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Victory and Victuals.

up through the agonized esophagus of the Confederacy comes the piteous prayer for prog. The most ardent rebel must eat — so must his rib and his responsibilities, both of the sable and the Caucasian tint — so must the gallant steed which bears him to the battle. Jeremy, in Congreve's “Love for love” pathetically protests his utter inability to breakfast upon a certain chapter of Epictetus, although his [396] more philosophical master declares it to be “a feast for an emperor.” The insurgents are just discovering that a hungry man cannot satiate his physical appetites by the perusal of the speeches of Mr. Calhoun and the Resolutions of ‘98.

The reading and marking and inward digestion of crazy political theories go but a little way toward producing chyme and chyle. The duodenum is n't a patriotic organ; and the bravest armies can never successfully fight a famine. Napoleon's principle was to make war support war; but here the case is different, for what pleasure can a Rebel take in a raid on his own hen-house, especially when no feathered creature is roosting therein? The chief luxury of the Roman soldier was a daily mouthful of vinegar, but the bibatory needs of a full-blooded Seceding Chevalier are by no means so simple.

Like Mrs. Gamp, he not only likes to have the bottle on the shelf, but he rather than else prefers to find something in it stiff and strong when he draws the cork. A parched and empty warrior may be just the creature to attack the enemy's commissariat train; but when it comes to long and steady campaigning, or the great exertion of a pitched battle, nothing can compensate for the want of regular rations. And if soldiers find short commons debilitating, notwithstanding their presumptive devotion to the cause, what must have been the intolerable agony of civilians, especially in the city of New Orleans, where until lately, the sale of fluid rapture was invariably suppressed by the provost guard at [397] half past 9 o'clock, p. m.? The considerate and benevolent Banks, we notice, has mitigated this dry hardship. Thirst may now be quenched by the citizens of that region up to midnight — as for the soldier, the gates of mercy are shut upon him, or rather for him the generous decanters are inexorably stopped. Disloyalty and drink go together in those parts — there are no cocktails (except in their caps) for the defenders of the Constitution.

But it is in Richmond that famine is the fiercest — a fact from which we draw the happiest augury. For Mosheim, in his Ecclesiastical History, tells us that fasting was introduced into the religious polity “from a notion that the demons directed their stratagems principally against those who pampered themselves with delicious fare, and were less troublesome to the lean and hungry.” Now if this be so, what a sorry time these demons, who may in some sort be considered as spiritual tape-worms, must be having just now in rationless Richmond! ‘T is felt there, we are sorry for the craft to say, most excruciatingly in the printing-offices, and consequently the howls which issue from these nurseries of Secession civilization are truly tremendous. The Editors find that fireeating is a mere figment of the imagination — no man can grow fat upon theoretical, ignited carbon — the bravest of the brave may make others eat his sword, but he cannot himself lunch upon it without fatal consequences.

The Richmond Examiner dolefully declares that while citizens, editors, private soldiers, and other [398] humble creatures are undergoing semi-starvation, and submitting to what we should suppose, from the passionate earnestness of the appeal, must be something like the pangs of Ugolino, the resources of the city are employed “to pamper idle pride and official indolence.” The officers of the Rebel Army it is asserted, keep, at great charge, an unconscionable stud of chargers, of a voracity almost as great, we should think, as that of the mares of Diomedes; and draw rations of oats, and other fodder, for those superfluous beasts, which are used only in the peaceful business of airing the Richmond ladies upon pleasant evenings. This, the editor, who evidently wishes himself one of Capt. Gulliver's renowned and cultivated steeds, comments upon with much bile. But he forgets the law of self-preservation. How does he know that these Lothario-like officers are not feeding the horses that the horses may hereafter feed them? It may come to that and worse in Richmond yet. Indeed, our troubled brother, in our opinion, should look upon this stable luxury with a philosophical leniency; for in default of fat horses, how can he be sure that these epauletted epicures may not betake themselves to the eating even of lean Editors? Fiat justitia, ruat coelum, roars this excited Examiner, which being interpreted, signifies — Give me my bit of bread and butter, though the bits of blood belonging to the officers get never an individual oat. Well, poor man! we think that he is right. By what legal authority is the wearer of many buttons permitted to set up as a Dives, while this poor Editor [399] plays the unsatisfactory part of Lazarus, with no chance whatever of finding solace in Abraham's bosom? Why should Letcher be allowed, in respect to strong waters, to create a kind of Sahara wherever he goes, while an intellectual creature, like The Examiner, is unable to find a drop, examine he the closets never so closely?

There are those who by the folly of the Rebel faction have been utterly ruined; there are others who, of an ample fortune, have little enough left to keep the souls and bodies of their household together. These the hungry oligarchs propose to subject to a third or, for ought we know, to a thirtieth skinning. Private property is to be seized wherever found, for the use of the Rebel Army, and to be most magnanimously paid for in Rebel paper-money not worth one cent on the dollar. But if it stood proudly at par, no hungry Virginian could eat it, with or without pepper and salt; nor can he buy anything with it when there is nothing to sell. Unhappy, hungry Virginian!

March 25, 1863.

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