London, Saturday, September 28, 1861.The Illustrated London News, vol.39, no. 1110, p. 316.
The wisdom of the policy which has prompted both our own and the French Government to adhere strictly to a line of non-interference in reference to the American struggle has received a remarkable confirmation in the reception given to the Emperor of Russia's well-meant recommendation. The excellence of the intention is fully and readily recognised, but, for all practical purposes, the letter has received very much the same treatment at the hands of the Northern public as that usually assigned to intermeddlers in conjugal differences. We believe the secret of the general non-interfering policy of the European Powers to lie in the tacit admission by all the leading statesmen—including our own—that we do not, in truth and fact, understand or appreicate in any adequate measure the real points at issue. Meanwhile our Transatlantic brethern seem to us to ask, and very reasonably, nothing whatever but to be allowed to settle their own differences in their own way. The future is emphatically in nubibus. Whether, in the event of victory proclaiming for the North, a re-union effected by coercion can have in it any element of lasting; whether any coercion can compel recalcitrant States to send members to Congress; and whether, above all, the proclamation of freedom to the black population of the south be anything more than a mere military manoeuvre; —these, and a hundred other questions of almost equal import, have their solution still in the womb of Time. This is notably a matter in reference to which we must be pardoned if we place no faith in the prophets.