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in newspaper paragraphs, and nobody hesi- | frequently burned. For nearly two years this
went on, for the Alabama did not mean fighting and kept well away from the Federal ships of war. The system of Confederate privateering, aided by this last formidable example of British shipbuilding, went far to detain the American mercantile marine in its own ports, and to put an end for a time to American commerce. At length the Federal war steamer Kearsarge caught sight of her and started in pursuit. The Alabama went into Cherbourg harbour, whence she had to come out to fight her antagonist, which was waiting with steam up and guns ready. The two ships were not very unequal in size and armaments, and a naval duel ensued which lasted about an hour, with the result that the Alabama went down, her last gun being fired almost as its mouth touched the water's edge, and that the captain and those of the crew who survived then jumped overboard and were rescued by the crew of an English yacht in conjunction with the men of the Kearsarge.
tated to speak of her as a Confederate cruiser.
There was perhaps no actual technical evidence, no absolute proof of it, and when Mr. Adams, the United States minister, called the attention of our government to the fact that this ship was obviously intended for the Confederate government, Earl Russell asked for proofs. Evidence was forwarded which was sufficient in the opinion of Mr. Adams to warrant the detention of the vessel, and it was accompanied by the opinion of Sir Robert Collier, an English lawyer of such eminence that his decision would have been regarded as having great weight in any court of national or international law. He declared that the vessel should be detained by the collector of customs at Liverpool, and said that it appeared difficult to make out a stronger case of infringement of the Foreign Enlistment Act, which, if not enforced on this occasion, would be little better than a dead letter. Earl Russell, however, still waited to ask the opinion of the law officers of the crown. The queen's advocate was unwell and more delay ensued, the end of which was that the vessel "290" had shipped off to sea before that opinion was obtained. Earl Russell long afterwards acknowledged that he ought to have been satisfied with the opinion of Sir Robert Collier, and there can be no doubt that our neutrality was nearly as much in question by the building of this vessel as it would have been by the construction of avowed ships of war for the Confederate service. Mr. Forster afterwards said she was built by British shipbuilders, and manned by a British crew. She drew prizes to destruction under a British flag, and was paid for by money borrowed from British capitalists. At all events she went on her destructive career. She went from Liverpool to Terceira, hoisted the Confederate flag, received on board Captain Semmes, the former commander of the Sumter, as her commander, and had her name changed to the Alabama. It was declared that this heavily armed privateer used the British flag to decoy unfortunate merchantmen of the Northern States to approach her, then ran up the Confederate colours and captured the prize, which was
The circumstances attending the building of the Alabama, while they seemed to give impunity to English firms to construct other privateers for the Confederates, were too flagrant an evasion of the laws of neutrality to be repeated. At the same time Earl Russell could not quite make up his mind to prompt and decided action. In fact the law was not altogether certain, and a more determined statesman would have acted without reference to the niceties of possible legal decisions, and would have had the law altered as soon as possible. Lord Palmerston probably would have done so, but Lord Palmerston, like most of his colleagues, probably had a notion that the South would soon achieve independence; and the tone which had been assumed by the Federal government in their despatches had, to use a common figure of speech, "put his back up." He had even declared in the House of Commons that it was not for this country to make any change in her laws for the convenience or at the requisition of another state. Rather a strange declaration from the minister who had actually been defeated over the "Conspiracy to Murder Bill," which he had once been ready to adopt at the instigation, if not
GLADSTONE, COBDEN, AND BRIGHT ON THE WAR.
137 the dictation, of the French Emperor and his another statesman, though he might have been alvisers. In 1863, however, two Confederate a cabinet minister, could have said it with comiron rams were almost ready to be launched paratively little notice, but every opinion of from one of our dockyards for the purpose of the chancellor of the exchequer was regarded forcing an entrance to the Southern ports. as being of grave import. Again Mr. Adams urgently called the atten- The notion that the South would succeed tion of the government to the matter. Again in separating itself into an independent state there was delay, until at length, on the 5th of was general. Almost everybody shared it September, just as they were ready to slip off except Mr. Bright and a very small knot of as the Alabama had done, the American min- nien who thought with him. Even Mr. Cobister wrote another letter, in which he said den held that opinion for some time, and Mr. plainly, “ It would be superfluous in me to Bright had a good deal of trouble to convince point out to your lordship that this is war.” him to the contrary, and almost quarrelled Undoubtedly to connive by negligence and with him because he was unable at first to indifference to the issue of armed vessels of yield to repeated arguments. In January, war to be used against a friendly state or 1862, Cobden wrote to a correspondent, Mr. after neutrality had been declared would Paulton, who, with some others of his friends, surely be as near to war as anything short did not sympathize with the Union :of actual hostilities; but the law was still “I can't see my way through the American úncertain, and Lord Russell was still balanced business. I don't believe the North and South on the edge of a technical razor. But the can ever lie in the same bed again. Nor do two ironclads were detained. “I should have I see how the military operations can be ordered the prosecution of the owners of the carried into the South, so as to inflict a crushvessel,” wrote Earl Russell in his Recollections, ing defeat. Unless something of the kind eleven years afterwards, “had not the principal takes place, I predict that Europe will recoglaw officer of the crown given me reason to nize the independence of the South. I tell think that it would fail in an English court Sumner this, and tell him that his only chance, of justice. I therefore obtained the sanction if he wants time to fight it out, is to raise the of the cabinet to purchase the two 'rams,' as blockade of the Mississippi voluntarily, and they were called, which were intended for then Europe might look on. hostile purposes against the United States." “But our friend Bright will not hear of So it would seem that instead of being prose- anything against the claims of the North. I cuted the builders of these ships, who had com- admire his pluck, for when he goes with a mitted a national though a questionably illegal side it is always to win. I tell him that it is offence, made a good thing of it after all, and possible to wish well to a cause without being instead of being punished by the confiscation sure that it will be successful. However, he or the destruction of the vessels, profited hand- will soon find in the house that we shall be somely by the speculation.
on this question, as we were on China, Crinean,
and Greek Pacifico wars, quite in a minority! It happened not long after the completion There is no harm in that if you are right, but of the Alabama that Mr. Gladstone, in speak- it is useless to deceive ourselves about the ing after a political banquet at Newcastle, ex- issue. Three-fourths of the house will be pressed an opinion that Jefferson Davis had glad to find an excuse for voting for the disreally succeeded in making the South an inde- memberment of the great Republic.” pendent nation. It shows how much import- (obden had already been in communication ance must have been attached to his utterances, with Mr. Sumner, and his letters probably did that even at a time when armed Confederate much to mitigate any apparent tendency of ships were being built in English dockyards the Federal government to reflect the suspicion this remark should have caused considerable and animosity displayed by the violent opcomment and no little excitement. Perhaps ponents of England in America. His letters
are very interesting; in one of them upon the especially don't forget that the millions in affair of the Trent he says :
Europe are more interested even than their " Though I said in my other letter that I princes in preserving the future commerce shall never care to utter a word abont the
with the vast region of the Confederate States." merits of a war after it has begun, I do not In January, 1862, he wrote :—“Be assured the less feel it my duty to try to prevent if you had offered to refer the question to hostilities occurring. Let me here remark, arbitration, there could not have been a meetthat I cannot understand how you should ing called in England that would not have have thought it worth your while at Washing- endorsed it. The only question was whether ton to have reopened this question of the we ought to be the first to offer arbitration. right of search, by claiming to exercise it in I mean this was the only doubt in the popular a doubtful case and a doubtful manner, under mind. As regards our government, they are, circumstances which could be of so little ad- of course, feeling the tendency of public opinvantage, and to have incurred the risk of ion. A friend of mine in London, a little greater disadvantages. The capture of Mason behind the scenes, wrote to me:—“They are and Slidell can have little effect in discouraging busy at the Foreign Office hunting up prethe South, compared with the indirect encour- cedents for arbitration, very much against agement and hope it may hold out to them of their will.' I write all this because I wish embroiling your government with England. you to know that we are not quite so bad as
Your newspapers will not drive us appeared at first on the surface.” into war.
But when grave men (or men that In the following July, a month before Mr. should be grave), holding the highest posts in Gladstone had made the remark about the your cultivated State of Massachusetts, com- probable independence of the South, which pliment Captain Wilkes for having given an caused so much perturbation among the friends affront to the British lion, it makes it very of, and believers in the North, Cobden, hard for Bright and me to contend against writing again to Mr. Sumner, said :the ‘British lion party' in this country. All “ There is an all but unanimous belief that I can say is that I hope you have taken you cannot subject the South to the Union. Bright's advice, and offered unconditional Even they who are your partisans and advoarbitration. With that offer publicly made, cates cannot see their way to any such issue. the friends of peace could prevent our fire- It is necessary that you should understand enters from assaulting you, always providing that this opinion is so widely and honestly that your public speakers do not put it out of entertained, because it is the key to the exour power to keep the peace. I was sorry to pression of views which might otherwise not see a report of an anti-English speech by your be quite intelligible. Among some of the colleague at New York. Honestly speaking, governing class in Europe the wish is father and with no blind patriotism to mislead me, to this thought. But it is not so with the I don't think the nation here behaved badly mass of the people. Nor is it so with our under the terrible evil of loss of trade and own government entirely. I know that Glad(langer of starving under your blockade. Of stone would restore your Union to-morrow if course all privileged classes and aristocracies he could; yet he has steadily maintained from hate your institutions-that is natural enough; the first that unless there was a strong Union but the mass of the people never went with sentiment, it is impossible that the South can the South. I am not pleased with your pro
be subdued. Now the belief is all but uniject of sinking stones to block up ports. That versal that there is no Union feeling in the is barbarism. It is quite natural that, smart
South; and this is founded latterly upon the ing as you do under an unprovoked aggression fact that no cotton comes from New Orleans. from the slave-owners, you should even be It is said, that if the instinct of gain, with willing to smother them like hornets in their cotton at double its usual price, do not induce nest. But don't forget the outside world, and the people to sell, it is a proof beyond dispute
PROCLAMATION OF NEGRO FREEDOM.
that the political resentment is overwhelming ward in putting in looms and preparation. and unconquerable."
Profits were known to be so great that both It was not very remarkable that Mr. Glad- landlords and machinists could wait without stone should in August, 1862, have spoken of anxiety for the first twelve months, knowing the Southern States as though they were al- that much of their debts would be paid out of rendy independent. Injudicious it might have profits in that space of time. Having hired a been, but it was an indiscretion shared with shed and received credit for his looms, any the great majority of the most prominent men penniless man could then go with assurance of the country, and, as he explained five years upon the Manchester exchange; and in the afterwards, though he confessed that he was days when “ long terms” were accorded to all wrong and took too much upon himself in ex- who asked for them, could buy his yarns,
take pressing such an opinion, the motive was not orders for cloth, make, deliver and get paid bad. His sympathies were with the whole for it in time to meet his accounts, and this American people. He probably, like many without much difficulty. In a couple of years Europeans, did not understand the nature a manufacturer commencing thus would often and working of the American Union. He be clear of all liabilities, and on the highway had imbibed conscientiously, if erroneously, to making a fortune. an opinion that twenty or twenty-five millions These remarks refer to the decade from would be happier and would be stronger (of 1830 to 1860, and that state of things was, it course assuming that they would hold to- is said, almost entirely changed, and the gether) without the South than with it, and small manufacturers swept away by the cotton also that the negroes would be much nearer famine. Without entirely endorsing such reto emancipation under a Southern government presentations it may safely be said that not than under the old system of the Union, only did the large mill-owners suffer deeply, which had not at that time been abandoned, but that the business of many of them was and which always appeared to him to place crippled for years afterwards, while the strugthe whole power of the North at the command gling men were ruined and the whole populaof the slaveholding interests of the South. tion of operatives might have perished but Is far as regarded the special or separate in- for the energetic action of those who adminterest of England, he had always contended istered the relief funds, or organized schemes that it was best for our interest that the for providing sewing for the women and other l'nion should be kept entire.
occupations for large numbers of the men. Mr. Cobden's letters to Mr. Sumner may Meanwhile the war continued. It was evibe taken fairly to represent the prevailing | dent that the battle would be fought out to the feeling in England, and to indicate the grow- bitter end, for the issues of it had changed; ing disposition to recognize the true position and though the Confederates continued to of the Federal government, though, ils he defeat the Federal troops, the determination pointed out, there were considerable interests of the North was aroused, and people began in favour of supporting the demands of the to discern that the result of the conflict was South in the early period of the struggle. A only a matter of endurance and of superior writer in a trade journal has recently stated
The Northern troops soon began that traditions yet linger in our manufactur- ! to acquire, by experience, the knowledge and ing towns of the days when any speculative the firmness which was necessary to enable builder would run up a weaving-shed for them to cope with antagonists, considerable Dick, Tom, or Harry, who had, or said he bodies of whom had entered on the first camhad, the slightest knowledge of manufactur- paign already well drilled and accustomed to ing, or for any grocer, draper, currier, shoe- act together at the word of command. maker, or publican who had saved up a couple On the 22d of January, 1862, President of hundred pounds. Having become the Lincoln had issued a proclamation that at the tenant of a shed, machinists were never back- next meeting of congress he would recommend
a vill enacting that on and after the 1st of ciple adverse to slavery, and Earl Russell January, 1863, all persons held as slaves therefore said he did not think it could or within any state the people whereof should be should satisfy the friends of abolition, who in rebellion against the United States, should looked for total and impartial freedom for the be thenceforward and for ever free, and the slave, and not for vengeance on the slaveproclamation added that the executive would, in due time, recommend that all citizens of The fear with many was that such a prothe United States who should have remained clamation would cause a slave insurrection loyal thereto throughout the rebellion should, and the horrors that might accompany it if upon the restoration of peace, be compensated the negroes sought revenge and plunder as for all losses by acts of the United States, in- well as liberty, or if attempts were made to cluding the loss of slaves.
suppress any efforts to escape. The proclamaOn the 1st of January, 1863, it was pro- tion expressly deprecated any acts of violence, claimed that all persons held as slaves within but what was the value of such deprecation the Confederate States should thenceforward where it could not be followed by legal rebe free, and that the executive government of straint? These anticipations were not realthe United States, including the military and ized, and probably it was known on both sides paval authorities thereof, would recognize and that no general insurrection or attempts to maintain the freedom of such persons. The make reprisals on the owners of slaves would people so declared to be free were enjoined to be made. In numerous instances, it was said, abstain from violence, unless in necessary the negroes remained to work on the estates, self-defence, and were recommended in all sometimes because they had been kindly cases where they were allowed, to labour treated, and were not indisposed to wait till faithfully for reasonable wages. At the same - terms of wages could be adjusted in case of time it was declared that such persons, of the termination of the war, and in some cases suitable condition, would be received into the because they were ignorant what steps to take armed service of the l'nited States, to garri. to make use of their freedom, and preferred son forts, positions, stations, and other places, remaining where they were for a time, tolerand to man vessels of all sorts. Upon this, ' ably certain of food and clothes and shelter, which he declared was sincerely believed to to running to unknown troubles and vicissito be an act of justice warranted by the con- tudes in the border states, or joining the stitution upon military necessity, the pre- Federalarmy to fight against their old masters. sident invoked the considerate judgment of At all events there was little disposition to mankind and the gracious favour of Almighty armed and violent revolt, and though, of God.
course, a large number of able-bodied negroes Results showed that this was in effect an entered the Federal service, and a multitude abolition of slavery throughout the States, of men, women, and children eventually found but only the Confederate States were men- their way north, the fact that there was so tioned, and the declaration was received with frequently a strong desire to remain was after(dismay. Earl Russell pointed out to Lord wards cited, and in some respects was fairly Lyons, our representative at Washington, cited, by the Southern planters as a proof that the proclamation professed to emancipate that the atrocities with which the slave-owners all slaves in places where the United States were charged were not even general, much less could not exercise any jurisdiction or make universal. emancipation a reality, but did not decree That they had existed in too many instances emancipation of slaves in any states or parts was, however, capable of proof, and that they of states occupied by Federal troops and subs might exist without any real redress for the ject to United States jurisdiction, and where, victim was argument enough against the pertherefore, emancipation might be carried out. petuation or the continued existence of the There seemed to be no declaration of a prin- ! system.