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The Civil War in America

The Illustrated London News, vol. 38, no. 1090, p. 481.

May 25, 1861

THE CIVIL WAR IN AMERICA.

The latest news from the States is of a very warlike character, and dissipates the slight hopes that were entertained of a pacific solution of the quarrel. Both the Northern and the Southern States are actively continuing their preparations for civil war. By the Bremen, which left New York on the 11th inst., we have the following intelligence:—The forward movement of National troops on Baltimore has commenced. Large bodies of troops from the South are also advancing into Virginia. Senator Wigfall has announced that 100,000 Southerners are on their way to Washington, and that President Lincoln and his Cabinet will be captured, unless they retreat before the middle of June. Active preparations are going on in all the Northern States, and troops from every point are advancing in the direction of Washington. The Executive at Washington are actively preparing for the emergency. Western Virginia holds out strong against secession. Some soldiers of the National Army have surrendered to the rebels at Texas, and Colonel Waite is also in their hands as a prisoner of war. The Northwestern States are very firm, and loyal to the Federal Government. The militia company of St. Louis, having been supposed to be hostile to the Federal Government, has been disarmed by Federal forces. The mob fired on the Federal troops, who returned the fire, killing twenty of the populace, including two women and several children. The Maryland Legislature Committee have adopted resolutions condemning the Federal policy, but recognising their obligations to the Union, and requesting the President to cease the war until Congress assembles. The cutter Harriet Lane has captured a privateer. The Governor of Kentucky has issued a proclamation calling for a convention of the people to declare for or against the Union. The latest advices from Fort Pickens state that six Federal war-vessels were off the fort. The Secessionists were preparing for an attack. A convention has been called in Western Virginia to form a separate State and join the Union. A ship has arrived in New York from Bermuda, on the 2nd inst., and reports passing the frigate St. George, with Prince Alfred on board, entering Bermuda. The Great Eastern arrived in New York at 11:30 a.m. to-day (11th inst.)

The following scraps are from other sources:—The Union party in Baltimore had so far recovered ascendancy that the passage through the city is said to be free and the bridges between Baltimore and Washington had been completely repaired. The Virginians had seized the heights on the Maryland side of the Potomac, and were engaged in intrenching themselves there. A bloody affray, which is obscurely related, had occurred in St. Louis between the Secessionists and Federalists. General Frost's brigade of Missourian Militia, numbering some 800 men, had, we are told, been "captured" near St. Louis by the Federal volunteers, who were assailed with stones by the mob on their arrival in St. Louis, and who repelled the attack by a fire of musketry which is said to have killed some twenty persons. Some 300,000 northern volunteers are asserted to have proffered their services for the maintenance of the Union. The Legislature of Pennsylvania has passed bills for raising a loan of 4,000,000 dollars, and for levying fifteen more regiments of volunteers. The great Eastern has arrived at New York, and the Washington Government was negotiating for her services as a transport.

In a secret Session on the 7th, Virginia was admitted into the Southern Confederacy. The Governor has issued a proclamation declaring that he would resist any invasion of that State. Secession ordinances had been passed in Arkansas and Tennessee; and there can be no doubt that North Carolina would comply with the recommendations of her Government and do likewise. The Southern Congress has passed a law recognising the existence of war with the Federal Government, and an Act has also been passed for granting letter of marque—thirty days to be allowed to United States' vessels in Confederate ports to quit. It is very likely that public attention will soon be fixed on Fort Pickens as it was on Fort Sumter, for we read that General Bragg is making active preparations for an attack. The Southern Confederacy is said to be in possession of military stores sufficient for the supply of an army of 150,000 men for a year.

President Davis has sent a new message of great length to the Congress at Montgomery, in which he accuses President Lincoln as having been wanting in courtesy, candour, and directness towards the commissioners from the South. Four-fifths of the contents are devoted to the assertion of a State's right to dissolve connection with the general Government when it finds itself hopelessly in the minority. The President of the Southern Confederation asserts that the seceding States are earnestly desirous of peaceful, although independent, relations with the Government at Washington; and he endeavours to throw the onus of civil war upon the latter, neither section being willing to assume the responsibility of the contest. He makes a grand parade of all his preparations, and concludes with the following flourish:—"We seek no conquest, no aggrandisement, no concession from the free States. All we ask is to be let alone, that none shall attempt our subjugation by arms. This we will and must resist to the direst extremity. The moment this pretension is abandoned the sword will drop from our grasp, and we shall be ready to enter into treaties of amity and commerce mutually beneficial. So long as this pretension is maintained, with a firm reliance on that Divine power which covers with his protection the just cause, we will continue to struggle for our inherent right to freedom, independence, and self-government."

The official correspondence between Mr. Seward and Mr. Dayton, the new American Minister in Paris, on the subject of the recognition by the French Government of the independence of the Government of the Confederate States has been published. Mr. Seward requests Mr. Dayton to explain to the French Government that there is not now, nor has there been, nor will there be, any the least idea entertained by the Government of the United States of suffering a dissolution of the Union to take place in any way whatever, and that the thought of a dissolution of the Union peaceably or by force has never entered into the mind of any candid statesman here, and that it is high time that it be dismissed by statesmen in Europe.

Mr. Cassius M. Clay, U.S. Minister to St. Petersburg, writes to the Times, setting forth what he considers the salient point of the question at issue in the impending conflict. He compares the relative strength of the contending parties:—"The whole seven revolted States (2,173,000) have not as much white population as the single State of New York (3,851,563) by 1,500,000 people. If all the Slave States were to make common cause, they have only 8,907,894 whites, with 4,000,000 slaves, while the Union has about 20,000,000 of homogeneous people, as powerful in peace and war as the world has seen. . . We can blockade them by sea, and invade them by land, and close up the rebellion in a single year if we are `let alone.' For the population of the Slave States is divided perhaps equally for and against the Union, the loyal citizens being for the time overawed by the organised conspiracy of the traitors; while the North is united to a man, the late allies of the South, the Democratic party, being now more earnest for the subjugation of the rebels than the Republicans.

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