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“What are we fighting for?” he inquired, “secede" from the Union than Scotland or and replying to the question declared, “We, Ireland could secede from England. the people of the United States of America The Confederates, he declared, had over(to use the language of our Constitution), are thrown the constitutions of the “Confederate tighting to maintain our nationality, and the States” themselves, refusing, in every case, to principles of liberty upon which it was founded refer their new usurpations to the votes of the --that nationality which Great Britain has people, thus making themselves doubly traitpledged herself, both by past comity and the ors to both the states and the nation. The sacred obligations of treaty, to respect--those despotic rulers over 1,000,000 of enslaved great principles of liberty, that all power is Africans, they presumed to extend over the derived from the consent of the governed; North, the white races of all nations, the same trial by jury, freedom of speech, and the press; despotism by ignoring the political rights of that 'without law there is no liberty'-which all but their own class, by restrictions upon we inherited from Great Britain herself, and the popular franchise, 'by the suppression of which, having been found to lie at the base the freedom of speech and of the press, by the of all progress and civilization, we desire to terrorism of "lynch-law,” or tyrannical enactperpetuate for ourselves and the future of all ments, backed by standing armies; to crush the nations. The so-called 'Confederate States out the independence of thought, the ineradiof America' rebel against us-against our cable instincts of world-wide humanity--with nationality, and against all the principles of the atrocious dogma that negro slavery was its structure. Citizens of the United States-- the only basis of real conservatism and proof the one government (not of the Confeder- gressive civilization, and that the true solution ated States, as they would have the world be- of the contest of all time between labour and lieve, but of ‘us the people'), they propose, capital was that capital should own the lanot by common legal consent, but by arms, to bourer, whether white or black. sever our nation into separate independen- Mr. Clay confidently asserted that the Fedcies. Claiming to be let alone, they con- erals could subdue the revolted states. The spire against us; seize by force our forts, whole seven revolted states (2,173,000) had stores, and arms; appropriate to themselves not as much white population as the single our mints, moneys, and vessels at sea; cap- state of New York (3,851,563) by 1,500,000 ture our armies, and threaten even the Capitol people. If all the slave states were to make at Washington.”

common cause they had only 8,907,894 whites, Mr. Clay contended that the word “ with 4,000,000 slaves, while the Union had sion” was used to cover up treason and to about 20,000,000 of homogeneous people, as delude the nations, and that the idea of "state powerful in peace and war as the world had sovereignty" was utterly delusive. The Ame- seen. Intelligent, hardy, and “many-sided,” rican nation had given up the old “ confeder- their late apparent lethargy and weakness ation” to avoid just such complications as had was the self-possession of conscious strength. occurred. The states were by the constitution When they had made up their minds that deprived of all the rights of independent sove- force was necessary they moved upon Washreigns, and the national government acted not ington with such speed, numbers, and steadithrough state organizations, but directly upon nessas had not been surpassed in history. They the citizens of the states themselves—to that had the money (at a lower rate of interest than highest of power, the right of life and death. ever before), the men, and the command of The states could not keep an army or navy,

the sea and the internal waters. The North or even repel invasion, except when necessity could blockade the Confederates by sea and did not allow time for national action; could invade them by land, and close up the rebelmake no treaty, nor coin money, nor exercise lion in a single year if “let alone.” any of the first great essential powers of “sove- They did not propose to "subjugate" the reignty.” In a word, they could no more revolted states, but to put down simply the





rebel citizens,--to go to the rescue of the loyal merce. The free white labourer and capitalist Unionists of all the states,--to carry safety, does now, and always will, consume more than peace, and liberty to the union-loving people the white master and the slave. of the South, who would of themselves (the “Can England,” he continued, “afford to tyranny overthrown) send back their repre- offend the great nation which will still be sentatives to congress, and the Union would 'the United States of America,' even should be “reconstructed” without a change of a let- we lose part of the South? Twenty millions ter in the constitution of the United States. of people to-day, with or without the slave Did England subjugate Ireland and Scotland ? states, in twenty years we will be forty milWere the united kingdoms less homogeneous lions! In another half-century we will be thau of old, before the wars against rebellion? one hundred millions! We will rest upon the So would the United States rise from the Potomac, and on the west banks of the Mississmoke of battle with renewed stability and sippi river, upon the Gulf of Mexico. Our railpower.

roads will run 4000 miles upon a single parallel, Then followed some questions to the British binding our empire, which must master the public, followed by appeals which, though Atlantic and the Pacific Oceans. Is England doubtless meant in all sincerity, were not in so secure in the future against home revolt or the best form for impressing the national sen- foreign ambition as to venture, now in our timent. They began well enough by saying, need, to plant the seeds of revenge in all our “We overthrow that political element in future? If Ireland, or Scotland, or Wales America which has all through our history shall attempt to secede from that beneficent been the studied denouncer and real hater of government of the United Kingdom which the British nation, while we have been always now lightens their taxation and gives then from the beginning the friends of England. security and respect at home and abroad, shall Because, though under different forms of gov- we enter into a piratical war with our race ernment, we had common sympathies and a and ally, and capture and sell in our ports the common cause, and therefore a common in property and endanger the lives of peaceable terest. England was the conservator of liberty citizens of the British Empire all over the in Europe-the Old World; we are in the world? I enter not into the discussion of New. If 'the Confederate States' are right, details. England, then, is our natural ally. then is England wrong. If slavery must be Will she ignore our aspirations? If she is extended in America, then must England re- just, she ought not. If she is honourable and store it in the West Indies, blot out the most magnanimous, she cannot. If she is wise, she glorious page of her history, and call back her will not." freed men into chains! Let her say to the This conclusion was by no means happy. martyrs of freedom from the nations who It struck a wrong note in relation to the have sought refuge and a magnanimous de- general impression then prevalent, partly befence on her shores, Return to your scaffold cause of the repeated defeats of the Federals and your prison-house; England is no more which almost immediately followed the confiEngland !"

dent declaration that the South would be Arguing on the ground of England's mate- easily subdued. rial interests, Mr. Clay said: “We are her An opinion prevailed in the North that best consumer; no tariff will materially affect privateers would be able to sell their prizes that fact. We are the best consumer of Eng- in British ports. Letters were issued from land, not because we are cotton-growers or our foreign office interdicting the armed shijs cotton - spinners, agriculturists or manufac- and privateers either of the United States or turers, but because we are producers and the “so-styled Confederated States of North manufacturers, and have money to spend. It America” from carrying prizes made by them is not the South, as is urged, but the North, into the ports, harbours, roadsteads, or waters who are the best consumers of English com- of the United Kingilom or of any of our colo




nies or possessions abroad. France also held | tirely broken and scattered, their defeat endto her laws, which only allowed privateers ing in flight. They returned to Washington with prizes to remain in her ports for twenty- with a loss of 19 officers and 462 men killed, four hours, and did not permit them to sell or and 64 officers and 947 men wounded, while dispose of prizes or cargoes.

the Confederate loss was comparatively trifOn the 17th or 18th of June (1861), both ling. The appearance of the fugitive regiarmies were in motion, and the Federals were ments in the streets of the capital created inrepulsed by the Confederates, whose station tense excitement, and it was feared that the they had attacked at Fort Bethel.

Confederates, following up the advantage, We need not follow the various episodes of would march thither. This, however, they that terrible fratricidal war, nor the dread were not able to accomplish. It may be said details of slaughter, the accounts of which that this defeat had the effect of intensifying sickened the hearts of those who read them, the determination of the Federal government. and left more than half the families in Amer- From that time for three years President ica to mourn their dead. During the early Lincoln and his colleagues repeatedly called part of the conflict the Federals suffered re- out fresh levies, and announced their deterpeated defeats, which seemed at first to justify nination to devote all the resources of the the opinion held here that the Northern levies country to the maintenance of the Union were no match, as soldiers, for the Southern and the reclamation of the rebellious states. force. The Confederate ranks were largely The victory of the Confederates was received filled by men accustomed to out-door sports ' in England, if not with general satisfaction, and who had leisure for learning the use of with something too much like noisy applause,

1 arms, and, moreover, they composed the in which was mingled admiration for the militia of the Southern States, to whom drill victors and a certain disdain for the vanand military exercises were a frequent recrea- quished. The brave little army of the South tion. The Federals, on the other hand, were had beaten the larger forces that had been to a great extent men taken from store or called together to force them to obedience. office,-men engaged in traile and town life. The side which it was supposed had been They did not at first estimate what they had most ready to “bounce,” and had used threatto do, and it was not till the misfortunes they ening language and offensive innuendo towards had sustained called out the pertinacity and | England had shown the white-feather. This determination which they afterwards dis- was the view which was most loudly, and, as played, that they began to reverse the disas- it appeared, most generally expressed, and ters of the first campaigns, and to follow up such comments took a tone that had in it the subsequent successes until the Union was something of exultation. Happily the Federestored and slavery abolished. In July, ral government in America had in Mr. Lin1961, the Federals attempted to advance upon coln a chief of penetrating sagacity and plain Richmond in Virginia, which had become the common sense, and our own ministers were Southern or Confederate capital, and at a equally able to distinguish between a tempoplace called Bull Run, or Manassas Junction, rary ebullition of popular opinion and the they suffered a severe defeat, almost at the very duties that belonged to the administration of beginning of hostilities. On their side about the affairs of the country. Both Lord Palmer18,000 men were engaged, the greater part of ston and Lord John Russell firmly resisted them being raw recruits under the command any suggestion that would have led to our inof General M‘Dowall. Two of the regiments terposition on behalf of Confederate indepenwhose term of service had expired a few dence. hours before insisted on being discharged, and At the same time there was great exasperafell to the rear at the commencement of the tion of feeling on each side, for in America action. The conduct of the Federal troops the abuse of England was both loud and deep. was not very admirable, and they were en- In the early part of November (1861), an


event occurred which at first seemed likely to tolling his exploit. At all events he fell in lead to more serious consequences than the with the Trent on the afternoon of the 8th of mere interchange of invective during a time November, and without showing any colours of ignorant excitement.

hove to ahead. The Trent hoisted her enThe Confederate leaders, encouraged, doubt- sign, but it was not responded to, and as less, by their recognition as the government she went nearer, the stranger fired a round of a belligerent power, had appointed two shot across her bows and showed Anierican commissioners to represent them,---one at the colours. The engines of the Trent were English and the other at the French court. slowed, and she was still approaching when

Mr. Mason was accredited to England, and the other vessel fired a shell close across her Mr. Slidell to France, and they were accom- bows. She then stopped, and an officer with panied by their secretaries, Mr. M'Farland and an armed guard of marines boarded her and Mr. Eustis. Mr. W.L. Yancey had already been demanded a list of the passengers, which dein Europe as the advocate of the doctrine of mand being refused, the officer said he had state sovereignty, and Mr. Thurlow Weed orders to arrest Mr. Mason, Mr. Slidell, Mr. was then, or soon afterwards, in London for M.Farland, and Mr. Eustis, and that he the purpose of representing the case of the had sure information of their being passenNorth before public opinion here, as Mr. Clay gers in the Trent. The commander of the had already endeavoured to do.

Trent declining to satisfy him whether such Mr. Slidell, the proposed envoy to Paris, passengers were on board or not, Mr. Slidell was a Southern lawyer, and Mr. Mason was stepped forward and announced that the four said to be the author of the fugitive slave persons named were then standing before him law, which had been so effectual in arousing under British protection, and that if they the opposition of the Abolitionists in the were taken on board the sun Jacinto they border states. They were sent to Europe to

must be taken vi et armis. The commander endeavour to obtain the official recognition of of the Trent and Commander Williams, who the French and English courts, and had run was on board, protested against the demands the blockade from Charleston to Cardenas in of the captain of the San Jacinto as an act of Cuba in the Confederate steamer Nashville, piracy which they had no means of resisting, escaping the Federal vessels which were on as the American vessel was on their port beam, the look-out to prevent them from reach- 200 yards off, her ship’s company at quarters, ing a neutral port. The Federals knew well ports open, and tampions out. Remonstrance enough of the intention to send these gentle- was unavailing. The commissioners and their men and their secretaries to Europe, and secretaries were forcibly carried off, such understood their purpose in coming hither, necessary luggage as they required being sent but, notwithstanding the vigilance of the to them, and it was then demanded that the watch kept on Charleston they contrived to commander of the Trent should go on board reach the Havana and to take their passage the San Jacinto. This he positively refused on board the English mail-steamer Trent. It to do unless he should be forcibly compelled, liappened, however, that the United States and the demand was not insisted on. The sloop of war, the San Jacinto, was returning ships then parted company, and the Trent profrom the African coast, and her commander, ceeded on her voyage to St. Thomas. Captain Wilkes, heard that the Confederate When the intelligence reached England it envoys were endeavouring to embark for produced immense excitement. The act of Europe. Wilkes was one of those hot-headed Captain Wilkes was clearly illegal, and it was indiscreet men who are not to be depended regarded as au outrage, a deliberate insult to on when judgment is required, and he pro- the country. A cabinet council was held and bably thought it would be a fine stroke despatches were prepared, the conciliatory of patriotism to “ beard the British lion," as form of which was to some extent determined his admirers afterwards phrased it when ex- by the advice of Prince Albert, whose draft




of the representations to be made to the Fed. | senting to liberate the prisoners. He asked, eral government was one of the latest duties Were the persons named and their supposed with which he was occupied shortly before his despatches contraband of war? Might Captain death. The despatch said that the seizure on Wilkes lawfully stop and search the Trent for board the Trent was an act of violence, a these contraband persons and despatches? Did breach of international law, and an insult to he exercise the right in a lawful and proper the British flag; but it went on:-“ Her ma


manner ? Having found the contraband perjesty's government, bearing in mind the sons on board, and in presumed possession of friendly relations which have long subsisted the contraband despatches, had he a right to between Great Britain and the United States, capture their persons? Did he exercise that are willing to believe that the United States right of capture in a manner observed and naval officer who committed this aggression recognized by the law of nations? This was was not acting in compliance with any autho- grave trifling; but Mr. Seward answered all rity from his government, or that, if he con- the questions in the affirmative, admitting, ceived himself to be so authorized, he greatly however, two special difficulties against his niisunderstood the instructions which he had case, namely, the want of specific instructions received. For the government of the United to the commander of the San Jacinto by his States must be fully aware that the British government, and his permitting the Trent to government could not allow such an affront proceed on her voyage after he had satisfied to the national honour to pass without full himself that she was carrying contraband of reparation; and her majesty's government are war. On these grounds Mr. Seward was ready unwilling to believe that it could be the de- to agree to the release of the prisoners. This liberate intention of the government of the kind of concession was irritating, and it was United States unne

necessarily to force into dis- still believed that Captain Wilkes had acted cussion between the two governments a ques- under the direct or implied sanction of his tion of so grave a character, and with regard government. to which the whole British nation would be It was afterwards reported that General sure to entertain such unanimity of feeling. Scott, who was in Paris, had declared that

“Her majesty's government therefore trust instructions had been given to Capt. Wilkes that, when this matter shall have been brought by his government, and whether this report under the consideration of the United States, was true or not, it is quite certain that the that government will of its own accord offer captain of the San Jacinto was made a hero to the British government such redress as at two or three mass meetings; and what was alone could satisfy the British nation, namely, worse, the secretary of the navy had comthe liberation of the four gentlemen and their mended his action, and he had received a vote delivery to your lordship, in order that they of thanks from the House of Representatives may again be placed under British protection, at Washington. and a suitable apology for the aggression which Our legal authorities declared that a breach has been committed."

of international law had been committed. The proceeding of Captain Wilkes was re- Another despatch had been sent to Lord Lyons garded here as a deliberate affront to Great that if at the end of seven days no answer was Britain, sanctioned if not directed by the given to the representations of our governFederal government in America, and the tem- ment, or if any other answer was given than per displayed on the other side gave some that of compliance with their demands, he justification of this opinion and of the bitter was to leave Washington with all the memresentment which accompanied it.

bers of his legation, bringing with him the Mr. Seward, the secretary of state of the archives of the legation, and to come immeFederal government, was fond of discussing diately to London. There was a very painful and orating, and in his reply to the despatch impression here, even among many who were insisted on arguing the question before con- in sympathy with the Northern States, that

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