James Ford Rhodes (1848–1927). History of the Civil War, 1861–1865. 1917.

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  aid them while they are authorized to administer the Government.” Military success could be obtained only by giving the President extraordinary powers, and both senators and representatives perceived the inevitable and submitted to it. “With all its faults and errors,” wrote Fessenden, “this has been a great self-sacrificing Congress.… We have assumed terrible responsibilities, placed powers in the hands of the government possessed by none other on earth save a despotism. Future times will comprehend our motives and all we have done and suffered.” 1  42   The country’s response to the work of Congress was heard in enthusiastic “war” or “Union” meetings held in many cities and towns of different States. Those in New York were characteristic. Distinguished and popular Democrats addressed a “magnificent uprising of the people” at Cooper Institute. “Loyal National Leagues” or “Union Leagues” were formed, of which the test for membership was a brief emphatic pledge that was subscribed to by many thousands. These Leagues held one large meeting at the Academy of Music, another at Cooper Institute, and still another to celebrate the anniversary of the firing on Fort Sumter. To this period belongs the organization of the Union League Clubs of Philadelphia and New York and the Union Club of Boston, the object of their formation being distinctly patriotic. “But nothing will do for the country,” wrote Norton to Curtis—“neither Clubs nor Conscription Bills nor Banking Bills—nothing will do us much good but victories. If we take Charleston and Vicksburg we conquer—but if not?” 2 Nevertheless, a feeling of comparative cheerfulness began to manifest itself, owing to the energy with which Congress had buckled to the task of rescuing the country from the depression which followed
Note 1. Fessenden, I, 254. [back]
Note 2. C. E. Norton, I, 261. [back]