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London, Saturday, June 22, 1861

The Illustrated London News, vol. 38, no. 1094, p. 572.

June 22, 1861


...Though Fort Pickens is not to be attacked by the American Secessionists, they take much pains to impress upon the world that they are still eager for conflict, and they show continued energy in mustering, drilling, and fortifying. They have, however, very great difficulties to contend with, for, in addition to the hindrances caused by the insubordination and dislike of military discipline which are common to the American character, they have to watch the servile part of the population of the South, and do not appear to find very ready recruits, except among the class personally interested in the preservation of the existing system. But, despite all this, there is a stern determination to resist the violence of the North, and the struggle must be a fearful one, come when it may. In the Federal force there is also to be found, notwithstanding the unqualified vaunting of the press, much that causes great dissatisfaction to the real soldiers of the Republic, and to the gallant veteran at their head, and it is in the interest of the North to be told the truth, which the officers of the regular army are now unhesitatingly telling—namely, that it was to that army that the United States owed the victories in the Mexican War, the volunteers by no means proving equal to the exigency. A repetition of the harmless business at Fort Sumter has taken place, and Secession batteries and Federal vessels have blazed away at each other for a couple of days in a manner that calls out all the adjectives of admiration at the command of the narrators; but the only result has been that one of the ships was rendered "frightfully leaky." Several murders on both sides and some outrages are also among the news, but for these symptoms of brutality the American people are in no sort responsible, and it is to be regretted that party scribes seek to palliate deeds which disgust the nation itself. The whole internecine drama is one which no Englishman can witness without a shudder. The death of Mr. Douglas, so recently a formidable competitor for the highest honours, is not now an event of significance, but America has lost a strong man who seemed to be awakened by the crisis to a sense that there are higher things than party battles, and who might have done her good service in the trying times that have yet to come.

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