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Chapter 3: political affairs.--Riots in New York.--Morgan's raid North of the Ohio.

The escape of Lee into Virginia, with the remainder of his army, his artillery, and spoils, was a great disappointment to the loyal people of the country, and the commander of the Army of the Potomac was freely charged with tardiness, over-cautiousness, and even incompetency — alleged causes for which Hooker had been relieved of command. General officers of merit, but of different temperament, who had urged him to more energetic action, added the weight of their opinions to the censorious judgment of the unknowing multitude; and criminations and recriminations followed, which were perfectly intelligible only to military experts. It is not the province of the writer to sit in judgment upon this matter, and he leaves the recorded facts with readers competent to do so.1

The public disappointment was of brief duration. The victory for the National cause was too decisive and substantial to allow regret to interfere with rejoicing. The battle had been won by Meade and his army, and that was quite sufficient for the contemplation of those who saw in men only the instruments for achieving the triumph of great and good principles — the principles enunciated in the golden rule. They saw in the discomfiture of the army of the conspirators against those principles a victory of righteousness over unrighteousness — of light over darkness — of democracy over an oligarchy — of God over Satan. They believed that the turning point in the war had been reached, and that the victories of Gettysburg and Vicksburg, occurring simultaneously in widely-separated regions of the Republic, were sure prophecies of the ultimate and perhaps speedy suppression of the rebellion. And so the President, as the representative of the Government and of the faith and patriotism of the loyal people of the country, called upon the latter, in a public proclamation,

July 15, 1863.
to set apart a time in the near future,
Aug. 6.
“to be observed as a day for National thanksgiving, praise, and prayer,” to Almighty God, “for the wonderful things he had done in the nation's behalf, and to invoke the influence of [82] His Holy Spirit, to subdue the anger which has produced and so long sustained a needless and cruel rebellion; to change the hearts of the insurgents; to guide the counsels of the Government with wisdom adequate to so great a national emergency, and to visit with tender care and consolation, throughout the length and breadth of our land, all those who, through the vicissitudes and marches, voyages, battles, and sieges, had been brought to suffer in mind, body, or estate; and finally to lead the whole nation, through paths of repentance and submission to the Divine will, back to the perfect enjoyment of union and fraternal peace.” 2 And the Secretary of State, satisfied that the rebellion would soon be crushed, sent
Aug. 12, 1868.
a cheering circular letter to the diplomatic agents of the Republic abroad, in which he recited the most important events of the war to that time; declared that “the country showed no sign of exhaustion of money, material, or men;” that our loan was “purchased at par by our citizens at the average of $1,200,000 daily,” and that gold was selling in our market at 23 to 28 per cent. premium, while in the insurrectionary region it commanded twelve hundred per cent. premium.3

But while the loyal people were rejoicing because of the great deliverance at Gettysburg, and the Government was preparing for a final and decisive [83] struggle with its foes, leading politicians of the Peace Faction, evidently in affiliation with the disloyal secret organization known as Knights of the Golden Circle,4 were using every means in their power to defeat the patriotic purposes of the loyalists, and to stir up the people of the Free-labor States to a counter-revolution. This had been their course for several months during the dark hours of the Republic, before the dawn at Gettysburg; and the more strenuous appeared the efforts of the Government to suppress the rebellion, the more intense was their zeal in opposing them.

This opposition was specially exhibited when the President acted in accordance with the law of Congress, passed in April, 1862, “for the enrollment of the National forces,” and authorizing the Executive to make drafts, at his discretion, from such enrolled citizens for service in the army.5 The President refrained from resorting to this extreme measure so long as the public safety would allow. Finally, in consequence of the great discouragements to volunteering produced by the Peace Faction, he issued a proclamation

May 8, 1863.
for a Draft to begin in July, and caused the appointment of an enrolling board in every Congressional district. This was made the pretext for inaugurating a counter-revolution in the Free-labor States, which the leaders of the rebellion had been promised, and which their dupes were expecting;6 and organized resistance to the measure instantly appeared, general and formidable. The politicians of the Peace Faction denounced the law and all acts under it as despotic and unconstitutional, and a hitherto obscure lawyer, named McCunn, who had been elected to the bench in the city of New York by the Opposition, so formally decided. He was sustained by the decision of three respectable judges of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania--Lowrie, Woodward, and Thompson — and, with this legal sanction, the politicians opposed the Draft with a high hand.

In the mean time the suspension of the privilege of the writ of Habeas Corpus and the practice of arbitrary arrests had become a subject for the bitter denunciations of the Peace Faction. They were specially excited to opposition by the arrest and punishment, under military authority, of C. L. Vallandigham, late member of Congress from Ohio, and the most conspicuous leader of the Opposition, in the West. This politician, possessing ability and pluck, was very busy in sowing the seeds of disaffection to the

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