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though both the Ministry and the opposition agreed that separation was final, they did not think the time for recognition had come; for both parties had "a fixed purpose to run no risk of a broil, even far less a war, with the United States." Innumerable and reliable authorities make this much certain: the British Cabinet foresaw that an offer of mediation would be promptly rejected; that merely to recognize the independence of the Confederacy would be futile unless it entailed a war with the United States, and that that would deprive Great Britain of her gains in shipping and multiply her misfortunes. Russell was wise in avoiding the first step lest he might be pushed forward to the last. Napoleon acted from more complex motives. The interests at home and the possible profits in Mexico seemed to order a bold advance; but the danger, in 1862, of being involved in hostilities about Italian affairs, and, in 1863, of being drawn into the Polish revolution, warned him to be cautious and to wait. Seward had said in May, 1862, that intervention was sure to come just as soon as the American people make up their minds to submit to it." By almost every form of expression-from a simple appeal to moral sentiments down to angry threats that barely missed representing a foreign war as desired-he made it plain that he would resent intermeddling. The action of Congress showed that he would be fully supported. At last no one misunderstood Seward.
After the early part of 1863, some of the conditions changed very rapidly. The pressure for American cotton became less, and the development of a strong antislavery policy on the part of Lincoln's administration had a marked effect abroad, as is soon to be noticed. Intervention continued to be talked of, and would probably
1 3 Seward, 96.
have come in some form if the Federal forces had been defeated at both Vicksburg and Gettysburg. But after July, 1863, as will be seen, the great danger was in connection with the Confederate warships that had already been purchased in England, and others that were expected to be built there or in France.
SLAVERY AND FOREIGN RELATIONS
Of all the questions relating to the Civil War, the two sections have found it most difficult to agree as to the nature of its cause and its purpose. Even the abolitionists with but one idea, who foresaw that secession would destroy slavery, did not at first maintain that emancipation either was or should be the chief aim. Although the Confederates called slavery the corner-stone of their new political edifice, they imagined that the object of their struggle was to secure greater state rights, more commercial freedom, and a harmonious, fraternal government. By the general expression of "war for the Union," or "war for independence," the respective leaders described the immediate aim without going back to the real origin or forward to the probable results of the conflict.
The basis from which Seward argued with foreign powers was that, as the sovereignty of the United States had not been overthrown, the acts and purposes of the Confederates and the question of slavery, were purely domestic affairs which could be ignored or brought to the front, as public sentiment and military interests demanded. So the first instructions to Adams said: "You will not consent to draw into debate before the British government any opposing moral principles which may be supposed to lie at the foundation of the controversy between those states and the Federal Union." And to Dayton he expressed these opinions: "The territories
will remain in all respects the same, whether the revolution shall succeed or shall fail. The condition of slavery in the several states will remain just the same whether it succeed or fail." "
Consistency was not the most conspicuous of Seward's virtues. If he had not been speculating with a particular object in view, probably his conclusion would have agreed with the one announced in 1850, and frequently proclaimed since that time-namely, that a civil war would bring on "violent but complete and immediate emancipation" In fact, just a week before the date of the instructions to Dayton, Seward remarked: “We are in a war, and wars work out results not contemplated by either side. It is a war for and against the Union, but no man can foretell how far it will go, or how far it will affect other interests, slavery among the rest." A very perplexing philosopher, indeed. But our duty is to try to understand him. In one case he was undoubtedly considering what could not be done according to the strict letter of the Constitution, and in the other what might come as a war-measure, which is often merely a modern and evasive euphemism for the ancient maxim, Inter arma silent leges. Undoubtedly each opinion was designed to be serviceable in its time and place.
The heat of revolutionary passion increased with the temperature of the spring and summer of 1861. The abolitionists, now rapidly increasing in number, insisted that to emancipate the slaves of Confederates would quickly end the war. The adoption of such a policy, then, would have seemed to justify what the secessionists had said in the past about Republican purposes; it would have transformed loyal slave-holders into Confederate allies, and have cost Lincoln's administration most of the support it was receiving from the fighting
1 Dip. Cor., 1861, 76, 198.
21 Works, 86. 3 2 Seward, 616.
element among southern Unionists and northern Democrats and conservatives. The routed and frightened troops from the first battle of Bull Run had hardly reached Washington when Crittenden, whose devotion to the Union depended on no if, brought forward a resolution declaring that the war was not for conquest or to interfere "with the rights or established institutions" of the southern states, "but to defend and maintain the supremacy of the Constitution and to preserve the Union with all the dignity, equality, and rights of the several states unimpaired; that as soon as these objects are accomplished the war ought to cease.” Almost immediately, and with close approach to unanimity, the members of the House and of the Senate pledged themselves to these declarations. This was a Congressional approval of Seward's theory-so often mentioned dur ing the preceding eight months-that the Union, not slavery, was the paramount issue.
In the next few weeks was passed the first of the measures providing for the confiscation of all property, including slaves, used in support of the insurrection. In various ways slavery was weakened in all those parts of the South to which Federal troops were sent; and in August, 1861, Frémont issued a proclamation in Missouri, declaring the confiscation of the property of all persons that had taken up arms against the United States. But Lincoln ordered that slaves should be prohibited from entering or following the military camps, and he changed the effect of Frémont's proclamation so that only property used against the government should be confiscated. This opposition to purely antislavery aims excited the bitterest criticism among abolitionists; but Lincoln refused to go beyond the course adopted by Congress. The immediate purpose was to save Maryland, and to win Kentucky and as much as possible of Virginia and Tennessee.