Wednesday, June 8, 2011

The Cynic

From Home Letters of General Sherman by William Tecumseh Sherman

Sherman was on the way to Washington from St. Louis when he wrote this to his wife.
June 8, 1861

. . . Now that the War has begun, no man can tell when it will end. Who would have supposed old England, chuck full of Abolitionists, would side with the southern against their northern descendants. Nations like men are governed solely by self interest, and England needs cotton, and the return market for the manufactures consumed in exchange. Again corruption seems so to underlie our government that even in this time of trial, cheating in clothes, blankets, flour, bread, everything, is universal.

It may be the simple growl of people unaccustomed to the privations of war. Again some three or four hundred thousand people are now neglecting work and looking to war for the means of livelihood. These, hereafter, will have a say in politics, so that I feel that we are drifting on the high seas, and no one knows the port to which we are drifting. The best chance of safety is our old government, with all its political chicanery and machinery, and to it we tie our fortunes. . . .
William Tecumseh Sherman, From the Library of Congress Collection

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