previous next

[120] a proper basis for loans in an augmented and well-paid revenue. This involves taxation, and, unfortunately, taxation appears to be a point on which the Eastern and Western States of the Federal Union are almost as much at variance as both are with the Southern Confederacy. The Western States have a particular objection to taxes; and when we read the war budget which the Congress seems finally to have decided on, one feels that such an objection may be expressed not only in good sentences on the floor of Congress, but also in a not less formidable manner far West. Besides a direct tax of $20,000,000 apportioned among the States, and expected from only one-half, the new budget proposes a tax upon carriages, varying from one dollar to fifty; a tax upon watches, an excise duty on spirituous liquors of five cents a gallon, and on fermented liquors of sixty cents a barrel; and a general tax upon incomes, the rate of which, as well as the incomes liable, is not yet decided. Meanwhile the Morrill tariff is untouched except by the imposition of additional duties. Every item in this budget suggests a financial war, as difficult, if not so sanguinary, as the war in the open field.

But there is another question which presents itself to the capitalist before even the solvency of a State, or the yield of a tax, or the final success of a cause; and that is the number and frequency of similar calls. If we are to judge from the immense figures on paper paraded by the Northerners, this is a war that may take rank with any of ours — with the European war, which cost us from first to last more than a thousand millions of money, or the Russian war, which cost us a hundred millions in two years. If the Government of Washington is obliged to ask for a hundred million dollars to-day, when and how soon will it have to repeat that demand; and how many such demands will it have to make this year, and for how many years? Every such demand will compete in the market with the bonds of the last, and our old folks can remember with what celerity a promise to pay £ 5 a year became worth not so much as £ 50. Prudent people do not like buying stock at its present price when they know that twenty or thirty millions more will soon be thrown on the market for what it will fetch. Nor is this the only apprehension to damp the courage of the lender. Already, while this war is still in its very cradle, the bankers of the seaboard States are suggesting, in the form of Treasury bonds, a very large increase in the paper currency. How long would this be convertible? We may safely predict that if the war lasts as long as it now threatens to last, both sides will be driven to the same pitiable expedient of a depreciated paper currency as the mother country was in a similar extremity. No doubt there are enthusiasts in the United States who will lend money and buy Treasury bonds for three or ten years, and all the more freely because they feel deeply the social and religious aspects of the quarrel. There may, too, for aught we know, be abolitionists and philanthropists in this country who will buy American notes in a falling market, and prefer to give a good price for them rather than a bad one, because they care more for the credit of the Federal cause than they do for the amount of their own fortune. We cannot think, however, there are so many such people as largely to affect the quotation of American securities in our market.--London Times, August 14.

General M'Clellan's appointment.

The appointment of General McClellan to the command of the Federal army is a circumstance which not unnaturally has excited considerable discussion in the New York papers. By one lie is described as a military dictator, who is to act entirely free from the control of General Scott and the War Department; and by another a loud complaint is raised because the gallant general, in compliance with the intrigues of certain selfish politicians at Washington, is to be hampered in the selection of the general and regimental officers who are to serve under his command. But all the accounts agree in one particular, that General McClellan, leaving accepted the responsible post of commander-in-chief, is examining every thing with his own eyes, and is endeavoring to enforce that stern and rigorous discipline, without which, as the disaster at Bull Run shows, a great army may speedily become a disorganized and panic-stricken rabble.

* * * * * * *

But when the New York papers talk of a military dictatorship, we hardly know what they mean. Civil war necessarily implies the suspension of ordinary law, and the substitution of the rule of the sword. As far as the interests of the North are concerned it matters little whether this extreme power is wielded by the President at Washington or by the general at the head of the army in the field. Mr. Lincoln, it is admitted, has travelled far beyond the principles of the Constitution. He has proclaimed, martial law, he has suspended the habeas corpus act, and he has deposed and imprisoned the municipal authorities at Baltimore. We do not say that these measures are not perfectly justifiable. The indemnity acts of Congress prove them to be so. Mr. Lincoln can delegate to the chief of the army any power which the head of the Executive Government is permitted to exercise; and for the purposes of the. campaign it matters little, we repeat, whether Mr. Lincoln or General McClellan exercises powers which are beyond the strict letter of the Constitution.

It still appears to be doubtful whether the Confederate troops, flushed with success, intend to attack Washington. As their object will be accomplished by clearing the secessionist States of Federal troops, sound policy would seem to dictate that the enemy should be quietly left to improve their organization in the comparative

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Places (automatically extracted)
hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
George B. McClellan (3)
Abraham Lincoln (3)
T. West (1)
Robert E. Scott (1)
M'Clellan (1)
hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
August 14th (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: