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The Past Year

The Illustrated London News, vol. 40, no. 1125, p. 2.

January 4, 1862


...And here it becomes necessary to infuse into our domestic chronicle a foreign element. The disruption of the United States of America in the spring, and the consequent civil war, has had an obvious bearing on our interests and our policy. The path of neutrality and of non-interference has been a narrow and a difficult one for our statesmen to tread, owing to circumstances over which England has no control, and to which we do not think it necessary now to do more than allude. Unhappily, the affair of the Trent has left us in such a position that on the first day of the new year we were anxiously awaiting intelligence which would bear with it the issues of peace or war with a kindred people. At this point it will not be out of place to advert to the attitude which France has adopted towards this country, one of loyal alliance and coincidence of opinion, which, spontaneously expressed, has been followed by Austria and Prussia, and, therefore, may be said to have gained the acceptance of the majority of the Great Powers of Europe. Nor should we pass over the remarkable signs which are apparent of a new era in the administration of the affairs of France, taking a direction which can be traced to the insensible influence of England; while the expansion of our trade with our nearest neighbour, owing to the recent arrangements between the two countries, has been such as to promise almost to compensate for the, we trust temporary, loss of our commercial dealings wit h America.

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