The Negro Question in Congress.
The Albany (N. Y.) Argus and Atlas in some very excellent comments upon the anxiety manifested in congress to get the negroes into this contest, says:
But if congress distrusts the power of the 600,000 white soldiers in arms, in defence of the constitution, and of the vast navy of the federal government, and must needs recruit from the black population, why not commence at the north? If blacks are needed for soldiers, why not marshal the free blacks to the rescue, instead of attempting this tardy and circuitous method of rallying slaves to our standard! There are 200,000 free blacks in the loyal states, and an army of 25,000 might easily be supplied from their numbers. To get the same force of able bodied men from the slave population, we would have to take within our lines, and support till the close of the war, eight times the number, counting women, children, the decrepit and incapable. The burden of such a population would be immensely greater than that of any similar number of the most expensive troops we now have, even on the most extravagant estimate.
"What will it cost to sustain a population of 200,000 slaves during the war, fed with daily rations as the ‘contrabands’ at Fortress Monroe now are? The elements of the calculation are to be found in that experiment, and it is in the power of the government to give the result also. We venture to say that there never was a body of men, outside of the established almshouses, so unproductive and wasteful and useless as the laborers at Fortress Monroe, and their large, dependent families.
We do not believe the people are rich enough to support such a body of pensioners: or that the suffering citizens of the north will patiently abide the idea that while government leaves them to their bitter fate of hunger and cold, it is manifesting paternal indulgence and bestowing its liberal bounties upon the vagrant population of the south, whom it has invited into idleness. And then, when the negro class has sucked its millions from the treasury, the master class is to have its turn! How many millions will this take, and who but the northern laborer will have to pay them?"