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['Great Expectations' are the Burden of the American Telegrams]

The Illustrated London News, vol.41, no.1158, p.154.

August 9, 1862

"Great expectations" are the burden of the American telegrams. We are also told of much "uneasiness," a word of significance in troubled times, and one which implies an unhealthy state of feeling as regards the authorities. It would seem that the reluctance of the people to enlist in the armies, while the Generals appeared to be objectless and the incidents of the war were so disastrous, was represented as being unabated; and the President's proclamation calling on the South to take notice of the new law which made them liable to the penalties of treason was regarded as brutum fulmen. The intention of employing the negro in military and naval work was very unfavourably commented upon by many who grudge the "contraband" any of the gain of the war, but was approved by his friends as a new recognition of his status as a man and a brother. In spite of meetings, which are variously described as glorious demonstrations and as utter failures, and at which excessively tall talk had been emitted, and the most portentous declarations had been made to the effect that it was better that every "rebel" should perish rather than that the Union should be broken, it appears to be sullenly admitted that the mode in which a compromise could be brought about was really the subject for the consideration of sensible citizens. The President was asked to proclaim emancipation everywhere, and amiable philanthropists were complacently viewing the possibility of adding the horrors of servile war to those of a fratricidal contest; but we are not informed that the President or Mr. Seward was lending a favourable ear to the project, whatever admiration it might excite among the Abolitionists. Assuredly, should the course in question be adopted, its results might precipitate an interference, in the interests of humanity, by all rulers whose subjects are sojourners in a country which it is proposed to give up to new horrors. In presence of a negro rising, who, for instance, could blame the Emperor of the French for taking measures for the protection of the thousands of Frenchmen and Frenchwomen in the South? The President was still trying to negotiate with the Border States; but it may be that they not only know their value, but the singular difficulty of their position, and have no desire to be

Feathered 'twixt castle wall
And heavy brunt of cannon ball.

We are informed that the losses of the Federals during the week of slaughter near Richmond are estimated at 16,000. The ecstatic admiration of the Southern organs for their generals is tremendous ; and Austerlitz, with its trio of Emperors on the field and its awful carnage, is considered a small matter compared to the recent engagements. The latest mail tells us to expect early news of new battles of the utmost importance.

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