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(Reprinted from the Atlas, December 7th, 1861.)



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A few days will probably decide the momentous question of Peace or War with America. It is impossible to exaggerate the importance of the crisis. We do not refer merely to the loss of trade and to the inevitable horrors of war. We do not doubt that our arms will, if the deadly conflict ensues, be victorious. We do not hesitate to declare our conviction that we shall reap some present advantage from the opening of the Southern ports. But what of the future? Shall we bequeath to our children the terrible legacy of deadly hate and bitter revenge on the part of the Northern States of America ? We should not enter into such a contest, involving such mighty issues, except calmly and deliberately. We are powerful, and we can afford to be magnanimous as well as just. We are a civilised and a Christian nation, and should not draw the sword unless we are convinced not only that our cause is righteous, but that a peaceful solution is utterly hopeless. We do not say that England should submit to insult. We must vindicate our honour at’any cost or any sacri

fice. We must be ready, if the dire necessity arises, to pour out our treasure like dross, and our blood like water. Let us, however, not do so needlessly or heedlessly. (Let us, considering our strength and the unhappy position of America, resolve to maintain peace at any price, save the sullying of our national honour. The Christmas chimes will soon ring in our ears. We shall listen to the angelic message of “Peace on earth, goodwill to man.” If we are then preparing for war with a people sprung from ourselves, speaking our language, inheriting our love of freedom, and professing the same holy faith; let us feel that we have not been eager for the strife; that we are moved to it by a sense of duty, and not by a spirit of vengeance ; and that the Americans, not ourselves, are responsible for the bloodshed and devastation that will happen. When war has commenced, it is every man's duty to do what he can to ensure the victory to the flag of his country; but whilst peace lasts, until the sword is unsheathed, it is every man's duty to see if by any lawful means the blessings of peace may be continued and secured. In treating this matter dispassionately, we are not swayed by any dislike to the South, or any partiality for the North. It is not from want of patriotism, but because the honour of England is very dear unto us, that we ask our countrymen to do unto others as they would have others do unto them; to weigh well the circumstances of the case ;-to see how far they are insulting, and whether the

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