At home and abroad.
the style of The London Times
, in its observations upon the President
's Proclamation, is simply one of fussy impertinence.
It is certain that, in private life, any vulgarian assuming similar airs, would be either laughed at or kicked out of the company.
Men would not endure, probably, to be told, by a dogmatic and testy companion, that they lied, that they were hypocrites, that they were devising fraud, that they were attempting a disreputable swindle.
Unless we are willing to believe each other occasionally, there must be an end of human intercourse of the friendly description.
And what is true of private comity, is true of the comity of nations.
State-papers for all the usual purposes of diplomacy, must be taken to mean just what they profess to mean.
The lackeys of legation, the footmen, cooks and scullions of his Excellency
, the Embassador, the gentry of the backstairs, the old women who sweep the offices and light the fires, are always deepest in state-secrets, and always pronest to put their faith in nobody.
The valet intrigues while his master opens his heart with his snuff-box.
When The London Times
, with owlish gravity and
innumerable shrugs, professes to doubt the entire sincerity of the President
's Proclamation, its uncivilized incredulity makes the suspicions of lackeys, footmen, cooks, scullions and char-women respectable and dignified by comparison.
Whether it be worth while to maintain a character for uncommon perspicacity at the expense of a character for common veracity, the stock-jobbing managers of the newspaper in question must determine.
The charge against the President
is, that he is not in earnest, and against his policy, that it is not sincere.
The newspaper to which we have referred, speaks of Mr. Lincoln
as issuing his Proclamation, “with his tongue in his cheek.”
This is a rare bit of rhetorical refinement.
If any of our transatlantic friends think that its truth is equal to its beauty, we beg leave to assure them, that here, even the enemies of the President
view the Proclamation in an entirely different light.
They believe, if The Times
does n't. The Pro-Slavery newspapers howl with a sad sincerity.
The Northern politicians, in the interest of the Rebellion
, do not affect to consider the Proclamation a joke.
The editors of Davis
's Republic swell, as they refer to the document, with an unusual venom.
himself it has evoked a proclamation more than commonly bloodthirsty.
And it may be asserted generally, that whatever objections may be made to the Proclamation, they have found all their point and force in the assumption that so far from being mere flummery and subterfuge, it means precisely what it says.
Nobody here, however enraged
by its contents, has hit upon the notable expedient of regarding it as a mere morsel of party management.
critics have the advantage of their negro-hating friends in America
in that particular.
The members of Congress from the Border States
, whose love of Slavery is stronger than their love of the Union
, are exceedingly loud in their lamentations.
The politicians of the pot-houses read the Proclamation, and as they do so, curse the negro with a renewed vehemence; while the intelligent masses of the Northern
people accept it with a good faith, which we say, without any disrespect to the President
or distrust of his fidelity, will compel good faith in return.
It matters not, for the purposes of this argument, what may have been the concealed intentions of the Government
in making the Proclamation; it will be construed with straightforward literalism by men enough, at any rate, to be troublesome, whether they may be in the majority or not. Indeed, English gentlemen who have supposed that the American
people, with all their faults of character, are so thick-witted as to be the easy victims of official pranks, do not themselves show any great powers of intelligent observation.
It is not the habit of our men in office to make experiments upon popular credulity.
And in the present case, neither those who dislike the Proclamation, nor those who support it have for a moment doubted its sincerity.
It has been discussed upon its own merits, and nobody here has been sharp enough to see the tongue in the President
The people of the United
States have suffered, and are still suffering too much to affect any levity or nonchalance in this business.
February 20, 1863.