« السابقةمتابعة »
the South by a quasi sympathy with the rebels; and it was precisely in the same spirit that he addressed the insurgent mob of New York, as his friends."
The truth is, that he was a worse enemy to both than those who openly shot them down, because he deceived both and encouraged them to bring ruin on themselves. A large proportion of the rebels thought that Seymour represented the feeling of the majority of the population of the Empire State; and that in time this feeling could not fail to manifest itself in their favor. Far from endeavoring to remove this impression, he did all in his power to strengthen it. The more calm and thoughtful of the Southerners understand this, and accordingly none detest or despise Seymour more.
Many even of the New York rioters, who belonged only to the lowest class, saw when it was too late, that, after all, Seymour was their enemy rather than their friend—they saw that it was their future votes he cared for, not themselves. Had it been otherwise, he would have threatened them with grape-shot rather than encouraged them to fight; he would have told them that there was no reason why they should have any hatred to the poor hegro; that if they were poor it was not the Aegro's fault, and that still less, if possible, was it the fault of the Federal government. But he did nothing of the kind; we will not say that he meant to prompt them to lawlessness and ontrage; we do not believe bim so base as this, let others attribute to him what they will. But that his conduct was calculated to encourage them is beyond question; and whom did they injure most by the course they pursued ? was it not themselves and their families ? Even the Plegroes, the particular objects of their wrath, were not as much injured; one twentieth as many of them were not shot down, or maimed forever ; one twentieth as many colored children were not made fatherless by the rioters as there were white children made fatherless by the troops in their perfectly legitimate efforts to protect the lives and property of the peaceable inhabitants.
Yet, we are informed that Seymour and his friends—that is, those who expect to profit by his election-depend largely on the Irish vote. Now, assuming that he did not prompt
many of the Irish to mischief, and their own ruinassuming that he has done them no harm-an assumption which is certainly not justified by the facts—what good bas he ever done them? what real favor has he ever shown them as a people ? We know, indeed, that he has made them promises enough, but what promise of any value-what promise that would give him the least trouble or cost him one dollar-has he fulfilled ? Nay, what has he done for them in any way in public or private which he would not have done for Hindoos or Hottentots for the same price—that is, for their votes ; not the votes they have given, but those that will be needed at a future time, as in the present instance ?
It is not known, some say, what Grant may do; he may be prejndiced. But no great soldier like him was ever prejudiced against the Irish. Napoleon and the great Condé were equally friendly and kind to them; even their worst enemies, Cromwell and William III., paid the highest tributes to their bravery and fidelity. Who can say that Grant has ever treated the Irish soldiers in his armies otherwise than in a friendly spirit ? What Irishman has he ever slighted or prevented from obtaining promotion, either on account of his nationality or his religion ?
We allude thus to the Irish vote, and the inflnence which should guide it, because, although the class of Irishmen who do most of the voting are not readers of our journal, we have the honor of addressing a large number of the Catholic clergy in all parts of the country, South as well as North ; from the humble cure and chaplain, up to the highest and greatest dignitary in America. We know from a personal experience and observation of more than forty years, that, whatever their detractors may say to the contrary, the priests and bishops always advise their people for their good; and this, be it observed, is not Catholic, but Protestant testimony—the testimony of one who spent twenty years of his life where there were very few but Catholics—scarcely a dozen in a whole extensive parish.
Our German friends are somewhat divided at present; but it is certain that the majority will vote for Grant, for they have never lost that admiration of courage and brilliant and patriotic deeds for which Tacitus gave credit to their ancestors in his Germaniama work which will inspire them with redoubled enthusiasm if they will read it at the present time, when it is sought to degrade manliness, valor and patriotism, and elevate charlatanism, imbecility and pusillanimity.
Some pretend to fear that if General Grant were elected he would convert the republic into a military despotism ! Who can give the shadow of a reason for any such apprehension ? Upon the same ground, Washington should have been rejected; so should Jackson—for both were military chieftains, while their military services were required by their country. It both were devoted to the arts of peace while there was no war, so was General Grant; are not some so thoughtless as to make this very fact a cause of reproach to him ? forgetting that the great Cincinnatus of old left the plough in the furrow to go and fight for his country.
Had Grant been ambitious to be a despot he would not have acted as he has. Does any one think it likely that he will ever again have so large an army at his command as he so readily disbanded ? It is certain that he will not have a larger, at all events; and it is still more certain that he never will have an army more devoted to him. Had he wi hed to establish a military despotism, the day that General Lee surrendered was his time. No one need have the least doubt that he could have succeeded then. But did he make the least attempt? Was there anything in his conduct to justify the suspicion that such an idea ever entered his mind?
It is true that many have a conscientious fear of entrusting successful generals with much civil power; but the history of the world does not justify it, as can be easily proved. Thus, of all the generals whose conquests have rendered them illustrious, how many have availed themselves of their power to enslave their country? If three can be said to have done so, it is certainly the most. Assuming it to be true that Cæsar, Napoleon, and Cromwell destroyed the liberties of their respective countries, it must be admitted as an evident fact, that a large proportion of those whom they enslaved, if not the overwhelming majority, were attached to
them to their death. It was not the masses that disliked the rule even of Cæsar; all the Roman historians, without exception, admit that they not only rendered him cheerful obedi. ence as a sovereign, but loved him as a friend and protector; and when he was assassinated by Brutus and Cassius, they wept over him as a benefactor. Then, did the masses of Frenchmen regard Napoleon as having enslaved them? Did they not, on the contrary, almost idolize him? Is not his memory revered by them to this day? Those most opposed to the present emperor at the beginning of his reign, called him Napoleon le Petit, lest he might profit by the prestige of his uncle.
That the British people of his time did not regard Cromwell as a despot, is also sufficiently manifest. Seldom has any English sovereign been more popular; nor has any sovereign conferred more glory on England.
Now, here are three instances in all history, of successful military chieftains causing revolutions in their own favor; for these three, at least fifty scheming politicians have usurped the supreme power, and ruthlessly oppressed their countrymen. Upon the other hand, for the three successful generals who took the supreme power into their own hands, fifty equally successful, though not all equally famous, yielded up their power freely after they had defeated the enemies of their country. The great Scipio took no advantage of having completely and finally destroyed Carthage, the only State of her time able to rival Rome, or dispute with her the empire of the world. Hannibal, who was able to maintain himself for nineteen years in the heart of Italy, defeating the best of the Roman generals at the head of their chosen legions, could at any time during this period, have enslaved his countrymen; but although his troops were chiefly foreigners, the majority, Celts and Celtiberians, as we have shown in a former number of this journal, he was too generous to be guilty of any such base act. Then, to approach our own time and country, in all the South American States that have established their independence of Spain, there has not been a single instance of the successful general making himself a despot.
If we inquire who have been the most ferocious and sanguinary tyrants, we shall find that far from being brave captains they were base cowards. This is emphatically true both of Caligula and Nero. The latter especially, was a great talker; he had quite a voluble and bland tongue; and it is well known that none were more likely to suffer at his hands, than those whom he called his “dearest friends ”amici carissimi.*
But we do not think there is the least danger that Mr. Seymour will be elected. Mayor Hoffman would have been a much more formidable opponent to Gen. Grant, had he been nominated; vastly more reliance could have been placed on his word; and if elected, he certainly would have filled the presidential chair with more dignity and decorum, as well as with more ability than Mr. Seymour.
There is little doubt that General Grant will be elected; and there need be as little doubt that he will again prove himself worthy of the confidence of the American people. As to his dealing harshly with the Southerners, we do not be. lieve he will. All know that it is not good, experienced soldiers that are constantly in dread of insurrections, but “non-combatant” politicians-persons who would see their country dismembered and crushed rather than expose their precious lives to the least danger.
Let the General provide himself with a good cabinet and all will go well. He certainly should not set aside all the cabinet of Lincoln and Johnson, but calmly take into consideration what each member has done, and what he has not done, as well as his honesty and fidelity, or his lack of those virtues compared with the functionaries occupying similar positions in the great nations of Europe.t Pursuing this course he cannot do otherwise than reject two or three, but especially Mr. Seward, for although we do not approve of vituperation or scurrility, we must admit that Judge Black has pretty faithfully described our present Secretary of State, in his recent letter to the President.
* Vide Tacitus, passim.
+ Vide review of Address of Geneva Chamber of Commerce in our last number; also Art. III. in No. for Dec. 1867.