A contrast--1778 and 1864.
[From the Augusta (Georgia)
"We find the expression, 'history repeats it,' very common now-a-days.
It is true it does so, but in no one thing, we think, so perfectly as in the sinking heart, the despair, the gloom, which, in moments of peril, take hold upon the minds of men engaged in any great enterprise or revolution.
In reading the histories of the nations we find this period of giving away and gloom in all of them, and in none so much as among those contending for right against powerful wrong.
And the successes which have terminated the few notable revolts of history are to be ascribed to the indomitable will and endurance of the tried generals and soldiers who have risked their all on the result, and not to the citizens at home, however patriotic the latter may be; for, when reverses come, the citizens, unaccustomed to the privations and sufferings of the army, naturally give way to fears and a desire for peace.
But while disasters bring despondency and a longing desire for peace to the citizen, to the retreating, defeated and suffering soldier they bring only hope for better times and a determination to bear everything rather than a yielding of what has been so dearly sought and final defeat.
"From the Valley of Virginia
to the heart of Tennessee
, mishaps, retreats and defeats have come upon us in rapid and accumulating succession during the closing months of the year just past.--The latter half of the year 1864 will always be known in history as the dark days of the war for Southern rights and honor, as the year 1778 is known as the dark hour of the first great revolution of this continent.
The despondent of to-day should read the story of 1778 to know how perfectly history is repeating itself in their especial cases.
There were many days in that eventful period when hope almost deserted the bravest and the best, and noble hearts were almost in the very agony of despair; but, in God's providence, a great Christian leader was at the head of their depleted, defeated and straggling armies, and from his sublime confidence they again caught hope and energy.
The overtures of England
were promptly and unanimously rejected, and no proposition would be entertained for a treaty unless they should, as a preliminary, either withdraw their armies or acknowledge the independence of the colonies.
"We have to-day such leaders, and from them we hear no word of despair, no cry of despondency, and from them and their gallant armies must we catch fresh hope and courage.
The year 1778 has its paraded with us of 1864, and, thank.
God, our leaders in this great fight, and our gallant soldiers, are but prototypes of our revolutionary fathers.
Shall we, then, the property-holders and fireside citizens, advise a yielding up of the right because the enemy is strong, and proud, and defiant, and presses us sorely on every side?
Has hope left all except those in the army?
In God's name, is it the safety of property against the liberty and separate independence of your country which so greatly agitates the minds of men? 'Is life so dear or peace so sweet as to be purchased with chains and slavery?
Forbid it, Almighty God!'
"We have been led to these words by reading letters written to General Washington
during the gloomy days of 1778, and a letter from that great man himself.
We give below a few extracts, and ask the citizen reader and despondent soldier (if there be such) to read them and contrast the times; but to remember always that, by a firm determination and a heroic submission to dangers and sufferings, our grand old fathers, conquered
a glorious liberty, and that even so will our armies come from under the cloud and march to victory and to honor.
, of New Jersey
, writes in February, 1778:
"'I am so discouraged by our public mismanagement and the additional load of business thrown upon me by the villainy of those who purse nothing but accumulating fortunes to the ruin of their country, that I almost sink under it.'
How often hear we such remarks made of our merchants, planters and others; but with how much truth we must let posterity judge.
Yet it was the same as we see in the first American Revolution; and they conquered an independence and separation from the most powerful nation of the earth without half the facilities which we enjoy.
, at Boston
, September, 1778:
"'The growing extravagance of the people, and the increasing demand for the article of forage in this quarter, have become a very alarming affair.
is from sixty to eighty dollars a ton, and upon the rise.
Corn is ten dollars a bushel and oats four, and everything else that will answer for forage in that proportion.
Carting is nine shillings a mile, by the ton, and people much dissatisfied with the price.'
"Corn ten dollars a bushel; and continental money was worth at the date of this letter sixty
cents in gold for each dollar in currency — that is, corn was selling at six dollars
in gold a bushel!
What would our despondent ones in Georgia
, with their safes crammed with Confederate notes, say if corn to-day, instead of selling for forty cents, was six dollars per bushel in gold — that is, three hundred dollars in Confederate currency !--Why, sir, taking the present state of the public pulse as a stand point, we should predict a peace convention in ten days and reconstruction and humble submission to any edict from King Abraham in one month!
Our fathers paid the six dollars, however, (aye, a colonel paid his whole month's salary for a peek of oats before that war ended,) and yet they conquered peace and independence."