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SPEECH OF JOHN BRIGHT.
the war of Independence, in taxation, for ing troops to Canada, deprecated the the representation of the South, by virtue policy of arming to the teeth in time of of its slave privileges, was in excess ; peace." It was significant of the exnot, as had been alleged, on account citement caused by the Trent affair that of tariffs, for they had been passed while Lord Shaftesbury, who was supposed to the South was dominant in the national share these views in November, now decouncils, but in a question of a graver clined an invitation to a united prayercharacter. “For thirty years," said this meeting at his favorite Exeter Hall
, on calm observer, “ slavery has been con- the ground that his presence might instantly coming to the surface as the diffi- terfere with the idea that the country culty of American politicians. The object was united on the redress question. of the South in seceding is to escape from When the appropriation for the army the votes of those who wish to limit the expenses, incurred by the British Govarea of slave territory.” He pointed out ernment in its conduct of the Trent the geographical, the moral necessity of affair, were under discussion in Parliathe struggle, and vindicated the course of ment in its next session, Mr. Bright, from the North. He thought the seizure on his seat in the House of Commons, preboard the Trent might be unauthorized, faced a pungent review of the course and presciently pronounced that repara- pursued with the remark, “It is not custion wonld be made. Deprecating war, tomary in ordinary life for a person to he dwelt upon the number of Englishmen send a polite messenger with a polito who had emigrated to America, upon the message to some friend or neighbor, or unprecedented developinent of the North, acquaintance, and at the same time to and prayed it might not be said among send some man of portentous strength her growing millions “that in their dark- handling a gigantic club, making every est liour of need the English people, from kind of ferocious gesticulation, and at whom they sprung, had looked with icy the same time, to profess that all this is coldness on the trials and sufferings of done in the most friendly and courteous their terrible struggle.” The friend and manner.”
The friend and manner.” In conclusion, he added that associate of the great commoner in po- he was rejoiced to see a remarkable litical life, Richard Cobden, also spoke change operating from day to day, in
He thought the question Parliament and out of it, since the course suggested a complete revision of the In- of the American Government had been ternational Maritime Code. On a pre- known. "There is a more friendly feelvious occasion, at the same place, he said, ing," he said, “ towards the Washington
My friend, Mr. Bright, and myself Government. A large portion of the have been called the two members for people of this country see in it a govthe United States," and, looking to the ernment, a real government, not a govenlargement of the cotton producing area, ernment ruled by a mob and not a govhad expressed his regret “ that the most ernment disregarding law. They beextensive, the most ingenious, and the lieve it is a government struggling for most useful industry that ever existed the integrity of a great country. They on this earth, should have been depend- believe it is a country which is the home ent almost exclusively for the supply of of every man who wants a home, and, the raw material upon an institution, the moreover, they believe this—that the institution of Slavery, which we must all greatest of all crimes which any people regard as a very unsafe foundation, and, in the history of the world has ever been in fact, to the permanency of which we connected with—the keeping in slavery can none of us, as honest men, wish God four millions of human beings-is in the speed.” He also, in reference to send
* Speech at Rochdale, June 26, 1861.
providence of a power very much higher happy position—the severe trials which than that of the Prime Minister of Eng- the country was suffering of the influland, or of the President of the United ential classes of Great Britain. An opStates, marching on, as I believe, to its portunity was given to England to exentire abolition.'
hibit generosity and magnanimity withGeneral Scott, a few days after his out cost to herself, or sacrifice of her arrival in Paris, published a letter dated cherished rights, to secure the good will the 2d of December, in which the case of America for generations. It was perof the Trent was stated with great sa- verted to the exercise of spleen and gacity and moderation, and the action malignity. The most uncharitable consubsequently taken by his government structions prevailed and the most violent at home presciently indicated. “The threats were uttered. Something of this, two nations," said he, "are united by indeed, was modified when word of the interests and sympathies--commercial, better temper of the American people social, political, and religious, almost as was carried across the Atlantic by the the two arms to one body, and no one is weekly steamers ; nor could so sad an so ignorant as not to know that what event as the sudden death of the Prince harms one must harm the other in a Consort, which occurred at Windsor on corresponding degree.” The words of the 14th of December, be without its inthe venerable Nestor were poured like fluence in calming the utterly unprooil upon the troubled waters. Doubtful, voked and unnecessary popular rage. however, of the issue, he hastily returned Simultaneously with the agitation of to America by the steamer which had the Trent affair in England, no little carried him to Europe.
excitement was produced by the cirIn America the denunciations of the cumstances growing out of the arrival British Press and the warlike prepara- at Southampton of the Confederate war tions of the Government, were received steamer Nashville, in which it was at as thunder out of a clear sky. Con- first supposed Messrs. Mason and Slitrary to the predictions and suppositions dell had sailed from South Carolina. abroad of a popular desire in the United This vessel which became noted for her States for a war with Great Britain, and depredations on the high seas and for an overwhelming manifestation of this her success in breaking the blockade of feeling, never was the voice of the peo- the Southern coast, was a side-wheel ple more calmly uttered or their defer- steamer of about 1,200 tons, built in ence to the Administration more assur- New York, and previously to the rebeledly exhibited than in their acquiescence lion had been regularly running between in the whole treatment of this matter by that city and Charleston. After the the Secretary of State. The popular secession she was retained at the Southfury was all on the other side of the ern harbor, and fitted out as a ConAtlantic. Undoubtedly much soreness federate war steamer. She was armed was created by the affair ; but it arose, with two 12-pounder rifled cannon, and not from an unwillingness on the part of carried a crew of eighty men. Her the American people to do justice in the commander, Captain Robert B. Pegram, premises, or, if that were asked, concili- a Virginian by birth, had passed nearly ate the offended pride of England, but thirty-two years in the United States from the conviction forced upon the na- Navy, in which, at the outbreak of the tion of the utter lack of sympathy with rebellion, he held the rank of a lieuteits cause, or of consideration for the un- nant. He had been in service in the * Speech of Mr. Bright in the House of Commons, Feb- of late had been engaged in the Coast
Paraguay and Japan expeditions, and
ruary 17, 1862.
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 harbor ; 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 à 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 frecpublic opinion on the motives and prob- dom, was ranged on the side of a wantor 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 Exec same result. Their 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- hung 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 monarchy 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
the Commonwealth of