CHAPTER VI. BULL RUN; CONSUL BUNCH; COTTON AND MERCIER

Besides the Spectator, on the Northern side, stood the Daily News, declaring that the South could not hold out, and adding, "The Confederate States may be ten millions, but they are wrong - notoriously, flagrantly wrong[340]." The Daily News, according to its "Jubilee" historians, stood almost alone in steadfast advocacy of the Northern cause[341]. This claim of unique service to the North is not borne out by an examination of newspaper files, but is true if only metropolitan dailies of large circulation are considered. The Spectator was a determined and consistent friend of the North. In its issue of September 28 a speech made by Bulwer Lytton was summarized and attacked. The speaker had argued that the dissolution of the Union would be beneficial to all Europe, which had begun to fear the swollen size and strength of the young nation across the Atlantic. He hoped that the final outcome would be not two, but at least four separate nations, and stated his belief that the friendly emulation of these nations would result for Americans in a rapid advance in art and commerce such as had been produced in the old commonwealths of Greece. The Spectator answered that such a breaking up of America was much more likely to result in a situation comparable to that in South America, inquired caustically whether Bulwer Lytton had heard that slavery was in question, and asserted that his speech presumably represented the official view of the Tories, and embodied that of the English governing class[342].

In press utterances during the autumn and early fall of 1861 there is little on British policy toward America. Strict neutrality is approved by all papers and public speakers. But as the months passed without further important military engagements attention began to be directed toward the economic effects on England of the war in America and to the blockade, now beginning to be made effective by the North. TheSaturday Review, though pro-Southern, declared for neutrality, but distinguished between strict observance of the blockade and a reasonable recognition of the de facto government of the Confederacy "as soon as the Southern States had achieved for their independence that amount of security with which Great Britain had been satisfied in former cases[343]." But another article in the same issue contained a warning against forcibly raising the blockade since this must lead to war with the North, and that would commend itself to no thoughtful Englishman. Two weeks later appeared a long review of Spence'sAmerican Union, a work very influential in confirming British pro-Southern belief in the constitutional right of the South to secede and in the certainty of Southern victory. Spence was "likely to succeed with English readers, because all his views are taken from a thoroughly English standpoint[344]." The week following compliments are showered upon the "young professor" Montague Bernard for his "Two Lectures on the Present American War," in which he distinguished between recognition of belligerency and recognition of sovereignty, asserting that the former was inevitable and logical. The Saturday Review, without direct quotation, treated Bernard as an advocate also of the early recognition of Southern independence on the ground that it was a fait accompli, and expressed approval[345].

These few citations, taken with intent from the more sober and reputable journals, summarize the prevailing attitude on one side or the other throughout the months from June to December, 1861. All publications had much to say of the American struggle and varied in tone from dignified criticism to extreme vituperation, this last usually being the resort of lesser journals, whose leader writers had no skill in "vigorous" writing in a seemingly restrained manner. "Vigorous" leader writing was a characteristic of the British press of the day, and when combined with a supercilious British tone of advice, as from a superior nation, gave great offence to Americans, whether North or South. But the British press was yet united in proclaiming as correct the governmental policy of neutrality, and in any event Motley was right in stating "the Press is not the Government," adding his opinion that "the present English Government has thus far given us no just cause of offence[346]." Meanwhile the Government, just at the moment when the Declaration of Paris negotiation had reached an inglorious conclusion, especially irritating to Earl Russell, was suddenly plunged into a sharp controversy with the United States by an incident growing out of Russell's first instructions to Lyons in regard to that negotiation and which, though of minor importance in itself, aroused an intensity of feeling beyond its merits. This was the recall by Seward of the exequatur of the British consul Bunch, at Charleston, South Carolina.