1865 May 6: The End Approaches—An Editorial
The following editorial on the end of the Civil War comes from the May 6, 1865, issue of The Polk County Press. We continue with a few more articles from May 6 because we do not have issues of the Press for May 13, only from The Prescott Journal.
The End Approaches.
The end of treason draws near. After four years of carnage, the fire created by “firing the Southern heart” has burnt itself to a bed of cold ashes, strewn over the broad field of battle, extending from the “Potomac to the Rio Grande.” The armies of the Union remain masters of the situation. They have marched against the ranks of treason in every Southern State. They have bearded the lion in his den, and with victorious banners now occupy the entire strong ___ [fold in the newspaper obscures this word].
Where is the proud “Southern Confederacy” now ? Its Capital is peopled by Uncle Sam’s children, and the bayonet of the loyal soldier—though a negro—shines brightly in the sun, as he marches proudly over the sacred soil of Virginia’s metropolis, enforcing law and order ; its Cabinet officers are scattered to the four winds of Heaven ; its armies are conquered, beaten and disbanded ; its resources are wasted ; its debt is unpaid ; its leading men sent head-long into poverty, and its President, the vilest wretch of all the traitor crew, is a fugitive from justice—an outlaw, seeking with the craftiness of a thief to steal out of the land he has so long dishonored with his contaminating presence.
The vile wretch. We fear after all that the gallows will get cheated of its due.
And where, O where ! is Toombs [Robert A. Toombs], and Cobb [Howell Cobb], and the other fellows who “fired the Southern heart ;” and that bloated pimp, Wigfall [Louis T. Wigfall], of Texas—the fire-eater and whiskey soaker ? They too are running—evidently forgetting to hide in that “last ditch.”
And thus the boasted “Southern Confederacy,” whose corner stone was the poor despised negro’s back, has fallen to pieces, and Sambo is master now ; for with the blue coat, and bright musket, he stands sentinel over the trator’s [sic] cities, and the traitor citizens are made to respect him as a loyal man. In the language of a popular song,
“The whip am lost and the hand-cuff broken
… And the master’s got his pay,
He’s old enough, big ’nough, and oughter knowed better,
…Than to went and run’d away.¹
When we look over the events of the past four years, we can but wonder at the mighty results which have transpired. From a peaceable and commercial people, we have been changed to a nation of warriors.—Great battles have been fought and won ; cities have been destroyed, and the whole land deluged in blood. The manicles [sic] of the slave have been stricken from his limbs, and he has gained his liberty forever more. In the “mudsils” and “greasy mechanics” of the North have been found the elements of victory, and by their strong arms and stout hearts they have taught the rotten epithet flinging aristocracy of the South, that they are the true noblemen of the soil. In the hearts of the loyal people the deep seated principle of universal Liberty has remained steadfast to the glorious end. By the firmness and power of the Administration the Union has been preserved, the Constitution protected and upheld, and the Laws vindicated and enforced.
And now at the end of these four years of war and civil commotion, the curtain rises upon the last act—the fearful tragedy is ended in the assassination of ABRAHAM LINCOLN, the nation’s second Washington.
And the end approaches. Peace, though laggard, will soon shine serenely over all, and “in the future as in the past” the country will remain one and indivisible. God be praised.
1. The last lines of a song entitled “Kingdom Coming.” The Library of Congress has two published versions of the song. The words are slightly different than the ones used here.
De whip am lost, hand-cuff broken;
….But old massa will hab his pay—
He’s old enough and big enough, and ought to known better,
….Than to went and run away.
De whip is lost, de han’-cuff broken,
….but de massa’ll hab his pay;
He’s ole enough, big enough, ought to known better,
….dan to went, an’ run away.