previous next

The news from America.

[From the London Times, July 3] The present state of the campaign in America has been expected by every reasonable observer on this side of the ocean. The event may prove to the Northern people that the English are not such prejudiced judges and ignorant commentators as has been asserted at Washington. Ever since the beginning of this unhappy conflict, the crowning victory which was to restore the South to Federal supremacy has always been dancing like a Will o'-the-Wisp before the eyes of the Northerners. It has led them through a boundless waste of blood and money, it has caused them to stir up batches which a century perhaps will hardly appease, and it now glimmers before them as deceptively as ever, while they are sinking slowly but surely into the slough of national disorganization and bankruptcy.

When Mr. Lincoln called out his first 75,000 men, the 4th of July, 1861, was fixed for the termination of the rebellion, which was declared to be reprobated by a majority in every State but one. That 4th of July came and went, and at no time since has the fail of the Confederacy been fixed for a later date than three months from the time of speaking; and now another 4th of July is upon us, and the South is still unbroken in strength and determination. All the power of the Federal Government has been put forth; a debt which no man accurately known, but which all suspect to be vastly greater than admitted, by the Government, has been contracted; men have been raised by the hundred thousand; Europe has been put under contribution to furnish arms and stores and all the apparatus of conquest; four main armies have advanced into the Confederate territory; half a dozen expeditions have fastened themselves on the coast, and yet the South remains unconquered. It is demonstrated that the Federates can only effect their purpose by a campaign far more gigantic and by an expenditure far more lavish than that of the past twelve month.

The present result of their immense exertions is that their gunboats control the great rivers of the continent, with the cities on their banks, and that their armies, besides securing Kentucky, have military possession of certain parts of Virginia and Tennessee. But it may, we think, be said with complete accuracy, that in these two States the Federals hold only the ground they stand upon. The hostility of the population in the neighborhood both of McClellan and Halleck is admitted by every soldier in the two armies. In an enemy's country, which is desolated by the Confederates themselves, the Federals find themselves brought to a stand-still by the obstinacy of the Southerners, or, by the heats which begin their intensity about the time of the solstice. The operations before Richmond contribute nothing remarkable to the present news.

We are told of skirmishes which evince the boldness of the Confederates, of their cutting the telegraph wires and carrying off prisoners, of the reinforcements which continually arrive, and of the menacing attitude which they consequently assume. On the other hand, it is beyond a doubt that Gen. McClellan urgently demands fresh troops, which the Washington Government is unable to supply in numbers sufficiently large. Although the North, with the help of the Irish and Germans, has been able to raise an army truly enormous, yet these levies have been so scattered in distant expeditions, and in penetrating at so many distinct points into the great Southern territory, that the army of the Potomac, as Gen. McClellan's force is so called, is, in all probability, inferior numerically to the army which defends Richmond; while the reserves at the disposal of the Northern Government are more scanty.

The Federal Secretary of War was, according to report, about to call on the Governors of the various States for fresh troops; and this fact, taken in connection with the season of the year, and the inactivity of McClellan, seems to show that the Virginia campaign is likely now to languish until both sides have gathered fresh strength in the fall of the year. The harvests of the South are likely to be reaped in peace by the Confederates, and large supplies of food obtained for their armies as a reward for the policy which has led them, since secession, to substitute grain for cotton over a great extent of country.

From the West all the news still has something of mystery. We heard first of Beauregard's masterly retreat, his carrying off all his sick and wounded, all his munitions and stores, and his disappearance no one knew whither. Then we heard that this masterly retreat was a disorderly flight; that Gen. Pope was in pursuit, and had captured ten thousand men and fifteen thousand stand of arms; that twenty thousand more men had deserted; so that, in fact, the Confederate army of the West was no longer in existence. It is difficult to suspect Major Generals and Brigadiers of absolute falsification, and we have so little knowledge of the facts that we cannot criticise their statements; but it is sufficient to say that Beauregard, according to the latest accounts, still has an army of eighty thousand men at Okolona, in Mississippi, about fifty miles from the frontier of Alabama, and that the Confederate force altogether exceeds one hundred thousand men. These numbers are, of course, merely guessed at. The Confederate armies may be exaggerated, or they may be understated, but it is beyond a doubt that they are strong enough to hold that part of the country against the invasion of the North. It is now reported that the Federals will form a defensive line from Memphis to Corinth, and abandon active operations during the summer months.

This state of affairs must cause deep reflection among men of every class, both in England and America. Happily, the people of this country, with the exception of an insignificant minority, have long formed their opinion of the war. They can see that if the South is to be subjugated and held by force of arms, this consummation must be preceded by the most savage and relentless contest in the history of mankind, and followed by a political condition to which even war might be considered preferable. To impress this on the minds of the Northern people has been the object of the English press from the beginning, and the unanimity of English opinion may at length produce some effect. We have been right and the North has been wrong in so many things, that our opinion is, at any rate, entitled to consideration.

We would, then, once more raise our voice against the indefinite prosecution of this horrible war. While the scorching sun is filling the camps with fever and cholera; while the youth and strength of the country are being hurried to the common frontier in preparation for a new feast of blood in the autumn; while the North is burdening itself with a debt concerning which even its rulers fear to speak plainly, and while the great staples of the South are being given to the names, we would ask the Federals, with whom the whole matter really rests, where is their conscience, where is their common humanity, or their boasted worthily prudence! They are in arms to enforce on men of their own blood submission to a rule that the latter detest.

Although, for months after secession, the most eminent men among them, including the late President and the present Secretary of State, declared that the subjugation of one part of the Union by another was a scandal not thought of, and that separation, though deplorable, could never be opposed by arms, yet the North now talks of conquest, and confiscation, and military colonies, with all the readiness of an Austrian commandant. What becomes of the famous Declaration of Independence! What becomes of the theory that Government derives its powers from the consent of the governed, if the populations of seven or eight great States, which, rich and poor, bond and free, white and black, are proved by events to be all of one mind, are now to be invaded, conquered, and kept down by a standing army in the name of Republican freedom? These things must at last become apparent to the American people. They are not so unlike the rest of mankind, so unlike their former selves, as to dispute what is clear to the whole world. That the South, if it wishes to go, should be allowed to depart peaceably, is the only policy which is agreeable to justice and wisdom. Unless the North can learn to see this, it must bring evils untold on itself, on us, and on every European people.

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) (1)
Okolona (Mississippi, United States) (1)
Alabama (Alabama, United States) (1)
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.
McClellan (4)
Beauregard (2)
Pope (1)
Lincoln (1)
Halleck (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.
April, 7 AD (2)
March, 7 AD (1)
July 4th, 1862 AD (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: