London, Saturday, March 22, 1862The Illustrated London News, vol. 40, no. 1136, p. 284.
The important news has been received that President Lincoln, in his Message to Congress, has proposed to build "a golden bridge for a flying enemy." He recommends that the North should offer to co-operate with the Slave States for the gradual emancipation of the slaves by pecuniary compensation, leaving it to each State, however, to retain the system of slavery or not, as it may please. The President's effort is directed to secure the Border States, which he thinks may choose to go with the South in the event of the independence of the latter being recognised. The proposal seems significant, as it would imply that the President, though at present refusing to see anything but a rebellion which the sword is to put down, may not have been able to resist the conviction that certain portions of what was the Union will never be recovered to it. He would, therefore, do the best he can towards consolidating the rest. It is premature to pronounce upon the wisdom of promulgating this plan, because such wisdom, or its absence, can only be inferred from the effect of the announcement upon the popular mind; but in one sense it may be permitted to Englishmen to applaud it, inasmuch as it is another blow at the system of slavery. It is something to have that system thus pointed out by the Chief Magistrate of the Northern States as the teterrima causa of revolt and anarchy. We hear of no response from the South; but by a very narrow majority, 77 to 71, the Southern House of Representatives recommend the military commanders to destroy all tobacco and cotton rather than let either fall into the enemy's hands. The Herald, the hired organ of the slaveowners, and only Federalist under dread of long rope and short shrift, rather approves the President's proposal, but cannot have had time to receive final orders. TheTribune strongly approves it. We have no war news, save that the surrender of Nashville and of Columbus is certain, and that the genius of M'Clellan is again being acknowledged by his patient and sapient critics, who now see the two wings of the eagle flapping over the prey that awaits the blow of the beak—Anglicè, the advance of the central army. It is stated that Mr. Seward intends to announce the intention of the North to resist the establishment of a monarchy in Mexico.