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a better cause, and by using the power of the press, a considerable portion of which was hostile to the Union, they had been able to produce a decided impression upon the public mind, and to excite hopes of the speedy intervention of European powers in American affairs. But governments move slowly, as becomes the gravity of their position, and in modern times at least, they require to be well assured that the people will sustain them, before they take any step of great importance. England, for various reasons, had no special regard or affection for the United States. England was rather annoyed and displeased that so powerful a rival should have taken the position in wealth and rank which our country holds after so brief a period of national life. England was and is, from the nature of the case, not in love with republican institutions, and was and is willing to see them broken up and perish. Yet not all of England, by any means. There were ardent philanthropists and able statesmen, who were as capable as they were willing to cast aside foolish prejudices and jealousies, and to do their share towards enlightening others, towards battling for the right, and towards extending their sympathy and good will to the United States. And these could not be ignored; they made their voices heard; and with the help of several influential journals, they proved that the present fratricidal attempt of the secessionists was as wicked as it was unprecedented in the history of mankind. The English government, therefore, whatever its inclinations may have been, hesitated to venture upon
a step which, if wrongly taken, would be direful indeed in its consequences
France, also, under the despotism of Louis Napoleon, was not altogether pleased at being called upon to witness our rapid strides in national wealth and power. France, too, was more or less jealous of the United States, and was quite willing to stand by, and see the Union broken up, and its power and pride humbled; but there were friends of America in France, friends who did good service by their pens as well as in other ways, in behalf of our country's honor and good name; and more than this, France was ruled by a man who, however unscrupulous as a politician, was far too sagacious to commit himself hastily to an undertaking whose success was by no means assured; he had had too large experience in the uncer tainty of political scheming to give aid to experiments which, so far as he could see, were as likely to be failures as anything else. Consequently, France was not willing, or prepared, to go to the lengths which the secessionists wished or expected; and France, like England, preferred to wait awhile, and see what the future might bring forth.
Doubtless, we think, the general disposition in Europe was, to consider secession and disintegration of the Union
* Mr. C. M. Clay, at the time en route for his em bassy at St. Petersburg, wrote a spirited letter to the London Times, May 17th, setting forth the views and
determination of Union men on the subject of rebellion and treason. Mr. Motley, also, our minister to Austria, published in the same journal, a week later, a calm, American Civil War." Mr. John Stuart Mill, the well clear, convincing statement as to "The Causes of the known and able advocate of freedom, published, some
Contest in America." He was also seconded by men of the stamp of Richard Cobden, John Bright, etc.
months later, an article in Fraser's Magazine on "The
REBELS ACKNOWLEDGED AS BELLIGERENTS.
queen said: "And we do hereby strictly charge and command all our loving subjects to observe a strict neutrality in and during the aforesaid hostilities, and to abstain from violating or contravening either the laws and statutes of the realm in this behalf, or the law of nations in relation thereto, as they will answer to the contrary at their peril."
as necessary results of progress in our ment of a determination to be entirely case. The people had heard so fre- neutral between the secessionists and quently of this view of the subject from the United States government, the advocates of state sovereignty, as well as haters of American constitutional government and liberty, that, at first, and for a long time, they were ready to acquiesce in disunion, and rather to rejoice in view of its beneficial results to themselves. To counteract this unfriendly feeling and hostile judgment of affairs, if it should exhibit itself in diplomacy, and prevent, if possible, its adoption The provisions of the Foreign Enlist and incorporation in the public policy of leading European nations, was the arduous work before the secretary of state at Washington. Mr. Seward devoted himself to the task with indefatigable zeal and earnestness; and his successful efforts in behalf of his country deserve and have received the highest praise.
ment Act, 59 George III., having been recited, the proclamation was concluded in the following terms: "And we do hereby declare, that all our subjects and persons entitled to our protection, who may misconduct themselves in the premises, will do it at their peril, and of their own wrong, and that they will, in nowise, obtain any protection from us against any liabilities or penal
This action of the British government, while it accorded entirely with the plans and purposes of Louis Napoleon, was felt in the United States to be very unhandsome, to say the least, and to indicate a hostile spirit, which it was not easy to forget or forgive. The necessity of any such action could hardly be pretended, seeing that the
The British government, influenced by mixed motives probably, acted in a consequences, but will, on the contrary, manner that could hardly be called incur our displeasure by such misconfriendly. With unusual haste, within duct." less than a month after the news had arrived of Fort Sumter's bombardment, and before the arrival of our minister, Mr. C. F. Adams, Her Majesty's advisers, Lord John Russell at the head, had determined that "the Southern Confederacy of America, according to those principles which seem to them to be just principles, must be treated as a belligerent." The queen's "confederacy" had thus far done noth proclamation, agreed upon in Privy Council, was issued on the 13th of May, the day of Mr. Adams's arrival at Liverpool, and before he had any opportunity of speech or action on the subject. After the usual preamble and state
ing but make loud and arrogant assumptions, and had not a single port of entry at its command, free from blockade; the real effect was, and was meant to be, to open the door for the rebels to get privateers, and prey upon Ameri
can commerce. As it turned out, question "between the United States England furnished largely the means and their adversaries in North Ameriby which the rebellion was able to ca;" but that, regarding the lengthen its existence, and to do im- contest as constituting a civil mense injury to our commerce. war, the policy of neutrality would be strictly adhered to. "Her Majesty cannot undertake to determine, by anticipation, what may be the issue of the contest, nor can she acknowledge the independence of the nine states which are now combined against the Presi dent and Congress of the United States, until the fortune of arms, or the more peaceful mode of negotiation shall have more clearly determined the respective positions of the two belligerents." Thus far, the rebels had accomplished but a small part of their purpose, and they were deeply chagrined at their want of success.
On the 1st of June, a royal order was issued, interdicting the armed vessels and privateers of both parties from carrying prizes made by them to ports, harbors, roadsteads or waters of the United Kingdom or any of Her Majesty's colonies or possessions abroad. At the same time it was announced, that the government wished and meant to observe the strictest neutrality in the contest; the further question of direct recognition was postponed, neither England nor France caring just then to engage in a war with the United States, which would certainly have resulted from recognition of the "Confederacy."
France having, by agreement, adopted the same line of policy with England, The rebel agents, Messrs. Yancey, a decree was published in the Moniteur, Rost, and Mann, at the beginning of June 11th, proclaiming that " His MaMay, urged Lord John Russell to re- jesty, the Emperor of the French, taking cognize their so-called government at into consideration the state of peace once, and presented various reasons of which now exists between France and policy and interest to England therefor, the United States of America, has reespecially that of free trade, without solved to maintain a strict neutrality in the offensive tariffs of the North. But the struggle between the government the British prime minister could not of the Union and the states which be persuaded to go further than the propose to form a separate confederaproclamation of entire neutrality. To tion." In addition, it was stated, that their remarkable perversions of the the same restrictions were in force truth on the subject of the war, charg- which had been imposed by the Briing Mr. Lincoln with fighting in order tish government as to fitting out privato keep the slaves in slavery, and with teers, violations of neutrality, etc.* a purpose by and by of exciting a slave Intercourse with the French governinsurrection, Lord John Russell rather quietly answered, August 24th, that the British government did not pretend to enter into the merits of the
*Spain and Portugal also issued royal decrees, pro
hibiting all their subjects from taking service on with their prizes into any of their ports, the acceptance by their subjects of letters of marque, the fitting out
either side, the entrance of privateers or armed ships