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 189:  Hansard, 3rd.  Ser., CLXXVII, pp. 1620-21, March 13, 1865.]

[Footnote 190:  See ante, p. 85.]

[Footnote 191:  C.F.  Adams, Charles Francis Adams, p. 172.  In preparing a larger life of his father, never printed, the son later came to a different opinion, crediting Russell with foresight in hastening the Proclamation to avoid possible embarrassment with Adams on his arrival.  The quotation from the printed “Life” well summarizes, however, current American opinion.]

[Footnote 192:  U.S.  Documents, Ser.  No. 347, Doc. 183, p. 6.]

[Footnote 193:  The United States Supreme Court in 1862, decided that Lincoln’s blockade proclamation of April 19, 1861, was “itself official and conclusive evidence ... that a state of war existed.” (Moore, Int.  Law Digest, I, p. 190.)]

[Footnote 194:  A Cycle of Adams’ Letters, I, p. 16.  Henry Adams to C.F.  Adams, Jnr.]

[Footnote 195:  Rhodes, History of the United States, III, p. 420 (note) summarizes arguments on this point, but thinks that the Proclamation might have been delayed without harm to British interests.  This is perhaps true as a matter of historical fact, but such fact in no way alters the compulsion to quick action felt by the Ministry in the presence of probable immediate fact.]

[Footnote 196:  This was the later view of C.F.  Adams, Jnr.  He came to regard the delay in his father’s journey to England as the most fortunate single incident in American foreign relations during the Civil War.]



The incidents narrated in the preceding chapter have been considered solely from the point of view of a formal American contention as to correct international practice and the British answer to that contention.  In fact, however, there were intimately connected wth these formal arguments and instructions of the American Secretary of State a plan of possible militant action against Great Britain and a suspicion, in British Governmental circles, that this plan was being rapidly matured.  American historians have come to stigmatize this plan as “Seward’s Foreign War Panacea,” and it has been examined by them in great detail, so that there is no need here to do more than state its main features.  That which is new in the present treatment is the British information in regard to the plan and the resultant British suspicion of Seward’s intentions.

The British public, as distinguished from the Government, deriving its knowledge of Seward from newspaper reports of his career and past utterances, might well consider him as traditionally unfriendly to Great Britain.  He had, in the ’fifties, vigorously attacked the British interpretation of the Clayton-Bulwer Treaty and characterized Great Britain as “the most grasping and the most rapacious Power in the world”;

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