Millions and hundreds of millions are now being spent in a war as worthy of treasure and blood as ever called an army upon the field of battle, and all that the people ask is that we shall have a victory at last which, in value, shall be a fair equivalent for such an expenditure. – They want neither a patchwork settlement, a prolonged armistice, or an old fashioned compromise. They want, and will have, something better. They demand with firmness that liberty only shall be accepted as the just compensation for peace. Till that price is cheerfully paid, “there shall be no peace.”
From a financial stand point we here plead, and say, in the name of God and humanity give us that peace which shall secure us the worth of the money we have expended. If we must part with one thousand millions of dollars or two thousand millions of dollars to obtain a complete victory over our enemies, give us when the work is done, the worth of our money.
If we are for a hundred years to bear the heavy yoke of taxation let us now see to it that in the final settlement we have the worth of our money.
The widow and the fatherless who are to toil and sweat and tithe their mint, anise and cumin to support the Government, now cry out in view of this prospect “Give us the worth of our money.”
If in the future every benevolent institution is to suffer in consequence of the extraordinary demands of the nation – [ver] calling for help to cancel the enormous debt now being contracted – let us, with security in hand, Wall street fashion, be sure that we have the worth of our money.
If the people most groan and [travail] in pain, year in and year out and pinch themselves day by day, as sure they will, to meet these extraordinary calls, it is but fair that they should be heard when they demanded, as they now do, the worth of their money.
If in the future we must pay twenty five percent more than at present to live economically, to educate our children, to purchase a book or newspaper, or to secure any comfort of luxury, all we ask is that we shall now obtain that freedom which is above price, and then we shall have the worth of our money.
If now, for the sake of trade or any other consideration, we are to receive less for what we have done and suffered than the god given birth right of every human being, Liberty, we shall be most abominably cheated. Year by year, as the tax gatherer calls we shall say we have been cheated. Politicians on the stump will say we have been cheated. The cry in Congress will never die, “We have been cheated.” We want peace, but we want freedom more. We want trade, but we want justice and humanity more. We want to save hundreds of millions of dollars, but those hundreds of millions shall flow into our national treasury, as free as water, for liberty. A nation shall be morn in a day, with an inheritance of untold riches, when over this whole land – North, South, East and West – freedom shall be declared universal. No burden shall be too great for that, and no price to exorbitant. No tears shall ever be shed, if we gain such a boon, but tears of joy. Our children and our children’s children shall hear the story of our wrongs, of our defeats, and of our final victory, and their hearts shall swell with thanksgivings to the God of justice that in making a final settlement we would have nothing less than NATIONAL LIBERTY.
But just here the rebels and their Northern allies say, “are you going to interfere with the Constitutional rights of the South?” What rights, Messrs Rebels and Traitors, do you mean? The South has now no property rights which the North is bound to respect. They have trampled upon our Constitution and our laws. – They have robbed, plundered, and cheated us in every way they could think of, and now, when their overthrow is certain, they begin their old story of constitutional rights. No gentlemen, there was a time when the North would not lift a finger to interfere with your “property rights” in flesh and blood but that day has gone by forever.
This war was commenced, not because the rights of the South were interfered with but because the South demanded that we should not do so much as discuss the subject of slavery. Tar and feathers and death were the only arguments used by those rebels in days gone by to stop our mouths. To secure trade, we were willing to get down on our knees, but that even was not satisfactory. They wanted more. They demanded silence. To obtain that infernal liberty, which they desired, they sought to overthrow the Government to take away from us that freedom which was purchased by our fathers. – They have robbed our treasury, plundered our arsenals, taken possession of our navy yards and our hospitals and yet wish us, as of old, to respect their property rights in human flesh. No, no gentlemen, you are too late. The precious blood of the North, which has drenched so many battle fields forbids now a single step in that direction. We demand that the entire property of every rebel shall now be confiscated to pay the expenses of the war. We demand to pay the expenses of the war. We demand that the oppressed shall go free, and that the rebel slaveholders and traitors who have brought upon us the enormous evils and burdens of the present conflict shall be sufferers. We demand that they shall be no cheating on the part of the South, and that when the books are balanced and the settlement is made, it shall be found that in expending so many hundred millions we have really got the worth of our money. – N. Y. Independent.
– Published in The Burlington Weekly Hawk-Eye, Burlington, Iowa, Saturday, March 8, 1862, p. 3