Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Why New York City is for the War: One Opinion

Broadway, New York city, 1860 courtesy of Wikipedia
From the Covington Journal of May 25, 1861, comes this piece.

We have never been at a loss to know why Abolitionists, ambitious men in the military line, and would-be army contractors should favor a "vigorous prosecution" of the war, but we have been at a loss to account for the furor displayed by the city of New York in behalf of measures to "wipe out the South." A New York correspondent of the Cincinnati Enquirer throws some light on the point. He says: 

"I inquired of a leading citizen what was the cause of New York having on her such an extra military fever? He replied: 'Her bread and butter is in imminent danger now and hereafter. Successful secession of the Southern states would ruin her. She would not be one half what she is now with the Union divided. We all know it, all feel it, all see it. This is what makes our moneyed men shell out so freely. If rebellion is put down New York is made forever. WE COULD STOP THE WAR; BUT TO STOP IT, AND SECESSION SUCCESSFUL, WOULD BE OUR DEATH.' This same gentleman led me into some secrets. Railroad interests have considerable to do with the war. THE MOST SOUTHERN ROUTE LEADING FROM THE GREAT NORTH-WEST TO THE EAST MUST BE DESTROYED - THAT IS THE BALTIMORE AND OHIO ROAD, AND WITH IT BALTIMORE ITSELF. There must be no rival north of 36 36 to New York. You find in that idea the reason for much of the military feeling here, both in the camp and in the bank parlors."

This pocket patriotism will be duly appreciated and remembered by the South. 

It's kind of interesting that they seem to ridicule New York's apparent self-interest in the war, but make no mention that the reasons for secession also were based on similar motives.

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