26. Cold Harbor.—On the 3rd of June at Cold Harbor (q.v.) took place the last of Grant's "hammering" battles in the open fields. The attack of the Federals failed utterly; not even Fredericksburg was so disastrous a defeat. Six thousand men fell in one hour's fighting, and the total losses on this field, where skirmishing went on for many days, were 13,000. But Grant was as resolute as ever. His forces once more manoeuvred against Lee's inner flank, still found no weak spot, and eventually arrived upon the James. The river was crossed, Lee as usual conforming to the movement, and on the 15th of June the Federals appeared before the works of Petersburg (q.v.). Here, and in the narrow neck of land between the Appomattox and the James, was the ganglion of the Confederacy, and the struggle for its possession was perhaps the greatest of modern history. A first assault made at once (June 15-18) failed with a loss of 8150 men. Two sharp combats followed on the 22nd of June and the 2nd of July, as Grant once more began to feel Lee's right. But the anniversary of Gettysburg saw Lee's works still intact, and 72,000 men of the Army of the Potomac and the Army of the James had fallen since the campaign had opened two months before. History has few examples to show comparable to this terrible campaign in Virginia. The ruthless determination of the superior leaders had been answered splendidly by the devotion of the troops, but the men of Chancellorsville and Gettysburg were mostly dead or wounded, and the recruits attracted by bounties or compelled by the "draft," which had at last been enforced in the North, proved far inferior soldiers to the gallant veterans whom they replaced.
27. Petersburg.—There was no formal siege of Lee's position. A vast network of fortifications covered the front of both armies, whose flank extended far to the south-west, Grant seeking to capture, Lee to defend, the Danville railway by which the Confederates received their supplies. Richmond, though no longer of paramount importance, was no less firmly held than Petersburg, and along the whole long line fighting went on with little interruption. On the 30th of July the Federal engineers exploded a mine under the hostile works, and Burnside's corps rushed to the assault. But the attempt ended in failure—the first defeat of the Army of the Potomac which could fairly be called discreditable. Still, Lee was losing men, few it is true, but most precious, since it was impossible to replace them, while the North poured unlimited numbers into the Federal camps. The policy of "attrition" upon which Grant had embarked, and which he was carrying through regardless of his losses, was having its effect. About this time Early, freed from the opposition of Hunter's forces, made a bold stroke upon Washington. Crossing the Potomac, he marched eastward, and, defeating a motley force (action of the Monocacy) which General Lew Wallace had collected to oppose him, appeared before the lines of Washington. The Federal capital was at the moment almost denuded of troops, and forces hastily despatched from the James only arrived just in time to save it. Thereupon the Confederates retired, narrowly escaping Hunter, and the brief campaign came to an end with an engagement at Kernstown. Early had been nearer to the immediate success than Lee had been in 1862 and 1863, but he had failed utterly to relax Grant's hold on Petersburg, which was becoming daily more crushing.
On the decisive theatre the Federals made their way, little by little and at a heavy cost, to the Weldon railway, and beyond it to the westward. Lee's lines were becoming dangerously extended, but he could not allow the enemy to cut him off from the west. On the 25th of August there was a battle at Reams Station, in which the Federals were forced back, and the famous II. Corps under Hancock was for the first time routed. But Grant was tireless, and five days later another battle was fought, at Peebles Farm, in which the lost ground was regained. Butler and the Army of the James at the same time won some successes in front of the Richmond works. One more attempt to outflank Lee to the westward was made by Grant without success, before winter came on, and the campaign closed with an expedition, under the direction of General Warren, which destroyed the Weldon line. Grant had not reached Lee's flank at any point, and his casualties from first to last had been unprecedentedly heavy, but "hammering" was steadily prevailing where skill and valour had failed.
28. Sheridan's Valley Campaign.—In the closing months of the year Grant's brilliant cavalry commander Sheridan had been put in command of an army to operate against Early in the Valley. The Federals in this quarter had hitherto suffered from want of unity in the command (e.g. Banks, Fremont and McDowell in 1862). The Army of the Shenandoah would not be thus handicapped, for Sheridan was a leader of exceptional character. The first encounter took place on the Opequan near Winchester. Early was defeated, but not routed (September 19), and another battle took place near Strasburg (Fisher's Hill) on the 22nd. Always disposing of superior numbers, Sheridan on this occasion won an important victory without much loss. A combat which took place, at Mount Jackson, during the pursuit, again ended successfully, and the triumphant Federals retired down the Valley, ruthlessly destroying everything which might be of the slightest value to the enemy. Early sharply followed them up, his men infuriated by the devastation of the "Granary of the Confederacy." At Cedar Creek (q.v.), during a momentary absence of the Federal commander, his camps were surprised by Early (October 19). The Army of the Shenandoah was routed and driven towards the Potomac. But the gallant stand of the old Potomac troops of the VI. Corps checked the Confederates. Sheridan arrived on the scene to find a new battle in progress. He was at his best at such a moment, and the rallied Federals under his command swept all before them. The victory was decisive, and, the country being now bare of supplies, the Army of the Shenandoah was sent to reinforce Grant, while the remnant of Early's forces also went to Petersburg. Sheridan's campaign was a famous episode of the war. It was conducted with skill, though, with twice the numbers of the enemy at his command, Sheridan's victory was a foregone conclusion. But he had at least shown that he possessed to an unusual degree the real attribute of a great captain—power over men.
29. Sherman and Johnston.—Meanwhile Sherman had fought his Atlanta campaign. General Johnston opposed him almost on the old Chickamauga battle-ground, where the Federal commander, after a brief campaign in Mississippi and Alabama, the result of which was to clear his right flank (February 3-March 6, 1864), collected his armies—the Army of the Tennessee under McPherson, the Army of the Cumberland under Thomas (Hooker's troops had now become part of this army) and the Army of the Ohio under Schofield. In the celebrated campaign of Atlanta the highest manoeuvring skill was displayed by both the famous commanders. Whilst Grant, with his avowed object of crushing Lee's army, lost no opportunity of fighting a battle coute que coute, Sherman, intent rather on the conquest of territory, acted on different lines. Johnston, than whom there was no better soldier in the Confederate service when a careful defence was required, disposed of sensibly inferior forces, and it was to be expected that the 18th-century methods of making war by manoeuvring and by combats, not battles, would receive a modern illustration in Georgia. Operations began early in May 1864, and five days of manoeuvring and skirmishing about Resaca and Rocky Face ended in Johnston's retirement to Resaca. A fortnight later the same manoeuvres, combined with constant "tapping" at the Confederate defences, caused him to fall back again. At Adairsville the same process was gone through, and Johnston retired to Cassville, where he offered battle. Sherman was far too wary to be drawn into an action under unfavourable conditions. If each general had been able to obtain a great battle upon his own terms, each would have fought most willingly, for neither desired a useless prolongation of the war. As it was, both declined to risk a decision. Johnston's inferiority in numbers was now becoming lessened as Sherman had to detach more and more troops to his ever-lengthening communications with Chattanooga. Another manoeuvre brought about a heavy combat near Dallas (Pickett's Mills and New Hope Church, May 25- 27). After a time Johnston fell back, and on the 6th of June the Federals appeared before Marietta (q.v.). Hitherto neither leader had offered a weak spot to his opponent, though the constant skirmishing had caused a loss of 9000 men to Sherman and about two- thirds of that number to the Confederates. At this moment Sherman suddenly changed his policy and sent his troops straight against the hostile entrenchments. The neighbourhood of Marietta witnessed for the next fortnight very heavy fighting, notably at Pine Mountain on the 14th and Kenesaw on the 27th, both actions being frontal assaults gallantly pushed home and as gallantly repulsed. Sherman acted thus in order to teach his own men and the enemy that he was not "afraid," and the lesson was not valueless. He then resumed his manoeuvring, which was now facilitated by improved weather and better roads.
30. Atlanta.—Johnston in due time evacuated the Marietta lines. On the 7th of July his fortifications on the Chattahoochee river were turned, and he fell back into the Atlanta (q.v.) position, which was carefully prepared, like all the others, beforehand. Here Johnston was deprived of his command. His campaign had not been unsuccessful, for Sherman had never succeeded in taking him at a disadvantage, but the whole of the South, including President Davis and his chief of staff General Bragg, clamoured for a more "energetic" policy, and General J. B. Hood was put in command on the understanding that he should "fight." The new general, whose bold and skilful leading had been conspicuous on most of the Virginia battlefields, promptly did so. At first successful, the Confederates had in the end to retire. A few days after this battle (called Peach Tree Creek) took place the battle of Atlanta, which was fiercely contested by the veterans of both sides, and in which McPherson, one of the best generals in the Union army, was killed. Still, Hood was again beaten. The Army of the Tennessee, under its new commander General O. O. Howard, fought and won the battle of Ezra Church on the 28th of July, and, Atlanta being now nearly surrounded, Hood was compelled to adopt the Fabian methods of his predecessor, and fell back to the southward. An attack on the Army of the Ohio near Jonesboro concluded the Atlanta campaign, which left Sherman in control of Atlanta, but hampered by the necessity of preserving his communications with Chattanooga and weakened by a total loss of 30,000 men. In this celebrated campaign the American generals rivalled if they did not excel the exploits of Marlborough, Eugene and Villars, under allied conditions.
31. The March to the Sea.—Although General Canby, with a Federal force in the south, had been ordered to capture Mobile early in the year—after which he was to operate towards Atlanta—Mobile still flew the Confederate flag, and Hood, about to resume the offensive, was thus able to base himself on Montgomery in order to attack Sherman in flank and rear. But the Federal commander was not to be shaken off from his prize. He held firmly to Atlanta, clearing the city of non- combatants and in other ways making ready for a stubborn defence. Thomas and the Army of the Cumberland were sent back to guard Tennessee. A heavy attack on the post of Allatoona (to the garrison of which Sherman sent the famous message, "Hold the fort, for I am coming") was repulsed (October 5). The main armies quickly regained contact, each edging away northwestwards towards the Tennessee and coming into contact at Gaylesville, Alabama, and again at Decatur. General Slocum with Hooker's old Potomac troops garrisoned Atlanta, and every important post along the railway to Chattanooga was held in force. Sherman had now resolved to execute his plan of a march through Georgia to the sea and thence through the Carolinas towards Virginia, destroying everything of military value en route. With the provisos that if Lee turned upon Sherman, Grant must follow him up sharply, and that Thomas could be left to deal with Hood (both of which could be, and were, done), the scheme might well be decisive of the war. Preparations were carefully made. Fifty thousand picked men were to march through Georgia with Sherman, and Thomas was to be reinforced by all other forces available. There was no force to oppose the "March to the Sea." Hood was far away on the Tennessee, which he crossed on the 29th of October at Tuscumbia, making for Nashville. Want of supplies checked the Confederates after a few marches, while Schofield was pressing forward to meet them at Pulaski and Thomas was gathering, at Nashville, a motley army drawn from all parts of the west. It was at this same time that Sherman broke up his railway communication, destroying Atlanta as a place of arms, and set out on his adventurous expedition. There was little in his path. Skirmishes at Macon and Milledgeville alone varied the daily routine of railway-breaking and supply-finding, in which a belt of country 60 m. wide was absolutely cleared. On the 10th of December the army, thoroughly invigorated by its march, appeared before the defences of Savannah. On the 13th of December a division stormed Fort McAllister, and communication was opened with the Federal fleet. The march concluded with the occupation of Savannah on the 20th.
32. Nashville.—Hood, at a loss to divine Sherman's purpose, hastened on into Tennessee amidst weather which would have stopped most troops. Schofield met him on the Duck river, while Thomas was shaping his army in rear. Hood manoeuvred Schofield out of his lines and pushed on once more. At Franklin Schofield had to accept battle, and thirteen distinct assaults on his works were made, all pushed with extraordinary fury and lasting far into the night. Thomas ordered his lieutenant to retire on Nashville, Hood following him up, impressing recruits, transports and supplies, and generally repeating the scenes of Bragg's march of 1862. The civil authorities and the lieutenant-general also urgently demanded that Thomas should advance. Constancy of purpose was the salient feature of Thomas's military character. He would not fight till he was ready. But this last great counterstroke of the Confederacy alarmed the whole North. So great was the tension that Grant finally sent General J. A. Logan to take command. But before Logan arrived, Thomas had on the 15th and 16th of December fought and won the battle of Nashville (q.v.), the most crushing victory of the whole war. Hood's army was absolutely ruined. Only a remnant of it reassembled beyond the Tennessee.
33. The Carolinas.—From Savannah, Sherman started on his final march through the Carolinas. Columbia, his first objective, was reached on the 17th of February 1865. As usual, all that could be of possible value to the enemy was destroyed and, by some accident, the town itself was burned. Sherman, like Sheridan, was much criticized for his methods of reducing opposition, but it does not seem that his "bummers" were guilty of wanton cruelty and destructiveness, at least in general, though the cavalry naturally gave more ground for the accusation than the main body of the army. And the methods of the Confederates had on occasion been somewhat similar. The Confederate general Hardee managed to gather some force (chiefly from the evacuated coast towns) wherewith to oppose the onward progress of the Federals. As commander-in-chief, Lee now reappointed Johnston to command, and the latter soon attacked and very nearly defeated his old opponent at Bentonville (March 19-20). But the "bummers" were no mere marauders, but picked men from the armies that had won Vicksburg and Chattanooga, and, though surrounded, held their ground stoutly and successfully. Advancing once more, they were joined at Goldsboro by the forces lately besieging Fort Fisher (see below), and nearly 90,000 men marched northward towards Virginia, pushing Johnston's weak army before them. Meanwhile the bulk of the forces at Nashville had been sent to the north-east to close Lee's escape to the mountains, and in March the final campaign had opened at Petersburg.
34. The Final Campaign.—At last Lee's men had lost heart in the unequal struggle. Sheridan raided the upper James and destroyed all supplies. Grant lay in front of the Army of northern Virginia with 125,000 men, and when active operations began Lee had no resource but to try and escape to the south-west in order to join Johnston. The western movement was covered by a furious sortie from the lines of Petersburg, which was repulsed with heavy loss. Grant felt that this was a mere feint to screen some other move, and instantly carried the Army of the Potomac to the westward, leaving a bare screen of troops in his lines. On the 29th of March the movement began, followed in rapid succession by the combats of White Oak Road and Dinwiddie Court House and Sheridan's great victory of Five Forks. At the same time the VI. Corps at last carried the Petersburg lines by storm. Thereupon Lee and Longstreet evacuated the Petersburg and Richmond lines and began their retreat. Their men were practically starving, though their rearguard showed a brave front. The remnant of Ewell's corps was cut off at Sailor's Creek, and when Sheridan got ahead of the Confederates while Grant furiously pressed them in the rear, surrender was inevitable (April 8). On the 9th the gallant remnant of the Army of northern Virginia laid down its arms at Appomattox Court House, and the Confederacy came to an end. Johnston surrendered to Sherman at Durham Station on the 26th, and soon afterwards all the remaining Confederate soldiers followed their example. So ended the gigantic struggle, as to the conduct of which it is only necessary to quote, with a more general application, the envoi of a Federal historian, "It has not seemed necessary to me to attempt a eulogy of the Army of the Potomac or the Army of northern Virginia." The general terms of surrender were that the Confederates should give up all material, and sign a parole not to take up arms again. There were no manifestations of triumph or exultation on the part of the victors, the lot of the vanquished was made as easy as possible, and after a short time the armies melted into the mass of the people without disturbance or disorder. A general amnesty proclaimed by the president of the United States on the 29th of May was the formal ending of the Civil War.
35. Character of the War.—No undisciplined levies could have fought as did the armies on both sides. Grave faults the men had, from the regular's point of view. They required humouring, and their march discipline was very elastic. But in battle the "thinking bayonets" resolutely obeyed orders, even though it were to attack a Marye's Hill, or a "Bloody Angle," for they had undertaken their task and would carry it through unflinchingly. So much may be said of both armies. The great advantage of the Confederate—an advantage which he had in a less degree as against the hardier and country-bred Federal of the west—was that he was a hunter and rider born and bred, an excellent shot, and still not infrequently settled his quarrels by the duel. The town-bred soldier of the eastern states was a thoughtful citizen who was determined to do his duty, but he had far less natural aptitude for war than his enemy from the Carolinas or his comrade from Illinois or Kansas. At the same time the more varied conditions of urban life made him more adaptable to changes of climate and of occupation than the "Southron." Irish brigades served on both sides and shot each other to pieces as at Fredericksburg. They had the reputation of being excellent soldiers. The German divisions, on the other hand, were rarely as good as the rest. The leading of these men was in the hands, as a rule, of regular or ex-regular officers, who made many mistakes in their handling of large masses, but had been taught at West Point and on the Indian frontier to command men in danger, and administer them in camp. The volunteer officers rarely led more than a division. When given high command at once they usually failed, but the best of them rose gradually to the superior ranks; Logan, for instance, became an army commander, Sickles, Terry and others corps commanders. Cleburne, one of the best division commanders of the South, had been a corporal in the British army. Meagher, the leader of the "Irish brigade" at Fredericksburg, was the young orator of the "United Irishmen." But Lee, the Johnstons, McClellan, Grant and Sherman had all served in the old army. Most of them were young men in 1861. Stuart was twenty-eight, Sheridan thirty, Grant and Jackson under forty, while some of the subordinate generals were actually fresh from West Point.
36. Strategy and Tactics.—The roughness of much of the country gave a peculiar tone to the strategy of the combatants. Roads were untrustworthy, rivers swelled suddenly, advance and retreat were conditioned and compelled, especially in the case of the ill-equipped Confederates, by the exigencies of food supply. Long forward strides of the Napoleonic type were rarely attempted; "changes of base" were indeed made across country, and over considerable distances, as by Sherman in 1864, but ordinarily either the base and the objective were connected by rail or water, or else every forward step was, after the manner of Marlborough's time, organized as a separate campaign. Hence field fortifications played an unusually prominent part, time and material being available as a rule for works of solid construction. In isolated instances of more rapid campaigning—e.g. Antietam and Gettysburg—they were of subordinate importance. The attack and defence of these entrenchments led to tactical phenomena of unusual interest. Cavalry could not bring about the decision in such country, and sought a field for its restless activity elsewhere. Artillery had fallen, technically, far behind the infantry arm, and in face of long- range rifle fire could not annihilate the hostile line with case-shot fire as in the days of Napoleon. In a battle such as Chancellorsville or the Wilderness guns were almost valueless, since there was little open space in which they might be used. It thus fell to the infantry to attack and defend with its own weapons, and the defence was, locally, almost inexpugnable behind its tall breastworks. One line of works could be stormed, but there were almost always two or three retrenchments behind. The attacking infantry, who found it necessary to cross a fire-swept zone 1000 yds. broad, had to be used resolutely in masses, line following line, and each carrying forward the wrecks of its predecessor. Partial attacks were invariably costly failures. The use of masses was never put in practice more sternly than by Grant in 1864. At the same time, as has been said, the cavalry arm found plenty of work. The horses were not trained for European shock- tactics, nor did the country offer charging room, and though melees of mounted men engaging with sword and pistol were not infrequent, the usual method of fighting was dismounted fire action, which was practised with uncommon skill by the troopers on both sides. The far-ranging strategic "raid" was a notable feature of the war; freely employed by both sides, it was sometimes harmful, more usually profitable, especially to the South, by reason of the captures in material, the information acquired and the alarm and confusion created. These raids, and the more ordinary screening work, were never executed more brilliantly than by Lee's great cavalry general, "Jeb" Stuart, in Virginia, but the Federal generals, Pleasonton and Sheridan, did excellent work in the east, as also Wheeler and Forrest on the Confederate, Wilson and Grierson on the Federal, side in the west. The technical services, in which the mechanical skill and ingenuity of the American had full play, developed remarkable efficiency. Whether it was desired to build a railway bridge, disable a locomotive or cut a canal, the engineers were always ready with some happy expedient. On one occasion an infantry division of 8000 men repaired 102 miles of railway and built 182 bridges in 40 days, forging their own tools and using local resources. Many novelties, too, such as the field telegraph, balloons and signalling, were employed.
37. The Union and Confederate Navies.—The naval war had been likewise fruitful of lessons for the future. Though wooden ships were still largely employed, the ironclad even then had begun to take a commanding place, and the sailing ship at last disappeared from naval warfare. Mines, torpedoes and submarines were all employed, and with the "Monitor" may fairly be said to have begun the application of mechanical science to the uses of naval war. The Federal navy was enormously expanded. Three hundred and thirteen steamers were brought into the service. Sloops of an excellent type were built for work on the high seas, of which the celebrated "Kearsarge" was one. Gunboats were constructed so fast that they were called "ninety-day gunboats." Special reversible paddle steamers (called double-enders) were designed for service in the inlets and estuaries, and sixty-six ironclads were built and employed during the four years. Mississippi river steamers were armed with heavy guns and protected by armour, boiler-plates, cotton bales, &c., and some fast cruisers were constructed for ocean work, one of them actually reaching the high speed of 17.75 m. per hour. The existing Federal navy of 1861 already included some large and powerful modern vessels, such as the "Minnesota" and "Powhatan." To oppose them the Confederates, limited as they were for means, managed to construct various ironclads, and to improvise a considerable fleet of minor vessels, and, though a fighting navy never assembled under a Confederate flag-officer, the Southern warships found another more damaging and more profitable scope for their activity. It has been said that the blockade of the Confederate coast became in the end practically impenetrable, and that every attempt of the Confederate naval forces to break out was checked at once by crushing numerical preponderance. The exciting and profitable occupation of blockade- running led to countless small fights off the various harbours, and sometimes the United States navy had to fight a more serious action when some new "rebel" ironclad emerged from her harbour, inlet or sound.
38. Fort Fisher.—Many of the greater combats in which the navy was engaged on the coast and inland have been referred to above, and the fighting before Charleston, New Orleans, Mobile and Vicksburg is described in separate articles. One of the heaviest of the battles was fought at Fort Fisher in 1864. This place guarded the approaches to Wilmington, North Carolina. Troops under Butler and a large fleet under Admiral Porter were destined for this enterprise. An incendiary vessel was exploded close to the works without effect on the 23rd-24th of December, and the ships engaged on the 24th. The next day the troops were disembarked, only to be called off after a partial assault. Butler then withdrew, and Porter was informed on the 31st that "a competent force properly commanded," would be sent out. On the 8th of January 1865 General Terry arrived with the land forces, and the armada arrived off Fisher on the 12th. On the 13th, 6000 men were landed, covered by the guns of the fleet, and, after Porter had subjected the works to a terrific bombardment, Fisher was brilliantly carried by storm on the 15th. Reinforcements arriving, the whole force then marched inland to meet Sherman.
39. Other Naval Actions.—Apart from this, and other actions referred to, two incidents of the coast war call for notice—the career of the "Albemarle" and the duel between the "Atlanta" and the "Weehawken." The ironclad ram "Albemarle," built at Edwards' Ferry on the Roanoke river, had done considerable damage to the Federal vessels which, since Burnside's expedition to Newberne, had cruised in Albemarle Sound, and in 1864 a force of double-enders and gunboats, under Captain Melancton Smith, U.S.N., was given the special task of destroying the rebel ram. A naval battle was fought on the 5th of May 1864, in which the double-ender "Sassacus" most gallantly rammed the "Albemarle" and was disabled alongside her, and Smith's vessel and others, unarmoured as they were, fought the ram at close quarters. After this the ironclad retired upstream, where she was eventually destroyed in the most daring manner by a boat's crew under Lieutenant W. B. Cushing. Making his way up the Roanoke as far as Plymouth he there sank the ironclad at her wharf by exploding a spar-torpedo (October 27). On the 17th of June 1863 after a brief action the monitor "Weehawken" captured the Confederate ironclad "Atlanta" in Wassaw Sound, South Carolina. This duel resembled in its attendant circumstances the famous fight of the "Chesapeake" and the "Shannon." Captain John Rodgers, like Broke, was one of the best officers, and the "Weehawken," like the "Shannon," was known as one of the smartest ships in the service. Five heavy accurate shots from the Federal's turret guns crushed the enemy in a few minutes.
40. The Commerce-Destroyers.—Letters of marque were issued to Confederate privateers as early as April 1861, and Federal commerce at once began to suffer. When, however, surveillance became blockade, prizes could only with difficulty be brought into port, and, since the parties interested gained nothing by burning merchantmen, privateering soon died out, and was replaced by commerce-destroying pure and simple, carried out by commissioned vessels of the Confederate navy. Captain Raphael Sommes of the C.S.S. "Sumter" made a successful cruise on the high seas, and before she was abandoned at Gibraltar had made seventeen prizes. Unable to build at home, the Confederates sought warships abroad, evading the obligations of neutrality by various ingenious expedients. The "Florida" (built at Liverpool in 1861-1862) crossed the Atlantic, refitted at Mobile, escaped the blockaders, and fulfilled the instructions which, as her captain said, "left much to the discretion but more to the torch." She was captured by the U.S.S. "Wachusett" in the neutral harbour of Bahia (October 7, 1862). The most successful of the foreign-built cruisers was the famous "Alabama," commanded by Sommes and built at Liverpool. In the course of her career she burned or brought into port seventy prizes, fought and sank the U.S.S. "Hatteras" off Galveston, and was finally sunk by the U.S.S. "Kearsarge," Captain Winslow, off Cherbourg (June 19, 1864). The career of another promising cruiser, the "Nashville," was summarily ended by the Federal monitor "Montauk" (February 28, 1863). The "Shenandoah" was burning Union whalers in the Bering Sea when the war came to an end. None of the various "rams" built abroad for the "rebel" government ever came into action. The difficulties of coaling and the obligations of neutrality hampered these commerce-destroyers as much as the Federal vessels that were chasing them, but, in spite of drawbacks, the guerre de course was the most successful warlike operation undertaken by the Confederacy. The mercantile marine of the United States was almost driven off the high seas by the terror of these destructive cruisers.
41. Cost of the War.—The total loss of life in the Union forces during the four years of war was 359,528, and of the many thousands discharged from the services as disabled or otherwise unfit, a large number died in consequence of injuries or disease incurred in the army. The estimate of 500,000 in all may be taken as approximately correct. The same number is given as that of the Southern losses, which of course fell upon a much smaller population. The war expenditure of the Federal government has been estimated at $3,400,000,000; the very large sums devoted to the pensions of widows, disabled men, &c., are not included in this amount (Dodge). In 1879 an estimate made of all Federal war expenses up to that date, including pension charges, interest on loans, &c., showed a total of $6,190,000,000 (Dewey, Financial History of the United States.)
BIBLIOGRAPHY.—The United States government's Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies (70 vols., most of which are divided into two or three "parts," and atlas, 1880-1900) include every important official document of either side that it was possible to obtain in the course of many years' work. A similar but less voluminous work is the Records of the Union and Confederate Navies (1894- ); The Rebellion Record (1862-1868), edited by F. W. Moore, a contemporary collection, has been superseded to a great extent by the official records, but is still valuable as a collection of unofficial documents of all kinds. Battles and Leaders of the Civil War (1887-1889) is a series of papers, covering the whole war, written by the prominent commanders of both sides. The sixteen volumes of the Campaigns of the Civil War (1881-1882) and the Navy in the Civil War (1883) (written by various authors) are of very unequal merit, but several of the volumes are indispensable to the study of the Civil War. Of general works the following are the best:- -Comte de Paris, History of the Civil War in America, translated from the French (1875-1888); Horace Greeley, The American Conflict (1864-1866); J. Scheibert, Der Burgerkrieg i. d. Nordam. Freistaaten (Berlin, 1874); Wood and Edmonds, Civil War in the United States (London, 1905); T. A. Dodge, Bird's Eye View of our Civil War (revised edition, 1887); E. A. Pollard, A Southern History of the War (1866). The contemporary accounts mentioned should be studied with caution. Of critical works, J. C. Ropes, The Story of the Civil War (1894-1898); G. F. R. Henderson, Stonewall Jackson and the American Civil War (London, 1898) and The Science of War, chapters viii. and ix. (London, 1905); C. C. Chesney, Essays in Military Biography (1874); Freytag-Loringhoven, Studien uber Kriegfuhrung, 1861-1865 (Berlin, 1901-1903), are the most important. Publications of the Military Historical Society of Massachusetts (vols. i.-x., 1881 onwards) also comprise critical accounts of nearly all the important campaigns. A critical account of the Virginian operations and the Chickamauga campaign is Gen. E. P. Alexander's Military Memoirs of a Confederate (1906). C. R. Cooper, Chronological and Alphabetical Record of the Great Civil War (Milwaukee, 1904) may be mentioned as a work of reference. A fairly complete bibliography will be found in J. N. Larned, Literature of American History (Boston, 1902), and useful lists in Ropes, op. cit., and in the Cambridge Modern History, vol. vii. p. 812. For biographies, memoirs and general works, see the lists appended to the various biographical articles and to the articles UNITED STATES and CONFEDERATE STATES. (C. F. A.)
AMERICAN LAW. The laws of the various states and territories of the United States rest at bottom on the same foundation as those of England, namely, the English common law as it existed at the beginning of the 17th century. (See ENGLISH LAW.) The only exceptions worth noting are to be found in the state of Louisiana, the territory of New Mexico, and the acquisitions following the Spanish war of 1898. Those derive most of their law from France or Spain, and thus remotely from the principles of Roman jurisprudence. A part also, but comparatively a small part, of the law of Texas, Missouri, Arizona and the Pacific states comes from similar sources. The United States as a whole has no common law, except so far as its courts have followed the rules of English common-law procedure in determining their own. Most of the positive law of the United States comes from the several states. It is the right of each state to regulate at its pleasure the general relations of persons within its territory to each other, as well as all rights to property subject to its jurisdiction. Each state has also its own system of adjective law. The trial courts of the United States of original jurisdiction follow in general the practice of the state in which they sit as to procedure in cases of common-law character. As to that in equity, or what means the same thing, chancery causes, they follow in general the practice of the English court of chancery as it existed towards the close of the 18th century, when the original Judiciary Act of the United States was adopted. The public statutes of the United States are to be found in the Revised Statutes of 1873, and in the succeeding volumes of the Statutes at Large, enacted by each Congress. Those of each state and territory are printed annually or biennially as they are enacted by each legislature, and are commonly revised every fifteen or twenty years, the revision taking the place of all former public statutes, and being entitled Revised Statutes, General Statutes, or Public Laws. The private or special laws of each state, so far as such legislation is permitted by its constitution, are in some states published separately, and made the subject of similar compilations or revisions; in others they are printed with the public session laws. American courts are often given power by statute to make rules of procedure which have the force of laws. Municipal subdivisions of a state generally have authority from the legislature to make ordinances or by-laws on certain subjects, having the character of a local law, with appropriate sanctions, commonly by fine or forfeiture.
Law in the United States has been greatly affected by the results of the Civil War. During its course (1861-1865) the powers of the president of the United States may be said to have been re-defined by the courts. It was its first civil war, and thus for the first time the exercise of the military authority of the United States within a state which had not sought its aid became frequent and necessary. Next followed the amendments of the Constitution of the United States having for their special purpose the securing beyond question of the permanent abolition of slavery and the civil and political rights of the coloured race. At the outset the Supreme Court of the United States was inclined to treat them as having a very limited operation in other directions. One of the provisions of the XIVth Amendment is that no state shall deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws. The benefit of this guarantee was claimed by the butchers of New Orleans, in contending against a monopoly in respect of the slaughter of cattle granted by the state of Louisiana to a single corporation. Their suit was dismissed by the Supreme Court in 1873, with the expression of a doubt whether any action of a state not directed by way of discrimination against the negroes as a class, or on account of their race, would ever be held to come within the purview of the provision in question.1 The chief justice and three of his associates dissented from the judgment, holding that the XIVth Amendment did protect the citizens of the United States against the deprivation of their common rights by state legislation.2 Public sentiment supported the view of the minority, and it was not long before changes in the personnel of the court, occurring in common course, led it to the same conclusions. The protection of the XIVth Amendment is now invoked before it more frequently than is that afforded by any other article of the Constitution. In one of its recent terms twenty-one cases of this nature were decided.3 Very few of them related to the negro. Since the decision in the Slaughter-House Cases, the controversies as to the constitutional rights of the negro have been comparatively infrequent, but there has been a great and steadily increasing number in all the courts in the country, involving questions of discrimination in favour of or against particular individuals, or of changes affecting the rights of parties in the accustomed forms of judicial procedure.
Down to 1868, when this amendment was adopted, it was, as to most matters, for the state alone to settle the civil rights and immunities of those subject to its jurisdiction. If they were to be free from arbitrary arrests, secure in liberty and property, equal in privilege and entitled to an impartial administration, it was because the constitution of the state so declared. Now they have the guarantee of the United States that the state shall never recede from these obligations. This has readjusted and reset the whole system of the American law of personal rights.4
The Supreme Court of the United States has used the great power thus confided to it with moderation. Its general rules of decision are well stated in these words of Mr Justice Brown, found in one of its recent opinions:—
"In passing upon the validity of legislation, attacked as contrary to the XIVth Amendment, it has not failed to recognize the fact that the law is, to a certain extent, a progressive science; that in some of the states methods of procedure, which at the time the constitution was adopted were deemed essential to the protection and safety of the people or to the liberty of the citizen, have been found to be no longer necessary; that restrictions which had formerly been laid upon the conduct of individuals, or of classes of individuals, had proved detrimental to their interests; while, upon the other hand, certain other classes of persons, particularly those engaged in dangerous or unhealthful employments, have been found to be in need of additional protection. Even before the adoption of the constitution, much had been done toward mitigating the severity of the common law, particularly in the administration of its criminal branch. The number of capital crimes, in this country at least, had been largely decreased. Trial by ordeal and by battle had never existed here, and had fallen into disuse in England. The earlier practice of the common law, which denied the benefit of witnesses to a person accused of felony, had been abolished by statute, though, so far as it deprived him of the assistance of counsel and compulsory process for the attendance of his witnesses, it had not been changed in England. But, to the credit of her American colonies, let it be said that so oppressive a doctrine had never obtained a foothold there. The 19th century originated legal reforms of no less importance. The whole fabric of special pleading, once thought to be necessary to the elimination of the real issue between the parties, has crumbled to pieces. The ancient tenures of real estate have been largely swept away, and land is now transferred almost as easily and cheaply as personal property. Married women have been emancipated from the control of their husbands, and placed upon a practical equality with them with respect to the acquisition, possession and transmission of property. Imprisonment for debt has been abolished. Exemptions from executions have been largely added to, and in most of the states homesteads are rendered incapable of seizure and sale upon forced process. Witnesses are no longer incompetent by reason of interest, even though they be parties to the litigation. Indictments have been simplified, and an indictment for the most serious of crimes is now the simplest of all. in several of the states grand juries, formerly the only safeguard against a malicious prosecution, have been largely abolished, and in others the rule of unanimity, so far as applied to civil cases, has given way to verdicts rendered by a three-fourths majority. This case does not call for an expression of opinion as to the wisdom of these changes, or their validity under the XIVth Amendment, although the substitution of prosecution by information in lieu of indictment was recognized as valid in Hurtado v. California, 110 U.S. 516. They are mentioned only for the purpose of calling attention to the probability that other changes of no less importance may be made in the future, and that while the cardinal principles of justice are immutable, the methods by which justice is administered are subject to constant fluctuation, and that the Constitution of the United States, which is necessarily and to a large extent inflexible and exceedingly difficult of amendment, should not be so construed as to deprive the states of the power to amend their laws so as to make them conform to the wishes of the citizens as they may deem best for the public welfare without bringing them into conflict with the supreme law of the land. Of course, it is impossible to forecast the character or extent of these changes, but in view of the fact that from the day Magna Carta was signed to the present moment, amendments to the structure of the law have been made with increasing frequency, it is impossible to suppose that they will not continue, and the law be forced to adapt itself to new conditions of society, and particularly to the new relations between employers and employees, as they arise."5
The Civil War deeply affected also the course of judicial decision in the southern states. During its progress it engaged the attention of a very large part of the population, and the business of the courts necessarily was greatly lessened. Upon its close political power passed, for a time, into new hands, and many from the northern and western states took prominent positions both at the bar and on the bench. The very basis of society was changed by the abolition of slavery. New state constitutions were adopted, inspired or dictated by the ideas of the North. The transport system was greatly extended, and commerce by land took to a large extent the place formerly filled by commerce by navigation. Manufacturing came in to supplement agricultural industry. Cities grew and assumed a new importance. Northern capital sought investment in every state. It was a natural consequence of all these things that the jurisprudence of the South should come to lose whatever had been its distinctive character. The unification of the nation inevitably tended to unify its law.
The Bar Association.
An important contribution towards this result was made by the organization of the American Bar Association in 1878. Of the fourteen signers of the call for the preliminary conference, five were from the southern states. Its declared objects were "to advance the science of jurisprudence, promote the administration of justice and uniformity of legislation throughout the Union, uphold the honour of the profession of the law, and encourage cordial intercourse among the members of the American Bar."
Largely through its efforts, the American law schools have taken on a new character. The course of study has been both broadened and prolonged, and the attendance of the students has increased in full proportion to the additions to the facilities for obtaining a more thorough training in the profession. When the association commenced its labours, those studying law in the offices of practising lawyers very largely outnumbered those found in the law school. The proportion is now reversed. During the year 1900, for instance, the state board of law examiners in New York examined 899 applicants for admission to the bar of that state. Of these all but 157 had received their legal education wholly or in part at a law school.6 In 1878 few law schools had adopted any system of examination for those desiring to enter them. Such a requirement for admission is now common. In only one school were opportunities then afforded for advanced studies by graduate students with a view to attaining the doctorate in law. Courses of this description are now offered by several of the university schools.
A more scientific character has thus been taken on by American law. It is noticeable both in legal text-books and in the opinions of the courts of last resort. In the latter precision of statement and method in discussion are invited by the uniform practice of preparing written opinions. The original practice of reading these from the bench has been generally discontinued. They are simply handed down to an official reporter for publication, which is done at the expense of the government by which the court is commissioned. With the judicial reports of each state the lawyers of that state are required to be familiar; and this is rendered possible, even in the larger ones, by state digests, prepared every few years by private enterprise. Outside of the state their circulation is comparatively limited, though sets of all are generally found in each state library, and of many in the Bar libraries at the principal county seats. The private libraries of lawyers in large practice also often contain the reports of adjoining and sometimes those of distant states as well as those of their own and of the Supreme Court of the United States. The decisions of one state, however, are now best known in others through unofficial reports. One large publishing concern prints every case decided in the courts of last resort. They are published in several distinct series, those, for instance, coming from the northern Atlantic states being grouped together as the Atlantic Reporter, and those from the states on the Pacific coast as the Pacific Reporter. Another house has published a compilation professing to give all the leading American cases from the first to the latest volume of reports. Another makes a similar selection from the decisions of each year as they appear, and publishes them with critical annotations. There are also annual digests of a national character, comprehending substantially all American cases and the leading English cases reported during the preceding year.
These various publications are widely diffused, and so the American lawyer is enabled, in preparing for the argument of any cause involving questions of difficulty, to inform himself with ease of such precedents as may apply. A court in Texas is thus as likely to be made acquainted with a decision in Maine or Oregon as with one in any nearer state, and in the development of American law all American courts are brought in close touch with each other.
English and American law.
This tendency has been advanced by the steady growth of codification. That is beginning also to serve to bring English and American law nearer together in certain directions. A Negotiable Instruments Act, promoted by the American Bar Association and prepared by a conference of commissioners appointed by the several states to concert measures of uniform legislation, has been adopted in the leading commercial states. It is founded upon the English "Chalmers's Act," and the English decisions giving a construction to that have become of special importance. The acts of parliament known as the Employers' Liability Act and the Railway and Canal Traffic Act have also served as the foundation of similar legislation in the United States, and with the same result. Modern English decisions are, however, cited less frequently in American courts than the older ones; and the older ones themselves are cited far less frequently than they once were. In the development of their legislation, England and the United States have been in general harmony so far as matters of large commercial importance are concerned, but as to many others they have since 1850 drawn apart. Statutes, at one point or another, probably now affect the disposition of most litigated causes in both countries. Their application, therefore, must serve more or less to obscure or displace general principles, which might otherwise control the decision and make it a source of authority in foreign tribunals. The movement of the judicial mind in the United States, and also its modes and form of expression, have a different measure from that which characterizes what comes from the English bench. American judges are so numerous, and (except as to the Supreme Court of the United States) the extent of their territorial jurisdiction so limited, that they can give more time to the careful investigation of points of difficulty, and also to the methodical statement of their conclusions. Whatever they decide upon appeal being announced in writing, and destined to form part of the permanent published records of the state, they are expected and endeavour to study their words and frame opinions not only sound in law but unobjectionable as literary compositions.
The choice of American judges, particularly in the older states, has been not uninfluenced by these considerations. Marshall, Bushrod Washington, Story, Kent, Ware, Bradley, and many of their contemporaries and successors, were put upon the bench in part because of their legal scholarship and their power of felicitous expression. Hence the better American opinions have more elaboration and finish than many which come from the English courts, and are more readily accepted as authorities by American judges. But the great multiplication of reports has so widened the field of citation as in effect to reduce it. Each of the larger and older states has now a settled body of legal precedent of its own, beyond which its judges in most cases do not look. If a prior decision applies, it is controlling. If there be none, they prefer to decide the case, if possible, on principle rather than authority.
While the state courts are bound to accept the construction placed upon the Constitution and laws of the United States by the Supreme Court of the United States, and thus uniformity of decision is secured in that regard, the courts of the United States, on the other hand are as a rule obliged to accept in all other particulars the construction placed by the courts of each state on its constitution and laws. This often gives a seeming incongruity to the decisions of the Supreme Court of the United States. A point in a case coming up from one judicial circuit may be determined in a way wholly different from that followed in a previous judgment in a cause turning upon the same point, but appealed from another circuit, because of a departure from the common law in one state which has not been made in another. In view of this, a doctrine originally proposed by Mr Justice Story in 18427 has not been infrequently invoked of late years, which rests upon the assumed existence of a distinctive federal jurisprudence of paramount authority as to certain matters of general concern, as for example those intimately affecting commerce between the states or with foreign nations. The consequence is that a case involving such questions may be differently adjudged, according as it is brought in a state or in a federal court.8
The divergences now most noticeable between English and American law are in respect of public control over personal liberty and private property, criminal procedure and the scope of the powers of municipal corporations.
Under the constitutional provision that no one shall be deprived of life, liberty or property without due process of law, American courts frequently declare void statutes which in England would be within the acknowledged powers of parliament. These provisions are liberally expounded in favour of the individual, and liberty is held to include liberty of contract as well as of person. Criminal procedure is hedged about with more refinements and safeguards to the accused than are found in England, and on the other hand, prosecutions are more certain to follow the offence, because they are universally brought by a public officer at public expense. The artificiality of the proceedings is fostered by a general right of appeal on points of law to the court of last resort. It is in criminal causes involving questions of common-law liability and procedure9 that English law-books and reports are now most frequently cited. American municipal corporations are confined within much narrower limits than those of England, and their powers more strictly construed.
Trial by jury.
Trial by jury in civil causes seems to be declining in public esteem. The expenses necessarily incident to it are naturally increasing, and the delays are greater also from a general tendency, especially in cities, where most judicial business is transacted, to reduce the number of hours a day during which the court is in session. The requirement of unanimity is dispensed with in a few states, and it has been thus left without what many deem one of its essential features. The judge interposes his authority to direct and expedite the progress of the trial less frequently and less peremptorily than in England. A jury is waived more often than formerly, and there is a growing conviction that, with a capable and independent judiciary, justice can be looked for more confidently from one man than from thirteen.
The United States entered on the work of simplifying the forms of pleading earlier than England, but has not carried it so far. Demurrers have not been abandoned, and in some states little has been done except to replace one system of formality by another hardly less rigid. The general plan has been to codify the laws of pleading by statute. In a few states they have proceeded more nearly in accordance with the principles of the English Judicatare Act, and left details to be worked out by the judges, through rules of court.10
The legislature and the courts.
Most of the state constitutions assume that the powers of government can be divided into three distinct departments, executive, legislative and judicial; and direct such a distribution. In thus ignoring the administrative functions of the state, they have left a difficult question for the courts, upon which the legislature often seeks in part to cast them. The general tendency has been to construe, in such circumstances, the judicial power broadly, and hold that it may thus be extended over much which is rather to be called quasi-judicial.11 A distinction is taken between entrusting jurisdiction of this character to the courts, and imposing it upon them. Where the statute can be construed as simply permissive, the authority may be exercised as a matter of grace, when it would be peremptorily declined, were the meaning of the legislature that it must be accepted.12 The courts, for similar reasons, have generally declined (in the absence of any constitutional requirement to that effect) to advise the legislature, at its request, whether a proposed statute, if enacted, would be valid. While its validity, were it to be enacted, might become the subject of a judicial decision, it is thought for that reason, if for no other, to be improper to prejudge the point, without a hearing of parties interested. The constitutions of several states provide for such a proceeding, and in these the Supreme Court is not infrequently called upon in this way, and gives responses which are always considered decisive of legislative action, but would not be treated as conclusive in any subsequent litigation that might arise.
Police power of states.
The general trend of opinion in the Supreme Court of the United States since 1870, upon questions other than those arising under the XIVth Amendment, has been towards recognizing the police power of the several states as entitled to a broad scope. Even, for instance, in such a matter as the regulation of commerce between different states, it has been upheld as justifying a prohibition against running any goods trains on a Sunday, and a requirement that all railway cars must be heated by steam.13 In the "Granger Cases,"14 the right of the state to fix the rate of charges for the use of a grain elevator for railway purposes, and for general railway services of transportation, was supported, and although the second of these was afterwards overruled,15 the principle upon which it was originally rested was not shaken.
On the other hand, reasons of practical convenience have necessarily favoured the substantial obliteration of state lines as to the enforcement of statutory private rights. Massachusetts in 1840, six years before the passage of Lord Campbell's Act, provided a remedy by indictment for the negligent killing of a man by a railway company, a pecuniary penalty being fixed which the state was to collect for the benefit of his family. In most of the other states by later statutes a similar result has been reached through a civil action brought by the executor or administrator as an agent of the law. In some, however, the state must be the plaintiff; in others the widow, if any there be. The accident resulting in death often occurs in a state where the man who was killed does not reside, or in which the railway company does not have its principal seat. It may therefore be desirable to sue in one state for an injury in another. Notwithstanding such an action is unknown to the common law, and rests solely on a local statute, the American courts uniformly hold that, when civil in form, it can be brought under such statutes in any state the public policy of which is not clearly opposed to such a remedy. In like manner, the responsibilities of stockholders and directors of a moneyed corporation, under the laws of the state from which the charter is derived, are enforced in any other states in which they may be found. Thus a double liability of stockholders to creditors, in case of the insolvency of the company, or a full liability to creditors of directors who have made false reports or certificates regarding its financial condition, is treated as of a contractual nature, and not penal in the international sense of that term.16 As a judgment of one state has equal force in another, so far as the principle of res adjudicata is concerned, the orders of a court in a state to which a corporation owes its charter, made in proceedings for winding it up, may be enforced to a large extent in any other. The shareholders are regarded as parties by representation to the winding- up proceedings, and so bound by decrees which are incidental to it.17
The provisions of the United States law on different subjects and the literature concerning them are given in the separate articles. See the bibliography to the article LAW; also Cooley on The Constitutional Limitations which rest upon the Legislative Power of the States of the American Union; Andrews on American Law; and Russell on The Police Power of the State, and Decisions thereon as illustrating the Development and Value of Case Law. (S. E. B.)
1 The Slaughter-House Cases, 16 Wallace's Reports, 36, 81.
2 Ibid. 89, 111, 129.
3 Guthrie on the Fourteenth Amendment, 27.
4 Baldwin's Modern Political Institutions, 111, 112.
5 Holden v. Hardy, 169 United States Reports, 336, 385-387.
6 Columbia Law Review, i. 99.
7 Swift v. Tyson, 16 Peters' Reports, 1, 19.
8 See Forepaugh v. Delaware, Lackawanna & Western Railroad Company, 128 Pennsylvania State Reports, 267; Faulkner v. Hart, 82 New York Reports, 313; and Lake Shore & Michigan Southern Railway Company v. Prentice, 147 United States Reports, 101.
9 See, as examples, Commonwealth v. Rubin, 165 Massachusetts Reports, 453, in which Holmes, C.J., traces the rule that, if a man abuse an authority given him by the law, he becomes a trespasser ab initio, back to the Year Books; and Commonwealth v. Cleary, 172 Massachusetts Reports, 175, in which the same judge refers to Glanville and Fleta as authority for the proposition that the admission in evidence, in cases of rape, of complaints made by the woman soon after the commission of the offence is a perverted survival of the old rule that she could not bring an appeal unless she had made prompt hue and cry.
10 This has been carried furthest in Connecticut. See Botsford v. Wallace, 72 Connecticut Reports, 195.
11 Norwalk Street Railway Company's Appeal, 69 Connecticut Reports, 576; 38 Atlantic Reporter, 708.
12 Zanesville v. Zanesville Telephone Company, 63 Ohio State Reports, 442; 59 North-Eastern Reporter, 109.
13 New York Railroad v. New York, 165 United States Reports, 628.
14 Munn v. Illinois, 94 United States Reports, 113; Chicago Railroad Company v. Iowa, ibid. 155.
15 Wabash Railway Company v. Illinois, 118 United States Reports, 557; Reagan v. Farmers' Loan and Trust Company, 154 United States Reports, 362.
16 Huntington v. Attrill, 146 United States Reports, 657.
17 Great Western Telegraph Company v. Purdy, 162 United States Reports, 329; Fish v. Smith, 73 Connecticut Reports, 377; 47 Atlantic Reporter, 710.
The earliest books which are commonly described as the beginnings of American literature were written by men born and bred in England; they were published there; they were, in fact, an undivided part of English literature, belonging to the province of exploration and geographical description and entirely similar in matter and style to other works of voyagers and colonizers that illustrate the expansion of England. They contain the materials of history in a form of good Elizabethan narrative, always vigorous in language, often vivid and picturesque. John Smith (1579-1631) wrote the first of these, A True Relation of such Occurrences and Accidents of Note as hath happened in Virginia (1608), and he later added other accounts of the country to the north. William Strachey, a Virginian official of whom little is known biographically, described (1610) the shipwreck of Sir Thomas Gates on the Bermudas, which is believed to have yielded Shakespeare suggestions for The Tempest. Colonel Henry Norwood (d. 1689), hitherto unidentified, of Leckhampton, Gloucestershire, a person eminent for loyalty in the reign of Charles I. and distinguished in the civil wars, later governor of Tangiers and a member of parliament for Gloucester, wrote an account of his voyage to Virginia as an adventurer, in 1649. These are characteristic works of the earliest period, and illustrate variously the literature of exploration which exists in numerous examples and is preserved for historical reasons. The settlement of the colonies was, in general, attended by such narratives of adventure or by accounts of the state of the country or by documentary record of events. Thus George Alsop (b. 1638) wrote the Character of the Province of Maryland (1666), and Daniel Denton a Brief Description of New York (1670), and in Virginia the progress of affairs was dealt with by William Stith (1689-1755), Robert Beverly (f. 1700), and William Byrd (1674-1744). Each settlement in turn, as it came into prominence or provoked curiosity, found its geographer and annalist, and here and there sporadic pens essayed some practical topic. The product, however, is now an indistinguishable mass, and titles and authors alike are found only in antiquarian lore. The distribution of literary activity was very uneven along the sea-board; it was naturally greatest in the more thriving and important colonies, and bore some relation to their commercial prosperity and political activity and to the closeness of the connexion with the home culture of England. From the beginning New England, owing to the character of its people and its ecclesiastical rule, was the chief seat of the early literature, and held a position apart from the other colonies as a community characterized by an intellectual life. There the first printing press was set up, the first college founded, and an abundant literature was produced.
The characteristic fact in the Puritan colonies is that literature there was in the hands of its leading citizens and was a chief concern in their minds. There were books of exploration and description as in the other colonies, such as William Wood's (d. 1639) New England's Prospect (1634), and John Josselin's New England's Rarities (1672), and tales of adventure in the wilderness and on the sea, most commonly described as "remarkable providences," in the vigorous Elizabethan narrative; but besides all this the magistracy and the clergy normally set themselves to the labour of history, controversy and counsel, and especially to the care of religion. The governors, beginning with William Bradford (1590-1657) of Plymouth, and John Winthrop (1588-1649) of Massachusetts Bay, wrote the annals of their times, and the line of historians was continued by Winslow, Nathaniel Morton, Prince, Hubbard and Hutchinson. The clergy, headed by John Cotton (1585-1652), Thomas Hooker (1586-1647), Nathaniel Ward (1579- 1652), Roger Williams (1600-1683), Richard Mather (1596-1669), John Eliot (1604-1690), produced sermons, platforms, catechisms, theological dissertations, tracts of all sorts, and their line also was continued by Shepard, Norton, Wise, the later Mathers and scores of other ministers. The older clergy were not inferior in power or learning to the leaders of their own communion in England, and they commanded the same prose that characterizes the Puritan tracts of the mother country; nor did the kind of writing deteriorate in their successors. This body of divines in successive generations gave to early New England literature its overwhelming ecclesiastical character; it was in the main a church literature, and its secular books also were controlled and coloured by the Puritan spirit. The pervasiveness of religion is well illustrated by the three books which formed through the entire colonial period the most popular domestic reading of the Puritan home. These were The Bay Psalm Book (1640), which was the first book published in America; Michael Wigglesworth's (1631-1705) Day of Doom (1662), a doggerel poem; and the New England Primer (c. 1690), called "the Little Bible." The sole voice heard in opposition was Thomas Morton's satirical New English Canaan (1637), whose author was sent out of the colony for the scandal of Merrymount, but satire itself remained religious in Ward's Simple Cobbler of Agawam (1647). Poetry was represented in Anne Bradstreet's (1612-1672) The Tenth Muse lately sprung up in America (1650), and was continued by a succession of doggerel writers, mostly ministers or schoolmasters, Noyes, Oakes, Folger, Tompson, Byles and others. The world of books also included a good proportion of Indian war narratives and treatises relating to the aborigines. The close of the 17th century shows literature, however, still unchanged in its main position as the special concern of the leaders of the state. It is Chief-Justice Samuel Sewall's (1652-1730) Diary (which remained in manuscript until 1878) that affords the most intimate view of the culture and habits of the community; and he was known to his contemporaries by several publications, one of which, The Selling of Joseph (1700), was the first American anti-slavery tract.
The literature of the first century, exemplified by these few titles, is considerable in bulk, and like colonial literature elsewhere is preserved for historical reasons. In general, it records the political progress and social conditions of the Puritan state, and the contents of the Puritan mind. The development of the original settlement took place without any violent check. Though the colony was continually recruited by fresh immigration, the original 20,000 who arrived before 1640 had established the principles of the state, and their will and ideas remained dominant after the Restoration as before. It was a theocratic state controlled by the clergy, and yet containing the principle of liberty. The second and third generations born on the soil, nevertheless, showed some decadence; notwithstanding the effort to provide against intellectual isolation and mental poverty by the foundation of Harvard College, they felt the effects of their situation across the sea and on the borders of a wilderness. The people were a hardfaring folk and engaged in a material struggle to establish the plantations and develop commerce on the sea; their other life was in religion soberly practised and intensely felt. They were a people of one book, in the true sense,—the Bible; it was the organ of their mental life as well as of their spiritual feelings. For them, it was in the place of the higher literature. But long resident there in the strip between the sea and the forest, cut off from the world and consigned to hard labour and to spiritual ardours, they developed a fanatical temper; their religious life hardened and darkened; intolerance and superstition grew. Time, nevertheless, ripened new changes, and the colony was to be brought back from its religious seclusion into the normal paths of modern development. The sign was contained, perhaps, most clearly in the change effected in the new charter granted by King William which made property the basis of the franchise in place of church-membership, and thus set the state upon an economic instead of a religious foundation. It is rather by men than by books that these times are remembered, but it is by the men who were writers of books. In general, the career of the three Mathers coincides with the history of the older Puritanism, and their personal characteristics reflect its stages as their writings contain its successive traits. Richard Mather, the emigrant, had been joint author in the composition of The Bay Psalm Book, and served the colony among the first of its leaders. It was in his son, Increase Mather (1639-1723), that the theocracy, properly speaking, culminated. He was not only a divine, president of Harvard College and a prolific writer; but he was dominant in the state, the chief man of affairs. It was he who, sent to represent the colony in England, received from King William the new charter. His son, Cotton Mather (1663-1728), succeeded to his father's distinction; but the changed condition is reflected in his non-participation in affairs; he was a man of the study and led there a narrower life than his father's had been. He was, nevertheless, the most broadly characteristic figure of the Puritan of his time. He was able and learned, abnormally laborious, leaving over 400 titles attributed to him; and at the same time he was an ascetic and visionary. The work by which he is best remembered, the Magnalia Christi Americana, or the Ecclesiastical History of New England from its First Planting in the Year 1620, unto the Year of our Lord 1698 (1702), is the chief historical monument of the period, and the most considerable literary work done in America up to that time. It is encyclopaedic in scope, and contains an immense accumulation of materials relating to life and events in the colony. There the New England of the 17th century is displayed. His numerous other works still further amplify the period, and taken all together his writings best illustrate the contents of Puritanism in New England. The power of the clergy was waning, but even in the political sphere it was far from extinction, and it continued under its scheme of church government to guard jealously the principles of liberty. In John Wise's (1652-1725) Vindication of the Government of New England Churches (1717) a precursor of the Revolution is felt. It was in another sphere, however, that Puritanism in New England was to reach its height, intellectually and spiritually alike, in the brilliant personality of Jonathan Edwards (1703-1758), its last great product. He was free of affairs, and bred essentially the private life of a thinker. He displayed in youth extraordinary precocity and varied intellectual curiosity, and showed at the same early time a temperament of spiritual sensitiveness and religious ideality which suggests the youth of a poet rather than of a logician. It was not without a struggle that he embraced sincerely the Calvinistic scheme of divine rule, but he was able to reconcile the doctrine in its most fearful forms with the serenity and warmth of his own spirit; for his soul at all times seems as lucid as his mind, and his affections were singularly tender and refined. He served as minister to the church at Northampton; and, driven from that post, he was for eight years a missionary to the Indians at Stockbridge; finally he was made president of Princeton College, where after a few weeks' incumbency he died. The works upon which his fame is founded are Treatise concerning the Religious Affections (1746), On the Freedom of the Will (1754), Treatise on Original Sin (1758). They exhibit extraordinary reasoning powers and place him among the most eminent theologians. He contributed by his preaching great inspiring force to the revival, known as "the Great Awakening," which swept over the dry and formal Puritanism of the age and was its last great flame. In him New England idealism had come to the birth. He illustrates, better than all others, the power of Puritanism as a spiritual force; and in him only did that power reach intellectual expression in a memorable way for the larger world. The ecclesiastical literature of Puritanism, abundant as it was, produced no other work of power; nor did the Puritan patronage of literature prove fruitful in other fields. If Puritanism was thus infertile, it nevertheless prepared the soil. It impressed upon New England the stamp of the mind; the entire community was by its means intellectually as well as morally bred; and to its training and the predisposition it established in the genius of the people may be ascribed the respect for the book which has always characterized that section, the serious temper and elevation of its later literature and the spiritual quality of the imagination which is so marked a quality of its authors.
The secularization of life in New England, which went on concurrently with the decline of the clergy in social power, was incidental to colonial growth. The practical force of the people had always been strong; material prosperity increased and a powerful class of merchants grew up; public questions multiplied in variety and gained in importance. The affairs of the world had definitely obtained the upper hand. The new spirit found its representative in the great figure of Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790), who, born in Boston, early emigrated to Philadelphia, an act which in itself may be thought to forecast the transfer of the centre of interest to the west and south and specifically to that city where the congress was to sit. Franklin was a printer, and the books he circulated are an index to the uses of reading in his generation. Practical works, such as almanacs, were plentiful, and it is characteristic that Franklin's name is, in literature, first associated with Poor Richard's Almanack (1732). The literature of the 18th century outside of New England continued to be constituted of works of exploration, description, colonial affairs, with some sprinkling of crude science and doctrines of wealth; but it yields no distinguished names or remembered titles. Franklin's character subsumes the spirit of it. In him thrift and benevolence were main constituents; scientific curiosity of a useful sort and invention distinguished him; after he had secured a competence, public interests filled his mature years. In him was the focus of the federating impulses of the time, and as the representative of the colonies in England and during the Revolution in France, he was in his proper place as the greatest citizen of his country. He was, first of men, broadly interested in all the colonies, and in his mind the future began to be comprehended in its true perspective and scale; and for these reasons to him properly belongs the title of "the first American." The type of his character set forth in the Autobiography (1817) was profoundly American and prophetic of the plain people's ideal of success in a democracy. It is by his character and career rather than by his works or even by his great public services that he is remembered; he is a type of the citizen- man. Older than his companions, and plain while they were of an aristocratic stamp, he greatens over them in the popular mind as age greatens over youth; but it was these companions who were to lay the foundations of the political literature of America. With the increasing political life lawyers as a class had naturally come into prominence as spokesmen and debaters. A young generation of orators sprang up, of whom James Otis (1725-1783) in the north, and Patrick Henry (1736-1799) in the south, were the most brilliant; and a group of statesmen, of whom the most notable were Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826), James Madison (1751-1836), and Alexander Hamilton (1757-1804), held the political direction of the times; in the speeches and state-papers of these orators and statesmen and their fellows the political literature of the colonies came to hold the first place. The chief memorials of this literature are The Declaration of Independence (1776), The Federalist (1788), a treatise on the principles of free government, and Washington's Addresses (1789-1793-1796). Thus politics became, in succession to exploration and religion, the most important literary element in the latter half of the 18th century.
18th-century poetry and fiction.
The more refined forms of literature also began to receive intelligent attention towards the close of the period. The Revolution in passing struck out some sparks of balladry and song, but the inspiration of the spirit of nationality was first felt in poetry by Philip Freneau (1752-1832), whose Poems (1786) marked the best political achievement up to his time. Patriotism was also a ruling motive in the works of the three poets associated with Yale College, John Trumbull (1750-1831), Timothy Dwight (1752-1817), and Joel Barlow (1754-1812), authors respectively of McFingal (1782), a Hudibrastic satire of the Revolution, The Conquest of Canaan (1785), an epic, and The Vision of Columbus (1787), later remade into The Columbiad, also an epic. These poets gathered about them a less talented company, and all were denominated in common the "Hartford Wits," by which name rather than by their works they are remembered. The national hymn, "Hail Columbia," was composed by Joseph Hopkinson (1770-1842) in 1798. Fiction, in turn, was first cultivated by Charles Brockden Brown (1771-1810), a Philadelphian, who wrote six romantic novels (1798-1801) after the style of Godwin, but set in the conditions of the new world and mixing local description and observation with the material of mystery and terror. Fiction had been earlier attempted by Mrs Susanna Haswell Rowson, whose Charlotte Temple (1790) is remembered, and contemporaneously by Mrs Hannah Webster Foster in The Coquette (1797) and by Royall Tyler (1758-1826) in The Algerian Captive (1799); but to Brown properly belongs the title of the first American novelist, nor are his works without invention and intensity and a certain distinction that secure for them permanent remembrance. The drama formally began its career on a regular stage and with an established company, in 1786 at New York, with the acting of Royall Tyler's comedy The Contrast; but the earliest American play was Thomas Godfrey's (1736-1763) tragedy, The Prince of Parthia, acted in Philadelphia in 1767. William Dunlap (1766-1839) is, however, credited with being the father of the American theatre on the New York stage, where his plays were produced. One other earlier book deserves mention, John Woolman's (1720-1772) Journal (1775), an autobiography with much charm. With these various attempts the 18th century was brought to an end. In 200 years no literary classic had been produced in America.
The new nation.
The new nation, which with the 19th century began its integral career, still retained the great disparities which originally existed between the diverse colonies. Political unity, the simplest of the social unities, had been achieved; "a more perfect union," in the language of the founders, had been formed; but even in the political sphere the new state bore in its bosom disuniting forces which again and again threatened to rive it apart until they were dissipated in the Civil War; and in the other spheres of its existence, intellectually, morally, socially, its unity was far from being accomplished. The expansion of its territory over the continental area brought new local diversity and prolonged the contrasts of border conditions with those of the long-settled communities. This state of affairs was reflected in the capital fact that there was no metropolitan centre in which the tradition and forces of the nation were concentrated. Washington was a centre of political administration; but that was all. The nation grew slowly, indeed, into consciousness of its own existence; but it was without united history, without national traditions of civilization and culture, and it was committed to the untried idea of democracy. It was founded in a new faith; yet at the moment that it proclaimed the equality of men, its own social structure and habit north and south contradicted the declaration, not merely by the fact of slavery, but by the life of its classes. The south long remained oligarchic; in the north aristocracy slowly melted away. The coincidence of an economic opportunity with a philosophic principle is the secret of the career of American democracy in its first century. The vast resources of an undeveloped country gave this opportunity to the individual, while the nation was pledged by its fundamental idea to material prosperity for the masses, popular education and the common welfare, as the supreme test of government. In this labour, subduing the new world to agriculture, trade and manufactures, the forces of the nation were spent, under the complication of maintaining the will of the people as the directing power; the subjugation of the soil and experience in popular government are the main facts of American history. In the course of this task the practice of the fine arts was hardly more than an incident. When anyone thinks of Greece, he thinks first of her arts; when anyone thinks of America, he thinks of her arts last. Literature, in the sense of the printed word, has had a great career in America; as the vehicle of use, books, journals, literary communication, educational works and libraries have filled the land; nowhere has the power of the printed word ever been so great, nowhere has the man of literary genius ever had so broad an opportunity to affect the minds of men contemporaneously. But, in the artistic sense, literature, at most, has been locally illustrated by a few eminent names.
The most obvious fact with regard to this literature is that—to adopt a convenient word—it has been regional. It has flourished in parts of the country, very distinctly marked, and is in each case affected by its environment and local culture; if it incorporates national elements at times, it seems to graft them on its own stock. The growth of literature in these favoured soils was slow and humble. There was no outburst of genius, no sudden movement, no renaissance; but very gradually a step was taken in advance of the last generation, as that had advanced upon its forefathers. The first books of true excellence were experiments; they seem almost accidents. The cities of Boston, New York and Philadelphia were lettered communities; they possessed imported books, professional classes, men of education and taste. The tradition of literature was strong, especially in New England; there were readers used to the polite letters of the past. It was, however, in the main the past of Puritanism, both in England and at home, and of the 18th century in general, on which they were bred, with a touch ever growing stronger of the new European romanticism. All the philosophic ideas of the 18th century were current. What was most lacking was a standard self-applied by original writers; and in the absence of a great national centre of standards and traditions, and amid the poverty of such small local centres as the writers were bred in, they sought what they desired, not in England, not in any one country nor in any one literature, but in the solidarity of literature itself, in the republic of letters, the world-state itself,—the master-works of all European lands; they became either actual pilgrims on foreign soil or pilgrims of the mind in fireside travels. The foreign influences that thus entered into American literature are obvious and make a large part of its history; but the fact here brought out is that European literature and experience stood to American writers in lieu of a national centre; it was there that both standard and tradition were found.
Early 19th-century classics.
American literature first began to exist for the larger world in the persons of Washington Irving (1785-1859) and James Fenimore Cooper (1789-1851). Their recognition was almost contemporaneous. The Sketch Book (1810) was the first American book to win a great reputation in England, and The Spy (1821) was the first to obtain a similar vogue on the continent. The fame of both authors is associated with New York, and that city took the first place as the centre of the literature of the period. It was not that New York was more intellectual than other parts of the country; but it was a highly prosperous community, where a mercantile society flourished and consequently a certain degree of culture obtained. The first American literature was not the product of a raw democracy nor of the new nationality in any sense; there was nothing sudden or vehement in its generation; but, as always, it was the product of older elements in the society where it arose and flourished under the conditions of precedent culture. The family of Irving were in trade. Cooper's father was in the law. A third writer, William Cullen Bryant (1794-1878), is associated with them, and though he announced his poetic talent precociously by Thanatopsis (1807), his Poems (1832), immediately republished in London, were the basis of his true fame. Born in Massachusetts, he lived his long life in New York, and was there a distinguished citizen. His father was a physician. All three men were not supremely endowed; they do not show the passion of genius for its work which marks the great writers; they were, like most American writers, men with the literary temperament, characteristically gentlemen, who essayed literature with varying power. If the quality of this early literature is to be appreciated truly, the fact of its provenance from a society whose cultivation was simple and normal, a provincial bourgeois society of a prosperous democracy, must be borne in mind. It came, not from the people, but from the best classes developed under preceding conditions.
Irving all his life was in the eyes of his countrymen, whatever their pride might be in him, more a travelled gentleman than one of themselves. He had come home to end his days at Sunnyside by the Hudson, but he had won his fame in foreign fields. In his youth the beginnings of his literary work were most humble—light contributions to the press. He was of a most social nature, warm, refined, humorous, a man belonging to the town. He was not seriously disposed, idled much, and surprised his fellow-citizens suddenly by a grotesque History of New York (1809), an extravaganza satirizing the Dutch element of the province. He discovered in writing this work his talent for humour and also one part of his literary theme, the Dutch tradition; but he did not so convince himself of his powers as to continue, and it was only after the failure of his commercial interests that, being thrown on himself for support, he published in London ten years later, at the age of thirty-six, the volume of sketches which by its success committed him to a literary career. In that work he found himself; sentiment and distinction of style characterized it, and these were his main traits. He remained abroad, always favoured in society and living in diplomatic posts in Spain and England, for seventeen years, and he later spent four years in Spain as minister. Spain gave him a larger opportunity than England for the cultivation of romantic sentiment, and he found there his best themes in Moorish legend and history. On his return to America he added to his subjects the exploration of the west; and he wrote, besides, biographies of Goldsmith and Washington. He was, as it turned out, a voluminous writer; yet his books successively seem the accident of his situation. The excellence of his work lies rather in the treatment than the substance; primarily, there is the pellucid style, which he drew from his love of Goldsmith, and the charm of his personality shown in his romantic interest, his pathos and humour ever growing in delicacy, and his familiar touch with humanity. He made his name American mainly by creating the legend of the Hudson, and he alone has linked his memory locally with his country so that it hangs over the landscape and blends with it for ever; he owned his nativity, too, by his pictures of the prairie and the fur-trade and by his life of Washington, who had laid his hand upon his head; but he had spent half his life abroad, in the temperamental enjoyment of the romantic suggestion of the old world, and by his writings he gave this expansion of sympathy and sentiment to his countrymen. If his temperament was native-born and his literary taste home-bred, and if his affections gave a legend to the countryside and his feelings expanded with the view of prairie and wilderness, and if he sought to honour with his pen the historic associations and memory of the land which had honoured him, it was, nevertheless, the trans-Atlantic touch that had loosed his genius and mainly fed it, and this fact was prophetic of the immediate course of American literature and the most significant in his career.
Cooper's initiation into literature was similar to that of Irving. He had received, perhaps, something more of scanty formal education, since he attended Yale College for a season, but he early took to the sea and was a midshipman. He was thirty years old before he began to write, and it was almost an accident that after the failure of his first novel he finished The Spy, so deterring was the prejudice that no American book could succeed. He was, however, a man of great energy of life, great force of will; it was his nature to persist. The way once opened, he wrote voluminously and with great unevenness. His literary defects, both of surface and construction, are patent. It was not by style nor by any detail of plot or character that he excelled; but whatever imperfections there might be, his work was alive; it had body, motion, fire. He chose his subjects from aspects of life familiar to him in the woods or on the sea or from patriotic memories near to him in the fields of the Revolution. He thus established a vital connexion with his own country, and in so far he is the most national by his themes of any of the American writers. What he gave was the scene of the new world, both in the forest and by the fires of the Revolution and on the swift and daring American ships; but it was especially by his power to give the sense of the primitive wilderness and the ocean weather, and adventure there, that he won success. In France, where he was popular, this came as an echo out of the real world of the west to the dream of nature that had lately grown up in French literature; and, besides, of all the springs of interest native to men in every land adventure in the wild is, perhaps, the easiest to touch, the quickest and most inflaming to respond. Cooper stood for a true element in American experience and conditions, for the romance in the mere presence of primeval things of nature newly found by man and opening to his coming; this was an imaginative moment, and Cooper seized it by his imagination. He especially did so in the Indian elements of his tale, and gave permanent ideality to the Indian type. The trait of loftiness which he thus incorporated belongs with the impression of the virgin forest and prairie, the breadth, the silence and the music of universal nature. The distinction of his work is to open so great a scene worthily, to give it human dignity in rough and primitive characters seen in the simplicity of their being, and to fill it with peril, resourcefulness and hardihood. It is the only brave picture of life in the broad from an American pen. Scott, in inventing the romantic treatment of history in fiction, was the leader of the historical novel; but Cooper, except in so far as he employed the form, was not in a true sense an imitator of Scott; he did not create, nor think, nor feel, in Scott's way, and he came far short of the deep human power of Scott's genius. He was not great in character; but he was great in adventure, manly spirit and the atmosphere of the natural world, an Odysseyan writer, who caught the moment of the American planting in vivid and characteristic traits.