The Mason and Slidell Affair.
The Administration has acted wisely in the surrender of the rebel commissioners and thereby removing cause for war with England. — However willing, and, indeed, anxious we may be as a people to have a brush with that arrogant and insulting power, it is the part of wisdom and sound policy to have law and right clearly on our side when the war begins. The stability, aye, the very existence of our Government now hangs wavering in the ballance, and we should hesitate long and ponder deeply before we throw weights in the opposing scale, that may cause republican government and constitutional liberty to kick the beam. The position assumed toward us at the very outbreak of the rebellion by England, was such as to arouse against her a feeling of bitter resentment among all loyal men in this country; but we have not the shrewdness to which we are wont to lay claim, if, in order to give her a practical demonstration of our feeling, we allow her to go to war with us with law and the justification of nations on her side.
In the Trent affair, on the principle upon which our Government has always heretofore acted, we were clearly in the wrong. That we could justify the act by citing British precedent is very true, but in order to do so we must surrender a principle for which we have ever contended, and in support of which we once went to war. The law, then, according to our former and repeated interpretation of it, was clearly against us. If the law is against our going to war with England the circumstances by which we find ourselves surrounded are none the less so. The rebellion is already sufficiently formidable to tax all our resources of men and money and generalship to suppress it. There will be blood enough shed, homes enough made desolate, and a burthen of taxation sufficiently heavy when treason is punished in a single handed conflict with it, and the President and his advisers have acted wisely and humanely in not adding to the misery entailed by rebellion by rushing into a needless war with a foreign power.
That many are disappointed in the surrender of Slidell and Mason — many true, loyal men, will not be questioned, but it is fair to assume that the parties most sorely troubled about it are the English Government and the traitors of the South. There will be no joy in Dixie over the result, but baffled treason will howl with rage — its Northern sympathizers will prate about "National humiliation," and the Cotton lords of Manchester will gaze sadly at their idle looms and curse Uncle Sam for outwitting the beef-eating Statesmen on the other side of the water.
It is a little singular that the traitors of Dixie are all at once deeply interested in the honor of a Government they are trying to destroy, and very singular is it that the men who advised the surrender of Sumter and desired that the American flag should trail in the dust at the bidding of treason, now cry out about the humiliation of the United States, because, in obedience to law, sound policy and the dictates of humanity, the Administration has surrendered Mason and Slidell. The truth is, treason is outwitted, and its hopes of English aid are, for the time being, at least, dashed to earth.
We owe England no good will, and if she persists in fighting us, after we have put ourselves clearly in the right, then our voice is for war. If it be her purpose, joining in with rebellion here, to crush out Republican Government, we trust that we shall not be behind our loyal brethren in efforts to defeat her unholy schemes. We love our country, and we would not bring upon her the horrors of a needless war.