Equality and Destruction

June 24, 1867


Senator Wade gave a speech regarding the distribution of land.He calls for land to be distributed more equally among white and black Southerners.The Dispatch agrees and claims that there is a division between "those who labor and those who do not" that needs to be reflected in the distribution of land.


Equality and Destruction. The last few years have been fruitful of those "bloody instructions" which, after a time, return "to plague the inventors." Senator Wade's speech, made while on the late Pacific Railroad spree of the senators, is attracting much attention among northern editors. The telegraphic report was not regarded as reliable, and it was thought that he had merely said something about confiscating southern lands and dividing property equally among the whites and blacks. That was so small and uninteresting a matter that nobody seemed to care anything about it! It passed with as little concern as is occasioned by a boy throwing at a frog - a sort of amusement universally tolerated in spite of AEsop's condemnation of it! But Mr. Wade meant more than that. He scattered the seeds of his ill weeds broadcast. "Property," said he, "is not equally divided, and a more equal distribution of capital must be wrought out." He added: "Congress, which has done so much for the slave, cannot quietly regard the terrible distinction between the man that labors and him that does not!" Thus bringing his agrarian ideas home to his people in the North, and naturally we have some lively editorials from the enlightened nnd humane northern editors in earnest deprecation of such outrageous and destructive suggestions as those of the Senator! The proposition to expand the agrarianism applied to the South was a matter of course," and Mr. Wade has only been ahead of some one else. It is his bid for the presidency. But he unfortunately omitted to add to his platform a yet more popular plank: that of Repudiation. A shrewd northern politician and speculator, Mt. George Francis Train, who was one of the happy company on the plains, instantly detected the omissions made by the Ohio senator, and on the first opportunity put them in his own platform thus: "Woman's suffrage, repudiation, and hellfire." This gives Train the advantage of Wade. Like a brave man, he takes all the "advanced ideas," including the legitimate end to which they lead, at a dash. In his bid for the presidency he not only outbids Wade, but leaves nothing to enable Wade to offer a second bid. These agrarian and destructive ideas rather confound the eminent Radical Stevens, who has been persistently engaged in a mild measure of sectional confiscation to gratify his revenge for the burning of his rolling mills by the Confederates. The more enlarged statesman from Ohio and the notorious Captain Train, or Train Captain, of the "facilis descensus averni," have brought his little scheme into utter contempt. The New York Herald, however, very appropriately suggests that the Government is in advance of all these apostles of agrarianism, repudiation, and confiscation. The Government is now engaged, that paper in a system of confiscation which is absorbing the property of the country rapidly. The entire property of the nation is valued at $12,000,000,000, which, at the rate of $300,000,000 per annum - the Government tax - will be swallowed up in twenty-four years! After the long agony we have borne, we can look on almost any outrage, crime, or horror with something like composure. So if it suits those controlling national affairs to trust the destructives and acquiesce in their "ideas,"' let them. These things will have their retribution.
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Stacey Dec




“Equality and Destruction,” Reconstructing Virginia, accessed May 18, 2022, https://reconstructingvirginia.richmond.edu/items/show/638.