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whether your children and my children shall enjoy the privileges we have enjoyed. I say this in order to impress upon you, if you are not already so impressed, that no small matter should divert us from our great purpose. There may be some inequalities in the practical application of our system. It is fair that each man shall pay taxes in exact proportion to the value of his property; but if we should wait, before collecting a tax, to adjust the taxes upon each man in exact proportion with every other man, we should never collect any tax at all. There may be mistakes made sometimes; things may be done wrong, while the officers of the government do all they can to prevent mistakes. But I beg of you, as
citizens of this great republic, not to let your minds be carried off from the great work we have before us. This struggle is too large for you to be diverted from it by any small matter. When you return to your homes, rise up to the height of a generation of men worthy of a free government, and we will carry out the great work we have commenced. I return to you my sincere thanks, soldiers, for the honor you have done me this afternoon.
August 22, 1864.
ADDRESS TO THE 166TH OHIO REGIMENT.
Soldiers: I suppose you are going home to see your families and friends. For the services you have done in this great struggle in which we are all engaged, I present you sincere thanks for myself and the country.
I almost always feel inclined, when I happen to say anything to soldiers, to impress upon them, in a few brief remarks, the importance of success in this contest. It is not merely for to-day, but for all time to come, that we should perpetuate for our children's children that great and free government which we have enjoyed all our lives. I beg you to remember this, not merely for my sake, but for yours. I happen, temporarily, to occupy this White House. I am a living witness that any one of your children may look to come here as my father's child has. It is in order that each one of you may have, through this free government which we have enjoyed, an open field and a fair chance for your industry, enterprise, and intelligence; that you may all have equal privileges in the race of life, with all its desirable human aspirations. It is for this the struggle should be maintained, that we may not lose our birthright not only for one, but for two or three years. The nation is worth fighting for, to secure such an inestimable jewel.
Abraham Lincoln, Complete Works (edited by John G. Nicolay and John Hay, New York, 1894), II, 500-567 passim.
PROGRESS OF THE WAR
CHAPTER XVIII-YEAR OF PREPARATION
102. The War of Liberty (1861)
BY WENDELL PHILLIPS
In selecting the materials for this important Part, two principles have been kept in view to give some first-hand accounts of the great battles on land or river or sea, and also to give extracts from many of the principal commanders on both sides. The details of nearly all the seventeen hundred engagements must be omitted, and also a great mass of materials by many participants in the war. - Bibliography of the Civil War is to be found in J. R. Bartlett, Literature of the Rebellion; Robert Clarke & Co., Catalogue of Books relating to America; footnotes to John C. Ropes, Story of the Civil War, and J. F. Rhodes, History of the United States; Channing and Hart, Guide, §§ 208-210. The great source for all military histories is the Official Records, published in more than one hundred large volumes by the United States government. Phillips was the great orator of abolitionism. A man of the highest social position in Boston, he gave to the doctrine his adhesion and the service of his magnetic oratory at a time when abolitionism was under the ban of society. He became one of the strongest supporters of Garrison's extreme views. This extract is from an address entitled "Under the Flag," delivered in Boston on April 21, 1861, as the regular Sunday discourse before the Twenty-Eighth Congregational society. - For Phillips, see G. L. Austin, Life and Times of Wendell Phillips. — Bibliography as in 101 above.For Garrison's views on the war, see No. 126 below.
ANY times this winter, here and elsewhere, I have counselled peace, - urged, as well as I knew how, the expediency of acknowledging a Southern Confederacy, and the peaceful separation of these thirty-four States. One of the journals announces to you that I come here this morning to retract those opinions. No, not one of them! I need them all, - every word I have spoken this winter, - every act of twenty-five years of my life, to make the welcome I give this war hearty and hot. Civil war is a momentous evil. It needs the soundest, most solemn justification. I rejoice before God to-day for every word
that I have spoken counselling peace; but I rejoice also with an especially profound gratitude, that now, the first time in my antislavery life, I speak under the stars and stripes, and welcome the tread of Massachusetts men marshalled for war. No matter what the past has been or said; to-day the slave asks God for a sight of this banner, and counts it the pledge of his redemption. Hitherto it may have meant what you thought, or what I did; to-day it represents sovereignty and justice. The only mistake that I have made, was in supposing Massachusetts wholly choked with cotton-dust and cankered with gold. The South thought her patience and generous willingness for peace were cowardice; to-day shows the mistake. She has been sleeping on her arms since '83, and the first cannon-shot brings her to her feet with the war-cry of the Revolution on her lips. Any man who loves either liberty or manhood must rejoice at such an hour.
... I do not acknowledge the motto, in its full significance, “Our country, right or wrong." If you let it trespass on the domain of morals, it is knavish. But there is a full, broad sphere for loyalty; and no warcry ever stirred a generous people that had not in it much of truth and right. . . .
Plain words, therefore, now, before the nation goes mad with excitement, is every man's duty. Every public meeting in Athens was opened with a curse on any one who should not speak what he really thought. "I have never defiled my conscience from fear or favor to my superiors," was part of the oath every Egyptian soul was supposed to utter in the Judgment-Hall of Osiris, before admission to heaven. Let us show today a Christian spirit as sincere and fearless. No mobs in this hour of victory, to silence those whom events have not converted. We are strong enough to tolerate dissent. That flag which floats over press or mansion at the bidding of a mob, disgraces both victor and victim.
All winter long, I have acted with that party which cried for peace. The antislavery enterprise to which I belong started with peace written on its banner. We imagined that the age of bullets was over; that the age of ideas had come; that thirty millions of people were able to take a great question, and decide it by the conflict of opinions; that, without letting the ship of state founder, we could lift four millions of men into Liberty and Justice. We thought that if your statesmen would throw away personal ambition and party watchwords, and devote themselves to the great issue, this might be accomplished. To a certain extent it has been. The North has answered to the call. Year after year, event
by event, has indicated the rising education of the people, the readiness for a higher moral life, the calm, self-poised confidence in our own convictions that patiently waits-like master for a pupil for a neighbor's conversion. The North has responded to the call of that peaceful, moral, intellectual agitation which the antislavery idea has initiated. Our mistake, if any, has been that we counted too much on the intelligence of the masses, on the honesty and wisdom of statesmen as a class. Perhaps we did not give weight enough to the fact we saw, that this nation is made up of different ages; not homogeneous, but a mixed mass of different centuries. The North thinks, can appreciate argument, is the nineteenth century, hardly any struggle left in it but that between the working class and the money-kings. The South dreams, it is the thirteenth and fourteenth century, - baron and serf, — noble and slave. Jack Cade and Wat Tyler loom over its horizon, and the serf, rising, calls for another Thierry to record his struggle. There the fagot still burns which the Doctors of the Sorbonne called, ages ago, "the best light to guide the erring." There men are tortured for opinions, the only punishment the Jesuits were willing their pupils should look on. This is, perhaps, too flattering a picture of the South. Better call her, as Sumner does, "the Barbarous States." Our struggle, therefore, is between barbarism and civilization. Such can only be settled by arms. The government has waited until its best friends almost suspected its courage or its integrity; but the cannon shot against Fort Sumter has opened the only door out of this hour. There were but two. One was compromise; the other was battle. The integrity of the North closed the first; the generous forbearance of nineteen States closed the other. The South opened this with cannon-shot, and Lincoln shows himself at the door. The war, then, is not aggressive, but in self-defence, and Washington has become the Thermopyle of Liberty and Justice. Rather than surrender that Capital, cover every square foot of it with a living body; crowd it with a million of men, and empty every bank vault at the North to pay the cost. Teach the world once for all, that North America belongs to the Stars and Stripes, and under them no man shall wear a chain. In the whole of this conflict, I have looked only at Liberty, only at the slave. Perry entered the battle of the Lakes with “DON'T GIVE UP THE SHIP!" floating from the masthead of the Lawrence. When with his fighting flag he left her crippled, heading north, and, mounting the deck of the Niagara, turned her bows due west, he did all for one and the same purpose, to rake the decks of the foe. Steer north or
west, acknowledge secession or cannonade it, I care not which; but "Proclaim liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof." . . .
The noise and dust of the conflict may hide the real question at issue. Europe may think, some of us may, that we are fighting for forms and parchments, for sovereignty and a flag. But really the war is one of opinions it is Civilization against Barbarism: it is Freedom against Slavery. The cannon-shot against Fort Sumter was the yell of pirates against the DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE; the war-cry of the North is the echo of that sublime pledge. The South, defying Christianity, clutches its victim. The North offers its wealth and blood in glad atonement for the selfishness of seventy years. The result is as sure as the throne of God. I believe in the possibility of justice, in the certainty of union. Years hence, when the smoke of this conflict clears away, the world will see under our banner all tongues, all creeds, all races, - one brotherhood, and on the banks of the Potomac, the Genius of Liberty, robed in light, four and thirty stars for her diadem, broken chains under feet, and an olive-branch in her right hand. Wendell Phillips, Speeches, Lectures, and Letters (Boston, 1863), 396-414 passim.
103. Battle of Bull Run (1861)
BY WILLIAM HOWARD RUSSELL
The account from which this extract is taken was sent by Russell to the London Times. It created much comment, and secured for its writer the title of "Bull Run Russell." For Russell, see No. 96 above. - Bibliography: J. G. Nicolay, Outbreak of Rebellion, passim; J. C. Ropes, Story of the Civil War, I, xi-xiv; Channing and Hart, Guide, § 210.
[July 22, 1861.] I
SIT down to give an account - not of the action yesterday, but of what I saw with my own eyes, hitherto not often deceived, and of what I heard with my own ears, which in this country are not so much to be trusted. Let me, however, express an opinion as to the affair of yesterday. In the first place, the repulse of the Federalists, decided as it was, might have had no serious effects whatever beyond the mere failure — which politically was of greater consequence than it was in a military sense but for the disgraceful conduct of the troops. The retreat on their lines at Centreville seems to have ended in a cowardly route- a miserable, causeless panic.