Изображения страниц


FROM all the loyal portions of the United States, we have recently said farewell to our fellow-citizens-neighbors, friends, kindred-fathers and sons, husbands and brothers—who have gone to fight the battles of our country in this war of rebellion and treason so wickedly waged upon it. The inquiry rises spontaneously in the hearts of us all who remain at home, what can we do for our country? As in ancient Israel, they who "tarry by the stuff," and they that "go down to the battle," share alike in the results of martial success. The immense benefits of victory in this righteous war-the reëstablishment of law and order, and the strengthening of our beneficent system of free government, which gives protection and stimulus to the human powers in all productive effort, effort productive of wealth, of intellectual, moral and religious culture, of true prosperity and happiness-these benefits we shall share equally with those who defend and sustain the government at the peril of life on the deadly field.

It well becomes us, then, to ask what part of duty, as well as of benefits, we have who stay at home. We shall share in the beneficent results of the conflict. What part can we have in the service attending it?

That which naturally first occurs to our thoughts is, to be ready to follow those who have gone to the conflict, if we shall be needed.

Every man capable of bearing arms, by age and physical condition, and who comes within the prescribed military rule in these respects, should be willing, in such an exigency, to defend his country by bearing arms. It is well and requisite that suitable numbers of them should be preparing themselves for a call to such a patriotic service, however sudden,

by acquiring the necessary military knowledge and discipline. It is to be gratefully and joyfully recognized as a fact, shining out by abundant demonstrations, that multitudes, thousands and hundreds of thousands, are thus willing for all necessary martial service. The government of our fathers, which we so justly value and love, can have an army of a million for its defense, whenever it shall call. Let us keep up this tone of feeling as long as the war shall last, however long that shall be. Let it not be feeling merely, (as it is not), but feeling united with and founded on the principle of patriotism, of duty, and of piety.

But there are many, even the greater part of our communities, who, from age, or sex, or physical disqualification, do not come within the prescribed conditions of military service, to whom, therefore, in answer to the question, What shall we do for our country in this crisis? it is not pertinent to say, be ready to follow to the field those who have gone. Yet for them, as for all, of whatever condition, who stay at home, there are important patriotic services to be performed.

We naturally think, first, of what we can do for the health and comfort and true welfare of those who have gone in our stead to the martial field.

They have been suddenly called, and have left home in haste, and on that account, in many instances, not sufficiently prepared for the exigencies of a campaign, in a distant region, and in a very different climate from ours. We should hold ourselves ready to prepare, and should be preparing, so far as it is to be done unofficially, all necessary garments for the sick and wounded, and for needful change in the fierce and debilitating heat of southern climes; remembering that the health of our troops is of prime importance; since in a campaign sickness usually destroys more lives than the sword. In this good work we may rely chiefly on those who are excluded from entering our armies, except in a limited number to care for the sick-those who were last at the cross and first at the sepulchre, and are ever most eminent in service amid all scenes of trouble and anguish. Let ways and means be devised to employ for the comfort and welfare of those who have gone

down to the battle, the industry and skill of our patriotic women—our women, we might say; the adjective is unneces sary; they are all patriotic.

Then we should favor a sufficient remuneration of those who have gone, or who shall go, to the martial field.

Surely, they who go on this service of certain hardship, and of probable deadly peril, should be well paid-should receive certainly the average wages of such men when engaged in the employments of peace. And we who stay at home and send them to fight our battles-the state and nation, whose welfare and very life they are saving from destruction,--can well afford to pay it, and should be enthusiastically willing to pay it. Let us not, as communities, or states, or as a nation, shrink at all from any taxation which is needful for the fair expenses of this conflict, and especially for the sufficient remuneration of our brave troops. Let them be assured that they will receive, as their just due, a support for themselves and for their families or dependents. The fact that this remuneration makes in the aggregate a large sum, should not alarm us. We should accept it cheerfully, as our part, and less than our parta part surely less difficult than theirs of hardship and peril. We should protest, too, by our influence, and in all proper ways, against our legislators taking advantage of the patriotic enthusiasm of our volunteers to employ their services at any less than a fair remuneration, be the time of their service longer or shorter.

But the most important duty of those who remain at home, while their brethren go down to the battle, is to perform the home work-to attend to the necessary business of the country, in all its departments, industrial, moral, religious.

In ancient times, it was the duty of those who "stayed by the stuff," while their brethren went to the fight, to take care of the stuff. So it belongs to us who remain at home in this time of war, to take care of home, and all the duties of home to administer energetically and successfully the ordinary business of the country, in all its various forms. This, this is now our great duty to our country.

Let us consider it, as it is comprehended in two general departments the industrial or secular, and the moral or religious.

First, the industrial or secular. We find here a two-fold reason for industry and energy. On the one hand, much of the laboring or productive force of the country is taken away for the service of war; and, on the other hand, we need the full ordinary amount of production, and more than the ordinary amount, to support the country in the war. Multitudes of men have been taken from the fields for the duties of war. At the trumpet call of our nation's martial leaders, they have laid down the implements of agriculture, and seized the rifle and the sword. And yet we need as much as ever, and more than ever, all that our fields can produce. For, besides supplying the ordinary wants of the country, we must feed our armies. And this, though there are not literally any more mouths to be fed, involves a large additional outlay of labor, in the way of storage and transportation. The Commissary department, in time of war, the office of feeding an army of a hundred or two hundred thousand men, is very responsible and onerous. We must see to it, then, that the great business of agriculture is not allowed to languish. We must raise enough from the bountiful earth, both for those who stay at home, and for those who go down to the battle; and also, if possible, for sale in other countries, that we may obtain in return other products, or money, for the support of the country in the war. It may be necessary, and expedient also, since many departments of manufacturing industry are restricted in their market by the disarrangements and impoverishment of the times, to transfer productive force from the workshops to the fields. At all events, and by all means, the earth, whether in the garden or in the field, must be made to produce as much as possible.

So in other departments of business, there are none from which men have not volunteered for the war. Their places must be supplied, where the demands of business require it, by others. And while some branches of business are greatly restricted and deranged, others need to be greatly enlarged and

invigorated. There is need especially that the manufacture of arms, and ordnance, and the various munitions of war, should be pressed forward with all possible energy-a need greatly increased, if not wholly caused, by the shameful and accursed treachery of some of our late high officials, in sending our arms and ordnance into the seceded states, in anticipation of their rebellion, and by the equally shameful theft of those


There must, also, be vast quantities of clothing prepared for the comfort and necessary use of our armies. And, without further specification, it may be said with regard to this branch of the subject, the department of secular business, that in whatever form production is needed, or may be profitably carried on, it should be energetically and industriously carried on. For we need to produce property, to make money, in time of war, more than ever; not that we may hoard it, not that we may spend it on ourselves, but that we may devote it to our country in her time of need, and to the maintenance of her institutions, civil, religious, and benevolent. For money (it has become a proverb) constitutes the sinews of war. Not that we are wholly dependent on what we shall make during the war, or on what we now possess. For, thanks to a bountiful Providence, and to the industrial skill and energy of the loyal part of the country, we have credit sufficient to avail us in any exigency. Still it is true that never did we need to produce property or values more than now. And, therefore, it is the patriotic duty of those who stay at home to be specially diligent and energetic in every form of productive industry that they can find. Let those, then, who stay by the stuff, while their brethren go to the battle, remember that it is no time to be idle. The way for us to serve our country in this crisis is to carry forward, in the best sphere we can find, the productive industry of the country; and so give her food and clothing for her armies and nerve her with all the various and strong sinews of war.

Let us pass now to the other general department of patriotic duty for those who remain at home-the moral and religious department.

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »