Lieutenant-General* 1850 pounds. Major-general 1150 " Brigadier-General 800 " Colonel 530 " Lieutenant-Colonel** 475 " Major 430 " Captain 300 " First Lieutenant 265 " Second Lieutenant 245 " First Sergeant 48 " Sergeant 40 " Corporal 34 " Private 31 "
* General Scott alone holds that rank in the United States Army. ** A colonel and lieutenant-colonel are attached to each regiment.
In every grade named the pay is, I believe, higher than that given by us, or, as I imagine, by any other nation. It is, however, probable that the extra allowances paid to some of our higher officers when on duty may give to their positions for a time a higher pecuniary remuneration. It will of course be understood that there is nothing in the American army answering to our colonel of a regiment. With us the officer so designated holds a nominal command of high dignity and emolument as a reward for past services. I have already spoken of my visits to the camps of the other armies in the field, that of General Halleck, who held his headquarters at St. Louis, in Missouri, and that of General Buell, who was at Louisville, in Kentucky. There was also a fourth army under General Hunter, in Kansas, but I did not make my way as far west as that. I do not pretend to any military knowledge, and should be foolish to attempt military criticism; but as far as I could judge by appearance, I should say that the men in Buell's army were, of the three, in the best order. They seemed to me to be cleaner than the others, and, as far as I could learn, were in better health. Want of discipline and dirt have, no doubt, been the great faults of the regiments generally, and the latter drawback may probably be included in the former. These men have not been accustomed to act under the orders of superiors, and when they entered on the service hardly recognized the fact that they would have to do so in aught else than in their actual drill and fighting. It is impossible to conceive any class of men to whom the necessary discipline of a soldier would come with more difficulty than to an American citizen. The whole training of his life has been against it. He has never known respect for a master, or reverence for men of a higher rank than himself. He has probably been made to work hard for his wages-- harder than an Englishman works--but he has been his employer's equal. The language between them has been the language of equals, and their arrangement as to labor and wages has been a contract between equals. If he did not work he would not get his money--and perhaps not if he did. Under these circumstances he has made his fight with the world; but those circumstances have never taught him that special deference to a superior, which is the first essential of a soldier's duty. But probably in no respect would that difficulty be so severely felt as in all matters appertaining to personal habits. Here at any rate the man would expect to be still his own master, acting for himself and independent of all outer control. Our English Hodge, when taken from the plow to the camp, would, probably, submit without a murmur to soap and water and a barber's shears; he would have received none of that education which would prompt him to rebel against such ordinances; but the American citizen, who for awhile expects to shake hands with his captain whenever he sees him, and is astonished when he learns that he must not offer him drinks, cannot at once be brought to understand that he is to be treated like a child in the nursery; that he must change his shirt so often, wash himself at such and such intervals, and go through a certain process of cleansing his outward garments daily. I met while traveling a sergeant of a regiment of the American regulars, and he spoke of the want of discipline among the volunteers as hopeless. But even he instanced it chiefly by their want of cleanliness. "They wear their shirts till they drop off their backs," said he; "and what can you expect from such men as that?" I liked that sergeant for his zeal and intelligence, and also for his courtesy when he found that I was an Englishman; for previous to his so finding he had begun to abuse the English roundly--but I did not quite agree with him about the volunteers. It is very bad that soldiers should be dirty, bad also that they should treat their captains with familiarity, and desire to exchange drinks with the majors. But even discipline is not everything; and discipline will come at last even to the American soldiers, distasteful as it may be, when the necessity for it is made apparent. But these volunteers have great military virtues. They are intelligent, zealous in their cause, handy with arms, willing enough to work at all military duties, and personally brave. On the other hand, they are sickly, and there has been a considerable amount of drunkenness among them. No man who has looked to the subject can, I think, doubt that a native American has a lower physical development than an Irishman, a German, or an Englishman. They become old sooner, and die at an earlier age. As to that matter of drink, I do not think that much need be said against them. English soldiers get drunk when they have the means of doing so, and American soldiers would not get drunk if the means were taken away from them. A little drunkenness goes a long way in a camp, and ten drunkards will give a bad name to a company of a hundred. Let any man travel with twenty men of whom four are tipsy, and on leaving them he will tell you that every man of them was a drunkard. I have said that these men are brave, and I have no doubt that they are so. How should it be otherwise with men of such a race? But it must be remembered that there are two kinds of courage, one of which is very common and the other very uncommon. Of the latter description of courage it cannot be expected that much should be found among the privates of any army, and perhaps not very many examples among the officers. It is a courage self-sustained, based on a knowledge of the right, and on a life-long calculation that any results coming from adherence to the right will be preferable to any that can be produced by a departure from it. This is the courage which will enable a man to stand his ground, in battle or elsewhere, though broken worlds should fall around him. The other courage, which is mainly an affair of the heart or blood and not of the brain, always requires some outward support. The man who finds himself prominent in danger bears himself gallantly, because the eyes of many will see him; whether as an old man he leads an army, or as a young man goes on a forlorn hope, or as a private carries his officer on his back out of the fire, he is sustained by the love of praise. And the men who are not individually prominent in danger, who stand their ground shoulder to shoulder, bear themselves gallantly also, each trusting in the combined strength of his comrades. When such combined courage has been acquired, that useful courage is engendered which we may rather call confidence, and which of all courage is the most serviceable in the army. At the battle of Bull's Run the army of the North became panic-stricken, and fled. From this fact many have been led to believe that the American soldiers would not fight well, and that they could not be brought to stand their ground under fire. This I think has been an unfair conclusion. In the first place, the history of the battle of Bull's Run has yet to be written; as yet the history of the flight only has been given to us. As far as I can learn, the Northern soldiers did at first fight well; so well, that the army of the South believed itself to be beaten. But a panic was created--at first, as it seems, among the teamsters and wagons. A cry was raised, and a rush was made by hundreds of drivers with their carts and horses; and then men who had never seen war before, who had not yet had three months' drilling as soldiers, to whom the turmoil of that day must have seemed as though hell were opening upon them, joined themselves to the general clamor and fled to Washington, believing that all was lost. But at the same time the regiments of the enemy were going through the same farce in the other direction! It was a battle between troops who knew nothing of battles; of soldiers who were not yet soldiers. That individual high-minded courage which would have given to each individual recruit the self-sustained power against a panic, which is to be looked for in a general, was not to be looked for in them. Of the other courage of which I have spoken, there was as much as the circumstances of the battle would allow. On subsequent occasions the men have fought well. We should, I think, admit that they have fought very well when we consider how short has been their practice at such work. At Somerset, at Fort Henry, at Fort Donelson, at Corinth, the men behaved with courage, standing well to their arms, though at each place the slaughter among them was great. They have always gone well into fire, and have general]y borne themselves well under fire. I am convinced that we in England can make no greater mistake than to suppose that the Americans as soldiers are deficient in courage. But now I must come to a matter in which a terrible deficiency has been shown, not by the soldiers, but by those whose duty it has been to provide for the soldiers. It is impossible to speak of the army of the North and to leave untouched that hideous subject of army contracts. And I think myself the more specially bound to allude to it because I feel that the iniquities which have prevailed prove with terrible earnestness the demoralizing power of that dishonesty among men in high places, which is the one great evil of the American States. It is there that the deficiency exists, which must be supplied before the public men of the nation can take a high rank among other public men. There is the gangrene, which must be cut out before the government, as a government, can be great. To make money is the one thing needful, and men have been anxious to meddle with the affairs of government, because there might money be made with the greatest ease. "Make money," the Roman satirist said; "make it honestly if you can, but at any rate make money." That first counsel would be considered futile and altogether vain by those who have lately dealt with the public wants of the American States. This is bad in a most fatal degree, not mainly because men in high places have been dishonest, or because the government has been badly served by its own paid officers. That men in high places should be dishonest, and that the people should be cheated by their rulers, is very bad. But there is worse than this. The thing becomes so common, and so notorious, that the American world at large is taught to believe that dishonesty is in itself good. "It behoves a man to be smart, sir!" Till the opposite doctrine to that be learned; till men in America--ay, and in Europe, Asia, and Africa--can learn that it specially behoves a man not to be smart, they will have learned little of their duty toward God, and nothing of their duty toward their neighbor. In the instances of fraud against the States government to which I am about to allude, I shall take all my facts from the report made to the House of Representatives at Washington by a committee of that House in December, 1861. "Mr. Washburne, from the Select Committee to inquire into the Contracts of the Government, made the following Report." That is the heading of the pamphlet. The committee was known as the Van Wyck Committee, a gentleman of that name having acted as chairman. The committee first went to New York, and began their inquiries with reference to the purchase of a steamboat called the "Catiline." In this case a certain Captain Comstock had been designated from Washington as the agent to be trusted in the charter or purchase of the vessel. He agreed on behalf of the government to hire that special boat for 2000l. a month for three months, having given information to friends of his on the matter, which enabled them to purchase it out and out for less than 4000l. These friends were not connected with shipping matters, but were lawyers and hotel proprietors. The committee conclude "that the vessel was chartered to the government at an unconscionable price; and that Captain Comstock, by whom this was effected, while enjoying THE PECULIAR CONFIDENCE OF THE GOVERNMENT, was acting for and in concert with the parties who chartered the vessel, and was in fact their agent." But the report does not explain why Captain Comstock was selected for this work by authority from Washington, nor does it recommend that he be punished. It does not appear that Captain Comstock had ever been in the regular service of the government, but that he had been master of a steamer. In the next place one Starbuck is employed to buy ships. As a government agent he buys two for 1300l. and sells them to the government for 2900l. The vessels themselves, when delivered at the navy yard, were found to be totally unfit for the service for which they had been purchased. But why was Starbuck employed, when, as appears over and over again in the report, New York was full of paid government servants ready and fit to do the work? Starbuck was merely an agent, and who will believe that he was allowed to pocket the whole difference of 1600l.? The greater part of the plunder was, however, in this case refunded. Then we come to the case of Mr. George D. Morgan, brother-in-law of Mr. Welles, the Secretary of the Navy. I have spoken of this gentleman before, and of his singular prosperity. He amassed a large fortune in five months, as a government agent for the purchase of vessels, he having been a wholesale grocer by trade. This gentleman had had no experience whatsoever with reference to ships. It is shown by the evidence that he had none of the requisite knowledge, and that there were special servants of the government in New York at that time, sent there specially for such services as these, who were in every way trustworthy, and who had the requisite knowledge. Yet Mr. Morgan was placed in this position by his brother-in-law, the Secretary of the Navy, and in that capacity made about 20,000l. in five months, all of which was paid by the government, as is well shown to have been the fact in the report before me. One result of such a mode of agency is given; one other result, I mean, besides the 20,000l. put into the pocket of the brother of the Secretary of the Navy. A ship called the "Stars and Stripes" was bought by Mr. Morgan for 11,000l., which had been built some months before for 7000l. This vessel was bought from a company which was blessed with a president. The president made the bargain with the government agent, but insisted on keeping back from his own company 2000l. out of the 11,000l. for expenses incident to the purchase. The company did not like being mulcted of its prey, and growled heavily; but their president declared that such bargains were not got at Washington for nothing. Members of Congress had to be paid to assist in such things. At least he could not reduce his little private bill for such assistance below 1600l. He had, he said, positively paid out so much to those venal members of Congress, and had made nothing for himself to compensate him for his own exertions. When this president came to be examined, he admitted that he had really made no payments to members of Congress. His own capacity had been so great that no such assistance had been found necessary. But he justified his charge on the ground that the sum taken by him was no more than the company might have expected him to lay out on members of Congress, or on ex-members who are specially mentioned, had he not himself carried on the business with such consummate discretion! It seems to me that the members or ex- members of Congress were shamefully robbed in this matter. The report deals manfully with Mr. Morgan, showing that for five months' work--which work he did not do and did not know how to do-- he received as large a sum as the President's salary for the whole Presidential term of four years. So much better is it to be an agent of government than simply an officer! And the committee adds, that they "do not find in this transaction the less to censure in the fact that this arrangement between the Secretary of the Navy and Mr. Morgan was one between brothers-in-law." After that who will believe that Mr. Morgan had the whole of that 20,000l. for himself? And yet Mr. Welles still remains Secretary of the Navy, and has justified the whole transaction in an explanation admitting everything, and which is considered by his friends to be an able State paper. "It behoves a man to be smart, sir." Mr. Morgan and Secretary Welles will no doubt be considered by their own party to have done their duty well as high-trading public functionaries. The faults of Mr. Morgan and of Secretary Welles are nothing to us in England; but the light in which such faults may be regarded by the American people is much to us. I will now go on to the case of a Mr. Cummings. Mr. Cummings, it appears, had been for many years the editor of a newspaper in Philadelphia, and had been an intimate political friend and ally of Mr. Cameron. Now at the time of which I am writing, April, 1861, Mr. Cameron was Secretary of War, and could be very useful to an old political ally living in his own State. The upshot of the present case will teach us to think well of Mr. Cameron's gratitude. In April, 1861, stores were wanted for the army at Washington, and Mr. Cameron gave an order to his old friend Cummings to expend 2,000,000 dollars, pretty much according to his fancy, in buying stores. Governor Morgan, the Governor of New York State, and a relative of our other friend Morgan, was joined with Mr. Cummings in this commission, Mr. Cameron no doubt having felt himself bound to give the friends of his colleague at the Navy a chance. Governor Morgan at once made over his right to his relative; but better things soon came in Mr. Morgan's way, and he relinquished his share in this partnership at an early date. In this transaction he did not himself handle above 25,000 dollars. Then the whole job fell into the hands of Mr. Cameron's old political friend. The 2,000,000 dollars, or 400,000l., were paid into the hands of certain government treasurers at New York, but they had orders to honor the draft of the political friend of the Secretary of War, and consequently 50,000l. was immediately withdrawn by Mr. Cummings, and with this he went to work. It is shown that he knew nothing of the business; that he employed a clerk from Albany whom he did not know, and confided to this clerk the duty of buying such stores as were bought; that this clerk was recommended to him by Mr. Weed, the editor of a newspaper at Albany, who is known in the States as the special political friend of Mr. Seward, the Secretary of State; and that in this way he spent 32,000l. He bought linen pantaloons and straw hats to the amount of 4200l., because he thought the soldiers looked hot in the warm weather; but he afterward learned that they were of no use. He bought groceries of a hardware dealer named Davidson, at Albany, that town whence came Mr. Weed's clerk. He did not know what was Davidson's trade, nor did he know exactly what he was going to buy; but Davidson proposed to sell him something which Mr. Cummings believed to be some kind of provisions, and he bought it. He did not know for how much--whether over 2000l. or not. He never saw the articles, and had no knowledge of their quality. It was out of the question that he should have such knowledge, as he naively remarks. His clerk Humphreys saw the articles. He presumed they were brought from Albany, but did not know. He afterward bought a ship--or two or three ships. He inspected one ship "by a mere casual visit:" that is to say, he did not examine her boilers; he did not know her tonnage, but he took the word of the seller for everything. He could not state the terms of the charter, or give the substance of it. He had had no former experience in buying or chartering ships. He also bought 75,000 pairs of shoes at only 25 cents (or one shilling) a pair more than their proper price. He bought them of a Mr. Hall, who declares that he paid Mr. Cummings nothing for the job, but regarded it as a return for certain previous favors conferred by him on Mr. Cummings in the occasional loans of 100l. or 200l. At the end of the examination it appears that Mr. Cummings still held in his hand a slight balance of 28,000l., of which he had forgotten to make mention in the body of his own evidence. "This item seems to have been overlooked by him in his testimony," says the report. And when the report was made, nothing had yet been learned of the destiny of this small balance. Then the report gives a list of the army supplies miscellaneously purchased by Mr. Cummings: 280 dozen pints of ale at 9s. 6d. a dozen; a lot of codfish and herrings; 200 boxes of cheeses and a large assortment of butter; some tongues; straw hats and linen "pants;" 23 barrels of pickles; 25 casks of Scotch ale, price not stated; a lot of London porter, price not stated; and some Hall carbines of which I must say a word more further on. It should be remembered that no requisition had come from the army for any of the articles named; that the purchase of herrings and straw hats was dictated solely by the discretion of Cummings and his man Humphreys, or, as is more probable, by the fact that some other person had such articles by him for sale; and that the government had its own established officers for the supply of things properly ordered by military requisition. These very same articles also were apparently procured, in the first place, as a private speculation, and were made over to the government on the failure of that speculation. "Some of the above articles," says the report, "were shipped by the Catiline, which was probably loaded on private account, and, not being able to obtain a clearance, was, in some way, through Mr. Cummings, transferred over to the government--SCOTCH ALE, LONDON PORTER, SELECTED HERRINGS, and all." The italics, as well as the words, are taken from the report. This was the confidential political friend of the Secretary of War, by whom he was intrusted with 400,000l. of public money! Twenty- eight thousand pounds had not been accounted for when the report was made, and the army supplies were bought after the fashion above named. That Secretary of War, Mr. Cameron, has since left the cabinet; but he has not been turned out in disgrace; he has been nominated as Minister to Russia, and the world has been told that there was some difference of opinion between him and his colleagues respecting slavery! Mr. Cameron, in some speech or paper, declared on his leaving the cabinet that he had not intended to remain long as Secretary of War. This assertion, I should think, must have been true. And now about the Hall carbines, as to which the gentlemen on this committee tell their tale with an evident delight in the richness of its incidents which at once puts all their readers in accord with them. There were altogether some five thousand of these, all of which the government sold to a Mr. Eastman in June, 1861, for 14s. each, as perfectly useless, and afterward bought in August for 4l. 8s. each, about 4s. a carbine having been expended in their repair in the mean time. But as regards 790 of these now famous weapons, it must be explained they had been sold by the government as perfectly useless, and at a nominal price, previously to this second sale made by the government to Mr. Eastman. They had been so sold, and then, in April, 1861, they had been bought again for the government by the indefatigable Cummings for 3l. each. Then they were again sold as useless for 14s. each to Eastman, and instantly rebought on behalf of the government for 4l. 8s. each! Useless for war purposes they may have been, but as articles of commerce it must be confessed that they were very serviceable. This last purchase was made by a man named Stevens on behalf of General Fremont, who at that time commanded the army of the United States in Missouri. Stevens had been employed by General Fremont as an agent on the behalf of government, as is shown with clearness in the report, and on hearing of these muskets telegraphed to the general at once: "I have 5000 Hall's rifled cast-steel muskets, breach-loading, new, at 22 dollars." General Fremont telegraphed back instantly: "I will take the whole 5000 carbines. . . . I will pay all extra charges." . . . . And so the purchase was made. The muskets, it seems, were not absolutely useless even as weapons of war. "Considering the emergency of the times?" a competent witness considered them to be worth "10 or 12 dollars." The government had been as much cheated in selling them as it had in buying them. But the nature of the latter transaction is shown by the facts that Stevens was employed, though irresponsibly employed, as a government agent by General Fremont; that he bought the muskets in that character himself, making on the transaction 1l. 18s. on each musket; and that the same man afterward appeared as an aid-de-camp on General Fremont's staff. General Fremont had no authority himself to make such a purchase, and when the money was paid for the first installment of the arms, it was so paid by the special order of General Fremont himself out of moneys intended to be applied to other purposes. The money was actually paid to a gentleman known at Fremont's headquarters as his special friend, and was then paid in that irregular way because this friend desired that that special bill should receive immediate payment. After that, who can believe that Stevens was himself allowed to pocket the whole amount of the plunder? There is a nice little story of a clergyman in New York who sold, for 40l. and certain further contingencies, the right to furnish 200 cavalry horses; but I should make this too long if I told all the nice little stories. As the frauds at St. Louis were, if not in fact the most monstrous, at any rate the most monstrous which have as yet been brought to the light, I cannot finish this account without explaining something of what was going on at that Western Paradise in those halcyon days of General Fremont. General Fremont, soon after reaching St. Louis, undertook to build ten forts for the protection of that city. These forts have since been pronounced as useless, and the whole measure has been treated with derision by officers of his own army. But the judgment displayed in the matter is a military question with which I do not presume to meddle. Even if a general be wrong in such a matter, his character as a man is not disgraced by such error. But the manner of building them was the affair with which Mr. Van Wyck's Committee had to deal. It seems that five of the forts, the five largest, were made under the orders of a certain Major Kappner, at a cost of 12,000l., and that the other five could have been built at least for the same sum. Major Kappner seems to have been a good and honest public servant, and therefore quite unfit for the superintendence of such work at St. Louis. The other five smaller forts were also in progress, the works on them having been continued from 1st of September to 25th of September, 1861; but on the 25th of September General Fremont himself gave special orders that a contract should be made with a man named Beard, a Californian, who had followed him from California to St. Louis. This contract is dated the 25th of September. But nevertheless the work specified in that contract was done previous to that date, and most of the money paid was paid previous to that date. The contract did not specify any lump sum, but agreed that the work should be paid for by the yard and by the square foot. No less a sum was paid to Beard for this work--the cormorant Beard, as the report calls him--than 24,200l., the last payment only, amounting to 4000l., having been made subsequent to the date of the contract. Twenty thousand two hundred pounds was paid to Beard before the date of the contract! The amounts were paid at five times, and the last four payments were made on the personal order of General Fremont. This Beard was under no bond, and none of the officers of the government knew anything of the terms under which he was working. On the 14th of October General Fremont was ordered to discontinue these works, and to abstain from making any further payments on their account. But, disobeying this order, he directed his quartermaster to pay a further sum of 4000l. to Beard out of the first sums he should receive from Washington, he then being out of money. This, however, was not paid. "It must be understood," says the report, "that every dollar ordered to be paid by General Fremont on account of these works was diverted from a fund specially appropriated for another purpose." And then again: "The money appropriated by Congress to subsist and clothe and transport our armies was then, in utter contempt of all law and of the army regulations, as well as in defiance of superior authority, ordered to be diverted from its lawful purpose and turned over to the cormorant Beard. While he had received l70,000 dollars (24,200l.) from the government, it will be seen from the testimony of Major Kappner that there had only been paid to the honest German laborers, who did the work on the first five forts built under his directions, the sum of 15,500 dollars, (3100l.,) leaving from 40,000 to 50,000 dollars (8000l. to 10,000l.) still due; and while these laborers, whose families were clamoring for bread, were besieging the quartermaster's department for their pay, this infamous contractor Beard is found following up the army and in the confidence of the major-general, who gives him orders for large purchases, which could only have been legally made through the quartermaster's department." After that, who will believe that all the money went into Beard's pocket? Why should General Fremont have committed every conceivable breach of order against his government, merely with the view of favoring such a man as Beard? The collusion of the Quartermaster M'Instry with fraudulent knaves in the purchase of horses is then proved. M'Instry was at this time Fremont's quartermaster at St. Louis. I cannot go through all these. A man of the name of Jim Neil comes out in beautiful pre- eminence. No dealer in horses could get to the quartermaster except through Jim Neil, or some such go-between. The quartermaster contracted with Neil and Neil with the owners of horses; Neil at the time being also military inspector of horses for the quartermaster. He bought horses as cavalry horses for 24l. or less, and passed them himself as artillery horses for 30l. In other cases the military inspectors were paid by the sellers to pass horses. All this was done under Quartermaster M'Instry, who would himself deal with none but such as Neil. In one instance, one Elliard got a contract from M'instry, the profit of which was 8000l. But there was a man named Brady. Now Brady was a friend of M'Instry, who, scenting the carrion afar off, had come from Detroit, in Michigan, to St. Louis. M'instry himself had also come from Detroit. In this case Elliard was simply directed by M'Instry to share his profits with Brady, and consequently paid to Brady 4000l., although Brady gave to the business neither capital nor labor. He simply took the 4000l. as the quartermaster's friend. This Elliard, it seems, also gave a carriage and horses to Mrs. Fremont. Indeed, Elliard seems to have been a civil and generous fellow. Then there is a man named Thompson, whose case is very amusing. Of him the committee thus speaks: "It must be said that Thompson was not forgetful of the obligations of gratitude, for, after he got through with the contract, he presented the son of Major M'instry with a riding pony. That was the only mark of respect," to use his own words, "that he showed to the family of Major M'instry." General Fremont himself desired that a contract should be made with one Augustus Sacchi for a thousand Canadian horses. It turned out that Sacchi was "nobody: a man of straw living in a garret in New York, whom nobody knew, a man who was brought out there"--to St. Louis--"as a good person through whom to work." "It will hardly be believed," says the report, "that the name of this same man Sacchi appears in the newspapers as being on the staff of General Fremont, at Springfield, with the rank of captain." I do not know that any good would result from my pursuing further the details of this wonderful report. The remaining portion of it refers solely to the command held by General Fremont in Missouri, and adds proof upon proof of the gross robberies inflicted upon the government of the States by the very persons set in high authority to protect the government. We learn how all utensils for the camp, kettles, blankets, shoes, mess pans, etc., were supplied by one firm, without a contract, at an enormous price, and of a quality so bad as to be almost useless, because the quartermaster was under obligations to the partners. We learn that one partner in that firm gave 40l. toward a service of plate for the quartermaster, and 60l. toward a carriage for Mrs. Fremont. We learn how futile were the efforts of any honest tradesman to supply good shoes to soldiers who were shoeless, and the history of one special pair of shoes which was thrust under the nose of the quartermaster is very amusing. We learn that a certain paymaster properly refused to settle an account for matters with which he had no concern, and that General Fremont at once sent down soldiers to arrest him unless he made the illegal payment. In October 1000l. was expended in ice, all which ice was wasted. Regiments were sent hither and thither with no military purpose, merely because certain officers, calling themselves generals, desired to make up brigades for themselves. Indeed, every description of fraud was perpetrated, and this was done not through the negligence of those in high command, but by their connivance and often with their express authority. It will be said that the conduct of General Fremont during the days of his command in Missouri is not a matter of much moment to us in England; that it has been properly handled by the committee of Representatives appointed by the American Congress to inquire into the matter; and that after the publication of such a report by them, it is ungenerous in a writer from another nation to speak upon the subject. This would be so if the inquiries made by that committee and their report had resulted in any general condemnation of the men whose misdeeds and peculations have been exposed. This, however, is by no means the case. Those who were heretofore opposed to General Fremont on political principles are opposed to him still; but those who heretofore supported him are ready to support him again. He has not been placed beyond the pale of public favor by the record which has been made of his public misdeeds. He is decried by the Democrats because he is a Republican, and by the anti-abolitionists because he is an Abolitionist; but he is not decried because he has shown himself to be dishonest in the service of his government. He was dismissed from his command in the West, but men on his side of the question declare that he was so dismissed because his political opponents had prevailed. Now, at the moment that I am writing this, men are saying that the President must give him another command. He is still a major-general in the army of the States, and is as probable a candidate as any other that I could name for the next Presidency.
* Since this was written, General Fremont has been restored to high military command, and now holds rank and equal authority with McClellan and Halleck. In fact, the charges made against him by the committee of the House of Representatives have not been allowed to stand in his way. He is politically popular with a large section of the nation, and therefore it has been thought well to promote him to high place. Whether he be fit for such place either as regards capability or integrity, seems to be considered of no moment.
The same argument must be used with reference to the other gentlemen named. Mr. Welles is still a cabinet minister and Secretary of the Navy. It has been found impossible to keep Mr. Cameron in the cabinet, but he was named as the minister of the States government to Russia, after the publication of the Van Wyck report, when the result of his old political friendship with Mr. Alexander Cummings was well known to the President who appointed him and to the Senate who sanctioned his appointment. The individual corruption of any one man--of any ten men--is not much. It should not be insisted on loudly by any foreigner in making up a balance-sheet of the virtues and vices of the good and bad qualities of any nation. But the light in which such corruption is viewed by the people whom it most nearly concerns is very much. I am far from saying that democracy has failed in America. Democracy there has done great things for a numerous people, and will yet, as I think, be successful. But that doctrine as to the necessity of smartness must be eschewed before a verdict in favor of American democracy can be pronounced. "It behoves a man to be smart, sir." In those words are contained the curse under which the States government has been suffering for the last thirty years. Let us hope that the people will find a mode of ridding themselves of that curse. I, for one, believe that they will do so.
From Louisville we returned to Cincinnati, in making which journey we were taken to a place called Seymour, in Indiana, at which spot we were to "make connection" with the train running on the Mississippi and Ohio line from St. Louis to Cincinnati. We did make the connection, but were called upon to remain four hours at Seymour in consequence of some accident on the line. In the same way, when going eastward from Cincinnati to Baltimore a few days later, I was detained another four hours at a place called Crestline, in Ohio. On both occasions I spent my time in realizing, as far as that might be possible, the sort of life which men lead who settle themselves at such localities. Both these towns--for they call themselves towns--had been created by the railways. Indeed this has been the case with almost every place at which a few hundred inhabitants have been drawn together in the Western States. With the exception of such cities as Chicago, St. Louis, and Cincinnati, settlers can hardly be said to have chosen their own localities. These have been chosen for them by the originators of the different lines of railway. And there is nothing in Europe in any way like to these Western railway settlements. In the first place, the line of the rails runs through the main street of the town, and forms not unfrequently the only road. At Seymour I could find no way of getting away from the rails unless I went into the fields. At Crestline, which is a larger place, I did find a street in which there was no railroad, but it was deserted, and manifestly out of favor with the inhabitants. As there were railway junctions at both these posts, there were, of course, cross-streets, and the houses extended themselves from the center thus made along the lines, houses being added to houses at short intervals as new-corners settled themselves down. The panting, and groaning, and whistling of engines is continual; for at such places freight trains are always kept waiting for passenger trains, and the slower freight trains for those which are called fast. This is the life of the town; and indeed as the whole place is dependent on the railway, so is the railway held in favor and beloved. The noise of the engines is not disliked, nor are its puffings and groanings held to be unmusical. With us a locomotive steam-engine is still, as it were, a beast of prey, against which one has to be on one's guard--in respect to which one specially warns the children. But there, in the Western States, it has been taken to the bosoms of them all as a domestic animal; no one fears it, and the little children run about almost among its wheels. It is petted and made much of on all sides--and, as far as I know, it seldom bites or tears. I have not heard of children being destroyed wholesale in the streets, or of drunken men becoming frequent sacrifices. But had I been consulted beforehand as to the natural effects of such an arrangement, I should have said that no child could have been reared in such a town, and that any continuance of population under such circumstances must have been impracticable. Such places, however, do thrive and prosper with a prosperity especially their own, and the boys and girls increase and multiply in spite of all dangers. With us in England it is difficult to realize the importance which is attached to a railway in the States, and the results which a railway creates. We have roads everywhere, and our country had been cultivated throughout with more or less care before our system of railways had been commenced; but in America, especially in the North, the railways have been the precursors of cultivation. They have been carried hither and thither, through primeval forests and over prairies, with small hope of other traffic than that which they themselves would make by their own influences. The people settling on their edges have had the very best of all roads at their service; but they have had no other roads. The face of the country between one settlement and another is still in many cases utterly unknown; but there is the connecting road by which produce is carried away, and new-comers are brought in. The town that is distant a hundred miles by the rail is so near that its inhabitants are neighbors; but a settlement twenty miles distant across the uncleared country is unknown, unvisited, and probably unheard of by the women and children. Under such circumstances the railway is everything. It is the first necessity of life, and gives the only hope of wealth. It is the backbone of existence from whence spring, and by which are protected, all the vital organs and functions of the community. It is the right arm of civilization for the people, and the discoverer of the fertility of the land. It is all in all to those people, and to those regions. It has supplied the wants of frontier life with all the substantial comfort of the cities, and carried education, progress, and social habits into the wilderness. To the eye of the stranger such places as Seymour and Crestline are desolate and dreary. There is nothing of beauty in them--given either by nature or by art. The railway itself is ugly, and its numerous sidings and branches form a mass of iron road which is bewildering, and, according to my ideas, in itself disagreeable. The wooden houses open down upon the line, and have no gardens to relieve them. A foreigner, when first surveying such a spot, will certainly record within himself a verdict against it; but in doing so he probably commits the error of judging it by a wrong standard. He should compare it with the new settlements which men have opened up in spots where no railway has assisted them, and not with old towns in which wealth has long been congregated. The traveler may see what is the place with the railway; then let him consider how it might have thriven without the railway. I confess that I became tired of my sojourn at both the places I have named. At each I think that I saw every house in the place, although my visit to Seymour was made in the night; and at both I was lamentably at a loss for something to do. At Crestline I was all alone, and began to feel that the hours which I knew must pass before the missing train could come would never make away with themselves. There were many others stationed there as I was, but to them had been given a capability for loafing which niggardly Nature has denied to me. An American has the power of seating himself in the close vicinity of a hot stove and feeding in silence on his own thoughts by the hour together. It may be that he will smoke; but after awhile his cigar will come to an end. He sits on, however, certainly patient, and apparently contented. It may be that he chews, but if so, he does it with motionless jaws, and so slow a mastication of the pabulum upon which he feeds, that his employment in this respect only disturbs the absolute quiet of the circle when, at certain long, distant intervals, he deposits the secretion of his tobacco in an ornamental utensil which may probably be placed in the farthest corner of the hall. But during all this time he is happy. It does not fret him to sit there and think and do nothing. He is by no means an idle man--probably one much given to commercial enterprise. Idle men out there in the West we may say there are none. How should any idle man live in such a country? All who were sitting hour after hour in that circle round the stove of the Crestline Hotel hall--sitting there hour after hour in silence, as I could not sit--were men who earned their bread by labor. They were farmers, mechanics, storekeepers; there was a lawyer or two, and one clergyman. Sufficient conversation took place at first to indicate the professions of many of them. One may conclude that there could not be place there for an idle man. But they all of them had a capacity for a prolonged state of doing nothing which is to me unintelligible, and which is by me very much to be envied. They are patient as cows which from hour to hour lie on the grass chewing their cud. An Englishman, if he be kept waiting by a train in some forlorn station in which he can find no employment, curses his fate and all that has led to his present misfortune with an energy which tells the story of his deep and thorough misery. Such, I confess, is my state of existence under such circumstances. But a Western American gives himself up to "loafing," and is quite happy. He balances himself on the back legs of an arm-chair, and remains so, without speaking, drinking or smoking for an hour at a stretch; and while he is doing so he looks as though he had all that he desired. I believe that he is happy, and that he has all that he wants for such an occasion--an arm-chair in which to sit, and a stove on which he can put his feet and by which he can make himself warm. Such was not the phase of character which I had expected to find among the people of the West. Of all virtues patience would have been the last which I should have thought of attributing to them. I should have expected to see them angry when robbed of their time, and irritable under the stress of such grievances as railway delays; but they are never irritable under such circumstances as I have attempted to describe, nor, indeed, are they a people prone to irritation under any grievances. Even in political matters they are long-enduring, and do not form themselves into mobs for the expression of hot opinion. We in England thought that masses of the people would rise in anger if Mr. Lincoln's government should consent to give up Slidell and Mason; but the people bore it without any rising. The habeas corpus has been suspended, the liberty of the press has been destroyed for a time, the telegraph wires have been taken up by the government into their own hands, but nevertheless the people have said nothing. There has been no rising of a mob, and not even an expression of an adverse opinion. The people require to be allowed to vote periodically, and, having acquired that privilege, permit other matters to go by the board. In this respect we have, I think, in some degree misunderstood their character. They have all been taught to reverence the nature of that form of government under which they live, but they are not specially addicted to hot political fermentation. They have learned to understand that democratic institutions have given them liberty, and on that subject they entertain a strong conviction which is universal. But they have not habitually interested themselves deeply in the doings of their legislators or of their government. On the subject of slavery there have been and are different opinions, held with great tenacity and maintained occasionally with violence; but on other subjects of daily policy the American people have not, I think, been eager politicians. Leading men in public life have been much less trammeled by popular will than among us. Indeed with us the most conspicuous of our statesmen and legislators do not lead, but are led. In the States the noted politicians of the day have been the leaders, and not unfrequently the coercers of opinion. Seeing this, I claim for England a broader freedom in political matters than the States have as yet achieved. In speaking of the American form of government, I will endeavor to explain more clearly the ideas which I have come to hold on this matter. I survived my delay at Seymour, after which I passed again through Cincinnati, and then survived my subsequent delay at Crestline. As to Cincinnati, I must put on record the result of a country walk which I took there, or rather on which I was taken by my friend. He professed to know the beauties of the neighborhood and to be well acquainted with all that was attractive in its vicinity. Cincinnati is built on the Ohio, and is closely surrounded by picturesque hills which overhang the suburbs of the city. Over these I was taken, plowing my way through a depth of mud which cannot be understood by any ordinary Englishman. But the depth of mud was not the only impediment nor the worst which we encountered. As we began to ascend from the level of the outskirts of the town we were greeted by a rising flavor in the air, which soon grew into a strong odor, and at last developed itself into a stench that surpassed in offensiveness anything that my nose had ever hitherto suffered. When we were at the worst we hardly knew whether to descend or to proceed. It had so increased in virulence that at one time I felt sure that it arose from some matter buried in the ground beneath my feet. But my friend, who declared himself to be quite at home in Cincinnati matters, and to understand the details of the great Cincinnati trade, declared against this opinion of mine. Hogs, he said, were at the bottom of it. It was the odor of hogs going up to the Ohio heavens--of hogs in a state of transit from hoggish nature to clothes-brushes, saddles, sausages, and lard. He spoke with an authority that constrained belief; but I can never forgive him in that he took me over those hills, knowing all that he professed to know. Let the visitors to Cincinnati keep themselves within the city, and not wander forth among the mountains. It is well that the odor of hogs should ascend to heaven and not hang heavy over the streets; but it is not well to intercept that odor in its ascent. My friend became ill with fever, and had to betake himself to the care of nursing friends; so that I parted company with him at Cincinnati. I did not tell him that his illness was deserved as well as natural, but such was my feeling on the matter. I myself happily escaped the evil consequences which his imprudence might have entailed on me. I again passed through Pittsburg, and over the Alleghany Mountains by Altoona, and down to Baltimore--back into civilization, secession, conversation, and gastronomy. I never had secessionist sympathies and never expressed them. I always believed in the North as a people--discrediting, however, to the utmost the existing Northern government, or, as I should more properly say, the existing Northern cabinet; but nevertheless, with such feelings and such belief I found myself very happy at Baltimore. Putting aside Boston--which must, I think, be generally preferred by Englishmen to any other city in the States--I should choose Baltimore as my residence if I were called upon to live in America. I am not led to this, if I know myself, solely by the canvas-back ducks; and as to the terrapins, I throw them to the winds. The madeira, which is still kept there with a reverence which I should call superstitious were it not that its free circulation among outside worshipers prohibits the just use of such a word, may have something to do with it, as may also the beauty of the women--to some small extent. Trifles do bear upon our happiness in a manner that we do not ourselves understand and of which we are unconscious. But there was an English look about the streets and houses which I think had as much to do with it as either the wine, the women, or the ducks, and it seemed to me as though the manners of the people of Maryland were more English than those of other Americans. I do not say that they were on this account better. My English hat is, I am well aware, less graceful, and I believe less comfortable, than a Turkish fez and turban; nevertheless I prefer my English hat. New York I regard as the most thoroughly American of all American cities. It is by no means the one in which I should find myself the happiest; but I do not on that account condemn it. I have said that in returning to Baltimore I found myself among secessionists. In so saying I intend to speak of a certain set whose influence depends perhaps more on their wealth, position, and education than on their numbers. I do not think that the population of the city was then in favor of secession, even if it had ever been so. I believe that the mob of Baltimore is probably the roughest mob in the States--is more akin to a Paris mob, and I may perhaps also say to a Manchester mob, than that of any other American city. There are more roughs in Baltimore than elsewhere, and the roughs there are rougher. In those early days of secession, when the troops were being first hurried down from New England for the protection of Washington, this mob was vehemently opposed to its progress. Men had been taught to think that the rights of the State of Maryland were being invaded by the passage of the soldiers, and they also were undoubtedly imbued with a strong prepossession for the Southern cause. The two ideas had then gone together. But the mob of Baltimore had ceased to be secessionists within twelve months of their first exploit. In April, 1861, they had refused to allow Massachusetts soldiers to pass through the town on their way to Washington; and in February, 1862, they were nailing Union flags on the door-posts of those who refused to display such banners as signs of triumph at the Northern victories! That Maryland can ever go with the South, even in the event of the South succeeding in secession, no Marylander can believe. It is not pretended that there is any struggle now going on with such an object. No such result has been expected, certainly since the possession of Washington was secured to the North by the army of the Potomac. By few, I believe, was such a result expected even when Washington was insecure. And yet the feeling for secession among a certain class in Baltimore is as strong now as ever it was. And it is equally strong in certain districts of the State--in those districts which are most akin to Virginia in their habits, modes of thought, and ties of friendship. These men, and these women also, pray for the South if they be pious, give their money to the South if they be generous, work for the South if they be industrious, fight for the South if they be young, and talk for the South morning, noon, and night, in spite of General Dix and his columbiads on Federal Hill. It is in vain to say that such men and women have no strong feeling on the matter, and that they are praying, working, fighting, and talking under dictation. Their hearts are in it. And judging from them, even though there were no other evidence from which to judge, I have no doubt that a similar feeling is strong through all the seceding States. On this subject the North, I think, deceives itself in supposing that the Southern rebellion has been carried on without any strong feeling on the part of the Southern people. Whether the mob of Charleston be like the mob of Baltimore I cannot tell; but I have no doubt as to the gentry of Charleston and the gentry of Baltimore being in accord on the subject. In what way, then, when the question has been settled by the force of arms, will these classes find themselves obliged to act? In Virginia and Maryland they comprise, as a rule, the highest and best educated of the people. As to parts of Kentucky the same thing may be said, and probably as to the whole of Tennessee. It must be remembered that this is not as though certain aristocratic families in a few English counties should find themselves divided off from the politics and national aspirations of their country-men, as was the case long since with reference to the Roman Catholic adherents of the Stuarts, and as has been the case since then in a lesser degree with the firmest of the old Tories who had allowed themselves to be deceived by Sir Robert Peel. In each of these cases the minority of dissentients was so small that the nation suffered nothing, though individuals were all but robbed of their nationality. but as regards America it must be remembered that each State has in itself a governing power, and is in fact a separate people. Each has its own legislature, and must have its own line of politics. The secessionists of Maryland and of Virginia may consent to live in obscurity; but if this be so, who is to rule in those States? From whence are to come the senators and the members of Congress; the governors and attorney-generals? From whence is to come the national spirit of the two States, and the salt that shall preserve their political life? I have never believed that these States would succeed in secession. I have always felt that they would be held within the Union, whatever might be their own wishes. But I think that they will be so held in a manner and after a fashion that will render any political vitality almost impossible till a new generation shall have sprung up. In the mean time life goes on pleasantly enough in Baltimore, and ladies meet together, knitting stockings and sewing shirts for the Southern soldiers, while the gentlemen talk Southern politics and drink the health of the (Southern) president in ambiguous terms, as our Cavaliers used to drink the health of the king. During my second visit to Baltimore I went over to Washington for a day or two, and found the capital still under the empire of King Mud. How the elite of a nation--for the inhabitants of Washington consider themselves to be the elite--can consent to live in such a state of thraldom, a foreigner cannot understand. Were I to say that it was intended to be typical of the condition of the government, I might be considered cynical; but undoubtedly the sloughs of despond which were deepest in their despondency were to be found in localities which gave an appearance of truth to such a surmise. The Secretary of State's office, in which Mr. Seward was still reigning, though with diminished glory, was divided from the headquarters of the commander-in-chief, which are immediately opposite to it, by an opaque river which admitted of no transit. These buildings stand at the corner of President Square, and it had been long understood that any close intercourse between them had not been considered desirable by the occupants of the military side of the causeway. But the Secretary of State's office was altogether unapproachable without a long circuit and begrimed legs. The Secretary of War's department was, if possible, in a worse condition. This is situated on the other side of the President's house, and the mud lay, if possible, thicker in this quarter than it did round Mr. Seward's chambers. The passage over Pennsylvania Avenue, immediately in front of the War Office, was a thing not to be attempted in those days. Mr. Cameron, it is true, had gone, and Mr. Stanton was installed; but the labor of cleansing the interior of that establishment had hitherto allowed no time for a glance at the exterior dirt, and Mr. Stanton should, perhaps, be held as excused. That the Navy Office should be buried in mud, and quite debarred from approach, was to be expected. The space immediately in front of Mr. Lincoln's own residence was still kept fairly clean, and I am happy to be able to give testimony to this effect. Long may it remain so. I could not, however, but think that an energetic and careful President would have seen to the removal of the dirt from his own immediate neighborhood. It was something that his own shoes should remain unpolluted; but the foul mud always clinging to the boots and leggings of those by whom he was daily surrounded must, I should think, have been offensive to him. The entrance to the Treasury was difficult to achieve by those who had not learned by practice the ways of the place; but I must confess that a tolerably clear passage was maintained on that side which led immediately down to the halls of Congress. Up at the Capitol the mud was again triumphant in the front of the building; this however was not of great importance, as the legislative chambers of the States are always reached by the back doors. I, on this occasion, attempted to leave the building by the grand entrance, but I soon became entangled among rivers of mud and mazes of shifting sand. With difficulty I recovered my steps, and finding my way back to the building was forced to content myself by an exit among the crowd of Senators and Representatives who were thronging down the back stairs. Of dirt of all kinds it behoves Washington and those concerned in Washington to make themselves free. It is the Augean stables through which some American Hercules must turn a purifying river before the American people can justly boast either of their capital or of their government. As to the material mud, enough has been said. The presence of the army perhaps caused it, and the excessive quantity of rain which had fallen may also be taken as a fair plea. But what excuse shall we find for that other dirt? It also had been caused by the presence of the army, and by that long-continued down- pouring of contracts which had fallen like Danae's golden shower into the laps of those who understood how to avail themselves of such heavenly waters. The leaders of the rebellion are hated in the North. The names of Jefferson Davis, of Cobb, Toombs, and Floyd are mentioned with execration by the very children. This has sprung from a true and noble feeling; from a patriotic love of national greatness and a hatred of those who, for small party purposes, have been willing to lessen the name of the United States. I have reverenced the feeling even when I have not shared it. But, in addition to this, the names of those also should be execrated who have robbed their country when pretending to serve it; who have taken its wages in the days of its great struggle, and at the same time have filched from its coffers; who have undertaken the task of steering the ship through the storm in order that their hands might be deep in the meal-tub and the bread-basket, and that they might stuff their own sacks with the ship's provisions. These are the men who must be loathed by the nation--whose fate must be held up as a warning to others before good can come! Northern men and women talk of hanging Davis and his accomplices. I myself trust that there will be no hanging when the war is over. I believe there will be none, for the Americans are not a blood-thirsty people. But if punishment of any kind be meted out, the men of the North should understand that they have worse offenders among them than Davis and Floyd. At the period of which I am now speaking, there had come a change over the spirit of Mr. Lincoln's cabinet. Mr. Seward was still his Secretary of State, but he was, as far as outside observers could judge, no longer his Prime Minister. In the early days of the war, and up to the departure of Mr. Cameron from out of the cabinet, Mr. Seward had been the Minister of the nation. In his dispatches he talks ever of We or of I. In every word of his official writings, of which a large volume has been published, he shows plainly that he intends to be considered as the man of the day--as the hero who is to bring the States through their difficulties. Mr. Lincoln may be king, but Mr. Seward is mayor of the palace, and carries the king in his pocket. From the depth of his own wisdom he undertakes to teach his ministers in all parts of the world, not only their duties, but their proper aspiration. He is equally kind to foreign statesmen, and sends to them messages as though from an altitude which no European politician had ever reached. At home he has affected the Prime Minister in everything, dropping the We and using the I in a manner that has hardly made up by its audacity for its deficiency in discretion. It is of course known everywhere that he had run Mr. Lincoln very hard for the position of Republican candidate for the Presidency. Mr. Lincoln beat him, and Mr. Seward is well aware that in the states a man has never a second chance for the presidential chair. Hence has arisen his ambition to make for himself a new place in the annals of American politics. Hitherto there has been no Prime Minister known in the government of the United States. Mr. Seward has attempted a revolution in that matter, and has essayed to fill the situation. For awhile it almost seemed that he was successful. He interfered with the army, and his interferences were endured. He took upon himself the business of the police, and arrested men at his own will and pleasure. The habeas corpus was in his hand, and his name was current through the States as a covering authority for every outrage on the old laws. Sufficient craft, or perhaps cleverness, he possessed to organize a position which should give him a power greater than the power of the President; but he had not the genius which would enable him to hold it. He made foolish prophecies about the war, and talked of the triumphs which he would win. He wrote state-papers on matters which he did not understand, and gave himself the airs of diplomatic learning while he showed himself to be sadly ignorant of the very rudiments of diplomacy. He tried to joke as Lord Palmerston jokes, and nobody liked his joking. He was greedy after the little appanages of power, taking from others who loved them as well as he did privileges with which he might have dispensed. And then, lastly, he was successful in nothing. He had given himself out as the commander of the commander-in-chief; but then under his command nothing got itself done. For a month or two some men had really believed in Mr. Seward. The policemen of the country had come to have an absolute trust in him, and the underlings of the public offices were beginning to think that he might be a great man. But then, as is ever the case with such men, there came suddenly a downfall. Mr. Cameron went from the cabinet, and everybody knew that Mr. Seward would be no longer commander of the commander-in-chief. His prime ministership was gone from him, and he sank down into the comparatively humble position of Minister for Foreign Affairs. His lettres de cachet no longer ran. His passport system was repealed. His prisoners were released. And though it is too much to say that writs of habeas corpus were no longer suspended, the effect and very meaning of the suspension were at once altered. When I first left Washington, Mr. Seward was the only minister of the cabinet whose name was ever mentioned with reference to any great political measure. When I returned to Washington, Mr. Stanton was Mr. Lincoln's leading minister, and, as Secretary of War, had practically the management of the army and of the internal police. I have spoken here of Mr. Seward by name, and in my preceding paragraphs I have alluded with some asperity to the dishonesty of certain men who had obtained political power under Mr. Lincoln, and used it for their own dishonest purposes. I trust that I may not be understood as bringing any such charges against Mr. Seward. That such dishonesty has been frightfully prevalent all men know who knew anything of Washington during the year 1861. In a former chapter I have alluded to this more at length, stating circumstances, and in some cases giving the names of the persons charged with offenses. Whenever I have done so, I have based my statements on the Van Wyck report, and the evidence therein given. This is the published report of a committee appointed by the house of Representatives; and as it has been before the world for some months without refutation, I think that I have a right to presume it to be true.* On no less authority than this would I consider myself justified in bringing any such charge. Of Mr. Seward's incompetency I have heard very much among American politicians; much also of his ambition. With worse offenses than these I have not heard him charged.
* I ought perhaps to state that General Fremont has published an answer to the charges preferred against him. That answer refers chiefly to matters of military capacity or incapacity, as to which I have expressed no opinion. General Fremont does allude to the accusations made against him regarding the building of the forts; but in doing so he seem to me rather to admit than to deny the acts as stated by the committee.
At the period of which I am writing, February, 1862, the long list of military successes which attended the Northern army through the late winter and early spring had commenced. Fort henry, on the Tennessee River, had first been taken, and after that, Fort Donelson, on the Cumberland River, also in the State, Tennessee. Price had been driven out of Missouri into Arkansas by General Curtis, acting under General Halleck's orders. The chief body of the Confederate army in the West had abandoned the fortified position which they had long held at Bowling Green, in the southwestern district of Kentucky. Roanoke Island, on the coast of North Carolina, had been taken by General Burnside's expedition, and a belief had begun to manifest itself in Washington that the army of the Potomac was really about to advance. It is impossible to explain in what way the renewed confidence of the Northern party showed itself, or how one learned that the hopes of the secessionists were waxing dim; but it was so; and even a stranger became aware of the general feeling as clearly as though it were a defined and established fact. In the early part of the winter, when I reached Washington, the feeling ran all the other way. Northern men did not say that they were despondent; they did not with spoken words express diffidence as to their success; but their looks betrayed diffidence, and the moderation of their self-assurance almost amounted to despondency. In the capital the parties were very much divided. The old inhabitants were either secessionists or influenced by "secession proclivities," as the word went; but the men of the government and of the two Houses of Congress were, with a few exceptions, of course Northern. It should be understood that these parties were at variance with each other on almost every point as to which men can disagree. In our civil war it may be presumed that all Englishmen were at any rate anxious for England. They desired and fought for different modes of government; but each party was equally English in its ambition. In the States there is the hatred of a different nationality added to the rancor of different politics. The Southerners desire to be a people of themselves--to divide themselves by every possible mark of division from New England; to be as little akin to New York as they are to London, or, if possible, less so. Their habits, they say, are different; their education, their beliefs, their propensities, their very virtues and vices are not the education, or the beliefs, or the propensities, or the virtues and vices of the North. The bond that ties them to the North is to them a Mezentian marriage, and they hate their Northern spouses with a Mezentian hatred. They would be anything sooner than citizens of the United States. They see to what Mexico has come, and the republics of Central America; but the prospect of even that degradation is less bitter to them than a share in the glory of the stars and stripes. Better, with them, to reign in hell than serve in heaven! It is not only in politics that they will be beaten, if they be beaten, as one party with us may be beaten by another; but they will be beaten as we should be beaten if France annexed us, and directed that we should live under French rule. Let an Englishman digest and realize that idea, and he will comprehend the feelings of a Southern gentleman as he contemplates the probability that his State will be brought back into the Union. And the Northern feeling is as strong. The Northern man has founded his national ambition on the territorial greatness of his nation. He has panted for new lands, and for still extended boundaries. The Western World has opened her arms to him, and has seemed to welcome him as her only lord. British America has tempted him toward the north, and Mexico has been as a prey to him on the south. He has made maps of his empire, including all the continent, and has preached the Monroe doctrine as though it had been decreed by the gods. He has told the world of his increasing millions, and has never yet known his store to diminish. He has pawed in the valley, and rejoiced in his strength. He has said among the trumpets, ha! ha! He has boasted aloud in his pride, and called on all men to look at his glory. And now shall he be divided and shorn? Shall he be hemmed in from his ocean, and shut off from his rivers? Shall he have a hook run into his nostrils, and a thorn driven into his jaw? Shall men say that his day is over, when he has hardly yet tasted the full cup of his success? Has his young life been a dream, and not a truth? Shall he never reach that giant manhood which the growth of his boyish years has promised him? If the South goes from him, he will be divided, shorn, and hemmed in. The hook will have pierced his nose, and the thorn will fester in his jaw. Men will taunt him with his former boastings, and he will awake to find himself but a mortal among mortals. Such is the light in which the struggle is regarded by the two parties, and such the hopes and feelings which have been engendered. It may therefore be surmised with what amount of neighborly love secessionists and Northern neighbors regarded each other in such towns as Baltimore and Washington. Of course there was hatred of the deepest dye; of course there were muttered curses, or curses which sometimes were not simply muttered. Of course there was wretchedness, heart-burnings, and fearful divisions in families. That, perhaps, was the worst of all. The daughter's husband would be in the Northern ranks, while the son was fighting in the South; or two sons would hold equal rank in the two armies, sometimes sending to each other frightful threats of personal vengeance. Old friends would meet each other in the street, passing without speaking; or, worse still, would utter words of insult for which payment is to be demanded when a Southern gentleman may again be allowed to quarrel in his own defense. And yet society went on. Women still smiled, and men were happy to whom such smiles were given. Cakes and ale were going, and ginger was still hot in the mouth. When many were together no words of unhappiness were heard. It was at those small meetings of two or three that women would weep instead of smiling, and that men would run their hands through their hair and sit in silence, thinking of their ruined hopes and divided children. I have spoken of Southern hopes and Northern fears, and have endeavored to explain the feelings of each party. For myself I think that the Southerners have been wrong in their hopes, and that those of the North have been wrong in their fears. It is not better to rule in hell than serve in heaven. Of course a Southern gentleman will not admit the premises which are here by me taken for granted. The hell to which I allude is, the sad position of a low and debased nation. Such, I think, will be the fate of the Gulf States, if they succeed in obtaining secession--of a low and debased nation, or, worse still, of many low and debased nations. They will have lost their cotton monopoly by the competition created during the period of the war, and will have no material of greatness on which either to found themselves or to flourish. That they had much to bear when linked with the North, much to endure on account of that slavery from which it was all but impossible that they should disentangle themselves, may probably be true. But so have all political parties among all free nations much to bear from political opponents, and yet other free nations do not go to pieces. Had it been possible that the slaveowners and slave properties should have been scattered in parts through all the States and not congregated in the South, the slave party would have maintained itself as other parties do; but in such case, as a matter of course, it would not have thought of secession. It has been the close vicinity of slaveowners to each other, the fact that their lands have been coterminous, that theirs was especially a cotton district, which has tempted them to secession. They have been tempted to secession, and will, as I think, still achieve it in those Gulf States, much to their misfortune. And the fears of the North are, I think, equally wrong. That they will be deceived as to that Monroe doctrine is no doubt more than probable. That ambition for an entire continent under one rule will not, I should say, be gratified. But not on that account need the nation be less great, or its civilization less extensive. That hook in its nose and that thorn in its jaw will, after all, be but a hook of the imagination and an ideal thorn. Do not all great men suffer such ere their greatness be established and acknowledged? There is scope enough for all that manhood can do between the Atlantic and the Pacific, even though those hot, swampy cotton fields be taken away; even though the snows of the British provinces be denied to them. And as for those rivers and that sea-board, the Americans of the North will have lost much of their old energy and usual force of will if any Southern confederacy be allowed to deny their right of way or to stop their commercial enterprises. I believe that the South will be badly off without the North; but I feel certain that the North will never miss the South when once the wounds to her pride have been closed. From Washington I journeyed back to Boston through the cities which I had visited in coming thither, and stayed again on my route, for a few days, at Baltimore, at Philadelphia, and at New York. At each town there were those whom I now regarded almost as old friends, and as the time of my departure drew near I felt a sorrow that I was not to be allowed to stay longer. As the general result of my sojourn in the country, I must declare that I was always happy and comfortable in the Eastern cities, and generally unhappy and uncomfortable in the West. I had previously been inclined to think that I should like the roughness of the West, and that in the East I should encounter an arrogance which would have kept me always on the verge of hot water; but in both these surmises I found myself to have been wrong. And I think that most English travelers would come to the same conclusion. The Western people do not mean to be harsh or uncivil, but they do not make themselves pleasant. In all the Eastern cities--I speak of the Eastern cities north of Washington--a society may be found which must be esteemed as agreeable by Englishmen who like clever, genial men, and who love clever, pretty women. I was forced to pass twice again over the road between New York and Boston, as the packet by which I intended to leave America was fixed to sail from the former port. I had promised myself, and had promised others, that I would spend in Boston the last week of my sojourn in the States, and this was a promise which I was by no means inclined to break. If there be a gratification in this world which has no alloy, it is that of going to an assured welcome. The belief that arms and hearts are open to receive one--and the arms and hearts of women, too, as far as they allow themselves to open them--is the salt of the earth, the sole remedy against sea- sickness, the only cure for the tedium of railways, the one preservative amid all the miseries and fatigue of travail. These matters are private, and should hardly be told of in a book; but in writing of the States, I should not do justice to my own convictions of the country if I did not say how pleasantly social intercourse there will ripen into friendship, and how full of love that friendship may become. I became enamored of Boston at last. Beacon Street was very pleasant to me, and the view over Boston Common was dear to my eyes. Even the State House, with its great yellow- painted dome, became sightly, and the sunset over the western waters that encompass the city beats all other sunsets that I have seen. During my last week there the world of Boston was moving itself on sleighs. There was not a wheel to be seen in the town. The omnibuses and public carriages had been dismounted from their axles and put themselves upon snow-runners, and the private world had taken out its winter carriages, and wrapped itself up in buffalo robes. Men now spoke of the coming thaw as of a misfortune which must come, but which a kind Providence might perhaps postpone--as we all, in short, speak of death. In the morning the snow would have been hardened by the night's frost, and men would look happy and contented. By an hour after noon the streets would be all wet and the ground would be slushy, and men would look gloomy and speak of speedy dissolution. There were those who would always prophesy that the next day would see the snow converted into one dull, dingy river. Such I regarded as seers of tribulation, and endeavored with all my mind to disbelieve their interpretations of the signs. That sleighing was excellent fun. For myself I must own that I hardly saw the best of it at Boston, for the coming of the end was already at hand when I arrived there, and the fresh beauty of the hard snow was gone. Moreover, when I essayed to show my prowess with a pair of horses on the established course for such equipage, the beasts ran away, knowing that I was not practiced in the use of snow chariots, and brought me to grief and shame. There was a lady with me in the sleigh, whom, for awhile, I felt that I was doomed to consign to a snowy grave--whom I would willingly have overturned into a drift of snow, so as to avoid worse consequences, had I only known how to do so. But Providence, even though without curbs and assisted only by simple snaffles, did at last prevail, and I brought the sleigh horses, and lady alive back to Boston, whether with or without permanent injury I have never yet ascertained. At last the day of tribulation came, and the snow was picked up and carted out of Boston. Gangs of men, standing shoulder to shoulder, were at work along the chief streets, picking, shoveling, and disposing of the dirty blocks. Even then the snow seemed to be nearly a foot thick; but it was dirty, rough, half melted in some places, though hard as stone in others. The labor and cost of cleansing the city in this way must be very great. The people were at it as I left, and I felt that the day of tribulation had in truth come. Farewell to thee, thou Western Athens! When I have forgotten thee, my right hand shall have forgotten its cunning, and my heart forgotten its pulses. Let us look at the list of names with which Boston has honored itself in our days, and then ask what other town of the same size has done more. Prescott, Bancroft, Motley, Longfellow, Lowell, Emerson, Dana, Agassiz, Holmes, Hawthorne! Who is there among us in England who has not been the better for these men? Who does not owe to some of them a debt of gratitude? In whose ears is not their names familiar? It is a bright galaxy, and far extended, for so small a city. What city has done better than this? All these men, save one, are now alive and in the full possession of their powers. What other town of the same size has done as well in the same short space of time? It may be that this is the Augustan era of Boston--its Elizabethan time. If so, I am thankful that my steps have wandered thither at such a period. While I was at Boston I had the sad privilege of attending the funeral of President Felton, the head of Harvard College. A few months before I had seen him a strong man, apparently in perfect health and in the pride of life. When I reached Boston I heard of his death. He also was an accomplished scholar, and as a Grecian has left few behind him who were his equals. At his installation as president, four ex-presidents of Harvard College assisted. Whether they were all present at his funeral I do not know, but I do know that they were all still living. These are Mr. Quincy, who is now over ninety; Mr. Sparks; Mr. Everett, the well-known orator; and Mr. Walker. They all reside in Boston or its neighborhood, and will probably all assist at the installation of another president.