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The Yankee prisoners and Commissary Northrop.

We observe that the Yankees are already making great use of the remarks made by Mr. Foote, in the House of Representatives, with regard to the alleged starvation of their prisoners. The subject has been brought up in their Congress, and their press enlarges upon it with all the exaggeration to be expected from the most lying nation on the face of the earth. We deeply regret that the subject — although it certainly ought to have been investigated — was introduced by a speech of so much bitterness as that attributed to Mr. Foote. From the little we know of the subject we are inclined to think he has gone too far. We have been assured that if there has ever been an occasion on which the prisoners were not properly supplied it has been very brief, and the result of unavoidable circumstances. At all times they have fared as well as our own soldiers, and surely that is enough.

Our soldiers have fared badly at times, owing to circumstances with which all are well acquainted. The Yankees, last spring and summer, sent bands of marauders into the country lying between the Potomac and James river. They reduced it almost to a desert. They destroyed the crops, burnt the mills, shot all the horses, mules, sheep, oxen, and cows that they could not carry off, collected all the plows, hoes, axes, and agricultural implements of every kind into piles and set fire to them, and went off, carrying with them all the negroes that could be induced to follow them. The object, boldly avowed by Lincoln himself, was to starve the population into submission.--Modern history presents but one parallel to the cold-blooded atrocity of this proceeding. The monster Carrier, during the Reign of Terror in France, undertook in this way to starve the people of Nantes and the surrounding district. His orders to that effect — exactly parallel to the orders under which the Yankee Generals acted last spring — were read before the Convention when he was tried for his life, after the fall of Robespierre, and they elicited a cry of horror even from that assembly, hardened as it was in crime by long habit. The consequence of these atrocities was a difficulty of procuring food for both army and population. Both of these suffered, and, to some extent, are suffering now. And now, when these Yankee prisoners are suffering from their own acts — when they are pinched for the food which their own hands have destroyed — when they pine for the luxuries which their own infernal malignity has rendered it impossible to procure — are we to bear the burden of their iniquity? Are we to be blamed for what it was not in our power to prevent? Are we, and we alone, to suffer the penalty of their transgressions? Are our soldiers, who are fighting our battles, to be deprived of food, that they may have plenty? No, by all that is just, all that is patriotic, all that is truly generous ! Let them suffer the penalty of their own atrocities, and thank their stars that it is not harder to bear. We would be perfectly justified in stinting them to a half or a quarter of the allowance we make to our own soldiers, instead of giving them exactly the same rations that our soldiers receive. If anybody suffer, it is perfectly just that it should be they, but for whose acts, done in defiance of all the laws that regulate the proceedings of war, there would be no suffering at all. It is of the nature of the prisoner's condition that he should share the let of those with whom he is a prisoner.--He cannot expect better fare than that which is received by the soldiers to whom he surrenders. If they pine for want, he must pine too. If they live plentifully, he must be plentifully fed also. If one party or the other must suffer, he must be that party. The proceedings of the Yankees upon this subject — their speeches and their writings — go beyond anything they have yet attempted in the way of impudence. They give orders to destroy our country, in order to starve us out, and they expect while they are starving us we shall allow full rations to their prisoners! We hope no man will be moved from his balance by what they say. What care we for the opinion of the world? The world ignores us, notwithstanding the court we have paid it. Why should we care what lies it may believe of us?

During the discussions which have arisen out of this question, Commissary Northrop has been treated with unmeasured severity. He may deserve it all, for aught we know — we do not know the man when we see him; he is nothing to us. But these transactions are becoming matters of history, and history will look at both sides of a question. Commissary Northrop has, we believe, filled his present office from the beginning of the war. It is, all must allow, a very difficult office to fill. It must have been especially so at the beginning, when he was raw himself and had nothing but raw hands to operate with. The war has been the greatest and most extensive of which there is any account. The armies kept in the field have rarely ever counted fewer than 300,000 men. Since the first year they have been much larger. A very large proportion of the country on which these armies have been dependent for supplies is either in the occupation of the enemy, or has been so utterly wasted by him as to yield no fruit to us. Yet these mighty armies have constantly kept the field. They have never been forced to abandon it for want of supplies. Surely, this is something — surely, it is a great deal, if the Duke of Wellington's dictum be true, "that he is the best General who can best feed an army." Surely the friends of Commissary Northrop--among whom we do not class ourselves, for we never saw him — have a right to place these facts against his shortcomings, when the balance is about to be struck. For our part, we consider the manner in which these great armies have been supplied something marvellous, and we are fain to say that, although it may be a stain upon a man's escutcheon to have been a pepper doctor, yet we are disposed to think better of hot rocks and No. 6 than we ever were before.

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