The New York Times editor describes a conversation with a captured rebel, calling for the Democrats to win — but concludes that it’s all a ruse. The Democrats will wind up letting the South secede because they’re not unconditionally unionist.
UNION CONDITIONAL AND UNCONDITIONAL.
– The Boston Courier of Tuesday invents or reports a conversation supposed to have been held on board of a Sound steamer, between some Down-Easter of an “inquiring mind” and a paroled Louisiana prisoner from Antietam, in which conversation the captive rebel is described as declaring that the election of SEYMOUR in New-York and of other Democrats throughout the North would bring the rebel cause to immediate ruin. A Democratic, victory at the North, this astute rebel is made to say, would give such tremendous force to the Union sentiment at the South that thousands of rebel soldiers would throw down their arms refuse to fight any longer, and go home to await the peaceful restoration of the “good old times.”
Now it is possible that a paroled prisoner from Antietam — “himself a determined rebel” — may have said all this, for the Southerners generally are skillful politicians, and the Courier’s captive being deprived of the chance of slaying the Yankees with his sword, may have thought it patriotic to seize upon the chance of wounding them with his tongue.
But it is important that the misrepresentations, of which this legend is a specimen, should not gain ground among the Northern people. It is important that the Northern people should clearly understand their true position relatively to the South, and that they should realize the solemn fact that the one point of interest to the South in our pending elections will be the evidence which those elections shall afford of the union or the division of the North in regard to the unconditional prosecution of the war. The President’s proclamation of emancipation has not introduced any new element into the contest; it has simply announced the final development of an issue imminent in the contest from the hour of its commencement.
A Democratic victory will be, in substance, a verdict given against the presidential proclamation, and therefore by direct implication against the prosecution of the war itself. This will be its whole meaning, and for the rebels its only interest. “Vote the Democratic ticket,” cry the supporters of that ticket, and signify to the South that you mean to fight only for the Union.” But this is precisely what the South is fighting against, has fought against, and will fight against to the end of its money and its men. The South fights against the Union unconditionally — it fights just as sternly against a Union protecting Slavery, as against a Union abolishing Slavery. If the North meets it in the field with a conditional support of a conditional Union, is it not plain to the meanest capacity that a time must come when the condition being no longer practicable, the North must retire from the contest?
The South, at least, is clear-headed enough to see the contest in this its genuine light, and the triumph of the Democratic Party must inevitably cheer the Southern temper with the hope of a conquered peace and of Southern independence.