Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB
[merged small][merged small][ocr errors]

and the United States was still in a somewhat ritory, demanded nothing but treaties for the undeveloped condition. We now propose, as suppression of the slave trade; and who for the most useful contribution which it is nearly half a century had maintained a conin our power to make to the discussion, to stant crusade against the trade, in which re-state a few facts which have been buried she had met with discouragement and even under ever-increasing piles of fiction, and the with obstruction from the Government of the knowledge of which is necessary to enable United States. us to do justice to the mother country, and Secession was facilitated, and the conduct in some measure also to Canada, whose of its authors was more or less justified in Southern sympathies real or supposed, were the eyes of many Americans and in those of included among the causes of offence. In the world at large by the idea prevalent at the dispute which has arisen about the Treaty the South, and extensively entertained even between the two parties at Ottawa, we have at the North, as to the individual sovereignty no inclination to take part. An occasion of the States, an idea somewhat loosely exfor reviewing their respective policy may pressed by the phrase State Right. Many present itself hereafter.

even of those who did not admit the docSlavery had divided the Union politically trine of State Right, regarded the Union as and socially into two distinct and antagon- a voluntary association, in which the States istic communities. All the world expected could never be held by force. Dr. Chanthat between these two communities a rup- ning, in enforcing the necessity of political ture would some day come. It came at virtue as a bond of cohesion, had said “ last, when, by the triumph of the Republic- Union is not like that of other nations, conan party in the Presidential Election of 1860, firmed by the habits of ages and riveted by the Southerners lost their political control force. It is a recent and still more a volunover the Union, and with it security for the tary union. It is idle to talk of force as maintenance of their own institutions. The binding us together. Nothing can retain a Union then split into two groups of States, member of this confederacy when resolved and the Southern group formed itself into a on separation. The only bonds that can new confederation, having African slavery permanently unite us are moral ones."* The as its distinctive basis.

Declaration of Independence laid it down For this event no one was responsible but as a universal principle that governments the people of the United States themselves, derive their authority from the consent of who had recognized slavery in their constitution, and who continued to recognize it ** Discourse on Spiritual Freedom,” Channing's till a military necessity enforced its aboli- works, People's edition, vol. II, pages 96, 97. tion. Least of all could any blame be said We are informed by the correspondent to whom we

owe the extract, that in an edition of Channing's works to rest on Great Britain, who had abolished published at Boston, during the civil war, this passby a great national sacrifice slavery in her l age is suppressed, If so, its significance is increased.

our

the governed, and to that avowal ex-Presi- state that slavery was in no way threatened, dent Adams had appealed as his justifica and to reject any sympathy tendered on antition for presenting a petition from some slavery grounds. The recovery of lost tercitizens of Massachusetts for the dissolution ritory and power was a natural object, and of the Union.* President Lincoln, himself perhaps as the world goes not immoral; but had used language in the early part of his it was not one which could be expected to career which reads almost like a vindication excite the unanimous and enthusiastic symof the Southern Revolution. The idea of pathy of the human race, or in favour of secession was not unfamiliar even in New which other nations could be called upon to England, when New England was groaning suspend all ordinary rules of action. Great under the ascendancy of the Democratic Britain especially might be excused for reparty. These things are mentioned not to garding it with comparative coolness, as she prove that secession was right; but to prove was warned from the first, with the usual viothat those who thought coercion wrong lence of vituperation, by leading organs of were not necessarily enemies of mankind or American opinion that as soon as the South even of the American people.

had been crushed, the victorious arms of the The new confederation had from the first re-united republic would be turned against de facto the characteristics of a nation. It her American possessions. had a regular government deriving its power The war was waged from the beginning from popular suffrage and completely com- to the end as a regular war between nations. manding the obedience of the people In no single instance did the North venture throughout the whole of a vast and compact to treat the Southerners or any of them as territory. It was perfectly organized for all rebels. General Butler was lauded for hav. the purposes of legislation, administration ing “hanged a rebel" at New Orleans; but and public justice. It had on foot arma- the man in question was hanged, not for rements sufficient to defend its territory, and bellion, but under the laws of war, for rising enforce the respect of foreign powers. against the garrison after the surrender of

After a vain attempt to effect a reconcilia- the city. That the Southerners were mere tion by offering fresh guarantees to slavery,t rebels was a fiction which derived some the Northern Confederation proceeded to colour from the circumstance of Secession subjugate the Southern by force of arms. Its and which was very naturally cherished at object in doing so was to restore the Union, the North ; but the conduct of foreign powin other words to recover lost territory and ers was necessarily regulated, and must in power. With the same object George III reason be judged, by facts and not by had attempted to subjugate the seceding fictions. The trophies of which the North colonies ; but George III had not recog- is full are not trophies of a victory over an nized the dependence of government on insurrection; they are trophies of a conquest. the will of the governed. With a small On the continent of Europe the war excited minority the desire to destroy slavery was comparatively little interest. But Great from the first the ruling motive. But on be- Britain was so intimately connected by half of the Government such a motive was origin, language and commercial ties with distinctly disclaimed by Mr. Seward, who the United States that the conflict may be instructed his representative in England to said to have morally extended to her

shores. The first feeling among the British *Congressional Globe, vol. II: p. 168.

was that of alarm at the impending ruin of +See the resolutions of Congress and those of the the cotton trade, and with it of the indusHouse of Representatives. Feb. 1861.

try which supported millions of the peo

.

ers.

ple. This feeling rose almost to the point in the House of Commons. Nor were there of anguish, though already, as those who any adherents of the Northern cause more were in the United States at the time testify, staunch than the mechanics, whose bread the Americans were ascribing the war to the was taken from their mouths and whose machinations of Great Britain. The feeling prospects were involved in the deepest gloom against slavery and its partisans was also by the prolongation of the war. That these strong, and general. England was pledged things are not forgotten by the people of the to the Anti-slavery cause by her avowed prin- United States, appears from the use which ciples, by her most cherished memories, by they now make of the speeches of their old a great expenditure not only of treasure English friends and allies in framing their but of blood. If the aristocratic party at indictments against England. heart viewed the disruption of the great Between the two parties whose sympathies democratic

power

with not unnatural com were pronounced, there was a great mass placency, it did not venture openly to defy which could scarcely be said to sympathize the traditional sentiment of the nation; and with either ; but which, so far as it was even the Times wrote against the slave-own- swayed at all, was swayed partly by a vague

But the avowal of the Northern Gov- feeling in favour of the weaker side, partly ernment that the war was not directed by the desire that the war might come to an against slavery, the language of the Amer- end, and that the cotton trade might be reican press, the publication by the American stored. The feeling of aversion to a bloody, Government of the offensive despatch of ruinous and apparently hopeless conflict Mr. Cassius Clay, the heroic energy and largely prevailed, apart from any other sentivalour displayed by the South, the apparent ment, and was perfectly distinguishable from want during the early part of the struggle of sympathy with slavery or with the South, similar qualities on the side of the North, though visited by the Americans with the the Trent affair, the wearisome protraction same reprobation. of the conflict, and a growing impatience of What the personal feelings of the several the ruinous suspension of British industry- members of the British Government were, these circumstances, combined with the skil is not really known. It is confidently assertful propagandism of the South, wrought in ed that Lord Palmerston was friendly to the course of time a partial change. The aris- slave-owners; yet he had more than once tocratic party no longer feared to avow embroiled England with foreign powers by their political sympathy with the Southern his almost fanatical hostility to the slave aristocracy, and they were joined by a large trade. The Duke of Argyll and Mr. Milner commercial party which had its centre in the Gibson were, it may safely be said, friendly great cotton port.

to the North ; and the Duke of Newcastle, On the other hand the popular party con a man singularly steady in love and hatred, tinued to manifest its unwavering and ardent retained a very warm recollection of the sympathy with the North. It held public hospitable reception which he had met with meetings in all the great cities; it waged an in the States when he visited them in comincessant war of opinion through the press ; pany with the Prince of Wales. Collectiveand in spite of a limited franchise, and an ly, however, the Government took up and unreformed representation, it was strong maintained to the end a position of neutralenough, not only to prevent Great Britain ity. It refused to recognize the South. It from lending aid to the Confederates, but to refused to receive the Southern envoys. prevent any motion for the recognition of the | Even social courtesy was withheld from them Confederacy from being even put to the vote by the Prime Minister, lest it should seem

to imply official recognition. When inter our commercial connection with the South, vention was proposed by the Emperor of the rendered it incumbent on the Crown, at an French, in the interest of his Mexican early date, to issue a proclamation of neutralsatrapy, the British Government at once re- ity for the guidance of our officers and for jected the proposal, though by acceptance the purpose of restraining British subjects it would have broken the power of an in- from taking part in the war. With a view veterate enemy, secured a powerful ally on to the latter object, the prompt adoption of this continent, strengthened its cherished the measure was strongly advocated by the connexion with France, and saved England leading friends of the North France issued from what appeared a yawning gulf of com- a similar proclamation almost at the same mercial ruin.

moment, and the other powers speedily folTo say that the British Government lowed, Spain receiving a letter of thanks was neutral, is in fact saying too little. from the American Ambassador on the occaThe Southern Confederacy, as has already sion. The proclamation of neutrality rebeen remarked, however objectionable its cognized the existence of a state of war, origin, however evil its institutions, present- which was tantamount to recognizing the ed the ordinary features of nationality. . And sun at noon. in steadily refusing to recognize it as a nation, It has been since asserted that the existthe British Government, it may safely be ence of a war ought to have been recognized averred, was in some measure swayed by on land only; and that while the Federals moral hostility to a slave-power. Had were treating General Lee and his soldiers Great Britain recognized after Chancellors- as regular belligerents on land, we ought to ville, there can be little doubt that the other have treated them as pirates on the seas. powers would have followed her example. The Creator, we are told, in the beginning It is evident from the language of the Ameri- divided the dry land from the waters. This can ambassador to his Government, that he argument is at least as rational as any other felt great misgivings, as well he might, with that can be advanced in defence of the regard to his position and the prospect of position. his being received by Great Britain as the It happened that the proclamation was de jure representative of all the States, when issued when Mr. Adams, the new American in fact he no more represented the Southern Ambassador, had just landed, and before he half of them than he represented France ; had been communicated with. He could and he clearly was much relieved when his have brought no instructions which would misgivings were set at rest. It ought not to have relieved the Government from the be forgotten that in all this the British Gov- necessity of taking the step upon which it ernment was braving the resentment of the had determined; but the circumstance was then victorious South, and that to a British unfortunate and might well have formed the Government, British interests may not un- subject of a courteous explanation. Unreasonably be to some extent a care. luckily Lord Russell, then Foreign Minister,

That the Americans made great sacrifices was not much in the habit of making courin this war for the restoration of their Union teous explanations, and his example may is undoubted : but if the question is which serve as a signal warning to other Minmade the greater sacrifices for the abolition isters of the mischief sometimes done by the of slavery, America or Great Britain, the ans- omission of a gracious word. Mr. Adams, wer must be, Great Britain.

however, objected to the action of the The presence of a British squadron on the British Government in declaring its neuscene of maritime war, and the intimacy of 'trality only as “a little more rapid than the

war.

occasion actually required.” So far from who can consort with it? There is sometaking it as a demonstration of hostility, thing loathsome in the idea. There is conhe told his Government that it was not to tamination even in the thought. If you live be regarded in that light. Such was the with the lame, says the ancient proverb, you original molehill which, under the influence will learn to limp; if you keep in the kitchen of vindictive rhetoric, now towers up into a you will smell of smoke ; if you touch pitch mountain of massive wrong.

you will be defiled. But what lameness so Mr. Adams at the same period informed pitiful as that of this pretended power ? his Government that he had found British sen What smoke so foul as its breath! What timent, even at Liverpool, still fluctuating. pitch so defiling as its touch! It is an He might yet have fixed it in his own favour, Oriental saying, that a cistern of rose water had he been instructed to declare that the will become impure if a dog is dropped into abolition of slavery was the object of the it; but a continent of rose water with rebel

But he was instructed to declare that slave-mongers could be changed into a vulit was not.

gar puddle. Imagine if you please whatever The Proclamation was followed by orders is most disgusting, and this pretended power interdicting the belligerents from bringing is more disgusting still. Naturalists report prizes into British ports, of which the Con- that the pike will swallow anything except federates complained bitterly, and which Mr. the toad, but this it cannot do. The exSeward regarded as "a death blow to periment has been tried, and though this Southern privateering."

fish in its voracity always gulps whatever is The conduct of the British Government in thrown to it, yet invariably it spews the thus recognizing the existence of a state of nuisance from its throat. But our slavewar, and applying to it the rules dictated by monger pretension is worse than the toad, humanity and by the policy of nations, was and yet there are foreign nations which endorsed by all the other maritime powers, instead of spewing it forth are already and is approved by all sane men. But it turning it like a precious morsel on did not satisfy Mr. Sumner. Mr. Sumner, the tongue.” “Edipus,” so went on Mr. in a speech on foreign relations, made Sumner, “in the saddest tale of antiquity, during the war, insisted that Her Britannic weds his own mother without knowing it, Majesty should not only refuse to recognize but England will wed the slave power with the Southern government, but “spew it full knowledge that the relation, if not inforth,” and “blast” it by proclamation, and cestuous, is vile.” And then “the foul atthus put the South on the footing of a Cain torneys of the slave-monger power, reeking among the nations. Every moment of hesita- with slavery, will have their letters of license tion to issue such a proclamation, was accord as the ambassadors of slavery, to rove from ing to him a moment of apostasy. “ Not to court to court, over foreign carpets, talking, blast was to bless.” The Confederacy was a drinking, spitting slavery and poisoning that “Magnum Latrocinium, whose fellowship air which has been nobly pronounced too could have nothing but the filthiness of evil,” pure for a slave to breathe.” All reasonable

a mighty house of ill-fame," "an Ishmael,” men must see that to follow the suggestions "a brood of harpies defiling all which it of this orator, would have been to follow the could not steal ;" "a one-eyed Cyclops of suggestions of fanaticism aggravated by the nations ;” “a soulless monster of Franken- bitter memory of personal injury. Yet, Mr. stein;" "a wretched creation of mental Sumner has been practically allowed to science without God.” “Who,” proceeded guide the people of the United States in the orator, “can welcome such a creation ? / this matter, and it is on the faith of his rep.

« AnteriorContinuar »