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 1318:  Hansard, 3rd.  Ser., CLXXX, p. 1143.]

[Footnote 1319:  Parliamentary Papers, 1865, Commons, Vol.  LVII.  “Further Correspondence respecting the Cessation of Civil War in North America.”  No. 10.]

[Footnote 1320:  Russian Archives, Stoeckl to F.O., Dec. 23, 1859/Jan. 4, 1860.  No. 146.]

[Footnote 1321:  Ibid., Stoeckl to F.O., Jan. 17-29, 1861.  No. 267.  He reports that he has seen a confidential letter from Thouvenel to Mercier outlining exactly his own ideas as to England being the sole gainer by the dissolution of the Union.]

[Footnote 1322:  For an analysis of this change see The Cambridge History of British Foreign Policy, Vol II, p. 277, which also quotes a remarkable speech by Disraeli.]



On May 8, 1865, the news was received in London of Johnston’s surrender to Sherman.  On that same day there occurred in the Commons the first serious debate in thirty-three years on a proposed expansion of the electoral franchise.  It was a dramatic coincidence and no mere fortuitous one in the minds of thoughtful Englishmen who had seen in the Civil War a struggle as fateful in British domestic policy as in that of America herself.  Throughout all British political agitation from the time of the American revolution in 1776, there had run the thread of the American “example” as argument to some for imitation, to others for warning.  Nearly every British traveller in America, publishing his impressions, felt compelled to report on American governmental and political institutions, and did so from his preconceived notions of what was desirable in his own country[1323].  In the ten years immediately preceding the Civil War most travellers were laudatory of American democracy, and one, the best in acute analysis up to the time of Lord Bryce’s great work, had much influence on that class in England which was discontented with existing political institutions at home.  This was Mackay’s Western World which, first published in 1849, had gone through four editions in 1850 and in succeeding years was frequently reprinted[1324].  Republicanism, Mackay asserted, was no longer an experiment; its success and permanence were evident in the mighty power of the United States; Canada would soon follow the American example; the “injustice” of British aristocrats to the United States was intentional, seeking to discredit democracy: 

“...  Englishmen are too prone to mingle severity with their judgments whenever the Republic is concerned.  It is the interest of aristocracy to exhibit republicanism, where-ever it is found, in the worst possible light, and the mass of the people have too long, by pandering to their prejudice, aided them in their object.  They recognize America as the stronghold of republicanism.  If they can bring it into disrepute
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Great Britain and the American Civil War from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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