- 24 Aug 2019 13:49
August 24, Saturday
President Davis names commissioners to Europe: Pierre A. Rost to Spain, James M. Mason to Great Britain, and John Slidell to France. Their task is to attempt to obtain foreign recognition of the Confederacy and also to act as purchasing agents for guns, ammunition, and supplies.
Mason’s name is anathema to abolitionists, for he is the author of the Fugitive Slave Law as well as a public letter eulogizing Preston Brooks for caning Sumner. Though he got both his schooling and his wife in Philadelphia, Mason is an ardent secessionist and disapproves in general of things Northern. He has been to New England only once, to dedicate a monument, and found it so distasteful that when invited to return he replied that he would never visit that shore again, “except as an ambassador.”
Slidell is five years older and looks it. He is New York-born, the son of a candlemaker who has risen, but he moved to New Orleans to escape the consequences of debt and a duel with a theatrical manager over the affections of an actress. Importing the methods of Tammany Hall, he has prospered in Louisiana politics. Though not without some scandal, he has won himself a fortune in sugar, a Creole bride, three terms in Congress—once in the House and twice in the Senate—and an appointment as Minister to Mexico (just before the war with that country, so he never actually served). He is aptly named, being noted for his slyness. All this together with the ability to converse in both French (New Orleans-style) and Spanish (the Empress Eugénie’s native language), he is as well-suited to Paris as Mason, with his rectitude and cavalier descent, is for London.
In Washington several people are arrested, including Mrs. Philip Phillips and Mrs. Rose Greenhow, on charges of corresponding with the Confederacy.
Raids continue on “secessionist” newspapers in the North with several suppressions by the government.
President Lincoln tells Governor Beriah Magoffin of Kentucky that he cannot and will not remove the pro-Union forces being organized in Kentucky despite claims of the state to neutrality.
Ideas are far more powerful than guns. We don’t allow our enemies to have guns, why should we allow them to have ideas?
To educate a man in mind and not in morals is to educate a menace to society.