London, Saturday, July 6, 1861.The Illustrated London News, vol. 39, no. 1097, p. 6.
July 6, 1861
Up to the last mails from America there is no account of an engagement of importance; and the journals which, unhappily, adopt, alternately, a tone of exaggeration and of flippancy, now scoff at the incessant reports of actions of a "glorious" but perfectly valueless character. This in not the way to treat topics of such importance; and we must say that in this terrible crisis the American press, with some honourable exceptions, is not proving itself the best friend of the nation. It is not easy to select from the mass of rumours which are daily flung, hot and hot, from the newspaper offices any substantial information; but it would seem that what advantages have yet been gained have been won by the Secessionists; while, on the other hand, General Scott appears to be moving down forces of such strength that he will be enabled by sheer power of numbers to compel a Secessionist retreat, unless some act of brilliant strategy by the South interfere with his plans. He, a veteran General, is not intoxicated by the enthusiasm of raw levies, and he continues to insist upon the necessity of their being converted into soldiers by steady and continuous drill and discipline. An Indiana regiment is said to have fallen into the hands of a strong body of Secessionists. The latest item of all is that a battle is expected at Fairfax. If it be true that the Federal Government has resolved upon the imposition of an income tax, the Republicans will learn something of the sacrifices necessitated by a war. At the same time it would be an injustice to a generous nation to suppose that supplies will not be as readily granted as men and arms. The President's Message is eagerly looked for, and is stated to be in the hands of the officials. Report says that Mr. Lincoln recommends a modification of the Morrill Tariff, a course which will doubtless be delicately characterised as the throwing a sop to the English lion. The sympathy and good faith which have been shown towards America by this country and its Government enable us to take petulances with good humour; but it is too much to ask us to forget, amid all our hatred of slavery as an institution, that it is only a few months since the Republic—one and indivisible—would have been indignant at England presuming to sit in judgment upon the conduct of a single State or Territory. The Southerners were our brothers on the last 4th of July, and, if we are not so quick at forgetting old ties as those who were still more closely allied to the Secessionists, let this be imputed to the slow habits of islanders, not to interested motives.