We Should, I
Think, Admit That They Have Fought Very Well When We Consider How
Short Has Been Their Practice At Such Work.
At Somerset, at Fort
Henry, at Fort Donelson, at Corinth, the men behaved with courage,
standing well to their arms, though at each place the slaughter
among them was great.
They have always gone well into fire, and
have general]y borne themselves well under fire. I am convinced
that we in England can make no greater mistake than to suppose that
the Americans as soldiers are deficient in courage.
But now I must come to a matter in which a terrible deficiency has
been shown, not by the soldiers, but by those whose duty it has been
to provide for the soldiers. It is impossible to speak of the army
of the North and to leave untouched that hideous subject of army
contracts. And I think myself the more specially bound to allude to
it because I feel that the iniquities which have prevailed prove
with terrible earnestness the demoralizing power of that dishonesty
among men in high places, which is the one great evil of the
American States. It is there that the deficiency exists, which must
be supplied before the public men of the nation can take a high rank
among other public men. There is the gangrene, which must be cut
out before the government, as a government, can be great. To make
money is the one thing needful, and men have been anxious to meddle
with the affairs of government, because there might money be made
with the greatest ease.
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