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Echoes of the Week

The Illustrated London News, vol. 46, no. 1315, p. 487.

May 20, 1865


...Two contradictory signs are visible in America. One peaceful and happy, the other lurid and threatening. On the one hand, we are told general Grant is "mustering out" 400,000 men--nearly half a million of armed men, at one stroke; secondly, that President Johnson, who once or twice made such spread-eagle speeches about the armour-bearer of Jove--i.e., the American Eagle--and the British Lion, is bent on a pacific course, and that he really desires to cultivate the British alliance. But, on the other hand, it is very plain that the Emperor of Mexico is somewhat disturbed, and that the old Mexican Republic is making overtures to the North American Union; and, at a meeting in New York, gentlemen were both publicly and privately assured that those who promised to support the Monroe doctrine could do so without compromising, or, to use the precise words, "without involving themselves or the Government in trouble." Does this point to filibustering? And what are we to understand of the President's proclamation which directly implicates Canada? The advertisement which begs all discharged soldiers and officers to register their names with Colonel Washington and to "emigrate" to Mexico seems ominous. Shall we have more Rifle Rangers, and Captain Mayne Reid, promoted to a General, as their leader? Mr. Jefferson Davis has friends even in the New York press, who deny that he has taken any treasure with him in the eleven waggons which follow, or rather followed, this deposed President. If he be caught, with Messrs. Breckenridge and Secretary Benjamin, there will be a grand trial, and no doubt manly deaths on the scaffold; for President Johnson, urged "to regard Davis as the common enemy of the human race," will punish all traitors with the "utmost severity." Treason, says President Johnson, "is the greatest of all crimes," and the people and General Walbridge approved of it. Shade of George Washington, listen to this utterance! How the old world-wisdom is vindicated! How true is Sir John Harrington's epigram--

Treason doth never prosper; what's the reason?
For if it prosper none dare call it treason.

No, treason is not quite the greatest of crimes; but want of success is.

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