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Ephraim Douglass Adams

The adjournment of Parliament on August 7 without hint of governmental inclination to act in the American Civil War was accepted by most of the British public as evidence that the Ministry had no intentions in that direction. But keen observers were not so confident. Motley, at Vienna, was keeping close touch with the situation in England through private correspondence. In March, 1862, he thought that "France and England have made their minds up to await the issue of the present campaign" - meaning McClellan's advance on Richmond[734].

The finality of the British Cabinet decision in November, 1862, relative to proposals of mediation or intervention was not accepted at the moment though time was to prove its permanence. The British press was full of suggestions that the first trial might more gracefully come from France since that country was presumed to be on more friendly terms with the United States[846]. Others, notably Slidell at Paris, held the same view, and on January 8, 1863, Slidell addressed a memorandum to Napoleon III, asking separate recognition of the South.

The building in British ports of Confederate war vessels like the Alabama and the subsequent controversy and arbitration in relation thereto have been exhaustively studied and discussed from every aspect of legal responsibility, diplomatic relations, and principles of international law. There is no need and no purpose here to review in detail these matters.

In the mid-period during which the British Government was seeking to fulfil its promise of an altered policy as regards ship-building and while the public was unaware that such a promise had been given, certain extreme friends of the South thought the time had come for renewed pressure upon the Government, looking toward recognition of the Confederacy.

Northern friends in England were early active in organizing public meetings and after the second emancipation proclamation of January 1, 1863, these became both numerous and notable. Southern friends, confident in the ultimate success of the Confederacy and equally confident that they had with them the great bulk of upper-class opinion in England, at first thought it unnecessary to be active in public expressions aside from such as were made through the newspapers.

This work was begun many years ago. In 1908 I read in the British Museum many newspapers and journals for the years 1860-1865, and then planned a survey of English public opinion on the American Civil War. In the succeeding years as a teacher at Stanford University, California, the published diplomatic correspondence of Great Britain and of the United States were studied in connection with instruction given in the field of British-American relations. Several of my students prepared excellent theses on special topics and these have been acknowledged where used in this work.

After three years of great Northern efforts to subdue the South and of Southern campaigns aimed, first, merely toward resistance, but later involving offensive battles, the Civil War, to European eyes, had reached a stalemate where neither side could conquer the other. To the European neutral the situation was much as in the Great War it appeared to the American neutral in December, 1916, at the end of two years of fighting. In both wars the neutral had expected and had prophesied a short conflict.

In 1862, less than a year after he had assumed his post in London, the American Minister, Charles Francis Adams, at a time of depression and bitterness wrote to Secretary of State Seward: "That Great Britain did, in the most terrible moment of our domestic trial in struggling with a monstrous social evil she had earnestly professed to abhor, coldly and at once assume our inability to master it, and then become the only foreign nation steadily contributing in every indirect way possible to verify its judgment, will probably be the verdict made against her by posterity, on calm comparison of

     "I think you need not trouble yourself about England. At this 
     moment opinion seems to have undergone a complete change, and 
     our people and indeed our Government is more moderately 
     disposed than I have ever before known it to be. I hear from 

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