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The Victorious Union (A Book About The Civil War for Children)

  an excerpt from the PREFACE: 'A Victorious Union' is the sixth and last of 'The Blue and the Gray Series.' While the volume is not intended to be a connected historical narrative of the particular period of the War of the Rebellion in which its scenes are laid, the incidents accurately conform to the facts, and especially to the spirit, of the eventful years in which they are placed, as recorded in the chronicles of the great struggle, and as they exist in the memory of the writer. It is more than thirty years since the war began, and thousands upon thousands of the active participants in the strife as soldiers and sailors, including nearly all the great commanders, have passed on to their eternal reward. Thousands upon thousands of men and women have been born and reached their maturity since the most tremendous war of modern times ended in A Victorious Union. The knowledge of the stirring events of those four years of conflict, and 6 of the patriotic spirit which inspired and underlaid them, has come, or will come, to at least one-half the population of this vast nation of sixty-five millions from the printed page or through the listening ear. The other moiety, more or less, either as children or adults, lived in the period of action, saw the gathering battalions, and heard or read the daily reports from the ensanguined battle-fields. In some of the States that remained loyal to the Union throughout the long struggle, a military parade had been regarded by many as something very much in the nature of a circus display, as 'fuss and feathers,' such as tickled the vanity of both officer and private. Military organizations, except in our small regular army, were disparaged and ridiculed. When the war came, the Northern people were unprepared for it to a very great degree. The change of public opinion was as sudden as the mighty event was precipitate. Then the soldier became the most prominent and honored member of the community, and existing military bodies became the nucleus of the armies that were to fight the battles of the Republic. During the last thirty years the military spirit has been kept alive as a constituent element of 7 patriotism itself. The love of country has been diligently fostered and nurtured in the young, and public opinion has been voiced and energized in the statutes of many States, and in the educational machinery of many municipalities. Over vast numbers of schoolhouses in our land floats the American flag, the symbol of the Union and the principles that underlie it. The flag, the banner now of a reunited nation, means something more than the sentiment of loyalty to the Union as the home of freedom; for it implies the duty of defending the honor of that flag, the representative idea of all we hold dear in Fatherland. In the East and the West a considerable proportion of the high schools make military tactics a part of their educational course. Companies, battalions, and regiments of young men in their teens parade the streets of some of our cities, showing in what manner the military spirit is kept alive, and, at the same time, how the flag floating over our educational institutions, which means so much more than ever before to our people, is to be defended and perpetuated in the future.

Jacqueline of the Carrier Pigeons

  an excerpt from the INTRODUCTION: FAIR LEYDEN I am glad that Mrs. Seaman has written this story. Americans cannot know Leyden too well, for no city in Europe so worthily deserves the name of Alma Mater. Here, after giving the world an inspiring example of heroism, modern liberty had her chosen home. The siege, so finely pictured in this story, took place about midway in time between two great events the march of Alva the Spaniard and his terrible army of 'Black Beards' into the Netherlands, and the Union of Utrecht, by which the seven states formed the Dutch Republic. This new nation was based on the federal compact of a written constitution, under the red and white striped flag, in which each stripe represented a state. Under that flag, which we borrowed in 1775 and still keep, though we have added stars, universal common school education of all the children, in public schools sustained by taxation, and freedom of religion for all, was the rule. Leyden won her victory seven years before the Dutch Declaration of Independence in July, 1581. As our own Benjamin Franklin declared, 'In love of liberty and bravery in the defense of it, she (the Dutch Republic) has been our great example.' With freedom won, as so graphically portrayed in this story, Leyden enlarged her bounds and welcomed to residence and citizenship three companies of people who became pioneers of our American life. Like the carrier-pigeons, they brought something with them. To our nation, they gave some of the noblest principles of the seven Dutch United States to help in making those thirteen of July 4, 1776, and the constitutional commonwealth of 1787, formed by 'the people of the United States of America.' First of all, to victorious Leyden, came the Walloons, or refugees from Belgium, to gather strength before sailing in the good ship New Netherland, in 1623, to lay the foundations of the Empire State. Then followed the Pilgrim Fathers of New England. Many of the young and strong who sailed in the Speedwell and Mayflower were born in Leyden and spoke and wrote Dutch. The old folks, who could not cross the Atlantic, remained in Leyden until they died and some were buried in St. Pancras and St. Peter's Church. In this city, also, dwelt the Huguenots, in large numbers, many of whom came to America to add their gifts and graces to enrich our nation. Last, but not least, besides educating in her university hundreds of colonial Americans, including two sons of John Adams, one of whom, John Quincy Adams became president of the United States, Leyden in 1782, led in the movement to recognize us as an independent country. Then the Dutch lent us four millions of dollars, which paid off our starving Continentals. Principal and interest, repaid in 1808, amounting to fourteen millions, were used to develop six thousand square miles of Western New York, when New Amsterdam (later called Buffalo ) was laid out, and whence came two of our presidents, Fillmore and Cleveland.

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