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Weekly national intelligencer. (Washington [D.C.]) 1841-1869, December 08, 1864, Image 3

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WASHINGTON.
u UbUtll AMU UNION, MOW ABU KOULVEIl, UNS A BID
UlSEi'AHABLa."
THURSDAY, DECKMBEK 8, 1864.
THE PRESIDENT'S POSITION.
In commenting a few days ago oa some views
expressed by " The Mississippian " in behalf of
" mutual compromise, oonoession, and conciliation/'
as means to be employed for the termination of the
war, we oonfcssed our gratification at finding suoh
sentiments in a sheet heretofore remarkable ohiefly
tor the intensity and oonstanoy with which it has
advocated the oause of secession. At the same
time we felt called to say, in view of Northern opin
ion on the subject, that "there can be no 'half
way ground of mutual compromise, concession, and
conciliation ' whioh does not proceed on the basis
of the Union." We added that " so soon as this
premise shall be conceded we .do not doubt that
the people of the South will be 1 met with liberal
terms on other substantial jmd collateral points.'"
fn referring to this opinion the New York Times
supposes itself to see in such an utteranoe by usthe
evidence of a disposition on our part to modify our
" views as to President Linooln's position and pur
poses in regard to terms of peacfc." Our contempo
rary adds:
" It may be remembered that when the letter ' to whom
it may concern' appeared, we ventured to contest the
popular idea that it wai intended as an ultimatum to the
rebel State*. The National Intelligencer refuted our views
at very great length, and insisted repeatedly, and with
rather more than its usual vehemence, that the President
could not possibly assent to any peace which did not in
clude the ' abandonment of slavery ' as well as the restora
tion of the Union. We congratulate our venerable con
temporary on the more cheerful view of public affairs
which it now seems inclined to take."
If the !?imes will do us the favor to recur to the
uumbers of our paper containing the disouesions
to whioh allusion is made, it will be found that at
that date we simply sought to interpret the posi-.
tion and purposes of President Linooln by the
light of his public declarations on the subject ia
controversy. In his rescript "To whom it may
concern," ou the 18th of July last, he had said
that?
* ?
" Any proposition which embraces the restoration of
peaoe, the integrity of the whole Union, and the abandon
ment of slavery, and which comes by anl w;th the authori
ty that can oontrol the armies now at war against the Uni
ted 8tates, will be received and considered by the Execu
tive Government of the United States, and will be met by
liberal terma on other substantial and collateral points,
and the bearer or bearers thereof shall have safe conduct
both ways."
It seemed to us then, as it-seems,to us now, that
t'xe meaning of these words lies on the surface, but
that an analysis of the several clauses of the manifesto
served to make their meaning not only clear but
irresistible For we not only have in the opening
words of the rescript a statement of the terms on
which any proposition will be received and con
sidered, and not only is the equal indispensability
of both the specified terms left to be inferred from
the collooation in whioh they are plaoed, but the
possibility of any abatement from either of them
was excluded by the President's contemporaneous
proffer of " liberal terms on other substantial
AMD collateral points." The "7>ther substan
tial and collateral points" embraoe every thing as
to whioh the President was willing to be "liberal,"
and he exoluded from this classification " the in
tegrity of the wlflble Union and the abandonment
of slavery'??the latter as distinctly and as une
quivooally as the former. If it is within the power
of English speeoh more clearly to express the
meaning whioh we apprehended in the manifesto, or
to exclude the sense in which the Times inter
preted it, we confessed ourselves unable to appre
ciate the force of language. In order to asoertain
whether the President made a sine qua non of both
the terms whioh he specified, we had not only the
presumption which results from their equal expres
sion, but, in addition to this, we had their joint
exclusion from the category of subjects open to dis
cussion*, an exclusion made positive and express
by the statement that " liberal terms" would be
offered on "other substantial and collateral pcints."
Whatever, therefore, might be the senso in Whioh
the President or his friends oonstrued and inter
preted these words, there could be, we thought, no
cavil as to the sense they bore cn their faoe, or
which they yielded to a critical scrutiny.
We afgued in like manner with regard to the
President's proclamation of freedom. We showed
that it was quite true that in his proclamation un
der this head on the 22d of September, 18G2, he
was careful to premise by saying " that hvreafter
cu heretofore the war will be prosccuted for the
object of practically restoring the co stitutionol
relation between the United States and each oj
THI States, and the people thereof, in which
States that relation is or may be suspended or
disturbed." But it is equally true, we rejoined,
that in the body of that proclamation he expressly
deolared that " all persons held as slaves within
any State or designated part of a State, the people
whereof shall be in rebellion against the United
States on the first day of January, 1863, shall bo
then, thenceforward, and forever Jree; and the
Executive Ooeernment of the United States, in
cluding the military and naval authority thereof,
will recognise a+d maintain the freedom oj such
pernont." On the following first of January, 1863,
h? gave effeot to these declarations in his procla
mation of that date, in whioh, after designating
oertaiu States and parts of States, he said: " I do
order and declare that all persons held as slaves
within the [said designated States and parts of
States are and henceforward, shall he jree; and
that the Executive Government of the United
States, including the military and naval authori
tui thereof) will recognise and maintain the free
dom of such per tons."
In view of suoh declarations we admitted that
there was some ambiguity in the President's theo
rttieal position For, if we could suppose that all
resiatanoo to the Union should be oonquered he
fore all the negroes " ordered and dsolared to be
free were made practically free, he would, accord
ing to his own theory, be compelled to commit
what he has himse f described as "an astounding
brsaoh of faith " to the latter if he should not urge
men to continue " fighting to free negroes." And,
if he should urge men to oontinue fighting under
suoh circumstances, he would prove that emancipa
tion, not the Union, was the ultimate end and ob
joct of the war Suoh, it seemed to us, were the
two hotua of the dilemma, on the one or the other
of whioh the President must be impeled should he
aoeept any terms of pcaoo whioh do not equally
embrace the practical restoration of the Uuion and
the f>raotioal freedom of all tho slaves whom ho
ordered and declared to be "now, hincifohth, and
loaiVKK free/' and whose freedom he pledged
himself ?to recognise and maintain " with all the
power of the army and navy of the United States.
Hence it was that, with his Niagara manifesto
before us, weoame to thefollowiog oonolusion. We
quote from the Intelligencer of last August 20th :
" Until the appearance of tbe late manifesto we could
not foresee that the President would not, at whatever
?aenfice of oonsiateucy, absolve himself from the promises
made to the .lave, of the Soutb, if thoae promises should
Mem to be in the way of the reatoratioo of the Uuiou
, But thst mamfeato o??*ea it clear to our minda that tbe
President mean. to follow bia policy to its legitimate and
logical conclusions, which neoeaaarily oontemplate the
continuance of tbe war until he ahall coerce < the abandon
ment of slavery as well aa the territorial ?integrity of the
.Tit L ? l! ?S X WbLeQ bolh ends concur
that he can claim to have kept h.a engagements. And
I XS? who impute to him a willingness to receive and con
f?/ Proportions looking to a restoration of the Union
without providing for the freedom of the alavea whom he
[ pledged to maintain in the freedom with which he Uieo
I f? ]y 'Qjested them on the lat of January. I8C3 and in
the act of doing which he invoked ' the considerate judg
ment of men and the gracious favor of Almighty God '
I mu,t ?u'P4?ct h|? of ? vacillation and infirmity of Dur
poae little creditable to his character.
'' No,/rieud of the President must disguise from himself
subject Thev'nlAH i -eiteu' ?? 5?mmit2E onTi.
aubject. They pledge him bb much to wage war for the
emano'pation of alavea aa for the restoration of the Union
And if he did not mean to keep bis pledge to the slaves?
bri.? ihPe? ""?ke. peace on terms which should em
I brace the emancipation of some, not all, of those whom
nlvlr b enough to say that the pledge should
oitirJf ln *T ? ,?Tbe example which the Timea
01 tea of an Administrate# which, in the matter of the
| Oregon controversy, declared for 1 fifty four-forty or fight '
and afterward a compromised on the line of the forty ninth
Recurring to this subject on tho 27th of August
last, in continuation of our discussion with the
| New }ork Times, wo said:
?it? ^ Y-e ?6<i UiU0'1 to admire in the caudor and dig
as indeed "bt'rfn J1"16" ha" inducted this discussion,
Jerrei? tK?"1 ??' ? ,?ravlty of ^ theme, we cannot
p ceive the ju?tice of its implied animadversion on our
?sfv^s muSh m" ""nh Whe" that our earnestness
savors muoh more of the warmth of a partisan who aDDre
"J * bi?P?* cause or candidate fcom^e{Sri
Jafet*!f!hi lta opP?Dent, than of one zealous fof the
IS j r00 and ?"?er 10 have it secured by a wise
nf S? 1,0 ?y 00 *** part ot it8 ru!ers.' Is the editor
nl 3uito ,ure tbat no z9al for ' his party cause
the reai'aodT the ! b" ?Wn miud to 8 perception of
lulIS L thJk!Dtended meaning of the President's lan
u f Nla*ara manifesto/ Is the 'earnestness'
th? n? bftfay; oa tbi8 ?ubject inspired by no secse of
tricate the P Undf r wh'ch he conceives himself laid to ex
5S? or the'ot'hlr f kP?M1k ?' fT a P?,itioal dfemma
? T.0! the oth?r ?f who?e horns he is iu imminent dan
Lt if iV0* to death r And is the Times quite sure
woddnotTh/"^^ID 'iftiD? bim from o? horn it
It r cJ of d?IU? ,0 ,U)Pale him on the other ?
Ii*ht 9f P?rti?an?h'p which leads us to set in a clear
^ r6iideDt'B Portion, nor do we
ed ni.t f r t ^ from patriotic aotion' in the path mark
ludZl fl r \tbe V"?* Ut the PruidLt only rc
him > ltl L h 1 V V a$ lhe Time$ TePudialts for
him the vUdgtt and commitments which u>e suppose our
malTsto^V3 T,U in os in his recent
j m"a culmination of thoae procla
t?nn nfl' " not be ,low to mark ?"r apprecii -
tion of Lis patriotic action,' even though such a recantation
bi' candidacy from the de eat
ZLT rCb 'V," come too late to save the
l "l2?0m 7ln, renldeTed "2h inevitable by long
persuuncc tn a fatal policy,n
Within the last few days tlie President has again
spoken on the subject, and we are frank to say that,
while there is still some ambiguity in his speech,
we find in the declarations of his lato message a
disavowal of his Niagara rescript, or, at least, of
the interpretation we placed upon it. The Presi
dent now says that the Southern people ? can at
any moment have peace simply by laying down their
arms and submitting to the national authority
under the Constitution. After so much, the Gov
ernment could not, if it would, maintain war against
them. The loyal people would not sustain or allow
it." In the closing words of his message he adds :
" In statiDg a single condition of peace, I mean to
say that the war will cease on the part of the Gov.
ernment whenever it shall have ceased on the part
of those who began it."
If, then, the insurgents should desist from their
armed resistance to the [Jnion at any time anterior
to the actual liberation of all the slaves ordered and
declared to be free by the proclamation of Januajy
1, 1803, we now understand the President to say
that he would not oontinue to employ the army
and navy for tho purpose of " recognising and
maintaining" the freedom with which he (on
paper) endowed all the slaves in the States desig
nated. In this ease, who does not see that the
terms of his proclamation were unfortunate, in that
they pledged the President to fulfil a promise which
he now says he could not keep in oase the insur
gents should desist from their struggle against the
Government ?
Bat, while "presenting the abandonment of
armed resistance to the national authority on the
part of the insurgents as the only indinpen table
condition to ending the war on the part oj tht Gov
ernment," the President adds that he means to
" retract nothing heretofore said as to slavery. I
repeat tho declaration made a year ago, that (while
( I remain in my present position I shall not at
' tempt to retractor modify the emancipation pro
' olamatlon, nor shall I return to slavery any per
' son who is free by the terms of that proclamation
' or by any aot of Congress.'"
We do not see how the President, regarding the
question from a Northern point ofview, can have only
one indispensable condition to ending the war on
the part of the Government?the abandonment of
armed resistance to the national authority?if no
part-of the emancipation proclamation is to be re
traoted or modified; for that proclamation pledges
" the Exeoutive Government of the United States,
including the military and naval authorities
thertoJ} to reoognise and maintain the freedom of
all persons held as slaves within the designated
States and parts of States." But, if the question
be regarded from a Southern or disunion point of
view, we can see how it is that the President deems
it safe to say that he has only one indispensable
oondition of peace, while at the same time adding
that he will retraot or modiiy nothing, in his pro
clamations on the aubjeot of alavery. It is beoause
he oounta on the continued resistance of tho insur
gents during a period long enough to afford him
the opportunity of making the praotioal resto
ration of the territorial integrity of the Union oo
inoident with the praotioal freedom of all persons
ordered and deolarcd by him to be free. In a
word, the President places the keeping of hia
consistency on one of these points in the hands
of the people of the North, and on the other in the
hands of the people of the South. He confides in
the determination of the former to keep up tie
struggle until he shall be able to restore the terri
torial integrity of the Union, and in the deterai
nation of the latter to protract the war until he
shall be able to destroy slavery. And, while tho
civil polioj of tho Government remains in its prc
seut hands, and is oonduoted on its present basis,
we believe that he does not count in vain on tile
determined hostility of the Southern people, and
that he is quite right in preparing the minds of
the Northern people for the indefinite continuance
of the contest in whioh they are engaged, however
fallacious may be the arguments by which he seeks
to reoonoile them to that prospect.
In commenting, only a few days ago, on the
"only issue of the war and its solution," the New
York Times held the following language :
" The Southern muies have been made to believe that
the North has beeu fightiog to destroy slavery, to over
throw State right*, and to mbjugate and degrade Southern
whitea "
Who has made " the Southern masses" believe
all these things? What has made "the Southern
masses" believe all these things'( The answer to
these two questions oarries with it the condemna
tion of all that we most oondemn in the polioy of the
Administration and in the spirit of its principal
supporters. We would have had the war kept so
true to its original and only legitimate end that
there should have been no ground on which to
make " the Southern masses" believe that " the
North was fighting to destroy slavery, to bver
throw State rights, and to subjugate and degrade
Southern whites."
The Times cannot deny that the policy of the
Administration, and of its friends in Congress and
out of Congress, has lent itself to the propagation
of these convictions at the South, for it has to
argue against them eveif at the North, among its
own political confederates. It is but two days ago
that one of its correspondents protested against
its views of the " only issue of the war," as being
"opposed to the ancient principles of the Republi
can party, to the Baltimore platform, to the policy
of the Administration, and to the interests of the
oountry." And it was in reply to suoh represen
tations that the Times held the fallowing lan
guage :
" uur correspondent treats this war as if it were a
nominal crusade?a John Brown raid on & gigantic scale.
It ia just such loose talk that has driven tenB of thousands
of true Union men into opposition to the war. But it ia
all utterly groundless. The war was not undertaken because
slavery ia a moral wrong. We bhould have had no more
right to do that than to make war upon a foreign nation
because of its internal immoralities It was no moral
question at all that impelled our Government to take up
arms, nor will it be a moral question at all that will pre
vent it from laying down its arms. The only question was
a civil one. The war sprung alone from a civil necessity
of maintaining constitutional authority; and when that
civil necessity is met by universal submission to that
authority the war will cease. The Government once made
war upon the Mormons of Utah, not because of their Mor
mooism, but because they had undertaken rebellion. When
the Mormons submitted the war ceased, though the abomin
able Mormonism remained. To recognise any other prin
ciple than that warp, whether domestic or foreign, are to
be waged for no other than civil grievances would soon
make the whole civilized world an Aeeldema."
If the Administration and its friends had con
sistently and unequivocally acted in aocordance
with these views of our contemporary we sincerely
believe that the war wonld have long since been
ended and the Union .restored; for, on the basis
of such views, we should have had a united North
and a divided South ; whereas we have the con
fession of the Times that it is tho prev Utnco or at
least the currecoy of oontrary opinions among the
leaders of the dominant party in the Government |
which has " driven tens of thousands of true Union
men into opposition to the war," while at the same
time it has made the Southern masses believe that
they have good and just grounds for standing out in
unalterable hostility to the National Government.
We could desire no more convincing argument
against the course of events and of political opin
ion in the loyal States than that which is supplied by
our able Administration contemporary, and we ac
cept a full identity with it iu the opinions it pro
pounds on this subject We are glad to sec wisdom
justified of her children in the ranks of the sup
porters of the Administration, though we have
encountered much obloquy and misrepresentation
for holding pr<joisely the views of this Administra
tion paper. So true is it that " Time makes all
things even."
AN OFFICIAL CALL ON THE PRESIDENT.
Yesterday afternoon, six of the Associate Justices of the
United States Supreme Court (all now present ia the city,
bat representing a quorum of the court,) made the annual
formal call upon the President. They were received as
usual in the " Blue Room." The interview was brief and
of a very aocial and pleasant character. Chief Justice
Chase, not yftt having taken the oath of office and entered
upon his duties, was of course not present. He is expected
to take his seat on the Bench to day.
DEPARTURE OF LORD LYONS.
Lord Lyobs, the British Minister, took leave of the
President and Secretary of 8tate ou Monday, and the next
day proceeded to New York in a special car furnished by the
Government. ^His health, it ia stated, is ao seriously im
paiied aa to require relaxation with the benefiti of hia na
tive air. He carries with him tha respect, sympathy, and
t{ood wishes of the Government and people of the United
Statei. J Hume Burnley, Esq will have charge of the
British legition during the absenoe of Lord Lyons.
FROM THE ARMY OF THE POTOMAC.
Headquarters Army or the Potomac,
Monday, December 5, 1864.
j There ia nothing of interest to report on the line Ihia
! morning. The enemy do cot keep up quit* auch incessant
| firing aa they did a short time ago. Quite a little fusilade
I took place last evening in the vicinity of the Jerusalem
| plauk road, but it did not last any conaiderable time, nor
effect any important reaulta.
A number of brevets have been receuUy conferred upon
offloers in thia department. Among the last are Major
General tfeade, aa Major General in the regular army, and
| Brigadier Generals Ingalla and Hunt aa Major Generals of
volunteer*, and Major Biddle, aid to Gen Meade, breve tted
Colonel. Theae honora have been well merited by the re
I oipienta, and there are others in thia army whoae naraea
! might have been included in thia list.
Headquarters Arm\ of the Potomac,
Tuetday, December 6th.
j A flag of truoe appeared yesterday in front of the se
j cond division of the Second Corps, bearing a despatch ad
dressed to Generals Gregg, Humphreys, and Foster. The
I flag was brought by a captain, first, second, and third lieu*
1 tonanta, and a aergeant, all ataff officers. The despatches
I were reoeived and forwarded Their nature has not trac j
I apired, nor what answer returned, If any
i Picket firing it still kept up In the vicinity of Fort
j Bedgwick, better known as Fort Hell, bnt not so periist
| QQtiy aa formerly. A member of the 30th New Jersey
j regiment waa ahot through the head yesterday, while sit j
; ting in hia tent aome half a mile in the rear of our lioe.
I Casualt.ee occur almost dally.
gome changei in the poeition of oerUiu commands are
I being made, but it would bd contraband to publish partica
I lerf. The moat poaitiv* orders have been issued against
any Intercourse whatever with the eoemy on any pretext
whatever, and particularly agalnat exchanging newspapers,
and the msn along the line have ordera to ahoot any one
' who attempt* to pa?t outside the pioketa.
THE PRESIDENT'S MESSAGE.
Wo to-day spread before oar readers the mes
sage of tho President of the IJnited States, as
communicated to both Houses of Congress yes
terday. It will, of oourse, receive the attentive
perusal which deserves to ba bestowed on the an
nual exposition of the operations of the General
Government.
It will be found that the President, more than
on any former oooaaion of like character, has con
fined himself to a condensed recapitulation of ad
ministrative aots and recommendations pertaining
to the different branches of the Executive Gov
ernment, and has avoided any suggestions or ini
tiatives which partake of novelty, as indicating the
course which he proposes to pursue in the conduct
of public affairs. Under this head tho mossage
will disappoint tho general expectations of all
parties, as it had been confidently intimated, on tho
one hand or the other, that in his present message
Mr. Lincoln would take on certain subjects a
higher (or a lower) ground than had been indicated
by his past declarations and policy. Instead of do
ing BOf ho has preferred to make his paper almost
exclusively a business document, more remarkable
for its comprehensive, if formal, summary of ex
ecutive details than for the enunciation of princi
ples, new or old, in the conduct of the Govern
ment. %
We need not present any itsume of the statis
tics contained in the message, as they are stated
by the President in a shape as sucoinct as we could
make it,
Our foreign affairs are in u satisfactory oondi
tioD, notwithstanding the points of contact and
irritation offered by the complications of our civil
contest. We learn that in view of the insecurity
of life and property in the region adjacent ta the
Canadian border, by reason of reoent assaults and
depredations committed by inimical and desperate
persons, who are harbored there, it has been
thought proper to give notice that after the expi
ration of six months, the period conditionally
stipulated in the existing arrangement with Great
Britain, the United States must hold themselves
at liberty to increase their naval armament upon
tho lakes, if they shall find that proceeding neces
sary.
The receipts during the year, from all sources,
including loans and the balanoe in the Trea
sury on the 1st day of July, 1863, were
$1,394,796,207.62; and tho aggregate disburse
ments, upon the same basis, were $1,298,058,
101.89, leaving a balanoe in the Treasury, as
shown by warrants, of $96,746,905.73.
We are glad to find that, concurring with the
views of the Secretary of the Treasury, the Presi
dent recommends for the future that the propor
tion of moneys required to meet the expenses con
sequent upon the war derived from taxation should
be still further inoreased. Tho disproportion be
tween the revenue derived from contemporaneous
taxation and from loans has already tended great
ly to produce the weakness of our present financial
situation.
The President recommcnds the passage by the
present Congress of the resolution submitting to
the States an amendment to the Constitution abo
lishing slavery throughout the United States.
This proposition, it is known, failed at tho 1 ut ses
sion for the want of a two-thirds majority in the
House of Representatives.
The President has no new or more explioit views
to annonnce with regard to the terms of peace or
the conditions of Union, resulting from his several
proclamations on the subject of slavery and of am
nesty. He reaffirms tbat the Southern people
" can at any moment have peace simply by laying
' down their arms and submitting to the national
' authority under the Constitution. After so much,
'the Government could not, if it would, maintain
' war against them. The loyal people would not
<sustain or allow it." At the same time he adds :
" In presenting the abandonment of armed reaittance to
the national authority on the part of the iniurgentu aa thu
only indicpenaable condition to ending the war on tba part
of the Government, I retract nothing heretofore aaid aa to
alavery. I repeat the declaration made a year ago, that
' while I remain in my preaent poaition I shall not at
tempt to retract or modify the emancipation proclama
tioq, nor ihalll return to alavery auy peraon who ia free
by the termi cf that proclamation, or by auy act of Cofi
greaa."'
Id the presence of such declarations we presume
that " radical" and u conservative" supporters of
the President will bo equally fatisfied with his
position, and will equally olaim that he has fully
identified himself with them and their views. In
paint of fact, the emancipation proclamation would
undoubtedly fail to receive its full force and effeot
if the war should stop at any point short of the
actu?l liberation of all the slaves " ordered and de
clared" to be free, and whose freedom the Presi
dent pledged himself to "recognise and maintain"
by the army and navy of the United States.
It will be seen that the President holds out no
prospect of a speedy termination of the war. On
the contrary, he seeks to reooncile the people to the
prospect cf its indefinite duration by arguing that
if the war is not a positive blessing, it is not such
an evil as might be supposed. In confirmation of
this oheerful view he points to the fact that we
have more men now than we had when the war be
gan ; that we aro not exhausted nor in process of
ozhaustion, whether regard bo had to our popula
tion for the purposo of recruiting our armies, or to
our physical resources; which latter, ho says, " are
now more oomplete and abundant than ever," the
past drain on our material and financial wealth
passing in hU eyes for less than nothing. We do
not wonder that under euoh impressions the Presi
dent should affirm, as he does, that " we arc gain
ing strength, and may, if need be, oontinue the con
test indefinitely " As our public debt has already
assumed oolossal proportions and may affright
some persons, especially in prospect of an indefi
nite oontinuance of the war, the President sug
gests, in another part of his message, that " the
great advantage of oitizens being oteditors as well
as debtors, with relation to the publio debt, is ob
vious Men csadily perceive," he says, " that they
cannot be much oppressed by a debt which they
owe themselves " He makes this suggestion in
connexton with the recommendation that Congress
should " provide that a limited amount of some
future issue of public securities might bo held by
any bona fide purchaser, exempt from taxation and
from seizure for debt, under such restrictions and
limitations as might bo necessary to guard against
abuse of so important a privilege." We do not
doubt the candor of the President when he thus
tieeka to convinoe the people that the war may be
indefinitely prolonged without entailing, exhaustion
on our roaouroM in men or money. And yet we are
frank to say that we oould have preferred a lees op
timifltio view of the matter, (even in case the war is
to be "indefinitely continued/') aa both more manly
and more just. We doubt the soundness of any
argumentation which seeks to prove that war and
debt are not great evils,themselves considered,
however incurred. We concede that there arc
greater evils than 6itlier or both combined, and in
a good cause both may be lightly 'assumed by any
people whioh is called by Providonoe to confront
such greater evils. But no good caufe requires its
votaries to deny the dreadful reality of the sacri
fices imposed by war and debt in its behalf; and
no brave people requires to bo sustained in the
maintenance of a good cause by anysuoh fallacious
appeals. We believe that the war for the consti
tutional Union, foroed on the Government by an
armed sedition, was a good oause; and we believe
that in that cause, if kept pure from extraneous
issues, the people would have been brave and re
solute to endure all sacrifices, without needing to
be told that in our ease war and debt arc not
the evils they are seen to be in the history of every
other nation. We do not believe that the argu
ment of the President, under either of these
heads, will reooncile any body to the prospect of
the " indefinite" continuance of the war, or the
"indefinite" increase of our debt, though it would
have been easy for him, while acknowledging in
their fullest degree the miseries*of both war and
debt, to urge strong and impressive considerations
in favor of a continuance of the contest till the
end be reaohed in a restored Union. In a word,
we believe the popular pationoe oould better en
dure a long war if it was known that the Presi
dent felt war and debt to bo fearful evils, instead
of regarding them as infelioitica easy to be borne,
for in that case it might be inferred that he would
give all his diligenoe to make the war as short as
possible and the debt as light as possible. And
our respeot for the President's humanity and good
sense is suoh that in both these relations we be
lieve his oonduct will be better than his logic.
THE NEW CHIEF JUSTICE
Wo understand that tho President yesterday
nominated the Hon. Salmon P. Chass, of Ohio,
as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the
United States, to fill the vacanoy orcated by the
death of Chief Justice Taney. The nomination
was, we learn, immediately and unanimously con
firmed by the Senate.
The eminent qualifications whioh Mr. Chase
brings to this exalted position will be recognised
by all citizens, without distinction of pwty, among
whom purity of private character in combination
with distinguished intellectual endowments are
held in honor. The fifth in the line of the Chief
Justiocs, he will, we may be sure, worthily sus
tain the high traditions handed down by his illus
trious predecessors on the benoh of our American
Themis.
THE CASE OF THE FLORIDA
A correspondent of the Boston Daily Adverti
ser, understood to be Senator Sumnsk, devotes some
four columns of that print to an elaborate histori
cal illustration of the cise of the Florida, derived
from British precedents. He shows, with an atflu*
ence of historical learning whioh would of itself
suffice to betray the authorship of the paper, that,
whatever may be the right or the wrong of the case
in the light of international law, as between the
United 8tatcs and Brazil, the British Government
or the British people are not entitled to indulge
in expostulations against the untoward act of the
commander of the Wachusett.
It is well said by the New York Evening Post
that theae precedents, however numerous they may
be iu the annals of the British navy, are not pre
cedents for us. Nor does Mr. Sumner treat them as
such; he uses them for illustration, not for adoption.
International law wants one of the charaoteristics
of law proper, as it is not commanded by a supe
rior, having power to enforce its commands. It is
simply a body of principles, obtaining among inde
pendent nations, and binding only on those whose
wisdom and honor dispose them to bo j ust, or whose
weakness makes them fear a stronger power. Be
sides this inherent weakness, the law of nations
has been - obsoured and confused by the acts'of
strong nations, which, regarding their temporary in
terests or blinded by their passions, have establish
ed preoedents of violations of international law.
That that law whioh binds nations to tho path of
justice should be made as firm and strong as possi
ble, every enlightened lover"of his raoe must wish.
Of the two causes of weakness and uncertainty
which we have mentioned, the first is inevitable,
but it depends on the individual actions of Govern,
ments to increase or diminish the seoond. Every
Government has to decide whether it will add its
weight to] the growing strength of pricoiples of in.
ternational justioe, or whether, in the pride of
power, it will disregard those rights, and throw into
still greater oonfuaon the unsettled law of nations.
Our Government has now a question of this sort
to settle, and no man who forcoasts the future, and
who looks beyond the passions of the hour, can help
feeling regret at the chanoe whioh destroyed the
Florida, enemy though she was. In times of peace
we have ever been tenacious of the rights of neu
trals, and it is fitting that if favor is to be shown to
either party, it should not be shown to those who
are engaged in the temporary and abnormal state
of war The seizure of the Florida by an over
zealons officcr offered our Government an opportu
nity to display its respect for neutral rights in tho
fullest measure, but the ohanos destruction of that'
vuisel has put suoh complete reparation out of our
power. It remaius, however, for our Government
to show that it can rise superior to the patty pas
sions or temporary interests of the moment, and
that, even in the heat of war, it still respects itself
and tho rights of others too much to be swerved
from its principles. As the representative of a
high-minded and Jfclf-respeoting people, tho Gov
ernment is oalled upon to show that firmness, dig
nity, and oonsiotonoy whioh will Increase our honor
abroad, and whioh will leave no pfeoedent to make
us blush, and to bo cited against us when w? shall
demand of others that regard for neutral rights
whioh we can best olim when our claim is backed
by tho spotless record of our aots.
FROM LATE GEORGIA PAPERS.
The Savannah New* of November 23th notices m fol
lows some ot the movement* of Geo. Shermtu'i army,
It states that its information was derived from sources
entitled to the utmost confidence:
" On Sunday, the 20th instant, at three o'clock P. M .
the enemy made au attack oa East Maeou, at the samo
place where Stoneinau and his raiders made their attack
It was principally an artillery battle, but small arms wera
also used. The enemy's shells fell in the yMds of the
workshops of the Central railroad, but did no injury, aad
no one was hurt by it. The cannonading was quite actlva
and lasted some two hours. During the time tbe enemy
captured one of our batteries, but it wan soou recaptured
by our troops aud a number of prisoners taken.
" About dark our forces succeeded in driving the enemy
back, pursuing them about a mile and a half. They left
their dead and wounded on the field. Their force we have
not ascertained. They were dispersed and driven m tho
direction of Oriswoldville. They appeared to be tired
and frightened, aud many of them left their ranks and
wandered off beyond the range of our guns. They tore ui?
about three miles of the road beyond Walnut Creek
bridge, but it was soon repaired. While the engagement
was going on the employes of the Central railroad removed
all the engines and cars from East Macon and run them
into theoty.
" We regret to state that some of our troops behaved
badly in East Macon, by plundering and committing other
depredations after the enemy were driven off. We tor
bear to give details.
" On Tuesday the enemy made their appearance at Oris
woldville in some force, aud, before being attacked, burued
all the buildings in t'ae place exoept three. A fight took
place, lasting some three hours, when the enemy were re
pulsed. Our wounded in this engagement arrived in Ma
con on Tuesday. We have not ascertained the extent of
the loss in this engagement ou either side.
"Passengers who arrived this morning from Millen,
leaving there at one o'clock A.. M., state that a squad of the
enemy's cavalry appeared at Saundersville on Friday morn
iug last, and that a brisk skirmish took place that after
noon between them and a portion of Wheeler's cavalry, in
which the enemy were repulsed, leaving their dead ou the
field and fifteen prisoners in our bands. They carried off
their wounded. Our loss was two killed acd a few wound
ed. The prisoners have arrived in this city.
" It is reported that the Oconee bridge is burned, but
whether by our own forces or the enemy's is uot stated.
On Thursday night a body of the enemy's cavalry attempted
to cross the Oconee come twelve or fourteen miles below
the bridge, when they were attacked and driven into the
river. They threw away their arms and ran iota the
swamps to escape.
"There is much straggling amoDg the Yankee troops.
Those picked up by our cavalry report that the army ia
worn down and almost destitute of provisions."
The Savannah Republican, of November 30th, coutaias
no telegrapbio news from any quarter. The following are
editorial items on the situation:
" Reliable advices received yesterday indicate that Sher
man had made little or no progress with the main body of
bis army during the last day or two. Bo is still on the
railroad some distance beyond Millen, and apparently re
plenishing bis commissariat for the journey before him.
tils men and animals must be desperately jtded by tbia
time aud but little prepared for the trials to come We still
believe that bis intention fa to reach the coast if posaibla
by that rout which presents the least danger of a fight.
" There was no enemy betweou here and Millen yester
day, and although w party of Sherman's cavalry had been
near the latter place, every thing remained untouched
'? Another fight is reported between Wheeler and Kil*
Patrick on Monday, with the usual result. The latter wu
decently th: ashed and driven back ia the direc.ion of the
infantry.
?;it is reliably reported that a force of aboutjone thousand
landed yesterday morning from the Yat k** fl-et, at Boyd'a
Landing, on Broad river, in ^utb Caroliua, ?nd some
eight miles distant from the Savauuah and Charleston rail
road. Apoition of this oommand approached the railroad
later in the day, but subsequently retired. Ample pre
paration has been made to meet tLem should they attempt
to cut the road, which it was believed they would do last
night.
" We still believe Sherman has no serious thought of en?
countering ^vaunsh with his Jaded oolumns, but will at
tempt to make hi* way to the coast by the most practicable
route, lie will find it difficult t > strike one that has no
lion in his path. Our military authorities, we are glad ta
see, are ucting ou the sound principle ihut the sorest plaa
for keeping him away from the city is to rnaka it impoa
sible for him to get there.
" Pursuant to a reaolutiou of the General Assembly,
Governor Brown, before leaving Milledgeville, made a pro
position to the convicts in the penitentiary of a pardon if
tbey would volunteer and prove tbemselvt* good soldiers.
Nearly all volunteered, but a few of the notoriously bait
were rejected. The company organised one hundred, aud
the celebrated Dr. Roberts has been elected captain.
" Gen. Taylor ?is in Savannah, and bas been ordered to
take temporary command of all tbe Confederate reserve*
in Alabama and Georgia. ' It ia stated that the Georgia
militia has been turned over to tbe Confederate service.
Gen. Buckman is appointed lieutenant general.
" Our loss at Griswoldsville the Macon Telegraph seta
down in killed, wounded, and mlsatng as follows: (Second
Brigade, 160; Third Brigade, 163, Fourth Brigade, 15dj
State Line, f>3. Total, 614. The enemy in their reoent
march destroyed every thing on Gen. Cobb'a plantUicu
with tho exception of bis negro cabins."
MlLLEDQEVILLE, (OA ) NOV. 25.
To Mr. COLLIl?, Mayor of Macon?Sir : Our citizen*
have been utterly d*spoiled by tbe Yankee army, tend ua
bread and meat, or tb-re will be great suffering amongst
us. We have no mulea or horses. What you send must
be brought by wagon trains. The railroad bridge and the
one across the Oconee bave been burned. The State House,
Executive Mansion, and factory are still left us. Send ua
relief at once R B De Giiaff.nrkid,
Mayor of Milledgeville
REBEL REPORTS FROM (JEN. SHERMAN
The Havaiiuab Republican of Thursday, tbe let itutaut.
says:
" Ihe whereabout* of Sherman's main body baa b< tfu
sitisfactorily aacertained, and bia movements yesterda/
indicated any thing but deoiaion of purpose at to bla dea- .
t nation. Without entering into particular#, we would
?imply aay tbat the signs are that many people who hava
been unduly alarmed at the idea of bia taking them in hia
.line of march will be agreeably disappointed. Important
movement* are on foot to meet bim wherever he may go,
but theae will be developed at the proper time. Genaral
Wheeler managea Kiluatrick with all eaae, and with a leaa
foroe haa whipped and driven him in every engagement.
Lie baa taken one stand of colora, which is evidence of tho
vigor with which be has pressed him/'
Richmond papera of Monday contain the following uu
portant paragraph:
" Official information wa? received here yesterday tbat
the eolumn of Sherman's army which had been operating
in the neighborhood ol Macon haa disappeared, it it be
lieved to j?in the main army near Millen Information
received from official and other sou roes aeema to indicate
that Sherman's objective point is Darien, near the month
of tbe Altamaba river, fifty mihs south of Savannah "
THE BATTLE AT ORAHAMSVILLE, (8 C.)
From the Savannah Republican of December 1st.
hi oar issnfe of yesterday we mentioned tbe faet that a
considerable force of the enemy hid landed from trans
ports in Broad river, and were advanciag on the railroad
in the direction of Grahamsville. During the night we
had transported an effective force to that point, which,
uniting with that already on the grrund, marched forward
yestesday, under the command of Major Qen. (Justavua
Smith, of the Georgia State troops, to meet the enemy.
Tbe enemy, numbering, as near as oould be judged, five
thousand men, with sixteen pieoea of artillery, attacked
Oen. Smith at a place called Honey Hill, three mlea eaat
of the village of Grahamaville, at 11 o'eiock A M. Our
atrengtb consisted of fourteen hundred mnakats and four
pieces of artillery. We bad soma few embrasares for
open batteries, and slight entranohments on th* right and
left, but oar line waa necessarily extended, owirg to tha
superiority of tbe enemy in numbers, sod much of it was
both light and unprotected. This, however, only embold
ened our men to greater daeds, ac,d tbey fought tbe buttle
throughout with an energy and rwolutiou worthy of veta
rans. Tha fight lasted until dark, and tbe enemy rnada
several deaperata charges ?guu?r "?r line, but it stood
firm, and repulsed every attack, finally driviog back tba
enemas right and centre, but their left stood unmoved at
tba cloae of tbe sctioo. For four or five hour# th*se men
maintained the fl|ht with* ut relief. Lata in tha day Geo.
Robertson arrived with tbo 3*d Geotgi*, a battery of ar.
tiilrry. and a company of cavalry, la time to reader most
effective aid. higbt came in to olose the engagement,
whiib was cooduotad with vigor on both sides, ihusfar
it may be set down as a drawn battle, though In view of
tbe great disparity of numbers tha honots of tha day ara
oortainiy duo to tua Confederates.
We bave been unable to learn ttt details of Gaa.
Smith's foroes, tuougb it it believed that tha Georgia mill
tia constituted tha greater portion ol them. .Uurlosa wu
between eighty and one bundled killed and wounded* tha
?netuv's loss is officially reportad to ha much greatar.
Last night seven or eight transports, lotded with rein
foroeineats, were reported going up Broad river, whiok
givea aasurance that the fight will ha renewed to-day.
?Large Arrival or Emigrants.?The British steam*
?oip Virginia, Capt. Lewis, trom Liverpool November
: 16th, and Queenstown ]7th, arrived at New York on Moo*
1 day with 1,039 passengers in tha steerage

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