In what clutches is Mr. Lincoln! Even I pity him. Even I am forced to give him credit for being what he is—considering his intimacies and his surroundings. Few men entrusted with power over nations have resisted such fatal influences,—not even Cromwell and Napoleon. History has not yet settled how it was with Caesar, and so far as I know, Frederick the Great of Prussia is of the very few who have been unimpressionable. Pericles coruscates over ruins and the night of the ancient world; Pericles's intimacy was with the best and the manliest Athenians.
But has Mr. Lincoln an unlimited confidence in the few men with large brains and with big hearts, brains and hearts burning with the sacred and purest patriotic fire? Or are not rather all his favorites—not even whitened—sepulchres of manhood, of mind and of sacred intellect?
February 16.—It is asserted, and some day or other it will be verified, that the Committee on the Conduct of the War have investigated how far certain generals from the army on the Rappahannock used their influence with the President to paralyze a movement against the enemy ordered by Burnside. That facts discovered may be published or not, for the Administration shuns publicity. The Committee discovered that Mr. Seward was implicated in that conspiracy of generals against Burnside. Any qualification of such conduct is impossible, and the vocabulary of crimes has no name for it; let it, therefore, be Sewardism. The editors of the New York Tribune did their utmost to prevent Sewardism being exposed.
February 16.—Often, so to speak, the hand refuses to record what the head hears and sees, what the reason must judge. To witness how one of the greatest events in the development of mankind, how the deadly struggle between right and crime, between good and evil, how the blood and sweat of such a people are dealt with by—counterfeits!
February 17.—Poor Banks! He is ruined by having been last year pressed to Seward's bosom, and having been thus initiated into the Seward-Weed Union and slavery-restoring policy. Banks and Louis Napoleon in Mexico and in his mediation scheme; both Banks and Napoleon were ruined by yielding to bad advice—Banks to that of Seward, and Louis Napoleon to that of his diplomats. I hope that Banks will shake off the nightmare that is throttling him now; that he will no more write senseless proclamations, will give up the attempt to save slave-holders, and will march straight to the great task of crushing the rebellion and rebels. He will blot slavery, that Cain's mark on the brow of the Union; blot it and throw it into the marshes of the parishes of Louisiana. I rely upon Banks's sound common sense. He will come out from among the evil ones.
February 18.—Under no other transcendent leadership than that of its patriotism and convictions, the majority of this expiring Congress boldly and squarely faced the emergencies and all the necessities daily, hourly evoked by the Rebellion, and unhesitatingly met them. If the majority was at times confused, the confusion was generated by many acts of the administration, and not by any shrinking before the mighty and crushing task, or by the attempt to evade the responsibility. The impartial historian will find in the Statutes an undisputable confirmation of my assertions. The majority met all the prejudices against taxation, indebtedness, paper currency, draft, and other similar cases.
And all the time the majority of Congress was stormed by traitors, by intriguers, by falsifiers and prisoners of public opinion; the minority in Congress taking the lead therein. Many who ought to have supported the majority either fainted or played false. The so-called good press, neither resolute nor clear-sighted, nor far-seeing, more than once confused, and as a whole seldom thoroughly supported the majority.
If the good press had the indomitable courage in behalf of good and truth, that the Herald has in behalf of untruth and of mischief, how differently would the affairs look and stand!
February 19.—Jackson first formed, attracted and led on the people's opinion. Has not Mr. Lincoln thrown confusion around?
February 19.—The Supreme Court of the United States has before it the prize cases resulting from captures made by our navy. The counsel for the English and rebel blockade-runners and pilferers find the best point of legal defence in the unstatesmanlike and unlegal wording of the proclamation of the blockade, as concocted and issued by Mr. Seward, and in the repeated declarations contained in the voluminous diplomatic correspondence of our Secretary of State,—declarations asserting that no war whatever is going on in the Federal Republic. No war, therefore no lawful prizes on the ocean. So ignorance, and humbug mark every step of this foremost among the pilots of a noble, high-minded, but too confiding people.
The facts, the rules, and the principles in these prize cases are almost unprecedented and new; new in the international laws, and new in the history of governments of nations. Seldom, if ever, were so complicated the powers of government, its rights, and the duties of neutrals, the rights and the duties of the captors, and the condition of the captured. This rebellion is, so to speak, sui generis, almost unprecedented on land and sea. The difficulties and complications thus arising, became more complicated by the either reckless or unscientific (or both) turn given by the State Department in conceding to the rebels the condition of belligerents. Thus the great statutory power of the sovereign, (that is, of the Union through its president) for the suppression of the rebellion was palsied at the start. The insurrection of the Netherlands alone has some very small similarity with our civil war; however, that insurrection took place at a time when very few, if any, principles of international laws were generally laid down and generally recognized. Here the municipal laws, the right of the sovereign and his duty to save itself and the people, the rights and the laws of war, wrongly applied to such virtual outlaws as the rebels, the maritime code of prize laws and rules, play into and intertwine each other. When Mr. Seward penned his doleful proclamation of the blockade, etc., he never had before his mind what a mess he generated; what complications might arise therefrom. I am sure he never knew that such proclamation was a priori pregnant with complications, and that at least its wording ought to have been very careful. Mr. Seward was not at all cognizant of the fact that the wording of a proclamation of a blockade, for the time being, lays down a rule for the judges in the prize courts. For him it was rather a declamation than a proclamation; he who believed the rebellion would end in July, 1861, and that no occasion would arise to apply the rules of the blockade.
Thus Mr. Seward, with his thorough knowledge of international law rendered difficult the position of the captors; he equally increased the difficulty for the judge to administer justice. By this proclamation and the commentaries put on it, Mr. Seward curtailed the rights of the government of which he is a part, conceded undue conditions to the rebels, and facilitated to the neutrals the means of violating his blockade. So much is clear and palpable to-day, and I am sure more complications and imbecilities are in store. If Mr. Seward had had good advisors for these nice and difficult questions, he would not have blundered in this way. Thus Charles Eames, who in the pleadings before the Superior United States Court has shown a consummate mastery in prize questions—Eames could teach Mr. Seward a great deal about the constitutional powers of the president to suppress the rebellion, and about the meaning and the bearing of international maritime laws, rights, duties and rules.
February 20.—A Mr. Funk, a member of the Illinois Senate, a farmer, and a man of sixty-five years, on February 13, made a speech in that body which sounds better than all the rhetories and oratories. It was the sound and genuine utterance of a man from the people, and I hope some future historian will record the speech and the name of the old, indomitable patriot.
February 20.—Stimulated by a pure Athenian breeze, the Congress passed a law organizing an Academy of Sciences. What a gigantic folly; the only one committed by this Congress. The pressure was very great, and exercised by the bottomless vanity of certain scientific, self-styled magnates, and by the Athenians. Up to this day, the American scientific development and progress consisted in its freedom and independence. No legal corporation impeded and trammeled the limitless scope of the intellectual and scientific development. That was the soul and secret of our rapid and luminous onward march. Now fifty patented, incorporated respectabilities will put the curb on, will hamper the expansion. Academies turn to fossils. My hope is that the true American spirit will soar above the vanity and pettiness of corporated wisdom, and that this scientific Academy bubble will end in inanity and in ridicule. I am sorry that Congress was taken in, and committed such a blunder. It was caught napping.
Mr. Chase's bank bill, prospective of money, and as many say, prospective of presidency, passed the house. What fools are they already begin to direct their steps and their ardent wishes toward the White House.
February 22.—The, at any price, supporters of the Administration, point with satisfaction to the various successes, and to the space of land already redeemed from rebellion. I protest against such explanation given to events, and call to it the attention of every future historian. Never had the suum cuique required a more stringent, philosophical application. With the various inexhaustible means at its disposal, with the unextinguishable enthusiasm of the people, far different and more conclusive results, could and ought to have been obtained. The ship makes headway if even, by the negligence of the officers and of the crew, she drags a cable or an anchor. The ship is the people dragging its administrators.
A western Democrat, but patriot, said to me that Lincoln compares to Jeff Davis, as a wheel-barrow does to a steam engine!
The Democrats claim to be the genuine fighting element, and to be possessed of the civic courage, and of governmental capacity. How, then, can the Democrats rave for McClellan, the most unfighting soldier ever known?
The future historian must be warned not to look to the newspapers for information concerning facts and concerning the spirit of the people. The Tribune's senile clamor for peace, for arbitration, for meditation, its Jewitt, Mercier, Napoleon, and Switzerland combinations, fell dead and in ridicule before the sound judgment of ninety-nine hundredths of the people.
February 24.—In Europe I had experience of political prisons and of their horror. But I would prefer to rot, to be eaten up by rats, rather than be defended by such arch-copperheads as are the Coxes, the Biddles, the Powells, etc., etc.
In the discussion concerning the issue of the letters of marque, Sumner was dwelling in sentimentalities and generalities, altogether losing sight of the means of defense of the country, and the genuine national resources. With all respect for high and sentimental principles and patriotism, with due reverence of the opinion, the applause or the condemnatory verdict to be issued by philanthropists, by doctors, and other Tommities, my heart and my brains prefer the resolute, patriotic, manly Grimes, Wades, etc., the various skippers and masters, all of whom look not over the ocean for applause, but above all have in view to save or to defend the country, whatever be the rules or expectations of the self-constituted Doctors of International laws.
February 25.—The Union-Slavery saviours, led on by the Herald, by Seward, by Weed, etc., all are busily at work.
Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us.
I hear that great disorder prevails in the Quartermaster's Department. It is no wonder. In all armies, countries, government and wars, the Quartermaster's Department is always disorderly. Why shall it not be so here, when want of energy is the word? At times Napoleon hung or shot such infamous thieves, as by their thefts skinned and destroyed the soldiers and the army; at times in Russia, such curses are sent to Siberia. But as yet, I have not heard that any body was hurt here, with the exception of the treasury of the country, and of the soldiers. The chain-gang of those quartermaster's thieves, contractors, jobbers and lobbyists must be strong, very long, and composed of all kind of influential and not-influential vampyres. Somebody told me, perhaps in joke, that all of them constitute a kind of free-masonry, and have signs of recognition. After all, that may be true. Impudence, brazen brow, and blank conscience may be among such signs of recognition.
February 26.—O, could I only win confidence in Mr. Lincoln, it would be one of the most cheerful days and events in my life. Perhaps, elephant-like, Mr. Lincoln slowly, cautiously but surely feels his way across a bridge leading over a precipice. Perhaps so; only his slowness is marked with blood and disasters. But the most discouraging and distressing is his cortege, his official and unofficial friends. Mars Stanton, Neptune Welles, are good and reliable, but have no decided preponderance. Astrea-Themis-Bates is mostly right when disinfected from border-State's policy, and from fear of direct, unconditional emancipation. But neither in Olympus nor in Tartarus, neither in heaven nor in hell, can I find names of prototypes for the official and unofficial body-guard which, commanded by Seward, surrounds and watches Mr. Lincoln, so that no ray of light, no breath of spirit and energy may reach him.
February 26.—This civil war with its cortege of losses and disasters, which after all fall most bloodily and crushingly on the laborious, and rather comparatively, poorer part of the whole people; perhaps all this will form the education of the rank and file of the political Democratic party. The like Democratic masses are intellectually by far inferior to the Republican masses. Experience will perhaps teach those unwashed Democrats how degrading was their submission to slavocracy, which reduced them to the condition of political helots. This rank and file may find out how they were blindfolded by slave breeders and their northern abettors. A part of the Democratic masses were, and still are kept in as brutal political ignorance and depravity as are the poor whites in the South, under whatever name one may record them. Now, or never, is the time for the unwashed to find out that during their alliance with the Southern traitors, all genuine manhood, all that ennobles, elevates the man and warms his heart, was poisoned or violently torn from them—that brutality is not liberty, and finally, that the Northern leaders have been or are more abject than abjectness itself. If the rank and file finds out all this, the blood and disasters are, in part at least, atoned for.
February 27.—O! could I from every word, from every page of this Diary, for eternities, make coruscate the nobleness, the simple faith with which the people sacrifices all to the cause. To be biblical, the sacrifice of the people is as pure as was that made by Abel; that made by the people's captains, leaders, pilots is Cain-like.
February 27.—All the Copperheads fused together have done less mischief, have less distorted and less thrown out of the track the holy cause, they have exercised a less fatal and sacrilegious influence, they are responsible for less blood and lives, than is Mr. Seward, with all his arguments and spread-eagleism. Even McClellan and McClellanism recede before Seward and Sewardism, the latter having generated the former. In times of political convulsions, perverse minds and intellects at the helm, more fatally influence the fate of a nation than do lost battles. Lost battles often harden the temper of a people; a perverse mind vitiates it.
February 27.—Gold rises, and no panic, a phenomenon upsetting the old theories of political economy. This rise will not affect the public credit, will not even ruin the poor. I am sure it will be so, and political economy, as every thing else in this country, will receive new and more true solutions for its old, absolute problems. The genuine credit, the prosperity of this country, is wholly independent of this or that financial or governmental would-be capacity; is independent of European exchanges, and of the appreciation by the Rothschilds, the Barings, and whatever be the names of the European appraisers. The American credit is based on the consciousness of the people, and on the faith in its own vitality, in its inexhaustible intellectual and material resources. The people credits to itself, it asks not the foreigners to open for it any credit. The foreign capitalists will come and beg. The nation is not composed here as it is composed all over Europe, of a large body of oppressed, who are cheated, taxed by the upper-strata and by a Government. Thus credit and discredit in America have other causes and foundations, their fluctuations differ from all that decides such eventualities in Europe.
I am sure that subsequent events will justify these my assertions.
February 28.—Inveterate West Pointers got hold of the dizzy brains of some Senators and of other Congressmen, and Congress wasted its precious time in regulating the military position of engineers. This action of Congress is a pendant to the Academy of Sciences. The leaders in this discussion proved to nausea; 1st. Their utter ignorance of the whole military science, of its subdivisions, branches and classifications; 2d. Their ignorance of the nature of intellectual hierarchy in sciences; 3d. Those Congressional wiseacres proved how easily the West Point Engineers humbugged them. Congress consecrates the engineer as number one. Congress had better send a trustful man to Europe, to the continent, and find out what is considered as number one in the science of warfare. But every luminous body throws a shadow; the Academy of Sciences, and this number one, are the shadows thrown by that political body.
February 28.—Seldom, if ever, in history was the vital principle of a society, of a nation, of a Government, so bitterly assailed, and its destruction attempted by combined elements and forces of the most hellish origin and nature, as the vital principle of American institutions is now assailed. The enemies, the sappers, the miners, are the Union-Slavery-Saviours of all kinds and hues. But darkness cannot destroy light, nor cold overpower heat:—so the united conspiracy will not prevail against light and right and justice.
February 28.—The last batch of various generals sent for confirmation to the Senate, reflects and illustrates the manner in which promotion is managed, and military powers and capacity estimated at the White House.
Hooker and Heintzelman are made major generals because they brilliantly fought at Williamsburgh, and Sumner is likewise promoted for Williamsburgh, where, in pursuance of McClellan's orders, Sumner looked on when Heintzelman and Hooker were almost cut to pieces. The dignitaries of Halleck's pacific staff are promoted, and colonels who fight, and who, by their bravery and blood correct or neutralize the awful deadly blunders of Halleck and of his staff, such colonels are not promoted!
February 28.—Congress outlawed all foreign intervention, mediation! Catch it, foreign meddlers. Catch it, Decembriseur and your lackeys.
February 28.—Congress by its boldness, saved the immaculate Republican idea, saved the principle of self-government, and deserves the gratitude of all those from pole to pole, who have at heart the triumph of freedom, the triumph of light! To its last hours, this Congress had to overcome all the mean, petty appetites and cravings, which so often palsy, defile, or at the best, neutralize the noblest activity; Congress had to overcome prejudices, narrow-mindedness and bad faith. Many of the so called political friends—vide, the great Republican press—are as troublesome, as much nuisances, as are the Sewardites and the Copperheads. Others accuse the Congress for not having done enough. Copperheads and Sewardites accuse Congress of having done too much. And thus, the majority of Congress marches on across impediments and abuses thrown in its way both by friends and by enemies.
The Tribune bitterly and boldly attacks Dahlgren, and trembling caves in before Seward. Of course! Dahlgren can only send 11 and 15 inch shells to crush the enemy; brother politician Seward can be useful for some scheme.
Press — Ethics — President's Powers — Seward's Manifestoes — Cavalry — Letters of Marque — Halleck — Siegel — Fighting — McDowell — Schalk — Hooker — Etat Major-General — Gold — Cloaca Maxima — Alliance — Burnside — Halleckiana — Had we but Generals, how often Lee could have been destroyed, etc.
March 1.—Unprecedented is the fact in the history of constitutionally-governed nations, that the patriots of a political party in power, that its most devoted and ardent men, as a question of life or death, are forced to support and defend an Administration which they placed at the helm, and whose many, many acts they disapprove.
The soldiers in the hospitals die the death of confessors to the great cause. And the hair turns not white on the heads of those whose policy, helplessness, and ignorance, crowd the hospitals with the people's best children.
March 2.—The New-York Times—one among the great beacons and authorities in the country—the New York Times belies its title as the "little villain." Gigantically, Atlas-like, that sheet upholds Seward and Weed. The Times makes one admire the senile, compromising, mediating, arbitrating, and, at times, stumbling Tribune, and the cautious but often ardent Evening Post.
The Times joins in the outcry against the radicals. It is Seward-Weed's watchword. It is the watchword of the Herald. It is the watchword of the most thickly coppered Copperheads. Genuine, pure convictions and principles are always radical. Christianity could not have been established were not the first Christians most absolute radicals. They compromised not with heathenism, compromised not with Judaism, which in every way was their father. Radicals—true ones—look to the great aim, forget their persons, and are not moved by mean interests and vanities.
The press in Europe, above all, on the Continent, is different. Its editors and contributors risk their liberty, their persons, their pockets, and sacrifice all to their convictions. They are not afraid to speak out their convictions, even if under the penalty to lose—subscribers; and that is all the risk run by an American newspaper. The Herald, the World, the Express, all organs of the evil spirit, through thick and thin, stand to their fetish, that McClellan; the Republican papers neither pitilessly attack the enemies, nor boldly and manfully support the friends, of the cause.
I nurse no personal likings or dislikings; the times are too mighty, too earnest for such pettiness. For me, men are agencies of principles: bad agencies of an intrinsically good principle are often more mischievous than are bad principles and their confessors. The eternal tendency of human elevation and purification is to eliminate, to dissolve, to uproot social evils, to neutralize or push aside bad men, in whatever skin they may go about. It is a slow and difficult, but nevertheless incessant work of our race. It is consecrated by all founders of religions, by legislators, by philosophers, by moralists; it is an article of human, social and political ethics. As far as I experienced, the European radical press more strictly observes that rule of political ethics than the American press is wont to do. And the press, bad or good, is the high pontifex of our times; more than any other social agency whatever, the press ought, at least, to be manly, elevated, indomitable, vigilant and straight-forward. I mean the respectable press.
March 3.—Senator Wilson's kind of farewell speech to the Copperheads was ringing with fiery and elevated patriotism. It re-echoed the sentiments, the notions, the aspirations of the people. The cobbler of Natick rose above the rhetors, above the deliverers of prosy, classical, polished, elaborated orations, above young and above gray-haired Athenians, high as our fiery and stormy epoch towers over the epochs of quiet, self-satisfied, smooth, cold, elaborate and soulless civilities.
March 4.—Mr. Lincoln hesitates—and, as many assert, is altogether opposed to use all the severity of the laws against the rebels. And shall not our butchered soldiers be avenged? It is sacrilegious to put in the same scales the Union soldier and the rebels; it is the same as to put on equal terms before justice the incendiary and the man who stops or kills the criminal in flagrante delicto.
March 3.—After a tedious labor I waded through the State papers. O, what an accumulation of ignorance! Almost every historical and chronological fact misplaced, misunderstood, perverted, distorted, wrongly applied. And how many, many contradictions! Only when Mr. Seward can simply—(very, very seldom) point out to England that by this and that fact and act England violates the international laws and rules of neutrality and of good comity between two friendly governments and nations: then, only, Mr. Seward's papers acquire historical and political signification. But not his spread eagleism, not his argumentation; and, still less his broad and inexhaustible and variegated information. Diplomatic and statesmanlike character can not be conceded to his State papers. Few, very few, will read them, although foreign Courts, ministers, statesmen, princes, and the so-called celebrated women are complimented and deluged with them. The most pitiless critics of these productions would be the smaller clerks in the Departments of Foreign Affairs in London and Paris. Only they are not fools to waste their time on such specimens of literature.
March 4.—Congress adjourned. This Thirty-Seventh Congress marks a new era in the American and in the world's history. It inaugurated and directed a new evolution in the onward progress of mankind. The task of this Congress was by far more difficult and heavier than was the task of the revolutionary and of the constitutional Congresses. The revolutionary Congress had to fight an external enemy. The tories of that epoch were comparatively less dangerous than are now all kinds of Copperheads; it had to overcome material wants and impediments, and not moral, nor social ones. That Congress was omnipotent, governed the country, and was backed by its virgin enthusiasm, by unity of purpose, and was not hampered by any formulas and precedents. The Thirty-Seventh Congress had to fight a powerful enemy, spread almost over two-thirds of the territory of the Union; it had to fight and stand, so to speak, at home against inveterate prejudices, against such bitter and dangerous domestic enemies as are the Northern men with Southern principles. This Congress was manacled by constitutional formulas, and had to carry various other deadweights already pointed out. In the first part of the session, Pike, Member of Congress from Maine, laid down as the task for the Congress, Fight, Tax, Emancipate—and the Congress fulfilled the task. In a certain aspect the Thirty-Seventh Congress showed itself almost superior to the great immortal French Convention, which ruled, governed, administered, and legislated, while this Congress dragged a Lincoln, a Seward, etc. This Congress accomplished noble and great things without containing the so-called "great" or "representative" men, and thus Congress thoroughly vindicated the great social truth of genuine, democratic self-government.
March 5.—The good press reduces the activity of the Thirty Seventh Congress to its own rather pigmy-like proportions.
Congress was powerless to purify the corrosive air prevailing in Washington, above all in the various official strata. Congress ardently wished to purify, but the third side of the Congressional triangle, the executive and administrative power, preferred to nurse the foul elements. Such doubtful, and some worse than doubtful officials, undoubtedly will become more bold, expecting the near-at-hand advent of the Copperhead Democratic Millennium.
March 6.—The Copperhead members of both the Houses have been very prolific and scientific about the inferiority of race. Pretty specimens of superiority are they, with their sham, superficial, at hap-hazard gathered, unvaluable small information, with their inveterate prejudices, with their opaque, heavy, unlofty minds! Give to any Africo-American equal chances with these props of darkness, and he very speedily will assert over them an unquestionable superiority. Are not the humble, suffering, orderly contrabands infinitely superior to the rowdy, unruly, ignorant, savage and bloody whites?
Southern papers are filled with accounts of the savage persecutions to which the Union men are exposed in the rebel region. It is the result of what Mr. Seward likes to call his forbearing policy and of the McClellan and Halleck warfare of 1861-62.
March 7.—For the first time in the world's history, for the first time in the history of nations governed and administered by positive, well established, well organised, well defined laws—powers, such as those conferred by Congress on Mr. Lincoln, have been so conferred. Never have such powers been in advance, coolly, legally deliberated, and in advance granted, to any sovereign, as are forced upon Mr. Lincoln by Congress, and forced upon him with the assent of a considerable majority of the people.
Never has a nation or an honest political body whatever, shown to any mortal a confidence similar to that shown to Mr. Lincoln. Never in antiquity, in the days of Athens' and Rome's purest patriotism and civic virtue, has the people invested its best men with a trust so boundless as did the last Congress give to Mr. Lincoln.
The powers granted to a Roman dictator were granted for a short time, and they were extra legal in their nature and character; in their action and execution the dictatorial powers were rather taken than granted in detail. The powers forced on Mr. Lincoln are most minutely specified; they have been most carefully framed and surrounded by all the sacred rites of law, according to justice and the written Constitution. These powers are sanctioned by all formulas constituting the legal cement of a social structure erected by the freest people that ever existed. These powers deliver into Mr. Lincoln's hand all that is dear and sacred to man—his liberty, his domestic hearth, his family, life and fortune. A well and deliberately discussed and matured statute puts all such earthly goods at Mr. Lincoln's disposal and free use.
The sublime axiom, salus populi suprema lex esto again becomes blood and life, and becomes so by the free, deliberate will and decision of the foremost standard-bearer of light and civilization, the first born in the spirit of Christian ethics and of the rights of man.—
The Cromwells, the Napoleons, the absolute kings, the autocrats, and all those whose rule was unlimited and not defined—all such grasped at such powers. They seized them under the pressure of the direst necessity, or to satisfy their personal ambition and exaltation. The French Convention itself exercised unlimited dictatorial powers. But the Convention allowed not these powers to be carried out of the legislative sanctuary. The Committee of Robespierre was a board belonging to and emanating from the Convention; the Commissaries sent to the provinces and to the armies were members of the Convention and represented its unlimited powers. When the Committee of Public Safety wanted a new power to meet a new emergency, the Convention, so to speak, daily adjusted the law and its might to such emergencies.
Will Mr. Lincoln realize the grandeur of this unparallelled trust? Has he a clear comprehension of the sacrifice thus perpetrated by the people? I shudder to think about it and to doubt.
The men of the people's heart—a Fremont, a Butler, are still shelved, and the Sewards, the Hallecks, are in positions wherein no true patriot wishes them to be. The Republican press had better learn tenacity from the Copperhead press, which never has given up that fetish, McClellan, and never misses the slightest occasion to bring his name in a wreath of lies before the public.
March 8.—A great Union meeting in New York. War Democrats, Republicans, etc., etc., etc. War to the knife with the rebels is the watchword. Of course, Mr. Seward writes a letter to the meeting. The letter bristles with stereotyped generalities and Unionism. The substance of the Seward manifesto is: "Look at me; I, Seward, I am the man to lead the Union party. I am not a Republican nor a Democrat, but Union, Union, Union."
The I, the No. 1, looks out from every word of that manifesto. With a certain skill, Mr. Seward packs together high-sounding words, but these his phrases, are cold and hollow. Mr. Seward begins by saying that the people are to confer upon him the highest honors. Mr. Seward enlightens, and, so to speak, pedagogues the people concerning what everybody ought to sacrifice. The twenty-two millions of people have already sacrificed every thing, and sacrificed it without being doctrined by you, O, great patriot! and you, great patriot, you have hitherto sacrificed NOTHING!
Let Mr. Seward show his patriotic record! To his ambition, selfishness, ignorance and innate insincerity he has sacrificed as much of the people's honor, of the people's interests, and of the people's blood as was feasible. History cannot be cheated. History will compare Mr. Seward's manifestoes and phrases with his actions!
March 8.—The cavalry horses look as if they came from Egypt during the seven years' famine. I inquired the reason from different soldiers and officers of various regiments. Nine-tenths of them agreed that the horses scarcely receive half the ration of oats and hay allotted to them by the government. Somebody steals the other half, but every body is satisfied. All this could very easily be ferreted out, but it seems that no will exists any where to bring the thieves to punishment.
March 8.—During weeks and weeks I watched McDowell's inquiry. What an honest and straight-forward man is Sigel. McDowell would make an excellent criminal lawyer. McDowell is the most cunning to cross-examine; he would shine among all criminal catchers. The Know-Nothing West Point hatred is stirred up against Sigel. I was most positively assured that at Pea Ridge a West Point drunkard and general expressly fired his batteries in Sigel's rear, to throw Sigel's troops into disorder and disgrace. But in the fire Sigel cannot be disgraced nor confused; so say his soldiers and companions. Sigel would do a great deal of good, but the Know-Nothing-West Point-Halleck envy, ignorance and selfishness are combined and bitter against Sigel.
In this inquiry Sigel proved that he always fought his whole corps himself. So do all good commanders; so did Reno, Kearney, so do Hooker, Heintzelman, Rosecrans, and very likely all generals in the West.
The McClellan-Franklin school, and very probably the Simon-pure West Pointers, fight differently. In their opinion, the commander of a corps relies on his generals of divisions; these on the generals of brigades, who, in their turn rely on colonels, and thus any kind of ensemble disappears. Of course exceptions exist, but in general our battles seem to be fought by regiments and by colonels. O West Point! At the last Bull Run two days' battles, McDowell fought his corps in the West Point-McClellan fashion. His own statements show that his corps was scattered, that he had it not in hand, that he even knew not where the divisions of his corps were located; and during the night of 29-30, he, McDowell, after wandering about the field in search of his corps, spent that night bivouacking amidst Sigel's corps!
March 9.—New York politicians behaved as meanly towards Wadsworth as if they were all from Seward's school.
March 9.—Hooker is at the Herculean work of reorganizing the army. Those who visited it assert that Hooker is very active, very just; and that he has already accomplished the magician's work in introducing order and changing the spirit of the army. Only some few inveterate McClellanites and envious, genuine West Pointers are slandering Hooker.
March 12.—Since the adjournment of Congress, everything looks sluggish and in suspense. The Administration, that is, Mr. Lincoln, is at work preparing measures, etc., to carry out the laws of Congress; Mr. Seward is at work to baffle them; Blair is going over to border-State policy; Stanton, firm, as of old; so is Welles; Bates recognises good principles, but is afraid to see such principles at once brought to light; Chase makes bonds and notes. We shall see what will come from all these preparations. But for Congress, Lincoln or the executive, would have been disabled from executing the laws. Congress, by its laws or statutes, aided the Executive branch in its sworn duty.
March 13.—The various Chambers of Commerce petition and ask that the president may issue letters of marque. It is to be supposed, or rather to be admitted, that the Chambers of Commerce know what is the best for them, how our commerce is to be protected, how the rebel pirates swept from the oceans, and how England, treacherous England, perfidious Albion, be punished. But Sumner—of course—knows better than our Chambers of Commerce, and our commercial marine; with all his little might, Sumner opposes what the country's interests demand, and demand urgently. I am sure that already this general demonstration of the national wish and will, the demonstrations made by our Chambers of Commerce, etc., will impress England, or at least the English supporters of piracy.
Sumner will believe that his letters to English old women will change the minds of the English semi-pirates. Sumner is a little afraid of losing ground with the English guardians of civilization. Sumner is full of good wishes, of generous conceptions, and is the man for the millennium. Sumner lacks the keen, sharp, piercing appreciation of common events. And thus Sumner cannot detect that England makes war on our commerce, under the piratic flag of the rebels.
March 14.—The primitive Christians scarcely had more terrible enemies, scarcely had to overcome greater impediments, than are opposed to the principle of human rights, and of emancipation. All that is the meanest, the most degraded, the most dastardly and the most treacherous, is combined against us. Many of the former confessors, many of our friends, many, unconscious of it—Sewardise and Blairise.
Mud is stirred up, flows, rises and penetrates in all directions. The Cloaca Maxima in Rome, during thirty centuries scarcely carried more filth than is here besieging, storming the departments, all the administrative issues, and all the so-called political issues.
I am sure that the enemies of emancipation, that Seward, Weed, etc., wait for some great victory, for the fall of Vicksburgh or of Charleston, to renew their efforts to pacify, to unite, to kiss the hands of traitors, and to save slavery. I see positive indications of it. Seward expects in 1864 to ride into the White House on such reconciliation. What a good time then for the Weeds, and for all the Sewardites!
March 15.—Persons who seemed well informed, assured me that Weed got hold of Stanton, and secretly presides over the contracts in the War Department. If so, it is very secretly done; as I investigated, traced it, and found out nothing. At any rate, Weed would never get at a Watson, a man altogether independent of any political influences. Watson is the incarnation of honest and intelligent duty.
Wilkes' Spirit of the Times is unrelenting in its haughty independence. It is the only public organ in this country of like character; at least I know not another.
March 15.—It is so saddening to witness how all kinds of incapacities, stupidities, how meanness, hollowness, heartlessness, all incarnated in politicians, in trimmers, in narrow brained; how all of them ride on the shoulders of the masses, and use them for their sordid, mean, selfish and ambitious ends. And the masses are superior to those riders in everything constituting manhood, honesty and intellect!
March 16.—Halleck wrote a letter to Rosecrans, explaining how to deal with all kinds of treason, and with all kinds of traitors. It looks as if Halleck improved, and tried to become energetic. What is in the wind? Is Mr. Lincoln becoming seriously serious?
March 16.—Genuine, social and practical freedom, is generated by individual rational freedom. If a man cannot, or even worse, if a man understands not to act as a free rational being in every daily circumstance of life during the week, then he cannot understand to behave on Sunday as a free man; and act as a free man in all his political and social relations and duties. The North upholds that law of freedom against the slavocracy, and fights to carry and establish a genuine social organism where at present barbarity, oppression, lawlessness and recklessness, prevail and preside.
March 18.—I sent Hooker Schalk's Summary of the Science of War. It is the best, the clearest handbook ever published. About six months ago, when Banks commanded the defenses of Washington, I suggested to him to try and get Schalk into head-quarters, or into the staff. The ruling powers proffered to Schalk to make him captain at large, and this was proffered at a time when altogether unmilitary men became colonels, etc., at the head-quarters. I never myself saw Schalk, but he refused the offer, as years ago he was a captain in the Austrian army, is independent, and knows his own value. Any European government, above all when having on hand a great war, with both hands with military grades, would seize upon a capacity such as Schalk's. Here they know better. My hobby is that the president be surrounded by a genuine staff composed either of General Butler or any other capable American general, of Sigel, of Schalk, and of a few more American officers, who easily could organise a staff, un etat Major general, such as all European governments have. But West Point wisdom, engineers and routine, kill, murder, throttle, everything beyond their reach, and thus murder the people.
March 20.—Every week Mr. Seward pours over the fated country his cold, shallow Union rhetoric. But whoever reads it feels that all this combined phraseology gushes not from a patriotic heart; every one detects therein bids for the next Presidency.
Gold is at fifty-five per cent here; in Richmond, gold is four to six hundred per cent. The money bags, and all those who adjust the affairs of the world to the rise and to the fall of all kind of exchanges, they may base their calculations on the above figures, and find out who has more chances of success, the rebels or we!
Mud, stench on the increase, and because I see, smell and feel it, "My friends scorn me, but my eye poureth tears into" [Psalm] the noble American people.
March 21.—The honest Conservatives and the small church of abolitionists are equally narrow-minded, and abuse the last Congress. The one and the other comprehend not, and cannot comprehend the immense social and historical signification of the last Congress. It made me almost sick to find Edward Everett joining in the chorus. But he, too, is growing very old.
March 22.—What are generally called excellent authorities assert that an offensive and defensive alliance is concluded between Seward and Stanton. Further, I am told, that Senator Morgan, Thurlow Weed, and a certain Whiting, a new star on the politician's horizon, have been the attorneys of the two contracting powers. I cannot yet detect any signs of such an alliance, and disbelieve the story. A short time will be necessary to see its fruits. Until I see I wait!... But were it true? Who will be taken in? I am sure it will not be Seward. Is Stanton dragged down by the infuriated fates?
March 23.—Burnside is to save Kentucky, almost lost by Halleck and Buell. Congress adjourned, and no investigation was made into Halleck's conduct after Corinth in 1862. The Western army disappeared; Buell commanded in Kentucky, and rebels, guerillas, cut-throats, murderers and thieves overflow the west, menaced Cincinnati. And all this when the Secretary of War in his report speaks about eight hundred thousand men in the field. But the Secretary of War provides men and means; great Lincoln, the still greater Halleck distribute and use them. This explains all. Burnside is honest and loyal, only give him no army to command. I deeply regret that Burnside's honesty squares not at all with his military capacity.
The Government is at a loss what to do with honest, ignorant, useless military big men, who in some way or other rose above their congenial but very low level. Already last year I suggested (in writing) to Stanton to gather together such intellectual military invalids and to establish an honorary military council, to counsel nothing. Occasionally such a council could direct various investigations, give its advice about shoes, pants, horses and horse-shoes. Something like such council really exists in Russia, and I pointed it out to Stanton for imitation.
March 25.—Stanton scorns the slander concerning his alliance with Seward and Weed. It is an invention of Blair, and based on the fact that Stanton sides with Seward in the question of letters of marque, opposed by Blair under the influence of Sumner the civiliser. I believe Stanton, and not my former informer.
Halleckiana. This great, unequalled great man declared that "it were better even to send McClellan to Kentucky, or to the West, than to send there Fremont, as Fremont would at once free the niggers."
The admirers of poor argument, of spread-eagleism, and of ignorant quotations stolen from history, make a fuss about Mr. Seward's State papers. The good in these papers is where Mr. Seward, in his confused phraseology, re-echoes the will, the decision of the people, no longer to be humbugged by England's perversion of international laws and of the rights and duties of neutrals; the will of the people sooner or later to take England to account. (I hope it will be done, and no English goods will ever pollute the American soil. It will be the best vengeance.) The repudiation of any mediation is in the marrow of the people, and Seward's muddy arguments only perverted and weakened it. In Europe, the substance of Seward's dispatch, is considered the passage where Seward's highfalutin logomachy offers to the rebels their vacant seats in the Congress.
March 26.—Had we generals, the rebel army in Virginia ought to have been dispersed and destroyed after the first Bull Run:
A. McCLELLAN.—Any day in November and December, 1861.
B. McCLELLAN.—Any day in January and February, 1862, at Centerville, Manassas.
C. McCLELLAN.—At Yorktown, and when the rebels retreated to Richmond.
D. McCLELLAN.—After the battle of Fair Oaks, Richmond easily could and ought to have been taken. (See Hurlbut, Hooker, Kearney and Heintzelman.)
E. McCLELLAN.—Richmond could have been taken before the fatal change of base. (See January, Fitz John Porter.)
F. But for the wailings of McClellan and his stick-in-the-mud do-nothing strategy, McDowell, Banks and Fremont would have marched to Richmond from north, north-west, and west, when we already reached Stanton, and could take Gordonsville.
G. General Pope and General McDowell, the McClellan pretorians, at the August 1862, fights between the Rappahannock and the Potomac.
H. McCLELLAN.—Invasion of Maryland, 1862. Go in the rear of Lee, cut him from his basis, and then Lee would be lost, even having a McClellan for an antagonist.
I. McCLELLAN.—After Antietam battle, won by Hooker, and above all by the indomitable bravery of the soldiers and officers, and not by McClellan's generalship, Lee ought to have been followed and thrown into the Potomac.
K. McCLELLAN.—Lay for weeks idle at Harper's Ferry, gave Lee time to reorganize his army and to take positions. Elections. Copperheads, French mediation.
L. McCLELLAN.—By not cutting Lee in two when he was near Gordonsville, Jackson at Winchester, and our army around Warrenton.
M. BURNSIDE.—By continuing the above mentioned fault of McClellan.
N. BURNSIDE.—By his sluggish march to Fredericksburgh, (see Diary, December.)
O. HALLECK, MEIGS, etc. The affair of the pontoons.
P. BURNSIDE, Franklin.—The attack of the Fredericksburg Heights.
March 28.—From the day of Sumter, and when the Massachusetts men hurrying to the defence of the Union, were murdered by the Southern gentlemen in Baltimore, this struggle in reality is carried on between the Southern gentlemen, backed by abettors in the North, (abettors existing even in our army,) all of them united against the YANKEE, who incarnates civilization, right, liberty, intellectual superior development, and therefore is hated by the gentleman—this genuine Southern growth embodying darkness, violence, and all the virtues highly prized in hell. The Yankee, that is, the intelligent, laborious inhabitant of New England and of the Northern villages and towns, represents the highest civilization: the best Southern gentleman, that lord of plantations, that cotton, tobacco and slavemonger, at the best is somewhat polished, varnished; the varnish covers all kinds of barbarity and of rottenness. It is to be regretted that our army contains officers modelled on the Southern pattern, to whom human rights and civilization are as distasteful as they are to any high-toned slave-whipper in the South.
March 29.—The destruction of slavery, the triumph of self government ought not to be the only fruit of this war. The politician ought to be buried in the offal of the war. The crushing of politicians is a question as vital as the crushing of the rebellion and of treason. All the politicians are a nuisance, a curse, a plague worse than was any in Egypt. All of them are equal, be they Thurlow Weeds or Forneys, or etc. etc. etc. A better and purer race of leaders of the people will, I hope, be born from this terrible struggle. Were I a stump speaker I should day and night campaign against the politician, that luxuriant and poisonous weed in the American Eden.
March 30.—Glorious news from Hooker's army. Even the most inveterate McClellanites admire his activity and indeed are astonished to what degree Hooker has recast, reinvigorated, purified the spirit of the army. To reorganise a demoralised army requires more nerve than to win a battle. Hooker takes care of the soldiers. And now I hope that Hooker, having reorganised the army, will not keep it idly in camp, but move, and strike and crush the traitors. Hooker! En avant! marchons!
March 31.—Some newspapers in New York and the National Intelligencer here in Washington, the paid organ of Seward and likewise organ of treason gilded by Unionism—all of them begin to discuss the necessity of a staff. All of them reveal a West Point knowledge of the subject; and the staff which they demand or which they would organise, would be not a bit better than the existing ones.
Lord Lyons — Blue book — Diplomats — Butler — Franklin — Bancroft — Homunculi — Fetishism — Committee on the Conduct of the War — Non-intercourse — Peterhoff — Sultan's Firman — Seward — Halleck — Race — Capua — Feint — Letter writing — England — Russia — American Revolution — Renovation — Women — Monroe doctrine, etc., etc., etc.
April 1.—The English Blue Book reveals the fact that Lord Lyons held meetings and semi-official, or if one will, unofficial talks with what he calls "the leaders of the Conservatives in New York;" that is, with the leaders of the Copperheads, and of the slavery and rebellion saviours. The Despatches of Lord Lyons prove how difficult it is to become familiar with the public spirit in this country, even for a cautious, discreet diplomat and an Englishman. But perhaps we should say, because an Englishman, Lord Lyons became confused. Lord Lyons took for reality a bubble emanating from a putrescent fermentation. I am at a loss to understand why Earl Russell divulged the above mentioned correspondence, thus putting Lord Lyons into a false and unpleasant position with the party in power.
As for the fact itself, it is neither new nor unwonted. Diplomacy and diplomats meddle with all parties; they do it openly or secretly, according to circumstances. English diplomacy was always foremost in meddling, and above all it has been so during this whole century. The English diplomat is not yet born, who will not meddle or intrigue with all kinds of parties, either in a nation, in a body politic, in a cabinet or at court.
When a nation, a dynasty, a government becomes entangled in domestic troubles, the first thing they have to do is to politely bow out of the country all the foreign diplomacy and diplomats, be these diplomats hostile, indifferent, or even friendly. And the longer a diplomat has resided in a country, the more absolutely he ought to be bowed out with his other colleagues; to bow them all in or back, when the domestic struggle is finished.
History bristles with evidences of the meddling of diplomats with political parties, and bears evidence of the mischief done, and of the fatal misfortunes accruing to a country that is victimised by foreign diplomacy and by diplomats. Without ransacking history so far back as to the treaty of Vienna, (1815) look to Spain, above all, during Isabella I.'s minority, to Greece, to Turkey, etc. And under my eyes, Mexico is killed by diplomacy and by diplomats.
Diplomatic meddlings become the more dangerous when no court exists that might more or less control them, to impress on them a certain curb in their semi-official and non-official conduct. But at times it is difficult, even to a sovereign, to a court, to keep in order the intriguing diplomats, above all to keep them at bay in their semi-official social relations.
In principle, and de facto, a diplomat, and principally a diplomat representing a powerful sovereign or nation, has no, or very few, private, inoffensive, social, worldly, parlor relations in the country, or in the place to which he is appointed, and where he resides. Every action, step, relation, intimacy of a diplomat has a signification, and is watched by very argus-like eyes; alike by the government to which he is accredited, and by his colleagues, most of whom are also his rivals. Not even the Jesuits watch each other more vigilantly, and denounce each other more pitilessly, than do the diplomats—officially, semi-officially and privately.
It requires great tact in a diplomat to bring into harmony his official and his social, and non-official conduct. Lord Lyons generally showed this tact and adroitly avoided the breakers. At times such want of harmony is apparent and is the result of the will, or of the principles of the court and of the sovereign represented by a diplomat. Thus, after the revolution of July, 1830, the sovereign and the diplomats in the Holy Alliance, of Russia, Austria, and Prussia recognised Louis Phillipe's royalty as a fact but not as a principle. Therefore, in their social relations the Ambassadors of Russia, Austria, and Prussia, most emphatically sided with the Carlists, the most bitter and unrelenting enemies of the Orleans and of the order of things inaugurated by the revolution of July, and Carlists always crowded the saloons of the Holy Alliance's diplomats. The Duke d'Orleans, Louis Phillipe's son, scarcely dared to enter the brilliant, highly aristocratic, and purely legitimist saloon of the Countess Appony, wife of the Austrian Ambassador. Of course the conduct of the Count and Countess was approved, and applauded, in Vienna. But at times, for some reason or other, a diplomat puts in contradiction his official and non-official conduct, and does it not only without instructions or approval of his sovereign and government, but in contradiction to the intentions of his master and in contradiction to the prevailing opinion of his country. And thus it happens, that a diplomat presents to a government in trouble the most sincere and the most cheering official expressions of sympathy from his master; and with the same hand the diplomat gives the heartiest shakes to the most unrelenting enemies of the same government.
The Russian, skillful, shrewd and proud diplomacy, generally holds an independent, almost an isolated position from England and from France. The Russian diplomacy goes its own way, at times joined or joining according to circumstances, but never, never following in the wake of the two rival powers. During this our war, and doubtless for the first time since Russian diplomacy has existed, a Russian diplomat semi and non-officially, seemingly, limped after the diplomats of England and of France. But such a diplomatic mistake can not last long.
April 2.—Official, lordish, Toryish England, plays treason and infamy right and left. The English money lenders to rebels, the genuine owners of rebel piratical ships, are anxious to destroy the American commerce and to establish over the South an English monopoly. All this because odiunt dum metuant the Yankee. You tories, you enemies of freedom, your time of reckoning will come, and it will come at the hands of your own people. You fear the example of America for your oppressions, for your rent-rolls.
April 3.—The country ought to have had already about one hundred thousand Africo-Americans, either under arms, in the field, or drilling in camps. But to-day Lincoln has not yet brought together more than ten to fifteen thousand in the field; and what is done, is done rather, so to speak, by private enterprise than by the Government. Mr. Lincoln hesitates, meditates, and shifts, instead of going to work manfully, boldly, and decidedly. Every time an Africo-American regiment is armed or created, Mr. Lincoln seems as though making an effort, or making a gracious concession in permitting the increase of our forces. It seems as if Mr. Lincoln were ready to exhaust all the resources of the country before he boldly strikes the Africo American vein. How differently the whole affair should have been conducted!
April 4.—Almost every day I hear very intelligent and patriotic men wonder why every thing is going on so undecidedly, so sluggishly; and all of them, in their despondency, dare not or will not ascend to the cause. And when they finally see where the fault lies, they are still more desponding.
Europe, that is, European statesmen, judge the country, the people, by its leaders and governors. European statesmen judge the events by the turn given to them by a Lincoln, a Seward; this furnishes an explanation of many of the misdeeds committed by English and French statesmen.
April 4.—The people at large, with indomitable activity, mends, repairs the disasters resulting from the inability and the selfishness of its official chiefs. One day, however, the people will turn its eyes and exclaim:
"But thou, O God! shalt bring them down into the pit of destruction; bloody and deceitful men shall not live out half their days."
April 4.—General Butler's speech in New York, at the Academy of Music, is the best, nay, is the paramount exposition of the whole rebellion in its social, governmental and military aspects. No President's Message, no letter, no one of the emanations of Seward's letter and dispatch-writing, corrosive disease, not an article in any press compares with Butler's speech for lucidity, logic, conciseness and strong reasoning. Butler laid down a law, a doctrine—and what he lays down as such, contains more cardinal truth and reason than all that was ever uttered by the Administration. And Butler is shelved and bartered to France by Seward as long since as 1862; and the people bear it, and the great clear-sighted press subsides, instead of day and night battering the Administration for pushing aside the only man, emphatically the ONLY MAN who was always and everywhere equal to every emergency—who never was found amiss, and who never forgot that an abyss separates the condition of a rebel, be he armed or unarmed, (the second even more dangerous,) from a loyal citizen and from the loyal Government.
April 4.—The annals of the Navy during this war will constitute a cheering and consoling page for any future historian. If the Navy at times is unsuccessful, the want of success can be traced to altogether different reasons than many of the disasters on land. Nothing similar to McClellanism pollutes the Navy—and want of vigilance and other mistakes become virtues when compared with want of convictions, with selfishness, and with intrigue. I have not yet heard any justified complaint against the honesty of the Navy Department; I feel so happy not to be disappointed in the tars of all grades, and that Neptune Welles, with his Fox, (but not a red-haired, thieving fox,) keep steady, clean, and as active as possible.
April 5.—Senator Sumner pines and laments, Jeremiah-like, on the ruins of our foreign policy, and accuses Seward of it—behind his back. Why has not pater conscriptus uttered a single word of condemnation from his Senatorial fauteuil, and kept mute during three sessions? Sunt nobis homunculi sed non homines.
April 5.—A letter in the papers, in all probability written under the eye of General Franklin, tries to exculpate the General from all the blood spilt at Fredericksburgh. It will not do, although the writer has in his hands documents, as orders, etc. Franklin orders General Meade to attack the enemy's lines at the head of 4500 men, (he ought to have given to Meade at least double that number); brave and undaunted Meade breaks through the enemy; and Franklin's excuse for not supporting Meade is, that he had no orders from head-quarters to do it. By God! Those geniuses, West Point No. Ones, suppose that any dust can be thrown to cover their nameless—at the best—helplessness. Franklin commanded a whole wing, sixty thousand men; his part in the battle was the key to the whole attack. Franklin's eventual success must decide the day. Meade was in Franklin's command, and to support Meade, Franklin wants an order from head-quarters. Such an excuse made by a general at the head of a large part of the army—or rather such a crime not to support a part of his own command engaged with the enemy, because no special orders from head-quarters prescribed his doing so—such a case or excuse is almost unexampled in the history of warfare. And when such cases happened, then the guilty was not long kept in command. Three bloody groans for Franklin!
April 6.—George Bancroft has the insight of a genuine historian. Few men, if any, can be compared to him for the clearness, breadth, and justness with which in this war Bancroft comprehends and embraces events and men. Bancroft's judgment is almost faultless, and it is to be regretted that Bancroft, so to speak, is outside of the circle instead of being inside, and in some way among the pilots.
April 6.—The Report of the Committee on the Conduct of the War will make the coming generation and the future historian shudder. No one will be able to comprehend how such a McClellan could have been thus long kept in the command of an army, and still less how there could have existed men claiming to have sound reason and heart, and constitute a McClellan party. McClellan is the most disgusting psychological anomaly. It is an evidence how a mental poison rapidly spreads and permeates all. As was repeatedly pointed out in this DIARY, individuals who started the McClellan fetishism, were admirers of the Southern gentlemen, were worshippers of slavery, were secret or open partisans of rebellion. Many such subsequently appear as Copperheads, peace men, as Union men, as Conservatives. The other stratum of McClellanism is composed of intriguers. These combined forces, supported by would-be wise ignorance, spread the worship, and poisoned thousands and tens of thousands of honest but not clear-sighted minds. The Report, or rather the investigation was conducted with the utmost fairness; of course Ben Wade could not act otherwise than fairly and nobly. Some critics say that McClellan's case could have been yet more strongly brought out, and the fetish could have been shown to the people in his most disgustingly true nakedness.
April 6.—The people feel how the treason of the English evilwishers slowly extends through its organs. By Butler, Wade, Grimes and others, the people ask for non-intercourse with the English assassin, who surreptitiously, stealthily under cover of darkness, of legal formality, deals, or attempts to deal, a deadly blow. The American sentimentalists strain to the utmost their soft brains, to find excuses for English treason.
English lordlings, scholars, moralists of the Carlyleian mental perversion comment Homer, instead of being clear sighted commentators of what passes under their noses. The English phrase-mongering philanthropists all with joy smacked their bloody lips at the, by them ardently wished and expected downfall of a noble, free and self-governing people. Tigers, hyenas and jackals! clatter your teeth, smack your lips! but you shall not get at the prey.
April 7.—The President visits the Potomac army at Falmouth. Seward wished to be of the party, offering to make a stirring speech to the soldiers—that is, to impress the heroes with the notion that in Seward they beheld a still greater hero, a patriot reeking with Unionism and sacrifices, and eventually prepare their votes for the next presidential election. Certain influences took the wind out of Seward's sails, and as a naughty, arrogant boy, he was left behind to bite his nails, and to pour out a logomachy.
April 7.—I am very uneasy about Charleston. It seems that something works foul. Either they have not men enough, or brains enough. A good artillerist, having confidence in the guns, and having the needed insight how and where to use them, ought to command our forces. Will the iron-clads resist the concentric fire from so numerous batteries?
The diplomats of the prospective mediation and their tails are scared by the elections in Connecticut. Others, however, of that illustrious European body are out-spoken friends of Union and of freedom. The representatives of the American republics are to be relied upon. St. Domingo, Mexico sufficiently teaches all races, latin (?) as well as non-latin, that honey-mouthed governmental Europe is an all-devouring wolf under a sheep's skin.
Non-intercourse! no intercourse with England and with France as long as France chooses to be ridden by the Decembriseur! Such ought to be the watchword for a long, long time to come.
April 8.—The New York Times is now boiling with patriotic wrath against McClellan. Very well. But when McClellan captured maple guns at Centerville and Manassas, when he digged mud and graves for our soldiers before Yorktown, and in the Chickahominy, the Times was extatic beyond measure and description, extatic over the matured plans, the gigantic strategy of McClellan—and at that epoch the Times powerfully contributed to confuse the public opinion.
April 8.—A Mr. Ockford, (or of similar name,) who for many years, was a ship broker in England, advised our government and above all, Mr. Seward, to institute proceedings before the English courts against the building and arming of the iron-clads for the rebels. Seward, of course, snubbed him off with the Sewardian verdict that the jury in England will give or pronounce no verdict of guilty, in our favor, as our jury would not find any one guilty of treason. Good for a Seward.
Patriots from various States, among them Boutwell, now member of Congress from Massachusetts, urged the Cabinet; 1st, to declare peremptorily to the English Government that if the rebel iron-clads are allowed to go out from English ports, our government will consider it as being a deliberate and willful act of hostility; 2d, to publish at once the above declaration, that the English people at large may judge of the affair. Seward opposed such a bold step—Sumner ditto.
April 9.—I am at a loss to find in history, any government whatever that so little took or takes into account the intrinsic and intellectual fitness of an individual for the office entrusted to him, as does the government of Mr. Lincoln. I cannot imagine that it could have been always so, under previous administrations. It seems that in the opinion of the Executive, not only geniuses, but men of studies, and of special and specific preparation and knowledge run in the streets, crowd the villages and states, and the Executive has only to stretch his hand from the window, to take hold of an unmistakable capacity, etc. The Executive ought to have some experience by this time; but alas, experientia non docet in the White House.
April 10.—Agitated as my existence has been, I never fell among so much littleness, meanness, servility as here. To avoid it, and not to despair, or rage, or despond, several times a day, it is necessary to avoid contact with politicians, and reduce to few, very few, all intercourse with them. I cannot complain, as I find compensation—but nevertheless, I am afraid that the study and the analysis of so much mud and offal may tell upon me. Physical monstrosities are attractive to physiologists or rather to pathologists. But an anthropologist prefers normal nobleness of mind, and shudders at sight and contact with intellectual and moral crookedness.
April 11.—Sumter day. Two years elapsed, and treason not yet crushed; Charleston not yet ploughed over and sown with salt; Beauregard still in command, and the snake still keeping at bay the eagle. And all this because in December, 1861, and in January, 1862, McClellan wished not, Seward wished not, and Mr. Lincoln could not decide whether to wish that Charleston and Savannah—defenceless at that time—be taken after the fall of Port Royal. Two years! and the people still bleed, and the exterminating angel strikes not the malefactors, and the earth bursts not, and they are not yet in Gehenna's embrace.
Old patriot Everett made an uncompromising speech. That is by far better than to make a hero out of a McClellan. But the misdeeds of the Administration easily confused such impressionable receptive minds as is Edward Everett's.
April 11.—The Report of the Committee on the Conduct of the War, discloses how McClellan deliberately ruined General Stone, and I have little doubt that McClellan ruined Fitz-John Porter.
April 12.—Our navy makes brilliant prizes of Anglo-rebel flags and ships. But Mr. Seward does his utmost to render the labor of our cruisers as difficult and as dangerous as possible. Of course he does it not intentionally, only because he so masterly masters the international laws, the laws and rules of search, the rights and duties of neutrals, etc., and as a genuine incarnation of fiat justitia, he is indifferent to national interests and to the national flag.
I am curious to learn whether the truth will ever be generally known concerning the seizure of the Anglo-rebel steamer Peterhoff. Then the people would learn how old Welles bravely defended what turpe Seward had decided to drag in the mire. The people would learn what an utterly ignorant impudence presided over the restoring to England of the Peterhoff's mail bag of a vessel a contrabandist, a blockade runner, and a forger. The people would know how Mr. Seward, aided by Mr. Lincoln, has done all in his power to make impossible the condemnation of the Anglo-rebel property. The people would know how turpe Seward tried to urge and to persuade Neptune Welles to violate the statutes of the country; how the great Secretary of State declared that he cared very little for law, and how he and Lincoln, by a Sultan's firman, directed the decision of the Judge on his bench.
April 14.—My gloomy forebodings about the attack on Charleston are already partly realized. Beaten off! that is the short solution of a long story. But of course nobody will be at fault. This attack on Charleston to some extent justifies: parturiunt montes, etc.
De profundis clamavi for light and some inklings of sense and energy. But to search for sense and energy among counterfeits!... The condition here vividly brings to mind Ovid's
...... ...... quem dixere chaos!
April 14.—In a letter to the Loyal League of New York, Mr. Seward is out with his—at least—one hundred and fiftieth prophecy. As fate finds a particular pleasure in quickly giving the lie to the inspired prophet, so we have the affair of Charleston, and some other small disasters. Oh, why has Congress forgotten to pass a law forbidding Seward, for decency's sake, to make himself ridiculous? Among others, hear the following query: Whether this unconquerable and irresistible nation shall suddenly perish through imbecility? etc. O Mr. Seward! how can you thus pointedly and mercilessly criticise your own deeds and policy? Seward squints toward the presidency that he may complete that masterly production.
Oh! how the old hacks turn their dizzy heads towards the White House. It would be ludicrous, and the lowest comedy of life, were not the track running through blood and among corpses. I am told that even Halleck squints that way. And why not? All is possible; and Halleck's nag has as long ears as have the nags and hacks of the other race-runners.
April 14.—Halleck consolidates the regiments and incidentally deprives the army of the best and most experienced officers. The numerically smaller regiment is dissolved in the larger one. But most generally the smaller regiment was the bravest and has seen more fire which melted it. Thus good officers are mustered out and thrown on the pavement, and the enthusiasm for the flag of the regiment destroyed, for its victorious memories, for the recollections of common hardships and all the like noble cements of a military life. Certainly, great difficulty exists to remount or to restore a regiment. But O, Hallecks! O, Thomases! O, McDowells! all of you, genii, or genuises, surmount difficulties.
April 14.—In a public speech in New York, General Fremont has explained the duty and the obligations of a soldier in a republic. Few, very few, of our striped and starred citizens, and still less those educated at West Point have a comprehension of what a Republican citizen soldier is.
April 14.—Halleck directly and indirectly exercises a fatal influence on our army. I learn that his book on military not-science largely circulates; above all, in the Potomac Army.
April 14.—It is the mission of the American people to make all the trials and experiences by which all other nations will hereafter profit. So the social experiment of self-government; the same with various mechanical and commercial inventions. The Americans experiment in political and domestic economy, in the art provided for man's well-being and in the art of killing him. New fire-arms, guns, etc., are now first used.
The until now undecided question between batteries on land and floating ones will be decided in Charleston harbor. Who will have the best, the Monitors or the batteries?
April 15.—I wrote to Hooker imploring him for the sake of the country, and for the sake of his good name, to put an end to the carousings in his camp, and to sweep out all kind of women, be they wives, sisters, sweethearts or the promiscuous rest of crinolines.
April 15.—Certain Republican newspapers perform now the same capers to please and puff Seward and Halleck, as they did before to puff McClellan when in power.
April 16.—Night after night the White House is serenaded. And why not?... From all sides news of brilliant victories on land and on sea; news that Seward's foreign policy is successful; everywhere Halleck's military science carries before it everything, and lickspittles are numberless.
Wild jauchtzend schleudert selbst der Gott der Freude, Den Pechkrantz in das brenene Gebauede!
My veins and brains almost bursting to witness all this. But for ... it would be all over.
... tibi desinet.
April 17.—I met one of the best and of the most radical ex-members of Congress. He was very desponding, almost despairing at the condition of affairs. He returned from the White House, and notwithstanding his despair, tried to explain to me how Mr. Lincoln's eminent and matchless civil and military capacities finally will save the country. Et tu, Brute, exclaimed I, without the classical accent and meaning. The ex-honorable had in his pocket a nomination for an influential office.
April 17.—Immense inexhaustible means in men, money, beasts, equipment, war material devoured and disappearing in the bottomless abyss of helplessness. The counterfeits ask for more, always for more, and more of the high-minded people grudge not its blood.
Labitur ex oculis ... gutta meis.
A Forney puffs Cameron over Napoleon! A true American gentlewoman as patriotic as patriotism itself, quivering under the disastrous condition of affairs at home and abroad, exclaimed: "that at least the Southern leaders redeem the honor of the American name by their indomitable bravery, their iron will and their fertility of resources." What was to be answered?
April 18.—As long as England is ruled by her aristocracy, whether Tories or Whigs, a Hannibalian hate ought to be the creed of every American. Let the government of England pass into the hands of JOHN S. MILL, and into those of the Lancashire working classes, and then the two peoples may be friends.
April 18.—Hooker is to move. If Hooker brings out the army victorious from the bad strategic position wherein the army was put by Halleck-Burnside, then the people can never sufficiently admire Hooker's genius. Such a manoeuvre will be a revelation.
April 18.—I learn that General Hunter has about seven thousand disposable men in his whole department, for the attack of Charleston. If he is to storm the batteries by land, then Hunter has not men enough to do it; it is therefore folly and crime to order, or to allow, the attack of the defenses of Charleston.
April 18.—Mr. Seward has not at all given up his firm decision to violate the national statutes and the international rules, by insisting upon the restoration to England of the mails of that Anglo-Piratic vessel, the Peterhoff. A mail on a blockade-runner enjoys no immunity, since regular mail steamers, or at least mail agents and carriers are established by England. Even previously, neutral private vessels could not always claim the immunity for the mail, when they are caught in an unlawful trade. But, of course, the State Department knows better.
In the case of the ship Labuan, an English blockade-runner, Mr. Seward, backed by Mr. Lincoln, ordered the judge how to decide, ordered the judge to give up the prize, and Mr. Seward urged the English agents not to lose time in prosecuting American captors for costs and damages. The Labuan was a good prize, but Mr. Seward is the incarnation of wisdom and of justice!
April 20.—The not quite heavenly trio—Lincoln, Seward and Halleck—maintain, and find imbeciles and lickspittles enough to believe them, that they, the trio, could not as yet, act decidedly in the Emancipation question, they being in this, as in other questions, too far in advance of the people. What blasphemy! Those lumina mundi believe that the people will forget their records. To be sure, the Americans, good-natured as they are, easily forget the misdeeds of yesterday, but this yesterday shall be somehow recalled to their memory.
If all the West Pointers were like Grant, Rosecrans, Hooker, Barnard and thousands of them throughout all grades, then West Point would be a blessing for the country. Unhappily, hitherto, the small, bad clique of West Point engineers No. one, exercised a preponderating influence on the conduct of the war, and thus West Point became in disrespect, nay, in horror. I believe that the good West Pointers are more numerous than the altogether bad ones, but they often mar their best qualities by a certain, not altogether admirable, esprit du corps.
April 20.—The generation crowding on this fogyish one will sit in court of justice over the evil-doers, over the helpless, over the egotists who are to-day at work. That generation will begin the assizes during the lifetime of these great leaders in Administration, in politics, in war.
Discite justitiam moniti nec temere divos!
April 20.—Yesterday, April 19th, Mr. Lincoln and his Aide, Halleck, went to Acquia Creek to visit Hooker, to have a peep into his plans, and, of course to babble about them. I hope Hooker will most politely keep his own secrets.
April 21.—The American people never will and never can know and realize the whole immensity of McClellan's treasonable incapacity, and to what extent all subsequent disasters have their roots in the inactivity of McClellan during 1861-62. Whatever may be the official reports, or private investigations, chronicles, confessions, memoirs, all the facts will never be known. Never will it be known how almost from the day when he was intrusted with the command, McClellan was without any settled plans, always hesitating, irresolute; how almost hourly he (deliberately or not, I will not decide) stuffed Mr. Lincoln with lies, and did the same to others members of the Cabinet. The evidences thereof are scattered in all directions, and it is impossible to gather them all. Mr Lincoln could testify—if he would. Almost every day I learn some such fact, but I could not gather and record them all. Seward mostly sided with McClellan, and so did Blair, par nobile fratrum.
Few, if any, detailed reports of the campaigns and battles fought by McClellan have been sent by him to the President or to the War Department. Such reports ought to be made immediately; so it is done in every well regulated government. It is the duty of the staff of the army to prepare the like reports. But McClellan did in his own way, and his reports, if ever he sends them, would only be disquisitions elaborated ex post, and even apart from their truthfulness—null.
All kinds of lies against Stanton have been elaborated by McClellan and his partisans, and circulated in the public. The truth is, that when Stanton became McClellan's superior, Stanton tried in every friendly and devoted way to awake McClellan to the sense of honor and duty, to make him fight the enemy, and not dodge the fight under false pretenses. Stanton implored McClellan to get ready, and not to evade from day to day; and only when utterly disappointed by McClellan's hesitation and untruthfulness, Stanton, so to say, in despair, forced McClellan to action. Stanton was a friend of McClellan, but sacrificed friendship to the sacred duty of a patriot.
April 21.—England plays as false in Europe as she does here. England makes a noise about Poland, and after a few speeches will give up Poland. More than forty years of experience satisfied me about England's political honesty. In 1831, Englishmen made speeches, the Russian fought and finally overpowered us. England hates Russia as it hates this country, and fears them both. I hope a time will come when America and Russia joining hands will throttle that perfidious England. Were only Russia represented here in her tendencies, convictions and aspirations! What a brilliant, elevated, dominating position could have been that of a Russian diplomat here, during this civil war. England and France would have been always in his ante-chambre.
April 21.—Letter-writing is the fashion of the day. Halleck treads into Seward's footsteps or shoes. Halleck thunders to Union leagues; to meetings; it reads splendidly, had only Halleck not contributed to increase the "perils" of the country. Letter-writing is to atone for deadly blunders. The same with Seward as with Halleck. If Halleck would not have been fooled by Beauregard, if Halleck had taken Corinth instead of approaching the city by parallels distant five miles; the "peril" would no longer exist.
April 21.—Foreign and domestic papers herald that the honorable Sanford, United States Minister to Belgium, and residing in Brussels, has given a great and highly admired diplomatic dinner, etc., etc. I hope the Sewing machine was in honor and exposed as a surtout on the banquet's table, and that only the guano-claim successfully recovered from Venezuela, and other equally innocent pickings paid the piper. Vive la bagatelle, and Seward's alter ego at the European courts.