Affairs with England


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Civil War Harper's Weekly, June 22, 1861

This Civil War newspaper features a cover illustration and story on William Russell, a war correspondent for the London Times. The paper also Covers Senator Douglas's Funeral, and has various scenes from the war.

(Scroll Down to See the entire page, Newspaper Thumbnails will take you to the page of interest)


William Russell

William Russell

Affairs in England

Affairs in England

Wheeling Convention

The Wheeling Convention

Senator Douglas

Senator Douglas Funeral

Cairo, Illinois

Cairo, Illinois



Indianapolis, Indiana

Indianapolis Indiana

Fort Monroe

Fort Monroe


Pensacola, Florida

Acquia Creek

Battle of Acquia Creek

Scenes from Alexandria and Washington

The Sumter

Rebel Ship Sumter


Jefferson Davis Cartoons






[JUNE 22, 1861.


SATURDAY, JUNE 22, 1861.


WE still cling to the hope, that the people of Great Britain will not stultify their own record and alienate our good-will by active sympathy with the Southern rebels. But we are bound to say that, just at present, the press and the speakers of England decidedly lean to the Southern side. Leading journals, from the London Times to the Saturday Review and Punch, either sneer at the North or urge the claims of the rebels to the independence which they pretend to seek ; great anti-slavery apostles like Lord Brougham choose this moment for denouncing abolition ; the Government adopts a policy which will enable Southern privateers to take prizes into Liverpool and sell them there. Look which way we will, we find no encouragement for a friendly Government struggling to maintain itself against traitors, and not even a word of censure of slavery—so long the object of England's fiercest rebuke.

We shall not undertake to account for the phenomenon. There must be reasons, of course, for such unfriendly conduct toward our Government, and for such gross inconsistency on the slavery question. But it is not worth while for us to seek them. Whether it be the Morrill tariff or the cotton question, or the desire of English politicians to see this country divided, which now impels Englishmen to sympathize with slaveholding traitors, and to aid in the establishment of a nation " based on the cornerstone of human slavery," it is fast becoming idle to inquire. It is high time to deal with the facts as they are, and to see what we can do if, as now seems possible, England's sympathies are actively engaged on the side of our insurgents.

One-fifth of England's foreign trade is carried on with the United States. No nation in the world buys so much of England or sells so much to her as we do. And our trade with England is more profitable to her than her foreign trade with any other nation ; for we send her food and raw material, and we buy her manufactures in return. One year with another we take annually from Great Britain $140,000,000 worth of manufactured goods : or, in other words, assuming the usual rule to be correct, the United States spend every year $70,000,000 in encouraging the industry of Great Britain. Of these manufactured goods over one-half comes to this country in British vessels, thus giving employment to an enormous fleet of steamers and sailing craft. We sell to Great Britain, on the average, $175,000,000 worth of domestic produce every year, a large proportion of which is destined for consumption on the continent of Europe. Of this, again, over one-third goes to Europe in British vessels. Our exports to Great Britain consist almost exclusively of articles of prime necessity—cotton, tobacco, flour, corn, provisions, and the like—without which British industry would languish, and the cost of living —to the working classes—would be gravely enhanced.

These simple statements of fact suggest a method of reprisal upon Great Britain which would prove quite as effective and much less inconvenient than a war. An embargo upon trade with England would very quickly bring John Bull to his senses. It would speedily teach the manufacturers of the $140,000,000 of British goods, which we have been in the habit of consuming every year, that sympathy with traitors is an expensive luxury. It would give the Tories—who are gloating over the supposed failure of republican institutions—something more practical, in the shape of factory and bread riots, to occupy their minds with at home. It would warn the free-traders that, bad as the Morrill tariff is, it is a mere trifle to what this country can do if we be driven to the wall.

Such an embargo would either lead to war with England or it would not. If it did not, we should go on exporting food, etc., to France, and buying our manufactured goods from the French ; so that, in the course of a year or two, we should build up Havre, Bordeaux, Lyons, and Rouen, as we have built up Liverpool, London, Birmingham, and Manchester. Instead of the French importing from the United States through Liverpool, as they now do, England would then import through Havre.

If the embargo led to war it could not injure us much more than active British sympathy with the rebels would. England has not men enough to effect a landing on our coast. In the Crimean war she could not raise an army of 50,000 men. New York alone could take care of any army she might send out. She would of course blockade many, if not all of our ports. But the same result will practically be reached if privateers are fitted out in England ; already our insurance companies have raised the war risk to a point which absorbs the profit of shippers ; the amount of shipping laid up has reached a formidable figure, and increases daily. On the other hand, a war with England would this time

insure the annexation of Canada—no mean gain to us in view of the future. We might inflict more severe injuries on our antagonist if we secured the alliance of France, or aroused an insurrectionary movement among the Irish or the Chartists. But these are considerations of small moment. The really important point is, that a war with England would not injure us more than such British sympathy with the rebels as is foreshadowed in the Queen's proclamation, the declarations of the Ministry, and the tone of the London press.

It may be said, of course, that we have no control of the cotton crop, and that if Great Britain declared war upon us she would raise our blockade of the Southern ports. It does not need much discernment to perceive that this would be the last cotton crop England would get, or the South would have to export.

The world will bear witness to the tenderness and delicacy with which the Federal Generals are dealing with the peculiar institution. General Butler, deviating from the precedents established by Generals Taylor and Gaines, who set free negroes seized as prisoners of war, offers to restore fugitive slaves to any owner who takes the oath of allegiance ; General McClellan declares that he will put down servile insurrections " with an iron hand ;" General Patterson warns his troops to respect all kinds of "property." The kind of proclamation these Generals would issue to their troops the day after England raised our blockade of the Southern ports and made common cause with the Confederacy " based on the corner-stone of human slavery," will suggest itself to every one who understands human nature.


Wily is it that the Government of the United States so often contrives to send the wrong men to represent it abroad? What fatality is it which renders our diplomatic corps so frequently a failure ? There are always plenty of good men in the country who are willing to represent the United States abroad; what evil genius is it which contrives to set these systematically aside, and to substitute for them men either unfit, or distasteful, or positively disgraceful ?

One might have supposed that the shame and disgrace brought upon the country by the Ostend Manifesto, and the misconduct of Soule, Sanders, Daniels, etc., would have served as a warning to future Administrations, and that hereafter our Foreign Ministers would have been selected with care. But how does the case stand?

Our minister to France, Mr. Dayton, a highly respectable man, does not speak a word of French. Our minister to Russia, a brave and chivalrous gentleman, and excellently fitted to fight the present battle of the Union in Kentucky, has so little discretion that he can not pass through London without following the time-honored example of vain Americans, and writing a silly letter to the Times, which does us infinite mischief. To Austria we send a very good man in his way, but whose chief claim to distinction in foreign politics rests upon the efforts he made to give aid and comfort to a rebellious Austrian province. To Spain—still chafing under the insults put upon her by Mr. Soule—we send a European exile, a fierce revolutionist, who would have been the very man to lead a squadron of horse in the war, but who can hardly expect a civil reception at the court of Queen Isabella. To the refined and polished court of the Hague we send a sound republican, rough as the hide of a rhinoceros. By way of making a balance, we suppose, a strong democrat, great on matters of taste and dress, goes to represent the republican Administration in commercial Belgium. Our envoy to Portugal turns out to be a rank traitor—at least, so his friends here confess.

It is hardly the part of patriotism to try to embarrass the Government at this juncture, and we will only add that we hope the military offices in the gift of the Administration will be filled with more judgment than the Foreign Missions we have mentioned.

The mischief which an indiscreet or unfit minister may do will counterbalance all the benefit the country may derive from the judicious diplomacy of such men as Adams, Corwin, Marsh, and Webb.


WE continue in this number our illustrations of Scenes at the South, though there is no communication either by mail or express with that section of the country. On another page the reader will find an engraving of a Bivouac of CONFEDERATE TROOPS at Warrington, Pensacola, from a photograph taken a few days ago. We venture to promise our readers that the interruption of mail and other intercourse with the Southern States will not prevent our receiving a regular supply of illustrations from thence. Notwithstanding the abuse of Southern journals, we seem to have friends left at the South, who promise to keep us supplied with sketches by smuggling them across the lines. Our late subscribers in that section do not know what they miss in being deprived of Harper's Weekly.



WE all naturally think and say a great deal about the position of England toward us, because she is, of all the great nations in the world, our natural ally. America is the child of England. The child left the ancestral home with indignation and violence, but she is none the less of the same blood, of the same sympathy, of the same hope. The colonies were settled front many countries, but the dominant race and the controlling spirit were the Anglo-Saxon. The breach with the mother country was long in healing. There were jealousies, rivalries, sneers, haughty indifference. But still the glory of England was our glory. Carlyle and Macaulay, Wordsworth and Tennyson, Dickens and Thackeray, they were ours as they were England's, they were ours as the men of no other nation are. Speaking in the aggregate, England may have feared and hated us as a commercial rival—as a power likely to dispute with her the supremacy of the seas; but the best Englishmen and the best Americans met and stood upon a higher ground than that—the ground of common blood, civilization, and destiny.

That the English Government seems so coldly unmindful of this is the sting and surprise. Yet, as we say elsewhere, while the heart and conscience of the two nations have been, upon the whole, in accord, our own Government has doubtless hitherto misrepresented the truest sentiment of our people, and we ought to wait to hear whether the English people confirm the official action of their Government. If there be no correcting public sentiment developed—if it shall finally appear that the nation is truly represented by Lord John Russell and Lord Palmerston, England will have disdained and lost her most natural and valuable ally.


NATIONS, like kings, it seems, have no friends. Frame came to the rescue of our old revolution, not because she loved the colonies, but because she hated the parent country. And we are now learning, not without some dismay, that, in a threatening moment, the " friendship" of a nation means suspicious neutrality.

Where is that capital story told about "pretence of mind?" A Bishop and some friends were sailing in a small boat which was struck by a squall and the Bishop's bosom crony was thrown into the water. He grasped the gunwale to help himself back into the boat. " By Jove!" said the Bishop afterward, "I thought he would capsize us all. But I had, providentially, presence of mind enough to recollect my umbrella, and seizing that, I rapped poor Torn upon the knuckles so hard that he was obliged to let go, and sunk; and we all got very comfortably to shore."

Yet, if we ask ourselves closely what right we had to expect friendship from other nations, we shall be obliged to confess that we had none at all. We may not like to confess it, but we have boasted, and swaggered, and sworn, in the great society of nations, very much as the representatives of our "late Southern brothers" have behaved in Congress. Metaphorically speaking, we have squirted tobacco juice over all the powers of Christendom. Think of the Ostend Manifesto. Remember that the chief signer was our accredited representative in England, and returned to us, after that performance, only to be made President. Think of our Cuba performances; of our conduct in the Peruvian guano difficulty, of our general tone in dealing with small powers, and of the haughtiness with which we have treated large ones. Our very existence was a pang to the monarchical system ; and our behavior was offensive. We were regarded as a phenomenon among nations, and the interest of the world in our fate was limited to a languid curiosity as to how soon we should fall into the anarchy prepared for all republics.

The work we have in hand, therefore, is not merely the suppression of a rebellion, but it is to show the world that the characteristic spirit of the American people has been most grossly misrepresented hitherto. The great body of intelligent men in every nation are to learn that the same spirit which has every where belied the country—which through the mouths of our embassadors has placed us in the ridiculous and wicked position of being the only government which professed to be based upon the rights of man, and yet the only one which justified human slavery—is the spirit which, having been plainly exposed to the people of the country, has been expelled from power, and feeling its expulsion to be irrevocable, now seeks to destroy the government since it can no longer control it.

By-and-by enlightened men every where will perceive that it was because we were conscious of the disgraceful position we have been made to hold in the world by the misrepresentations of the anomalous feudal and aristocratic faction which has hitherto adroitly spoken and acted for the United States, that we have now hurled it from the government. And they will see, also, that the faction maintained itself so long only by ingenious appeals to the prejudices and forbearance and love of peace of the great party by means of which it reached and retained power. And they will see further, that the mass of that party in concert with the other great party of the country, has now buried the hatchet beneath the flag, and that both stand shoulder to shoulder and heart to heart, to prove that a popular government can cope triumphantly with the most desperate rebellion, and conquer not only an unprecedented peace at home, but the intelligent and admiring sympathy of all who wish well to mankind.


REBELLIONS are not necessarily just or unjust. But hitherto, as they have generally been risings of the people against tyranny, they have inspired

sympathy in all generous minds. The great rebellion in England was the protest of the English people against the despotic, irresponsible prerogative of the crown. The French Revolution was the despairing struggle of utterly oppressed and outraged human beings. The late risings in Italy, Garibaldi's landing in Sicily, the expulsion of the small Dukes from Tuscany, Modena, and Parma, were all rebellions, because they were movements against established governments; but they are justified by the heart of mankind, because they were struggles against intolerable oppressions, whose consequences were worse than the woes of war.

The insurrection of the slaveholding faction in this country is not criminal because it is a rebellion, but because it is the effort of a faction to overthrow the government of the whole people. It is precisely what a rebellion of the monarchists in Italy would be, after Italy had established a popular government with a constitution providing for its own amendment. Our fathers who undertook the Revolution were rebels; but they rebelled only when lawful redress of grievance was clearly impossible. They took up arms, at first, in defense of the rights of British subjects under the British constitution. James Otis constantly appealed to that constitution. The colonies petitioned the crown under the privileges of that constitution: and only when the positive wrongs they suffered were felt to be irremediable, did they appeal to God and man for the justice of their cause, draw the sword, and boldly take their stand as rebels.

It was not the success of their rebellion that justified it. If the English government had succeeded in quelling it, and Washington, Adams, and Franklin had hung separately, as Franklin jocosely remarked, their rebellion would still have been as noble in its aim as it was complete in its success—the great leaders would have been censured for want of wisdom in exposing a people to the consequences of defeat ; but those consequences would have been cheerfully accepted by the people. So if Garibaldi had miscalculated the unanimity of the Sicilians or the power of the Neapolitan government, and had failed a year ago when he touched Sicily with the torch of liberty and it flamed from end to end, he would still have been esteemed in history unfortunate, but not criminal.

Suppose now a successful monarchical reaction in Italy by which the Italians should be again relegated to the despotic rule of their petty princes. Would success be accounted justification? Does History, does the heart of mankind, honor only the successful? If Aaron Burr had divided the country and founded a Mexican empire to dispute with us the continent ; if John Andre had returned safely within the British lines and Benedict Arnold had betrayed the American cause to its overthrow, would our traditions despise them less? Would not History and mankind condemn them all the more ?

Concede success to the Davis rebellion, still you can not save it from historical ignominy. The destruction of a great nation upon which hang the hopes of the world, whose government is just and firm, but flexible and mild, whose Constitution provides for the peaceful and equitable remedy of every grievance, and even, indirectly, for its own abrogation, the overthrow of a government ordained by the people of the United States to form a more perfect union, to establish justice, to insure domestic tranquillity, to provide for the common defense, to promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty, by a rebellion of some of those people aiming to establish a government which shall secure the perpetuity of slavery, and who can not truly plead a single injury or a solitary effort at peaceful remedy of their alleged wrongs, would be a misfortune without a parallel in history.


A POWER friendly to England is engaged in suppressing a rebellion. England says to her: " I don't care in the least whether you put down the rebellion, or the rebellion puts you down. The only thing I care about is cotton, and that I am going to have, anyhow."

Such an attitude is the strongest moral support of the revolt. What is likely to come of it? In the first place, the rebellion will be prolonged until the time for shipping cotton, in order that England may openly and actively support it. If Jeff Davis is compelled to fall back from Virginia through the Carolinas to Montgomery again, he will not hesitate. He will hold out at any cost, to give England the opportunity to interfere.

But, in the second place, before that time arrives the Government of the United States will undoubtedly say to England :

" You call yourself a friendly ally of ours. We are crushing a rebellion. It survives still, and survives solely upon your sympathy. If you are a friendly power you will no longer encourage treason among our citizens. If you continue to encourage it you are not a friendly power, and we shall act accordingly. In the present situation, with a proper regard to their duty and dignity, the United States can not consent to the so-called neutrality of England."

Such a tone might be taken in no truculent spirit, but as a simple and obvious and justifiable necessity If Ireland were in open rebellion against the British Government, for whatever cause, and the United States recognized Ireland as a belligerent, it is clear that the rebellion would derive its chief importance and danger from that sympathy. How long before Great Britain would ask the United States to explain its position?


IT is asked how the action of England, in merely recognizing the belligerent rights of the rebellion, can occasion war. The question is very easily answered.

Great Britain has not recognized the independence of the rebellious States. Victoria is not yet (Next Page)



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