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end, to give emphasis to the declaration. It then explained that the power of Mr. Hall was rather mesmerism than magnetism; and that such an influence was fatal to its organization. Upon inquiry, we learned that the gentleman in question had formerly possessed mesmeric power, and had occasionally exercised it upon various individuals.
These are but a few of the curious phenomena of which we have been witnesses; but I have no doubt that, when it is generally known that intelligent answers can be obtained to sensible questions, others who, until now, have treated this curious little toy with contempt, will be induced to give it attention, as perhaps capable of throwing light upon many of the manifestations which the superstitious mind has ascribed to spiritual agency, and the scientific observer scouted as imposture. Intelligent minds may find subject for experiment and investigation in this simple bit of machinery, and amusement may at least be afforded by its curious readiness and marvellous aptitude; while the philosopher may find a new topic of thought, in the consideration of this problem of a floating and combined intelligence brought to bear upon an inanimate agent, which our magnetic friend seems inclined to suggest.
Are we, then, all Planchettes, worked upon by the active intellectual principle afloat in the "circumambient" air, and are our grades of mental power only indications of our magnetic responsiveness
to the influences of nature? Is a blockhead, with three legs, the archetype of abstract thought? Is it possible that the Delphic tripod may have been the Planchette of the period, and that the profound and wonderful answers of the oracle may have been procured by the same means we now employ to amuse an idle hour?
If this theory of atmospheric influences be true, have we not a clue to the extraordinary manifestations of those great eras of literature, when many minds of rare genius have burst together into marvellous blossom? May we not owe the Augustan and Elizabethan Ages to some prolonged auroral influence, producing the necessary conditions of intellectual power that led to such results as Horace, Virgil, Johnson, Shakespeare, and the other human Planchettes have achieved? May not the cycles of magnetic force return, like comets, at eccentric intervals? And who knows but the Dark Ages may have been the perihelion of its orbit, as the Augustan Age may have been its aphelion?
These suggestions open a wide field for the speculative mind, and we trust we may be excused in view of the present tendency of even the British scientific mind of our day. We do not think we are much in advance of Professor Tyndal, whose late scientific discourse, even in these progressive days, has excited so much attention on both sides of the water. We take shelter behind his robes.
STONEWALL JACKSON.-AN HISTORICAL STUDY.*
No field of literature is more fruitful and advantageous than biography. It affords the writer the opportunity of combining the most various elements of interest, and of mixing, in a seasonable manner, the most serious lessons of philosophy with the lighter charms of literature. No other author has broader and more abundant materials than the biographer. He has but commenced his task when he has only put in orderly narrative the events and incidents of the life of his subject; he has yet to explore the personal character, in which this life has its true significance and interest, to study it in the subjective, and make of it a purely psychological inquiry; and even beyond this, he has, necessarily, to determine the reciprocal relations, the connecting influences between this life and its times, the general historical condition in which it flourished. "For," as the acute German philosopher Goethe says, "the main point in biography is to present the man in all his relations to his time, and to show to what extent it may have opposed or prospered his development; what view of mankind and the world he has shaped from it, and how far he himself may be an external reflection of its spirit."
It is in this just conception of biography that we at once comprehend its extraordinary literary advantage in uniting opportunities of philosophy with the art of narrative, and in occupying a field of the most various interest. The biographer is properly philosopher, dramatist, historian. Indeed, a remarkable tendency of the modern school of his tory, which has been developed since Macaulay's adventure, is to approach the style of biography, and to appropriate its interest in dramatic and vivid
*Our readers will doubtless be interested to see what is said of one of the most famous of the Rebel leaders, by one of their most prominent historians. -Ed. Putnam's Magazine.
treatment of subjects. It is a philosophical tendency, a correct school; for, after all, since persons create events, history is profoundly and logically nothing more than a collection of biographies, a narrative of many lives, instead of one. The practical realization of this school is a superior graphic style of historical composition, in which events are grouped around certain leading figures, and the narrative is discharged through the dramatic action of a few prominent characters. This, in fact, is both the true philosophy and the true art of history; it obtains the true unity of narrative; it makes distinct, vivid impressions; it combines artistic with logical effects, and heightens the interest of the reader with nearly every element admitted within the domain of the intellect and of the emotions. The effect of this school has been to lessen the merely convenient or conventional boundary between history and biography, to bring them more closely together, and to identify them in point of dramatic interest. The modern historian is no longer the dull, vapid chronicler; he discovers the true logical sources of his narrative in particular persons; he makes his pages successions of vivid and interesting biography; he arranges his story in dramas and picture-galleries; and he finds, with these aids, that he has obtained, not only better advantages to inform and instruct his readers, but also the means to entertain their fancy and cultivate their emotions. In this view, it may be said that the true historical interest of any period of time has come to be, not so much in the multitude of events, as in the number and variety of personal characters which compose the story. It is the biographical test of the interest of narratives. The curiosity of the reader has become dramatic; he wishes to know the men who figured on the stage of a particular period, in what
respect they were novel and admirable, how they acted upon each other and circumstances, what missions they represented, what problems they worked out, what conditions they effected. It is this dominant biographical interest which has brought into existence. a new school of history, and erected a new standard of criticism; and we cannot help admitting that its tendencies are philosophical and improving.
We preface so much to the consideration of the literary records of our recent war. It has been customary to speak, and not without a mixture of vanity, of the great figure this war will make when the future historian comes to deal with it elaborately, and to explore its operations. Yet, how meagre the biographical interest of this struggle; how scant in its illustrations of any conspicuous virtues or novelties of personal character; how unfruitful of great or remarkable men! It is in the dominant feature of historical interest that the late war, of which we usually speak in so many superlative phrases, is singularly and fatally deficient. It is remarkable for immense physical phenomena, rather than for intellectual and moral display. What is wonderful in it is the extent of physical masses, the cloaca populorum, stupendous sums of money, monuments of carnage; but how paltry and flowerless its crops of men, how few its productions of genius, how slight those illustrations which make up the personal, heroic interest of history! It produced, of course, if only by the rule of comparison, some military celebrities-these even few, and one only of surpassing fame; but we look in vain for the intellectual contagion of a great excitement, for those tongues of fire with which men speak in a great war, for those thoughts of orator, poet, and priest which burn along the opposing lines like signal-fires, and make of modern war a conflict of inspirations as well as of arms.
We do not propose to invite here invidious comparisons between the military leaders on either side in the late And yet, as we have already re
ferred to one of them as of surpassing fame, we may take this name apart, as at least one conspicuous centre of biographical interest in the war. We refer to STONEWALL JACKSON. Around this man, whose fame has already gone, on those quick messengers, the wings of battle, to the ends of the world, there must necessarily congregate, in the fu ture, some of the most impressive memories of the war; and his biography, especially the study of his peculiar character, becomes at once a dominant subject of historical interest, and a standpoint of narrative. Whoever may hereafter write profoundly and philosophically a history of the Southern Confederacy, must take Jackson as a central figure; and he must mingle his biography, at least the characterization of the man, with many parts of his story, thereby dramatizing, coloring it, and binding up the attention of the reader with personal sympathies and heroic aspirations.
It will be the especial and exact task of the military historian, the expert critic, to adjust Jackson's peculiar fame in arms and to determine its details. It is just that his life should be regarded from a high and critical military point of view, for here is its excellent and almost exclusive interest; and, besides, it is remarkable how much he has already suffered from the inaccurate and overdrawn estimates of incompetent critics. His only considerable biographer (Dr. Dabney, a Presbyterian clergyman) has fallen into the lamentable error of regarding the religious and even sectarian character of his hero as the chief interest of his life, and subordinating to it his wonderful military career and his character as a master of war. So far is this estimate in error, that we may even venture a remark, which will probably be novel and distasteful to many readers -that the religious element in General Jackson's life has come in for an undue share of public attention; that it was among the least admirable parts of his character; and that it was singularly and painfully deficient.
Of this aspect of the life of the great
Southern commander, the writer has had occasion, in some historical sketches of the war, to deliver an opinion, perhaps as unpopular as it is novel. He says, "There are considerations which make Jackson's piety of very partial interest. It is true that he was an enthusiast in religion, that he was wonderfully attentive in his devotions, and that prayer was as the breath of his nostrils. To one of his friends he declared that he had cultivated the habit of 'praying with out ceasing,' and connecting a silent testimony of devotion with every familiar act of the day. Thus,' he said, 'when I take my meals, there is the grace. When I take a draught of water, I always pause, as my palate receives the refreshment, to lift up my heart to God in thanks and prayer for the water of life. Whenever I drop a letter in the box, I send a petition along with it for God's blessing upon its mission, and upon the person to whom it is sent. When I break the seal of a letter just received, I stop to pray to God that He may prepare me for its contents, and make it a messenger of good.' But, notwithstanding the extreme fervor of Jackson's religion, it is remarkable that he kept it for certain places and companies; that he was disposed to be solitary in its exercise; and that he was singularly innocent of that Cromwellian fanaticism that mixes religious invocations with orders and utterances on a battle-field. He prayed in his tent; he delighted in long talks with the many clergymen who visited him; he poured out the joys and aspirations of his faith in private correspondence; but he seldom introduced religion into the ordinary conversation of his military life; and he exhibited this side of his character in the army in scarcely any thing more than Sunday services in his camp, and a habitual brief line in all his official reports, acknowledging the divine favor. He was very attentive to these outward observances, but his religious habit was shy and solitary; he had none of the activity of the priest; we hear but little of his work in the hospi tals, of private ministrations by the
death-bed, and of walks and exercises of active charity."
Havelock distributed tracts in the British army; Vickers comforted the dying in the trenches, and held prayermeetings within the range of the enemy's guns. We do not hear of such noble and amiable offices performed by Jackson. His religion lacked in active benevolence; it was a cold, introspective religion, subjective in its experiences, severe, no doubt, in its self-discipline, correct in its faith, but with few works, few visible testimonies of zeal in the usual rounds of Christian duty. His religion was in no way mixed with the administration of his command. In his military intercourse he was the military commander. On the field of battle he was the passionate, distinct, harsh commander, where sharp and strident orders were inexorable as messengers of fate. He had no religious appeals or exhortations to make to his men; if he prayed in action, it was in invariable silence; he never dropped a word of regret on the conquered field, such as spectacles of death have often moved benevolent men to utter; he never comforted the dying, or visited the hospitals; he had no peculiar schemes of benevolence in his army (beyond the usual Sunday preaching); he was no winner of souls, no messenger of conversions and revivals; in brief, he was utterly deficient in those active and priestly offices which the popular mind associates with the Christian hero. He was warm enough in his self-communions, in prayer, and in intercourse with a very few intimate friends; but his religion was essentially a selfish, intellectual fanaticism, that seldom appeared out of his meditations, where it was excessively nursed. It did not go forth on the divine errands of charity. It was a religion curious rather than lovable. There was probably but little of philanthropy in Jackson's composition. He did not have the charming amiability of Lee; he was disposed to recrimination with his officers, stern and exacting in his commands; he was naturally of an excessive temper, harsh and
domineering; and we are disposed to think that it required all the grace of his Christian character and the severest discipline of his religion to keep within bounds his constitutional impulses of
While we thus lessen (no doubt to the surprise of many readers) the popular regards for Jackson as a Christian hero, it is yet to observe him in his supreme character of a master of war, the surpassing military genius of the South. It is here where the chief interest of his life resides, here where the biographer should have pointed and held attention. He was a "heaven-born general," said the London Times, a journal least accustomed to extravagant phrases, and almost historical in its deliberate measure of language. He was a born soldiernatus est, non factus, nascitur non fit; he had far more of the inspiration of war than Lee. He was undoubtedly superior to the latter, in the sense that genius is superior to the highest intellect, that it has more self-possession and readiness, that it acts with intuition and rapidity on instant combinations; thus having advantage of the latter, and executing while it has taken time to meditate. Jackson knew, as by intuition, when and where to strike the enemy; he had an almost infallible insight into his condition and temper; he marched to his purpose with that supreme self-confidence, that absolute certainty, which always designate the efforts of genius. He had the inspiration of war rather than its pedantry. He must have been really deficient in military learning, for, as a professor at the Institute of Virginia, he would have had abundant opportunities, unavoidable occasions, no matter how unfortunate and blundering he was as an instructor, to let out the contents of his mind, to blurt them in some way; but his reputation there was quite as remarkable for a blank mind as for a bad delivery. Yet he was not only the most brilliant of Confederate commanders, but the most uniformly successful. It is remarkable of him that he was never surprised; that he was never
routed in battle; that he never had a train or any organized portion of his army captured by the enemy; and that he never made intrenchments.
A common error has prevailed that Jackson's military faculty was a partial one; that he was brilliant in executing the parts assigned him by his superiors, but that he was scarcely competent to plan and originate for himself. When he fell, General Lee deplored the loss as that of his "right arm," and the phrase has been too literally or narrowly taken, as meaning that Jackson was chiefly valuable in executing the plans of the commander-in-chief. This estimate does him great injustice, and ignores some of the most important parts of his career. Indeed, there was, on the Southern side in the war, no military genius more complete, more diversified in its accomplishments, more universal in the range of arms, and in its methods of illustration. His plans were as excellent as his executions. His famous campaign of 1862, in the Valley of Virginia, was of his own origination, further than that he had been placed there by Johnston to draw attention from Richmond; but it was not expected that he would act offensively, until the news electrified the country that he had defeated four separate armies, marched four hundred miles in forty days, neutralized a force of sixty thousand men designed to operate against Richmond, and was sweeping through the mountain-passes to the relief of the Confederate capital in a blaze of glory. The movements that constituted this campaign were as precise as were ever adjusted by military skill, and the diagram that describes them remains one of the nicest strategic studies of the war. Again, the great event of Chancellorsville-the movement on Hooker's flank, when Jackson blazed from the Wilderness, sudden and consuming as the lightning-was his own conception, urged upon Lee; and the night before the great warrior fell, he had planned beneath the pines, and by the light of a camp-fire, this masterpiece of the most famous victory of the Confederates. It was the characteristic,