The Illustrated London News

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London, Saturday, December 7, 1861

The Illustrated London News, vol. 39, no. 1120, p. 573.

December 7, 1861

The one topic of the day is the great question whether American democracy will permit American statesmanship to do right. No other subject has any claim to present discussion; for it is impossible to talk of social reforms, or other of the ordinary themes of the journalist, when England, making a stand for her honour, but in nowise irritated or unreasonable, awaits the tidings whether the New Year is to be inaugurated by the signal for war. At another time it might be interesting to hear that the Mexicans have resolved not to risk a struggle with the great Powers that have united to put down piracy and ruffianism in Mexico, and to assert the rights of civilisation. We might be glad to know that there was a probability of these objects being effected without bloodshed, and we might urge upon the Governments to be in no hurry to believe in the value of promises extorted by fear, and which must be rendered valuable by material guarantees, and by the condign punishment of those who have been indulging for years in tyranny and robbery. But an expedition which excited some interest a month ago may now sail almost unmarked, except that England casts a not unsatisfied glance at her own share in the ships, and is glad that they are sailing westward. The Indian news is far from uninteresting, but, except that we shall be glad to hear that the Indian cotton crop is likely to be quadrupled, we have not much attention for the Oriental Empire. On Christmas Day many of the gathered households of the country may be graver than is their wont at that season.

The mother looks on her son to-day
With a troubled heart and eye,
And the maiden's brow hath a shade of care
'Mid the gleam of her golden hair;

for news, like that of the German legend, that "the Wild Huntsman hath gone by," and that war is coming, may sadden the homes of England. Yet throughout the length and breadth of the land there is but one cry—We must uphold the old flag.

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