A Question We Must Consider.
The people of the United States are now experiencing a foretaste of what is to come "after the war." We can scarcely take up a paper from any portion of the country which is not lade with accounts of outrages upon citizens, perpetrated by furloughed soldiers — some of them of a very aggregated and serious character. Thoughtful men have all along perceived the evil that would inevitably attend the disbanding of our immense army, and it will not be difficult for any one to form some idea of what we shall have to encounter when the army shall be relieved from duty in the south, if the return of a few regiments is the signal for such universal turbulence. These are questions which it becomes us to meet and consider with the gravity demanded by the occasion. They affect all alike, and should be pondered over as purely a social problem, which it is. No one will imagine that we are charging the United States soldiers as a class, with being a body of riotous bandits, given to a ruthless thirst for blood and indiscriminate pillage; but there is an element of this kind in the army already so large, and constantly increasing, that it can only be regarded with alarm, as the time draws nearer when it shall be let loose upon community, and the civil authorities shall be the only power to which the people may look for protection. Springfield has been thrown into a high state of anxiety, simply by the presence of a score or two of these lawless spirits; the sanctity of private dwellings has been violated, and respectable ladies are fearful of venturing out of doors, even in the day time. Now, we have the controlling influence of the provost guard to quiet these disturbers of the peace. But what if our city contained a thousand of those defiant law-breakers, and we had no provost guard to enforce military orders?
In the face of this prospect, when all classes of community are threatened with the gravest possible evils upon the return of a large number of men whose naturally vicious dispositions shall be rendered more desperate and reckless by their three or four years campaigning, and their sudden release from the only restraint they have felt for so long, it would be considered incredible, were it not so palpable to all, that there are to be found newspapers and individuals actually doing all in their power to stimulate and encourage acts of violence on the part of the soldiers. True, they endeavor to direct these atrocities only towards members of a particular party, and resort to the most infamous falsehoods and calumnies to effect this object, but their experience should tell them that the chalice they are endeavoring to press to the lips of others shall be turned to their own. The people, whatever their political belief or action, have nothing to fear from soldiers who still have home ties and home interests to make them good and orderly citizens upon their return; but the experience of every nation has been, that at the close of a great war, an immense number of desperadoes, without friends, without kindred and without social ties of any kind are let loose upon communities, and that one of the most difficult problems they have to encounter, is how these turbulent men shall be regulated and kept within bounds. This is the problem we shall have to solve; and it is not an hour too soon to accustom ourselves to the proposition it embodies.