidity, and routine prevents them from becoming really active and from saving the country.
January 27.—The patriotic majorities of both Houses of Congress pass laws after laws concerning the finances, arming the Africo-Americans, increasing the powers of the President, etc., each of which taken alone, would not only save the cause but raise it triumphant over the ruins of crime and of slavery, if used by patriotic, firm, devoted, unegotistic hands and brains. But alas! alas! very little of such, except in one or two individuals, is located in the various edifices in and around the presidential quarters.
The military organization of Africo-Americans is a powerful social and military engine by which slavery, secession, rebellion, and all other dark and criminal Northern and Southern excrescences can be crushed and pulverized to atoms, and this in a trice. But as is the case with all other powerful and explosive gases, elements, forces, etc. this mighty element put in the hands of the Administration must be handled resolutely, and with unquivering hands and intellect; otherwise the explosion may turn out useless for the country and for humanity.
At present the indications are very small that the administration has a decided, clear comprehension how to use this accession of loyal forces on a large scale; how to bring them boldly into action in Virginia, as the heart of the rebellion. Nothing yet indicates that the administration intends to arm and equip Africo-Americans here under the eyes of the government. Nothing indicates that it intends to do this avowedly and openly, and thereby terrify and strike the proud slave-breeders, the F. F. V's. of Virginia, in the heart of treason, and do it by their own once chattels, now their betters.
January 28.—The Congress almost expires; and will or can the incarnated constitutional formula save the country? It is a chilling thought to doubt, yet how can we have confidence! All in the people! the people alone and its true men will not and cannot fail, and they alone are up to the mission.
The dying Congress can no more reconquer its abdicated power. This noble and patriotic majority—many of them, are not re-elected, thanks to Lincoln-Seward—provide the incarnate formula with all imaginable legal, constitutional powers, more than twice sufficient to save the country. Could only the brains and hands entrusted with laws, be able to execute them! Oh for a legal, constitutional, statute Cromwell, ready to behead treason, rebellion, slavocracy and slavo-sympathy, as the great Oliver beheaded and crushed the poisonous weeds of his time. If the democratic-copperhead vermin had the possibility, they would make a McClellan-Seymour dictatorship, and extinguish for a century at least, light, right, justice, and freedom. Not yet! Oh, Copperheads! not yet.
January 29.—They dance to madness in New York, they dance here and give dancing parties! O what a heartlessness, recklessness, flippancy, and crime, of those mothers, wives and young crinolines, when one half of the population is already in mourning, when they have fathers, brothers, husbands in the army. I hope that Boston and New England as well as the towns and villages of the country all over, spit on this example given by New York and Washington. My friend N——, progressive, enlightened and therefore a true Russian, is amazed and displeased with such an intolerable flippancy. During the Crimean war, no one danced in Russia from the Imperial palace down to the remotest village; the people's indignation would have prevented any body—even the Czar, from such a sacrilegious display of recklessness when the country's integrity and honor were at stake, when the nation's blood was pouring in torrents.
Unspeakably worse, is the cold indifference with which many generals, many men in power, the rhetors and the politicians, speak of what is more than a sacrifice in a sacred cause, is an unholy and demoniac waste of human life. But some one—some avenging angel, will call them all to a terrible account.
January 30.—I would have ex-Governor Boutwell, of Massachusetts, Secretary of State. The conduct of European affairs requires pure patriotism—that is, conscientiousness of being an American by principle, in the noblest philosophical sense, sound common sense, discretion, simplicity, sobriety of mind, firmness, clear-sightedness. Boutwell would be a Secretary of State similar to Marcy.
January 30.—Wrote a letter to Stanton with the following suggestions for the organization of a large and efficacious force, nay, army, from the Africo-Americans.
Some of the points submitted to this genuine patriot have been already variously mentioned above; here are some others.
1. It may be possible—even probable—on account of inveterate prejudices and stupidity, that an Africo-American regiment may be left unsupported during a battle.
2. It would be therefore more available to organize such a force at once on a large scale, so as to be able to have strong brigades, and even divisions. At the head of six to eight thousand men, resistance is possible for several hours if the enemy outnumbers not in too great proportions—four or five to one, and if the terrain is not altogether against the smaller force.
3. The Africo-Americans ought to be formed, drilled and armed principally with the view to constitute light infantry—and, if possible, light cavalry—but above all, for a set fight.
4. Their dress must be adapted to such a light service—as ought to be the dress of our whole infantry, facilitating to the utmost the quick and easy movements of the body and of the feet; both impossible or at least difficult in the present equipment of the American infantry. On account of the modern improvements in fire arms, the fights begin at longer distances, and it is important that the soldier be trained to march as quickly as possible, so as to force the enemy from their positions at the point of the bayonet. In this country of clay, bad roads, forests and underbrush, even more than care must be bestowed upon the feet and legs of the infantry. I suggested an imitation of the equipment of the French infantry.
5. In the case of the arsenals not having the requisite number of fire-arms, I would have the third line armed with scythes. As a Pole, I am familiar with that really terrible weapon.
6. To adapt the drill to the object in view—to free it as far as possible from needless technicalities, and to reduce it to the most urgently needed and the most readily comprehended particulars.
7. In view of the above-mentioned reasons, I would have the Tactics now in use very carefully revised, or have an entirely new book of Tactics and Regulations.
8. Suggested that General Casey should be entrusted with the matters treated of in suggestions 6 and 7.
January 31.—The Copperheads in Congress are shedding crocodile tears over the doom that awaits those Africo-Americans who may unfortunately be taken prisoners by the rebels. Now, in the first place enlisted Africo-Americans are under the protection of the United States Government, and that Government will not be guilty of the infamy of seeing its captured soldiers murdered in cold blood—and in the next place the Africo-American will prove anything rather than an easily-made captive to Southern murderers. The Africo-Americans will sell their lives so dearly as to disgust the rebels with the task of attempting to capture them.
January 31.—Few people can understand the intensity of the disgust with which I find myself often obliged to mention Thurlow Weed—that darkest incarnation of all that is evil in black mail, lobbyism, and all hideous corruptions. It is not my fault that such a man is allowed to exert a malign influence on the country's fate, and I am obliged to give the dark as well as the bright parts of the great social picture. How deeply I regret my inability to collect and record, in part at least, if not as a whole, all the deeds of heroism and devotion, of generous and brave self-abnegation, which have been done by thousands, even by millions of those who are both falsely and foolishly called the lower classes.
The Problems before the People — the Circassian — Department of State and International Laws — Foresight — Patriot Stanton and the Rats — Honest Conventions — Sanitary Commission — Harper's Ferry — John Brown — the Yellow Book — the Republican Party — Epitaph — Prize Courts — Suum cuique — Academy of Sciences — Democratic Rank and File, etc. etc. etc.
February 1.—The task which this great American people has on its hands is one utterly unexampled in the history of the world. While in the midst of a great civil war, and struggling as it were in very death-throes, to emancipate and organize four millions of men, most of whom, up to this very day, have by deliberate legislation been kept in ignorance and savagery. Thoroughly to comprehend the immensity of such a task, we must also reflect that the men to whom that task is intrusted are anything rather than intellectual giants. Yet the true solution of the problem will be given by the principle of self-government and by the self-governing People. And it is therein that consists the genuine American originality which Europe finds it so impossible to understand. And it is just as little understood by most of the diplomatists here, and what is still worse, it is not even studied by them. It is wretched work to be obliged to witness the low, the actually ignoble parts which many men play in the great farce of political life. I could easily mention a full score of would-be-eminent men, who are unsurpassed by the meanest of the vulgar herd in flippancy and an utter want of self-respect.
The diary published in London by Bull Run Russell deserves to be read by every American. Russell deals blows to slavery which will tell in England. However annoying may be to many the disclosures made by this indiscreet confidant of their vanity, Russell's revelations establish firmly the broad historical—not gossipping—fact, that before and after Sumter, the most absolute want of earnestness, of statesmanlike foresight, and the most childish but fathomless vanity inspired all the actions of the American Secretary of State. I am one of the few who, having often met Russell here, never fawned to him, nay who not even took any notice of him; but I am grateful to him for his falsely-called indiscreetness—for his having done the utmost to bring out truth—in his own way. It is the best that I have seen, or heard, or read of him. Flatterers, Secretaries, Senators, and Generals crowded to Russell and to his table, and he exposes them. Among others, General McDowell was Russell's guest, very likely to show his gratitude to the slanderer of the volunteers, whom McDowell did not understand how to lead to victory.
Seward showed to Russell his dispatches to Lord John Russell. Mr. Sumner, at Bull Run Russell's table, asked Russell's aid to keep peace with England. Good! Unspeakably good!
Not only the Emancipation problem must be solved, so to speak, amidst the storm of battle—but other and very mighty problems, social, constitutional, jurisprudential, and financial, must be similarly and promptly dealt with. And these great questions must be debated to the accompaniment of the music of musketry and cannon. In some respects the situation of America at present may be said to resemble that of France in the days of her great Revolution. But affairs here and now are still more complicated than they were in France from 1789 to 1793.
Formerly I took a more active part than I now take in revolutionary and reformatory struggles, and was seldom daunted by their difficult problems, or by their most violent tempests. But now I have a chilling sense of weariness and disgust as I note the strange things that are done under my very eyes.
The burden of taxes laid upon a people who have an inborn hatred of taxation, a debt created in a few months surpassing that which England and France contracted in half a century; and that debt contracted as if by magic, and in the very crisis of a civil war such as any foreign war would be mere baby's play to.
The people at large see the precipice, and hear the roaring of the breakers ahead, but despair not! Sublime phenomena for the future historian to dwell upon! All this is genuine American originality. In its sublime presence, down, down upon your knees in the dust, all you European wiseacres!
The capture of the Circassian, an English blockade runner, gave birth to some very delicate international complications. The decision of the Prize Court shows up the absolute destitution of statesmanship in the Department of State, generally coruscated with ignorance of international principles, rules of judicial international decisions, and of belligerent rights and observances. Every day shows what a masterly stroke it was of the Secretary of State to have proclaimed the blockade in April, 1861, and to have been the first to recognize the rebels in the character of independent belligerents. The more blockade runners will be captured by our cruisers, the more the complications will grow. A false first step generates false conditions ad infinitum. The question of the Circassian is only the beginning, and not even the worst. The worst will come by and by. But Seward is great before Allah! The truth is, that Mr. Seward and the Department are as innocent of any familiarity with international laws, as can be. The people, the intelligent people would be horror-stricken could they suddenly be made acquainted with all the shameful ignorance which is corrosively fermenting in the State Department.
To every intelligent and well regulated Government in Europe, the Department of Foreign Affairs—which in America is called the State Department—has attached to it a board of advisers for the solution of all international questions.
In England, for instance, all such questions are referred to the Crown Lawyers, i.e. the Attorney and Solicitor General, and, in specially important cases, to the Lord High Chancellor, and one or two of the Judges. And in order to obtain the advice he obviously stands so much in need of, Mr. Seward ought to have consulted two or three American juriconsults of eminence. Mr. Seward ought to have foreseen that the war would necessarily give rise to international, commercial, and maritime complications. Such men as Charles Eames, Upton, etc. would have been excellent advisers on all international and statutory questions. Presumptuous that I am—to venture upon the mere supposition that Seward the Great can possibly need advice! Not he, of course—not he. Mr. Seward is the Alpha and Omega—knows everything, and can do every thing himself. Happily, the people at large is the genuine statesman, and can correct the mistakes—and worse—of its blundering, bungling servants.
American pilots and statesmen! Forget not that foresight is the germ of action. Foresight reveals to the mind the opportuneness of the needed measure by which a solution is to be given, a question decided, and the hoped-for results obtained.
American people! How much foresight have your—dearly-paid—servants shown? You, the people alone, you have been far-seeing and prophetic; but not they.
February 2.—All the efforts of the worshippers of treason, of darkness, of barbarism, of cruelty, and of infamy—all their manoeuvres and menaces could not prevail. The majority of the Congress has decided that the powerful element of Africo-Americans is to be used on behalf of justice, of freedom, and of human rights. The bill passed both the Houses. It is to be observed that the "big" diplomats swallowed col gusto all the pro-slavery speeches, and snubbed off the patriotic ones. The noblest eulogy of the patriots!
The patriots may throb with joy! The President intends great changes in his policy, and has telegraphed for——Thurlow Weed, that prince of dregs, to get from him light about the condition of the country.
The conservative "Copperheads" of Boston and of other places in New England press as a baby to their bosom, and lift to worship McClellan, the conservative, and all this out of deepest hatred towards all that is noble, humane, and lofty in the genuine American people. Well they may! If by his generalship McClellan butchered hundreds of thousands in the field, he was always very conservative of his precious little self.
Biting snow storm all over Virginia! Our soldiers! our soldiers in the camp! It is heart-rending to think of them. Conservative McClellan so conservatively campaigned until last November as to preserve—the rebel armies, and make a terrible winter campaign an inevitable necessity. O, Copperheads and Boston conservatives! When you bend your knees before McClellan, you dip them in the best and purest blood of the people!
February 3.—The Secretary of War appointed General Casey to shorten the general tactics for the use of Africo-American regiments to use them as light infantry.
The devotion of American women to the sick and wounded soldiers, makes them be envied by the angels in Heaven (provided there are any). This devotion of these genuine gentlewomen atones for the ignoble flippancy of dancing crinolines.
Down, down goes slavery notwithstanding the gates of hell, and their guard, the McClellans, the Sewards, amorously embracing the Copperheads and all that is dark and criminal. Humanity is avenged and Eternal Justice is satisfied.
February 4.—Sumner is re-elected to the Senate. His re-election vindicates a sound principle, because his opponents were all the Copperheads and slavery-saviours in Massachusetts. Sumner's influence in the Senate is rather limited. Politically he is on all points most honest; but his conduct towards Seward is not calculated to impress one with any very high esteem for his manhood.
It is not force, or decision, or power, that is cruel in revolutionary times—but, weakness. All societies have had their epochs of progress and of retrogression. Sylla was a conservative, and so too was Phocion. The Pharisees were reactionists and conservatives. Europe has millions of them, of various hues, shapes, tendencies and convictions. But the reactionists and conservatives in the past of Europe all have been and are of a purer metal than the conservatives here, and their impure organs, as the National Intelligencer, the World, the Boston Courier, and the rest of that fetish creed.
February 4.—The French Yellow Book, or State Correspondence, justifies my forebodings of November last. Mr. Mercier's diplomatic sentimentalism, and his associations, germinated the Decembriseur's scheme for mediation and humiliation.
Further is to be found in the Yellow Book the evidence how, from the start of this dark rebellion, Mr. Seward, the master spirit of the Administration, dealt death blows to all energetic, unyielding prosecution of the war for crushing the rebellion, and that he was double-dealing in all his public actions. The published state papers of the French government disclose the fact that nine months ago Mr. Seward sent the French minister to Richmond with a mission to invite the Jeff. Davises, Hunters, Wigfalls, Benjamins and others to come back to their seats in the Senate, and in the name of the cruelly outraged North, Mr. Seward proffered to the traitors a hearty welcome. So says the French diplomat in his official dispatch to the French Secretary of Foreign Affairs. Such underhanded dealings should not be allowed, and most assuredly would be stringently punished, if perpetrated under similar circumstances by the minister of any European government dealing with treason in arms. But here, Mr. Seward's impudence—if not worse—displays its flying colors. The Republican press will swallow all this, and Senator Sumner as Chairman of the Committee will—keep quiet.
That confidential mission entrusted to the French diplomat by Mr. Seward, was more than sufficient to evoke the subsequent attempt at mediation, because it revealed to the piercing eye of European statesmanship, how the Administration, and above all how its master spirit had little confidence in the cause; it revealed the want of earnestness in official quarters. I hate and denounce all attempts, even by the most friendly foreign power, to meddle with the internal affairs of our country. But I have some little knowledge of European statecraft, of European diplomacy, of European rulers, and of European diplomats; and I assert, emphatically, that they are emboldened to offer their meddlesome services because they have very little if any respect for our official leaders; and because the want of energy and of good faith to the principles of the North as displayed by Seward, he nevertheless remaining at the helm, has firmly settled the conviction in European minds, that the rebels cannot be crushed by such traffickers and used up politicians as have in their hands the destinies of the Union.
February 5.—The new Copperhead Senators—in their appearance resembling bushwhackers; the pillars of Copperheadism in the House, take umbrage at the sight and the name of New England, and abuse the New England spirit with all their coppery might. Well they may. So did Satan hate and abuse light.
Patriot Stanton is earnestly at work concerning the organization of Africo-Americans on a mighty scale; busy against him, likewise, are the intriguers, the traitors, the cavillers, the Sewardites and the McClellanites, all being of the same kidney. Seward sighs for McClellan. But Stanton will override the muddy storm. He has at his side men as pure, energetic and devoted as Watson, a patriot without a flaw.
Stanton surrounds himself and selects young men—as far as he can, he crowds out the remains of Scott, so tenderly protected by Lincoln. Could he only have swept out the rest of the old fogies! Undoubtedly these young men in the War Department would give new life to it.
February 6.—The people at large are at a loss to find the cause of the recent disasters. The general axiom is, "we are not a military nation." Neither is the South. But here they forget that every great or small effect has its—not only—cause, but several causes. Many such causes have been repeatedly pointed out. Old routine in military organization stands foremost. Few, if any, understand wherein consists the proper organization of an army, and most have notions reaching back sixty years. The medical and surgical bureaus are obsolete. Governor Andrew of Massachusetts, who is always on the right side, and with him many young men, insisted upon organizing the above services as they are organized in the Continental armies of Europe. But even in the Senate prevailed the respect for dusty, rusty, domestic tradition. The few changes forced by the outcry of the people cure not the evil. Skeletons and not men are at work, and if they are not skeletons they are leeches of the government and of the people's blood.
Thus likewise, when the organizations of the staffs was discussed, no one had the first notion of the nature and duties of a staff; and the military authorities were as ignorant as the civilians. Of course a McClellan, then a Halleck, Meigs, Hitchcock, etc., could not disperse the fog. Many Congressmen were thunderstruck by the display of words which, as they were purely technical terms, the Congressmen in question could not understand. Others sought for guidance in the Staff of Wellington, and thus oddly but unmistakably proved themselves completely in the dark as to the difference between the personal staff of the commander of an army, and the Staff of that Army itself. And all this in a country of the most rapid movement and progress, and amongst a people which unhesitatingly adopts and adapts to its own needs and welfare almost every novelty from almost every part of the world. The great fault committed by the People is its too great respect for false authorities and false prophets.
The so-called honest Conservatives have exercised and still continue to exercise a most fatal influence on public affairs, and especially on what is called the domestic policy. These same "honest Conservatives" are more dangerous than the out-spoken Copperheads; more dangerous, perhaps, than all the friends of slavery and foes of the Union combined. These "honest Conservatives" have contrived to surround themselves with a halo of honesty and respectability. But they as cordially hate and dread every vivid light and vigorous progress as the traitors themselves do. Those Conservatives opposed every vigorous measure. They spoke tenderly of the "misguided brethren" in the South, and took their own servile and blundering, though quite possibly sincere fancies, for actual and tangible facts. The honest Conservatives will support whatever is slow, double-dealing, and, therefore, conservative. The honest Conservatives took McClellan to their honest hearts, and not one of them has any clear notion of military affairs, and still less can any of them fathom the awful depth of McClellan's military criminality. I repeat what I said in the first volume of my Diary: McClellan and his tail fell, not on account of their Democratism, or their pro-slavery creed, but because McClellan repeatedly displayed all the worst qualities of a thoroughly unsoldierly commander. No one would have uttered a word of censure if McClellan with his hundred and eighty thousand men had surrounded the thirty to forty thousand rebels in Centreville and Manassas in the winter of 1861-2, and taken some nobler trophies than camp manure and maple guns! The honest Conservatives attack and hate Stanton, yet not one of them has any notion whatever of Stanton's action towards McClellan. Stanton would have been the first to raise McClellan sky-high if McClellan had preferred to fight instead of reposing in his bed in Washington, and then in various muds. Such is your knowledge of this and of all other public affairs, O respectable soul and spiritless body of honest Conservatives! Historians of this country! collect the names of the honest Conservatives, but expose them not to the abomination of coming generations.
February 7.—The Sanitary Commission, with all its branches and subdivisions, is among the noblest manifestations of what can be done by a free people, and how private enterprise of intelligent, patriotic and unselfish men can confer benefit. Nor must the praise of that great work be limited to men. Warm-hearted gentlewomen also have done their share in it. The Sanitary Commission is one of the best out-croppings of self-government, and does honor to the people, and softens and ameliorates the warlike roughness of the times.
The Sanitary Commission marks a new era in the history of genuine and not bogus and merely verbal philanthropy, and its spontaneity and expansion were only possible in free, and therefore humane and enlightened America.
February 8.—Mr. Seward is busily at work endeavoring to crush the radicals, and to make the Emancipation Proclamation a mere sheet of waste paper. All that is mean and nasty, all that is reeking and foul with all kinds of corruptions, takes Seward for its standard-bearer. The so-called radical press aids Seward with all its might.
February 9.—Gen. Casey adopts some of my ideas and suggestions, which I discussed with him. Gen. Casey is honestly at work, and the new tactics will be in print.
Stanton would wish to establish a thorough military camp on a large scale, for organizing Africo-Americans. But the higher powers are against it. Virginia, the most populous slave state, the nursery of slaves, must, scorpion-like, be surrounded with glowing contraband camps. What a splendid position for such a camp is Harper's Ferry under the shadow of immortal John Brown!
A few days ago, Mr. Lincoln was full of joy because the defences of Washington are in excellent condition. Thus the country will learn with joy that the——spade is still at work, that the military curse hurled by Scott and McClellan is still influencing the operation of the war, that Halleck is the worthy continuator of his predecessors, that Mr. Lincoln's fears and uneasiness about the fate of the city of Washington are slowly, slowly assuaged, that the President's fancy is nursed, that the construction of the extensive fortifications around the capital is still continued, that new forts are continually erected, that the fear of an attack on Washington is still paramount, and that to-day—sixty to seventy thousand troops are kept idle in these old and new forts—when Rosecrans has no succor, when Texas is lost, and when the whole rebel region trembles under the tread of savage hordes.
Through one of its clerks, the State Department intends to sue me for libel, contained, as they say, in the first volume of my Diary. Well, great masters, if you swallow me, you may not digest me. Let us try.
[Footnote 2: I must here record that Mr. Carlisle, the eminent lawyer in Washington, although in every respect opposed to my political and social views, behaved, in this affair, as a thorough man of honor. I am sorry that on a similar former occasion, not in Washington, my political friends showed themselves not Carlisles.]
February 10.—... mens agitat molem ... oh, could I only believe that such is the case with Mr. Lincoln, how devoted I could become, and loyal to him, according to the new theory of the lickspittles and politicians!
February 10.—Resolute Senator Grimes did what was the duty of Sumner to have done long ago. Grimes presented resolutions relative to the mission of Mercier to Richmond, a mission allowed, almost authorized by Mr. Seward. Mercier cannot be blamed, and his veracity is supported by the fact that Lord Lyons was at once informed of the whole transaction, and Lord Lyons is to be believed. Seward will play the innocent, and take his refuge in the god of—lies.
February 12.—In his answer to the Senate, Mr. Seward gives to Mercier the lie direct. It will be rich if Mercier stands square.
February 12.—Congress draws to its close. Lincoln accumulates powers, responsibilities, and hereafter perhaps curses, sufficient to break the turtle on which stands the elephant that sustains the Sanscrit world.
February 13.—The almost imperceptible ripple on the diplomatic pool of Washington has disappeared. Simple people might have believed that there was an issue of veracity between Mr. Seward and the French Minister. But since a long, a very long time, Seward and veracity have run in different orbits, and diplomats, Talleyrand-like, ought to be the incarnation of equanimity even if any one—diplomatically—treads on their toes. Besides, the answer given to the Senate before it reached its destination might have been arranged at any such confidential chat as was that one where the little innocent, nobody-hurting (no, not even the people's honour) trip to Richmond was concocted. The French Minister's name appears not in the document sent to the Senate; so the lie direct is after all only a constructive lie; nobody is hurt. A general shaking of hands and all is well. But strange things may come out yet, and others may not be so blazened out.
The soap bubble of mediation exploded under the nose of the French schemers. The soap used by them was of the finest and most aromatic quality, but the democratic nerves of the American people resisted the Franco-diplomatic cunningly mixed aroma. The applause gained by Mr. Seward's very indifferent document, wherein the great initiator of the Latin race on this free continent was rebuked, the satisfaction shown by the public, ought to open the eyes of the sentimental French trio. They ought to understand, by this time, that Seward's argumentative dispatch, incomplete and below mark as it is, won applause, although it expresses only the hundredth of the patriotic ire bursting from the people's bosom. Otherwise the people would have at once found out all skillfully, cunningly, chameleon-like Seward dodges, which ignore before Europe the sublime character of the struggle forced by treason upon the loyal free States; and in which how he avoids to hurt the slavocracy.
The Imperial mediator and bottle-holder to slavocracy belies not his bloody origin and his bloody appetites. The events in Egypt, the negro kidnapping in Alexandria, have torn the mask from his astute policy. If, for his filibustering raid into Mexico, Louis Napoleon wanted colored soldiers accustomed to the climate, he could raise them among the free colored population of the French possessions in Martinique, Guadaloupe, etc. But to use the freemen from the Antilles would have set a bad example to the Africo-Americans in the revolted States; Louis Napoleon wished not to hurt or offend his slaveocratic pets and traitors; by kidnapping slaves in Egypt the French ruler showed how highly he values the stealing qualities of the Southern chivalry—and he paid a tribute to the principle of slavery.
But while treating with all possible horror and disrespect the French officiousness, the American people ought not to forget the innermost interconnection of events. If the French diplomacy, if the French Cabinet became sentimental at the sight of our deadly struggle with the demon of treason, it was because they witnessed our helplessness, and witnessed the uninterrupted chain of faults and of bad policy; it was because they and the whole world saw the want of earnestness in our official leaders; and from all this these Messieurs concluded that the patriots of the North never will be able to crush the traitors in the South. So speak the French diplomatic documents, so speaks Mercier, Drouyn de l'Huys and Louis Napoleon; and has not the Seward-Weed influence, paramount in the policy of the Government, brought about all these bad results, palsied the war, and thus almost justified the officiousness of the Messieurs?
February 13.—Many forebode the downfall, the dissolution, and the disappearance of the Republican party. That may be, and if so then one of the cardinal laws of human progress, development and ascension, will be fullfilled. The initiator either perishes by the initiated, or the initiator perishes, disappears because his special mission, his task is done.
The progress of humanity is marked by the sacrifice and death of its initiators. Such was the end of the founders of religions, of societies; such of political bodies. Osiris, Lycurgus, Romulus, Christ, the martyrs, the apostles, are a few from numberless illustrations that might be cited. The Long Parliament, the French Convention, disappeared after having fullfilled the work of destruction pointed out to them by the genius of progress and of our race. As an organized political party the Republican may disappear with the war, for slavery is finally destroyed. This is the noble initiation and solution fulfilled by the Republican party. To destroy slavery and the political defenders and props of slavery, was the mission that was fatally thrown or entrusted by inexorable destiny to the Republican party. With the destruction of slavery, disappears from the political life of America the Northern man with Southern principles; those very dregs of dregs of all times and of all political bodies and societies. Slavery is destroyed both virtually and de facto, new issues are looming, new solutions will be given, and new men will bear the new word.
All in creation, and in every party, has its light and its shadow, its pure principle, its pure men and its dregs. Every party has its faults and its shortcomings. The dregs fall, and the work of the party is done. Some of the chiefs and leaders of the Republican party became faithless, (Seward,) went over to darkness, but thereby the onward march to the sacred aim was not arrested. The irresistible current of events and of human affairs carried onwards the Republican party. Perhaps unconsciously, but nevertheless emphatically, the Republican party in its ensemble was a providential agency; it became the incarnation of the loftiest aspirations of the best among the American people. Against its wish and will, contrary to expectations, the Republican party was challenged to action; the sword of law, of justice and of right, was forcibly thrust into the party's hand, and slavocracy, the challenger, is already bleeding its life-blood, and its death-knell resounds from pole to pole. To speak the language of politicians; abolition, emancipation by the sword, was forced upon the Republican party.
And the Republican party carried out the principle of the preamble of the bill of rights; a principle eternal as right, but nevertheless hitherto only partially realized. The Republican party has borne the brunt, and accomplished the appointed evolutions of progress; and the Republican party has deserved well of the American people, of history and of humanity. And the children and grandchildren of those who to-day cavil, defile and stone the party, they hereafter will bless the Republican party, who, with noble consciousness can say to the spirit of light and of duty: Nunc dimitte in pacem servum tuum Domine.
One of the best evidences of purity and of the elevation of the Republican party in its noblest representative men is that the obtusest among the great diplomats shunned the Republicans as little monsters shun the daylight. I mention this as a collateral illustration without intending to raise a diplomat or the poor diplomacy of the world to an undeserved significance, for I bear in mind the behest, ne misceantur sacra prophanis.
The nobleness of the accomplished mission, the glorious Sunset wherein will disappear the Republican party, frees, not from reproaches nor from maledictions, those Republicans who, by their selfishness and faithlessness, obstructed its progress, and polluted the party. Their names remain nailed to the pillory.
I may here observe that I never belonged and never claimed to belong to the Republican party. For nearly half a century my creed has been—Onward! onward! struggle, fight, sacrifice for light, for progress, for human rights; for that cause fight and struggle under every banner, under every name, and in rank and file with every body.
February 13.—Seward seizes by the hair the occasion proffered to him by the Decembriseur's offer of mediation, and tries to reconquer the confidence of the public. This shows to Drouyn de l'Huys and to his master, that they are misinformed concerning the condition of America, (also M. Mercier misinformed them; how could he do otherwise?) The despatch to Dayton, February 7, will lead astray public opinion. The majority will forget and lose sight of the intercatenation of events and actions perpetrated by Mr. Seward. O Chase! O Sumner! Seward rises with his patient pen and paper in the inky glory of a patriot, and you——cave in.
Speaking of Mr. Seward's answer to France, a diplomat observed to me: "The European Cabinets are so accustomed to Mr. Seward's duplicity and want of veracity, that now that Seward refuses to accept mediation, in Europe they will conclude that Seward's acceptation of mediation is at hand."
February 14.—The struggle is for the rights of man, for the Christian idea, purified of all dogma and worship. Those who see it not, are similar to a fish from the Kentucky Cave.
February 14.—Could Mr. Lincoln only be inspired, be warmed by the sacred fire of enthusiasm, then his natural and selected affinities would be other minds than those of a Seward, a Weed, a Halleck, etc.; then what is night could become light; and where he painfully gropes along his path, Mr. Lincoln would march with a firm, almost with a godlike step, at the head of such a peerless people as those of whom he is the Chief Magistrate.
But as it is now, I may turn the mind in any direction whatever, all the causes of mishaps and disasters converge on Mr. Lincoln. According to his partisans, Mr. Lincoln's intentions are the best, and he is always trying to conciliate—and to shift. It is useless to discuss Mr. Lincoln's peculiar ways. In most cases, Mr. Lincoln uses old, rotten tools for a new and heavy work. I have it from the most truthful and positive authority, that Mr. Lincoln is fully acquainted with the opinions of the so called dissatisfied, of those with Southern propensities, proclivities and affinities, of whom many are in the superior civil and military service. Contrary to the advice of patriots in the Cabinet and out of it, Mr. Lincoln insists upon keeping such at their post—doubtless always expecting that they will turn round. Such a heavy difficulty and task as is the present, must be worked out, with absolute devotion and sincerity; and can this logically be expected from men whose hearts and minds are not in their actions? Mr. Lincoln forgets that thousands of lives and millions of money are sacrificed to the experiment as to whether the insincere officials will turn round.
The cause will not fail, light will not be extinguish, even if the leaders break down or betray, even if the Copperheads frighten some of the pilots, or if some of the faithless pilots shake hands with the Copperheads, as was the case in the elections of November last in New York and elsewhere. The people will save light, dissipate darkness, save the cause, save the leaders, the pilots and the politicians.
February 15.—Some days ago in compliance with summons, that pedler of all corruptions, Thurlow Weed, came to Washington, and with Mr. Seward, his fidus Achates, was for days or nights closeted with Mr. Lincoln, pouring into the president's soul as much poison and darkness as was possible. That such was the case can, besides, easily be concluded from what that incarnation of all perversions predicated to all who came within his nauseous preachings here. According to Mr. T. Weed's revelations, "The proclamation is an absurdity, and the Union will soon—as it ought—be ruled by the rebels." So it was told me. Perhaps it is already done through Thurlow Weed's mediation and instrumentality.
Continually inspired by Weed, Mr. Seward is therefore untiring in his over-patriotic efforts to preserve the former Union and Slavery—to save the matricide slave-holders.