London, Saturday, December 13, 1862The Illustrated London News, vol.41, no.1178, p.626.
December 13, 1862
The tone of the American Federal papers upon England's refusal to join in an attempt at mediation is as unfriendly as might have been expected. Some writers say that we were afraid to interfere, others that we rejoice in the war because it tends to weaken the Union. Nor are the comments of such of the Southern papers as have reached us much more civil, and there is an evidence of disappointment at our declining to take a course which would have implied a recognition of the Confederate States. For all this, and more, we were of course prepared. It is most essential that Englishmen should keep their heads quite cool in relation to American affairs, and should make no demonstrations that may lead us into mistakes, to be retracted hereafter. The real question is very simple, however much interested partisans may seek to complicate it. We have no sympathy with those who are seeking to crush a nation that desires to be isolated; we have no sympathy with a nation that upholds the atrocious system of slavery. But we admire the valour displayed on both sides, and we lament the cruel and useless sacrifice of life. That is the English standpoint, and we are neither to be menaced, cajoled, nor taunted into abandoning it. We have now to deplore the appearance of a new and hideous feature in the war. The recent military murders of citizens by the Federal troops have produced a demand by the Confederate President that the officer who perpetrated those crimes shall be delivered up to him, and in default Mr. Davis has ordered the hanging of the next ten Federal officers captured in Kentucky. Against such savageness all nations should protest, and it is clearly for Mr. Lincoln's Goverment [sic] Government to set itself right with the world by a signal act of justice. We do not hear much that is explicit as to the movements or intentions of the armies, but a "secret" Federal expedition (of the object of which the Confederates are no doubt well informed) was about to be launched, possibly in aid of the movement on
Page 627Richmond. Over and over again the inhabitants of Fredericksburg have been told that--