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London, Saturday, August 2, 1862

The Illustrated London News, vol.41, no.1157, p.122.

August 2, 1862

LONDON, SATURDAY, AUGUST 2, 1862.

American news is more important than exciting. In the midst of a mass of detail of a complex character comes the announcement that Congress enables the President to employ the Negro in any military or naval service for which he may be qualified. If, therefore, a "contraband" of warlike genius should arise, there should be nothing to prevent his becoming an officer of the United States Army or Navy, and leading the Whites into action. Surely Africa is winning in the great game, whatever may be the ill fortune of Europe and America. We further learn that the unwise act--to give it no harsher name--by which the breach between North and South is rendered irreparable--the act of confiscation, and imposition of the penalty of death, in the case of every Confederate who shall be in arms after the middle of September--has not been vetoed by the President, but has received his assent, with the amendment that it shall not be an ex post facto law. That Mr. Lincoln dared not repudiate a measure at which his judgment revolted shows the greatly increasing power of the Republican section in the North, as opposed to the Democrats, and that it is clear that the idea of reconstructing the Union has been renounced by the former. The currency question exerts its fatal power in the North, as elsewhere, and various shifts are being employed to mitigate inconvenience, postage and other stamps being made legal tender. Congress had adjourned, having during the Session appropriated 800,000,000 dollars. Thomas Moore wrote, in the Prince Regent's days--

When mighty Belshazzar brims high in the hall
His cup full of goût to the Gaul's overthrow,
Lo, "Eight Hundred Millions" I write on the wall,
And the cup falls to earth and the gout to his toe.

We may believe that still more crippling results will he found to have followed Jonathan's indulgence in the luxury of extravagance. The military news represents the Confederates as having gained a number of small but exhilarating successes, and of having effected some movements of a really "strategic" kind, and which will be found to have value in the later part of the campaign. M'Clellan had been reinforced, and in one column of an American journal we read "Enormous Enthusiasm for Little Mac," while in the report of the proceedings in the Senate we find him denounced in no measured terms, and charged with having lost men by tens of thousands in the swamps. At last the North, which has had several pseudo-Napoleons, has found one general capable of treading in the steps of Bonaparte.--General Pope has proclaimed that "war is to support war," that the Federal armies are to live upon the resources of the country in which operations may be carried on. Every successive act of the Federals further destroys the fiction that they are not dealing with "belligerents." Recruiting is said to proceed very slowly, in spite of the large sums offered by the Governments. The Confederate General at Richmond congratulates the army there upon having delivered that city from a state of siege, and states that fifty-three Federal guns have been taken in the recent engagements. For what strategic purpose it was desired that these should be in the hands of the enemy General M'Clellan will explain at his leisure; the Duke of Wellington was rather particular upon this subject, and we remember seeing him touchingly earnest upon one occasion in explaining to the Lords that in an affair to which reference had been made two or three guns were supposed to have been lost, but he would not move until they had been brought in. We are justified in bringing in the name of a single Wellington where so many Napoleons are set up. Lastly, the prompt act of the English authorities in seizing a Confederate vessel that had violated the Queen's orders had received tolerably courteous recognition at New York, and this is something in the present temper of the North.

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