The Project Gutenberg eBook of Letters of Major Jack Downing, of the Downingville Militia

This ebook is for the use of anyone anywhere in the United States and most other parts of the world at no cost and with almost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away or re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included with this ebook or online at If you are not located in the United States, you will have to check the laws of the country where you are located before using this eBook.

Title: Letters of Major Jack Downing, of the Downingville Militia

Author: Seba Smith

Release date: May 20, 2011 [eBook #36175]

Language: English

Credits: Produced by Chris Curnow and the Online Distributed
Proofreading Team at (This file was
produced from images generously made available by The
Internet Archive)


Yours till deth, Majer Jack Downing






"The Constitution is a Dimmycratic machine, and it's got to be run as a Dimmycratic machine, or it won't run at all!"

Majer Jack Downing to Lincoln.



Entered according to Act of Congress, by Bromley & Co., in the year 1864, in the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the United States for the Southern District of New York

15 Vandewater st., N.Y.


The Major Announces that he "Still Lives"‌—‌The Reason why he has not Spoken before‌—‌Writes to "President Linkin," who at once Sends for him‌—‌How Lincoln Shakes Hands‌—‌His Troubles‌—‌The Major's Advice‌—‌ Lincoln to get an "Appintment on Gineral McClellan's Staff"‌—‌A Story About Old Rye, from Mr. Lincoln. 15
Deacon Jenkins, of Downingville, Sent for to Cut and Make the President's Uniform‌—‌A Provoking Accident‌—‌Mr. Lincoln Tells a Story‌—‌The Major as a "Commentater" on the Constitution‌—‌Mrs. Lincoln's Party‌—‌"Insine Stebbins, of the Downingville Insensibles, Writes a Paradox for the Occasion"‌—‌The Major gets Angry‌—‌Lincoln Tells a Story About Virginia Mud. 23
The Major has an Attack of the Ague and Fever‌—‌Begins to get the Hang of Matters at Washington‌—‌Mr. Lincoln's Improvement in "Military Nollege"‌—‌Studying "Stratygims" for Gen. McClellan‌—‌The Major Suggests a Difficulty‌—‌Mr. Stanton Called on‌—‌The Negroes at Port Royal‌—‌"The Nigger-Teachin Fever"‌—‌Deacon Jenkins' Daughter goes to Port Royal to Teach the Negroes. 32
A Delegation Calls upon the President‌—‌The Major Indignant‌—‌Mr. Lincoln Tells a Story‌—‌Curious Composition of the Republican Party‌—‌Difficulty of Keeping it Together‌—‌The President Hopes to do it by "Sloshin About"‌—‌Deacon Jenkins Again‌—‌He is a Temperance Man, but Takes a Glass of Old Rye. 40
A Blue Time‌—‌The Major Wins a Hat of the President‌—‌The Richmond Expedition of Gen. McClellan‌—‌Mr. Lincoln's Trick on the Major‌—‌A Letter from Jerusha Matilda Jenkins‌—‌She gives her Experience in Negro-Teaching‌—‌Priscella Huggins and Elder Sniffles‌—‌Cloe, the Negro Girl who "Could not be Good unless she was Licked"‌—‌A Negro Meeting‌—‌Dancing and Singing‌—‌The Unpleasant Odor‌—‌Negroes Steal Miss Huggins' Clothes‌—‌They Purloin Jerusha's Petticoat‌—‌It is Thought that their Religion is not "Very Deep"‌—‌Mr. Lincoln Hears the Letter Read‌—‌He Declares that Port Royal is a "Cussed Hole" ‌—‌Deacon Jenkins Shocked‌—‌He Proves it by the Scriptures. 48
The Question of the "Contrybands"‌—‌Lincoln and the Major Discuss it‌—‌The Major tells a Story‌—‌Shows Mr. Lincoln That the Government is out of Order‌—‌Says it's a "Dimmycratic Machine," and that Seward and Chase don't know How to Run it‌—‌They are Like Old Jim Dumbutter and the Thrashing Machine‌—‌The Major Tells Another Story‌—‌"The Kernel" Gets a Joke on Seward‌—‌Tells a Story about the "Giascutis." 59
War "Noose"‌—‌The President's Anxiety‌—‌Mr. Lincoln Determines to Apply "the Principle"‌—‌The Story of Zenas Homespun‌—‌The Major's Views on Negroes‌—‌Poetry‌—‌The Emancipation Ball‌—‌The Major going to "Cifer" on the Finances. 67
Matters get Confused‌—‌The "Kernel and the Major" Compelled to go to Fortress Monroe to Straighten Things Out‌—‌Mr. Lincoln takes his Revolver‌—‌The Major Sticks to His Hickory‌—‌Arrival at Fort Monroe ‌—‌They go on a "Tippergraphical Rekonnisanze"‌—‌A Night Alarm‌—‌ Secretary Stanton tries to get on the President's Pantaloons. 75
The Major Figures on the "Nashinal Debt"‌—‌Horse Contracts and "Abolishin Preechers"‌—‌Banks Defeated‌—‌The Major Suggests a New-Fashioned Shield, expressly for Retreats‌—‌A Wheelbarrow for every Soldier!‌—‌Excitement in Washington‌—‌The President not Scared "a Hooter." 82
The Major Troubled with his Old Complaint, the "Rumatics"‌—‌He Examines the Finances‌—‌Mr. Chase Frightened‌—‌The Major Figures up the Accounts on His Slate‌—‌Returns and Shows the Result to Mr. Lincoln‌—‌He is Astounded‌—‌The "Kernel and the Major" take some Old Rye‌—‌The Major Proposes to Return to Downingville to Spend the Fourth of July. 88
The Major does not go to Downingville‌—‌Loses His Hickory‌—‌Gets a Bottle of Whiskey by Adams Express Co.‌—‌The Major declines to Sign the Receipt at First‌—‌Whiskey and the Constitution‌—‌"The Constitushinal Teliskope"‌—‌A Magical Change‌—‌Mr. Seward's Trick‌—‌ The Major discovers it‌—‌A Negro in It. 99
The Major Disappointed‌—‌Meets the President at West Point‌—‌Sees Gen. Scott‌—‌They Talk over Strategy‌—‌Returns to Philadelphia with the President‌—‌Makes a Speech at Jersey City‌—‌Mr. Lincoln also Speaks‌—‌Meets Seward at the Astor House‌—‌A Wheel within a Wheel‌—‌ Mr. Seward Caught. 108
The Major Returns to Washington‌—‌Things Get Mixed Up‌—‌Lincoln and the Panther‌—‌Splitting Rails and the Union‌—‌The Major and the President Visit Gen. McClellan's Army‌—‌Going up James River‌—‌Alarm of the Rebels‌—‌Exciting Scene on Board the Boat‌—‌Nobody hurt‌—‌The President Reviews the Troops at Harrison's Landing‌—‌The Return Trip‌—‌The President and Party Bathe in the Potomac‌—‌Almost a Catastrophe‌—‌The Major's Life-Preserver‌—‌The Moral of it‌—‌The President Proposes a Conundrum. 116
The President has an Attack of Fever and Ague‌—‌The Major Prescribes Elder-Bark Tea‌—‌A Fearful Mistake‌—‌The Bark Scraped the Wrong Way‌—‌Mr. Lincoln has to be Rolled‌—‌Stanton, Seward and the Major‌—‌ A Ludicrous Scene‌—‌The "Kernel" comes to and Begins to Joke‌—‌The Moral of taking the wrong Medicine‌—‌"The Irrepressible Conflict." 125
Gen. McClellan's Change of Base‌—‌A Bear Story‌—‌A Delegation of Clergymen‌—‌The Major's Opinion on Negroes and "Edecated Peepel"‌—‌How General Jackson Saw Through Them‌—‌How the War is to End‌—‌Mr. Lincoln tells Another Story. 133
The Science of "Military Strutegy"‌—‌The Major's Opinion upon it‌—‌A Call from the Secretary of the American and Foreign Benevolent Society for Ameliorating the Condition of the Colored Race‌—‌His Speech‌—‌The President's Reply‌—‌A Curious Prayer‌—‌The Major's Opinion on Slavery‌—‌The Critical Condition of Affairs‌—‌Mr. Lincoln Tells a Story. 141
A Cabinet Meeting‌—‌The President Calls for the Opinion of Each Member‌—‌Speeches of Seward, Chase, Stanton, Blair, Welles, Smith and Bates‌—‌The Major Called on for an Opinion‌—‌The Peperage Log Story‌—‌The Major Proposes an Armistice‌—‌No Conclusion Arrived at. 150
The Major not Ill‌—‌The President has "the Gripes"‌—‌The Witch-Hazel Medicine‌—‌Going to the bottom of a Subject‌—‌The Democrats and the War‌—‌The Emancipation Proclamation‌—‌A Visit to Gen. McClellan's Army‌—‌The Soldiers Cool‌—‌Mr. Lincoln tells a Story‌—‌"Sloshing About." 159
The President Nervous‌—‌The State Elections‌—‌Mr. Lincoln Astonished ‌—‌He takes Cordial‌—‌Mr. Seward Turns Democrat‌—‌The Major tells a Story‌—‌Mr. Seward and the Major Take a Drink‌—‌How John Van Buren got Gen. Scott's Letter‌—‌Mr. Stanton on the Elections. 168
The New York Election‌—‌Mr. Lincoln tells a Story‌—‌Cannot do Justice to the Subject‌—‌Mr. Lincoln Feels Bad‌—‌The Major Amuses him by a Joke‌—‌How to get up a Message‌—‌Keeping a Party Together‌—‌The Excelsior Political Prepared Glue‌—‌The Different Stripes of Abolitionists‌—‌Boating on the Mississippi River‌—‌Poleing Along. 175
The Message‌—‌A Cabinet Council‌—‌Speeches of Seward, Chase, Stanton, Welles, Blair and Bates‌—‌Mr. Lincoln tells a Story‌—‌The Major gives His Opinion‌—‌Mr. Chase Accuses Him of Disloyalty‌—‌The Major Demands a Retraction‌—‌It is Given. 182
The Message Finished‌—‌Mr. Sumner says it is not Grammatical‌—‌The Major's Excuse‌—‌Mr. Sumner Finds Fault with the Major's Spelling ‌—‌The Major Stumps Him‌—‌He Gives His Views on "Edication"‌—‌Mr. Lincoln Proposes a Conundrum‌—‌The Major tells a Story‌—‌Mr. Seward's Opinion on the War. 191
The Major Goes to See the Postmaster-General about Stopping Papers‌—‌Mr. Blair Promises to Release Them‌—‌The President Again in Trouble‌—‌A Change in the Cabinet Demanded‌—‌The Major Suggests a Remedy for "the Crysis." 199
The Emancipation Proclamation‌—‌The Way to Get to Richmond‌—‌Splitting the Union‌—‌The Major tells a Story about Splitting‌—‌The President Gets Indignant‌—‌Seizes the Boot-jack‌—‌The Major Pacifies Him‌—‌A Dream‌—‌The Major Returns to Downingville. 207
The Major Feels Sorrowful over the Fate of His Country‌—‌The Story of the Black Heifer‌—‌The Man who Made a "Siss"‌—‌The Union‌—‌"Insine" Stebbins Again‌—‌His Reception at Downingville‌—‌"The Insensibles"‌—‌A Provoking Accident. 214
The Democratic Party Whipped‌—‌Things as bad as they can be‌—‌A Story in Point‌—‌Mr. Lincoln sends for the Major again‌—‌The Major writes him a Letter‌—‌The Return of "Kernel" Stebbins, formerly "Insine" ‌—‌His Reception at Downingville‌—‌"Kernel" Doolittle's Speech‌—‌ "Kernel" Stebbins' Reply‌—‌Elder Sniffles' Preaches a Sermon. 221
The Major starts for Washington‌—‌Takes his Axe with Him‌—‌Mr. Lincoln Glad to see Him‌—‌The Cabinet in Session‌—‌The opinion of Seward, Chase, Stanton and others‌—‌The Major called on for an opinion‌—‌The Story of Old Sam Odum‌—‌Mr. Stanton gets Excited. 228
The Major and the "Kernel" at work on the Message‌—‌The Major visits Mr. Chase again‌—‌Sees the Machines for Printing Greenbacks‌—‌A Machine for every General‌—‌The Accounts mixed Up‌—‌Mr. Lincoln gets Flighty over them‌—‌The Major Puts him to bed, and applies a mustard-plaster‌—‌He Revives, and proposes a Conundrum‌—‌The Major also proposes one. 235
The Trouble about the Message‌—‌Chase and Seward Find Fault with it‌—‌The Story of Old Deacon Grimes' Oven‌—‌Mr. Lincoln Overrun with Visitors‌—‌The Major Suggests a Way to Get Rid of Them‌—‌The Small Pox dodge‌—‌The Message Finished‌—‌Mr. Lincoln tells a Story. 242
The Major visits Parson Blair‌—‌The Loyal Leaguers of the White House‌—‌A Wonderful Dream‌—‌The Grave of the Union‌—‌The President Don't Like It‌—‌About Leather‌—‌How the Capital Looks. 248


Downingville, July 15, 1864.

To the Editors of the Da-Book:

Surs: I got your letter tellin me that Mister Bromley and Kumpany wanted to print my letters in book form, and as you seem to think they understand such kind of work, and are proper persons to do it, I ain't got eny perticaler objecshins. It is now jest thirty years sence my first Book of Letters was printed by Harper and Kumpany, but I hear that they have turned Abolishinists sence then, and if that is so, I wouldn't let 'em print a book of mine for love nor money.

After I got your letter, I sot down and writ the Kernel, askin his opinion as to printin the Letters in book form, and he wrote back to me rite off, saying I must do it without fale. The Kernel has got 'em all cut out of the papers and put in a scrap book, but it's kinder onhandy, and he wants to get 'em in better shape. I've promised him that you would send him a copy jest as soon as it was out, and you must not fale to tell Bromley and Kumpany to do so. I also writ the Kernel that I thought it would be a good idee to issue a Proclamashin, ordering all the people to buy the book, espeshilly the Loyal Leegers, the soldiers in the army, all the Tax-Collectors, Custom-House Officers, Provo-Marshalls, Postmasters, Copperheads, War Dimmecrats, Abolishinists, Black Republikins, etc., etc. The Kernel sed it was a capital idee, and he told me to write it for him. He sed Seward had wrote most all of his Proclamashins, but he would trust me to write this. He sed he looked upon my letters as "Pub. Doc," and hence Congrissmen ought to frank 'em, and reed 'em, too. He said he didn't mind the little jokes in 'em on him, for ef there was anything on arth he could forgive a man for, it was for makin a joke. He didn't see how eny one who knew enuf to make one could help doin it.

So I have writ a Proclamashin, which you will find at the bottom of this letter, which you can print with it. I think when Ginneral Banks, and Rosykrans, and all them Ginnerals who sometimes stop books and papers, read it, they will understand that it will not answer to interfere with my book.

There is one thing that makes me a little bashful about publishin a book. My eddicashin was not very well taken keer of when I was a boy, and the consequence is, I ain't quite so smart in grammer and spellin as sum peepil. But one thing is certain, I allers make myself understood, and that, after all, is the main thing. I want Bromley and Kumpany to fix up the spellin a leetle, and then I think the book will pass muster.

I don't ever expect to live to write anuther book; in fact, I don't want to. I have labored as hard for the good of my kentry as any man in it, and yet I've lived to see it all go to rack and ruin. I don't raly know whether I shall write anuther letter, for a man of my years don't feel like such work. But there is one thing I feel sure of. Though the clouds look dark and black now, and though I don't expect to live to see everything all rite again, yet the Dimmocracy will triumph in the end. There is no blottin that out. It is in the natur of things. Peepel are naterally Dimmocrats, so old Ginneral Jackson used to say, and it takes a good deal of hard lying to make 'em enything else. Sometimes the liars get the upper-hand for a time, jest as they have now, but it can't last always.

I don't want you to put any preface to my book, for I have most always found that prefaces are filled full of falsehoods. I jest want my book to go on its merits, if it has eny. I've tried to tell the truth about politics, as I understand it, and ef Linkin had only taken my advice, the kentry would now be nigh about as good as new. But he wouldn't do it, and so I've left him to get out of the scrape he is in the best way he can. The Kernel, however, don't think any the less of me because I've been plane with him. He thinks my idees of niggers are all rong, and I think his are all rong, and there is jest where we split, for turn this question upside down or inside out, and, after all, the nigger is at the bottom of it. Jest as a man's idees run on niggers, jest about in that style will be his views on the war. Take an out-an-out Abolishinist, who thinks niggers are a little better than white folks, and he is for subjugashin, confiskashin, and exterminashin to the bitter end. Ef he thinks niggers are jest as good as white folks, but no better, then he is a little milder on the South; and so on down through every grade of a war man, the bitterness agin the South runs jest about even with the ignorince about niggers. Finally, the man who knows jest what niggers are fit for and what they need to make 'em useful and happy, is the strongest opponent of the war. So you see this proves that the nigger is at the bottom of the hull war.

There are, however, a good many things that make matters worse. Greenbacks, offices, &c. are terribul upon corruptin the peepul. Almost every other man has an office now-a-days, and them that ain't got office are interested in greenbacks. It will take a hard pull to get the present party out of power; but ef the Dimmocrats will only be honest and plucky, they can do it. I want to live long enuff to vote the Dimmocratic ticket this fall, and help do it.

Yours till deth,

Majer Jack Downing


"Washington, July 15, 1864.

"Whereas, my friend, Majer Jack Downing, of the Downingville Milisha, has issued a Book of Letters, containing his views on Public Affairs, the War, &c., &c.

"Now, therefore, I do hereby issue this my Proclamashin, enjoyning upon every loyal as well as disloyal citisen, includin Loyal Leegers, Abolishinists, Republikans, War Dimmocrats, Copperheads, Clay Banks, Charcoals, &c., to buy this book and to read the same, under penalty of the confiscation of all their property, including niggers of every decripshin. Furthermore, all officers under me, whether civil, military, or otherwise, are hereby ordered, under penalty of court marshal, to purchase the sed book and read it. This order applies to all Postmasters and their clerks (who are also ordered to assist in the sale of the book), to all Custom-House officials, to all Provo-Marshalls, to all Tax Collectors, Assessors, Recruteing officers, Runners, Brokers, Bounty Jumpers, and espeshally to all Government Swindlers, Contractors, Defaulters, &c., to all Furrin Ambassadors, Ministers Penetentiaries, and their Secretaries of Litigation, also to Ministers of the Gospil, Tract Distributers, Nigger Missionaries, male and female, &c., &c. Furthermore, Ginnerals Grant, Sherman, and all other Ginnerals, includin Ginneral Banks, will see to it that the Majer's letters are widely circulated in their armies, as the menny good stories of mine, as well as the Majer's, in the book, will keep the sojers in good sperits.

"Furthermore, if eny disloyal edditer shall presume to say enything against this book, or advise eny person not to sell or circulate the same, or aid and abet them in so doing, he shall at once be arrested and his paper stopped.

"Further, if eny person, in order to avoid the penalties mentioned above, shall borrow said book, he shall, if it be proved, be fined $1000 in gold. If there be no proof, he shall be sent to Fort La Fayette.

"Finally, every person purchasing a copy of the Majer's Letters shall be exempt from the draft. All others are at once to be seized and sent to the front.

"Done in this my city of Washington, in the fourth year of my reign.

"A. Linkin."




The Major Announces that he "Still Lives"‌—‌The Reason why he has not Spoken before‌—‌Writes to "President Linkin," who at once Sends for him‌—‌How Lincoln Shakes Hands‌—‌His Troubles‌—‌The Major's Advice ‌—‌Lincoln to get an "Appintment on Gineral McClellan's Staff"‌—‌A Story About Old Rye, from Mr. Lincoln.

Washington, Feb. 4th, 1862.

To the Editers of The Cawcashin, New York:

Surs: I 'spose eenamost everybody believed I wus ded, 'cause they 'aint seen any letters of mine in the papers for a good while. But it taint so. I'me alive, and though I can't kick quite as spry as I used to, yet I kin ride a hossback about as good as I could twenty year ago. I am now nigh on eighty years old, and yet, except getting tuckered out easier than I used to, I believe I feel jest about as smart as I did when I was a boy. The last letters I writ fer the papers was about ten years ago, when I went all around the country with Kossoot, and showed him the sights. Sence then I've been livin' in Downingville, county of Penobscot, State of Maine, and enjoyin' in gineral a good state of helth. But if the public haint heard from me it taint because I wasn't keepin' a close eye on matters and things. But the sartin truth is jest here: I seen, a good while ago, how things was shapin'. I told Kossoot that the pesky Abolishunests would ruin him, and thay did, and I've knowed for a long time that thay would run this country off the Dimokratic track and smash it all to flinders. Wall, they've done it. You may wunder why I haint spoke and told the country all this before. Wall, the reason is jest here: I saw that the breechin' was broke some years ago, and there is no use of talkin or hollerin "whoa!" "whoa!" after that. I've seen the laziest old hoss that ever lived kick and run like all possessed as soon as the shafts tetched his heels, and that's jest the condishun we've been in in this country for some time. We've been kickin' and runnin' and raisin' the old scratch ginerally for ten years, all about these darned kinky-heded niggers. As there is no use of tryin' to stop a runaway hoss after the breechin' brakes until he gets to the bottom of the hill, so there is no use of talkin' to a country while it is goin' in the same direcshun. Didn't Noah preech to a hull generashun of aunty-Deluvens, and it warn't any use. They lafed him rite in the face; and cum round him and axed what he intended to do with a boat full of chicken coops, hoss stables, and so on. And at last, when the rain begun to cum down like all possessed, they swore it "warn't much of a freshet arter all." Wall, jest so it is with this generashun. I spect the aunty-slaveryites are sum relashun to the aunty-Deluvens, and that accounts for their simelur behaveyur.

But I think that we've got most to the bottom of the hill now, and it is about time to get things rited up in some sort of shape. Havin come to this conclushin, about ten days ago I wrote a letter to President Linkin, tellin him how that Gineral Jackson's old friend was yet alive, and that if he wanted my sarvices or advice I would come on to Washington and help him thro'. Wall, I got a letter rite back, in which Linkin said he "was tickled all into a heap to hear that Gineral Jackson's old friend, Major Jack Downing, was still alive, and that he wanted me to cum on to Washington rite off." So I put off, like shot off a shovel, and dident even stop in York a day, or I should have called to see you. The truth is, I'me darned glad I cum. I went rite up to the White House, which looks as nateral as when Gineral Jackson and I lived there, and sent in my keerd. In a minnit the sarvent cum back, and ses he, "walk up." I went up-stairs, and then into Linkin's room, and you never seed a feller gladder to see a man than he was to see me. He got hold of my hand, and ses he, "Major, you are a brick. I've thought a thousand times that if I only had such a friend as Gineral Jackson had in you, that I could git along as easy as snuff. But ye see, Major, all these pollyticens are a set of tarnel hyppercrits, and I hate 'em." And he kept talkin and shakin my hand until I thot hed sprain my rist. So I ses, "Mr. Linkin, I can't stand hard squeezin as well as I used to, so don't hold on quite so hard." Then he apologized, and said "how he was so anxus to see me that he was almost crazy." I told him that "I hed cum to see him through, jist as I did Gineral Jackson, and that I would stick by him as long as their was a shirt to his back, if he would only do rite."

"Wall," ses he, "Major, that is jist what I want to do. But its awful hard work to tell what is rite. Here I am pulled first one way and then tother."

Now, ses I, "Linkin, I'me goin to talk rite out to you. The fact is, there never was a President that had such a party at his back as you've got. You see its made up of old Whigs, Abolitionists and free sile Dimmycrats. Now, there ain't any more rale mixture to this conglommyrate than there is to ile and water. The truth is, I'd as soon take Illinoy muck, and Jersey mud, and Massachusetts cobble stuns to make a fine coat mortar of, as I would to get such materials to put into a pollytical party. You can't never make them gee."

"Wal," ses he, "Major, I've began to think that way myself. The truth is, I've been trying all summer to please everybody, and the more I try to do it the more I don't succeed. When I am conservative, then the aunty-slaveryites come down on me like all possessed, with old Horass Greelie at their hed. When I go a little t'other way, then the conservatives and my old neighbors, the Kentuckians, they come down upon me, and that takes me right off the handle. I can't stand it. So you see, Major, I'm in hot water all the time."

"I see your troubles," ses I, "Mr. Linkin, and I'll have to look about some days afore I can get the exact hang of things, but as soon as I do, I'll make matters as clear as a pipe stem."

"Wal," ses he, "Major, I want you to make yourself to hum, and jist call for anything you want."

I told him there warn't but two things that I keered for except victuals, and that was a pipe and tobacco, and jist a little old rye, now and then. That gave him the hint, and Linkin rang a bell, and a sneakin lookin feller, in putty bad clothes, made his appearance. Linkin told him to get some tobacco and the black bottle. The feller soon fetched them in, and Linkin said that that "old rye" was twenty years old, and jist about the best licker he ever drank. He said he found it very good to quiet his nerves after a hard day's work. I told him that that was jist what Gineral Jackson always said—"Did he?" ses Linkin; "Wal," ses he, "I only want to imitate Jackson. That would be glory enough for me."

"Wal, now," ses I, "Linkin, the first thing you must do, in order to be poplar, is to be a military man. That was the way Jackson got up in the world, and if I had never been a Major, I really believe I'de never been heerd of out of Downingville. Now, jist as soon as the people believe you are an officer, with epaulettes on, they'll think you are the greatest man that ever lived."

"Wal," ses Linkin, "I think that is a first chop idea. How can it be carried out?"

"Wal," ses I, "you must get an appintment on Gin. McClellan's staff! with the rank of Kernel. Nothing short of that will answer at all. Then get a splendid uniform and a fine hoss, and have the papers describe them, and get up pictures, and the shop-keepers will have their windows full of lithographs, and in six months you will be the most poplar man in the country, and sure to be next President."

When I sed that, he jumped right up, and ses he, "Major, you're worth your weight in gold. You have hit the nail right on the head. I'll do it; by the Eternal, I'll settle this trouble yet."

"That's the talk," ses I. "Just put your foot down, and let it stay down, and you may be sure it will all come out right."

Then Linkin sed to me, ses he, "Major, take a good swig of this old rye. If you feel sick, have got a cold, or looseness in the bowells, or need physic, or have got the rheumatiz, or pane in the back, or the headache, there's nothen like old rye to set you on your pins just as good as new. Why, Major, let me tell you a story:—There was a feller out West, who got a splinter in his foot. He was splittin' rails one day, and the axe glanced off, and sent a piece of chestnut timber in his heel about as big as an axe-handle. Wal, he tried everything on 'arth. Finally, he came to me, and I gave him some old rye, and the splinter came out in five minutes afterwards."

"Wal," ses I, "Linkin, that is a purty good story, and old rye is a capital drink, but as for medicin', giv' me my old stuff, elderberry bark tea. It's handy to use. Scrape it downwards, and it makes a fust rate fisic, and scrape it upwards it is a capital emetic. The only danger is that you scrape it round-about-ways, when it stirs up a young earthquake in a man's bowells equal to Mount Vesuvius on a bust. Kossoot made a mistake of this kind once, and I had to hed him up in a flour barrel, and roll him round the room afore he cum to."

When Linkin heard how I rolled Kossoot in a flour barrel, he laid back and larfed as hard as he could roar, and said he hadn't felt in such good spirits since he had been in Washington.

I telled him he musn't get the blews, and that I should cheer him up. Then he tuk me by the han' and bid me a very feelin' good-night, and the feller in bad clothes showed me to my room. I slept as sound as a bug in a rug all night, and feel good as new this mornin'.

I shall soon get things straightened out here, I hope, and if anything interestin' happens, you may hear from me agin.

Your friend till deth,

Majer Jack Downing.



Deacon Jenkins, of Downingville, Sent for to Cut and Make the President's Uniform‌—‌A Provoking Accident‌—‌Mr. Lincoln Tells a Story‌—‌The Major as a "Commentater" on the Constitution‌—‌Mrs. Lincoln's Party‌—‌"Insine Stebbins, of the Downingville Insensibles, Writes a Paradox for the Occasion"‌—‌The Major gets Angry‌—‌Lincoln Tells a Story About Virginia Mud.

Washington, Feb. 15, 1862.

To the Editers of The Cawcashin:

Surs:—Didn't I tell you that, as soon as I got here, I would straiten things out? You never see a happier man, now-a-days, than Linkin is. When I cum here he was eenamost reddy to go into a hasty consumpshin. He had been lettin things go on at loose eends, with two or three fellers managing things, and they were eternally pullin' jest as many ways. Linkin had been in the habit of sayin' that he warnt no military man. I telled him he must stop that at onct—that he knowed jest as much as eny of 'em. So when I told him he must be a Kernel, he at once went in for it. Wal, I hev bin jist as busy as a bee in a tar bucket gettin' his solger clothes reddy. I sent clear to Maine to get Deacon Jenkins, who made all the clothes for the Downingville Insensibles, and he arrived here last week. It ain't no easy matter to cut for Linkin's figer, but I knowed the Deacon could do it, if eny body on arth could. But Deacon Jenkins, you see, is a small, stumpy man, not much longer than he is wide—while Linkin is eenamost as tall as a rail, and mity near as slim. Wal, I hadn't thought of this; so when the Deacon cum he couldn't measure Linkin round the neck for a military stand up coller, eny more than he could climb a been pole. Linkin sed he'd git down on his nees, or on all fores, if necessary, but I wouldn't let him, 'cause it would be wantin' in dignity. So I got two cheers, and laid a board acrost 'em, and Deacon Jenkins got up on 'em. While he was standin' ther, the board broke, and down come the Deacon rite on the floor, makin' the White House all shake agin. He turned dredful red in the face, but Linkin sed "it warnt a suckemstance to a fall he onct had out of a chestnut tree. He sed, when he was a boy he used to go out, and jest for a breakfast spell split a load of rails. One mornin' he clumb a tree to get some young crows out of a nest, and the lim broke and down he cum full thirty feet. Sum people thought he was ded, but he allers believed it was the resin he was so tall, for he started groin rite off after that, and didn't stop till he was six feet five inches!"

While he was standin' there, the boord broke, and down cum the Deacon rite on the floor.

"While he was standin' there, the boord broke, and down cum the Deacon rite on the floor."—Page 24.

By the time Linkin got tru tellin' his story, the Deacon hed got up on the cheers agin and tuk the measure. Then he hed the clothes made, and in three days they cum hum all rite. Wal, I wish the hull country could see the Kernel (I call him Kernel all the time now) in his new clothes. He looks like a new man, and, what is more, he acts like a new one.

The other day I telled him he must giv the orders to the new Seckretary of War, but he kinder held back, and sed he didn't like tu take too much on his shoulders at onct. Besides, he didn't feel it was right for a Kernel tu dictate in that way. Then I telled him that the place was only a complimentery one, but that he was raley a Ginneral and a Commydore all in one. Wal, he sed "he couldn't see intu that." Them I telled him how that the Constetushin sed that he was "Commander-in-Cheef of the Army and Navy," and that that made him a Ginneral and a Commydore. Wen I sed that, he jumped out of his cheer and ses he, "Majer, you are jest about the keenest commentater on the Constetushin I ever heerd talk. Why, Majer, ef I had only thought of that, I would hev put it into my Inaugerole. Wouldn't it hev made a sensashin?"

Wal, ever since the Kernel has tuk the ribbins into his hands, he has been puttin' things rite thru, and victeries hev cum along jest as fast as possibul. Linkin is a terribul feller to work wen he has a mind to. He run Secketary Stantin into a fit of the vertegris the very furst week he went into the harniss, and as for the other members of the Cabbynet, there ain't one that kin hold a kandil to him.

Ther's bin a terribul time about the financies since I hev bin here; but the victeries in Kentuckee and Rowingoak hev made a good many long faces look as good-natured as ef the Union was all rite agin. I telled Ginneral Wilsin, from Massa-chew-sits, the other day, that he orter vote a gold meddle to the President in honer of the good noose, but Somnure wanted to insart the Wilmut Proviso in the bill, and so I wouldn't hev nothin to du with it. I don' expec' that, after all, they'll be willin' to giv' Linkin the credit he desarves, for ther' ain't a man here, from a Senatur in Congriss down to a sargant of the hoss mareens, who don't expec' tu be next President.

Wall, I hev run on so about politicks and so forth, that I eenamost forgot to tell you about Mrs. Linkin's party. I've seen a good many big things in that way sence I was a boy, but this was a leetle ahead of all. The sojers, and the wimmen, and the cabbynet, and the forren Ministers Pennitenshery, with their Seckateries of Litegashin, were all ther. The tables were all kivered over with sugar frost, eenamost as white as a Maine snow bank, and Mrs. Linkin luked like a young gal jest out of schule. The way she did intertane the kumpany was a caushin to peepul who don't know the ropes. Insine Stebbins, of the Downingville Insensibles, was ther, and ef ther is a smart feller in the army, the Insine is one. He kin rite poetry almost equil to Longfeller, and as for singin', the Italian band-ditty can't begin with him. Wen the kumpany were sot down to the table, Deacon Jenkins was kalled on to say grace, and wen they got thru, the hull kumpany kalled on Insine Stebbins to sing a paradox which he had kumposed specially for the occashin, as follers:

From Varmount's icy mountins,

From licker hatin' Maine,

Where streems of goldin wisky

Go strate agin the grane;

From menny a country cawkis,

From menny a country shop,

We cum to greet thee, Linkin,

At this here Linkin hop!

Wot tho' the Nor'-West breezes

Blow sum o'er Georgetown hill,

And likewise also freezes

The troops at Turner's Mill?

Wat tho' the army hosses

Die off for want of food?

We'll drink Old Rye with Abram,

Because Old Rye is good.

Wot tho' the Yankee nashin

Pores out the warlike flud,

And sogers of all stashin

Are stashined in the mud?

Wot tho' the sly contracters

Defraud us rite and left,

And Uncle Sam's old stockin'

Of all his cash is reft?

Wot tho' the taxis plague us,

And heeps of corn must spile,

Wile poor folks three times over

Their coffee-grounds must bile?

Does not grate Dr. Cheever,

(And shall he speke in vain?)

Command us to delivur

The land from slavery's chane?

Shall we whose harts are litened

With Rye, and cake and wine,

Shall we to Cuff and Dinah

Give nought but crust and rine?

Abolition! Abolition!

The joyful sound proclame,

Till each remotest nigger

Has learned the Linkin name!

"Amen! seel-er!" yelled out Deacon Jenkins, at the very tip-top of his voice, wile nigh about the hull kumpany seemed to be hily tickled, except Linkin and his wife and me. I was so mad that I eenamost bust my biler. I went rite strate up to the Insine, and ses I, "Insine Stebbins, I knowed you and Deacon Jenkins was both red-hot Abolishunests, but I tho't all the folks in Downingville had kommun sence, and wood know better than to interduce pollyticks on a festiv occashin, specially anything faverabul to Cheever and Gree-lie and kumpany, who are the hull time abusin' Linkin and Mrs. Linkin." Then the Insine said that Sumnure had helped him rite the paradox, jest on purpose to see how Linkin wood like it. "Wal," I told him, "that that was jest as much sence as well as manners as I shud expect from Sumnure." Then Deacon Jenkins cum up and sed sumthing, and I lit on him for hollerin' "Amen" rite afore the hull diplomatick core, jest as ef he'd been at a prayer meetin' in the Downingville schule house. Mrs. Linkin was very much pleased at the way I laid down the law to the Deacon. The Kernel didn't say much, but looked daggers out of his ize, and seemed nigh about as cross as a cross-cut saw all the rest of the evenin'. The bawl, how-sumever, went off in all other respecs in furst rate stile, and Mrs. Linkin is now regarded as the very a-leet of fashin.

There's not much else that's new this week. The roads have been in an impassabul condishin for some time, and unless some feller kin invent a patent rite for settin' them up edge ways to drene, I don't believe they'll be scasely settled before the summer solstis. I telled Linkin I never seed such mud in my born days. "Wal," ses he, "let me tell you a story about mud. Virginny can't hold a kandel to Illinoy in that respect. One time a man was travellin' 'long the road jest a little nor-east of Springfield, wen he found a hat layin' in the mud, rite in the middel of the road. He stepped out keerful to get it, and he was all struck up a heep to find a man's hed under it, and he in the mud clean up to his very chin. 'Darn my pectur, nabor, if you ain't in a fix. Cum, let me git hold of you, and I'll help pull you out.' 'No! No!' sed the feller in the mud, spittin' out the dirty water; 'No! No! I don't want your help—much ableeged to you—for I've got a good hoss under me, and he'll fetch me out as sure as preachin!'"

"Wal," ses I, "Kernel, I shan't try to match that story to-day." The truth is, that I didn't feel like it. I've bin kinder under the wether since the bawl. Washington is a terrible place for nager and fever, and all kinds of billyus kemplantes. One of the President's leetle shavers has bin dangrus sick for sum daze, but I hope he'll rekiver.

I got yuere letter tellin' me that sum of yuere subscriburs wanted me to rite a letter every week for yuere paper. Wal, I will, if I kin, but I can't promis sartin. You see an old man nigh on eighty years old don't feel jest limber enuf to rite at any and all times, but wenever I hevn't got the lumbager or rumatiz, and my ideas ain't froze up, you'll heer from me, once in two weeks, and perhaps oftener, wen the weather gets more stedy.

Your friend,

Majer Jack Downing.



The Major has an Attack of the Ague and Fever‌—‌Begins to get the Hang of Matters at Washington‌—‌Mr. Lincoln's Improvement in "Military Nollege"‌—‌Studying "Stratygims" for Gen. McClellan‌—‌The Major Suggests a Difficulty‌—‌Mr. Stanton Called on‌—‌The Negroes at Port Royal‌—‌"The Nigger Teachin Fever"‌—‌Deacon Jenkins' Daughter goes to Port Royal to Teach the Negroes.

Washington, March 1st, 1862.

To the Editurs of The Cawcashin:

I've had a terribul fit of the ager sence I writ yu last, and one time I thought it was about "nip and go tuck" wether the ager or natur wud whip, but I've got a strong constetushin and it cum out best, as it allers has so far in life. Linkin, too, has been kinder under the wether. The loss of his little boy affected him terribully. Ef it hadn't ben for the good noose and the Union victories I don't know how we could have got along. But we are all gettin' better very fast now, and things begin to look brighter.

I begin to get the hang of matters here now, and the way Linkin and Stantin and me will settle affairs before long will be a cawshin. Stantin is a steem injine in breeches. The grate trubbul Linkin now has is the Abolishinests. They are tryin' to drive him to free all the niggers down South, and all the preechers, moril reformers and lecterers are constantly writin' letters here prayin' Linkin to go rite on and turn the niggers all loose. Sometimes we get as many as three bushels of letters in one mornin', from the strong-minded wimmin and week-minded men in the North, who don't know any more about niggers than they do about the man in the moon. Linkin don't pretend to read 'em or even take a look at 'em. He told me one day that I might look 'em over, and see ef thar wus enny sence in enny of 'em, but I couldn't find ennything but texts of Scriptur, and sams and hims and extracts from Greelie's paper and Cheevur's sarmons. Wen I told Linkin that he sed he didn't want to know enny more about 'em, for he had had about enuff of such pesky fanaticks. I kin jist tell them fellers that are writin' here such long letters, that it aint any use.

But the grate subject that has occupied the attenshin of all of us for two weeks past, has ben the grand forrard movement. Linkin improves mitey fast in military nollige, and is eenamost reddy to graduate from a Kernel into a Ginneral. Wal, as I was sayin', we've been as bizzy as bees in gittin things reddy for a start. Ef Stantin and Ginneral McClellin, and the Kernal and me didn't work hard at stratygims, then thar aint any such word in the dickshinnery. We had charts, and maps, and diaphragms, and kumpasses to measure the distances with, and all sorts of queer looking instruments that I can't remember the name of. But Ginneral McClellin knew all about 'em, I tell you. He could tell how fur it wus from one place to tother on the map, jest as easy as if he'd been over the ground and measured it with a ten foot pole. Wal, wen he'd tell the distense from one place to tother, the Kernel would put it down on a piece of paper so as to see jest how fur the grand army would have to travil afore they got to Richmond. Wal, bime by Linkin had got a string of figers which kivered a hull page of writin paper, and then he undertook to ad 'em up. It warn't long, however, before he got things so mixed up that he couldn't tell hed from tale. Finally he turned to me and ses he, "Majer, can't you help me out of this scrape?" I told him I would ef he would only send for a slate, but that I couldn't figer on paper, that I larned to sifer on a slate, and that it allers cum terribel onhandy for me to figer in enny uther stile. So he called that feller in purty bad clothes, and told him to get a slate. Wen it cum I went to work, and tho' my hand aint ben in the business much sense I sifered up the ackounts for Ginneral Jackson in Squire Biddle's bank, yet I soon stratened matters out, and Linkin was dredful tickeled at it. He sed "Apostle Paul couldn't beet it himself." I forgot to tell you that the Kernel calls Ginneral McClellin his Apostle Paul, so you needn't believe enny of the stories in the Abolishin papers about the Kernel and Ginneral McClellin being at logger-heds. Even General Jackson and Mr. Van Buren were never better friends than Linkin and McClellin. Wal, to make a long story short, we got every thing all settled, tho' it took the last night till eenamost mornin before we got thru. I had bent over the tabil so long, lookin at the diaphragms, that I had a stitch in my back, and Linkin was bent eenamost dubil.

After it was all over with and every thing had been decided on, ses Linkin, ses he, "Majer, don't you think that that is a capytal stratygim?" Ses I, "Yes, Kernel, that is jest about as nigh rite as you kin get it; but," ses I, "there's one thing you ain't provided for." Ses he, "What's that?" "Wal," ses I, "for a fire in the rear!" "Wal," ses Linkin, "now the Majer is gettin off a joke on us, for thar ain't no chance for a fire in the rear, except it comes from John Bull, and ain't Seward spiked his guns?" "Now," ses I, "Kernel, you ain't as old as I am; ef you was you would see jest what I mean." Ses I, "Don't you know that the Aboleshin papers hate Ginneral McClellan as bad as they do Jeff Davis, and jest as soon as the grand army begins to move they'll expose all his plans, and the rebils will have em all in Richmund in time to defeat em?" "Wal, that is a fact," ses Linkin, "I never thought of that; but they will as sure as preachen do jest what the Majer ses; but what kin we do?" "Wal," ses I, "I'll tell you what to do. Jest let Secketary Stantin issu an order stopping all war news, and put every Aboleshin editer that dares to disobey it into Fort La Fayette. Giv em a dose of their own fisic, and see how they'll like it."

When Linkin heard that he jumped rite up, and ses he, "that is jest the checker. These Aboleshinests have bin as much trubble to me as the secesh, and I don't know but a leetle more. I spect I'll have to hang a few on em yet before I can git a settled peece."

Then Linkin asked Secketary Stantin what he thought of my idee, and he sed it was jest what was needed, and so Linkin told him to draw up the order and put it thru strong. Wal, so you see how the "Youkase," as sum of our York editors call it, cum to be issued. I see sum of em growled and snarled over it like mad dogs, but it warn't no use. They know now how it feels to be put under the thum screws. So ef you can git the news, jest keep quiet a leetle while and you'll hear music.

There ain't much else that's new here jest now. But tother day there was a feller cum on here from York to see Linkin about what should be done for the niggers at Port Royal. He asked Linkin what could be done? "Wal," ses Linkin, "I spose you've heerd the story about a feller who won an elephant at a raffle, and after he got him didn't know what to do with him? Wal, so it is with the niggers we've got. There they are, but ef any live man kin tell what to do with em, I'de like to hear him. They eat more than the sojers, are lazy, and cost more than they cum to, jest like the old Injin's dog."

Then this feller, who seemed to be a spirital chap, something like a dominy, put on a long face, and sed how these culered peepal were our bretheren in the Lord, and that they had been brought up as hethens, hed never been taught reedin, or ritin, or rithmetic, but ground down to the arth with chains and slavery. He said he felt deeply for 'em, and that his conshence wouldn't let him rest day nor nite, but he was willin' tu devote his dazs tu preachin' the Gospel tu 'em, &c., &c., but the cute feller wound up by axing Linkin wether he wouldn't reckermend Congress tu approprate sum money for the good of these poor creturs. Wen he sed that I seen rite thru' him, and I give Linkin the wink. So he put him off by sayin' he would think it over. Wen he went away I told Linkin jest what I thought of him. How that he was one of that kind of salm singin' Yankees who was allers lookin' out for sum way tu git a livin' without workin.'

It is astonishin' tho' how this nigger teachin' fever is goin'. It has broke out even here in Washin'ton. Deacon Jenkins' darter, Jerushy Matilda, who cum on with her par, when he was sent for tu make Linkin's sojer clothes, cum across that feller, an he talked her intu goin' down to Port Royal tu tech nigger schules. Now, Jerushy is a smart gal; her mother an my wife were second cuzzins. She kin rite poetry purty good for a gal of her age, for she ain't more than twenty-two, but she's got all the nigger nonsense in her hed, and I can't no more drive it out than I kin fly. Somehow Abolishin gits hold of the feelins of the wimmin folks, an it cums from their not knowin' what the nigger realy is; so I telled Jerushy tu go, an ef she didn't get sick of tryin' to make niggers do an act, and larn, an sifer, an read, like white folks, then I would pay all her expenses, an turn nigger misheenery myself. But she sed I was an old fogy. It appears that solem feller told her that the niggers hed been whipped by their masters every mornin' before breakfast, with a cat-a'-nine-tailes, an that all they had tu eat was corn-stalks and cotton seeds! This tuck hold of Jerushy's feelins amazinly, an she packed up her best clothes, an went off with him. She promised tu rite me how she got along, an what she thinks of things down there. Ef ther's eny thing interestin' in the letter, I'll send it tu you tu print.

Your friend,

Majer Jack Downing.



A Delegation calls Upon the President‌—‌The Major Indignant‌—‌Mr. Lincoln Tells a Story‌—‌Curious Composition of the Republican Party‌—‌Difficulty of Keeping it Together‌—‌The President Hopes to do it by "Sloshin About"‌—‌Deacon Jenkins Again‌—‌He is a Temperance Man, but Takes a Glass of Old Rye.

Washington, March 18th, 1862.

To the Editers of The Cawcashin:

Surs:—We've all ben at sixes and sevens here since I writ you last. The rebils have knocked all our stratygims into a kocked hat. The fact was, we had the plan fixed to catch 'em jest as easy as you can kill a rabbit under a ded fall, but they wouldn't stay to be catched. Linkin ses "they are like to Paddy's flee, when you git where they are they ain't ther." It is ginerally believed here that some of the Somnure click who hate Ginneral McClellan so much, ralely informed the inemy of our movements, and that that give 'em time to pack up their trumpery and git out of the trap. You see Somnure, Greelie & Co. are afeerd that McClellen will be the next President, and they are doin all they kin to brake him down. The other day a hull boodle of these Abolishinists come in a boddy to the President to demand "justis to Freemount." I was standin jest back of Linkin up in the office room, when old Moril, of my State, and Luvjoy, and Somnure, and Hale, and Julian, and Ashley, and a hull lot more of the same stripe, cum in. They sed "they cum as a committy from a cawkis of the party to demand, as an act of justis, that Freemount should be appointed to sum kommand." Wen I heered 'em say that they demanded it, I felt my blud bileing away down to my bootes; in fac, it seemed as ef my bootes was full of bileing water. They sed they represented the Republican party, and that the party demanded it, that the peopul demanded it, and that the noosepapers demanded it, and that ef he didn't do it, they would consider that he intended to forsake his party, and go over to the Dimmycrats. All the wile I felt as ef I'd giv a thousan dollars for one hour of Old Hickery. How he would hev made the fur fly ef any body had undertuk to dictate to him in that way. But Linkin didn't say nothing until after they got all thro, then he rez up kinder limpsey, and ses he, "Gentlemen, I will considder this ere matter over, and see what I kin do. I reckon I kin kinder fix things out to suit you." Then they went off.

After they were gone Linkin turned to me and ses he, "Majer, what do you think of that?" "Wal," ses I. "Kernel, I tell you jest what I was thinkin while that insultin feller was talkin. I was wishin that Ginneral Jackson was alive and President for about twenty-four hours. Why, ef that feller had talked to him in that way, he would have seized his hickery and kaned him out of the room." Ses I, "Kernel, you are too good-natured. These pesky pollyticians will driv you to perdishin, and the country, too, ef you ain't kerful."

"Wal," ses Linkin, "what am I to do? There ain't no doubt that my party are all aunty-slavery, and a good menny of 'em out and out immediate Abolishinists. They are a pullin me like all possessed. They've got hold of my feet, my toes, my cote tale, my trowsers, and pullin away as ef they ment to rip every rag of clothin off me, and I don't feel sure but they'll pull my legs off my boddy. I am holdin on as hard as I kin, but I feel as ef my hold was slippin. Now, what on arth am I to do?"

"Wal," ses I, "Kernel, there's nothin like getten a fresh hold wen you feel that you are slippin. So jest spit on your hands, as the sailyers do, and take a new hold."

"Now, Majer," says Linkin, "that reminds me of a story. Some Irishmen were once diggin a well, and by sum means the rope on the windless broke, and the bucket went down to the bottom. How to get it was the questshin. After plannin and thinkin for some time, Paddy O'Brien, who was the boss, he ses to Teddy O'Flanagan, ses he, 'I will take hold of the windless with my hands, and Teddy, you take hold of my legs, and let Patrick take hold of Teddy's legs, and so on, until we can git down to the bucket and rache it up.' So they all went at it, but it warnt long before Paddy found that the heft was too grate for him, an he felt that his hold on the windless was slippin. So he sung out tu Teddy, who was below him, ses he, 'Teddy, me boy, hould fast there till I spit on me hands,' an as he let go tu spit on his hands, down the hull party went tu the bottom of the well. Now," ses Linkin, ses he, "that would be jest the way with me. Ef I let go to spit on me hands, down my hull party will go, and no one will ever see it agin."

"Wal," ses I, "Kernel, ef you do go down in that way you will be on top!" "That's a fact," ses Linkin. "I didn't think of that, but then, who would want tu be on the top of such a party! You see, ef the party had any timber in it that you could use tu make another out of, there would be sum prospec ahed. But ye see thar aint. The stuff is cross-grained and knotty, and a good deal of it mity rotten. Ef I could split it about half in two, so as tu weld one piece on tu the Demmycratic party, I would do that. But you can't split it any more than you kin a pepperage log. I know sumthin about splittin, and ef any man could do it I could. No, Majer, ef my party goes tu pieces at all, it will brake up intu a thousand splinters, jest like a chesnut tree wen it is struck by lightnin."

"Wal," ses I, "Kernel, are you goin to give Freemount a kommand?" Wal, ses he, "I 'spose I'll hev tu do sumthin for him. I'll give him some place where he can't do any harm; ef I don't, these fellers will stop the wheels of government, an I can't run it any longer." Wal, ses I, "Kernal, ef they stop the wheels of the government then I'de run it on the axletrees afore I'de giv in tu these pesky critters. You kinder giv in tu em on your emancipashin proclamashin, and ef yu keep on your gone, and the government is gone tu. You can't restore the Union in that way enny more than you can build a stone wall out of clam shells. Besides, you'll break off your Kentuckee frends.

"Wal, yes, that's so," ses Linkin, "but don't you see, Majer, I've got to break off with sumbody? Ef I do as the Kentuckians want me tu, then I shall break with my party, and ef I don't, then I shall have to break off with them. Now which shall it be? That's the question. Now, thar ain't Dimmycrats enuff in Congress tu be of enny sarvice to me, and the few that are thar are most of em like the last run of shad, very poor and very mean. Thar aint more than three or four that dare say their souls are their own, and I can't git along with such a party as that. I hope I'll git thru by sloshin first one way and then tother, without havin a rumpus with enny of em, but ef I don't, 'sufficient to the day is the evil of it,' as the Scriptur ses."

I aint had a letter from Jerushy Matilda, the darter of Deacon Jenkins, sense she went off to Port Royil with that solem feller. Her par, Deacon Jenkins, who made Linkin's sojer clothes, is still here. He is a very pious man, the Deacon is, and he thinks Jerusha is goin to do a heep of good to the niggers in turning mishinary. He thinks the niggers are all brought up as hethens, and never heerd the name of God. I telled him "I guessed ef they went around much whar the Maine sojers were, that they would here his name pretty often, for they kin outsware any set of men I ever heerd talk." Wen the Deacon heerd how that Mannassah was taken, he cum rite up to the White House and congratulated Linkin on his success. Linkin felt kinder tickled at first about it, but wen I telled him how it warent much of a victory to let a hull army slip thru our fingers, Linkin seemed to think so, too. But Deacon Jenkins, he sed he could prove it frum Scriptur, and so he got a big Bibil and red the 61st Sam, which is all about Manassah and Gil-ed and Mo-abe and washpots, and so on. I telled him I could'nt see no simurlarity in it, but he stuck to it that it tiperfied the retreat of the rebils. Linkin red it over two or three times, and sed it red for all the world like one of Seward's non-committal letters. First he thought it did, and then he thought it didn't, and finally he giv it up in dispare. I telled 'em them they might try to draw conserlashin from the Bibil, but I felt down about the matter, and didn't know as I could sleep. Linkin sed he felt bad, too, but the Deacon declared he felt first rate. I telled Linkin I must have sum Old Rye afore I could go to bed, and he sed his nerves were very oneasy too. So the feller in bad clothes fetched in the black bottle, and we tuk a good swig. I telled the Deacon that he needn't take enny, as he felt so good, but he would have sum. The Deacon pretends to be a grate temperance man wen he is hum, but I find he likes a glass of wisky now and then, espeshily if he thinks the Downingville folks won't heer of it. I hope I shall heer frum Jerusha by the time I rite to you agin.

Your frend,

Majer Jack Downing.



A Blue Time‌—‌The Major Wins a Hat of the President‌—‌The Richmond Expedition of Gen. McClellan‌—‌Mr. Lincoln's Trick on the Major‌—‌A Letter From Jerusha Matilda Jenkins‌—‌She Gives Her Experience in Negro Teaching‌—‌Priscella Huggins and Elder Sniffles‌—‌Cloe, the Negro Girl who "Could not be Good unless she was Licked"‌—‌A Negro Meeting‌—‌Dancing and Singing‌—‌The Unpleasant Odor‌—‌Negroes Steal Miss Huggins' Clothes ‌—‌They Purloin Jerusha's Petticoat‌—‌It is Thought that their Religion is not "Very Deep"‌—‌Mr. Lincoln Hears the Letter Read‌—‌He Declares that Port Royal is a "Cussed Hole"‌—‌Deacon Jenkins Shocked‌—‌He Proves it by the Scriptures.

Washington, April 1st, 1862.

To the Editers of The Cawcashin:

Surs:—I've ben awfully down in the mouth sence I writ you last. Things don't move nigh as fast as we all expected they would a spell ago; but I can't tell you the resin, for it wouldn't do to rite noose, for the rebils would get it. Linkin has ben feelin amazin bad; one day, wen we both had the dumps, Seward cum in, and ses he, "cheer up; its all goin to be over in thirty days." Linkin ses Seward reminds him of fellers he's seen out West who had the ager and fever. One day they think they are well, and the next they are shakin agin like all possessed. Wal, Linkin ralely did think that McClellan would be in Richmond by the 1st of April, even McClellan thought so. I telled Linkin he wouldn't, and bet him a bran new hat on it. So to-day I won it, but will you believe it, Linkin got a bet on me. He's a dredful cute critter in his way. Ses he to me, kinder funnin me I thought, ses he, "Majer, will you make a bet with me?" Ses I, "Yes, Kernel, I've jest won a bet of you, and taint more than fair to let you have a chanst now." "Wal," ses he, "I'll bet you a hat that I kin sneeze jest wen I've a mind to." Ses I, "Kernel, I don't believe it, and so I'll bet you. Now," ses I, "let's see you sneeze." "Wal," ses he, "I aint a mind to now. So," ses he, "hand over that new hat." Ses he, "Majer, you aint quite as smart as you thought you was." Ses I, "Kernel, now jest hold on about the forty-leventh part of a minit. You bet me a new hat, but I only bet you a hat, so," ses I, "you kin take the old one!" "Wal," ses Linkin, "Majer, you are jest the keenest Yankee I ever heerd tell on. You allers contrive to git ahed of me after all."

The other day I got a letter from Jerushy Matilda, Deacon Jenkins' darter, and Linkin was eenamost crazy to see how Chase's missionaries cum on. So I sot down, Deacon Jenkins was thar too, and read it all to Linkin, and I send it to you to print, jest as I promised. So here it is in full. Jerushy is a proper smart gal, and I guess thar aint menny of her age who can beat her:

Beaufort, S.C., March 25, 1862.

Deer Uncle—I take my pen in hand to fulfil my promise to you. Now, I'm goin to rite you the hull truth about things in this part of the Lord's vinyard. I shall tell you some grate news, so you must not tell par of it, for ef you do he'll rite hum about it, and then it will soon be all over Downingville. I jest as live mar would know it as not, but then she'll tell aunt Betsy Wiggles, and aunt Betsy will go rite over to old Deliverance Grimes, and tell her, and then Deliverance she'll put on her bonnet and start all over town, and ef Jim Pendergrass gets hold of it he'll hector me to death, for he's a rale pro-slavery Dimmycrat, and thinks that our colored brethren and sisters are fit only for slaves. I can't deny that I've been much disencurriged sence I've been here. You see we've got a very queer set of gals and men here with us. Some of 'em are quite old gals, who haint been very lucky in life, and naturally they feel kinder sour towards men in gineral. Some of 'em have been schule marms for a good many years, and some have been milliner gals. Two of 'em had a rale spat on the boat while we were comin here. The way it happened was this: There is a spruce looking old maid by the name of Priscilla Huggins, from Bosting, who is very gifted in prayer, and she tuk a great notion to Elder Sniffles, a young preacher, who is one of the piesest men I ever see. She is quite an old gal, and there was another gal, a nice looking and quite young gal, from York. Her name was Melissy Buggs. One day Melissy giv Miss Huggins a terribel slap by tellin her that she guessed she made believe being so pious jest to ketch Elder Sniffles. When Miss Huggins heerd this, she sed something unrespectful of milliner gals. "She didn't believe," she sed, "that eny of 'em had religion, and what's more than that, they want eny more respectable than they oughter be." When she sed that, Melissy she jumped rite at her with both her hands, and ketched hold of her har, and bless me, if she didn't pull nigh about all the har off her hed, for it turned out it was false har and not genoine. When Miss Huggins see her har on the floor, she turned as red as a beet, and Melissy said she guessed her hart was jest as false as her har. This made her redder yet, and jest at this point Elder Sniffles came along. He cum up, and ses he, "My dear sis-ters, this is not the way to walk in the fear of the Lord, and with gordly conversashen edefin one another. I fear that the Lo-rd will not bless your labors with our dear col-ored brethren, who have so long been groanin and cryin to the saints for deliverance from chains and slavery." This sort of rebuked them, but there's been a constant jingle in our company ever since.

When we arrived here, we were all very much disappented not to find a stage reddy to take us to the hotel, but las me! they aint got any kind of decent livin here. Instead of a hotel, they telled us we must cook our own vitals, and what do you think they giv us? The government promised to board us an lodge us for teachin the poor dear colored people, and takin keer of their souls, an we thought they would do it in decent stile. Instead of that, all we could get was sum salt pork and dry bread, jest the same as they giv to the common sojers. I tell you, didn't all of us feel hoppin, when the feller in brass buttons told us that was all he had for us. To think of turnin ladies an gentlemen with such stuff was shockin. I tell you, didn't Elder Sniffles giv him a piece of his mind, an brothers Sleek and Goodenough, and Elder Wattles, and young Deacon Dolittle all jined in, but they couldn't move the feller a mite. So we took a house, the best one we could find empty, an commenced doing for ourselves.

But I must tell you something about our colored brethren an sisters. The sojers here treat 'em very badly, kick and cuff 'em, an swear at 'em such horribel oaths that it makes the blood run cold. But we have taken 'em by the hand and leadin 'em by love. That old gal from Bosting, Priscella Huggins, actually hugged and kissed one old colored lady, until all the others laughed and jumped as if they thought it was very funny. For my part, I took a great notion to a young black gal, wen I first come here. She sed her name was Cloe, but she acted so much like Topsey, in that dear good novel of that dear good woman, Miss Stowe, that I took Topsey for me to teach. First off, I got along very with her. I axed her a good many questions, among others, where she was born. She sed she warn't born at all, but "was raised over on the Edisto." But jest as soon as I got done talkin to her, she seemed to forget all about it, an would go to dancin an cuttin up Jim Crow capers. In a day or two she got rale sassy, an I couldn't do nothin with her. One day I had to actually drive her out of my room, but it warn't but a little while before she put her wooly head in again. Then I told her again "how that I had come down there on purpose to elevate her, an to educate her, that she was jest as free as I was, and that she would never have to mind her old mistress agin." Wen I sed that, she bust out a cryin jest like a baby. Ses I, "What is the matter, dear Topsey?" "Oh," ses she, "I can't nebber hear ole missus talked of, but I bust rite out cryin. Oh! what a good missus she was! boo! boo! boo!" an she kept on cryin as if her heart would break. I thought it was dredful queer that she should be cryin to go back to bondage. But pretty soon it was all over, an she began to dance around the room jest as if she never thought of cryin. Pretty soon she upset a chair, on which I had laid some things, an I was awfully provoked. I took hold of her, and felt jest like shakin her to pieces, wen I axed her, ses I, "Topsey, why don't you be good?" "Las me! missus," she replied, "I can't be good unless I'm lickt." I tell you I was discurriged. That night I went to a colored meeting. The colored people are very religious, though their religion don't seem to be so deep as it ought to be. They danced and sung somethin like the Shaking Quakers, and I can't say that it was very edefyin. There was nothing spiritual about it, and the smell in the room was very unpleasant. Somehow colored people have a very singular smell, that I never knew of before I come down here, and the brothers and sisters don't like it at all. I had actually to hold my nose all through meeting in my pocket handkerchief, and yet it was almost more than I could stand. When meeting was over I was mighty glad to get out, I tell you. I don't know what we will do here all summer, but I expect we shall soon get used to it. The very next day after the meeting, what do you think happened? Why, we all went out to see a plantation, and while we were gone, the colored brethren that we made so much of, and who had pretended to be so pious, stole all the provisions that the government gave us! They were all gone, and what is more, I lost my best dress and a bran new petticoat that aunt Betsey Wiggles gave me just before I started for Washington. But you would have laughed to see old Miss Huggins go on about what she lost. They took all but one pair of stockings, and the best night gown she had. When Melisy Buggs heered of it she jumped rite up, and slapped her hands and cried good. They also took off old Miss Huggins' stuff for cleaning her false teeth, and you never heerd a woman go on so in all your life. I guess if Elder Sniffles had heerd her rave and tare as I did, he would think her piety warn't very deep. I didn't keer so much for the loss of my petticoat, but if aunt Betsey finds it out I'll never heer the last of it, and then if Jim Pendergrass gets hold of it, what shall I do? He is the most awful hectorer that ever lived, and he sets in church at Downingville, rite in front of par's pew. He'll grin at me the hull time. But I cum off good, I tell you. The other gals had to divide up with Miss Huggins, or I don't know what she would have done. As it is, ef much more is stolen from us we will all have to come home and get new wardrobes. All the brothers and sisters have been very much puzzled about this strange affair. The colored people all seem to be so very pious that was not believed for a long time that they could have stolen the things, but it seems they did, for old Miss Huggins was determined to find out, and she went off to some of the cabins, and there she found them tryin to comb their woolly heads with one of her fine teeth combs!

I tell you what it is, uncle Jack, I am afraid I've come on a fool's errand. Some how there aint the right look to things here, and ef we don't succeed better in the future than we have so far, in educating these colored people, I fear our labor will be lost. They will talk well enough before your face, but it don't last. But don't you let on to the Downingville folks that I'm at all disencouraged. If I come home it will be on the excuse that the climate don't agree with me. Elder Sniffles says no one must leave for any other reason, for that would bring down odium on the great cause. Elder Sniffles is going to preach hereafter regularly to the colored brethren, and he hopes he will soon teach them how wicked it is to steal. As soon as he teaches them that, then he is going on to other subjects, but that must be taught them at once, for one or two more hauls on us would send us all home with "nothing to wear."

Your affectionate neece,

Jerusha Matilda Jenkins.

Wen I got thrue, Linkin jumped rite up out of his cheer and stomped his foot so as to make the house shake. Ses he, "What a cussed hole that Port Royal must be!" Decon Jenkins ses he, "Don't speak wickedly with your lips, Mr. President." "Wal," ses Linkin, "it is a cussed hole, and I ken prove it by the Scriptur." "I guess not," ses the Decon. "Wal," ses Linkin, "didn't the Lord cuss the earth for man's sins?" "Yes," ses the Decon. "Wal, I'de like to know," ses Linkin, "whether you think Port Royal was an excepshin?" I never seed a feller look so chop-fallen as the Decon did, and I snorted rite out a laughin, for the Decon thinks he's so smart on Scriptur. Linkin, however, declares that he ain't got nothin to do with this nigger schule teachin, but that it is all Chase's plans. But its turnin out jest as I expected; Jerusha now begins to see that what I telled her was true. The gal will be comin back afore long, you may be sure, but she'll be cured of niggerism; that will be one good thing. I only wish I could send all the old maids and silly gals in New England down there. They would soon get the nigger notions out of their heads.

Your frend,

Majer Jack Downing.



The Question of the "Contrybands"‌—‌Lincoln and the Major Discuss It‌—‌The Major Tells a Story‌—‌Shows Mr. Lincoln That the Government is out of Order‌—‌Says It's a "Dimmycratic Machine" and that Seward and Chase Don't Know How to Run It‌—‌They are Like Old Jim Dumbutter and the Threshing Machine‌—‌The Major Tells Another Story‌—‌"The Kernel" Gets a Joke on Seward‌—‌Tells a Story About the "Giascutis."

Washington, April 15th, 1862.

To the Editers of The Cawcashin:

Surs: I've ben kinder sick sence I writ you last. The truth is, this clymate in the spring is ralely very weeknin to the constitushin. Linkin, too, has been terribully anxus about war noose, and the nigh approach of hot weather. But the great subjeck which the Kernel and I have been considerin is the "contrybands." What is to be done with 'em? That's the questshin, and Linkin ses he'd like to see the feller that can tell him. One night Linkin got a big map, an he sot down, and "Now," ses he, "Majer, let's take a look at all creashin, an see ef ther aint sum place whar we kin send these pesky kinky heds, and git red of 'em." "Wal," ses I, "Kernel, I'm agreed." So we went at it. First Linkin put his finger on Haty. "Now," ses he, "ther's an iland that jest suits the nigger constitushin. Suppose they go thar?" "But," ses I, "Kernel, they won't go, an ef they did, they wouldn't do nothin." "Wal," ses he, "no matter, ef they won't trouble us here enny longer." "But," ses I, "ther's one more resin. The iland aint large enuff to hold all the niggers—four millions or thereabouts." "Wal," ses he, "ther's Centril Ameriky—what do you think of that spot?" "Wal," ses I, "Kernel, that's a fine country, naterally. The Creator fixed it up on a grand skale, but you can't make a treaty with it, enny more than you can count the spots on a little pig, when he keeps runin about the hull time. The truth is, you can't tell who'll be President of it from one mornin to the next, and the niggers you send there might all git their throats cut jest as soon as they landed." "Wal," ses Linkin, "that's a slight objecshin. But let's turn over to Afriky. There's Libery, how would that do, Major?" "Wal," ses I, "Kernel, that country is about the biggest humbug of the hull lot. Fust off, sum raly good peopul thought it was goin to amount to sumthin, but after forty years of spendin money on it, ther aint enny more chanst of civilizin Afriky in that way than ther is of makin a rifled cannon out of a basswood log. A few dominys, who can't git enny boddy willin to hear 'em preach, hev got hold of it, an are makin a good thing out of it. As for sending our niggers ther, why it would take all the shippin of the world, and more money than Chase could print by steam in a year." "Wal," ses Linkin, "where on arth kin we send 'em?" "Now," ses I, "Kernel, I've got an idee of my own about that matter. I think they are best off where they are and jest as they are, but ef you must git red of 'em, I would send 'em all to Massa-chews-its! Peepul who are so anxus to have other folks overrun with free niggers ought to be willin to share sum of the blessins themselves. So let all that are here in Washington be sent rite off to Boston." "Yes, that might do," ses Linkin, "but then, ef they are entitled to their freedom, they orter be allowed to go where they are a mind to." "But," ses I, "sum States won't have 'em at all, an they can't go there. So what's to be done?" "Wal," ses Linkin, "I tell you what it is, Majer, this is an almighty tuff subjeck. I know somethin about splittin rails, and what hard work is ginerally, but this nigger questshin has puzzled me more than enny thing I ever got hold of before." "Wal," ses I, "Kernel, I kin explain the resin why." Ses he, "Let's hear you, Majer." "Wal," ses I, "Kernel, where do you carry your pocket-book?" Ses he, "What on arth has that to do with the subjeck?" Ses I, "Hold on, you'll see." "Wal," ses he, "I always carry it rite there, in my left hand trowsers pocket." Ses I, "Didn't you ever have a hole in that pocket for a day or two, and had to put your pocket-book in sum other?" Ses he, "Majer, I have." Ses I, "What did you do with it then?" "Wal," ses he, "I put it in my right hand pocket, but it kinder chafed my leg there, cause it warn't used to it, and it also felt mity onhandy. So I put it in my side coat pocket, but every time I stooped over it would drop out. Then I put it in my coat tail pocket, but I was kept all the time on the qui vivers, afeerd sum pickpocket would steal it. At last, in order to make it safe, and sure, I put it in the top of my hat, under sum papers, but the hat was too top-heavy, and over it went, spilling everything. I tell you I was glad when my pocket was fixed, and I got it back in the old spot."

"Now," ses I, "Kernel, that's jest the case with the niggers. The minnit you get 'em out of ther place, you don't know what on arth to do with 'em. Now, we've been here all the evenin sarchin over the map to see ef we can't find sum place to put 'em. But it is all no manner of use. You've got to do with 'em jest as you did with your pocket-book. Put 'em whar they belong, an then you won't have any more trubbil."

Linkin didn't see eggzatly how I was gwin to apply the story, an wen he did, he looked kinder struck up. Wen I saw that I hed made a hit on him, I follered it up. Ses I, "Kernel, this government ain't out of order, as Seward an Chase kontend. They are only tryin to run it the rong way—that's what makes all the trubbil. I once hed a thrashin machine, an I sold it to old Jim Dumbutter, an after he got it he sed it warn't good for nothin—that it wouldn't run, &c. So I went over to see it, an I vow ef he didn't have the machine all rong eend foremist. I went to work at it, an, after a leetle wile, it went off like grease, jest as slick as a whistle. You see, old Dumbutter didn't onderstand the machine, an, therefore, he couldn't make it go. Now," ses I, "Kernel, our Constitushin is a Dimmycratic machine, an its got to be run as a Dimmycratic machine, or it won't run at all! Now, you see, Seward is tryin to run it on his 'higher law' principle, but it warn't made for that, an the consekence is, the thing is pretty nigh smashed up."

"Wal," ses Linkin, "things do look kinder dark. I don't know whar we will come out, but I guess I'll issoo a proclamashin for the ministers to pray for us. Perhaps they will do sum good." Ses I, "Kernel, that reminds me of old Elder Doolittle, who cum along the road one day rite by whar old Sol Hopkins, a very wicked old sinner, was hoein corn. The season was late, as the corn was mity slim. Ses the Elder: 'Mr. Hopkins, your corn is not very forrard this year.' 'No, its monstrus poor,' ses Hopkins, 'an I guess I shan't have half a crop.' 'Wal,' ses the Elder, 'Mister Hopkins, you ought to pray to the Lord for good crops; perhaps He will hear you.' 'Wal, perhaps He will, an perhaps He won't;' ses old Sol, 'but I'll be darned ef I don't beleave that this corn needs manure a tarnel sight more than it does prayin for.' Now," ses I, "Linkin, I think this country is somethin like old Hopkinses corn. It needs statesmanship a good deal more than prayin for." Linkin didn't seem to like that observashin of mine much, for he turned the subjick, an he ain't axed me what it was best to do with the niggers sence.

The other day the Kernel got off a good joke on Seward. You know what a solem looking chap he is naterally. Wal, since he has got to be Chief Clark of the President, he seems to look solemer than ever. He cum into Linkin's room, an the Kernel ses, "Have you heerd the news, Boss?" "No," ses Seward, "what is it?" "Wal," ses Linkin, "the Giascutis is loose." "What's that?" ses Seward. "Why," ses Linkin, "ain't you never heerd the story of the Giascutis?" Seward sed he never had. "Wal," ses the Kernel, "I must tell you. Several years ago, a couple of Yankees were travellin out West, an they got out of money. So they koncluded to 'raise the wind' as follers:—They were to go into a village; an announce a show, pretendin that they had a remarkabul animal, which they had jest captured on the Rocky Mountings. A bran new beast such as was never seen before. The name was the 'Giascutis.' It was to be shown in a room, and one of the fellers was to play 'Giascutis.' He was put behind a screen an had some chains to shake, an he also contrived to growl or howl as no critter ever did before. Wal, the peeple of the village all cum to see the Giascutis, an, after the room was filled, his companion began to explain to the audience what a terribul beast he had, how he killed ten men, two boys and five hosses in ketchin him, an now how had got him, at 'enormous expense,' to show him. Jest as everybody was gapin an starin, thar was, all at once, a most terrific growlin, and howlin, an rattlin of chains; an, in the excitement, the showman, almost breathless, yelled out, at the top of his voice, 'the Giascutis is loose. Run! run! run!' An away went the people down stairs, heels over head, losin all they had paid, an seein nothin. Now," ses Linkin, "'the Merrymac is out,' an when I read about the vessels, an tug-boats, an steamers, all scamperin off as soon as she was seen, I thought she was the 'Giascutis,' sure, only I'm afraid she is a real Giascutis, an no mistake." Since then, Linkin calls the Merrymac the Giascutis all the time.

Your friend,

Majer Jack Downing.



War "Noose"‌—‌The President's Anxiety‌—‌Mr. Lincoln Determines to Apply "the Principle"‌—‌The Story of Zenas Homespun‌—‌The Major's Views on Negroes‌—‌Poetry‌—‌The Emancipation Ball‌—‌The Major Going to "Cifer" on the Finances.

Washington, April 29th, 1862.

To the Editers of The Cawcashin:

Surs:—We are all on the qui vivers here for war noose. Linkin gets up sometimes in the middul of the nite to hear a dispach received by Sekratary Stantin, and as much of it as is thought good for the health of the peepil is sent to the papers. The other nite Linkin called me. This was very unushul for him, for he ginrally tells me in the mornin, at the breckfast tabel, and axes my opinion, but he sent for me that nite and sed that I must git up and read the noose. So I went down and he showed me the dispach that Gennerral Mitchell got of Bowregards. "Now," ses the Kernel, "you see, Majer, we've got the raskils in a korner. They've got to fite or run, and if they fite they're licked, and if they run they're licked. We shall now soon have Memfus, and that jest pens up Jeff Davis in Virginny. You see, Majer, Bowregard ses he ain't got but 35,000 troops." Ses I, "Kernel, let me take a look at that dispach." I put on my specs and read it over twice or three times very kerfully, and then ses I, "Kernel, I don't think you orter put grate faith in that. As Elder Doolittle used to say, 'it may be a bee, and then agin it may be a wasp.' That Bowregard is a grate feller at stratagy, and it might be another dodge of his. And then agin, Kernel, that was afore you signed the bill abolishin slavery in the District of Columby. As sure as your born that will be worth a hundred thousan sojers to Jeff Davis." "Wal," ses Linkin, "let it, who cares? The truth is, Majer, we Republicans have been talkin about the great principle of the equality of all men, includin Injins, niggers, Chinees and so on, and now they want me to apply the principle, and I'm goin to do it. I think there is sum humbug in it sumwhere, but I don't exactly see where, and as they will give me no peace, and will never be satisfied ennyhow until it is dun, I'm goin to put it thru." "Wal," ses I, "Kernel, go ahed, but look out for squalls. Perhaps," ses I, "you never heerd the story about Zenas Humspum 'applyin the principle. I hope you won't hev as bad luck as he did." "No," ses Linkin, "I never heerd that story. What was it?" "Wal," ses I, "Zenas was a good-natered feller, who lived in Downingville, and a wonderful inquirin sort of a chap, allers and forever prying into things. If he bought a clock he'd take it all apart with his jack-nife, jest to see how it went together. So about the time that the telegraph was started and an offis was set up in our town, Zenas was eenamost puzzled to deth to get the hang of the critter, as he called it. One day he went to the offis and axed the feller to show him all about it. The chap was very perlite, and explained to him the grate principle on which it worked, but Zenas didn't exactly see through it, and kept axing questions and botherin the feller till he got clean out of pashins. Finally, ses he to Zenas, 'Perhaps you would like to see me apply the principle.' Zenas said he would, of course. 'Wal,' ses he, 'then you jest take hold of them brass nobs and stick to 'em tight.' So Zenas grabbed hold of 'em like all possessed, but he hadn't more than fairly got hold before he lay sprawlin on the floor. The 'principle' had knocked him clean over. Now, Zenas was a terribul feller to smoke, and allers carried his pockets full of lusifer matches to lite his pipe with. It so happened that he had a hull box-full in his coat-tail pocket as he keeled over on the floor, and as he fell they scratched agin one another so strong that they all got afire. It warn't but a little while afore Zenas' coat-tail was all in a blaze, and before it could be put out it had burnt an awful big hole in the seat of his trowsers, and schorched him thereabouts amazinly. Zenas yelled and hollered awful, and sed he didn't want to know enthing more about 'applyin the principle.' Now," ses I, "Kernel, I hope you won't hev as bad luck as Zenas did, but depend on't, this applyin principles you don't exactly understand is dangerous business. If you don't get burnt somewhere it will be a wonder."

"Wal," ses Linkin, "Majer, you are a cute chap in tellin a story, but now, tell me, do you think the nigger an the white man didn't cum from the same parrient?" "Now," ses I, "Kernel, that's axin a deep question. You see its onpossibul to tell what the Creatur may have done. He might have made only one kind of man at fust, an then altered their constitushins, an complexions, an brains afterwards. You see everything is possibul to the Creatur. Or the nigger may have cum from Ham, who was cussed for his sins, but then I don't see that it is enything agin the scriptoors to believe that all the kinds of men were made at the beginnin jest as they are now. But it don't make eny difference how they cum so, so long as they are different. You can't eny more make a white man out of a nigger now than you can breed a lion out of a polecat. You see, it's clar agin natur to expect to make the nigger enything but a nigger. You can't get a peach out of a crab-apple, nor a pumpkin out of a watermelon, nor eagles out of ducks' eggs. You can't raise chickens from egg-plants, or produce goslins from gooseberries. You see, Kernel, everything in natur must go accordin to natur. If the nigger had been intended to be equil to the white man, hed been made jest like a white man, and the very fact that he ain't made so, is proof positive that he warn't intended to be put in a white man's place. Trying to make a nigger act like a white man is jest like old Sol Hopkins, one year harnessing his off ox an his hoss together to plow corn. The ox was lazy as he could be, an the hoss was a young, high-strung animil, an such a pullin an haulin team you never did see. It almost killed both. You see, it was workin agin natur. It was tryin to make a hoss an ox, and an ox a hoss, neither of which things can be did. You see, Kernel, everything in natur must go according to natur."

"Wal," ses Linkin, "there is a good deal in what you say, but then the peepil don't believe it. They think the nigger is only accidentally black, and if he lacks in mind and capacity, it is all owin to slavery, an they won't believe eny other way until they see for themselves. I tell you, Majer, the principle has got to be applied, no matter how meny coat-tails or how meny trowsers are burnt."

"But," ses I, "Kernel, can't they see how the thing has worked in places whar nigger equality has been tried?" "That don't settle the question, Majer. Peepil are jest like hogs in that respect. Did you ever see a lot of hot swill put in a trough, an every single hog in the pen would go an stick in his snoot an get it burned? Not one would larn from the others. After we've tried nigger equality, we'll know what it is, an how we like it. We must apply the principle, an in some way, you may depend upon it Majer, all the niggers down South will be sot free."

"Wal," ses I, "Kernel, I guess that there are other folks who think jest as you do, for somebody has sent me some varses in relashin to the nex great emancipashin which is to cum off, cut from some noospaper. I will read 'em to you:



Anodder Great Ball is soon to be,

De like of which you nebber did see,

De bids is out I's seen a few,

De guests I know, and so do you.

Lubly Rosa! Sambo come!

Don't you hear de banjo?

Tum! Tum! Tum!

De fust on de list is Mistah Snow,

And de nex is Jeemes and Dinah Crow;

Chalk and ivory! heels and shins!

White man wait till the dance begins!

Lubly Rosa! Sambo come!

Don't you hear de banjo?

Tum! Tum! Tum!

Pompey Smash, and his lady fair!

You may bet your life dey will bofe be dare!

And Mistah Ducklegs—bully for he!

Such a gizzard foot you nebber did see.

Lubly Rosa! Sambo come!

Don't you hear de banjo?

Tum! Tum! Tum!

And Gumbo Squash wid his bressed grin,

His curling har, and his cho-shin—

De King ob Hearts will come to de Bal,

Let the gals look out for dare feckshuns all!

Lubly Rosa! Sambo come!

Don't you hear de banjo?

Tum! Tum! Tum!

Ole Uncle Ned, frow down dat hoe!

And Dinah, drop dat kitchen dough!

All Dixie's free, wid noffin to do

But to dance all night, and all day too.

Lubly Rosa! Sambo come!

Don't you hear de banjo?

Tum! Tum! Tum!

De white trash dey have nuffin to say,

But to work! work! and de taxes pay;

While the bressed darkies dance dere fill,

Let de white trash foot de fiddler's bill!

Lubly Rosa! Sambo come!

Don't you hear de banjo!

Tum! Tum! Tum!

White Men! White Men! Sure as you're born,

The crows are going to take your corn!

They surround your fields on every tree,

And they blacken the sky as far as we see.

Lubly Rosa! Sambo stay,

In the land of Dixie,

Far away."

Linkin laughed at it when I got thru, an sed it done very well for some sore-hed Dimmycrat, but that Whittiur could write one on 'tother side that this would not be a primin to. I telled him Whittiur might make better poetry, but I doubted whether ther would as much truth in it as this had.

Linkin ses he wants me to study up the finances for him. He ses the debt is gettin fearful, an as I am good at cyferin, he ses I must try to help him out on that subject. He wants to put it in his nex message. It is some time since I did such work, but if I feel like it, I will go into it, an will write you how I get along.

Your frend,

Majer Jack Downing.



Matters get Confused‌—‌The "Kernel and the Major" Compelled to go to Fortress Monroe to Straighten Things Out‌—‌Mr. Lincoln Takes his Revolver‌—‌The Major Sticks to His Hickory‌—‌Arrival at Fort Monroe‌—‌They go on a "Tippergraphical Rekonnisanze"‌—‌A Night Alarm‌—‌Secretary Stanton Tries to get on the President's Pantaloons.

Washington, May 13th, 1862.

To the Editers of The Cawcashin:

Surs:—Wal, if I ain't eenamost tired out, I wouldn't say so. Wen I writ you last, I told you that Linkin wanted me to look into the financies and cifer where we was a comin to, but I ain't had time to do it yet. Things have ben in a kind of a dubbel and twisted snarl here lately. Sekretary Stantin and Gins. McClellin and McDowell have been almost by the ears. One of em halls Linkin one way and another t'other way, until he got eenamost crazy. McClellin wanted more sojers. Stantin sed he didn't have em for him. McDowell sed he wanted more, and Banks wanted more. So you see here was a pretty kittle of fish. Finally, Mr. Linkin, ses he, "Majer, wat on erth shall I do?" "Wal," ses I, "Kernel, I tell you my idee. You better go down to Fort Monrow, an see for yourself. I allers found, when I had a lot of hands in the field a mowin, there was nothin like havin the boss on hand. If he ain't there, they all want to be boss." "Wal," ses Linkin, "I think that is a good plan, Majer; and if you will go along with me, I will go down there, and if I don't straiten things out there, my name ain't Abe Linkin. But, Major, how shall we go?" "Wal," ses I, "Kernel, do jist as Ginneral Jackson used to; step of kinder unbeknown to eny one, but you kin invite all your a mind to go along." "Wal," ses he, "I guess I'll take Chase and Stantin along. I want Stantin so as to ask questions; an if I leave Chase here, he an Seward will git a quarrelin sure as you live. I never see two men so jealous of each other. They both want to be President so bad, that I expect nothin else but some day they'll steal my old boots."

The next day Linkin got all ready, put on his best close, and slicked up so he looked purty nice. Then he got his six-barreled revolver, and put it in his side coat pocket. Ses I, "Kernel, what on arth do want of revolvers?" "Wal," ses he, "Majer, aint we goin down to the land of the Secesh, and who knows but we may git in an ambushcade?" "Wal," ses I, "Kernel, that's a fact; but I shan't carry anything but my old hickory. Ginneral Jackson cum pretty nigh killin a man once with his hickory, and I believe, Kernel, old as I am, I'de give any Secesher a pretty good tussel with that old shag bark."

"Wal," ses Linkin, "I wan't brought up that way. I'de rather have an ax than any other weepin, for I believe I could split the Southern Confederacy into rails in a week, and fence it in, if it were only fashionable to warfare in that manner; but you see, Majer, we've got to lick the rebils according to science, or John Bull and Looe Napoleon will kick up a rumpus. So I'll have to stick to revolvers."

"Wal," ses I, "Kernel, that's right; but give me the hickory. If I don't defend myself with that, then my name ain't Majer Jack Downing. I ain't goin to make a masked battery of myself."

So we all got reddy and went off in the Miamy, so quiet like, that Washington peeple didn't scasely know it. Ginneral Wool was terribully tickled to see us, and he shook me by the hand jest as hard as he could. I hadn't seen the old Ginneral for a great manny years, but he don't seem a mite older than he did nigh on twenty years ago. The next day after we got there, we had a council of war, and it was decided to attack Norfolk. But how to do it was the question. "Wal," ses Linkin, "I tell you what, I know somethin about boatin, and the Majer here he is quick at eenamost anything. So we'll go on a tippergraphical rekonnisanze to-morrow." Ses I, "Kernel, them big words may be all right, but I'll be darned if I believe they're English." Ses I, "Ain't it jist as easy to say that we're goin on a military tower of obsevashin?"

The next mornin we started off in the Miamy, and went towards Norfolk. Every place we cum to, the naval offesers sed wouldn't answer to land troops on. It couldn't be done. Finerally, I showed Linkin a spot close in shore, and ses he, "Them old canal-botes up there at the Fort, that you sed looked as if they were the runin gear of Noah's ark, are fit for nothin else but to be towed over here for the troops to land on." Ses I, "Kernel, that's so, and if the sea captains can't do it, I kin, for I sailed a sloop once down in Maine, and I know sumthin about the bizness." So wen Linkin pinted out the spot, they tried to find fault agin, and talked about the tide and the sinkin of the boats, etc. Just then I stepped up, and ses I, "Mr. President, I'm an old man, but if you want sojers landed there, I'll land 'em safe and sound as a pipe stem; if I don't, then my name ain't Majer Jack Downing." Wen the brass button, pompous chaps heered me say that I was Majer Jack Downing, you never seen a wisker set of fellers. They all at once began to make apologys, and sed that they would try it, that they guessed it could be done, and so on. I see thru the fellers at once. They didn't want Linkin to have eny of the credit of it; but when they see that I was goin to do it, and take all the credit, then they were willin to go to work. I ralely believe there ain't a officer in the navy or army but what expects to get glory enuff in this war to make him a President. Wal, after we fixed on this place, we all went back to the Fort, and Ginneral Wool give us all first rate rooms in the offiser's quarters. The next mornin, bright and arly, the sojers were off, and Ginneral Wool leadin 'em. As it turned out, everything went off jest as slick as could be. The rebils had cut sticks and run, and there was no one to take. The Ginneral went into town, run up the stars and stripes, and it was all over with. Norfolk was ours.

I'm darned if the critter warnt bizzy tryin' to git on Linkin's trowsers.

"I'm darned if the critter warnt bizzy tryin' to git on Linkin's trowsers."—Page 80.

Ginneral Wool was so tickled with his success that the old man cum post haste back agin, late at nite, to tell Linkin and Stantin of it. We had all got to bed. We slept in rooms that jined each other, Linkin occupyin the middle room, an myself an Stantin one on each side, with the doors openin into Linkin's room. Wen we went to bed, ses the Kernel to me, kinder jokin, ses he, "Majer, if the Secesh attack us to-nite, you must have your hickory reddy." Ses I, "Kernel, look out for your revolver, an put it under your piller, so you kin grab it handy." Wal, what should happen along towards mornin but a most terribul noise, some one beatin, an stampin, an yellin, like all possessed. First, I thought of the Secesh, and I grabbed my hickory at once, an made for the Kernel's room in my nite-shirt to see how he was feelin. I came pretty nigh bustin my sides a laughin, for there Linkin stood up on a cheer, lookin for all the world like a treed porcupine; his hair stood on eends, and he was a shaking his pistol around as if he meant to shoot. Ses I, "Hold on, Kernel; don't fire. Let's see what this rumpus is all about before you shoot." Stantin, was in Linkin's room, lookin like a spook in his white nite-gown; an I'm darned if the critter warn't bizzy trying to git on Linkin's trowsers! He got 'em on after a fashen, but his legs didn't more than go half thru 'em, an there he stood kinder tangled up like, lookin awful sorry about somethin, as if he'ed wanted to issue a bulletin an couldn't? All the while the noise kept growin louder, an finally ses I, "Who on arth is that makin such a tarnal racket?" "It's me. It's me," ses a voice. Ses I, "Who is me? Are you Union or Secesh?" "I'm Ginneral Wool," ses he, "an I want to tell you the noose." Now, we didn't no more expect to see Ginneral Wool than we did Jeff Davis; but sure enuff, it was him, and he cum thunderin in an brought his old cane down on the floor with a ring. Ses he, "Norfolk is ours, by ——." I won't put in the swearing part. You never did see such a change. Linkin jumped down out of the cheer, and ketched the old Ginneral by the hand, and cum pretty nigh shakin it off, while Stantin took him rite in his arms. Wen the story had all been heerd, and Linkin went to look for his trowsers, there was Stantin with his legs in 'em, holden them up by his hands. Ses I, "Kernel, Mr. Stantin will get to be President if you ain't kerful, for I see he's got on the President's trowsers." Wen I sed that, I thought Stantin would wilt. He looked awfully struck up, but sed he'd no idee them was Linkin's trowsers, and he backed out of them quick.

The next day there was great rejoicing in the hull army, and we all cum back to Washington in the Miamy. I've jist got back, and have only had time to write you this letter. Wen yew hear from me agin I hope I shan't be so tired, and try to give you a more interesting letter.

Your friend,

Majer Jack Downing.



The Major Figures on the "Nashinal Debt"‌—‌Horse Contracts and "Abolishin Preechers"‌—‌Banks Defeated‌—‌The Major Suggests a New Fashioned Shield expressly for Retreats‌—‌A Wheelbarrow for every Soldier!‌—‌Excitement in Washington‌—‌The President not Scared "a Hooter"

Washington, May 26th, 1862.

To the Editers of The Cawcashin:

Surs:—Sence I writ you last, I've been figering on the nashinul debt, and I tell you what it is, it is jest about the most intricit subjec I ever got hold of. I've used up two duzzen slates and about a cart load of slate pencils. Linkin has sent on to York for a fresh supply, and wen they cum I'm goin' at it agin. Squire Biddle's Bank warn't a primin to this war debt. You see the contracters and the pollyticians, and the Members of Congress and the Guvernors of the States, and the editers and even the Abolishin preechers are mixed up in it cleen to their ize. It's very queer how so many of these preechers have had hoss contracts. It seems as if Abolishin and hoss jockeying goes together. One pius chap wrote on the back of his contract, "An horse is a vain thing for safety. Put your trust in the Lord." I should think that such hosses as he furnished would be a vain thing for safety, for nigh about the hull of 'em was spavined, or ring-boned, or foundered, or had the blind staggers. I tell you it's edefyin to look over these contracts. Linkin has giv me a cart blank to pry into the hull subjec, but Chase squirms terribully wen I questshin him close. But I ain't got half done. The other day, as I was porerin over my last slate, which was pretty nigh sifered full, Linkin sent for me in a grate hurry. I started rite off, wunderin what on arth was up. Wen I went in, the Kernel had his cote off and his sleeves rolled up, an ses he, "Majer, do you know where I kin get a first-rate axe?" Ses I, "Kernel, I know where there is the best axe that ever chopped wood, but," ses I, "it's way up in Downingville." Ses he, "That won't do, Majer; I must have an axe rite off, or I shall bust; I can't live unless I work off this steem." I see the Kernel had on a high-pressure excitement, and ses I, "Hold on a minnit, Kernel, and tell me what on arth's the matter?" "Matter!" ses he, "jest read that, Majer, and tell me whether you don't think that that infernal cuss, Stantin, ought to be kicked out of the Cabinet?" I took up the paper and there was a despatch from Ginneral Banks, sayin how the rebils had licked him and was drivin him back like all possessed, and all because Stantin had takin away his troops and sent 'em away where they warn't wanted. Ses I, "Kernel, I have had a good deal of doubt about that feller, Stantin, ever sence he tried to get on your trowsers down at Fort Munrow. You see you can't never depend a grate deal on a turn coat. He once perfessed to be a pro-slavery man, but now he goes in for the Abolishinists even stronger than the Simon-pures. I tell you, Kernel, you better look out for him." "Wal," ses Linkin, "we ain't got no time to talk about that. The Secesh are almost on Washington agin, and jest think what France and England will say. Why, Seward rote 'em at the last steamer that it was all over—that New Orleans was open—that Richmond would be taken in a few days; and here, by this stupid blunder, we are agin jest back where we were a year ago, and I've got to call fer more troops to defend the Capital. What on arth will we do?" "Wal," ses I, "Kernel, if swarein or even choppin wood do any good, I would advise you to do one or both; but you see they won't. So put on your coat and let's talk this matter over." So we jest went over the subjec, and soon decided what to do. I tell you we made the telegraff fly all day Sunday, and by night we all began to feel a grate deal easier. That nite the Kernel and I had a long talk, and I told him I had invented a new military system to prevent the dangers of a retreat, and that, ef it had been adopted in Ginneral Banks' case he would have come off with all his men, and almost without a scratch. The Kernel he was dredful anxious to know what it was. So I told him that my idee was to have every man supplied with a sheet-iron shield, about five foot long and about two foot wide, to strap rite on his back when he commenced to retreat. Then the enemy might fire as hard as they pleased, while our sojers could take their time and not be compelled to run themselves out of breath.

"Wal," ses Linkin, "how would they carry it when marchin?" He thought he had me there, but ses I, "Kernel, my plan involves a hull change in the art of war. Insted of so many baggage waggins and such long trains, I would have a wheelbarrow for every sojer! Don't you see," ses I, "Kernel, how nice that would work? Every man could carry his own vittals, and his ammunition, his shield, &c., &c., jest as complete as could be. Wen there was any fighten to be done, the wheelbarrows could all be placed in the rear, the sojers arm themselves and go out and fight. If they were whipped all they would have to do would be to fall back to the wheelbarrows, strap on their shield and walk off! There would be no runnin then to get out of the reach of bullets, and retreats of thirty-five miles a day would be useless. With an army of that kind, Kernel, we could subdue the Southern Confederacy in 'sixty days,' and make out Seward a prophet after all." "I'm afraid, Majer, it's too late in the day to introduce your new military system. This infernal Southern Confederacy has got to be whipped pretty soon with such old hosses and waggins as we have got, or this Union is split jest as sure as my name is Abe Linkin. You see, Majer, you can't make a whistle out of a pig's tail, and it seems to me jest about impossibul ever to make Union men agin out of the rebils. However, they shan't have Washington, ef I have to call every man in the North here to defend it." Ses I, "Kernel, that's right. I'de stick to the White House until the top blowed off and the cellar caved in."

You better believe we've been in an awful excitement here sence the news about Banks cum. Seward looks paler than ever, while Chase is skeert half to deth for fear of its effect on the Treasury. The Kernel and I, however, keep cool, and we are getting things pretty well straightened out, so ef the Secesh come here now, they may wish they had never got so nigh Washington.

Linkin ses "he warn't skeered a hooter, but was only rarin mad." At any rate, he looked awful savage, and ef he had had my axe, I ralely believe he might have split rails enough to fence the Southern Confederacy in.

I had intended to be back to Downingville before the first of June, but Linkin says he won't hear of my goin until he sees more daylight down South. I must be there the 4th of July, at any rate, for I never allow that day to go by without reviewin the Downingville melisha.

Your friend,

Majer Jack Downing.



The Major Troubled with his old Complaint, the "Rumatics"‌—‌He Examines the Finances‌—‌Mr. Chase Frightened‌—‌The Major Figures up the Accounts on His Slate‌—‌Returns and Shows the Result to Mr. Lincoln‌—‌He is Astounded‌—‌The "Kernel and the Majer" Take Some Old Rye‌—‌The Major Proposes to Return to Downingville to Spend the 4th of July.

Washington, June 8th, 1862.

To the Editers of The Cawcashin:

Surs:—It has been mity onpleasant wether sence I writ you last, an I have had a rale sharp twinge of the rumatics. These cold rains in June are hard on a constitushin that has had a tussle with nigh on to about eighty winters; but howsever, with a little elder bark tee, my favorit remedy wen it's mixed with a good deal of old rye, I've got now about as good as new agin. So the other day I telled Linkin I was going to finish up my sifering on the financies. He sed he wished I would, for he was alreddy beginning to think about laying the foundashin for his nex message, an he wanted the facts to put in. So I telled him he must give me a letter of authority that I might show the Seckatary of the Treasury, so that he would see that I warn't eny common chap coming to pry into what was none of my business. So Linkin sat down an writ a letter as follows:

"Dear Sur:—Majer Jack Downing is authorized to examine into the state of the financies in partickelar.

"A. Linkin."

Wen the Kernel first writ the letter, he didn't have on the last two words in italicks. I asked him to put 'em on, an he did. "Majer, what do you want them words for?" "Wal," ses I, "Kernel, them words will puzzle Chase eenamost to death, an will so trubbel him that he will think ef he dares to keep back the truth, that you'll be sure to give him his walkin papers. You see, Kernel, you must be a little mysterous with these pollyticians, or else they don't get afeered of you."

I then put the letter in my hat, rite under the linin, an, takin my slate under my arm, and my hickory in my hand, I started for the Treasury buildin. It aint far from the White House, an I soon got there. It's a mity big pile of stones, I tell you, and must have cost a heep of money to have got it fixed up so nice. Jest as I was goin in the door, I met Mr. Chase comin out. He knew me an I knew him, tho' he didn't suspect for a minnit what I was after. Ses he, "Majer, I'm mighty tickled to see you. It does my heart good to see a genuwine loyal man in these days of rebellyn, an I know you're one." "Wal," says I, "Mr. Seckatary, ef Ginneral Jackson was a loyal man, then I'm one, and ef he warn't loyal then there ain't eny sich thing as loyalty." Ses he, "Majer, you're rite, an what kin I do for you this mornin?" "Wal," says I, "Mr. Seckatary, I've come around to inquire into the state of the financies. The President ses he's very busy, an bein as I was good at figers, he wanted me to jest take a look at the books an see how the ackounts stand."

Wen I sed this, I see he didn't look pleased at all. He began to make sum sort of apologies, that the ackounts were behindhand, and so on, but I telled him I warn't partickelar about all the little items, an that I only wanted to get at the ginneral sum; but as he still seemed to be hesitatin, thinks I to myself, now's the time to show him the President's letter—that will fix him, sure. So I took off my hat and showed it to him. Wen he red it he was as perlite as a nigger wen he wants to humbug you. He looked at it a long time before he sed enything. Wen he did speak, ses he, "Majer, what do these last words 'in partickelar' mean?" "Wal," ses I, "I don't know as I can tell. The President put 'em in there, and I didn't ask him what he meant by 'em." You see, I warn't goin to be fool enough to let him think I had suggested his putting 'em there, for that would have spoilt all my plans. I see he was worried, an that was jest what I wanted.

After that he asked me to come in his office, and he began to tell me that the financies were in a very prosperous condishun. He took down a big book which he sed his clarks had prepared for him, so that he could see every Saturday night jest how much the Government was in debt. I took a look at it, but I couldn't tell head nor tail to it. He sed they kept their books by dubbel entry. I telled him that I should think that a single entry would be as many times as such a debt as ours ought to be chalked down. "Now," ses I, "Mr. Seckatary, I want to get at this subject in a way that 'plain people,' as the Kernel says, can understand it." Ses I, "What is the debt now?" "Wal," ses he, "it is $491,000,000." "Is that all?" ses I. "Why, in your report last winter you estimated that it would be $517,000,000, and you don't say that it is less than the estimate." "Wal," ses he, "Majer, that is what the books say." "Now," ses I, "Mr. Seckatary, them books by dubbel entry ain't worth a peck of saw-dust. There was Deacon Doolittle's son, Hosea, of Downingville, who went to York and set up the dry-goods business. Wen he failed, his books showed that he was worth two hundred thousand dollars, and yet he didn't have money enough to get his wife hum to his father's. You see dubbel entry is a good deal like riding two horses at once; you can't manage 'em, and things get so kinder mixed up in profit and loss, and notes payable and notes receevable, that you can't tell how you stand. Now," ses I, "Mr. Seckatary, I want to ask you some questshins by single entry, and I will put the ansers down on the slate." Ses I, "Didn't you say in your report that the estemate for the army was for 400,000 soldiers, $400,000,000; for 500,000 soldiers, $500,000,000, and so on?" "Yes, Majer, that was the statement, I beleeve." "Wal, now," ses I, "we can figer this down in short meter. How many soldiers have you had?" "Wal," ses he, "over 600,000 have been paid for, nigh about 700,000." "Now," ses I, "Mr. Seckatary, you don't want any dubbel entry, or threbbel entry to get at that; the multiplicashun tabel is just as good a document as I want. Take that and my slate, and I ken figer it up in a minnit. You see, there is $700,000,000 at one slap. Your books may show what you have paid, but you see, Mr. Seckatary, you are running this war on credit, and because you ain't paid all your debts, that is no sign that you won't have to. Besides," ses I, "Mr. Seckatary, you have made, you know, some miscalculashuns, and mebby you may make more. In your first report in July, 1861, I've ben readin it keerfully, and I've got it marked down on the slate here, you sed the expenses for 1862 would be $318,000,000, but in December, you said they would be $543,000,000. Now, here was mistake of over $200,000,000. You sed in July, the tariff would yield $57,000,000. In December you said you could not calculate on over $32,000,000. You estemated the receipts from land sales, in July, at $3,000,000. You cut it down in December to $2,300,000; and now Congress, by passing the Homestead bill, will whittle it all off. Here, you see, are some great mistakes, but there are some on the other side of the account. There are some items of expenses, too, which you have omitted. There's the $30,000,000 recently passed to settle up Cameron's ackounts. Then there is a $100,000,000 of outstandin debts. Then there is $100 bounty to each soldier, which, by the time the war is over will amount to $100,000,000 anyhow. Then there is $1,000,000 given to buy the niggers in this District. Let us see how much that makes. I'll add it up—$250,000,000, which, added to the $700,000,000, makes $950,000,000, as the present debt Uncle Sam has on his shoulders. You might just as well call it a Thousand Million of Dollars and be done with it."

Wen I got through, the Seckatary looked amazin red in the face, and ses he, "Majer, the truth is, where there is so many peopul spendin money its mity hard to keep track of all the items." "Wal," ses I, "there ain't only one more pint on which I want to show you you have made a mistake. In December last, you calkelated that the war expenses for 1863 would be $360,000,000, but the House has already passed bills for the army amounting to $520,000,000. Then you thought, Mr. Seckatary, that the war would be ended by July, but here it is about that time, and we only seem to be jest fairly getting into the shank of the fight."

"Wal, to tell the truth, Majer, this war has disappinted the hull of us, but I think I havn't been so foolish as Seward. I never sed it would end in 'sixty days.'"

"That's so," ses I, "but you see there's nothin like tellin the truth rite out, and its allus very bad to deceive the people on money matters. You may love the niggers, Mr. Seckratary, as much as you want to, but don't try to pull the wool over white folks' eyes, or let other people do it, for it will break down the administration as sure as my name is Majer Jack Downing."

"Wal," ses he, "Majer, that's so, and when I send in my next report, I'm goin to jest speak rite out. I've tried to do my best to keep down expenses, but I can't, and when I get another chance I'me goin to put the blame where it belongs."

Ses I, "That's rite, Mr. Seckratary. Don't let the raskils git clear without bein exposed. But ef you undertake to cover up their tracks, you will come out jest as old Squire Biddle did in that United States Bank matter."

I then bid the Seckratary "good mornin," and started back to the White House. He was very perlite to me, and said he hoped the President and me would look at the subjeck favorably. I telled him that the Kernel would do what was jest rite, and that ef he would only keep a sharp lookout on the plunderers and stealers, I would be his friend till deth. He sed he would, and we shook hands and parted.

Wen I got back Linkin sot in a cheer fast asleep, with his feet up on a tabel. I giv the tabel a rap with my hickory, and the Kernel stratened up jest like openin a jack nife, and ses he, "Was I asleep, Majer?" "Yes, jest as solid as a saw-log. What on arth makes you sleep," ses I, "rite in the middle of the day?" "Wal," ses he, "Majer, the truth is, I was readin the Nashinal Intelligencer!" "Sure enuf," ses I, "that's worse than opium." "But," says he, "what about the finances?" Then I showed him the slate, and how I had figered up the debt, and told him all I sed to Mr. Chase. I never see a man so flustrated as Linkin was. "Wal," ses he, "Majer, ef I was only back to Illinoy safe and sound, you wouldn't never ketch me a runnin for President agin. I had no idee that the debt was anything like this. But ef the music has to be faced, I'll face it. There's one thing, Majer, that we've got the advantage of any other administrashin in. We can say that this debt was a 'military necessity!' That cuts off debate." "Wal," ses I, "Kernel, perhaps the people will be satisfied with that, and perhaps they won't. Any how, that won't make it any easier to pay the taxis." "Wal," says Linkin, "we'll leave that subjec to posterity." Ses I, "Is that fair, Kernel, to burden posterity in that fashun?" "Wal," ses he, "what's posterity ever done for us?"

The Kernel then took down the figers off my slate in his book, and sed he would keep 'em for his nex message.

Then Linkin, ses he, "Majer, you've worked like a nailer on these figers, an it's an awful dry an tough subjec. So I think you better have some old rye to sort of top off with." Then he called the feller in purty bad clothes, who does arrands, and telled him to bring out the black bottle. "Now, Majer," ses the Kernel, "take a good swig. It will be healthy for your rumatiz. As for me, I'll jest take a little for company sake. I don't drink myself, you know, Majer, but I like to have a little old rye aroun; an I allus tell the old woman ef there's eny of it missin not to ask eny questshins." After we got dun drinking, ses I, "Kernel, I have been here with you ever sence the 1st of February, an wen I cum I didn't expec to stay more than a month. Now, the 4th of July is comin along close at hand, an I must be thinking about gettin back to Downingville, for I must be there before the 4th. Now," ses I, "Kernel, ef you'll only go along with me down there, as Ginneral Jackson did, I'll promise you a great recepshun."

"Wal," ses he, "Majer, I can't go. The truth is, the rebils need watchin. But you tell the Downingville folks that jest as soon as the rebelyun is put down, I'm comin down ther. A town that can turn out such a loyall regiment as the 'Downingville Insensibles,' and such talented officers as Insine Stebbins, must be, as we Westerners say, 'a heep of a place.' I'm sorry to have you go, Majer, but I hope you'll be able to cum back after the nashinul annyversary."

"Wal," ses I, "Kernel, I can't promis, but I'll see how my rumatiz gets on."

I shall pack up in a few days, onless somethin onexpected occurs, and it may be the next time you heer from me, will be from Downingville. If you print this letter, I hope you'll apologize for its dullness, for figgers are mity dry readin for most peepel. However, ef they don't study into figgers about these days, it won't be long, I'me afeered, before they'll be sorry they didn't.

Your frend,

Majer Jack Downing.



The Major Does not go to Downingville‌—‌Loses His Hickory‌—‌Gets a Bottle of Whiskey by Adams Express Co.‌—‌The Major Declines to Sign the Receipt at First‌—‌Whiskey and the Constitution‌—‌"The Constitushinal Teliskope"‌—‌A Magical Change‌—‌Mr. Seward's Trick‌—‌The Major Discovers it‌—‌A Negro in It.

Washington, June 18, 1862.

To the Editers of The Cawcashin:

Surs:—I expect you'll be struck all aback to git anuther letter from me, dated Washington, and I'm kinder surprised myself, for I expected to be in Downingville, long afore this. But you'll see by the time you git through this letter, that it was impossibul for me to leave. I got my trunks all packed up and ready to start, when lo! and beheld, my hickery, that Ginneral Jackson give me, was missin! Now, I couldn't no more travil without my hickery cane then I could sodder up this broken Union with skim milk. I told Linkin I was all ready, but that my hickery was missin. So he called the feller in putty bad close, who does chores around the White House, and asked him if he'd seen it? He sed he hadn't. Then I reckollected that there had been a Cabbynet meetin the night before, and it struck me that some of the members had walked off with it. So Linkin sent the feller around to see. After he'd gone, I told Linkin ef any of 'em had it that I'd bet it was Stantin, for ses I, "Kernel, ever sense he tried to get on your trowsers down to Fort Monrow, he's acted jest as ef he wanted to play Ginneral Jackson, and ef he can git a piece of hickery that the old Ginneral has handled, he'd think that he was on the road to glory." Sure enuf he had it, but pretended it was all a mistake, jest as he did when I caught him in the Kernel's trowsers. Depend upon it, Stantin needs watchin, for he is one of them kind of fellers who's got it into ther head that they are forordained for somethin, and they don't know what.

The loss of my hickery kept me over one day longer, and the next day I got the bottle of Borebon whiskey which you sent to me. A feller by the name of Adams fetched it, and he wouldn't take any pay for his trubble either. I asked him ef he was eny relashin to Phil Adams, who used to keep a tanyard in Downingville, as he was a very clever man, and used to do enything for his naybors for nothin. The chap laughed rite out loud at this, and sed "He didn't see it." Ses I, "What don't you see?" "Wal," sed he, "never mind, old feller, about tellin long stories, but jest put your name rite down there," and he handed out a big book full of writin. Ses I, "Mr. Adams, I never put my name to enything that I don't understand." Ses I, "That may be a secesh docyment for all I know." Ses the feller, ses he, "Git out! this is only a receipt for that bottle." "Wal," ses I, "ef that's all, then here goes." So I got my spectacles and a quill pen, for I never rite with eny of the new-fangled kinds, and I jest rote out "Majer Jack Downing" in a stile that made the fellow stare. Ses I, "Mr. Adams, you have some awful poor riters among the fellers you deal with, but I ain't ashamed of that ritin enywhere." The chap he looked at it a moment, and then he looked at me, and finally ses he, "Bully for you," and in a jiffy he was off, without even shakin hands or sayin good by.

After he was gone I took the bottle into Linkin's room and opened it. "Now," ses I, "Kernel, let's try this licker." "Wal," ses he, "Major, I'm a good judge of Borebon, for it comes from my old State of Kentuck." Wen Linkin saw the name on the bottle, "Mr. Cotton, 306 Washington street, N.Y.," ses he, "Major, do you think this is loyal wiskey?" "Why," ses I, "Kernel, what makes you ask that questshin?" "Wal," ses he, "don't you see the man's name is Cotton!" "Now," ses I, "Kernel, what an idee that is! Do you suppose it would be dangerous for him to live down in Secesh, where they are burning cotton as fast as they kin?" "Wal, never mind the name, Majer, let us taste of the wiskey. I can tell whether its loyal or not." So I opened the bottle and poured out some, and the Kernel took a good swig. I also took a snifter, and we both pronounced it A No. 1 licker, and loyal, too. "Now," ses I, "Kernel, can you tell me why this wiskey is like the Constitushin of the United States?" "No," ses he, "I don't see eny simularity." "Wal," ses I, "Kernel, this wiskey was made for White Men, jest as the Constitushin was." Ses he, "Majer, how do you know it was made for white men?" "Wal," see I, "it is jest as plain to me as daylight. You see, Kernel, the licker agrees with you. It tastes good. It won't hurt you; in a word, it corresponds with natur. That's a sign it was made for you. Jest so it was with the Constitushin. It applies to white men exactly, and they've always got along together with it fust rate. Now, you give this wiskey to the niggers, and they get drunk on it, and cut up all sorts of scrapes, but white men, whom it was made for, know jest how to use it, and it don't do them eny hurt. Jest so with the Constitushin; you apply it to niggers and it is jest as bad for 'em as wiskey. They don't know how to use it, an they'll destroy everything, an make themselves an everybody else ten times worse off." "Wal," ses the Kernel, ses he, "Majer, I wish I could see how it is that the Constitushin don't apply to niggers jest as much as to white men." Ses I, "Kernel, you don't look at the Constitushin thru constitushinal spectacles. That Chicago Platform bothers you." "Now," ses I, "Kernel, ef I'll make you a Constitushinal Tellskope, will you promise me to use it? If you will, it will be about as good a guide to you as ef I staid here all summer myself?" Ses I, "It will show the Constitushin as it is, an the Union as it was." Wen I spoke of this, Linkin sed he'd be tickled eenamost to deth ef I would make him one. So I told him I could do it in one day, an that although I was very anxus to get hum, yet I'd fix this up before I started. So I jest went up to my room and began to plan. I had a pair of old spectacles, which Ginneral Jackson give me, and I knew that the glasses were jest as sound constitushinal glasses as were ever looked thru. So I took 'em out of the cases, an got a magnifyin glass and put between 'em, an fixed 'em in a long, narrer box. It took me about all day before I got it finished. Wen it was all done, I looked thru it, and you never see sech a glorious site. I could see jest as ef it was the hull Union layin out before me. There was the Stars and Stripes, an the eagle, an thirty millions of white people, all happy an contented, an joy an prosperity smilin everywhere. An the sky seemed to be bendin down so as to almost tech the arth, an away up in the clouds I could see rais of light streemin forth, an I thought I could even see the angil robes of Washington, an Jefferson, an Madison, and the old Ginneral lookin down, an rite over the hull was the words, "Glory" and "Peace," in grate big letters. It was raley beautiful. I got a lookin at it, an forgot all about myself, in a sort of a reveree, and wen I cum to, I found I'd been cryin, because, you see, that was the Union as it was, an not as it is now. In fact, wen I got awake, I found it was eenamost pitch dark, an so Linkin couldn't look thru the Teliskope that nite. Then I got a piece of chalk, an marked it "Linkin's Teliskope," an took it to him.

"There," ses I, "Kernel, that Teliskope is done, an to-morrow you kin take a look at the Union as it was, an the Constitushin as it is." Ses I, "The scene is a glorious one." So I left the Teliskope in Linkin's room that nite, an went to bed.

The next morning after I got my breakfast, I went in, "And now," ses I, "Kernel, we must try the Teliskope." So I thought I'd look thru fust to see ef the glasses were set all rite, wen I was never so took aback in my life. Instead of the joy and happiness, and the smilin faces, and the thirty millions of white people, the rais of lite in the sky with "Glory and Peace" on em, all was dark and dismal. All I could see was some 4,000,000 of niggers, and war, and bloodshed, and misery, camps full of sick sojers and broken waggons, wimmen and children cryin, and the sky was black, and away up on a black cloud, in letters still blacker, I could see the words "Negro Freedom and War."

I jumped back as ef I was hit wen I saw it. Ses Linkin, "What's the matter, Majer?" Ses I, "Kernel, that Teliskope is all out of order. It ain't rite." But Linkin sed he hadn't teched it, so I was puzzled. So after thinkin awhile, ses I, "Kernel, was there enybody here last nite after I went away!" "Yes," ses he, "Boss Seward came in for a while and talked over matters." Ses I, "Did he tech this?" "Wal, he was lookin kinder inquirin at it, and I telled him what it was, and he seemed to be grately struck, and examined it very clus."

"No," ses I, "that ackounts for it. The pesky critter has been playin one of his cunnin tricks on me; but my name ain't Jack Downing ef I don't expose him. No true constitushinal Teliskope will giv such a view as that of the Union." So I sot down and took out my jack nife, and went to work takin it all apart. I found the box all rite; there warnt enything in the tube, and I was puzzlin myself what could be the matter, when I slipped up the magnifying glass, and rite back of it was a little bit of a paper nigger, black as the ace of spades, that that feller Seward had cunninly slipped in there! You see that at once ackounted for the hull troubbel, for the magnifin glass reflected the nigger instead of what it would, naterally, the white man. After I took the nigger out, it was all rite agin, and wen Linkin looked thru it, he was perfectly astonished. "Now," ses I, "Kernel, you see that it is tryin to put the nigger where he don't belong that is the cause of all our trubbel. He don't belong in the Constitushin, and when we undertake to put him ther it won't work. This trick of Seward's jest shows you what he's up to. Now, Kernel, I'm going to start for Downingville arly to-morrow mornin, and I'll leave you this Teliskope so you can take a look at the Union as it was, and don't you let Seward or Sumner, or any of them fellers, get hold of it. Wen you get puzzled, jest go and look thru that, and you may depend upon it it will lead you strate. If you get inter eny deep troubbel, write me and I'll give you my advice, or ef you can't get along without me, I'll come back after the Fourth is over, and stay with you till you get out of this scrape with the rebils. I told you I would stick to you, and I will." So I bid good bye to the Kernel and his wife that nite, reddy to start in the early train in the mornin.

I intend to give you a full ackount of the celebrashin of the Fourth at Downingville. Insine Stebbins, of the Downingville Insensibles, who writ the piece of poetry on Mrs. Linkin's ball, and who was wounded at Chickenhominy and cum hum with a furlong, is to be orater of the occashin. Jerusha Matilda Jenkins, the darter of Deacon Jenkins, and who went down to Port Roile to teech the contrarybands their primers, will also be there. The Insine is a very smart chap, ef he is a niggerite, and I expect he'll do himself creditable.

Excuse this long letter, and beleeve me

Yours till deth,

Majer Jack Downing.



The Major Disappointed‌—‌Meets the President at West Point‌—‌Sees Gen. Scott‌—‌They Talk over Strategy‌—‌Returns to Philadelphia with the President‌—‌Makes a Speech at Jersey City‌—‌Mr. Lincoln also Speaks‌—‌ Meets Seward at the Astor House‌—‌A Wheel within a Wheel‌—‌Mr. Seward Caught.

Downingville, July 5, 1862.

To the Editers of The Cawcashin:

I don't beleeve ther is enything that so sorter gets all my runnin-gear out of order as onsartinty. Wen I writ you last, I was jest leavin Washington, and wen you come to hear how I've scooted round the country sence, you will be astonished. You see I hurried on hum as fast as I could go, because I wanted to get to Downingville in time to see that the arrangements for the 4th were got up in the rite stile. But wen I got to Boston, I was struck all up in a heep by gettin a telliegraff from Linkin, tellin me not to go eny further till I heerd from him. That puzzled me terribully, and I was in an awful state of onsartinty. Thinks I to myself, now there's sumthin up. What on arth can it be? Has that feller Stantin been cuttin up eny more of his capers? But I was so puzzled that I couldn't imagin wat was to pay. But I waited a few days, and then I got a letter from the Kernel, in which he sed he wanted me to meet him at West Pint with Ginneral Scott, as ther was sum grate struttygy goin on which he wanted to advise about. Then I knowed ther was sum trubbel sumwher, so I jest packed up my trunks and tuk the ralerode for Allbanee, so as to cum down the North River to West Pint. I got ther in the nite, jest afore Linkin cum, arly in the mornin.

I didn't sleep a wink, but jest went rite over the river in the one hoss ferry-bote they've got there, and waited at the depow for the Kernel. He was eenamost as glad to see me as he was wen I fust went to Washington. He tuk me by the hand, and ses he, "Majer, I feel a good deal safer wen you're around, for I know you won't deceeve me." Ses I, "Kernel, that's what I never do to eny man. Ef he don't like my plane talk, then he needn't heer it, but ef I talk at all, I must talk out the blunt truth." "Wal," ses he, "Majer, we will go over and see the old Ginneral, and then I will lay all my trubbel before you."

He sed he jest cum out to see and be seen, and didn't intend to blab enything about public affairs.

"He sed he jest cum out to see and be seen, and didn't intend to blab enything about public affairs."—Page 111.

After we got our brakefast, we went to the old Ginneral's room, and, takin out the maps, we went at it. I never studied geographee faster in my life than we did then. The Kernel sed the news from Ginneral McClellan was that he would be compelled to go to the Jeemes River for his supplize, and the grate questshin was, whether he cud turn his right wing around so as to swing agin the river jest like opening a barn dore. Ginneral Scott sed he thought it mite be done, provided it was done quick enuff. I telled em I hed often noticed that wen I opened one barn dore all at once there would cum a gust of wind, an open would go the other in spite of all I could do. Ses I, "Kernel, ef the rebels should pitch at the left wing while the rite is swingin, then both dores would be open, an they might both get off the hinges." Ginneral Scott sed he was afrade it might work that way, but ef the thing cum to the worst, he didn't see eny help for it. You see, the army nigh Richmond was in a tite fix, an Linkin knew it. Wen the Kernel telled Ginneral Scott how it was, the old man cried, and sed he didn't want to live to see the rebils whip that grate army. The whole country have been in a grate fogo about what Linkin went to see Scott about, but that was all. Wen he went away the next day, he sed he wanted me to see Seward, an ef Ginneral McClellan got defeated, advise with him as to what to do. So I went with the Kernel back as far as Filadelfy, where I thought I stop a few days to see how things would turn out. Wen we got to Jarsey City, the people wanted the Kernel to make a speech. He sed first he wouldn't go out, but finally the cheers got so loud that I telled him he must go. "Wal," ses he, "Majer, I can't. You jest go and tell em that I am too tired." So I stepped out on the platform and swingin my hickery around, ses I, "Feller-citizens, the President has been up two or three nites travellin, and he ain't abil to speak. You must excuse him." Wen they heered that, it didn't suit em at all, and a good meny yelled out, "Who are you?" Then I remembered that I had forgot to tell em who I was. So I stepped out, and ses I, "I'me Majer Jack Downing." Then you had ought to hev heered em cheer, and Linkin, you know is a queer feller, and wants to know all that's goin on, so he cum out to see what was the matter. After he cum out, of course, he couldn't back out of a little speech. He sed he "jest cum out to see and be seen, and didn't intend to blab enything about public affairs." The whistle soon sounded, and off we went. Nothing happened on the way, and I bid the Kernel good bye in Filadelfy, and went to the Continental Hotel to wait and see how the battle cum off. They have nigger waiters here, dressed up like Quakers, and that is the reason they call it a Continental hotel—so they say.

In a few days I saw how the battle had turned, and I knew Seward would be along. The Kernel sent me a telliegraff that he would be at the Aster House such a day, and I agreed to meet him there. I was determined to smoke the old fox out this time, ef it was in my power, and so I began to study him. Weed was there, who thinks he is very cunnin, and Governor Morgan and others. McClellan bein compelled to retreat from Richmond, they all thought that France and England would interfere, and what was to be done? Seward sed we must put the best face on matters we could, and raise more men to fight the rebils, and that by showin a bold front we might frighten off the Uropean powers. He sed he thought it might all be settled in "sixty days" yet, and ef McClellan couldn't settle it by fightin, he could by deeplomacy. He sed "he would run the machine as long as ther was a linchpin left, and let John Bull and Looe Napoleon do their best." Weed wanted to know, ef we had a war with England, wether it wouldn't be better to have it carried on by contrack. He thought the government might let it out and make money by the operashin. He sed he could furnish the powder and shoddy, and wouldn't charge over five per cent. commission. Gov. Morgan sed he was in favor of a war with England, and as it would be mostly a naval fight, the government would need a good menny vessels, and he had a brother who was a capital judge of sich matters. Stetson sed he thought a war with England would improve bizness in York, specially hotel-keepin, and as the Aster House was handy down town, it would be a first-rate place for officers' head-quarters.

After they all got through, they asked me my opinion. I turned rite to Mr. Seward, and ses I, "Boss, I'm goin to speak plane." Ses he, "That's rite, Majer. No one can find fault with you. You're a loyal man, and you've a rite to speak your mind." "Now," ses I, "in the first place, Boss, I want to ask you a plane questshin. We all know you are runnin the government machine, and whenever I look at a machine, I want to know what the drivin wheel is made of. You see if that is all rite, things will go putty nigh rite." Ses Seward, ses he, "Majer, I've got a model of my machine here, and ef you would like to look at it you kin." So he took out a little curious-looking box, and out of the box a machine. It was a cute-lookin affair. "There," ses he, "do you see that big wheel?—that's the drivin wheel." I looked at it, an I see it was marked aroun the rim, "The Union and the Constitushin." "Wal," ses I, "Boss, that looks all rite. Eny machine that runs on that basis must be runnin rite. But," ses I, "somehow it don't seem to work well. We ought not to get into so much trubbil ef we were jest runnin on the old constitushinal basis." "Wal," ses he, "Majer, you see so it is." "Now," ses I, "Boss, there's somethin rong sumwhere. Either the ile is poor or the stuff is bad, or our government machine on that basis would run jest as slick as greese."

The more I looked at the machine the more it puzzled me. I knew what a fox Seward was, an I remembered how he stuck the little nigger in Linkin's Teliskope. So all at once the old sayin that "there's allers a wheel within a wheel," popped into my hed. I didn't say it out loud, but I sed, ses I, "Boss, will you let me see whether there ain't sumthin rong about that?" Ses he, "Sartinly, Majer—go ahed." So I jest out with my jack knife an went at it. I tuck it all apart. Wen I went at the wheel I saw the Boss begin to wince, but I went rite on, an purty soon I saw, sure enough, the outside wheel was only a sham, for the rale wheel which run the government machine was marked "Higher Law—Abolition." "Now," ses I, "Boss Seward, I'm done with you. Here's a wheel within a wheel, jest as I expected. It shows what an infarnal hypocrite you are, and ef you're a mind to fite John Bull or the South, or all the world, as long as you run on that wheel, I won't help you." So I jest tuck my hickery an went out of the room. You never see such a dumbfounded, scart set of men in your life, an Seward looked as ef he would craul through an auger hole. I cum rite on after that to Downingville, but I didn't get here in time to see about the arrangements. The Insine made his orashin and Jerusha sung the oad prepared for the occashin. My letter is so long that I can't tell you enything about it, but wen I rite agin I may, ef sumthin more important don't happen.

Yours, till deth,

Majer Jack Downing.



The Major Returns to Washington‌—‌Things Get Mixed Up‌—‌Lincoln and the Panther‌—‌Splittin Rails and the Union‌—‌The Major and the President Visit Gen. McClellan's Army‌—‌Going up James River‌—‌Alarm of the Rebels‌—‌Exciting Scene on Board the Boat‌—‌Nobody Hurt‌—‌The President Reviews the Troops at Harrison's Landing‌—‌The Return Trip‌—‌The President and Party Bathe in the Potomac‌—‌Almost a Catastrophe‌—‌The Major's Life-Preserver‌—‌The Moral of it‌—‌The President Proposes a Conundrum.

Washington, July 21, 1862.

To the Editers of The Cawcashin:

Wal, here I am back agin to Washington. I didn't expect to cum on before fall, at eny rate, but I got a letter from Linkin, tellin me he couldn't do without me, no how. He sed that the bars were all down since I left, and that the cattle, an hosses, an hogs, an sheep, an mules, were all mixed up together. Now, every farmer knows what a mess it makes of it wen you git fat cattle, an the cows, an the sheep, an hosses, an hogs, all muddled together in one lot. I see, at once, the pickle Linkin was in, an so I detarmined to push off for Washington once more, an see ef I couldn't help him out. It was oncommon hot wether, an it pulled down purty hard on a constitushin which has had to go thru about eighty sich summers. Howsoever, no one ought to stand about hot wether in the sarvice of his country, even ef he don't git a salary, or have a contrack, or some brother or son where he kin make a pile. I never had a cent for all I've done, and wouldn't take it. I think, ef there is any human critter on arth who is meaner than another, it is the one who plunders the people, all the while purtending to be a patriot. Wen I arriv, ses I, "Kernel, what's the matter?" Ses he, "Majer, did you ever hear of the story of a man who caught a panther by the tail?" Ses I, "Yes, Kernel, I have." "Wal," ses he, "I'm that man. I've got the biggest he-panther by the tail that you ever heerd tell of. Ef I was splittin rails I'de know jist what to do." "Why," ses I, "Kernel, what could you do then?" "Wal," ses he, "jest stick his tail in the crack of the log, knock out the wedge, and run. But you see, Majer, I ain't splittin rails now, an that plan won't work." "Now," ses I, "Kernel, you ain't splittin rails, but I'm afeerd you're splittin somethin else." Ses he, "What?" Ses I, "The Union!" "Now, Majer," ses the Kernel, "you don't think I want to split the Union, do you?" "No," ses I, "I don't know as you're raley tryin to split it, but then you've been such a splitter all your life, that perhaps you are doin it unbeknown to yourself. You see, Kernel, as long as you stick to them Abolishinists, jest so long the Union will not only stay split, but the split will grow wider. They are the wedge an you are the mallet. You jest knock the wedge out, an the Union will cum together jest like shuttin up a jack-nife. You see, they hold that some of the States have got an institushin which they consider rong, and they are detarmined to uproot it. In tryin to do that, they'll split everything all to smash, an by the time they get thru, it will look as ef lightnin had struck this country from Maine to Texas, in spots not more than six inches apart."

"Wal," ses the Kernel, ses he, "Majer, that brings up a great moral questshin, as the nigger said when he was stealin chickens, an we ain't got time to discuss it now. You see, Majer, I sent for you to know what I better do about McClellan. I git all sorts of contradictory stories from his army, an I'm puzzled most to deth to know what to do." "Wal," ses I, "Kernel, there's nothin like goin in the field yourself, an examine for yourself ef you want to know how things stand." "Wal," ses he, "that's jest what I've been thinkin of, an as you're a military man, I wanted you to go with me." I telled him I had no objecshin to goin, an that ef I had a fair chance I thought I could tell about how things looked. So we got reddy, and the Kernel asked old Blair's son Frank and Sekertary Stantin's chief clark to go along with us. We went down the Potomack, an jest called at Fort Monrow, and then went up the Jeems River to Harrisin Landin. Goin up the river we kept a sharp look-out for the rebils, who line the bank and shoot at our botes. I told the Kernel that he must be mitey kerful an not get hit, as the way stocks would tumble in Wall street would be a caushin. So I tuk him down stairs wen we come to the dangerous places. There they had the bote lined with bales of hay. Ses he, "Majer, which way does the shootin cum from?" "Wal," ses I, "Kernel, there's no tellin, but," ses I, "you better get behind that bale, for it's a big one, an here's another on t'other side, so I guess you'll be safe." While he was settin there, ses he, "Majer, I ain't afeerd a hooter, but you see I didn't want them seceshers to brag about killin me." "No," ses I, "Kernel, that wouldn't do eny how." Jest then "bang" went sumthin like a shot. The Kernel jumped about ten feet, rite across the bote, and hit Frank Blair with his left boot rite where he ought not to. Frank thought he'd been struck with a cannon-ball, and tumbled over, leavin the seat of honor uppermost. Stantin's chief clark acted as ef he'd been eatin poke-berries, and had an awful gripin in the bowels. It seems one of the bales of hay had been tipped over when the Kernel give his big jump, an hit the chap rite in his bread-basket. We were all purty badly scart, for I tell you it makes a feller feel mighty narvous wen he's in an inemies country, an may be hit eny moment with a cannon-ball or a Minny bullet. Shootin will do very well as long as sumbody else is shot at; but wen it cums to yourself, it makes you feel week in the jints, an sumtimes brings on the die-area. Wen we cum to find out, however, we learned we had a scare for nothin. The pilot, in turning one of the short bends in the river, had jerked on his chains too hard, an snapped one of them rite in two. This noise was what sounded down in the cabin like a shot.

Wen we got to the landin, Ginneral McClellan had hosses reddy for all of us to ride. Linkin chose a black one, and got on. Ses I, "Kernel, is black your favorite color?" Ses he, "Majer, no joking now. This is serious bisiness." So I got a white one. I can't ride quite so handy as I did thirty or forty years, yet it is not every nag that could throw me now. Linkin's sterrups were too short for his legs, though they were let out jest as long as they could be. It kinked him up a good deal, an before we got through reviewing the troops, ses he, "Majer, I can't stand this bendin of my jints. I'm going to remedy it;" and so he jest turned one leg over the hoss's neck and rode sideways the rest of the time. The sojers cheered him as we went along, an seemed mity glad to see him. In one place he got up on a brestwork an made a short speech to 'em. He wound up by telling 'em that he had Majer Jack Downing, Ginneral Jackson's old frend, with him. When he sed that, the cheers were dubbled, an I paid my respects to the complyment by takin off my hat an makin jest about the neetest bow that ever was.

After we had seen all the troops an made all the inquiries we wanted to, we cum away. The seseshers did not trubbel us comin down the river, an we soon once more were sailin up the Potomack. Comin up the river the day was warm, an we all felt first rate that McClellan was as well off as he was; the Kernel said he felt jest as if he would like to have a swim. All hands agreed it would be a capital chance, an so Linkin, and Blair, and Stantin's chief clark, undressed for a splurge in the water. The Kernal asked me to go in too, but I telled him that, hot as it was, my rumatiz would not allow it. Wen they got about reddy, now, ses I, "Kernel, look out and don't go where the water is too deep, for if you get tuckered out or have the cramp, you may not get back to the bote." He sed "there warnt eny danger—that he hed swum the Mississippi River nigh about all over wen he was a boy, and that he guessed he could stand the Potomack." So off they went. Linkin could outswim the hull party, and Blair an the other feller with him looked like sunfish alongside a sturgeon. I thought likely Linkin mite overdo himself, or get the cramp or sumthin, so I jest went to my valese and tuk out my patent gutty perchy life-preserver. I ment to have it reddy if enything happened. Wal, I hadn't more than got back to the side of the bote, wen I seed the Kernel flounderin and kickin, and blowin, as ef he was chokin.

Blair and Stantin's chief clark were tryin to help him, but it was like the blind ledin the blind, an sech another muss in the water you never did see. I saw it was time for my life-preserver, so I jest blowed it up and hollered out to Linkin to ketch hold of it, an told Blair an the other feller to let him alone, that that would save him. Wen Linkin got hold of it he jest raised himself rite up, an looked as happy as a boy with a new hat. He floated rite along towards the bote, an soon cum aboard. Ses he, "Majer, I owe you a debt of etarnal gratitude. You've saved my life." Ses he, "Majer, this life-preserver of yours is the greatest article ever invented. Wen I get dressed I want to examine it." So, purty soon, he cum in, an ses he, "Let's take a good look at it." So I showed it to him. The first thing he saw on one side of it was the following words: "The Constitution as it is, and the Union as it was." Ses he, "Majer, what have you got that motto on a life-preserver for?" "Wal," ses I, "Kernel, I put that there because of the similarity between the two things. Now, that preserver saved your life, didn't it?" "Yes," ses he, "Majer, it did." "Wal, the sentiment in those words is the life-preserver of the country. You can't any more save the country without stickin to them, than you could have saved yourself without holdin on to the life-preserver. You must stick to the Constitution as it is, and not as Sumner and Greeley want it." The Kernel began to look kinder struck up wen he see how I had him, an so, seein my advantage, I kept on. Ses I, "Kernel, the truth is, you are just now in swimmin with Greeley, an Sumner, an Wilson, an Lovejoy, an Thad. Stevens, an it is no wonder the country is like you was jest now, chokin and gaspin, and just reddy to sink. You must git out of such kumpany, an the only way to do it is to lay hold of the "Constitushin as it is," and ef you do that, you'll save the country jest as easy as I saved you with that life-preserver." Ses he, "Majer, hold up, you're drivin your hoss rite into my stable, an you don't give me a chance to say whoa." Ses I, "Kernel, go ahed, an ef you can refute what I've sed, I'd like to see you." Ses he, "Majer, do you know why a man's face is like the eend of an old-fashioned house?" Ses I, "No, Kernel, can't say I do," "Wal," ses he, "because it's his gabble eend." "Wal," ses I, "that may be a good joke, but after all, Kernel, it don't answer my arguments." But I couldn't get another word on politics out of Linkin that day. He seemed to keep up more of a thinkin than I'd ever seen him before. We all got home to the White House safe that nite, an, on the hull, the trip had not only bin pleasant, but profitable, for it will lead to some grate changes in a few days.

Yours, till deth,

Majer Jack Downing.



The President Has an Attack of Fever and Ague‌—‌The Major Prescribes Elder Bark Tea‌—‌A Fearful Mistake‌—‌The Bark Scraped the Wrong Way‌—‌Mr. Lincoln has to be Rolled‌—‌Stanton, Seward and the Major‌—‌A Ludicrous Scene‌—‌The "Kernel" comes to and Begins to Joke‌—‌The Moral of Taking the Wrong Medicine‌—‌"The Irrepressible Conflict."

Washington, August 1, 1862.

To the Editers of The Cawcashin:

Surs:—I tell you I've had my hands full since I writ you last. Linkin has been nigh about down sick with the fever an ager. Of course it wouldn't do to let the tel-lie-graf git hold of it, for it would scare Wall street in spasms, and knock stocks down wus than the retreat of Ginneral McClellan. So Stantin put his sensership on the news, an that was the end of it, while I went to work as I could to cure the Kernel up. You see, the Kernel, for the last month or so, has been very much broke of his sleep. Sumtimes he's up nigh about the hull nite consulten with Stantin, an Hallick, an Seward, an the nite air has been too much for him. The banks of the Potomick in July an August are mity hard on the constitushin, an ef there is any bilyusness in a man, its purty sure to bring it out. Linkin says his constitushin is just like the war, so far, nigh about all billyus. One day I went into the Kernel's room, an seein he looked kinder blue about the gills, ses I, "Kernel, what's the matter?" Ses he, "Majer, I feel as cold as a frozen turnip." Ses I, "Kernel, ain't you gettin the ager?" Ses he, "No, Majer, I don't think I'm gettin it, for I've got it already." "Wal," ses I, "Kernel, ef there is eny feller on arth who can cure the fever an ager, it's me." "Wal," says he, "Majer, I wish you would go ahead, for I can't afford to be sick now. The truth is, ef I had a good ax an some chestnut timber I could soon work off the shakes myself. I used to have them when I was a boy, powerful bad, but I could jest go out eny mornin and break an ager by splitting up a hundred rails as a breakfast spell; but now I s'pose I must dose myself with some sort of pizen doctor stuff, just because it wouldn't look well for a President to split rails." "No," ses I, "Kernel, you needn't take eny pizen stuff. I'll fix you sum medecin which was a grate favorite with Ginneral Jackson, an it will cure you up as sure as my name's Downing." Ses he, "What is it?" Ses I, "It's elder bark tea." So I jest went to work and got the feller in bad close, who does chores around the White House, to go out into the sububs an scrape me sum bark. I told him very particaler how to do it, an to be very kerful an not to scrape it roundabout-ways of the wood. You see, elder bark is the queerest stuff in the world. If you scrape it down it acts as a fisic, an if you scrape it upwards it becomes an emetick, while by scrapin it around-ways, it ain't nuther one thing nor tother, but just raises a young arthquake gripin an panein a feller as ef the cholery, an yaller fever, an kronick rumatiz had all got hold of him at once. Purty soon the feller cum back, and I went to work makin the tea. After I got it fixed, I went in an give it to Linkin, who was shakin away as ef he would fall apart. "Now," says I, "Kernel, ef you feel bad in the nite jest call me, and I will see what's the matter." Nigh about mornin sum one was rappin at my door like all possessed. I bounded out as spry as I could, an down stairs I went. There was Linkin agroanin an writhin, an lookin as pale as a ghost, an as lean and lank as a rail. They had sent for Seward an Stantin, an all hands were in a terribul excitement. Seward seemed to be awfully worried. Ses he, "Major, what would we do if Linkin dies, for he's the only one of us left that the peeple's got eny faith in at all?" Stantin didn't say nothin, but he was lookin round, I thought, to see where the Kernel's trowsers was. As soon as I got a fair look at the Kernel, an felt his pulze, I began to suspect what was the matter. The fust thing I did was to call the feller in bad close who got the elder bark, an ask him particular how he scraped it. Cum to find out, the numskull had cut the bushes down, an then scraped them around, jest what I had telled him not to do. I comprehended the situashin in a jiffy. Ses I, "Mr. Seward, I understand all about this case, an ef you'll stand back about four inches, an do jest as I tell you, we'll have the Kernel all rite in no time." Then, turnin round, ses I, "Stantin, I want you to lend a hand, too, and make yourself ginnerally useful, an don't run off an issoo a proclamashin afore you know what is what." "Now," ses I, "the feller that got the elder bark for the Kernel scraped it the rong way, an the medicine won't work. The only way to get it rite is to roll the Kernel over fourteen times clean across the floor. It is a tough remedy, but desput diseases require desput remedies." So I telled Seward an Stantin to take hold, and the way we rolled the Kernel over an over was a caushin. It seemed as ef it might break every bone in his body, for his frame is so sharp an so full of angles that it jarred an jolted like rollin over a wagin wheel wen there's no fellers on the spokes. Finally he cum to, an we lifted him on the bed, an in a little while he felt like another person. Seward an Stantin looked skeert yet, but I telled them they needn't have no fears—that the Kernel was as sound as a dollar. Stantin said he'd hurt his spine in rollin Linkin; at eny rate, he puffed an blowed like a porpose. I telled him to go home an take some of Chase's "greenbacks" for a poultice, an ef that didn't cure him, then there warn't no virtue in "legal tenders." Seward sed, as I was sich a good doctor he'd like to know what was good for pizen. Wen he was a boy he sed he pizened one of his feet, an that it had allers trubbled him, more or less, ever sence. I telled him to get one of Sumner's speeches, an bind on the place, for there warn't enything like pizen to draw out pizen, and I thought Sumner's speeches would draw pizen out of ded men, and that I wondered the doctors hadn't got to usin them for bringin to life people who had killed themselves with laudalum, prussick acid, an sich things.

So I telled Seward an' Stanten to take hold, and the way we rolled the Kernel over was a caushin.

"So I telled Seward an' Stanten to take hold, and the way we rolled the Kernel over was a caushin."—Page 128.

As soon as the Kernel cum to, he begun to joke. Ses he, "Majer, do you know why you and Seward and Stantin rollin me on the floor were like men spredin hay in a meadow?" Ses I, "No, Kernel, I don't, unless the pitchen and rollin are a good deal alike." "No, no," ses he, "Majer, the reason is because it was done to cure me!" "Now," ses I, "Kernel, that is purty sharp, but do you know why your sickness is like the Union?" "No," ses he, "I don't see into that, unless it's because we're both haven a tough time of it." "No," ses I, "that ain't it." "Wal," ses he, "what is it?" "Wal," ses I, "because it has been takin the rong medicen!" Ses he, "How is that, Major? I don't understand you." "Wal," ses I, "it's jest here. You know that feller who does chores for you scraped the elder bark the wrong way, and wen you took it, it come nigh on to killin you. But I didn't know but what it was all rite, and so I give it to you. Now, jest so it's been ever sence you've been President. Seward's been the feller who has been scrapin the medicen for the Union, an he has scraped it all the rong way, an you've been giving it all the time without knowing it. You see, the hull country has got the gripes and the shakes, jest as you had a little while ago, and it all cum from Seward's rong kind of medicen. You see, Seward is tryin to make the people swallow the 'irrepressible conflict,' which is fixed about as follows:

Higher Law 2 oz.
Confiscation 2 oz.
Taxation 2 oz.
Justice 0 oz.
Abolition 8 oz.
(well mixed.)"

"Now, Kernel, such a dose as that would give any country a worse set of spasms and agers then were ever heard of before. Old John Dumbutter, the laziest man I ever knew in Maine, sed he once had the fever an ager in Mishegan so that it shook the buttons off his coat; but such medicen as Seward is givin the country now will shake even the tail fethers out of the grate American Eagle."

Ses Linkin, ses he, "Hold on, Majer, don't pour sich hot shot into me when I'm sick." So I held up; but I tell you, the Kernel has felt very blue sence that time. One day ses he, "Majer, what a grate mistake I made in not makin Crittenden's compromise the basis of my administration; but it's no use cryin over spilt milk. The leaders of our party wanted the Chicago platform put through, and I'm the man to do what I undertake or sink in the attempt." "Or split the Union?" ses I. "Wal," ses he, "I don't know about that, but what's in the way must cum down."

Things look very bad here jest now, and we all feel afraid that they may be worse instead of better. Stantin wants to issoo a proclamashin which he thinks will set all things rite, but Seward ses proclamashins are played out. Linkin thought at one time to put out a call for a day of fastin and prayer, but Hallack is opposed to it. So things are workin along now kinder slip shod, but I'll try to keep you posted as usual.

Yourn till deth,

Majer Jack Downing.



Gen. McClellan's Change of Base‌—‌A Bear Story‌—‌A Delegation of Clergymen‌—‌The Major's Opinion on Negroes and "Edecated Peepul"‌—‌How General Jackson Saw Through Them‌—‌How the War is to End‌—‌Mr. Lincoln Tells Another Story.

Washington, August 14, 1862.

To the Editers of The Cawcashin:

Surs:—It has been jest about the hottest wether, sence I writ you last, I ever did see. The Kernel ses he feels as limpsey as an eel, an I tell you it has taken the starch out of the hull of us. Ef I don't write a letter this time worth printin, it will be because my idees have all kinder oozed out through my skin. One day the Kernel ses to me, ses he, "Majer, what do you think about McClellan's new base on the Jeemes River?" "Wal," ses I, "Kernel, it reminds me for all the world of old Truxton Miller's bar hunt, away up in the north part of Maine, when I was boy." The Kernel likes to hear a story as well as to tell one, so he insisted that I should tell him all about it. So I proceeded: Ses I, "Old Truxton was the most noted bar hunter in all that part, an it warnt often when he got started after a bar that it ever got away. He could yell an holler equal to wild Injins, an he ginerally scart away all the varmints for several miles around. One spring the bars had been very trubbelsome, carryin off his sheep, lambs, an even calves an yearlins, and Truxton vowed he'd go an attack the bars in their den. So off he started with his dubbel-barrelled shot gun an his big dog, Harcules, for a regular bar hunt. He soon got on their track, an he followed them to their den. Jest as one was goin in he let go his gun an took one of 'em in the thigh. This only made matters worse, for out come two or three others, an soon the old feller was tackled on all sides. He felt pretty safe with Harcules, but soon the bars made for the dog, an they tore him to pieces in a jiffy. Truxton shot one of 'em, but that put the infernals in the rest, an the old feller had to 'skedaddle,' as they say in these days. Seeing a tree handy by he started to go up, but a powerful beast fetched him a wipe with his paw an tore off the seat of his trowsers. He got away an that was all, an looked down on the bars in dismay. Now," ses I, "Kernel, I think that McClellan's 'new base' is something like old Truxton's. But all his neighbors turned out, an finally got the old feller out of his danger, an when he come down he made this remark, ses he, 'Neighbors, it's one thing to hunt a bar, but it's quite another thing when the bar hunts you!'" So ses I, "Kernel, it's one thing to hunt the secesh, but it's quite another thing when the secesh hunts you, an it appears to me as if McClellan is treed in his 'new base.'" "Wal, Majer," ses the Kernel, "how are we to get him away?" "Wal," ses I, "do jest as old Truxton's neighbors did—Scare off the bars! Scare off the secesh! Get around 'em on all sides an make them believe you are goin to attack 'em from every quarter, an they will soon scatter so that the Ginnerel can change his base agin. Call it 'a great piece of strutegy,' and the people won't know the difference." "Wal," ses the Kernel, "that's jest what has got to be done, and though it's a mity dangerous movement, rite in the face of the rebils, yet it must be done, or all the troops will die of disinterry where they are." Before this letter reaches your readers the telliegraf will announce the hull movement.

The other day the Kernel had a call from some nigger preachers. He sent for 'em to have a talk about seein whether they wouldn't consent to go to Centril America, but they didn't seem to like it much. They sed they would think about it and report. I told the Kernel that when he got niggers to immigrate, that the next thing he could do would be to get the kinks out of their hair. Ses he, "Why not, Majer?" "Wal," ses I, "because it ain't their natur." Ses I, "Kernel, you talk to these niggers jest as if they were white people, all except their color. You seem to think that they will do something for their posterity, sacrifice something, but they won't. The nigger only cares for the present. The mulattoes have some of the talents of the white men, but the nigger not a bit."

"Now, Majer," ses Linkin, "you are prejudiced. Don't all the great men of the world, all the larned men of Europe, and all Christian phylanthropists, don't they all consider it the highest duty to try an elevate the black race?" "Now," ses I, "Kernel, I don't care a blue postage stamp for all the great men in the world. A little plain mother wit I have always found better than a stack of book larnin, an ef any one will jest take up the nigger race an study it out practically, they will see that it has allers been the same uncivilized, heathin people when white folks did not have control of 'em. You send 'em to Centril America, an in a gineration or so they will be again eatin lizards an worshipping snakes, as they do in Africa now."

Ses I, "Kernel, there's no peepul in the world so likely to lead you astray as edecated peepul. They are all mad as March hares on this nigger questshin, jest as they were in old Cotton Mather's time on witches. Edecated peepul, Kernel, ain't got any more wit or common sense than other folks, but they try to make you believe they have, an will talk high-falutin words jest to frighten you if they kin. They tried that on the old Ginneral in the days of the Biddle Bank, but they couldn't budge him an inch. One time the bankers and moneylenders and brokers in Wall street, sent on a committee to see the Ginneral, to honey fuggle him into not vetoing the Bank bill. Ogden Huffman, then the greatest orater, an jest the smartest lawyer York had, was sent on as spokesman. He could talk jest as slick as grease, and knew more law in a minnit than the old Ginneral did in all day. One night he staid till almost mornin talkin and talkin, scoldin a little an palaverin a good deal more. The old Ginneral didn't say much, only once in a while puttin in a questshin. Finally Huffman got reddy to go, an axed what the Ginneral thought of the argements he had made. The old Ginneral pushed his spectacles up on his forehead, run his fingers through his hair, an jumpin out of his cheer, walked across the room as if he was tarein mad, rite up to Mr. Huffman. When he got there, ses he, 'Mr. Lawyer, your talk is all very pretty, very eloquent, an very larned with Latin, but (an here he fetched his old hickory down on the floor) I shall veto that Bank of Biddle's, by the Eternal!' You see the old Ginneral couldn't hold a candil to Huffman, as far as larnin an talk went, but he had the genuine common sense that seen rite through the hull subject. So I tell you, Kernel, don't put your trust in edecated peepul. Ef the hull world thinks that you kin make a white man out of a nigger it only shows that the hull world is made up of fools."

"Wal," ses Linkin, "that all may be very true, but you see, Majer, I've got these contrybands on my hands, an I've got to fish or cut bait. We've only got a few thousand free now, an the peepul in the North are in arms to murder 'em ef I send any more there. I shall soon have two wars on my hands ef I don't contrive some plan to get rid of the kinky heads. You, see, Majer, a fire in front an a fire in the rear will be too much of a good thing."

"I see, I see, Kernel," ses I, "you've got to change your base."

"Exactly, Majer, you hit the nail rite on the hed."

"Wal," ses I, "Kernel, I can't give you a bit of advice except what I have all along. Put the negro in his place, an he won't be a bit of trubbel to you, but as long as you try to get along with him out of his place, you'll be in hot water. As for goin to Centril America, they won't go thar eny sooner than they will to Kamscatky."

"Wal," ses Linkin, ses he, "if they won't do that, we shall all pretty soon be in a nice kittle of fish."

"Wal," ses I, "Kernel, can you tell me how you think this war is goin to end?"

"Wal, Major, I can't exactly see through the hull subject yet, but I'll tell you a story that about expresses my present idees of the subject. One night at a tavern out in Illinoy, two drunken men were sent to sleep in the same room. Now there was two beds in the room, but they were so drunk that they both got in one bed, but did not know it. No sooner in than one sung out to the other, 'I say, Bill, some feller is in my bed.' The other sung out in reply, 'I say, Jim, some feller is in my bed, too.' After swearing at the landlord for a while for not givin 'em single beds, Bill sung out, 'I say, Jim, I'm goin to kick my feller out of bed.' Wal, ses Bill, so am I.' So at it they went, kickin like all possessed, until both of 'em lay sprawlin out on the floor. They had kicked themselves out of bed! Now, Major, I guess that will be jest about how this war will end. The way we're goin on, both the North an the South will kick one another out of bed before they stop, and out of house and home, too."

"Wal," ses I, "Kernel, that's about my idee, too, and I don't beleeve, by the time they get through, either side will have a bed-blanket or even a hull shirt left. They'll be wus off than Billy Bradly when he fit with the catamount, who didn't have a rag left on him except the stock around his neck."

Here the conversashin dropped. The Kernel looked very solemncolly, and I thought I wouldn't say nothing to hurt his feelins.

There ain't enything new here jest now, except the arrival of new regiments. Seward feels as happy as a little gal with a new doll every time a regiment comes along. Stantin takes down his big book an adds it on to the number alreddy in the army, while Chase gets ready to issoo more greenbacks.

Your frend,

Majer Jack Downing.



The Science of "Military Strategy"‌—‌The Major's Opinion Upon it‌—‌A Call From the Secretary of the American and Foreign Benevolent Society for Ameliorating the Condition of the Colored Race‌—‌His Speech‌—‌The President's Reply‌—‌A Curious Prayer‌—‌The Major's Opinion on Slavery ‌—‌The Critical Condition of Affairs‌—‌Mr. Lincoln Tells a Story.

Washington, Sept. 2, 1862.

To the Editers of The Cawcashin:

Surs:—Sence I writ you last I've been studyin military strutegy. It is a grate science. Our army, down in Virginny, has been in grate strates lately, an if it hadn't been for military strutegy it would have all been taken prisoners. Ses the Kernel to me, the other day, ses he, "Majer, what do you think that military strutegy consists in?" "Wal," ses I, "Kernel, it consists in gettin out of your enemy's way wen he's too much for you, an gettin in his way wen you're too much for him." Ses I, "Kernel, I don't know whether that is down in the books, but that's the common sense view of the subject." "Wal," ses Linkin, "whatever strutegy consists in, we don't seem to have a bit of it, for we get in the enemy's way jest wen he's too strong for us, an get out of his way wen he ain't too strong for us. I'm gettin eenamost discouraged with this kind of military strategy." "Wal," ses I, "Kernel, you've got too many Ginnerals an too many armies. There's too many fellers, with more brass in their faces than there is in their buttons, who want to be the biggest toad in the puddle. Now, there can't be but one big toad, an so there can't be but one head Ginneral. You ought to make one man Command-in-Cheef, an make him take the field, so that he can see for himself how matters are goin. Ginneral Hallick, here in Washinton, ain't the thing."

"Wal, Majer, there is no use of cryin over spilt milk. The troops down in Virginny have been very roughly handled agin by the rebils, an have got so mixed up that it will require a grate deal of strutegy to get them straitened out. The question is, what is to be done?"

Jest as I was about to give the Kernel some advice, who should come in but Sumnure, an a feller with a white handkercher around his neck, an two or three other solemn-lookin chaps. The feller in a white kercher spoke up, an ses he, "Mr. President, we're come to sympathize with you in the nashin's afflicshin, for the Lord has agin beat us with stripes—ah. Mr. President, I'm chief Secretary of the American and Foreign Benevolent Society for Ameliorating the Condishin of the Colored Race—ah—an I have been appinted Cheerman of a Committee to wait on you an express to you our opinions in the present fearful crisis in our country's history. Our society, which is composed of all the most pious maiden ladies in our town—ah—who are over forty years of age, an, therefore, may be considered wise and discreet, desire me to express to you their deep conviction that God will never bless our armies with victory—ah—so long as you do not fight for the freedom of our dearly beloved colored brethren—ah. Our Society, Mr. President, has given the condishin of our colored brethren great attenshin—ah. You can judge of the extent of our labor wen I inform you that the sisters of our Society have distributed the past year to our colored brethren in Liberia, 500 flannel shirts—ah—600 wool socks—ah—100 Bibles—ah—100 Tracts on Temperance—ah—500 toothpicks—ah—and a large supply of cologne water—ah! We should have been glad to have supplied the sufferin bondmen of the same oppressed race in our own country, but the vile rebellion of the infernal slaveholders has prevented. We ask you now to proclaim liberty to the captives, and 'let the people go'—ah. Do not let your heart be hardened as Parroh's was, but save our land from sorrow, an our armies from further defeat by a decree of righteousness. Then will the Lord smile on us, an then shall glory cover the land—ah."

I believe I've got that speech down purty nigh as the feller delivered it, for he spoke very slow an stately, as if he was tryin to make an impreshin. Wen he got thru, Linkin got up, and ses he, "Mr. Secretary, I'm kinder glad to see you, and will only say that we need all the help about these times we can get, an if I thought the Lord would only help us lick the rebils, I would free the niggers. An if I thought he would help us by freein 'em, I would do that. In fact, whatever I do, an what—I don't do, I do it, or I don't do it, jest as I think the Lord will be most likely to help us. The great thing is to get the help of the Lord, an I shall adopt new views on this pint jest as far as I think they are good views." Wen Linkin got thru, I pulled him by the coat-tail, an ses I, "Kernel, Seward himself could not have beat that non-committal speech." Ses he, "Hush, Majer, don't throw all the fat into the fire." Jest then the feller in the white hankercher spoke up, an ses he, "let us pray," an at it he went. Ses he, "Oh Lord, throw grate lite upon the mind of our Chief Magustrate—ah—give us victorys over the rebils—ah—give us this yere grate victorys—ah—not such little victories as we had last yere—ah—but crush the rebils with the arm of thy power. Amen—ah." After this, they all shuck hands, an went away. After they had gone, ses the Kernel, ses he, "Majer, that's a wonderful pious chap." "Yes," ses I, "Kernel, I think he is, in his way, but," ses I, "findin falt with the Lord, bekase He don't give us bigger victories, ain't much like the Christians of arly days." Ses I, "His prayer for big victories reminds me of old Joe Bunker's prayer. Joe was a wicked old sinner who swore wus than a saleyur. One day he was a swarein' kos he didn't hev better corn. Some one told him he orter pray for good corn, if he wanted it. So one day some one was goin' long the road by the old feller's corn-field, and hearin' a noise, they stopped, and who should the noise cum from but the miserly old skinflint Bunker, who was prayin. Ses he, 'Oh, Lord! give us a good crop of corn this yere, long ears, long as your arm, not sich d—d little nubsbins as we had last yere.' Now," ses I, "Kernel, I think thar's a great deal of simularity 'tween them two prayers, and I think the Lord is jest about as likely to answer one as 'tother." Ses I, "Kernel, you could bust up fifteen Unions easier than you could destroy slavery." Ses he, "Majer, I don't see into that ezackly, and I'd like to know the reason why." "Wal," ses I, "Kernel, the reason is jest this: men made the Union, but God made slavery, and I tell you," ses I, "Kernel, when you undertake to butt agin that, you butt agin a big subjec." Ses I, "Ain't every body been fightin slavery for the last thirty years, and haven't they all cum off second best, while nigger slavery has been growin' and expandin in spite of 'em? God made the nigger to sarve and obey the white man, and until he's altered and made anuther being, you can't make him enything but a sarvent. These fellers, like that white cravated chap, who was jest here, and who employ their time sendin flannel shirts and tooth-picks to the wild nigger in Afriky, don't know nothin' more about niggers than they do 'bout the interior of the arth. You might presarve all the brains they've got in a drop of brandy, and they would have as much sea-room as a tad-pole in Lake Superior."

"Wal," ses Linkin, ses he, "Majer, let's drop the nigger jest now, as I want to ask you whether you think the rebils kin take Washington?" "Wal," ses I, "Kernel, that depends upon strutegy agin. Ef you keep Ginnerals in the field who don't pay eny attention to 'lines of retrete,' afore you know it, Kernel, that feller with a Stonewall in his name, will be around on the North side of the White House, an I'm afeered my 'line of retrete' to Downingville will be cut off." "That's so, Majer, and my retrete to Springfield may be a hard road to travel." When Linkin made this remark, he looked kinder oneasy. I didn't know what to say, so I did jest what I allers do in that case, I whistled! Ses Linkin, ses he, "Majer, are you whistlin to keep your courage up?" Ses I, "No, Kernel, I ain't afraid a mite, but," ses I, "I'm in what old Deacon Doolittle calls a quandary." Ses he, "What's your quandary?" "Wal," ses I, "I was thinkin what I would do ef the rebils should take Washington." The Kernel didn't say nothin for about a minute. He looked very serious, and finally, ses he, "Majer, we're in a tight place, an there is no use denyin it, but it don't do any good to get into a fit of hysterices about it." "Yes," ses I, "Kernel, but it makes me feel solem to see this grate Old Ship of State knockin around, an, may be, jest reddy to sink." "Wal, Majer," ses the Kernel, "that remark reminds me of a story. A good many years ago, an old feller, a free an easy chap, owned a steamboat on the Missippi river, an he was a grate fiddler. He had nothing to do, an ginnerally went up an down the river on the boat, spending his time in fiddlin, an tellin stories. One day the boat struck a snag, an was fast fillin with water. The old feller was in the cabin sawin away on his fiddle when the boat struck, but he paid no attenshin to it, but kept rite on fiddlin. Finally, one of the passengers came in an told him that the captain warn't tryin to save the boat as he ought, and that she would be lost in ten minutes. 'Wal,' ses the old feller, 'she's been a loosin concarn for five years,' and he kept on fiddlin. Pretty soon another passenger rushed in, and screamed out 'She's settlin very fast.' Ses he, 'I wish she'd settle with me before she goes down,' an still he kept on fiddlin. The next that was seen of him he was swimmin ashore, with his fiddle under his arm an the bow in his mouth. Now, Majer, if they take Washington, and the ship sinks, we'll swim ashore!"

"Yes," ses I, "Kernel, and I suppose you will take the nigger with you, jest as that old feller did the fiddle, for the nigger has been the fiddle your party has played on!"

The Kernel didn't seem to like this application of his story, but he didn't say a word. I felt very solemn, for I couldn't help feelin eenamost like crying when I thought how this grate nashin might all be shipwrecked afore he knew it, by a set of fellers who have been so taken up with the nigger as to let the country go to destruction.

I went to bed that nite with a heavy hart, an had a terribul attack of bilyusness, which I had to take nigh onto a gallon of elder-bark tea to cure. Sence then I've been better, an if God spares my life I'll keep you posted about our nashinal affairs as long as there is a nashin.

Your frend,

Majer Jack Downing.



A Cabinet Meeting‌—‌The President Calls for the Opinion of Each Member‌—‌Speeches of Seward, Chase, Stanton, Blair, Welles, Smith and Bates‌—‌The Major Called on for an Opinion‌—‌The Peperage Log Story‌—‌The Majer oposes an Armistice‌—‌No Conclusion Arrived at.

Washington, Sept. 13th, 1862.

To the Editers of The Cawcashin:

Surs:—Sech a time as we've had here sence I writ you last, you never heered tell on. One time we all thought that the Secesh would take us, bag and baggage; but we feel easier now, an everybody is hopin that the crysis is past. Rite in the midst of the tribbelation, Linkin called a meetin of the Cabynet to consult on the tryin state of affairs, an he insisted that I must meet with 'em, as it was no time to stand on precidents an ceterys, an beside, he sed he wanted the help of every ounce of loyal brains in the country. Ses he, "Majer, I kin depend on you, for though you sometimes give me a hard hit, yet you've allers got the good of your country at hart." Ses I, "Kernel, I'm much obleeged to you for your good opinion, an I kin assure you that every word of it is true. Ef there's a man on this arth that has a truer love for his country than I have, I would like to see him;" an ses I, "Kernel, I'll tell you why my country seems so dear to me. I'm an old man now, nigh on eighty years old; I recollect when Jefferson beat that old Federal, John Adams, in 1800. I warn't old enough then to vote for him, though I wanted to; but wen he run the second time I voted for him, an done all I could for his election. Wal, I've been a Dimmecrat from that day rite down to the old Ginneral's time, an I'm a Dimmecrat yit; but I love my country above all parties. An one reason why my country is so dear to me is, because I haven't got enything else to love now. Nigh about all my relashins are dead an gone, an there ain't enything on arth left me to love but my country; an wen I see it distracted, divided an bleedin, it makes me cry; an," ses I, "Kernel, I can't help it."

"Wal," ses the Kernel, "Majer, it's oncommon hard for old men like you, I know; but you jest meet with the Cabynet this mornin, an let us see ef some new plan can't be adopted to get out of this scrape."

So wen the time cum, I took my hickery, an went in. Purty soon the different members cum droppin in, one by one, an all seemed highly tickled to see me except Seward, who has never forgiven me for exposin his decepshin on Linkin wen he altered my "Constitushinal Teliskope." After they all got seated, ses Linkin, ses he, "Gentlemen, there's no use eny longer of doin like the ostrich does—stick our heads in a sandbank an say that we 'don't see it,' for we're whipped an driven back—in a word, we have failed. Now, the rale question is, Why have we failed? What is the cause of it? Jest as soon as we kin find out the reason of our failure, we shall know what to do to remedy it. Now," ses the Kernel, "I want every one of you to give me your frank, blunt opinion as to the reason. First, I will call on Mr. Seward."

Seward got up, lookin as pale as a sheet, an ses he, "Wal, it ain't my fault. I've paid no attenshin to the war, but have had my hands full in keepin furrin nashins from interferin, an I've succeeded; but ef I should give my opinion of the cause of the failure of our efforts to restore the Union, I would say it was owin entirely to the ultra-Republicans, who wanted to kill slavery before they scotched it. This let the cat out of our bag before the rite time. It aroused an united the South an divided the North. They saw what we were after. Ef my policy had been followed of pacifyin the South an of talkin 'Union' to the North, we would have scotched the snake of slavery, an then we could have killed it at our leisure."

Then Linkin called Chase. He commenced by saying that he did not agree with Mr. Seward as to the cause of our failure. He sed it was jest this dilly-dally policy that had ruined us. Congress had done its duty, but the President had not yet dared to make the rebils feel the power of Congress. He sed he had kept the army supplied with "greenbacks," an that was all he had to do. He had done his duty, but he didn't beleeve we would ever succeed until we fit for liberty an the overthrow of slavery. We should allers fail to restore the Union until we did it.

Then Stantin spoke. He sed "he thought one grate cause of our failure was because he had not kept on issooing his proclamashins, as he did at first. He sed he thought his proclamashin about 'the sperit of the Lord' enabled our soldiers to take Nashville. Then," ses he, "Ginneral McClellan is too slow. He might have been made for a ralerode engineer, where there was no hurry about buildin the road, but he was never cut out for a Ginneral. He was a failure, and hence it wos a failure all round."

Then Blair spoke up. "Wal," ses he, "ef there's a man done his dooty, it's me. I've stopped every paper in the mails that wouldn't endorse the policy of the Administrashin; hence the people have only seen arguments on one side. Ef we've failed, therefore, it can't be because the people's readin hasn't been well looked after. I haven't allowed their minds to be pisened by eny 'copper-head' Dimmocratic doctrines. Nothin but anti-slavery sentiments kin get through the mails now. Ef we've failed, I think it must be because Seward and Stantin have not been more strict in arrestin men who talked——"

Here Seward an Stantin both jumped up an declared that Blair was very onjust, an sed they had arrested every man they could get anything agin, an a good menny that they couldn't get anything agin.

Wal, Blair sed, "enyhow, the failure was not his fault. Ef they didn't beleeve him, let them ask his father, who knew more about politics than eny other man in the country!"

Seward an' Stantin both jumped up an' declared that Blair was very onjust.

"Seward an' Stantin both jumped up an' declared that Blair was very onjust."—page 154.

Then old Welles got up, looking very sleepy. He sed "the failure could not be charged agin the Navy. It was the most wide-awake institushin of the age. It had achieved all the victories." [Here Stantin jumped up agin, but Welles wouldn't yield the floor.] "The army couldn't do anything without his gunboats. Every time the rebils got at them, they had had to retrete to his gunboats. In his opinion the army had failed, because it could not carry his gunboats with it. He sed he had been try in to invent a plan to furnish each regiment with a gunboat for land service. Ef he could do that, he thought Richmond might be taken early next spring! The only thing in all the war that had not been a failure were his gunboats!"

Then Mr. Smith, an old man from out West, got up. He sed "he belonged to the interior, and didn't know much about what was goin on. He had heered say there was a war in progress, and that there had been some pretty tall fightin, but he didn't know whether it had been a success or a failure. Ef we had failed, he thought it must be because we had not been successful, an ef we had succeeded, he thought it must be because we hadn't failed!"

Mr. Bates sed "he agreed with Mr. Smith, except in one pint. He had heerd, within a day or two, for the first time, that we had failed. Upon lookin over Blackstun to see ef there was eny case like it, he had been much disappinted in not findin eny. He thought we must have failed because we had not follered Blackstun."

After he got thru, Linkin called upon me. I jest hauled up my old hickery and laid it on the tabil, an then puttin my elbows on the tabil to rest myself, I began. Ses I, "Kernel, I feel kinder scary to giv my opinion rite here, after sech a display of larnin an eloquince; but," ses I, "as I understand the questshin, it is this: We've been fightin to restore the Union, an we've failed. Now, what is the cause of the failure?" Ses I, "Is that it, Kernel?" Ses he, "Yes, Majer; that's it, exactly." "Wal," ses I, "I allers want to get on the track afore I start, an then I kin tell purty nigh where I will fetch up. Now," ses I, "Kernel, I want to ask you a questshin: Did you ever try to split a peperage log!" "No," ses he, "Majer, I never did. Nobody would be sech a consarned fool as to try an split a peperage log." "Wal," ses I, "Kernel, suppose some feller should cum to you an tell you that he had been a year an a half tryin to split a peperage log, an couldn't do it, that he had failed, an wanted you to tell him what to do, what would you say to him?"—"Say to him!—why, I should tell him he might jest as well whistle at the log as to try to split it—that it warn't in the natur of sech knotty, nerly, cross-grained timber to split; in other words, that he was tryin to do an onpossibul thing." "Now," ses I, "Kernel, that's jest my idee about tryin to save this Union by fightin! You're tryin to do an onpossibul thing. After a year an a half of fightin, you all acknowledge that you have failed, an all the Cabynet is wonderin why you have failed. Now, it ain't no wonder to me. You have failed jest because, in the very natur of things, what you are tryin to do can't be done in that way. You're takin the rong way to do it."

Wen I sed this, you never did see sech a flutter. Stantin turned very red in the face, and sed "that I orter be sent to Fort Lafayette." I telled him that I wasn't afeered of all the Forts this side of Purgotary, and that I should speak my mind till my dyin day, let what would happen. That cooled him down. Then I told the Cabynet that the only way to get out of this scrape was to have an armistiss, stop the fightin, and go to talkin—that both sides had had enuf of bloodshed now to satisfy them, an that the only way to get at a settlement was to do that. They took a vote on it, an all voted for it except Linkin, Chase and Welles. The Kernel sed he was so committed to the Abolishin Governors of the North, that he couldn't go for the armistiss. Chase sed, "ef it comes to that, then all the money has been spent for nothin, an I shall be cussed for the debt forever an ever." Old Welles sed that he thought we should be successful jest as soon as he got his new Patent Land Gunboats in operashin, an he was for fightin the thing out! The other members of the Cabynet sed they thought they could back out without much trubbel. Seward sed he never see a hole so small that he couldn't, on a pinch, get through, especially with Weed to help him. He thought he should turn Dimmocrat! Stantin sed he intended to jine the church, and turn Methodist precher. Blair sed he didn't know what he should do till he consulted his father! He knew the old man could help him out. Smith an Bates sed they should return to the buzzum of their families, an, if necessary for their safety, put on krinoline!

No conclusion, however, was cum to about the armistiss. The Kernel can't bring himself up to the idee yet. Ef the Governors were only in favor of it, he should do it at once. So I suppose, for the present, we shall keep on tryin to do an onpossibul thing—to git the Union by fightin for it. Depend upon it, tryin to split peperage logs ain't nothin to it.

Yours till deth,

Major Jack Downing.



The Major not Ill‌—‌The President has "the Gripes"‌—‌The Witch-Hazel Medicine‌—‌Going to the bottom of a Subject‌—‌The Democrats and the War‌—‌The Emancipation Proclamation‌—‌A Visit to Gen. McClellan's Army‌—‌The Soldiers Cool‌—‌Mr. Lincoln tells a Story‌—‌"Sloshing About."

Washington, Oct. 6th, 1862.

To the Editers of The Cawcashin:

Surs:—I see you sed in your paper, last week, that perhaps I had the rheumatiz, and that that was the resin why I had not writ you. Now, you were dredfully mistaken, for I aint had a twinge of the rheumatics for a long time. The resin I did not write last week was jest this: Rite off, after Linkin had issooed that Abolishin Proclymashin, he was taken with a terribul fit of the gripes. There was noos received that some of the sojers were gettin onruly, and refusin to fight for the nigger, an I thought one spell that the Kernel would go crazy. He walked the floor all nite, an looked as ef he would die. Finerally it brought on the gripes, an then his condishin was terribul. I tried elder bark tea, but it didn't do a mite of good, so I telled him there warn't but one medicin that would cure him, an that was witch hazel sticks mixed up with molasses. So I sent fur some twigs an cut em up in about inch pieces, and put the molasses on, an stirred it all up. The Kernel looked at it very sharp, an ses he, "Majer, you aint going to give me rale fence to drink, are you? The remedy will be wus than the disease." "Wal," ses I, "Kernel, then that will be jest like your Abolishin Proclymashin," an I kept on mixin it with a big spoon. "Now," ses I, "Kernel, the good pints of this medicin are, that as it goes thru a feller it cleans him completely out. It confiscates, eradicates, obliterates an conflusticates everything. It's equal to your Abolishin Proclymashin an the Confiscashin Bill rolled into one." Ses I, "Kernel, there's only one thing about it that's wrong. Sometimes the sticks get twisted together, or tangled up like the logs comin down the river, in Maine in the spring of the year, and it requires a purty hard jar to start 'em loose. But," ses I, "there's no danger of it's killin anybody, and there's no way for you to get rid of that gripin but by takin it." The Kernel looked at it purty sharp, an ses he, "Majer, I can't stand this innard arthquake much longer, an ef you say that that rale fence will cure me, I'll swallow it ef it takes the har off my hed." So I jest told him to take it, an down he put it as easy as ef it had ben geniwine Borbone. He hadn't had it down but a little while before he began to get wus. He walked the floor an groaned as ef he was goin to die. Ses he, "Majer, this infernal stuff will kill me, sure. I believe I've swallowed a dose of pitchfork tines, or a half-pint of darnin needles. It reminds me of a story, Majer, but I feel too bad to tell it. It's the very first time in my life I was ever so far gone." I see at a glance what was the matter. The sticks had got tangled together, an lodged fast, an I knew there was no time to be lost. So ses I, "Kernel, I kin cure you. You jest cum here an sit down in this cheer." He cum up, and wen he went to set down, I jerked the cheer rite out from under him, an down he cum kerslap on the floor. I tell you it made the hull house shake; but I knowed he must get a good jar, or it was a gone case with him. It made him see stars for a little while, for the Kernel, you know, is long-geared, an it was no jokin matter for him to fall so far. But it was all over within a minnet, an wen he got up he sed he felt like another man; but, ses he, "Majer, that's what I call goin to the bottom of a subject." "Wal," ses I, "Kernel, that's jest what you are tryin to do on the slavery questshin, an ef you don't see stars on that before you get thru with it, I'll wonder." Ses I, "Kernel, do you expect Dimmicrats are goin to support you on freein the niggers?" "Wal," ses he, "Majer, not the rale, geniwine Dimmicrats; but you see you've got a grate lot of fellers in your party who call themselves Dimmicrats, who aint Dimmicrats at all. You've had the offices in your party so long, that you've naterally attracted a hull lot of chaps who only want offices. These fellers have mostly been the leaders of your party for years an years, an now, wen we've got the offices, an there aint scarcely a chance that the South will ever have eny more to give 'em, they all cum to us, an I kin get 'em at almost eny price, from a Brigadier-Generalship down to a quarter of a dollar. I've tried to git some geniwine Dimmicrats to mix in, but you can't touch em." Ses I, "Kernel, I guess you'll find that the grate bulk of the Dimmicrats won't fite to free the niggers. They can't be sech a pack of derned fools." "You've got too high an opinion of your party, Majer," ses the Kernel. "There's a grate menny more derned fools in it than you've got eny idee of. You say they won't fite to put down slavery. Didn't they say they wouldn't fite to coerce the South? And didn't they do it? Didn't they say they would only defend the Capital, and wouldn't invade Virginia, and didn't they do it?"

Majer, that is what I call goin' to the bottom of a subject.

"Majer, that is what I call goin' to the bottom of a subject."—Page 161.

"Yes," ses I, "Kernel, I must own that's the truth; but," ses I, "they called God to witness ef the war was ever made an anti-slavery war, they would throw down their arms." "Yes," ses he, "but don't they say now that they aint got nothing to do with the policy of the government, an that their only duty is to fite." "Wal," ses I, "Kernel, sum of 'em have sed that, but it can't be possibul that that's the gineral sentiment. Ef they follow that principul, then ef you should proclaim yourself Emperor or King, an tell 'em to fite to establish a monarchy, they would do that." "That's drivin your idees a little too far, Majer, as you ginnerally do. But what do you think about our goin up to the army an reviewin the sojers, and seein whether I aint jest as popelar as ever I was?" "Wal," ses I, "Kernel, I think that that is a good idee, an I kin judge purty nigh how your Proclymashin sets on the stumacks of the sojers from the way they cheer you. Ef they cheer as loud as they did wen they were down at Harrisin Landin, I shall be mistaken." So we started off the next day for Ginneral McClellan's head-quarters in a speshal train. First we went to Ginneral Sumnure's head-quarters, and it warn't long afore Ginneral McClellan cum there. too. There was sum talk about the Proclymashin, an Linkin told the Ginneral that there were two great resins why he had made it. One was to stop furrin nashins from interferin, an the other was to make the rebils cum to terms. He thought it would feteh 'em, sure.

Ginneral McClellan didn' say a word, one way nor tother, but looked oncommon solemn, and axed the Kernel whether he didn't want to revew the troops. I saw at once that the Ginneral didn't like it, and that he wanted to turn the subject. Then we started off and took a look at the troops on Merryland Hights and Bollyvare Hights, and all around Mr. Harper's ferry. Mr. Harper warn't hum, and so we didn't see him, and the ferry warn't in good order nether, the resen bein that the rebils had been there and destroyed eenamost everything. As we were goin along, ses I, "Kernel, them cheers don't sound like they did down on the Jeemes River." The Kernel didn't say enything, but looked very serious. Wen Ginneral McClellan showed himself, you oughter have heerd the sojers yell and scream, and wave their hats. I never see the Kernel look so pale and thin, and I couldn't get a word out of him. As for makin a speech, it warn't to be thought on. After we got all done reviewin the sojers, the Kernel and all hands of us come down from the Hights, and sot down near the road on an old wagin. Linkin told some stories to pass away the time, an purty soon we went back to Ginneral Somnure's head-quarters, where we staid all nite. The next mornin we went to Ginneral McClellan's head-quarters, an then over the battle field of Auntyeatem. The next day we cum hum, both of us purty nigh tired out. The Kernel pulled off his boots as soon as he got in the house, as he almost allus does, an I got out my pipe for a smoke.

"Wal," ses I, "Kernel, what do you think of your visit?" Ses he, "Majer, it's jest as you told me. That Proclymashin of mine ain't popular, and I knowed it wouldn't be. But jest see how I was situated. There was the Abolishin Guvernurs drivin me on one side, an ther was France an England on the other side. What was I to do? I couldn't stand still. I couldn't go back. So I had to "let her rip." I've ben poleing around, Majer, ever sence I've been President, trying to touch bottom, an I couldn't find it. Now I hope I'll git it." "Yes," ses I, "Kernel, but may be your pole warnt a constitutional pole. Ef it had ben, you would hev found bottom long ago." Ses I, "Depend on it, Kernel, there ain't no bottom where you are poleing, and ef you keep on till doomsday, you won't find eny."

Ses I, "Kernel, don't you know that you said in your inaugerole that you had no rite to interfere with slavery, an that you didn't intend to?"

Ses he, "Did I, Majer? I've forgot all about it. The truth is, Majer, when I look back the two years I've been President, it reminds me of a story:—Old Bill Jones got drunk one election day, out in Illinoy, an had a hand in several fites before nite. The next day he was brought up before a Justess of the Peace, an the Justess inquired, 'Mr. Jones, did you strike Tom Smith yesterday?' 'Wal, I don't know, Judge,' ses Bill, 'I was sloshin around considerabul, an can't exzactly say what I did.' 'Wal, Mr. Jones, did you hit Jim Wattles?' 'Wal, now, Judge, I can't be sartin; the truth is, I was sloshin around most of the day, I reckon.' 'Now, Mr. Jones, tell me whether you struck Dick Robinson?' 'Can't say, Judge,' replied Bill. 'I believe, on the hull, I was sloshin around about all day.' 'Wal, Mr. Jones,' said the Justess, 'what do you mean by "sloshin around?"' 'Wal, Judge,' said Bill, '"sloshin around" is jest going rite thru a crowd, an mowin your swath, hitten rite an left everybody you meet slap over the face an eyes.' Now, the truth is, Majer, I've been 'sloshin around' sence I've been President, hittin in the dark, an not knowin exzacly where I struck. This Proclymashin of mine is a hit in the dark, but as I am the first anti-slavery President, I've got to mark out a new track, an hence do as old Bill Jones did, keep 'sloshin around.'"

"Wall," ses I, "Kernel, that's resky business, an ef you don't 'slosh' once too often, it will be a wonder. But," ses I, "Kernel, I'me terribul tired after this trip, an what do you say to havin a little old rye before we go to bed?"—"That's jest what I was thinkin of, Majer." The Kernel then told the feller in bad close, who does chores for us, to get us some, an we both tuk a good swig of genewine rye-juice, an went to bed. I was eenamost tuckered out, but this mornin I feel nigh about as good as ever agin.

Yours till deth,

Majer Jack Downing.



The President Nervous‌—‌The State Elections‌—‌Mr. Lincoln Astonished ‌—‌He Takes Cordial‌—‌Mr. Seward Turns Democrat‌—‌The Major Tells a Story‌—‌Mr. Seward and the Major Take a Drink‌—‌How John Van Buren got Gen. Scott's Letter‌—‌Mr. Stanton on the Elections.

Washington, Oct. 20th, 1862.

To the Editers of The Cawcashin:

Surs: Wal, the Kernel has ben sick agin. It is astonishin how littel takes him down now-a-days. His constitushin seems to be eenamost clean gone. Old rye don't do much good, an I've tried all sorts of medicin, but nothin seems to work well. This time his narves were terribly worked up, an he was so fidgety, that I koncluded to try Godfrey's Cordial. This cooled him down a dood deal, and but not until he tuk nigh unto four or five bottles full. The cause of all this flutter was the recent elecshins in Ohio, Indiany an Pennsylvany. The Kernel had been told by Sumnure, Greeley an Andrews that the only way to carry the elecshins this fall, was to issoo an emancipashun proclamashun; that if he didn't do it, the party would be completely whipped out in every State. So he koncluded to try it, but wen the returns cum in, you never did see such a woe-begone lookin man. One nite he heerd sum bad news from Ohio, an gettin up in his nite gown, he cum to my room and axed what I thought about it. I struck a light an got out my slate. The Kernel had Greeley's last year's almanac in his hands. Ses he, "Majer, let's go down to the telegraf offis, and see how the majorities run, an we can be able to give a guess that will cum as nigh to it as the jump of a rabbit." So I jist put on my duds, an off we went. The news cum in thick an fast, an as the feller at the telegraf read off the figgers, I put 'em down on my slate, an the Kernel compared them with his own majorities in Greeley's primer. I see he was turnin all sorts of colors, an finally, ses he, "Majer, we are gone jist as kompletely as if we were up Salt River now, instead of bein here. I'de jest like to swap places with sum hoss-jockey, an go into the hoss contract line." Ses he, "Majer, let's go hum. I've seen all of this elephant that I want to." So he crammed his coat-tail pocket full of despatches, an off we started. When he got hum, ses he, "Majer, my administrashin is the biggest failyure that ever tuk place in the history of this or eny other country. I now see that jest as plain as I see that bottle of old rye there. I've listened to those infernal fools, Sumnure an Greeley, an a pretty scrape they have got me in."

Ses I, "Kernel, it ain't my natur to hit a man wen he is down, or to hurt anybody's feelins by referrin to the past. But," ses I, "don't you rekollect the story about 'applyin the principle?'" Ses he, "Yes, I do; I recollect it well." "Wal," ses I, "now see the result of 'applyin the principle.' I told you then that you'd get scorched wus than Zenas Humspun did in meddlin with the telegraf, if you undertook to carry out the principle of Abolishun, but you sed the thing must tech the bottom, an you was bound to put it through. Now, you see, the people don't support you. They don't want niggers made equal to white men, nor they don't want 'em freed to be a tax on 'em. A few fellers like Greeley, whose brains all seem to run to bran-bread, an free luv, or some other moonstruck nonsense, an some larned fools like Sumnure, want to try the experiment, but they don't represent the people. So you see, Kernel, that in applyin the principle you have kicked yourself over, an I only menshin it to show you that if he had followed my advice you would not have had these grate defeats to mourn over."

The Kernel looked very solem, an ses he, "Majer, I know I'd been a great deal better off if I'd followed your advice all through these trubbils, but you see I had to go with my party, and if it had carried me to the other side of Jordon, I s'pose I should have gone with it."

That nite I thought the Kernel would go into spasms, he was so nervous. I got some hot water, an soaked his feet in it, rubbed his bowels with brandy, an laid flannel on 'em, an bathed his temples in camfire an rum. But he grew wus all the time. Finally, I began to pore the Cordial down him, an then he commenced to revive. But he didn't sleep scacely a wink all nite. In the mornin he was the most limpsy piece of mankind I ever did see. I ralely believe he might have been tied in a knot like an eel, he was so limber.

Jest a little while after breakfast, who should come in but Seward? He hadn't hardly spoken to me sence I blowed him for alterin the Kernel's Constitushinal Teliskope, but this mornin he was as perlite an as clever as he could be. Ses he, "Majer, the elecshin news is good, an our party is successful." Ses I, "Mr. Seward, I don't understand you." "Why, Majer," ses he—and he put on one of the queerest smiles I ever see on a man's face—"don't you know I have turned Dimmocrat?" Ses I, "You don't say so." "Yes," ses he, "I'm a Dimmocrat now, an no mistake." The Kernel looked as if thunder had struck him. "Wal," ses I, "Mr. Seward, that reminds me of a story, as the Kernel would say." "Wal," ses he, "Majer, what is it? I always like to hear your stories. They are so pat." "Wal," ses I, "mebby this will turn out to be a little patter than you like; but, howsoever, as I never spile a good story for acquaintance sake, I will tell it. Once on a time, it is said, an old coon went out of a night to get some fodder among the cornfields, an did not return to his hole until near mornin. Wen he got hum he saw a skunk had taken possession of his hole. He went up, an ses he, 'Who's there?' The skunk replied, 'A coon.' 'Are you a coon?' 'Yes,' said the skunk, 'I'm a coon.' 'Wal,' sed the coon, 'you don't look like a coon; you don't act like a coon, and I'll be darned ef you smell like a coon.'"

"Now," ses I, "Mr. Seward, you may be a Dimmocrat, but you don't look like one, nor act like one, nor smell like one, an I'll be darned ef I believe you are one."

Ses he, "Majer, you are rather personal." "Wal," ses I, "I don't mean any offence, an," ses I, "if you really mean to be a Dimmocrat, let's take a drink of old rye over the victories in Ohio, Pennsylvany and Indiany." So he cum up an we both took a good swig of wiskey. The Kernel looked at us an grit his teeth. "Wal," ses he, "ef you are goin to rejoice in my defeat, I'll go over an call on Stantin, an see ef he can't cheer me up." So the Kernel went off. After he'd gone, Seward an I tuk another nip of the old rye, an purty soon we tasted of it agin. The Seckretary is a capital drinker, an he knows what good licker is as well as eny feller I ever see. Finally he got in a very good humer, an ses he, "Majer, we've been bad friends long enough." So he actually hugged me, and sed there warn't a man that ever lived that he loved so much as the old Ginneral, an next to him his friend Majer Downing. Wen I thought I'd got him in a good humer an he was very talkative, ses I, "Mr. Seckretary, kin you tell me how John Van Buren got that letter of Ginneral Scott's?" Ses he, "Yes, Majer, I kin. You know I don't want that feller Wadswurth elected, for he's my bitter political inemy; so the way the letter got out was this:—Weed, you know, is my chum. Now, we have an understandin that everything that I can't tell him I put in my right hand coat-tail pocket. You see then I can deny that I made it public. That pocket is Weed's pocket, an he always goes to it for secrets. Wal, I put the letter in that pocket, an Weed got it from there. Weed also has just such a pocket. All smart politishins have such a pocket. Now, Weed's chum is Ben Welch, Commissary Ginneral, an Ben got it out of Weed's pocket. Now, John has long been a chum of Ben's, an he got it out of Ben's pocket. That's the way that this letter got out, that there is so much mystery about."

Rite off after this the Kernel came in, an we had to drop the conversashin, for Seward gave me the wink as much as to say that he didn't want Linkin to know everything about it.

Then I asked the Kernel what Stantin sed. He sed Stantin was in favor of issooing a proclamashin, over the grate victories of the Administrashin in Ohio, Indiany, Pennsylvany an Iway. He sed the people didn't put any faith in newspapers any more, an a proclamashin declarin that the elecshins had all gone favorabul would be believed without winkin. Stantin thinks there ain't nothin so powerful as a proclamashin. Seward said afore it was done, the Cabbynet had better be called together. Here the matter dropped, an as the Kernel looked uncommon blue, I left him to his own reflecshins, an went up-stairs to my room.

Yours till deth,

Majer Jack Downing.



The New York Election‌—‌Mr. Lincoln Tells a Story‌—‌Cannot Do Justice to the Subject‌—‌Mr. Lincoln Feels Bad‌—‌The Major Amuses him by a Joke‌—‌How to get up a Message‌—‌Keeping a Party Together‌—‌The Excelsior Political Prepared Glue‌—‌The Different Stripes of Abolitionists‌—‌ Boating on the Mississippi River‌—‌Poleing Along.

Washington, Nov. 10th, 1862.

To the Editers of The Cawcashin:

I expect you were very much surprised in not gettin a letter from me last week, but the truth is, I got one partly writ jest as the news of the elecshins in New York an Jersey cum in, an I should have finished it an sent it on ef the Kernel had not been taken down sick so sudden. Wen the rumor fust cum that York city had gone over thirty thousand for Seemore, an that Fernandow an Ben. Wood an Jeemes Brooks had been elected to Congriss, the Kernel didn't say a word, but looked as ef he'd drop down thru the floor. I didn't like to speak fust, but I see the Kernel warn't going to, an so ses I, "How do you feel, Mr. Presidint?" "Wal," ses he, "Majer, I'll tell you a story. A good meny years ago there lived in lower Kentuck an old feller named Josh Miller. Now, it was ginerally reckoned in that part of the country that old Josh could out-swear eny feller that ever lived. Josh was a kind of gineral teamster, an had a two-hoss wagon with which he did chores for everybody round the village. One day he had on a load of ashes, an was goin up a steep hill, sittin on the fore part of his wagon. Wen about half way up the hind-board of his wagon cum out, an old Josh not lookin round, nigh about all the ashes jarred out, so wen he got to the top of the hill he didn't have a pan full left. He stopped his hosses, however, an got out, an a hull lot of fellers, who knew the ability of old Josh in the swearin line, gathered around expecting to here the tallest kind of strong words. The old feller looked fust at his wagon an then at the ashes all strewed along the road, an finally ses he, 'Boys, there's no use in tryin—I can't do jestice to the subject.' An now, Majer," ses the Kernel, "That jest my condition now—I can't do jestice to the subject, an I don't feel like talkin; in fact, I can't talk."

I see the Kernel felt very bad, an ef he couldn't talk nor tell stories, I didn't know wat on arth might happen. I was afeered he would get so full that sumthin like the dropsy would set in. An sure enuf, that nite not a word did he speak, nor a story did he tell. The consekence was, he began to swell an bloat like a mad porkepine. I see at once that I must turn doctor agin, or there was no tellin how soon he might kick the bucket. He was growin wus fast, actually beginnin to look blue. So ses I, "Kernel, there's no help for it; you must be tapped!" "Tapped!" ses he, "Majer, tapped! There warn't enything ever tapped in my house that lasted more that a week. Oh no! I ain't reddy to die yet." I see the "rulin pashin was strong in deth," jest as the poet's say; but as soon as I got a joke out of him, I knew that he would survive. So thinks I to myself, I'll see ef I can fetch him to by another joke; so ses I, "Kernel, suppose 'tappin' should kill you, you would go to a world of spirits!"

Wen I said this, he jumped rite up out of his chair, laughin, an takin me by the hand, ses he, "Majer, you are the best frend I've got. Wen I'm sick you doctor me, an wen I'm down spereted you jest joke me rite out of the dumps." Ses he, "Majer, I've a good mind to make you Commander-in-Cheef of the Army." "No, no," ses I, "Kernel, don't do that, for I should think you had sumthin agin me, an wanted to hand me over to the Abolishinists to be punished!"

The Kernel and I have also been bizzy sence I wrote you last in getting up the next message. He has been ritin his ideas on little slips of paper about two inches wide, as they have happened to pop in his head, an then submitten 'em to me to sort of polish up. The Kernel ses that ritin a message is a good deal like gettin out timber for a barn in the woods. Fust, you want the sills, then the posts, then the girders, then the plates, an finally the rafters. We ain't got the sills fairly hewed out and squared yit. The truth is, the Kernel is kinder worried as to how exactly to lay the foundashin. Wilson, who is now here, ses the sills must be of Abolishin timber, and no mistake. I telled the Kernel that sich stuff was the poorest kind of bass-wood, an wouldn't stand nohow. Then he thought of puttin in a mixture of Abolishin timber an sum constitutional saw-logs, but I telled him that that would make it so cross-grained that it wouldn't bear eny weight at all, an by the time we got the rafters on it would all smash down in a pile. "Wal," ses he, "Majer, I must do sumthin to keep my party together. I must contrive sum sort of a mixture that won't look too much Abolishin, an yet that won't drive off the old, genewine friends of freedom." "Wal," ses I, "I don't think your party kin hold together much longer, enyhow. It seems to me it is mity nigh now fallen to pieces, an it won't take much longer to knock it into so menny pieces that you can't no more putty 'em together than you can find the tail of a rainbow."

"Wal," ses the Kernel, "Majer, don't you think I've done well in keepin it together as long as I have?" Ses I, "Yes, Kernel, ef there's a feller in this country that ought to git out a patent for 'Excelsior Political Prepared Glue,' it is you. You've kept together the most cross-grained, knotty, knerly lot of political timber that ever was made up into eny political party." Ses I, "There's the Greeley stripe. Now, it's enuf to give any party the dyspepsy to have such a set of bran-bread, free-luv, long-haired set of fellers in it. An ther's Gerrit Smith an his stripe, a kind of maroon-colored, mongrel breed of politicians, sumthin like a cross between a Jamacy nigger an an Esquimaw; an then ther's Wendell Phillips an old Garrison, sort of Abolishin alligators; an fineally you've got a sort of half-an-half fellers in your party who try to be conservative, who quote Blackstun and the law dicschinnaries, an set great stress upon being very moderate. Now, how you've contrived, Kernel, to keep all these different ingredients together is a mystery." "Wal, Majer, ef I hadn't larn't sumthin about boatin on the Mississippi River, wen I was young, I don't believe I would ever have been able to steer the ship of State at all." "Why," ses I, "how is that?" "Wal," ses he, "goin up the Mississippi River is a good deal like being Presidint. Sumtimes you have to go one way and sumtimes another. Sumtimes you go slam rite in one bank an sumtimes in t'other, and then it ain't at all oncommon to get on a sand-bar, an lay there no one can tell how long. Now, Majer, that's a good deal like being Presidint, an you see I've kept my party together by jest goin first one way an then t'other. Wen the Abolishin tide cum along strong, I'de jest let the vessel foller the current, go with it, an wen she struck the other shore, of course, it would take another tack. Sumtimes, when all hands got a quarrelin, I jest let her rip rite on a sand-bar, and there let her lay until I made 'em settle their disputes. But, I tell you, Majer, there's one that has been the best of all to keep my party together. Wen they've got purty mutinous, I've threatened to discharge all hands an get a new set. Then you ought to see how soon they stop quarrelin. Ther's nothin they so much dred as to lose the offices. Take away the cow that gives the milk, an they would all blat jest like weaned calves. So wen I stop the ship an tell them that I'm goin to clear the deck an put on a new crew, I tell you they are as whist as mice. So you see, I go poleing along. First this way, then that, jest like goin up the Mississippi River, for all the world."

"Wal," ses I, "Kernel, that seems to me a rather hap-hazard, no-policy way of bein Presidint. It ain't statesmanlike." "Wal, Majer, mebby it is and mebby it ain't; but I'm goin to make things shake now, sence the elecshins are over. Things have got to be more lively."

I didn't say nothin, for I see the Kernel was gettin his back up. At last, ses I, "Kernel, have you tried eny of that old rye lately?" Ses he, "No, Majer, I ain't, but I feel like wettin my gills to-nite. How do you feel?" "Wal," ses I, "Kernel, a little good whiskey never goes agin the grain." At that the Kernel sent for the feller who does chores, an we both took a swig. Wen I thought he was in purty good humor, ses I, "Kernel, why did you remove McClellin?" Ses he, "Majer, I can't tell you now, but jest recollect my story about 'polein around,' an gettin in 'Abolishin currents,' an you kin guess." I sed nothin, for I see the Kernel was very mum, so I bid him good-nite, and slept as sound on that old rye as I ever did wen I was a boy. The Kernel is famous for good whiskey, anyhow.

Yours, till deth,

Majer Jack Downing.



The Message‌—‌A Cabinet Council‌—‌Speeches of Seward, Chase, Stanton, Welles, Blair and Bates‌—‌Mr. Lincoln Tells a Story‌—‌The Major Gives His Opinion‌—‌Mr. Chase Accuses Him of Disloyalty‌—‌The Major Demands a Retraction‌—‌It is Given.

Washington, Nov. 22, 1862.

To the Editers of The Cawcashin:

Surs:—Wal, the messige ain't done yet. The Kernel keeps tinkerin at it a little every day. I tell him he is jest like a cooper hammerin at a barrel. He keeps poundin away, an when he gits thru, he is rite around jest where he started from. The other day I telled the Kernel that it mite hurry up matters by havin a Cabinet Council, and perhaps by gettin all heds together we mite git the messige in sum sort of shape. Congress would meet afore long, an there was no time to loose. The Kernel sed he thought that would be a good idee, an so one was called. The Kernel insisted that I should be present, though I didn't much want to be, sence I knew how Seward was trying to play the conservative and turn Dimmycrat. Howsoever, I determined to go but to say nothin. The Kernel opened the ball by tellin all hands how that he an the Majer had been to work at the messige for some weeks, off an on, like farmers sortin their corn, but they couldn't git the docyment into ship-shape exactly, an hence he had called 'em together to hear their opinions on the subject, an to larn how each department, stood. He sed he wanted to tech on all subjects, an fust he would ask Mr. Seward about our furrin affairs. Seward got up, lookin very pale, an the fust thing he sed was, that he believed Seemore was elected Guvernor of New York. Mr. Chase wanted to know "what that had to do with foreign affairs, but," ses he, an here he looked very knowin, "perhaps Mr. Seward kin tell how Seemore cum to be elected?" At this Seward brushed up an asked him "what he meant?" "Wal," ses he, "I mean jest this, that if you an Weed had not thrown cold water on Wadsworth, Seemore would never have been elected." "That's false," ses Seward, an Chase jumped up as if he was goin to do sumthin, but the Kernel at once interfered, an sed that he didn't send for 'em to quarrel about the elecshins, which were bad enough, Lord knows, but he wanted to know how the furrin affairs stood. Seward sed, "that, comin to the pint, furrin affairs never looked better. We were at peace with all the world, an he didn't doubt but with the aid of his friend Weed, and a liberal use of secret service money, he would be able to keep the peace. He sed it looked now as if, in sixty days, that all idee of furrin intervenshin for the rebils would be given up, an then the rebelyun would be smashed at once."

Then the Kernel asked Mr. Chase how the financies stood. Wal, Chase sed that everything was working splendid; that only the other day he got a loan in Wall street above par; that everything was risin in price, an that the people was tickled to deth with the good-lookin notes he got out; that they liked 'em so well, an they were so much handier than gold an silver, that they didn't use enything else lately. He sed he thought he was going to be set down as the greatest financier since the days of Liecurgus, who made money out of iron, an thus made all the people rich at once. He said that he would make 'em all rich, ef paper didn't get too high, an there was some danger of it, as the pesky rebils had all the cotton to make it of. Jest get that, an he would snap his fingers at the hull world.

Then Stantin got up. He sed everything was now progressin finely sence the Ralerode Sooperintendent had been discharged. He didn't doubt but Burnside would be in Richmond by the time Congress met, an he thought it was so sure, that he advised Linkin to put it in his Message at once. He sed his idee was, as soon as Richmond was taken, to issoo a proclamashin appointing a day of thanksgiv'n an prayer for our victory over the rebils. He sed, ef his plans had been followed, we would have been in the rebil Capital long ago, but it was all rite now, and no one need have eny fears.

Then grandfather Welles spoke. He sed Mr. Stantin seemed to think that the army was goin to do all, but he could tell him that he would find that his gunboats were to play a big part. He had been all summer buildin a hull lot of iron-plated monsters, an ef the war didn't cum to an end too soon, they would make the fur fly. At all events, they would be reddy to celebrate peace, which would be somethin. For his part, he didn't think the war was nigh ended; yet in fact, he didn't see how it could end until all the contracts were finished. It would'nt do to disappint so many good members of the party, who hadn't yet had their turn buyin vessels on commission, or makin gunboats.

Then Mr. Blair got up, lookin as if he thought that wisdom would surely die when he did. He sed he reckoned that the country was safe. He sed he had kept a pretty close watch on the newspapers to see ef eny of them opposed the war or advocated slavery. He thought that the people never had had sich advantages in the Post-Office as they had had sence he was Postmaster-Gineral. The people, he sed, used to have to pick out the papers they wanted to take themselves, now he did it for 'em. He sed he thought he knew best, too, what was good for them, for his father was an editor a good meny years, an when he needed informashin he allers called on the old man! When Blair sot down, the Kernel called upon Mr. Bates, but he had gone to sleep, so they skipped him and called upon Mr. Smith. He sed that the interior department was in a flourishin condishin, but he hed lately heered that the loco focos had agin carried Indianny, and it had so worried him as to give him the tooth-ache. Ef they wanted to know anythin more about this department, he would ask his chief clark. Here the Kernel asked Seward ef he wouldn't wake up Mr. Bates. Seward jest walked up, tuk his finger and thumb and pinched the old man's nose. As he was breathin very hard thru it, he jumped up as ef he had ben pricked with a pin. Ses he, "Have the rebils took Saint Lewis?" Seward telled him that this was a Cabbynet Council. "Aye," ses he, "what's up?" "Wal," ses Linkin, "we want to know the condishin of your department?" Ses he, "I ain't a military Ginneral, an ain't got command of no department!" The old man warn't fairly awake yet; ses Seward, ses he, "I guess I'll have to give him another pinch." "Now," ses the Kernel, "that reminds me of a story. An old Dominy down in Connecticut used to have a very sleepy congregashin. One day, wen a good many were asleep, he stopped rite in the middle of his sermon, and called out, 'Deacon Giles, sing the 119th Psalm, to the tune of Old Hundred.' The Deacon commenced and sung one verse. Wen he got thru, the Dominy yelled out at the top of his voice, 'sing another varse, Deacon; they ain't all awake yit.'" Wile all hands were laughing at the Kernel's story, Mr. Bates got putty wide awake, and sed that his business had got sorter mixed up with Stantin's, and in fact there warnt any courts or judges or juries now, an mity little need of Atturny Ginnerals—the Ginnerals were all of another kind. He sed wen the war was over he meant to write out a legal opinion agin it, but he was afeered it wouldn't be loyal to do it now, and so he spent most of his time in reading a bound volume of the Christian Almanac, which he had for fifty years back. He thought the country was in a very prosperous condishin, for he drew his salary regular.

After he got thru, the Kernel called on me to make sum remarks, but I telled him "I didn't cum there to say enything, but only to listen, an to see ef I could larn enough of what was goin on to complete the message." They all set in then, especially Seward, an sed I must give my impreshins, ef nothin more. "Wal," I telled 'em, "ef I sed enything I should be jest as blunt as a pump-handle, an they mustn't take no offence; an that so far as I was consarned, I might jest as well go to a singin school to larn to dance as to have cum here to find enything about the state of the country. Every one of 'em seemed to be thinkin about himself, an nothin about the country. Because they drew their salary regularly, an had enough to eat and drink, they thought nobody was hurt. I telled 'em that I guessed they all had on 'Glorification Spectacles,' an that everything was magnified to 'em. Then I sed that jest what the Kernel wanted to know to put in his message was, how many sojers we had, an how much they were costin; an how many sailyurs we had, an how many ships, an how much they cost. Then I telled 'em that the people would like to know how many poor fellers had lost their lives sence the war begun; how many had been crippled, &c., &c.; an how much the debt would be after we all got thru; an finally, what great good we had got by it all." Here Chase spoke up. Ses he, "We'll establish freedom an restore the Union." "Wal," ses I, "ef you want four millions of niggers to take keer of, you're welcome to 'em, but as for restorin the Union by war, so far it's jest been like climbin a greased pole; as fast as you climb up you slip back, an," ses I, "it will be so to the eend of the chapter, unless I'me mistaken." Ses Chase, ses he, "The Majer is disloyal." Wen he sed that I jumped rite up with my hickory, an ses I, "Ain't your name Salmon?" Ses he, "Yes." "Wal," ses I, "it won't be long if you don't take that back." I never see a feller look so scart. Ses he, "Majer, I didn't mean eny offence, an so I'll take it back, for I think you mean well." I telled him "that I didn't allow enybody to say or to intimate that I warnt a friend to the Constitushin and the Union."

The Kernel here spoke an sed that his Cabbynet was a good deal like old Josh Pendleton's boys out in lower Illinoy. They allers cum hum every New Years to see the old man an have a talk of old times, but afore they got thru they allers had a regular fite. So he thought he'd adjurn the Cabbynet for fear there would be a scrimmage here.

Then they all took their departure, an the messige ain't no nearer done than ever. The Kernel an I have set up nite after nite, an drank old rye, but it is no use, we can't get it in ship-shape form. The Kernel ses he guesses he will jest get the messige out in rough and send it into Congris, an let Sumnure, Chandler, Lovejoy an Thad Stevens lick it into shape.

Yourn till deth,

Majer Jack Downing.



The Message Finished‌—‌Mr. Sumner says it is not Grammatical‌—‌The Major's Excuse‌—‌Mr. Sumner Finds Fault with the Major's Spelling‌—‌The Major Stumps Him‌—‌He Gives His Views on "Edication"‌—‌Mr. Lincoln Proposes a Connundrum‌—‌The Major Tells a Story‌—‌Mr. Seward's Opinion on the War.

Washington, Dec. 6th, 1862.

To the Editers of The Cawcashin:

Surs:—Wal, I'm glad to say that Congriss has got together, an the Messige has been red an digested. He wouldn't let Seward or Chase have enything to do with it, but he jest mauled it all out himself. The next day arter the Messige was sent in, Sumnure cum in an sed the Messige warn't exactly grammatikal in all its parts. I telled him that "I guessed ef he had to work around short corners as the Kernel did, without gettin tripped up, he would find it mity hard work to get everything jest according to grammer." I telled him "grammer warn't of eny ackount wile the rebellyun lasted—that, like the Constitushin, the grammer was suspended, or locked up where habus korpus couldn't get at it. In fact," ses I, "Mr. Sumnure, I think that eny man who talks about its bein necessary to obsarve the laws of grammer, or any other laws, wen a nashin is in a deth struggle with traiturs, is a disloyal person, an orter to be sent to Fort La Fieit." Wen I sed this, Sumnure turned all sorts of colors, an ses he, "Wal, Majer, perhaps you're rite about grammer; but I think you orter spell the President's name rite in your letters. It's a disrespect to the Cheef Majestrate not to do it." "Wal," ses I, "Mr. Sumnure, I've got my own idees on spellin. Spellin is a good deel like sparkin the gals—it's jest as a feller takes a noshin. My idee is, ef I spell a word so as to git its sound, I'm rite, an I don't keer wat you say, it's the only rule of spellin that holds good in the long run. Now," ses I, "ef L-i-n-k-i-n don't spell Linkin, what on arth does it spell?" That seemed to stump him. "But," ses he, "Majer, there's some ginneral rules that orter be observed—rules that the schools all use." "Wal," ses I, "I don't know much about schools, an I guess the Kernel don't nether. I went to school six weeks, an the Kernel ses he went six months. School larnin is mity poor truck to put into a feller's hed onless he's got a good deal of brains there. There's more edicated fools now in the world than there are fools of eny other kind, an there's a great menny of them, Lord knows. And," ses I, "it's those edicated fools that make all the trubbil."

"Why, Majer," ses he, "you ain't an enemy to edication, I hope."

"Wal, no, Mr. Senator, I ain't no enemy to edication; I only hate edicated fools."

Ses he, "Majer, what do you mean by edicated fools?"

"Wal," ses I, "wen I was a boy, an went to school the six weeks I speak of, there was a boy in my class who could beat me a spellin an readin, an in eenamost everything, but I could lick him jest as easy as I could whistle. He hadn't eny more spunk, or pluck, or courage than a sick kitten, an mighty little genewine common sense. His father, however, sent him to college, an the fust thing I heerd of him, the papers were callin him a larned man, an he ain't done enything ever sence but to blab at Abolishin meetins an make Abolishin speeches. Now," ses I, "that's wat I call an edicated fool. Jest like the larned pig, he can do wat he larns to do or sees done; but as for real common sense to tell wether a thing is rite or rong, he ain't worth eny more for it than a bull-dog is to catch rats."

Sumnure looked kinder streaked wen I sed this, but I didn't say a word, an jest here the Kernel, who had been down stairs to get his boot-jack, cum in. Ses he, "Good mornin, Mr. Sumnure. I'll bet you one of Chase's greenbacks," ses he, "that you can't tell why this boot-jack is like an offis-seeker." Sumnure sed he couldn't. "Wal," ses the Kernel, "because it sticks close to the heels of the Presidint."

I telled the Kernel how that Sumnure sed that the Messige warn't grammatikal. "Wal," ses he, "I beleeve everything goes rong sence I became Presidint. The country is upside down; the niggers are more trubbul than ever before; the white men are cuttin one another's throats, an it seems as if Bedlam was let loose; an now the grammer has been violated, they say. Wal, I wonder wat on arth I am fit for. I never succeeded well in flat-botein; I allers had poor craps wen I tried to be a farmer; I was too tall to split rails handy; and, as a lawyer, I warn't enything more than from poor to middlin. Ef I can't be Presidint, I don't see wat on arth I was made for."

"Wal," ses I, "Kernel, perhaps you are like the old Quaker's dog." Ses he, "How was that, Majer?" "Wal," ses I, "I'll tell you the story. Up in Maine, not far from Downingville, there used to live an old Quaker named Hezekiah Peabody. He had a yaller dog that was allus loungin around the house. One day Sol Hopkins, a rough old feller, cum along, an ses he, 'Mr. Peabody, I want a dog to hunt foxes. Do you think your dog is good for foxes?' 'Now,' ses the Quaker, 'neighbor Solomon, I never tried the dog on foxes for the huntin of any animals is not my business; but if thee wishes a dog for foxes, accordin to the Scripters, this dog must be a good dog for foxes.' 'Wal, will you warrant him a good dog for foxes?' 'I cannot do that, neighbor Solomon, for I never tried him on foxes; but, accordin to the Scripters, thee can be sure the dog is good for foxes.' So old Sol, thinkin that Scripter proof must be good, give the Quaker five dollars for the dog. He took him hum, an the next day he saw a fox runnin across one of his lots. So he called the dog an showed him the fox, but he wouldn't stir an inch after him. This made old Sol terribul mad, an the next day he took the dog back to the Quaker, an ses he, in his rough way: 'Mr. Peabody, this dog is not worth a dam!' 'Tut, tut, neighbor Solomon, thee shouldn't speak profanely with thy lips.' 'That may be,' ses old Sol, 'but didn't you tell me that this dog was good for foxes.' 'No, neighbor Solomon, I think not. I said accordin to Scripters he must be good for foxes.' 'Wal,' ses old Sol, 'how do you make that out?' 'Wal, neighbor, the Scripters say, "that there is nothin made in vain," an as I had tried that dog on everything else except fox-huntin, I thought that that must be what he was made for!' "Now," ses I, "Kernel, I hope it won't turn out that you are like the old Quaker's dog, 'made in vain,' or, as old Sol. Hopkins expressed it, 'not worth a d——!' but," ses I, "ef you don't restore this Union before your term expires, the people will think that you were a good deal worse than the Quaker's dog, for if he warn't good for enything, he didn't do any particular harm."

The Kernel didn't seem to like this story much, for ses he, "Majer, I think you are getin kinder personel." Ses I, "No, Kernel; I don't mean to be, but you know stories sometimes will fit closer than you think for when you begin to tell 'em."

Jest here Seward cum in, an with his church-yard smile, ses he, "Good mornin, Mr. President. I've got good news from England. There won't be any intervenshin now, an the rebellyun will all be over in 60 days. My friend Weed thinks so, too."

"What's up, Boss?" ses Linkin. That's the name he calls Seward by. "Oh," ses he, rubbin his hands, "don't you see by the papers what a large amount of money the merchants in York are subscribin for the poor, patient, starving English workmen. God bless 'em." Here Seward drew a deep sigh, and then ses he, "It will produce such a good effect in England! Intervenshin is dead. The rebellyun is crushed, an all by this grand an noble idee of mine to feed the starvin poor. What filanthropy will do, when it is done right!" An here Seward commenced rubbin his hands an walkin about the room, an actin like a gal that is jest goin to get married. I didn't say enything, an the Kernel didn't say enything either, an it warn't a minut afore Seward dodged out of the door as quick as he cum in. After he hed gone, ses I, "Kernel, how many times has Seward hed the rebellyun suppressed?" "Oh," ses he, "he goes to sleep every night with the sartin belief that the Union will be restored by daylight; that Jeff Davis will be hanging on a sour apple tree by noon, an that he will be elected next President by sundown." "Wal," ses I, "Kernel, I think you've got a queer cabinet." "Yes," ses he, "that I have. Seward thinks that his ritin letters to Europe is goin to overthrow the rebellyun. Chase thinks it can't be done, except by his greenbacks an freein the niggers. Old grandfather Welles is sure that there is nothin will restore the Union except his gunboats; while Blair feels sure that he kin do it by stoppin Dimmecratic papers!" Ses I, "Why don't you change 'em?" "Wal," ses he, "what's the use of swappin jackets? There ain't nothin to be made by it. No, I won't change my Cabynet onless I'm druv to it. It's bad enough now, but Lord only knows what it might be ef I ondertake to change it."

I was in hopes I could induce Linkin to put in some new men, an get out Chase, Seward, Stantin an Blair. But it's no use. So we shall jog along after the old fashion. Where we shall be in the spring no one kin tell. Congriss has gone to work in arnest to fix up the financies, an to take keer that the Dimmecrats don't sue Linkin for suspendin the habus korpus. The filanthropists are also bizzy, an they are goin to give all the niggers here a Christmas dinner, which, I suppose, is expected to last 'em the year round. Eatin like a Turk one day an starvin 364, is, accordin to my idees, a poor way of livin.

Yours, till deth,

Major Jack Downing.



The Major Goes to See the Postmaster-General about Stopping Papers‌—‌Mr. Blair Promises to Release Them‌—‌The President Again in Trouble‌—‌A Change in the Cabinet Demanded‌—‌The Major Suggests a Remedy for "the Crysis."

Washington, Dec. 20, 1862.

To the Editers of The Cawcashin:

Surs:—Wal, ef I ain't been bizzy sence I writ you last, I wouldn't say so. I got your letter about seein Blair on the questshin of sendin The Cawcashin in the mails, an I hadn't eny doubt but he would do it as soon as I put the subjec to him in the rite light. Blair's father, "Parson Blair," as he used to be called in the old Ginneral's time, an I used to be very thick. He helped me sifer a good deal wen I was postin the Ginneral up about Biddle's Bank matters. But I hadn't seen the old man for a long time ontel I called on him tother day. He was dredful glad to see me, an shuck my hand as ef he thought there warn't no feelin in it. Ses he, "Majer, it's a long time sence we've met, an I know you are a loyal man, for there ain't no follerer of Ginneral Jackson that could be enything else." Ses I, "Ef there's a loyal man in this country, I'm one. I go for puttin down every feller that's opposed to the Constitushin, I don't keer who he is. I only wish we had an Old Hickery to step in now an jest deal out jestiss all around, without any parshality. I guess there's a good menny fellers that don't expect it, who might get histed." "Wal," ses he, "Majer, I'm of your idee exactly. The truth is, I'm thinkin that this administrashin is played out. The Ultrys will ruin it." "Wal," ses I, "Mister Blair, I've cum to see you about another matter. Your son Montgummery, who used to be a little shaver in the old Ginneral's time, has got the place of Amos Kindle, an he has been stoppin Dimmycratic papers in the mails." "Oh no," ses he, "I guess not; only sum disloyal sheets." "No," ses I, "I'll give you a hunderd dollars for every word of disloyalty agin the Constitushin you'll find in that paper." Here I took a Cawcashin out of my pocket, an handed it to him. He looked it over an couldn't find nothin to object to. Then I showed him the motto at its head, taken from his own words about the freedom of the press, an then I telled him I wanted him to go with me to Montgummery, an see ef the thing couldn't be fixed. So we went over, an you never see a man stare so as Montgummery did. Ses he, "Majer Downing, I'm tickled to see you. I think you have slighted me sence you've been in Washington. You've been to see nigh about all the members of the Cabynet except me." "Wal," ses I, "I don't go around much, except on bizness for the Kernel; but now," ses I, "I've cum on another arrand; I've cum to see why you don't allow all the Dimmycratic newspapers to go in the mails?" "Wal," ses he, "Majer, that's jest wat I'm goin to do. It was bad bizness for us that we ever stopped these papers. It made more votes for the Dimmycratic party than eny other cause. The truth is, it never was my policy. I never did beleeve in it, and now they all see it must be given up." Ses I, "Mister Blair, ef you didn't beleeve in it, you orter have refused to do it. That ain't the way the old Ginneral acted, an he's my model. Ef he thought enything was rong, there warn't a mortal man, high or low, that could have got him to do it. He would have died afore he would do wat his conscence told him warn't right, an it's them kind of men that are great men, an will save our country, ef it ever is saved." "Wal," ses he, "Majer, you're about right, an I don't think I shall stay in this bote much longer. Things are goin from bad to wus." "Yes," ses I, "they are like old Sol Hopkins's dyin cow, 'gettin no better very fast.'" "But," ses he, "Majer, you can rest easy on the papers. We are goin back to the Free Press Principul, an let the people have their own way." "Wal," ses I, "I'm glad to hear it. It's about time there was a change."

So I bid him good-by, an went back to see the Kernel, who I found in a peck of trubbil. Ses I, "What's the matter now!" for I saw at a glance that sumthin was up. Ses I, "Is Burnside whipped agin, or is Stonewall Jackson in our rear?" "No," ses he, "Majer, nothin of that sort, but sumthin jest about as bad." "Wal," ses I, "what is it?" "Wal," ses he, "there has jest been a committy here from the Senit who demand that I shall change my Cabbynet. They say we don't have eny success, an the peopul demand a change." Ses I, "Did you kick em down stairs?" "No," ses he, "I didn't." "Wal," ses I, "you orter. They mite jest as well ask you to resign." Ses I, "Don't your Cabbynet agree in your policy? Don't they do as you desire?" "Yes," ses he, "they do." "Wal," ses I, "then what's the use of changin? If you intend to change your policy, then it is reasonable to ask you to change your Cabbynet, but otherways not." "Wal," ses he, "Majer, that's my idee exactly, but I didn't tell em so; I thought I would wait an see what you thought of it." "Wal," ses I, "I see the hull cause of the rumpus. The defeat of Burnside has made em so wrathy that they didn't know what to do, an they thought they must find fault about sumthin." Ses I, "Fighten the rebils is jest for all the world like bar huntin. A good menny years ago, when it was common up in Maine, nigh about all the nabors would now an then turn out to hunt a bar. If they caught him they used to have a grand time, get up a big supper an drink whisky till they all got how cum you so. But if they didn't ketch the bar, then one was blamin tother, an tother anuther, an sumtimes the affair would end by gettin into a regular fite all around. Jest so it is now. If Burnside had whipped the rebils, it would all have been right." Ses Linkin, ses he, "Major, you're right. But what am I do? They komplain about the Cabbynet, an want me to change it." "Wal," ses I, "Kernel, I tell you how to fix it. Get the Committy and Cabbynet face to face, an let 'em quarrel it out." "That would be a capital idee, Majer, but how am I to do it?" "Wal," ses I, "you jest call the Cabbynet together for twelve o'clock to-morrow, an then send for the Committy, an put 'em in the same room together, an see how the happy family will manage." The Kernel was struck with the idee, an so the next day the Cabbynet were assembled, an pooty soon after the Committy, with Fessenden as Cheerman, made their appearance. You never see a more flustircated set of people in this world than these men were. But there was no backin out. The Kernel called the meetin to order, an sed he had received a good many komplaints, an he wanted the matter fully discussed. Fessenden got up an sed that the peeple were gettin tired of the war, an that the only way to satisfy 'em was to change the Cabbynet. Burnside had been defeated, Banks had been sent a great ways off, when he was wanted at home, the sojers warn't paid, the gunboats warn't finished, &c., &c. Chase got up first; he sed if the sojers warn't paid it warn't his fault. The fact was, that paper had riz onexpectedly, an his stock was low. Jest as soon as paper got more plenty, an he got the new patent National Ten Cylendar Revolvin Machine at work, the sojers would be all paid regular. Then Stantin got up, puffin like a porpuss. Ses he, "Mr. President, these ere remarks are impertinent, an if I had my way, I would send every one of this Committy to the Old Capitol. I'de like to know what these men know about war, and strategy. Why, they talk about the defeat of Burnside. It is nonsense, sir; he ain't been defeated! The people are humbugged by the newspapers. It's a pity there's a newspaper in the land. They interfere with my strategy. Burnside has gained a great success. He has discovered the strength of the enemy's works at that pint, an now we know that some other route is the one to take, an not that one. Ef it had not been for this battle, we shouldn't have found that out. This Committy of old gentlemen, or old women, I had almost said, don't understand the art of war. Their talk is sheer impertinence. I'de squelch em with a proclamashin, if no other way."

Then grandfather Welles got up, an sed he didn't like to have fault found because his gun-boats warn't reddy. He sed he would like to see eny one who had worked harder than he had. He sed he hadn't slept but fourteen hours a day for six months, while his naturel rest required eighteen. He hed sacrificed all that for the good of his country, and he didn't believe one of the Committy hed done as much. Blair got up and said he didn't keer how quick they turned him out. He was reddy to go eny time, as he thought the thing was about played out. Bates sed he thought things looked more cheerful than ever before, as he hed jest discovered that niggers could be citizens, and that the Dred Scott decision was a humbug. When they all got thru, there was a ginnerel talk all around, and they finally cum to the conclushin that there warn't eny reason for a change after all, an they all went off in a pretty good humor.

So the great Cabbynet crysis ended, and the Kernel feels like a new man. My idee of gettin them all together face to face, the Kernel ses, saved the nashun. That nite we set up till after midnight, and finally, after takin a good swig of Old Rye, went to bed. The next morning the Kernel was as merry as a lark, and could tell stories as well as ever.

Yours till deth,

Majer Jack Downing.



The Emancipation Proclamation‌—‌The Way to Get Richmond‌—‌Splitting the Union‌—‌The Major Tells a Story about Splitting‌—‌The President Gets Indignant‌—‌Seizes the Boot-Jack‌—‌The Major Pacifies Him‌—‌A Dream‌—‌The Major Returns to Downingville.

Downingville, State of Maine,
February 4th, 1863.

To the Editers of The Cawcashin:

Surs:—I expect you have bin kinder puzzled to know why you ain't heered from me in so long a time. I expect you'll wonder, too, why my letter is dated Downingville instead of Washington. Wal, I'll have to narrate the hull story:—You know the last letter I rit you was jest afore the first of Jinewary, when the Kernel had promised to issoo his Free Nigger Proclamashin. I was allers teetotally down on it, an I thought I should persuade him out of it, an tharby save the great disgrace an stane it would be on our country. But the truth is, the Kernel an I had a row about it, an I left. The story I'll tell jest as it tuk place: The mornin after New Year's I cum down stairs, an the Kernel was settin in his cheer with his feet on the tabil. "Wal," ses he, "I've done it." "Done what?" ses I. "Why," ses he, "I've signed the Proclamashin." "Wal," ses I, "you had better have signed your own deth warrant, for that is the deth warrant of the Union." Ses he, "Majer, I'm sorry you're so hard on that." "Wal," ses I, "Kernel, I ain't too hard on it, as you'll find out to your sorror." "Now, Majer, let me ask you one thing. We must take Richmond, an ain't we tried every way but this? Ain't we gone by the Shanandore Vally, by Jeemes River, by Manasses, an yet we can't get to Richmond? We must weaken the rebils afore we can do it, an this is the way to effect it."

Ses I, "Kernel, don't you know there is one way to get to Richmond that you ain't tried yet?" "No," ses he, "I didn't know it." "Wal," ses I, "there is." "Wal," ses he, "what on arth is it?" "Wal," ses I, "it is the Constitushinal way!" Ses I, "You've bin tryin to git there agin the Constitushin, an you can't do it that way. Ef you hadn't called out 75,000 men to whip South Caroliny, old Virginny would never have left you, an you could have got to Richmond jest as easy as old grandfather Welles kin go to sleep."

"Wal," ses he, "Majer, mebby that's so, but you can't dip up spilt milk. Ef the thing is wrong, it's gone so far now that we may as well drive it thru an see ef we can't clinch it on tother side." "But," ses I, "there ain't eny tother side to this questshin, eny more than there is a white side to a nigger or black side to a white man, an you may drive on and on, an you won't get thru." "Wal," ses the Kernel, "what will come of it then, Majer?" "Wal," ses I, "you will split the Union, but that is all you kin do." "Wal," ses he, "Majer, that would be jest like my tarnel luck. I never got hold of but one thing in my life that I didn't split." Ses I, "What was that?" Ses he, "A taller candle, an I defy all creashin to split that." Ses I, "Kernel, I guess you must be some relashin to the feller out West who split up all the churches." Ses he, "How was that?" "Wal," ses I, "ef I tell you the story, you must not get mad, for I'm afeered it will set putty clus." Ses he, "Majer, I can stand a joak better than eny other feller you ever see." "Wal," ses I, "here goes: There was a feller out West who got converted, or thought he did, an jined the Episcopal church. He hadn't bin in it long afore he got the members by the ears, an split it all up an broke it down. After he had done all the hurt he could, he went an jined the Presbyterian church, an he hadn't bin there long afore he split that all up. Then he went an united with the Baptist church. It warn't long afore they were all split up an broke to pieces. Being turned out from there, he went an jined the Methodist church. He soon got that church into hot water. One day, when the ministers were consultin as to what to do with him, ses one of them, ses he, 'I've bin prayin most fervently that that man may go to hell!' 'Tut, tut, brother,' says the Elder, 'how can you do so? You should pray for him that he may be better, and be fitted to go to Heaven.' 'No,' ses he, 'I don't think so. I've prayed earnestly that he might go to hell, an I'll tell you why. He has split up an broken up every church an neighborhood he was ever in, an ef he should go to Satan's dominions, I think he might split an break up that place, an you know what a blessing that would be.'"

I hadn't more than got the last word out of my mouth, wen the Kernel jumped up from his cheer, and ketchin hold of his boot-jack, he flourished it rite over his head in a savage style. I thought he was stark mad. I got my hickery an backed up agin the door. I seed he was tarin mad, but I didn't say a word. I knew he'd work off the bile in his own way. Finally ses he, "Majer, wat are you standin there for?" "Why," ses I, "I was waitin to see what you was goin to do with that boot-jack." Ses he, "Have I got the boot-jack?" "Wal," ses I, "you've got sumthin in your hand that looks a mity site like one." "Wal," ses he, "Majer, I want to know whether you mean to apply that story to me?" "No," ses I, "Kernel. Didn't I tell you at the outset that I didn't; but you was tellin about what you had done in the way of splittin things, an I was reminded of that story. But I told you to keep your temper, an not take it as personal, but only as a joak?" "Wal," ses he, "Majer, I'll forgive you; but ef I thought you meant that story for me, I'd arrest you for disloyal practices, an put you in the Old Capital Prison."

Rye with him an make up friends. So I did; but I noticed, after that, that the Kernel watched me very clus. The very next day I had an awful attack of rumatiz, an I also felt sick an discurraged. Thigs never looked so black afore. I had a dream that nite, an I thought I saw the old Ginneral, an he told me, ses he, "This ain't any place for you now. The abolitionists have got full sway, an they will ruin the country as sure as my name is Andrew Jackson." I also dreamed that I saw thousands of dyin men, an weepin wimmin, an cryin children. I thought the doors of the houses all over the North looked red with blood, an a black cloud hung over the hull land. People seemed to be runnin first one way an then tother, askin what they should do. Finally, I heered a grate noise, like an arthquake, that woke me up, an I laid awake the rest of the nite.

The next mornin I was eenamost down sick with trubbel an rumatiz, an I telled the Kernel I must go hum, where I could get good keer taken of me. The Kernel didn't say much agin it, for, after all, he didn't kinder like that story. So ses I, "Mr. President, I've been with you now for about a year, an I've got a clean conscience, for I've tried to tell you the rale truth jest as it is. Ef all who have cum around you had done the same, you would not be where you are; but," ses I, "I ain't got any feelin on the subject, an whenever I can be of any sarvice to my country, jest let me know, an I will come to Washinton agin."

The Kernel ses he, "Majer, I know you are a patriot, and I feel bad to have you go. I wish now I had taken your advice. But," ses he, "Majer," an here he giv my hand a tight squeeze, "you know I've only been a boat in a current, an yet like the boat I'll be jest the one that will get the worst smashed to pieces when the precipice is reached." I couldn't help feelin' kinder sorry for the Kernel as I bid him good-bye, but I felt still more sorry for my country that it had ever made him President.

I got hum all safe, an sense then I've been laid up four weeks with the rumatiz. I never had such a long pull afore. As for writin with it on me, why I can't any more do it than a shad can climb a bean-pole. I expect you've been wonderin why you didn't hear from me, but I think this letter will explain the resin. If the rumatiz don't come on agin, an I think I kin say anything that would of sarvice in this awful and solemn crysis of our country's fate, I will drop you a line. I feel as if the nashin was dyin, however, an that we all orter put on mournin an sack-cloth, but come what will, I'm for my country

Till deth,

Majer Jack Downing.



The Major Feels Sorrowful over the Fate of His Country‌—‌The Story of the Black Heifer‌—‌The Man who Made a "Siss"‌—‌The Union‌—‌"Insine" Stebbins Again‌—‌His Reception at Downingville‌—‌"The Insensibles"‌—‌A Provoking Accident.

Downingville, March 28, 1863.

To the Eddyters of the Cawcashun:

Surs:—You may wonder why you ain't heered from me afore; but the rale truth is, that I didn't feel like ritin in these times. I went to Washinton about a year ago, out of pure patriotism. I didn't want a contrack, nor a commission, nor enything. I went to give the Kernel good advice, jest as I did Ginneral Jackson; but it warn't no go. Somnure an Greeley, an Wendil Fillips, an sech stay-at-hum fiten ginnerals got the advantage of me, an Linkin does jest wat they want him to. To an old man like me, these are tryin times. I had almost said cryin times; I can't bear to think of 'em. I dream o'nights of my country, wen it was all peace an happiness—wen ther warn't any sojers nor standin army to pay, nor no debt, nor no hospitals full of sick sojers, nor no sorrow or misery in the land; an wen I wake up an think how different it is now, I wish I could sleep all the time. The other day old Deacon Jenkens came over to see me. The Deacon, you know, was with me in Washinton a short time, wen I first went there, and his darter Jerusha Matilda went down to Port Royal to teach the contrybands their primmers. Wal, the Deacon ain't much wiser now than he was a year ago. He still thinks that by prayin an fightin the rebels will yet be whipped. He used to like the Tribune, but lately he ses he prefers the Herald, as it is more truthful. The old man, however, has been very blue for some time past, and now ses that prayin an fightin hain't accomplished much. "Wal," ses I, "Deacon, there hadn't orter been eny war at all; but," ses I, "while the South have had a single end an purpose, we've been all at odds and ends. The war has been carried on by us jest like old Sol Pendergrast's boy ploughed. Old Sol took his oldest boy, Adam, a thick-heded feller, out one Spring, an set him to ploughin. He told him to go to work an strike a furrow across a field to a black heifer, an then keep on. After givin this direcshin, old Sol went off to the house an left Adam alone. The boy started his oxen in a bee line for the black heifer, but wen he got pretty clus to her, she threw up her tail an ran off in another direcshin. Adam thought he must foller the heifer, no matter where she went; so he struck another bee line for her, and with jest the same result. Wen he got clus to her, the heifer give another frisk to her tail, an off she went. Adam geed his oxen around, and struck for her agin; an so he kept on all day. At nite the old man cum out to see how Adam had got along. He found the field all cut up with furrows, zig-zag, criss-cross, an in every direcshin, an asked Adam wat on arth it ment. 'Wal,' ses the thick-headed numskull, 'you told me to steer for the black heifer, an I've done it all day, but the denied critter wouldn't stand still, an so the furrows are a kinder criss-cross, you see.' Now," ses I, "that is jest wat Linkin has been doin. Greeley told him to steer for the nigger, an the result is jest like Adam Pendergrast's ploughing. There's a considerable fightin ben done, but it is all criss-cross, zig-zag, an don't amount to nothin, an so it will be to the end of the chapter." Wen I sed this, the Deacon knocked the ashes out of his pipe, an ses he, "Wal, Majer, wat do you think the war will amount to, enyhow?" "Wall," ses I, "I guess it will end a good deal like the feller who thought he could make a horse-shoe jest as well as a blacksmith." Ses the Deacon, ses he, "How was that, Majer?" "Wal," ses I, "one day a feller in a blacksmith's shop made a bet that he could make a horse-shoe jest as well as the blacksmith himself, though he hadn't never heated an iron nor struck a blow on an anvil. The feller sed it didn't require any great gumption to make a horse-shoe. So he took a piece of iron an at it he went. He put it in the fire, heated it an commenced poundin it, but the more he pounded, the more it didn't look like a horse-shoe. He finally gave up the job, an said if he couldn't make a horse-shoe he could make a wagon-bolt. So at it he went, but the more he pounded an the more he heated his iron, the less it grew, an finally he found that he couldn't make even a wagon-bolt. Then he declared that he had iron enough left for a horse-shoe nail, and that he would make, but upon trying, he found that the most difficult job of all. Finally, giving up in despair, ses he, 'Wal, one thing I can do enyhow, I can make a siss!' an plunging the tongs an what was left of the iron in the water, he did get up a very respectable 'siss.' Now," ses I, "when he started out, Linkin sed he was goin to restore the old Union. That has been given up long ago, and now they say they are goin to conquer the Southern States, that is, make a despotism, but the war will turn out jest like the horse-shoe business. Linkin will, after all, neether make a Union, or a despotism, or an Empire by it, but it will end with a great big 'siss.' That's all he will accomplish by it, an a dear 'siss' it will be for many a poor fellow. A dear 'siss' it will be for the fatherless and the widows, and a wonderful dear 'siss' it will be for the people who will have to pay the taxes and foot the bill of war." Wen I said this, the Deacon drew a long breth, an lookin down on the floor, didn't say enything for some minutes. Finally, ses he, "Wal, Majer, will we have to give up the Union after all?" Ses I, "I don't see eny necessity for that, providin that we kin only stop the war an talk over matters a little. But," ses I, "ef the Union is goin to be a Union wherein a white man hasn't the right to express his opinions, then I must say I don't love such a Union as that, an I'm as strong a Union man as old Ginneral Jackson, an that was strong enough. I am for the old Union, but ef the Union is to mean despotism, then I'm for breakin it all to smash, as soon as possible. Wen a man begins to humbug me by callin things by their wrong names to try an deceive me, it allus riles me onaccountably. I ain't a very larned man, but I kin generally see through one of these college chaps. Wen he talks Union to me, an all the time means despotism, I allus feel jest like haulin up my old hickory, an givin him a sockdologer. Why," ses I, "Deacon, the feller who wants to turn this government into a despotism, an keeps all the time hollerin 'Union,' while he is doin it, is not only a traitor, but a hypocrite an coward. He is afeerd to speak his rale sentiments, an so goes around tryin to deceive the people, jest as the false prophets in the Saviour's time. I'm teetotally down on such fellers, an I mean to be to the end of the chapter."

I almost forgot to tell you that Insine Stebbins, who went off to the war, has jest got hum. He had a recepshun by the military of Downingville wen he arriv. Col. Doolittle called out the Downingville Insensibles an the Maroon artillery, an all Downingville was in a blaze of glory. The Insine has been promoted to be Captin sense he went off, for ritin a pome for the contrybands at Port Royal, where the Insine was stashioned. The Insine is not a bad poet. But you orter seen the turnout in Downingville to receive him. Colonel Doolittle rode down the street on old Elder Dusenberry's sorrel mare, an jest as the cannon was blazin forth the joyous news of the Captin's arrival on the ground, old sorrel's colt, that the elder thought he had locked up safe in the stable, come tarein through the street, an fairly mowed a swath rite through the women. Such a yellin an screachin ver never heered afore. A good many people thought the rebils were comin. Elder Dusenberry's wife tore her best silk dress, an the Insine who had primed himself for a big speech on the occashin, had it all scart out of him. If it hadn't been for that rascally young colt, I think that the celebrashin would have been the greatest day Downingville had seen sence the time General Jackson visited it. The Insine brings the news from Washington that the Kernel thinks some of payin a visit to the North, an maybe to the East, afore long. Ef he does, he says he wants me to go along with him to help him make speeches and keep off the offis-seekers. Ef he sends for me, I spose I shall have to go, though I hate to do it.

Yourn till deth,

Majer Jack Downing.



The Democratic Party Whipped‌—‌Things as bad as they can be‌—‌A Story in Point‌—‌Mr. Lincoln sends for the Major again‌—‌The Major writes him a Letter‌—‌The Return of "Kernel" Stebbins, formerly "Insine"‌—‌His Reception at Downingville‌—‌"Kernel" Doolittle's Speech‌—‌"Kernel" Stebbins' Reply‌—‌Elder Sniffles' Preaches a Sermon.

Downingville, Oct. 26, 1863.

To the Editers of The Dabook:

Surs:—'Cause your readers hain't herd from me lately, I 'spose they think I'm ded, or gone over to the Abolishinists, which is a tarnal sight wus: but I ain't in neither fix. I'm pretty well jest now. The hot wether, durin the summer, kinder tried me, but I carry eighty years jest about as well as any man ever did. The resin you ain't herd from me is jest this: I've been feelin oncommon gloomy and down-sperited all summer. Everything seemed to be goin from bad to wus. Linkin wouldn't take my advice an cum out agin the Abolitionists, but issued his free nigger proclamashun rite agin the law an the Constitushin both. Wal, things have gone down hill rapid sence then. The Demmycratic party didn't cum out bluntly agin this proclamashin, but kept on supportin the war, an the consequence is, it has whipped all round. Politics are gettin down to first principles.

Things are jest as bad as they kin be, and that is what encourages me. I shall never forget Hezekiah Stebbins, who lived away up in the upper part of Penobscot. One winter it had been awful cold weather, and 'Kiah had wonderful bad luck, and towards spring it seemed to get worse instead of better. He had lost his horse, and his cow, and his chickens, and all his pigs but one. Finally, that died, and the next day I happened to go up to his house to see how he was gettin along. I found the old man happy as a lark. He was singin and shoutin as if nothing had happen'd. When I went in, ses I, "'Kiah, what on airth is the matter?" "Oh," ses he, "the last pig is ded," and he went to jumpin and clappin his hands, as if he was the happiest man in the universe. Ses I, "What possesses you to act so?" "Wal," ses he, "things can't be no wus. The last pig is ded! anything that happens now must be for the better." And just so it is with the Dimmycratic party. Anything now that happens to it must be for the better. And I must confess that I feel a good deal like 'Kiah. I don't feel a bit like settin down and cryin like a sick baby over spilt milk, because we've been whipt in the late elecshins. That ain't the way the old Ginral Hickory Jackson taught me Dimmocracy.

The other day I got a letter from Linkin, askin me to cum on to Washinton. He ses he is gettin into a heep of trouble about his next messidge, all on account of the diffikilty which Blair an Chase air kickin up about what is to be dun with the suthrin States after the rebelyon is put down. He ses he wants me to help git up the messidge, and kinder fix things up ginrally. I writ back that cold wether was cumin on, and my rumatiz would probably trouble me, so I could not tell exactly what I would do, but if I could be of any service to my country, as long as life lasted, I would do my duty. I wrote him, also, about that matter of the southern States, an I told him that it reminded me of the old receipt for cooking a rabbit. "First catch your rabbit." I told him they had not got the southern States yet, that they sartainly wouldn't get them this year, an I didn't see any great likelihood of gettin them next year. In fact, the times of the soldiers were mostly out, an I didn't believe they would ever get another sich an army, an if he followed my advice he would get up a Peace this winter without fail. I ain't got any answer to this letter, but I shall wait for one before I go. If the Kernel talks huffy, I won't stir a step, for he knows I allers tell him the plain, blunt truth, as I believe it. Wen I can't talk that way to a man, I won't have nothing to do with him. The old Ginneral allers wanted everybody around him to speak there rale sentiments. Nothing made him so mad as to suspect any body of flatterin him, or shaming in any way.

The other day Kernel Stebbins cum hum from the war. The Kernel has been down to Morris Island with Ginneral Gilmur. He ses that the sand on that island is kinder onaccountable. The Kernel reckons that he has eat nigh about a bushel. The Kernel used to be very good on writin poetry, but he says all the flatus has oozed out of him, an he don't believe he could write a line to save his life. We had a grand recepshin for the Kernel on his arrival. The Downingville Insensibles turned out as usual on sich occashins. You recollect that the Kernel went off as an Insine, an when he was promoted to be Captain he cum hum an we giv him a recepshin. Now he is raised to Kernel he cums hum agin. He cums every time he gets promoted, to let his old naybors see how he looks in his new uniform. I never see the Kernel look so well. He has got a span new suit of blue uniform, all covered with gold buttons, an gold lace an gold shoulder-straps. I tell you, the people looked astonished, and the Downingville folks feel very proud of him. The Kernel expects before long to be a Ginneral, and then to be called to the command of the Army of the Potomac! Wen the Kernel was received at the Town Hall, Kernel Doolittle, who commands the Downingville Insensibles, made the recepshin speech. The following is the speech, with the Kernel's reply:

"Kernel Stebbins: I am deputed by the citizens of Downingville to welcome you once more to your native town and hum. We have heard of your gallant exploits, your glorious bravery, your never-dyin devoshin to the Star-Spangled Banner. Comin as you do, covered with the dust and blood of the battle-field, we hail you as the friend of the oppressed African and the savior of your country."

To which the Kernel replied:

"Kernel Doolittle: I can't begin to express to you the feelins of my hart. This occashin is techin. Sojers can't make speeches. I've dun my duty. I've seen the cannons roar. I've heard the flash of a thousand rifles all at once. There ain't nothin that can equal it for rite down tall sublimity. But, feller-citizens, we ought to be most rejoiced now because freedom is going it at such big licks. I'me a manifest destiny man. I believe freedom is to extend from the frozen planes of Alabama to the sunny banks of Newfoundland. There ain't nothin kin stop it. It is comin like an avalanche from the eternal hills of Giberalter. Freedom! freedom! will resound from creashin come to pullin turnip time, an all the hopples that bind the legs of American citizens of Afriken 'scent will fall off. Them's my sentiments, and I don't keer who knows 'em. The old Union ain't of any more ackount in these 'ere times than an iron pot with a hole in the bottom. Wat we want is a new Union which will have for its motto the celebrated words of Daniel Webster, 'Freedom and niggers—now and forever—one and inspirable.'"

"Amen," yelled out Deacon Jenkins, who had been listenin' attentively, as the Kernel sat down, and the hull audience broke out into the most tumultuous applause. There is a little mistake in Kernel Doolittle's speech, where he speaks of Kernel Stebbins being covered with the dust an blood of the battle-field. Now, the truth was, the Kernel, with his new uniform, looked as if he had jest cum out of a band-box, but Kernel Doolittle had his speech writ out, an he couldn't alter it. Kernel Stebbins got on such high hosses, that he talked about seeing the boomin' of cannon an hearin' the flash of guns, but the truth was, he didn't know exactly what he said an the people were so carried away with havin' a live Kernel among them, that they didn't notice it. There ain't been nothin' talked of in Downingville sence the Kernel's return, except his recepshin. Elder Sniffles preached a sarmon on it, takin' for his text "There shall be wars an rumors of wars," an provin from the Bible that war is the duty of all real, genuine Christians. So, you see, there ain't a more loyal place in the country, unless it be Washinton, where all the office-holders an contractors live. But I must close. I did't expect to write you but a few lines this time. If I go to Washington, I will let you into the secrete of the Blair and Chase rumpus, an keep you posted up ginerally on things behind the curtin."

Yours, till deth,

Majer Jack Downing.



The Major Starts for Washington‌—‌Takes his Axe with him‌—‌Mr. Lincoln glad to see him‌—‌The Cabinet in Session‌—‌The opinion of Seward, Chase, Stanton and others‌—‌The Major called on for an opinion‌—‌The Story of Old Sam Odum‌—‌Mr. Stanton gets Excited.

Washington, Nov. 6, 1863.

To the Editers of The Dabook:

The very next day after I writ you my last letter, I got one from Linkin, tellin me I must cum on without fail. He said he was in a peck of trubbil about his messige—that Chase an Seward were pullin rite in contrary direcshins, an what to do he didn't know. So I jest packed up my things, took my pipe in my mouth an my old hickery in my hand, and started. I strapped my axe on the outside of my trunk, for this is the only weepin, besides my hickory cane, that I ever carry. Goin down to the cars I met Deacon Jenkins, who went on to Washinton, you recollect, to make the Kernel's sojer clothes, an ses he, "Majer, what are you takin your axe with you to Washinton for?" "Wal," ses I, "Deacon, I expect I shall get awful, tarin mad with them Abolitionists this winter in Washinton, an ther ain't eny way that I kin work off a fit of that kind except by goin out to the wood-house an choppin wood. So I determined to take along my axe. It is one the old Ginneral used when he got mad, an I have always preserved it to remember him, ef nothin else."

I got to Washinton all safe, an went direct to the White House. The feller who tends the door didn't know me at first; but when he saw my hickery he began to open his eyes, I tell you. Ses he, "You are Majer Downing, I believe," bowin like and scrapen his feet, as ef he thought I keered for that. Ses I, "Yes, I'm Majer Jack Downing, an you jest tell the President, about as quick as time will let you, that I'm here." So he run up-stairs, an I went after him, stoppin in the room where the offis-seekers have to wait, to take a good look down the Potomack to see ef things looked nateral. I hadn't stood there more than a minit when who should cum up behind me but Linkin himself. He caught rite hold of my hand, an ses he, "Majer, how are you? I'm tickled to deth to see you;" an he kept shaken my hand as ef he thought it was made of lether. Ses I, "Kernel, do you want me to help write your messige?" Ses he, "Of course I do, Majer." "Wal, then," ses I, "please don't shake that hand eny more, for you've pretty nigh mashed it now." "Wal," ses he, "Majer, I couldn't help it, for it seems as ef Providence sent you jest in the nick of time." Ses I, "How is that?" "Wal," ses he, "the Cabynet is in session, an I've just finished tellin them one of Artemus Ward's best stories, an got 'em all into a good humor. The messige is the very thing they met to discuss, an you're cum rite in the nick of time," hittin me, as he spoke, a slap on the back that made the cold chills run over me.

Nothin would do but I must go in and hear the discusshin. So I walked in as large as life. I knew 'em all, an they all knew me. They pretended to be rale glad to see me, perticularly Stantin; but he needn't try to deceeve me, for under them spectacles of his I see a pair of hyena eyes. I tell you that that man will bear watchin. However, I sed nothin; but after the how-do-doos were over, I laid my old hickery on the table, took out my pipe, an went to smokin. The Kernel then called the meetin to order, an sed he wanted a short ackount of each department, so he could fix up his messige, an he also wanted the opinion of each one as to what he thought ought to be done with the southern States after the rebellyon is crushed. Fust, he called upon Seward.

Wal, Seward said that furrin affairs were all rite; that he had offered to carry out the policy of England all over the country, an set up a monarchy, ef necessary, to put down the Dimmycrats, an that upon his faithfully promising to do this, the British Government at once seized the rebil rams. That as for the southern States, he thought the best thing that could be done with them, for the good of the country an the grate cause of humanity, was to turn 'em all into one big plantation an make Thurlow Weed Chief Manager.

Then Chase spoke. He sed the finances were in a flourishing condishin. He now had five hundred printin presses to work makin money; that the debt warn't only $5,000,000,000,000; that every body was gettin rich, an that the way to treat the southern States an save the country was just this: Issue a Proclamashin that only jest enough cotton should be raised for him to print greenbacks on, an then he could control the currency in spite of all the copperhead gold speculaters in creashin.

Stantin sed that his department was all right. That he had got rid of all the copperhed ginrals, and had left the track clear for the next President to be a genuine Abelishinist. That all that was necessary now was to keep the war up till after the next Presidential elecshin, and he thought he could do it. As for the southern States, he was for givin the niggers the plantations and makin the whites their slaves.

Then old grandfather Welles got up, strokin his long white beard. He sed that nothin could save the nashin but gunboats; that he was buildin one a day now, except on the Sabbath, which he piously devoted to prayin an fastin, and to dividin the contracks among his relashins. He thought the South ought to be surrounded with a wall of gunboats from Texas to Maryland.

The next one that spoke was Blair. He said he hadn't stopped a single paper durin' the hull year, an he was only sorry that he ever did; that he had only given the papers he stopped more circulashin than they ever had before; that no one would ever catch him into another such a scrape. As for the southern States, he was down on all the Radikels. He sed they might be allowed to cum back jest as they wanted to.

When it cum Daddy Bates' turn, he was fast asleep. When Linkin told him what he wanted, he sed it warn't for him to say what should be done with the Southern States. After it was decided what to do with 'em, he supposed they would want a legal opinion on the subject, an he could give one on either side, he did'nt care which.

After they had all got thru, Linkin turned to me, an ses he, "Majer, what do you think about this matter?" I knocked the ashes out of my pipe, and ses I, "Wal, I don't like to give an opinion on the jump, for I hain't had time yet to see exactly how the land lays here; but," ses I, "as near as I understand it, all these men here are tryin to catch the South first, and then what to do with her afterwards is another question. Now, the South seems to be a good deal like old Sam Odum, up in Maine, when he thought the devil was after him. One night he got to dreaming, and jumped out of bed in his shirt, and ran like all possessed down the street. About a half a dozen neighbors chased him until he run up a tree, out of which they couldn't get him anyhow. He kept a screaming "the devils are after me," and would fite like a tiger if any one tried to get at him. Finally, old Deacon Peabody cum along, and ses he, "Sam thinks you fellers are the devils that are goin to ruin him; you jist go away and let him alone, and Sam will be hum and in bed afore morning." They tuk his advice, and sure enough, so it was."

When I sed this, Stantin, who is quick as a flash, jumped up, an ses he, "Majer, do you mean to say that we are devils tryin to catch the South?" an he walked rite close up to my face, jest as if he thought he could bully me down. Ses I, "Mr. Secketery, if you will stand back about six inches, you kin see an hear jest as well." He stepped back a little, an I picked up my old hickery, an ses I, "Stantin, do you recollect the time down to Fort Munroe when you tried to get on the President's trowsers?" I never see a feller wilt so as when I sed this. He turned all sorts of colors, an wriggled as if he had a pin stickin in him. "Now," ses I, "I didn't say that you were devils, or anything of the sort, but it seems putty certain that Mr. Stantin feels the shoe pinchin. At all events," ses I, "you ain't caught the South yet, an consultin what you will do with her before that is like countin chickens before they are hatched."

The Kernel then sed that the session was closed, an after they all axed me to cum an see 'em, except Stantin, they went away. I think my story about Sam Odum sot putty strong on 'em, an ef they feel like takin it to hum let 'em do so, for my rale rite down solemn opinion is, ef these ere Abolishin Cabynet were to stop trying to catch the South, she would be hum an in the Union bed afore mornin.

Yourn, till deth,

Majer Jack Downing.



The Major and the "Kernel" at work on the Message‌—‌The Major visits Mr. Chase again‌—‌Sees the Machines for Printing Greenbacks‌—‌A Machine for every General‌—‌The accounts mixed up‌—‌Mr. Lincoln gets Flighty over them‌—‌The Major Puts him to bed, and applies a mustard-plaster‌—‌He Revives, and proposes a Conundrum‌—‌The Major also proposes one.

Washington, Nov. 19th, 1863.

To the Editers of The Dabook:

Surs:—If I ain't been bizzy sence I writ you last, then never a man was. Besides, I've had a considerabul twinge of my old inemy, the rheumatiz. This ere Washington atmosfere is terribul on the constitushin. The Kernel, too, was nigh about down sick one day; but we both tuk a good, old-fashioned wiskey-sling, of the very best Old Rye, and went to bed on it. The next mornin we both felt fust rate. The Kernel keeps as good wiskey as I ever got enywhere. We have been very hard at work on the messige, and such a time as we have had of it you never did see. Stantin don't know how meny sojers he has got in the field, nor how meny have been killed or wounded. Grandfather Welles can't tell how meny gunbotes he's got, an as for Chase, he don't purtend to even guess for a certainty how many greenbacks there are aflote, or how big the public debt is. The Kernel sed he couldn't even lay the foundashin timbers of his messige until he had some figgers about the debt to begin on. So I told him I would go over an see Chase an have a talk with him. I tuk my slate under my arm an started. Soon as I went in Chase tuk me by the hand an sed he was rale down rite glad to see me. I telled him what I wanted, an he sed he would soon have it reddy for me, but jest then he asked me to go up-stairs an see the macheenery an printin presses, and so on, that he had got to make money. He sed the worst of it was that the machenes was constantly gettin out of order, and he wanted to know if I understood anything about sich affairs. I telled him there warnt nothing, from squirrel-traps to dog-churns and thrashing macheenes, that I didn't know from stem to starn. Then he sed I was jest the chap he wanted. So I went with him, and I was perfectly thunderstruck when I saw all the riggin, and fixins, and belts, and shafts, and pulleys, and machenes all a runnin and whizzin and buzzin, as fast as they could go. Ses the Secketary, "This here macheen runs to pay off Gineral Grant's troops. This one runs to pay off Gineral Meade's troops. This one runs for Gineral Banks. This one is now bizzy for Gineral Burnside, and here is this ere one completely broken down. It is Gineral Gilmore's macheen!" "Wal," ses I, "Mr. Secketary, do you have a macheen for every Gineral and every army?" "Yes," ses he, "about that." "Wal," ses I, "what do you do about the contracters?" "Oh," ses he, "I ain't showed you them yet. That's in another room." Ses he, "Come along with me." So I follered, and we went off into another room. It was nigh about ten times as big as the first one, and there were hundreds of presses runnin' as fast as they could go. "There," ses he, "if these here machenes were to stop one day, it would set all Wall street into a panic. Sometimes, when the belts give out or the bolts break, or the coal gits short, or paper don't git in in time, there is a good deal of troubil, but I've got it so fixed now that I keep 'em putty well supplied." Ses I, "Mr. Secketary, who is your engineer?" "Wal," ses he, "he's a good trusty man." "But," ses I, "suppose he should bust your bilers, what would Wall street do then?" "Wal," ses he, "I never thought of that, but I guess there ain't eny danger." "Wal," ses I, "steam is mighty onsartin. Old Aunt Keziah Wiggleton, up in Maine, used to say that the only safe way to run a steamboat was to take the bilers out, and my opinion is, that a government run by steam will bust up one of these days." Chase didn't seem to like this last remark much, but he didn't say enything. We cum down stairs putty soon after, and a feller with a brown linen coat on, nigh about all over ink, brought a hull lot of papers covered over with figgers, and sed that Mr. Linkin could find out all he wanted to from them. I looked 'em over, but I couldn't make hed nor tail to them. "Wal," ses I, "perhaps a chap who understands dubble and twisted entry book-keepin' can onderstand this ere figgering, but I'll be hanged if I kin." Ses I, "Here's seven thirtys, and five twentys, and six per cents, and five per cents, and bonds and stocks and sartificates, and '68s, and '78s, and '96s, and 158s, and Lord knows how many more 8s, until it gets all mixed up so that you can't tell enything more about the debt than Stantin kin tell how sojers has been killed and wounded. Now," ses I, "the people don't care a straw enything about your six twentys, or your five twentys. All they want to know is jest how much money this ere war has cost, and that is what I'me tryin' to figger out for em. When old Ginneral Jackson wanted me to go into Squire's Biddle's Bank and cifer out how matters stood I soon did it, but that warn't eny more comparin to this here affair, than the bunch of elder bushes in Deacon Jenkins's meadow is to the Dismal Swamp. I tuk the papers, however, over to Linkin, for it was the best I could do. Wen I handed them to the Kernel, ses he, "Majer, does Chase expect me to survive after studyin out these figgers?" "Wal," ses I, "Kernel, I don't know, but I think Chase wants to be next President."

The Kernel tuk the hint rite off; but he sed Chase would never be President, for he wanted to be so bad that he acted all the time as if a bumble bee was stingin him, and that his flyin round so would kill him off, if nothin else. We then both sot down and went to studyin the figgers. I cifered with my slate, and the Kernel made chalk marks on his hat every time we got up to a million of dollars. Purty soon the Kernel's eyes began to look wild, and ses he, "Majer, where do we land next? Is she hedin up stream or side-ways? She'll go down, sure as thunder. Well, let her rip; she's been a sinkin consarn for years." I see at once that the Kernel was flighty. Chase's figgers had turned his hed, and he thought he was flat-botin agin on the Mississippi river. But he kept on ravin. Ses he, "Majer, knock that nigger off the bow of the bote; he's rite in the way of the pilot." Ses I, "Kernel, it ain't safe to hit a nigger in these days; Stanton will put me in Fort La Fayette." I thought this might bring the Kernel to his senses, but it didn't. Ses he, "There it goes, Majer, jest as I told you, rite on that snag. That nigger is to blame for the hull of it." I see it was no use, that the Kernel was nigh about stark mad, and so I said to him, ses I, "Let's put up this work to-night, an go to bed." He didn't want to, but I dragged him off, an he kept ravin' all the time, "That nigger has ruined me! There he comes—he is after me yet!"

As soon as I got the Kernel in bed, I put a double set of mustard plasters on his feet, an then gave him a strong dose of my old remedy, elder-bark tea. I knew that would cure him, if anything on arth. Purty soon the sweat began to start, and the gripin in the bowels began. Jest as soon as this took place, it drawed all the disease out of his head, an the next mornin he was as bright as new dimes used to be when there was sich things.

The fust thing the Kernel sed to me in the mornin was, ses he, "Majer, I hed an awful dream last nite." Ses I, "What was it?" "Wal," ses he, "I dreamt that the nigger had destroyed the Union." "Wal," ses I, "Kernel, you git nearer the truth in your dreams than you ginrally do when you are wide awake. If you will only have another dream, you will see the Abolishinists have killed the Union, and that the poor nigger is only the means that they have used to do it."

The Kernel didn't say nothin, but looked down on the floor an whistled. Finally, he tuk out of his pocket one of Chase's new fifty-cent shinplasters, an ses he, "Majer, kin you tell me why this new currency has the odor of nashinality about it?" "No," ses I, "Kernel, I don't see it." "Wal," ses he, "because it is cented paper!" "Wal," ses I, "Kernel, now kin you tell me why that fifty-cent shinplaster is like the war?" Ses he, "Majer, you've got me there." "Wal," ses I, "the face is black, which means that we are fightin to free the nigger, and the back is red—for the blood—the price we are payin for it!"

When I sed this the Kernel brought his hand down on the tabil like all possessed, giv a kick with his foot that sent his slipper flyin clear across the room, an ses he, "Majer, by the ——." Ses I, "Kernel, hold on. Do you want to take any more elder-bark tea?" When I sed this he tapered rite down, an ses he, jest as good as pie, "Let's have some old rye and make frends."

So I didn't object, but the messige ain't finished yet, and the Lord only knows when it will be dun.

Yourn till deth,

Majer Jack Downing.



The Trouble about the Message‌—‌Chase and Seward Find Fault with it‌—‌The Story of Old Deacon Grimes' Oven‌—‌Mr. Lincoln Overrun with Visitors‌—‌The Major Suggests a Way to Get Rid of Them‌—‌The Small Pox Dodge‌—‌The Message Finished‌—‌Mr. Lincoln Tells a Story.

Washington, Dec. 10, 1863.

To the Editers of The Dabook:

Surs:—Wen I writ you last, the Messige warn't finished. Wal, sich a time as we had in finishin that docyment you never did see. The Kernel an I set up all nite long three or fore nites, but it was nigh about onpossibul to get it to suit him. He would get it fixed, an then Seward would cum in an say it was too bold. Then Chase he'd cum in an say it warn't bold enuf; and finally I telled him to make it as old Deacon Grimes did his oven. He wanted to know how that was. Wal, I telled him it was this way: The Deacon built an oven facin to the North, wen one of his nabors cum along an sed that would never do, as the North wind would blow rite into the mouth of the oven. So the old man turned it around, an put the face to the South. Pretty soon another nabor cum along, an ses he, "Deacon, it will never do to have that oven face the South, for there ain't any wind so blustering as the South wind." So the Deacon turned it around to the West. Pretty soon a man cum along, an ses he, "Deacon, don't you know that the worst showers and hurry-canes we have always cum from the West? It will never do to face your oven that way." So the Deacon determined to change it around to the East. He hadn't more than got it dun, before another nabur cum along, an ses he, "Why, Deacon Grimes, I'm perfectly astonished to see you buildin an oven an facin it to the East. There ain't any wind so sarchin and penetratin as the East wind, an it will blow your fire all out of the oven." "Wal," ses the old Deacon, perfectly discurriged, "I'll suit you all; I'll build my oven on a pivot, an wen you cum along you kin turn it around jest as you want it." "Now," ses I, "Kernel, that's the way to fix your Messige." Ses he, "That is a fact; the only trubbil is to fix on a pivot on which it kin turn." "Wal," ses I, "that is the easiest thing in the world. Take the nigger for the pivot, an it will suit every man in your party. The only difference between 'em is, that some don't like to look hin square in the face. That sort kin turn your Messige around a little, an then they will see the nigger side-ways; and those that can't stand that kin turn it clear around, an then they will see the nigger in the back, but it will be nigger all the time!" The Kernel sed it was a capital idee, an he ment to carry it out. It got noised around that the Kernel was comin out with some big thing in his Messige, an every Congressman, wen he got to Washinton, run rite to the White House to give the Kernel advice. They nigh about run him to deth. "Wal," ses I, "Kernel, make believe you're sick." "Sho," ses he, "that won't do a bit of good. I've tried it often, an they bore me wus than ever." "Wal," ses I, "tell 'em you've got the scarlet fever, an that will scare 'em away." The Kernel sed it was a fust-rate idee, an so it was announced in all the papers that the President had the scarlet fever; but it didn't do much good. Sum staid away, but the crowd yet was tremenjus. "Now," ses I, "Kernel, this is too bad; here it is almost time for Congress to meet, and no Messige dun yet. Jest let the reporters announce that you've got the small-pox, an there won't be a mother's son of 'em cum within gunshot of you. Then you kin fix your Messige, put in that patent pivot, and grease things up generally, so they'll run another year without teching." The Kernel sed there was no other way than to do it. When it got out that the Kernel had the small-pox, you never see sech a calm. The White House was nigh about deserted, an it seemed like a Sunday up in Maine. The Kernel then set rite down to his Messige, an worked like a beever. He sed he could allers soon put a thing in shape after the foundashin timbers were laid. And so he did. Wen he got it finished, he called Seward and red it to him. He sed it was capital. Then he sent for Chase, an he sed it was all rite. "No," ses I, "Kernel, send for a War Dimmycrat, an see how he'll like it." Wen I sed this, the Kernel laffed rite out. Ses he, "Majer, you're jokin; I know you are." Ses he, "The War Dimmycrats remind we of a story about bar-huntin out West. Old Josh Muggin had a young dog wich was very fierce for bars. So one day he tuk him along in a hunt. In the very first fite the bar bit the dog's tail off, and away he run yelpin an barkin like mad, an Josh could never get his dog to fite bars after that. Now, it is jest so with the War Dimmycrats. They were very fierce to fite me if I issued my Emancipashin Proclamashin, but I did it, an by so doin, I cut their tails off, and they have never showed any fite agin me sence, an they won't. No—I rally wish I hadn't eny more trubbil on hand than the War Dimmycrats will give me."

Ses I, "Kernel, I think you are rather hard on the War Dimmycrats. They supported you because they thought you was tryin to restore the Union; but now, wen they read your messige and see that you won't have the Union back enyhow, they will say you deceived 'em, and you may find 'em the most trubbelsum customers you've yet had to deal with. They ment to sustain the government, but now wen they see that you won't sustain it, they may turn on you wus than the copperheds have;" and ses I, "Kernel, you jist get the Dimmycrat's united, and I shudn't wonder if they wud be after this, and then let all your Miss-Nancy Abolishinists look out, for there won't be as much left of em as there was of Bill Peeler's dog after his panther fite." Ses the Kernel, ses he, "How much was that?" "Wal," ses I, "Bill always sed there warn't nothin left but the collar he hed round his neck, and the tip eend of his tale, about an inch long." "Wal," ses the Kernel, "I've got to go ahed, no matter who don't like it, or who gits licked in the fite. I'me in the Abolishin bote, and you can't stop it now eny more than you kin put Lake Superior in a quart bottle." Ses I, "Go ahed, Kernel; I allers like to see a man bold and strong on his own principles. There's nothin like pluck. Let everybody know jist what you mean, and then if they support you it is their own fault." "Wal," ses he, "ain't I plain enuf this time?" "Yes," ses I, "Kernel, all but the amnesty part—that's kinder petty-fogy." "Wal," ses he, "Majer, men that can't see a hole through a ladder ought to be humbugged." Ses I, "Mebby that's so, but we shall all know more about who is humbugged and who isn't, after the war is over."

But I never did see people so tickled over the Messige as the Republikins all are. They say it is jest the thing—that it is goin to wipe out slavery, and prevent the "Union as it was" ever being restored; and then it is dun so cutely that a good menny people won't see through it. That amnesty dodge throws dust in their eyes, and kinder sounds generous like.

There's a great fite coming off among the Abolishinists about who's to be run for next President, and I think I'll hev some news for you afore long. Enyhow, I shall keep my eyes open as ushil.

Yourn, till deth,

Majer Jack Downing.



The Major visits Parson Blair‌—‌The Loyal Leagues of the White House‌—‌A Wonderful Dream‌—‌The Grave of the Union‌—‌The President Don't Like It‌—‌About Leather‌—‌How the Capital Looks.

Washinton, Jan. 30, 1864.

To the Editers of The Dabook:

Surs:—I spose your readers think I'm dead, or mebby they think I've run away with a pile of greenbacks, as that is kinder fashionabul now-a-days; but I aint in neithur fix. The rale truth is that after I writ you my last letter I got completely disgusted and cum mitey nigh goin back hum to Downingville, and vowin I would never return to this sink of sin agin. But the Kernel got at me and begged I wouldn't think of it. I telled him I couldn't stay in the White House over New Years, and see the knaves and fools that would be there then. So jest before Christmas, as good luck happened, old Fathur Blair axed me to go down to his place at Silvur Springs and stay ovur the hollidays. I tell you I was rale glad, fur the old man has got a fine place, and I could have it so quiet and cozy there aftur my hard work ovur the message. When I got there I was tuk down with the rumatiz, and had to keep my room for more than two weeks. Howevur, the Kernel sent me some prime old rye, and that, together with some operdildock that old Aunt Keziah Wiggleton sent to me by my nefu Zeke put me on my pins agin. Old Father Blair and I had long talks about Ginneral Jackson and the Kernel, the war, niggers, the next presidency, and so on. My old friend Blair was a grate man in Ginneral Jackson's time, but the trubbel with him now is that he don't move along with the world. He actually thinks that he is yet fitin Calhoun, an havin got in the bote with the Abolishenists, he don't know how to get out. Last week I cum back to see the Kernel, and have been looking around for a few days to see how the land lay. I find that the principel idee in everybody's hed is, who's to be the next President. But I tell you when I look at the condishun of the country, it makes me sick to talk about a President. What is the use of a President when there's a standin army? What is the use of a President when the ballot-box aint of half so much account as the cartridge-box? The first day I got back to the White House there was a lot of Loyel Legers and shoddy contractors cum to tell the Kernel that they had nominated him for President. After they went out Linkin ses to me, ses he, "Majer, what do you think of them fellows?" "Wal," ses I, "they look to me mean enough to steal niggers." The Kernel did not say anything, but looked kinder cross-eyed at me. The Kernel and I then had a long talk about matters and things, and after taking a good swig of old rye, went to bed. That nite I had a wonderful dream. The next mornin, when I went in the room where the Kernel was, ses he, "Majer, you look oncommon serious this mornin; what's the matter?" "Wal," ses I, "I had a wonderful dream last nite, that eenamost frightened me to deth." "Wal," ses he, "what on earth was it?" "Wal," ses I, "if I tell you the hull of it jest as it appeared to me, you musn't get mad." "Oh," ses the Kernel, "I don't keer nothin about dreams, for I allers interpret them by contraries." "Wal," ses I, "you can cypher out the meanin of it yourself to suit yourself, but I'll tell it to you jest as it appeared to me, and it seemed to me as plain as if it was broad daylight." "Wal," ses I, "I thought I was in the grave-yard, and there was a great big grave dug, large enough to hold four or five coffins, and while I was standing there wonderin what on earth the grave was for, I saw a big black hearse comin, and Stantin was driving it. That kinder startled me; but I looked agin, and I see it was bein drawn by them War Dimmycrats, Dickinson, Butler, Meagher, Cochrane, and the hearse itself was marked 'War Dimmycracy.' When Stantin druv up to the grave, ses he, 'My jack-=asses had a heavy load, but they pulled it through bravely,' for the poor War Dimmycrats had heads of men on the bodies of mules. I wondered what on airth could be in the hearse, for it seemed to be heavily loaded. Right behind the hearse, walkin along, were you and Sumner, and Greeley, and Chase, and Beecher, and old Grandfather Welles. Pretty soon you all went to work takin out the coffins, and gettin ready to put them in the grave. The first one tuk out was marked 'habeas corpus,' the second one 'trial by jury,' then 'the Union,' and then 'the Constitution.' When they were all out on the ground, some dispute riz as to which should be buried first, but Greeley cut it short by sayin, 'put the Constitution under, and all else follows.' So Greeley got the rope under one end of the coffin and Sumner under the other, and begun to let it down. While it was goin down, you looked kinder anxious at Chase, and ses you, 'Chase, think it will stay down?' And old Greenbacks, ses he, 'My God, Kernel, it must stay down, or we will all go up.' Greeley was tickled eenamost to death, and ses he, 'We shall bury it now so that it shall never be heerd of agin.' Old Grandfather Welles, however, seemed half frightened to deth, and trembled like a sick dog, and ses, 'Oh! that it was all over.' Sumner was wrathy at this, and ses he, 'Shut up, you old fool; wait until it is all under.' And there, too, stood Beecher, with a nigger baby in his arms, lookin up to heaven and prayin all the while, as follows: 'Oh! Lord, not thy will but mine be done.' Finally, all the coffins were put in the grave and covered up. I wondered where Seward could be all this time, and lookin up, there he was, flyin through the air with wings, and tails, and horns, lookin for all the world like an evil spirit, and ses he, 'If 'twere done, when it is done,' just as if he was afraid that a day of resurrection was comin. I tell you, it made me feel sorrowful and sad when I saw the old Constitution and the Union put under the ground, out of sight, and when I woke up, my eyes were full of tears, and I felt more like cryin than I have sence I was born."

The Majer's Wonderful Dream. The Grave of the Union.

The Majer's Wonderful Dream. The Grave of the Union.—Page 250.

After I got thru, ses I, "Kernel, what do you think of my dream?" He looked down on the floor, and then looked up, then he looked down agin and then he looked up. I see he was kinder worried, so I said nothin. Finally, he kicked his slipper off, and ses he, "Majer, do you know what good lether is?" "Wal," ses I, "Kernel, I used to know something about lether." "Wal," ses he, "what do you think of the lether in that slipper. Is it good?" "Yes," ses I, "I think it's pretty good." "Wal," ses he, "what kind is it?" Ses I, "It's calf-skin." "Wal," ses he, "kin you tell me whether the calf was a heifer or a steer?" "No," ses I, "I can't." "Wal," ses he, "I'm in jist the same fix about your dream. It is a good dream, but I can't tell whether it's a heifer or a steer. But I ruther reckon it's a steer!"

"Wal," ses I, "Kernel, you may think that my dream don't amount to anythin, but there are thousands of people who will see in it the fate of their country."

He didn't seem disposed to talk about it, however, and I let it drop. Since then I've been over to the Capitol once or twice, and looked around Washington a leetle. I never see such a change in a place since I was born. It's dirtier, nastier, and meaner lookin than ever. In fact, it is just like the country, all goin to ruin. If the devil is ever happy, I think he would be nigh about tickled to deth now-a-days. I guess everything is goin on to suit him to a fracshin. I kin tell you one thing. There is goin to be a bigger fite between Linkin and Chase for President than most pepil suppose. So look out for the musick ahed. I shall keep a watch on all the doins, and write you when the rumatiz, like the greenback market, aint too stringent.

Majer Jack Downing.