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Sus. Per Coll.

The Charleston Mercury, with that charming suavity which characterizes Man-stealing civilization, calls loudly upon the magnates of the insurrection summarily to hang all those Union officers who may be captured while in command of Black Regiments. [400] There is a spice here of the old ferocity which whilom tar-feathered Northern travelers, and ravaged the portmanteaus of Yankee school-mistresses. It is a curious philosophical fact, that the Slaveholder always connects energy and murder. He has no idea of any effectual action without homicide. He takes it for granted in reconstructing his scheme of public ethics, or of police regulation, that there is no virtue except in violence, and that the readiest way to convince a man of his error is to put him to death.

The fires of the Inquisition have long since been quenched; thumb-screws and iron-boots have long rusted in the museums of antiquaries; the cannibal has ceased to satiate his revenge by first grilling and then gobbling his adversary; and only the Chinese, of all nations the most averse to change, unite with Confederates in continuing to practice the revolting barbarities of war. But this is not wonderful, for Slavery is legalized, continued, and consecrated violence, depending for its very existence upon the ferocity of the few and the fears of the many. The discipline of the plantation naturally falls to a low level of coarse cruelty; and the imbruted Slave has his revenge in a brutified Master. The patriarch neither attempts nor cares for any other ratiocination than that which he finds in the hiss of the scourge, the bark of the pistol, and the clash of the bowie-knife.

In some departments of human economy, contact with beings less sanguinary than himself may, to a limited extent, have meliorated his manners; but in all points of character which touch his relations to [401] his Slaves, he is hardly more human than the bloodhounds which yelp in his kennel. He is the Nero, the Caligula, the Domitian of a few acres, responsible to no earthly tribunal for the excesses into which his animal rage may betray him. His experience has taught him, in his own little hell upon earth, the efficacy of unlimited swearing and truculent threats; and because he can scare a score or two of helpless, trembling, cowering creatures into dumb obedience, he fancies that the universe is to be intimidated in the same way. Moreover, he has so often bullied the North into an unmanly acquiescence, no matter how absurdly outrageous might be his demands, that he imagines the force of swaggering yet unexpended; and so he erects his scare-crow gallows, announces his intention of hanging his prisoners of war, and fully believes that he can thus intimidate us into a conduct of the war which will be agreeable to his feelings, and accommodated to his peculiar necessities. He would thus nullify the acts of a Congress which he has deserted, and still control a government which he has disowned.

Under these circumstances it may be profitable for the insurgents to consider that there are still several large cordage factories at work in the Northern States, turning out, among other ropes, those which will well enough suit the purpose of the executioner. Should any white commander of a Black Regiment in the service of the United States be hanged, according to the threat of the Charleston newspaper above quoted, our impression is that ropes will be [402] immediately resorted to in these parts; and whatever may be the skill of the Confederate Ketch, we have confidence in our ability to produce an artist of equal accomplishments. We do not believe that our Rebel prisoners bear a charmed life. Beastly as they are, they were born of woman, and have vertebrae and wind-pipes, and the muscles adjacent thereto formed quite after the fashion of our own; and should the uncivilized threat of the Charleston paper be carried into execution, sundry chevaliers may also be carried up to execution, to the great grief of their surviving compatriots in Secessia. This game of murdering prisoners would be highly entertaining, if it were like Solitaire at cards; but when both sides betake themselves to the amusement, our impression is that it will be speedily abandoned.

The subterfuge of the South, that we are inciting the Blacks to insurrection, with all its traditional horrors, is the sheerest and falsest nonsense. By all the laws of war, we have a perfect right to employ the Slaves against their Masters — Caius Marius did it, and he was esteemed a tolerable soldier in his day ; and Napoleon, at St. Helena, regretted he did not do it in Russia ; the English did it during our Revolutionary War; but we have never read that Washington threatened to hang English prisoners upon that account. The general who should refuse the services of half, or more than half, of the population of a country which he was endeavoring to subjugate, would not deserve a court-martial merely, because he would deserve to be shot without one. [403]

It is all very well for this Charleston editor, in the security of his sanctum, to howl for hempen vengeance; but Davis, who sorely needs the good opinion of the world, which may not prove very apt at discriminating between White and Black Regiments, will hardly consent to place his new Republic in a position of unnecessary ignominy. The natural scorn with which he must inevitably be regarded by all good Christians is, in all conscience, enough for even a Slaveholder's stomach.

March 28, 1863.

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