country under consideration, I will proceed to discuss the future. A civil government for any part of it would be simply ridiculous. The people would not regard it, and even the military commanders of the antagonistic party would treat it lightly. Governors would be simply petitioners for military assistance to protect supposed friendly interests, and military commanders would refuse to disperse and weaken their armies for military reasons. Jealousies would arise between the two conflicting powers, and instead of contributing to the end we all have in view, would actually defer it. Therefore I contend that the interests of the United States and of the real parties concerned demand the continuance of the simple military rule till long after all the organized armies of the South are dispersed, conquered, and subjugated. All this region is represented in the Army of Virginia, Charleston, Mobile, and Chattanooga. They have sons and relations in each, and naturally are interested in their fate. Though we hold military possession of the key-points of this country, still they contend, and naturally, that should Lee succeed in Virginia or Bragg at Chattanooga, a change will occur here also. We cannot for this reason attempt to reconstruct parts of the South as we conquer it till all idea of the establishment of a Southern Confederacy is abandoned. We should avail ourselves of the lull here to secure the geographical points that give us advantage in future military movements, and should treat the idea of civil government as one in which we as a nation have a minor or subordinate interest. The opportunity is good to impress on the population the truth that they are more interested in civil government than we are, and that to enjoy the protection of laws they must not be passive observers of events, but must aid and sustain the constituted authorities in enforcing the laws; they must not only submit themselves, but pay their taxes and render personal services when called on. It seems to me, in contemplating the past two years' history, all the people of our country, North, South, East, and West have been undergoing a salutary political schooling, learning lessons which might have been taught all by the history of other people, but we had all become so wise in our own conceit that we would only learn by actual experience of our own.
The people, even of small and unimportant localities, North as well as South, had reasoned themselves into the belief that their opinions were superior to the aggregated interest of the whole nation. Half our territorial nation rebelled on a doctrine of secession that they themselves now scout, and a real numerical majority actually believed that a little State was endowed with such sovereignty that it could defeat the policy of the great whole. I think the present war has exploded that notion, and were this war to cease now, the experience gained, though dear, would be worth the expense.
Another great and important natural truth is still in contest and can only be solved by war. Numerical majorities by vote is our great arbiter. Heretofore all have submitted to it in questions left open, but numerical majorities are not necessarily physical majorities. The South, though numerically inferior, contend they can whip the Northern superiority of numbers, and therefore by natural law are not bound to submit. This issue is the only real one, and in my judgment all else should be deferred to it. War alone can decide it, and it is the only question left to us as a people. Can we whip the South? If we can, our numerical majority has both the natural and constitutional right to govern. If we cannot whip them,