Greed for gain and Office.
--Whilst the Southern
people in general have exhibited the most disinterested love of country, and the manifestations of individual liberality and generosity transcend everything that we have ever heard of in the history of nations, there have been displays on the part of individuals of a disposition to enrich themselves out of the needs of the country which are positively disgraceful to human nature.
Whatever may be said of Yankee devotion to the Almighty Dollar
, if any Yankee can be found who will kneel lower and in dirtier places, in his worship of the yellow god, than some of our own monopolists, land-sharks, and speculators, we hope the creature may be caught by our Generals
as speedily as possible, and forwarded here to save the reputation of his countrymen for being the most hard-hearted and unscrupulous traders in the world.
The base and sordid passions of fallen man never appear in more repulsive contrast to virtue than in a war like this, when all that is good and chivalrous in human nature is developed; when heroes with lofty port are performing deeds which future generations will record with wonder; when martyrs are consecrating a hundred battle-fields with their generous blood; when demigods are treading the stage of public action, and upon every household altar mothers, wives, and sisters are offering sacrifices of all that makes life precious and happy.
Johnny Hook bawling "Beef!
beef!" amid the grand scenes of the old Revolution was a type of the selfish and covetous traders of the present day, who do not seem to know or care what exhibition they make of themselves, so that they put money in their purse.
Whilst the ship of State is buffeting the mountain waves, and the gale is howling for her destruction, these greedy wretches are plundering the lockers of the mariners who, at the very moment, are exposed to the peltings of the storms and risking their lives for the common salvation.
Scarcely an article of use and necessity which has not been quadrupled in price by grasping speculators, when there is no earthly reason for the unnatural inflation.
Individual instances of extortion practiced upon soldiers have become as frequent as they are disgraceful.
Patriotic and honorable traders, who have contented themselves with reasonable profits, seem to compose a respectable minority, whilst speculative combinations give the price to articles of prime necessity, and by the monopoly which they create, throw obstacles in the exercise of that unexampled private liberality which is struggling to furnish supplies to the army.
If our forces were able to advance as fast as our prices, the Confederate
flag would be now waving in triumph over Niagara falls
The avidity for office exhibits another phase of human selfishness not less disgusting at such a time as this than the vulgar greed of gold.
There seems to be a disposition not only to have office, but to monopolize as many posts of honor and profit as can be possibly clutched and carried by a single individual.
Whilst the great mass of the people are surrendering the ordinary comforts of life, even giving up their children, and giving them up cheerfully; whilst many men have lost all, and others a large portion of their means of support, and submit with readiness to the sacrifice; whilst women are surrendering the very blankets from their beds, the food from their tables, and dressing in homespun, to help on the glorious cause; whilst a quarter of a million of Southern gentlemen are encountering not only the perils of the battle, but the more trying privations and discomforts of the camp, sleeping often on the damp earth, exposed to the blazing sun by day and the sickening dew at night, it is most wonderful and intolerable that the hunger for office, instead of feeling rebuked by these majestic exhibitions of a nation's free will offerings, should only become more ravenous for spoils, and seek to stuff itself to repletion with every description and every variety of official patronage.
The people ought to burn the brand of their indignant reprobation deep into this selfish greed for gain and office wherever it is to be found.
The money changers and other birds of prey who are endeavoring to make a lodgment in the temple of our new Government should be driven out with a lash of scorpions.