Will there be a Draft?
We are frequently asked this question by persons who suppose that Illinois is so largely in excess over previous calls, that no draft will probably be ordered in this state, or that, if one is made, it will fall so lightly as not to be grievously burdensome upon the people. But, from the indications which daily multiply, we are inclined to the opinion that a draft will be ordered here immediately upon the completion of the enrollment, and that it will be as heavy as though the state had not furnished a single man for the war at former times.
In the first place, it is patent to every impartial observer, that the administration is constantly discriminating against democratic states in the burdens it lays upon the people, and in favor especially of the New England shoddy puritans. Abraham Lincoln seems to have been elected president from Illinois only that he might more fully demonstrated his total disregard and defiance of law and for the wishes and will of the people. For these reasons, the draft will fall with peculiar force upon the west.
And then these shoddy puritans who thank God daily that they are not as the miserable copperheads out west, who get fishing bounties and contracts from the government, are furnishing no men to speak of under the draft. When it comes to going to war they are all sick. Like the invited guests in the parable, "they begin, with one accord, to make excuse," and some how or other, they nearly all get excused. We doubt if the entire puritan, psalm-singing empire furnishes five thousand men for the war under this draft, and as we are repeatedly told it is the men the "government" is after, as they cannot be procured from New England, the west must be looked to for the supply. Massachusetts has the money while Illinois has not. So Massachusetts does not go to war, but Illinois and Indiana will be obliged to.
It is a noteworthy fact that nobody except our dearly-beloved and philanthropic administration has the slightest idea how many men are required. No definite number has been stated, no quotas assigned to the different states. The law required that an equitable apportionment should be made in the various states, upon the same basis precisely, giving each state proper credit for excess, and charging her for deficiency under previous calls. This is the law; but is not Mr. Lincoln the "government?" No such thing has been done. In New York, the ratio of draft had been double that in New England. In Illinois we cannot tell what it will be.
This most offensive law that ever occupied a place upon our statue book, had been executed in the most offensive and oppressive manner that could be conceived. It has seemed, from the beginning, that the administration was determined to provoke an uprising on the part of the people. Its movements and designs were kept carefully concealed, and when they developed themselves, were seen to show partiality and favoritism in the grossest and most offensive degree.
Our advice to the people of Illinois is, therefore, to be prepared for and to expect a draft. Do not rely upon our previous excess to disarm it of a portion of its terrors. The government must have men, it says; and as the east will not furnish them, the great west is relied upon for a supply. In New York, although the draft will be rigidly enforced, and the examinations be conducted on a different ground from that pursued in New England, so that exemptions will not be so frequent, the city council has appropriated three millions of dollars as exemptions will not be so frequent, the city council has appropriated three millions of dollars as exemption money for the drafted men. So that the army will not receive no favors from the administration, and shall be lucky indeed if we get our just rights. The draft will certainly continue until several hundred thousand men are secured, of which there can be no manner of doubt the majority, as heretofore, will be taken from the broad prairies of the west.
Let us all be prepared, therefore, and look the fact squarely in the face, that we be not taken unaware when it comes. We think we have shown sufficient ground for the belief that the quota still required of us will be a heavy one. We should bear our burden more tranquilly, however, were we apprised of the weight laid upon the shoulders of our New England sister states, and the proportion thereof they have contrived to cast aside.