Saturday, November 20, 2010

Wanted – A Miracle

It is related of a couple of raftsmen, taken by the current into deep water, that one of them, whose religious education in youth had not been altogether neglected, proposed that they offer up a prayer to God for their deliverance from peril.  The other, who knew the value of every moment’s strong exertion in such a situation, did not agree to the idea of giving up and throwing themselves upon the tender mercies of Providence, until every earthly resource had been exhausted.  He asked, “What was the use of praying as long as you can touch the bottom?”  Pretty soon the raft got irrecoverably into the deepest of the stream, and the little crew at once fell to supplicating Divine Grace in a very earnest if not quite orthodox manner.  Whether it was from lack of faith on the part of the raftsmen, or other reason, we have no account of the adventurers being saved.

The Confederate cause can no longer touch bottom.  It is adrift, about to be swallowed up by the engulfing waves of national patriotism, and we observe by reports that Mr. Davis, the Captain of the craft, has called “all hands and the cook” to prayers on Friday of the current week.  This impious recommendation, this conscription of the moral sentiment of the people of Dixie, this attempt to impress Providence into the rebel service, this violation of the Secession Constitution, which provides against religious tests, will avail nothing.  The Disunion raft is doomed.  Burnt cotton won’t save it.  The Mississippi may be sweetened with pyramids of sugar, but the rebellion will be crushed, even as the sugar is.  The brine of the Gulf may be spread over with split molasses, but that will not get the Confederacy out of its pickle.  The enemy may destroy all the tobacco in the Old Dominion – Virginia twist, natural leave, fine cut and pig tail – and the rebels deprive themselves of their rations and expectorations, but the attempt to disrupt the Union will, to use a low phrase, be “chawed up,” notwithstanding.

If secession impudence had not long since ceased to be surprising, we might be astonished at the bold assurance of Jeff. Davis and his band of dissenters in proposing to sue for an alliance with Providence, offensive and defensive.  The recognition which, with all the arts of Yancy, Dudley, Mann, Mason, Slidell, Butler, King and others.  They could not get from England or France, they now seek to obtain from Heaven.  Is Providence less conscientious than these mundane powers in respect to interference to break up our glorious Union?  God forbid!

One thing we notice about this reputed ukase of the rebel chieftain.  We fail to see in it any reference to “thanksgiving, fasting and prayer,” such as we sometimes have, but of prayer only, Mr. Davis doubtless being unable to specify what his people had reason to be thankful for; and as to fasting, the market reports from Norfolk, Petersburg and other Southern cities are sufficiently explicit on that head.  After all Davis is right.  A miracle might save the Confederacy, as a flanking movement, but that is all that can, from present appearance. – {St. Louis Republican.

– Published in The Burlington Weekly Hawk-Eye, Burlington, Iowa, Saturday, May 17, 1863, p. 2


Seeker said...

Interesting to hear the comments in Burlington. Does Burlington have newspaper online from that time?

Im not sure of some of the references in the article, doubtless they were about things that even the casual reader then, would know well.

Thanks for the information

Jim Miller said...

Issues of The Burlington Weekly Hawk-Eye are on They are a subscription site, but from time to time they do offer free or trial periods (as they did last weekend), or you can subscribe for a month, get the info you want & then unsubscribe. I've down loaded images from of the paper from 1861-5 and that is what I am working from.

Incidintly this article, was first run in the St. Louis Republican, so this article doesn't specifically represent a Burlington point of view.

Newspapers frequently,freely and liberally copied articles from eachother, and I am finding if it is difficult to make out an article (due to poor microfilming, the poor condition of the original newspaper itself, or a poor digital conversion) it is often possible to find duplicate articles elsewhere.

Thank you for reading!