The Continental Monthly, Volume V. Issue I
Author: Various
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Talk as we will of the purposes of this war, the hand of destiny is upon us. We must accept the role of emancipators and champions of human freedom, or the only alternative will happen, the loss of our own liberties and the forfeiture of our national office as the leader of Progress combined with Order, on the planet. We have to deal with an implacable, a subtle, and a versatile enemy, wholly committed to the opposite cause; unscrupulous, inappreciative of magnanimity or concession of any kind; restrained by no considerations whatsoever short of the accomplishment of his absolute and tyrannical will. We have this enemy nearly prostrate under our feet, and we stand hesitating whether to avail ourselves of our advantage or to stultify ourselves at the tribunal of the world and of history, by allowing him to rise, to repossess himself of his arms, and to recommence the conflict upon terms of equal advantage.

A glance at the remaining alternative outcomings of the war must be reserved for another article.


[The article with this title is written by Mr. NICHOLAS ROWE, of London. Mr. ROWE is a lineal descendant of the celebrated NICHOLAS ROWE, the author of the tragedy of Jane Shore and other well-known poems. The author, like his famous ancestor, is a man of talents and a friend of freedom. His account of the old English Press is one of the most perfect ever given. He intends to bring the subject down to the present period, and will become a regular contributor to our Magazine.—ED. CONTINENTAL.]

It is impossible to overestimate the influence of the English press. It has raised itself to such a pitch of importance that it has been not inaptly termed the fourth estate of the realm. But the power which it wields is so enormous and so widespread that it would be nearer the truth to concede to it the dignity of the first estate. All classes see so clearly their interest in supporting it, that the press has become, in effect, a general arbitrator, a court of last appeal, to which kings, lords, and commons in turn address themselves for support whenever the overwhelming force of public opinion is to be conciliated or enlisted. It is in morals what a multitude is in physics, and it may, without exaggeration, be said that for all purposes of progress and of good the press of England has in reality become something more than a single estate of the realm, since it combines in itself, and exceeds the authority of all. But while raised to this lofty pinnacle of greatness, it does not, it dares not, it cannot from its very constitution permanently abuse its power; and though isolated attempts have been, from time to time, made in this direction, yet they have in the end, as was to be expected, reaped nothing but disaster and disgrace. 'Great is journalism,' says Carlyle. 'Is not every able editor a ruler of the world, being a persuader of it?' Yes, truly a ruler of the world, whose supremacy all other rulers must unhesitatingly acknowledge or perish miserably and forever. Yes, truly a persuader of the world, because he is the mouthpiece of the people, whose earnest, mighty voice is making itself heard more and more irresistibly every day, to the utter discomfiture and overthrow of the hydra-headed avatars of the priestcraft and kingcraft and all the other mouldy and rank-smelling relics of the dark ages. The press is the arch apostle of civilization, progress, and truth—the Greatheart, whose mission it is to combat and destroy the giants Pope and Pagan, Maul and Despair, and all other misleaders and oppressors of men. Language itself might be exhausted before all that could be said in favor of the uses, benefits, and value of the press had found fitting expression. The greatest and best of men have expatiated upon this noble theme, but probably the truest and most eloquent panegyric ever bestowed upon it is that of Sheridan:

'Give me but the liberty of the press, and I will give to the minister a venal House of Peers—I will give him a corrupt and servile House of Commons—I will give him the full sway of the patronage of office—I will give him the whole host of ministerial influence—I will give him all the power that place can confer upon him to purchase up submission and overawe resistance—and yet, armed with the liberty of the press, I will go forth to meet him undismayed—I will attack the mighty fabric he has reared with that mightier engine—I will shake down from its height corruption, and bury it amidst the ruins of the abuses it was meant to shelter.'

Had Sheridan never uttered or written anything besides these burning words, he would have merited immortal fame, and unquestionably obtained it.

The press is not a thing of yesterday, for it is the slow growth of two centuries; neither did it burst upon the world armed at all points, like the fabled Athene. Yet in other respects the comparison holds good, for the press, like Athene, unites in itself the attributes of power and wisdom combined; it fosters and protects science, industry, and art; it is the patron of all useful inventions; it is the preserver of the state, and everything that gives strength and prosperity to the state; it is the champion of law, justice, and order, and extends its protecting aegis over the weak, the downtrodden, and the oppressed. It has taken two centuries, as we have already said, to make the press what it is; and a terrible uphill fight has it had to wage. Tyranny, dogmatism, and intolerance in high places, and ignorance and superstition in low, have ever been its sworn enemies. It has had its saints and martyrs, more worthy of canonization in men's hearts than many written high in the calendar of Rome. But though persecuted, crushed, and at times apparently done to death, its vitality was indestructible, and after every knock-down blow it rose again from the earth, like Antaeus, with renewed strength. It was always a vigorous stripling, and even so far back as the days of David Hume its future greatness and magnificent destiny was clearly marked out, so that he wrote: 'Its liberties and the liberties of the people must stand or fall together.' Liberty and the press in England are convertible terms, and this is the true reason of the success and power it enjoys. It is also the cause of the persecutions it has had to undergo. Tyranny and the press are as necessarily opposed to each other as are the principles of good and evil. The word 'tyranny' is not here intended to refer only to the despotic rulers of states and kingdoms, but to include the oppression practiced by the strong upon the weak, the rich upon the poor, the great upon the small, whether nations or individuals. The press, moreover, is the guardian of social, political, and religious morality. The greatest as well as the most trifling affairs which conduce to the well-being and comfort of the multitude are eagerly canvassed. The faults and vices which disfigure and disgrace even the most advanced forms of civilization are unshrinkingly laid bare, and the proper remedies prescribed. The political conduct of nations and of public men is carefully scrutinized, and every false step that they may make is immediately noted, commented upon, and held up to public reprobation. Religious questions, although, ever since the world began, they have been approached in a very different spirit to those of any other description, and have been debated with greater heat and passion than the bitterest political disputes, and with a lamentable disregard of logic and common sense, are now-a-days treated with a candor and fairness that has never yet characterized them. The press is, in fact, the great physician of the mind, whose duty it is to impart a healthy tone to the inner nature of man, to check the ravages of disease in it, and, wherever it may imagine any traces of poison to lurk, to administer a prompt and immediate antidote. It may not always and at once prosper in its endeavors. Wrong-doing may still, in some cases, prove too strong, vices may have become inveterate, diseases chronic, and the poison may have been too completely absorbed. But not, therefore, is the press discouraged: like Robert Bruce's spider, it returns again and again to its task, and—success does and must crown it in the end.

But while faithfully performing these lofty duties, in the discharge of which it employs the trained minds and practised pens of the greatest literary talent of the time, the press has other functions, which, if not of such paramount importance, yet possess no small utility and value. By no means the least of these is that of merely furnishing the news of the day; and that this was the primary intention of the newspaper its very name proves. Comment, argument, and reasoning were after additions. There are thousands of persons at the present day even, who patronize a newspaper solely for its news, and who do not trouble their heads about any other portion of its contents. The births, marriages, and deaths are eagerly perused by many who expect to meet in that domestic chronicle with the names of their friends and acquaintances. The court news and the movements of royalty and the upper ten thousand have great charms for a large section of the community. Accidents and offences and sensation headings, such as 'horrible murder,' 'melancholy suicide,' 'terrific explosion,' 'fatal shipwreck,' 'awful railway collision,' and the like, have powerful attractions for that class which is—alas for human nature!—only too numerous, and which likes to sup full of horrors—in print. In the same category with these may be placed police news, and the proceedings in the divorce court, the full reports of which are a blemish from which not even the greatest of English journals are free. There have been found able and honest men to defend these reports on the ground of the 'interests of morality,' than which there is not a more abused phrase in print. But to the man of ordinary common sense it would appear that more harm than good results from them. Where can the viciously disposed man or the novice in crime apply with better prospects of instruction in the pursuit of his evil designs than to the columns of the newspaper? It is perhaps not too much to say that for every two persons whom these reports deter from crime, there are three who have been either initiated or hardened in wickedness and sin by their means. This is a matter which calls loudly for reform; and let it, with all sorrow and humility, be confessed, one in which the better American journals shine vastly superior to their English brethren. To the general reader for amusement's sake only, those scraps de omnibus rebus et quibusdam aliis with which editors fill up odd corners supply ample gratification. But those who read for amusement's sake only, or from mere idle curiosity, are by no means the majority, and a tolerable insight may be obtained into a man's character and bias of mind by observing what is the part of the paper to which he first turns when he unfolds it. The man who is absorbed in business pursuits turns to the prices of stocks and shares, the values of articles of merchandise, and the rates of discount and exchange. He will also probably glance at the 'latest intelligence' and the most recent telegrams, but only with the view of forming an opinion as to how the world of commerce and speculation will be affected thereby. The politician finds matter to his taste in the leading articles, the Parliamentary debates and the letters of foreign correspondents, and, perhaps, after a careful perusal of them, flatters himself that he has at last mastered the intricacies of the Schleswig-Holstein question, or has arrived at an understanding of the Emperor Napoleon's policy in Rome. The scientific man and the literary man have their attention fixed by the reports of the meetings of the various learned societies, the accounts of new discoveries and inventions, and the reviews of new publications. This enumeration might be extended almost ad infinitum, but to sum up briefly, whatever a man's taste or predilections may be, he will be able to gratify them to his heart's content.

There is, however, one portion of the newspaper which must not be passed over without especial notice, and which is so varied in its contents that it appeals to all classes. This is the advertisements. The man who wishes to buy may here ascertain whither he must bend his steps to obtain the article he desires, and the man who wishes to sell may here meet with a purchaser; and it is truly wonderful to observe how the two great requirements of demand and supply, in all their varied ramifications, are satisfied or seem to be satisfied in these columns. If one may put faith in them, it is possible to gratify every mortal wish and every mortal want through their instrumentality, on one condition, and that condition is—money. But even this condition may be satisfied through the same medium. Are there not untold fortunes invested in Government securities and unclaimed for years, only waiting for the lawful owners or rightful heirs to come forward and obtain them through the agency of those obliging gentlemen who make it their business to investigate such matters? Are there not also numbers of benevolent philanthropists eagerly longing for opportunities to lend money in large or small amounts, on personal security only, to such persons even as are not fortunate enough to be rightful owners or lawful heirs? The curious part of the affair, however, is that there are also so many people who want to borrow money upon the same terms. Do these two classes, we wonder, ever come together through the intervention of the advertisement, and does the result wished for on both sides follow, or does it not? If it does, why need both sets of advertisements appear at all? And if it does not, what is the use of repeating either of them day after day and week after week? The man of imagination must take especial delight in the advertising columns. What splendid feasts they afford him to banquet upon! Some of them, in a few pithy lines, contain the plot of a three-volume novel or the materials for a grand sensation melodrama. What tragedies and what comedies he may weave out of one or two mysterious and almost unintelligible sentences! What reveries he may indulge in, what castles in the air—the most harmless and inexpensive of building operations—he may construct, provided he start with the hypothesis, 'If I were to buy this,' or 'If I were to invest in that,' and all the time he has neither the intention nor the ability of purchasing the one or of investing in the other! How seductive are the notifications by auctioneers and land agents of the 'charming and valuable territorial estates, with the disposal of which they have had the honor of being intrusted'! The dweller in towns, who, chained to the one unceasing, unvarying round of official toil, still sighs for the country, and, like Virgil, envies the 'fortunati agricolae,' may here give the reins to his fancy, and indulge his rural proclivities ad libitum. When the day's labors are over, and he sits in slippered ease 'by his own fireside,' what greater enjoyment can he have than to abandon himself in true Barmecidal fashion to the tempting dainties which the last page of the supplement to the Times offers to his keen appetite! How he revels in the luscious descriptions of 'noble parks,' 'swelling lawns,' 'ancestral woods,' 'silver lakes,' and 'endless panoramas of scenery unequalled in the world'! How proudly he lingers over the pictures of 'baronial castles,' and 'time-honored manorial residences, indissolubly linked with the proudest names and proudest deeds of England's history'! If he be a sportsman—and what Englishman is not, more or less?—how intoxicating to him is the enumeration of 'game of all sorts, and countless myriads of wild fowl,' only waiting his advent to fall victims to his prowess! If he be a philanthropist, what visions of model farms, model cottages and model schools, of a happy and contented peasantry, of comely, smiling matrons, and troops of ruddy-cheeked children may he not conjure up! If he be ambitious, what dreams of greatness crowd upon him—the revered benefactor of the parish, the respected chairman of the bench of magistrates, nay, even the county member returned to Parliament without a dis-sentient voice! His fancy runs riot, and there is no limit to the bright future which the skilful hand of the cunning knight of the hammer unfolds before his enraptured gaze.

To the energetic, enterprising man, how tempting must be those prospectuses of schemes for the development of the vast and in many cases untried natural, industrial, and commercial resources of the country, which, combining in an eminent degree both pleasure and profit, invite his cooeperation upon the joint-stock principle! How delightful to him must be those announcements of wonderful inventions—secured by a patent—and of old-established business firms, which offer a safe investment for his spare hundreds and thousands by way of partnership, with the certainty of immediate and enormous returns! To the invalid and the valetudinarian, how cheering must be those modest and disinterested encomiums upon the virtues of certain nostrums and specifics, which cannot but carry conviction to his mind that there is a certain cure for 'all the ills that flesh is heir to!' And lastly, not to enlarge the list any further, what a glow of heartfelt pleasure and gratitude must the really good and benevolent man experience when he peruses the reports of charitable societies, with their statistics of poverty, misery, and privation, which afford him a channel for the dispensation in works of mercy of the superfluous wealth with which a bountiful Providence has blessed him!

Such being the manifold uses and advantages of the newspaper, we are tempted for a moment to pause and reflect upon what would be the condition of the world without it. What a dreary waste it would be! Man is an inquisitive animal, and at the present day is just like the Athenians of old, going about seeking for some new thing. What would become of him if the provender supplied him by his newspaper were suddenly cut off? The consequences to society and to individuals would be frightful to contemplate, and the mind especially recoils with horror from the fate which would assuredly overtake those elderly club-loungers, whose sole aim and object in life appears to be the daily perusal of their favorite journal. How disastrous would be the effects of such a stoppage to those persons who are compelled to pass the greater portion of their lives together! They could not possibly contrive to get through the day, and before long life itself would become burdensome to them. Vast numbers of people have no ideas of their own, and are therefore compelled to borrow them elsewhere. How important is the part which the newspaper plays in that elsewhere! Paterfamilias comes down to breakfast—his newspaper fresh, clean, and tidily folded, lies invitingly on the table—he eagerly seizes it, and is forthwith furnished with topics of conversation with his family. When he is thoroughly posted up in the news of the day, he sallies forth, and is ready to interchange ideas at secondhand with any acquaintance he may meet. What would become of Paterfamilias, his family, and his friends, if they were deprived of this resource? The whole framework of society would be unhinged, business and pleasure would alike come to a standstill, and the world would again relapse into barbarism and chaos.

But let us turn from these fanciful speculations to a sober recital of facts in connection with the history of the press.

The derivation of the word 'newspaper' has been the subject of much dispute. Some learned and ingenious writers, disdaining the obvious 'new,' have gone very far afield in their researches. Among other derivations which have been suggested, is one taken from the four cardinal points of the compass, N. E. W. S.; because the intelligence conveyed came from all quarters of the globe. This suggestion is contained in an old epigram:

'The word explains itself without the Muse, And the four letters tell from whence comes News; From N. E. W. S. the solution's made, Each quarter gives account of war and trade.'

And also, probably in jest, in the 'Wit's Recreations,' published in 1640:

'Whence news doth come if any would discusse, The letters of the word resolve it thus: News is conveyed by letter, word, or mouth, And comes to us from North, East, West, and South.'

For the first origin of newspapers in Europe we must look to Rome, and there can be no reasonable doubt that the earliest germs of news sheets are to be found among that wonderful people, who have left such enduring monuments of themselves wherever they carried their victorious eagles. The Roman news sheets were called Acta Diurna, and were issued by the Government, and affixed to the walls in the most public places in the city. They were also carefully stored in a building set apart for the purpose, where any person could have access to them, and make copies of them for the benefit of their friends in distant parts of the empire. It is probable also that the Roman historians availed themselves of them in their compilations. They were not only reports of the ordinary occurrences in the city, but journals of the proceedings in the courts and town councils as well, and they contain records of trials, elections, punishments, buildings, deaths, sacrifices, state ceremonials, prodigies, etc., etc. They are alluded to in the correspondence between Cicero and Coelius, when the great orator was governor of Cilicia. Coelius had promised to send him an account of the news of Rome, and encloses in his first letter a journal of the events which had transpired in the city during his absence. Cicero, in reply, complains that his friend had misinterpreted his wishes, and says that he had not desired him to send an account of the matches of gladiators, the adjournments of the courts, and occurrences of that kind, which nobody dared to talk to him about even when he was residing in Rome: what he wanted was a description of the course of politics and but the newspaper of Chrestus. He also refers to these sheets, that is to say, to accounts of public affairs in actis and ex actis, in two letters to Cassius and one to Brutus, written previously to the triumvirate. Suetonius also makes mention of them, and says that Julius Caesar, in his consulship, ordered the diurnal acts of the senate and the people to be published. Tacitus relates a speech of a courtier to Nero to induce him to execute Thrasea, and among other things he says: 'Diurna populi Romani per provinciam per exercitus accuratius leguntur ut noscatur quid Thrasea non fecerit.' Seneca and the younger Pliny also allude to them. Dr. Johnson, in the preface to the tenth volume of the Gentleman's Magazine, published in 1740, enters into a disquisition upon these acta diurna, and gives an account of the discovery of some of them with the date of 585 A. U. C., and adds some specimens from them. He quotes them from the 'Annals of Rome,' by Stephen Pighius, who declares that he obtained them from James Susius, by whom they were found among the MSS. belonging to Ludovicus Vives. Their authenticity has, as might be expected, been hotly disputed by many learned scholars at various times, but sufficient grounds have not been adduced for their rejection. The most suspicious circumstance connected with them is their resemblance, mutatis mutandis, to a newspaper of the present day. Thus among other things we are told that the consul went in grand procession to sacrifice at the temple of Apollo, just as now a-days we might read that Queen Victoria went in state to St. Paul's, or attended divine service at the chapel royal, St. James's. Then we are favored with an account of the setting forth of Lucius Paulus AEmilius, the consul, for the war in Macedonia, and a description of the departure of the embassy of Popilius Lena, Caius Decimus, and Caius Hostilius to Syria and Egypt, with a great attendance of relations and clients, and of their offering up a sacrifice and libations at the temple of Castor and Pollux before commencing their journey. Then we hear how an oak was struck by lightning on the summit of Mount Palatine, which was called Summa Velia, and have the particulars given us of a fire which took place on Mount Coelius, together with an account of the crucifixion of a certain noted pirate. Dramatic intelligence is represented by a description of the plays acted in honor of the goddess Cybele; and under the head of 'fashionable intelligence,' the Jenkins of the day chronicles the funeral of Marcia, a noble Roman matron, and remarks that the attendance of images was greater than that of mourners. He also adds an account of the entertainment given to the people by her sons upon the occasion. By way of police news, we find a record of a disturbance in a tavern, in which the tavern keeper was severely wounded; and how Tertinius, the aedile, fined some butchers for selling meat which had not been inspected by the overseers of the market. A counterpart of this transaction may be met with every day in the city of London, but the result of the affair is much the more satisfactory in Rome, for whereas we do not know for certain what becomes of the money obtained from the penalty in London, we learn that the aedile directed it to be devoted to the building of an additional chapel to the temple of the goddess Tellus. Dr. Johnson also quotes a second series of Acta Diurna, with the date of 691 A. U. C., from the 'Camdenian Lectures' of Dodwell in 1688 to 1691. Dodwell says that he obtained them from his friend Hadrian Beoerland, who got them from Isaac Vossius, by whom they were copied from certain MSS. in the possession of Petavius. Among other things contained in this second set, we find noted certain trials, with the number of the votes for and against the defendant, a bargain for the repairs of a certain temple, an announcement by one of the praetors that he shall intermit his sittings for five days, in consequence of the marriage of his daughter, and an account of the pleading of Cicero in favor of Cornelius Sulla, and of his gaining his cause by a majority of five judges.

Such are the earliest traces of newspapers to be found, and long centuries elapse before we again catch a glimpse of anything of the kind. Although it is the great Anglo-Saxon race alone which can boast of having developed the usefulness and liberty of the press to its fullest capabilities, both in England and America, yet it is not to us that the credit belongs of having been the first to reintroduce newspapers in Europe. Whether or no the Romans introduced their Acta Diurna into Britain, and whether or no any imitations of them sprang up then or in after times, it is impossible to say. Some writers have asserted that news sheets were in circulation in England at all events so early as the middle of the fifteenth century, but as their assertions rest upon no very trustworthy basis, they must be at once thrown aside. It is to Italy that we must again turn for the reappearance of the newspaper. It was in 1536, or thereabouts, that the Venetian magistracy caused accounts of the progress of the war which they were waging against Suleiman II, in Dalmatia, to be written and read aloud to the people in different parts of the city. The news sheet appeared once a month, and was called Gazetta, deriving its name, probably, from a coin so called, of the value of something less than a cent, either because that was the price of the sheet, or the sum paid for reading it, or for having it read. There are thirty volumes of this MS. newspaper preserved in the Maggliabecchi Library at Florence, and there are also some in the British Museum, the earliest date of which is 1570. Printed news letters, with date and number, but not so deserving of the title of newspaper, began to appear about the same time in Germany. They were called Relations, and were published at Augsburg and Vienna in 1524, at Ratisbon in 1528, Dollingen in 1569, and Nuremberg in 1571. The first regular German newspaper appeared at Frankfort, and was entitled Frankfurter Oberpostamtszeitung, in 1615. The first French was brought out by Renaudot, a physician, in 1632. The first Russian paper came out under the auspices of Peter the Great, in 1703, and was styled the St. Petersburg Gazette. Spain did not enter the lists until a year later, and the Gazeta de Madrid was born in 1704. It could not have been worth much as a newspaper, inasmuch as the defeat off Cape St. Vincent did not appear in its columns until four weeks after it had taken place.

There must have been some sort of news sheets in existence in England about the same time as the Venetian Gazetta, for in the thirty-sixth year of King Henry VIII, the following proclamation appeared:

'The King's most excellent Majestie, understanding that certain light persones, not regarding what they reported, wrote, or sett forth, had caused to be ymprinted and divulged certaine newes of the prosperous successes of the King's Majestie's army in Scotland, wherein, although the effect of the victory was indeed true, yet the circumstances in divers points were, in some parte over-slenderly, in some parte untruly and amisse reported; his Highness, therefore, not content to have anie such matters of so greate importance sett forthe to the slaunder of his captaines and ministers, nor to be otherwise reported than the truthe was, straightlie chargeth and commandeth all manner of persones into whose hands anie of the said printed bookes should come, ymmediately after they should hear of this proclamation, to bring the said bookes to the Lord Maior of London, or to the recorder or some of the aldermen of the same, to the intent they might suppress and burn them, upon pain that every person keeping anie of the said bookes twenty-four hours after the making of this proclamation, should suffer ymprisonment of his bodye, and be further punished at the King's Majestie's will and pleasure.'

None of these obnoxious 'printed bookes' have survived to the present time, and it has been contended that they were probably nothing more than ballads and copies of doggerel verses. But this is an hypercritical objection, or rather groundless guess, for it is evident that the proclamation points at something far more important. We may safely conclude that they were newspapers, and that journalism had already attained sufficient dimensions to alarm the powers that were, and draw down their hostility. And a few years later, Pope Gregory XIII fulminated a bull, called Minantes, against the news sheets, as spreading scandal and defamation, etc.

It was long fondly believed that the British Museum counted among its treasures a full-blown printed English newspaper, dating so far back as 1588. It was entitled the English Mercurie, and purported to be 'published by authoritie for the suppression of false reports, ymprinted at London by Christopher Barker, her Highness's Printer.' Writer after writer exulted in the fact, and was loud in the praises of the sagacity and wisdom of Burleigh, under whose direction it was supposed to have been issued. But unfortunately for antiquaries and literati, the matter was carefully investigated by Mr. Watts, of the British Museum, and he pronounced on unquestionable evidence the copies of the English Mercurie to be nothing but a barefaced forgery, of which he went even so far as to accuse, on good grounds, the second Lord Hardwicke of being the perpetrator. But though we must discard this fictitious account of the Spanish armada, etc., other news sheets did actually exist in the reign of Queen Elizabeth, a list of which has been compiled by Dr. Rimbault. The titles of some of them are: New Newes, containing a short rehearsal of Stukely and Morice's Rebellion, 1579; Newes from Scotland, declaring the damnable Life of Doctor Fian, a notable Sorcerer, who was burned in Edenborough in January last, 1591; Newes from Spain and Holland, 1593; Newes from Flanders, 1599; Newes out of Cheshire of the new-found Well, 1600; Newes from Gravesend, 1604. As time went on, these 'pamphlets of newes' increased in number. They treated of all kinds of intelligence; some derived their materials from foreign countries, and some from different parts of the kingdom at home; some were true, and some were false. Thus we find, among others, Lamentable Newes out of Monmouthshire, in Wales, containinge the wonderfull and fearfull Accounts of the great overflowing of the Waters in the said Countye, 1607; Newes from Spain, 1611; Newes out of Germanie, 1612; Wofull Newes from the west partes of England, of the burning of Tiverton, 1612; Good Newes from Florence, 1614; Strange Newes from Lancaster, containinge an Account of a prodigious Monster, born in the Township of Addlington, in Lancashire, with two bodyes joined to one back, 1613; Newes from Italy, 1618; Newes out of Holland, 1619; Vox Populi, or Newes from Spain, 1620. About this time the news sheets began to assume particular and distinctive titles, under which they appeared at uncertain intervals. We meet with The Courant, or Weekly Newes from Foreign Parts, 1621; The certain Newes of this present Week, 1622; The Weekly Newes from Italy, Germany, etc., 1622, a title which was shortly after exchanged for that of Newes from most Parts of Christendom, London, printed for Nathaniel Butler and William Sheppard. These names ought to be preserved, as being those of the great pioneers of regular journalism. It appears, however, that they did not always keep the same title for their newspaper, for sometimes it was called The Last Newes; at others, The Weekly Newes continued; More Newes; Our Last Newes, and other various renderings of the same theme. This great progenitor of a mighty race also adopted a system of numbering, and, though exposed to many dangers and vicissitudes, did not finally disappear until 1640. Butler and his contemporaries had to struggle with many obstacles, and to contend against many and powerful foes. In 1637, Archbishop Laud procured the passing of an ordinance limiting the number of master printers to twenty, and punishing with whipping and the pillory all such as should print without a license. Butler's name does not occur in this list; so we may conclude that he was particularly obnoxious to the haughty prelate and his party. But this persevering journalist, whose name had for a long time appeared alone as the printer of his newspaper, contrived to surmount this difficulty, for in a manifesto, dated January 11th, 1640, he says:

'Courteous reader! we had thought to have given over printing our foreign avisoes, for that the licenser (out of a partial affection) would not oftentimes let pass apparent truth, and in other things (oftentimes) so crosse and alter, which made us weary of printing; but he being vanished (and that office fallen upon another more understanding in these forraine affaires, and as you will find more candid) we are againe (by the favour of his Majestie and the state) resolved to go on printing, if we shall find the world to give a better acceptation of them (than of late) by their weekly buying of them. It is well known these novels are well esteemed in all parts of the world (but heere) by the more judicious, which we can impute to no other but the discontinuance of them, and the uncertaine daies of publishing them, which, if the post fail us not, we shall keep a constant day everie weeke therein, whereby everie man may constantly expect them, and so we take leave.'

This number of his journal is entitled The continuation of the Forraine Occurrents, for five Weeks past, containinge many remarkable Passages of Germanie, etc.; examined and licensed by a better and more impartiall hand than heretofore. Another noticeable thing in this manifesto is the first occurrence of the autocratic editorial 'we.'

Butler had also to contend with the opposition of the news writers or news correspondents, who doubtless found his undertaking interfere with their trade. These gentry covenanted for the sum of L3 or L4 a year to write a news letter every post day to their subscribers in the country. That this curious trade was thoroughly systematized is evident from the following passage in Ben Jonson's 'Staple of News,' published in 1635:

'This is the outer room where my clerks sit And keep their sides, the register i' the midst; The examiner he sits private there within— And here I have my several rolls and files Of news by the alphabet, and all put up Under their heads.'

The news writers flourished greatly at this period, but as newspapers began to get a footing, their credit gradually declined—and with reason, if we may put confidence in the following extract from the Evening Post, of September 6th, 1709:

'There must be L3 or L4 paid per annum by those gentlemen who are out of town for written news, which is so far generally from having any probability of matter of fact, that it is frequently stuffed up with a 'we hear,' or 'an eminent Jew merchant has received a letter,' being nothing more than downright fiction.'

To Butler belongs the credit of having been the first to introduce street newsboys, with this difference, that his employes were of the other sex, and were styled 'Mercurie women.'

Butler was a stanch royalist, and consequently suffered the vengeance of the Parliamentary party. He fell into great poverty, and, according to Anthony a Wood, died on board Prince Rupert's fleet in Kinsale harbor, in 1649, just as a brighter day was beginning to dawn upon journalism.

The struggle between the Parliament and the king set the press free from the multiplied restrictions by which it had been 'cabined, cribbed, confined' and almost stifled in its cradle. The country became flooded with publications of all kinds, of which, while many were trashy, ridiculous, and extravagant, there still remained a considerable portion which materially helped forward that mighty uprising of the people to which England owes her freedom, her glory, and her might.

And here, having introduced to the reader the first real newspaper, and the great ancestor of all after editors, and having attended the press through its obscure infancy and perilous childhood, we must pause, reserving for consideration in a future article the fair promise of its youth and the development of its still more glorious manhood.


Few subjects are more difficult of legislation than that of the military service of a nation. The most profound wisdom, the most enlightened statesmanship, the most intimate knowledge of society, are requisite in the legislator. It is easy, indeed, to regulate the military service in times of peace, when the army is small and volunteers are abundant. But when the ordinary methods fail to fill up the ranks, decimated by actual war, when the honor and perpetuity of a nation depend upon a conscription of its citizens, then comes the tug of war, and many legislatures have failed in their deliberations on this subject. In the first place, a Conscription Act is opposed to popular prejudice. Compulsory service of any kind, except for punishment, is contrary to our ideas of personal freedom. We believe in the sovereign privilege of doing what we please, and declining to do what we do not please, to its fullest possible extent. We love to tell our neighbors that we have no standing army to defend our national honor, but that it reposes safely on the voluntary patriotism of the people. We may admit the necessity for a Conscription Act—may confess its justice and impartiality; but few men who are liable to fall into its pitiless clutches, can speak of such an act without a shrug of uneasiness or a wicked expression of anger. Again, it must be universal in its application. It must meet all classes and conditions of society; must be adapted to all shades of religious and political belief; must be inflexible as Justice on his throne, yet tender and sympathetic as a mother to her child. It must take into consideration different branches of industry, and the fields of one section must not be depleted of husbandmen that those of another may be filled with warriors.

The act of March 3d meets these difficulties more successfully, perhaps, than any previous act, whether of a State or National Legislature. It is based upon the broad and well-admitted maxim, that every citizen owes his personal service to the Government which protects him. But while the Government impartially demands this service, the law provides for the exemption of those who would suffer by the unqualified enforcement of this demand.

Many persons outside of the specified limits of age, are physically able to do military service. But, as a class, it would have been cruel and impolitic to have forced men into a service which would have wrecked health and happiness for life, or, by a short and swift passage through the military hospitals, have shuffled them into premature graves. Few men under twenty-five have the power of endurance necessary for a long and wearisome campaign. The muscles are not sufficiently knit and hardened for the service, nor the constitution sufficiently fortified to withstand the exposure. Men over forty-five have lost the vigor and elasticity necessary to long and arduous exertion, and are constantly liable to become a burden instead of a benefit to the service.

No previous act has so equally disposed the military duty among the various classes affected by it. It is a well-known fact that the burdens of military service are wont to bear most heavily on the laboring classes. Probably no legislation can entirely remove this inequality. But the act of March 3d makes special provision for the indigent and helpless, and to a great extent relieves the suffering and inconvenience dependent on an enforced military conscription. Poverty is not left without relief, infancy without protection, old age without comfort. The dependent widow, the infirm parent, the homeless orphan, are adopted by the Government, and their support and protection provided for. And in order that the character and dignity of the army may comport with the greatness and purity of the cause for which it is fighting—that it may be both the power and the pride of the nation, it is expressly provided, that 'no person who has been guilty of any felony shall be enrolled or permitted to serve in said forces.' For the benefit of those whose peculiar business or family relations require their services at home, Congress wisely inserted 'the $300 clause.' In this they but followed the established custom in most nations since the days of feudalism. No part of the act has been more violently assailed than this, none more unjustly. It is asserted that this clause discriminates against the poor, in favor of the rich; that it recognizes unjust distinctions between the classes of society, and assigns military duty unequally among the citizens. No assertion could more glaringly display the author's ignorance and lack of judgment.

The law, as originally drawn, required the service of the man drafted or an acceptable substitute within ten days. Had 'the $300 clause' not been inserted, the competition for substitutes would have been so great that their price would have risen far beyond the ability of men in moderate circumstances to pay, and many would have been forced into service who thus have an opportunity for exempting themselves. It has kept the price of substitutes at a low figure, and thus has proven itself emphatically the poor man's provision.

Nor is the law harsh toward those who may be drafted. Abundant time is given for the settlement of any pressing business, the proper disposition of family affairs, or the procuring of a substitute. It is mild toward the infirm and afflicted, making ample provision for the exemption of those who, from any cause, are unfit for service.

It assures to drafted men the same pay, bounty, clothing, and equipments as volunteers receive, and in all respects puts them on the same footing. It thus removes the unjust distinction wont to be made between the drafted man and volunteer, looking upon each as a true soldier of his country, equally interested in its honor and perpetuity. And in order that justice may be secured to the citizen as well as to the Government, the entire business of the enrolment and draft is under the supervision of a board of three men, generally residents of the district.

The prevailing spirit of the act, cropping out in almost every section, is the tenderness with which it handles the subject. It scrupulously seeks to avoid all violence, injustice, and suffering, and while it firmly asks the service of the people, distributes that service equally among all. And herein is its superiority over all previous militia acts. State and national officers, members of Congress, custom-house officials, postmasters, clerks, and the favored and fortunate generally, were heretofore exempt, instead of those who, by misfortune or otherwise, were in circumstances of dependence and want.

But the act of March 3d, thus general in its application, thus humane in its provisions, is not without omissions and imperfections. But these arise rather from the language of its provisions, than from its general design. Let us briefly examine these provisions as they are given in the second section of the act.

Clause second exempts 'the only son liable to military duty of a widow dependent upon his labor for support.'

The Judge Advocate General has decided, that 'a woman divorced from her husband who is still living, is not in the sense of the law a widow—a widow being defined to be a woman who has lost her husband by death.' Her only son, therefore, upon whom she may be dependent for her support, cannot be exempted. A divorced woman, whose husband is still living, may thus be left entirely without support, unless she have several sons 'liable to draft,' in which case, she may elect one for exemption.

Clause third exempts 'the only son of aged or infirm parent or parents dependent upon his labor for support.'

It has been decided that a son cannot be exempted under this clause unless both the parents are 'aged or infirm.' Thus it may happen that, by reason of bodily or mental infirmity, a father, with a family of helpless children, may be totally dependent upon the exertions of the mother and a draftable son. But the law pitilessly takes the son without possibility of exemption, throwing the entire burden of support upon the mother.

But no clause of this section is more liable to objection than the fourth, which reads as follows: 'Where there are two or more sons of aged or infirm parents subject to draft, the father, or if he be dead, the mother, may elect which son shall be exempt.' It will be observed that the provision—'dependent upon his labor for support'—is omitted in this clause. Now, to interpret its language by the legal method of construction, by the context, it would seem that such dependence were necessary in order to secure the exemption. For the two clauses immediately preceding exempt 'the only son of a widow or of aged or infirm parent or parents dependent upon his labor for support. The two immediately following, exempt 'the brother or father of orphan children under twelve years of age dependent upon his labor for support.' That is, four of the five clauses referring strictly to this subject, grant exemption to the applicant only when some one depends upon him for support. Hence it may be presumed, according to an admitted custom of legal interpretation, that in the remaining clause, standing between the other four, the question of dependence, though not expressly stated, is clearly implied.

But an 'opinion,' published by the Provost-Marshal General's Bureau for the guidance of the boards of enrolment, declares that 'the right to this exemption does not rest upon the parents' dependence on the labor of their sons for their support. The law does not contemplate any such dependence.'

What is the result of this decision?

First, it places the wealthy and independent on the same footing with the indigent and needy, exacting from the one no more service than from the other.

Second, it is more lenient toward the wealthy citizen who has several sons liable to draft, than toward the helpless widow who may have but one.

Third, it makes a distinction against that family which may have contributed most to the military service.

By the 'opinion' just quoted, the only fact to be established by parents electing one of several sons 'subject to draft,' is that they are 'aged or infirm'. When this is done, boards of enrolment must grant the exemption. The parents may live in affluence independent of their children; the sons may all be in the second class except the one elected; they may reside in different districts or States; they may belong to different households: yet, if the same parents, or some indigent widow adjoining them, had but one son 'liable to military duty,' or, having several, had sent them all into the army save one, that one remaining could not be exempt unless it were proven that they actually depended on him for their support. Why should a helpless widow, having but one son, be required to prove her dependence on him for support in order to have him exempted, when her wealthy neighbor, who has two sons, can have one of them exempted without this dependence?

Another published 'opinion' says: 'Election of the son to be exempted must be made before the draft.' Now amid the chances of a draft it may happen that the brother or brothers of the elected son may not be drawn. Thus the Government loses the services of the entire family. In many cases no election would be necessary unless all the sons were drafted, in which case it could be made as well after as before the draft. Besides, if there be a considerable interval between the time of election and the time of draft, the ground of exemption may no longer exist when the Government calls for the service of the man.

On clause sixth an 'opinion' has been issued, stating that 'the father of motherless children under twelve years of age, dependent upon his labor for their support, is exempt, notwithstanding he may have married a second time and his wife be living.'

A stepmother is not believed to be a 'mother' in the sense of the act. Another 'opinion' declares that the father of children of an insane mother under twelve years of age dependent on his labor for support, is not exempt.

A moment's reflection on these two 'opinions' is sufficient to establish their injustice. A stepmother may and should, in all important respects, take the place of the actual mother. Yet the father is exempt. Children of an insane mother, however, may be left entirely without maternal care and protection, and the father, upon whom may rest the burden of children and wife, is not exempt.

Clause seventh reads as follows: 'Where there are a father and sons in the same family and household, and two of them are in the military service of the United States, as non-commissioned officers, musicians, or privates, the residue of such family or household, not exceeding two, shall be exempt.'

In reading this clause, the question naturally arises: Why is this provision made applicable only to families in which the father is still living? Why should not a widow, having two uncommissioned sons in the army, have her remaining son exempt, as well as if her husband were still living? Judge Holt has decided that 'a widow having four sons, three of whom are already in the military service, the fourth is exempt, provided she is dependent on his labor for support.' If the father were living, the remaining son would be absolutely exempt.

The evident design of this clause is to take into consideration the amount which each family may have contributed to the service. But this generous intention is practically ignored by another 'opinion,' which makes it necessary that two members of the same family must be now in service, in order that the exempting clause may apply. Thus, by the calamities of war, a father and several sons may have been killed or rendered helpless for life, yet if there remains a son liable to draft in the same family, he cannot be exempted unless his mother depends on him for her support. It must be admitted that the parent or parents who have had two sons killed in their country's service, have made quite as great a sacrifice as those who have two sons still engaged in that service. And if the question of support is involved, it is reasonable to suppose that two sons in the army would do quite as much for needy parents as two sons in the grave.

These are some of the inconsistencies of the law, as it has been interpreted by authority. Other cases also may arise that seem to demand an exempting clause equally with those in the act. Of such are the following:

First, the husband and father of a family depending upon his labor for their support.

Second, the only support of an aged or infirm spinster or bachelor.

It is not unusual for persons of this class to adopt the son of a relative or stranger. And when the infirmities of age render such persons unfit for toil, the youth whom they brought up, and who is now by his labor repaying their early attentions to him, should, not be taken away.

Third, the only support of helpless children, having neither parents nor grown brothers.

Orphans are often thrown upon the charity of a relative, and it seems right that their support should not be taken from them. In view of the many difficulties presented by the subject of exemptions, the many diverse claims that arise, and the impossibility of making a special provision for each, would it not be better to adopt a few general principles on the subject, and submit all claims to the judgment of the boards of enrolment? Thus, instead of clauses second to sixth, inclusive of the second section, there might be a single proviso that—No person who is dependent by reason of age, bodily, or mental infirmity, shall, by the operations of this act, be deprived of his or her necessary and accustomed support. This would include all possible cases, and would secure to each the necessary maintenance, as designed by the law. It would do away with the necessity of an unlimited issue of circulars of explanation from the Department at Washington, throwing each case upon the judgment of the board, who are to be presumed able to decide intelligently on proper evidence being given before them. It would avoid the unjust and injurious distinctions noticed under clause fourth, and in the end would secure more men to the Government with less liability of wrong to the citizen. Clause seventh also could easily be so modified as to avoid the objections noticed above.

Another evident objection to the act of March 3d, is the limited power given to boards of enrolment as such. All clerks, deputy marshals, and special officers, are appointed by the Provost-Marshal alone. Yet a large—perhaps the chief part of their duty is directly connected with the enrolment and draft. The judgment of the remaining members of the board would certainly be of some value in making these appointments, as they are always residents of the district, and hence acquainted with the peculiar wants of the service and the character of the applicants. The duties of the commissioner should also be more definitely stated. Special duties are assigned to the marshal and surgeon, but no further definition of the commissioner's labor is given than that he is a member of the board. Thus there is liability to a conflict of authority and a shirking of responsibility, which could easily be avoided by more explicit divisions of duty. The board system is undoubtedly a good one. It gives the people a larger representation in the business of conducting a draft, tends to secure justice to all, and thus relieves the popular prejudice and feeling of opposition to the law itself.

But why should not every board of enrolment throughout the country also be a board of enlistment? The time is fast approaching when the bulk of our present army will return home. It is important that as many of these men be reenlisted as can be, with any new troops that may offer themselves. The Government should avail itself of every opportunity for making voluntary enlistments. And by having a recruiting office within every district, convenient to every man's residence, a surgeon always at hand to examine applicants, offering the authorized Government bounties, much could still be done in this way toward keeping an army in the field, without any additional expense or without in the least interfering with the draft.

The act of March 3d is a law for the present, not for the future. It is an act for the emergency, not for coming time.

During the long years of peace and prosperity that we have enjoyed, the great truth that every able-bodied man owes military service to his country as sacredly as he owes protection to his family, has slumbered in the minds of the people. For half a century there was scarcely anything to remind us of it, and we were fast verging into that hopeless national condition, when

'Wealth accumulates and men decay.'

This act brings duty home to the conscience of the nation. It is an impressive enforcement of a great political principle. But if our quickened sense of obligation fail to make us act, if we refuse to receive the lessons of wisdom which the developments of the hour force upon us, if we fail to improve our military organization and instruction, and render our able-bodied men effective for military service at a moment's call—then this act will have done us little permanent good. Our men of education and high social position, instead of aiding to make the militia system respectable by the personal performance of military duty and by using their influence to give tone and character to the service, have evaded its requirements on themselves, and have aided in sinking it into disrepute and contempt. And here is where our militia laws are imperfect. They have done but little toward cherishing the military spirit, developing the military virtues, or securing an effective military force ready at any time to take the field.

In the future of our country we want no large standing army. It is contrary to the genius of our institutions and to national precedent. We must throw the duty of national support and defence directly on the people—to them commit our country's honor. The Swiss motto—'No regular army, but every citizen a soldier'—must be the foundation of our military system. The course of the present war has fully demonstrated the patriotism and loyalty of the people. The Government can rely upon its citizens in any emergency. What we want is discipline, organization, instruction. The act of March 3d does not secure these essential requisites. It has enrolled the people, but has not made them soldiers. We will not here attempt to describe how this can be secured. But we may take it for granted that there must be greater facilities for the military education of the young and the training of officers, a proper division of the country into military districts, and stated times for the drill and review of the citizen soldiery. Thus we shall be able to maintain our national existence against invasion from without and rebellion from within, and, being prepared for war, will be so much the more likely to live in peace.


With the present number, THE CONTINENTAL enters upon a new volume. No efforts will be spared by its editors to increase its value to its many patrons. The high character of its political articles, always emanating from distinguished men and from reliable sources; its loyal tone and catholic spirit; the great ability with which the subjects of the deepest interest to the Government and community are discussed in its pages—entitle it to a high, if not the highest place among the journals of the country.

It is intended to give utterance to the wants, wishes, tastes, views, hopes, culture of every part of our Union. Having no band of sectional collaborators, with local views and prejudices, narrowed horizons and similar cultivation, it is confined to no clique of thinkers however vigorous, no set of men however cultured, but receives thought and light from every part of our vast country, without favor or prejudice. It is the Continental, and thus represents and addresses itself to the mind of the continent.

The contributions flowing in, in a continuous stream from every quarter, are subjected to but one great test—the test of real and substantial merit. Thoroughly Christian in the noblest sense of that noble word, it is never sectarian. Accepting Christianity as a certain fact, it rejects no scientific inquiry into its bases, convinced that all true and thorough investigation will but lead men back to faith in a divine Redeemer. Shallow thought and nascent inquiry may be sceptical, but the deep mind is reverential and faithful. The problems of doubt torture the soul, and call for solution. Infinite and finite stand in strange relations in the mind of man; with his finite powers he would grasp the infinite of God. He fails to find the equation of his terms, and, baffled in his search, in the insanity of intellectual pride, denies his Maker. He puts the infinite mysteries of revelation into the narrow crucible of the finite, the residuum is—nothing; he calls it immutable laws, as if laws could exist without a lawgiver, and bows before a pitiless phantom, where he should love and worship the great I AM!

Examine fearlessly into nature, O earnest thinker, for the created is but the veil of the Creator. Revelation and nature are from the same God, and both demand our serious attention. Revelation is indeed the Word of Nature; the sole key to its many wards of mystery. Truth never contradicts itself. Let the savant, whether in material nature or metaphysical realms, examine, classify, and arrange his facts—they, when fairly computed, thoroughly investigated, can lead but to one conclusion.

Nor will the literary department of this magazine be permitted to languish. Tales, poems, and articles on art and artists, are solicited from all who feel they have something to say, to which the human heart will gladly listen. The talent of the East, West, North, and South shall flow through our pages. Genius shall be welcomed and acknowledged, though it may not as yet have registered its name on the radiant walls of the Temple of Fame. It is the design of THE CONTINENTAL to represent humanity in its different phases; to manifest to its readers the thoughts of their fellow beings; to hold up the mirror of our mental being to the complex human soul. Varied modes of thought and views of life will be represented in our pages, for as men, nothing that concerns humanity can be alien to us. We thus hope to be enabled to offer our readers a wide range of subjects, treated from varied standpoints, handled by writers widely scattered in space and severed in social position. May the divergent rays be blended in a bow of beauty, of peace and promise to the ark of truth! No personal bitterness shall find place among us, no immoral lessons sully our record. There may be often want of pruning, but even the undue luxuriance shall tell of the rich soil of genius, ever germing and budding into prolific growth.

Meantime let our patrons continue to trust us, and have patience with our shortcomings. All that is human is liable to error, and the very width and breadth of our base increases the difficulty of the temple we would rear.

Lend us your sympathies and moral aid, courteous reader, for many and complicated are the difficulties with which an editor has to contend. For example: 'Your review is quite too serious for success,' says the first; 'its subjects are too heavy and grave; our people read for amusement; you should give us more stories and light reading.'

'Your review is too light,' says the second; 'the times are pregnant with great events, humanity is on its onward march, and a magazine such as yours ought to be, should have no space to throw away upon sentimental tales and modern poetry. Your articles should lead our statesmen on to the deeper appreciation of political truths, expose vital fallacies, and not strive to amuse silly women and effeminate men.'

'You do not deal sufficiently with metaphysics,' says a third; 'you should reproduce in popular and intelligible form the vast thoughts of Kant, Fichte, Hegel, Schelling, Oken, Ronski, and Trentowski.'

'Why do you give us so much metaphysics?' cries the fourth; 'modern philosophy is essentially infidel; you should not introduce its poisonous elements among our people.'

'Such a review as you conduct,' remarks a fifth, 'should be the vehicle of the thinkers and progressives; they alone are the men to benefit and attract the attention of the community.'

'Take great care to have nothing to do with the men calling themselves progressive thinkers,' remarks a sixth; 'they are full of vital errors, spiritualists, socialists, disorganizers. They have in reality nothing new to offer; they are the old-clothes men of thought, harlequins juggling in old Hindoo raiment, striding along in old German May-fair rags, long since discarded—motley's their only wear—stalking Cagliostros and Kings of Humbug.'

'You are growing old fogy in your views,' says the seventh; 'we can bear sermons enough in church of Sundays; we do not buy magazines to read them there.'

'Your journal is fast becoming an Abolition organ,' says the eighth.

'Do you mean to oppose the Administration and distress the Government?' says the ninth.

'You give us no history,' sighs the tenth.

'What do you mean by your long historical disquisitions?' vociferates the eleventh. 'Nobody cares for the past now. Our hands are full of the present. We are ourselves living the most important history which this globe has yet seen.'

Courteous reader, so it goes on forever, through all the unceasing changes of thought, heart, mind, soul, taste, which characterize the great, acting, struggling, thinking, conservative, progressive, believing, doubting, Young American people.

Meanwhile we will earnestly strive to hold up the glass of the constantly shifting times before you, that you may be enabled to see the flitting shadows of the hour as they pass across it, grave or gay, portentous or hopeful, draped in solid political vesture, the toga of the statesman, or robed in the blue gossamer of metaphysics, in the drapery of sorrow or light hues of joy, in the tried armor of the Divine, or the dubious motley of the progressive, in the soft, floating, lustrous, aerial texture of the woman, or the monotonous Shanghai of the man—while we will forever strive to point you to the Cross of Peace, the Heavenly City, and the starry diadem of Eternal Truth. You may read in our pages of 'immutable laws,' for such is the term now in vogue, but you will remember that these words are but a veil used by the scientist to hide the Eternal and Unchangeable Will, the Personal God, the Hearer of Prayer, the Father of Creation. The kaleidoscope of nature, however rudely shaken, through all its multiplicity of fragments, forever falls back into the holy figure of God:

'Mirrors God maketh all atoms in space, And fronteth each one with His perfect Face.'

How long, lovely, and glowing has our autumn been, with its dreamy days and soft shadowy mists. In its surpassing beauty it is peculiar to our own loved land, and thus doubly dear to the hearts of Americans. Our mountains borrowed the rainbow, dressing themselves in its changing hues, holding up the great forests, like clustered bouquets, in their giant palms, as if offering their dying children to God in the very hour of their mature beauty. Crimsons and purples, oranges, golds, yellows, browns, greens, and scarlet dye the trees; gathered sheaves and golden pumpkins, marguerites, feathery golden rods, and bright blue gorse are on every field. Have we not, in very truth, a country for which a patriot should gladly die, and the devout heart never cease to quiver in prayer that God may vouchsafe to bless?

One of our patriot poets has sent us the stirring hymn of the Cumberland. Let him chant it here, while we grave in our hearts the grateful memory of the brave crew who perished with her, martyrs in a holy cause:


Fast poured the traitors' shot and shell, Where at their posts our gunners fell: Our starboard portholes make reply— Each takes his comrade's place to die; All time shall yield no battle field Grand as thy deck, our Cumberland!

Oh, crashing shock! our beams divide, And death flows inward with the tide. O'er gory decks,'mid sulphur smoke, The climbing waters madly broke; Our banner spread, still waved o'er head, Above the sinking Cumberland.

The wounded cheer,—the dying wave, While sinking to their watery grave, With straining sight and grateful prayer, Exultant that the Flag is there;— Nor thought of life to glory's strife, But of their ship, the Cumberland.

The vessel sinks;—her latest breath Hurls through the cannons' mouth of death Defiance at the traitor foes! O'er guns the throttling waters close— The hungry wave devours the brave— The gallant crew of Cumberland!

No sailor yields; they gladly die; Above them still the colors fly! High o'er the black and surging flood, That reels as drunk with patriots' blood, Those glorious bars and Freedom's stars Float o'er the sunken Cumberland!

Deeds like these will live forever— Loyal hearts forget them never! Hark! echoes from the brave and free, Greet us from far Thermopylae: All time shall ring while bards shall sing The Martyrs of the Cumberland!

In Glory's sky, 'mid heroes bright, Immortal galaxy of light, Through future ages shall they be, The Color Bearers of the Free! The sleeping brave, in ocean's wave, Who manned the Frigate Cumberland.

Our monthly will enter many a home during the coming holidays—the eight days consecrated to the memory of the most sublime record in the history of mankind, the union of the Divine with the human, the introduction of a human heart into the impenetrable but truly philosophical mystery of the Trinity. Do we ever sufficiently realize the duties which this marvellous union has enjoined upon us, the privileges with which it has endowed us?

We shall enter many a home—some joyous with the mirth of children, the hopefulness of youth, the serene happiness of useful and contented men and women;—some shadowed by recent sorrow, where perhaps patriots, as in the olden time, learn to endure for the sake of a beloved country;—or others, perchance, where worldliness, discord, and egotism have severed hearts that should be united. God grant the number of the latter may be few! Happy should we be, could we know that our arrival would bring one more smile to the lips of the gay, a single ray of support or consolation to the souls of the sorrowing—could we cause the world-worn to dream of better and brighter things than mere matter can ever afford, give the thinker a pregnant thought, soothe earth's weary art-children with the hope of wider comprehension and sympathy, lead the rich to open upward paths to their poorer brethren, or the poor nobly to bear or to better their humble condition—in a word, could we offer but single drops of that wine of immortal life for which every human soul is thirsting.

Frost and cold now are upon us; Christmas passing with its typal evergreens and mystic chants; the old year dying fast with its weird secrets buried until the Day of Doom; the New Year close upon us, with its demands and duties. May the Heavenly Father bless its fleeting hours, and enable us to sow them closely with the precious seeds of good deeds,—germs to blossom on the Eternal Shore!


NOVEMBER 25, 1863.

[The following report of the proceedings at the Thanksgiving Dinner in London arrived too late to be incorporated in the body of THE CONTINENTAL; in consequence, however, of its immediate interest to our readers, we have decided upon giving it to them, even if it must appear as a supplement. It is surely a very pleasant thing to know that our patriots abroad consecrated the festival by grateful thanks to the Giver of all good; and that public and loyal utterances were made of the great national truths which, in our present crisis, it is of such vital importance to make known to the men and governments of other countries.—ED. CONTINENTAL.]

In pursuance of the proclamation of the President of the United States, addressed to all citizens, at home and abroad, the loyal Americans now in England, to the number of several hundred, assembled at St. James Hall to dinner. The Hon. Robert J. Walker presided, assisted by Hon. Freeman H. Morse (our Consul here), and Girard Ralston, Esq. On the right of Mr. Walker sat the American Minister, Mr. Adams, and on the left, George Thompson, Esq., late M. P. from London. After the reading of the proclamation, the prayer, and the hymn, Mr. Walker addressed the company as follows:

LADIES AND GENTLEMEN: By the request of my countrymen, I shall preface the toasts prepared for the occasion, by a few introductory remarks. This day has been set apart by the President of the United States for thanksgiving to Almighty God for all the blessings which he has vouchsafed to us as a people. Among these are abundant crops, great prosperity in all our industrial pursuits, and a vast addition, even during the war, to our material wealth. Our finances have been conducted with great ability and success by the Secretary of the Treasury, Mr. Chase, who has also succeeded in giving us, for the first time in our history, a uniform national currency, which, as a bond of union, and as an addition to our wealth and resources, is nearly equal to all the expenses of the great contest. During the present year, nearly 400,000,000 of dollars of the six per cent. stock of the United States has been taken at home, at or above par; whilst, within the last few months, European capitalists, unsolicited by us, are making large investments in the securities of the Union. But, above all, we have to thank God for those great victories in the field, which are bringing this great contest to a successful conclusion.

This rebellion is indeed the most stupendous in history. It absorbs the attention and affects the political institutions and material interests of the world. The armies engaged exceed those of Napoleon. Death never had such a carnival, and each week consumes millions of treasure. Great is the sacrifice, but the cause is peerless and sublime. (Cheers.) If God has placed us in the van of the great contest for the rights and liberties of man, if he has assigned us the post of danger and of suffering, it is that of unfading glory and imperishable renown. (Loud cheers.) The question with us, which is so misunderstood here, is that of national unity (hear, hear), which is the vital element of our existence; and any settlement which does not secure this with the entire integrity of the Union, and freedom throughout all its borders, will be treason to our country and to mankind. (Loud cheers.) To acknowledge the absurd and anarchical doctrine of secession, as is demanded of us here, to abdicate the power of self-preservation, and permit the Union to be dissolved, is ruin, disgrace, and suicide. There is but one alternative—we must and will fight it out to the last. (Loud and prolonged applause.) If need be, all who can bear arms must take the field, and leave to those who cannot the pursuits of industry. (Hear, hear.) If we count not the cost of this contest in men and money, it is because all loyal Americans believe that the value of our Union cannot be estimated. (Hear, hear.) If martyrs from every State, from England, and from nearly every nation of Christendom have fallen in our defence, never, in humble faith we trust, has any blood, since that of Calvary, been shed in a cause so holy. (Cheers.) Most of the rebellions which have disturbed or overthrown governments, ave been caused by oppression on their part. Such rebellions have been the rising of the oppressed against the oppressor; but this rebellion was caused exclusively by slavery. (Cheers.) To extend, and perpetuate, and nationalize slavery, to demand of the American Congress the direct and explicit recognition of the right of property in man, to cover the whole vast territory of the Union with chattel servitude, to keep open the interstate slave-trade between the Border and the Cotton States, to give the institution absolute mastery over the Government and people, to carry it into every new State by fraud, and violence, and forgery, as was exemplified in Kansas, and then, as a final result, to force it upon every Free State of the Union—these were the objects conceived by those who are engaged in this foul conspiracy to dissolve the American Union. (Cheers.) 'I have said that the American Union never will be dissolved.' (Loud and continued cheers.) This was the advice of the peerless Washington, the Father of his country, in his Farewell Address, and this was the course of the immortal Andrew Jackson, when he suppressed the Carolina rebellion of 1833, by coercion and a force bill. The American Union is the great citadel of self-government, intrusted to our charge by Providence; and we must defend it against all assailants, until our last man has fallen. This is the cause of labor and humanity, and the toiling and disfranchised masses of the world feel that their fate is involved in the result of our struggle. In England, especially, this feeling on the part of the working classes has been manifested in more than one hundred meetings, and the resolutions in favor of the Union, passed by the operatives of Manchester, who were the great sufferers from this contest, indicate a sublimity of feeling, and a devotion to principle on the part of these noble martyrs, which exalt and dignify the character of man. (Cheers.) The working classes of England, of France, and of Germany, who are all with us, in case of foreign intervention, must have constituted the armies that would have been taken to our shores to make war upon the American people. The men who are for us would have been transported across the ocean to fight against us in the cause of slavery, and for the degradation of labor. Can there be any doubt as to the result of such a conflict? It is now quite certain that this rebellion will receive no foreign aid; but if any foreign despot or usurper had thus intervened and sent his myrmidons to our shores, the result, though it might have been prolonged, would have been equally certain—he would have lost his crown, and destroyed his dynasty. (Cheers.) Our whole country would have been a camp, we should have risen to the magnitude of the contest, and all who could bear arms would have taken the field. We know, as Americans, that our national unity is the essential condition of our existence. Without it we should be disintegrated into sections, States, counties, and cities, and ruin and anarchy would reign supreme. (Cheers.) No, the Lakes can never be separated from the Gulf, the Atlantic from the Pacific, the source from the mouth of the Mississippi, nor the sons of New England from the home of their kindred in the great West. (Cheers.) But, above all, the entire valley of the Mississippi was ordained by God as the residence of a united people. Over every acre of its soil, and over every drop of its waters, must forever float the banner of the Union (loud applause), and all its waters, as they roll on together to the Gulf, proclaim that what 'God has joined together' man shall never 'put asunder.' (Loud cheers.) The nation's life blood courses this vast arterial system; and to sever it is death. No line of latitude or longitude shall ever separate the mouth from the centre or sources of the Mississippi. All the waters of the imperial river, from their mountain springs and crystal fountains, shall ever flow in commingling currents to the Gulf, uniting ever more, in one undivided whole, the blessed homes of a free and happy people. This great valley is one vast plain, without an intervening mountain, and can never be separated by any line but that of blood, to be followed, surely, by military despotism. No! separation, by any line, is death; disunion is suicide. Slavery having made war upon the Union, the result is not doubtful. Slavery will die. (Cheers.) Slavery having selected a traitor's position, will meet a traitor's doom. (Loud cheers.) The Union will still live. It is written by the finger of God on the scroll of destiny, that neither principalities nor powers shall effect its overthrow, nor shall 'the gates of hell prevail against it.' But what as to the results? It is said that we have accomplished nothing, and this is re-echoed every morning by the proslavery press of England. We have done nothing! Why, we have conquered and now occupy two thirds of the entire territory of the South, an area far larger (and overcoming a greater resisting force) than that traversed by the armies of Caesar or Alexander. The whole of the Mississippi River, from its source to its mouth, with, all its tributaries, is exclusively ours. (Cheers.) So is the great Chesapeake Bay. Slavery is not only abolished in the Federal District, containing the capital of the Union, but in all our vast territorial domain, comprising more than eight hundred millions of acres, and nearly half the size of all Europe. The four slaveholding States of Delaware, Maryland, Kentucky, and Missouri, are all devotedly loyal, and thoroughly sustaining the Union. And how as to Virginia? Why, all the counties of Virginia east of the Chesapeake are ours. All that vast portion of Eastern Virginia north of the Rappahannock is ours also; but still more, all that great territory of Virginia, from the mountains to the Ohio, is ours also, and, not only ours, but, by the overwhelming voice of her people, has formed a State government. By their own votes they have abolished slavery, and have been admitted as one of the Free States of the American Union. (Loud cheers.) And where is the great giant State of the West—Missouri? She is not only ours, but, by an overwhelming majority of the popular vote, carried into effect by her constitutional convention, has abolished slavery, and enrolled herself as one of the Free States of the American Union. (Cheers.) And now as to Maryland. The last steamers bring us the news of the recent elections in Maryland, which have not only sustained the Union, but have sent an overwhelming majority to Congress and to State Legislature in favor of immediate emancipation. (Applause.) Tennessee also is ours. From the Mississippi to the Cumberland and Tennessee Rivers, from Knoxville, in the mountains of the east, to Nashville, the capital, in the centre, and Memphis, the commercial metropolis in the west, Tennessee is wholly ours. So is Arkansas; so is Louisiana, including the great city of New Orleans. So is North Alabama; so is two thirds of the State of Mississippi; and now the Union troops hold Chattanooga, the great impregnable fortress of Northwestern Georgia. From Chattanooga, which may be regarded as the great geographical central pivotal point of the rebellion, the armies of the republic will march down through the heart of Georgia, and join our troops upon the seaboard of that State, and thus terminate the rebellion. (Loud cheers.) Into Georgia and the Carolinas nearly half a million slaves have been driven by their masters, in advance of the Union army. From Virginia, from Kentucky, Missouri, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee, and North Alabama, nearly all these slaves have been driven and huddled together in the two Carolinas and Georgia, because, if they had been left where they were, they would have joined the Northern armies. They preferred to be freemen rather than slaves; they preferred to be men and women, rather than chattels; they preferred freedom to chains and bondage; and just so soon as that Union army advances into the Carolinas and Georgia will the slaves rush to the standard of freedom, and fight as they have fought, with undaunted courage, for liberty and Union. (Loud applause.) But how is it with the South? Why, months ago they had called out by a levy en masse, all who were capable of bearing arms. They have exhausted their entire military resources; they have raised their last army. And how as to money? Why, they are in a state of absolute bankruptcy. Their money, all that they have, that which they call money, according to their own estimation as fixed and taken by themselves, one dollar of gold purchases twelve dollars of confederate paper. The price of flour is now one hundred dollars a barrel, and other articles in like proportion. No revenue is collected, or can be. The army and the Government are supported exclusively by force, by seizing the crops of the farms and planters, and using them for the benefit of the so-called confederate government. Starvation is staring them in the face. The collapse is imminent; and, so far as we may venture to predict any future event, nothing can be more certain than that before the end of the coming year, the rebellion will be brought entirely to a close. (Hear, hear.) We must recollect, also, that there is not a single State of the South in which a large majority of the population (including the blacks) is not now, and always has been, devoted to the Union. Why, in the State of South Carolina alone, the blacks, who are devoted to the Union, exceed the whites more than one hundred thousand in number. The recent elections have all gone for the Union by overwhelming majorities, and volunteering for the army progresses with renewed vigor. For all these blessings the President of the United States has asked us to render thanks to Almighty God. Our cause is that of humanity, of civilization, of Christianity. We write upon our banners, from the inspired words of Holy Writ: 'God has made of one blood all the nations of the earth.' We acknowledge all as brothers, and invite them to partake with us alike in the grand inheritance of freedom; and we repeat the divine sentiment from the Sermon on the Mount: 'Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.' (Loud cheers.)

Nor let it be supposed that we, as Americans, are entirely selfish in this matter. We believe that this Union is the most sacred trust ever confided by God to man. We believe that this American Union is the best, the brightest, the last experiment of self-government; and as it shall be maintained and perpetuated, or broken and dissolved, the light of liberty shall beam upon the hopes of mankind, or be forever extinguished amid the scoffs of exulting tyrants, and the groans of a world in bondage. (Loud applause.) Thanking you, ladies and gentlemen, for the kind indulgence with which you have been pleased to receive these remarks, I will now proceed to the toasts which have been prepared for the occasion. Ladies and gentlemen, the first toast will be, 'The President of the United States,' under whose proclamation we are this day convened. Before asking you to respond to that toast, I would say that we are honored by the presence this evening of his excellency, the American Minister, Mr. Adams. (Prolonged applause.) This is a name for a century, and during three generations most honorably and conspicuously connected with the cause of our country and of human liberty. The grandfather and father of our American minister were each elevated to the presidency of the United States by the votes of the American people. The first, the illustrious John Adams, moved in 1776 the Declaration of American Independence, and supported that motion by an immortal and most eloquent address. He was the successor of the peerless Washington as the President of the United States. The second, John Quincy Adams, eminent for courage, for integrity, for opposition to slavery, for devotion to the cause of liberty, for learning, science, eloquence, diplomacy, and statesmanship, was the successor of President Monroe. His son, our honored guest, inheriting all these great qualities and noble principles of an illustrious ancestry, is requested to respond to the first toast, 'The President of the United States.' (The toast was drunk amid the most enthusiastic applause.)

Order of Exercises.

I.—Reading of Thanksgiving Proclamation, R. Hunting.


III.—Hymn (prepared for the occasion).

TUNE—Auld Lang Syne.

We meet, the Sons of Freedom's Sires Unchanged, where'er we roam, While gather round their household fires The happy bands of home; And while across the far blue wave Their prayers go up to God, We pledge the faith our fathers gave,— The land by Freemen trod!

The heroes of our Native Land Their sacred trust still hold, The freedom from a mighty band Wrenched by the men of old. That lesson to the broad earth given We pledge beyond the sea,— The land from dark oppression riven, A blessing on the free!



VI.—Address of Hon. Robert J. Walker, introducing Toasts.

1. The President of the United States.

Responded to by His Excellency Mr. Adams.

2. Her Majesty the Queen.

The Company.

3. The Day. Devoted to thanking God for our victories in the cause of LIBERTY and UNION.

Responded to by George Thompson, Esq.

4. The Union. From the Atlantic to the Pacific, from the Lakes to the Gulf, from the Source to the Mouth of the Mississippi, forever one and inseparable.

Responded to by Z. K. Pangborn.

5. The Emancipation Proclamation—Slavery's Epitaph, written by the finger of God on the heart of the American President.

Responded to by Hon. Freeman H. Morse.

6. The Army and Navy—Immortal champions of freedom, who bleed that our country may live.

Responded to by Capt. Mayne Reid.

7. WASHINGTON. The Man without a Peer. We follow his farewell advice—NEVER TO SURRENDER THE UNION.

Responded to by Capt. J. C. Hoadley.

8. The Press. The Tyrant's foe, the People's friend—where it is free, despotism must perish.

Responded to by Mr. Snow.

9. The Ladies. Our Sweethearts, Wives, Mothers, Daughters, Sisters, Friends. Their holy influence will break all chains but those which bind our hearts to them.

The Company.



RUMOR. By the Author of 'Charles Anchester,' 'Counterparts,' etc. Boston: Published by T. O. H. P. Burnham, No. 143 Washington street. New York: H. Dexter Hamilton & Co., 113 Nassau street; O. S. Felt, 36 Walker street.

'Rumor' is a book of genius, but genius of a peculiar character. Gleams of intuition into the most secret recesses of the heart, analyses of hidden feelings, flash brilliantly upon us from every leaf, and yet a vague mysticism broods over all. No steady light illumes the pages; scenes and characters float before as if shrouded in mist, or dimmed by distance. The shadowy forms, held only by the heart, shimmer and float before us, draped in starry veils and seen through hues of opal. We are in Dreamland, or in the fair clime of the Ideal. 'Porphyro' we know to be Louis Napoleon, but who are 'Rodomant and Diamid?' Adelaida and deafness would point to Beethoven, but other circumstances forbid the identification. Nor do we think Rodomant a fair type of a musical genius; arrogant, overbearing, and positively ill-mannered as he invariably is. He may be true to German nature, as he is pictured as a German, but he is no study of the graceful Italian or elegant and suave Sclavic Artist. We think the authoress unjust and cruel in her sketch of that ethereal child of genius and suffering, Chopin. Did she study exclusively in the German schools of musical art? If Beethoven is grand and majestic, Chopin is sublime; if Beethoven is pathetic, Chopin is pathos itself; if the one is broad and comprehensive, the other is high and deep; the one appealing to the soul through a noble intellect, the other reaching it through every nerve and fibre of our basic being. Rubens is a great artist, but does that gainsay Raphael? Are not Beethoven and Chopin twin stars of undying glory in the musical firmament, and can we not offer true homage to both, as they blaze so high above us? Shall the royal purple so daze our eyes, that we cannot see the depths of heavenly blue?

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