Editorial from the “Teacher’s Desk” (from The Student and Schoolmate, February 1863; p. 61)
Never since the days of the Revolution, have the courage and fortitude of the American people been so severely tried as at the present time. We seem to be making no real progress in the suppression of the rebellion. Defeat and disaster follow defeat and disaster so rapidly, that we are not permitted to recover from the effects of one, before we are confronted by another.
And yet, though there is a feeling of disappointment and discouragement, there is no general despondency. The people still have faith in the triumph of the great principles which led them to take up arms. “Truth is mighty and must prevail,” is the sentiment which animates the adherents of an undivided Union. Though borne in defeat and disaster, the Old Flag still, and more than ever before, means freedom. We know that we are battling on the side of freedom, against the combinations of slavery and aristocracy. We believe now, as in 1775, that “all men are created equal;” we believe He is the Father of all men, and that through our present tribulations, He will lead us to a more holy and perfect peace than we have ever known before.
We have often reminded our young readers of the fact that they live in historic times; in a period whose every day will be a page for future ages to read. This year, even more than the last two, promises to be full of great events. With the Happy New Year came that Proclamation which inaugurates a mighty change in the policy of the government. Tremendous consequences must follow in its rain.
The days that try men’s souls are upon us—may we be equal to the occasion! As yet, we have been called upon to endure but little positive suffering. We know not the meaning of the word, as it is understood in the cities and villages of the misguided South. Except that our young men leave their happy homes for the battle-fields of the Union, and our hearts are occasionally wrung by the tidings of their loss, we should not know that we were engaged in the mightiest contest the world has ever known. We may be called upon to endure more, to make great sacrifices of comfort and plenty; if we are, let us show our devotion to the great cause by suffering without a murmur. Above all, let us be true to God, true to ourselves, true to the historic character our fathers bequeathed to us.