London, Saturday, October 26, 1861The Illustrated London News, vol. 39, no. 1114, p. 420.
October 26, 1861
We have news from America, but it is not very trustworthy as regards details. It would seem, however, that the South has made an attempt to recover Fort Hatteras, and that such attempt has been unsuccessful. The telegrams that announce the sinking of three of the Confederate steamers and the destruction of seven hundred men must be received with caution-indeed, the number of soldiers who have been slain—on paper—since the war began would make a great army, and we shall never know what quantity of commiseration to offer until the next Census is taken. General M'Clellan is said to be now "ready," and, therefore, large and various operations may be heard of very soon. The Southerners take no pains to keep the Old World aware of their real position and prospects, and therefore must not complain that we take all our impressions on the subject from their enemy: it is rational, however, to make liberal deduction from Northern accounts. We have been amused, and probably our cousins on both sides of the Potomac will be equally diverted, with an offer of mediation which has been put forth. Mr. Smith O'Brien, a returned convict, who was exported for a ridiculous treason, in which he behaved with more prudence than valour, and which was terminated by his being found hiding, like an overgrown slug, among the cabbages in a cottage garden, has undertaken to go over to America and adjust the differences between the North and South. When his proposal shall be accepted we shall, no doubt, be officially informed of the fact. An almost equally amusing incident has occurred on the other side of the water. The petty spitefulness of some American who has been displeased with Mr. William Russell's letters induced the former to watch the Englishman's movements, and was rewarded by detecting Mr. Russell, a keen sportsman, in a violation of a little local ordinance. An information was laid, and the magistrates had no alternative—a fine was imposed; and the Americans in court showed their sense of the meanness of the motives which dictated the prosecution by instantly offering to unite in paying the fine. They may be quite sure that Englishmen, if they remember the first part of the affair, will do so only for the sake of the pleasure of remembering the second.