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madness of rebellion, or been stripped of them in the terrors of misrule. We are brought face to face with the conditions. under which the Republic is to enter upon another term of its existence, and the new nation must be constructed out of the materials so shattered and jarred by the earthquake of civil war.
The result, looked at only from our point of view, might seem to justify all that buoyant and sanguine confidence with which we have looked forward to it from the first. The victory leaves nothing to mar its thoroughness; and it is won on a field as conspicuous as were the early humiliation and defeat. The nation has fully vindicated its position before the world. There can be no possible challenge of its right hereafter, no repetition of the affronts that stung four years ago. For the first time, it knows its military strength. Proudly - not, we trust, boastfully or aggressively it bears the stained and torn banners of those terrible campaigns. The full flush and throb of this new consciousness it felt, on that one gorgeous holiday, when " the triumphal procession rolled through the broad avenues of the capital of this Republic, for twelve hours, a hundred and fifty thousand strong, and thirty miles, at least, in length," in the homeward march of the armies of the Potomac and the Mississippi. Those armies, no longer a drain upon the nation's resources, are already absorbed back into the ordinary veins and channels of its life. The latent strength that was in the democracy has revealed itself for once; and we know it now, as we could never have suspected it before.
So, too, with a certain religious fervor and intensity of that faith in republican liberty, whose reality, indeed, all thoughtful men had known, as one of the great forces that move mankind, but whose formidable and appalling strength could not have been understood without this last extreme test of it. A faith none the less strong, because till now latent, and only half-conscious of itself; but now far more clear, intelligent, and self-consistent. The nation has been schooled under terrible chastisements in the doctrine of liberty. Under sharp compulsion, it has had to unlearn the errors and ignorances of
the past. The uneasy sense of some hostile and wrong thing harbored within itself, which has given us a divided conscience heretofore, has been purged away by fire. Our democratic theory is at length brought into harmony with itself. It means hereafter, what it never did before, equal rights and universal freedom. The formal provisions of the Constitution are interpreted to conform with the "glittering generalities" of the Declaration. And, as an element of national unity, vigor, and strength, it is impossible to exaggerate the value of the clearness, precision, and harmony, which have been given to that faith in human liberty on which our political structure rests.
And, along with this, the nation has established, for the first time, a strict and firm gradation of its powers. The authority and majesty of the Union, our only security against everlasting jealousies and feuds, are secure, we may trust, once for all. The cause of public order is in the keeping of a strong, unchallenged central Government. The doctrine of secession, the threat of disunion, which have been the standing weakness of our politics for fifty years, and the occasion of almost all our humiliation and shame, have been thoroughly laid to rest in the grave dug for them by the ambition of their defenders. A class aristocracy sustained by brute force in its most gross and brutal form a class so wanton and insolent in prosperity, so profligate in power, so cruel to desperation in its failure and defeat—has persisted in opposing every overture of amity and conciliation, persisted in holding to the chance of a barren independence to be got by war, until it is annihilated with a destruction sudden, awful, and complete, such as we can recall no other instance of in history, unless it be the ruin of the profligate nobility of France in the revolution of seventy-five years ago. That great danger and dread no longer exists in the heart of our free commonwealth of States.
Among the problems settled for us by these years of war, we must also reckon that which seeks a stable basis for the industry and the currency of the country. Each of these by
VOL. LXXIX.-5TH S. VOL. XVII. NO. 1.
itself had offered a task too hard for our average party politics of expediency. The old controversies of bank and tariff are effectually laid to rest, for one generation at least. The war has taken them up together, and compelled each of them to help in the solution of the other. To a degree which could not possibly have been hoped, or even thought, the industrial resources of the nation have been developed to keep pace with the enormous drains upon its strength: so that the return of peace finds us with better cultivated farms and more prosperous workshops; with arts, manufactures, and mines far more productive than at any former period; with more healthy and prudent habits of business dealing, and a lessening of the vast inflation of private credit; with a Government loan lightly borne, and easily absorbed among the people, to as high an amount as thirty and even forty millions in a single day; above all, with a national system of currency we should never have had, unless forced on us by the exigencies of the war, resting on the public good faith and credit, and relieving half the old annoyances of conveyance and exchange. So that the public debt- vast as it is, unless we reckon it in comparison with the resources which are to cover itits temporary uses, as a new pledge of loyalty, and as a cumbrous but very serviceable balance-wheel to steady the great machine of industry. And some, misled by the real ease with which the weight of it is borne in its universal distribution, have even revived the monstrous fallacy, that it is so much. clear addition to the nation's wealth.
Such, if we look at it from one side, is the condition in which peace finds us, a condition of unity and vigor, of prosperity, confidence, and conscious strength, which we have never enjoyed before; relieved from the one great spell, the terror of disunion and civil war, that has always been the thick cloud in our horizon. It is the full and perfect realizing of all we have ever claimed or hoped as the result of a successful struggle; that which we knew was within our reach on the condition only, that the people should be true to itself. And now, to look a little at the other side. It is one consequence of peace, that, along with the jurisdiction, it restores.
to the nation the responsible control of nearly half its own geographical area, alienated by that fierce feud, with the passions and bruises of the contest all fresh upon it. "Our Government! we have no Government," is the language of some who have submitted to the force of arms; "you must govern us as you can." Sullen, defiant, and bitterly resentful, we must expect to find the temper of large sections and classes in the South offering a problem of administration hardly less difficult than that which has made the calamity of Russian Poland, or British India. A mere reign of military force would be no solution such as the genius of our country craves, or the conscience of our people would permit. Almost any profligacy of political compact and connivance we might expect, rather than any long persistence in the costs and corruption of military rule. The task is not merely, or even mainly, to rule a conquered district in the name of order; it is, how to reconcile and educate it in the name of liberty. Any experiment is urged, that has a hope of showing how a return to self-government there may be possible, speedy, and safe. Four or five of the seceded States are already on the road to reconstruction under the auspices of the central power at Washington. Hardly any political danger would appear to be so much dreaded as an indefinite protraction of a military protectorate.
But how soon, in fact, can that government of the armed hand cease? How soon can we be assu ssured, that the restoring of political privilege will be accepted in good faith, and not for malice and revenge? How soon will an idle and fierce aristocracy of planters, or a more idle and fierce proletariat of mean whites, accept the conditions of an industrial and free civilization, which they have all along insulted and mocked, and which has but now scourged them into a submission as hateful as it is treacherous and unstable? We speak of that part of the population, larger or smaller, still rebellious at heart; not forgetting the increasing number who accept the altered condition of things with the honest intention to abide by it, and make the best of it. These are still, we fear, a small minority, at least in the planting States. We
hear of some in Alabama, that they consent to the doom of actual starvation, in sheer sullenness of despair, rather than the ignominy of earning their daily bread. We hear of others who visit their cowardly vengeance on the wretched negroes, as the source of their troubles and the authors of their defeat, in brutal maiming and mutilation of them, and in hunting them to death; so that their last state is worse than their first. And how far can we begin to see the germ of something better? From a private letter dated Charleston, June 4, we take the following:
"Charleston has undergone a great change since we came here (in April). Then, nobody was to be seen in the streets; no goods to speak of in the stores: it was a gloomy, deserted city. Now, the streets are crowded, and with a better class of people: gray-backs swarm; I think there must be more rebel than Union soldiers in the city. The shops on King Street present a gay and attractive appearance. Business is reviving, and with it, I hope, the destitution in the city will be lessened. I am told, however, that the suffering is on the increase, and it must be so with those who have no business, and who had at first only a little property on which to live. That is gone, and there is nothing for them now but charity or starvation.
"I hear reports of various sorts from the interior of the State. In some places, slavery is existing in its fullest form; indeed, with extra severity, owing to the uneasiness of the negroes. In self-defence (or, rather, defence of the system), the planters often shoot them down with very little provocation. But, wherever they are near any of our troops, especially if the officers are of the right stamp, the planters come in with more or less willingness, and make contracts with their hands; giving them, generally, half of the crop, besides supporting them through the season. This I think very reasonable, or rather liberal. There are some other places which are abandoned by the masters, and carried on by the people on their own account. According to their own statements, they have in large crops, which are doing well. In some such instances, the owners have come back, taken the oath, and then made a contract for half the crop it seems unjust to the negroes; but of course every thing depends on the final action of Government about the lands. In still other districts, there is almost anarchy, with bands of guerillas shooting down negroes, and overawing the community. Near Georgetown, matters were in a very