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Matthew (1861-12-27)


“Letters to the Editor”. Dundee Courier, Friday 27 December 1861, p.2 col.3-4 (pdf image)

(Letter dated Dec 25, printed Dec 27 1861)
In his third letter, Matthew argues that recent statements by the French Foreign Minister vindicate his views. There is also an editorial on the same page, which does not respond to Matthew’s letter but does argue that a British war with America is inevitable.

The reference at the end of Matthew’s letter to “the hundred-eyed Argus” is a play on the newspaper’s full title – the Dundee Courier and Daily Argus. In Greek mythology, Argus Panoptes was a 100-eyed giant.


SIR,— The despatch of the French Foreign Minister, published in your paper of this morning, is so similar in its views, regarding the Trent outrage, to those of my letters to you of last week, that I cannot see why you should state mine to be a “sample of confusion” and his “argued very closely and very ably.” Perhaps you may point out wherein our views differ?

You stated that my letters were “a sample of the confusion which prevails in many educated minds,” and that I “blend together law and feeling.” I presume the French Minister is one of these educated minds, as he blends together law and feeling, and also, as in my letters, has not settled for himself “whether the Confederates are be regarded as rebels or belligerents,” but decides against the legality of the outrage, as I did, in either view, declaring that “the act seems to the public so entirely at variance with the ordinary rules of international law.” &c. He further states — “lf it were admissible that under such circumstances the neutral flag did not completely cover the persons and goods transported under it,” &c., it “would inflict restrictions upon the liberty of commerce and navigation, which modern international law refuses to acknowledge as legitimate. There would be a return, in a word, to those vexatious practices against which, in former times, no Power protested more energetically than the United States.” Can anything be said more in accord with what I stated?

Does this difference of estimation of things so similar not imply confusion of ideas in the hundred-eyed Argus? Do his many eyes serve only to dazzle and impair his mental perception?— l am, &c.,

Gourdie Hill, December 25, 1861.

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