vast and costly steam navy — a war in which well-appointed armies had to be transported by water or by railroads for hundreds of miles — a war for which nearly every weapon, every carriage, every means of offense or defense, had to be created or bought on the spur of the exigency — a war wherein our inexperience and lack of adaptation to the business were serious elements of cost — a war wherein countless millions had to be raised on the heel of every great disaster — often, when our seat of Government was in imminent peril of capture, and when foreigners, with scarcely an exception, proclaimed our cause already hopelessly lost, and deafened the general ear with their vehement protests against the criminal madness of pouring out rivers more of blood and heaping up mountains of debt to no possible end but to gratify a sullen, stupid, brutal obstinacy — a bankrupt but inexorable pride.
When we add that a very considerable proportion of the wealth and intelligence of the loyal States was profoundly hostile to the prosecution of the War
on our part, as fatal to all hopes of any desirable or even possible restoration of the Union
, and, very naturally, not only refrained from subscribing to the loans continually pressed on the market, but dissuaded others from subscribing, and that we number few moneyed capitalists among our people-most, even of those in thrifty and comfortable circumstances, being oftener in debt than otherwise, while very few are accustomed to control considerable sums in money — it must be felt that the raising, in one way or another, of the gigantic loans and other means whereby the War
was at length brought to a triumphant conclusion, was the standing miracle of the contest.
Had the wildest devotee of “ Manifest Destiny
” been asked beforehand to estimate the extent to which our Government could borrow money or incur debt to prosecute a Civil War which imperiled its existence, he could hardly have gone beyond One Thousand Millions of Dollars — which was barely a third of the debt actually created; and, when we consider also the State
and local debts likewise incurred in raising and fitting out their several contingents, the actual debt incurred was probably over Four Billions — the total expenditure in prosecuting the War
on our side being considerably above that stupendous sum.
The marvel of this achievement is not dwarfed by the fact that the Rebels
encountered even greater financial straits and struggled through kindred difficulties.
They were fighting almost always on their own soil — they used railroads, &c., as though they were public property — nearly all their men of wealth and position either were or professed to be wholly devoted to their cause, and ready to contribute whatever they had to its maintenance.
They paid nothing as bounties to recruits, obtaining them by a relentless conscription; their marches were hundreds of miles to our thousands.
On the ocean, they spent little or nothing; while our outlay for vessels, in building, equipping, and maintaining our fleets and naval armaments, amounted to hundreds of millions of dollars.
True, they were obliged to resort to irredeemable paper earlier, while its depreciation proceeded faster and much farther than ours; but, having ceased to pay their soldiers, and