The prison-inspecting Committee.
Without any disposition to find fault with the persons deputed by the Federal Government
to make an inspection of our prisons, Bishop Ames
and Ex-Senator Fish
, yet we cannot help regarding the mission itself as the most impertinent and arrogant piece of conduct that has marked the insufferable proceedings of the Yankees
in this war. It has never entered the mind of any man in the South
to send a prison-investigating committee, to look into the pens of Columbus
, the dungeons of Forts Lafayette and Warren
, or the female jails in sight of the White House
It might have been agreeable to the feelings of those amongst us connected by ties of blood or friendship with the sufferers in these places, to ascertain their wants, to remonstrate against their ill-treatment, and to carry them words of sympathy and regard. --But if we had proposed such a thing to the brutal authorities who direct the counsels of the Federal Government
, we all know what would have been the reply.
That Government, however, is actuated by no apprehensions of rebuff from us in matters of this sort.
Assuming, without previous conference or inquiry, that we will let in their inspecting committee, it designates the persons to compose it, sends them to Fortress Monroe
, and takes it for granted that we will receive them cordially under flags of truce, parade them through the country, and throw open our prisons for their examination.
The coarseness and impoliteness of the proceeding are in keeping with the arrogance in which the mission was conceived.
The mission itself implies that the prisoners of the Confederacy
are subject to harsh and indecent treatment, and is in itself an insult offered our people and Government.
We do not recollect a precedent for it in all the history of warfare.
If it is the consolations of religion that are desired to be afforded the prisoners, the mission is an impeachment of the piety and fidelity of the whole body of Southern clergymen.
If it presupposes that our policy to the prisoners is harsh or niggardly, that fact is an insult to us. If it is desired to supply extra comforts to these men in their confinement, then the object is in conflict with the rules of war, and not to be permitted.
In no aspect in which we can view the mission is any justification presented of the extraordinary proceeding.
It is time that this double dealing of the North
was brought to an end. When at home, they revile us without measure, and imprison every man who dares to speak a word in our favor.
A Senator happens to write a letter of civility to one of the officers of our Government, and forthwith a resolution is offered for his expulsion from the Senate.
The greatest barbarities are countenanced and applauded in their invading soldiery; and yet, when any object is to be subserved, they can dismiss their frowns, suspend their words of bitterness, and approach us with the gentleness and affection of brethren and friends.
If a few of our citizens are willing to debase themselves by loading these sycophants with attentions on coming among us, surely our Government need not forget the arrogant and hectoring attitude which their Government uniformly maintains towards us.
The trite adage, ‘"beware of Greeks, though bearing gifts,"’ and the hackneyed warning against the wooden horse of Troy
, assume a new and fresh significance, when applied to the Yankees
in this contest.
There is nothing in dissimulation, in hypocrisy, in fawning deportment and honeyed speech, to which they are not capable of resorting to accomplish a malicious purpose; and we are never more safe than when we repulse all their overtures of civility, as ruses to compass our ruin.
The full purposes of the mission of Fish
have not been developed; but we sincerely trust that they will be narrowly and jealously scanned.
We are sure the whole country would be rejoiced, if their proposition to inspect our prisons and to report upon their condition to their own Government was peremptorily and indignantly rejected by ours.