Friday, August 3, 2012

Geo. Francis Train, Esq., Defendes the “Yankees.”


From the London American, Feb. 20.

On Monday evening last, Mr. Train was again challenged by the secessionists, on the question, “What chance has the South to obtain its Independence?”

Mr. TRAIN – Certainly I comply with your call, but more to state the facts than make a speech.  The secession speaker sneers at the Yankees – ridicules their industry, and ignores their wonderful energy.  It is time, Mr. Chairman, to stop this sneering at the North – this Sam Slicking the word Yankees.  Halliburton an Englishman, wrote for an English audience – in an English colony – and the English mind being open to accept any thing that would satirize Americans, takes Sam Slick for a text book, when we never use the language at all which he ascribes to us.  [oh!]  Americans never use the word Britisher, and you should know that when you sneer at the Yankee, you sneer at your own people.

The pilgrims were Englishmen.  When they landed on the Western shore, the Indians ran down to meet them crying, “Yengeese!  Yengeese!” which is the Indian word for English; and as Englishmen torture language to most uncouth shapes, calling my lord – my lud – Derby – Darby, and persist in calling Cowper – Cooper ! – [Laughter.] – so the Indian word Yengeese in time became Yengees – Yenkee – Yankee.  [Hear, hear.]  Yankee meaning Englishman – so remember in future when you sneer at the word Yankee, you sneer at yourself and your own countrymen.  [Applause.]  The New Englander is proud of the name.  You compliment me sir, by the allusion, for it is the Yankee who has raised the Flag of the Union on every mountain in Christendom and raised its hallowed folds over every billow in all the oceans.  [Cheers.]  The secessionist in the winter carries on his trade on Yankee capital, and in the summer is obliged to go to Yankee watering places for his vacation; spending pennies in his meagre plantation fare where nobody is looking on, but throwing away pounds in Yankee land in the bar-rooms, the gambling-houses and places of evil repute, whenever he can dazzle the unsuspecting with his bank notes. [Loud laughter.]

The game of Bragg is not always a game of cards.  Is there any game about here, asked the Young Englishman with a bag and gun when landing on the banks of the Mississippi?  Yes, plenty, lisped the negro.  What?  Oh, principally Poker!  [Laughter.]  That is not a Yankee game, or Yankee story.  [Laughter.]  The South depends upon the Yankee for food and raiment – for its medicines – its necessities and its luxuries.  The Yankee supplies the secessionist with Bibles, though seldom called for, and printing paper and ice and coffins. – [Laughter.]  The secession mother sends to Yankee land for a Yankee schoolmistress to teach her children.  And the Secession father sends his sons to Yankee West Points, Yankee naval schools, and Yankee colleges.  Many of to-day’s traitors were taught truth, honor, morality and religion at our Yankee Harvard University, only to return and lie and swear and steal and breed treason. [Hear.]  Remember again, sir, when you sneer, that Yankee means Englishman – or may be translated – as the true type of such a Christian gentleman.  [Cheers.]

How can the honorable speaker quote Latin when he knows that none of us understand it.  [Laughter.]  Said the classic Sir James Granham to the honest old sailor, Sir Charles Napier, after a warm argument regarding Cronstadt – “In medio tussissimus ibis.”  Sir Charles, under great excitement, responded, “You are another.”  [Laughter.]  “Another what?”  “Just what you called me.”  [Laughter.]  But even Latin won’t do to make out a case for Secession.  He says, as a rule, the attacked party always deserves the most sympathy – intimating, in the face of what is not true, that the North attacked the South, when we all know that Beauregard fired the first shot at Anderson.  [That’s so.]  On that principle he would have been with the Russians in the Crimean war, against his own countrymen – [Hear and applause] – or, with better analogy, when discovering a scamp maltreating a woman, or committing burglary, he would side with the desperate thief rather than the policeman whose duty it was to arrest him.  [Hear.]

He speaks again of Carolinian chivalry!  I am tired of that now.  Who ever heard of it until Brooks brutally crept behind the back of Senator Sumner with a bludgeon in hand, with the intention of assassinating him in the Senate Chamber, while his confederate Keitt stood by with a loaded revolver to see fair play?  [Shame.]  The chivalry are no longer in Congress, and the world can no longer witness there a repetition of such disgraceful secession blackguardism! – Southern chivalry!  Look at our armies within six miles of the chivalric Charleston!  Thank God, I am a Puritan and no Cavalier – I am a Roundhead and no Pretender – I belong to the Cromwellian army, and pride myself on being a Yankee!  [Cheers.]  The secessionist accuses the North of frauds, and says that from the first to the last President there has been nothing but robbery and corruption.  Now, as I have before proved that the South for seventy years controlled the Government and was the Treasurer of the nation, I am not surprised at his statement.  [Loud cheers.]

The Right Hon. Secessionist who immediately preceded me disputed my statement that the South robbed the North of fifty millions sterling private debts, and fifty millions sterling private property, and said that when the Secessionist Commissioners went to Washington they offered to pay the Administration all debts., &c.  Shades of repudiation, protect me!  They pay!  Why, gentlemen, an anecdote will best show how ridiculous is that statement. – The first Secessionist, you know was Satan! – [Laughter and cheers.]  He seceded from a purer world – and with inimitable cheek he took our Savior upon a high mount, and offered all the kingdoms round about if he would join his secession party, when every state he had was mortgaged, and the poor devil had not a shilling in the world.  [Loud cheers and renewed laughter.]  He should have given Mr. Seward credit for generosity in permitting the scamps to return at all.  [Oh!]  You may comment, but had O’Brien, and Mitchell, and Meagher presented themselves to Lord John Russell at Downing street in 1848, on a similar errand, how quickly they would have been incarcerated in the Tower.  [Yes, and loud applause.]  The gentleman wants a monarchy, during the next few weeks he shall have all the military advantages of such a Government.  [Hear.]

The game is up, and the hunters are starting with the bugle.  Long before Mr. Cowper gets his drive through Hyde Park, or Sir Robert Peel fights The O’Donoghue, our manikin traitors will be no more.  The Secessionist made one statement about Southern courage which I must rectify.  This is the same old brag that one Southerner is equal to three or four Yankees – he said that he himself was good any time for two.  [Hear.]  Now, Mr. Chairman, if I have a weak point that is strong, that is the point – [laughter] – and if you will suspend the rules and send out for a pair of gloves, I will soon prove to you by facts – while he uses words – that there is one Northerner, at least who will make as short work of him physically as he has done intellectually.  [Loud and continued cheers and laughter.]

The challenged party became the challenger, but Mr. Train’s proposition, however, was not accepted; and during the excitement created by the novel offer, the question was adjourned until Wednesday.

– Published in The Burlington Weekly Hawk-Eye, Burlington, Iowa, Saturday, March 22, 1862, p. 1

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