James Ford Rhodes (18481927). History of the Civil War, 18611865 1917.
goods that went out and came in by the blockade-runners to understand how insignificant was the exchange of commodities through this precarious commerce. The blockade-running and the trade with the North brought in articles of prime necessity for carrying on the war and all the cotton which went out was absorbed in these indispensable transactions: there was not enough of it to establish credits or bring in specie. The resort then to the tithe and to impressment was unavoidable. The tithe was, under the circumstances, an admirable method of taxation and, though it bore hard on the farmers and was the cause of complaint, the bulk of the testimony is to the effect that it worked well. Like much of the other statecraft, both North and South, it was a policy too tardily adopted because of mens imperfect comprehension of the magnitude and duration of the struggle. It is now easy to see that it should have been imposed on the crop of 1862, which would have tended to make the later impressment operations less onerous. In 1863, affairs were at a pitch where impressment became imperative. The law was not at fault, but its administration was defective. A consideration of the grievances it gave rise to will show how a stringent law was rendered odious through negligence, lack of uniformity and undue harshness in execution. The sparsely settled region of the South presented grave obstacles to the efficient operation of the plan. The methods which had served this simple agricultural community in time of peace no longer availed: a system of administration by trained officials was needed to handle the enormous amount of business brought on by the war; and, in the ingenuity requisite to devise such a system, the South was far inferior to the North.