previous next

The American question in Europe.

The following article, from the London Post, has not before been published in this country. Coming from the Government organ, it well repays perusal:

‘ [From the London Post, March 19.]

The American war progresses just as it was expected to progress by all intelligent men. --That is to say, a portion of the immense armies which the North levied and dispatched to the different sides of the Southern frontier has been enabled to effect an inroad into the Southern territory. A frontier extending for thousands of miles could at no time, and under no circumstances, be made impenetrable. Had the Southern Confederacy been established as many years as it is months, and had it devoted all its energies towards making war like preparations to resist aggression, it never could have secured its vast and physically unprotected territory from invasion. We Britons are an insular nation. From the earliest period we have been continually threatened with invasion; we have secured for ourselves the supremacy of the seas as the readiest means of protecting our frontiers; but, after all, we have not made them impenetrable. It has been frequently said, and with some little justice, that notwithstanding all our fleets and all our fortifications, there is really nothing to prevent a French fleet steaming out of Cherbourg some fine evening, and landing an army of some thousands of French soldiers on the English coast at dawn on the following day. If this be so, if, with all our armaments, surrounded as we are by the sea, and practiced as we are in the arts of war, we cannot secure our soil from, foreign aggression, is it in the least degree surprising that the confederate States should fall to prevent some divisions of an army numbering more than half a million of men from forcing a passage across a boundary line many thousands of miles in length? When we are told, then, that although in the North General Beauregard still keeps the Federal army in check on the Potomac, and though in the Fast, beyond some lodgments effected on the coast, of little or no strategic importance, no extraordinary successes have been achieved by the Federal arms, that in the West the Federal Generals have trampled down all opposition, we only receive intelligence which we have long anticipated. The border States of Kentucky and Tennessee, which a feather's weight alone in the balance rendered secessionist, have been recovered and restored to the Union ‘"The Federal mails now run to Nashville."’ So says the telegram; and the restoration of communication between the capital of Tennessee and the cities of the North is no doubt regarded as affording reasonable grounds for believing that are long the Federal mails will equally run to Charleston.

It is hardly necessary to repeat the opinion so frequently broached in these columns and entertained by every enlightened man in this kingdom — namely, that the armies of the North may over run the South, but they cannot subdue nor can they hold it. Let us again borrow the parallel of a supposed invasion of England by France. The possibility of a descent on our coasts of a numerous and well-appointed French army is conceded. May, more, we can imagine that it might advance on London, defeat the army opposed to it, and sack the metropolis. Mais apres, as the French Commander-in- Chief might possibly remark. Why, after wards, sooner or later, the troops composing the French army which had achieved these brilliant successes, and induced, no doubt, their sin guide compatriots at the other side of the Channel to believe that the conquest of pernicious Albion was finally achieved, would find their way back to the sea-shore from which they had advanced, and might consider themselves extremely fortunate if enabled to effect an embarkation without interruption at the hands of the conquered foes. That a French army might reduce London to ashes is within the bounds of possibility, but that a French army, however numerous, could hold in subjection the British people, is so utterly impossible that no one has ever yet attempted to demonstrate its possibility. Yet, if it were not a contradiction in terms to compare the probabilities of the occurrence of two impossibilities, we would say that the subjugation and occupation of Great Britain by the French was infinitely more within the range of possibility than the subjugation and occupation of the Southern States by the armies of the North. In fact, the supposition of effecting the conquest of the Southern States, with their immense extent of territory, compared with which Great Britain seems but a little province, is so utterly absurd, that even at Nov. Washington, in order to make it entertained for a moment, it is necessary by a pleasing fiction to dismiss the idea of any attempt being made to subjugate the seceded States. The Northern States, we are continually informed, are not engaged in a war of conquest, they are simply crushing a rebellion. As soon as a circumscribed number of disaffected persons have been suitably punished, the remainder of the population, disabused of their errors, will, with renewed sentiments of attachment and regard, flock round the banner of the Union. The telegrams just received afford a striking proof of the questionable soundness of this train of reasoning.

‘"The Confederates have completely laid Columbus in ashes and retired to Fort Randolph, carrying away guns and everything available."’ It is by no means an uncommon expedient in warfare for a nation, which is powerless to resist an invading army, to utterly destroy its own cities and everything which can be turned to profit by the invaders. The Russians, by the greatest act of self-sacrifice recorded in the history of the world, thus effected the destruction of the most numerous and best appointed army that Europe ever saw. But in such a struggle as that maintained between the Northern and Southern States of America, in which, in Appothest, no idea of conquest is entertained, but merely a firm, but still affectionate, mode of strengthening the bounds of brotherly love, it certainly does not seem that the burning of cities, which they are no longer able to hold, by the recalcitrant brethren, evinces on their part a conception of the possibility of ever returning to the family circle, nor is it at all likely to kindle in the breasts of those who so unremittingly proffer their affection warmer sentiments of fraternal love. The fact is, the ultimate and final separation between the North and South has been incontestably accomplished. Each new phase of the campaign only makes this fact more and more apparent. The successes of the Federal arms, few though they have been, have more than anything else tended to render the fusion of the belligerents into a single nation impossible. How long will it be before this truth is acknowledged in the Northern States, it is not easy to foretell; but in the interests of the world at large, in the interests of humanity, and especially in the interests of the now irrevocably divided portions of a great and industrious people, we sincerely pray that that time may not be far distant.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Sort places alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a place to search for it in this document.
Tennessee (Tennessee, United States) (2)
England (United Kingdom) (2)
United States (United States) (1)
France (France) (1)
Cherbourg (France) (1)

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
Beauregard (1)
Albion (1)
hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
November (1)
March 19th (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: