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Johnny Hook, bawling "Beef" in the Revolution, seems to have had a prolific progeny. The Johnny Hooks abound in every city, village and crossroad. If all the Johnny Hooks were in the ranks, and made such charges as they make upon their own countrymen, the Southern Confederacy would establish its independence in six months. In sunshine or darkness, victory or defeat, they raise one eternal cry of "Beef ! Beef !" He is not alone a Jew who is one outwardly. If one of our modern speculators had been with the Jews in the wilderness he would have been up in the morning before they were awake, collected the manna, and sold it to the children of Israel at five dollars an ounce. If he had gone to spy out the promised land, he would have converted the grapes into wine and sold it at three hundred dollars a gallon. If he had been a priest, he would have sold the sacrifices to the highest bidder. If he had a soul he would sell it for a nine pence, and, being acquainted with the market value of the article, would rightfully conclude he had made a good bargain. One of the most Quixotic efforts of human philanthropy is an attempt to cure these men either by coaxing or denunciation, by reason or ridicule. The pulpit has fulminated its thunders every Sunday of the year, and the press every day of the week. But the most eloquent sermon on extortion might as well be preached to the waves of the sea, and the most scathing pens are as powerless to arrest the course of speculators as the pinions from which they were plucked to change the course of the winds. We have heard of reformed gamblers, reformed drunkards, and reformed transgressors of various kinds, but a reformed speculator is a prodigy that has not been brought to light in this or any other day and generation. Rev. Sidney Smith, having fallen off a good deal at one time, advertised for twenty-five pounds of missing or lost clergyman. There is a good deal more than that missing from many Confederate soldiers and citizens, but no need of advertising. It can readily be found on the fat speculators, who have gained as much as their countrymen have lost; who have absorbed all the rich juices of the land; lean and hungry kine before the war, who have since devoured all the fat and well liking; thin and blasted ears that have swallowed a thriving harvest. And they think they have done well. Perhaps they have. But if a good name be of any account; if it matters aught to a man's descendants what was the character and conduct of their forefather in such a struggle as this, then the men who have grown rich while their country grew poor — who have swollen their carcases by sucking out the life-blood of their native land — have not done well. All other objects in nature have their uses; the trees of the field, and even the winter ice — not as cold as an extortioner's nature; but we can conceive no use for speculators, except to fatten the worms with their gross flesh, and to use their hearts as bomb-proof coverings for magazines, or sheathing for vessels, capable of resisting eleven-inch shell. They would not only take the oath of allegiance to the Yankees — for it would be a mere matter of ceremony; they who do the enemy's work could have no objection to bearing his name — but to the Father of Evil himself, if he felt disposed to insist upon a mere form. A great deal of sympathy has been expressed for some Confederate communities which have fallen within the Yankee lines. Some of them deserve that sympathy, but there are others in which the speculators and extortioners compose so large an element that the true objects of compassion are the Yankees. We greatly underrate the supply of native-born talent when we suppose that all the Yankee shark has to do is to open his jaws and engulf simple-minded Confederates. The case and plenty which once distinguished the South may have retarded the development of this kind of talent, but it needs only the spur of such times as these to prove that the land is capable of great things in every department of human enterprise. We should like to have the opinion of Captain Simon Suggs on that subject. When the Captain found that he had not a single piece of bacon left, he simply observed that somebody's meat-house had got to suffer, and it was not long before he became converted at a camp meeting, and took up a collection for the building of a meeting-house in his neighborhood. Suggs and his family are, at present, we believe, acting with very conspicuous energy at various points of the Confederacy in the promotion of their private interests at the national expense; using the public money for speculation; lending the public money to their friends for some financial operation of which they are to share the profits; delaying Government freight in order to forward their own; even conniving at the false marking and direction of freight for bribes, so that sometimes the Confederate armies are left without a ration of meat, in order that Suggs & Co. may turn an honest penny. Now, does any one suppose that commercial communities, made up of the Suggs family, are going to suffer ? We have too high an estimate of the abilities and resources, improved by four years sharp practice upon Confederates, to make any such supposition. Suggs will meet Sherman at the gates of a city, hand him over a quiet and orderly population, get it to his ears that of all the oppressed and persecuted victims of Confederate tyranny Captain Simon Suggs has been the greatest sufferer, and end by obtaining sundry contracts, which will make Yankeedom bleed at every pore. In a word, we do not believe that the Yankees can equal Confederate genius in any field, good or bad, of mortal effort. They may compel Simon Suggs to take the oath, but he will take them also, and everything else that he can lay his hands on.
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