The Yankee journals speak with great confidence of sympathizers in various portions of the South
, who never fall to render all possible assistance to Yankee prisoners in escaping from captivity, who groan under the "intolerable military despotism" of the South
, and who pine for the time when "the glorious old flag," symbol of "the most mild and merciful Government under the sun," shall wave over the citadel of the rebellion.
That there are such persons we do not deny, though it is equally true that they are few in number; that they assist in the escape of prisoners is not to be doubted; that they correspond and conspire with the enemy for the destruction of our Government and people is highly probable.
What abyss of baseness human treachery can descend to has been exhibited in more than one case of treason by wretches living in the South
that may well defy a parallel in the history of crime.
The very fact that traitors are not numerous in the South
has led to the indifference with which their conduct has been regarded, and the complete impunity with which they have been permitted to carry on their traitorous designs.
The benignity and toleration manifested by this Government to persons who, if living in the North
and exhibiting the attitude toward that Government which they do to this, would ensure their consignment to a dungeon, has only tended to make them more bitter, treacherous, and malignant.
They affect to regard as a cruel despotism a Government which does not interfere with their freedom of speech and person, and which permits them to enjoy all the rights of loyal citizens and the possession of their ill-gotten gains, whilst curses for the Southern
cause and all connected with it are the only coin which they pay for such clemency and indulgence.
If the Yankees
were to come here to-morrow the worst enemies of the loyal people, the most cruel and savage persecutors of our cause and countrymen, would be these domestic traitors, who are unmolested in person, estate, or liberty by our people and our Government.
But the time has come when the truth that those who are not for us are against us, must be practically recognized, and that pitiful minority of men and women who do not regard this as their country, must be sent to that country which they do regard as such, and not permitted to remain here, to assist Yankee prisoners to escape and plot treason against the State
It is the custom of the Lincoln Government
to send from its own limits better people than themselves for not half their offences.
Men and women have been expelled from the North
, and driven from their homes and property, for manifesting sympathy with the Southern
cause, and, unless we are lost to all self respect, and all sense of justice to our own countrymen, we will commend the same chalice to the lips of the traitors and miscreants here who are plotting the overthrow of the Government
and the restoration of the "glorious old flag." It is no thanks to such as them that Richmond
has not been taken a hundred times over, and the Yankee
prisoners let loose to devote the city to fire and sword.
The authorities have a duty to perform in this matter, which is demanded by the most obvious dictates of public security and self-preservation.