Do They Desire Peace?
The position taken by the democratic party in favoring a call of a national convention to settle our difficulties, is founded on the firm belief that the people, both north and south, are desirous of peace. We all agree in the belief that the rebel leaders, like northern army contractors and howling abolition politicians, are opposed to peace. But if a convention be called, and it prove true that the people on both sides are really anxious for an honorable peace, it will not be long before the people exert their power to compel their leaders to cease hostilities. The abolition press quote the language of the Richmond fire-eating journals on us to show that the south does not desire a peace. We retort by declaring that these journals no more represent the sentiment of the southern people, than the resolutions of northern army officers reflect the views of our army; and that the extremists, both north and south, are resolved to keep the people at war at all hazards until the country is ruined, and their pockets filled.
But occasionally these humane war-at-any-price journals happen to let the cat out of the bag, as witness the following paragraph, clipped from the editorial columns of the Illinois Journal. The Nashville Union is excellent authority among the black republicans:
A friend informs us, says the Nashville Union, that a distinguished East Tennessee Union officer went into the rebel hospitals at Murfreesboro, where the Tennessee soldiers were confined, and conversed freely with them in reference to the rebellion. Nearly nine-tenths of them avowed that they were for the Union. They said they had been conscripted and forced into the front ranks of the battle, at the points of the bayonets of the Texas and Mississippi soldiers.
Now, if these people want peace, what are we fighting them for? Is the war to go on until Jeff. Davis and the Richmond Enquirer come down on their knees, and sue for mercy, although we kill another half million of men to make them do so? Jeff. Davis, like Abraham Lincoln, has control of the military power, and can wage a long fight unless the people take the matter in hand. That is just what the democracy contemplate in calling a convention of the states.
But the abolitionists are determined, as they have repeatedly declared, that the war shall not stop until the slaves are set free. It is for that result we are now fighting, not for a restoration of the Union; it is to free the slaves of rebels that the heart's blood of the republic is being poured out, and the country hurried on to swift destruction. Is it wonderful the democracy want such a war to stop?