Article - FEBRUARY 22, 1859  



AMBASSADORS' NOTES
A heated exchange.

It appears that Thomas Jackson and the editor of this local paper had had lively disagreements previously.

The contents of this letter were the source of considerable criticism and although it was clearly sent to the editor in response to an earlier editorial, it appears that TJ had suggested that it would not be published. However, the Editor of newspaper went ahead any way and published it with stars instead of the author''s name and prefaced by his own editorial disapproval of the contents.

As can be seen from later letters, these opinions were like pouring on gasoline on to a fire and caused heated condemnation of the author. Not unexpectedly, Thomas Jackson accepted the challenge to justify these opinions (and belittle the editor) in his later reply. In that way, these series of newspaper exchanges provide a good introduction to TJ''s strong and unwavering opinions and his rapier like use of his knowledge and his words whenever anything to do with slavery was discussed.

The legal right to stop and question a Slaving Ship

In this case, it appears that Thomas Jackson was angry because some northerners weredisapproving that a British ship had chased and seized "Reufus Soule" (should be speltRufus Soule), a ship initially flying the stars and stripes but in practice was soon revealedas a slave ship flying false colors. Some of Thomas''s opponents claimed that only anAmerican vessel of war should be able to stop and quiz any ship showing the stars andstripes, a claim that Jackson mocked. Facts later proved that ship was indeed a Spanishslave trader and was not entitled to American protection. As such it was violating treatyobligations with Spain.

The situation was made more controversial because the English and American lawsdiffered regarding slave trade laws. On May 15, 1820 America, the Congress passed anact that made the captain and crew of a United States flagship suspected of beinginvolved with the slave trade liable for arrest and, if found guilty, their execution wasmandatory. On the other hand, the British parliament authorized officers of British warvessels to board, seize and destroy without trial ships engaged in the slave trade.In contrast the United States denied that foreign ships had the right to stop and searchAmerican vessels and had fought the War of 1812 over this matter.

"Most recent wars were unnecessary American war of Independence theexception."

A long discourse about the American temperament and his belief that only the war ofindependence was the only war that needed to have taken place. All the rest, in TJ''sview, could and should have been averted.

Why the war of 1812 "could have been profitably avoided"

The letter goes into detail about the war of 1812 and the lessons from that conflict.The letter finishes with a derisory claim that the editor''s views in the past have often beenbunkum.

Unusual words

buncombe = insincere speech making by a politician intended to merely please local
constituteents
insincere talk. Claptrap
ORIGINAL ARTICLE

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