We are not at all surprised to see the excessive sensibility manifested by the Republican press at the project of fitting out privateers by the Southern Confederacy.
They cannot deny that privateering was their own main reliance against Great Britain
in the war of the Revolution and in the war of 1812, and the ink is scarcely dry upon the flat refusal of the American Government
to accede to the proposition of the Peace Congress to give up privateering, a refusal which was applauded to the echo by every newspaper in the United States
, and by none more than those who now have the impudence to denounce the employment of privateers by the Southern Confederacy as piracy.
They need not expect by stigmatizing by hard names a practice always adopted by nations which have no Navy, and especially by the United States
, to intimidate the Southern States
from organizing a "militia of the seas," as privateers have been hitherto admiringly designated by Northern journals.
Nor will their threats of the yard-arm have any effect upon brave men. That is a game at which two can play, and for every militiaman of the seas thus hung up, the South
will hang in like manner the first two prisoners that fall into her hands.
Our arrogant and heartless enemy shall not be permitted to depart from the regular rules of warfare, except at his own peril.
The Philadelphia North American
flatters itself that since the introduction of steam, privateering will not be as efficient as formerly, because sailing vessels cannot overtake steam merchant vessels, and can themselves be easily overtaken by steam ships-of-war. --Even if our slow-going national vessels were always sure of a dead calm to enable them to overhaul a clipper-built sailing vessel, which their experience on the African coast
does not verify, what is to prevent the employment of steam privateers?
The use of steam is now so universal that it will be as easy to cover the ocean with fast-sailing steamers as it was in 1812 to employ sailing vessels.
It cannot be doubted that the "Confederate Republic" will employ this legitimate weapon of self-defence and annoyance.
We trust the Charleston Mercury's
prediction will be fulfilled, when it says that--
‘"Every sea will swarm with the privateers of the Confederate States
The most active sea-hunt will take place that the world has ever witnessed.
Already, the Governor
of South Carolina
has had offers and applications for letters of marque and reprisal from Northern ports.
The Spanish gallons, which of old tempted the sea adventurer, were nothing to the rich prizes which the California
steamers and European
packets will afford.--New York will blockade New York.
We have but to legalize and let loose their own sea robbers and adventurers upon their commerce, to accomplish its speedy annihilation.
New York and Boston
now furnish the men, capital, and ships, which now carry on the African slave trade, in defiance of all laws.
The fleets of nations on the coast of Africa
have in vain tried to defeat their cunning and desperate enterprise.
They are ready to pursue a far more lucrative and honorable calling, under the flag of the Confederate States
, and to sweep the Northern
shipping from the ocean. --France
wisely prepare for such a contingency, and enter on the scene of enterprise, to see that their navigation is protected.
will be too near the hunting grounds not to fear complication.
Her fleet rightfully comes to protect her interest."’