The War must be ended.
[From the London Times, March 1st]
"This war must be settled somehow." The world has been waiting to hear these words.
The present moment is, perhaps, rather earlier than any one expected, but already we catch the expected phrase, borne in confidential whispers across the Atlantic
It has found birth in Wall street, it stirs gently in its cradle, and it is swathed in unconvertible rags.
No one yet dares to own it openly.
The thousands of sul ures who are living upon their prey would scream horribly, and attack with beaks and claws any one who should, without adequate power, interfere with their banquet; but still the phrase is heard, and it is growing into more potent voice--"In some way or other this war must be settled."
"Wait a while; wait just ninety days, and the rebellion will be crushed," is still the cry; as it has been for thrice ninety days--the cry of the contractors, the Government
officials the fanatics and all who find power or profit or distinction in this civil war. The merchants and bankers and trading classes have waited, and what do they see?
They see the Atlantic cities
withering from hour to hour; they see the warehouses empty, the larger dwelling houses untenanted, property valueless, and trade dying.
They see a wasteful and corrupt expenditure of half a million sterling every day, and no results except an accelerated pace towards national insolvency and general ruin.--Still they are told wait another ninety days and all will be well.
It may be well for those smart individuals, who by that time will have gathered all they can hope to gain, have realized their plunder, and lodged in where waste paper is not a legal tender.
But will it be well with the owners of house property in the East
, who are new letting their stores rent-free to any one who will pay the rates? Will it be well with the poor and thrifty producers of the West
, who are condemned by the terms of the Constitution
to be taxed in a ratio proportioned to population, and not to property?
Will it be well with the holders of state bonds, which were hitherto holding a respectable position as securities, but must now be overlaid by the mountain of National debt?--Will it be well, either, with the holders of the Federal State
securities, and the possessors of paper money, who will look around in vain for some sources whence their claims may be met, and will awake to the reality that their property is but a delusion and a dream?
This is all that those who wait will ever see. The very joy and exultation which the "successes" of the last few weeks have caused in the North
, show hew little the promoters of this war really expect that absolute conquest which they promise.
The capture of an earth-work on the Tennessee river
, over if it be followed by the capture of the stronger neighboring fort upon the river Constantine
, is only one of the first of a long series of military preparations for a campaign in Kentucky
If the invaders should obtain this success, its use will only be to enable them to feed the army which has advanced through Kentucky
, and to keep it in working order for operating on a theatre five hundred miles distant from the opposing armies on the Potomac
A year of successes would only give them military possession of two States which were never among the most zealous in the Southern
As to the descents upon the coast, they are annoyances rather than wounds.
They are but like the burning darts which the Spaniard thrusts into the flanks of a sluggish bull to sting him from his defensive posture.
A hundred such victories and such inroads as these tell nothing towards the conquest of a country half as large as Europe
, it that country be really earnest in its own defence.
The Southern States before they revolted must have expected all this, and much more.
We have always in Europe
given the North
credit for first successes very greatly superior to these, and have reckoned that their real difficulties would only commence when they had mastered the great strategic points throughout the South
At the rate at which the war is now proceeding it will take, not ninety days, but ninety years to "crush this rebellion;" and the respective grandsons of General McClellan
and General Beauregard
may at last fight out the battle for Manassas
"Wall street" begins to see all this more clearly.
It was worth a costly experiment to retain that rich Southern business, and New York will be hard put to it either to win it back or to do without it. But the capitalists have now come to the conclusion that the game is up, and that the experiment is passing out of their hands.
The suggestion to raise $150,000,000 yearly, by direct taxation, does not deceive them.
They know very well that, even if the sovereign people would submit to endure a taxation as heavy as that of England
, America could not continuously raise more than £10,000,000 sterling annually.
The rough calculation has always been that in capacity of taxation the proportion between the two countries is that American dollars are equal to English pounds sterling.
It we raise £50,000,000, executive of our customs, America probably could if she pleased, raise £50,000,000 or £10,000,000.
Such a possible revenue, even if it were not based upon the wild improbability that the Western States
will consent to pay any such taxes, would be a very poor security for half the debt which has already accrued.
In this state of things the commercial adage, "the first loss is the best," comes into play, and the capitalists of New York are now watching for the first opportunity when it may be safe to say openly, "This war must be settled somehow."
This "first loss" is indeed bad enough.
There are all the profits of the Southern
The coffers are all drained by a disastrous loan of many millions.
Having suspended specie payments, of course they cannot borrow any money from abroad, and they have a Government so recklessly manufacturing paper money that there is no hope of keeping up for any length of time the delusion that it is of value.
Still there would be some hope if they could stop where they now are. Peace might restore to them some trade relations with the South
, and while the more indolent Southerners have wealth the sharp Nor harner may always hope that he will get some of it. How the frightful current expenditure can be stopped, or how the war can be settled, it is, perhaps, premature to speculate.
Nor do we venture to calculate that the power of capital is immediately felt as decisive on such a question.
America has such imperishable advantages in her great unbroken wastes of fertile soil that no more financial difficulties can strangle her. She may borrow and repudiate over and over again, and ruin every capitalist she has, and yet rise again and thrive.
But at such a crisis as this the interests of moneyed men are likely to be of great influence upon events.
We are much misinformed if the opinion of the commercial body in the great cities of Federal America has not recently veered round, and if there be not, all up and down Wall street, a general disgust and antipathy to that ninety days bill, and a unanimous resolution to protest it when it next comes to maturity.