London, Saturday, July 13, 1861The Illustrated London News, vol. 39, no. 1098, p. 30.
July 13, 1861
Still no news of a conflict in America, but, on the contrary, news of propositions of peace by the South, or, at all events, of a willingness on the part of the seceders to come to terms. The information chiefly comes to us through channels unfriendly to the South, but accompanied by much bluster as to the certainty of the proposals being indignantly rejected, and we must take the whole announcement cum grano. The Southerns are stated to desire to be recognised as a State; and, if this be conceded, they are willing to enter into commercial arrangements highly favourable to the North. Divers of the Northern organs affect to believe that General Scott is pursuing a Fabian policy, in order to weary out the war party, and to permit the American mind to be familiarised with the propositions of the South. On the other hand, it is said that ardent members of the Federal Government are highly displeased at his inaction, and are perpetually calling on him to strike a blow. There is no necessity for crediting the veteran General with so much subtlety. His apparent inaction is quite comprehensible. The gallant and disciplined regular army at his command is small; and, though it would no doubt accomplish brave things, as heretofore in Mexico, when it saved the honour of the Republic, it would be madness to attempt war on a large scale until force adequate to the occasion could be brought into play. As soon as General Scott has turned his volunteers into soldiers he will, doubtless, be ready enough to fight, unless, happily, the delay shall have rendered much fighting needless. Sincerely do we hope to have many an occasion for recording that we have "no important news" from the West.
France has taken a step on the question of slavery which has excited much interest. The Emperor has formally abolished the present system of obtaining negro labour by means of those contracts entered into along the coasts, and which in practice, if not in theory, are just as much slave sales as any other transaction which has ever supplied black labour to France. The ordinance itself will be good, and the implied protest against slavery has perhaps a still higher value. England is honourably associated with France in this document, and it is gratifying to the philanthropist to note such association, for every protest against the unholy system of slavery is a blow that hastens its downfal [sic].