Illinois Staats-Zeitung -- February 12, 1864The Tribune, Supervisors, and Bounties
"To the Editor of the Illinois Staats-Zeitung: In one of its famous sensational articles, the Tribune takes the liberty of condemning the County Board's procedure with respect to county bounties. The Tribune does not want the members of the Board to pay bounties to veterans. Although these veterans, who left their homes and relatives, who risked their businesses and their health in the defense of Old Glory, who won the recognition of their superiors in more than one great battle, are now ready to join the army again for the purpose of wiping out every vestige of the Rebellion; and although the Board of Supervisors had already given the county's word of honor (December 11, 1863) that all who enlist up to the time when the county's quota is filled, would receive the bounty, yet the Tribune is opposed to paying the bounty to veterans.
"Oh, no! says the 'Greatest Newspaper'. It might be permissible to give these veterans a present if the county could afford to do so; however, the taxpayers 2cannot afford it. Yes, a present! What kind of language is that? Why does the Tribune talk of 'army-beggars', while it is dwelling on the subject!
"And are these scarred veterans perhaps beggars, county dependents? Is this the gratitude the country owes its defenders? Is this the way to encourage recruiting? Only yesterday the Tribune informed its readers that among the members of seventy-one regiments there were only forty-nine men who had re-enlisted, and then it asks the reason why the other veterans did not again join the armed forces? Does the Tribune believe that these seasoned soldiers, one of whom is worth as much as three inexperienced raw recruits, can be persuaded to re-enter the army when it is published that they will not receive the bounty which is to be paid to new recruits--to people who were privileged to go about their regular business during the last two or three years, to make money and enjoy the comforts of home life? Such ingratitude and lack of patriotism is a disgrace!3
The truth of the matter is that the publishers of the Tribune and their ilk do not want any bounties whatever paid. The reasons which they have offered are merely a subterfuge. They have become wealthy while the veterans were fighting the battles of the country; they have amassed large fortunes and do not want to decrease their surplus money by paying taxes. There's the rub. Of course, it is not considered polite to speak so frankly. Our local 'loyal' citizens would not stand for it. That is why they advance the argument that the veterans have already enlisted(which is not true, according to yesterday's article) and that therefore it is not necessary to pay them a bounty.
"The Tribune also states that all veterans should receive the same treatment in regard to presents, and that no presents should be given, if it is not possible to 'remember' all. What fine logic, indeed! Because it is not possible to do justice to a hundred, ninety-nine must be dealt with unjustly!!
"The article in the Tribune was written and published with the intention of 4preventing capitalists from buying county bonds, and thus putting an end to enlisting. Now we wonder just what our loyal citizens have to say about such 'patriotic' conduct?
Editor's note: We could not refuse a request by a member of the Board of Supervisors that we publish the above letter. However, we do not wish to give the impression that we are in full accord with all the insinuations which the writer makes against the Tribune. We approve of the action of the Board of Supervisors with respect to granting bounties, as we stated in our columns yesterday, and we believe it would have been a grave injustice to exclude veterans who have already enlisted. The Tribune has the right to disagree with our opinion, just as anybody has the right to harbor a wrong opinion and thus to make himself the laughing stock of thinking and fair-minded people. But we do not think that there is sufficient reason to state that 5the attitude of the Tribune emanates from low, dishonest, and unpatriotic motives.
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