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London, Saturday, November 23, 1861

The Illustrated London News, vol. 39, no. 1118, p. 516.

November 23, 1861

The fearful storms which have raged on the eastern coast of North America have acquired a strange and almost ghastly interest for the North and South. The magnificently-described Armada that had sailed to deal the accumulated vengeance of the Federalists upon the Confederates had, it was thought, steered into the very heart of the tempest. The most opposite passions were aroused, and while the Northerners were praying that the armament to which the honour of the Union had been so solemnly confided might escape the fury of the elements the fiercer prayers of the South went up for its destruction- a result which the terrible character of the storms made painfully probable. We are told that it is almost certain that the fleet has been preserved; and we may hear at once that it has not only been saved, but has delivered its blow at Charleston or elsewhere. Meantime affairs on land have assumed a perplexing, not to say menacing, character. It was finally decided to remove General Fremont from his command, and the order came suddenly down to his camp, together with the journals which made the fact public. A mutiny of the gravest kind instantly showed itself. We say of the gravest kind, because the principal actors were not from the rank and file, but were officers, whose first duty was subordination, and who set the fatal example of declaring that they would not serve except under the General whose somewhat melodramatic faults seem to have endeared him to the forces lately under his command. General Fremont himself had to appeal to their sense of duty to the Republic; and it would appear that a sullen acquiescence was obtained, and that they will condescend to fight under the new leader appointed by the authorities. This may all augur ill for operations in that quarter. An American writer who has been narrowly inspecting the army of the North draws so unfavourable a picture of its discipline, cleanliness, and soldierly bearing as makes the English reports appear almost complimentary. But, in the face of all, Secretary Cameron announces to the nation that the day of reverses is over, and that the Union is now about to proceed from triumph to triumph. More to the purpose, it is distinctly stated that not only is the abolition of Southern slavery entirety out of the plans of the North, but that slaves who may be used by the army of the Federalists shall, if they belong to loyal owners, be paid for just as if they had been mules or any other article required for the campaign. This may be regarded as a provisional olive-branch held out to smooth matters in the event of a Northern success making a compromise possible. The Abolition party are enraged beyond measure, and their demonstrations are formidable. Meantime the usual raving of the ribald press is launched against England; and we are told that ours is a "Puritan and blackleg Cabinet," that the Daily News is the accepted organ of the English Tories (which may be news to our contemporary), and that as soon as ever the war is over " such a train of disasters" shall be inflicted upon England as shall make her rue the day when she dared to say that ten millions of Americans were belligerents instead of rebels. It is impossible to believe that such rabid rant and utter nonsense can have weight with educated Americans; but why is it tolerated by authorities that have and use power to suppress a journal for only expressing a wish for peace?...

The Americans, who profess themselves so enchanted at the sympathies of the Czar, and who half menace us and France with a Russo-American crusade, will have some few sacrifices to make in the matter of civilisation when the proposed coalition takes place. They open private letters, imprison suspected persons, put down journals, and clamour for hanging spies, but they have not attained the point of tying up women and flogging them for Southern proclivities, though, if it be true, as stated, that "the ladies of the North are all for the Southrons," there is no saying what the New York press may not recommend as "vigour of action."

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