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The Year Before Us

The Illustrated London News, vol. 46, no. 1296, p. 2.

January 7, 1865


...The prospect westerly is not so auspicious. Would that it were in our power to foretell the certain termination of the struggle in America before the year 1865 has closed! We can only look and sigh over the ruin that is there running its course, and try to hope that, when the end comes, whether this year or next, or even at some point of time beyond them, it will bring with it some compensation, which future generations at least may regard as commensurate with immediate sacrifices and sufferings. It is to the West we look with most anxiety in respect of our own international relations. The discharge of the St. Albans raiders by Judge Coursal, upon a mere technical flaw, might easily open the way to war between us and our transatlantic kinsmen if the two Governments were not guided by a spirit of self-restraint towards each other. Happily, as on the part of Canada the judgment of its legal officer has been spontaneously repudiated, so on the part of the United States the rash order of its military officer has been discountenanced; and where there is a frank recognition of each other's good faith, and an evident desire on both sides to clear up accidental misunderstandings, we need not allow our anxiety to deepen into apprehension. Hitherto we have maintained our neutrality without compromise, and, with it, amicable relations with Mr. Lincoln's Government. There is ground enough in the facts of which we have present information for regarding a rupture between the two greatest maritime Powers in the world as a calamity which is equally and earnestly deprecated by both, and is therefore improbable....

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