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But for the decided position assumed by Mr. Lincoln, through his accomplished Secretary, Mr. Seward, the rebel government would certainly have had an early and full recognition. England and France were, without doubt, very friendly to the United States; but they would have been friendlier to two governments than to one. In his instructions to Mr. Charles Francis Adams, on his departure to represent the government at the court of St. James, Mr. Seward said:
"If, as the President does not at all apprehend, you shall unhappily find Her Majesty's government tolerating the application of the so-called seceding states, or wavering about it, you will not leave them to suppose, for a moment, that they can grant that application, and remain the friends of the United States. You may even assure them promptly, in that case, that, if they determine to recognize, they may, at the same time, prepare to enter into an alliance with the enemies of this republic. You alone will represent your country at London, and you will represent the whole of it there. When you are asked to divide that duty with others, diplomatic relations between the government of Great Britain and this government will be suspended, and will remain so until it shall be seen which of the two is most strongly intrenched in the confidence of their respective nations and of mankind."
Against the recognition of the rebels as a belligerent power, Mr. Adams was directed to make a decided and energetic protest; and when, on the fifteenth of June, the representatives of England and France at Washington applied to Mr. Seward for the privilege of reading to him certain instructions they had received from their governments, he declined to hear them officially until he had had the privilege of reading them privately. This privilege was accorded to him; and then he declined to receive any official notice of the documents. Four days afterwards, he wrote a letter to Mr. Adams, informing him of the nature of the instructions, which were prefaced by a statement of the decision of the British government that this country was divided into two belligerent parties, of which the government represented one; and that the government of Great Britain proposed to assume the attitude of a neutral between them.
Touching this decision, Mr. Seward said that the government of the United States could not debate it with the government of Her Majesty-much less consent to receive the announcement of a decision thus derogating from the sovereignty of the United States-a decision at which it had arrived without conferring with us upon the question. "The United States" said Mr. Seward, "are still solely and exclusively sovereign, within the territories they have lawfully acquired and long possessed, as they have always been. They are living under the obligations of the law of nations and of treaties with Great Britain, just the same now as heretofore; they are, of course, the friend of Great Britain; and they insist that Great Britain shall remain their friend now, just as she has hitherto been. Great Britain, by virtue of these relations, is a stranger to parties and sections in this country, whether they are loyal to the United States or not; and Great Britain can neither rightfully qualify the sovereignty of the United States, nor concede nor recognize any rights or interests or power, of any party, state or section, in contravention to the unbroken sovereignty of the federal Union. What is now seen in this country is the occurrence, by no means peculiar, but frequent in all countries, more frequent in Great Britain than here, of an armed insurrection, engaged in attempting to overthrow the regularly constituted and established government. But these incidents by no means constitute a state of war, impairing the sovereignty of the gov ernment, creating belligerent sections, and entitling foreign states to intervene or to act as neutrals between them, or in any other way to cast off their lawful obligations to the nation thus, for the moment, disturbed. Any other principle than this would be to resolve government everywhere into a thing of accident and caprice, and ultimately all human society into a state of perpetual war."
Instructions corresponding with these were sent to our representatives at the French and other European courts. These governments were plainly given to understand that our government considered the difficulty with the slaveholding states
to be exclusively its own--that it was purely a domestic rebellion, which it proposed to extinguish by its own power, and one in which foreign governments had no right to intermeddle. Our ministers were told by Mr. Seward that they could not be too decided or explicit in making known to the governments at which they represented us, that there was not then, and would not be, any idea existing in the government of suffering a dissolution of the Union to take place, in any way whatever.
Throughout all the war that followed, England and France maintained their most unjustifiable and cruel recognition of the belligerent rights of the rebels-unjustifiable, because it was an unfriendly act toward a friendly power, on behalf of a rebellion whose forces were still unorganized, and whose suppression the government had hardly entered upon; and cruel, because it encouraged the rebels to persevere in a war which could only end in defeat to them, and which was so prolonged that it made a desolation of their whole country. There is probably nothing more morally certain than that the expectation of full recognition by England and France, on the part of Mr. Davis and his people, helped to continue the struggle of the rebellion with the government, until tens of thousands of loyal and disloyal lives were needlessly sacrificed. The act was unfriendly to this government; it was a cruelty to the hapless insurgents it deceived, for the promise it contained was never redeemed, and would have accomplished nothing if it had been; and it was a great blunder, from which those blundering governments have retreated, amid the jeers of the nations of the world, and the shuffling apologies of their own people. This sympathy with the rebellion on the part of these foreign governments is something not to be forgotten, because we are to measure by it the magnanimity of Mr. Lincoln in the treatment of international questions arising afterwards. This sympathy is to-day denied; it was then blatant and bellicose. An American could not pass through England without insult; he could not speak for the national cause in England without a mob. England, or all of England
LIFE OF ABRAHAM LINCOLN.
that had a voice, rejoiced in rebel successes and federal defeats, and garbled and qualified all the news which favored the prospects of national success. Whatever may be the professions of England now, no true American can forget that all the influence she dared to give in favor of the rebellion was given, beginning promptly at the start; and that her position rendered the task of subduing the rebellion doubly severe. Whatever may be the professions of her people now, no true American will forget the insults that were heaped upon his countrymen abroad whenever an allusion was made to the national difficulties, and heaped upon the country by the issues of a press that represented the British people, and persistently misrepresented our own. It was not, of course, to be expected that monarchies would be friendly to the great prosperity of democracies, or that they would give them their open sympathy and co-operation in difficulty; but the latter should be spared receiving the hypocrisies of the former as courtesies; and, after having been compelled to drink of gall for four years, should be permitted to remember that it was gall, and to make the best of it, without being persistently assured that it was honey.
The opening of the war found Colonel John C. Fremont in Europe; and he, with a large number of loyal Americans, hastened home to give their services to their country. Colonel Fremont, defeated as the republican candidate for the presidency four years before the election of Mr. Lincoln, had had military experience, and was recognized as a popular man, who would rally to his command, at the West, large numbers of soldiers, especially among the German population of the region. He received the appointment of Major-General, and on the same day (July 25th,) that General McClellan arrived in Washington to take command of the Army of the Potomac, he arrived at St. Louis, and entered upon the command of the Department of the West, to which he had been assigned. Before General Fremont arrived at St. Louis, a battle was
fought on Wilson's Creek by General Lyon and General Sigel, with a large force under the command of Ben McCulloch. It was the second considerable battle of the war, and resulted in the death of General Lyon himself, and the final orderly retreat of the federal forces under Sigel. General Lyon had inflicted, with his little force of six thousand men, such injury upon McCulloch's twenty-two thousand, that the latter could not pursue; and, on the whole, there was no special discouragement as the result of the defeat.
General Fremont's name had a great charm for the western masses, and especially for the Germans; and volunteers in large numbers sought service under him. His campaign, upon the organization of which he entered with great energy, contemplated not only the restoration of order in Missouri, but the reclaiming the control of the Mississippi River. For this latter object, he organized a gun-boat service, which was destined to play a very important part in the operations associated with the western inland waters.
Missouri was in a condition of most unhappy disorder. It was a border slave state, containing many disunionists of its own, and abounding with secession emissaries from other states, determined to carry it over to the confederacy. Brother was arrayed against brother. Neighborhoods were distressed with deadly feuds. Murders were of every-day occurrence on every hand, and outrages of every kind were rife. The civil administration of the state was altogether unreliable; and on the thirty-first of August, General Fremont issued a proclamation declaring martial law, defining the lines of the army of occupation, and threatening with death by the bullet all who should be found within those lines with arms in their hands. Furthermore, the real and personal property of all persons in the state who should take up arms against the United States was declared confiscated to the public use, and their slaves, if they had any, were declared free men.
This proclamation produced a strong effect upon the public mind. The proclaiming of freedom to the slaves of rebels