Thursday, September 27, 2012

There never was a set of men . . .

. . . in such straights for a principle – an idea – a plank – a catch word – anything upon which to build a party and divide the country, as are a part – the worst part, of the leaders of the defunct Democratic party.  They care nothing for the country, for principle, for truth, for honor.  A stupendous lie is dearer to them than truth if they can win with it.  Like the leaders of the rebellion they would blot out our National existence and drench our whole country in blood if thereby they could place themselves in the ascendant under a new form of Government, no matter what.  In the start they were intent upon aiding their friends, the rebels, by organizing an anti-war party.  The “Black Republicans” had made the war and might fight it.  No Democrat ought to enlist.  They hoped that every one that enlisted would be killed.

But these villains soon learned that they could not organize a party in opposition to the war with any chance of success and desisted from the effort, not because thereby they were aiding the rebels, but because the people had discernment and patriotism and were determined to stand by the Government at all hazards.

Afraid longer to oppose the war – afraid longer to appear in public places and openly persuade men not to volunteer, they contented themselves with opposing any sort of taxation to pay the expense of the war.  These knaves now drink rye and other substitutes for coffee, because they fear that their money will go into the coffers of the nation and aid in preserving this glorious Union.  With faces of uncommon length and accents of deepest despond they speak of the dreadful taxes which are to be levied and the impossibility of payment!  Here and there they find a knave or simpleton into whose willing ears they hiss the poison of their cold blooded treason.  But thank God the great mass of the people are earnest and hopeful – have put their hands to the work – have resolved to make every sacrifice and to make it cheerfully.

But most of these political malcontents, who were left last year astride of dead issues and defunct hobbles, and have not had their honesty, patriotism or any good sense enough to place themselves in loyal positions, are now convinced that it is a destruction to oppose the war in any shape, openly or covertly, and that they must move with the current if they succeed.  But an issue is now their great want.  In their great straight they are many of them willing even to rally on a personal issue.  After swearing at General McClellan and ridiculing the Potomac army for the last six months, now that action is called for and the Administration disposed to censure General McClellan for allowing himself to be blockaded for six months by an inferior force and then permitting this force to escape with all its munitions of war unscathed – now that General McClellan has fallen under the ban these Micawbers have suddenly become great McClellan men.  They dilate by the hour upon McClellan’s strategy.  They have not the least doubt that McC. had a deep purpose in this evacuation which was all contrived before hand and happened just as he wished it.  They have no doubt that the taking of Roanoke, Henry, Donelson, Fernandina, Newbern, Beaufort, the Battle of Pea Ridge, everything in short that has been done in the field to the credit and glory of our arms is owing to McClellan’s strategy.  In short they would divide the country upon a mere personal issue if they could.  But they cannot do it.  General McC. is on trial.  If he, with the splendid army he commands, deals the rebellion its death blow, as he may, he will be applauded by the whole country.  If he fails in a reasonable time to show results which as should be shown by so well trained and well appointed an army, he will go to the wall as others have done before him.  In either event these uneasy and unscrupulous gentlemen will find themselves as before without an issue.

– Published in The Burlington Weekly Hawk-Eye, Burlington, Iowa, Saturday, March 29, 1862, p. 1

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