Slavery and the War

Slavery and the War

Part I of II

ART. IV.-L'Abolition de l'Esclavage. Par AUGUSTIN COCHIN, ancien Maire et Conseiller de la Ville

de Paris. Paris: Jacques Lecoffre. 1861. 2 Tomes. 8vo.

The reasons assigned for not being able to review the excellent work of Pere Valroger, apply with equal force against our ability to review, as its merits deserve, the ad­mirable work, by our highly esteemed friend, M. Augustin Cochin, on The Abolition of Slavery, which he has recently published, and of which he has done us the honor to send us a copy. We have, however, so far violated the strict injunctions of our physician as to look at a few of its pages, enough to enable us to judge of its general character, and to pronounce it a work of rare merit.

The first volume gives the result of the abolition of slavery by France and England in their colonies, and establishes the fact that it has been effected without ruin and without disturbance. A storm, an insect, a year of drought would, in a material point of view, have caused more evil; while, in a moral and religious point of view, the good has been immense, although few precautions had been taken to secure it. The second volume is devoted to the United States, Holland, Brazil, the Spanish and Portugese colonies, the slave-trade, Africa, and the influence of Christiani­ty on slavery. We have noticed a few trifling inaccuracies in regard to our own country. The author reckons Wis­consin among the slave states; but we are happy to say that Wisconsin is not only a Free State, but one of the most decided anti-slavery states in the Union. He says New York was originally settled by Germans-it was origi­nally settled bythe Dutch from Holland, who are not usually called Germans by us, though of the Germanic family. Maryland was not colonized by Irish Catholics, but by English Catholics and Protestants. George Olavert had an Irish title, but was himself an Englishman. These errors, however, are very slight, and detract nothing from the real value of the work. As far as we have been able to read it, we have found the views of the author very just, philanthropic, liberal, and truly Christian. Two abler or more intensely interesting volumes on the subject of the abolition of slavery, it has not been our good fortune to meet, and they are creditable in the highest degree to the ability, industry, and noble sentiments of their distinguished author.

The question of the abolition of slavery is becoming with us a practical question in a sense it has never before been. The Rebellion of the Slave States, which has for its object, not so much the dissolution of the Union, or the separation of the South from the North, as the reconstruction of the Union on the basis of slavery, or, as the Vice-President of the Confederate States has it, with "slavery as its corner­stone," and therefore the extension of slavery over the whole country, cannot fail to force this question upon the grave attention of every citizen of the loyal States, who loves his country, and believes in the practicability of freedom. The Slave States, by their rebellion and war on the Union, are compelling us to regard this question as one which must soon be practically met, and are forcing all loyal citizens to make their election between the preservation of the Union and the preservation of slavery.

This, whatever the federal administration, whatever individuals or parties in the Free States, with, or without southern or pro-slavery proclivities, may wish or desire, is pretty soon to be the inevitable issue of the terrible struggle in which our glorious, and hitherto peaceful republic is now engaged. Perhaps, at the moment we write, the last of August, a majority of the people of the free states may not only shrink from this issue, but even honestly believe it possible to avert it altogether. The bare suggestion of the abolition of slavery may shock, perhaps, enrage them; but events march, and men who mean to be successful, or not to be left behind, must march with them. Another disaster, like that of Bull Run, or another unsuccessful action, like that of Wilson's Creek, where the brave and noble­hearted Lyon fell, a martyr to the cause of his country, and a victim to the failure of his government to send him timely aid, will do much to change the feelings and convictions of the loyal citizens of the free states, and, perhaps, force them to give up the last hope or thought of preserving both the Union and the institution of slavery. It requires, however chary our public men may be even of whispering it, no extraordinary sagacity or foresight to perceive that, if the present war is to be continued, and the integrity of the nation restored and maintained, the war can hardly fail to become a war of liberation, or that the northern blood and treasure, which it demands for its successful prosecution, will demand in return, as their indemnification, the emancipation of the slave, and the universal adoption  for the South as well as the North of our free-labor system.

We need not say, for the fact is well known to our readers, that no man, according to his ability and opportunity, has, since April, 1838, more strenuously opposed the abolition movement in the free states than we have; not because we loved slavery, or had any sympathy with that hateful institution, but because we loved the constitution of the Union, and because we believed that liberty at home and throughout the world was far more interested in preserving the union of these states under the federal constitution, than in abolishing slavery as it existed in the southern section of our common country. But we believe, and always have believed, that liberty, the cause of free institutions, the hopes of philanthropists and Christians, both at home and abroad, are more interested in preserving the Union and the integrity of the nation, than they are or can be in maintaining negro-slavery. If we have opposed abolition heretofore because we would preserve the Union, we must, a fortiori, oppose slavery whenever, in our judgment, its continuance becomes incompatible with the maintenance of the Union, or of our nation as a free republican state.

Certainly we said in the article on The Great Rebellion in our last Review, the North has not taken up arms for the destruction of negro-slavery, but for the maintenance of the Federal government, the enforcement of the laws, and the preservation of the Union. This is true. The liber­ation of the slave is not the purpose and end of the war in which we are now engaged. The war is a war against re­bellion, an unprovoked and wicked rebellion, engaged in by the Rebels for the purpose of making this a great Slave­holding Republic, in which the labor of the country shall be performed by slaves, either black or white; and if, to defeat the Rebellion, the destruction of slavery be rendered necessary and be actually effected, it will change nothing in the character or purpose of the war. It will have been necessitated by the Rebellion, and the Rebels will have only themselves to thank for the destruction or abolition they force us to adopt in defence of liberty, the Union, and the authority of the government.

The real question now before the loyal States is not whether the rebellion shall be suppressed by force of arms, or a peaceful division of the country into two separate and independent republics submitted to. Anyone who has any knowledge of the plans and purposes of the rebels, knows well, that the division of the territory of the Union into two independent republics is far short of what they are aiming at. The leaders of the rebellion, they who planned it, they who have stirred it up, and armed it against the Union, have worked themselves into the conviction, that slavery is not to be looked upon as an evil, under certain circumstances to be tolerated, but as a good to be desired, which religion and humanity require not only to be perpetuated, but extended the farthest possible. Their doctrine is, that liberty is not practicable for a whole people, that it is practicable only for a class or a race, and that republicanism can subsist and be practically beneficial, only where the laboring class is deprived of all political and civil rights, and reduced to slavery. Their plan, their purpose is, the reconstruction of the federal government in accordance with this theory, not merely to cut themselves loose from all companionship with the non-slaveholding states of the North and North-west. They propose to extend slavery over the whole Union, and, in those States where negroes cannot be profitably employed as laborers, to reduce, perhaps gradually, but ultimately and effectually, to the condition of slaves, the present class of free white laborers, who in the free states are, to a great extent, Irish and Germans, by birth or immediate descent.

The reconstruction of the Union on the basis of slavery is the real aim of the chiefs of the Southern rebellion, which reconstruction would give them a government similar in its essential features to that of ancient pagan Rome, and a government, if the states held together, prepared for future conquest. The Union reconstructed, it could proceed to the conquest of Mexico and Central America, and reduce their negro and colored populations to slavery, which would be counted their Americanization. This done, it could proceed, beginning with Cuba, to the annexation, one after another, of the West India Islands. It then could extend its power over the whole continent of South America, and threaten an advance upon Eastern Asia, and the annexation of all the cotton-producing countries and tropi­cal regions of the globe, and through the monopoly of cotton, rice, and tropical productions in general, to obtain the control of the commerce and credit of all nations, Such, to a greater or less extent, is the dream which Southern statesmen have indulged, and which they have taken the first step toward realizing. In its full extent no sane man supposes the dream practicable; but its practicability, up to a certain point, has been demonstrated by the success which has hitherto attended the rebellion, for, up to the present, successful it undeniably has been. The confederates have brought into the field a more effective, if not a larger force than the federal government has thus far brought against them; and, from the Potomac to the Mississippi, they hold the strategic lines, and can be met by the federal forces only at great disadvantage. As yet not one of those lines has been wrested from them.

 Now, suppose we adopt the policy urged upon us by the peace-makers, traitors, and cowards of the loyal states, consent to a peaceful division of the United States, and recognize the southern confederacy as a separate and independent nation, what would be the result?  Two comparatively equal independent republics, existing side by side?  Not at all. Spread out the map of the United States before you, and see which Republic would have the advantage in territory, soil, climate, productions, and all the sources of national wealth, strength, and material greatness. You would give to the southern republic full three-fourths of the whole territory of the Union; for the South would consent to no division now, that did not include the States of Delaware, Maryland, Kentucky, Missouri, and all the territory South of the line running due west from the north­west angle of Missouri to the Pacific. You would give up to the South, to what would then be a foreign power, the whole Gulf coast, and the whole Atlantic coast, except the narrow strip from the Penobscot to the Delaware. You would leave the North a majority of the present population of the country, and nominally the superiority in wealth, it is true: but as the present superior numbers and wealth of the North depend chiefly on our superiority in commerce and manufactures, their superiority could not be long maintained. The southern republic, producing raw materials consumed chiefly in Europe, would be a great exporting republic, and would naturally in its policy favor exports to European markets. From those markets where it disposes of its raw materials, it could, by means of a lower tariff on imports than the Northern Republic could afford to adopt, more easily and cheaply supply its own demand for imports than it could from our Northern markets. It would thus drive our manufactures from its markets, and, by importing from abroad for itself, greatly diminish our manufactures, and at the same time both our foreign and domestic trade. In addition, we should not only lose our southern market for our imports and manufactures, but should hardly be able to keep our own. Imports would seek southern ports, and, in spite of any possible cordon of custom-houses and custom-house officers, would find their way into all the border states of the northern republic and up the Mississippi and Ohio into the great states of the West and the North West, to the most serious detriment of our own trade and manufactures, and consequently to the retention of our relative superiority in wealth and population. In spite of our industry and other enterprise, we should soon find ourselves a state far inferior in wealth and numbers to our Southern neighbor.

Moreover, the great agricultural States of the Mississippi Valley, finding the natural outlets for their productions held by a foreign power, and themselves unable to wrest them from it, would be compelled by their own interests to secede from the Northern Republic, and to join the Southern Con­federacy. The secession of these, which would be followed by that of all the States west of the Rocky Mountains, would necessarily compel the secession of New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania, and their annexation to the same confederacy. This would reduce the northern republic to the New England States; two of which, Connecticut and Rhode Island, would, most likely, follow New York, and there would remain for the northern republic only the states of Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine, which could escape absorption in the Confederacy only by its refusal to accept them, or by joining with the Canadas and the other British Provinces, and coming again under the British crown. Such would be the inevitable result of the proposed peaceful division of the United States, and the formation of two separate and independent republics out of their territory, if the southern confederacy held together; and such is substantially the plan of reconstruction contemplated by the Southern statesmen, as is evident from their leaving their Confederacy open to the accession of new states; as was avowed in New York, last December, by Mr. Senator Benjamin, now the attorney general of the Confederate States; and as asserted openly by Southern sympathizers everywhere at the North. All this is notorious, and is only what any man accustomed to reason on such subjects, and familiar with the geography, soil, and productions of the Union, sees must and would inevitably result from the policy recommended by our peace-men, cow­ards, and traitors.

But peace, even on as favorable terms as we have supposed, cannot now be made. Six months ago, perhaps it might have been; but now, flushed with their recent successes, in possession of the principal strategic lines, and able to prosecute the war with more vigor than we have yet shown, the rebels will entertain no question of peace short of our subjugation, or, what is the same thing, disbandment of our armies and quiet submission to the principles and theory on which their confederacy is founded. Look at the question as we will, we have now no alternative but to subdue the rebels or be subjugated by them. We must either depose that confederacy, and enforce the authority of the federal government over all the rebellious states, or it will enforce Its authority over the free states, and impose upon them its system of slave labor. If it enforces its authority over us, there may still, perhaps, be liberty for a class or caste, but our laboring classes will no longer be freemen; they, will be placed on a level with the negro slave on a southern plantation. For the Christian commonwealth founded by our fathers, toiled for, and bled for, we shall have reestablished a Pagan Republic more hostile to the rights of man and the rights of nations, than was ever pagan Greece or pagan Rome. We put it to our Christian countrymen, if such is the commonwealth their fathers fought and suffered through the long Seven-Years War of the Revolution to establish, and if they can be contented to let the hopes of liberty in the New World set in a night of blackness and despair.

We know very well that we have fallen far below the virtues that founded this republic, and gained this New World to civilization; we know that a long career of uninterrupted prosperity and unbounded luxury has done much to corrupt us; we know that the labor in one-half of the republic being performed by slaves, and the greater part in the other half performed by emigrants from foreign countries, has caused a lamentable forgetfulness of those principles of liberty so dear to our fathers, and produced amongst us a laxity of principle, an indifference to law, a disregard for personal rights and personal independence, without which no republic can long subsist and prosper; but we are not yet willing to believe that we have fallen so low, become so corrupt, so indifferent to liberty, or so dead to all moral considerations, as to be prepared to submit, for the sake of gain, or of preserving our manufactures, without a struggle, to the indignities the southern confederacy would heap upon us, or to the adoption of the base and inhuman principle on which that confederacy is avowedly founded. If we retain any thing of our manhood, or any memory of the Christian virtues of our ancestors, we can never submit to be slaves ourselves, or take part in reducing any portion or class of our fellow-men to slavery. If there is any virtue left in us, we must reso1ve that we will be free ourselves, and do all in our power to secure freedom to all other men, whether white or black, yellow or copper-colored. If we do not, we are indeed "degenerate sons of noble sires," and deserve, as we shall receive, the scorn and derision of the whole world.

Political and party leaders, greedy for the "pickings and stealings" of office, who are innocent of ever having entertained a statesmanlike idea or a moral conception, may cry, like the false prophets whom the Lord, in Holy Scripture, rebukes, "Peace, peace," and seek to embarrass the government and give aid and comfort to its enemies; but we hope there is still virtue enough left in the people of the loyal states to estimate them at their true value, and to treat with indignation and scorn their counsels. Whatever the result of the contest, the vocation of these leaders is gone; and the best use to which you can put a man who now cries out for "peace," for "compromise," for "submission," and charges the Government with having provoked an "unholy and unnecessary" war, is to treat him as loyal Union men in the South are treated by the Confederates. Such men, whatever their pretensions, are really traitors, and deserve a traitor's doom; or, if not traitors, they are idiots and lunatics, and should be provided for in asylums. It is no time to mince our words, or to study out honeyed phrases; We must call things by their right names, and treat all who are not for us, as against us. We have something more than even the constitution and laws to maintain; the very existence of the nation is at stake; and, as no means are scrupled at to destroy it, we have the right to use all the means which the law of self-preservation renders necessary or expedient.

We wish our readers and the public at large to understand that we are in war, and to let it get through their heads that the war which the rebellion has forced upon us, is no mimic war, is no child's play, and is not to be conducted to a successful issue on the principle of treating the rebels as friends, giving them every advantage, and doing them no harm. They are in downright earnest, and are putting forth all their strength, and doing their best to subjugate us; and we also must be in downright earnest, put forth all our strength, and do our best to subjugate them. War cannot be conducted on peace principles, or successfully conducted by men who do not enter into it with spirit, resolution, and energy. We have no disposition to censure the civil or military authorities of our country; they have labored under great embarrassments, and have had no ordinary difficulties to contend with; but we must be excused, if we say that as yet they have given us little evidence of their being in earnest, or of their believing in the reality and important character of the war. Up to the disaster of Bull Run, military operations seem to have been conducted in subordination to the projects of politicians and the especial benefit of contractors. The war was apparently treated as a secondary affair, a mere bagatelle, or a toy for children to amuse themselves with; in scarcely an instance was it treated as a grave affair, demanding for its prosecution the whole strength and energy of the country. Some doubted if the South would really fight, and it seemed to many, that all we needed to rout their armies, suppress rebellion, and reestablish over the seceded states the authority of the federal government, was a large number of regiments having no existence except on paper or in the imagination of those who wished to sport the epaulettes of a colonel.  This delusion has passed away. But still, at the time we are writing, it has hardly got through our heads that we are really engaged in war, and a war involving the very life or death of the nation. The mass of those who really believe we are in war, still think the war is one that may be carried on without any serious detriment to our ordinary avocations or pleasures, and one not likely to come home to our own bosoms and business.

Very few of us see that every thing we hold dear in this world is at stake, and that we have to struggle not only to defeat a foreign enemy, but to defend our own firesides and altars, our own wives and children, and our own personal liberty. Country gone, all is gone; and unless we become more in earnest than we have hitherto been, and put forth a civil and military force and energy which we have not yet displayed, nor judged it necessary to display, our country cannot be preserved.

We cheerfully concede that much allowance is to be made for the administration, in the novel and unexpected position in which it has been placed. With no preparation to meet a rebellion on a formidable scale, with doubts as to how far the patriotism of the loyal states could be relied on, with the Army and Navy filled with traitors, or with officers at best indifferent to the cause of the Union, surrounded by weak, timid, and corrupt politicians, and the important, though subaltern, offices of the various departments of the civil government filled with men desiring success to the rebels, and ready to use all the opportunities afforded by their position to secure that success, the administration may be excused for having hesitated, before feeling the public pulse, to adopt the bold, energetic, and decisive measures the crisis demanded. It was embarrassed by the legacy left it by its predecessor, and also by the fears, timidities, hopes, and advice of the Union men in the border states, who begged it not to be precipitate, lest it should plunge those States also into open secession. This fear of driving the border states into secession has been from the first the bugbear of the administration, and its chief embarrassment. It prevented it from taking, at the outset, those bold and decisive measures which would have forestalled the rebels, and confined the rebellion to South Carolina, Georgia, and the Gulf States. Its efforts since to organize and strengthen a Union party in Western Virginia and Eastern Tennessee, have impeded, rather than aided, its military operations, and lost it a campaign, without gaining it any real additional strength.

There is only one way of dealing with rebels; it is for the Government to be prompt, to strike quick, and to strike hard. If it hesitates, if it temporizes, if it seeks to conciliate, or shows that it fears to strike lest the blow recoil upon its own head, it is only by a miracle that it can be saved. Its policy will be set down either to conscious weakness or to conscious wrong, and the rebels not only gain time, but, what is even more important to them, they gain confidence in their own cause, which more than doubles their forces, while the friends of the government are disheartened, rendered timid, if not alienated. A bold, energetic man at the head of the government, one year ago, would have crushed out rebellion before it could really have come to a head even in South Carolina. A man able to create public opinion, not merely to follow it, at the head of the government last March, would have confined the rebellion within the limits it then had, and, long before this, would have reduced Florida and Louisiana to their allegiance, and thus have broken the back-bone of rebellion, and prepared the way for its speedy and utter annihilation. Hesitation and delay in dealing with rebellion, is the worst policy possible.That its dilatory and timid policy was on the part of the government, a mistake, a blunder, no one can reasonably doubt. But it would be a mistake, a blunder no less fatal, for the friends of the Union to blazon it forth so as to weaken the confidence of the people in the administration, and diminish its power for good. The president is worthy of all confidence for his honesty, integrity, and patriotism; and, if he will rid himself of the embarrassment of political jobbers and tricksters, dismiss and visit with adequate punishment all secessionists, traitors, or lukewarm patriots in the employment of the Government, and put honest and capable men in their places, men who know their duty, and have the courage to perform it, who love their country and are ready, if need be, to sacrifice themselves for it, he may retrieve the past, recover all the ground that has been lost, conduct the war to a successful issue, and, if not precisely the man best fitted to the crisis, yet stand in American history second only to Washington, if indeed second even to Washington himself. Never had a president of the United States so glorious an opportunity to prove himself a man, a statesman, a true civil hero. He has, we are sure, the disposition, let him prove that he has the courage and ability not merely to follow public opinion, not merely to follow the people, but to go before them, and, by kindling up a resistless enthusiasm in them, lead them on to victory.

The American people, especially of the North, are a susceptible people, and can feel and respond to the force of genius as readily and as heartily as any other people on the face of the globe. No people in the world are susceptible of a deeper or more abiding enthusiasm; no people better appreciate the value of a good battle-cry; and it has been a mistake on the part of the administration, not to have better appreciated their real character. It has failed to give them that battle-cry. It has been too cold, too prosaic, and has pronounced no spirit-stirring word. Instead of kindling up the enthusiasm of the people, it has looked to the people to quicken its own. Instead of inspiring them, it has waited for them to inspire it. This has been a grave mistake. Men placed at the head of affairs, are placed there to lead, not to follow, to give an impulse to the people, not to receive it from the people. If the administration has life and energy, if it has ability and genius, let it no longer hesitate to use them, but put them forth in that free, bold, and energetic manner which will carry the people with them, and command victory.

We insist the more earnestly on this, because the mass of our people have so long been accustomed to sympathize with rebels, to aid and encourage revolutionists abroad, and to visit with their severest denunciations the acts of the legitimate government to suppress insurrection, to put down revolutionists, and vindicate its authority, that they cannot be rallied with much enthusiasm under the simple banner of Law and Order. Their first emotion is to sympathize with rebellion, wherever it breaks out, even though against their own government. They hold as a principle, as that on which their very national independence is based, the "sacred right" of revolution; because they generally take it for granted that all rebels and revolutionists are the party of liberty, warring against despotism, and for the rights of man. Would you rally them and render them invincible against the foe? You must give them another battle-cry than that of "Law and Order," or you will not stir their heart, that mighty American heart which conquered this country from the savage and the forest, proclaimed and won its independence, constituted the Union, and made the American nation one of the great nations of the earth. It is not for us, even if we were able, to give that battle-cry; it must be given by genius in authority, and fall either from the lips of the president, or the commander-in-chief of our armies. Neither may as yet be prepared to utter it; but, if this nation has a future, if its destiny is, as we have hitherto boasted, to prove what man may be when and where he has the liberty to be himself, uttered by one or the other it ere long will be, and in tones that will ring out through the whole Union, and through the whole civilized world now anxiously listening to hear it. The Union is and must be sacred to liberty. Here man must be man, nothing more, and nothing less. Slaves must not breathe our atmosphere; and we must be able to adopt the proud boast of our mother country, "The slave that touches our soil is free." This is the destiny of this New World, if destiny it have,-the destiny our fathers toiled for, fought for, bled for, and to this we their children must swear to be faithful, or die to the last man.

We have spoken thus far as the American, the patriot, and the devoted defender of republican institutions; but we must be permitted also to speak as the Catholic publicist. We have, from the first, maintained, and with the fullest approbation of the Catholic authorities in this country, that Catholic morality enjoins upon all Catholics, whatever their rank or dignity, to be loyal to the legitimate government of their country, and to be ready to defend it, when called upon, at the sacrifice of their property, and even of their lives. That the federal government is the legitimate government of the American nation, no Catholic can reasonably doubt. We may, as Catholics, lawfully resist tyranny or usurpation, but we cannot conspire to overthrow alegitimate government, which has not transcended its constitutional powers, or resist its authority without failing not only in our civil, but in our Catholic duty. The federal government is no usurpation; it is a legitimate government; and it has never lost its legitimacy by any act of tyranny or oppression. No such act has been or can be pretended. Rebellion against it, therefore, is not only a crime, but a sin. The principle here asserted is that which we defended for years against the revolutionists in Europe, and it has been on the ground that such is the teaching of the Catholic religion, that we have repelled with indignation the charge brought against us by Know-Nothings, that Catholics are not and cannot be loyal American citizens. We have labored, in opposition to the Know-Nothings, to show that Catholics are bound by their very religion to be loyal; and we have ventured to assert that, if the Republic were threatened, or an attempt made to dismember the Union, Catholics would be the first to rush to its rescue, and the last to desert it.           

The assertion we ventured has not been entirely justified. The conduct of our Catholic population, especially that of their leaders, has not wholly answered our expectations. Of the twelve journals in the English language, published in this country, and professedly devoted to Catholic interests, we can name only The Catholic, published at Pittsburg, and the Tablet, in this city, as decidedly loyal. The Telegraph and Advocate, published at Cincinnati, is occasionally loyal, and so also, perhaps, is the Buffalo Sentinel. The Metropolitan Record was, when last we read it, striving hard to be on both sides. All the rest are really secession sheets, and exert, whether avowedly or not, all their influence against the federal government, and in favor of that of the southern confederacy; for we count every journal favorable to the secessionists, that opposes the war, and clamors for peace. Of the clergy, the greater part of whom have been born or educated abroad, a large majority have southern sympathies, and a portion of them, a small minority, we hope, are decidedly disloyal. The Bishop of Charleston, South Carolina, sang, we have been told, the Te Deum over the fall of Sumpter. Much allowance, no doubt, must be made for bishops and priests residing in rebel states, and it would be too much to ask them to proclaim on all occasions and under all circumstances Union sentiments; their silence may often be excusable, and sometimes justifiable. Still they are bound by their religion to instruct their own people in their duty of fidelity to the government of the Union, and they have and can have no authority under that religion, or in consonance with it, to hold disloyal sentiments, denounce the loyal states, and sing Te Deums over the defeats of the government to which they owe allegiance. The Bishops both of Charleston and of Richmond appear to have done this; and, if they have done so, no reverence or respect for their Episcopal character should be allowed to excuse their treason, or make us hesitate to charge them with violating their Catholic duty, and doing all in their power to justify the Know-Nothings in their grave charges against the loyalty of Catholics. Catholic morality is as obligatory on priests and bishops as it is on laymen, and from its obligations they can neither absolve themselves, nor be absolved even by the Pope. The right of the Supreme Pontiff to absolve from their oath of allegiance the subjects of a prince who, according to the law of God and the constitution of the realm or empire, has forfeited his right to reign, we have uniformly maintained, and still hold; but we have never maintained, and cannot maintain, that he has the right to absolve from their allegiance the subjects of a prince who holds his power legitimately, and has done nothing to forfeit his trusts; and certainly we cannot concede to simple bishops and priests a power which we do not and cannot concede to the Supreme Pontiff himself. We do not, in such a case, deny the absolving power to their chief in order to claim it for them.

But we are gratified to know that the Catholic people, moved by their loyal and patriotic instincts, are nobly redeeming their Church from the false position in which the disloyalty or mistaken policy of the majority of their journals, and a portion of their bishops and clergy, have had a tendency to place her. Though, for the most part, wedded to the Democratic party, which has brought the country to its present critical state, and bitterly prejudiced against the party that elected our present, chief magistrate, and especially against New England Yankees, regarded by them as fanatics, bigots, and the enemies of all good, they have nobly volunteered to fill the ranks of our army, and generously shed their blood in defence of the nation. No class of American citizens have, in this respect, surpassed them, and indeed they have set an example worthy of all imitation. Catholics have, considering their numbers, more than their proportion in the regular army and volunteer forces of the Union, and Catholic soldiers, whether we speak of officers or men, are surpassed by no others now in the field. The loyalty of the majority of the Catholics of the North must be held to efface the disloyalty of the few Catholics of the South; and when this war has been prosecuted to a successful issue, we doubt not that the loyalty of Catholics will cease to be called in question, and both Catholics and non-Catholics will mutually feel that they are citizens of a common country, and form but one political people.

That the attempt of some of the so-called Catholic journals to make Catholics believe that the so-called confederacy is less anti-Catholic in its sympathies than the North, and that the North, when the rebellion is suppressed, will turn its arms against Catholics, may have influenced, and may still influence a few, especially Irish Catholics, whose misfortune it often is to trust their enemies, and suspect their friends, we do not deny, and we regret it. But the notion is absurd, and always has been. The South is more infidel or pagan, and far less Christian than the North, and is and always has been, as we might expect, far more anti-Catholic, and, when not absolutely indifferent to all religion, far more bigoted than the North, if, by the North, we refer to New England. There is no part of the Union where Catholics are better treated, and suffer fewer annoyances, than in the New England States. Nowhere in New England will a Catholic priest or a Catholic layman, if a gentleman, miss the treatment due to a gentleman, whatever some of our journals may allege to the contrary.

It is, no doubt, true that Messrs, Wise and Hunter, who are secessionists, did good service to the Democratic party, ­which, by the way, is not the same thing as doing good service to Catholics,-in arresting the Know-Nothing movements in Virginia; but to defeat the Know-Nothings was for them a political necessity. Had the Know-Nothings triumphed in Virginia in 1855, the chances of either of these individuals becoming a candidate for the presidency would have been less than nothing. Their success depended on the success of the Democratic party, and that party could succeed in no non-Slaveholding State without securing the Catholic and foreign vote. Deprived of that vote, the Democratic party was, and still is, in a hopeless minority in every one of the free states, The opposition to the Know-Nothings, therefore, no more proved a disposition on the part of Messrs. Wise and Hunter favorable to Catholics, than it proved their loyalty and devotion to the Union. The Secession leaders, no doubt, mean to use Catholics in their struggle for a separate nationality, or the re­construction of the Union; but there can be just as little doubt that, when they have gained it, they mean to proscribe them, as they have openly avowed, for they wish to perpetuate slavery, and the Catholic religion everybody knows is hostile to slavery, and the Church everywhere exerts her influence against it. There is no safety in this country for our religion but in restoring and preserving the Union, and securing the liberty of the Church not as a political grant or favor, but as one of the inherent and inalienable rights of man.

Still we regret that a certain number of Catholics, misled by their demagogues, unite with the followers of Breckenridge of Kentucky, Bright of Indiana, Vallandigham of Ohio, and the Senators from the Border Slave States not yet in open rebellion, in opposing the war for the maintenance of the Union, and in calling upon the government to discontinue it, and to make peace at once. In this they are the dupes of pretended patriots, but real traitors, and serve the cause of rebellion more effectually than they could if its open and declared adherents. The pretence, or the belief that our difficulties could now be settled by a convention, or compromise, or any concessions above of our absolute submission to the demands of the rebels, is the idlest thing in the world. The time for conventions, for compromises, or for conciliatory measures, has gone by; and no man not really in league with the southern rebels, no patriot, no friend of the Union, with the slightest grain of intelligence, can for a moment seriously believe in their practical utility. There never has been a time since the election of Mr. Lincoln when any conciliatory measures, or any constitutional compromises, short of a complete surrender to the demands of the southern leaders, could have been of the slightest avail. The last congress was disposed to go farther in the way of compromise, and to make greater concessions for the preservation of peace, than wisdom or prudence dictated. But there were no terms of compromise the seceded states would accept, short of their full and unequivocal recognition as a separate and independent nation. They openly refused to return to their allegiance, even on the adoption of the so-called "Crittenden Compromise," and declared their separation final and irrevocable, leaving it for us to go to them, but absolutely refusing to come to us. The Border State Convention, whatever may have been the honest intention of many of its members, was a mere farce; for we doubt not that it was, from the first, the intention of the leading politicians in all the border slave states to make common cause with their southern brethren. The present government had exhausted all the hopes of a peaceful solution of our difficulties, before it took the step which was made the pretext for war against it. From the first, Virginia, Maryland, Tennessee, Kentucky, and Missouri were pledged, as far as their leading statesmen could pledge them, to the southern cause, and, from the first, the question with all the slaveholding states was separation, or the reconstruction of the Union on the basis of slavery; and we entirely mistake the temper of the Southern states­men and of the people of the Slaveholding States, if we suppose them prepared to make peace on any other terms now. There is no Peace party, no Union party in any slaveholding state, except, perhaps, in Missouri and Kentucky, North Carolina, and Western Virginia, on which the slightest reliance can be placed. The Union men in all the other slave states, or sections of slave states, not excepting Maryland, are the weak, the passive, the imbecile portion of their population. The talent, the energy, the decision, the governing capacity in all the slaveholding states, whether the minority or the majority, are on the side of the secessionists, and secession has a far stronger party in every one of the free states, than the Union has in any of the slave states, except those already named.

There is no use of attempting to disguise the facts from our own eyes. The slaveholding states constitute really a united people, a more firmly united people in opposition to the government than we of the free states are in support of it . Any policy, civil or military, based on a contrary supposition will prove a blunder, and disastrous in the end to the federal cause. The South have a fixed and definite policy, which they are enthusiastic in carrying out, and they will stop at no means, however unscrupulous, judged by them necessary to their purpose. They have chosen war, and they will accept peace, until compelled, only on their own terms. Thus far the war has been mainly a success on their part, and they are far from having exhausted all their strength. Indeed they believe they are able to sustain the war as long as we can, and to sustain it successfully to the end. Nothing is more idle, then, than to suppose that the matter can now be conciliated by politicians, or that the government, without abdicating itself, has it in its power to make peace. The government has no alternative, if it would sustain itself, and preserve the integrity of the nation, or even its own honor, but to prosecute the war, and prosecute it with all the vigor and all the forces and means it can command. For men, then, who profess to be attached to the Union, to talk of "peace," of " conciliation," of  "compromises," of "conventions," is the veriest twaddle, or would be, if it were not the grossest outrage upon common sense and common decency. As we have said, all these things have gone by; and to attempt to recall them from the dead past, or to galvanize them into life, is only to betray our own stupidity or our disloyalty. No; we must fight, fight manfully to the end, and teach rebellion a lesson that it will not soon forget.

We love peace as much as any man does or can, and no man, in proportion to his means, suffers more by the present war, than we do. But the Scriptures tell us, " Follow after the things which make for peace," not peace at any price; and; now that we are in war, we insist on prosecuting it till the basis of an honorable and durable peace can be obtained . The recognition of the southern confederacy and disbandment of our armies would not, as we have shown, secure this peace; because the project of the southern leaders is not merely a separation from the Union, but a reconstruction of the Union under their control on the basis of slavery. Are we asked, why not quietly submit to the reconstruction demanded - "Would there not, still be a union of the states under a Federal government? And suppose that it did recognize slavery, what harm in that?

Nearly all the states once held slaves, and the southern states have grown and prospered, become great and powerful with the institution of slavery, and even by it; that institution has not only contributed to the greatness, strength, and prosperity of the South, but has been the basis of the commercial and manufacturing prosperity of the North; Why, then, should the North oppose it, or hesitate to adopt it. The Union reconstructed on the basis of slavery would be far greater, more homogeneous, stronger, and more prosperous than it has ever hitherto been; and the reconstruction demanded is not merely in the interest of the South, but in the interest of the whole country; why not then accept it. So we have found men not in a madhouse reasoning here at the North, and so, perhaps, some misguided citizens really believe.

We reply to this reasoning- 1. The reconstruction proposed would be the destruction of the present Union, of the Union effected by our fathers, and indeed of the nation which it formed, hitherto symbolized by the" Stars and Stripes." It would be the destruction of our present nation, and, at best, only the substitution of another nation in its place. Now, it so happens that many of us have an ardent attachment to the Union, in which we were born, and under which we have thus far lived, and do not choose to expatriate ourselves, or to be forced to become the subjects of another government. For ourselves, we were born an American citizen, and, wherever the vicissitudes of life may cast our lot, an American citizen we will live and we will die, and no consideration under heaven shall ever induce us to abjure allegiance to the federal government, or swear allegiance to any other sovereign. Except for gross tyranny or oppression, we deny the right of expatriation, just as we deny the right of secession or revolution. This feeling which we express may be treated lightly by traitors, rebels, and peace-men, and sneered at as mere sentimentality; but we must be permitted to say, that, where it is wanting in any considerable number of the population of a country, there is and can be no real loyalty, no genuine patriotism, and therefore no financial support for a national government, no secure reliance for the nation in its moment of peril. To transfer our allegiance from the present Union to a new Union not growing out of it, but established in spite of it, and on its ruins, would be to convert us into foreigners in our own country; it would wound, in its most sensitive part, the patriotism of the people, and obliterate from their hearts all sentiments of national honor and loyalty, and therefore the very condition of the existence and durability of the nation, and consequently of the reconstructed Union.