the country was losing its best men on the battle-fields and in the hospitals, their places were rapidly filled by the hardy emigrants.
The abundance of money and apparent prosperity gave rise to an undue spirit of speculation.
The people acted as though the money expended by the government, and the lives lost, was so much added to the value of property in place of properly considering it as a loss; and it did seem at one time as if the higher the prices of land, of labor, and material rose, the greater was the demand for all. These things gave the appearance of the highest state of prosperity, and did much to make many people look upon war as the legitimate road to success.
Among the civilized nations of the earth the United States
has, in proportion to the means of her people, occupied a high place in the line of humanitarian institutions.
War means the wounding of men, the presence of diseases which come from exposure, hardships, irregularities of living and overtasking of powers of endurance.
It means mental as well as physical agony; it makes widows and orphans, leaving them helpless and poor; it takes away from old age the support of the strong-armed son; the tendency of war on the morals of men in the army is bad, the excitement of the passions, the absence of home restraints and home comforts operate injuriously.
The presence of all these liabilities and evils to which the men were exposed who offered their lives in defense of their country excited in the people an earnest desire and a feeling of imperative duty to provide for them in the way best fitted to meet the varied demands.
The medical department of the government developed great ability in the professional part of its work and great inventive power in planning hospitals, ambulances, couches, chairs, etc., many of which should be added to the list of improvements which foreign governments have adopted.
In the French
war the hospital accommodations were largely copies of the plans worked out by the officers in charge of the medical department of our army.
Wherever permanent hospitals were built, every aid and attention that could be furnished by the voluntary contribution of the people, both male and female, were gladly offered-whether these contributions were in the form of flowers to enliven the sufferer, and of enticing cookery to tempt the appetite, of willingness to be eyes, arms or hands to write the letters of love to those at home, or whatever was needed that would comfort the invalid.
The Sanitary Commission and the Christian Commission were as ready to afford all the comfort and aid they could on the field of battle or in the far off temporary hospital as in the permanent hospital.
Aid was tendered the widow and the orphans, and the aged fathers and