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THE CONFEDERATE WAR STEAMER NASHVILLE.
Survey. Attaching himself to the for- affair, " the steamer Nashville now lying tunes of the South, he was commissioned in Southampton waters is a hideous by President Davis a lieutenant in the blemish upon our nineteenth century navy of the Confederate States. Three civilization. A wild beast, or a bird of of the officers of the Nashville, Lieuten- prey is an object of dread, but not of ants Fauntleroy and Bennett and a abhorrence. The Nashville is both—a midshipman named Cary, had been in floating den of brutalized human beings, the action at Manassas or Bull Run. making destruction the immediate busi
Leaving Charleston on the night of the ness of their lives—the destruction of 26th of October, the Nashville escaped unarmed and unoffending ships, carrying the vessels of the blockading squadron on a peaceful traffic upon the common off the harbor, made her way in safety highway of nations. If Captain Pegram to Bermuda, where she obtained supplies holds a commission or a letter of marque, of coal and stores from the inhabitants, the law of nations—to our shame be it while her officers were received with cor- said—will have nothing to say to him ; diality by the best society at St. George's; but the moral sense of mankind will still and leaving the island on the 5th of pronounce his achievement an outrage November, crossed the the Atlantic to on humanity.” Great Britain, in fact, the British coast, where, off the entrance by the Neutrality Proclamation, had to the Irish Channel, on the 19th of the committed herself to the toleration, and, month, fell in with the ship Harvey Birch in a certain degree, to the support of such of New York, three days out from Havre. outrages against a nation with which she With his guns unlimbered and decks was at peace. The Nashville was allowed ready for action, Captain Pegram, flying the same protection in her harbor, and the Confederate flag, bore down upon looked upon in the same light as the the packet and ordered her captain to United States steamer James Adger haul down his United States flag and which preceded her, and the Tuscarora come on board the Nashville. This de- which speedily followed her. mand was complied with, when Captain The last named vessel, one of the new Nelson was informed that he was a pris- screw corvettes of the American navy, oner of war by authority of the Con- mounting nine guns, commanded by Capfederate States, and was ordered to send tain T. A. Craven arrived at Southamphis crew on board the steamer as quickly ton on the 8th of January, and anchored as possible. On reaching the deck they in the harbor a mile from the dock were put in irons. The Harvey Birch, where the Nashville remained ready for meanwhile stripped of her fresh stores sailing, having received supplies of coal, and provisions, was set on fire, and in water and provisions. The Tuscarora sight of her captain and crew burnt to kept her fires up, her officers watching the water's edge. The Nashville kept the slightest movements of the Conon her course to England, steamed up federate vessel, ready to pursue her to the English Channel, and entering the sea, and, if possible, to effect her capture port of Southampton, the prisoners were or destruction. The official authorities liberated and their necessities supplied took every precaution to prevent any by the United States Consul.
infringement of the neutrality of the The arrival of the Nashville under port. Captains Craven and Pegram were such circumstances afforded a striking reminded of the international law retest of the British Neutrality Proclama- quiring an interval between belligerent tion. "Pirate or privateer, Confederate ships leaving the barbor; and the frigates or corsair,” said the London Star of Dauntless and Shannon, at the Isle of November 22d, in an article on the Wight, were kept on the alert to hinder any attack in British waters. Various was to be allowed to remain there not manæuvres were practiced by the Tus- longer than twenty-four hours, except carora to secure a meeting with her an- under stress of weather or absolute need tagonist at sea.
of repairs, when supplies were to be To set a limit to the embarrassments permitted to be taken in only for imarising from the protection given to the mediate use. In case vessels of both combatants, an order was issued by Earl the belligerents were in the harbor at Russell from the Foreign Office on the the same time, an interval of twenty31st of January, prohibiting "during four hours was required between their the continuance of the present hostilities departures. between the Government of the United At length, after nearly three months States of North America and the States passed in the Southampton docks, the calling themselves the Confederate States Nashville took her departure on the 3d of America, all ships of war and pri- of February. The Tuscarora which had vateers of either belligerent, from mak- been sailing in the channel, returned ing use of any port or roadstead in the that morning to the Isle of Wight, when United Kingdom of Great Britain and her officers were notified by the British Ireland, or in the channels, islands, or authorities that the Nashville having given in any of her Majesty's colonies, or notice of her immediate departure, Capforeign possessions or independencies, or tain Craven would be required to remain of any waters subject to the territorial behind the prescribed twenty-four hours. jurisdiction of the British crown, as a The Nashville accordingly was enabled station or place of resort for any warlike to get to sea under favorable circumpurposes, or for the purpose of obtaining stances, which precluded any attempt at any facilities of warlike equipment.” In her capture. The Tuscarora remained agreement with the course taken by two days at Southampton, when she France and Spain, any armed vessel of sailed to Gibraltar to maintain the either party entering a British harbor blockade of the Sumter.
CHAPTER X L VII.
OPINIONS OF LEADING ENGLISHMEN ON THE REBELLION.
In connection with the exhibition of study of the times. We have in a preBritish feeling in the affair of the Trent, vious chapter* glanced at some of its noticed in the last chapter, it may not main conditions and alluded to the be amiss to present some of the more apparent incongruity where a people, marked declarations of English states- pledged in so many ways to the supmen which up to this time had, with port of constituted authority and to more or less of authority, influenced sympathy with the cause of human freepublic opinion on the motives and prob- dom, was ranged on the side of a wanton able termination of the struggle in rebellion devoted to the maintenance America. The public opinion, indeed, and extension of slavery. The secret of England in regard to the rebellion, of this inconsistency was, from one moas an index of the political fortunes of tive or other, a paramount distrust of two great nations, will present hereafter the growing power of the United States, one of the most instructive subjects for
* Chap. xxviii., vol. 1.
ENGLISH OPINIONS OF THE WAR.
and a belief that somehow the interest ture under one President, and carried of Great Britain, or at least of the their merchandise under a single flag. classes holding the unfavorable opinions, And so far from thinking that these sepwould be promoted by the separation of arations will be injurious to the future the North and South. Divide and gov- destinies of America, or inflict a blow ern, is an old maxim of political craft, on that grand principle of self-governwhich it was evident was not overlooked ment in which the substance of liberty on this occasion. The wish in this mat- consists, I believe that such separations ter was, doubtless, father to the thought. will be attended with happy results to At any rate, it is curious to note at how the safety of Europe and the developearly a period and how firmly the con- ment of American civilization. If it clusion was established in the minds of could have been possible that, as popunumerous leading Englishmen, that the lation and wealth increased, all the vast continuance of the States of America continent of America, with her mighty under one government was neither prac- seaboard and the fleets which her inticable nor desirable. Looking over the creasing ambition as well as her extendrecord of these opinions. we find them ing commerce would have formed and from different points of view, with some armed, could have remained under one memorable exceptions, terminating in the form of government, in which the Execsame resultTheir unhesitating decla- utive has little or no control over a poprations of the apparently inextricable ulace exceedingly adventurous and exembarrassment of the situation, afford citable, why then America would have a very appreciable measure of the reso- bung over Europe like a gathering and lution and strength of the American destructive thunder cloud. No single Government in asserting its rights and kingdom in Europe could have been dignity
strong enough to maintain itself against Sir Edward Bulwer Lytton, whose a nation that had once consolidated the claims to attention rested on his position gigantic resources of a quarter of the as a large landholder and representative globe. And this unwieldy extent of of the English aristocratic social system, empire would have been as fatal to the as well as on that success in literature permanent safety and development of by which he had held the ear of the America herself as the experience of all reading public throughout the world for history tells us an empire too vast to a whole generation, on the 25th of Sep- maintain the healthy circulation of its tember, 1861, in an annual address be- own life-blood ever has been, since the fore the Herts' Agricultural Society at world began, to the races over which it Hitchin, took occasion to present his spread. By their own weight the old views of the conflict in America, which colossal empires of the East fell to ruin. he affected to regard as a philosophical It was by her own vast extent of dostudent of history. “That separation,” minion that Rome first lost her liberties, said he, “between North and South under the very armies which that extent America, which is now being brought of dominion compelled her to maintain, about by civil war, I have long foreseen and finally rendered up her dominion itand foretold to be inevitable ; and I ven- self to the revenge of the barbarians she ture to predict that the younger men had invaded. The immense monarc here present will live to see not two, but founded by the genius of Charlemagne at least four, and probably more than fell to pieces soon after his death, and four, separate and sovereign common- those pieces are now the kingdoms of wealths arising out of those populations Europe. But neither the Empires of which a year ago united their Legisla- the East, nor the Commonwealth of
Rome, nor the Monarchy of Charlemagne that the South should agree to enter could compare in extent and resources again with all the rights of the Constituwith the continent of America ; and tion, should we not again have that fatal you will remember that the United subject of Slavery brought in along with States claimed a right to the whole of them? That subject of Slavery which that continent, and the ultimate fate caused, no doubt, the disruption, we all of America under one feeble Executive agree, must, sooner or later, cease from -the feeblest Executive perhaps ever the face of the earth. Well, then, genknown in a civilized community would tlemen, as you will see, if this quarrel have beeu no exception to the truths of could be made up, should we not have history and the laws of nature. But in those who differed from Mr. Lincoln at proportion as America shall become sub- the last election carried back into the divided into different States, each of Union, and, thus, sooner or later, the which is large enough for greatness- quarrel would recommence, and, perlarger than a European Kingdom--her haps, a long civil war follow ? On the ambition will be less formidable to the other hand, supposing the United States rest of the world, and I do not doubt completely to conquer and subdue the that the action of emulation and rivalry Southern States, supposing that should between one free State and another, be the result of a long military conflict, speaking the same language and enjoy- supposing that should be the result of ing that educated culture which inspires some years of civil war, should we not an affection for all that enlightens and have the material prosperity of that exalts humanity, will produce the same country in a great degree destroyed, effects upon art and commerce, and the should we see that respect for liberty improvements in practical government which has so long distinguished our which the same kind of competition North American brethren, and should produced in the old commonwealths of we not see those Southern men yielding Greece."
to force, and would not the North be Earl Russell, the head of the Foreign necessitated to keep in subjection those office, in a speech at a dinner given to who had been conquered, and would not him at Newcastle-upon-Tyne, in Octo- that very materially interfere with the ber, said of the elements of the Ameri- freedom of nations ? And, if that should can question, that while he believed be the unhappy result to which we at slavery to be the original cause of the present look forward, if by means such conflict, yet that the two parties were as these the reunion of the States should not now contending upon that question ; be brought about, is it not the duty of nor yet with respect to Free Trade and those men who have embraced the preProtection, of which much had been cepts of Christianity to see whether this said in England,“ but contending as so conflict cannot be avoided ?” many States of the old world have con- The Earl of Shrewsbury, in a speech tended, the one side for empire, the before the City of Worcester Conservaother for power.” His views of the tive Association, October 30th, regardprobable nature or result of the conflict ing the question from the point of view were expressed in these reflections of his order, saw " in America democ
:" Far be it from us to set ourselves up racy on its trial and how it failed. He as judges in this matter, but I cannot was afraid that the result would show help asking myself, as affairs progress in that the separation of the two great secthe contest, to what good end can it tions of that country was inevitable, and lead ? Supposing this contest ended, by those who lived long enough would, in the reunion of its different parts, and his opinion, see an aristocracy established
” On the same occasion, without a discontented South. If it Sir John Pakington, a inember of Par- choose to tax itself by monstrous and liament and ex-minister, declared his unfriendly tariffs, and to repudiate the belief “that from President Lincoln doctrines of free trade, so gloriously tridownwards there was not a man in umphant elsewhere, so be it, but let it America who would venture to tell not blame the South for throwing off the them that he really thought it possible fetters.
fetters. We want you to be strong, your that by the force of circumstances the policy makes you feeble ; rich, you are North could hope to compel the South doing your best to impoverish yourto again join them in constituting the selves ; brotherly, and you are engaged United States."
in Cain-like slanghtering ; happy, and Sir John Bowring, the eminent scholar what woes are in all your households ; and ambassador, a writer on public affairs peaceful, and you are busied in wide of reputation, in a letter written to a wasting war. I write very friendly to friend, which was printed in the papers you. My heart is full. I love America
I of the day, evidently regarded the sepa- too well, too many dear and valued ration of the two portions of the Union friends, not to desire her progress and as a probable if not desirable result. prosperity. I have no interest to bias
. I “ Your American fratricidal war," he said, my judgment, and all my prejudices have " is the most dreadful event of modern been on your side of the Atlantic." * history. No doubt it will be controlled Lord Stanley, in an address at Lynn and directed for good, but that it should in November, handled the American
, end in any thing but a separation of the question, if not with sympathy for the North from the South seems to me quite North, at least with discrimination and improbable if not impossible. I do not respect for its motives in accepting the think the Federal Government has shown conflict. He had travelled in the United any disposition to put down slavery, or States in the summer of 1848, he said, is entitled to sympathy on that account. at the time of the disturbances in IreIt does not appear to me that you are land, and had been amused to find well justified in calling the Southerners 'reb- informed persons attach serious imporels.' Our statesmen of the time of tance to those movements, and even reGeorge III. called Washington and commend the immediate recognition of Franklin by that name. I do not be- the independence claimed by the rebel lieve the cotton lords have bad any agitators. There were intelligent people thing to do with the opinion which you in America, he thought, who might be believe to be unfriendly to the United equally amused with English criticism on States, but which assuredly it is not. I their affairs. He himself “did not think never knew a question in which there it reasonable to blame the Federal Govwas so much unanimity of views among ernment for declining to give up half our wise and good men as this. We their territory without striking a blow in
. want you as freemen, as philosophers, its defence. They have met with an as statesmen, as Christians, to settle in armed insurrection, and they have oppeace what war will never settle. As posed it by an armed resistance.” How you are now unfortunately engaged in a long it was wise to continue that resistpolicy which compels-or, at all events ance appeared to him as a matter of employs-acts of despotism which would policy, the great difficulty of the question ; seem incredible, and are taking measures for he held the opinion which, as he asagainst British-subjects, which we should serted, generally prevailed in England, tolerate from 'no other government, I think your North would be stronger ter, November 7, 1861.
* Sir John Bowring to Dr. Macgowan, Larksbear, Exe.