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Susceptibility of the Americans.
[from the London Times.]

The natural susceptibilities of a foreign nation are at all times worthy of respect. --Where any of our neighbors have reason to suppose that we have acted in an unfriendly or ungenerous manner towards them, or that their interests are likely to be affected disadvantageously by our acts, the opinion, though erroneous, deserves to be removed by explanations on our part. It must be expected that nations will sometimes give way to groundless jealousy, and misinterpret the policy of others by viewing it as distorted by their own fears. In all such cases a frank and ready assurance of good intentions will never be withheld by the suspected State.--But in the present case the people of the Northern States have, without the shadow of reason, and in spite of manifold instances of courtesy and good will on our part, chosen to lash themselves into a fury, because we have taken the only course which was open to us, and declared our neutrality in a war between two powerful, energetic and obstinate communities. It cannot be supposed that they are ignorant of the reasons which compelled us to this course, for these are obvious to every one who has any knowledge of international law and the laws of war; they have been plainly stated by Lord John Russell, in Parliament, and they have been laid down by American jurists in cases almost identical with the present.

Nor is there the least pretence for saying that apprehension has anything to do with the noisy attacks which are made upon us. No American in his senses believes that we are about to give any help to the Confederate States or that we hastened to recognize them as a belli gerent Power in order that we might supply them with arms, or share with them the profit of captured merchantmen. The reasons advanced by the Northerners to justify their indignation are only pretexts used to cover the real cause of it — namely, the wound which their vanity has suffered by our not having shown sufficient admiration of the levy made in obedience to President Lincoln's Proclamation. This is the head and front of our offending. All the talk about aiding the Secessionists and raising the rebels to the dignity of patriots is merely an affectation to conceal the real grievance.--This being plainly the state of things, we shall not attempt to coax the Northerners into good humor by assurances of any kind. Our conduct in the American civil war is before the world, and is so completely approved that it has been followed in every step by the French Government, and will, no doubt, be also followed by the other maritime States of Europe. The coarse invectives which fill the Northern papers may therefore continue; they will not be deprecated by us. The politicians and the journalists, who, a few weeks, were advocating the seizure of Canada; must continue to lament that the North has not met with due sympathy from England in its crusade against the Confederate States. The Northerners have thrown themselves into a passion, and we must leave them to recover their temper.

With respect to the progress of the war, there is not much to be told, though it is clear that serious work is at hand. The events of the first days of June were not unexpected. The most important of these is the retreat of the Southern troops from Harper's Ferry to Manassas Gap, a place some forty miles lower down the Blue Ridge, and said to be chosen by the President of the Confederate States as the position at which he will first try the chances of war. The skirmishes which have taken place, and the unsuccessful attack made on the Secessionists by a part of the garrison of Fort Monroe, may have the effect of inflaming the two armies against each other, but are otherwise insignificant. Yet the considerable forces which, if the newspapers speak truly, are being brought up from the South, render it likely that some more important battle will follow. The falling back of the Southerners from Harper's Ferry, and the concentration of Northern troops at O are the chief pieces of military news brought by the last steamer. It is plain that the war will be a much longer affair than the sanguine patriots on either side have expected. President Davis will not plant his flag on Faneuil Hall, or even on the White House, and, on the other hand, if even Virginia is to be conquered and the debatable land of Kentucky secured, something more than a brilliant march will be required. Not that we doubt for a moment the great energy and the high military qualities of the Northern volunteers.

From their habits of life and the general well being in which they have been brought up, the American youth are fine material for soldiers, and will be made into excellent troops in a very short time. But all of us know from experience — some of it bitter, some of it amusing — that armies and their apparatus are not to be extemporized. The horrors of the Crimea and the little adventures of our new Volunteer Corps are sufficient to make us understand that fifty or sixty thousand young lawyers, doctors, clerks, farmers, fishermen, fashionable, rowdies, and so forth, commanded by officers who have attained to distinction by their political eminence in the Legislature, or their conversational powers in the bar room, do not easily advance hundreds of miles through an enemy's country, and effect the conquest of a territory like Virginia, larger than England and Wales. It is said, indeed, that there is already a diminution of zeal among the more wealthy of the volunteers; who, though burning to fight the Secessionists, are rather disappointed at not meeting any within a convenient distance from home. This, we fear, is a common fault with fashionable warriors on both sides of the Atlantic. They like a campaign where enemies are well ‘ "preserved."’

To fight in a country well stocked with hostile game is very well, but to follow it over vast tracts, and to find themselves brought to a stand-still for want of food, or conveyance, or arms, or ammunition, is a trial through which few can pass without some abatement of ardor. We cannot but think that when Congress meets in July, it will be necessary to provide for a stricter and more lasting organization, to be constituted of harder material. What the Southerners may be doing we know not; but from the hints of our Special Correspondent we should conclude that their military authorities will have the same difficulty. War can never be waged on so large a scale without regular armies, and to regular armies it must come at last on the American Continent. In the meantime the fate of the Border States hangs in the balance; Kentucky, Missouri, and even Tennessee are threatened with disruption as well as Virginia. The first victories will no doubt decide to which Confederation these shall attach themselves, or whether they shall be broken asunder. A mighty contest looms in the distance, and all that we can clearly see is that our own policy of neutrality is both wise and just.

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