The "Times" and our Commissioners.
Our English files have brought us, in its length and breadth, the philippic of the London Times
upon Commissioners Mason
The reviling of the leading British journal are even more gross and vulgar than the condensed dispatch had represented them.
It is wanton, gratuitous, brutal, and blackguard.
The writer must have bought a bad fish at Billingsgate the day it was written; and had a wrangle with one of its redoubtable dames.
The tirade betrays an authorship fresh from such a contest.
With a pitiful want of taste, justice, and the great journal charges these innocent gentlemen with the cost of the recent large shipment of English troops, arms, and military supplies to Canada
This cost is supposed to be about three millions of pounds sterling, or fifteen millions of dollars, and poor Messrs Slidell
are charged with the sum. Invited by the advertisements of the British
packet at Havana
, these gentlemen went aboard of her, paid their passage money to England
, and betook themselves quietly to their state rooms.
After a few days of quiet sailing the vessel was suddenly brought to by cannon shots fired across her bow she was boarded, and the Commissioners
, with their Secretaries
, after protest and remonstrances, forced off the steamers as prisoners of war, or apprehended rebels.
Upon this state of facts, with a logic worthy of the intellectual Times,
and of the leading exponent of British opinion, that journal charges this affair, not to Commander Wilkes
, nor to the Yankee Government
, but to the innocent, passive, and helpless victims of the outrage.
The great complaint of the British Cabinet
was that the British
flag had been insulted, and British honor outraged, by the proceedings of Wilkes
; and with a good deal more reason and logic could the London Times
call upon the British
public at home to fender no ovation to the flag which had been the cause of the trouble, and to regard the British
honor that had been outraged as of no more worth than ‘"two negroes."’ ‘"This flag and this honor has cost us,"’ it might say, ‘"three millions of pounds sterling; and we owe it to the Exchequer to taboo and pay no mark of consideration to the two baubles that have put us to so much cost.
Let them go their way in the Kingdom; we have laid out too much money and suffered too big a scare on their account to bestow on them any further attention."’
Take it all in all, this puerile and impotent outburst of ill-nature from the Times
is one of the most remarkable incidents of the war. Our Southern people have not demeaned themselves unworthily in seeking the recognition or sympathy of Great Britain
Our tone towards that people and Government has rather breathed defiance than entreaty.
We considered ourselves masters of the situation being fully as able to dispense with British gold and fabrics as England
was able to dispense with our cotton and our markets.
We had never approached that country as petitioners for favor, but only as equals, having benefits to confer fully equivalent to the benefits we might receive.
We recognized the embarrassments which her large vested interests at the North
imposed upon Great Britain
, and we were not impatient of that recognition and renewed intercourse which we knew to be inevitable, but which we also felt must be delayed for a time.
It is not to be denied that the warm sympathy which our cause had elicited from the Engish masses, had kindled a like feeling of cordiality towards the old country in our own breasts; and we had begun to dismiss that antipathy which hostilities and rivalries of ninety years duration had engendered and rooted in the Southern
We had begun to recur to the annals of the olden time, anterior to the Revolution, when it was the pride of our ancestry to proclaim and inculcate a devoted loyalty to the British
We reflected that the tides of immigration that had set in upon American shores for so many years had spread themselves over the North
, and had very little overflowed into our Southern boundaries; that our blood was, in consequence, still purely English
, and that ties of consanguinity, if they had any force, bound us more closely to the English
than to the hybrid and motley races that inhabit the North
These remote recollections, these obvious reflections, and the feelings naturally springing from them, were fast producing a strong partiality for the mother land in the hearts of our race; and we were looking with an interest, somewhat dramatic, to the reception which our Commissioners would receive — not from the British Government
, which we know would be formal and probably not even public — but from the people of Great Britain
The vulgar vituperation of the Times
has not at all changed our expectations in this behalf.
We are at a loss to know what influences could have led that journal into so rude and brutal a proceeding; but the very fact that it finds it necessary to inveigh so bitterly against a probable ovation to our Commissioners; proves that the temper of the public was setting strongly in that direction.
The specious logic employed by the Times
in its protest against a measure evidently finding much favor with the British
people, we have already remarked upon; but it was really unworthy even of the Times
to resort to falsehood in the attempt to make good its assault upon our Commissioners.
That these gentlemen are American statesmen, and, as such, have at times employed a free tone of speech against our late national rival, is not denied; but that they owe the prominence they have attained in our country, as the Times
alleges, to antipathies constantly expressed against England
, is a positive slander.
Bad logic may be excused in the Times;
black guardism may be deplored; but willful falsehood is to be denounced in the foul mouth of the slanderer who employs it.