GENERAL DIX AND THE ST. ALBAN'S RAIDERS. To THE EDITOR
OF THE " SPECTATOR."
January 6, 1865.
see that your American Correspondent devoted a large portion of his last letter to answering one which I wrote you some weeks since with regard to General Dix's order as to the St. Albau's " raiders." I shall be glad if you can give me space for a few words in reply, although perhaps the befit practical answer to your correspondent's argument is contained in Mr. Lincoln's instructions to General Dix to withdraw the order in question. Still, as arguments are gravely put forward by a man professedly moderate which seem to me to strike at the very foundations on which international confidence rests, I should like to do what is in my power to show that such arguments are unsound and fallacious.
In substance your correspondent says that the American people are anxious not to punish raiders, but to prevent raids, that they do not want to quarrel with us, but are determined to stop these raids, and as diplomatic and legal proceedings are necessarily slow, the simplest way is to take the course suggested by General Dix— seize the offenders whenever and wherever found, and try them at the drumhead. Now this might be all very well if the American nation was the only one endowed with any feelings or entitled to any rights, but constituted as the world is the proposed line of action is open to two serious objections—in the first place it is unjust, and in the second it is inexpedient. It is unjust, for surely it is of the very essence of justice to treat the rights of others with the same respect which you claim for your own, and for all that your correspondent says about the willingness of the Americans to stop similar expeditions against other countries, he will hardly contend that if Spain had seized the Cuban filibusters on American soil, and had hanged them there and then, America would have considered herself uninjured. It is inexpe- dient, for it abates a comparatively small nuisance at the cost, or at least at the risk, of a terrible war. I must not be understood as contending that under no circumstances would the Americans be justified in carrying out such an order as the one lately revoked. Once show that the Canadian Government are encouraging these raids, and are sheltering the offenders, or not doing their best to bring them to justice, and I can well understand that the Ameri- cans may prefer an open enemy to a false friend, and a great war to a number of small injuries which under such circumstances would amount to insults. But there is really no pretence for saying that this state of things exists, although no doubt quite enough has been done to cause a good deal of irritation and annoyance, but it has been done by others, and not by us, and we have admittedly done all in our power to counteract the evil, although we cannot influence a judicial decision, be it right or wrong.
It is well for the world that the destinies of a great nation in momentous times are placed in firm and just hands, and not in those of a man like General Dix or his supporters.
A FRIEND OF THE NORTH.