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Echoes of the Week

The Illustrated London News, vol. 45, no. 1285, p. 447.

October 29, 1864


...A contemporary tells us that a wrong report is abroad concerning Mr. Sala's book on America, which is promised us at the end of the year. This we seem some time ago to have indorsed, and it is this--that the book would consist of a revised, expurgated, and annotated edition of his excellent letters as a correspondent. Fearless and bold as these letters are, detailing immediate impressions with a photographic fidelity, we should have been glad to have seen them reprinted; but we are told that the work to be published in December will be entirely new, some of the matter of the author's letters being only introduced in foot-notes.

"He makes a solitude, and calls it peace," is a good rendering of a Latin quotation which has passed into a proverb. All conquerors have tried to do so now and then, but probably none more wantonly and effectually than General Sheridan--who we hope is not even a collateral descendant of our brilliant Richard Brinsley--who has swept the smiling Shenandoah Valley as bare as a flight of locusts leave a corn-field. The whole country between the Blue Ridge and North Mountains, he reports, is devastated; two thousand barns, seventy mills, hay, flour, farming implements, and meal are all gone! In retaliation for the shooting--how done we are not told--of a non-commissioned engineer, he burnt all the dwellings within a radius of five miles where he fell. "If you ask for my monument," cries the epitaph of Wren, "look around you!" The spirit of engineer Meige may repeat the sentence without variation; and this, we are told, is war. Some years ago we used to hear from our cousins that the starving millions of England could be fed by the valley of the Shenandoah alone. Alas! now who will feed the feeders? Notwithstanding--nay, rather because of--this, the tide of victory seems to be on the turn, and indeed to have already commenced flowing in to the Confederate side of that deep and dangerous channel which separates the two. Money goes up in value, and the hearts of people are troubled--and no wonder. The very best news we hear from the American continent is that the Confederation--the Canadians are particular in their choice of words--of the Canadas goes quickly, silently, and safely on; and that the whole of British America is loyal, peaceful, and confident, and not at all dismayed at the promise of an invasion so often held out to them from the brave boys of New England or the drab-coated men of Pennsylvania. We all feel that when the Confederation is accomplished there will be a good thing done, and one, too, which, if many regret, all will own was inevitable....

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