The Richmond Daily Dispatch advises southerners to hold on, because France will enter the war on their side any time. And besides, the fate of a conquered South is too heinous to contemplate.
There is every inducement for the Confederate people to show a firm countenance, and a determination to hold out, at least during this campaign. In the first place, the Yankees are themselves as tired of the war as we are. But for the unfortunate withdrawal of Johnston last summer, and the consequent defeat of Hood, which led to the invasion of Tennessee and the dispersion of his army, and the invasion of Georgia by Sherman; but for that one error, the cry for peace at the North would have been stronger than it ever has been here.
Indeed, it had already commenced, under the influence of Lee’s victories over Grant, and the unparalleled slaughter by which they were attended, when that unfortunate affair occurred, and changed at once the whole current of the Yankee mind.–Intent upon peace on any terms a moment ago, it changed with success, and now nothing less than subjugation would do.
That was because subjugation was now believed to be easy. The war is thought there to be almost at an end. They are told so by their newspapers every day, who, at the same time, fail not to represent our affairs in a condition which it requires but little effort, on their part, to render desperate. Let them be convinced that it is not so, and we shall soon see the Yankee mind veer around to peace once more. Mr. Pollard says that the greatest apprehension expressed by them was that we would persevere. That was the fear of everybody, and expressed in all companies. It was so dreadful because it implied a continuance of war, and they are sick of it to death.
Another reason why we should continue the war is, that a year cannot pass without a collision between France and Yankeedom. All signs indicate the approaching conflict in a manner which it is impossible to mistake. It will be through no love of us, or care for our welfare, that France will undertake this war; but there can be no reason whatever why we should not extract all the advantage we can out of her act. A powerful fleet and army from abroad, operating against the coasts which the Yankees actually own, or claim, must be powerfully in our favor; and, as long as this is certain to happen, it were folly in us to lose the opportunity it will present by submitting too hastily.
But the most powerful motive of all is to be found in the terms which the enemy offer us. Nothing less than absolute submission will answer their terms. We must lay down our arms, disband our armies, and submit to such terms as they choose to prescribe.–What those terms will be, we are not left to conjecture. They have already passed a law abolishing slavery. They have already passed a law confiscating the entire territory covered by the Confederate States. They have already declared that the States shall, in future, be entitled to no rights greater than those possessed by the counties.
They have, in a word, inaugurated for our benefit one of the most stupendous systems of centralized despotism the world ever beheld, and it is to be inaugurated with the proper accompaniments of a general confiscation and an universal spoliation. A Confederate is to own nothing that he can call his own. He is to be judged by Yankee judges and tried by Yankee juries. He is to be the slave of his own negroes and of their Yankee associates. Such a let is offered him as even Katherine or Nicholas never thought of entailing upon the Poles, and such as makes that of the Irish people blessed in the comparison. If these are not motives for fighting on, then there can be none.