Saturday…december 9, 1865.
The past and the present.
The Richmond Dispatch, which met a temporary suspension of its existence in the expiring names [flames?] of the recent Confederacy, is this morning restored to life. It is again endowed with the Promethean fire, and speaks to its readers as though it never lost its breath or its voice. Welcome it, “dear reader,” with the same kind and genial sensibilities which warm its own heart, and let there be established once more between it and thee the same confidential and affectionate relations which formerly existed, and which blessed, and rewarded all its toil, all its struggles, through the thorny and flinty way of journalism.
These Southern States have passed through an ordeal of trial and suffering seldom the lot of a generation of people. They entered upon a struggle, in which they failed, and in which these trials and sufferings were incurred. Unlike most rebellions, as they are called, especially when they have failed, those who undertook it were not merely a set of malcontents, recklessly resisting the clearly-defined political organisms of the country; they were fortified by a sense of rights under the Constitution and a conscientious conviction of the justice of their position, which had at least the semblance of support in the debates of our ancestors, who framed the Constitution itself under which the Republic was formed. Those truly great men left the question of the relations between the States and the General Government an open one. There were strong parties in the very convention which framed the compact of union upon the questions at issue touching those relations. The very able and patriotic men who figured in that body, after much debate, gave the question the goby; and while they failed to settle it themselves, they appointed no umpire to which it could be referred. They thus left us as a legacy a bitter and disastrous war — a war which was fought, and fought bravely, to its final conclusion. The South entered upon it with more unanimity and determination than has been known to characterize the resisting party in any civil war that we read of. It fought through it, under its sense of constitutional right, with a courage and constancy which has challenged the admiration of other nations. But the question thus submitted to the arbitrament of war, was decided against them, and they submitted, like brave men ever submit, to the fates, which all their fortitude and power cannot control. They were overwhelmed by superior numbers and resources, and succumbed after a resistance which vindicated the honesty and sincerity of their intentions. Their heroism has lately received a tribute that is alike honorable to the head and heart of the magnanimous commander-in-chief of the powerful armies they encountered in the field. Such a tribute is the most fitting rebuke — the most scathing denunciation — of those wretched attempts to dishonor the gallant dead who fell in hecatombs on the field in proof of the truth and sincerity of their devotion to the cause Regarding the result as the the question, those who so nobly perilled their lives in support of the principles they espoused, readily acquiesced, and submitted to the authority of the Federal Government, and order and quiet were instantly restored, in a country where the devastations of war and the exhausting exertions of defence against overwhelming odds, had reduced the people nearly to famine. The subsequent history we need not recount. The steady efforts of all the restore order, and the patient and cheerful manner in which a people reduced from the happiest independence to utter poverty, have undertaken to provide for immediate want and rebuild their fallen fortunes, constitutes one of the noblest examples in the history of mankind.In this struggle the Dispatch took its part. It was honest and earnest; and does not mean to retreat, or, in the every day parlance, to crawfish from its position. It sympathised with the Confederacy, did all it could to cheer the hearts of the people in the struggle, and continued with it, and, we may say, fell with it in the calamitous fire of the 3d of April. Its voice was heard up to that hour. While the carrier conveyed its communications to the public in one part of the city, its types and presses were melting in the fires of another.
But like the noble people in the midst of whom it was published, and who it now addresses, it, too, accepts the situation and the clear decision of the trial of arms — of blood. It means to abide by the oath which its conductors have taken, and sustain the Government under which we now live. It feels, to-day, as though it had never been suspended — in fact, its seat at the round table of the fraternity has only been temporarily vacant — and it speaks as though only twenty-four hours had passed since its last appearance. It is true there is no war; but that was over, in fact, when it last appeared. It resumes its mission, then, before the war — which was to encourage and stimulate the improvement of Richmond and assist in the development of the resources of our dear old mother, Virginia. To these purposes it will bring all the energies of its improved and enlarged means and power; and hopes, in its day, to do some real service in this noble cause.
Renewing our expressions of gratification at once more holding communication with our dear friends of Richmond and Virginia, the Dispatch promises at once to direct all its influence to the promotion of their good. Nothing on this earth would make its conductors as to see our people safely and through that trying transition state in which they are now struggling, and it shall be our most enthusiastic occupation to try to facilitate their passage, dry shod, through this red sea of their difficulties. That our own townsmen and the good people of Virginia–God bless and preserve her!–may pass through their trials successfully, and become, is they deserve to be, prosperous and happy, the devout prayer of the Dispatch.Rebuilding the city.
There is a great mistake prevailing with many people that all the money employed in rebuilding this city comes from the North, and very doleful prophecies are indulged upon this hypothesis concerning the future. We are sold! We are both bought and sold! and must wind up with general bankruptcy and poverty! Now, there is no use in this — no season for all this anticipation of evil. There a better and a truer view of the subject. The money employed in the active enterprise rebuilding this city is not all from the forth. Nearly all the very best buildings in progress of construction in this city are built on with the money of our own enterprising citizens. For, thank God! notwithstanding desolation which swept over the South, especially over this devoted city, some of Wisest and most far-seeing of our people a part of their means, and this they are using in the most enterprising and public-spirited manner. So that we are not entirely dependent on Northern capital — very from it. But what should we fear from Northern capitalists? We know that, commercially speaking, under the influence of transportation, by water and rail telegraphs, there is an inevitable concentration of commerce in the great cities and points of the Continent, and that all localities must be subsidiary and tributary to them, So that, do what we will, we cannot escape that subordinate relation. Now, since that is the case, what objection can we have to the drawing of capital from the commercial centre to build up and adorn our recently desolated and forlorn city? Money put in the bricks, in the stores and dwellings and public edifices of Richmond, cannot be easily taken away. At most, the proprietorship of the buildings can only be changed. The money remains in the buildings, and they are permanent — permanent places of business, permanent tenements to live comfortably in, permanent ornaments of the city. Not only, therefore, are we fortunate in having this borrowed capital to revive the city; but our good fortune will be increased precisely to the extent of the amount that may be so contributed from abroad to this important object.
There need be no fears on the subject. The more capital that is drawn thither, the greater the interest that will be felt by capitalists abroad in the general prosperity of this city. They would be unwilling to see their investments wholly unproductive, and their influence and means would, if necessary, be surely given for the promotion of that general commercial thrift which would contribute to their individual benefit.
So let us look ahead and be hopeful, assured that every dollar brought here and placed in the houses of Richmond, is a permanent investment, and a guarantee of the confidence felt in the future of the place, as well as an earnest of the disposition to aid in the promotion of its growth and welfare.