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 1039:  Hansard, 3rd.  Ser., CLXXIV, pp. 1862-1913. The Index, naturally vicious in comment on the question of the Rams, summed up its approval of Derby’s contentions:  “Europe and America alike will inevitably believe that it was the threat of Mr. Adams, and nothing else, which induced the Foreign Secretary to retract his letter of the 1st September, and they will draw the necessary conclusion that the way to extort concessions from England is by bluster and menace.” (Feb. 18, 1864, p. 106.)]

[Footnote 1040:  Lairds brought suit for damages, but the case never reached a decision, for the vessels were purchased by the Government.  This has been regarded as acknowledgment by the Government that it had no case.  In my view the failure to push the case to a conclusion was due to the desire not to commit Great Britain on legal questions, in view of the claim for damages certain to be set up by the United States on account of the depredations of the Alabama.]



In the mid-period during which the British Government was seeking to fulfil its promise of an altered policy as regards ship-building and while the public was unaware that such a promise had been given, certain extreme friends of the South thought the time had come for renewed pressure upon the Government, looking toward recognition of the Confederacy.  The Alexandra had been seized in April, but the first trial, though appealed, had gone against the Government in June, and there was no knowledge that the Ministry was determined in its stand.  From January to the end of March, 1863, the public demonstrations in approval of the emancipation proclamation had somewhat checked expressions of Southern sympathy, but by the month of June old friends had recovered their courage and a new champion of the South came forward in the person of Roebuck.

Meanwhile the activities of Southern agents and Southern friends had not ceased even if they had, for a time, adopted a less vigorous tone.  For four months after the British refusal of Napoleon’s overtures on mediation, in November, 1862, the friends of the South were against “acting now,” but this did not imply that they thought the cause lost or in any sense hopeless.  Publicists either neutral in attitude or even professedly sympathetic with the North could see no outcome of the Civil War save separation of North and South.  Thus the historian Freeman in the preface to the first volume of his uncompleted History of Federal Government, published in 1863, carefully explained that his book did not have its origin in the struggle in America, and argued that the breaking up of the Union in no way proved any inherent weakness in a federal system, but took it for granted that American reunion was impossible.  The novelist, Anthony Trollope, after a long tour of the North, beginning in September, 1861, published late in 1862 a two-volume work, North America, descriptive of a nation engaged in the business of war and wholly sympathetic with the Northern cause.  Yet he, also, could see no hope of forcing the South back into the Union.  “The North and South are virtually separated, and the day will come in which the West also will secede[1041].”

Project Gutenberg
Great Britain and the American Civil War from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
Follow Us on Facebook