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SATURDAY, DECEMBER 21, 1861.
MR. CHASE, in his Report just laid before
Congress, estimates that the rebellion is costing us about $400,000,000 a year,
exclusive of the proceeds of the new war taxes. In other words, so long as the
war lasts, the loyal people will have to pay direct and indirect taxes at the
rate of about $4 per head per annum, and will besides have to borrow
$400,000,000 a year.
He has already borrowed
$197,000,000 at 6 @ 7.30 per cent. ; further loans to the amount of $75,000,000
were authorized at the extra session in last July : Mr. Chase now asks Congress
to authorize the negotiation of fresh loans to the tune of $430,000,000 to carry
on the war to 1st July, 1863. Besides the money to be thus raised, he proposes
to obtain $150,000,000 by obliging the Banks to call in all their present
circulation, and issue fresh notes based on the pledge of United States Stocks
and registered at the
Treasury Department at
We can thus realize what the
nefarious rebellion of the Southern Slaveholders is costing and going to cost
us. The figures constitute a fitting accompaniment to the theories of those
politicians who would have as still use half-measures, and deal gingerly with
the rebels who are putting us to an expense of blood and treasure unparalleled
in the history of nations.
It was expected that Mr. Chase
would recommend either a United States Bank or an issue of United States Demand
Notes, not redeemable in coin, but made a legal tender by Act of Congress. Wars
of such magnitude as the present one have never been waged upon a specie basis.
Wall Street was prepared for a recommendation which would have practically
amounted to a suspension of specie payments. Mr. Chase has not fulfilled these
expectations. If specie payments are to be suspended he leaves the
responsibility of the act to Congress.
The new tax levy will amount, as
we said, to about $90,000,000 a year, or say $4 per head of the loyal
population. This tax is distributed as follows :
Indirect taxes, customs, etc.,
Direct tax, to be levied by
States .. 20,000,000
Tax on tobacco, distilled liquors, etc., etc 20,000,000
In order to show the actual
operations of the Treasury Department, we condense from the Report of the
Treasury the following figures :
ESTIMATES FOR 1861-'62.
Expenditure for first quarter
Estimated expenditure for second, third, and fourth quarters, according to
acts of extra session 302,035,761
Additional appropriations now
asked for 143,130,927
Ordinary revenue from customs,
Revenue from direct tax
Balance of loans authorized
ESTIMATES FOR 1862-'63.
Civil list $23,086,971
Interior Department 4,102,962
Public debt 42,816,330
The latter estimate, we need
hardly explain, is based upon the hypothesis that the war will last another
year. Mr. Chase hopes and believes that it will be over by mid-summer.
THE END AND THE WAY.
WE must never lose sight of the
main object of the war, and of the means by which that object can be attained.
This war is prosecuted for the
maintenance of the Union and of the indivisible nationality of the United
States. It is not, as foreigners suppose, a war for tariffs, or on account of
slavery. The United States Government has no
other object in view than the assertion of its authority over the whole of its
dominion, and the practical refutation of the subversive doctrines of secession
and State sovereignty. It is likely that, in the course of the contest which is
being waged, various existing interests, including the institution of slavery,
may suffer severely. With that the United States have nothing to do. As soon as
the authority of the United States Government is acknowledged throughout the
revolted section the war will cease, whatever be the condition of the slaves and
the slave-owners; but until that authority is acknowledged the war will go on,
and, whatever may be the views of individual generals, it will be waged in the
most thorough manner, and every rebel interest, including the institution of
slavery, will be assailed as vigorously as possible. If we are forced
to free the slaves in order to
restore the Union, we shall do so. But no one in authority would desire to carry
on the conflict for one hour after the authority of the Government was
acknowledged at the South, for the sake of abolishing slavery.
How are we to succeed in
accomplishing our purpose of restoring the authority of Government throughout
the revolted section?
When the war first broke out it
was generally assumed that there was in every
Southern State, with, perhaps, the single
exception of South Carolina, a majority in favor of the Union, and that nothing
was needed but the presence of an imposing force of Union troops to enable this
majority to reassert its control over the section which it inhabited. The idea
of many persons was that if we sent a hundred thousand troops into Virginia, the
loyalists of that State would straightway overwhelm the rebels, and elect
members of Congress. Experience soon caused a modification of these views.
People soon realized that a majority which lets itself be ruled by a minority
could not prove a very efficient ally to an invading army. Independently of this
consideration, it was remembered that all revolutions are the work of minorities
; in every community the majority of the people are inert, pusillanimous, and
accustomed to be led by a few daring, reckless spirits. It is undoubtedly true
that in March last a clear majority of the people of Virginia, Louisiana,
Georgia, and Tennessee were opposed to secession. The minority, however, carried
the day in all these States, and the majority acquiesced. Now there are members
of almost every Union family at the South in the rebel army ; Southern pride has
been thoroughly aroused ; and it is safe to conclude that the Union party at the
South—as a party—has ceased to exist. There are no doubt large numbers of men at
the South who in their heart desire the restoration of the Union. But many of
these men are fighting in the ranks of the rebels. To expect any aid from them
is as fallacious as it was for the secessionists to count upon the alliance of
Mr. Fernando Wood and the city of New York. The "masses" always stand by their
section, and follow their leaders.
It is clear, then, that we can
not succeed in our purpose of restoring the Union through the aid of Southern
Unionists, whose efforts in that behalf—now held in check by the rebel
despotism—can be evoked by the presence of Union armies.
What we have to do is to convince
the people of the South that we are stronger than they, and as resolute; that we
are determined to restore the Union at any cost ; and that they can not contend
against us. When this is done, we shall find plenty of Southern Unionists, and
the war will be over.
In order to convince the South
that the struggle is hopeless on their part, that we must succeed in the end,
and that their best interests will be promoted by a surrender, we must do two
things—we must beat them in the field, and we must render the inconveniences of
the war intolerable to the Southern people.
The first will be done by
General McClellan at his own time, and in his
own way. He is working with unexampled industry and energy to create an army
which shall teach the South that Northerners are the better men as well as the
better citizens. It is, perhaps, hardly desirable that he should strike his blow
before other measures have prepared the Southern people for a reactionary
movement against the rebel despotism. At all events, when the cost of rebellion
has been thoroughly appreciated in every rebel State, a victory on
the Potomac will yield far more useful fruit
than it would at present, while the bulk of the rebels are still sanguine of
The measures which are being
taken by Government to teach the South the cost of rebellion are of various
kinds. The blockade is the first. This must cause very severe suffering. For six
months no vessel has arrived at
New Orleans. Thousands of families, which
derive their living from foreign trade at
Southern ports, must be puzzled to obtain food
and clothing. The "
stone fleet" blockade will strike at other
classes as well. The sinking of stone-laden ships at the mouth of Southern
harbors, must render it doubtful whether those harbors can ever again be opened
to trade, and must render real estate in the sea-ports thus closed absolutely
worthless. A necessary part of the blockade is the descent and occupation of the
Mississippi River. We understand that
Government is resolved to occupy the shores of the Mississippi, from
Cairo to New Orleans, at whatever cost. If two
hundred thousand men under General McClellan are needed for the operation, they
will be forthcoming. We must hold Columbus, Memphis, Natchez, and New Orleans.
We may hold simultaneously
Port Royal, Savannah, Brunswick,
Pensacola. Thus encircled, the rebel section
will be within our grasp, and we can make the rebels feel what it is to be at
war. For instance, they are suffering severely from the want of various articles
of prime necessity, leather, coffee, tea, salt, woolen cloths, all kinds of
hardware, drugs, etc. This want will become more stringent as time elapses, and
the blockade is perfected. Wherever our armies go slaves escape, and the dread
of servile insurrections spreads.
When we come to hold half the great cities of the South, we should imagine that
this consideration alone will lead many rebels to weigh the advantages of
surrender. Our occupation of Port Royal is said to have cost the people of that
district 7000 slaves, worth—as they are mostly adults—at least $5,000,000.
Virginia has lost more than 7000. When we take Memphis and New Orleans the
fugitives will probably be counted by the hundreds of thousands. The
Confiscation Act is another part of the regular course of instruction through
which the rebels will be put. It is well understood that Congress will pass a
law which will forfeit the property of every rebel, and will divide it between
loyal men who have been ruined by the war and the Government itself. As our
armies advance, and this Act is carried into effect, its execution will exercise
a wholesome effect upon the rebels who are still in arms.
It is believed that by the time
the cordon is fairly tightened round the rebel States, and the Southern people
have had time to appreciate the discomforts of a paralysis of trade, the want of
a large number of articles of prime necessity, the loss of slaves, the dread of
slave insurrections, and the prospect of seeing their property confiscated, they
will be ready for a reactionary movement, and " Union Southerners" who have some
backbone will begin to develop in various spots. A smart defeat in the field
would then probably end the war.
This, we take it, is the
programme of the Government, as planned by Generals Scott and McClellan, and
Mr. Lincoln. We need hardly observe that its
success mainly depends upon the thoroughness with which the penalties of
rebellion are impressed upon the Southern mind. If we are to convert these
rebels by chastisement there must be no sparing of the rod. Nothing must be
neglected, consistently with the rules of warfare, which can increase the
inconveniences and terrors of their position. When the war is over we shall be
ready enough to forgive: just now the severest methods are the most humane.
IT is not too late to speak of
the Message, for the Message is the programme of the policy of the Government in
dealing with the rebellion; and now that public opinion has fairly expressed
itself, we are better able to measure the impression produced by the Message
upon the country.
It was a most difficult moment
for a President to speak. But unquestionably the public confidence is confirmed
by the Message ; and that is, upon the whole, the highest praise of it. It is a
thoroughly characteristic paper. The President is an honest, plain, shrewd
magistrate. He is not a brilliant orator ; he is not a great leader. He views
his office as a strictly executive one, and wishes to cast responsibilities, as
much as possible, upon Congress. He wishes to get as near, and keep as near, to
the people as he can. If the people are right, the President will be so, If the
people are wrong, the President can not make them right. No policy can be
successful which is not based upon the public conviction.
The President states the
condition of the country calmly and dispassionately. " I have adhered," he says,
to the Act of Congress to confiscate property used for insurrectionary purposes.
If a new law upon the same subject shall be proposed, its propriety will be duly
considered. The Union must be preserved, and hence all indispensable means must
be employed. We should not be in haste to determine that radical and extreme
measures, which may reach the loyal as well as the disloyal, are indispensable."
These are the words of a wise
magistrate. No loyal citizen, surely—no man who believes that the Government is
adequate to all the objects that honorable men desire—could wish that extreme
measures should be taken before they are indispensable. If it should appear that
the supremacy of the Government could be restored only by putting New Orleans
under water and totally destroying the other Southern ports, such measures
would, of course, be taken. But nobody wishes that they should be employed until
the necessity is beyond question. So, if it should appear that the Union can be
preserved only by a summary emancipation and arming of the slaves, it would be
an extreme measure justified by military necessity, and would unquestionably be
taken ; because the Government of the United States is more precious than the
system of human slavery.
The President clearly
contemplates the possibility of such emergencies, and he therefore takes care to
express the necessity of maintaining the Government, even at such cost, in the
most unreserved manner. That it is done without rhetoric or passion makes it
only the more impressive. Does any intelligent man suppose that Mr. Lincoln is
less firmly persuaded now than he was four years ago, when he said it, that a
house divided against itself can not stand? Does any body doubt that he believes
the house can be united upon the sole principle of permanent security, and that
he means to do all he can as the Chief Magistrate to secure that result ? His
method may not seem to us the most heroic, but so long as we confide in the
honesty of his purpose we shall not foolishly perplex him.
If any body supposes that Slavery
is going to survive this war he seems to us not rightly to understand human
nature. The military hand, which knows no rule but necessity, will loosen its
roots ; and the hand of law will afterward tear it up and
cast it into the fire. Probably
there is no man in the country who sees this more clearly than the President.
BRIGHT CHAPTERS OF OUR HISTORY.
THE annual Reports from the
Departments of Government are already part of our history; and it has few more
glowing chapters than they write. They are the record of the spirit and power of
the nation ; the final, crowning testimony to the quality of the race and the
character of our political system. The rebellion took its at the utmost
disadvantage. It had tied the national resources head and foot, as far as it
could, and it had the official control. It relied upon the long habit of peace
and upon party division to compel the nation to surrender. Last winter eminent
Slidell was one of them—said that the plot was perfect and sure. The
Montgomery Constitution was to be adopted; the new lawful administration set
aside ; New England left out, or suffered to come in only as a single State with
two Senators; New York was ready, they said, to accede, for they had just read
Fernando Wood's Message; there would be but little fighting, and that not
serious ; the Government was to be subverted, the nation betrayed, and the
revolution accomplished, before the world distinctly knew what was going on.
This was the amiable Slidell's
view, and Hunter's, and
Davis's. The gentlemanly James M. Mason, on the
19th of February, expressed his firm persuasion and ardent desire that the Union
would be and should be maintained; and the gentlemanly man, who is all honor,
wrote on the 20th to a correspondent in France, the details of the conspiracy.
These people had been so long sedulously poisoning the nation that they assumed
it to be paralyzed or dead. And there were honest men, too, who really feared it
might be so.
On the 12th of April the
rebellion began hostilities against the nation at
Sumter. We had then 16,000 regular troops,
mainly on the Western frontier. 75,000 volunteers for three months were called
for, 78,000 immediately responded. In July 500,000 volunteers were asked for
three years of the war, and the regular army was increased by 25,000 men. On the
first of December we have a force of 600,000 troops; and, reckoning the three
months' soldiers, the force that has responded to the call since April is more
than 700,000 men. Delaware, Maryland, Kentucky, and Missouri were then
threatened with rebellion. But they have held and been held fast to the
And this is only preparation.
Turning from the land to the
water, what is the naval condition and prospect of the nation ?
0n the 4th of March we had 12
vessels as a home squadron, and of these 4 only, mounting 25 guns, were in
Northern ports; the rest, 8 vessels of 162 guns, including the Sabine of 50
guns, were at Pensacola, at
Vera Cruz, or homeward bound from that port, all
without question intended by Toucey to fall into the hands of the rebels. Our
navy then counted 42 vessels, carrying 555 guns, and 7600 men. It now consists
of 264 vessels, 2557 guns, and 22,000 men. The naval arm of the nation has thus
far struck the heaviest blows at the rebellion. Hatteras and Port Royal are
henceforth historic names.
Thus the nation that Slidell,
Mason, and the other conspirators believed to be dead or hopelessly imbecile,
which they supposed was dough in their hands, in seven months has created an
army and navy, meanwhile maintaining every inch of the ground it occupied, and
retaking parts of the insurgent section. Surely we had never fairer cause for
congratulation. For it is our own vindication to ourselves. It is the
justification of our system which some could not help doubting.
And have not the two Secretaries
vindicated themselves also in regard to the charges of incompetency? Mr. Welles
was called to the head of the Navy Department when instant and extensive action
was required. He had no ships, no men, and he could do nothing but provide them
as fast as possible. But human possibility can never satisfy human impatience in
an emergency. There seemed to be inertness because there was delay. Because
ships were not produced at every point where they were needed ; because an
officer of the government could not make purchases without consideration, it
seemed as if nothing were doing, as if all would be lost before we raised a
hand. In addition to all this, the Secretary had a long beard—consequently he
Rip Van Winkle soundly sleeping. And now behold
his dreams !
Certainly not in our day have the
annual Message of the President and the Reports of the Secretaries struck a key
so perfectly in accordance with the spirit and intent of the Government and the
honor of the nation as those which were lately published. The Union means power,
and liberty, and peace.
AFTER THE ELECTION.
Now that the fury of the city
election is over, every honest citizen should think a moment of the grounds upon
which the late Mayor urged his reelection. For Mr. Wood will again offer himself
for office, doubtless, and his conduct should be well remembered.
His speeches just before the
election were the most startling that have been known in our civic affairs. He
deliberately incited the worst passions of the worst men, not politically, but
socially. He appealed to the most hateful prejudices, and in sheer desperation
strove to array class against class, race against race, and the city against the
State. This war, he said, is a war of the abolitionists against Southern men and
their rights. They are very willing to spend Irish and German blood to secure a
victory, and when they have secured it, they will bring the black laborer up
into the North to steal the work and the bread of the honest Irish and Germans.
As for the abolition war let
Dickinson and Cochrane, Bancroft and
Burnside, Meagher and Corcoran answer. (Next