Foreign and Colonial NewsThe Illustrated London News, vol. 44, no. 1243, p. 118.
February 6, 1864
There is not any intelligence of military interest from America. The main bodies of the respective armies were motionless, and the only activity displayed was by the raids of light cavalry. The weather was so severe that no important movement was likely for the present, but both sides were making the most extensive preparations for operations in the spring. It is said that the Federals intend to make a double movement on Richmond. The Federals bombarded Charleston for four days, from the 10th to the 14th ult., and the firing was going on when the last reports left. Much mischief to property had resulted, but no injury to life or person. The Federals were preparing to meet the anticipated attack by the Confederate ironclads. On the coast of Texas there has been a little fighting, to the advantage of the Confederates, who are believed to be well fortified and in strong force there. The Federals are reported to have landed at Morehead city, North Carolina. The journals of that State continue to urge peace with the North, and there is, beyond doubt, a strong Union feeling existing.
A volume of diplomatic correspondence has been laid before Congress, containing 700 pages of communications between the British and the Federal Governments. In one letter Secretary Seward declared that the Federal Cabinet must persist in maintaining that England is responsible for the losses sustained by American citizens from the Alabama's depredations and in urging consequent claims for compensation. In complaining of the outfit of iron-clad rams in British harbours, he said that those rams must be expected to assail some of the great American ports, and that the Navy Department had not a sufficient number of disposable vessels to protect all. In the event of such an attack, a retaliatory war would be inevitable. After Earl Russell's intimation that orders had been given for the seizure of the rams at Liverpool, Secretary Seward directed Mr. Adams to inform the English Cabinet that the Federal Government would hereafter hold itself obliged, with even more cause than heretofore, to endeavour to conduct its intercourse with England so that the civil war, when terminated, will leave to neither nation any permanent cause for discontent.
Further correspondence between the British and the American Governments, the main subject of which is the Alexandra and her sister ships, has been published. Mr. Seward complains of Chief Baron Pollock's decision in the Alexandra case, and intimates that, if that be English Law, not only does it require amendment, but America will have to take unusual steps to protect herself against it. The American Secretary continues, that America is sufficiently chastened by the civil war to make any concession compatible with the interests of the national life and honour, but she cannot stand the fitting-out of Alabamas and Alexandras, and the responsibility for the consequences will not be left with President Lincoln. The negotiation of a Confederate loan in this country, Mr. Seward says, puts an end to all concessions for mitigating the rigour of the
Page 119blockade in regard to the shipment of tobacco and cotton. To a complaint of the enlistment of British subjects in the Confederate service, Earl Russell requests that it should not be repeated unless all British subjects are discharged from the Federal service, and orders given not to enlist any more. In respect to compensation for the depredations of the Alabama, the noble Earl says they cannot be recognised by the British Government, as they are not founded on grounds of law and justice.
With regard to France, M. Drouyn de Lhuys had urged the recognition of Mexico as a monarchy by the Washington Government. Mr. Seward had firmly declined; and, while avowing that the United States would adhere to a policy of non-intervention, he expresses a belief that the establishment of a monarchical Government will be found neither desirable nor easy.
The House of Representatives has passed a bill imposing a duty of two cents on cotton and an additional duty of 40 cents per gallon on imported spirits.
General Rosecranz [i.e., Rosecrans] has been appointed to command the district of Missouri.
General Banks had issued a proclamation declaring that more than one tenth of the population of Louisiana desired to return to the Union, abrogating the State laws concerning slavery, and ordering that a convention shall revise the State Constitution, and that members of Congress shall be elected.
Thomas Francis Meagher has delivered a panegyric on General Corcoran before a large Irish audience at the Cooper Institute, New York. His numerous references to the Fenian Brotherhood were loudly cheered.
The Confederate Congress have resolved that persons who furnished substitutes will not be exempt from military service. It also passed a resolution pledging the Confederates to perpetual resistance.
It was asserted that some Confederates had assembled at Point Pelée, in Canada, for the purpose of rescuing the Confederate prisoners confined on Johnson's Island, in Lake Erie, and that a detachment of British troops had been sent to watch their movements.