How it came about?
September 14, 1868
In this Article, the Dispatch tries to paint the Democrats as the party fighting for state rights and a free nation while they paint the Northern Republicans as a party of people who are looking to increase national power for corrupt purposes to benefit themselves and trample on the rights of everyday Americans. They also say that this is what will happen if a military man like Grant is elected President.
Virginia was from the foundation of the Government the champion of the Constitution. Her great men were the chief artificers of that instrument of government, Its main object, as understood by Virginia and designed by its authors, was the preservation of the simplicity and economy of the Government by restricting it to defined powers and limited action. The fathers of the Republic knew that virtue and liberty were only to be preserved by simplicity and economy in the administration of the Federal authority. They knew that extravagance in that administration would beget corruption, and swell the power of the Government and its tendencies to usurpation and absorption of the rights of the States. The Government was no sooner under weigh than the war of parties began on this very point. There was the party of extravagance, favoring the concentration of power in the hands of the National Government, favoring the increase of its patronage and means of corrupting the people and dwarfing the dignity and consideration of the States ; and there was the party of State rights and simple government, who knew the fatal consequences to our form of government of making the creature at "Washington superior to its creators - the States - by enlarging its resources, increasing its patronage, and swelling all the lists of men in its civil and military service. In this war, so earnestly waged during the whole existence of the Republic, Virginia was the champion of the Constitution and of restricted government at Washington. She bravely and ably resisted lie wasteful and improper expenditures of the national treasure, and opposed every instance of appropriation of money to any purpose but the simple objects of carrying on the Government in the most economical manner. But the power and bribes of the Government were too great for her. Those who hungered after the money of the treasury combined to plunder it for purposes never dreamed of by the fathers of the Republic ; and while they filled their own pockets they cooperated with Virginia not only in tying up the money-bags to herself, but to all her followers. So that, while other communities enjoy the benefits of improvements made out of the Federal treasury, and the expenditure amongst them of millions of public money, Virginia and most of the southern States have profited nothing in the scramble; and when the late rupture came, we found northern States made powerful by Federal appropriations, and Virginia and the South comparatively weak in means and numbers - in a great degree from the signally partial hand with which the benefits of the Federal Government had been distributed, and from the protection afforded the North and the burthens imposed on the South in the system of imposts upon foreign importations. Thus has it come about that while her sister northern States have flourished beyond example, Virginia was at the beginning of the war comparatively poor, and her public works but half completed. Notwithstanding she had the best line for its easy graded for both railway and canal from ihe Atlantic to the Mississippi, her works intended to traverse it had but just, as it were, been begun. In her history it will be written in words of gold l that she proved loyal to her principles, and rejected the bribes in the form of appropriations, which she looked upon as illegal, and remained poor, while other States fattened upon the spoliations of the treasury, which she and those who acted with her were unable to prevent. She who gave to the nation a domain sufficient to carve out several empires was left poor, while her northern sisters Haunted in the superb displays of wealth robbed from the common treasure of the nation. But the war has ended the strife between the parties of virtue and corruption - the advocates of simple and just rule and the partisans of a centralized, powerful, and extravagant national government, and, therefore, a corrupt one. The former have Buttered defeat, and we learn a sad lesson, which should not be lost. " Might is right " now, and we must so act as to increase our means of protection under the new dispensation. Virginia must look now to her resources. She must try ' to increase her means and numbers as rapidly as possible, convinced that only in proportion to her force of wealth and men will her voice be heard and respected. In pursuance of this policy our whole people should more than ever be inspired with devotion to the public interests of their State. "With all their own means and energies they should endeavor to promote the industry, increase the population, the commerce and the manufactures of the State, and, as additional aid in these objects, accept every help from the national treasury that can be obtained from that quarter. The State is entitled to her share of the public treasure, and should endeavor to get it. She has sacrificed enough and given enough to the nation to make her demand the first in rank. Nor is this desirable for Virginia alone. Her position makes her prosperity and growth a matter of inestimable importance to the nation. In no way can the Republic be made no lasting in no way can the extremes be held together so tenaciously and harmoniously as by strengthening the centre - the country of the middle latitudes, embracing mainly Virginia, Kentucky, and Missouri. This is a desideratum more important under the new and rapid tendency to empire than at any former time ; and we confidently anticipate that the Federal Government will soon exhibit its sagacity by acting upon this idea. With the policy above urged upon our own people, and the national measures with reference to the national welfare here explained, a future of prosperity and grandeur is before this noble old State the magnitude of which no man can imagine. We trust ere another generation we may be able to write " how it came about." "So sure as Seymour and Blair are elected, civil war will be inaugurated." - Senator Sherman. Thus said Senator Sherman, of Ohio, in his speech at Pittsburg on Monday last. Thus we are given to understand that the placing of General Grant in the Presidential chair is to be a " military necessity." defeat is to be followed by " civil war," pays this very cunning Radical tactician. And in what way ? it may be asked. We can understand how it might follow an attempt on the part of the Radicals to seize the Presidency, and thus defeat the will of the people. But it matters little how the event that is thus foretold by high Radical authority is to take place. Everybody knows that if the Radical party have determined that war must follow the election of Seymour by the people, they will have it. It is not difficult for them to fulfill a prophecy which merely relates to their own put poses. How easy will it be for them, assuming that war will follow the election of Seymour, to assume further that it can only be prevented by putting Grant in the Presidential chair ! While exactly what they propose to do can be known only to themselves when they predict war from the election of Seymour, the inference is irresistible that they mean to make war themselves, or to make the anticipation of war the " public necessity " that demands the placing of their candidate in the Presidency! The "life of the nation " - notwithstanding they have nearly extinguished its last spark - has served them a good turn, and may no again used to advantage in the happening of the event foretold. There can no war result from the election of Seymour, so far as he and his party are concerned. They will not desire it, and cannot be benefited by it ; nor can they trump up any pretext for it. Their triumph will be one under the forms of the Constitution and laws - they will go into power under this high sanction, and will have no motive to violate it in any manner. So far from being inclined to infringe it in the slightest degree, they will need its full force for their own protection against the giant of military power grown so great in our country. They are the party of civil authority against that of the arbitrary xcill of military chieftains ; and they will have no other protection but the Constitution and laws and the voice of the people. Such predictions as Senator Sherman's I are a part of the game of Radicalism. They must irritate and alarm the people. They must fan the expiring embers of the passions of the war, and they must also tone the public mind to continued subjection to Radical authority by prophecies of evil and threatening of war in the event of the overthrow of their power. Senator Sherman is one of the most adroit, stealthy, and unscrupulous of the Radical puritanical senators. He is equally responsible with Mr. Seward for the war, and was about the most prominent of the signers of the recommendation of the helper pamphlet in 1859, which proposed a servile war in the South as a means of abolishing slavery. He was the general of those signers in the game of cunning and malignity played in the House of Representatives during the winter of '59-'60 that so incensed and enraged the feelings of the southern congressmen and the whole south. Like Seward, he then preserved an air of smooth-faced indifference and taciturnity, only occasionally deigning a smile of contempt or a word of taunt, which but increased the irritation of their generous and outraged adversaries. Sherman i has been ever ready to engage in the meaner class of measures for the humiliation and oppression of the southern people, and is now fulfilling his true character in the bloody prophecy he has made - a prophecy of the blood he and those who act with him are ready, in true Puritan spirit, to see shed rather than that they shall lose the offices and emoluments of government, and the power to gratify that insatiable malice which ever abides in their hearts with a bitterness unadulterated by a single drop of mercy.
About this article
“How it came about?,” Reconstructing Virginia, accessed February 1, 2023, https://reconstructingvirginia.richmond.edu/items/show/1122.