Vallandingham — what will Lincoln do?

The sympathizers in New York have made a direct appeal to the Washington Dictator to let Vallandigham loose, reminding him that they look upon the arrest and trial of the Ohio statesman as a violation of the Constitution and laws of the United States. The resolutions in which this conclusion is asserted were the formally adopted opinions of immense meetings, at which sentiments stronger than those in the resolutions themselves were freely uttered — sentiments, indeed, more violent and offensive to the Federal Executive than those uttered by Vallandigham, for which he has been sent to Fort Warren. Letters addressed to the officers of the meeting, especially that of Governor Seymour's, assert that if the proceedings in Vallandigham's case remain as the judgement and final decision by the Government, that they have beyond question already established at the North a complete military despotism. The New York Herald, which has been playing fast and loose, endeavoring to keep with the Administration and the people too — having a very great consideration for both its editorial neck and its editorial fisc-- is constrained to declare its own disapprobation of the course of the Government in regard to Vallandigham. It is, no doubt, forced to this by popular feeling as well as the sentiment of the press. The Herald could not withhold its disapproval of such a high-handed exercise of power, when even the Tribune and the Evening Post, negro-worshipping Black Republicans, declared their opinions decidedly in opposition to it. The following expression thereon, from the Herald of the 20th, may be taken as indicative of the popular view of this matter at least in New York:

‘ "If General Burnside on his own responsibility initiated these late military proceedings against Mr. Vallandigham, he has foolishly dashed himself against a stone wall much more difficult to carry than that along the heights of Fredericksburg. If he has acted under instructions from Washington, the Administration has committed the grave mistake. In either event it is within the power of President Lincoln to reverse these proceedings, and to turn over the accused to the civil authorities. The Northern elections of last autumn involved a serious warning from the loyal States against these arbitrary arrests — a warning which, it was hoped, had put an end to them. Under this conviction the people of the several States concerned in our spring elections rose up to sustain the Administration and the war against all the peace clamors of the Copperheads. In Connecticut, where those agitators were the most numerous and violent, they were most signally defeated.--But this Vallandigham affair furnishes the very capital to these Democratic radicals which they have so much desired, and puts them in a constitutional position from which they cannot be displaced. The public sentiment of New York, and of all the loyal States, on this point is with them, and the Administration must quash these military proceedings against Vallandigham, and recognize the vitality of the civil law in the loyal States, or there will be civil war in the North."

’ Will Lincoln "quash" them and "prevent civil war," according to the Herald? or, if he will not "quash" them, will "civil war" ensue? If we could reason about a Yankee as we can about other men, we would say that Lincoln would be compelled to "quash" the sentence, or to go on with his arrests, and to put in his bastilles not only the small men who made the excited speeches in New York city on the 19th, but Governor Seymour and Washington Hunt and their brother sympathizers generally. If sedition is to be put down by arbitrary arrests, then those arrests must go on. If he abandons that policy, then he must let loose Vallandigham. To keep him in prison and arrest no more men, would be but showing his own hesitation and fear of the consequences. To refuse to liberate him will only continue the cause of the excitement and that immunity to seditious declaimers which his failure to arrest them gives. Lincoln has most assuredly now a difficult road to travel. Hesitation is dangerous. To keep Vallandigham in prison and arrest no more men, will only raise the storm of popular feeling higher, and may elect him Governor of Ohio, and then comes a troublesome issue. To go on consistently, with a high hand, like a true despot, as he desires to be, he must arrest all the leading sympathizers, and, if the people rise, put them down with the bayonet. But would they rise? Again, were they like other people, we could say that they would. But the Yankees are so peculiar, and have so often disappointed all reasonable human expectations, that we would not hazard an opinion upon the subject. We all must wait the issue of the present storm, whether it be a tea-pot tempest or not.

Since the foregoing article was in type, (it having been deferred for some days.) news has been received that the Federal Dictator has commuted the sentence of Mr. Vallandigham to transportation through the lines of his military occupation to the South! The Dictator evidently falters. He hopes to escape a possible issue with a part of the Northern people by exiling his victim. But the subterfuge will not avail him if those who have taken action against his summary military proceedings are sincere and courageous. His attempt to avoid an issue will, in that case, but the more strongly determine them to press it. The New York Herald sees this, evidently; for it declares, in its date of the 22d, that the modification of the penalty imposed on Vallandigham makes the crime of his arrest and trial "a still greater crime." It proceeds; "The Government has only aggravated its fault. If it had a right to commute a punishment it had a right to inflict it, which is the point in dispute. The tyrannical privileges assumed by Burnside are reaffirmed by a variation of the sentence, which violates just as glaringly the constitutional rights of the citizen. This is an aggravation instead of a palliation of the blunder already committed, and will tend to multiply the difficulties by which the Administration is already beset."

Also, since the article above referred to was in type, we have the proceedings of another meeting in New York, whose resolves are bolder and more defiant than any yet adopted by Northern meetings. They increase the embarrassments of Lincoln and press more decidedly upon him the necessity of carrying out his policy of military arrests for sedition, or of abandoning them altogether. He can neither quiet clamor by exiling Vallandigham nor intimidate sedition by simply refusing to liberate him. He must go ahead or back out. Each day is increasing the number of prominent men incurring the penalties of such an order as Burnside's.

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