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Echoes of the Week

The Illustrated London News, vol. 45, no. 1272, p. 139.

August 6, 1864


Queen's Speeches are always held to be the most empty of all human productions. There is generally little to be said, and the many authors of these pieces are greatly troubled in finding out the most grammatical way of "how not to say it." This year they have succeeded, if not perfectly in accordance with syntax, to a marvel. Nothing could be more empty than the little political exercise which we heard at the end of last week. It failed to call forth even one remark from our French friends. Denmark and her troubles are dismissed in a sentence, and the great war in America, which has as yet produced the largest crop of troubles both in this country and across the Atlantic, fares no better. The "scare" in Washington and New York seems, however, to have produced a better state of mind in the North; and the difficulties of Mr. Fessenden, the unwillingness of the merchants to come forward with a new loan, the evident reluctance of the Northern citizens to recruit a wasted and an exhausted army, and the rumoured resignation of Mr. Stanton, are items which, combined, give us some faint hopes of a not very distant peace. Mr. Horace Greeley and the Peace Democrats will, it seems, soon supersede the War Christians; and even Mr. Bennett's organ, the New York Herald, writes of the war as hopelessly as our newspapers have any time these two years. The North is slowly but surely making up its mind to let the" wayward sisters go in peace;" and the wayward sisters have only to hold their own a little longer, to defeat Grant and put an end to the last attempt to take Richmond, and to wait the sure revulsion of public feeling, to obtain their own terms. It is but fair to say, that the Northern organs of the English press show a firmness and faith in the great Republic which its own papers do not exhibit; and we constantly see placards of Federal successes to-day which either fade away into nothing, or, like those brilliant sunny landscapes in a magic lantern, suddenly change to all the gloom and horror of disaster and defeat....

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