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the French at all in their letters, while the mass of the Colonists knew as little about the then fashionable political axioms of Paris as a backwoodsman of Kentucky to-day knows of the social theories of Saint Simon, or the poetry of Charles Baudelaire.
The works, diaries, and correspondence of the fathers of the American Revolution attest as clearly, by their silence, that Rousseau and his coterie had no influence in America, as, on the other hand, the correspondence, memoirs and works of the fathers of the French Revolution, by their quotations and eulogies, prove the power which Rousseau and his disciples wielded over public opinion in France. The Colonists went for most of their great political lessons to men of their own race, or to men who as disciples had spread these lessons of their fellow-citizens broadcast. There was probably not an American who would not, under the circumstances, have made the bequest and uttered the words which Josiah Quincy, in February, 1774, put into his last will and testament, " I give to my son, when he shall arrive at the age of fifteen years, Algernon Sidney's Works, John Locke's Works, Lord Bacon's Works, Gordon's Tacitus, and Cato's Letters. May the Spirit of Liberty rest upon him!”
These, and not the works of Rousseau, left their imprint on the anterevolutionary literature of the Colonies; these were cited, alluded to, commented upon and eulogized. In that list none were more popular with the Signers than the treatises of Sidney and Locke.
“God leaves to man," wrote Sidney, “the choice of forms in government, and those who constitute one form may abrogate it." “No man comes to command many, unless by consent or by force.” “Liberty produceth virtue, order, and stability; slavery is accompanied with vice, weakness, and misery. All just ministerial power is from the people.” “Government is not instituted for the good of the governor, but of the governed." Locke, whose“ little book on government," according to Jefferson, “is perfect, as far as it goes," advocated the following doctrines: Men were naturally in a state of perfect freedom. They were in a state also of equality. The cohesion of society is based on a compact between king and people. If the king violates this compact, the people are absolved from their allegiance. The king was chosen, not for his own good, but for the good of the people. Legislation contrary to the people's interests is void, and no change is inadmissible which is in accordance with those interests. The imposition of taxes without the consent of the governed is robbery. Sovereignty emanates from the people, and when bestowed by the people can by them be recalled at will.
After reading such dicta, and remembering how these dicta had been
popularized among the Colonists, we can understand why Jefferson wrote, and why the Signers found nothing strange in, the preamble of the Declaration.
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness; that to secure these rights governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed; that whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or abolish it, and institute a new government.” It is surely more reasonable to conclude from all this, other things being equal, there being no positive proof to the contrary, that the signers of the Declaration, educated as they had been amid Anglican traditions, and interpreting those traditions in a liberal manner, were influenced by Englishmen rather than by a Frenchman who had adopted the germinal ideas of these Englishmen and embroidered them with his imagination. The Americans had no need to go to the literature of France for phrases and doctrines on popular sovereignty, equality before the law, the right and duty of revolution, when they found these phrases and doctrines just as suitable to their purpose
in the literature of England. There is no positive proof that Rousseau inAuenced the Signers on any of these points. There is proof, positive and circumstantial, that the ideas, often the very words, of Sidney and of Locke, disseminated by preachers, pamphleteers, and publicists, exerted a preponderating influence on the Colonists. The philosopher regnant in Independence Hall was not Rousseau but Locke. The Declaration of Ir.dependence is not Gallican; it is Anglican.
WASHINGTON IN 1861
THE PROPHECY CONCERNING THE BATTLE OF BULL RUN
Those who remember the general occurrences of May, 1861, will remember that the first advance into Virginia from Washington was made on the night of May 24th, and resulted in the Federal occupation of the city of Alexandria. Within a few days thereafter all the Virginia portion of the District of Columbia was firmly occupied by the troops of the Government under the command of Brigadier-General McDowell.
Then commenced, in a portion of the newspaper press in the North, an ignorant, unreasoning cry: "On to Richmond ! On to Richmond !! On to Richmond!!!"
Such warlike cries, which have in them the ring of true patriotism and self-sacrifice when uttered by men in the front line of an-army in the presence of the enemy, may be, and usually are, when shouted by men a few hundred miles in rear of the danger-line, mere clap-trap and demagoguism at best ; and they are apt to cause mischief and disorder, if not disaster, by forcing the hand of responsible authority.
Such was the effect in 1861. These fierce cries came not from the soldiers who had taken their lives in their hands and voluntarily rushed to the front to guard and maintain the Government of their country. They came not from the officers who, with a full sense of the heavy responsibility which had fallen upon them, were striving day and night to organize and make efficient for the service of the country that mass of splendid material for an army which had voluntarily rushed to arms from every branch of society in the North, from every station, from every industry, from every profession, and were then arriving by tens of thousands to do battle for the land. These cries came from none of these. They came from men who, in safe positions and at a safe distance, made themselves active in urging others to go forward into danger, to shed their blood, widow their wives and orphan their children, but who placed so high an estimate on their own personal value and the importance of their own private affairs that they never deemed it their part to go vulgarly forth to stay the course of bullets, or make of their precious bodies a bulwark for the Government.
Not content with staying at home, and there reaping honor at the hands of their fellow-citizens for their loud, patriotic cries, they desired also to direct in detail the course of the Government; and having urged their warm-blooded neighbors to volunteer to fight for them, tried also to force the Government to send these, their neighbors, immediately into battle, whether prepared for it or not.
The “On to Richmond " party had its powerful supporters in the capital of the country, in the Senate, and even in the President's cabinet. While it was well understood there that the President and Mr. Seward were disposed to act coolly and in conformity with the ideas of the responsible military chiefs in reference to military movements, it was also understood that Mr. Chase was a strong advocate for “ immediate advance.”
Lieutenant-General Scott, the general-in-chief of the army, while desiring prompt and vigorous action as soon as the proper means of procuring success could be organized, was earnestly opposed to a forward movement until such time as the national forces should be so reasonably organized as to make success at the least probable. Notwithstanding my appointment to the colonelcy of a new regiment (the 14th U. S. Infantry) I was still retained by General Scott as his inspector-general for the District and commander of the District of Columbia troops, and was acting directly under his orders.
At about 8 o'clock at evening on one of the last days of May (I think it was the 31st of May) I entered, as usual, the quarters of the aged generalin-chief to make my report for the day and to receive my orders for the night. As I entered, the general was seated at the head of his dinner table (which had been cleared), while the Secretary of the Treasury, Mr. Chase, occupied a seat opposite him, at the foot of the table. Habitually, the general-in-chief, on my entrance in the evening, courteously invited me to be seated; but now he seemed to have been engaged in earnest conversation, and as I advanced he said, quickly :
"Colonel Stone, how many men do you want to march on Richmond by the way of Manassas ?”
I perceived that the general desired an instant reply; and said, promptly: “Forty thousand, general ;" and then quickly added : “with fifteen thousand in reserve."
“Well, sir, suppose I give you that force, how soon could you move?”
“That, general, would depend upon the Quartermaster's and Subsistence Departments. I could move as soon as they could give me rations and transportation."
“Well, sir! suppose you had them. How fast would you advance?"
“ Having all prepared, general, the advance guard of my force might be on the Rappahannock in three days, and—”
Rappahannock! Rappahannock! what is that?” “ The Rappahannock River, general !”
“Oh! there is a river there, is there? The Rappahannock River, eh? I wish that everybody knew that! Well, sir! what then?”
“ Should the bridge be burned"
"Eh! there is a bridge over that river, and that bridge might be burned! I wish everybody knew that, too. Well, sir! if the bridges are burned?"
“Why, then, general, I would probably lose two or three days in forcing the passage of the fords. Then
of the fords. Then-” And so I continued to describe the advance.
The general interrupted me with: “Why, Colonel Stone, you are taking forty or fifty days to get to Richmond !"
“ General, I think that I would be fortunate to arrive there in that time in the face of an active enemy fully acquainted with the country.".
The old general said, as if thinking aloud, “I wish I could see General Totten. I wish I could see the Chief of Engineers."
I immediately left headquarters to find General Totten, the Chief of Engineers of the army. It was a rainy night, and to spare the aged general a damp walk, I took a carriage and drove to his house. Admitted immediately, I found the venerable General Totten and his gracious wife seated before the fireplace, in which a small fire had been kindled to keep away the dampness. Both welcomed me kindly and invited me to a seat between them; but I excused myself, and, apologizing for disturbing them on so damp an evening, said: “General, the general-in-chief desires to see you at his headquarters, and I have brought a carriage in order that you may respond to his desire with as little inconvenience as possible."
In one minute the careful wife of his youth had thrown a cloak over the old general's shoulders, and a few minutes later I ushered him into the presence of the general-in-chief.
There had been arrivals since my recent departure. Mr. Seward, Secretary of State; Mr. Cameron, Secretary of War, and General Thomas, Adjutant-General of the army, were there. All rose as General Totten entered, and a chair was placed for him at the table, between General Scott and Mr. Secretary Chase. Mr. Cameron seated himself between General Scott and General Totten, while Mr. Seward stretched his length upon a lounge near by.
After a few words of compliment had passed, General Scott said:
“General Totten, I regret to have disturbed you on so disgreeable an evening, but I greatly desired your opinion on a military matter which is