Drafting the "Solid Men."
The opinion was formerly expressed by many in the South
that we had not yet encountered the most formidable fighting men of the North
, but that when they had exhausted their ‘ "riff raff"’--their Dutch
, and city rowdies — they would come down upon us with their ‘"solid men"’ and crush us to the consistency of Jelly.
We confess that we always entertained doubts of the truth of this proposition.
We remembered that Washington
had a grievous time in stirring up these ‘"solid men"’ in the days of the Revolution.
They were so ‘"solid"’ that no moral or physical lever seemed capable of moving them.
We have seen the original of an old revolutionary document, in which the writer, a recruiting officer, complains most bitterly that, neither for love nor money could he induce any one in Massachusetts
to enlist in the war. The truth is, there is a great deal of gammon and humbug about the ‘"solid men,"’ at the best.
What is meant by the term, is, we suppose, men of property, men who are solid in worldly goods and chattels, and we often associate physical solidity with the same terms; that is a rotund corporation and cheeks swelling with fatness, and those customary insignia of solidity, a gold headed cane, gold watch, chain and seals, and a substantial air, as of one to whom a part of the globe belongs, and who looks upon all men not owning property as interlopers on the demeanes of the Creator, and who considers a plague, pestilence, or war, by which they may be taken off, the minister of a Divine Police, arresting loafers and vagrants and consigning them to a place where they can repent at their leisure of their poverty and worthlessness.
As to ‘"solid men"’ meaning anything ‘"solid"’ in morals, virtue, valor, or patriotism, of course it does not. Everett
& Co. --could anything be more ‘"solid"’ in outward aspect?
And yet, each of them has proved a mere shell, and a shell full of corruption and death.
And no better specimens can anywhere be found of the ‘"solid men"’ of the North
They are just as corrupt and depraved as the unsolid men, and a thousand times more hypocritical.
The only difference between them and the ‘"riff-raff"’ is, that the latter ‘ "wear their hearts upon their sleeves,"’ and, contrary to the general impression, they are more reliable for fighting purposes.
The philosophy of this is plain enough.
The ‘"riff-raff,"’ as they are called, are accustomed to hard work and hard knocks from their cradles; they feel that this world is no world for them, and that, in giving it up, they have not much to lose.
But fine houses, productive farms, beautiful gardens — as Dr. Johnson
said to Garrick
, ‘"these are the things that make a death-bed terrible;"’ these are the things that enervate men, make them cling to life as the greatest of advantages, render the ‘"solid men"’ the least formidable of all combatants who can be called into the field, and cause them to skedaddle to Canada
for fear of being drafted into the militia.
The only manner in which the ‘"solid men"’ of the North
are now formidable is in their capital.--They have spent so much money in carrying on this war that they will make another desperate throw to save that which has already gone.
They will not come themselves under any circumstance, but, either by draft or enormous bounties, they will raise the 300,000 additional troops required by Lincoln
There will be a universal sifting of the whole North
and of all mankind for more ‘"riff-raff"’ to make up the three hundred thousand.
As for themselves, 300,000 ‘"solid men"’ of the North
would vanish like the most unsubstantial shadows before ‘"Stonewall Jackson
" ’ and thirty thousand Confederates.
But now is the time for the South
Let her not wait another.
hour for the accumulation of more ‘"riff-raff."’ Let not the enemy be permitted to advance another foot.
An instant movement upon the Yankees
, and the solid men of the North
and their solid country will vanish like the baseless fabric of a vision.