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Choice of masters.

It is sometimes said that if a man is to have a master it matters little who the master is, and that independence is nothing without liberty.

Whether the man was ever born that is to be the master of any other man in the Confederate States of America is scarcely a practical question. Speaking in a general way we should surmise that the citizens of the Confederate States entertain no such apprehensions of any mortal now born, or to be born hereafter. If any individual not yet launched upon the tide of time intends to be born for any such purpose, we advise him to reconsider his determination. The times and the genius of the people are not propitious to such enterprises. "Cæsar had his Brutus, Charles the First his Cromwell," and any gentleman that undertakes to make slaves of Southern white men may profit by their example.

The very preposterousness of such a notion exposes the serious refuter of it to the painful consequences of a writ de lunatico inquirendo. The only master who, booted and spurred, proposes to ride and lash and destroy us, is Abraham Lincoln. Virginia was long in believing that even he could be such a madman and knave. Somewhat slowly and reluctantly she adopted the conclusions of Georgia and other States upon that subject, and, following where they invited her, gave the banner of resistance to the breeze. She is now called upon to believe that somebody else is aspiring to be her master, and that a revolution counter to that to which she was just invited may be the result. Verily, as Mr. Sam. Weller hath it. "Vot a thing it is to be so sought arter."--But, one at a time, gentlemen, one at a time! Virginia is a very robustious and long winded Commonwealth, not altogether deficient and drooping in the hour of battle, but even she, double jointed and belligerent giantess that she is, cannot carry on at the same time a revolution and counter-revolution. She has been called the mother of States, but whilst she can bear with fortitude the ordinary pains of ordinary parturition, she may at least desire, if Jacob and Esau are to be born at the same time, that they will endeavor, in their nascent condition, to keep the peace, and will follow each other in due order upon the stage of public events.

In a period of such war as that in which we are engaged, we cannot expect to enjoy all the rights, any more than all the comforts and all the security of peaceful life.--We cheerfully give up our property and our lives to be saved from that which is worse than poverty and death, and there is nothing in habeas corpus so divine that it should not for a time go the way of all things human in this controversy. England, to which we owe that writ, uniformly suspended its exercise whenever the public necessities required. It is less tyrannical to suspend the writ than to suspend the corpus, and in a choice of masters that circumstance might be permitted without derogation to a freeman's liberty to enter into the selection.

"If a man is to have a master, it matters little who the master is." We should like to know what liberty soldiers, fighting the battles of their country, enjoy, compared with citizens? We should like to know if the army, comprising the blood and muscle, the brain and should, of the Southern Confederacy, has not given up its liberty for a time to its military leaders and commanders, rather than to be slaves for all time to a Yankee despotism? If they can submit to such discipline as that of camps, why may not civilians endure for a time a milder discipline for the same patriotic purpose? Who believes that any restriction upon personal liberty is to last longer than the war?--Who believes that the Confederate President desires any higher glory than to conduct this great struggle to a successful conclusion, and to retire at the end of his term to private life, with the gratitude of his country and the benedictions of mankind?

But whilst we loathe and execrate the idea of having a master as much as any mortal man, and regard the existence of any rival with Abraham Lincoln for that position as the very error o' the moon, we deny that it matters little, if a country is to have a master, who the master is. Does it matter little to France whether she is ruled by a Napoleon or an Englishman? To Hungary, or Italy, or Poland, whether a stranger or one of their own race sits upon the throne? To the South, whether a native born slaveholder or a Yankee abolitionist and amalgamations seize the sceptre? Why, there is not a king of civilized Europe whom the Confederate people would not prefer as their ruler to Lincoln, Seward, or Butler. But, again we say, no son of her begetting desires to be her master. If we are wrong, if it be true, as averred, that a would be tyrant within her own borders is seeking the imperial purple, and that there is no choice between him and Lincoln, why keep our armies another day in the field? If there is no such danger, why announce such a proposition, and conjure up before the patriotic should of the country, just braced up for a decisive struggle, a goblin to distract its attention and paralyze its arms?

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