British and French Mediation Considered

Rarely mentioned as a decisive deterrent to Anglo-French recognition of Southern independence was the presence of Russian fleets in San Francisco and New York from September 1863 through March 1864. The British and French were both stood puzzled as the Czar and Lincoln emancipated serfs and slaves while at the same time crushing independence movements in Poland and the American South.

Bernhard Thuersam, www.circa1865.org

 

British and French Mediation Considered

“Ultimately the South’s hopes for independence marched with its armies, and indeed when the Army of Northern Virginia invaded Maryland in the fall of 1862, [British Lords] Palmerston and [John] Russell became convinced of the depth and potential of Southern separation.

On September 14, Palmerston wrote to Russell about Anglo-French mediation and “an arrangement upon the basis of separation.” Russell responded, “I agree with you that the time has come for offering mediation to the United States Government, with a view of the recognition of the Independence of the Confederates – I agree further that in case of failure, we ought ourselves to recognize the Southern States, as an independent State.”

In accord with these convictions, Russell informally approached his counterpart in Paris, Antoine Edouard Trouvenel, and discussed with Palmerston a date for a meeting of the cabinet to approve the mediation scheme. Russell was still firm in this policy on October 4, when he wrote Palmerston, “I think unless some miracle takes place this will be the very time for offering Mediation.”

And on October 7, Chancellor of the Exchequer William Gladstone let the cat out of the bag. Speaking at Newcastle, Gladstone affirmed, that, “Jefferson Davis and other leaders of the South have made an army; they are making, it appears, a navy; and they have made what is more than either, they have made a nation.”

Then, just a quickly as the mediation enthusiasm had developed in England, it evaporated. [Though as important as the Sharpsburg battle and Lincoln’s abolition proclamation] were, other considerations contributed to England’s return to nonintervention. Mediation was attractive to free-traders who resented the Federal blockade, to liberals who supported self-determination, to conservatives who felt a kinship with landed aristocrats in the South, and to some varieties of nationalists who looked with favor upon the dissolution of the United States.

But these attractions were essentially abstract. In the end British statesmen had to face the hard reality of what might follow an unsuccessful offer of mediation and subsequent recognition of the confederacy: they had to ponder the consequences of a North American war. And if the British should be drawn into an American war, they wanted to support the winning side. In this regard, [Sharpsburg] and abolition] were indecisive; neither event broke the American impasse to reveal a victor.”

(The Confederate Nation, 1861-1865, Emory M. Thomas, Henry Steele Commager & Richard B. Morris, editors, Harper & Row, 1979, pp. 179-180)

Jan 4, 2015 - Uncategorized    No Comments

Convicts and Indentured Servants to America

The need for labor in its American colony stimulated not only the indentured servitude detailed below, but also slave trading by England’s Royal African Company. This was formed in 1662 with the king’s brother, the Duke of York, as president. It would have an outright monopoly on bringing enslaved Africans to the New World until 1697, when the British Crown permitted private traders to carry slaves to British colonies and paying a 10 percent duty.

Bernhard Thuersam, www.circa1865.org

 

Convicts and Indentured Servants to America

“A principal source of labor for the [American] plantations during the seventeenth century were the white indentured servants brought from England. In the mother country the farm hands and laboring classes received miserably low wages . . . [and] found it almost impossible to save [6 pounds], the average cost of passage to America. The only method by which they could transfer their labor from a cheap market in England to a dear market in America was the indenture system, really a credit, or installment system to pay the passage money of crossing the Atlantic. The servant signed a contract by which he sold his labor to a master for a period usually of four or five years.

Immigration into the colonies was vastly stimulated by the profitable business of securing servants for the American market. John Harrower, an indentured servant in Virginia, described in his diary which he kept from 1773-1776, a class of merchants called Soul Drivers, who met immigrant and convict ships at the docks to buy servants, whom they would drive through the colonies “like a parcel of Sheep” to sell to the highest bidder. Such servants were sold for prices ranging from [20 pounds] for the highest type, Scottish soldiers captured after the Jacobite revolt, to [4 pounds] for Irish vagrants.

Most of the indentured servants were young men and women under twenty-five years of age. Under some masters the indentured servitude approximated the conditions of slavery. The master had the right to punish his white servant by whipping, and the servant could not leave the plantation without permission. If a servant married without consent or if a maidservant had an illegitimate baby, the term of service was extended for one year. If a servant ran away and was arrested, he or she was punished by extending the term of service two days extra in Virginia and ten days in Maryland for every day of absence.

The labor shortage in America was so great that it led to the dark crime of kidnapping. There were professional agents in England known a “spirits” who kidnapped “drunks” in taverns and young persons on the streets to ship them to America for sale as servants. The British government used the Southern colonies as well as the islands of Jamaica and Barbados as a dumping ground for convicts.

(A History of the Old South, The Emergence of a Reluctant Nation, Clement Eaton, MacMillan Publishing, 1975, pp. 23-31)

Back to Original Principles

Jefferson foresaw the constitutional crisis of the late 1850s and the need for the States to “arrest the march of government” which had been threatening its creators with military action since the days of Andrew Jackson. As he instructs, the solution to the crisis was a convening of the States to modify their agreement, not the agent warring upon a free people.

Bernhard Thuersam, www.circa1865.org

 

Back to Original Principles:

“The [Supreme Court] judges are practicing on the Constitution by inferences, analogies, and sophisms, as they would on an ordinary law. They do not seem aware that it is not even a constitution, formed by a single authority, and subject to a single superintendence and control; but that it is a compact of many independent powers, every single one of which claims an equal right to understand it, and to require its observance.

However strong the cord of compact may be, there is a point of tension at which it will break. A few such doctrinal decisions . . . may induce [two or three large States] to join in arresting the march of government, and in arousing the co-States to pay some attention to what is passing, to bring back the compact to its original principles, or to modify it legitimately by the express consent of the parties themselves, and not by the usurpation of their created agents.

They imagine they can lead us into a consolidated government, while their road leads directly to its dissolution.

(Jefferson to Edward Livingston, 1825; The Jefferson Cyclopedia, Funk & Wagnall’s, 1900, pg. 191)

Revolutionary Rule of the Industrialists

With conservative Southern statesmen of the past absent from the halls of the United States Congress, “fraud and trickery were the revolutionary devices resorted to by Northern industrialists to complete the job begun by Grant’s cannon and bayonets.” Presidents became the creation of the wealthy classes, with “a maze of frauds and trickeries . . . [extending] from the Civil War to the end of the century.”

Bernhard Thuersam, www.circa1865.org

 

Revolutionary Rule of the Industrialists

“Government has been the indispensable handmaiden of private wealth since the origin of society. And far from having embellished history with significant exception, the government of the United States, without the camouflage of custom or tradition, ritual or dogma, Church or Aristocracy, has actually done more to prove the truth of this generalization than have all the governments in Europe.

So perfect, so thorough, has been the collaboration of politics and private fortune since the founding of the American colonies that it is difficult to ascertain from the date of any given period where political intrigue on behalf of specific private interest has terminated.

The Constitution, written in the furtive atmosphere of a coup d’etat during secret deliberations of a convention called merely to regulate commerce, was received with hostility by the populace, which forced the precipitate addition of the first ten amendments. The document provided for a government of ostensible checks and balances, (but really, as a wit has said, of all checks and no balances), and at the same time guaranteed the utmost freedom, unchecked and unbalanced, to propertied interests. “The result . . . is a modern government that is about five times as inflexible, and much less democratic, than the government of Great Britain.”

Through the decades leading to the Civil War, the fuel of political strife was provided by the propertied classes . . . [and] when a series of political defeats at the hands of Northern industrialists and merchants eventually became ominously foreboding, the Southern planter faction did not hesitate to draw the sword. The Civil War began as a counter-revolution, but ended as a revolution.

The triumph of the North in the war, however, forever dislodging the landed gentry from political power, brought sweeping authority to the tariff-minded industrialists – authority that has since been seriously disputed . . . only by the Western agrarians under William Jennings Bryan . . . From 1865 to 1896 the essentially revolutionary rule of the industrialists was unbroken.

Marcus Alonzo Hanna, commissar extraordinary of John D. Rockefeller, became the political architect of the new era, whose unique characteristics have been a tremendous drive into foreign markets, unprecedented industrial consolidation, expansion of the mass-production industries to a staggering degree, and unexampled application of technology to production, and the fateful gravitation of the nation’s producing resources as well as the political apparatus into the hands of bank capitalists.

Before Hanna the unconstitutional control by the industrialists had been furtive, half ashamed, and vehemently denied even in the face of the most damning evidence; under Hanna the control was for the first time brazenly admitted and, cynically or sincerely, justified on the pretense that it was in the national interest.”

(America’s Sixty Families, Ferdinand Lundberg, Halcyon House, 1937, pp. 50-53)

Vandals Sack Jefferson Davis' Brierfield

The Mississippi plantations of Joseph and Jefferson Davis, Brierfield and Hurricane, were models of kind treatment to the Africans in their care. James H. Jones, the colored body-servant of Mr. Davis at the end of the war, requested the honor of driving “the remains of my old master to their last resting place” after Davis’ death in 1889.  He did not want to be “deprived of the last opportunity of showing my lasting appreciation for my best friend.”

Bernhard Thuersam, www.circa1865.org

 

Vandals Sack Jefferson Davis’ Brierfield

“When Union forces reached Grand Gulf and Davis Bend, a raiding party burned Hurricane on June 24, 1862. Although the raiders also prowled through Brierfield, for some strange reason they refrained from applying the torch to the house.

Grant initiated his thrust for Vicksburg from Memphis early in 1863. Farragut cooperated in this maneuver by renewing his surge upriver from the south. I May 1863, Brierfield was revisited by Federal troops. James W. Garner has written that “when Farragut’s fleet steamed up the river in 1863, it stopped long enough to allow the marines to go ashore and destroy or carry away everything of value.”

On June 1, 1863, a Vicksburg newspaper reported that Yankees had rifled Brierfield, destroyed all farming implements, as well as household and kitchen furniture, and badly defaced the premises. Pictures were probably then taken of “the House Jeff Built.”

These events occurred during the prolonged siege when most Confederate soldiers in the area were bottled up in Vicksburg. After the fall of Vicksburg on July 4, 1863, the Union army took control of Brierfield and Hurricane . . . [consisting of] 1,000 acres, one mansion and ten quarters. It was reserved for the use of the Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen and Abandoned Lands,” known as the “Freedmen’s Bureau.”

Margaret Mitchell Bigelow has commented that “one of the most interesting experiments was the one of Jefferson Davis’ plantation on Davis Bend. Here some seventy lessees, all Negroes, seemed to have been more successful than the Northern speculators.

The good showing of the Negroes at Davis Bend was due in part to the excellent training given by Joe and Jefferson Davis to their slaves before the war. This colony led by the [former slave Ben] Montgomery’s eventually became the all-Negro colony of Mound Bayou.”

Professor Bigelow also pointed out that in 1864 the “Jeff Davis Mansion” was headquarters for the Cincinnati Contraband Relief Commission of the Freedmen’s Aid Society. On the entire 10,000 acre Davis Bend Colony, the home Farm in Mississippi, there were 1,750 freedmen at one time; and the project cleared $160,000 in 1865. The Brierfield part of the colony produced 234 bales of cotton for a profit of $25,000.”

(Brierfield: Plantation Home of Jefferson Davis, Frank E. Everett, Jr., University and College Press of Mississippi, 1971, pp. 77-78)

Africa's Long Heritage of Human Bondage

Prior to the British and New England transatlantic slave trade which brought Africans to the America’s for labor, human bondage was a well-established institution in Africa.  Though seen as a scramble for African colonies by European nations, the 1884-85 Berlin Conference also looked for an end to the slaving operations of Zanzibari/Swahili strongman Tippu Tip.

Bernhard Thuersam, www.circa1865.org

 

Africa’s Long Heritage of Human Bondage

Nigerian history along the coast, like that of Sierra Leone and the Gambia, begins with the Portuguese. A Portuguese ship reached the Bight of Benin in 1472. Traders of other countries, including the British in particular, then began to reach this wild, forlorn, fragrant coast — they sought “pepper, Elephant’s teeth, oyl of palm, cloth made of cotton wool very curiously woven, and cloth made of the barke of palme trees.”

Soon came traffic much more lucrative, that in human beings. Indeed slavery dominates Nigerian history for almost three hundred years, with all its bizarre and burning horrors. We have already touched on slavery in East Africa; on the West Coast its history was different.

First: the origin of the Atlantic trade was the discovery of America and the consequent development of sugar plantations in the West Indies. When the American aborigines were killed off (by English, French and Spanish settlers), as they were promptly, a labor force had to be found somewhere, and slaves from Africa were a marvelously cheap (as valued by African tribes) and convenient device to this end. The trade brought fantastic profits.

In the Cameroons in the early days the purchase of a slave from African tribes was “two measures of Spanish wine” and he could be sold for a thousand ducats, the profit being 5,000 percent. As late as 1786, a slave could be bought from African tribes in Nigeria for 2 pounds and sold in America for 65 pounds. In that period, 100,000 slaves or more were shipped across the Atlantic each year.

Second:  Aside from the British and Portuguese there were slave traders of several other nationalities, but Britain got a monopoly of the business by the Treaty of Utrecht in 1712.

Third:  Africans were as much involved in the overseas slave traffic as the Europeans since the latter did not dare as rule penetrate inland from the sea — the interior was too dangerous.

Instead, they bought slaves from warlike African tribes — the Ashanti on the Gold Coast for instance — who seized and collected other Africans and marched them to the coast. As much barbarity accompanied these raids on Africans by Africans as accompanied the actual voyage across the ocean.

Fourth:  Africans also sought and captured slaves for themselves. In Northern Nigeria for example, slavery was almost universal until most recent times; slavery did not become illegal in Nigeria till 1901, and a few domestic slaves are still alive who have never been emancipated. A case can be made for slavery and the slave trade.  It is that tribal wars took place in the African interior without cessation, and that it was better for a man to be taken prisoner and made a domestic slave or even sold into slavery, than to be killed and perhaps eaten.

On a slave raid the object was to get the prisoner alive and with luck, he might survive the trip to America or Arabia. On balance, the slave trade (despite its inferno-like horrors) may have saved more lives than it cost. In any case it is the origin of a great many healthy, useful and progressive Negro communities in the Western world.

(Inside Africa, John Gunther, Harper & Brothers, 1955, excerpts)

 

The Cloak of Social Revolution

New York Times correspondent and CFR member Herbert L. Matthews interviewed Fidel Castro in April 1957 at his mountain retreat. In three successive front page articles he compared Castro to Lincoln, and presented him as a “peasant patriot,” “a strong anti-communist,” a “Robin Hood,” and a “defender of the people.” The State Department’s William Wieland looked the other way as Battista set the stage for a new Cuban nationalist to emerge.

Bernhard Thiuersam, www.circa1865.org

 

The Cloak of Social Revolution

“A Senate Internal Security sub-committee, on September 10, 1960, blamed US State Department officials and segments of the American press for helping bring Castro to power. Senators James O. Eastland, Democrat of Mississippi, and Thomas J. Dodd, Democrat, of Connecticut, members of the sub-committee, after hearing testimony of former Ambassadors Earl E.T. Smith and Arthur Gardner said: “Cuba was handed to Castro in the same way China was handed to the communists.”

The two Ambassadors singled out William Wieland, director of the State Department’s Caribbean division, Roy R. Runbottom, Jr., former Assistant Secretary of State for Latin American Affairs, at the time Ambassador to Argentina, and Herbert Matthews of the New York Times. The Senators charged that the State Department group “misguided the American people.”

When Wieland was in Havana during the Castro revolution, I asked him why the State Department did not tell Batista to stop torturing and killing, either oust his corrupt military men or get out and let the OAS or the UN hold elections. Wieland insisted that the United States could not “interfere.”

I pointed out that the United States was interfering all over the world – so why not in Cuba before the United States had something worse to contend with there?

This idea of “social revolution” has a great appeal for our so-called “liberals,” who do not realize that social revolution is the cloak under which the Communists hide.

About that time an old Cuban friend came into the office much excited over a book on Communist brainwashing. He had been a devout follower of Castro and now was completely disillusioned.

“I haven’t read the book,” I said, “but I can tell you the American who is the easiest to brainwash. It is the educated person who has usually gone through college and is trying to be a liberal. He is frightened by any talk of conservatism and really doesn’t know what he believes. You were one of them when Castro got hold of you.”

The Cuban grinned and said, “You are right, that is about what the book said. Now tell me, who is the hardest to brainwash?”

“A person, not too well educated perhaps, but one who has been raised by a God-fearing family, who has been taught honesty and respect of property and all the virtues we are supposed to have in the United States.”

“How right you are,” he said. “The book points out that the Communists were unable to brainwash the Southern Negro prisoners they captured in Korea who had been raised in such religious families as you describe.” Then he added, “There must be something wrong with the American education.” He [the Cuban] was a graduate of one of the United States great universities.”

(The Cuban Dilemma, R. Hart Phillips, Ivan Obolensky Publishing, 1962, pp. 251-252)

 

The Brahmin Aristocracy Must Save the Union

Frances Parkman was a militant New England war hawk who disliked the black man but considered the Boston aristocracy superior to the Southern leadership, though it must emulate the military expertise exhibited by Southern men. The Brahmin class may have indeed been tested by the battles Parkman lists, but they were no great victories. At Ball’s Bluff, Northern scouts mistook a row of trees as Confederate tents, and the 17th Mississippi delivered the Brahmin’s a severe thrashing when their regiments later assaulted the “encampment.”

Bernhard Thuersam, www.circa1865.org

 

The Brahmin Aristocracy Must Save the Union

“Parkman had always detested the abolitionists, and he had little concern for the Negro, but he was [Robert Gould] Shaw’s cousin, and he took great pride in later years pointing this out to distant correspondents. One suspects, however, that he was almost ashamed that Shaw led Negroes [of the 54th Massachusetts], since he never mentioned this fact.

[In] two letters [of November 1862], he further developed the odd propaganda line that the best way to whip the South was to emulate certain aspects of its civilization. He went from praising the military education of the Southern aristocrat to praising his political education. Compared to the North, where an “organized scramble of mean men for petty spoils” had driven the better elements from politics, the South had made politics “a battleground” for the well-born, “where passion, self-interest, self-preservation, urge to [the most intense] action every power of their nature.” This explained “the vigor of their development.”

By comparison, the education of Northern gentlemen had been too academic. Now, however, the war was altering the picture. The South, which had identified the North with three classes: the merchants, the politicians and the “abolitionist agitators” and therefore, with “extravagance, fanaticism and obstreperous weakness,” was learning how, “under a surface of froth and scum, the great national heart still beat with the pulsations of patriotic manhood.” In other words, they underestimated the ability of the Northern gentry to adapt to military life.

It was in his letter of July 21, 1863, published only three days after the death of [Col. Robert G.] Shaw, that Parkman revealed most fully what was really on his mind. Repeating his charge that “the culture of the nation” had become a “political nullity,” Parkman referred specifically to the “Brahmin cast”, which had “yielded a progeny of gentlemen and scholars since the days of the Puritans,” but had “long since ceased to play any active part in the dusty arena of political turmoil.”

This class, however, had at last found an outlet for its energies. Brahmins had been tested in battle at places like Ball’s Bluff, Antietam, Fredericksburg, and Gettysburg and removed all doubts about their vigor and character. Pointing to the “necrology” of Harvard University” as an example to the nation, Parkman clearly suggested that the American people had no further excuse for rejecting the political and social authority of what was now a tried and true aristocracy. Perhaps a patrician could finally say that the age of “ultra-democratic fallacies” was coming to an end.

There were very genteel New Englanders who professed to see the war as a vindication of democracy and egalitarianism. Charles Eliot Norton and others claimed that their wavering belief in democracy had been revived by the proofs of obedience and endurance shown by the common people and by the Negroes in the struggle.

It depended on the preservation of the model which had been suggested by the assault on Fort Wagner. If the “inferior elements,” whether Negro or white, consented to be led by “the best culture [of aristocratic New England],” then their rights were assured; if however, they struck out in directions of their own, democracy and equality might again be questioned.”

(The Inner Civil War, Northern Intellectuals and the Crisis of the Union, George M. Frederickson, Harper & Row, 1965, pp. 161-165)

Jan 2, 2015 - Lincoln's Patriots    No Comments

Money to Fill New York Regiments

Americans in the South fought primarily for family, hearth and State, in sharp contrast to those in the North who required strong financial incentives after casualties mounted. From the time of the Northern draft of 1863 to the conclusion of the war, the Northern States, counties, cities and towns paid over $286 million; the Northern government itself paid out more than $300 million – and with substitute fees paid the total of all would be at least $750 million.  This would have paid for the emancipation of every slave several times over, and saved the lives of a million Americans.

Bernhard Thuersam, www.circa1865.org

 

Money to Fill New York Regiments:

“At the outbreak of the war, New York had four million people, and during the course of the war it furnished the equivalent of 400,000 three-year enlistments to the armed forces. This represented about seventeen per cent of the total northern enlistment and was in proportion to the state population.

Before the war ended, 40,000 New Yorker’s gave their lives to the enterprise. It is interesting to keep in mind that thirty per cent of New York enlistees were foreign-born:  40,000 came from Ireland, 41,000 from Germany, over 12,000 from England, 12,000 were Canadian, 3600 from France, 2000 from Wales, and 2000 from Switzerland. On top of this, 5000 Negroes were in New York regiments.”

In the conscription activity of 1863, the Republican-organ Oswego (New York) Times emphasized the material benefits which would accrue to those possessing the “lucky draft numbers.” A US Bounty of $102, State Bounty of $100, City Bounty of $300 (if offered as the Mayor suggested); Total of $502.00.  Then one year at $13. per month, one year’s service totaling $156.  “$658 or almost $2. per day! Soldiering will be the best business for the future.”

On August 4 [1863] the draft came to Oswego. While most draftees accepted the [conscription] law . . . the Times reported that some were applying to the British Vice Consul for papers giving them protection as aliens. A few were said to be “skedaddling” across the Canadian border.  The Times noted also, that the draft had developed an extraordinary number of sharks in the area. “Several half-starved lawyers, who don’t often get any business, have been taking advantage of the anxiety of drafted men to become exempt, to charge the most exorbitant rates for their services in making out the necessary papers.”

A year later a second draft stared Oswegonians in the face. It might be avoided, of course, if the quota could be raised by enlistment; but for a time the latter lagged. Groping for a solution an imaginative group of twenty-five men sent the local recruiting agents, E.B. Burt and A.B. Getty to Newport News, Virginia, in a military district occupied by Federal troops under General Benjamin Butler, for the purpose of procuring substitutes among the freedmen; expecting, it is assumed, that they could be hired cheaply.

The agents wrote that they found a few substitutes, though the place was filled with bounty-jumpers, but that General Butler had issued an order prohibiting the removal of freedmen from the district; that they would therefore try to enlist them [freedmen] as part of the Oswego quota, provided the city would pay the bounties required.  The City Council quickly voted bounties up to $300, including the agents’ fees, but the project fizzled and the agents returned home empty handed.

The Times writer considered this scheme quite ingenious until he discovered that Jefferson County [New York] was trying the same experiment.   As has been seen, when enlistments lagged, bounties served as a stimulant. As early as July 1862, the State was offering $50 and the County [Oswego] an additional $50, By January 1864, the County was paying $300 bounties, and by December, 1864, the sum was increased to $300 for one year, $500 for two years, and $700 for three years.

Meanwhile, the Federal government had increased its offer to $300. Thus a volunteer might pick up $1000 if he had patience to wait for the installments; this, when laborers wages were about one dollar per day! To those who remained hesitant, the Mexico [New York] Independent offered the happy thought that the war would not last long, and they might never fire a gun or draw a sword.”

(New York State in the Civil War, Robert J. Rayback, New York State Historical Association, 1961, pp. 69-70; Oswego Counties Response to the Civil War, Charles M. Snyder, New York State Historical Association, 1961, pp. 81-84)

Jan 2, 2015 - Lincoln's Patriots    No Comments

Millions for Bounties But Not Emancipation

The  Northern States were quite willing to raise millions of dollars for bounty-enriched mercenaries to subdue the American South, but never advanced a compensated emancipation plan to free the slaves — assuming that emancipation was the desired result.

Bernhard Thuersam, www.circa1865.org

 

Millions for Bounties But Not Emancipation

“It is very well known that the Northern people were so averse to military service that enlistments were, in most cases, procured by high bounties. When the Central Government began to draw imperative requisitions of men on the States, the local authorities, instead of simply drafting the required numbers from among their own militia, almost universally made arrangements for purchasing mercenaries to supply their “quotas;” thus relieving their own citizens from the dreaded service.

The price usually paid, towards the end for the human cattle for Confederate shambles, was not less than fifteen hundred dollars each. A sorry commentary by the way, upon the courage and patriotism of that people, that so large a bribe was needed to persuade them to “save the nation.” But thus it came to pass that not only the States, but cities, counties, country towns, and even the rural subdivisions called, among the people, townships, raised loans. Laws were passed to authorize them to make such loans, and to levy taxes necessary to provide for their interest.

The aggregate of these bounty-debts cannot be estimated by us from any evidences in our reach; but some data will be given to enable the reader to approximate it. The city of Philadelphia alone, it is believed, owes a debt of forty-four millions ($44,000,000) chiefly for bounties. It was a very “loyal” city. It claims about six hundred thousand (600,000) souls. The State of New York admits a bounty-debt of its own of $26 millions. But cities, counties and townships, within the State have also their own little debts for this and similar objects in addition.

A few other items may aid in our approximation. The federal Secretary of War informs us that in the latter part of the war there were 136,000 re-enlistments of the veterans honorably discharged. It is well known that these usually received the highest bounties. If we place them at fifteen hundred dollars ($1500) each, these cost the Northern people two hundred four millions ($204,000,000). The system of bounties was general from May 1863 until the end of the war.

The government itself fixed the minimum price of a man at $300 by appointing that sum as the cost of an exemption from the draft. But it is well known that few substitutes were purchased at so cheap a rate. The Secretary of War informs us that after May 1, 1863, there were one million six hundred thirty four thousand (1,634,000) enlistments. Placing the cost of each of these enlistments at three hundred dollars ($300), which is far below the average bounty, somebody had to pay for them four hundred ninety millions ($490,000,000).

The “bounty jumpers” as it is well known perpetrated immense frauds; and the number of bounties paid to them was far larger than that of the enlistments. The interest and principal of it (the debt) must be paid by the same people who have the federal debt to pay. If the policy pursued by the Government as to the local obligations incurred in the war of the Revolution is again to prevail, all these bounty-debts should be assumed and funded by the United States. Already this claim is heard in many quarters.

The recognized State and federal debts as we have seen, amount to three billion, four hundred forty three million dollars ($3,443,195,000).  It is most manifest, that the total mass of public debt now resting on the American people (nearly the whole incurred in the late war) for the payment of which provision must be made by taxation, must be at least four billions of dollars ($4,000,000,000).

Mr. Andrew Johnson, late president of the United States and an ardent advocate for the war, always affirmed constantly that the total cost of the war to the taxpayers would prove to be five billions ($5,000,000,000). He, of course, is good authority. And the interest on this debt is from 5 to 7 and one-fifth per centum!”

(Robert L. Dabney, Discussions, Volume IV, Secular, C.R. Vaughn, editor, Sprinkle Publications, 1897/1994, pp. 143-145)