The Illustrated London News

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London, Saturday, February 1, 1862

The Illustrated London News, vol. 40, no. 1129, p. 108-109.

February 1,1862


Mr. Mason, the author of the Fugitive Slave Law, and his co-Commissioner, Mr. Slidell, have arrived in England; and the Trent drama, which at one time threatened to rise into the dignity of tragedy, is now over. The actors who performed the part of prisoners must resume their positions in private life, and assuredly we have no wreaths to throw them, nor inclination to summon them before the curtain for what paragraph-makers call an ovation. Lord Russell has published the despatch in which he demolished the barley-sugar edifice raised by Mr. Seward. The tone of the reply is, of course, perfectly courteous; but the arguments are mercilessly hard. The garbled quotations by Mr. Seward from Emmerich Vattel, the Neufchatel authority on International Law and the Nature of Love are restored to the context and to significance; and Lord Russell reasserts the rule that civilians do not by their presence in a neutral vessel alter its neutrality, be they who they may, nor do they expose themselves to capture. To the curious observation of Mr. Seward that if it had been for the interest of his country to detain the captives they would have been detained the Earl simply replies such an idea is indefensible, and that England would not have permitted such a course. The honour and the justice of this nation being now vindicated, we presume the matter may drop, unless Mr. Seward has leisure to compile another miscellaneous column of fragmentary law. This, however, the clever American lawyer may not have inclination to do, inasmuch as the sudden and important rupture in Mr. Lincoln's Cabinet may give its remaining members enough of real business to attend to. Mr. Cameron, the War Secretary, whose views on the subject of slavery are more in accordance with those of England than of the North, has been suddenly dismissed by the President, and his place supplied by Mr. Stanton, who holds by the Domestic Institution. The measure has excited a great sensation among the powerful Abolitionist

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party, and an attempt is being made to alter public opinion as to the character of the act by blackening the reputation of Mr.Cameron—a course not new in America, but as to the justice of which there is at present no evidence before an English journalist. The war offers no new feature, but it is said that the Confederates have inflicted a severe blow upon the Federals in an action near Port Royal, and that the details have been suppressed; but the statement rests only upon the authority of private letters. Congress, it is more pleasant to write, has assented to a grant for the purpose of sending American contributions to our International Exhibition, and was "not much moved" by a furious anathema pronounced against us by a gentleman appropriately named Lovejoy, who declared that he hated England, and would swear all his little Lovejoys to a similar feeling. Evidently here are some matrimonial alliances in prospective for the descendants of O'Brien De Brassicis.


The French troops for the Mexican expedition are now embarking, and the rumours that it is intended to consolidate Mexico into a kingdom under "an enlightened despotism," representative institutions having utterly failed to keep adventurers and savages in decent order, are becoming more and more rife, and go to the extent of even designating the Archduke Maximilian of Austria as the King of Mexico, England, it is said, waiving all objections in consideration of the gain to humanity which the civilisation of Mexico win afford. It may be that the idea will be received with something less than favour in the Federal States, but the South lies between Washington and the Mexicans, and would have no objection to see the precedent of the establishment of a new dominion-perhaps none to such dominion being a monarchy.

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