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and wherever men do mostly congregate, the question has been constantly debated as to what is to be the condition of the rebel States, and what the attitude of North and South, when this rebellion shall have been crushed. It is alleged that subjugation will be succeeded by a sullen and scowling submission to the laws, a peace in name only—that, under this novel dominion of the laws, the South will chafe and fret, and be as intractable and malignant as
A real, hearty, lasting peace, a thorough fraternization, is predicted as impossible. Old associations divided by the sword, are presumed to be beyond the hope of reunion. The nation, nominally compacted, will be in reality an enforced association of radically antagonistic elements, liable to be again convulsed by rebellion, and by this liability so weakened as to become dangerously open to foreign aggression. Constantly on guard against domestic treason, it will be impossible to combine against foreign attack. Intercourse between the sections will be greatly diminished-business between the two will never revive-old friendships will die outno new ones will be established—and so general an estrangement must occur as to convert us permanently into two distinct and hostile communities.
These are not such views as I either entertain or desire to express. I give them as the utterances of others; and it may be added that, while they are peculiar to one class of thinkers, they are in direct conflict with those of another class, whose habits of thought and action entitle their opinions to be received with equal deference. Between the two, let
history and experience decide. The annals of almost every nation are luminous with instruction touching the finale of such a crisis as this, because all governments have been subject to similar convulsions. Rebellion seems to be a chronic infirmity of nations. None have escaped it; many have repeatedly experienced it; most of them have survived it. It involves the single certainty that somehow, and at some time, it must come to an end. As we know how other rebellions have ended, we may infer results as likely to succeed the termination of this. I grant that the long smothered but fierce heartburnings which precede and precipitate them, are not, have never been, and cannot be immediately forgotten. In some instances, they have been wholly obliterated in a single generation. In others, they have survived for ages. Scotland has no scowl for England now, notwithstanding the murderous outbreak a century ago, and the equally bloody war of the roses no longer lives in personal animosities; yet Ireland continues sullen and untamable. Even the Reign of Terror survives only in Parisian history. But the desolation of modern Greece remains fresh in the public memory, because the family of Bozzaris still exists.
Our own history, however, furnishes abundant illustrations of how rebellions end. They are of greater significance, too, because occurring among ourselves. What the past has done for us we may feel assured the future will accomplish. The Revolutionary war closed with the withdrawal of the British armies from our shores and the breaking up
of the very foundations of the vast Tory society whose opposition had greatly increased the horrors of the contest, as well as prolonged it. These domestic enemies were resolutely refused either protection, indemnity, or even immunity, by the treaty of peace, whose terms were dictated by our commissioners. The public exasperation against them was deep and universal. No act of oblivion was passed by any of the States, but banishment and confiscation was the rule. The leaders became fugitives and beggars. Even the rank and file fared but little better. As many of the former as the British fleets could carry away, sailed with the troops for England. The vast remainder, thus abandoned by England, fled the country from every outlet by which they could escape. The southern Tories sought refuge in Bermuda and the West Indies. Those in the middle and northern States escaped to Canada and Nova Scotia, where they settled in numbers so large as to give to British power in those regions its first successful momentum. The breaking up of families by this terrible exodus occasioned indescribable suffering. Thousands fled from rich homesteads and ample means, carrying with them little else than the clothes upon their backs, losing all they possessed, and being refused permission to return. The less active Tories, the mere sympathizers, who secretly desired the British to succeed, just as the sympathizing traitors of the present day desire the rebellion to triumph, remained in the country. But they lived despised and hated. Honest men shunned them, and society spewed them out. Many, unable to live under an intolerable odium, abandoned locations where they were known as Tories, and sought new homes among strangers. The breaking up of families from this cause occasioned widespread suffering. The numerous gangs of marauding Tories, now represented by the rebel guerrillas, were forced to quit the neighborhoods they had desolated, the people whom they had outraged executing the task with sanguinary thoroughness.
The rebellions which succeeded the Revolution were mere military episodes, though at times presenting an alarming front to the then feeble authorities. Shay's rebellion ended with the dispersion of his followers, the flight, capture, and pardon of its leaders, with an amnesty to the rank and file on returning to their allegiance. The more formidable Whisky Insurrection in Pennsylvania ended quite as ignominiously to its instigators. As in the case of Shay's, that outbreak was fomented by a single demagogue, who, fluent of speech and reckless of results, traversed the country and roused the people to arms.
He in turn became a fugitive, with multitudes of his followers. Others were ruined pecuniarily, while two were condemned and sentenced to death for treason, though subsequently pardoned, while a proclamation of amnesty secured a general pacification. The leaders banished, the masses were forgiven. In Dorr's rebellion the same general facts and consequences are prominently visible. But neither of these insurrections developed the murderous hatred which marked the contest between Whig and Tory, or the still more bloodthirsty virus with which the Slaveholders' Rebellion has shocked the world. Yet time, the great pacificator, has obliterated all the bitter feeling which these half-forgotten contests engendered. With the death of the generations that shared in them, it passed away; and the little of it that still survives exists only in the handful of veterans who yet lag superfluous on the stage of life.
Thus the thick-coming future must be conjectured from the clearly defined past. As all rebellions come to an end, so will the present one. The nation will be no more likely to tolerate its bloodstained instigators within its bosom than our fathers tolerated the masses of the less guilty Tories. Though this government has never executed a man for treason, yet it will seem to many that the gallows may now come actively into use. Flight or the halter will be the only alternative for leading traitors whose hands are dripping with loyal blood. The former will expatriate thousands. That secured, the national horizon will be comparatively clear, and amnesty for the masses will develop the germs of a pacification.
But it must be evident that time alone can make it complete and permanent. Our habits as a people, we know, will go far to hasten in the new millenium. Commerce and trade, the modern humanizers, will rapidly reopen every channel now obstructed. Collision of the scales and yardstick will abrade a multitude of asperities, for with too many of us the dollar is the only divinity to be worshipped.