Tuesday, March 5, 2013

From the South

A letter appears in the Richmond Enquirer from a gentleman just arrived there from Europe, apparently one of the numerous secession emissaries, which contains some interesting statements.  Although evidently desiring to put the best appearance on the prospects of the confederacy, he frankly acknowledges the defeat of its expectations of foreign aid thus far.  He says:

“When I left Richmond in June last there was a very general expectation that the manufacturing necessities of England and France would force them to a speedy recognition and interference with the federal blockade.  There was, too, an equally confident impression that the commercial enterprise of England would spring at once to the enjoyment of the high prices the blockade established by sending forward cargoes of arms, munitions, medicines and other stores most needed in the confederacy.  The first thing I learned after my arrival was the great error of these expectations. – Immediately on getting to London I endeavored to start some shipments to the confederate states that had been suggested by certain parties from whom I carried messages, but soon I found it up hill work.  When I told of hundred per cent profits, they said ‘ten per cent without risk, or even five, and we are your men but no range of profits however high, will tempt us to risk uncertainties.”  Those who came back some months ago know what untiring efforts we made for this purpose, but I am sorry to say without the success we confidently anticipated.  This matter however, shows signs of continual improvement, and I hope the channels of trade will soon be opened.  The fallacy of popular expectations in reference to speedy recognition and interference with the blockade was even more strongly apparent, and should in my opinion, be taken into account in simple justice to the confederate commissioners in Europe.  The difficulties in the way of a speedy interference on the part of England and France, I consider among other things to have been – First – The fact that both of those governments are eminently conservative, which, coupled with the fact of both possessing important colonial possessions made them naturally cautious in encouraging innovations on the existing status of nations, and of encouraging a disposition to revolution that might be turned against them in some day of future trials of their own.  Second – A prevalent impression among nearly all classes that the differences between the South and North would be speedily settled, either by a peaceful division of the Union or a peaceful reconstruction.  Third – A very general fear among those particularly friendly to the South that she would be over run and conquered, in which case they said we should find a difficulty on our hands from interference, which would be anything but advantageous or agreeable.  Fourth – The influence of the old national party of England, especially to encourage within her own borders an independence in the monopoly of manufacturing stables.  Fifth – And the last, in this hurried letter is the abolition element of England and her people.  It is not to be distinguished that abolitionism at the outset of the war was the prevailing sentiment of the British nation.  This sentiment, planted by the labors of Wilberforce and Clarkson, and of late years by the active fanaticism of many of her most powerful writers, preachers and politicians, stimulated by the artful and insinuating fictions of writers of the Harriet Beecher Stowe order, and total ignorance of the mitigating features which have made America the greatest possible boon to the African, had grown not only the general, but the active and determined sentiment of the people.  It is true that many of the strongest abolitionists have been pitching into the Lincoln government, but it was from anything but a friendly motive to the South and constituted an influence from which nothing advantageous to her cause could be expected.

– Published in The Burlington Weekly Hawk-Eye, Burlington, Iowa, Saturday, February 8, 1862, p. 2

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