case, but they are vastly increased when the passions begotten of civil strife become dominant.
While all parts of the United States
have reason for pride in the manhood and valor of American soldiers, and in the patriotic devotion of citizens to the cause which they believed to be right, and profound gratitude for the restoration of the Union of the States, the people of this entire country should bow their heads in humiliation when they think of the general low state of civilization which made such a war possible, and much of its conduct the dictate of passion and hate rather than of reason or regard for the public good.
Even if it is true, as some soldier-statesmen have said, but which I do not believe, that occasional wars are necessary to the vitality of a nation,—necessary to keep up the fires of patriotism and military ardor upon which the national life depends,— let them be foreign and not civil wars.
It is a great mistake, though apparently a common one, to suppose that a country benefits ultimately, in some mysterious way, by civil war, in spite of all its losses during the war. That able scientist General M. C. Meigs
demonstrated years ago that this country had, in accordance with a general law, suffered permanent national injury, irreparable in all future time, by its Civil War, and showed very closely the amount of that injury.
It is, no doubt, true that the body politic, like the natural body, may in extreme cases be so diseased either by inheritance or from violation of natural laws, as to require the surgeon's knife to remove the diseased part.
But in such a case there is little cause for pride except in the skill of the surgeon, and little cause for rejoicing except in the fact that the operation was successful, that neither the disease nor the surgeon's knife killed the patient.
While the great Von Moltke
and others were unquestionably right in their views of the necessity for thorough