Great Britain and the American Civil War eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 825 pages of information about Great Britain and the American Civil War.

[Footnote 727:  Richardson, II, p. 315.]

[Footnote 728:  Russell Papers.  Stuart to Russell, July 7, 1862.]

[Footnote 729:  Ibid., To Russell, Aug. 18, 1862.]

[Footnote 730:  Ibid., Aug. 26.  Stuart’s “nothing to be done” refers, not to mediation, but to his idea in June-July that the time was ripe for recognition.  He was wholly at variance with Lyons on British policy.]

[Footnote 731:  Gladstone Papers.  Aug. 26, 1862.]

[Footnote 732:  Ibid., Aug. 29, 1862.]

[Footnote 733:  Palmerston MS. Aug. 6, 1862.]



The adjournment of Parliament on August 7 without hint of governmental inclination to act in the American Civil War was accepted by most of the British public as evidence that the Ministry had no intentions in that direction.  But keen observers were not so confident.  Motley, at Vienna, was keeping close touch with the situation in England through private correspondence.  In March, 1862, he thought that “France and England have made their minds up to await the issue of the present campaign”—­meaning McClellan’s advance on Richmond[734].  With the failure of that campaign he wrote:  “Thus far the English Government have resisted his [Napoleon’s] importunities.  But their resistance will not last long[735].”  Meanwhile the recently established pro-Southern weekly, The Index, from its first issue, steadily insisted on the wisdom and necessity of British action to end the war[736].  France was declared rapidly to be winning the goodwill of the South at the expense of England; the British aristocracy were appealed to on grounds of close sympathy with a “Southern Aristocracy”; mediation, at first objected to, in view of the more reasonable demand for recognition, was in the end the chief object of The Index, after mid-July, when simple recognition seemed impossible of attainment[737].  Especially British humiliation because of the timidity of her statesmen, was harped upon and any public manifestation of Southern sympathy was printed in great detail[738].

The speculations of Motley, the persistent agitation of The Index are, however, no indication that either Northern fears or Southern hopes were based on authoritative information as to governmental purpose.  The plan now in the minds of Palmerston and Russell and their steps in furthering it have been the subject of much historical study and writing.  It is here proposed to review them in the light of all available important materials, both old and new, using a chronological order and with more citation than is customary, in the belief that such citations best tell the story of this, the most critical period in the entire course of British attitude toward the Civil War.  Here, and here only, Great Britain voluntarily approached the danger of becoming involved in the American conflict[739].

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