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Lieut. Craven, commanding the United States steamer Mohawk, which arrived at New York February 7, 1861, from Key West, published the following letter, addressed to the officers of the navy:

Basely unprincipled incendiaries have scattered throughout our land doctrines of a revolutionary character–doctrines calculated to inflame the minds of the excitable and thoughtless multitude–calculated to mislead the weak and wavering, and to lead on and incite to frenzy the needy adventurers–those wolves of the human race who rejoice in that anarchy and disorder which loosen the restraints of law, and afford them occasion for indulgence in license and rapine.

Sad indeed in the history of the world will be the day which witnesses the dismemberment of this Confederation–disastrous to the march of human freedom and civilization, the event which blots from the page of history our great and glorious nation of self-ruled men.

The oppressed of the earth, with hopeful hearts, have long regarded us as the exponents of “liberty, fraternity, equality.” God avert from us the abasing acknowledgment that man is not cable of self-government. What a humiliating reflection, that man, in his passions, can be ruled only by the bayonet, by force–despotic force; his reasoning faculties gone, he sinks to the level of the brute; with no principle to guide him, he yields only to force.

Officers of the navy, be, as ever, loyal, brave, and true; our beloved country in convulsed with distracting troubles; our country is in danger; the great temple of liberty, founded by our fathers, and dedicated to the use of the human race, now reels and totters to its base; destruction threatens it; the machinations of designing men have brought it to the verge of ruin.

Officers of the navy, our country is in peril, and it behooves us, my friends, to consider well and earnestly what are our duties to the nation which has given us honored places among her sons; has enrolled us among her defenders; has “reposed special trust and confidence in our valor, patriotism, and fidelity.”

There is no one among us, my friends, however humble his station, who has not, with laudable pride, enjoyed the honor of being a servant of his country; one of her defenders on the seas; one of the fostered sons of the favored arm of national defence. There can be no feeling more ennobling than that of him who bears arms in his country’s defence; let us be slow to throw aside that armor; slow to abjure all allegiance, and never betray the trust reposed in us.

We have in a marked manner been the honored and cherished sons of our country; our countrymen have with exalted estimate valued the exploits of our heroic men, whose deeds have shed such lustre on our flag, and carried it in triumph and honor to all parts of the world; recollect, my friends, that each one of us is a sharer in all the glories won by naval valor; our great men have passed away, but they have left the honor of the navy, the honor of the flag, in our keeping. Some among us have had the fortune to do battle against our country’s foes; all of us have had each our individual role in the great machinery by which the whole is moved; the fame of our flag belongs to us, and our duty is to rally to its support.

We must not forget that our initiation into the service of our country was by taking a solemn oath “to support the Constitution of the United States.” That vow, my friends, is recorded on high; that vow was heard by Him who has said, “Render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s.” We must beware how we lightly treat so solemn an oath; it cannot be thrown off; we cannot ignore the claims of our country; we may, it is true, cease to serve, but we cannot, dare not, offend the Most High by turning our arms against those laws which we have sworn to sustain; nor can we be too guarded, lest by any act of ours a single stain is brought upon our bright escutcheon.

Let us not be deceived by the vain and idle sophistries of those deluded men who would tell us that the United States are only bound together by a weak alliance, to be shaken off at pleasure by any one, without even so much notice of the abrogation as common decency has established as customary among the civilized nations of the earth. Let us discard from our minds the illusions of those who would in fact persuade us that we never had any nationality. If their arguments are correctly based, we have never indeed been one nation. We are mere pretenders, who have, without shadow of right, adopted a national style and law by which to impose upon mankind.

Let us not listen to the reasoning of those who would seduce us from our allegiance by special pleading and abstract questions of State sovereignty. “Remember your oath” –“Remember!” What have we to do with States? What indeed have you to do with States, those of you who, by virtue of your national office, are disfranchised by the laws of the States in which you reside?

The Union is our country; the Union is our State; the Constitution is our law. A great trust devolves on us. Let not the poisonous bane of revolution have any spread among our ranks. Let us show ourselves ever worthy of the confidence of our countrymen. We are not partisans. We must not listen to treason in any shape or form. We cannot abjure our duties without being guilty of treason; and by no train of reasoning can acts against the Government be styled by any other name than treason.

The fame of our proudly-waving flag belongs to us, and what ever be the fate of that honored emblem of our country,–that honored badge of our power,–whatever be its fate, my friends, let us beware that it suffer no stain through the navy.

Lieutenant commanding U. S. steamer “Mohawk.”

Originally posted 2008-03-10 13:29:58.

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“ETHAN SPIKE” writes, that Hornby has “seceded,” and that he consequently resigns his seat in the Maine Legislature. The following resolutions were passed at a public meeting of the new “sovereignty”:

Resolved, That we are opposed to koertion, except when exercised by outselves.

Resolved, That the okepation of the Baldwin lightus, by a State keeper, is a irritatin’ circumstance, an’ onless he is wisdrawn, aour army be instructed to take possession of the same in the name of the taoun.

Resolved, That ef aour reasonable demands is not complied to, that we will take possession of, and hold for aour own use, the State’s prison, and the insane assylum.

Resolved, That the haybius korpus ace, taxes, an’ the Main law be an’ is suspended. Also an ordnance relating to weights and measures as used in the likker trade. Be it enacted, That henceforth and for ever, in this ere realm, every quart pot shall hold a gallon.

Ordered, that the forgoin’ articles shall be the constitution of this suvrinty.

Originally posted 2008-03-09 12:48:35.

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WHOOP! the Doodles have broken loose,
Roaring round like the very deuce!
Lion of Egypt, a hungry pack’
After ’em, boys, and drive ’em back.

Bull-dog, terrier, cur and fice,
Back to the beggarly land of ice,
Worry ’em, bite ’em, scratch and tear
Everybody and everywhere.

Old Kentucky is caved from under,
Tennessee is split asunder,
Alabama awaits attack,
And Georgia bristles up her back.

Old John Brown is dead and gone!
Still his spirit is marching on,
Lantern-jawed, and legs, my boys,
Long as an ape’s from Illinois!

Want a weapon? Gather a brick!
Club or cudgel, or stone or stick,
Anything with a blade or butt!
Anything that can cleave or cut!

Anything heavy, or hard, or keen!
Any sort of slaying-machine!
Anything with a willing mind,
And the steady arm of a man, behind.

Want a weapon? Why, capture one!
Every Doodle has got a gun,
Belt and bayonet, bright and new:
Kill a Doodle and capture two!

Shoulder to shoulder, son and sire!
All, call all! to the feast of fire!
Mother and maiden, and child and slave
A common triumph or a single grave.

Originally posted 2008-03-08 15:00:08.

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The editor of the Chatauque (N.Y.) Democrat was spending his time in Washington, and writing home letters for publication. One of them, it was claimed, contained “contraband news,” and the editor (if his statement may be believed) was summoned before the Cabinet to answer for the heinous offence. Here is his account of the affair:–

“So many weeks had slipped away since my friends in Jamestown commenced sending the Democrat regularly to the members of the Cabinet and General McClellan, that the vision of a file of ferocious soldiers had departed from my imagination, when one morning the subscriber requesting his distinguished presence at the White House at a certain hour. I had no doubt but the note was from Mrs. Lincoln, who, I supposed, wished to apologize for the blunder that she made in my not receiving her invitation to the White House ball.

“So, giving my boots an extra blacking, and my moustache an extra twist, I wended my way to the President’s domicile. After disposing of hat, cane, &c., I was conducted into the room used for Cabinet meetings, and soon found myself in the presence of the President, Messrs. Seward, Stanton, and Welles. Mr. Seward, whom I had met at a dinner party at General Risley’s, in Fredonia, during the campaign of 1860, recognized me, and at once alluded to the excellence of General Risley’s brandy, and proposed to Abe that he should send over to his cellar at the State Department and get a nice article that he had there. I noticed three copies of the Chatauque Democrat spread out on the table, bearing certain initials, which for the sake of avoiding personalities I will not mention. I also noticed ominous black lines drawn around certain passages which I recognized as being part of my letter of several weeks ago. They looked like Mr. Benton’s expunged resolutions on the Senate Journal.

Mr. Welles was so deeply engaged in reading a fourth copy, that he did not look up as I went in. It seems that the “mailing clerks” at Jamestown had neglected to furnish the Navy Department with a copy, and the Secretary was deeply absorbed in its perusal. Mr. Stanton was busy writing his recent order, thanking God and General Halleck for the victory and slaughter at Pittsburgh Landing, and paid no attention to my entrance.

Mr. Lincoln said: “A Cabinet meeting had been called at the request of General McClellan, to consider my offence in writing the letter conspicuously marked in the Democrat before us, and whcih had been kindly furnished several of their number by certain patriotic and high-toned gentlemen in Jamestown, N. Y. But they would have to delay a few minutes, to await the arrival of the Commodore from Yorktown, with despatches from General McClellan, who had telegraphed that the business must not go on till his despatches arrived.”

During the interval, me, and Abe, and Seward, sauntered through the rooms, looking at the various objects of interest. On entering the library, we found that the messenger had returned from Seward’s cellar, with some of the Secretary’s best Auburn brand. The cork was drawn, and we sampled the fluid. We next visited the ladies’ parlor, and were presented to “Mary,” who came forward, and shook me cordially by the hand, and desired to know “how I flourished;” said “she never should forgive me for not attending her ball.” She was greatly shocked to hear that there had been a failure to connect, about getting the card of invitation.

We were soon summoned to the council; the Commodore had arrived, bringing seventeen of General McClellan’s staff, who had been delegated by him to transmit to the President his copy of the Democrat, which he had received at Fortress Monrow. On opening it, the same ominous ink-marks were drawn around the passages intended to be brought to the especial notice of the General. The staff-officers then withdrew and the President proposed to proceed to business. At this juncture Mr. Welles looked up from the paper he had been so busily perusing, and inquired of the President: “If he had ever heard anything about the fight the Democrat spoke of, between the Monitor and the Merrimac, and the danger there was of the latter getting out and coming up the Potomac and bombarding Washington?” Mr. Lincoln said: “It was a fact.” The Secretary seemed greatly surprised, and said: “He must write to his brother-in-law in New York, to send round a vessel to Hampton Roads, to watch the Merrimac, and also to send him the Weekly Post, so that he could get the news.” He chose the Post, because he had been in the habit, aforetime, of contributing essays for its columns. He also remarked that there was “much valuable and deeply interesting news in the Democrat,” which was then only some four weeks old.

Mr. Stanton here proposed that the contraband article should be read, as he had been so busy of late, he had not read the copy sent him by his patriotic correspondents at Jamestown. So Mr. Seward read the article through carefully. When it was completed, Mr. Stanton brought his fist down on the table with the energy and vigor for which he is celebrated, and says he: “Them’s my sentiments, by —–.” The Secretary, contrary to the opinion of many who know him only by his short, pungent, pious, pithy, patriotic, and peculiar proclamations, profanes pretty profusely whtn excited. During the reading he had been fumbling his vest-pocket. Says he: “What’s the price of that paper per annum?” I informed him that it was furnished to advance paying subscribers at one dollar. He handed me a gold dollar, and says he: “Send it along.” Mr. Welles, who was just then absorbed in reading the account of the “embarkation” of the army from Alexandria, looked up and said: “He had thought of subscribing himself, but as Mr. Stanton had done so, he would have George send him the Post, and they could exchange.”

The President now called for an opinion from the other members of the Cabinet, Mr. Stanton having voted, as I have before remarked. Mr. Seward, who was in a happy frame of mind, said that: “Perhaps it was impolitic to have written just such an article, as he was always opposed to the expression of any decided opinions, but he thought the editor of the Democrat knew good liquor when he smelt it, and in view of the fact that he hailed from Old Chatauque, whose inhabitants he remembered with pride, having once been a resident there, he voted that the article was not contraband, but that the writer must not do so again.”

Mr. Welles said: “He did not know enough about the subject under consideration to give an opinion. He had been much interested in the perusal of the article, and had found some useful hints in it in regard to the danger to be apprehended from the Merrimac, which he thought he should act upon by next year–on the whole, he thought the good balanced the evil, and he was for calling it square.”

It was the President’s turn, now, to decide the matter. He always gets the opinion of his “constitutional advisers” all round, and then does as he has a mind to. Abe turned to me with a merry twinkle in his eye, and his lovely and expressive countenance seemed more seraphic than ever, and says he to me, says he: “Your letter on McClellan reminds me of a story that I heard in the days of John Tyler’s Administration. There was an editor in Rhode Island, noted for his love of fun–it came to him irresistibly–and he couldn’t help saying just what came into his mind. He was appointed Postmaster by Tyler. Some time after Tyler vetoed the Bank Bill, and came into disrepute with the Whigs, a conundrum went the rounds of the papers. It was as follows: ‘Why is John Tyler like an ass?’ This editor copied the conundrum, and could not resist the temptation to answer it, which he did as follows: ‘Because he is an ass.’ This piece of fun cost him his head, but it was a fact.

“On the whole,” said Abe, “here’s a dollar; send me your valuable paper for a year, and be careful in future how you disclose Government secrets that have been published in the Norfolk Day Book only two weeks.”

I promised to be more discreet hereafter, pledging myself not to interfere further with General Thomas “or any other man” in his exclusive right to give the rebels the earliest information possible; also pledging myself to the best of my ability to aid the Government in its patriotic efforts to promote “loyal ignorance” among the masses of the Northern people.

Originally posted 2008-03-07 13:16:06.

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