Are We Approaching the End of the War?
The question asked by the country after each fresh victory by the Union arms over the rebels in the field is, "How much nearer does this success bring us to peace, to re-union, and the final termination of the war?" Had we a just and patriotic administration — one which really desired peace and restoration of fraternal relations, preferring these considerations to all others, the question would be easy of solution. After every triumph of our armies we would discover a well defined and material progress towards the end. We should see the rebels manifesting decided inclinations to abandon the contest and return to their allegiance; and as we conquered territory, that territory would be added to our present possessions, and our strength increased by every foot of land we thus obtained. Tennessee, Louisiana, Mississippi and Arkansas would not only be States wrested from rebel rule, but States restored to the Union — sources of material power just as much in their degree as are Illinois and New York.
But by the evil policies this administration sees fit to pursue, we realize none of these advantages. Every road of land we conquer only gives us so much hostile territory to guard. We "make a solitude, and call it peace." The terms offered the rebels only encourage them to increased resistance, instead of winning them to submission. In all our occupation of rebel territory we are doing nothing to break down the spirit of the rebellion. The fires of '76 live still in the breasts of southerners as well as in our own. These people began the war under the false illusion that they were fighting for their freedom: the policies of the abolitionists are making that belief reality. Talk like the following, which we clip from an abolition exchange, is of exactly the character required to stimulate the rebels to fight to the last, rather than become the serfs the abolitionists would make them:
"Hon. Geo. W. Julian spoke at the Court House last Thursday evening. He had a good audience, and was listened to with attention. He discussed the policy of dealing with the rebel States, after the rebellion shall have been crushed, with ability and force. He insisted that the only plan by which permanent peace can be restored, is to reduce the rebellious states to a territorial condition, and place them under the control of Congress until they become populated with a loyal people and fit to be admitted into the Union upon an equality with other States."
Now let the people of the north imagine themselves in the position of the rebels. They are told that their property is to be seized and confiscated — their state government obliterated — themselves reduced to the condition of vassals, to be governed by congress — they have no assurance, indeed, that even their lives will be spared should they throw down their arms. They see a feeling of the bitterest hatred cultivated towards them in the press and habitual talk of the northern people. They are told that they are to be "subjugated — yes, subjugated is the word," as an abolition member of congress declared. Were their case ours, would we be likely to submit? Would we not rather fight on with desperation, even as our forefathers fought their oppressors in 1776?
It is a mistake to suppose that the rebels can not maintain a protracted war. They are not reduced to one-half the straits the American revolutionists endured in their struggle for independence. And we are pursuing towards them the identical policy adopted by Great Britain towards [unknown] missing.