The Illustrated London News

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London, Saturday, January 5, 1861

The Illustrated London News, vol. 38, no. 1068, p. 6.

January 5, 1861


. . . From America the news is far from satisfactory to those who would see with regret the mighty Union severed by a black wedge. The secessionists are making such large use of the argument derived from the belief that the South would obtain grand commercial advantages by a separation that adhesions of a very significant character are coming in to the side of the dis-unionists. The President's Message has not produced a healing effect, and he had set apart a day for solemn humiliation and prayer, an observance he had fixed for the 4th of the present month. It would be difficult for one of our own hierarchy to frame such a form of petition as would be generally satisfactory under the circumstances, but perhaps the American divines may be more successful, unless, indeed, the matter and manner of the prayers be left to individual sentiment. Mr. Buchanan is, as might have been expected, much assailed; and in some of the articles against him there is a rancour of imputation which must be offensive to the good taste of the educated portion of the Republic. We Englishmen may still be permitted to hope that the work of George Washington will not be destroyed—that the double agency which is being brought to bear—the hydraulic press of political hate, and the steam-tug of commercial aspiration (to borrow a metaphor from our launch)—may not be potent enough to tear the Republic in twain. Farsighted American statesmen have left on record their conviction that such a crisis would one day arrive, but the existing race will show themselves less worthy of their noble predecessors than they would willingly be esteemed if they are unequal to the task of averting the disaster against which they had been warned.

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