London, Saturday, January 26, 1861.The Illustrated London News, vol. 38, no. 1071, p. 76.
January 26, 1861
From America the news becomes graver than ever. The South Carolina secessionists have fired upon the soldiers of the Government, and treason has become actual rebellion. The frigate Brooklyn had been despatched to the aid of the Federal troops. The movement is spreading, and the adhesion of new States to the secession group was daily expected. The conduct of the President, at length roused into action, had excited the utmost indignation in the South, and the Commissioners who had been dispatched to treat with him have addressed him in a letter which Mr. Buchanan declined to receive. On the other hand, the North is by no means backward in strengthening his hands, and offering him men and arms, and it is quite evident that the time for compromise has gone by. It is too late to speculate what might have been the result had the Message been as firm as the later communications of the President to the South; but the journals of the latter are energetic in declaring that he could have done no good, and that not even the election of Mr. Lincoln was the proximate cause of the rebellion, for that the South had long resolved to make a stand against the "fanaticism" and the oppressive finance advocated by the North. Mr. Lincoln has framed his Administration, and his chief subordinate will be Mr. Seward, a very determined anti-Southerner, whose appointment speaks strongly for the character of Mr. Lincoln's policy. Mr. Seward has talked some nonsense of the "bunkum" kind about the seizure of Canada, but this he will now, being in a responsible position, be inclined speedily to forget, and we shall be happy to imitate him. General Cameron will be the War Secretary. The New York Herald sarcastically recommends Mr. Horace Greeley, its bête noir (whom it has called Massa Greeley, in ridicule of his compassion for the slaves), to hurry to Mr. Lincoln and try and secure some "fat things;" adding, in the elegant language of American politicians, that he will otherwise be left out in the cold. These personalities are acceptable, it seems, even in the midst of the most disastrous crisis of modern history, and we only wish that we could discern in the fact that levity is tolerated, any proof that is thought there will be no actual appeal to arms. The utmost distress is prevailing in various quarters in the South; business is at a standstill; and the war fever sadly replaces the legitimate excitement of enterprise and commerce. An effort will be made to show that the blacks take part with their owners; but a few isolated cases of what it is hardly right to call fidelity will not balance the evidence that any thinking person must draw from the precautions the owners are compelled to take against an outbreak. We should rejoice to hear that the presence of a large Federal force had made so fearful a revolt impossible.