"You are so happily placed," replied the prince,
"in America that you need fear no wars. What always
seemed so sad to me about your last great war was that you
were fighting your own people. That is always so terrible in
wars, so very hard."
"But it had to be done." said the General.
"Yes," said the prince, "you had to save
the Union just as we had to save Germany."
"Not only save the Union, but destroy slavery,"
answered the General.
"I suppose, however, the Union was the real
sentiment, the dominant sentiment," said the prince.
"In the beginning, yes," said the General;
"but as soon as slavery fired upon the flag it was felt,
we all felt, even those who did not object to slaves, that
slavery must be destroyed. We felt that it was a stain to the
Union that men should be bought and sold like cattle."
"I had an old and good friend, an American, in
Motley," said the prince, "who used to write me now
and then. Well, when your war broke out he wrote me. He said,
‘I will make a prophecy, and please take this letter and
put it in a tree or a box for ten years, then open it and see
if I am not a prophet. I prophesy that when this war ends the
Union will be established and we shall not lose a village or
hamlet.’ This was Motley’s prophecy," said the
prince with a smile, "and it was true."
"Yes," said the General, "it was
"I suppose if you had had a large army at the
beginning of the war it would have ended in a much shorter
"We might have had no war at all," said the
General; "but we cannot tell. Our war had many strange
features – there were many things which seemed odd enough
at the time, but which now seem Providential. If we had had a
large regular army, as it was then constituted, it might have
gone with the South. In fact, the Southern feeling in the
army among high officers was so strong that when the war
broke out the army dissolved. We had no army – then we had
to organize one. A great commander like Sherman or Sheridan
even then might have organized an army and put down the
rebellion in six months or a year, or, at the farthest, two
years. But that would have saved slavery, perhaps, and
slavery meant the germs of a new rebellion. There had to be
an end of slavery. Then we were fighting an enemy with whom
we could not make a peace. We had to destroy him. No
convention, no treaty was possible – only