The President's Message.
The Message of President Davis
has the rare merit of heavity.
The period has been so recent since the adjournment of Congress, that little was to be brought before the attention of that body which had not been urged in the previous Message.
Accordingly, the President
has confined himself chiefly to a cutting rebuke of some of the positions taken by Lincoln
in that functionary's late Message to the Northern Congress.
The Message is admirably written, and is most just and severe in its allusions to the course of conduct pursued by the North
in the war they are waging on us. We are glad to see the position taken by the President
in respect to the policy of retaliation.
There is but one cure for the barbarities which the North
are systematically practicing upon Southern citizens and property happening to fall into their power in this war; and the country will unanimously sustain the President
in his determination to meet their outrages by measures as severe if they are less course and brutal.
An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth, is the true text for our policy towards such an enemy as we have to deal with in this contest.
There is a large class of barbarities which the South
cannot expect to avenge in kind. --Their ruthless war upon women and non-combutants cannot be imitated even in retaliation.
Their infamous petty practices of pig stealing and hen-roost robbing cannot be arrested; for it is repulsive to the instincts of a Southern soldier to meet petty theft by petty injuries as low and vile.
Other modes of severity, less outrageous and less vile, however, can be adopted, and we trust that stern and complete satisfaction will be exacted through the prisoners that fall into our hands.
The enemy has had his last Rich Mountain
He will enjoy no more fortune of that sort.
We shall capture from him many prisoners; and we shall, have it in our power to punish with inexorable rigor whatever enormities he may be guilty of in the future.
We admire the firmness of tone with which President Davis
has given Lincoln
to understand his intentions in this regard.
The occasion of the condemnation of our privateers in New York was admirably chosen for sending this admonition.
If the cowardly Yankees
shall dare to inflict judicial murder and ignominy upon those brave men, we shall meet the act by consigning an equal number of prisoners to the exact fate which may be visited upon those men. The conduct of Washington
in the matter of the distinguished spy Anree, did more to teach Great Britain
a proper respect for the laws of war in the Revolution than all the leniency which he had magnanimously used towards them in the whole course of the war.
We should make our examples equally conspicuous and notable, and we should execute our measures of rigor with the same calm resolve and dignity as that which marked the conduct at Washington
in that affair, in which we may suppose his manly heart was wrung, as violently as his determination to exact a needful measure of public justices was relentless.
In all ages and among the most enlightened casuists the lex talionois
has been held a legitimate measure of warfare, and often a necessary instrumentality of public justice.
If there ever was a war in which it was more than another justifiable in the circumstances provoking a resort to it, or more necessary as a means of self-protection against the most shocking and wanton barbarities, it is this war of the Yankees
upon the South
We trust that Congress will confer the largest authority upon the President
in the premises.