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More about retaliation.

While our troops in Pennsylvania are "respecting private property," the Yankees in Mississippi are burning Panola and Batesville. Such is the return we receive for that amazing magnanimity which sacrifices our friends out of consideration for our enemies. The latter, it seems, are the only fit subjects for Confederate mercy. Our own people are not worthy to taste its benefits. How long is this state of things to continue? How long are we to submit to Yankee outrages without even attempting to retaliate? How long are we expected, when smitten on one cheek, to turn the other? In a little time we shall have no towns and villages left to destroy, and then, we suppose we may expect Yankee rage to subside, but not before.

We hear it said that if we retaliate it will only induce farther outrage on the part of the enemy. Such reasoning is too pusillanimous to command the attention of a brave people. If we are afraid to strike lest we be struck in return, we had better never have entered upon this war. It would be better, even now, to give it up, and ask pardon of the Yankees for all the defeats our brave armies have inflicted upon them. But it is false reasoning. If we had retaliated sternly in the beginning we should have put an end to the system of out rages adopted by the Yankees at once. If we had hung a dozen Yankee officers when the Yankee Government refused to surrender the villain McNeil, we should have had no more military murders. The scoundrel, Burnside, who has shown his incapacity to fight, would never have dared to murder officers in cold blood, for recruiting in Kentucky, our own territory. If, whenever the Yankee officers murdered our citizens, taken in the act of defending their property against their armed marauders, five of their officers had been executed for every murdered citizen, an end would long since have been put to that atrocious system. War cannot be made upon the principles inculcated by the Peace Society.

The Yankees invade our country with the avowed purpose of starving us out and reducing us to ruin. They steal all our negroes — they kill all the cattle, hogs, sheep and horses, that they cannot carry away — they burn the crops in the barns and in the field — they shoot or hang our people if they attempt to defend their homes — and they do all this with perfect impunity. They know they will never be called to a reckoning. They believe we are afraid to retaliate, for thus they interpret the Christian meekness of our Government. That meekness, far from softening their wrath; tends only to inflame it to the highest pitch. They look upon our country as a game preserve, which they may enter and plunder whenever they may feel disposed to do so, without the slightest risk of prevention or punishment. Our submission is a standing invitation to them and they fail not to take advantage of it.

In what respect could we be worsted by retaliation? The enemy could not treat us worse than he is treating us now? He burns and pillages whatever he chooses, and he hangs and shoots whomsoever he pleases. He could but do the same if we retaliated, and he could not well do worse. But he would not do worse. He does what he is now doing because he fears not retribution. His own country has heretofore, with the exception of a small portion of it last year, been secure from invasion. He has had no fear for his home and his fireside, his family, and his property. He knows not, practically, what war is. He has no conception of its horrors, no idea of the losses it entails. It is of the last importance to give him a lesson in these particulars, because without such lesson he will never incline to peace.

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