April 2 1862 - The contrast between Maryland and Virginia, loyalty and rebellion.
The contrast between loyalty and rebellion, and their respective consequences, is very striking to the eye and the mind of all who pass from this county into Jefferson, Berkeley and Frederick counties, Va. The old intercourse between our people and those of these counties having been measurably restored under the protection of the stars and stripes, we can better see and appreciate the blessings which an honest devotion to the National Government has conferred upon us, by contrasting our comparatively happy and prosperous condition with that of a people who have been subjected to the tyranny and oppression of the insurrectionary cabal at Richmond. Here the peaceful pursuits of life have been continued without interruption. The farmer could sow and reap, gather his crops, and sell them for a sound Currency, there being none to interfere with him or make him afraid. The mechanic could pursue his avocation without molestation, and so could the merchant, the professional character, and all classes of the community. And this day-—this beautiful spring time, when the fields and trees are putting on their verdure of green, when flowers are springing up, and the birds are chirping and singing their merry songs—the people of Washington county may well congratulate themselves upon their fortunate escape from the wreck and ruin of the civil war which has laid waste other sections of our beloved country. Thankful, indeed, should they be, first to the kind care of the Father of Mercies, and secondly to the wisdom and patriotism of those who held the State to her allegiance in disregard alike of the blandishments of masked traitors and the bold threats of open enemies.
But when the observer leaves this county, and crosses the river into Virginia, where treason has been holding its carnivals, and rebellion has swayed the sceptre of power, he beholds a very different picture. There he sees on every hand the most painful evidences of misery and desolation. The fences are down, the fields are uncultivated, the horses and wagons of the farmers have been impressed into the rebel service; no mail facilities, food and raiment, and all the necessaries of life, selling at fabulous prices, with a currency no better than trash, or which is the same thing, rebel principles. Since the Federal Authority has been extended over this portion of Virginia, the condition of things has very greatly improved, but the devastating trail of the Secession serpent are still everywhere visible, and it will take years of patient toil and rigid economy to obliterate it from the face of the country.
Now, should not this contrast between Loyalty and Secession impress every right-minded and honest-hearted man in this county with the vital importance of adhering to the United States Government and suppressing every manifestation of Infidelity to it? It is true the war cloud, which a year ago threatened to burst upon our heads with desolating fury, has passed over us harmlessly, and unthinking people may suppose that all danger is at an end. But in the progress of this war measures may be enacted, the offspring of ultraism and fanaticism, which will be galling to our pride and offensive to our sense of justice ; heavy taxes will be laid, and other things done that may afford secession demagogues, under a false garb, wolves in sheep’s clothing, a pretext for renewing their work of malignant treachery, by magnifying these burthens and infusing into the minds of those who have to bear them a spirit of discontent and dissatisfaction with the Government under which they live. Let the earliest dawnings of such attempts be frowned down as leading to the worst of all evils, rebellion and its frightful consequences, and let us regard every man who seeks to prepare the hearts of the people for any revolution, but that of the ballot-box, as an enemy of law, order, free government and the happiness of mankind. The twenty millions of loyal people with whom our lot is cast will in the end do us justice and respect and protect our rights, if we are true to that flag, that Constitution and Union which we have inherited from the Fathers of the Republic.
Herald of Freedom & Torch Light
Washington County Free Library
Hagerstown (Md.), Newspapers; Maryland, History, Civil War, 1861-1865
Washington County (Md.), 1861-1865