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Echoes of the Week

The Illustrated London News, vol. 44, no. 1258, p. 507.

May 21, 1864


...The approaching hot summer will no doubt play an important political part. The weather, if commanded by Generals Storm, Sunshine, Blight, or Eclipse, from that which separated the combatants at Sardis, or that which Tacitus tells us quelled the revolted Roman legionaries, has had a great effect upon the fighting men. In New York even the women are coming to the rescue, and, at a political meeting, resolved to discourage luxury, to wear mere homespun, and to eat and drink only of Northern products. If this movement be universal, farewell the fifty per cent import duties, farewell the revenue therefrom, and farewell, too, the traders' enthusiasm for the war. The Times tries to ridicule this very natural meeting of "mothers who had lost sons, widows who had lost husbands, and literary ladies" in New York. We see, however, no footing for ridicule. Our own men and women have done the same thing, and would do it again in spite of Gladstone's treaty; nay, would vote in favour of our own Coventry ribbons, Woodstock gloves, Spitalfields silks, and British beer against all Continental importations. Moreover, this meeting of women, who associated in huge numbers, are to wear a Bee brooch with a tricoloured ribbon on the left breast, means something else. It means peace. Wives who have husbands in the field, and mothers who have sons alive, will join the un-childed and the widows whose bitter experience have taught them the hopelessness of this war. Woman in America is fond of classical illusions, or, rather, of references to Drs. Goldsmith and Lemprière. The armies are now facing each other on the Rapidan and elsewhere. Could not a ready cohort of New England matrons emulate the example of the Sabine women, who saved their husbands, their brothers, and their fathers from useless internecine slaughter?

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