Newman Hall.

From Liverpool to St. Louis online

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


and causing statements to be published greatly calcu-
lated to mislead, and which remained for a long time



I titer national Relations. 279

without contradiction. Some of the official utterances
of Mr. Lincoln and others seemed enigmatical; es-
pecially when he said that it was his business to save
the Union without slavery or with it. It is not sur-
prising that words uttered to gain Democratic votes
for the Union should have been interpreted in the
sense of upholding slavery, and that many Englishmen
considered it would be better for the Union to be
broken into a thousand parts than to have its entire
strength devoted to rivet the fetters of the slave. It
must also be considered that the erroneous opinions
current in Great Britain were only echoes from
America. You did not consider all your own citizens
who wrote or spoke during the war as some of our
peopb did, as enemies to their own country and
people. To take a different view of the policy pur-
sued by a Government is not the same thing as to
cherisa a hostile feeling towards the nation which that
Government represents. And this applies to the ma-
jority of those who sympathized with the South.
They did so not because they approved of the manner
in which the rebellion was begun ; not because they
did not abhor the system of slavery which the South
upheld j not because they cherished any ill-will to the



280 International Relations.

people or Government of the United States ; but be-
cause they were mistaken as to the principles involved,
the intentions of the North, and the issue of the
struggle. In spite of all appearances to the contrary,
the heart of Great Britain was sound, a"nd although
many from whom better things might have been ex-
pected held aloof in the hour of trial, the nation as
a whole felt and acted under the conviction that —

' Though specious tyranny be strong,

Humanity is true :
An Empire founded on a wrong
Is rotten through and through. '

" I have now, as my second point, to show that the
great body of the English nation did actually approve
of and sympathize with the policy of the North in the
late war.

" The aristocracy were not all against you : for
though it is generally unconstitutional for our Royal
Family to express political opinions, they being the
head of the entire nation, including all parties, yet it
is well known that the heart-sympathies of the late
Prince Consort and of Queen Victoria were thoroughly
opposed to that Rebellion whose object was :o per-
petuate the atrocities of slavery. Among some others



International Relations. 281

of the nobility, the Duke of Argyll, a member of the
late Government and a man of no secondary rank,
warmly espoused your cause. He said that ' Any
people who would not fight for their national existence,
and save themselves from dismemberment, were not
worthy of being a free people.' He is a Presbyterian
and a Scotchman, which in combination make a very
stanch piece of orthodoxy • yet he said at a Bible
meeting during your war that if Colenso lived a hun-
dred years, and wrote a book of heresy every year, he
would not so dishonour the Bible as the man who
tried to defend slavery from its pages. Lord Russell
made mistakes, but he had the nobleness to admit as
much when he attended the public breakfast to
William Lloyd Garrison • and though his views of
policy were, as I think, mistaken, he never did and
never could desire success to the slave-rebellion. The
greatest statesman we possess — a man of universal
learning, transcendant genius, unsurpassed eloquence,
doubtless soon to be the virtual ruler of this Empire
— has always been a generous friend of America, ad-
miring her greatness and desiring her increasing pros-
perity. Though he once seemed ready to admit that
the South had won its independence, this opinion was



282 Internatiojial Relations. •

expressed solely on the ground of humanity, and in
order to arrest a war so destructive, the ultimate issue
of which seemed to those most versed in the history
of the past altogether certain to be the establishment
of the independence of the Secession. In the in-
terest of the North this opinion was expressed, and
for humanity's sake, whether North or South, and
not because he wished success to the latter ; for no
man more rejoices in the triumph of your great cause
of Union and Emancipation than Mr. Gladstone, for
though the result has not confirmed his expectations,
it has been in fullest harmony with his desires.

" I might mention the names of many other of our
statesmen and representatives. Milner Gibson, W. E.
Forster, Edward Baines, C. Gilpin, Tom Hughes,
Peter Taylor, and others, were always stanch and true,
never hesitating to advocate the cause of justice and
freedom, and making it impossible even to introduce
to our House of Commons the question of recognition
of the Confederacy.

" There is one name which is a tower of strength
to any cause in which it is enlisted — the name of a
man foremost in the great struggle of right — whose
heart has always beaten true to humanity — whose



Internatioiial Relations. 283

eloquence captivates all classes, and who has this
peculiarity, that, however his opinions may be hated,
they are always reported, so that at whatever length
and at whatever spot he addresses the public on one
evening, his speech is produced, word for word, to be
read by the entire population next morning — he was
always your faithful champion ; I mean your friend,
and the world's friend, John Bright.

" You have not, then, much reason to complain that
all our leading statesmen were against you.

" If we come to political philosophers, I may men-
tion Professors Newman, Cairnes, Rogers, and Gold-
win Smith. These men, with their keen logic and per-
suasive speech, maintained the argumentative struggle
in your favour. And what names of philosophers
can you mention as a set-off on the other side ? You
had also the greatest of our living philosophers, John
Stuart Mill, who saw clearly the true character of the
struggle, and testified to the literary and philo-
sophical world that ' it was well known what the ques-
tion between the North and South had been for many
years. Slavery alone was thought of and talked of.
Slavery was battled for on the floor of Congress and
the plains of Kansas. On Slavery Lincoln was elec-



284 International Relations.

ted. The South separated on slavery, and proclaimed
slavery as the cause of separation.'

"I might mention many eminent citizens as showing
how men not engaged professionally in politics added
to or neglected their commercial and other pursuits by
their zeal in your cause. The Hon. L. Stanley, Mr.
Scott, Chamberlain of London, and many others
were constantly speaking and lecturing to maintain a
wholesome feeling in the country. Mr. Potter, now
Member of Parliament for Rochdale, spent six thou-
sand pounds sterling in printing and distributing
pamphlets among the working-men of England to in-
struct them in the true character of the struggle.
Another friend of mine, Mr. Chesson, whose time is
his only estate, gave up all his leisure for four years in
unpaid services to work the ' Union and Emancipa-
tion ' Society. Another personal friend, Mr. Handel
Cossham, would spend a few hours in his mines dur-
ing the early morning, then take an express train and
travel one or two hundred miles to lecture on the war,
and return for his own business next day. Thus a
large number of our private citizens laboured at great
personal cost, not only of time and ease, but of money
also, in sustaining the popular sympathy with you.



International Relations. 285

" If we come to the Church, it must be remembered
that an Established clergy are not generally prominent
in political movements, and especially in expressing
sympathies opposed to the governing classes. I do
not say this from any disrespect to individuals. The
clergy of our Established Church are a body of men
generally deserving the utmost respect, and many of
them I value among my best personal friends. But I
refer to the system. In some respects it is desirable
that the clergy should not be political. It is a fact
that the Established clergy of England have never
taken prominent part in political controversy. They
have not done it on our own English questions. It is
not, therefore, surprising, that they were silent in
reference to yours. Their silence must not, therefore,
be taken as a proof that the congregations they repre-
sent were indifferent, still less that they were hostile
to you. But it was otherwise with the Free Churches,
the majority of which did, by their pastors and as
congregations, in prayers, addresses, and public meet-
ings, take part in a struggle which, involving as it did
the question of slavery, was regarded by them as
intimately connected with religion. I will not men-
tion names ; for those Free Church clergy of different



286 International Relations.

denominations who earnestly laboured for your cause
were so many that it would be invidious to select a
few. That, however, of the Hon. and Rev. Baptist
Noel I cannot forbear to name, as he, by the pen, the
pulpit, and the platform, was pre-eminent in his zeal
and influence.

" Some Americans were specially grieved that the
Congregational Union, representing the Pilgrim Fa-
thers and New England principles, was silent. The
reason was that the business of the Union is con-
siderable, and the time for it very short; that ex-
traneous topics, when likely to lead to discussion, are
generally avoided ; that a few of our influential clergy
and laymen had notified their resolve to speak against
a proposal to express sympathy with you in the war;
and so to avoid a long discussion, which would have
put aside the special business for which the Union
meets, it was resolved not to bring in the motion.
This course I greatly regret, and endeavoured to pre-
vent. But though, as a Union, Congregationalists
were silent, nine-tenths of the Congregational pastors
and churches were heartily and actively with you in
their individual capacity.

" Let us come to the Press. You were often hurt



International Relations. 287

by sentiments uttered in our papers. It is possible
to over-estimate the importance of harsh sentiments
expressed by anonymous writers. We do not judge
America by some of the paragraphs in some American
journals. An American paper honoured me last winter
with a column of abuse. For what ? That I been
guilty of skating ! My only reflection was, that if
preachers more frequently skated, or rode on horse-
back, or took long walks, we might get a wholesomer
and pleasanter theology. And Americans are too
sensible to attribute to the English people some of
the insults of some English papers, which may have
been inserted without the editor's knowledge, and
only by some printer's nameless assistant. But you
say the London Times was against you. The Times
has the best paper and print, the latest intelligence,
the raciest writing, the largest number of advertise-
ments, and thus has many readers and a wide repu-
tation ; but it does not necessarily represent British
opinion. The Times was abusing Kossuth at the very
time when the people were honouring him. So the
Times was habitually writing against the North when
multitudes of public demonstrations were being
made in your favour throughout the country, all notice



288 International Relations.

of which it suppressed from its readers. But if the
Times was against you, the Daily News and the
Morning Star were constantly and zealously with
you. So were the Nonconformist and other religious
papers. So was the Leeds Mercury, and so was the
best portion of the provincial and local Press, which
more truly represents the public sentiment than metro-
politan journals.

"Still the important question comes — On which side
were the People ? Republicans, who consider that a
man without a cent is as respectable as another who
owns a thousand acres, if he is equally intelligent,
honest, and industrious, must not say that the people
were against the North because those who frequented
the best hotels and rode in first-class carriages gene-
rally were so. The great masses of the People — those
who have fought and won so many great moral vic-
tories — the People who struck off the fetters of our
own slaves, the People who achieved freedom of re-
ligion, freedom of trade, and parliamentary reform —
the People were heartily with you.

"What is the proof ? Thousands of public mass-
meetings were held in London and throughout the
country during the four years of your struggle, all of



International Relations. 289

them in advocacy of your cause. Not one was con-
vened to express sympathy with the Rebellion. In
the majority of cases the resolutions of sympathy
were carried without a dissentient; in the rest by
an overwhelming majority ; in all with the utmost
enthusiasm. If England was Southern in sympathy,
why was not at least one public meeting convened
to express it ? You read the utterances of some
public men and leading journals ; but you did
not know of the public meetings in which the
masses of the people uttered their voice. If money,
if rank, if genius could have convened popular
assemblies to express sympathy with the South,
those assemblies would have been convened. But
the public sentiment of the People at large was
such as to render such an attempt utter folly.
It would have resulted in complete discomfiture.
If in any districts such an attempt might have
been supposed possible, it would have been those
where the cotton operatives were starving in conse-
quence of your blockade. But even here the attempt
was not made. On the other hand, those operatives
assembled and emphatically declared their willing-
ness, if necessary, to starve rather than aid and abet

u



290 International Relations.

a slave empire which trampled on law, the dignity of
labour, and the rights of the human race.

Thus I maintain, in spite of appearances, that the
English Nation was far more with you than against
you. The sentiment of the great masses of the people
was that expressed by your own poet —

Thou too, sail on, O Ship of State :
Sail on, O Union, strong and great ;
Humanity, with all its fears,
With all its hopes of future years,
Is hanging breathless on thy fate.

Thank God ! it hangs breathless on your fate no
longer ; but the people of England still can say —

Our hearts, our hopes, are all with thee ;

Our hearts, our hopes, our prayers, our tears,

Our faith triumphant o'er our fears,
Are all with thee, are all with thee !

Let all lovers of peace in both nations frown on
those selfish politicians, those despicable merchants,
who for th<^ own ends would do anything which
might stir up ill-will between two nations in whose
harmony the interests of the whole world are bound up.

War between us would be the greatest calamity and
the greatest crime recorded in history. Material in-
terests forbid it. How vast a quantity of the corn



International Relations. 291

consumed in Great Britain is grown on Western
prairies, and how much of British manufactures is
purchased in America ! War would mean injury on
the largest scale to trade and commerce, with conse-
quent starvation to hundreds of thousands of opera-
tives. Consider the fearfulness of a conflict between
nations both of whom possess such resources, such
determination, such bravery. I watched the Volunteer
army of Boston march through the streets in honour of
Sheridan ; and I thought there was not a man there
who would not die for his country, nor a woman look-
ing on who would not wish to be a man to do the
same should that country be in danger. Yes ! you
are brave because you are English. We should do
the same. How awful the very idea of two such
nations engaged in mutual and deadly strife !

I beseech you, then, by our community of race —
one nation though under two Governments ; by the
grand old language which we speak in common, with
the same thrilling words of Father, Mother, Home ;
by the common literature we possess ; by our Shak-
speare and Milton, which are yours also ; by our Long-
fellow and Tennyson, side by side in all our libraries ;
by the stirring memories of our common history ; by



292 International Relations.

our ancestors, whether sturdy Saxon rallying round
the standard of King Harold, or as daring Norman
spurring his splendid chivalry to the trumpet of Duke
William, and afterwards, on a nobler field, uniting to
wring from a reluctant tyrant that great Charter which
is the foundation of our liberties on both sides the
Atlantic ; by those great days when our forefathers
rallied round the standard of a lion-hearted Queen,
and launched forth, some of them in mere fishing-
boats, against the proud Armada which was threaten-
ing them with Popery and persecution ; by the days
of the Commonwealth ; by Pym, and Eliot, and Sir
Harry Vane, who battled in the Parliament, and
Milton, who battled with the pen, and Hampden and
the Ironsides, whose psalm of praise was the signal of
discomfiture to the foes of freedom ; and by Crom-
well, common to us both, greatest of monarchs though
uncrowned. I appeal to you by the Pilgrim Fathers
who sought your shores, and by the Puritans and
Covenanters who remained behind to suffer and to
dare in the same good cause ; I appeal to you by the
ashes of our ancestors, whether they repose beneath
the stately towers of some ancient Minster or beneath
the daisied turf of some homely English village church-



International Relations.



293



yard • I appeal to you by that same Bible we read in
common j by that same Gospel of Peace our mission-
aries proclaim ■ by that same Saviour whom we adore
—never let there be strife between two nations whose
conflict would be the opposition of two Niagaras,
but whose accord is as the flowing together of two
such rivers in an irresistible tide of blessing to man-
kind. Never let our glorious standards— yours re-
minding of the rays of Day and the stars of Night,
and ours, with its clustered Crosses, telling of union
in diversity, and reminding of that Saviour who by the
cross came to liberate all mankind from wrath and
selfishness and wrong — never let those glorious flags
be arrayed in hostile defiance, but, floating together,
may they lead on the van of the world's progress !

We two are the common natural champions of
universal Freedom ; and I cannot but imagine all the
demons of hell exulting, and all the despots of earth
clapping their hands, and angels in heaven weeping
to see us wasting the treasure and shedding the blood
which should be husbanded against the common foe.
Never, never let us give angels such cause for lament-
ing ; never let us give demons and despots such cause
for rejoicing; but ever let Great Britain and America



294 International Relations.

— the mother and the daughter, or, if you prefer it,
the elder sister and the younger — go forth hand in
hand, angel-guardians together of the world's civiliza-
tion, freedom, and religion — their only rivalry the
rivalry of love.



THE END.



J. Ogden and Co., Printers, 172, St. John Street, E.C.



^





1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 16

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