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Civil War Harper's Weekly, November 15, 1862

Welcome to our online archive of Civil War Harper's Weekly newspapers. These original documents are full of incredible illustrations and eye-witness reports on the war. We have posted this material to help you develop a deeper understanding of this important conflict.

(Scroll Down to See Entire Page, or Newspaper Thumbnails below will take you to a specific page of interest)

 

United States Capitol

United States Capitol

Victor Hugo

Victor Hugo Poem

Snicker's Gap

Snicker's Gap

Galveston Harbor Map

Galveston Harbor Map

Virginia Map

Virginia Map

Summit Station

Summit Station

Running the Blockade

Running the Blockade

Pirate "Alabama" Cartoon

Sharpshooter

Sharpshooter

McClellan on Horse

McClellan on Horseback

Salt Factory

Rebel Salt Factory

Rebel Guerrillas

Rebel Guerrillas

 

 

HARPER'S WEEKLY.

[NOVEMBER 15, 1862.

722

"WHAT DO I DREAM OF?"

BY VICTOR HUGO.

WHAT do I dream of? Far from the low roof, Where now ye are, children, I dream of you;

Of you, young heads that are the hope and crown

Of my full summer, ripening to its fall.

Branches whose shadow grows along my wall,

Sweet souls scarce open to the breath of day,

Still dazzled with the brightness of your dawn.

I dream of those two little ones at play,

Making the threshold vocal with their cries,

Half tears, half laughter, mingled sport and strife,

Like two flowers knocked together by the wind.

Or of the elder two—more anxious thought

Breasting already broader waves of life,

A conscious innocence on either face,

My pensive daughter and my curious boy.

Thus do I dream, while the light sailors sing,

At evening moor'd beneath some steepy shore,

While the waves opening all their nostrils, breathe

A thousand sea-scents to the wandering wind,

And the whole air is full of wondrous sounds,

From sea to land, from land to sea, given back—

Alone and sad, thus do I dream of you,

Children, and house, and home, the tables set,

The glowing hearth and all the pious care

Of tender mother, and of grandsire kind;

And while before me, cover'd with white sails;

The limpid ocean mirrors all the stars,

And while the pilot, from the infinite sea,

Looks with calm eye into the infinite heaven,

I, dreaming of you only, seek to scan

And fathom all my soul's deep love for you—

Love sweet, and powerful, and everlasting—

And find that the great sea is small beside it.

HARPER'S WEEKLY.

SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 15, 1862.

THE MONEY QUESTION.

THE great argument of our enemies, at home and abroad, has been that the United States could not afford to pay the expenses of so great a war as we are waging, and that a day of compromise was approaching simply through "the inevitable collapse of the financial system of the North." Let us test this question by figures, without noticing the blunders or the misrepresentation of the enemy.

On 1st October last the total debt of the United States, including some $75,000,000 inherited from the Buchanan Administration, amounted, in round numbers, to $620,000,000. Since then there is reason to believe that the aggregate expenditures of Government have not exceeded $1,200,000 a day. We are probably, therefore, not far wrong when we say that at the time this paper reaches its readers the public debt will fall short of $670,000,000, at an annual charge for interest of something under $25,000,000. As the great expenditures of Government for arms and equipments have already been incurred, we take for granted, without much fear of being mistaken, that $1,200,000 a day, or $36,000,000 a month, or $432,000,000 a year will enable us to carry on this war for several years to come. Persons unacquainted with finance, like Mr. Thaddeus Stevens of Pennsylvania, have talked loosely on the subject of the public expenditures, and encouraged many vague notions on the subject. The event will correct these idle estimates, and will vindicate the calculations of Secretary Chase. On 1st July, 1863, supposing the war to continue so long, and every dollar of our expenditures to be borrowed of the public, the aggregate national debt will fall considerably short of nine hundred millions of dollars.

To meet the interest on this sum the Government has the revenue from taxes and from customs duties. It was the intention of Congress, in passing the new tariff and internal revenue measures, to secure an aggregate revenue of $175,000,000—that is to say, enough to defray, 1st, the interest on the debt; 2dly, the civil expenditures of Government; and, 3dly, the annual charge for a sinking fund to extinguish the principal of our national debt within a given time. Contrary to the expectation of almost every financial authority, the revenue from taxes and customs proves larger than the most sanguine estimate of the Committee of Ways and Means. The tariff will probably yield $80,000,000 instead of $60,000,000, and should there be a fair prospect of an early termination of the war even more: the Internal Revenue Act will yield very much more than the $115,000,000, which it was calculated to produce, how much more it is now difficult to say. At the Treasury Department it is understood that $160,000,000 is becoming a favorite estimate: Mr. Commissioner Boutwell is said to expect to receive $250,000,000; and there are those who look for a revenue of 25,000,000 a month or $300,000,000 a year. If the tax-law yields $200,000,000 a year, while the Tariff yields $75,000,000, it is clear that after paying the civil expenses of Government, the interest on the debt, and a contribution of 5 per cent. to the Sinking Fund, Mr. Chase will have nearly a hundred millions of dollars toward the current expenses of the war.

The distinctive feature of Mr. Chase's financial policy is the emission of irredeemable but convertible paper-money. That the issue of irredeemable paper, or, in other words, the attempt to make that money by law which is not money in fact, is bad, of course admits of no debate. But even the most bitter opponents of Mr. Chase now admit that, in the circumstances

in which he was placed, he had no alternative. It would have been utterly impossible to have borrowed in the past year at any rate of interest whatsoever, or under any conditions whatsoever, either at home or abroad, five hundred millions of dollars, which is the sum we have expended. By the exercise of much sagacity, and through the patriotism of the bankers of this and other cities, a sum of $250,000,000 or thereabouts has been borrowed at various rates of interest. The balance has been obtained—as alone it could have been obtained—by the issue of irredeemable paper. But this paper, unlike the old Continental money or the French assignats, to which it has been ignorantly compared, derives an intrinsic value from its convertibility into funded stock of the United States bearing interest at the rate of six per cent. per annum, payable at the end of twenty years and redeemable after five. This convertibility effectually prevents the new United States currency from declining to a nominal value or becoming worthless, as the paper money of old times so frequently did, unless, indeed, we are to assume that the bonds of this great Government, with interest payable in gold, are likewise to become worthless. Of this paper money Mr. Chase has now issued about $275,000,000. He has power to issue $25,000,000 more, besides postal currency, of which some $2,500,000 have been issued, and some $5,000,000 more will be issued before New Year.

The question is often asked, how much paper will Mr. Chase issue? Where will the limit be? The answer to these queries depends not on financial but military events. If by the time Congress meets the work of suppressing the rebellion seems nearly complete, conversions will proceed so rapidly that, with the aid of the revenue from taxes and customs, and the use of certificates of indebtedness, the expenses of the war may be defrayed without further issues of paper. If, on the contrary, the end of the war seems as distant in December as it did some months ago, Mr. Chase will probably apply to Congress for power to issue say $250,000,000 more legal tender money; coupling the application with a recommendation to Congress to provide for the gradual withdrawal from circulation of all existing bank-notes. Two hundred and fifty millions, with the receipts from taxes and customs, would probably make Mr. Chase easy till December, 1863; for, as currency became super-abundant, holders would at once convert it into stock, thus in effect taking a United States 6 per cent. loan at par. The convertible character of the legal tender paper constitutes a check against its being issued in excess. The moment there is more currency afloat than business requires, United States stocks will advance, and holders will convert their currency into the "five-twenties." Thus far the universal complaint has been not of a superabundance but of a scarcity of currency.

Thus far, the general working of Mr. Chase's convertible paper money system, and the success of the direct tax law, justify the belief that, if it were necessary, this war might be carried on for four or five years more without any danger of "financial exhaustion."

THE LOUNGER.

CONSERVATISM.

Two weeks since we spoke of the amusing ignorance of the meaning of many words in the most common use. Grave, respectable people consent to be humbugged by a loud noise, and because a certain policy is stigmatized as radical, believe that they are conservative when they oppose it. A conservative party is properly a party which aims to secure the guarantees of permanent social order upon which life and property depend. It is, of course, divided into two parts—the sensible and the foolish: the part which holds to the statu quo, without regard to the facts of human nature; and that which accommodates itself to the eternally changing circumstances of human affairs. The first condition of human society is movement. Its sole hope is in the conduct of that movement forward, and not backward. As with a child who must and will walk, the point is that he shall walk forward without falling, instead of stepping backward and merely tumbling over.

Conservatism is not stagnation. It is not fear to walk lest we fall. It is the care to walk steadily upright. It does not insist that the growing man shall wear the child's clothes, not only because it is ridiculous that he should do so, but because he will surely split them by a growth which he can not control. Conservatism only takes care that the clothes shall neither be too large nor in the extreme of the fashion.

Thus a course of conduct is not conservative merely because it is the old way. "The ancient landmarks" are beacons that guide upon a journey; they are not tent-poles around which an immovable camp is to be pitched. The old way is good in the old times, but it is bad in the new times. In '76 conservatism was revolution, because there was no other way to secure the essential guarantees of civil society but by fighting for them. Our chief fighter is the chief conservative of our history. So in these days conservatism is again war, because by war only can the same guarantees, threatened by bloody parricidal hands, be maintained. And again at this day our chief fighters are our chief conservatives; and the men who are known as demagogues and radicals in the dangerous sense, are they who are endeavoring to betray the fighters.

The country is convulsed by terrible war. It can end only in one of two ways; either by maintaining absolutely the authority of the Government, or by surrendering and limiting that authority. What is the true conservatism of the situation? Is it to have a momentary peace, at any price—even that of dismemberment, humiliation, and disgrace, with the endless wars and confusions sure to follow, in which there can be no security whatever for life and property—or is it to vindicate the supreme authority of that Government over every one of its citizens and every inch of its domain? Is Mexico a conservative nation? Is the principle that when any party is discontented it may take up arms to gain its ends and be sure to gain them a conservative principle? When the flag is fired upon—the symbol of national unity, power, splendor, and honor—does conservatism hasten and cry to the dishonorers and assassins, "Certainly, gentlemen!" and tear the flag into two or twenty tatters as the rebellion may dictate? No, no. In the moment of mortal national peril conservatism is the stoutest, stanchest, most heroic standard-bearer. It grasps the mighty banner, unrolls it to the sky; hails it as consecrated by the Past and illuminated by the Future; and declares, with dreadful earnestness, that whoever and whatever would disgrace or rend it shall be utterly confounded and destroyed. It is George Washington who is the conservative, and not Benedict Arnold.

Viewed by the light of a truth so evident, who are the conservatives in this country to-day? With whom will men who really wish the salvation of all the fundamental guarantees of life, liberty, and property take their stand? Will it be with those who declare openly for yielding to armed resistance of the laws? who say frankly that the Government can not maintain itself? that the effort to do so is a despotic effort? that there can be but one end of the war, and that is the humiliation of the Government, and the ruin of the country by the dissolution of the Union? Is it conservatism to declare that you will not support the lawful authorities of the country, as Mr. Fernando Wood says now that he will not? The same Fernando Wood who endeavored to resist the lawful authorities of the State, and who bewailed his inability to send Toombs, of Georgia, rifles to shoot Northern men. There are but two methods of conduct: you must either support the Government or oppose it. If you oppose it, is there any salvation for us? Do those who oppose it mean that there shall be any salvation from national destruction?

There is now, there always will be, a conservative party in this country. And in a tempest like this you can not split hairs. You must either act with your whole soul one way or the other. To be lukewarm is to help the enemy. There is a conservative party. Who are its representatives? Let every man honestly answer. Are they the President and the constituted authorities? Are they such men as Daniel S. Dickinson, Dennis M'Carthy, Henry S. Randall, Edward Everett, Joseph Holt, Andrew Johnson, Parson Brownlow, A. J. Hamilton, or are they such men as Fernando Wood, Vallandigham, Isaiah Rynders, Jefferson Davis, James Brooks, Robert Toombs, John Van Buren, Wigfall, Spratt, Keitt, and Rhett? All these men are either for the United States Government unconditionally against all rebellion, or they are not. If they are not, the shadowy differences of their opposition to it are of no importance. Whether they resist it by arms, or morally support armed resistance, their enmity is the same. They are the foes of the country, its government, its unity, and its flag. And as that country is the great hope of civil liberty and equal rights for all mankind, these men are conservative of anarchy, of rebellion, of social chaos.

Is that the conservative party to which any patriot belongs?

WHICH IS WHICH?

IT is a favorite saying with those who are more anxious to save slavery than the Government that the war is waged for black men. The harlequin Train, one of the chief orators of the new party of Slavery rather than the Union, says this. The other harlequins repeat it. "We won't fight for the nigger," says Mr. Cox, in substance. "We hate the nigger," exclaims, substantially, the entire party that sympathizes with the rebellion and wishes it well.

Now let this matter be plainly understood. Who are these who prefer blacks to whites? Who are these who constantly work and talk, and are at last fighting to maintain the place of the black man against the white? The Southern leaders, with their party allies at the North, insisted that they would bring black men into the free States and carry them into the Territories, and be protected by the Government. Those black men, both in the States and Territories, would of course have been the direct rivals of the white laborers. These saw the danger, and said at the polls: "No; you may keep your black men in your own States, but you shall not bring them into ours, nor into the common territory." The leaders answered: "We will either do what we choose in this matter, and we choose to carry our black men every where, and be protected by the Government, or else we will break it up by arms." The white laborers conquered the owners of the black men at the polls, and the owners turned around and are trying to destroy the Government. Why? Because the people, who are the Government, insist that they shall not bring the black men into all the States and Territories. Who, then, are to be justly called the fighters for the rivalry of black labor with white, if not those who, to secure and establish that rivalry, have taken up arms against us?

The people of this country, not moved by any profound moral conviction but by a perception of interest, were resolved to keep the Territories free from black slave labor. The rebels were resolved to take it there, and are now fighting because they were lawfully prevented. Which is fighting for the black labor against the white? There is no

necessary conflict. But slavery creates an antagonism, because it disgraces labor and degrades the laborer. Which, then, is the party of the working man, that which tries to keep away the competition of slave labor, or that which tries to establish it? Let every working man answer.

BRITISH FATUITY.

IT is instructive to observe from time to time the progress made by that apt scholar John Bull, in sympathy with a rebellion that aims to show the futility of a popular system and to establish the superiority of a monarchy. When the war began Lord John Russell informed us that it was a war for empire upon the part of the United States Government—a remark as sensible as to say, when a man is hung in London for murder, after due conviction, that the Government killed him in order to show its authority. Mr. Gladstone lately informs us that Jeff Davis has created an army and navy, and has developed a nation. The words are significant from an English minister.

Meanwhile Mr. Stevenson, in his remarkable little book, "Thirteen Months in the Rebel Army," tells us that the rebels declare that they have received three hundred thousand stand of arms from abroad, chiefly from England and France. The later arrivals from England, he says, exhibit the crown-marks uneffaced. "I have seen Enfield rifles of the manufacture of 1861 and 1862 with the stamp of the 'Tower' on the lock-plate." He adds that "England's neutrality" is a joke among the rebel officers. But it is a joke they enjoy with the rest of the world.

The most amusing illustration of the resolute idiocy of John Bull in the American question is a late comment in some commercial paper upon the present attitude of the rebels. It is arguing the question of recognition, and the moral encouragement it would afford. Mr. A. H. Stephens, the rebel Vice-President, in unfolding the principles of the new Government, said, two years ago, that there might be no misunderstanding what the rebellion meant: "This our new Government is the first in the history of the world based upon this great physical, philosophical, and moral truth (of Slavery)." But the paper is not appalled, and exclaims, with virtuous approbation, that the citizens of the new nation "must already be aware that, so far they have earned it, they already have the moral encouragement of the sympathy of every free people."

Not the least curious incident of the time is the open renunciation by most of the leading English organs of opinion of the position of Great Britain as the traditional friend and defender of Liberty.

A NEW ORATOR.

THE popular lecture system, or Lyceum, is peculiar to us. There are courses of lectures in the great European Universities, and single literary and scientific discourses delivered before Mechanics' Institutions and elsewhere in England; but the regular winter series of popular lectures upon miscellaneous topics is strictly an American institution. The tendency of the lecture with us is to the discussion of abstract social or moral or political principles; but the interest in famous persons is imperishable, and the charm of such topics undeniable. In fact, there are many who think such subjects the only proper ones for miscellaneous lectures, and they will be glad to hear of the arrival of a gentleman who, if half that the London papers say of him be true, will make our most favorite orators look to their laurels.

Mr. T. Mason Jones, late of Trinity College, Dublin, is by birth an Irishman, and—as all true Irishmen ought to be—a fast friend of this country and its Government, and not of the conspiracy to ruin both. He has delivered in London "orations" upon various literary topics which are praised in the most lavish manner. His subjects are drawn partly from Irish history and biography. Curran and the wits of the Irish bar; Dean Swift and his critics; Grattan and the Irish orators; Burke; Sheridan; John Milton; John Wesley and Methodism; Daniel O'Connell and Irish agitation; Byron; Goldsmith; Moore; Shelley; Garibaldi; Macaulay; and the American Rebellion. Here, surely, is a fascinating list. Of the orator's qualifications the London Times says: "He combines all the careful elaboration of a practiced reader with the ease and nature of a spontaneous speaker. ....He is a real orator." The Daily News says: "The great thing which will strike the habitue of London entertainments on first listening to Mr. Jones is the spontaniety and ease of his discourse, which, marked as it is by an impassioned earnestness and force never to be confounded with the conversational assurance of our most distinguished entertainers, yet flows rapidly onward, unchecked by the slightest hesitation." All the papers testify to his remarkable oratorical gifts.

Mr. Jones comes to this country well recommended. He has here a fresh arena—but he will probably allow he has also distinguished rivals. Room and fair play, then, for the new-comer! It is a field in which a man can maintain himself only by his own power and effort. We understand Mr. Jones to ask only the fair field, relying upon himself to win the fullest favor.

A LITTLE COMMON-SENSE.

"But at any rate the black men will come North when they are freed!" is a cry which is roared out by every submissionist who is driven from every other position. But why will they?

Suppose, friend, you live upon an island. Suppose that by the law of the island you must work hard all your life, and your children indefinitely after you, without pay, for the most wretched food and shelter, and all for the profit of a man who has no more right to make you work for him than you to make him work for you. Suppose that he beats you cruelly if you will not work; gives you a woman to marry whom he chooses for you; sells your children to pay his own debts; and chases you (Next Page)


 

 

  

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