Harper's Weekly 08/01/1863


THE LOUNGER.

“THE PEOPLE.”

During the raging of the riot there was a con-
stant attempt upon the part of certain newspapers
to represent the rioters as “the people.” The head-
ing of one of the earliest bulletins of the proceed-
ings of the riot which was burning and sacking
the property of private citizens and buildings of
public charity, was “Procession of the People!”
The firing upon the furious crowd who were hunt-
ing and hanging inoffensive persons of an unfor-
tunate race, was deliberately called “Attack upon
the People by the Provost Guard!” The military
were reported elsewhere to be “firing on the peo-
ple.” The riot was called a “popular uprising”
—“a movement of the people.” Who, then, are
the people? In this country what class of citizens
is to be especially described as “the people?”


The police were most active, heroic, and success-
ful in their assaults upon the mob. Do the men
of the police force in this country cease to be a part
of “the people,” because they aid in enforcing the
laws which are constitutionally made? Are they
any less part of “the people” than the men who
resist those laws with fire, pillage, slaughter, and
anarchy? The soldiers did their work well. They
fired upon “the people,” did they? But who are
the soldiers of the United States? Are General
Wool, or General Brown, or Colonel Lefferts, or
O'Brien, or Major Fearing, or Lieutenant Adams,
or any private who stands ready to maintain the
laws made under the Constitution, any less citizens
of the United States than Andrews and Martin
Moran? Are the men who beat helpless negroes
to death, and ravage defenseless houses for pillage
“the people,” while those who defend order, law,
and humanity are not? Will these papers please
to say whether a body of persons establishes its
claim to be called “the people” of this city, or of
this country, by overthrowing every barrier of or-
der and civil society, and abandoning itself to the
most wanton and incredible cruelty? Does a cit-
izen cease to be one of “the people” because he
respects the laws?


Not a man shot dead in his riotous career dur-
ing the terrible week in this city was any more
one of “the people” than the soldier who right-
eously shot him or the policeman who justly broke
his head. If such scenes as those of the riot week
are the acts of “the people,” then the most savage
hatred of popular institutions ever expressed is the
most humane and sensible view of them. If our
Government is one of “the people,” and the mob
that ruled part of the city of New York for part of
a week is indeed “the people,” then any man who
does not prefer the reign of one Nero to that of a
thousand Neroes is insane. If the Government at
Washington is, as the Copperhead orators and
journals constantly declare, “a despotism,” and
the riots were, as the same authorities declare, the
acts of “the people,” no sensible man would long
hesitate in deciding which despotism he preferred.


But, in truth, the term “the people,” as descrip-
tive of the rioters, was used by those who either
feared the mob or who wished to pander to it. It
was a convenient term to use while the issue was
doubtful. For if the disturbance grew—if from a
riot in the city it had become an organized insur-
rection through the country to compel peace, he is
a poor student of human nature and of the public
press who does not know that the papers which
began by faintly deprecating the riot as a “popu-
lar opposition to the draft” would have ended by
loudly supporting the insurrectionary resistance to
the war. It is with this mob as with the rebellion.
Those who half justify it are its most valuable
friends, and of necessity the enemies of the Govern-
ment and the laws. While to call the riotous and
murderous resisters of laws constitutionally made
“the people” is to borrow a phraseology from for-
eign countries and monarchical systems, where the
government, the army, and the people are three
permanently distinct classes, constantly jealous of
each other. The word so used has no meaning
with us. It is not the brutal, the ignorant, the
reckless—it is not thieves, incendiaries, and assas-
sins who are distincitvely “the people” of this
country. But the great mass of the population,
generally intelligent and industrious, from the la-
borer of yesterday who is the rich man of to-day
to the laborer of to-day who is to-morrow the rich
man—these are the true “bone and sinew”—these
are indeed “The People” of the United States.


THE OLD STORY.

The stain of the late riots on the history of the
city of New York is indelible. The utter mean-
ness of the hunting and bloody massacre of the
most unfortunate class of the population is not to
be forgotten. The burning of an orphan asylum is
infamous beyond parallel in the annals of mobs.
And how entirely undeserved this mad hatred of
the colored race is, every sober man in this country
knows. No class among us are and have been so
foully treated as the black, yet none furnishes, in
proportion, so few offenders against the laws. Pro-
verbially a mild, affectionate, and docile people,
they have received from us, who claim to be a supe-
rior race, a treatment which of itself disproves our
superiority.


How the more intelligent persons among the ene-
mies of this race console their consciences under the
awful fate which their incessant and sneering de-
preciation of the colored people has at last brought
upon those unfortunates, it is impossible to say.
Yet we observe that some of them clutch at the old
subterfuge, and declare that it is the unwise attempt
to elevate the blacks “above their sphere” which
is responsible for their late fearful martyrdom.
Look at this statement a moment. Its argument
is that to insist upon personal liberty, as the natural
right of every innocent human being, only tends to
create jealousy among other human beings. To
state the argument is to smother it in ridicule.


Put in another form, the same plea is that God
has made the black race subservient to the white,
and that to declare their right to personal liberty
is to advocate their social equality, to erect them
into rival laborers, and to disorganize society.
The reply to this is, that God has made the black
race subservient to the white in the same way that
he has made Jews subservient to Christians, and the
Irish to the English, and in no other. It used to
please Christians to call the Jews “dogs,” and to
injure and murder them in every way—and to this
day to call a man “Jew” is only less offensive
than to call him “nigger.” It used to please the
English to consider the Irish unclean beasts, and
to treat them accordingly. Does any body seri-
ously defend this kind of persecution as any thing
more than the basest and most criminal prejudice?
Coleridge professed the same instinctive hatred of
a Frenchman that so many among us profess of a
negro. Was it an evidence of Coleridge's wisdom
or folly?


The argument we are considering amounts to
this—that you must not befriend the unfortunate
lest you provoke the ignorant and brutal; you must
not defend the rights of the oppressed lest the op-
pressors should wax wroth. It is an argument for
tyrants, cowards, and sneaks—not for men.


AN OPEN LETTER.

My dear Friend,—You are a German and a
Jew, and you have come to make your living in a
foreign land, of which Christianity is the professed
religion. You have no native, no political, no re-
ligious sympathy with this country. You are here
solely to make money, and your only wish is to
make money as fast as possible. You neither know
our history nor understand our Government; but,
believing that all men are selfish and mean, no-
thing is absurder to your mind than the American
doctrine of popular government based upon equal
rights.


This being the case with you and thousands like
you, you are inevitably a Secessionist, a Copper-
head, and a Rebel. But why deceive yourself,
since you deceive nobody else? Your opinion is
of no value, because you neither know nor care
any thing about the subjects upon which you pro-
nounce. If things can be kept quiet by agreeing
to dissolve the Union and to destroy the Govern-
ment, you are for that course. And you are the
enemy of all who will risk war to save the nation.
If quiet can be preserved by massacring the ne-
groes, amen: you want money, and money requires
quiet. If things can be kept still by slaughtering
Irishmen, you cheerfully agree, for you think that
of the two races they are the less docile. If peace
can be preserved by proclaiming Jeff Davis as
President, by forming four Governments, by each
State setting up for itself—in God's name, cry you,
let it be done. You want money. Government,
except so far as it shoots mobs and hangs the peo-
ple whom the mob hates, and who are therefore
called the authors of the mob—the security of per-
sonal rights—laws founded upon justice—popular
intelligence and progress—these, in your estima-
tion, are foolish fancies and idle twaddle. If you
can have a fine house, and horses, and servants, and
fifty thousand dollars a year, you have what you
want, and all the rest is moonshine.


Do you not see, my dear friend, that in the eyes
of every loyal American citizen, who is equally
anxious with you to thrive and make money—who
wishes equally with you that there shall be peace,
because peace is essential to trade—but who knows
that there is and can be no permanent peace in
this country, except that which is based upon com-
mon justice, and who is firmly persuaded that if all
the conservatism in the world agrees that twice two
make three they do still make four; in the eyes
of such a citizen, my dear friend, do you not see
what a ludicrous and contemptible spectacle you
are? You are the material out of which despot-
isms are made. It is upon such people as you that
the King of Prussia counts when he deliberately
destroys the constitutional rights of his subjects.
And whatever in this country is despotic, mean,
and repugnant to the great and fundamental demo-
cratic doctrine of equal rights before the law, re-
ceives your hearty sympathy and support. The
country you left did not regret your coming away:
the country in which you trade will not mourn
your departure.

Yours, with all the respect possible,The Lounger.
BLARNEY.

When Archbishop Hughes, in his card of invi-
tation, spoke of those who were “called rioters.” or
in his speech itself mentioned the “so-called riot-
ers,” did he mean that the proceedings of the week
were not riotous, and that people who burn, steal,
and massacre with the fury of brutes are not riot-
ers, but are improperly so-called? If the events
of the third week of July in New York were not
riotous, then there is no such thing as a riot. If
the raging crowds, pillaging and devastating, were
not mobs, then there is no such thing as a mob.


Why was the Prelate so anxious to avoid calling
things by their right names? If it were proper for
him to call the honored editor of a leading journal,
and one of the most illustrious of living Americans,
“a liar,” could it have been so very improper for
his Grace to call men who, without the slightest
pretense of excuse, burn an orphan asylum and
slaughter innocent passengers upon the street,
“rioters?” It was nothing to the purpose to say
that they did not look like rioters; for he invited
the persons, so called by the papers, to come to his
house, and those persons were they who had burned
and murdered innocent people and defenseless asy-
lums. The Archbishop, therefore, was speaking
to those and to no others.


His Master, as we read, the Prince of Peace,
healed the wound his follower had made, and bade
him put up his sword. He also told the money-
changers that they had turned his Father's house
into a den of thieves, and he scourged them out of
it. These were slight offenses compared with the
crimes with which the “so-called rioters” in this
city were reeking. But through all the long
speech of the Archbishop we look in vain for the
tone of indignant reproof, or the plain command of
Jesus. My most sweet good masters, he says in
effect, if indeed you have been naughty—and I am
sure you do not look as if you were so—please be
good boys, or you will make me feel very unpleas-
antly. I am sure you will be good, because your
countrymen have always been the most innocent
of babes. Go home, then, like good children—
Amen!


Of the Archbishop's fair intention there need be
no doubt. He does not wish his Church to bear
the terrible burden of the responsibility of the riot,
and as a good citizen he wished the mob put down.
But if he had no other means of promoting the pub-
lic peace than hesitating whether to call rioters
gentlemen, and refraining from all condemnation
of the infamous crimes which, according to the
terms of his invitation, his audience had commit-
ted, then it is a great sorrow for every loyal citi-
zen that the Catholic Bishop of New York is not a
man who can speak with power, since it is certain-
ly desirable that he should speak at such a time.
If, instead of palliating, and parleying, and blar-
neying, he had depicted to the rioters the enormity
of their action, and bade them, with all the con-
scious authority of his position, and in the name
of God and the Government, to stop, the moment
would have been the grandest of his life. To say
that such a tone would have exasperated the mob
is idle. To cringe to a riot is to betray the cause
of good order. Therefore, if you can not command
it, say nothing. No mob was ever blarneyed
down. Except for the true and tried soldiers, and
the batteries in position in the city, the well-meant
blandishments of the prelate would have been as
a few drops of sweet oil to arrest Niagara.


BARBARISM AND CIVILIZATION.

By the light of the burning Orphan Asylum we
read the following illustration of the hopeless infe-
riority and degradation of the African race.


Mungo Park, in the year 1795, traveled in Africa
to find the source of the Niger, if possible, and to
explore the hidden interior of the continent. One
morning he had reached almost the furthest point
of his journey. He was entirely alone, for his
faithful servant had been stolen for a slave by a
Moorish prince. Solitary and sad he was directed
to a village—and he continues; “I found, to my
great mortification, that no person would admit
me into his house. I was regarded with astonishment
and fear, and was obliged to sit all day with-
out victuals in the shade of a tree, and the night
threatened to be very uncomfortable, for the wind
rose, and there was great appearance of a heavy
rain; and the wild beasts are so very numerous
that I should have been under the necessity of
climbing up the tree and resting among the branch-
es. About sunset, however, as I was preparing to
pass the night in this manner, and had turned my
horse loose that he might graze at liberty, a wo-
man returning from the labors of the field stopped to
observe me, and perceiving that I was weary and
dejected, inquired into my situation, which I briefly
explained to her; whereupon, with looks of great
compassion, she took up my saddle and bridle, and
told me to follow her. Having conducted me into
her hut she lighted up a lamp, spread a mat on
the floor, and told me I might remain there for the
night. Finding that I was very hungry, she said
she would procure me something to eat. She ac-
cordingly went out, and returned in a short time
with a very fine fish, which, having caused to be
half broiled upon some embers, she gave me for
supper. The rites of hospitality being thus per-
formed toward a stranger in distress, my worthy
benefactress (pointing to the mat, and telling me I
might sleep there without apprehension) called to
the female part of her family, who had stood gaz-
ing on me all the while in fixed astonishment, to
resume their task of spinning cotton, in which
they continued to employ themselves great part of
the night. They lightened their labor by songs,
one of which was composed extempore, for I was
myself the subject of it. It was sung by one of
the young women, the rest joining in a sort of
chorus. The air was sweet and plaintive, and the
words, literally translated, were these: `The winds
roared and the rains fell.—The poor white man,
faint and weary, came and sat under our tree.—He
has no mother to bring him milk; no wife to grind
his corn. Chorus: Let us pity the white man: no
mother has he,'etc., etc. Trifling as this recital
may appear to the reader, to a person in my situa-
tion the circumstance was affecting in the highest
degree. I was oppressed by such unexpected kind-
ness, and sleep fled from my eyes.”


This was the hospitality of black barbarians in
the interior of Africa to a civilized stranger of an-
other color on the 21st of July, 1795. On the 13th
of July, 1863, white civilization in the great city
of America repaid the debt.


“OUR OWN.”

Mr. Charles Mackay is an English verse-
writer, and the author of the rub-a-dub song call-
ed “A good time coming.” Some half dozen or
more years ago he came to this country to deliver
lectures upon English poetry. His manager was
“Colonel” Hiram Fuller, not unknown in the city
of New York and elsewhere. Mr. Mackay's intro-
ductions were to literary circles in this country, by
which he was kindly
received. But the
public were obsti-
nately deaf to the
charming of his lec-
tures. They were de-
scribed by those who
heard them as the
most appallingly dull
performances of which
the oldest auditor had
any experience. The
“Colonel” carried
him through the land,
but every where the
verdict was the same,
and his lecturing tour
was a melancholy
failure. But through
all the disappoint-
ment and chagrin it
is possible to imagine
the baffled author
grimly humming:


“There's a good time
coming, Charles,
A good time com-
ing.”

And it has come.
He is taking exqui-
site revenge for all his
wrongs. Mr. Mackay
arrived again last
year, and proceeded
to settle his account
with this country by
writing weekly let-
ters to the London
Times. He gloats over
our misfortunes. His
pen reels and trips
along the paper as he
describes our war and
our overthrow. He
evidently regards this
civil war as but a proper retribution for a nation
which would not stand his lectures. He glories
over every defeat and disaster of the national
cause, and one could imagine the gentle bard in
the full delight of conscious vengeance, scribbling
his columns of Copperhead news for the London
Times, and humming as his pen flew and flashed
along the page, and he foresaw with British eyes
our commercial ruin:


“There's a good time coming, John,
A good time coming.”

His latest letter, dated June 26, on the eve of
Lee's defeat and retreat, of the fall of Vicksburg
and Port Hudson, with the opening of the Missis-
sippi, and the capture of immense forces, and arms,
and stores, and the dispersion of the rebellion in the
Southwest, and of the total disappearance of Bragg
before the triumphant advance of Rosecrans, con-
tains such rollicking passages as these, “The belief
that * * the South will indubitably achieve its in-
dependence, and that it is better for all parties that
it should do so without further bloodshed, spread
rapidly from the lower grades of the working classes
upward until it has pervaded the whole mass of
society except the contractors, the preachers, and
the newspaper editors * * In fact, the Federal Gov-
ernment seems to be tumbling into perdition.”


Mr. Charles Mackay's fiction is much livelier
than his lectures and more imaginative than his
verses; and the quality and quantity of his per-
formances of this kind in the London Times only
show what deep and direful vengeauce he has
sworn against us. For it includes two nations.
He elaborates these columns of sneering misrepre-
sentation and abuse of this country and its condi-
tion, and John Bull gravely reads it and believes
it. What a scolding we should have saved our-
selves if we had only gone to Mr. Mackay's lec-
tures!


SONG OF THE BORDER.

A friend in Maryland, whose “heart is with
the Union,” sends the Lounger the following song:


AirBonnie Dundee.

To the heart of the nation the booming guns spoke,
While the true flag went down in the fire and the smoke;
And the grim walls of Sumter yet echoed the fray
When the loyalists rushed where the Stars led the way.


Chorus.—Then fight for the Stripes, boys, and fight for
the Stars!
Confounded be treasonl torn down be the
Bars!
Let foul traitors tremble, and rebels grow
pale,
As the Banner of Union floats out on the gale!

Though the land of the cypress its Vandals sends forth,
They are met in the path by the hosts of the North:
Toward the troopers that spring from the cotton-banked
stream,
With the fires of just vengeance our bayonets gleam.
Chorus.—Then fight, etc.

They may flaunt in the breeze their famed rattlesnake
fiag;
They may sneer at the Banner, and call it a rag;
But by all we hold sacred, above or below,
We solemnly swear that their flag shall lie low!
Chorus.—Then fight, etc.

They may boast of their chivalry, boast of their blood;
We stand by our fathers'faith, bow but to God:
Let them come in their pride; they shall grievously feel
The firmness and keenness of loyalists'steel.

Chorus.—Then free let the Stripes wave, bright shine
the Stars!
Confounded be treason! despised be the Bars!
The false hearts of rebels shall falter and
quail,
As the Banner of Union floats out on the gale.


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