Great Britain and the American Civil War eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 680 pages of information about Great Britain and the American Civil War.

Such interpretations of conditions in America were not unusual; they were, rather, generally accepted.  The Cabinet decision in November, 1862, was not regarded as final, though events were to prove it to be so for never again was there so near an approach to British intervention.  Mason’s friend, Spence, early began to think that true Southern policy was now to make an appeal to the Tories against the Government.  In January, 1863, he was planning a new move: 

“I have written to urge Mr. Gregory to be here in time for a thorough organization so as to push the matter this time to a vote.  I think the Conservatives may be got to move as a body and if so the result of a vote seems to me very certain.  I have seen Mr. Horsfall and Mr. Laird here and will put myself in communication with Mr. Disraeli as the time approaches for action for this seems to me now our best card[1042].”

That some such effort was being thought of is evidenced by the attitude of the Index which all through the months from November, 1862, to the middle of January, 1863, had continued to harp on the subject of mediation as if still believing that something yet might be done by the existing Ministry, but which then apparently gave up hope of the Palmerstonian administration: 

“But what the Government means is evident enough.  It does not mean to intervene or to interfere.  It will not mediate, if it can help it; it will not recognize the Confederate States, unless there should occur some of those ’circumstances over which they have no control,’ which leave weak men and weak ministers no choice.  They will not, if they are not forced to it, quarrel with Mr. Seward, or with Mr. Bright.  They will let Lancashire starve; they will let British merchantmen be plundered off Nassau and burnt off Cuba; they will submit to a blockade of Bermuda or of Liverpool; but they will do nothing which may tend to bring a supply of cotton from the South, or to cut off the supply of eggs and bacon from the North[1043].”

But this plan of ‘turning to the Tories’ received scant encouragement and was of no immediate promise, as soon appeared by the debate in Parliament on reassembling, February 5, 1863.  Derby gave explicit approval of the Government’s refusal to listen to Napoleon[1044].  By February, Russell, having recovered from the smart of defeat within the Cabinet, declared himself weary of the perpetual talk about mediation and wrote to Lyons, “... till both parties are heartily tired and sick of the business, I see no use in talking of good offices.  When that time comes Mercier will probably have a hint; let him have all the honour and glory of being the first[1045].”  For the time being Spence’s idea was laid aside, Gregory writing in response to an inquiry from Mason: 

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Great Britain and the American Civil War from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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