The War Policy Wearing Out
November 24, 1870
In the interest of bringing the country together, as well as of peace and harmony, General Grant has recommended universal amnesty.
It is announced that General Grant will, in his message, recommend universal amnesty. He certainly ought to do so, for his own sake, as well as that of the nation. The policy of distrust and punishment has been disastrous to the dominant party. Had they adopted the opposite course of trust and confidence, and restored personal rights with a liberal hand, their position before the world would now be very different, and their strength in the south would be much greater than it is. But now the popular expression is so decidedly against the policy of vindictiveness and disfranchisement that is abandonment is become a matter of necessity, while its postponement has so dissatisfied the people that the government must lose all the advantages an act of clemency five years ago might have secured.'The country cannot be at peace while war measure prevail; and as peace is demanded, those measures must be abandoned. Whether willingly or not, our rulers are impressed with the fact. 'Here in this part of the Union, whose condition is so little understood north of the Pennsylvania line, we have the ultra Radicals still seeking by trick and contrivance to control us - to get possession of the offices and to handle the public moneys. They are marshalling their negro witnesses and shaping their testimony with a view to reversing the judgment of the people - turning out those they elected and filling their places with men who endeavored to deprive the tax-payers and the responsible part of the community of all rights, and place the Government entirely in the hands of the negroes and the unprincipled men who have been using them for merely selfish purposes. No matter what takes place elsewhere, these impudent and untrustworthy people will continue their scheming to get our offices. The people despise them; but what of that? To such persons the sweets of office are sweetened by the mortification it gives the people to see them holding the places of honor and emolument. Having no sense of shame, no motive but selfishness, they continue to scheme and skirmish to get the handling of the moneys paid into the treasury by an oppressed people. They do not consider the state of public opinion elsewhere. Like the army worm, they are intent upon their ravages. If the whole union were to turn against them, as long as they conceived that they had any chance with Judge Bond or Judge Underwood they would sue out writs and arraign our citizens on charges of all sorts with the view of upsetting the elections and having the offices given to them by order of the court. 'But while these mercenary invaders are dead to the moral effect of popular changes elsewhere, the law officers may not be oblivious of the condition of public sentiment. Judge Bond certainly is a man of legal attainments, and we can hardly suppose that he will approve the irregular and outrageous proceeding which are gotten up here to stifle the voice of the people.'But the little knot of public disturbers here must soon be shaken off, and the time in favor of the restoration of personal liberty and general equality will become smooth and steady. It cannot be resisted.
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“The War Policy Wearing Out,” Reconstructing Virginia, accessed May 18, 2022, https://reconstructingvirginia.richmond.edu/items/show/1887.