[Richmond Daily Dispatch, May 18, 1863]
Mr. Vallandigham--Lincoln and the North.
The latest Northern news received here brings the rumor that Mr. Vallandigham has been sentenced by the drum-head court that tried him to two years imprisonment at hard labor on the Dry Tortugas, Florida. The Herald discredits the rumor on the ground that the rigid rule of secrecy prevailing in such courts as tried him would prevent its decision from gaining publicity until made public by the court itself. The same paper takes occasion to say that such a sentence would make certain Mr. V.'s election as Governor of Ohio in the fall.
|Rep. Clement Vallandigham|
(Library of Congress)
In the meantime there are indications of some popular excitement on account of Mr. Vallandigham's arbitrary arrest and trial — especially in New York, where a large meeting had been held on the subject. Mr. James Brooks, of the Express, made a very strong declaration in his speech to that meeting. He said, "In my judgment and belief it is not so much the intention of the Administration to subjugate the South as it is to subjugate the North!" Mr. Brooks is mistaken in this much. That it is the intention to subjugate the South, and the execution of that intention renders it necessary to subjugate the North! The very process demands the exercise of arbitrary power that is utterly inconsistent with freedom at the North. Both North and South must be free, or neither. It is impossible that the Southern States can be conquered and held as provinces by the Washington Government, while the Northern States retain their independent sovereignty under the Constitution. The Federal Administration is certainly not more humane in its purpose towards the South than the North. It merely ignores the State and personal rights of the North as a means to make more complete the crushing of all right, all justice in the South--the general subjugation, robbery, and ruin of the Southern people. But Mr. Brooks is bold in his language, and may have to follow Mr. Vallandigham to Tortugas, if Lincoln has the courage to send him there.
Will Lincoln order the sentence of the Burnside court martial to be carried out, if that sentence has been correctly reported? Whether he does so or not, be must suffer damage. If he sends him to punishment, he must arouse a deep sense of outrage in the public mind, except amongst his own immediate party. If he fails to approve it, he will appear as too timid to enforce the natural and unavoidable decrees of the tribunal he has had the hardihood and tyranny to establish. To what other termination could such a court, with such accusers, under Burnside's death order, arrive, than that of the cruelest imprisonment, or death itself, for publicly opposing the measures of the Government? He must have known that such would be the result when he ordered such a court to try and punish such an offence. If he now remits its sentence he will betray a fatal indecision — the sceptre will tremble in his hand — a woeful sign for the despot, and one which is sure to lead to his downfall.
Mr. Brooks is certainly right as to the purpose of the Administration to subjugate the North--and to-day the Northern people are more in danger of permanently losing their liberties than are the people of the South.--That gentleman said that New York and New Jersey were the only free States in the North. The honorable gentleman may speak a little too fast. It certainly has not appeared yet. The tyrant has not tried conclusions with them. Those States have not yet failed to respond to his demands for troops to crush the South' and no issue has been fully presented. When one is, if they prove their claim to be regarded "free and independent States," it will raise them high in the estimation of the world, and very much surprise us of the South!.