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The Continental Monthly, Vol. 1, No. 3, March, 1862   By:

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VOL. I. MARCH, 1862. No. III.


Perhaps the most difficult question at present before the American people is that so often and so insolently put by Southern journals, and so ignorantly babbled in weak imitation of them by English newspapers, asking what, after all, in case of a victory, or even of many victories, can we do with the revolted provinces? The British press, prompt to put the worst construction on every hope of the Union, prophesies endless guerilla warfare, a possibility which, like the blocking up of Charleston harbor by means of the stone fleet, is, of course, something which calls for the instant interference of all cotton spinning Christian nations. Even among our own countrymen it must be confessed there has been no little indecision as to the end and the means of securing the conquest of a country whose outlines are counted by thousands instead of hundreds of miles, and whose whole extent, it is too generally believed, forms a series of regions where dismal swamps, bayous, lagoons, dense forests, and all manner of impenetrabilities, bid defiance to any save the natives, and where the most deadly fevers are ever being born in the jungles and wafted on the wings of every summer morn over the whole plantation land. The truth is, that the simple facts and figures relative to this country are not generally known. Let the Northern people but once learn the truths existing in their favor, and there will be an end to this misapprehension. There has been thus far no hesitation or irresolution among the people in the conduct of the war. 'Conquer them first,' has been the glorious war cry from millions of the freest men on earth. But when we are driving a nail it is well to know that it will be possible to eventually clench it. And when the country shall fully understand the ease with which this Union nail may be clenched, there will be, let us hope, a greatly revived spirit in all now interested in forwarding the war.

It is evident enough that if all the millions of the South remain united to the death in the cause of secession, little else than a guerilla warfare of endless length is to be hoped for. The accounts of the enthusiasm and harmony at present prevailing in Eastern Virginia, and in other places controlled by the active secessionists, have struck terror to the hearts of many. But, united though they be, they must be more than mortal if they could resist the influences of a counter revolution, and of strong bodies of enemies in the heart of their country, aided by a mighty foe without. 'Hercules was a strong man,' says the proverb, 'but he could not pay money when he had none;' and the South may be strong, but she can hardly fail to be entirely crippled when certain agencies shall be brought to bear against her. Let us examine them, and find wherein her weakness consists.

The first is the easy possibility of a counter revolution among the inhabitants of the mountain districts, who hold but few slaves, who have preserved a devoted love for the Union, and who are, if not at positive feud, at least on anything but social harmony with their aristocratic neighbors of the lowlands and of the plantation. Unlike the 'mean whites' who live among slaves and slave holders, and are virtually more degraded than the blacks, these mountaineers are men of strong character and common sense, combining the industrious disposition of the North with the fierce pride of the South. And so numerous are they, and so wide is the range of country which they inhabit, that it would seem miraculous if with their aid, and that of other causes which will be referred to, a counter revolution could not be established, which would sweep the slaveocracy from existence.

In a pamphlet entitled 'Alleghania,' by James W. Taylor, published at Saint Paul, Minnesota, by James Davenport, the reader will find 'a geographical and statistical memoir, exhibiting the strength of the Union, and the weakness of slavery in the mountain districts of the South,' which is well worth careful study at this crisis... Continue reading book >>

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