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We were taken to see one German regiment, a regiment of which all the privates were German and all the officers save one, -I think the surgeon. We saw the men in their tents, and the food which they eat, and were disposed to think that hitherto things were going well with them. In the evening the colonel and lieutenant-colonel, both of whom had been in the Prussian service, if I remember rightly, came up to the general's quarters, and we spent the evening together in smoking cigars and discussing slavery round the stove. I shall never forget that night, or the vehement abolition enthusiasm of the two German colonels. Our host had told us that he was a slave-owner; and as our wants were supplied by two sable ministers, I concluded that he had brought with him a portion of his domestic institution. Under such circumstances I myself should have avoided such a subject, having been taught to believe that southern gentlemen did not generally take delight in open discussions on the subject. Bat had we been arguing the question of the population of the planet Jupiter, or the final possibility of the transmutation of metals, the matter could not have been handled with less personal feeling. The Germans, however, spoke the sentiments of all the Germans of the western States, -that is, of all the Protestant Germans, and to them is confined the political influence held by the German immigrants. They all regard slavery as an evil, holding on the matter opinions quite as strong as ours have ever been. And they argue that as slavery is an evil, it should therefore be abolished at once.
Their opinions are as strong as ours have ever been, and they have not had our West Indian experience. Any one desiring to understand the present political position of the States should realize the fact of the present German influence on political questions. Many say that the present President was returned by German voters. In one sense this is true, for he certainly could not have been returned without them; but for them, or for their assistance, Mr. Breckinridge would have been President, and this civil war would not have come to pass. As abolitionists they are much more powerful than the republicans of New England, and also more in earnest. In New England the matter is discussed politically; in the great western towns, where the Germans congregate by thousands, they profess to view it philosophically. A man, as a man, is entitled to freedom. That is their argument, and it is a very old one. When you ask them what they would propose to do with 4,000,000 of enfranchised slaves and with their ruined masters, -how they would manage the affairs of those 12,000,000 of
people, all whose wealth and work and very life have hitherto been hinged and hung upon slavery, they again ask you whether slavery is not in itself bad, and whether anything acknowledged to be bad should be allowed to remain.
But the American Germans are in earnest, and I am strongly of opinion that they will so far have their way, that the country which for the future will be their country, will exist without the taint of slavery. In the northern nationality, which will reform itself after this war is over, there will, I think, be no slave State. That final battle of abolition will have to be fought among a people apart; and I must fear that while it lasts their national prosperity will not be great.
THE ARMY OF THE NORTH.
I TRUST that it may not be thought that in this chapter I am going to take upon myself the duties of a military critic. I am well aware that I have no capacity for such a task, and that my opinion on such matters would be worth nothing. But it is impossible to write of the American States as they were when I visited them, and to leave that subject of the American army untouched. It was all but impossible to remain for some months in the northern States without visiting the army. It was impossible to join in any conversation in the States without talking about the army. It was impossible to make inquiry as to the
present and future condition of the people without basing such inquiries more or less upon the doings of the army. If a stranger visit Manchester with the object of seeing what sort of place Manchester is, he must visit the cotton mills and printing establishments, though he may have no taste for cotton and no knowledge on the subject of calicoes. Under pressure of this kind I have gone about from one army to another, looking at the drilling of regiments, of the manæuvres of cavalry, at the practice of artillery, and at the inner life of the camps. I do not feel that I am in any degree more fitted to take the command of a campaign than I was before I began, or even more fitted to say who can and who cannot do so. But I have obtained on my own mind's eye a tolerably clear impression of the outward appearance of the northern army; I have endeavoured to learn something of the manner in which it was brought together, and of its cost as it now stands; and I have learned-as any man in the States may learn, without much
trouble or personal investigation-how terrible has been the peculation of the contractors and officers by whom that army has been supplied. Of these things, writing of the States at this moment, I must say something. In what I shall say as to that matter of peculation I trust that I may be believed to have spoken without personal ill-feeling or individual malice.
While I was travelling in the States of New England and in the North-west, I came across various camps at which young regiments were being drilled and new regiments were being formed. These lay in our way as we made our journeys, and therefore we visited them; but they were not objects of any very great interest. The men had not acquired even any pre tence of soldierlike bearing. The officers for the most part had only just been selected, having hardly as yet left their civil occupations, and anything like criticism was disarmed by the very nature of the movement which had called the men togeth
I then thought, as I still think, th the men themselves were actuated by proper motives, and often by very high motives, in joining the regiments. No doubt they looked to the pay offered. It is not often that men are able to devote them. selves to patriotism without any reference to their personal circumstances. A man has got before him the necessity of earn. ing his bread, and very frequently the necessity of earning the bread of others besides himself. This comes before him not only as his first duty, but as the very law of his existences His wages are his life, and when he proposes to himself to serve his country that subject of payment comes uppermost as it does when he proposes to serve any other master. But the wages given, though very high in comparison with those of any other army, have not been of a nature to draw together from their distant homes at so short a notice, so vast a cloud of men,
had no other influence been at work. As far as I can learn, the average rate of wages in the country since the war began has been about 65 cents a day over and beyond the workmen’s diet. I feel convinced that I am putting this somewhat too low, taking the average of all the markets from which the labour has been withdrawn. In large cities labour has been higher than this, and a considerable proportion of the army has been taken from large cities. But taking 65 cents a day as the average, labour has been worth about 17 dollars a month over and above the labourers' diet. In the army the soldier receives 13 dollars a month, and also receives his diet and clothes; in addition to this, in many States, 6 dollars a month have been paid by the State to the wives and families of those soldiers who bave left wives and families in the States behind them. Thus for the married men the wages given by the army have been 2 dollars a month, or less than 5l. a year, more than his earnings at home, and for the unmarried man they have been 4 dollars a month, or less than 10l. a year below his earnings at home. But the army also gives clothing to the extent of 3 dollars a month. This would place the unmarried soldier, in a pecuniary point of view, worse off by one dollar a month, or 27. 108. a year, than he would have been at home; and would give the married man 5 dollars a month, or 121. a year more than his ordinary wages for absenting himself from his family. I cannot think therefore that the pecuniary attractions have been very great.
Our soldiers in England enlist at wages which are about one half that paid in the ordinary labour market to the class from whence they come. But labour in England is uncertain, whereas in the States it is certain. In England the soldier with his shilling gets better food, than the labourer with his two shillings;
and the Englishman has no objection to the rigidity of that discipline which is so distasteful to an American. Moreover, who in England ever dreamed of raising 600,000 new troops in six months, out of a population of thirty million ? But this has been done in the northern States out of a population of eighteen million. If England were invaded, Englishmen would come forward in the same way, actuated, as I believe, by the same high motives. My object here is simply to show that the American soldiers have not been drawn together by the prospect of high wages, as has been often said since the war began.
They who inquire closely into the matter will find that hundreds and thousands have joined the army as privates, who in doing so have abandoned all their best worldly prospects, and have consented to begin the game of life again, believing that their duty to their country has now required their services. The fact has been that in the different States a spirit of rivalry has been excited. Indiana has endeavoured to show that she was as forward as Illinois; Pennsylvania has been unwilling to lag behind New York; Massachusetts, who has always struggled to be foremost in peace, has desired to boast that she was first in war also; the smaller States have resolved to make their names heard, and those which at first were backward in sending troops have been shamed into greater earnestness by the public voice. There has been a general feeling throughout the people that the thing should be done;—that the rebellion must be put down, and that it must be put down by arms. Young men have been ashamed to remain behind; and their
elders, acting under that glow of patriotism which so often warms the hearts of free men, but which perhaps does not often remain there long in all its heat, have left their wives and have gone also. It
be true that the voice of the majority has been coercive on many ;-that men have enlisted partly because the public voice required it of them, and not entirely through the promptings of individual spirit. Such public voice in America is very potent; but it is not, I think, true that the army has been gathered together by the hope of high wages.
Such was my opinion of the men when I saw them from State to State clustering into their new regiments. They did not look like soldiers; but I regarded them as men earnestly intent on a work which they believed to be right. Afterwards when I saw them in their camps, amidst all the pomps and circumstances of glorious war, positively converted into troops, armed with real rifles and doing actual military service, I believed the same of them,—but cannot say that I then liked them so well.
Good motives had brought them there. They were the same men, or men of the same class, that I had seen before. They were doing just that which I knew they would have to do. But still I found that the more I saw of them the more I lost of that respect for them which I had once felt. I think it was their dirt that chiefly operated upon me. Then, too, they had hitherto done nothing, and they seemed to be so terribly intent upon their rations! The great boast of this army was that they eat meat twice a day, and that their daily supply of bread was more than they could consume.
When I had been two or three weeks in Washington, I went over to the army of the Potomac and spent a few days with some of the officers. I had on previous occasions ridden about the camps, and had seen a review at which General Maclellan trotted up and down the lines with all his numerous staff at his heels. I have always believed reviews to be absurdly useless as regards the purpose for which they are avowedly got up, that, namely, of military inspection. And I believed this especially of this review. I do not believe that any Commanderin-chief ever learns much as to the excellence or deficiencies of his troops by watching their manoeuvres on a vast open space; but I felt sure that General Maclellan had learned nothing on this occasion. If before his review he did not know whether his men were good as soldiers, he did not possess any such knowledge after the review. If the matter may be regarded as a review of the general ;-if the object was to show him off to the men, that they might know how well he rode, and how