Benson John Lossing.

Harper's encyclopdia of United States history from 458 A.D. to 1905 (Volume 3) online

. (page 43 of 76)
Online LibraryBenson John LossingHarper's encyclopdia of United States history from 458 A.D. to 1905 (Volume 3) → online text (page 43 of 76)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

great, so benign a result. It was accom
plished up to the year 1870 by even the
informal concurrence among the nations
which till then subsisted. The spirit of
the present age has led to manifold inter
national applications of positive law on
other subjects than money, while there is
no subject to which its application is so
important, or, within limits, so easy as
money. For want of this consensus, the
necessary conception of money, the in
stitution of money, the consecration of
money, is defeated, pro tanto, when any
portion of the money loses its prerogative
and incommunicable function of buying
and selling all, and becomes purchasable
or vendible. Whenever any portion of
the money which should be used as the
solvent for the exchange of commodities
turns into a commodity, it thereby not

only diminishes the force and volume of
money, but adds to the weight and vol
ume of exchangeable commodities. It is
as little a condition of health, and may
lead to as great calamities, as if the
fevered blood should burn the tissues of
the vital channels through which it circu
lates, or as if the coats of the stomach
should turn to digesting themselves.

To me it seems certain that the nations
must contemplate either the employment
of the two metals as intrinsic money
of the world upon a fixed, efficient con
cord and co-operation between them, or
their surrender to perpetual struggle,
aggravating itself at every triumph of
one over the other, and finally ending
in that calamity which overtakes, sooner
or later, those who care not to use
the bounties of nature according to the
gift and responsibility of reason. I can
see nothing valuable in the treatment of
this subject which would leave the broken
leash which so long held these metals to
be repaired by chance, or the contest to
be kept up at the expense of that unity,
concord, common advantage, and general
pi ogress among nations which is the ideal
and the hope, the pride and the enjoyment
of the age in which we live.

Mr. Pinnez, however, would have us un
derstand that this simple law of fixing the
ratio between the metals, to be observed
among concurring nations, although this
consensus should include all the nations
most engaged in the interchanges of the
world, would be powerless because it would
be opposed to the law of nature. The law
of nature, no doubt, has made two metals,
but, according to the best inspection of
them by science and common-sense, the
law of nature has made them as little di
verse as possible compatibly with their
best use as money. I agree that there may
be foolish laws. There may be laws theo
retically wise, but which, by the lawgiver
not computing the difficulties to be over
come, or the repugnances that will resist
their execution, are unwise for the time
and the circumstances to which they are
applied. I believe, as Mr. Pirmez does,
that an ill-matched struggle between arbi
trary decree and the firm principles of hu
man nature will result in the overthrow
of the law. But that doctrine, at bottom,
if you are to apply it without regard to



the very law and without measuring the
actual repugnance and resistance it has
to meet, is simply impugning civilization
foi having fought with nature as it has
done from the beginning. We had some
jears ago a revenue law in the United
States, called forth by the exigencies of
war expenditure, by which we undertook
to exact a tax of $2 a gallon on whiskey,
yet whiskey was sold all over the United
States, tax paid, at $1.60 a gallon. This
was a case of miscalculation of how far
authority could go against a natural ap
petite and a national taste. When we re
duced the tax to 60 cents on the gallon,
the law triumphed over this opposition of
appetite and cupidity and produced an im
mense revenue to the treasury. It is the
old puzzle, how to reconcile the law of nat
ure, that abhorred a vacuum, with its
ceasing to operate beyond 33 feet in
height. This was solved by the wise ac
commodation between philosophy and fact,
that nature abhorred a vacuum, to be sure,
but only abhorred it to a certain extent.
As I have said, the informal, the uncon
scious, the merely historical and tradi

tionary consensus of mankind made and
maintained an equilibrium between the
metals among the nations up to 1870.
With more vigorous aid from positive law,
that " written reason," which, Mr. Pirmez
says, is all the law there ever is or can
be, I cannot but anticipate the suppression
of the discord and struggle between the
moneys of the world which now trouble

Everett, ALEXANDER HILL, diplomatist;
born in Boston, March 19, 1792; grad
uated at Harvard in 1806; studied law
with John Q. Adams; and in 1809
accompanied him to St. Petersburg as
attache to the American legation, to which
he became secretary in 1815. He became
charge d affaires at Brussels in 1818; in
1825-29 was minister to Spain; and from
1845 until his death was American com
missioner in China. His publications in
clude Europe, or a General Survey of
the Political Situation of the Principal
Powers, with Conjectures on their Future
Prospects (1821); New Ideas on Popu
lation (1822); America, etc. (1827). Ho
died in Canton, China, June 29, 1847.


Everett, EDWARD, statesman; born in the United States in 1860 by the Consti-

Dorchester, Mass., April 11, 1794; brother tutional Union party. Mr. Everett was a

of the preceding; graduated at Har- rare scholar and finished orator, and was

vard in 1811; and was ordained pastor one of the early editors of the North

of the Brattle Street (Boston) Unitarian American Review. He died in Boston,

Church in February, 1814. He was Jan. 15, 1865.

chosen Professor of Greek in Harvard Oration at Gettysburg. The following

University in 1815, and took the chair on i? his oration at the dedication of the

his return from Europe in 1819. Mr. Ev- National Cemetery, on the Gettysburg

erett was in Congress from 1825 to 1835; battle-field, on Nov. 19, 1863:
governor of Massachusetts from 1836 to

1840; minister to England from 1841 to Standing beneath this serene sky, over-

1845; president of Harvard from 1846 looking these broad fields now reposing

to 1849; and succeeded Daniel Web- from the labors of the waning year, the

ster as Secretary of State in November, mighty Alleghanies dimly towering be-

1852. He was in the United States Sen- fore us, the graves of our brethren be-

ate from March, 1853, until May, 1854, neath our feet, it is with hesitation that

when he retired to private life on account T raise my poor voice to break the elo-

of feeble health. He took great interest quent silence of God and nature. But

in the efforts of the women of the United the duty to which you have called me

States to raise money to purchase Mount must be performed; grant me, I pray

Vernon. He wrote and spoke much, and you, your indulgence and your sympathy,

by his efforts procured a large amount of It was appointed by law in Athens

money, and the estate was purchased. He that the obsequies of the citizens who fell

was nominated for the Vice-Presidency of in battle should be performed at the pub-




lie expense, and in the most honorable recognized, but not, therefore, imhonored.

manner. Their bones were carefully dead, and of those whose remains could

gathered up from the funeral pyre Avhere not be recovered. On the fourth day

their bodies were consumed, and brought the mournful procession was formed ;

home to the city. There, for three days mothers, wives, sisters, daughters, led

before the interment, they lay in state, the way, and to them it was permitted,

beneath tents of honor, to receive the by the simplicity of ancient manners, to

votive offerings of friends and relatives utter aloud their lamentations for the

flowers, weapons, precious ornaments, beloved and the lost; the male relatives

painted vases, wonders of art, which, and friends of the deceased followed;

after 2,000 years, adorn the museums of citizens and strangers closed the train,

modern Europe the last tributes of sur- Thus marshalled, they moved to the place

viving affection. Ten coffins of funeral of interment in that famous Ceramicus,

cypress received the honorable deposit, the most beautiful suburb of Athens,

one for each of the tribes of the city, which had been adorned by Cimon, the

and an eleventh in memory of the un- son of Miltiades, with walks and foun-



tains and columns whose groves were
filled with altars, shrines, and temples
whose gardens were kept forever green
by the streams from the neighboring
hills, and shaded with the trees sacred
to Minerva and coeval with the founda
tions of the city whose circuit enclosed

" the olive grove of Academe,
. . . Plato s retirement, where the Attic bird
Trilled his thick-warbled note the summer

whose pathways gleamed with the monu
ments of the illustrious dead, the work of
the most consummate masters that ever
gave life to marble. There, beneath the
overarching plane - trees, upon a lofty
stage erected for the purpose, it was or
dained that a funeral oration should be
pronounced by some citizen of Athens,
in the presence of the assembled multi

Such were the tokens of respect re
quired to be paid at Athens to the mem
ory of those who had fallen in the cause
of their country. For those alone who
fell at Marathon a peculiar honor was
reserved. As the battle fought upon that
immortal field was distinguished from
all others in Grecian history for its influ
ence over the fortunes of Hellas as it
depended upon the event of that day
whether Greece should live, a glory and
a light to all coming timo, or should ex
pire, like the meteor of a moment so
the honors awarded to its martyr-heroes
were such as were bestowed by Athens on
no other occasion. They alone, of all
her sons, were entombed upon the spot
which they had rendered famous. Their
names were inscribed upon ten pillars
erected upon the monumental tumulus
which covered their ashes (where, after
000 years, they were read by the traveller
"Pausanias) , and although the columns,
beneath the hand of time and barbaric
violence, have long since disappeared, the
venerable mound still marks the spot
where they fought and fell

" That battle-field where Persia s victim-horde
First bowed beneath the brunt of Hellas

And shall I, fellow-citizens, who, after
an interval of twenty-three centuries, a
youthful pilgrim from the world unknown
to ancient Greece, have wandered over

that illustrious plain, ready to put off
the shoes from my feet, as one that stands
on holy ground who have gazed with re
spectful emotion on the mound which still
protects the dust of those who rolled back
the tide of Persian invasion, and rescued
the land of popular liberty, of letters,
and of arts, from the ruthless foe stand
unmoved over the graves of our dear
brethren, who so lately, on three of these
all important days which decided a na
tion s history days on whose issue it de
pended whether this august republican
Union, founded by some of the wisest
statesmen that ever lived, cemented with
the blood of some of the purest patriots
that ever died, should perish or endure
rolled back the tide of an invasion, not
less unprovoked, not less ruthless, than
that which came to plant the dark banner
of Asiatic despotism and slaver} on the
free soil of Greece? Heaven forbid! And
could I prove so insensible to every
prompting of patriotic duty and affec
tion, not only would you, fellow-citizens,
gathered many of you from distant States,
who have come to take part in these pious
offices of gratitude you respected fathers,
brethren, matrons, sisters, who surround
me cry out for shame, but the forms of
brave and patriotic men who fill these
honored graves would heave with indigna
tion beneath the sod.

We have assembled, friends, fellow-citi
zens, at the invitation of the executive
of the central State of Pennsylvania,
seconded by the governors of seventeen
other loyal States of the Union, to pay
the last tribute of respect to the brave
i v ien who, in the hard-fought battles of the
first, second, and third days of July last,
laid down their lives for the country on
these hillsides and the plains before us.
and whose remains have been gathered
into the cemetery which we consecrate this
day. As my eye ranges over the fields
whose sods were so lately moistened by the
blood of gallant and loyal men, I feel,
as never before, how truly it was said of
old that it is sweet and becoming to die
for one s country. I feel, as never be
fore, how justly from the dawn of his
tory to the present time men have paid
the homage of their gratitude and ad
miration to the memory of those who
noblv sacrificed their lives that their



fellow-men may live in safety and in
honor. And if this tribute were ever due,
to whom could it be more justly paid
than to those whose last resting-place we
this day commend to the blessing of
Heaven and of men?

For consider, my friends, what would
have been the consequences to the country,
to yourselves, and to all you hold dear,
if those who sleep beneath our feet, and
their gallant comrades who survive to
serve their country on other fields of dan
ger, had failed in their duty on those
memorable days. Consider what, at this
moment, would be the condition of the
United States if that noble Army of the
Potomac, instead of gallantly and for
the second time beating back the tide of
invasion from Maryland and Pennsylva
nia had been itself driven from these well-
contested heights, thrown back in con
fusion on Baltimore, or trampled down,
discomfited, scattered to the four winds.
What, in that sad event, would have been
the fate of the Monumental City, of Har-
risburg, of Philadelphia, of Washington,
the capital of the Union, each and every
one of which would have lain at the
mercy of the enemy, accordingly as it
might have pleased him, spurred by
passion, flushed with victory, and confident
of continued success, to direct his course?

For this we must bear in mind it is
one of the great lessons of the war, indeed
of every war that it is impossible for a
people without military organization, in
habiting the cities, towns, and villages of
an open country, including, of course, the
natural proportion of non-combatants of
every sex and of every age, to withstand
the inroads of a veteran army. What
defence can be made by the inhabitants
of villages mostly built of wood, of cities
unprotected by walls, nay, by a popula
tion of men, however high-toned and reso
lute, whose aged parents demand their
care, whose wives and children are clus
tering about them, against the charge of
the war-horse whose neck is clothed with
thunder against flying artillery and bat
teries of rifled cannon planted on every
commanding eminence against the onset
of trained veterans led by skilful chiefs?

No, my friends, army must be met by
army, battery by battery, squadron by
squadron; and the shock of organized

thousands must be encountered by the
firm breasts and valiant arms of other
thousands, as well organized and as skil
fully led. It is no reproach, therefore, to
the unarmed population of the country
to say that Ave owe it to the brave men
who sleep in their beds of honor before
us, and to their gallant surviving as
sociates, not merely that your fertile
fields, my friends of Pennsylvania and
Maryland, were redeemed from the pres
ence of the invader, but that your beauti
ful capitals were not given up to the
threatened plunder, perhaps laid in
ashes, Washington seized by the enemy,
and a blow struck at the heart of the

Who that hears me has forgotten the
thrill of joy that ran through the country
on the 4th of July auspicious day for
the glorious tidings, and rendered still
more so by the simultaneous fall of Vicks-
burg when the telegraph flashed through
the land the assurance from the Presi
dent of the United States that the Army
of the Potomac, under General Meade,
had again smitten the invader? Sure I
am that with the ascriptions of praise
that rose to Heaven from twenty million
of freemen, with the acknowledgments
that breathed from patriotic lips through
out the length and breadth of America,
to the surviving officers and men who had
rendered the country this inestimable
service, there beat in every loyal bosom
a throb of tender and sorrowful gratitude
to the martyrs who had fallen on the
sternly contested field.

Let a nation s fervent thanks make
some amends for the toils and sufferings
of those who survive. Would that the
heartfelt tribute could penetrate these
honored graves!

In order that we may comprehend, to
their full extent, our obligations to the
martyrs and surviving heroes of the Army
of the Potomac, let us contemplate for a
few moments the train of events which
culminated in the battles of the first days
of July. Of this stupendous rebellion,
planned, as its originators boast, more than
thirty years ago, matured and prepared
for during an entire generation, finally
commenced because for the first time,
since the adoption of the Constitution,
an election of President had been effected



without the votes of the South (which re
tained, however, the control of the two
other branches of the government ) , the
occupation of the national capital, with
the seizure of the public archives and of
the treaties with foreign powers, was an
essential feature. This was, in substance,
within my personal knowledge, admitted,
in the winter of 1860-61, by one of the
most influential leaders of the rebellion;
and it was fondly thought that this ob
ject could be effected by a bold and sudden
movement on the 4th of March, 1861. There
is abundant proof, also, that a darker
project was contemplated, if not by the
responsible chiefs of the rebellion, yet
by nameless ruffians, willing to play a
subsidiary and murderous part in the
treasonable drama. It was accordingly
maintained by the rebel emissaries in
England, in the circles to which they found
access, that the new American minister
ought not, when he arrived, to be received
as the envoy of the United States, inas
much as before that time Washington
would be captured, and the capital of the
nation and the archives and muniments
of the government would be in the pos
session of the Confederates. In full ac
cordance also with this threat, it was
declared by the rebel Secretary of War,
at Montgomery, in the presence of his
chief and of his colleagues, and of
5,000 hearers, while the tidings of the as
sault on Sumter were travelling over the
wires on that fatal 12th of April, 1861,
that before the end of May " the flag
which then flaunted the breeze," as he
expressed it, " would float over the dome
of the Capitol at Washington."

At the time this threat was made the
rebellion was confined to the cotton-grow
ing States, and it was well understood by
them that the only hope of drawing any
of the other slave-holding States into the
conspiracy was in bringing about a con
flict of arms, and " firing the heart of the
South " by the effusion of blood. This was
declared by the Charleston press to be the
object for which Sumter was to be assault
ed ; and the emissaries sent from Rich
mond, to urge on the unhallowed work,
gave the promise, that, with the first drop
of blood that should be shed, Virginia
would place herself by the side of South

In pursuance of this original plan of
the leaders of the rebellion, the capture
of Washington has been continually had
in view, not merely for the sake of its
public buildings, as the capital of the Con
federacy, but as the necessary preliminary
to the absorption of the border States, and
for the moral effect in the eyes of Europe
of possessing the metropolis of the Union.

I allude to these facts, not perhaps
enough borne in mind, as a sufficient refu
tation of the pretence, on the part of
the rebels, that the war is one of self-
defence, waged for the right of self-gov
ernment. It is in reality a war originally
levied by ambitious men in the cotton-
growing States, for the purpose of draw
ing the slave-holding border States into
the vortex of the conspiracy, first by sym
pathy which in the case of southeastern
Virginia, North Carolina, part of Ten
nessee, and Arkansas, succeeded and
then by force, and for the purpose of
subjugation, Maryland, western Virginia,
Kentucky, eastern Tennessee, Missouri ;
and it is a most extraordinary fact, con
sidering the clamors of the rebel chiefs
on the subject of invasion, that not
a soldier of the United States has entered
the States last named, except to defend
their Union-loving inhabitants from the
armies and guerillas of the rebels.

In conformity with these designs on the
city of Washington, and notwithstanding
the disastrous results of the invasion of
1862, it was determined by the rebel
government last summer to resume the
offensive in that direction. Unable to
force the passage of the Rappahannock,
where General Hooker, notwithstanding
the reverse at Chancellorsville, in May,
was strongly posted, the Confederate gen
eral resorted to strategy. He had two
objects in view. The first was by a rapid
movement northward, and by manoeuvring
with a portion of his army on the east
side of the Blue Ridge, to tempt Hooker
from his base of operations, thus leading
him to uncover the approaches to Wash
ington, to throw it open to a raid by
Stuart s cavalry, and to enable Lee him
self to cross the Potomac in the neighbor
hood of Poolesville and thus fall upon the
capital. This plan of operations was
wholly frustrated. The design of the
rebel general was promptly discovered



by General Hooker, and, moving with
great rapidity from Fredericksburg, he pre
served unbroken the inner line, and sta
tioned the various corps of his army at
all the points protecting the approach to
Washington, from Centerville up to Lees-
burg. From this vantage ground the
rebel general in vain attempted to draw
him. In the mean time, by the vigorous
operation of Pleasonton s cavalry, the
cavalry of Stuart, though greatly superior
in numbers, was so crippled as to be dis
abled from performing the part assigned
it in the campaign. In this manner Gen
eral Lee s first object, namely, the defeat
of Hooker s army on the south of the Poto
mac, and a direct march on Washington,
was baffled.

The second part of the Confederate plan,
which is supposed to have been under
taken in opposition to the views of Gen
eral Lee, was to turn the demonstration
northward into a real invasion of Mary
land and Pennsylvania, in the hope that,
in this way, General Hooker would be
drawn to a distance from the capital, and
that some opportunity would occur of
taking him at a disadvantage, and, after
defeating his army, of making a descent
upon Baltimore and Washington. This
part of General Lee s plan, which was sub
stantially the repetition of that of 1862,
was not less signally defeated, with what
honor to the arms of the Union the heights
on which we are this day assembled will
forever attest.

Much time had been uselessly con
sumed by the rebel general in his un
availing attempts to outmanoeuvre Gen
eral Hooker. Although General Lee broke
up from Fredericksburg on June 3, it was
not till the 24th that the main body of
his army entered Maryland. Instead of
crossing the Potomac, as he had intended,
east of the Blue Ridge, he was compelled
to do it at Sheppardstown and Williams-
port, thus materially deranging his entire
plan of campaign north of the river.
Stuart, who had been sent with his cav
alry to the east of the Blue Ridge to
guard the passes of the mountains, to
mask the movements of Lee, and to harass
the Union general in crossing the river,
having been very severely handled by
Pleasonton at Beverly Ford, Aldie, and
Upperville, instead of being able to retard

General Hooker s advance, was driven
himself away from his connection with
the army of Lee, and was cut off for a
fortnight from all communications with
it a circumstance to which General Lee
in his report alludes more than once with
evident displeasure. Let us now rapidly
glance at the incidents of the eventful
campaign :

A detachment from Ewell s corps,
under Jenkins, had penetrated on June 15
as far as Chambersburg. This movement
was intended at first merely as a demon
stration, and as a marauding expedition

Online LibraryBenson John LossingHarper's encyclopdia of United States history from 458 A.D. to 1905 (Volume 3) → online text (page 43 of 76)