The Northern War debt.
The financial condition of the Northern Union presents some of the most remarkable features ever witnessed in public indebtedness.
The amount of debt already incurred, including that which existed before the war began, is at least seven hundred and fifty millions of dollars.
There are six hundred thousand men under arms, and the cost per man of foot soldiers in time of peace has for many years been a thousand dollars. It would not be extravagant to place the cost at this time, in the midst of war, for infantry, cavalry, and artillery, at fifteen hundred dollars per annum.
The peace estimate for a single year at sea is sixty thousand dollars a gun; for a single gun on land, four thousand dollars. The cost of a cavalry charger, including original price and the keep, under the high prices of war, cannot be less on the average than five hundred dollars a year; for the average duration of army horses in actual service is less than twelve months. It is therefore a reasonable estimate to put the cost per man in the Northern
army at fifteen hundred dollars a year, including all branches of the service, and counting in the whole naval force as a part of the round six hundred thousand men under arms in pay of the Washington Government
This would bring the aggregate cost per annum of the war establishment of the North
to nine hundred millions of dollars, and we have no doubt that when all the settlements come to be finally made in the years succeeding the war, the expenditures will be found to have reached that annual sum.
Hostilities have gone on to such a length that it will be impossible to bring peace about at any time short of a year from now, even if vigorous efforts to that end were at once set on foot.
And even if peace could be concluded within that period, it would require a long time after its consummation to disband the troops not intended to be retained in the permanent military service.
In fact, the war sealed of expenditures would continue necessarily for several months after the conclusion of peace.
It would be, therefore, quite in vain to calculate on a cessation of war expenditures within less than eighteen months from this period, and the Federal
debt, now seven hundred and fifty millions, will have been swollen to two thousand millions.
The British people enjoy the reputation among their fellow-men of being the most heavily taxed population in the world.
They number in the three kingdoms and the colonies hard on to forty millions of souls, besides the dense native population of several of the countries subject to the British Crown
The British debt chargeable upon this forty millions of people is about four thousand five hundred millions of dollars, bearing interest at the rate of three per cent per annum.
The Northern Union numbers twenty-two millions of people, and the debt to which they are already committed and cannot now escape, though not yet all actually incurred, is at least two thousand millions of dollars, bearing interest at the rate nominally of six per cent. per annum as to part and seven and 30,100ths.
per cent as to the residue.
If, as will soon be the case, they be compelled to sell their bonds at less than parricides — say eighty-five cents in the dollar, or less — then the percentage of interest actually paid, on the amount realized, would be proportionally enhanced.
In fact, it would be a moderate estimate to put the rate of interest on the Northern
debt at seven per cent. The interest on two thousand millions of debt at seven per cent is greater than that on forty-five hundred millions of debt at three per cent; and the Yankees
are already committed to a public debt requiring as heavy a taxation as that of Great Britain
To meet this taxation, they have but twenty-two millions of population, while the British
empire has forty millions.
The wealth of Great Britain
Where the North
boasts their thousands, the English
can boast their tens and hundreds of thousands.
The British peo
ple could much more easily pay two to one of taxes with the North
than the North
can pay two to their one.
These facts are sufficient to show the very ugly scrape into which the Yankees
have got themselves by this unholy war.
It is impossible with these prospects before them for their finances to stand up. They must break down.
It is the worst state of things ever before presented in the history of public indebtedness.
And here is at least the true solution of the war. It cannot go on without money, and what becomes of Yankee credit in the face of facts such as the foregoing?