"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 
     a member of the Government that it is believed that the 
     feeling between our Cabinet and the Washington Government has 
     been steadily improving[1261]."

Thus wrote Bright to Sumner in the last week of January, 1865. Three weeks later he again wrote in reassurance against American rumours that Europe was still planning some form of intervention to save the South: "All parties and classes here are resolved on a strict neutrality[1262]...." This was a correct estimate. In spite of a temporary pause in the operations of Northern armies and of renewed assertions from the South that she "would never submit," British opinion was now very nearly unanimous that the end was near. This verdict was soon justified by events. In January, 1865, Wilmington, North Carolina, was at last captured by a combined sea and land attack. Grant, though since midsummer, 1864, held in check by Lee before Petersburg, was yet known to be constantly increasing the strength of his army, while his ability to strike when the time came was made evident by the freedom with which his cavalry scoured the country about the Confederate capital, Richmond - in one raid even completely encircling that city. Steadily Lee's army lost strength by the attrition of the siege, by illness and, what was worse, by desertion since no forces could be spared from the fighting front to recover and punish the deserters. Grant waited for the approach of spring, when, with the advance northwards of the army at Savannah, the pincers could be applied to Lee, to end, it was hoped, in writing finis to the war.

From December 20, 1864, to February 1, 1865, Sherman remained in Savannah, renewing by sea the strength of his army. On the latter date he moved north along the coast, meeting at first no resistance and easily overrunning the country. Columbia, capital of South Carolina, was burned. Charleston was evacuated, and it was not until March, in North Carolina, that any real opposition to the northward progress was encountered. Here on the sixteenth and the nineteenth, Johnston, in command of the weak Southern forces in North Carolina, made a desperate effort to stop Sherman, but without avail, and on March 23, Sherman was at Goldsboro, one hundred and sixty miles south of Richmond, prepared to cut off the retreat of Lee when Grant should at last take up an energetic offensive.

In the last week of March, Grant began cutting off supplies to Richmond, thus forcing Lee, if he wished still to protect the Southern capital, to come out of his lines at Petersburg and present an unfortified front. The result was the evacuation of Petersburg and the abandonment of Richmond, Jefferson Davis and his Government fleeing from the city on the night of April 2. Attempting to retreat southwards with the plan of joining Johnston's army, Lee, on April 9, found his forces surrounded at Appomattox and surrendered. Nine days later, on April 18, Johnston surrendered to Sherman at Durham, North Carolina. It was the end of the war and of the Confederacy.

The rapidity with which Southern resistance in arms crumbled in 1865 when once Sherman and Grant were under way no doubt startled foreign observers, but in British opinion, at least, the end had been foreseen from the moment Sherman reached the sea at Savannah. The desperate courage of the South was admired, but regarded as futile. Equally desperate and futile was the last diplomatic effort of the Confederate agents in Europe, taking the form of an offer to abolish slavery in return for recognition. The plan originated with Benjamin, Southern Secretary of State, was hesitatingly approved by Davis[1263], and was committed to Mason for negotiation with Great Britain. Mason, after his withdrawal from London, had been given duplicate powers in blank for any point to which emergencies might send him, thus becoming a sort of Confederate Commissioner at Large to Europe. Less than any other representative abroad inclined to admit that slavery was other than a beneficent and humane institution, it was felt advisable at Richmond not only to instruct Mason by written despatch, but by personal messenger also of the urgency of presenting the offer of abolition promptly and with full assurance of carrying it into effect. The instruction was therefore entrusted to Duncan F. Kenner, of Louisiana, and he arrived in Paris early in March, 1865, overcame Mason's unwillingness to carry such an offer to England, and accompanied the latter to London.

The time was certainly not propitious, for on the day Mason reached London there came the news of the burning of Columbia and the evacuation of Charleston. Mason hesitated to approach Palmerston, but was pressed by Kenner who urged action on the theory that Great Britain did not wish to see a reconstruction of the Union[1264]. Slidell, in Paris, on receiving Mason's doubts, advised waiting until the Emperor had been consulted, was granted an interview and reported Napoleon III as ready as ever to act if England would act also, but as advising delay until more favourable news was received from America[1265]. But Mason's instructions did not permit delay; he must either carry them out or resign - and Kenner was at his elbow pressing for action. On March 13, therefore, Mason wrote to Palmerston asking for a private interview and was promptly granted one for the day following.

Both personal disinclination to the proposal of abolition and judgment that nothing would come of it made Mason cautious in expressing himself to Palmerston. Mason felt that he was stultifying his country in condemning slavery. Hence in roundabout language, "with such form of allusion to the concession we held in reserve, as would make him necessarily comprehend it[1266]," and turning again and again to a supposed "latent, undisclosed obstacle[1267]" to British recognition, Mason yet made clear the object of his visit. The word slavery was not mentioned by him, but Palmerston promptly denied that slavery in the South had ever been, or was now, a barrier to recognition; British objections to recognition were those which had long since been stated, and there was nothing "underlying" them. On March 26, Mason called on the Earl of Donoughmore, a Tory friend of the South with whom he had long been in close touch, and asked whether he thought Palmerston's Government could be induced by a Southern abolition of slavery to recognize the Confederacy. The reply was "that the time had gone by now...." This time the words "slavery" and "abolition" were spoken boldly[1268], and Donoughmore was positive that if, in the midsummer of 1863, when Lee was invading Pennsylvania, the South had made its present overture, nothing could have prevented British recognition. The opinion clashed with Mason's own conviction, but in any case no more was to be hoped, now, from his overture. Only a favourable turn in the war could help the South.

There was no public knowledge in London of this "last card" Southern effort in diplomacy, though there were newspaper rumours that some such move was on foot, but with a primary motive of restoring Southern fighting power by putting the negroes in arms. British public attention was fixed rather upon a possible last-moment reconciliation of North and South and a restored Union which should forget its domestic troubles in a foreign war. Momentarily somewhat of a panic overcame London society and gloomy were the forebodings that Great Britain would be the chosen enemy of America. Like rumours were afloat at Washington also. The Russian Minister, Stoeckl, reported to his Government that he had learned from "a sure source" of representations made to Jefferson Davis by Blair, a prominent Unionist and politician of the border state of Maryland, looking to reconstruction and to the sending by Lincoln of armies into Canada and Mexico. Stoeckl believed such a war would be popular, but commented that "Lincoln might change his mind[1269] to-morrow." In London the Army and Navy Gazette declared that Davis could not consent to reunion and that Lincoln could not offer any other terms of peace, but that a truce might be patched up on the basis of a common aggression against supposed foreign enemies[1270]. Adams pictured all British society as now convinced that the end of the war was near, and bitter against the previous tone and policy of such leaders of public opinion as the Times, adding that it was being "whispered about that if the feud is reconciled and the Union restored, and a great army left on our hands, the next manifestation will be one of hostility to this country[1271]."

The basis of all this rumour was Blair's attempt to play the mediator. He so far succeeded that on January 31, 1865, Lincoln instructed Seward to go to Fortress Monroe to meet "commissioners" appointed by Davis. But Lincoln made positive in his instructions three points:

     (1) Complete restoration of the Union.

     (2) No receding on emancipation.

     (3) No cessation of hostilities "short of an end of the war, 
     and the disbanding of all forces hostile to the Government."

A few days later the President decided that his own presence was desirable and joined his Secretary of State in the "Hampton Roads Conference" of February 3. It quickly appeared that the Confederates did indeed hope to draw the North into a foreign war for a "traditional American object," using the argument that after such a war restoration of the Union would be easily accomplished. The enemy proposed was not Great Britain but France, and the place of operations Mexico. There was much discussion of this plan between Seward and Stephens, the leading Southern Commissioner, but Lincoln merely listened, and when pressed for comment stuck fast to his decision that no agreement whatever would be entered into until the South had laid down its arms. The Southerners urged that there was precedent for an agreement in advance of cessation of hostilities in the negotiations between Charles I and the Roundheads. Lincoln's reply was pithy: "I do not profess to be posted in history. On all such matters I turn you over to Seward. All I distinctly recollect about the case of Charles I is that he lost his head in the end[1272]."

When news of the holding of this conference reached England there occurred a panic on the Stock Exchange due to the uncertainty created by the prospect of an immediate end of the American War. "The consternation," wrote Adams, "was extraordinary[1273]." What did the United States intend to do? "The impression is now very general that peace and restoration at home are synonymous with war with this country." There existed an "extraordinary uneasiness and indefinite apprehension as to the future." So reported Adams to Seward; and he advised that it might be well for the United States "to consider the question how far its policy may be adapted to quiet this disturbance"; due allowance should be made for the mortification of those leaders who had been so confident of Southern victory and for expressions that might now fall from their lips; it was possible that reassurances given by the United States might aid in the coming elections in retaining the Government in power - evidently, in Adams' opinion, a result to be desired[1274].

Adams' advice as to the forthcoming elections was but repetition of that given earlier and with more emphasis[1275]. Apparently Seward was then in no mood to act on it, for his reply was distinctly belligerent in tone, recapitulating British and Canadian offences in permitting the enemy to use their shores, and asserting that the measures now proposed of abrogating the reciprocity treaty of 1854 with Canada and the agreement of 1817 prohibiting armaments on the Great Lakes, were but defensive measures required to protect American soil[1276]. These matters Adams had been instructed to take up with Russell, but with discretion as to time and he had ventured to postpone them as inopportune. Professing entire agreement with the justice of Seward's complaints he nevertheless wrote that to press them "at this moment would be only playing into the hands of the mischief-makers, and disarming our own friends[1277]." The day before this was written home Seward, at Washington, on March 8, recalled his instruction as to the agreement of 1817, stating that Russell might be informed the United States had no intention of increasing its armaments on the Great Lakes[1278].

Thus there were incidents offering ground for a British excitement over a prospective war with America, even though no such intention was seriously entertained by the North. The British Government did not share this fear, but Delane, of the Times, kept it alive in the public mind, and indeed was sincere in efforts to arouse his readers to the danger. "I do not know what grounds Delane has for it," wrote W.H. Russell to his American friend Bigelow, "but he is quite sure Uncle Samuel is about to finish off the dreadful Civil War with another war with us scarcely less horrible[1279]." Governmental circles, however, belittled the agitation. Burnley, temporarily representing England at Washington, was assured by Seward, and so reported, that all these rumours of a foreign war were of Southern origin, had in fact been actually elaborated at the Hampton Roads Conference, but were perfectly understood by the North as but part of the Southern game, and that the Southern offer had been flatly refused[1280]. In a parliamentary debate in the Commons on March 13, arising out of governmental estimates for military expenditures in Canada, opportunity was given for a discussion of relations with America. A few Members gave voice to the fear of war, but the general tone of the debate was one of confidence in the continuance of peaceful relations. Bright, in a vigorous and witty speech, threw right and left criticisms of Parliament, the Press, and individuals, not sparing members of the Government, but expressed the utmost confidence in the pacific policy of Lincoln. As one known to be in close touch with America his words carried weight[1281]. Palmerston gave assurances that the present relations between the two Governments were perfectly friendly and satisfactory. The effect of the debate, reported Adams, was to quiet the panic[1282], yet at the same time England was now awake to and somewhat alarmed by, America's "prodigious development of physical power during the war." To quiet this, Adams recommended "prudence and moderation in tone[1283]."

Thus the actual cessation of hostilities in America and the possible effect of this event on foreign relations had been for some time anticipated and estimated in Great Britain[1284]. The news of Lee's surrender, therefore, caused no great surprise since the Times and other papers had been preparing the public for it[1285]. Newspaper comment on the event followed closely that of the Times, rendering honour to the militant qualities of the South and to Lee, but writing finis to the war:

     "Such is the end of the great army which, organized by the 
     extraordinary genius of one man, aided by several other 
     commanders of eminent ability, has done such wonders in this 
     war. Not even the Grand Army of Napoleon himself could count 
     a series of more brilliant victories than the force which, 
     raised chiefly from the high-spirited population of Virginia, 
     has defeated so many invasions of the State, and crushed the 
     hopes of so many Northern generals. Chief and soldiers have 
     now failed for the first and last time. They were victorious 
     until victory was no longer to be achieved by human valour, 
     and then they fell with honour[1286]."

The people of the North, also, were complimented for their slowly developed but ultimate ability in war, and especially for "a patience, a fortitude, and an energy which entitle them to rank among the very first of military nations[1287]." No one remained to uphold the Southern banner in Europe save the Confederate agents, and, privately, even they were hopeless. Mason, it is true, asserted, as if bolstering his own courage, that "this morning's" news did not mean an overwhelming disaster; it could not be wholly true; even if true it must mean peace on the basis of separation; finally, "5th. I know that no terms of peace would be accepted that did not embrace independence." But at the conclusion of this letter he acknowledged:

     "I confess that all this speculation rests on, what I assume, 
     that Lee surrendered only in expectation of a peace derived 
     from his interview with Grant - and that no terms of peace 
     would be entertained that did not rest on 

But Slidell saw more clearly. He replied:

     "I cannot share your hopefulness. We have seen the beginning 
     of the end. I, for my part, am prepared for the worst. With 
     Lee's surrender there will soon be an end to our regular 
     organized armies and I can see no possible good to result 
     from a protracted guerilla warfare. We are crushed and must 
     submit to the yoke. Our children must bide their time for 
     vengeance, but you and I will never revisit our homes under 
     our glorious flag. For myself I shall never put my foot on a 
     soil from which flaunts the hated Stars and Stripes.... I am 
     sick, sick at heart[1289]."

The news of Lee's surrender arrived at the same moment with that of a serious injury to Seward in a runaway accident, and in its editorial on the end of the war the Times took occasion to pay a tribute to the statesman whom it had been accustomed to berate.

     "There seems to be on the part of President Lincoln a desire 
     to conciliate vanquished fellow-citizens. Under the guidance 
     of Mr. Seward, who has creditably distinguished himself in 
     the Cabinet by his moderate counsels, and whose life will, we 
     trust, be spared at this crisis to the Union, he may by 
     gentle measures restore tranquillity, and perhaps, before his 
     term of office expires, calm in some degree the animosities 
     which have been raised by these years of war[1290]."

Nor was this insincere, for Seward had, first in the estimate of British statesmen, more slowly in the press and with the public, come to be regarded in an aspect far different from that with which he was generally viewed in 1861. There was real anxiety at the reports of Seward's accident, but when, in less than a week, there was received also the news of the assassination of Lincoln and of the brutal attack on Seward, all England united in expressions of sympathy and horror. "Few events of the present century," wrote Adams, "have created such general consternation and indignation[1291]."

In Ford's Theatre on the evening of April 14, Lincoln was shot by Booth, a fanatical Southerner, who had gained entrance to the box where the President was sitting. Lincoln died early the next morning. On the same evening, at about ten o'clock, an unknown man was admitted to Seward's house on the plea that he had a message from the physician, passed upstairs, but was stopped by Seward's son at the door of the sick room. Beating the son into semi-unconsciousness with a revolver which had missed fire, the stranger burst open the door, attacked the Secretary as he lay in bed with a bowie-knife, slashing at his throat, until Seward rolled off the bed to the floor. Seward's throat was "cut on both sides, his right cheek nearly severed from his face"; his life was saved, probably, because of an iron frame worn to support the jaw fractured in the runaway accident nine days before[1292]. The assailant fought his way out of the house and escaped. For some days Seward's life was despaired of, whether from his injuries or from shock.

These tragic occurrences were the outcome of a revengeful spirit in the hearts of a few extreme Southerners, and in no sense represented the feeling of the South. It was inevitable, however, that abroad so horrible a crime should react both to the detriment of the Confederacy and to the advantage of the North. Sympathy with the North took the form of a sudden exaltation of the personality of Lincoln, bringing out characterizations of the man far different from those which had been his earlier in the war. The presence of a "rural attorney" in the Presidential office had seemed like the irony of fate in the great crisis of 1861. Even so acute an observer as Lyons could then write, "Mr. Lincoln has not hitherto given proof of his possessing any natural talents to compensate for his ignorance of everything but Illinois village politics. He seems to be well meaning and conscientious, in the measure of his understanding, but not much more[1293]." But Lyons was no more blind than his contemporaries, for nearly all characterizations, whether American or foreign, were of like nature.

But the slow progress of the years of war had brought a different estimate of Lincoln - a curious blending of admiration for the growth of his personal authority and for his steadiness of purpose, with criticism of his alleged despotism. Now, with his death, following so closely the collapse of the Confederacy, there poured out from British press and public a great stream of laudation for Lincoln almost amounting to a national recantation. In this process of "whitening Abraham's tomb," as a few dyed-in-the-wool Southern sympathizers called it, Punch led the way in a poem by Tom Taylor:

     "You lay a wreath on murdered Lincoln's bier, 
     You, who with mocking pencil wont to trace, 
     Broad for the self-complacent British sneer, 
     His length of shambling limb, his furrowed face."

       * * * * *

     "Yes, he had lived to shame me from my sneer, 
     To lame my pencil and confute my pen - 
     To make me own this hind of princes peer, 
     This rail-splitter a true-born king of men[1294]."

Less emotional than most papers, but with a truer estimate of Lincoln, stood the Times. Severely reprobating the act of Booth and prophesying a disastrous effect in the treatment of the conquered South, it proceeded:

     "Starting from a humble position to one of the greatest 
     eminence, and adopted by the Republican party as a 
     make-shift, simply because Mr. Seward and their other 
     prominent leaders were obnoxious to different sections of 
     the party, it was natural that his career should be watched 
     with jealous suspicion. The office cast upon him was great, 
     its duties most onerous, and the obscurity of his past career 
     afforded no guarantee of his ability to discharge them. His 
     shortcomings moreover were on the surface. The education of a 
     man whose early years had been spent in earning bread by 
     manual labour had necessarily been defective, and faults of 
     manner and errors of taste repelled the observer at the 
     outset. In spite of these drawbacks, Mr. Lincoln slowly won 
     for himself the respect and confidence of all. His perfect 
     honesty speedily became apparent, and, what is, perhaps, more 
     to his credit, amid the many unstudied speeches which he was 
     called upon from time to time to deliver, imbued though they 
     were with the rough humour of his early associates, he was in 
     none of them betrayed into any intemperance of language 
     towards his opponents or towards neutrals. His utterances 
     were apparently careless, but his tongue was always under 
     command. The quality of Mr. Lincoln's administration which 
     served, however, more than any other to enlist the sympathy 
     of bystanders was its conservative progress. He felt his way 
     gradually to his conclusions, and those who will compare the 
     different stages of his career one with another will find 
     that his mind was growing throughout the course of it."

       * * * * *

     "The gradual change of his language and of his policy was 
     most remarkable. Englishmen learnt to respect a man who 
     showed the best characteristics of their race in his respect 
     for what is good in the past, acting in unison with a 
     recognition of what was made necessary by the events of 
     passing history[1295]."

This was first reaction. Two days later, commenting on the far warmer expressions of horror and sympathy emanating from all England, there appeared another and longer editorial:

     "If anything could mitigate the distress of the American 
     people in their present affliction, it might surely be the 
     sympathy which is expressed by the people of this country. We 
     are not using the language of hyperbole in describing the 
     manifestation of feeling as unexampled. Nothing like it has 
     been witnessed in our generation.... But President Lincoln 
     was only the chief of a foreign State, and of a State with 
     which we were not infrequently in diplomatic or political 
     collision. He might have been regarded as not much more to us 
     than the head of any friendly Government, and yet his end has 
     already stirred the feelings of the public to their 
     uttermost depths."

       * * * * *

     "... a space of twenty-four hours has sufficed not only to 
     fill the country with grief and indignation, but to evoke 
     almost unprecedented expressions of feeling from constituted 
     bodies. It was but on Wednesday that the intelligence of the 
     murder reached us, and on Thursday the Houses of Lords and 
     Commons, the Corporation of the City of London, and the 
     people of our chief manufacturing towns in public meeting 
     assembled had recorded their sentiments or expressed their 
     views. In the House of Lords the absence of precedent for 
     such a manifestation was actually made the subject of remark.

     "That much of this extraordinary feeling is due to the 
     tragical character of the event and the horror with which the 
     crime is regarded is doubtless true, nor need we dissemble 
     the the fact that the loss which the Americans have sustained 
     is also thought our own loss in so far as one valuable 
     guarantee for the amity of the two nations may have been thus 
     removed. But, upon the whole, it is neither the possible 
     embarrassment of international relations nor the infamous 
     wickedness of the act itself which has determined public 
     feeling. The preponderating sentiment is sincere and genuine 
     sympathy - -sorrow for the chief of a great people struck 
     down by an assassin, and sympathy for that people in the 
     trouble which at a crisis of their destinies such a 
     catastrophe must bring. Abraham Lincoln was as little of a 
     tyrant as any man who ever lived. He could have been a tyrant 
     had he pleased, but he never uttered so much as an 
     ill-natured speech.... In all America there was, perhaps, not 
     one man who less deserved to be the victim of this revolution 
     than he who has just fallen[1296]."

The Ministry did not wait for public pressure. Immediately on receipt of the news, motions were made, April 27, in both Lords and Commons for an address to the Queen, to be debated "Monday next," expressing "sorrow and indignation" at the assassination of Lincoln[1297]. April 28, Russell instructed Bruce to express at Washington that "the Government, the Parliament, and the Nation are affected by a unanimous feeling of abhorrence of the criminals guilty of these cowardly and atrocious crimes, and sympathy for the Government and People of the United States[1298]...." Russell wrote here of both Lincoln and Seward. The Queen wrote a personal letter of sympathy to Mrs. Lincoln. Already Bruce had written from Washington that Lincoln "was the only friend of the South in his party[1299]," and he was extremely anxious that Seward's recovery might be hastened, fearing the possibility of Sumner's assumption of the Secretaryship of State. "We miss terribly the comparative moderation of Lincoln and Seward[1300]."

The American Minister naturally became the centre toward which the public outpouring of sympathy was directed. "The excitement in this country has been deep and wide, spreading through all classes of society. My table is piled high with cards, letters and resolutions[1301]...." Indeed all the old sources of "addresses" to Adams on emancipation and many organizations having no professed interest in that subject now sent to him resolutions - the emancipation societies, of horror, indignation, and even accusation against the South; the others of sympathy, more moderate in tone, yet all evincing an appreciation of the great qualities of Lincoln and of the justice of the cause of the North, now victorious. Within two weeks Adams reported over four hundred such addresses from Emancipation Societies, Chambers of Commerce, Trades Unions, municipalities, boroughs, churches, indeed from every known type of British organizations[1302].

On May 1 the motion for the address to the Crown came up for debate. In the Lords, Russell emphasized the kindly and forgiving qualities of Lincoln as just those needed in America, and now lost by his death. Derby, for the Opposition, expressed the horror of the world at Booth's act, joined in expressions of sympathy to the United States, but repeated the old phrase about the "North fighting for empire, the South for independence," and hinted that the unusual step now being taken by Parliament had in it a "political object," meaning that the motion had been introduced in the hope of easing American irritation with Great Britain[1303]. It was not a tactful speech, but Derby's lieutenant in the Commons, Disraeli, saved his party from criticism by what was distinctly the most thoughtful and best-prepared utterance of the day. Palmerston was ill. The Government speech was made by Grey, who incautiously began by asserting that the majority of the people of Great Britain had always been on the side of the North and was met by cries of "No, no" and "Hear, hear." Disraeli concluded the debate. He said:

     "There are rare instances when the sympathy of a nation 
     approaches those tenderer feelings that generally speaking, 
     are supposed to be peculiar to the individual, and to form 
     the happy privilege of private life; and this is one. Under 
     all circumstances we should have bewailed the catastrophe at 
     Washington; under all circumstances we should have shuddered 
     at the means by which it was accomplished. But in the 
     character of the victim, and even in the accessories of his 
     last moments there is something so homely and so innocent 
     that it takes as it were the subject out of all the pomp of 
     history and the ceremonial of diplomacy; it touches the heart 
     of nations, and appeals to the domestic sentiment of mankind.

     "Sir, whatever the various and varying opinions in this 
     House, and in the country generally on the policy of the late 
     President of the United States, on this, I think, all must 
     agree, that in one of the severest trials which ever tested 
     the moral qualities of man, he fulfilled his duty with 
     simplicity and strength. Nor is it possible for the people of 
     England, at such a moment, to forget that he sprang from the 
     same fatherland, and spoke the same mother tongue.

     "When such crimes are perpetrated the public mind is apt to 
     fall into gloom and perplexity; for it is ignorant alike of 
     the causes and the consequences of such deeds. But it is one 
     of our duties to reassure the country under unreasoning panic 
     or despondency. Assassination has never changed the history 
     of the world....

     "In expressing our unaffected and profound sympathy with the 
     citizens of the United States at the untimely end of their 
     elected Chief, let us not, therefore, sanction any feeling of 
     depression, but rather let us express a fervent hope that 
     from out the awful trials of the last four years, of which 
     not the least is this violent demise, the various populations 
     of North America may issue elevated and chastened; rich in 
     that accumulated wisdom, and strong in that disciplined 
     energy which a young nation can only acquire in a protracted 
     and perilous struggle. Then they will be enabled not merely 
     to renew their career of power and prosperity, but they will 
     renew it to contribute to the general happiness of mankind. 
     It is with these feelings, Sir, that I second the Address to 
     the Crown[1304]."

Lincoln's assassination served to bring out not only British popular sympathy, but also the certitude that the war was over and the North victorious. But officially the Government had not yet recognized this. Even as early as January, 1865, Seward had returned to the old proposal that the nations of Europe should withdraw their recognition of Southern belligerent rights[1305], and in March he had asked Stoeckl, the Russian Minister, whether Russia would not lead in the suggestion of this measure to England and France[1306]. Meanwhile Sherman's army was rapidly advancing northward and reports were arriving of its pillagings and burnings. March 20, Gregory asked in the Commons whether the Government was taking any steps to prevent the destruction of British property and received from Layard an evasive reply. Merely a "confident hope" had been expressed to the United States that "every facility will be given" to British subjects to prove ownership of property[1307]. Evidently the Government was not eager to raise irritating questions at a moment when all eyes were strained to observe the concluding events of the war.

Then came the news of Lee's surrender and of the assassination of Lincoln, with the attack on Seward, already incapacitated from active duties. Seward's illness delayed American pressure on England - a fortunate circumstance in the relations with Great Britain in that it gave time for a clearer appreciation of the rapidity and completeness of the collapse of the South. May 15, Lord Houghton asked whether the Government did not intend, in view of recent events in America, "to withdraw the admission of belligerent rights conceded to the so-called Confederate States." Russell promptly objected to the form of the question: England had not "conceded" any rights to the South - she had merely issued a proclamation of neutrality after Lincoln had declared the existence of a war by proclaiming a blockade. England had had no other recourse, unless she chose to refuse recognition of the blockade, and this would have drawn her into the war. As to a withdrawal of the neutrality proclamation this must wait upon official announcement from the United States that the war was at an end. Texas was still in arms and Galveston still blockaded, and for this section the United States would no doubt continue to exercise on neutral vessels a belligerent right of search. It followed that if Great Britain did prematurely withdraw her proclamation of neutrality and the United States searched a British vessel, it would be the exercise of a right of search in time of peace - an act against which Great Britain would be bound to make vigorous protest. Hence England must wait on American action proclaiming the end of the war. Russell concluded by expressing gratification at the prospect of peace[1308].

But matters were not to take this orderly and logical course. Seward, though still extremely weak and confined to his home, was eager to resume the duties of office, and on May 9 a Cabinet was held at his house. A week later Bruce wrote to Russell in some anxiety that America was about to demand the withdrawal by Great Britain of belligerent rights to the South, that if Great Britain would but act before such a demand was made it would serve to continue the existing good feeling in America created by the sympathy over Lincoln's death, and especially, that there was a decided danger to good relations in the fact that Confederate cruisers were still at large. He urged that orders should be sent to stop their presence in British colonial ports securing coal and supplies[1309]. Three days later Bruce repeated his warning[1310]. This was, apparently, a complication unforeseen at the Foreign Office. In any case Russell at once made a complete face-about from the policy he had outlined in reply to Lord Houghton. On May 30 he instructed Cowley in Paris to notify France that England thought the time had arrived for recognition that the war was ended and laid special stress upon the question of Confederate cruisers still at sea and their proper treatment in British ports[1311]. Thus having given to France notice of his intention, but without waiting for concurrent action, Russell, on June 2, issued instructions to the Admiralty that the war was ended and stated the lines upon which the Confederate cruisers were to be treated[1312]. Here was prompt, even hurried, action though the only additional event of war in America which Russell could at the moment cite to warrant his change of policy was the capture of Jefferson Davis. On the same day Russell wrote to Bruce stating what had been done and recognizing the "re-establishment of peace within the whole territory of which the United States, before the commencement of the civil war, were in undisturbed possession[1313]."

This sudden shift by the Government did not escape Derby's caustic criticism. June 12, he referred in Parliament to Houghton's previous inquiry and Russell's answer, asking why the Government had not stuck to its earlier position and calling attention to the fact that the United States, while now proclaiming certain ports open to trade, yet specified others as still closed and threatened with punishment as pirates, any vessel attempting to enter them. Derby desired information as to what the Government had done about this remarkable American proclamation. Russell, "who was very imperfectly heard," answered that undoubtedly it was embarrassing that no "regular communication" had been received from America giving notice of the end of the war, but that the two Confederate cruisers still at sea and the entrance of one of them to various Australian ports had compelled some British action. He had consulted Adams, who had no instructions but felt confident the United States would soon formally declare the end of the war. The "piracy proclamation" was certainly a strange proceeding. Derby pushed for an answer as to whether the Government intended to let it go by unnoticed. Russell replied that a despatch from Bruce showed that "notice" had been taken of it. Derby asked whether the papers would be presented to Parliament; Russell "was understood to reply in the affirmative[1314]." Derby's inquiry was plainly merely a hectoring of Russell for his quick shift from the position taken a month earlier. But the very indifference of Russell to this attack, his carelessness and evasion in reply, indicate confidence that Parliament was as eager as the Government to satisfy the North and to avoid friction. The only actual "notice" taken by Bruce at Washington of the "piracy proclamation" was in fact, to report it to Russell, commenting that it was "unintelligible" and probably a mere attempt to frighten foreign ship-owners[1315]. Russell instructed Bruce not to ask for an explanation since Galveston had been captured subsequent to the date of the proclamation and there was presumably no port left where it could be applied[1316].

In truth the actual events of the closing days of the war had outrun diplomatic action by America. Scattered Southern forces still in the field surrendered with an unexpected rapidity, while at Washington all was temporarily in confusion upon the death of Lincoln and the illness of Seward. Bruce's advice had been wise and the prompt action of Russell fortunate. Seward at once accepted Russell's notification of June 2 as ending British neutrality. While again insisting upon the essential injustice of the original concession of belligerent rights to the South, and objecting to some details in the instructions to the Admiralty, he yet admitted that normal relations were again established and acknowledged that the United States could no longer exercise a right of search[1317]. July 4, Russell presented this paper to Parliament, reading that portion in which Seward expressed his pleasure that the United States could now enter again upon normal relations with Great Britain[1318]. Two days later Russell wrote to Bruce that he had not expected Seward to acknowledge the rightfulness of England's neutrality position, pointed out that his Admiralty instructions were misunderstood and were less objectionable than appeared and concluded by the expression of a hope for the "establishment of a lasting and intimate friendship between the two nations[1319]."

       * * * * *

Great Britain, wrote the Russian Minister in Washington in January, 1860, was about to experience one of those "strokes of fortune" which occurred but rarely in the history of nations, in the approaching dissolution of the American Union. She alone, of all the nations of the world, would benefit by it in the expansion of her power, hitherto blocked by the might of the United States. Broken into two or more hostile pieces America would be at the mercy of England, to become her plaything. "The Cabinet of London is watching attentively the internal dissensions of the Union and awaits the result with an impatience which it has difficulty in disguising." Great Britain would soon, in return for cotton, give recognition to the South and, if required, armed support. For this same cotton she would oppose emancipation of the slaves. The break-up of the Union was no less than a disaster for all nations save England, since hitherto the "struggle" between England and the United States "has been the best guarantee against the ambitious projects and political egotism of the Anglo-Saxon race[1320]."

This prophecy, made over a year in advance of events, was repeated frequently as the crisis in America approached and during the first two years of the war. Stoeckl was not solitary in such opinion. The French Minister of Foreign Affairs held it also - and the French Emperor puzzled himself in vain to discover why Great Britain, in furtherance of her own interests, did not eagerly accept his overtures for a vigorous joint action in support of the South[1321].

The preceding chapters of this work will have shown how unfounded was such prophecy. Stoeckl was behind the times, knowing nothing, apparently, of that positive change in British policy in the late 'fifties which resulted in a determination to cease opposition to the expansion of American power. Such opposition was then acknowledged to have been an error and in its place there sprang into being a conviction that the might of America would tend toward the greatness of England itself[1322]. In the months preceding the outbreak of the Civil War all British governmental effort was directed toward keeping clear of the quarrel and toward conciliation of the two sections. No doubt there were those in Great Britain who rejoiced at the rupture between North and South, but they were not in office and had no control of British policy.

The war once begun, the Government, anxious to keep clear of it, was prompt in proclaiming neutrality and hastened this step for fear of maritime complications with that one of the belligerents, the North, which alone possessed a naval force. But the British Ministry, like that of every other European state, believed that a revolution for independence when undertaken by a people so numerous and powerful as that of the South, must ultimately succeed. Hence as the war dragged on, the Ministry, pressed from various angles at home, ventured, with much uncertainty, upon a movement looking toward mediation. Its desire was first of all for the restoration of world peace, nor can any other motive be discovered in Russell's manoeuvres. This attempt, fortunately for America and, it may be believed, for the world, was blocked by cool heads within the Ministry itself. There was quick and, as it proved, permanent readjustment of policy to the earlier decision not to meddle in the American crisis.

This very failure to meddle was cause of great complaint by both North and South, each expectant, from divergent reasons, of British sympathy and aid. The very anger of the North at British "cold neutrality" is evidence of how little America, feeling the ties of race and sentiment, could have understood the mistaken view-point of diplomats like Stoeckl, who dwelt in realms of "reasons of state," unaffected by popular emotions. Aside from race, which could be claimed also by the South, the one great argument of the North in appeal to England lay in the cry of anti-slavery. But the leaders of the North denied its pertinence. Itself unsympathetic with the emotions of emancipation societies at home, the British Government settled down by the end of 1862 to a fixed policy of strict neutrality.

In all this the Government but pursued that line which is the business of Governments - the preservation of the prosperity and power of the state. With the unexpected prolongation of the war and the British recognition of the Northern "will to conquer" there came, as is evident from a scrutiny of Russell's diplomatic tone and acts, a growing belief that the North might after all succeed in its purpose, at least of subjugating the South. This would mean the possibility of continuing that policy of friendship for a united America which had been determined upon in the 'fifties. Here was no special sympathy, but merely a cool calculation of benefits to Great Britain, but there can be no question that the general attitude of the Government by midsummer of 1863 was distinctly favourable to a restored Union. A "friendly neutrality" began to replace a "cold neutrality."

But it is the business of Governments not merely to guard national interests and prosperity; they also must guard their own authority and seek to remain in political power. Here emancipation, never greatly stirring the leaders, whether Whig or Tory, exercised an increasing pressure by the force of public approval. It made impossible any attempt to overthrow the Ministry on the score of non-interference in America, or of favouritism toward the North. It gave to an enthusiastic and vociferous section of the British public just ground for strong support of Lincoln and his cause, and in some degree it affected governmental attitude.

There was, however, another question, much more vital than emancipation in its relation to British home politics, that ran like a constant thread through the whole pattern of British public attitude toward America. It had always been so since the days of the American revolution and now was accentuated by the American war. This was the question of the future of democracy. Was its fate bound up with the result of that war? And if so where lay British interest? Always present in the minds of thoughtful Englishmen, appearing again and again through each changing phase of the war, this question was so much a constant that to have attempted discussion of it while other topics were being treated, would have resulted in repetition and confusion. It is therefore made the subject of a separate and concluding chapter.


[Footnote 1261: Bright to Sumner, Jan. 26, 1865 (Mass. Hist. Soc. Proceedings, XLVI, p. 132).]

[Footnote 1262: To Sumner, Feb. 17, 1865 (Ibid., p. 133).]

[Footnote 1263: Dodd, Jefferson Davis, p. 343]

[Footnote 1264: Mason Papers. Mason to Slidell, March 4, 1865.]

[Footnote 1265: Ibid., Slidell to Mason, March 5 and 6, 1865.]

[Footnote 1266: Ibid., Mason to Slidell, March 15, 1865.]

[Footnote 1267: Mason to Benjamin, March 31, 1865. (Richardson, II, pp. 709-17.)]

[Footnote 1268: Ibid., p. 717.]

[Footnote 1269: Russian Archives. Stoeckl to F.O., Jan. 24, 1865. No. 187. It is interesting that just at this time Gortchakoff should have sent to Stoeckl the copy of a memorandum by one, C. Catacazy, employe of the Foreign Office and long-time resident in the United States, in which was outlined a plan of a Russian offer of mediation. The memorandum specified that such an offer should be based on the idea that the time had come for a complete restoration of the Union and argued that both North and South regarded Russia as a special friend; it was Russia's interest to see the Union restored as a balance to Great Britain. Gortchakoff's comment was favourable, but he left it wholly to Stoeckl's judgment and discretion to act upon the plan. (Russian Archives. F.O. to Stoeckl, Feb. 6, 1865.)]

[Footnote 1270: Feb. 4, 1865.]

[Footnote 1271: A Cycle of Adams' Letters, II, 254. To his son, Feb. 10, 1865.]

[Footnote 1272: Bancroft, Seward, II, pp. 410-14.]

[Footnote 1273: A Cycle of Adams' Letters, II, 256. To his son, Feb. 17, 1865.]

[Footnote 1274: U.S. Messages and Documents, 1865-66, Pt. I, p. 182. Adams to Seward, Feb. 23, 1865.]

[Footnote 1275: Ibid., p. 112. Adams to Seward, Feb. 2, 1865.]

[Footnote 1276: Ibid., p. 180. Seward to Adams, Feb. 21, 1865.]

[Footnote 1277: Ibid., p. 199. Adams to Seward, March 9, 1865.]

[Footnote 1278: Ibid., p. 197. Seward to Adams, March 8, 1865.]

[Footnote 1279: March 8, 1865. (Bigelow, Retrospections, II, p. 361.)]

[Footnote 1280: Russell Papers. Burnley to Russell, Feb. 23 and March 13, 1865.]

[Footnote 1281: "The speech of Mr. Bright is universally admitted to have been one of the most brilliant specimens of his peculiar style of oratory. In its reminiscences, equally unwelcome to both sides of the House, it was yet received after the fashion of an unpleasant medicine, which has the aid of a strong and savoury medium to overwhelm the nauseous taste." (U.S. Messages and Documents, 1865-66, Pt. I, p. 246. Adams to Seward, March 16, 1865.)]

[Footnote 1282: Ibid.]

[Footnote 1283: Ibid., p. 262. Adams to Seward, March 24, 1865. Adams wrote of his own situation that it "seems at last to be getting easy and comfortable, so far as freedom from anxiety is concerned." (A Cycle of Adams' Letters, II, p. 258. To his son, March 24, 1865.)]

[Footnote 1284: Bruce, who succeeded Lyons at Washington, reached New York on April 7. His first letter to Russell from Washington, dated April 14, stated that America was certainly preparing to oust Maximilian in Mexico, and that even the Southern prisoners were eager to join the United States troops in an expedition for this purpose. (Russell Papers.)]

[Footnote 1285: U.S. Messages and Documents, 1865-66, Part II, p. 323. Adams to Seward, April 20, 1865.]

[Footnote 1286: April 24, 1865.]

[Footnote 1287: Ibid.]

[Footnote 1288: Mason Papers. Mason to Slidell, April 23, 1865.]

[Footnote 1289: Ibid., Slidell to Mason, April 26, 1865.]

[Footnote 1290: April 24, 1865.]

[Footnote 1291: U.S. Messages and Documents, 1865-66, Pt. I, p. 331. Adams to Seward, April 28, 1865.]

[Footnote 1292: Bancroft, Seward, II, p. 417.]

[Footnote 1293: Russell Papers. Lyons to Russell, April 9, 1861.]

[Footnote 1294: May 6, 1865.]

[Footnote 1295: April 27, 1865.]

[Footnote 1296: April 29, 1865.]

[Footnote 1297: Hansard, 3d. Ser., CLXXVIII, pp. 1073 and 1081.]

[Footnote 1298: Parliamentary Papers, 1865, Commons, Vol. LVII. "Correspondence respecting the Assassination of the late President of the United States."]

[Footnote 1299: Russell Papers. Bruce to Russell, April 18, 1865.]

[Footnote 1300: Ibid., April 24, 1865.]

[Footnote 1301: A Cycle of Adams' Letters, II, 267. Charles Francis Adams to his son, April 28, 1865.]

[Footnote 1302: U.S. Messages and Documents, 1865-66, Pt. I, pp. 344, 361. Adams to Hunter, May 4 and May 11, 1865.]

[Footnote 1303: Hansard, 3rd. Ser., CLXXVIII, p. 1219.]

[Footnote 1304: Ibid., pp. 1242-46.]

[Footnote 1305: Russell Papers. Burnley to Russell, Jan. 16, 1865.]

[Footnote 1306: Russian Archives. Stoeckl to F.O., March 1-13, 1865. No. 523. Stoeckl was opposed to this.]

[Footnote 1307: Hansard, 3rd. Ser., CLXXVII, p. 1922.]

[Footnote 1308: Ibid., CLXXIX, p. 286.]

[Footnote 1309: F.O., Am., Vol. 1018. No. 297. Bruce to Russell, May 16, 1865.]

[Footnote 1310: Ibid., No. 303. Bruce to Russell, May 19, 1865.]

[Footnote 1311: Parliamentary Papers, 1865, Commons, Vol. LVII. "Further Correspondence respecting the Cessation of Civil War in North America." No. 10.]

[Footnote 1312: Ibid., "Correspondence respecting the Cessation of Civil War in North America."]

[Footnote 1313: Ibid., "Further Correspondence respecting the Cessation of Civil War in North America." No. 9.]

[Footnote 1314: Hansard, 3rd. Ser., CLXXX, pp. 1-6.]

[Footnote 1315: Parliamentary Papers, 1865, Commons, Vol. LVII. "Correspondence respecting President's Proclamation of 22nd May, 1865." Bruce to Russell, May 26, 1865.]

[Footnote 1316: Ibid., June 16, 1865.]

[Footnote 1317: Ibid., "Further Correspondence respecting the Cessation of Civil War in North America." No. 9. Seward to Bruce, June 19, 1865.]

[Footnote 1318: Hansard, 3rd. Ser., CLXXX, p. 1143.]

[Footnote 1319: Parliamentary Papers, 1865, Commons, Vol. LVII. "Further Correspondence respecting the Cessation of Civil War in North America." No. 10.]

[Footnote 1320: Russian Archives, Stoeckl to F.O., Dec. 23, 1859/Jan. 4, 1860. No. 146.]

[Footnote 1321: Ibid., Stoeckl to F.O., Jan. 17-29, 1861. No. 267. He reports that he has seen a confidential letter from Thouvenel to Mercier outlining exactly his own ideas as to England being the sole gainer by the dissolution of the Union.]

[Footnote 1322: For an analysis of this change see The Cambridge History of British Foreign Policy, Vol II, p. 277, which also quotes a remarkable speech by Disraeli.]