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REGISTER OF IMPORTANT EVENTS
OF THE YEAR
EMBRACING POLITICAL, CIVIL, MILITARY, AND SOCIAL AFFAIRS; PUBLIC DOCU-
D. APPLETON & COMPANY, 443 & 445 BROADWAY.
Harvard College Library.
ENTERED, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1862, by
D. APPLETON & COMPANY,
In the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the United States for the Southern District
of New York.
IN preparing a Cyclopædia of what came to pass during the year 1861, the political and military events appeared to possess a greater importance than all that had been developed in the different branches of knowledge. The interest which they awakened soon became so strong and engrossing that the peaceful pursuits of industry were paralyzed, trade and commerce languished, the student of science forsook his quiet seclusion for the tented field, and the inventive genius turned to find more skilful weapons for conflict or terrible engines for destruction. The consequences involved in these events are regarded as destined to exert a permanent influence on mankind. Whether constitutional liberty can survive the violence of human passions; whether institutions organized to preserve and protect the rights of men, and which depend for their existence upon the will and pleasure of those whom they control, can withstand the shocks of military power, are questions in which the welfare of all is at issue. The conflict, therefore, in the United States, forms an important part of this volume. It embraces the political principles involved, with the arguments of their respective advocates and opponents; the movements of the leaders of secession, from their first acts to the close of the year, including the proceedings, step by step, in each of the Southern States until they had resolved themselves out of the Union, and their subsequent efforts; the organization of the Confederate States; the principles upon which that organization was founded; the civil and commercial regulations of the Confederacy; the movements of its Government to fill its treasury, and organize and equip vast armies; the counteracting movements of the United States; the organization of its armies, with the details of the weapons for the infantry and artillery, and for the batteries of the ships and gunboats; together with all the original documents, from the Messages of the respective Presidents; the instructions of Cabinet officers; the Messages and proclamations of Governors; the important acts of the United States and Confederate Congresses; the acts and resolutions of State Legislatures; the proclamations and orders of commanding officers; the contributions of men and money from each State, North and South; the details of every battle and every skirmish involving a loss of life. So ample have been the resources from which its details have been prepared, comprising publications both North and South, that it is believed no important public measure of the Federal or Confederate Governments, or of any of the States, has been over
looked, or valuable document omitted. The efforts of the Confederacy to secure the cooperation of foreign powers, and of the United States to prevent it, are summarily presented in the letters and instructions of the respective diplomatic agents.
In thus preparing in a narrative form this portion of the events of the year, although the effort has been made to observe strict accuracy and impartiality, some mistakes may have occurred, which ask for the forbearing consideration of the intelligent reader.
The developments of science during the year present some interesting particulars. The assent of geologists to the Taconic system advocated by the late Prof. Emmons, after so many years of disbelief, is another instance of the triumph of investigation over preconceived errors. The introduction of the method of Solar analysis, which has as yet progressed hardly so far as to receive a name, although Spectrography meets with much approval, may justly be classed among the important events. The conclusions of science, as applied to agriculture, which were reached during the year 1861, will become to the farmer of great practical value. At the same time, they set aside many opinions and processes of labor which have not yielded fruitful results. They will be found fully explained in a very practical essay from the pen of Prof. J. J. Mapes.
Geographical explorations were pursued with vigor in various quarters of the globe, and many travellers returned from their perilous journeys of a previous year. In all instances the information is highly interesting, and often valuable.
Connected with mechanical industry there were many ingenious inventions during the year, especially relating to implements of war, some of which have been described, while others are reserved, to be accompanied with such illustrations as more ample time will allow. To mechanical industry, so important in this country, an extensive portion of the annual volume of this work will be devoted.
The commerce of the whole world was interrupted during the year, and although sufficient time has not elapsed to gather the statistics of all its changes, yet the details of disaster to many branches have been made up in these pages. The stupendous resources of the United States, hitherto unconsciously possessed, not only in military and naval affairs, but especially in financial, have been brought to light by the present difficulties. The financial measures of the Government and of the States are explained with the most ample details.
The number of distinguished men who closed their career in 1861 was not so large as in many other years. A tribute has been paid to their virtues and their services.
Subsequent volumes of this work will be issued about the first of March in each year.
ABDUL MEDJID, KHAN, late Sultan of Turkey, born May 6, 1822, succeeded to the throne July 1, 1839, died June 25, 1861. Educated in the seclusion of the harem, and coming to the throne at the early age of 17, and possessing naturally a kindly but indolent and almost effeminate nature, it was hardly possible that he should have become an efficient ruler over an empire so extensive, and peopled by races so diverse, even in the most favorable period of its history. But his accession to the throne took place at a time of unusual commotion, and when the strong arm of a wise and vigorous ruler could hardly have saved the empire from disintegration and ruin. His father had been a man of great energy and iron will, and had initiated reforms which, in the opinion of the more fanatical Moslems, struck at the very foundations of their faith. The ill-concealed hostility of the mass of the Mohammedan people to these reforms would have awed a less resolute ruler than Mahmoud II., and his death leaving his reforms but half accomplished, encouraged the hopes of the reactionary party. Nor were there wanting other causes of anxiety to harass the mind of the boy sultan. Mehemet Ali, Pasha of Egypt, his most powerful vassal, had placed himself in an attitude of open rebellion during the lifetime of Mahmoud II., and his son, Ibrahim-Pasha, on the 24th of June, 8 days previous to Abdul Medjid's accession to the throne, had defeated the sultan's troops in the decisive battle of Nezib. The interference of the allied powers alone prevented the Turkish empire from dismemberment at this juncture.
This danger passed, the young sultan applied himself to the development of his father's plans of reform. The first step in this direction was the promulgation of the Hatti-Scherif of GulKhané, in Nov. 1839. This Hatti-Scherif was a general decree in the nature of a bill of rights, declaring the equality of all his subjects, whether Mussulmen or not, before the law. Its intention was more fully developed in the subsequent measures, now included under the name of the tanzimat, or system of reforms. The
most important of these measures were: the reorganization of the army in 1843 and 1844, the creation of new ministerial departments of commerce and public works, the reorganization of the provinces, the promulgation of a penal code and of a code of commerce, the establishment of mixed tribunals allowing Christians a share with Mussulmen in the administration of justice, the introduction of a new monetary system, the abolition of the Kharadj, or capitation tax, previously levied on all who were not Mussulmen; the reform of the system of public education, and the introduction of postal service, railroads, telegraphs, the regulation of quarantines, the establishment of banks, &c.
These reforms were at first put in force in the capital, and thence extended gradually to the remoter provinces. Not being in the nature of absolute decrees, but rather suggestions for reform, whose stringency was to be increased as the people would bear them, they were at first of little effect, except immediately in the vicinity of the capital. In Sept. 1854, desirous of giving them a wider scope and a more decided efficacy, the sultan called a council of tanzimat, or congress of representatives from all parts of his empire, and laid before them his measures. On the 18th February, 1856, he issued a new Hatti-Humayoum or imperial decree, conforming and enlarging the propositions of the Hatti-Scherif. These measures indicated the progressive disposition of the sultan, and his desire to become an efficient ruler. They were undertaken under circumstances of great difficulty; from the commencement of his administration to its close, there was constantly some disturbing element to delay or thwart his purposes: the Turko-Egyptian question at the commencement of his reign, and subsequently the Servian question; the insurrection in Albania; the war in Koordistan; the troubles in Syria, in Bosnia, and Montenegro; the Turko-Greek and Wallachian revolution of 1848-'9; his noble refusal to surrender the Hungarian and Polish refugees, who had sought protection on his soil, to Austria and Russia in 1850; the question of the holy places