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it. It is in order to keep up this covenant with hell that the denouncers have caused the slaughter of a million of human beings, and the desolation of nearly half a continent.
These two great causes of quarrel, Protectionism and Abolitionism, may be said to be the chief elements in the history of the Union. They act and react upon one another. The selfishness of the Protectionists was sanctified, and the zeal of the Abolitionists sharpened, by the fact that their objects coincided. Like the priests of Bel, they offered up the sacrifice with much religious pomp and loud invocations of their deity, and then took care to secure the offering for their own consumption. It was a godly alliance, to be celebrated with much upturning of eyes and much thanksgiving for being not as other men are,—to damage the Southerners, whose interests were opposed to theirs, without benefiting the tarnation niggers; and to smooth their path to heaven by strewing their earthly one with gold.
The irrepressible conflict between North and South was delayed by the fact that the great Democratic party was strong enough to hold in the infuriated extremes of both sections, North and South, without allowing them to come into collision. This party, the only one of the numerous combinations of which America has been so prolific, which can
trace its pedigree back to the foundation of the Union, has been, at least in this century, that which has deserved the name which I believe it is now trying to assume, that of Conservative. It was originally the party of States Rights as against the Union; it has become the party of States Rights for the sake of the Union. I fancy that so long as it was a question of protection and free trade, the Northern Democrats were sectional enough, for in that conflict the Northern champions, though the spirit in which they fought was anti-constitutional, used constitutional weapons. But when the Abolitionist cry was raised, their sympathies were checked. That cry was in direct contravention to the Constitution, and was certain, humanly speaking, to destroy the Union.
It was in the Middle States—New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania — that this party was strongest. I do not know that the character of those States was particularly attractive; but it was less the reverse than that of New England was. They were selfish, and they were disposed to run wild after new fashions. But both their selfishness and their love of new fashions inclined them towards the South. New York became socially, if not politically, the capital of the Union, as it was certainly its greatest commercial city — a sort of mixture of Paris and
Liverpool; and that it was so was in great measure the work of the Southerners. The wealthy Southerners used to come thither in great numbers. Of course their expenditure was very profitable. But this constituted only a part, and perhaps not the chief part, of their influence. The truth was, that the South was completely the fashion. The phrase, the “chivalry of the South,” has often been laughed at when looked at in connection with some of the inhabitants of that section of the Union. But there is some truth at the bottom of it. Though in the outlying districts of the more recently settled States there are to be found as thorough specimens of the genus blackguard as exist anywhere in the world, yet in the older States of the South the phrase has a meaning. It is only in that part of the Union that you can find anything approaching to the country gentleman of England. It is only there that you can find families which, holding the same lands generation after generation for a long period of years, have acquired the self-respect, the habits of command, and the elevation of character which arise in a society which has been for some time in the possession of power, and the refinement which generally follows upon the possession of hereditary wealth. It is only there that you can find a class of men who can feel themselves strong enough to hold their own against the wirepullers who exercise so baleful an influence in the North. It is only there that an esprit de corps can be found which can enable the more educated classes to profess and give effect to an opinion which is independent of the clamour of the moment. It is only there that the manliness and frankness which are supposed to arise from an open-air existence, and the habits of field sports, can be developed in any degree. The blood of the old cavaliers of England, coursing in the veins of the Virginians and Carolinians, was as much reproduced in them as that of their opponents, the Puritans, was reproduced in New England.
There may be a difference of opinion as to which of the characters, Cavalier or Roundhead—or, as I called them before, Esau and Jacob—is the best ; but there can be no doubt which is the most attractive. The lively, freehanded, and perhaps somewhat arrogant Southerner, with his bold recklessness, and carelessness of money, might not be a match for the calculating precisian of New England, or the careful merchant of the Middle States, in the halls and lobbies of the Washington Congress ; but he was far more than his match in New York society. Still more powerful was the influence of the Southern ladies. The beauty of the women of the South, though fully equal to that of their Northern sisters, was perhaps not markedly superior. But they bore the bell in grace and refinement, and, besides, had about them that air of superiority which may possibly make its possessors detested, but which, when it . has anything to rest upon, seldom fails to make itself acknowledged. The democratic equality of the North, though very jealous of every other kind of ascendancy, bent, in a manner almost unknown anywhere else, before the ascendancy of fashion; and over fashion the South bore almost unquestioned empire. It is said that at the beginning of this war, the feeling of the women all over the Union, North and South alike, was almost entirely with the Confederates. That can hardly be the case now. The 'Isms have triumphed in New England; and a new “shoddy" aristocracy has risen to the surface in the Middle States. Yet so overpowering is the tyranny of fashion, that I should not be at all surprised if it were found that that feeling exists still to an extent which people in this country would hardly expect.
However, the Southern ascendancy at New York rested on something better than feminine beauty and attractiveness, or “aristocratic” bearing and manners. Sir E. B. Lytton, in ‘The Last of the Barons,' puts into the mouth of Edward the Fourth, whether with any historical foundation or not I know not, the sentiment about the dreary barren spot on which he landed