Newman Hall.

From Liverpool to St. Louis online

. (page 14 of 16)
Online LibraryNewman HallFrom Liverpool to St. Louis → online text (page 14 of 16)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

but in relation to slavery, and we wondered that a na-
tion like yours, attaching importance to law and gov-
ernment, should sympathize with the disturbers of it,
and that a nation professing to hate slavery should
wish success to the champions of it."

240 International Relations.

B. " We feel we have a right to the fame of Eng-
land. We have not lost our historic lineage and
common literature, though we have changed our soil.
But we had a deep persuasion that it was the desire
of the great portion of the British nation that our
Government might prove a failure. The Alabama
question is shelved, but not settled ; we do not wish
to press it ; let it bide its time ; England will be only
too glad some day to recognize the principles of Mr.

C. " It is true that Americans have often made
themselves unpleasant by brag, and that in some re-
spects the conduct of Great Britain has been censured
too severely ; yet we cannot forget how, as a whole,
she was against us, and thus a grand opportunity of
binding us to you was missed."

D. " Throughout America there is a feeling that
we do not care a feather now what is thought of us.
There was a time when we had great anxiety to know
what France and Great Britain thought. Our first
great war made us independent of the British Gov-
ernment : this one has made us independent of British
opinion. It is too late now to bring back the former
state of things, and we shall make our laws, or hang

International Relations. 241

our rebels independent of what is thought of us on
the other side."*

E. " If this country were polled, 999 out of every
1,000 would endorse what has been said. A deep
sense of wrong remains for want of sympathy at a
time of great peril to our interests, when sympathy
would have been of great value. There is a feeling
that the English Government is reckless of liberty all
over the world. There are five or six millions of Irish
with us, reminding us of the wrongs their nation suf-
fered ; and we are out of patience with the ecclesias-
tical system of Great Britain."

F. " We were specially grieved that the religious
part of the community were so against us. We shall
never return to our former state of dependence on
British opinion; that is thoroughly gone. We felt
warranted to believe that England would always be
on the side of freedom ; yet all the leading journals
and all the quarterlies, except the Westminster, were
against us ; with the Christian Observer, Evangelical

* It is the glory of the conquerors that they have not hung one
single rebel for the act of rebellion, and that not an individual
is in captivity on that account. In what great revolutionary
war of Europe did the conquering Government thus act towards
the vanquished ?


242 International Relations.

Christendom, &c. Your intellectual and social influ-
ence was on the side of the South ; and we could not
understand it. Fighting against rebellion, we ex-
pected to be supported as a legitimate Government ;
fighting against slavery, we expected sympathy from
advocates of emancipation. During twenty years
hardly a clergyman went to England who was not
catechised and treated coldly till he could fully clear
himself on this question ; yet there was no sympathy
for us when the South declared plainly that it was
fighting for slavery. We were paralysed ; then indig-
nant ; then came a conviction that we could not trust
the English Government for support when great
moral questions were at stake ; we might trust the
people, but not the Government. What prominent
Scotchman took our side ? What religious bodies ?
We were left to fight out the battle against slavery
alone ; there was not a nation in the world to help us.
We did it alone, and now we stand alone."

G. " It was a question of national existence with
us. It was impossible to be divided once, and there
remain; other divisions would follow. We were
chiefly disappointed that so large a part of the reli-
gious influence of England was against us ; some of

International Relations. 243

the most offensive things that were uttered were from
the religious press."

H. "We are not entirely indifferent to England;
deeply aggrieved, we have no purpose to nurse our in-
dignation. Having by victory disproved their predic-
tions, we can forgive what was wrong, and try to pro-
mote a good understanding."

Dr. Cox. " ' England, with all thy faults, I love thee
still.' England gave slavery to America first. Rather
than reproach each other, Shem and Japhet had better
walk backward and cover their father's nakedness. It
would be a shame for hostility ever to arise between
the two great champions of liberty and Protestantism."

Dr. Cheever. " Should we not speak more hum-
bly than some have done ? Were we free from
blame? We never spoke out fully against slavery.
Think of such slavery, of four millions of people, the
product of our Government, and it becomes a ques-
tion whether our Government, as it then existed, was
a good Government, far less ' the best Government in
the world.' There was not a Government which sus-
tained and secured so much evil as ours at the time
when the war broke out. This is no defence for the re-
bellion : but candid moralists may consider how our

244 International Relations.

Government guaranteed slavery to millions, and for
centuries ; and then they may ponder whether the
balance of such a Government turned in favour of the
interests of the human race. Better that our Govern-
ment had been broken up into ten thousand pieces
and slavery destroyed, than that it should continue as
it was. Within a month after the first gun was fired, a
national Peace Congress recommended an alteration
of the Constitution in favour of perpetuating slavery ;
and the Governor of this State of New York advised
the people to accept it, and so in Rhode Island, and
they accepted it. This was the last revelation of the
Christian spirit of the Government that God gave
time to develop. There could not be a greater
sign of depravity. Then, down came the battle-axe ;
and our Union of expediency was broken by Divine
Omnipotence. Then arose the light of hope in favour
of the slave. I was in England, and can speak posi-
tively that at the beginning, and for several months
after the beginning of the war, England was over-
whelmingly in our favour ; but America seemed to say
to God, ' No, Father Almighty ! not till the utmost
necessity will we give up slavery.' The people and
leaders of the earth waited to see the course of the

International Relations. 245

conflict in regard to slavery, and said, ' We are ready
to prevent the recognition of that confederacy ; we
are with you heart and soul, but are you with us ?
Did our Churches speak out ? When General Fre-
mont issued his proclamation of freedom, President
Lincoln made him withdraw it. In the light of these
facts a more humble attitude becomes us in judging
of Great Britain."

Dr. Cheever was alone in this manly remonstrance,
but his words produced a great impression on the
company. However, it was very evident that if these
men, of the highest standing and widest influence in
the different Churches, cherished such opinions as
had been so warmly repeated again and again, the
general sentiment pervading the community was very
unfavourable towards Great Britain ; so that I became
the more anxious to embrace every opportunity to
•correct some of the misconceptions which prevailed,
and to show how much more than was supposed
the British nation was, all along, the true friend of

Facilities for doing this were afforded me where-
cver I went. Americans seemed anxious to be con-
vinced that Great Britain was their friend ; and even

246 International Relations.

through so unofficial and humble an individual, took
the utmost pains to manifest the good-will which they
really wished to cherish, and did cherish, towards the
Old Country. As an illustration of this I may men-
tion that when I was at Boston, I was honoured by a
public reception at the great monument on Bunker's
Hill. The Mayor of Charleston (that part of
Boston where Bunker Hill is situated) presided. The
Commodore of the U.S. Arsenal was present, with
the Government band, which played " God save the
Queen " alternately with "Yankee Doodle." Judge
Warren, President of the Bunker Hill Monument
Committee, delivered an address full of good feeling
toward our country and our Queen; making allusion,
in hearty terms, to the visit of the Prince of Wales to
Bunker Hill, and the enthusiastic welcome he there
received. An immense multitude listened with great
attention to my remarks, which, however friendly to
America, never compromised the honour of Great Bri-
tain — and when, pointing to the two national flags
intertwined above us, I said, " There is not so glorious
a flag in the universe as that of the Stars and Stripes,
except that of the Clustered Crosses," though there
was a heartv cheer at the mention of the American

International Relations. 247

flag, there was a still heartier burst of generous enthu-
siasm at the close of the sentence. When I had
finished, a venerable old man, above eighty years ot
age, a sort of apostle to sailors, well known and
greatly esteemed in Boston, ascended the platform,
and in a loud voice, with much emotion, said — " Give
my love to your Queen — tell her she's my sister — and
all her foes are mine and ours." The incident, as re-
corded, may seem trivial, but it was very impressive.
The old man's words seemed to find an echo in every
heart of that great multitude, as the band struck up
our National Anthem, and three cheers for the Queen
and Great Britain were given with an enthusiasm I
have seldom seen surpassed at home.

At New York I was one day going round the city,
and, amongst other places of interest, visited the
Stock Exchange, in Wall Street. I was almost
stunned by the din of voices shouting out the prices.
I never witnessed such intense eagerness, or heard
such a Babel of cries. My wonder was that any
one could shout so loud more than five minutes
without being speechlessly hoarse for some days.
Suddenly the president struck his hammer authorita-
tively. There was instant silence, and, to my as-

248 International Relations.

tonishment, he announced my name, introduced me
as an Englishman, a friend to America. I was at
once called up to the side of the president, and all
hats were taken off while I addressed to them a
few earnest' words on the importance to commerce of
peace between the two countries, assuring them, all
opinions to the contrary notwithstanding, that the
British nation were their true and stedfast friends.
At the close of my brief address, hearty cheers were
given for Great Britain, and some one starting " God
save the Queen," all joined in the anthem with en-
thusiasm. In a moment hats were on again, and the
eager gesticulation and uproar were resumed. It
was an extraordinary scene for a crowded Stock
Exchange, in the most busy hour of the day, but I
regarded it as an evidence of the prevailing disposi-
tion to show friendship to Great Britain, through any
one who might, in however humble a sense, be re-
garded as a representative of the nation, or of any
section of it.

In the chief cities I visited requisitions were
made to me from the leading merchants to address
the citizens on our international relations, on which
occasions the most influential of their public men

International Relations. 249

were amongst the audience, listening with respectful
candour to all that was advanced. Though many-
things were said opposed to the general opinion,
not in one case was there any outward sign of
dissent. If the audience disagreed, they listened
with thoughtful silence; but they responded with
heartiest energy to every sentiment of peace and

At Washington, Mr. Seward, Secretary of State
for Foreign Affairs, did me the honour of inviting
me to his house on two evenings of the week I
spent in the capital, as well as granting me a pri-
vate audience. He listened to all I had to say
with great attention, and though I felt he cherished
very strong opinions as to the negligence, if not
culpability, of our Government, I was convinced that
he really desired to make an amicable and lasting set-
tlement. Mr. Sumner moved in the Senate that the
use of that chamber should be granted me for the
delivery of an address in the interests of international
peace; and though, after considerable debate, the
motion was negatived by a small majority, on grounds
of inexpediency, none of the senators objected to the
proposal itself. Eventually the address was delivered

250 International Relations.

in the largest church of Washington. Most of the
members of both Houses were present. General
Grant, now President, sat just before me, and Chief
Justice Chase presided. I mention these circum-
stances to show how, amongst all classes, including
those of the highest consideration and greatest in-
fluence, there was an evident desire to manifest good-
will to England, and to hear all that might be said,
even by so defective and unauthorized an advocate,
to correct their misconceptions and mitigate their
feelings in regard to us.

I had the privilege of delivering similar addresses
at Chicago, St. Louis, Springfield, Buffalo, New Haven,
Albany, Boston, Philadelphia, Brooklyn, New York,
and elsewhere.* The labour and excitement con-
nected with these lectures, in addition to frequent
preaching, were considerable, but I was animated by

* I owe it to myself and my mission to state that, although
in accordance with American custom, and to pay the expenses
of the meeting, money was taken either by ticket or collection,
the entire surplus, without any deduction for personal expenses,
still remains in the hands of a Committee at New York, for
the purpose of erecting in London an international monument of
good- will, in the shape of a " Lincoln Tower," to be composed
of a series of class-rooms for the children of the poor of South

International Relations. 251

the desire to do something towards promoting a
more friendly feeling in the minds of Americans, and
I hope it was not altogether labour lost. The daily
and monthly periodicals rendered efficient aid, giving
lengthy reports of my statements, and thus diffusing
them throughout the land. With my Address to the
American People, I close the present series of
papers : —

"Nothing was more strongly impressed on my
mind during my visit to your country than the sub-
stantial unity of our two nations. When seated at
your hospitable tables ; when gathering with your
households round the dear old family Bible; when
worshipping in your churches and ministering in your
pulpits — but for the absence of those most dear to
me, I might have forgotten that a great ocean rolled
between us. In your Courts of Justice I found the
same Common Law administered, the same pre-
cedents quoted. And when visiting scenes of historic
fame, it seemed to^ me that Englishmen might claim
an interest in them as well as Americans.

" On Plymouth Rock I felt that if New England
received the Pilgrim Fathers, Old England nourished
them ; that others like them remained behind, and

252 International Relations.

that by their labours and sufferings we both enjoy the
inestimable privilege of " freedom to worship God."
On Bunker Hill, I rejoiced to see our national flags
draped together, and to hear the national airs of the
two countries performed by the Arsenal band. As
an Englishman I could exult in the proud memories
clustering round that spot ; for it was not America
which conquered Britain, but it was rather English
justice and English bravery developed in this land
which triumphed over a tyrannical and bigoted fac-
tion, whose defeat no intelligent Englishman of the
present day regrets.

" Throughout your war it was my privilege to take
an humble but earnest share with others in endea-
vouring to correct some of the mistaken ideas of a
portion of my countrymen in reference to your strug-
gle. I may therefore claim some indulgence if I
respectfully presume to endeavour to remove, or at
least mitigate, what I venture to consider to be erro-
neous opinions entertained by some Americans in re-
ference to the feelings and attitude of the British

" I am not surprised that you should have felt disap-
pointed, grieved, and finally indignant, at much that

International Relations. 253

was said and done in my country during your mighty
struggle. Viewed in one aspect I rejoice in that in-
dignation, for it is a proof of your love. When a
stranger treats us with indifference we are not angry,
because we expected nothing ; but the case is very
different when a friend on whom we relied fails us in
the hour of need. It is well known that France not
only recognized the belligerency of the South as
hastily as Great Britain did, but proposed to recog-
nize its nationality also, which Great Britain refused.
Why, then, were you more angry with us than with
France ? Because you really love us most. But that
love, deep-rooted as I believe it was and still is, was
most severely tried.

"Rude and terrible seemed the blow dealt by the
' Mother-Country.' When you were struggling for
an existence which slavery, undisguised, threatened to
destroy as antagonistic to itself, that Mother-Country,
whose moral sympathy alone was asked, stood by cold
and critical, and, as you thought, even antagonistic.
You felt it was more than strange that a country which
had always denounced you as permitting slavery, con-
demned you for engaging in a war, the certain issue
of which would be the destruction of slavery. You

254 International Relations.

felt it more than strange that the party always priding
itself as the party of ' order,' the aristocracy, which
always condemned rebellion and professed to stand
by the law, should make an exception in your case,
and openly sympathize with those who, trampling upon
the most sacred obligations, and without any pretext
of oppression, were endeavouring to control the voice
of the people and the authority of the Constitution,
and to rend in pieces a great and allied nation.

"You might well think that we were not ' slow to
wrath ' in the matter of the Trent, and betrayed a
too eager disposition to put the worst construction on
an action which your own Government had not sanc-
tioned nor endorsed, but in reference to which you at
once submitted to the decision of your own autho-

" The hasty recognition of the belligerency of the
South, the fitting-out of the Alabama and other
cruisers, the running of the blockade with munitions
of war, you regarded not simply as marks of ill-will,
but as actually strengthening your enemy and greatly
increasing your labour and your losses. Added to all
this was the general tone of the leading newspapers
and reviews, and of what is called ' Society.' This

International Relations. 255

you regarded as entirely opposed to you. Under
these circumstances I cannot be surprised at your
feelings of indignation. It seemed to you as if a
garrotter had suddenly seized his victim when unpre-
pared, while the friend of the victim looked on, en-
couraging the miscreant in his murderous assault.

" Let us, however, in fairness permit the accused to
say what he can, if not to prove his innocence yet in
mitigation of sentence. In reference to running the
blockade it may be pleaded : This was an act not of
the Government or the People, but of unscrupulous
individuals disgracing the name of merchants and
seeking only their own wretched gains. They sent out
those vessels under pretence of legitimate commerce.
They ran the blockade at their own risk. Many of
them were ruined — and justly so. The British Gov-
ernment did nothing to shield them from damage
brought on themselves by lawlessness. Moreover, if
the South obtained large quantities of the material of
war from Great Britain, did not the North — though
legitimately, because their ports were open — obtain
much more ? And if British merchants, foreigners,
ran the blockade with ammunition, is it not said that
some New York merchants — parties to the war of

256 International Relations.

their own nation — did the same ? If bullets of British
make helped to kill the Northern soldiers, were not
some of these bullets imported by Northern traders ?
And have no American merchants run the blockade
during wars in Europe ? If they did, it was not the
fault of the American Nation. Neither should the
running the Southern blockade by some British ad-
venturers- be attributed to the British Nation.

" Let me speak somewhat more at length respecting
the ' Belligerency ' and Alabama questions. You
complain that within a few days of the arrival of your
new Minister, Mr. Adams, who was known to be on*
his way with special instructions from your Govern-
ment, a Royal Proclamation of neutrality was issued,
whereby equal maritime rights were granted both to
the North and the South, at a time when the South
had not a port open nor a vessel at sea. You com-
plain of this as unnecessary, unprecedented, and hos-
tile. You should have been left to deal with your
own rebels as such — a friendly and allied Power not
hastening to treat those rebels as on equal terms.
Not thus, you say truly, were the Poles recognized, or
the Hungarians. Not so are the Cretans recognized
in their valiant resistance to the Turk. Not so would

International Relations. 257

you, while professing to be friendly, rush to recognize
the Fenian conspiracy.

" Permit one who deeply feels how much cause you
have of just complaint, briefly to suggest what may be
said on the other side by way of defence or apology.

" The ambassadors of the old regime, who repre-
sented Buchanan's policy, had been allowed to remain
a considerable time at their posts after the accession
of Mr. Lincoln. They disseminated Southern views,
and had great influence in inducing the belief among
our governing classes that if the South seceded there
would be no attempt made to force them back, or that
such attempt would be futile if made. Moreover, the
vast extent of the territory in insurrection must be
taken into account, and (excepting the slaves) the
supposed concurrence of all the population and of the
local Governments. This seemed to distinguish the
Southern Rebellion from the cases adduced in

" Moreover, it is said that the South had vessels
afloat before our Proclamation;* and, if not, that

*In Jan., 1861, the Wm. Ackland was surrendered by her
captain and received into the service of S. Carolina. This was
several months before the Proclamation of Belligerency, which

258 International Relations.

orders had been given for the fitting out of privateers,
and that it was for the advantage of America that the
Proclamation should be issued, so as the better to
stop them. Though you may reply that such vessels
would have been mere pirates but for the Proclama-
tion which made them belligerents, yet it is a fact
that some of the best friends of America supported
that Proclamation in the interests of the Union. Mr.
W. E. Forster, an eminent statesman, and a distin-
guished and consistent advocate of your great
cause, has stated on several occasions that at the
time of the Queen's Proclamation he regarded it
as an act friendly and not hostile to the American

"It is also urged that Mr. Seward had officially
spoken of the Southern rebellion as ' open, undis-

was issued in May. The JVezu York Herald, of Nov. 19, 1861,
published a list of fifty-four privateers in the Confederate service.
The Southern Merrimac sank the Northern Cumberland. There
was certainly belligerency at sea as well as on shore before the
Alabama sailed, which was not till July, 1862.

* This has been recently shown more fully and with great force
in the masterly speech of the right hon. gentleman at Bradford,
when he stated that the Proclamation was hastened out of regard
for Northern interests, and was regarded as a great triumph by
himself and other friends of America.

International Relations. 259

guised war/ and had given public directions as to the
treatment of ' neutrals ' previously to our Proclama-
tion ; so that it was not Great Britain which first bap-
tised Rebellion fey the name of Belligerency.

"Besides, the blockade of the Southern ports and the
news of it preceded the Queen's Proclamation. Ac-
cording to international law a Government may close,

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 14 16

Online LibraryNewman HallFrom Liverpool to St. Louis → online text (page 14 of 16)