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Echoes of the Week

The Illustrated London News, vol. 45, no. 1271, p. 127.

July 30, 1864


When Mr. Gideon Welles goes out of his way to assure Captain Winslow that in destroying the "piratical craft Alabama" he destroyed the best maritime effort of the most skilled English workshops and the best battery of England, with the only successful 100-pounder yet produced in Great Britain, served by a crew of superior English training on board H.M.S. Excellent, we are quite aware of his meaning. We all know what a pointed aside means in a tragedy or farce. When the swaggering captain tells his friend, in the presence of the unmistakable peace-lover, "My pistols are loaded to the muzzle, and I can snuff a candle at twenty paces," what can he mean but to terrify the poor fellow. Of course, as may be expected, poor John Bull shakes in his ironclads, and trembles even at Wimbledon. But the recapitulation is as gratuitous as it is insulting and untrue. Captain Blakeley's 100-pounder is not the only one we can turn out, and the sinking of the Alabama had very little to do with her guns or her crew--weak wooden sides are not calculated to resist steel shot, or, as the late Mr. Selby said in one of his farces, "it's no use a tryin' to stop a cannon ball with a humbrella." Might we suggest to America U.S. that it is undignified for their Secretary to the Navy to talk at us like an angry woman at her rival, or to write like Mr. Jeaffreson Brick, the war correspondent of the New York Stabber, when he addressed the "tyrannical despot Victoria, seated, in the midst of her Guards, at her palace in the Tower of London."...

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