"Why, it has turned out like the other promises of rich rebels to the victims whom they have trapped in their damnable net."
Rebel Liberality to the Poor.
Some "Old Treasures"—The Poor Used as Catspaws by Rich Rebels.
In the Nashville Union and American of April 22d, 1861, the bloody-minded Secession organ which called for confiscation, banishment, imprisonment and hanging for all who remained loyal to the Union, we find this exceedingly magnanimous and stirring offer from one of our citizens. The editor of the Union calls it—
The Voice of a Venerable Patriot.—R. C. Foster, Sr., sends to the Patriot the following patriotic proposition, which we gladly publish:
["]Nashville, April 22, 1861.
To the Editors of the Patriot: From age and infirmity I am unable to do service on the battle-field for the rights of the South; but I am a volunteer with any number of Tennesseans under like disability, to pay annually to the Governor of Tennessee two hundred dollars for the comfort and support of the wives and children of the citizens soldiers of Tennessee, whilst serving in defence of the constitutional rights of the South.
R. C. Foster, Sr.["]
Noble, warm and generous proposition! It does credit to humanity. The promise held out is splendid. We have no doubt that many a poor mechanic, many a needy laborer as he embraced and kissed his wife and children before going into the rebel army pointed his family to this generous card, and consoled them in their bitter bereavement by exhibiting it all-comprehensive philanthropy. What about the fulfillment of the promise? Has it ever happened? Who has heard of it being done? What has become of this fostering care so kindly pledged to the poor? Why, it has turned out like the other promises of rich rebels to the victims whom they have trapped in their damnable net. We published the other day a list of cards from wealthy Nashville rebels, similar to the one which we have given above, in the magnificence of their promises and the nothingness of their fulfillment. Yes, confiding and misguided men have been seduced from their country's flag, and their dependent families, and are now wandering utterly deserted, friendless and penniless, in distant States, abandoned by the very tempters whose poisoned tongues and hollow professions corrupted, misled and ruined them. The Secretary of the Sanitary Commission at St. Louis wrote to Gov. Johnson on the 19th of March, that citizens of Tennessee formerly belonging to the rebel army were "wandering through the streets of that city without the means of living or returning to their homes." Gov. Johnson called upon the men of this place who had made so grandiloquent promises for aid, but not one dollar has been given! There is the real spirit of the Secession leaders. They are eager to use the poor as tools to do their work, and then cast them contemptuously away when they have got into power. The rebel organ itself, the Nashville Union and American, could not refrain from rebuking the extortion practiced by the wealthy upon the poor, and denounced it in its issue of September 18, 1861, in these terms:
["]We have an army of women in our midst, with an average of three children each, whose husbands are fighting out battles. These mothers earn about thirty cents a day, when they can get the work to do. Their helpless offspring are clad in the thin and worn garments of last spring, shoeless and stockingless. They are to be shod and clothed for the winter, and fed, even if it be upon cheap bread alone. Yesterday reminded us that they must have fires to protect them from "winter's chilly blasts." There is within the limits of the city a sufficiency of coal. If economically used, to last until spring. This coal cost only peace prices to mine and deliver it here, and twenty days ago, as we are informed, it could have been bought at twenty cents per bushel, and a handsome bonus would have been paid to the person who would have found a purchaser, because it would have been a good speculation on the part of holders to have sold out at that rate. Yesterday thirty five and forty cents per bushel were demanded, with an intimation that to day the price may be fifty cents.
In the name of humanity, shall this army of women and helpless children, the wives and children of the brave men who are paying their lives that we may have peace and independence—freeze, because the exorbitant prices demanded by holders had placed coal out of the reach of their limited means? A more gloomy prospect for winter certainly never has hung over the poor of this city and especially in cases where the heads of families have gone to drive the invaders from Southern soil. Almost every necessity of life has gone up to worse even than famine prices. It really seems as if sharpers had combined to monopolize the trade, and to fatten upon the necessities of those who are fighting the battles of their country. We hear one universal complaint that the prices of almost every comfort as well as necessity, are exorbitantly high. The people, who [illegible] now by their labor than they did before the war commenced, cannot [illegible] stand or appreciate this [illegible] advance and they naturally conclude that speculators are at the [illegible] We are at a loss to how the poor of Nashville are to be cared for the coming winter, under the circumstance s that surround us.
The course pursued by tradesmen generally in the South has produced a great deal of discontent, and not without apparent reason.["]
Here we have a picture of wretchedness and suffering in the families of those who had gone off after these enemies of their race, Harris, Bishop, Polk, Cheatham, and others, which is enough to chill one's blood. And this is precisely the goal of suffering to which this hellish rebellion is hurrying the masses with the swiftness of Niagara's rapid. The rich rebels and those belonging to the "first families," (which usually means those who manage to live without working or paying their debts,) get good offices, or else amass fortunes by speculating off the necessities and miseries of the poor.
Nashville Daily Union, April 18, 1862.
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