It has been remarked by the American historian, Schouler, that immediately before the outbreak of the Civil War, diplomatic controversies between England and America had largely been settled, and that England, pressed from point to point, had "sullenly" yielded under American demands. This generalization, as applied to what were, after all, minor controversies, is in great measure true. In larger questions of policy, as regards spheres of influence or developing power, or principles of trade, there was difference, but no longer any essential opposition or declared rivalry[31]. In theories of government there was sharp divergence, clearly appreciated, however, only in governing-class Britain. This sense of divergence, even of a certain threat from America to British political institutions, united with an established opinion that slavery was permanently fixed in the United States to reinforce governmental indifference, sometimes even hostility, to America. The British public, also, was largely hopeless of any change in the institution of slavery, and its own active humanitarian interest was waning, though still dormant - not dead. Yet the two nations, to a degree not true of any other two world-powers, were of the same race, had similar basic laws, read the same books, and were held in close touch at many points by the steady flow of British emigration to the United States.

When, after the election of Lincoln to the Presidency, in November, 1860, the storm-clouds of civil strife rapidly gathered, the situation took both British Government and people by surprise. There was not any clear understanding either of American political conditions, or of the intensity of feeling now aroused over the question of the extension of slave territory. The most recent descriptions of America had agreed in assertion that at some future time there would take place, in all probability, a dissolution of the Union, on lines of diverging economic interests, but also stated that there was nothing in the American situation to indicate immediate progress in this direction. Grattan, a long-time resident in America as British Consul at Boston, wrote:

     "The day must no doubt come when clashing objects will break 
     the ties of common interest which now preserve the Union. But 
     no man may foretell the period of dissolution.... The many 
     restraining causes are out of sight of foreign observation. 
     The Lilliputian threads binding the man mountain are 
     invisible; and it seems wondrous that each limb does not act 
     for itself independently of its fellows. A closer examination 
     shows the nature of the network which keeps the members of 
     this association so tightly bound. Any attempt to untangle 
     the ties, more firmly fastens them. When any one State talks 
     of separation, the others become spontaneously knotted 
     together. When a section blusters about its particular 
     rights, the rest feel each of theirs to be common to all. If 
     a foreign nation hint at hostility, the whole Union becomes 
     in reality united. And thus in every contingency from which 
     there can be danger, there is also found the element of 
     safety." Yet, he added, "All attempts to strengthen this 
     federal government at the expense of the States' governments 
     must be futile.... The federal government exists on 
     sufferance only. Any State may at any time constitutionally 
     withdraw from the Union, and thus virtually dissolve it[32]."

Even more emphatically, though with less authority, wrote one Charles Mackay, styled by the American press as a "distinguished British poet," who made the usual rapid tour of the principal cities of America in 1857-58, and as rapidly penned his impressions:

     "Many persons in the United States talk of a dissolution of 
     the Union, but few believe in it.... All this is mere bravado 
     and empty talk. It means nothing. The Union is dear to all 
     Americans, whatever they may say to the contrary.... There is 
     no present danger to the Union, and the violent expressions 
     to which over-ardent politicians of the North and South 
     sometimes give vent have no real meaning. The 'Great West,' 
     as it is fondly called, is in the position even now to 
     arbitrate between North and South, should the quarrel stretch 
     beyond words, or should anti-slavery or any other question 
     succeed in throwing any difference between them which it 
     would take revolvers and rifles rather than speeches and 
     votes to put an end to[33]."

The slavery controversy in America had, in short, come to be regarded in England as a constant quarrel between North and South, but of no immediate danger to the Union. Each outbreak of violent American controversy produced a British comment sympathetic with the North. The turmoil preceding and following the election of Lincoln in 1860, on the platform of "no extension of slavery," was very generally noted by the British press and public, as a sign favourable to the cause of anti-slavery, but with no understanding that Southern threat would at last be realized in definite action. Herbert Spencer, in a letter of May 15, 1862, to his American friend, Yeomans, wrote, "As far as I had the means of judging, the feeling here was at first very decidedly on the side of the North[34] ..." The British metropolitan press, in nearly every issue of which for at least two years after December, 1860, there appeared news items and editorial comment on the American crisis, was at first nearly unanimous in condemning the South[35]. TheTimes, with accustomed vigour, led the field. On November 21, 1860, it stated:

     "When we read the speech of Mr. Lincoln on the subject of 
     Slavery and consider the extreme moderation of the sentiments 
     it expresses, the allowance that is made for the situation, 
     for the feelings, for the prejudices, of the South; when we 
     see how entirely he narrows his opposition to the single 
     point of the admission of Slavery into the Territories, we 
     cannot help being forcibly struck by the absurdity of 
     breaking up a vast and glorious confederacy like that of the 
     United States from the dread and anger inspired by the 
     election of such a man to the office of Chief Magistrate.... 
     We rejoice, on higher and surer grounds, that it [the 
     election] has ended in the return of Mr. Lincoln. We are glad 
     to think that the march of Slavery, and the domineering tone 
     which its advocates were beginning to assume over Freedom, 
     has been at length arrested and silenced. We rejoice that a 
     vast community of our own race has at length given an 
     authoritative expression to sentiments which are entertained 
     by everyone in this country. We trust to see the American 
     Government employed in tasks more worthy of a State founded 
     on the doctrines of liberty and equality than the invention 
     of shifts and devices to perpetuate servitude; and we hear in 
     this great protest of American freedom the tardy echo of 
     those humane doctrines to which England has so long become a 

Other leading journals, though with less of patronizing self-complacency, struck the same note as the Times. The Economist attributed Lincoln's election to a shift in the sympathies of the "lower orders" in the electorate who had now deserted their former leaders, the slave-owning aristocracy of the South, and allied themselves with the refined and wise leaders of the North. Lincoln, it argued, was not an extremist in any sense. His plan of action lay within the limits of statesmanlike moderation[36]. The Saturday Review was less sure that England should rejoice with the North. British self-esteem had suffered some hard blows at the hands of the Democratic party in America, but at least England knew where Democrats stood, and could count on no more discourtesy or injustice than that inflicted in the past. The Republican party, however, had no policy, except that of its leader, Seward, and from him might be expected extreme insolence[37]. This was a very early judgment of Seward, and one upon which the Saturday Reviewpreened itself later, as wholly justified. The Spectator, the only one of the four journals thus far considered which ultimately remained constant in advocacy of the Northern cause, was at first lukewarm in comment, regarding the 1860 election, while fought on the slavery issue, as in reality a mere contest between parties for political power[38].

Such was the initial attitude of the English press. Each press issue for several weeks harped on the same chord, though sounding varying notes. If the South really means forcible resistance, said the Times, it is doomed to quick suppression. "A few hundred thousand slave-owners, trembling nightly with visions of murder and pillage, backed by a dissolute population of 'poor whites,' are no match for the hardy and resolute populations of the Free States[39]," and if the South hoped for foreign aid it should be undeceived promptly: "Can any sane man believe that England and France will consent, as is now suggested, to stultify the policy of half a century for the sake of an extended cotton trade, and to purchase the favours of Charleston and Milledgeville by recognizing what has been called 'the isothermal law, which impels African labour toward the tropics' on the other side of the Atlantic[40]?" Moreover all Americans ought to understand clearly that British respect for the United States "was not due to the attitude of the South with its ruffian demonstrations in Congress.... All that is noble and venerable in the United States is associated with its Federal Constitution[41]."

Did the British public hold these same opinions? There is no direct evidence available in sufficient quantity in autobiography or letters upon which to base a conclusion. Such works are silent on the struggle in America for the first few months and presumably public opinion, less informed even than the press, received its impressions from the journals customarily read. Both at this period and all through the war, also, it should be remembered, clearly, that most newspapers, all the reviews, in fact nearly all vehicles of British expression, were in the early 'sixties "in the hands of the educated classes, and these educated classes corresponded closely with the privileged classes." The more democratic element of British Society lacked any adequate press representation of its opinions. "This body could express itself by such comparatively crude methods as public meetings and demonstrations, but it was hampered in literary and political expression[42]." The opinion of the press was then, presumably, the opinion of the majority of the educated British public.

Thus British comment on America took the form, at first of moralizations, now severe toward the South, now indifferent, yet very generally asserting the essential justice of the Northern position. But it was early evident that the newspapers, one and all, were quite unprepared for the determined front soon put up by South Carolina and other Southern States. Surprised by the violence of Southern declarations, the only explanation found by the British press was that political control had been seized by the uneducated and lawless element. The Times characterized this element of the South as in a state of deplorable ignorance comparable with that of the Irish peasantry, a "poor, proud, lazy, excitable and violent class, ever ready with knife and revolver[43]." The fate of the Union, according to the Saturday Review, was in the hands of the "most ignorant, most unscrupulous, and most lawless [class] in the world - the poor or mean whites of the Slave States[44]." Like judgments were expressed by the Economist and, more mildly, by the Spectator[45]. Subsequently some of these journals found difficulty in this connection, in swinging round the circle to expressions of admiration for the wise and powerful aristocracy of the South; but all, especially the Times, were skilled by long practice in the journalistic art of facing about while claiming perfect consistency. In denial of a Southern right of secession, also, they were nearly a unit[46], though the Saturday Review argued the case for the South, making a pointed parallel between the present situation and that of the American Colonies in seceding from England[47].

The quotations thus far made exhibit for the leading papers an initial confusion and ignorance difficult to harmonize with the theory of an "enlightened press." The Reviews, by the conditions of publication, came into action more slowly and during 1860 there appeared but one article, in the Edinburgh Review, giving any adequate idea of what was really taking place in America[48]. The lesser British papers generally followed the tone of the leading journals, but without either great interest or much acumen. In truth the depth of British newspaper ignorance, considering their positiveness of utterance, appears utterly astonishing if regarded from the view-point of modern historical knowledge. But is this, after all, a matter for surprise? Was there not equal confusion at least, possibly equal ignorance, in America itself, certainly among the press and people of the Northern States? They also had come by experience to discount Southern threats, and were slow to understand that the great conflict of ideals and interests was at last begun.

The British press both influenced and reflected educated class opinion, and, in some degree, official opinion as well. Lord John Russell at the Foreign Office and Lord Lyons, British Minister at Washington, were exchanging anxious letters, and the latter was sending home reports remarkable for their clear analysis of the American controversy. Yet even he was slow to appreciate the inevitability of secession.

Other officials, especially those in minor positions in the United States, showed a lack of grasp of the situation similar to that of the press. An amusing illustration of this, furnishing a far-fetched view of causes, is supplied in a letter of February 2, 1860, from Consul Bunch, at Charleston, S.C., to Lord Lyons, the British Minister at Washington[49]. Bunch wrote describing a dinner which had been given the evening before, by the Jockey Club of Charleston. Being called upon for a speech, he had alluded to the prizes of the Turf at home, and had referred especially to the Plates run for the various British colonies. Continuing, he said:

     "'... I cannot help calling your attention to the great loss 
     you yourselves have suffered by ceasing to be a Colonial 
     Dependency of Great Britain, as I am sure that if you had 
     continued to be so, the Queen would have had great pleasure 
     in sending you some Plates too.'

     "Of course this was meant for the broadest sort of joke, 
     calculated to raise a laugh after dinner, but to my 
     amazement, the company chose to take me literally, and 
     applauded for about ten minutes - in fact I could not go on 
     for some time."

Bunch evidently hardly knew what to make of this demonstration. He could with difficulty believe that South Carolina wished to be re-annexed as a colony of Great Britain, and comments upon the episode in a somewhat humorous vein. Nevertheless in concluding his letter, he solemnly assures Lord Lyons that

     "... The Jockey Club is composed of the 'best people' of 
     South Carolina - rich planters and the like. It represents, 
     therefore, the 'gentlemanly interest' and not a bit of 
     universal suffrage."

It would be idle to assume that either in South Carolina or in England there was, in February, 1860, any serious thought of a resumption of colonial relations, though W.H. Russell, correspondent of the Times, reported in the spring, 1861, that he frequently heard the same sentiment in the South[50]. For general official England, as for the press, the truth is that up to the time of the secession of South Carolina no one really believed that a final rupture was about to take place between North and South. When, on December 20, 1860, that State in solemn convention declared the dissolution "of the Union now existing between South Carolina and the other States, under the name of the 'United States of America,'" and when it was understood that other Southern States would soon follow this example, British opinion believed and hoped that the rupture would be accomplished peaceably. Until it became clear that war would ensue, the South was still damned by the press as seeking the preservation of an evil institution. Slavery was even more vigorously asserted as the ignoble and sole cause. In the number for April, 1861, the Edinburgh Review attributed the whole difficulty to slavery, asserted that British sympathy would be with the anti-slavery party, yet advanced the theory that the very dissolution of the Union would hasten the ultimate extinction of slavery since economic competition with a neighbouring free state, the North, would compel the South itself to abandon its beloved "domestic institution[51]."

Upon receipt of the news from South Carolina, the Times, in a long and carefully worded editorial, took up one by one the alleged causes of secession, dismissed them as inadequate, and concluded, "... we cannot disguise from ourselves that, apart from all political complications, there is a right and a wrong in this question, and that the right belongs, with all its advantages, to the States of the North[52]." Three days later it asserted, "The North is for freedom of discussion, the South represses freedom of discussion with the tar-brush and the pine-fagot." And again, on January 10, "The Southern States expected sympathy for their undertaking from the public opinion of this country. The tone of the press has already done much to undeceive them...."

In general both the metropolitan and the provincial press expressed similar sentiments, though there were exceptions. The Dublin News published with approval a long communication addressed to Irishmen at home and abroad: "... there is no power on earth or in heaven which can keep in peace this unholy co-partnership.... I hope ... that the North will quietly permit the South to retire from the confederacy and bear alone the odium of all mankind[53]...." The Saturday Review thought that deeper than declared differences lay the ruling social structure of the South which now visioned a re-opening of the African Slave Trade, and the occupation by slavery of the whole southern portion of North America. "A more ignoble basis for a great Confederacy it is impossible to conceive, nor one in the long run more precarious.... Assuredly it will be the Northern Confederacy, based on principles of freedom, with a policy untainted by crime, with a free working-class of white men, that will be the one to go on and prosper and become the leader of the New World[54]." The London Chronicle was vigorous in denunciation. "No country on the globe produces a blackguardism, a cowardice or a treachery, so consummate as that of the negro-driving States of the new Southern Confederacy" - a bit of editorial blackguardism in itself[55]. The London Review more moderately stigmatized slavery as the cause, but was lukewarm in praise of Northern idealisms, regarding the whole matter as one of diverging economic systems and in any case as inevitably resulting in dissolution of the Union at some time. The inevitable might as well come now as later and would result in benefit to both sections as well as to the world fearing the monstrous empire of power that had grown up in America[56].

The great bulk of early expressions by the British press was, in truth, definitely antagonistic to the South, and this was particularly true of the provincial press. Garrison's Liberator, advocating extreme abolition action, had long made a practice of presenting excerpts from British newspapers, speeches and sermons in support of its cause. In 1860 there were thirty-nine such citations; in the first months of 1861 many more, all condemning slavery and the South. For the most part these citations represented a comparatively unknown and uninfluential section, both in politics and literature, of the British people. Matthew Arnold was among the first of men of letters to record his faith that secession was final and, as he hoped, an excellent thing for the North, looking to the purity of race and the opportunity for unhampered advance[57]. If English writers were in any way influenced by their correspondents in the United States they may, indeed, have well been in doubt as to the origin and prospects of the American quarrel. Hawthorne, but recently at home again after seven years' consulship in England, was writing that abolition was not a Northern object in the war just begun. Whittier wrote to his English friends that slavery, and slavery alone, was the basic issue[58]. But literary Britain was slow to express itself save in the Reviews. These, representing varying shades of British upper-class opinion and presenting articles presumably more profound than the newspaper editorials, frequently offered more recondite origins of the American crisis. The Quarterly Review, organ of extreme Conservatism, in its first article, dwelt upon the failure of democratic institutions, a topic not here treated at length since it will be dealt with in a separate chapter as deserving special study. The Quarterly is also the first to advance the argument that the protective tariff, advocated by the North, was a real cause for Southern secession[59]; an idea made much of later, by the elements unfriendly to the North, but not hitherto advanced. In these first issues of the Reviews for 1861, there was frequently put forth the "Southern gentlemen" theory.

     "At a distance of three thousand miles, the Southern planters 
     did, indeed, bear a resemblance to the English country 
     gentleman which led to a feeling of kinship and sympathy with 
     him on the part of those in England who represented the old 
     traditions of landed gentility. This 'Southern gentleman' 
     theory, containing as it did an undeniable element of truth, 
     is much harped upon by certain of the reviewers, and one can 
     easily conceive of its popularity in the London Clubs.... The 
     'American,' so familiar to British readers, during the first 
     half of the century, through the eyes of such travellers as 
     Mrs. Trollope, now becomes the 'Yankee,' and is located north 
     of Mason and Dixon's line[60]."

Such portrayal was not characteristic of all Reviews, rather of the Tory organs alone, and the Radical Westminster took pains to deny the truth of the picture, asserting again and again that the vital and sole cause of the conflict was slavery. Previous articles are summed up in that of October, 1863, as a profession of the Westminster's opinion throughout: "... the South are fighting for liberty to found a Slave Power. Should it prove successful, truer devil's work, if we may use the metaphor, will rarely have been done[61]."

Fortunate would it have been for the Northern cause, if British opinion generally sympathetic at first on anti-slavery grounds, had not soon found cause to doubt the just basis of its sympathy, from the trend of events in America. Lincoln had been elected on a platform opposing the further territorial expansion of slavery. On that point the North was fairly well united. But the great majority of those who voted for Lincoln would have indignantly repudiated any purpose to take active steps toward the extinction of slavery where it already existed. Lincoln understood this perfectly, and whatever his opinion about the ultimate fate of slavery if prohibited expansion, he from the first took the ground that the terms of his election constituted a mandate limiting his action. As secession developed he rightly centred his thought and effort on the preservation of the Union, a duty imposed by his election to the Presidency.

Naturally, as the crisis developed, there were many efforts at still another great compromise. Among the friends of the outgoing President, Buchanan, whose term of office would not expire until March 4, 1861, there were still some Southern leaders, like Jefferson Davis, seeking either a complete surrender to Southern will, or advantages for Southern security in case secession was accomplished. Buchanan appealed hysterically to the old-time love of the Union and to the spirit of compromise. Great congressional committees of both Senate and House of Representatives were formed seeking a solution. Crittenden for the border states between North and South, where, more than anywhere else, there was division of opinion, proposed pledges to be given to the South. Seward, long-time champion of the anti-slavery North, was active in the Senate in suggestion and intrigue seemingly intended to conciliate by concessions. Charles Francis Adams, early a Free Soiler, in the House of Representatives Committee conducted his Republican colleagues along a path apparently leading to a guarantee of slavery as then established[62]. A constitutional amendment was drafted to this effect and received Lincoln's preliminary approval. Finally Lincoln, in his inaugural address, March 4, 1861, declared:

     "I have no purpose, directly or indirectly to interfere with 
     the institution of slavery in the States where it exists. I 
     believe I have no lawful right to do so, and I have no 
     inclination to do so."

It should be no matter for surprise, therefore, that, as these efforts were observed in Great Britain, a note of uncertainty began to replace the earlier unanimity of opinion that the future of slavery was at stake in America. This offered an easy excuse for a switch-about of sympathy as British commercial and other interests began to be developed, and even dismayed the ardent friends of the anti-slavery North. Meanwhile the Government of Great Britain, from the very first appearance of the cloud of civil war, had focused its attention on the point of what the events in America portended to British interests and policy. This is the business of governments, and their agents would be condemned as inefficient did they neglect it. But did British governmental policy go beyond this entirely justifiable first thought for immediate British interests to the point of positive hope that England would find an advantage in the breaking up of the great American Republic? American opinion, both then and later, believed Great Britain guilty of this offence, but such criticism was tinged with the passions of the Civil War. Yet a more impartial critic, though possibly an unfriendly one because of his official position, made emphatic declaration to like effect. On January 1, 1861, Baron de Brunow, Russian Ambassador at London, reported to St. Petersburg that, "the English Government, at the bottom of its heart, desires the separation of North America into two republics, which will watch each other jealously and counterbalance one the other. Then England, on terms of peace and commerce with both, would have nothing to fear from either; for she would dominate them, restraining them by their rival ambitions[63]."

If, however, one turns from the surmises of foreign diplomats as to the springs of British policy, to the more authentic evidence of official and private diplomatic correspondence, there is found no proof for such accusations. Certainty neither Lord John Russell, Foreign Secretary, nor Lord Lyons, British Minister at Washington, reveal any animus against the United States. Considering his many personal ties with leaders of both factions Lyons, from the first, reported events with wonderful impartiality, and great clarity. On November 12, 1860, he sent to Russell a full description of the clamour raised in the South over the election of Lincoln, enumerated the resignation of Federal officials (calling these "ill-judged measures"), and expressed the opinion that Lincoln was no Radical. He hoped the storm would blow over without damage to the Union[64]. Russell, for his part, was prompt to instruct Lyons and the British consuls not "to seem to favour one party rather than the other," and not to express opinions or to give advice, unless asked for by the State Governments, in which case the advice should be against all violent action as tending toward civil war[65].

This bare statement may indeed be interpreted as indicating an eager readiness on Russell's part to accept as final the dissolution of the Union, but such an interpretation is not borne out by a reading of his instructions. Rather he was perplexed, and anxious that British agents should not gain the ill-will of either American faction, an ill-will that would be alike detrimental in the future, whether the Union remained unbroken or was destroyed.

Strict instructions against offering advice are therefore repeated frequently[66]. Meanwhile the first concrete problem requiring British action came from the seizure by South Carolina of the Federal customs house at the port of Charleston, and the attempt of the State authorities to collect port dues customarily paid to Federal officials. British shipowners appealed to Consul Bunch for instructions, he to Lyons, and the latter to the American Secretary of State, Judge Black. This was on December 31, 1860, while Buchanan was still President, and Black's answer was evasive, though asserting that the United States must technically regard the events in South Carolina as acts of violent rebellion[67]. Black refused to state what action would be taken if Bunch advised British shipowners to pay, but a way out of the embarrassment was found by advising such payment to State authorities "under protest" as done "under compulsion." To one of his letters to Bunch on this topic, Lyons appended an expression indicative of his own early attitude. "The domestic slavery of the South is a bitter pill which it will be hard enough to get the English to swallow. But if the Slave Trade is to be added to the dose, the least squeamish British stomach will reject it[68]."

Nevertheless the vigorous action of South Carolina, soon followed by other Southern States, made a deep impression on Russell, especially when compared with the uncertainty and irresolution manifested in the attempted compromise measures of Northern statesmen. In a private letter to Lyons, January 10, 1861, he wrote "I do not see how the United States can be cobbled together again by any compromise.... I cannot see any mode of reconciling such parties as these. The best thing now would be that the right to secede should be acknowledged.... I hope sensible men will take this view.... But above all I hope no force will be used[69]." And again twelve days later, "I suppose the break-up of the Union is now inevitable[70]." To Russell, as to most foreign observers, it seemed that if the South with its great wealth, its enormous extent of territory, and its five and one-half millions of population, were determined to leave the Union, no force whatever could compel a return. History failed to record any revolution on so large a scale which had not succeeded. His desire, therefore, was that the North would yield to the inevitable, and would not plunge into a useless civil war disastrous alike to the prosperity of America and of foreign nations. Russell's first hope was that the South would forgo secession; his second, this accomplished, that there would be no war, and in this sense he instructed Lyons. The latter, less expectant of peaceful separation, and more aware of the latent power of the North, maintained throughout his entire service at Washington that there was at least a chance that the North could subdue the South by might of arms[71], but he also, looking to British interests, saw his early duty, before war broke, in cautious suggestions against forcible Northern action. Thus from January to March, 1861, British effort and indirect advice were based on the hope that British trade interests might escape the tribulations inevitable from a civil conflict in America. Beyond that point there was no grasp of the complications likely to arise in case of war, and no clear formulation of British policy[72].

In fact up to the middle of March, 1861, both public and official British opinion discounted armed conflict, or at least any determined Northern effort to recover the South. Early British attitude was, therefore, based on a misconception. As this became clear, public opinion began to break from a united humanitarian pro-Northern sentiment and to show, in some quarters, quite another face. Even as early as January the Economist expressed wonder that the Northern States had not availed themselves gladly of the chance to "shake off such an incubus, and to purify themselves of such a stain[73]." and a month later professed to believe that Great Britain would willingly permit the North to secure compensation for loss of territory by annexing Canada - provided the Canadians themselves desired it. This, it was argued, would directly benefit England herself by cutting down military expenditures[74]. The London Press indulged in similar speculation, though from the angle of a Canadian annexation of the Northern States, whose more sober citizens must by now be weary of the sham of American democracy, and disgusted with the rowdyism of political elections, which "combine the morals of a horse race, the manners of a dog fight, the passions of a tap-room, and the emotions of a gambling house[75]." Probably such suggestions had little real purpose or meaning at the moment, but it is interesting that this idea of a "compensation" in Canada should have been voiced thus early. Even in the United States the same thought had occurred to a few political leaders. Charles Sumner held it, though too wise, politically, to advance it in the face of the growing Northern determination to preserve the Union. It lay at the bottom of his increasing bitterness toward his old friend Charles Francis Adams, now busy in schemes intended, apparently, to restore the Union by compromise, and it led Sumner to hope for appointment as Minister to England[76].

The chief organ of British upper-class opinion, the Times, was one of the first to begin the process of "face about," as civil war in America seemed imminent[77]. Viewed from the later attitude of the Times, the earlier expressions of that paper, and in truth of many British journals, seem merely the customary platitudinous British holding up of horrified hands at American slavery. On January 19, 1861, a strong editorial still proclaimed the folly of South Carolina, as acting "without law, without justice," but displayed a real dismay at the possible consequences of war to British trade and commerce. On January 22, theTimes reprinted an article from the Economist, on a probable cessation of cotton supply and editorially professed great alarm, even advocating an early recognition of the Southern confederacy if needed to maintain that supply. From this time on there is no further note in the Times of the righteousness of the Northern cause; but while it is still asserted that war would be folly, the strength of the South, its superiority as a military nation, are depicted.

A long break of nearly six weeks follows with little editorial comment. Soon the correspondence from New York, previously written by Bancroft Davis, and extremely favourable to the Northern cause, was discontinued. W.H. Russell, the famous war correspondent of the Crimea, was summoned to London and, according to his own story, upon being given papers, clippings, and correspondence (largely articles from the New York Herald) supporting the right of the South to secede, hastily took his departure for America to report upon the situation[78]. He sailed from Queenstown on March 3, and arrived in New York on March 16. At last on March 12, the Times took positive ground in favour of the justice of the Southern cause.

     "No treachery has been at work to produce the disruption, and 
     the principles avowed are such as to command the sympathies 
     of every free and enlightened people. Such are the widely 
     different auspices under which the two rival Republics start 
     into existence. But mankind will not ultimately judge these 
     things by sympathies and antipathies; they will be greatly 
     swayed by their own interest, and the two Republics must be 
     weighed, not by their professions or their previous history, 
     but by the conduct they pursue and the position they maintain 
     among the Powers of the earth. Their internal institutions 
     are their own affair; their financial and political 
     arrangements are emphatically ours. Brazil is a slave-holding 
     Empire, but by its good faith and good conduct it has 
     contrived to establish for itself a place in the hierarchy of 
     nations far superior to that of many Powers which are free 
     from this domestic contamination. If the Northern Confederacy 
     of America evinces a determination to act in a narrow, 
     exclusive, and unsocial spirit, while its Southern 
     competitor extends the hand of good fellowship to all 
     mankind, with the exception of its own bondsmen, we must not 
     be surprised to see the North, in spite of the goodness of 
     its cause and the great negative merit of the absence of 
     Slavery, sink into a secondary position, and lose the 
     sympathy and regard of mankind."

This to Northern view, was a sad relapse from that high moral tone earlier addressed to the South notifying slave-holders that England would not "stultify the policy of half a century for the sake of an extended cotton trade[79]."

The Economist, with more consistency, still reported the violence and recklessness of the South, yet in logical argument proved to its own satisfaction the impossibility of Northern reconquest, and urged a peaceful separation[80]. The Spectator, even though pro-Northern, had at first small hope of reunion by force, and offered consolation in the thought that there would still remain a United States of America "strong, powerful and free; all the stronger for the loss of the Black South[81]." In short from all quarters the public press, whatever its sympathy, united in decrying war as a useless effort doomed to failure if undertaken in the hope of restoring the Union. Such public opinion, however, was not necessarily governmental opinion. The latter was indeed more slow to make up its mind and more considerate in expressing itself. When it became clear that in all probability the North would fight, there was still no conception, any more than in the United States itself, of the duration and intensity of the conflict. Indeed, Russell yet hoped, as late as the end of January, that no protracted war would occur. Nevertheless he was compelled to face the situation in its relation to British commerce.

On February 16, Russell addressed Lyons on that aspect of possible war which would at once call for a determination of British policy. "Above all things," he wrote, "endeavour to prevent a blockade of the Southern coast. It would produce misery, discord, and enmity incalculable[82]." Within a week Forster, a thorough friend of the North throughout the whole war, was interrogating the Ministry in the House of Commons in regard to the situation at Charleston, and expressing the hope that England would not in any way attempt to interfere[83]. This was the first reference in Parliament, its sittings but just renewed after the long vacation, to the American conflict, but British commercial interests were being forced to a keener attention, and already men in many circles were asking themselves what should be the proper governmental attitude; how soon this new Southern Confederacy could justly claim European recognition; how far and how fast European governments ought to go in acknowledging such a claim; what ought to be the proper policy and position of a neutral power; whether, indeed, a declaration of neutrality ought to be issued.

With these questions rapidly coming to the front, it became important for British statesmen to know something about the leaders in this new Southern movement, the attitude of the people in general, and the purposes of the new Government. Here, unfortunately, Lord Lyons could be no guide. The consuls in the South, however, were in a position to give their impressions. On February 28, 1861, Bunch wrote to Russell, describing the election of Davis and Stephens[84], to the Presidency and Vice-Presidency of the Confederacy, and giving a personal characterization of many members of the Government. He was rather caustic. Davis, he said, was the only able man, and he, unfortunately, was a confirmed "manifest destiny" leader, so much so in fact that Bunch prophesied a renewal of filibustering when once the North had acquiesced in a Southern State and the fear of the North had passed. Bunch had no faith in any future greatness of the South, asserting that it would be a State despised among nations for its maintenance of slavery, and that it could not hope for any encouragement or sympathy from the humane nations of Europe; in fact, his entire characterization was wholly damning to the South. Yet it is to be noted that he never for a moment questioned that the South had already actually established its independence. This he seems to take for granted. Thus again, and from another quarter, there was presented the double difficulty of England in regard to the Civil War - the difficulty of reconciling sentiments of humanity long preached by Great Britain, with her commercial interests and her certainty that a new State was being born.

For men in the Northern Government Lyons was in a position to report, but up to the end of January he had not written in any great detail with regard to the new administration and its make-up, though on January 7, he had informed Russell that Seward would be the Secretary of State and had expressed the fear that with regard to Great Britain he would be "a dangerous Foreign Minister[85]." Lincoln was still in Illinois and the constituency of the Cabinet was yet uncertain, but Seward's voice was sure to be a powerful one. Occasionally Lyons found some opportunity to talk with him. On February 4, 1861, in an official letter to Russell, Lyons reported at length an interview with Seward, in which the latter had expressed his extreme confidence that the trouble in America was but superficial and that union sentiment in the South would soon prevail[86]. In a private letter of the same date, however, Lyons asserted that Seward was indeed likely to be a very dangerous Secretary of State. He had told Lyons that if European governments interfered to protect their commerce, he could unite America by a foreign war in order to resist such interference[87]. Again, on February 12, while himself expressing hope that a solution might be found for the difficulties in America, Lyons warned Russell that there were those who would solve these difficulties by a foreign war, especially if foreign governments refused to acknowledge a United States declaration without formal blockade closing the Southern ports[88]. Writing privately, Lyons exhibited great anxiety in regard to Seward's attitude and suggested that the best safeguard would be close union by England and France, for if these two governments took exactly the same stand in regard to trade, Seward would hardly dare to carry out his threat[89].

Lyons' letter of February 4 called out from Russell an instruction in which it was repeated that advice to either party should be withheld and a strictly neutral attitude maintained, and Russell concluded by an assertion that if the United States attempted a jingo policy toward England, the British Cabinet would be tolerant because of its feeling of strength but that "blustering demonstrations" must not be carried too far[90]. Even as early as December, 1860, Russell had foreseen the possibility of what he considered a mere jingo policy for home effect in America. Now, however, upon the repeated expression of fears from Lyons that this might be more than mere "bunkum," Russell began to instruct Lyons not to permit English dignity to be infringed, while at the same time desiring him to be cautious against stirring American antagonism. Lyons' earlier disquietude seems, indeed, to have passed away for a time, and on February 26 he wrote that everyone was waiting to see what Lincoln would do when inaugurated, that there was still hope of compromise, and that in his own view this was still possible. In this letter the tone is more important than the matter, and so far as Lyons is concerned the tone is all distinctly hopeful, all favourable to a resumption of normal relations between the North and South. He at least had no hope of disruption, and no happiness in it[91].

Before this communication could reach England Russell had thoroughly awakened to the seriousness of the American situation in relation to British foreign trade. On March 9, writing privately to Lyons, he stated, "I hope you are getting on well with the new President. If he blockades the Southern ports we shall be in a difficulty. But according to all American doctrine it must be an actual blockade kept up by an efficient force[92]." Thus, before any act had really occurred in America, the matter of a blockade was occupying the attention of British statesmen. One difficulty at the time was that there was no one in England qualified to speak for the new administration at Washington. Dallas, the American Minister appointed under the Buchanan administration, while, unlike some other diplomatic representatives abroad, faithful to the cause of the United States, was nevertheless not wholly trusted by Lincoln or by Seward, and was thus handicapped in representing to Russell American conditions or intentions. Indeed he had very little communication with Russell. Adams' nomination to England was known to Lyons on March 20, for on that day he telegraphed to Russell, "Mr. Charles Francis Adams, of Massachusetts, is appointed Minister in London. I think it a very good appointment[93]." This news was received in London on April 2, but over six weeks were yet to elapse before Adams reached his post. The appointment of Adams, however, seemed to Lyons a matter of congratulation in his hope that no vicious anti-British policy would be indulged in by Seward. Ten days after his telegram, he wrote at length to Russell, making an excellent statement and analysis in regard to the character of Adams.

     "Mr. Adams is son of John Quincy Adams, the fifth P. of the 
     U.S., and grandson of John Adams, the second P. The 
     grandfather was the first Am. minister in England. The father 
     was one of the Plenipotentiaries who signed in London the 
     Convention of the 3rd July, 1815. Mr. Adams as a member of 
     the H. of R. for one of the districts of Mass., acted with 
     the less violent section of the 'Republican' Party. During 
     the last session of Congress he made a very remarkable 
     speech on the state of the Union, denying the reasonableness 
     of the complaints of the Southern States, but stating his 
     desire that every concession not inconsistent with honour and 
     principle should be made to them. He is considered to be a 
     man of great independence of character, and has the 
     reputation of being very tenacious of his own opinions. In 
     manner he is quiet and unassuming. He is a man of good 
     fortune. Mrs. Adams comes of a considerable family in Mass., 
     of the name of Brooks. The late wife of Mr. Edward Everett, 
     who, as your L. is aware, has held the offices of Minister in 
     London and Secretary of State, was her sister[94]."

Similar characterizations were being forwarded at almost the same time by Bunch in regard to the Southern Commissioners, now being despatched to London, but they were not so favourable. Mann, wrote Bunch, was the son of a "bankrupt grocer." His personal character was "not good," yet he alone of the three Commissioners appointed had had diplomatic experience. Yancey, it was stated, was an able lawyer, a stirring orator, and a recognized leader of the secession movement, but he was also extremely pro-slavery in his views, had expressed himself in favour of a renewal of the slave trade, and throughout his career had been a "manifest destiny" man. Of Rost, Bunch had no knowledge. In conclusion Bunch described the extreme confidence expressed in the South in "King Cotton," and in rather bitter criticism stated that the Southern Commissioners thought even England, the foe of slavery, would now be compelled to bend the knee and recognize the South in order to get cotton[95].

The Northern British Consuls on the other hand took an astonishingly pro-Northern view of the whole situation. Archibald, consul at New York, wrote to Russell soon after the fall of Sumter, an exceedingly strong statement of his faith in the power of the North and its fixed and unalterable determination to force the South back into the Union, his confidence in Northern success, and his belief in the justice of the Northern cause. He ventured to suggest the proper policy for England to pursue, viz., to offer immediately her services in mediation but wholly and clearly on the side of the North. He stated that if England did not feel free to offer mediation, she should at least show "such a consistent and effective demonstration of sympathy and aid" for the North as would help in shortening the war[96]. The British Consul at Boston wrote to Russell in much the same vein. So far, indeed, did these men go in expressing their sympathy with the North, that Lyons, on April 27, commented to Russell that these consuls had "taken the Northern War Fever," and that he had mildly reproved Archibald[97].

With the inauguration of Lincoln on March 4, and the installation of Seward as Secretary of State, it was possible for Lyons to become more active in his efforts to prevent a disruption of British Trade. On March 20 he told Seward in a confidential conversation:

     "... If the United States determined to stop by force so 
     important a commerce as that of Great Britain with the 
     cotton-growing States, I could not answer for what 
     might happen.

     "... It was, however, a matter of the greatest consequence to 
     England to procure cheap cotton. If a considerable rise were 
     to take place in the price of cotton, and British ships were 
     to be at the same time excluded from the Southern Ports, an 
     immense pressure would be put upon Her Majesty's Government 
     to use all the means in their power to open those ports. If 
     Her Majesty's Government felt it to be their duty to do so, 
     they would naturally endeavour to effect their object in a 
     manner as consistent as possible, first with their friendly 
     feelings towards both Sections of this Country, and secondly 
     with the recognized principles of International Law. As 
     regards the latter point in particular, it certainly appeared 
     that the most simple, if not the only way, would be to 
     recognize the Southern Confederacy[98]."

This was plain speaking, and Lyons' threat of recognizing the South did not at the moment stir Seward to any retort. But five days later, on March 25, Lyons gave a dinner to Seward and a number of the foreign Ministers, and there Seward's violent talk about seizing any and all ships that tried to trade with the South, even if there was no blockade, made Lyons very anxious. As a host he diverted the conversation lest it become too acrimonious, but he himself told Seward

     "... that it was really a matter so very serious that I was 
     unwilling to discuss it; that his plan seemed to me to amount 
     in fact to a paper blockade of the enormous extent of coast 
     comprised in the seceding States; that the calling it an 
     enforcement of the Revenue Laws appeared to me to increase 
     the gravity of the measure, for it placed Foreign Powers in 
     the dilemma of recognizing the Southern Confederation or of 
     submitting to the interruption of their commerce[99]."

Lyons' advice to Russell was that no rebuff should be given the Southern Commissioners when they arrived in London, but that they be treated well. This, he thought, might open Seward's eyes to his folly. Still Lyons did not yet fully believe that Seward would be so vigorous as his language seemed to imply, and on March 29 he wrote that "prudent counsels" were in the ascendant, that there would be no interference with trade "at present," and that a quieter tone was everywhere perceptible in Washington[100].

From the point of view of the British Minister at Washington, the danger spot in relations between the United States and Great Britain lay in this matter of interference with trade to Southern ports. Naturally, and as in duty bound, he sought to preserve that trade. At first, indeed, he seems to have thought that even though a civil war really ensued the trade might continue uninterrupted. Certainly he bore hard and constantly on this one point, seeking to influence not only officials at Washington but the public press. Thus, in a letter to Bunch dated April 12, 1861, at a time when he knew that W.H. Russell, the Timescorrespondent, would shortly appear in Charleston, he instructed Bunch to remember that in talking to Russell he must especially impress him with the idea that any interruption of trade might and probably would result in a British recognition of the South. Lyons wrote, "... the only chance, if chance there still be of preventing an interruption of the English commerce with the S. is the fear entertained here, that it would lead to our recognizing the S.C.[101]" In these words is revealed, however, as in other communications from Lyons, the fact that he was striving to prevent an interruption of trade rather than that he was convinced such interruption ought to result in a British recognition of the South. Indeed, as will be seen, when the blockade was at last declared, Lyons thought it no cause for recognition and was most tolerant of its early ineffectiveness.

While Lyons was thus keeping in close touch with Seward, the relations between England and America at London were exceedingly meagre. All that the American Minister Dallas knew of Russell's intentions is summed up in his despatches to Seward of March 22 and April 9, 1861[102]. On the former date, he gave an account of an interview with Russell in which the latter simply refused to pledge himself against a recognition of the Confederacy; in the latter, presenting a long memorial written by Seward to all of the larger European Governments arguing in friendly spirit the cause of the North, Dallas reported that he drew from Russell merely a general expression of England's kindly feeling towards the United States and her hope that there might still be a peaceful solution. Russell again refused to make any pledge in regard to English policy. In this interview it was tacitly agreed that it would be better for Great Britain to await Adams' arrival before taking any definite action, or so at least Dallas understood Russell - though the latter later denied that any pledge of delay was given. There is no doubt, however, that in Russell's mind, whatever he might say to Dallas, the separation in America was an accomplished fact and the hope of Great Britain was centred upon the idea of a peaceful separation.

Up to and including April 1, indeed, Lyons had been reporting that no definite stand was yet being taken by the American Government. At the same time Russell was continuing his instructions to Lyons to recommend conciliation "but never to obtrude advice unasked[103]." Yet Russell was not wholly undisturbed by the reports of Seward's quarrelsome attitude, for in a private letter of the same date as the preceding, he wrote to Lyons, "I rely upon your wisdom, patience, and prudence, to steer us through the dangers of this crisis. If it can possibly be helped Mr. Seward must not be allowed to get us into a quarrel. I shall see the Southerners when they come, but not officially, and keep them at a proper distance[104]." It is an interesting query, whether this fear thus expressed of Seward's temper was not of distinct benefit to the United States at the moment when the Southern Commissioners arrived in England. The inference would seem to be clear, that in spite of Lyons' advice to treat them well, the effect upon Russell of Seward's attitude was to treat them coolly. Russell was indeed distinctly worried by Seward's unfriendly attitude.

In the meantime the British press and public, while still uncertain and divided as to the merits of the conflict were now substantially a unit in accepting separation as final. The Times, with judicial ponderosity declared: "The new nationality has been brought forth after a very short period of gestation.... and the Seceding States have now constituted themselves a nation[105] ..." At the other end of the scale in newspaper "tone," the London Press jeered at the Northern American eagle as having "had his tail pulled out and his wings clipped - yet the meek bird now holds out his claws to be pared, with a resignation that would be degrading in the most henpecked of domestic fowls[106]." Having now veered about to expressions of confidence in the permanency of the Southern Confederacy the Times was also compelled to alter its opinion of Southern Statesmen. An editorial gave high praise to the Confederate Congress sitting at Montgomery, stated its personnel to be far superior to that of the Congress at Washington, yet was unable to resist making the customary reference to manners traditionally American;

     "With regard to the Congress itself, we cannot refrain from 
     quoting the naive testimony of a visitor in its favour. 
     'Gentlemen here [Montgomery] who have spent much time in 
     Washington city declare that they have never witnessed such 
     industry, care, propriety, courtesy, and pleasant 
     Congressional action. Not one member has appeared in his 
     seat under the influence of liquors or wines
, not a harsh 
     word has been uttered in debate, and all exhibit the most 
     unflagging energy and determination[107].'"

The most of the British press quickly followed the lead of the Times, forgot its previous dictum that the South was in the control of "ignorant ruffians," and dilated upon the statemanlike directness and sagacity of Southern leaders as contrasted with the stupidity of the North, displayed in its tariff policy[108]. A few journals thought that the North might eventually win in a prolonged struggle but that such a victory would be disastrous to the principles of federalism[109], and, in any case, that this civil war was one without "a noble cause to sustain either side[110]." By May nearly all the older journals were aligned on the right of the South to secede, and on the fact of a successful secession, though still differing as to the basic causes and essential justice involved. In this same month, however, there emerged a few vigorous champions of the Northern cause and prospects. In April the Spectator agreed that the Great Republic was at an end[111]; in May it urged the North to fight it out with hope, asserting a chance of ultimate victory because of superior resources and the sympathy of all European nations[112]. A small newspaper of limited circulation, the Morning Star, organ of John Bright, had from the first championed the Northern cause. Now, as the armed conflict broke in America, it was joined by a more important paper, the Daily News, which set itself the task of controverting the Times. Moreover the Daily News was all the more influential in that it was not uncritical of the North, yet consistently, throughout the war, expressed sympathy for the cause and principles behind the efforts of the Northern Government. Selling for a low price, twopence-halfpenny, the Daily News, like the Westminster among the Reviews, appealed to a broader and more popular constituency than the older publications, especially to a constituency not yet vocal, since still unrepresented, in Parliament[113].

The Daily News was fortunate in having, after 1862, the best-informed New York correspondent writing to the London press. This was an Irishman, E.L. Godkin, who, both at home and in America, was the intimate friend of literary men, and himself, later, a great moulder of public opinion[114]. Harriet Martineau further aided the Daily News by contributing pro-Northern articles, and was a power in Radical circles[115]. But literary England in general, was slow to express itself with conviction, though Robert Browning, by April, 1861, was firmly determined in his pro-Northern sentiment. In August he was writing in letters of the "good cause[116]." But Browning was a rare exception and it was not until the Civil War had been under way for many months that men of talent in the non-political world were drawn to make comment or to take sides. Their influence at the outset was negligible[117].

In spite of press utterances, or literary silence, alike indicative of a widespread conviction that Southern independence was assured, there still remained both in those circles where anti-slavery sentiment was strong, and in others more neutral in sympathy, a distaste for the newly-born State as the embodiment of a degrading institution. Lincoln's inaugural address denying an intention to interfere with slavery was a weapon for the friends of the South, but it could not wholly still that issue. Even in the Times, through the medium of W.H. Russell's descriptive letters, there appeared caustic criticisms. He wrote in his "Diary," "I declare that to me the more orderly, methodical, and perfect the arrangements for economizing slave labour ... are, the more hateful and odious does slavery become[118]," and in his letter of May 8, from Montgomery, having witnessed an auction sale of slaves he stated:

     "I am neither sentimentalist nor Black Republican, nor negro 
     worshipper, but I confess the sight caused a strange thrill 
     through my heart. I tried in vain to make myself familiar 
     with the fact that I could, for the sum of $975, become as 
     absolutely the owner of that mass of blood, bones, sinew, 
     flesh and brains as of the horse which stood by my side. 
     There was no sophistry which could persuade me the man was 
     not a man - he was, indeed, by no means my brother, but 
     assuredly he was a fellow creature[119]."

This was hard printing for the Times, in its new advocacy of the South, and Russell's description was made much of by the Westminster Review and other publications that soon began to sound again the "issue" of slavery[120]. Yet the Westminster itself in the same article decried the folly of the Northern attempt at reconquest. So also thought even John Bright at the moment, when expressing himself privately to friends in America[121].

Slavery, then, still remained an issue before the British public, but of what use was it to upbraid the South, if a new world State were in fact born? And if a State in power, why not give it prompt recognition? The extreme British anti-slavery opponents feared that this was just what the Government was inclined to do, and with promptness. Here and there meetings were hurriedly called to protest against recognition[122]. This fear was unfounded. Neither in London nor at Washington was there any official inclination to hasten recognition. Lyons had held up to Seward the logic of such action, if British trade were illegally interfered with. By April 9 Lyons was aware that the so-called Radical Party in the Cabinet would probably have its way, that conciliation would no longer be attempted, and that a coercive policy toward the South was soon to follow. On that date he wrote to Russell stating that people in Washington seemed so convinced that Europe would not interfere to protect its trade that they were willing to venture any act embarrassing to that trade. He himself was still insisting, but with dwindling confidence, that the trade must not be interfered with under any circumstances. And in a second letter of this same date, he repeated to Russell his advice of treating the Southern Commissioners with deference. Any rebuff to them, he asserts again, will but increase the Northern confidence that they may do anything without provoking the resistance of England[123].

Like a good diplomat Lyons was merely pushing the argument for all it was worth, hoping to prevent an injury to his country, yet if that injury did come (provided it were sanctioned by the law of nations) he did not see in it an injury sufficient to warrant precipitate action by Great Britain. When indeed the Southern capture of Fort Sumter in Charleston harbour finally brought the actual clash of arms, Lyons expressed himself with regard to other elements in the struggle previously neglected in his correspondence. On April 15 describing to Russell the fall of Sumter, he stated that civil war had at last begun. The North he believed to be very much more powerful than the South, the South more "eager" and united as yet, but, he added, "the taint of slavery will render the cause of the South loathsome to the civilized world." It was true that "commercial intercourse with the cotton States is of vital importance to manufacturing nations[124]...." but Lyons was now facing an actual situation rather than a possible one, and as will be seen later, he soon ceased to insist that an interruption of this "commercial intercourse" gave reasonable ground for recognition of the South.

With the fall of Fort Sumter and the European recognition that a civil war was actually under way in America, a large number of new and vexing problems was presented to Russell. His treatment of them furnishes the subject matter of later chapters. For the period previous to April, 1861, British official attitude may be summed up in the statement that the British Minister at Washington hoped against hope that some solution might be found for the preservation of the Union, but that at the same time, looking to future British interests and possibly believing also that his attitude would tend to preserve the Union, he asserted vehemently the impossibility of any Northern interference with British trade to Southern ports. Across the water, Russell also hoped faintly that there might be no separation. Very soon, however, believing that separation inevitable and the disruption of the Union final, he fixed his hope on peaceful rather than warlike secession. Even of this, however, he had little real expectation, but neither he nor anyone else in England, nor even in America, had any idea that the war would be a long and severe one. It is evident that he was already considering the arrival of that day when recognition must be granted to a new, independent and slave-holding State. But this estimate of the future is no proof that the Russian Ambassador's accusation of British governmental pleasure in American disruption was justified[125]. Russell, cautious in refusing to pledge himself to Dallas, was using exactly such caution as a Foreign Secretary was bound to exercise. He would have been a rash man who, in view of the uncertainty and irresolution of Northern statesmen, would have committed Great Britain in March, 1861, to a definite line of policy.

On April 6, Russell was still instructing Lyons to recommend reconciliation. April 8, Dallas communicated to Russell an instruction from Seward dated March 9, arguing on lines of "traditional friendship" against a British recognition of the Confederacy. Russell again refused to pledge his Government, but on April 12 he wrote to Lyons that British Ministers were "in no hurry to recognize the separation as complete and final[126]." In the early morning of that same day the armed conflict in America had begun, and on the day following, April 13, the first Southern victory had been recorded in the capture of Fort Sumter. The important question which the man at the head of the British Foreign Office had now immediately to decide was, what was to be England's attitude, under international law, toward the two combatants in America. In deciding this question, neither sentiment nor ideals of morality, nor humanitarianism need play any part; England's first need and duty were to determine and announce for the benefit of her citizens the correct position, under International law, which must be assumed in the presence of certain definite facts.


[Footnote 31: Dr. Newton asserts that at the end of the 'fifties Great Britain made a sharp change of policy. (Cambridge History of British Foreign Policy, Vol. II, p. 283.)]

[Footnote 32: Thomas Colley Grattan, Civilized America, 2 vols. 2nd ed., London, 1859, Vol. I, pp. 284-87. The first edition was printed in 1859 and a third in 1861. In some respects the work is historically untrustworthy since internal evidence makes clear that the greater part of it was written before 1846, in which year Grattan retired from his post in Boston. In general he wrote scathingly of America, and as his son succeeded to the Boston consulship, Grattan probably thought it wiser to postpone publication. I have found no review of the work which treats it otherwise than as an up-to-date description of 1859. This fact and its wide sale in England in 1860-61, give the work importance as influencing British knowledge and opinions.]

[Footnote 33: Charles Mackay, Life and Liberty in America: or, Sketches of a Tour in the United States and Canada in 1857-8, one vol., New York, 1859, pp. 316-17. Mackay was at least of sufficient repute as a poet to be thought worthy of a dinner in Boston at which there were present, Longfellow, Holmes, Agassiz, Lowell, Prescott, Governor Banks, and others. He preached "hands across the seas" in his public lectures, occasionally reading his poem "John and Jonathan" - a sort of advance copy of Kipling's idea of the "White Man's Burden." Mackay's concluding verse, "John" speaking, was:

     "And I have strength for nobler work 
       Than e'er my hand has done, 
     And realms to rule and truths to plant 
       Beyond the rising sun. 
     Take you the West and I the East; 
       We'll spread ourselves abroad, 
     With trade and spade and wholesome laws, 
       And faith in man and God." ]

[Footnote 34: Duncan, Life and Letters of Herbert Spencer, Vol. I, p. 140.]

[Footnote 35: R.C. Hamilton, Manuscript Chapters and Notes on "The English Press and the Civil War." Mr. Hamilton was at work on this subject, as a graduate student, but left Stanford University before completing his thesis. His notes have been of considerable value, both for suggested citations from the English Press, and for points of interpretation.]

[Footnote 36: Economist, November 24, 1860. Six months later, however, the Economist pictured Lincoln as merely an unknown "sectionalist," with no evidence of statesmanship - Economist, June 1, 1861.]

[Footnote 37: Saturday Review, November 24, 1860.]

[Footnote 38: Spectator, November 24, 1860.]

[Footnote 39: The Times, November 26, 1860.]

[Footnote 40: Ibid., November 29, 1860.]

[Footnote 41: Ibid.]

[Footnote 42: R.L. Duffus, "Contemporary English Popular Opinion on the American Civil War," p. 2. A thesis presented in fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts, Stanford University, 1911. This thesis is in manuscript. It is a valuable study of the Reviews and of the writings of men of letters. Hereafter cited as Duffus "English Opinion."]

[Footnote 43: The Times, January 12, 1861.]

[Footnote 44: Saturday Review, January 12, 1861.]

[Footnote 45: Economist, December 8, 1860. Spectator, January 19, 1861.]

[Footnote 46: Spectator, December 1, 1860. Times, January 29, 1861. Economist, May 25, 1861.]

[Footnote 47: Saturday Review, January 19, 1861.]

[Footnote 48: Edinburgh Review, Vol. 112, p. 545.]

[Footnote 49: Lyons Papers.]

[Footnote 50: Russell, My Diary North and South, Boston, 1863, p. 134. "Then cropped out again the expression of regret for the rebellion of 1776, and the desire that if it came to the worst, England would receive back her erring children, or give them a prince under whom they could secure a monarchical form of government. There is no doubt about the earnestness with which these things are said." Russell'sDiary is largely a condensation of his letters to the Times. In the letter of April 30, 1861 (published May 28), he dilates to the extent of a column on the yearning of South Carolina for a restoration of colonial relations. But Consul Bunch on December 14, 1860, reported a Charleston sentiment very different from that of the Jockey Club in February. He wrote to Lyons:

     "The church bells are ringing like mad in celebration of a 
     newly revived festival, called 'Evacuation Day,' being the 
     nefastus ille dies in which the bloody Britishers left 
     Charleston 78 years ago. It has fallen into utter disuse for 
     about 50 years, but is now suddenly resuscitated apropos de 
     nothing at all."

In this same letter Bunch described a Southern patriotic demonstration. Returning to his home one evening, he met a military company, which from curiosity he followed, and which

     "drew up in front of the residence of a young lawyer of my 
     friends, after performing in whose honour, through the medium 
     of a very brassy band, a Secession Schottische or Palmetto 
     Polka, it clamorously demanded his presence. After a very 
     brief interval he appeared, and altho' he is in private life 
     an agreeable and moderately sensible young man, he succeeded, 
     to my mind at any rate, in making most successfully, what Mr. 
     Anthony Weller calls 'an Egyptian Mummy of his self.' the 
     amount of balderdash and rubbish which he evacuated (dia 
) about mounting the deadly breach, falling back 
     into the arms of his comrades and going off generally in a 
     blaze of melodramatic fireworks, really made me so unhappy 
     that I lost my night's rest. So soon as the speech was over 
     the company was invited into the house to 'pour a libation to 
     the holy cause' - in the vernacular, to take a drink and spit 
     on the floor."

Evidently Southern eloquence was not tolerable to the ears of the British consul. Or was it the din of the church bells rather than the clamour of the orator, that offended him? (Lyons Papers.)]

[Footnote 51: Edinburgh Review, Vol. 113, p. 555.]

[Footnote 52: The Times, January 4, 1861.]

[Footnote 53: Letter to Dublin News, dated January 26, 1861. Cited in The Liberator, March 1, 1861. Garrison, editor of The Liberator, was then earnest in advocating "letting the South go in peace" as a good riddance.]

[Footnote 54: Saturday Review, March 2, 1861, p. 216.]

[Footnote 55: London Chronicle, March 14, 1861. Cited in The Liberator, April 12, 1861.]

[Footnote 56: London Review, April 20, 1861. Cited in Littel's Living Age, Vol. LXIX, p. 495. The editor of the Review was a Dr. Mackay, but I have been unable to identify him, as might seem natural from his opinions, as the Mackay previously quoted (p. 37) who was later New York correspondent of the Times.]

[Footnote 57: Matthew Arnold, Letters, Vol. I., p. 150. Letter to Mrs. Forster, January 28, 1861.]

[Footnote 58: Julian Hawthorne, Nathaniel Hawthorne and his Wife, Vol. II, pp. 271-78. Life and Letters of John Greenleaf Whittier, Vol. II, pp. 439 seq.]

[Footnote 59: Quarterly Review, Vol. 110, p. 282. July, 1861.]

[Footnote 60: Duffus, "English Opinion," p. 7.]

[Footnote 61: Westminster, Vol. LXXX, p. 587.]

[Footnote 62: Adams' course was bitterly criticized by his former intimate friend, Charles Sumner, but the probable purpose of Adams was, foreseeing the certainty of secession, to exhibit so strongly the arrogance and intolerance of the South as to create greater unity of Northern sentiment. This was a purpose that could not be declared and both at home and abroad his action, and that of other former anti-slavery leaders, for the moment weakened faith that the North was in earnest on the general issue of slavery.]

[Footnote 63: Services rendered by Russia to the American People during the War of the Rebellion, Petersburg, 1904, p. 5.]

[Footnote 64: Parliamentary Papers, 1862, Lords, Vol. XXV, "Correspondence on Civil War in the United States," No. 1.]

[Footnote 65: Ibid., No. 6. Russell to Lyons, December 26, 1860.]

[Footnote 66: Ibid., Russell to Lyons, No. 9, January 5, 1861, and No. 17, February 20, 1861.]

[Footnote 67: Parliamentary Papers, 1861, Lords, Vol. XVIII. Correspondence with U.S. Government respecting suspension of Federal Customs House at the Port of Charleston. Nos. 1 and 3.]

[Footnote 68: Lyons Papers. Lyons to Bunch, December 12, 1860.]

[Footnote 69: Ibid., The same day official instructions were sent permitting Bunch to remain at Charleston, but directing him, if asked to recognize South Carolina, to refer the matter to England. F.O., Am., Vol. 754, No. 6. Russell to Lyons, January 10, 1861.]

[Footnote 70: Lyons Papers. Russell to Lyons, January 22, 1861.]

[Footnote 71: This view was not shared by Lyons' colleagues at Washington. The Russian Minister, Stoeckl, early declared the Union permanently destroyed, and regretting the fact, yet hoped the North would soon accept the inevitable and seek close co-operation with the South in commerce and in foreign relations. This view was repeated by him many times and most emphatically as late as the first month of 1863. (Russian Archives, Stoeckl to F.O., January 29-February 10, 1863. No. 342.) It was not until September, 1863, that Stoeckl ventured to hope for a Northern reconquest of the South. I am indebted to Dr. Frank A. Golder, of Stanford University, for the use of his notes and transcripts covering all of the Russian diplomatic correspondence with the United States, 1860-1865. In the occasional use made of this material the English translation is mine.]

[Footnote 72: Stoeckl reported that at a dinner with Lyons, at which he, Mercier and Seward were the guests, Seward had asserted that if Civil War came all foreign commerce with the South would be interrupted. To this Lyons protested that England could not get along without cotton and that she would secure it in one way or another. Seward made no reply. (Ibid., March 25-April 9, 1861, No. 810.)]

[Footnote 73: Economist, January 12, 1861.]

[Footnote 74: Ibid., February 23, 1861.]

[Footnote 75: London Press, March 23, 1861. Cited in Littell's Living Age, Vol. LXIX, p. 438.]

[Footnote 76: Before Adams' selection as Minister to England was decided upon, Sumner's Massachusetts friends were urging him for the place. Longfellow was active in this interest. H.W. Longfellow, by Samuel Longfellow, Vol. II, pp. 412-13.]

[Footnote 77: John Bright later declared "his conviction that the leading journal had not published one fair, honourable, or friendly article toward the States since Lincoln's accession to office." Dasent, Life of Delane, Vol. II, p. 38. The time is approximately correct, but the shift in policy began earlier, when it came to be feared that the North would not submit to peaceable secession.]

[Footnote 78: Bigelow, Retrospections, Vol. I, pp. 344-45.]

[Footnote 79: See ante, p. 40.]

[Footnote 80: Economist, March 2, 1861.]

[Footnote 81: Spectator, March 16, 1861.]

[Footnote 82: Lyons Papers.]

[Footnote 83: Hansard, 3rd. Ser., CLXI, p. 814. February 22, 1861. William E. Forster was of Quaker descent and had early taken part in public meetings called to express humanitarian sentiment. From 1850 on he was an acceptable public speaker in all matters liberal, as free trade, social reform, and anti-slavery. Elected to Parliament in 1859 and again in 1861 from Bradford, where he was engaged in business as a woollen manufacturer, he sought, after the fashion of new Members, a cause to represent and found it in championship of the North. Having great native ability, as shown by his later distinguished career, it was the good fortune of the United States thus to enlist so eager a champion. Forster and John Bright were the two leading "friends of the North" in Parliament. The latter already had established reputation, but was more influential out of Parliament than in it. Forster, with a reputation to make, showed skill in debate, and soon achieved prestige for himself and his American cause. Henry Adams, son and private secretary of the American Minister to England, once told the writer that he regarded Forster's services as, on the whole, the most valuable rendered by any Englishman to the North.]

[Footnote 84: F.O., Am., Vol. 780, No. 30.]

[Footnote 85: Newton, Lord Lyons, Vol. I, p. 30.]

[Footnote 86: F.O., Am., Vol. 760, No. 40.]

[Footnote 87: Russell Papers. Lyons to Russell, February 4, 1861.]

[Footnote 88: F.O., Am., Vol. 760, No. 59.]

[Footnote 89: Russell Papers. Lyons to Russell, February 12, 1861.]

[Footnote 90: Parliamentary Papers, 1862, Lords, Vol. XXV. "Correspondence on Civil War in the United States," No. 17. Russell to Lyons, February 20, 1861.]

[Footnote 91: F.O., Am., Vol. 761, No. 78. Received March 11. It is curious that in the first period of the war Lyons made no extended characterization of Lincoln. Probably his contacts with the new President were insufficient to justify it. The first record of personal impressions was that made by W.H. Russell and later printed in his "Diary" but not reproduced in his letters to the Times. Russell was taken to the White House. "Soon afterwards there entered, with a shambling, loose, irregular, almost unsteady gait, a tall, lank, lean man, considerably over six feet in height, with stooping shoulders, long pendulous arms, terminating in hands of extraordinary dimensions, which, however, were far exceeded in proportion by his feet.... The impression produced by the size of his extremities, and by his flapping and wide-projecting ears, may be removed by the appearance of kindliness, sagacity, and awkward bonhomie of his face ... eyes dark, full, and deeply set, are penetrating, but full of an expression which almost amounts to tenderness.... A person who met Mr. Lincoln in the street would not take him to be what - according to usages of European society - is called a 'gentleman' ... but, at the same time, it would not be possible for the most indifferent observer to pass him in the street without notice." - My Diary, I, pp. 37-8.]

[Footnote 92: Lyons Papers.]

[Footnote 93: F.O., Am., Vol. 761.]

[Footnote 94: F.O., Am., Vol. 762, No. 122. March 30, 1861. Received April 16.]

[Footnote 95: F.O., Am., Vol. 780, No. 37. March 21, 1861. Received April 9.]

[Footnote 96: F.O., Am., Vol. 778, No. 26. April 24, 1861.]

[Footnote 97: Russell Papers.]

[Footnote 98: Russell Papers. Lyons to Russell, March 26, 1861. Printed in Newton, Lord Lyons, Vol. I., p. 31.]

[Footnote 99: Ibid.]

[Footnote 100: Russell Papers.]

[Footnote 101: Lyons Papers.]

[Footnote 102: U.S. Messages and Documents, 1861-2, pp, 80-81.]

[Footnote 103: F.O., Am., Vol. 754, No. 79. Russell to Lyons, April 6, 1861.]

[Footnote 104: Lyons Papers, Russell to Lyons, April 6, 1861.]

[Footnote 105: The Times, February 26, 1861.]

[Footnote 106: London Press, March 30, 1861, Cited in Littell's Living Age, Vol. 69, p. 379.]

[Footnote 107: The Times, March 26, 1861.]

[Footnote 108: Saturday Review, May 11, 1861, pp. 465-6.]

[Footnote 109: Economist, May 4, 1861.]

[Footnote 110: Examiner, January 5 and (as quoted) April 27, 1861. Cited in Littell's Living Age, Vol. 68, p. 758 and Vol. 69, p. 570.]

[Footnote 111: Spectator, April 27, 1861.]

[Footnote 112: Ibid., May 4, 1861.]

[Footnote 113: These four publications, the Spectator, the Westminster, the Daily News, and the Morning Star, were the principal British pro-Northern organs. In addition The Liberator names among the lesser and provincial press the following: Nonconformist, British Standard, Dial, Birmingham Post, Manchester Examiner, Newcastle Chronicle, Caledonian Mercury and Belfast Whig. Duffus, "English Opinion," p. 40.]

[Footnote 114: Godkin had joined the staff of the Daily News in 1853. During the Crimea War he was special war correspondent. He had travelled extensively in America in the late 'fifties and was thoroughly well informed. From 1862 to 1865 his letters to the Daily News were of great value in encouraging the British friends of the North. In 1865 Godkin became editor of the New York Nation.]

[Footnote 115: W.E. Forster said of her, "It was Harriet Martineau alone who was keeping English opinion about America on the right side through the Press." The Daily News Jubilee Edition, p. 46.]

[Footnote 116: James, William Wetmore Story and His Friends, Vol. II, p. 92.]

[Footnote 117: Moncure D. Conway's Autobiography asserts that two-thirds of the English authors "espoused the Union cause, some of them actively - Professor Newman, Mill, Tom Hughes, Sir Charles Lyell, Huxley, Tyndall, Swinburne, Lord Houghton, Cairns, Fawcett, Frederic Harrison, Leslie Stephen, Allingham, the Rossettis," Vol. I, p. 406. This is probably true of ultimate, though not of initial, interest and attitude. But for many writers their published works give no clue to their opinions on the Civil War - as for example the works of Dickens, Thackeray, William Morris, or Ruskin. See Duffus, "English Opinion," p. 103.]

[Footnote 118: Russell, My Diary, I, p. 398.]

[Footnote 119: The Times, May 30, 1861.]

[Footnote 120: Westminster Review, Vol. 76, pp. 487-509, October, 1861.]

[Footnote 121: Bright to Sumner, September 6, 1861. Cited in Rhodes, United States, Vol. III, p. 509.]

[Footnote 122: A meeting held in Edinburgh, May 9, 1861, declared that anti-slavery England ought never to recognize the South. Reported in Liberator, May 31, 1861.]

[Footnote 123: F.O., Am., Vol. 762, Nos. 141 and 142.]

[Footnote 124: Ibid., No. 146.]

[Footnote 125: See ante, pp. 50-51.]

[Footnote 126: Parliamentary Papers, 1862, Lords, Vol. XXV. "Correspondence on Civil War in the United States." Nos. 24, 25 and 26.]