§ MR. ROEBUCK
, after presenting a Petiton praying the House to enter into negotiations with the great Powers of Europe, with the object of recognising the independence of the Confederate States of America, said: I am well aware of the gravity and importance of the question I am about to bring before the House; and I well know, also, the sort of obloquy which will be directed against me for so doing by those persons who deem themselves the salt of the earth, and who think that every opinion of theirs ought to be the opinion of all other men, or that all other men ought to bow to their opinions. In spite, however, of that obloquy, believing the course I shall take to be for the interest of my countrymen, I now appeal to the House—to its honour and duty—ask the Crown to enter into negotiations with the great Powers for the purpose of acknowledging the independence of the Sounthern States of North America. I must in the first place, be permitted to lay before, the House a very short history which I think necessary for the fall understanding of my argument. Though I do not suppose that any Gentleman 1772 in this House is ignorant of what I am about to state, yet, in order to render my argument complete, I must lay this groundwork. About two centuries and a half ago England prepared to colonize the newly-discovered continent of America, and proposed to establish the Colony partly as a refuge for persons who wished to leave England, and partly with the view of laying the foundation of a great nation, and of thus creating a great purchasing Power for the commodities of this country. These Colonies were begun about 1606. The last Colony, Georgia, was founded in 1732. They owed nothing to the English nation as a nation, or to the Government as a Government, but they owed everything to the English people. From them they derived their language, their institutions, their manners, their literature, their laws, and their character. Thus they grew up, in fact, to be a great nation. Inspired and governed by the feelings of Englishmen, they took offence at what they deemed to be oppression. They resented that oppression, and determined to throw off the yoke of England. At that time England had the misfortune to be governed by a narrow-minded bigoted monarch, who resolved to crush the discontent of the American people. He waged a war which excited animosity between us and them. Instead of allowing them to separate peaceably from this country, they were divided from us by arms, and hatred was the consequence. Now, not only did the American people establish their independence, but they also established two points of international law, which I think of very great importance at the present time. The first was, that any body of people, determining to throw off their allegiance, were justified, if they had the power, in so doing; and we acknowledged that to be a principle of international morality by the treaty which we made in 1783. The second point was very remarkable. France interfered in that dispute, and France then bore the same relation to our revolted Colonies that we do how to the Confederate States of America. In making peace with France we assented to another rule of international morality sometimes called international law. Although we had declared war against France for recognising the rebellious Colonies as independent States, we admitted, when we made peace, that France was justified in acknowledging them before we ourselves did so. These two points of international law are, as I think, of the highest importance 1773 at this time, and I bring them to bear against the Northern States of America; for though other nations may dispute them, at least they cannot. Then began that great race of prosperity which the nation called the United States of North America ran after it became independent. There is one very curious thing in the history of this people, which is generally passed over with too little notice. After the war in 1816, the North American States entered on their course of Protection. The Northern States of the Union resolved to make the Southern States, the great producers of the continent, subservient to themselves. They established a tariff which threw the whole carrying power of the continent into their own hands and compelled the Southern States to be the purchasers of all manufactured commodities from the North. Henceforth, there grew up a dispute between the Northern and Southern portion of the Union. In 1827 an attempt was made by the South to relieve themselves from the yoke of the tariff, which failed by a very small number in the House of Representatives and a still smaller number in the Senate. Then sprang up in the mind of the Southern States a hope of making slavery the means of relieving themselves from that burden. They determined in every case to make slavery and slave States the point to which they would direct their attention, their object being to free themselves from the thraldom of the North, and to acquire the rights of free trade. This grew from day to day, from month to month, from year to year, till at last Secession came. At first some were misled by the talk of the North. In spite, however, of the literature of the North, in spite of the obloquy which they made Europe believe attached to the Secessionists, in spite of the boasting of the North that she had only to put forth her arm to crush the South, the truth became apparent. "Ninety days" was the talk, and men in England and in Europe believed the troth of the assertion that the war would be over in that time. Ninety days went past, and no conquest took place. Ninety days were added to that, and at last two years have rolled over us. That is the real, true history of the Secession and its results at the present moment. Now comes the question—What are we to do? I say at once we ought to acknowledge the independence of the South; and why? first because they have a right to claim it. They are a gallant people, who, with a very small 1774 force, have resisted and conquered the North. They have rolled back the tide of invasion. It is not Richmond that is now in peril, but Washington; and if there be terror anywhere, it is in the minds of the merchants of New York. I see my hon. and learned Friend the Solicitor General in his place, and I ask him if he can refute this statement of international law, that when a people, having determined to be free, have proved their power of resistance, we are justified in acknowledging their independence; and that, as Sir James Mackintosh said, there would be no casus belli in our doing so. Well, then, shall we acknowledge the South? I say aye—first, because in point of fact they have vindicated their freedom; and next because it is our interest. At the present moment there is exhibited a phenomenon never seen in the history of mankind. Ten millions of civilized men, producing three of the great necessary commodities of Europe—cotton, sugar, and tobacco—are thrown upon the world for customers. They have cut their connection with the North. They have said to England, "We are here producing all you want in the shape of cotton, producing nearly all you want in the shape of sugar and tobacco. Thousands—nay, nearly a million, of your people are suffering from the want of these very commodities which we can supply. We offer ourselves to you as customers." Are we not prepared to accept that offer? What is it that prevents our recognising these States? I look at the Treasury bench, and sorry am I to observe the absence of the noble Lord who is really the Government. I ask those hon. and right hon. Gentlemen what is it that is in the minds of those who want us to refrain from accepting this great boon to England and doing this great justice to America? We are met by the assertion, "Oh, England cannot acknowledge a State in which slavery exists." Indeed, I ask, is that really the case, and is any man so weak as to believe it? Have we not acknowledged Brazil? Are we not in constant communication with Russia? And is there not slavery in both those countries? Moreover, does anybody believe that the black slave would be at all improved in his condition by being placed in the same position as the free black in the North? I ask whether the North, hating slavery, if you will, does not hate the slave still more? [A few "Noes!" drowned in cheers.] I pity the ignorance of the Gentleman who 1775 says "No." The blacks are not permitted to take an equal station in the North. They are not permitted to enter the same carriage, to pray to God in the same part of the church, or to sit down at the same table with the whites. They are like the hunted dog whom everybody may kick. But in the South the feeling is very different. There black children and white children are brought up together. ["No!"] I say it without fear of contradiction from any one whose contradiction is worthy of notice. In the South there is not that hatred, that contempt of the black man which exists in the North. There is a kindly feeling in the minds of the Southern planters towards those whom England fixed there in a condition of servitude. England forced slavery upon the Southern States of America. It was not their doing. They prayed and entreated England not to establish slavery in their dominions; but we did it, because it suited our interests, and the Gentlemen who now talk philanthropy, talked the other way. [Laughter, and a cry of "They were not living then."] No, but their ancestors were, and we have the same class now-a-days, with the same sort of cant and hypocrisy. Every man who has studied the question will distinctly understand the difference between the feeling of the Northern gentleman and that of the Southern planter towards the black. There is a sort of horror, a sort of shivering in the Northerner when he comes across a black. He feels as if he were contaminated by the very fact of a black man being on an equality with him. That is not the case in the South. I am not now speaking in favour of slavery. Slavery to me is as distasteful as it is to the hon. Member for Birmingham; but I have learnt to hear with other men's infirmities, and I do not think every man a rogue or a fool who differs from me in opinion. But, though I hate slavery, I cannot help seeing the great distinction between the condition of the black in the North, and his condition in the South. I believe, that if to-morrow you could make all the blacks in the South like the free negroes in the North, you would do them a great injury. The cry in the North in favour of the black is a hypocritical cry, and to-morrow the North would join with the South, and fasten slavery on the necks of the blacks, if the South would only re-enter the Union. But the South never will come into the Union, and—what is more—I hope it never may. I will tell you why I say so. America, while 1776 she was one, ran a race of prosperity unparalleled in the world. Eighty years made the Republic such a Power, that if she had continued as she was a few years longer, she would have been the great bully of the world. Why, Sir, she—bestrode the narrow world, Like a Colossus; and we petty men Walked under her huge legs, and peeped about To find ourselves dishonourable graves.As far as my influence goes, I am determined to do all I can to prevent the re-construction of the Union, and I hope that the balance of Power on the American continent will, in future, prevent any one State from tyrannizing over the world as the Republic did. Could anything be more insulting than her conduct towards us? Yet we who turned upon Greece—we who bullied Brazil—we crawled upon our bellies to the United States. They could not treat us contemptuously enough to raise our ire; but at last, when the secession took place, we plucked up courage, and resented the outrage upon the Trent. I say, then, that the Southern States have vindicated their right to recognition. They hold out to us advantages such as the world has never seen before. I hold, besides, that it would he of the greatest importance that the reconstruction of the Union should not take place. Then comes the question—has the time arrived for recognition? I want hon. Gentlemen to tell me why the time has not arrived. At the present moment, a large portion of our population are suffering in consequence of the cotton famine. That is one reason why the time has come for the recognition of the South. Next, I say the time has come, because the Southern States have vindicated their right to be recognised. Moreover, they offer to us a boon such as the world has never known, but they are being driven to be a manufacturing people. They are making their own guns; and if you keep them much longer in their present condition, they will produce their own cotton and woollen goods. Thus interests will grow up which they will be obliged to protect, and we shall have the protective system introduced into the Southern States of America. That is a matter deserving of attention—a matter which any statesman, if I could see one, would take into his consideration. Such is the state of things at the present moment. The South offers to us perfect free trade; but if we allow this contest to go on—if we cower, as we have done hitherto, before the North, the Southerners will soon become a manu- 1777 facturing population, and the boon will be withdrawn from us. But, if they ought to be recognised, and if the time has come, is the mode I propose a right one? The mode I propose is, that this House should pray the Queen to enter into communication with the great Powers of Europe with a view to the recognition of the South. Now the great Powers of Europe really mean France. No other Power, with the exception of Russia, has a fleet that we need think about; and we know that Russia is not at present in a position to do anything. France is the only Power we have to consider; and France and England acknowledging the South, there would be an end of the war. Here I am obliged to enter into a sort of personal history. I hope the House will excuse me for doing so. What I am going to say is, that I know certain things about the state of the mind of the great French ruler which I am authorized, that is, I am permitted to lay before this House. I was met in the lobby outside some days since by an hon. and learned Friend of mine, who said to me, "You propose that the House should address the Queen, to ask her to enter into a negotiation with the great Powers of Europe. Now, I have heard to-day, on very good authority, that the mind of the French ruler has changed; and if Lord Palmerston can come down to the House and say so, what becomes of your Motion for the recognition of the South? "I acknowlged to my hon. and learned Friend the force of his statement, though, like the Scotchman about the fish, I doubted the fact; therefore I wrote to my hon. Friend the Member for Sunderland, knowing that he had obtained authority to write to the French Emperor whenever he wanted to see him, and I said to him in effect, "Suppose, for the purpose of ascertaining whether this rumour be true, we go across and ask at once for an audience." For, Sir, I know the Treasury bench right well. I know they are wonderfully expert at circulating rumours; indeed, when they have an object in view, there is hardly any rumour they will not circulate. My letter to the hon. Member for Sunderland got to Paris, and subsequently we had the audience asked for. I am now going to make a statement which the Under Secretary for Foreign Affairs may think somewhat surprising, but it is true for all that. The Emperor of the French said, and he gave me authority to repeat it here, "As soon as I learnt that that rumour was circulating in England, I gave instructions to my Ambassador 1778 to deny the truth of it. Nay more, I instructed him to say that my feeling was not, indeed, exactly the same as it was, because it was stronger than ever in favour of recognising the South. I told him also to lay before the British Government my understanding and my wishes on this question, and to ask them again whether they would be willing to join me in that recognition." Now, Sir, there is no mistake about this matter. I pledge my veracity that the Emperor of the French told me that. He told me that instructions had been sent to Baron Gros. And to tell me that the British Government does not know that that has occurred must mean some evasion, some diplomatic evasion. It cannot be the truth. And if there be contradiction between the witnesses, I pledge my veracity for what I state. I do not believe the world will doubt my word, and I pledge my word that that is the truth as far as I am concerned. And—what is more—I laid before His Majesty two courses of conduct. I said, "Your Majesty may make a formal application to England." He stopped me and said, "No; I can't do that, and I will tell you why. Some months ago I did make a formal application to England. England sent my despatch to America. That despatch getting into Mr. Seward's hands, was shown to my Ambassador at Washington. It came back to me; and I felt that I was ill-treated by such conduct. I won't," he added—"I can't subject myself again to the danger of similar treatment. But I will do every thing short of it. I give you full liberty to state to the English House of Commons this my wish, and to say to them that I have determined in all things"—and I will quote his words—"I have determined in all things to act with England; and more particularly I have determined to act with her as regards America." Well, Sir, with this before us, can the Government be ignorant of this fact? I do not believe it. With this before them, are they not prepared to act in concert with France? Are they afraid of war? War with whom? With the Northern States of America? Why, in ten days, Sir, we should sweep from sea the every ship. ["Oh, oh!"] Yes, there are people so imbued with Northern feeling as to be indignant at that assertion. But the truth is known. Why, the Warrior would destroy their whole fleet. Their armies are melting away; their invasion is rolled back; Washington is in danger; and the only fear which we ought to have 1779 is lest the independence of the South should be established without us. There is another observation which I have to make, and which I wish again to present to the minds of such hon. Gentlemen opposite as are capable of understanding it. It is this: A large portion of our manufacturing population have been for some months living upon charity. Now, there is very soon acquired a habit of idleness, and I have learnt from Lancashire that at the present time an unwillingness to labour is creeping upon the people; and if we carry them through the coming winter in idleness, we do not know what may be the consequence to our manufacturing population. Again, Sir, I will quote the words of His Majesty the Emperor of the French, and they are very remarkable words. He said, "I am afraid of the coming winter with respect to my manufacturing population." And my hon. Friend the Member for Sunderland said, "Sir, we do not dread the winter, although we know that great misery must of necessity be entailed upon our manufacturing population if the cotton famine continue; but we, Sir, desire to avert from our countrymen the calamity that must arise from the continuation of that famine." Now, I wish the noble Lord were here, for I want to make this suggestion. Hitherto, the sufferings of the Lancashire operatives have been borne with wonderful patience and fortitude. They have believed that the misery entailed on them has not been caused by any conduct of the Government. It was inevitable. It came upon them in spite of the Government, and the Government had nothing to do with it. An improved knowledge and civilization have led to this result as far as they are concerned, that seeing that the Government was not to blame, they have not, like ignorant people in former times, turned their anger against the Government. But, Sir, if the origin of their misery was not the work of the Government, will they not come to think that the continuance of it may be the work of the Government? Their patience, because the Government was not to blame will no longer endure, when they find, as they will now find, that the continuance of their suffering is the result of the folly of the Government. I have to day had letters from Lancashire which say that in thirteen of the great towns there have been large meetings in favour of the recognition of the South—that that has been carried by an immense majority of ten to one, and that there will be no end to the Petitions sent 1780 up to this House for that measure. When these working men look around their desolate homes and see that they have no labour wherewith to support their children, and when they can point their finger to the noble Lord at the head of the Government, and say, "He is the cause of our misery," do not mistake the result upon the English mind. That popularity which has conquered all things will sink at once into the dust; and, like that amazing fabric of commercial prosperity in America which was immediately broken to pieces by secession, the popularity of the noble Lord will topple down a gigantic ruin, and he and his small friends will be swept from their seats. I have no doubt that I have now well-nigh exhausted the patience of the House. I have stated as shortly as I could the reasons which have induced me to make this application to the House. And now I will briefly review what I have said. At the present moment there is offered to us a great advantage. If we take time by the forelock, that advantage will be given to us, and we shall be a much greater people, and London will be the Imperial city of the world. But if we abstain from availing ourselves of this opportunity, it will go away at once to France. The cry about slavery is hypocrisy and cant. We shall do no harm to the black man if we adopt my Resolution. And I pray the House in all calmness to consider this question, and, as they are men of honour, justice, and benevolence, to grant me the Motion which I now make.
Motion made, and Question proposed,
That an humble Address he presented to Her Majesty, praying that She will be graciously pleased to enter into negotiations with the Great Powers of Europe, for the purpose of obtaining their co-operation in the recognition of the independence of the Confederate States of North America."—(Mr. Roebuck.)
§ LORD ROBERT MONTAGU
said, that the hon. and learned Member (Mr. Roebuck) who had just resumed his seat, had stated that he expected to be covered with obloquy by those who opposed him, because that they considered themselves as the salt of the earth, and far superior to every one else. He (Lord R. Montagu) took this expression as an allusion to himself; and as he thought that this criticism might be founded in some reason, he had determined to study the mind of the hon. and learned Member, and learn humility from his example. What, then, was his surprise when he heard the many proofs which the hon. and learned 1781 Member had let fall, of his pride and scorn of others. He (Lord Robert Montagu) had collected a few of these acroamata. The hon. Member for Brighton had chanced to smile while the hon. and learned Member was speaking; then the hon. and learned Member suddenly turned upon him, and said, "Ah! that is the laugh of ignorance." Presently, he broke out with some acerbity and fierceness against the hon. Member for Huddersfield, saying that "he pitied him for the slough of ignorance in which he was sunk." As he proceeded, he enlarged the sphere of his sarcasm and obloquy; and, attacking the whole Treasury bench, he had said that "the noble Viscount was the Government, and that all his Colleagues were absolutely of no account." He had still acquired courage as he went on, or else had opened his mind with less caution and reserve; from the Treasury bench his eye glanced round the House, and he said that "there was not a statesman in the House—he could not see any." Not even content with that, he had asserted that "any one who contradicted him was not worthy of notice," and that hon. Members "never thought properly of anything." But of himself the hon. and learned Member had stated that he spoke the mind of the Emperor of the French; that there was only one great Power in Europe, and that he (Mr. Roebuck) was the exponent of it. He (Mr. Roebuck) had been dazzled by the brilliant diadem on Imperial brows; he had crooked the knee to Imperial majesty, and caught the honeyed accents from Imperial lips; he had searched the inmost recesses, and been admitted to the mysterious depths of an Imperial breast, and had now come forward to reveal to an "ignorant House of Commons" the dark secrets which he had found hidden there. He (Mr. Roebuck) despised hon. Members as degenerate Englishmen. Degenerate? He thought, then, that they had descended from some high standard of morality. But the hon. and learned Member did not think that he, too, had so descended, or was so degenerate; for if so, his opinion would not be better than the opinions of those whom he despised; his judgment could not be more depended on than theirs. No: the hon. and learned Member regarded himself as the pure priniæval pattern of man; as the genuine original type of Civis Britannicus. Yes: from the clear, cold empyrean of his virtue—from the topmost pinnacle of his superabundant excellence, he had looked 1782 down on hon. Members, and smiled sarcastically at them as they were groping in the darkness of ignorance, as they grovelled in their crimes, and were lost in the mazes of error. He (Lord Robert Montagu) could not, however, forbear to congratulate the hon. and learned Member on the aristocratic tendencies and despotic predilections which he had just evinced. The former he (Lord Robert Montagu) confessed that he shared, the latter he utterly repudiated. Not less than the hon. and learned Member was he partial to the South; not less than the hon. and learned Member did he sympathize with the noble struggle which the Southerners were carrying on for their independence; nor did he yield to the hon. and learned Member in a desire to see that independence accomplished. His despotic predilections, however, he (Lord Robert Montagu) did not share; he did not run to an Emperor at Vienna, nor did he bow the knee to an autocrat in France to know what he was to do in the British House of Commons. There were many in the House who were both able and willing to give better advice; he had often found them ready to give counsel, and had profited by their suggestions. He had come down to the House, armed in the cause of truth, and prepared to pay a just tribute to the speech of the hon. and learned Member He had now found that these two things were utterly inconsistent and incompatible. For he had looked for demonstration, but had been given vapid declamation; he had expected arguments, and had been foisted off with sneers, sarcasms, and rhetorical tropes. In fact, he had hoped that the hon. and learned Member would have succeeded in making out a good case for the South; he had trusted that his own Amendment might be beaten, and that the House would have been shown that it was both their duty and their interest to recognise the Southern Confederacy. What was the speech (he could not call it argument) of the hon. and learned Member? He began by sketching a history of the first settlement of the Colony in America, prior even to the year 1732. Then, passing to the War of Independence, he uttered plenty of the cant of revolution, calling our own King, George III., "a narrow-minded bigoted monarch." Then came his logic. Because that the United States had been successful in achieving their independence, the hon. and learned Member had said that they had "established a great point in international law," 1783 —namely, that a state may throw off the rule of its constitutional governors whenever it likes, and may separate from the mother state whenever it can! He proceeded to say, in like manner, that because the French had assisted them in obtaining that independence, "therefore another great principle had been established in international law,"—namely, that all nations have a right to do the like! Had ever such logic been heard in that House? In the next place, the hon. and learned Member had vouchsafed certain all-sufficient reasons for recognising the Confederate States—namely, because they had themselves almost attained their object! Because the prize was almost within their grasp, therefore we must step in and snatch it from them! The hon. and learned Member had said, "It is not Richmond that is threatened now, but Washington;" therefore let us step in and screen Washington from danger. Was that friendly to the Southern States? Would it be generous on our part? Much rather would he (Lord Robert Montagu) imitate Edward III., who had refused to come down and help his son in the battle, because that the Prince was likely to gain the victory alone, and the noble-minded King would not defraud him of a scrap of the glory. Moreover, this would take from the South all the weight, the stability, the security which they would enjoy, if they achieved their independence alone. The Federal States would always fee that the South had not been able to gain freedom for itself, and might therefore be again re-conquered whenever a fitting opportunity offered itself. There was another point in the speech of the hon. and learned Member to which he must advert. In private life they always endeavoured to get rid of feelings and divest themselves of prejudices, in order that their judgment might be clear and unbiassed; they sough to sever themselves from their passions in order that the eye of reason might not be blinded. Was this not much more necessary on an important occasion like the present, which involved the fate of millions which concerned our own honour and in tegrity of conduct? And yet, what had the hon. and learned Member done? He had come down with irritating topics, and had endeavoured to stir up their feelings to arouse passions, to create prejudices, to blind their minds and pervert their judgments, and prevent them from arriving at any just conclusion. He had exclaimed, 1784 "Could anything be more insolent than the conduct of the North to us?" This was the old sophistical notion—"Justice consists in doing to others as they have done to us,"—so long ago refuted; this was the doctrine "an eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth,"—so long ago condemned. Should we then really do wrong because we had been insulted? If so, we should thereby "establish another new point in international law." Then again, he had told a long story about a despatch which had been shown to Mr. Seward, and had said that for this reason the Emperor Napoleon would not condescend to communicate directly with our Government. He (Lord Robert Montagu) had heard of this a year ago, and had been told that the truth was this:—The French had been playing a double game, pretending a friendship for the North, and asserting that it was England who had kept them back from proving their friendship. Lord Russell therefore, to prove the duplicity of the French Government, had ordered the despatch to be shown to Mr. Seward. The Emperor, no doubt, refused to make to the British Government the communication which the hon. and learned Member had borne for him; for the Emperor knew very well what sort of answer he would get. The Emperor had, however, found a ready and willing tool, and had determined to make a catspaw of the hon. and learned Member. "The Emperor dreads the coming winter," said the hon. and learned Member! Just so; and there fore the hon. and learned Member may pull for him the chestnuts he so much desires, out of a fire too hot for Imperial hands to bear. He (Lord Robert Montagu) felt himself in rather an awkward predicament—he was somewhat like General Hooker after crossing the Potomac; he found an army and fortress in his front, but on looking round he found another army with the river in his rear, so that he was forced to fight, and could neither advance nor retreat. The hon. Member for Dungarvan had heaped up an enormous Amendment in his (Lord Robert Montagu's) rear; a regular stockade of a Motion, which it was impossible for him to cut his way through. It referred "with the deepest regret," to "the terrible waste of human life which has characterized the lamentable struggle;" it is "desirous to prevent the further effusion of blood;" it "calls on Her Majesty's Government, in the name of humanity (whatever the 'name of humanity' 1785 may be) and in the interests of civilization," to "recommend an immediate armistice;" and so forth. Now, he mistrusted any sudden desire to stop the effusion of blood, or the hasty adoption of this humanity argument, when he remembered that our own civil war had lasted ten years; and that the War of Independence with our North American colonies had lasted seven years, even though they were assisted by France; and that the War of Independence of the Spanish South American Colonies had lasted no less than fourteen years. Was it, moreover, a duty to interfere in order to stop the effusion of blood? If it be a duty, then it was always obligatory upon us, whether against Russia, or France, or China. In reading Canning's speeches the other day, he had been struck by an expression of that great statesman which bore directly on this point—namely, that the "golden rule" of private life was the golden rule of politics also. For as in private life he that never swerves from the rule of doing to others as he would like them to do to him, is thereby kept free from all those vexations and worries, and quarrels and bickerings, which are always besetting others; so also the State which observes the same rule with regard to other States will escape wars, and costly interventions, burdensome taxes and the weight of loans, distress, hardship, and scarcity of provisions. The case of the United States to-day might be their own to-morrow; it was actually our own condition but yesterday, Had they not a Sepoy rebellion? What would they have said if the United States, or Russia, or France, or some other Power had interfered to assist the Sepoys against them? Would they not have denounced the nation that thus intermeddled, and have told them, with a feeling of just indignation, that it was no business of theirs. Some years ago there were fears entertained about Ireland, and it was merely surmised that America was going to help the Irish; the whole of this country was indignant and agitated by a most excusable rage and anger at the bare suspicion of such a thing. But now they were called upon to do that which they had denounced on the mere supposition that it was about to be done by others. They had then recorded a curse in Heaven against any who should do what they now were asked to perpetrate. True humanity would urge them to promote the welfare of the whole Anglo-Saxon race, without indulging their prejudices 1786 in favour of North or South, or gratifying their passions because of bygone insults. They should endeavour to establish peace so that every point should he settled which might render possible a renewal of the civil war in future years. He believed that an armistice would perpetuate feelings of rancour and preserve seeds of discontent; it would reserve points of quarrel which would otherwise be spent; it would keep latent various matters now at issue. Those parties at war must be judged like the rest of humanity; and they all knew from their schooldays, that when combatants fought out their quarrel, they soon shook hands again and were friends; while those whose quarrel was repressed, bore deadly hate and nourished a feud. Besides, how was an armistice to be enforced? Did the hon. Member mean to say that they should have a war at once to carry that armistice into effect? It would, moreover, be little use to proclaim an armistice, unless a basis of mediation were definitely agreed on. Had such a basis been suggested? During an armistice the two parties keep their arms in their hands; how could they define the limits within which those parties should confine themselves? The limits now were most uncertain; the north held New Orleans and the Mississippi; the South held parts of Missouri, Kentucky, and Maryland. The South claimed the States to the west of the Mississippi, but yet the authority of the North still prevailed there. He did not see, therefore, how they could address themselves to the proposal of an armistice. And would such a course really stay the effusion of blood, and not rather increase it? If we recognised the South, the North would infallibly declare war upon us; our own blood would then be shed in addition to that of the South, and also of the many recruits who had left this country for the North. But if the hon. and learned Member meant war, then let war be deliberately declared; let them not profess to recognise merely, let them not deceive the people of the United States and our own nation also, by copious professions of amity and friendship. Why should the hon. and learned Member not say what he really meant? Because he knew that war would be unpopular, because he and all the world were aware that war meant heavy burdens and onerous taxes. The hon. and learned Member would, indeed, do well to beware of war; not because we should have to operate at a distance of 3,000 miles; nor because our shipping in every nook and corner 1787 of the world would have to be protected from American privateers; nor yet because the Guards, so sparsely scattered over Canada, would be taken prisoners; but because in such a war we should be arrayed against our own flesh and blood. The suffering and distress caused by the war in the cotton districts of this country had been alluded to by the hon. Member; and the remedy and prophylactic, the nostrum and antidote of the hon. Member, for all the want and hardship in Lancashire, was the recognition of the Southern States; but could any man believe that the mere recognition of the Southern States, without a war, would bring over a single bale of cotton? or that recognition with war would lessen the hardship, diminish the taxes, or stop the effusion of blood? Before entering on the discussion of any matter, it was always of primary importance to have a clear conception of the terms that were used; unless these were defined, confusion was sure to pervade the whole discussion, and no conclusion could possibly be arrived at. There were only three ways in which a foreign State could be said to interfere between two conflicting parties. First, when it was with the full and free consent of both parties to the conflict; it was then called either mediation or arbitration. Secondly, when it was made against the wishes of both; and thirdly, when it was made with the consent of only one belligerent. First, with respect to mediation and arbitration. A mediator merely gave advice and offered counsel; and both parties had agreed to listen; although they did not pledge themselves to follow it; and it was known that good counsels were generally spurned where listeners were prejudiced. An arbitrator, on the other hand, pronounced a decision which both parties had previously bound themselves to carry out; they had pledged themselves to abide by his judgment. The right to interfere, whether as a mediator or an arbitrator, did not rest with the intervening party; but he must be selected by the parties to the conflict, who had confidence in the known justice and integrity of the arbitrator. Secondly, when it took place contrary to the wishes of both parties, it was called intervention. Intervention meant to come between, to interpose by force; and therefore was an act hostile to both. Thirdly, where it took place with the consent of one and against the wish of the other, it amounted, in fact, to espousing the side of one and declaring war 1788 against the other. The word "recognition" was not mentioned by any of the old writers on international law; it was the manufacture, or rather the phantom, of modern times. Mr. Canning had stated, in 1823, that "the law of nations was entirely silent on this point;" yet he attached the general meaning to the word and defined the two senses of it very clearly. He said—If the colonies say to the mother country, 'We assert our independence,' and the mother country answers, 'I admit it,' that is recognition in one sense. If the colonies say to another State 'We are independent,' and that other State replies, 'I allow that you are so,' that is recognition in another sense of the term. That other State simply acknowledges the fact, or rather its opinion of the fact.This latter he treated as worth nothing, except there accompanied it "a treaty o alliance and co-operation." For, he continued—The simple recognition by any neutral Power…could have no such effect as tranquilizing the State, and establishing and confirming its independence.Sir James Mackintosh had likewise said—The first [sense of the term recognition], which is the true and legitimate use of the word 'recognition,' as a technical term of international law, is that in which it denotes the explicit acknowledgment of the independence of a country by a State which formerly exercised sovereignty over it. Such recognitions are renunciations of sovereignty—surrenders of the power, or of the claim to govern.With regard to the other meaning of the term, which he called "virtual recognition," he had said—It implies no guarantee, no alliance, no aid, no approbation of the successful revolt, no intimation of an opinion concerning the justice or the in justice of the means by which it has been accomplished. These are matters beyond our jurisdiction. It would be an ursurpation in us to sit in judgment upon them. As a State, we can neither condemn nor justify revolutions which do not affect our safety and are not amenable to our laws.The Resolution of the hon. Member for Sheffield amounted, therefore, to a desire for an alliance to go to war with the North. He hoped to show, on the contrary, that we had no right to recognise the South, or to intervene in the quarrel in any way; further, that alliances such as the hon. Member proposed had always been productive of mischief and misunderstanding between the allies themselves; and lastly, that intervention would be injurious both to this country and to the Confederate States themselves. An expression of thanks 1789 was due to the writer in The Times, well known to be a lawyer of repute and authority, whose letters, signed "Historicus," had placed in a clear light what otherwise would have been a matter of doubt, mystery, and perplexity. According to that gentleman, while the contest for government, or, in other words, rebellion, was going on in a country, there were only two possible courses open to other nations—either to remain neutral, in which case the mother country was to be regarded as the sovereign State, while belligerent rights were possessed by the other side, but no other rights whatever; or else war must be declared, which might be either a forcible intervention against both parties, or else (as is more generally the case) it consisted in espousing the cause of the one party and waging war on the other. Wheaton, in his standard work on international law, had laid down that—Until the revolution is consummated, while the civil war involving a contest for the government continues, other States may remain indifferent spectators of the controversy, still continuing to treat the ancient Government as Sovereign, and the Government de facto as a society entitled to the rights of war against its enemy; or may espouse the cause of the party which they believe to have justice on its side.But some hon. Members perhaps might say, "Why not remain neutral and yet recognise?" He thought he had already shown that these two things were incompatible; yet he would inquire further into the objection. Let him ask what was the meaning of neutrality. The right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer in 1859 gave a definition so concise and clear that he would take the liberty of quoting his words. Speaking of Mr. Canning, he had said—The impartiality of his neutrality would have been violated if he had offered suggestions in the spirit of party; the impartiality of his neutrality would have been violated had he interposed by any underhand means.And speaking of the neutrality on which Her Majesty's Government had acted, he added—Its limit is that we should refrain, not from entertaining our own opinion, but from giving effect to it, either by manifestations in this House or by diplomatic action, otherwise than the public law of Europe may permit, or opportunities shall be fairly opened.And now, with regard to recognition, he would quote a writer on international law, a statesman of this country, and a statesman of the Southern States. Dr. Phillimore (vol. ii., p. 15) had declared that— 1790Two facts should occur before this grave step be taken, whereby the neutral power becomes the ally of one of the hitherto belligerent parties—(1), the practical cessation of hostilities on the part of the old State;…(2), an absolute bonâ fide possession of independence.And quoting the very precedent to which the hon. and learned Member had referred, the recognition by France of the independence of our American Colonies, that writer said, never was there a war declared on juster grounds than that commenced by George III., on the recognition of the independence of those Colonies by the French. Lord Liverpool had held language much to the same effect. He said—With regard to the question of the recognition of independence, they both agreed that it was to be considered on two grounds—the first, of right; the second, of expediency. That where no right existed there could be no expediency, was an inference in which they both agreed…. There could be no right while the contest was actually going on…The question ought to be, 'Was the contest going on?' He, for one, could not reconcile it to his mind to take any such steps so long as the struggle in arms continued undecided.President Jackson, a native of South Carolina, to whoso opinion the Confederates would probably attach importance, had laid it down, in his Message of December 21, 1836, that—The acknowledgment of a new State as independent and entitled to a place in the family of nations is at all times an act of great delicacy and responsibility, but more especially so when such State has forcibly separated itself from another of which it had formed an integral part, and which still claims dominion over it. A premature recognition under these circumstances, if not looked as a upon justifiable cause of war, is always liable to be regarded as a proof of an unfriendly spirit.These quotations, although but a tithe of what might be given, would suffice to show that recognition, where it was not the mere acceptance of an independence already acknowledged by the mother country, amounted to intervention and an act of hostility and war. Lawyers attached much weight to precedents; he supposed, therefore, that he must discuss all the precedents which bore upon this matter. First, there was the recognition of Hungary, attempted by the United States, in 1849. The rebels were in full possession of all the territory. Every one of the Austrian troops had been driven from Hungary, and Austria had not a man left to govern the country. The United States thereupon sent over Colonel Dudley Mann to Kossuth, with full powers to recognise 1791 Hungary as an independent State. Yet the whole of Europe, with one consent, reprobated the action of the United States, and the Americans themselves had not attempted to justify their conduct. The next case was that which the hon. Member had referred to. On the 13th of March 1778 the Marquis de Noailles informed King George that the French Government, deeming our Colonies to be virtually independent, had recognised them as such, and concluded with them a treaty of amity and commerce. It was quite true that at the time a treaty of alliance offensive and defensive had been concluded; but the fact was not known then, and was a secret till long afterwards. Four days after that communication, on March 17, King George III. recalled his Ambassador from France, and sent the French Ambassador his passports; and Parliament was informed by the Crown that this step had been taken in consequence of the French Ambassador's communication. The "justifying memorial" drawn up by Gibbon, and published in the Annual Register for the year 1779, stated the gravamen to be, that France—Is content to maintain that the revolted Colonies enjoy in fact that independence they have be stowed on themselves….. Under such circumstances it is impossible, without insulting in too gross a manner both truth and reason, to deny that the declaration of the Marquis de Noailles ought to be received as a true declaration of war.The memorial also quoted the expression of King George III., that this recognition was "an act of hostility, a formal and premeditated aggression." The next precedent occurred during the war of the Spanish American Colonies with the mother country. That war had begun in 1810, and after it had continued for eight years the people of Buenos Ayres, who had then an extensive trade with the United States, applied to the United States Government to be allowed to send a Consul to Washington, seeing that there was an American Consul at Buenos Ayres. But President Adams replied that he could not permit it, because it would amount to a recognition of their independence, whereas the continued residence at Buenos Ayres of a United States Consul, who had been accredited to Spain before the Revolution, implied no recognition of any particular Government. There was another precedent on the same occasion, which was furnished by our own conduct. At the Congress of Verona, Great Britain and the 1792 United States protested against the right of the allied Powers to interfere between Spain and her Colonies. Mr. Canning went even so far as to declare that he would consider it a cause of war if any Power ventured to recognise them. In the year 1824, after the contest had been going on for fourteen years, and every Spanish soldier had been removed, Mr. Canning wrote to our Minister in the Peninsula stating that His Majesty's Government would not anticipate, in the matter of recognition, the mother country herself, and that they had no right to recognise the revolted Colonies before the mother country should lead the way in that recognition. Yet at this time Spain had abandoned all efforts in Columbia and Buenos Ayres; and had nearly given up the contest in Chili and in Mexico. On the 15th of January in that year a case had occurred very like what had just taken place in that House. Sir J. Mackintosh presented a Petition for the recognition of the South American Republics. That Petition was from the merchants of London; while the Petition presented by the hon, and learned Member for Sheffield was only from a few people gathered in the marketplace at Oldham. The Petition of Sir J. Mackintosh was presented after a fourteen years' struggle, and when every Spanish soldier had been driven out of the country; that of the hon. and learned Gentleman had been presented after a two years' war, and when the resources of the South were straitened to the utmost by the Northern arms. Sir J. Mackintosh's Petition, moreover, recited the fact that two years before, in 1822, an Act had been passed by the House of Commons to permit and legalize a trade with the South American States. And therefore, even apart from the great difference between the two men, Sir J. Mackintosh's case was infinitely stronger than that of the hon. and learned Member for Sheffield. Mr. Canning, in his reply, stated that twice had Spain proposed a Congress to treat on the subject, but that he had twice refused, holding that it would be "neither just nor generous" to recognise them until Spain had done so beforehand. In 1825 Buenos Ayres and Chili were recognised on the ground, according to Mr. Canning's speech on the Address, that for many years there had not been a Spanish soldier on the territory of Buenos Ayres; and that "the first necessary condition of recognition by a foreign Power had long existed in that state; its soil was free." Columbia was in a like condition; yet Mr. Canning had refused to 1793 recognise her, because she had sent an armed force against Peru, which might have the effect of bringing back the Spaniards into the heart of Columbia. She therefore could not yet be recognised as independent. He passed now to the second point—namely, that an alliance to intervene always ends in quarrels between the allied Powers themselves; that union and association for such purposes, always resulted in disunion and bickering. This was a truth which could be proved only by actual facts and events. That was the case in regard to Belgium. In the year 1830 that country did not pretend to have achieved its independence; in fact, the Dutch were about to re-occupy Brussels, when the Conference of London proposed to create a kingdom of Belgium. Wheaton stated that the King had invited a Conference of the five Powers to determine "how the future independence of Belgium could be combined with the stipulations of existing treaties." They met on the 20th of December 1830, and signed a protocol determining the basis of the intervention, and proclaiming an armistice. But both the revolutionary Government and the King of the Netherlands repudiated the settlement proposed by the five Powers. The five Powers then immediately quarrelled among themselves. England and France sided with the Revolutionists; while Russia and Prussia took part with the King of the Netherlands. Thereupon the Prince of Orange fought a battle, and defeated the Belgians. Instantly, France and England came to the rescue. But Russia and Prussia threatened us with war; and thus nine months of war was the result of intervention in the cause of Peace. In October 1831, a "final settlement" was agreed upon; which proved, upon trial, to be by no means final. A year afterwards, in October 1832, a convention was concluded, between France and England, to force the evacuation of Antwerp; we sailed into the Scheldt, while France invaded Belgium. Russia and Prussia menaced us with war; but peace was eventually concluded in May 1833. Then take the case of Greece. The insurrection broke out in 1821. Greece had fought for six years and had by no means achieved her independence; nay, the Turks were about to reduce them to submission, when England, France, and Russia resolved to intervene. Then occurred that intentional accident at Navarino. In 1828 the French invaded Greece, in order 1794 to expel the Turks. And then from 1828 to 1833 the patriots quarrelled among themselves, flew at each other, cut each other's throats, and the whole land was a scene of blood and carnage. All this time Russia was playing her own game, and advancing on Constantinople. But England entered into a secret treaty with Austria (against her ally, Russia), to protect the integrity of Turkey. He had the authority of Alison for asserting that orders had been sent out to the English Admiral in the Levant to attack the Russian fleet, when the Treaty of Adrianople was concluded and peace established. Thus this alliance to intervene in the cause of peace, had been the origin of twelve years of bloodshed. He need not mention the alliance to intervene in Syria, for the House remembered the bad blood which was stirred up, and the reports which wore current that the French had sent over rifles to the Maronites, and printed an incendiary paper, vilifying us, which they disseminated throughout Syria. Neither need he allude to the jealousies which were engendered by the alliance in China. Then, again, there was the case of Mexico. We intervened, together with France and Spain; but before long we found the only thing we had to do was to get out of the matter as quickly as possible; so we had retired with more speed than dignity. It might be said that in the case of Mexico France had pursued a selfish policy. But how did they know whether France was not pursuing a selfish policy in this case also, and that the hon. Member for Sheffield was only the tool of that policy? France might be intending to throw in that very case of Mexico, into the settlement of American affairs; or else she might intend to revendiquer the ancient colony of Louis XIV—namely, Louisiana, which had been ceded to Napoleon by Spain, under the Treaty of San Ildelfonso; and given by Napoleon in 1808 to Monroe, because of the British cruisers. The proposal of the hon. and learned Member therefore, though bad enough before, is rendered doubly bad and dangerous by this proposed alliance to intervene. But even if we did associate ourselves to intervene, where was the common basis of action? How could we define the boundaries of the South? Intervention, to be successful, must exhaust every point in dispute, and embrace every subject in controversy. Take now that one point of slavery; what should be said on that one point? Besides, we had to take into account that the North is 1795 now a great military power, while we had but few troops, widely scattered over Canada, and an easy prey to an invader. The capture by the North of our scattered garrisons there would make us look rather small in the eyes of the world. Our commerce would also certainly have something to fear from the Alabamas and the Floridas which the North could put upon the seas. He was not appealing to the fears of Englishmen, but was simply pointing out some of the consequences that would inevitably follow from our intervention in this contest. There was another point. We imported largely of grain, our two chief sources of supply being Poland and the North West States of America. Was it likely that we should be able to get much from Poland under her present circumstances? No. Then we must rest mainly upon supplies from North America. But how would war affect that? Would not the distress in England be aggravated by a war with America? From the Northern States of America we received 5,500,000 quarters of corn, whereas from the north of Europe we received only 2,000,000. The total imported into England in 1861 was 16,094,914 quarters, of which more than one-third came from the North Western States—namely, Illinois, Michigan, Indiana, and Wisconsin—whose yearly available produce was not nearly exhausted by their exports. At least, this was the statement contained in the memorial of the Illinois Commissioners. If those states could find a market for their corn in England, it would promote a good feeling between them and Canada; but if this country went to war with America, that good feeling would be prevented. In fact, a desire for alliance with us was already growing up in those States. By holding back from war those North Western States will force a trade with us, through Canada; and perhaps, with that object, enter into close alliance with us, while the transit of the goods would be of material benefit to Canada: while by running the risk of war we should be injuring ourselves commercially in the greatest degree. It would be no less baneful to the Confederate States themselves. Every alliance to intervene had been ostensibly for the good of the suffering country; yet every such intervention had only served to increase their misery and distress, "Pacification" had always resulted in internecine struggle; "Well-being" had ever caused poverty and 1796 wretchedness. The South was now doing well. Why, then, interfere and spoil their chance? The hon. and learned Gentleman had spoken of the recent invasion of the North, and said that Washington was now in danger, and that the South had nearly achieved their object. Why, then, in the name of common sense, not leave them alone to achieve it themselves? To intervene now, when the South was described as all but successful, in order to receive a share of the glory of the conquest, would be both unfair and ungenerous. To proclaim an armistice would give a breathing time to the North; and when recruited she would recommence the struggle with redoubled fury, and carry it on with increased energy. The only chance of peace was when every one shuddered at the name of war. Above all things, he recommended the South to avoid being protocolled; diplomatic ability was the ruin of States. In conclusion, he trusted he had shown that it was not our duty to thrust ourselves into every struggle; but that we should oberve the "golden rule" in politics as much as in private life. That by such a fratricidal war the effusion of blood would not be stopped, but increased; that the hardships of Lancashire would not be lightened, but that the burdens of the people would be augmented, and the sources of food for this country would be cut off. Nay, worse; these alliances to interfere in America would end in years of quarrels and bickerings in Europe, and would effectually ruin the South, and deprive it of that stability and confidence which would result from achieving its own independence. Why, then, should we risk our good name and fame, and endanger our very peace and quiet, where there is no, rivalry of opposing churches, nor ancient feuds of race to combat? Much more did he concur in the words spoken on the 5th of February last, by the Earl of Derby, in the presence of the future King of England. That noble Earl had then said—I confess I cannot bring myself to the conclusion that the time has arrived at which it is either wise, politic, or even legitimate to recognise the South.And with regard to recognition, while the struggle was still continuing, the noble Earl had said—But in that case [when the war is not at an end] recognition is always followed by something further; for it means nothing unless the Powers who join in it are ready to support by force of 1797 arms the claims of the State which they recognise.The noble Earl then came to this conclusion—I fear that the war must go on until both of the combatants see the necessity of coming to some settlement." [3 Hansard, clxix. 24, 26.]On these grounds he begged to move the Amendment of which he had given notice—
To leave out from the word "That" to the end of the Question, in order to add the words "this House earnestly desires that an impartial neutrality should continue to be maintained by Her Majesty's Government during the present unhappy contest in the States of North America,"—(Lord Robert Montagu,)
§ Question proposed, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question."
said, he should give his cordial support to the Amendment, for he thought that if any precipitate act plunged this country into hostilities with the United States, a new feature of horror would be added to those now to be witnessed in America. But whilst he fully agreed in the conclusions to which the noble Lord (Lord Robert Montagu) had come, he did not wish it to be supposed that he coincided with the sentiments by which those conclusions were prompted. He thought that hon. Members should abstain from all violence of language, such as had been used by the hon. and learned Member for Sheffield; and, for himself, he should carefully abstain from applying strong language to either of the parties engaged in this miserable contest, for he believed it was a struggle in which both parties had acted from conscientious motives. It was only natural that those on the one side, who had been taught from their youth to consider America as a united nation, should be loath to see its dismemberment; whilst he knew that the other side, who had been trained to believe in the sovereignty of their States against the Northern Federal principles, believed they were standing up for the defence of their hearths and homes, and gallantly did they maintain the principles they had been taught. There was nothing in this struggle which justified the comparison which the noble Lord had made between the Confederates and the Sepoys, and nothing which made it analagous to an insurrection in Ireland, a province of England, or a department of France. If 1798 they wished to trace the origin of the disastrous scenes now passing in America, they must go back to an early stage of history. The Southern States could not be said to be waging a war of rebellion, for the Constitution which bound the States together distinctly acknowledged that for all purposes, except for such matters as Customs, Indian treaties, coinage, the Post Office, and external relations, the States were separate sovereignties. So strong was the feeling against the Federal system, that when Calhoun was on his deathbed, and his chaplain was praying for the welfare of the American nation, the dying statesman interrupted him to assert that there was no such thing in reality as an American nation. "We are not," he said, "a nation, but a confederation of States." The Northern States had no more right to interfere with the Southern States on the question of slavery than the Emperor of Russia would have a right to interfere between us and our West Indian Colonies in a similar question before we granted negro emancipation. The slave trade was stopped; but as far as regarded the slaves on the lands in certain States, the other States were forbidden by the Constitution to interfere with them. He did not wish it to be supposed that he was at all in favour of the institution of slavery, for he thought it equally degrading to the master and the slave; but he did not believe that the majority of the Southern masters were cruel masters. Cruelty on the part of the masters was the exception, and not the rule; and when the exception occurred, the law forbade any inquiry to be made in respect to the relations existing between master and slave, if the master, in inflicting punishment, stopped short of the extreme punishment of death. The law could take no notice of stripes, mutilation, or torture, as long as life was spared. That was not a state of things which an Englishman could regard with anything like approbation. Hitherto, however, slavery had derived its chief support from the fact, that when any question as to the slave trade arose with this country, the power of the whole Federation was employed to uphold the institution. Some years ago be visited the prisons at Charleston, in company with an American friend, and found several black sailors there who were incarcerated for no other offence than being negroes, and who were liable to be sold as slaves to pay the expenses of their maintenance, 1799 if the captain of the ship to which they belonged did not pay the money for their keep. He asked his conductor whether, if these happened to be English subjects, we could apply for redress to the Federal Government. The reply was that we might make the application, but that the Federal Government had already decided that the case was one with which the authorities at Washington could not interfere, and that it was simply a State regulation. Upon that, he (Mr. Clifford) suggested that England might take them at their word, and declare war, not against the Federation, but only against the State of South Carolina; but his friend replied, that if we touched a single State, we committed an act of hostility against the whole Union. So that, in reality, the whole power of the North was engaged to support the system. Even Mr. Lincoln's proclamation was admitted to be an illegal act, and to be justified only as a war measure. Looking at the question broadly, he would say that he was himself the friend of both North and South; but it would be idle to disguise the change of feeling which had occurred during the last two years. Into whatever society one went, high or low, one found that the general impression was that the South was making progress, and that its efforts would ultimately be crowned with success. That revulsion was attributable partly to the insolence of the Northern press, and to the aggressive and insulting conduct of one of the Federal commodores; but also, in no inconsiderable degree, to the wanton barbarity with which the Federal Government had allowed its officers to wage the war. They read, not of victories gained by the Federals, but of the desolation which they spread over countries which were lately blooming with fertility, as though they sought to emulate the ravages of Attila or Genghis Khan. Who could read without horror of lands as wide as the whole of Scotland being submerged beneath the flood of the Mississippi, and of the burning of Jacksonville, and of the destruction of churches, houses, and private property of all kinds? And these things were done, not for military objects, which would afford some excuse for them, but out of such sheer wanton malice that even the negroes looked on disgusted and aghast. Again, had the condition of the negroes been at all improved by the war? Why, they had been shot down by Federal soldiers, under the eyes of their officers, 1800 who never interfered. In Illinois the whites, jealous that the negroes should dare to compete with them in honest labour, had burnt their houses over their heads; in fact, the blackman was as unhappy as the flying fish, which had its enemies both in sea and air, and could find refuge on neither side. General M'Neil had shot six innocent men in cold blood; but the Government had not ventured to punish him or any of the other malefactors who had committed similar atrocities. Nor had they tried to arrest the devastations of Blenker. That the end of all this must inevitably be the separation of the two groups of States was the conviction of almost every thinking man in Europe, and even in America. Already there were signs that the struggle was drawing to a close. A considerable peace party was growing up in the North, and these, added to the people of the South, gave a majority against the continuance of the war. He was sorry for the disappointment of those who, with the hon. Member for Birmingham (Mr. Bright), contemplated the establishment of a vast empire stretching from the pole to the tropics; but he could not resist the belief, that if peace were not soon concluded, the North would be apt to fall under a sheer military despotism. Even at the present an approach to that result had been made, as was shown in the arrest of Mr. Vallandigham for having spoken in favour of peace. The President's argument that the man who dissuaded a recruit from joining the army did as much harm as he who killed a soldier was very remarkable, and implied that peace ought never to be advocated or war terminated. In conclusion, he would remind the House of the emphatic warning that Mr. Everett, a good and able man, uttered ten years ago, against the spirit of military aggrandisement, which, as he showed, had been the ruin of Greece and Rome, and might also be fatal to America, if, instead of trusting to natural and peaceful progress, she resorted to conquest.
§ THE CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER
Sir, I am desirous, at the commencement of such remarks as I have to offer to the House, to take a lesson from the hon. and learned Member for Sheffield (Mr. Roebuck), who told us he had learnt to bear with the opinions of others when they differed from his own. I wish to record my adhesion to that sentiment; I may go, indeed, a step further, and say that I think it is the duty of every Member 1801 of this House, and most of all of every adviser of the Crown, in approaching this question, to use his best endeavours to suppress within his breast everything like passion—I would almost say to lay aside every vestige of feeling even in regard to it. Our duty is to treat this matter as one of dry fact, and, however passion and feeling may tend to intrude themselves into the arena of reason, to strive to hold the balance even, and to deliver our judgment with as much impartiality, as much abnegation of all selfish prejudices, and of all angry emotion, as if we were sitting on the bench of justice, or in the box of jurymen. It is impossible, if we look at the matter as one of feeling, not to see that the feelings with which we must regard it are very mixed. If we take the case of the Southern States, there can only be few who do not sympathize with a resistance as heroic as ever has been offered in the history of the world on the part of a weaker body against the overpowering and vastly superior forces of a stronger. But, on the other hand, if we look at the cause of the South from that point of view in which it stands so intimately connected with at least professions of strict adherence to slavery, a strong counter-current of feeling must arise in the mind. I mention those circumstances because I think that, upon the whole, we are without excuse if, in a case where different considerations tend so powerfully in opposite directions, we suffer our judgments to be bewildered by strong sentiments of partisanship either on one side or on the other. So, likewise, with respect to the North. I agree with the last speaker in thinking it impossible for any Englishman, whatever may have been his prejudices against American institutions, not to have a very strong feeling of sympathy with those who had formed in their own minds exalted visions of the great future of their country, stretching from one end of a great continent to the other, and who see those visions now threatened with destruction. There is no stronger or more legitimate instinct than that instinct of nature which revolts against disruption; and it is easy to understand the feelings which have governed the people of the North, not only in entering into this war, but even in pushing it on after it seems to us to have passed all bounds of reason and of hope, however much there may be in their measures and language which appears difficult to reconcile with the high intelligence 1802 that usually characterizes them. I may venture also to say for my own guidance, because here I differ from the hon. and learned Member for Sheffield, that I think we ought to be cautious as to giving what are termed British interests a prominent place in our arguments on this question. I never have agreed with those who thought it was a matter of high British interest that the old American Union should be torn in pieces. Nor do I agree with the hon. and learned Member for Sheffield when he says that the American Union had become so vast and so menacing to the world, that we were in danger of dwindling beside it, or of experiencing a defect of power to maintain our rights. I do not think that territorial extension necessarily adds to the vigour of a State. I do not admit that either England or France, or any other country of Europe, had lost, or was relatively losing, strength in comparison with the United States of America, or was less able than before to assert every just claim and every legitimate interest in the face of the great Republic. I have always been of opinion, that involved as England is, not so much as a matter of mere interest, but on considerations of duty and honour, with respect to the British North American Colonies, the balanced state of the old American Union, which caused the whole of American politics to turn upon the relative strength of the slavery and Northern interests, was more favourable to us, more likely to insure the continuance of peaceful relations in America, as well as the avoidance of all political complications arising from the connection between this country and its Colonies, than the state of things which would exist if the old American Union were to be divided into a cluster of Northern, and a cluster of Southern States. The cluster of Northern States, having lost all connection with the slavery interests that were formerly adverse to extension northwards, would have, of course, every motive—I do not say by violent or illegitimate measures—to endeavour to re-establish their territorial grandeur by uniting themselves with the British Colonies of North America. But, whether that be a sound opinion or not, I cannot help stating, with some confidence, that if we strongly put forward the consideration of British interests in this matter—if we found an argument for recognition of the South, on the plea that British interests require the separation, 1803 and that British greatness was threatened by the former condition of the American Union—by that very fact you stamp upon your argument for recognition, upon every expression even of a wish for peace, a certain character of hostility to our brethren in the Northern States. I am sure the hon. and learned Member for Sheffield will feel I am warranted in alluding to this subject in a pointed manner, after he has declared in emphatic terms, in connection with his Motion for recognition, that he is determined to do all he can on the ground of British interests, to prevent the reconstruction of the American Union. With respect to the Motion of the hon. and learned Member, the first objection which I shall feel it my duty to take to it I must take also to the Amendment moved by the noble Lord; for either the Motion or the Amendment would involve the assumption by the House of Commons of that which it is perfectly entitled to assume, if it thinks fit, in point of right, but which it has not yet thought it expedient to assume, and which I do not think it should assume—namely, the function of determining by a positive declaration, the course which should be pursued by the executive Government, when it is the executive Government alone, and not the House of Commons, that can have close and minute cognizance of every circumstance from day to day bearing upon the progress of the American contest, and the position of England in regard to it; and when, therefore, prudence dictates that the House should continue to leave in the hands of the executive Government that discretion which it has heretofore exercised to the satisfaction of the country. There is no merit to be claimed by the executive Government for that which it has done, or omitted to do; but this I may say, that setting apart all reference to this or that question of international or maritime law, which may have arisen in the course of the last two years, and looking to the genera policy which has been pursued—a policy not of indifference, not of unobservance not of blindness, but of faithful and strict neutrality up to the present moment—there can be no doubt it has been the only policy which would have answered to the convictions and desires of the country. I therefore hope the House will not be disposed to entertain either a Motion or an Amendment which would have the effect of determining beforehand, by rules laid down in set phrases, from which there 1804 would be no power to depart, either one way or another, whatever the variations of circumstances, the course which the Government is to be bound to pursue; but will rather leave the Government to act in the spirit in which it has hitherto acted, and with that regard which it has hitherto endeavoured to show to the claims both of justice and of policy. But if there be one moment more inconvenient than another for the Motion of the hon. and learned Member for Sheffield, I think the hon. and learned Gentleman will himself confess that this is that moment. The Motion of the hon. and learned Member for Sheffield is peculiarly inconvenient at the present moment. I do not say that the main result of this contest is, humanly speaking, in any degree doubtful; but certainly there has not been a single epoch during the whole period of the war, which has now been raging for more than two years, at which there were pending military issues of such vast moment, both in the east and the west—issues so important with reference to the future position and interests of either or both belligerents. But if the Motion is exceptionable upon principle, and if the particular moment at which it is made is in some respects unfortunate—and I admit, that in regard to time the fault is not entirely his, because he is placed between the necessities of the ballot-glass, which stands upon our table, and the arrival from day to day of the packets from America—yet there is another matter upon which he must be held responsible, and that is for the speech with which his Motion was accompanied. My hon. and learned Friend began with pathetic complaints of the obloquy to which he knew he was about to expose himself. He came in almost a lamb-like spirit to offer himself as the willing recipient of all the violent vituperation which he saw he was about to bring upon his head. At the same time, I own I rather pity those who undertake in a contest of that nature to compete with my hon. and learned Friend. But, Sir, these are small matters. In this land of free speech, and on this floor of free discussion, we perfectly understand each other in regard to the occasional interchange of mere hard words. But the speech of my hon. and learned Friend had an importance far beyond the epithets which he may have launched against this or that man, or which may be launched against him in return. He cannot disguise—he will not disguise—he is much too candid, sincere, upright, 1805 and manly to disguise—that the whole of that speech from beginning to end was coached in the spirit of the strongest partisanship for the South—in a spirit, I may almost say, of passionate partisanship for the South. Nay more; in the first place, a speech made for recognition in the spirit of determined partisanship at once bears upon the character of the very measure which it recommends. It is not a very easy matter to separate between recognition and intervention; but if it were an easy matter to separate between them, then if at the very fountain head from which the proposal proceeds the proposal itself is associated throughout his whole argument with undisguised hostility to one of the parties, what chance or hope is there for recommending that recognition should take place, and at the same time that the appearance, much less the reality, of true neutrality should be maintained? But it was not even to this that my hon. and learned Friend limited himself. He went a step further. He argued upon our duty to the men of Lancashire. What was the meaning of that portion of his speech? Recognition does not relieve the men of Lancashire. Recognition does not bring one single bale of cotton to Lancashire. "But," said my hon. and learned Friend, "we have heretofore been in the condition in which the workmen have been patient, because they have known that the Government were not to blame; but we have now reached the point at which they will know that it is the Government, and the Government alone, which prevents the restoration of the raw material on which their industry depends." Now, I am the last person who would accuse my hon. and learned Friend, of all the men in this House, of using words without meaning. That is a charge which I must say can never fairly be brought against him. Moreover, he deserves this praise—that his meaning for the most part is unusually clear. Well, these words are as clear as any words which ever fell from him; and their meaning is that we are not to stop at recognition, but are to follow it up with those other measures which alone will satisfy that which he thinks is the necessity of the case, and what is the clear necessity of his argument—namely, that upon the adoption of his Motion was to follow the restoration of an abundant supply of the raw material of our cotton manufacture fox the industry of Lancashire. Such being the speech of my hon. and learned Friend, and such being his Motion, 1806 I confess that I should find in either the one or the other ample reason for objecting to its adoption by the House. But Her Majesty's Government I do not think have ever professed to feel indifferent on this question. It is impossible for any one with the feelings of a man within him to be indifferent upon it. Moreover, I believe that a very general union of sentiment and opinion exists in this country—not upon every matter relating to the present war, but upon this great question—whether we wish that this war should continue or should cease. My belief is that at least nineteen out of every twenty men in this House, perhaps I might say ninety-nine out of every hundred—I do not know, indeed, that there is a single exception—earnestly and fervently desire that it should terminate. Why, Sir, was there ever a war of a more destructive and more deplorable—I will venture to add, of a more hopeless—character? Measure it by the enormous absorption of human life, which counts not by thousands, nor by tens of thousands, but by hundreds of thousands. Was there ever a more deplorable absorption of human treasure, which has brought debts upon countries which heretofore were happily in practice free from them, such as not only threaten to depress permanently, or for a long course of years, the condition of the population, but even perhaps to involve the greatest political difficulties throughout the whole of what was once the flourishing and happy American Union? Well, if these are common to both parties, is it possible that we as Englishmen should regard otherwise than with deep pain the special consequences entailed by this war upon each party severally? Look at the embittering and exasperations of the relations between the black man and the white man in the South. Look again at the suspension of constitutional liberty in the North—the utter confusion of all the landmarks that separate between right and power—the danger into which the very principle of freedom has been brought in that which used to boast itself the freest, and which we, perhaps most of us, admit to have been at any rate one of the freest nations of the earth. Look at the discredit to liberty abroad—the discredit, not only to democratic, not only to popular, but I venture to say to all liberal and constitutional principles—which has been caused in the eyes of the rest of the world by the contemplation of the transactions of the last two or three years, and 1807 especially of the last twelve months, in North America. I trust there are few of us here who have ever suffered narrow unworthy jealousies of the American Union to possess our minds. But I believe, if there be such a man—if there be those who have taken illiberal or extreme views of what was defective in the American character, or in American institutions, who closed their eyes against all that was great and good and full of promise to mankind in that country—surely all alike must now feel sentiments of compassion and concern absorbing every other sentiment. And the regret and sorrow which we feel at the calamities brought to our own doors by this miserable contest are almost swallowed up when we consider the fearful price—more fearful, I believe, than in the history of the world was ever paid, I do not mean in money, by a nation in a state of civil war—a price not alone in the loss of life, not alone in the loss of treasure, but in the desperate political extremities to which the free popular institutions of North America have been reduced. Why, Sir, we must desire the cessation of this war. No man is justified in wishing for the continuance of a war unless that war has a just, an adequate, and an attainable object. For no object is adequate, no object is just, unless it also be attainable. We do not believe that the restoration of the American Union by force is attainable. I believe that the public opinion of this country is unanimous upon that subject. ["No!"] Well, almost unanimous. I may be right or I may be wrong—I do not pretend to interpret exactly the public opinion of the country. I express in regard to it only my private sentiments. But I will go one step further, and say I believe the public opinion of this country bears very strongly on another matter upon which we have heard much—namely, whether the emancipation of the negro race is an object that can be legitimately pursued by means of coercion and bloodshed. I do not believe that a more fatal error was ever committed than when men—of high intelligence I grant, and of the sincerity of whose philanthropy I, for one, shall not venture to whisper the smallest doubt—came to the conclusion that the emancipation of the negro race was to be sought, although they could only travel to it by a sea of blood. I do not think there is any real or serious ground for doubt as to the issue of this contest. I admit that we ought to desire—I believe that the bulk of Englishmen 1808 do desire—that it should come to a close. But does the hon. and learned Gentleman think it therefore follows that we ought to adopt his Motion? Or does he think that the recognition which he proposes would bring the contest nearer to a close? [Mr. ROEBUCK: Hear, hear!] No doubt my hon. and learned Friend thinks it would terminate it, or he would not have made this Motion; but I must venture to join issue with him on that point. What is that recognition to be? Is it to be a recognition with intervention or without intervention? Now, it is quite true that in argument recognition and intervention are perfectly separate. I cannot agree with the noble Lord (Lord Robert Montagu) who said that the war between France and England which broke out in 1778 was due to the recognition of the American Colonies by France. I think I know the source from which the noble Lord has quoted that statement; but if he will go back to the original documents, he will find that it is not accurate. [Lord ROBERT MONTAGU: The Annual Register.] Then that Annual Register contains the documents themselves; and if the noble Lord has gone back to that, I confess I am still more surprised at his statement. This is a point of much importance, because it is a statement which one sees constantly made that France recognised the United States, and that upon the fact of that recognition England went to war with her. That is totally incorrect. The Message from the King to Parliament was delivered on the 17th of March 1778, in these terms—His Majesty having been informed, by order of the French King, that a treaty of amity and commerce has been signed between the Court of France and certain persons employed by His Majesty's revolted subjects in North America, has judged it necessary to direct that a copy of the declaration delivered by the French Ambassador to Lord Viscount Weymouth be laid before the House of Commons; and at the same time to acquaint them that His Majesty has thought proper, in consequence of this offensive communication on the part of the Court of France, to send orders to his ambassador to withdraw from that Court.Therefore, the Message of the Crown immediately points to the declaration delivered by the French Ambassador to the Secretary of State. What were the contents of that declaration? The first paragraph recites that the "independence" of the Colonies had been virtually established, and announces the treaty of commerce. The second points out "the good understanding" between France and Great Britain, and states that there is no exclusive 1809 privilege. The third confides that His Britannic Majesty will particularly take effectual measures to prevent the commerce between His Majesty's (that is France's) subjects and the United States from being interrupted. In the fourth paragraph it declares that very treaty which the noble Lord states had been kept secret for a long time. It thinks it superfluous to state that the King of France, to protect effectually the lawful commerce of his subjects, and to maintain the dignity of his flag, has taken effectual measures in concert with the United States of North America. Not only so; but of all the documents of the period, so far as I have been able to examine them, there is not one which refers to the simple act of recognition as the cause of war. The very answer to the message—the Address presented by the House of Lords in answer to the message—fixes the construction in the strictest manner to that which I have stated. We always find the complaint against France was, not her acknowledgment of independence, but the avowed support she had given, and the formal engagements, offensive and defensive, into which she had entered. It is much better that we should have the exact truth before us on this subject; but then I must say it is very difficult, as far as I know, to find cases where there has been recognition pending the contest, and where that recognition has not been followed by war. In the case of the Spanish colonies, we can hardly say, consistently with truth, that the recognition took place pending the contest. The contest I think, must be allowed to have been virtually at an end. In the case of America, however, as the recognition was made pending the contest, it was followed by war. In the case of Greece there was recognition pending the contest, and there was war when the battle of Navarino took place. In the case of Belgium, likewise, it was not found practicable to separate mere recognition from the use of force. I admit to the hon. and learned Gentleman that there is no reason in the world why in abstract argument we should not separate between recognition and intervention—I do not say they are inseparably united—but this I do say, that when we find that in each particular case of recognition pending a contest that has heretofore taken place the use of force has commonly accompanied recognition, a just suspicion arises in the mind, that whether 1810 it be intended, or not intended, some relation of cause and effect substantially obtains between the two things, and that, consequently, the greatest caution and circumspection must be used in order to secure that while you mean the one you do not find yourself plunged into the other. I must confess there are the strongest reasons why England at any rate should in this matter abstain from taking the prominent part recommended by the hon. and learned Member. The very fact of our enormous interests in the American Continent, make us, as it were, a party in the struggle, and that very circumstance would deprive us of that character of impartiality by which alone intervention could be rendered useful. The hon. and learned Gentleman, indeed, recommended concert on our part with the other nations of Europe, but in his speech that was reduced to the case of France. But what is the position of France on the American Continent? I grant the position of Franco for a long period in regard to the United States was an admirable one for delivering a judgment and administering a lesson, for so it must be, of moral weight in the general interest of humanity, because France had taken a practical share in the original establishment of American independence, and never at any period was seriously implicated in controversy with the United States. But how does she stand now? France, by her expedition to Mexico and the greatness of her military engagements there, is even more decidedly and distinctly a party on the American continent than is England. I may be too sanguine—I do not speak with authority—but though America is from tradition, usage, and perhaps from national character, accustomed to assert her independence of Europe, both as to material, force, and opinion, I do believe that the impartial and well-ascertained spirit of Europe would have the greatest weight in America; but I must say this, I feel that England and France, circumstanced as they are, even if united in the act of recognition, would not be able to stand up in the face of the world and say, we claim to represent the impartial opinion of Europe. I know of no benefit or advantage that would attach to any intervention, arbitration, recognition, or interference of any sort, unless it was entirely free from all suspicion of partial or separate interest, or peculiar views. If 1811 you had such a declaration of opinion, that matured form of opinion in the States of Europe generally, representing the civilized world in a matter of this kind, I believe it would weigh very greatly with the minds of the citizens of America. But an act of recognition proceeding from England, an act of recognition proceeding from any State which, either from tradition or other circumstances of that kind, is placed in critical relations with America in matters pertaining to its own interests, not only might have, but probably would have, a result precisely opposite to that anticipated by the hon. and learned Gentleman. It would assume the character of an interference in the, so to speak, private, at any rate particular affairs of the American nation. It would go far to create a strong patriotic re-action among the citizens of the North; it might go far to give to the cause of the North that defensive energy which hitherto has been the great secret of the strength of the South, and the want of which has been the great cause of the Northern inferiority; because I think we must all feel that the descendants of Englishmen in America, whatever errors they may or may not have committed in the course of this unhappy war, have amply proved their possession of signal and splendid courage. There is no reason why either party should be ashamed on that score; and I think that the hon. and learned Gentleman would do well to consider how far intervention or recognition, more or less looking in that direction, might stop that growth of opinion, which I, with him, should regard as sound and healthy, which is opposed to the continuance of this war, and which has of late, for the first time, taken a definite form in assemblages of great masses of the people. The responsibility of proceeding to such an act as that would be a very heavy responsibility. We must look on with some sense of the immense difficulty attending any steps in a matter of this kind, and we must feel—at least, I am sure the great mass of this House must feel—that as long as doubt exists, that doubt ought to be ruled on the side of safety. We feel, I think, with the hon. and learned Gentleman that it is time this war should end. But I confess I have more faith in the gentle action of that public opinion as it grows and is gradually matured in Europe, than I have in diplomatic acts which may tend to assume an appearance of undue inference in American affairs, and especially 1812 those diplomatic acts which come from quarters which may justly be suspected of interested motives. It is not, therefore, from indifference—it is not from any belief that this war is waged for any adequate or worthy object on the part of the North—that I would venture to deprecate in the strongest terms the adoption of the Motion of the hon. and learned Gentleman. If ever there was an occasion, there is an occasion now in North America when the warmest patriots of that country may step forward and say—Sat funera fusiVidimus, ingentes ac desolavimus agros.But do not let us run the risk of making worse that which is already sufficiently horrible, and adding to the deadly feud which now exists other feuds and other quarrels which will carry still wider desolation over the face of the earth.
§ MR. W. E. FORSTER
said, he should support the Amendment of the noble Lord (Lord R. Montagu) not for the purpose of fettering the Government, but rather of supporting them in that policy of neutrality they had hitherto pursued, and because the Motion of the hon. and learned Member for Sheffield involved so great a departure from that policy, as to require some distinct protest against it. He was glad that the question was at last before the House, and that the time had come for speaking their minds upon it. It was pretty clear that recognition of a seceding State while the question whether the secession would be successful or not was unsettled, was premature, and being premature it was a breach of neutrality, because it anticipated the defeat of one side, and gave the prize of admission to the community of nations to the other. While that was the principle of international law, the custom had been not to resort to intervention or recognition, unless the recognising Power was prepared to enforce its views by arms. The recognition of the South would be a casus belli if the North chose to make use of it; and it was mere idle talk and empty boasting if we were not prepared to enforce it. The Motion of the hon. and learned Gentleman meant war, or it meant nothing. He believed, from the language which he had held, that the hon. and learned Gentleman was utterly reckless whether it would have that effect or not. But, whether he meant war or not, did the country mean war? No doubt there was Borne sympathy felt for the South in various 1813 quarters, and he would allow the Southerners had shown a courage which deserved sympathy; but he did not believe that the sympathies of any class of the people in this country went so far as to submit to an additional income tax for the purpose of defending Canada. The constituents of the hon. Member for Liverpool (Mr. Horsfall), who seemed to have some sympathy with the South, would hardly like to see the seas covered with Northern Alabaman preying on their commerce notwithstanding the boast of the hon. and learned Member for Sheffield that one Warrior would sweep them all away. He was quite sure that the hon. Member for Dungarvan (Mr. Maguire) did not mean war. He believed his Amendment was proposed with a motive and view to peace; and, in truth, unless the harvest were better than it promised, the sufferings of the countrymen of the hon. Member would be great indeed if they were deprived of the American corn crop of this year. He would never allow commercial considerations to prevent him engaging in a just war, but when they were asked by the hon. and learned Member for Sheffield to go to war for merely selfish purposes—to procure cotton—it was allowable to ask, "What would be the cost of that war in corn?" There were Gentlemen, however, who believed that if we interfered, though we might go to the verge of war, we should not really have war; and their grounds for believing this was European concert, and the influence of the American peace party. European concert, in fact, meant the concert of France. The hon. and learned Gentleman, and the hon. Member for Sunderland in the joint capacity of patriots and courtiers, told them that they had seen "the great French ruler," and that he had charged them with a message with which Her Majesty's Government were entirely unacquainted. The Under Secretary for Foreign Affairs said he knew nothing about it, and he understood that in another place Lord Russell had stated to-night that the French Ambassador had thought it necessary to call upon him to say that the hon. and learned Gentleman opposite was quite mistaken, and that there was no foundation for the rumour. [Mr. LAYAYD: It was this very afternoon.] It might be said, of course, that "the great French ruler" had changed his mind—he would leave the two hon. Gentlemen, the French Ambassador, and "the great French ruler," to settle that matter among 1814 themselves—or it might be that he deemed it advisable to have two Ambassadors in this country—Baron Gros to communicate with the Government, and the hon. and learned Member for Sheffield to communicate with the House of Commons. It might be possible that he had requested the hon. and learned Gentleman to sound the British House of Commons, and to find out whether they would follow his lead in this matter. For his part, he had had enough of following that lead. Alliance with France for the purposes of intervention was apt to lead to war. That was our experience in the Crimean and the Chinese wars. We were heartily glad to get out of the Mexican intervention; and there were few who did not look with some feeling of suspicion on the joint action with France in the matter of Poland. If we wished to "drift into war," by all means let the hon. and learned Gentleman be allowed to put the good English ship under a foreign pilot. To come next to the American peace party. The Chancellor of the Exchequer told the House that any attempt at intervention might weaken the American peace party. That undoubtedly was the case; and it might easily be shown that every symptom of a readiness to intervene had weakened whatever there was of a peace party in the North. Lord Lyons, in a despatch of November 17, gave a very curious account of an interview he had had with the leaders of the American peace party on the question of intervention, and from his account it appeared that the thing they dreaded most was foreign intervention, the very idea of which was enough to destroy their hopes; and, indeed, the publication by the Foreign Office of this despatch, showing that the Peace Democrats were in communication with Lord Lyons, had been to turn the tide against them at a critical moment, and to decide the Connecticut election in favour of the war party. No doubt, it was mainly on the strength of that despatch that the British Government declined to take part in the offer of mediation, which was afterwards undertaken by France alone. The French Government conveyed their offer in a most delicate manner; but it produced such a reaction in America that the Government were able to pass their Conscription Bill, which even the war party had not expected, and the failure of which might have brought the war to a close for want of men. That Bill was just now coming into 1815 operation, and it might depend not a little on the course taken by the House of Commons on this Motion whether President Lincoln would have power to enforce it against the wishes of many in the North. It might seem strange that the American people should pay so much attention to what was said at a distance; but had there not been periods in our history when this country was divided into two great parties, and when it would have given infinite strength to one party to be able to show that their adversaries were receiving assistance from abroad? If they carried out this Resolution, it must be by force; and as a compulsory Resolution he was sure the House was not prepared to carry it out. It might be said that the people of the Northern States would not go to war with us for adopting the course which the hon. and learned Member for Sheffield proposed; but though they had been called an upstart and insolent race, they were our own children. They were descended from a race that had never allowed themselves to be borne down. Therefore, dangerous as it might be—suicidal as it might be—for them, we could not say that they would not go to war with us if we carried out this Resolution, which, according to the principles of international law, would be a sufficient justification for their adopting that coarse. ["No, no!"] A war with the United States would be dangerous to us on several grounds. It would be dangerous to our commerce, and it would be dangerous to Canada; but it ought to be unpopular on far higher grounds, because it would be a war against our own kinsmen for slavery. He felt strongly in reference to slavery, for he was one that had been brought up in that "hypocritical cant" of a hatred to slavery from his childhood. The hon. and learned Member for Sheffield said, that the hostilities between the Northern States of America and the Southern had been caused by a question of tariff; but that was an allegation which had been got up solely for consumption in this country, and it ought to have been consumed long ago. In the first place, there had never been a Protective measure passed in either House of Congress without the assistance of the Southern members; and, in the second place, there was no State so completely a Protection State as Louisiana, the backbone of the Southern Confederation. How was the line drawn between the two sets of States? Exactly by slavery. The Southern States 1816 were secession States exactly in proportion as they were slave States. If the struggle were one between a free tariff, and a protection tariff, where would the line be drawn? Were not the North Western States just as much injured by a Protection policy as the Southern? And yet no part of the Union was more detetermined to fight for the Union. He was not one of those who justified the Northerners in their action about slavery; but they found that when the people of the Northern States were called upon to choose between love of country and love of slavery, they gave up the latter. They had a patriotic feeling about their own Union, and they were becoming every day more alive to the fact that they could not uphold that Union and preserve slavery. For that reason—he did not say from an anti-slavery feeling, though a great number of the people of the North entertained such a feeling—they were giving up slavery. The right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer stated on another occasion that he thought the best way to destroy slavery in the Southern States was to give the people of those States power; but in its impression of the 28th of May the Richmond Examiner, one of the leading organs of the South, stated, that instead of "Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity," the Confederates were for "Slavery, Subordination, and Government;" and that there was "a slave race born to serve, and a master race born to govern—such are the principles we have received from ancient history." It was trifling with English feeling to say that men who had gone to war with such an object as was avowed in the Richmond Examiner would not do their best to carry that object out. The Government of this country were now called on to do something, which, if it meant anything, meant intervention. ["No!" "Hear!"] He felt great anxiety for the success of the siege of Vicksburg, for he believed two things depended on it—peace and freedom. He could not help thinking that if Vicksburg were taken, and the other side of the Mississippi cut off from the slave territory, we should see an end of the war. He thought the men of the North would then feel that they had gained their great object—namely, the prevention of the formation of a powerful Slave Confederation. He thought it by no means improbable, that if Vicksburg were taken, the Northerners would say, "We have prevented you 1817 from carrying out by yourselves that extension of slavery which you could not carry out through the Union, and now we shall leave you to yourselves to settle this slavery question as you can." Was this country prepared to enter upon intervention, which from its nature must be serious, in order to prevent the Northerners being able to take this ground, and in order to secure this end—slavery on the other side of the Mississippi, and therefore its indefinite extension? With the knowledge that interference of any kind must embitter the conflict now raging, would this country intervene and extend the circle of the horrors of war—it might be at the risk of involving ourselves in its miseries? Those who thought with him had often been taunted with their dread of war. Those who taunted them taunted them truly. He did fear such a war as this would prove. Not because of the sufferings it would entail upon England, though he believed these were underrated. He had such confidence in the endurance, energy, and patriotism of his fellow-countrymen—using the word in its old Roman and Greek sense—that having once gone to war they would fight for their country independent of the question of right—that he had little fear of their constancy in any struggle. But what would England gain by such a war? The great Anglo-Saxon race would be torn, not merely by a double but triple civil war, and every despot, civil and religious, throughout the world would rejoice to see them destroying each other. Were there any "degenerate Englishmen" who could look with joy on such a prospect? He would be a bold man who ventured to prophesy how the present struggle would terminate; it was not a mere war, but a tremendous social revolution; but we could pray that out of the war might come a purification from the evil of slavery, without which there could be no peace. They could, however, perceive the alternatives which presented themselves if this country interfered. Either the Union would be torn into many conflicting elements, doomed by the hand of their enemies to centuries of anarchy and intestine conflict, or the effect might be to unite the North once more by the strong common bond of hatred against this country. The South, meanwhile, might come out a triumphant Slave Confederacy—"our natural allies," as the noble Lord opposite (Lord Robert Cecil) 1818 called them. They might be the natural allies of the noble Lord and of the order to which he belonged, but they never could be the natural allies of Englishmen, for all our instructive traditions of freedom were opposed to such alliance. He prayed that England might be saved from such an unjust, barbarous, and un-Christian war, waged, as it would be, against the spirit of civilization, and against every principle of religion and morality. The Ruler who guided the destinies of the world took care that crimes committed by nations, however powerful, should not go unpunished; and England could not expect to escape punishment if she entered upon so unprovoked, so selfish, and so unjust a conflict.
§ LORD ROBERT CECIL
said, he did not often agree with the hon. Member for Birmingham (Mr. Bright), but for once he enjoyed that privilege, in the phrase in which he had described the hon. Member who had just sat down as a fanatic about slavery. He was a fanatic in the true sense of the word—such a fanatic that for the sake of the object towards which his fanaticism was directed he consented to sacrifice the very means of attaining that object. He (Lord R. Cecil) had never been able to understand the true reasoning or conduct of the anti-slavery party in this country. All Englishmen agreed that slavery was a dreadful thing, and that few human desires should be entertained more earnestly than the desire for its extinction; but the anti-slavery party, in their eagerness for that result, seemed to have forgotten all the teachings of history. The hon. Member who had just sat down did not profess to hope for the termination of slavery through the complete conquest of the South by the North; but the hon. Member for Birmingham, who sat behind him, no doubt looked for its extermination in that manner. But what did the idea involve? One anti-slavery agitator, representing the feelings of his class, declared that he looked with confidence to the driving of 300,000 slave-owners, with their wives and families, either into exile or to death, as a step towards the abolition of slavery. Of course, slavery might be abolished by that means; but he ventured to say, in the words of the aspiration with which the hon. Member for Bradford concluded his speech, that a crime so hideous must call down on the nation which perpetrated it a punishment more severe than had fallen on any nation since the world 1819 began. He would ask the hon. Member to look to history to see how slavery had been exterminated in past times; for it was not a new evil; almost every people occupying a new soil had that blot upon their institutions. In almost every case it had been gradually rooted out; from every civilized nation, except the States of America, it had disappeared, but never in consequence of the pressure of armed force. It was eradicated in every instance by the influence of public opinion; and that was the only way in which it would be eradicated from the Southern States. How could they hope to bring the influence of opinion to bear on the Southern States if they made them permanently the enemies of this country? The policy the hon. Member advocated of making England the partisan of the North, enlisting its aid to reduce the white man to slavery in order that the negro might be benefited, would cause slavery to remain to the end of time a point of honour with the South. The influence of England for the gradual abolition of that institution would be entirely frustrated. In fact, there could be no more suicidal policy for the real friends of the slave than to write it down in the history of the South that the greatest miseries which their fathers underwent were inflicted upon them by the North with the assistance of England in the endeavour to eradicate slave institutions. The Southerners would look upon it as binding on them never to relinquish the principles for which their fathers had fought. He entirely repelled the insinuation that it was as slaveholders that the people of the Southern States were the natural allies of England. They were, however, the natural allies of this country, as great producers of the articles we needed, and great consumers of the articles we supplied. The North, on the other hand, kept an opposition shop in the same departments of trade as ourselves. But he wished now to say a word as to the speech of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, which was remarkable because it was the first definite declaration of policy which the Government had made on the subject, and because it did not come from their distinguished chief. But what were the reasons given by the right hon. Gentleman why the Government should not assent to the recognition of the South? He never heard a speech which so remarkably supported all the positions it was intended to attack. The right hon. Gentleman conceded everything—that slavery 1820 was not to be suppressed by the continuance of the war, that the hope of conquering the South was absolutely vain and futile, and therefore practically that this war on the part of the North was a gigantic crime. The right hon. Gentleman conceded even this—that in theory recognition in no way involved anything like intervention; thereby admitting that if we recognised the South, the North would have no just cause of war with us on that account. But what were the right hon. Gentleman's arguments for not assenting to the Motion? First and foremost, that he objected to the speech of his hon. and learned Friend (Mr. Roebuck). The hon. and learned Member for Sheffield proposed that a negotiation should be entered into in order to promote the recognition of the South; and the Minister of the Crown, when declaring that he would not advise his Sovereign to pursue that policy, said his reason was that there were marks of hostility to a particular party in the speech of the hon. and learned Gentleman. Was it ever before laid down that the advice which a Minister was to give to his Sovereign at a critical moment, and with respect to a course which might decide the destiny of nations for generations to come, was to depend upon this—whether an hon. Gentleman, however distinguished, betrayed partiality to one side or the other? He could hardly believe the right hon. Gentleman was in earnest. But what was the next argument? It was that France and England did not stand in an impartial position for giving advice, because they possessed territory on the North American continent. But how far was that argument to go? Would the right hon. Gentleman say that no mediation or recognition was to take place because the State that wished to mediate between other States happened to possess territory upon the same continent? He (Lord Robert Cecil) did not imagine that our possession of Canada influenced our judgment one way or the other. It could make no difference to us in regard to our American possessions, whether or not the two contending parties should continue an internecine war. But then the right hon. Gentleman insisted that although recognition did not in theory involve intervention, yet intervention had almost always historically followed from it, and would follow from it in this instance. But was that the fact? Did we not recognise the South American republics at a time when the troops of Spain 1821 were still—[Lord ROBERT MONTAGU: No, no!] His noble Friend behind him, by anticipation, denied the statement he was about to make, which was this, that at the time we recognised the South American republics the troops of Spain had not yet left their territories. If his noble Friend would consult his dates, he would find that the important fortress of San Juan d'Ulloa was held by Spanish troops till the 17th of November 1825. Our recognition of Mexico took place in January of that year. But the case was still stronger with respect to the proceedings of the Americans themselves. They recognised these republics before England had done so. They recognised Columbia in the course of 1822, though Porto Cabello was not evacuated by the Spanish troops till the 8th of November 1823; and they recognised Mexico in 1823, although San Juan d'Ulloa was not evacuated until 1825. Therefore, upon their own grounds, it was perfectly legitimate, without intervention and without war, to recognise a State which was practically independent, although some of the enemy's troops might still be found on her soil. But that recognition did not pass without remonstrance. That remonstrance came from the Spanish Minister—it read like a remonstrance from Mr. Seward at the present time, and was so curious that he should like to read it to the House. The Spanish Ambassador wrote as follows:—In the National Intelligencer of this day I have seen the message of the President, in which he proposes the recognition by the United States of the insurgent Governments of Spanish America. How great my surprise was may easily be judged by any one acquainted with the conduct of Spain towards this republic, and who knows the immense sacrifices she has made to preserve her friendship. In fact, who could think that, in return for as great proof of friendship as one nation can give to another, the Executive would propose that the insurrection of the ultramarine possessions of Spain should be countenanced? And, moreover, will not his astonishment be augmented to see that this Power is desirous to give the destructive example of sanctioning the rebellion of provinces which have received no offence from the mother country, to whom she has granted a participation of a free constitution, and to whom she has extended all the rights and prerogatives of Spanish citizens? In vain will a parallel be attempted to be drawn between the emancipation of this republic and that which the Spanish rebels attempt.And then there was the notion of a party in Spanish America favourable to the mother country, just as there was a notion of a party favourable to the North among the Southern States— 1822Where are those Governments that ought to be recognised? Where are the pledges of the stability? Where the proofs that those provinces will not return to a union with Spain, when so many of their inhabitants desire it? And, in fine, where the right of the United States to sanction and declare legitimate a rebellion without cause, and the event of which is not even decided?It was quite clear, from these precedents in the history of the United States, that the American Government recognised the revolted South American colonies long before the mother country acquiesced in their independence, and that war was not the consequence. We did not want war—we wanted peace. Our people had suffered too much in consequence of the hostilities in America—they had starved too long already—they would be driven to still greater distress next winter if the war continued, and the resources of the country would be exhausted if this great strain were continued; and there were no hopes of a supply of cotton except from the Southern States of America. These were grounds which gave us a title to go to the American people, and tell them our opinion about this war. The value of recognition was this: it was a distinct statement on the part of two great nations that in their opinion the war was hopeless. It was a judgment by a tribunal to which he believed even the American people would give way. His hon. Friend the Member for Bradford (Mr. Forster) tried to prove that the efforts at mediation last year only made the war party stronger. But the state of affairs was very different then, and all the great preparations which had been made at that time had as yet failed. Charleston had been attacked, but with so little success that the attack had not been renewed. Virginia had been four times invaded, and now people were looking to the invasion of Pennsylvania. The siege of Vicksburg was drawing to a close not favourable to the North. In every direction there were grounds for great discouragement; and it was evident from the last news that the faith of the people was shaken, and that they were wavering in their views of the war. There was a democratic party who had nominated as Governor an avowed advocate for peace in one State, and the Provost Martial in another had been shot for attempting to enforce the conscription. At this particular crisis public opinion in America was wavering; and if they now received the judgment of two great countries, 1823 expressed in an official and solid form, that they were fighting for a cause which was hopeless, and that the independence of the South was definitively established, an enormous blow would be given to the war party in America. It was evident that the people in the North Western States had not very much information to go upon in relation to the war. The newspapers all wrote under the terror of a military dictator, and their news passed through a censorship. Thus small successes were magnified and failures were glossed over. But nothing would tend so greatly to make them distrust the promises of those contractors who were making fortunes by the war as the announcement that France and England—not merely Frenchmen and Englishmen, but the respective Governments—looking at the enormous interests with which they had to deal, had come to the conclusion that the war was hopeless, and that it was vain for the North to persist in it. There was one point on which the Minister of the Crown who had spoken did not touch. It was an extraordinary fact that the Chancellor of the Exchequer had not alluded to the remarkable statement which the House had heard respecting the policy of the Emperor of the French. But such disclosures as these could not be disposed of by silence. His hon. Friend (Mr. Forster) had talked of the Emperor of the French appointing a second Ambassador to the House of Commons. But the desire of his hon. and learned Friend (Mr. Roebuck) was not to be the Ambassador of France, but to refute the unjustifiable and baseless rumours which, for the defence of their own policy, the Government had circulated as to the views of the Emperor of the French. ["No, no!"] Then if they were not true, let the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs give a formal contradiction to the statements of the hon. and learned Member for Sheffield. It had been distinctly stated that last year the Government received from the Emperor of the French an offer to mediate in the United States; that that offer was transmitted to Lord Lyons, who betrayed the secret—he, of course, imputed nothing like treason to Lord Lyons—to Mr Seward; that Mr. Seward remonstrated with the Emperor of the French, and that the first definite reply which the Emperor received to his offer to mediate was the complaint which arrived from his Minister at Washington. To these statements an 1824 answer must be given. They all knew that the Emperor of the French was a prudent and sagacious Sovereign, and he would not have taken the strange and extraordinary course of communicating directly with the House of Commons unless he had been driven to it by the treatment which he had received from the Foreign Office. The absence of the noble Viscount made the course of the Government in giving any explanation very difficult, and it was easy to see how little able they were to give any definite outline of their policy in the absence of their great head. But this debate would not be complete and the public would not be satisfied unless all the statements of his hon. and learned Friend as to what he heard with his own ears from the Emperor of the French received a full explanation. They had been told of statements made that night in the Lords respecting statements in their House—
§ MR. W. E. FORSTER
said, that the report, which was very current, had been contradicted in another place, the noble Earl the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs having stated that Baron Gros had waited on him to tell him that the rumours were entirely without foundation.
§ LORD ROBERT CECIL
That important information might have been brought down to this House also by the Under Secretary for Foreign Affairs. The House had more than once had reason to complain of the position to which it was reduced by the system of putting all the Chief Secretaries into the other House, and all the Under Secretaries into this. The result was that almost every important explanation of foreign policy had been given in the other House of Parliament, and had been almost invariably refused here. At all events, he hoped the same information would be given of the recent negotiations between this country and France. The Emperor of the French had proposed a course by which the Southern ports might be opened, and the English Government now stood as the single obstacle to the recognition of the South, which would procure food for their starving operatives. They must make a much more complete defence of their position on this question than was afforded by the vague and loose theories dealt in by the Chancellor of the Exchequer. They must give some clear reasons why they refused to act upon the frank and open offers of the Emperor of the French; and they must justify themselves for following a policy which had already 1825 been productive of such tremendous misery to their own countrymen.
§ MR. BRIGHT
I will not attempt to follow the noble Lord in the laboured attack which he has made upon the Treasury bench, for these two reasons:—that he did not appear to me very much to understand what it was he was charging them with; and again, I am not in the habit of defending Gentlemen who sit on that bench. I will address myself to the question before the House, which I think the House generally feels to be very important, although I am quite satisfied that it does not feel it to be a practical one. Neither do I think that the House will be disposed to take any course in support of the hon. Gentleman who introduced the Resolution now before us. We sometimes are engaged in these discussions, and have great difficulty to know what we are about, but the hon. Gentleman left us in no kind of doubt when he sat down. He proposed a Resolution, in words which, under certain circumstances and addressed to certain parties, might not end in offensive or injurious consequences. But, taken in connection with his character and with the speech he has made to-night, and with the speech he has recently made elsewhere on this subject, I may say that he would have come to about the same conclusion if he had proposed to address the Crown inviting the Queen to declare war against the United States of America. The Chancellor of the Exchequer, who is supposed not to be very zealous in the particular line of opinion that I have adopted, addressed the hon. Gentleman in the smoothest language possible, but still he was obliged to charge him with the tone of bitter hostility of his speech. On a recent occasion the hon. Member addressed some members of his constituency—I do not mean his last speech, I mean the speech addressed to them in August last year—in which he entered upon a course of prophecy which, like most prophecies in our day, does not happen to have come true. But he said then what he said to night, that the American people and Government were overbearing. He did not tell them that the Government of the United States had, almost during the whole of his lifetime, been conducted by his friends of the South. He said, that if they were divided, they would not be able to bully the whole world; and he made use of these expressions—" The North will never be our friends; of the South you 1826 can make friends—they are Englishmen—they are not the scum and refuse of the world."
§ MR. ROEBUCK
Allow me to correct that statement. What I said I now state to the House—that the men of the South were Englishmen, but that the army of the North were composed of the scum of Europe.
§ MR. BRIGHT
I take, of course, that explanation of the hon. and learned Gentleman, with this explanation from me, that there is not, so far as I can find, any mention near that paragraph, and I think there is not in the speech a single word, about the army. [Mr. ROEBUCK: I assure you I said that.] Then I take it for granted that the hon. and learned Gentleman said that, or that if he said what I have read he greatly regrets it. [Mr. ROEBUCK: No, I did not say it.] The hon. and learned Gentleman in his Resolution speaks of other Powers. Well, he has unceremoniously got rid of all the Powers but France, and he comes here to-night with the story of an interview with a man whom he describes as the great ruler of France—tells us a conversation—asks us to accept the lead of the Emperor of the French on, I will undertake to say, one of the greatest questions that ever was submitted to the British Parliament. But it is not long since the hon. and learned Gentleman held very different language. I recollect in this House, only about two years ago, that the hon. and learned Gentleman said, "I hope I may be permitted to express in respectful terms my opinion, even though it should affect so great a potentate as the Emperor of the French. I have no faith in the Emperor of the French." On another occasion the hon. and learned Gentleman said—not, I believe in this House, "I am still of opinion that we have nothing but animosity and had faith to look for from the French Emperor." And he went on to say, that still, though he had been laughed at, he adopted the patriotic character of "Tear-'em," and was still at his post. Well then, Sir, when the hon. and learned Gentleman came back, I think from his expedition to Cherbourg, does the House recollect the language he used on that occasion—language which, if it expressed the sentiments which he felt, at least I think he might have been content to have withheld. If I am not mistaken, referring to the salutation between the Emperor of the French and the Queen of these kingdoms, 1827 he said: "When I saw his perjured lips touch that hallowed cheek." And now, Sir, the hon. and learned Gentleman has been to Paris, introduced there by the hon. Member for Sunderland, and he has become as it were in the palace of the French Emperor a co-conspirator with him to drag this country into a policy which I maintain is as hostile to its interests as it would be degrading to its honour. But then the high contracting parties I suspect are not agreed—because I will say this in justice to the French Emperor, that there has never come from him in public, nor from any one of his ministers, nor is there anything to be found in what they have written, that is tinctured in the smallest degree with that bitter hostility which the hon. and learned Gentleman has constantly exhibited to the United States of America and their people. France, if not wise in this matter, is at least not unfriendly. The hon. and learned Member, in my opinion—indeed, I am sure—is not friendly, and I believe he is not wise. But now, on this subject, without speaking disrespectfully of that great potentate, who has taken the hon. and learned Gentleman into his confidence, I must say that the Emperor runs the risk of being far too much represented in this House. We have got two—I will not call them envoys extraordinary, but most extraordinary. And, if report speaks truly, even they are not all. The hon. Member for the King's County (Mr. Hennessy)—I do not see him in his place—came back the other day from Paris, and there were whispers about that he had seen the great ruler of France, and that he could tell everybody in the most confidential manner that the Emperor was ready to make a spring at Russia for the sake of delivering Poland, and that he only waited for a word from the Prime Minister of England. Well, I do not understand the policy of the Emperor if these new Ministers of his tell the truth. For, Sir, if one Gentleman says that he is about to make war with Russia, and another that he is about to make war with America, I am compelled to look at what he is already doing. I find that he is holding Borne against the opinion of all Italy. He is conquering Mexico by painful steps, every step marked by devastation and blood. He is warring, in some desultory manner, it may be, in China; and for ought I know he may be about to do it in Japan. Well, I say that if he is to engage at the same moment in dismembering the great Eastern 1828 Empire and the great Western Republic, he has more ambition than Louis XIV., more daring than the first of his name; and that if he ventures on these great transactions, his dynasty will fall and be buried in the ruins of his own ambition. But, Sir, I understand that we have not heard all the story from Paris; and further, it seems to me, not at all remarkable, seeing that the secret has been confided to two persons, that we have not heard it correctly. I saw the Member for Sunderland near me, and I noticed that his face underwent remarkable contortions during the speech of the hon. and learned Gentleman, and I felt perfectly satisfied that he did not agree with what his colleague was saying. I am told there is in existence a little memorandum which contains an account of what was said and done at that interview, and before the discussion closes we shall no doubt have that memorandum produced, and from it know how far these two Gentlemen are agreed. I now come to the proposition which the hon. and learned Gentleman has submitted to the House, and which he has already submitted to a meeting of his constituents at Sheffield. At that meeting, on the 27th of May, the hon. and learned Gentleman used these words: "What I have to consider is, what are the interests of England: what are for her interests I believe to be for the interests of the world." Now, leaving out of consideration the latter part of that statement, if the hon. and learned Gentleman will keep to the first part of it, then what we have now to consider in this question is, what is for the interest of England. But the hon. and learned Gentleman has put it in a way to-night almost as offensively as he did before at Sheffield, and has said that the United States would not bully the world if they were divided, and sub-divided—for he went so far as to contemplate division into more than two independent sections. Well, I say that the whole of his case rests upon a miserable jealousy of the United States, or on what I may term a base fear. It is a fear which appears to me just as groundless as any of those panics by which the hon. and learned Gentleman has helped to frighten the country. There never was a State in the world which was less capable of aggression with regard to Europe than the United States of America. I speak of its Government, of its confederation, of the peculiarities of its organization; for the House will agree with me that nothing 1829 is more peculiar than the fact of the great power which the separate States, both of the North and South, exercise upon the policy and course of the country. I will undertake to say that unless in a question of overwhelming magnitude which would be able to unite any people, it would be utterly hopeless to expect that all the States of the American Union would join together to support the central Government in any plan of aggression on England or any other country of Europe. Besides, nothing can be more certain than this, that the Government which is now in power, and the party which have elected Mr. Lincoln to office, is a moral and peaceable party, which has been above all things anxious to cultivate the best possible state of feeling with regard to England. The hon. and learned Gentleman, of all men, ought not to entertain this fear of United States aggression, for he is always boasting of his readiness to come into the field himself. I grant that it would be a great necessity indeed which would justify a conscription in calling out the hon. and learned Gentleman; but I say he ought to consider well before he spreads these alarms among the people. For the sake of this miserable jealousy, and that he may help to break up a friendly nation, he would depart from the usages of nations, and create an everlasting breach between the people of England and the people of the United States of America. He would do more—and notwithstanding what he has said to-night, I may put this as my strongest argument against his case—he would throw the weight of England into the scale in favour of the cause of slavery. With respect to the law of nations, I will not take up the time of the House after the careful argument of the noble Lord the Member for Huntingdon; but I will say that it is impossible for anybody to take up a pamphlet, published the other day by Mr. F. W. Gibbs, and read it, without admiring the style in which it was written, and being absolutely convinced with respect to this case—that is, if this be a case in which precedents have any effect whatever. I want to show the hon. and learned Gentleman that England is not interested in the course he proposes we should take—and when I speak of English interests, I mean the commercial interests, the political interests, and the moral interests of the country. And first with regard to the supply of cotton, in which the noble Lord the Member for Stamford takes 1830 such a prodigious interest. I must explain to the noble Lord that I know a little about cotton. I happen to have been engaged in that business—not all my life, for many of those who hear me have seen me here for twenty years—but my interests have been in it, and at this moment the firm of which I am a member have several mills which have been at a stand for nearly a year, owing to the absolute impossibility of working under the present condition of the supply of cotton. I live among a people who live by this trade, and there is no man in England who has a more direct interest in it than I have. Before the war the supply of cotton was deficient and costly, and every year it was becoming more costly, for the supply did not keep pace with the demand. The point that I am going to argue is this—I believe that the war that is now raging in America is more likely to abolish slavery than not, and more likely to abolish it than any other thing that can be proposed in the world. I regret very much that the pride and passion of men are such as to justify me in making such a statement. The supply of cotton under slavery must always be insecure. The House felt so in past years; for at my recommendation they appointed a Committee, and but for a foolish Minister they would have appointed a special Commission to India at my request, and I feel the deepest regret that they did not do so. Is there any Gentleman in this House who will not agree with me in this—that it would be far better for our great Lancashire industry that our supply of cotton should be grown by free labour rather than by slave labour? Before the war the whole number of negroes engaged in the production of cotton was about 1,000,000—that is, about one-fourth of the whole of the negroes in the slave States. The annual increase in the number of negroes growing cotton was about 25,000, only 2½ per cent. It was impossible for the Southern States to keep up their growth of sugar, rice, tobacco, and their ordinary slave productions, and at the same time to increase the growth of cotton more than at a rate corresponding with the annual increase of negroes. Therefore you will find that the quantity of cotton grown, taking ten years together, increased at the rate of little more than 100,000 bales a year. But that was nothing like the quantity which the world required. That supply could not be materially increased, because the South did not cultivate more than probably 1831 1½ per cent of the land which was capable of cultivation for cotton. The great bulk of the land in the Southern States is uncultivated. 10,000 square miles are employed in the cultivation of cotton, but there are 600,000 square miles, or sixty times as much land, which is capable of being cultivated for cotton. It was, however, impossible that that land should be so cultivated, because, although you had climate and sun, you had not labour. The institution of slavery forbade free-labour men in the North to come to the South, and every emigrant that landed in New York from Europe knew that the slave States were no States for him, and therefore he went north or west. The laws of the United States, the sentiments of Europe and of the world, being against any opening of the slave trade, the planters of the South were shut up, and the annual increase in the supply of cotton could advance only in the same proportion as the annual increase in the number of their negroes. There is one other point with regard to that matter which is worth mentioning. The hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for Sheffield will understand it, although on some points he seems to be peculiarly dark. If a planter in the Southern States wanted to grow 1,000 bales of cotton a year he would require about 200 negroes. Taking them at 500 dollars, or £100 each, which is not more than half the price of a first-class hand, the cost of the 200 would be £20,000. To grow 1,000 bales of cotton a year, you require not only to get hold of an estate, machinery, tools, and other things necessary to carry on the cotton-growing business, but you must find a capital of £20,000 to buy the actual labourers, by whom the plantation is to be worked; and therefore, as every Gentleman will see at once, this great trade, to a large extent, was shut up in the hands of men who were required to be richer than would be necessary if slavery did not exist. Thus the plantation business to a large extent became a monopoly, and therefore even in that direction the production of cotton was constantly limited and controlled. I was speaking to a gentleman the other day from Mississippi. I believe no man in America or in England is more acquainted with the facts of the case. He was for many years senator for the State of Mississippi. He told me that every one of these facts was true; and he said that he had no doubt whatever that in ten years after freedom in the South, or after freedom in 1832 conjunction with the North, the production of cotton would be doubled, and cotton would be forwarded to the consumers of the world at a much less price than we have had it for many years past. I shall turn for a moment to the political interest, to which the hon. and learned Gentleman paid much more attention than to the commercial. The more I consider the course of this war, the more I come to the conclusion that it is improbable in future that the United States will be broken into separate republics. I do not necessarily come to the conclusion that the North will conquer the South. But I think the conclusion to which I am more disposed to come now than at any time since the breaking-out of the war is this—that if a separation should occur for a time, still the interests, the sympathies, the sentiments, the necessities of the whole continent, and its ambition also, which seems to some people to be a necessity, render it highly probable that the continent will still be united under one central Government. I may be quite mistaken. I do not express that opinion with any more confidence than hon. Gentlemen have expressed theirs in favour of a permanent dissolution; but, now, is not this possible—that the Union may be again formed on the basis of the South? There are persons who think that possible. I hope it is not, but we cannot say that it is absolutely impossible. Is it not possible that the Northern Government might be beaten in their military operations? Is it not possible that by their own incapacity they might be humiliated before their own people; and is it not even possible that that party which you please to call the peace party in the North, but, which is in no sense a peace party, should unite with the South, and that the Union should be reconstituted on the basis of Southern opinions and of the Southern social system? Is it not possible, for example, that the Southern people, and those in their favour, should appeal to the Irish population of America against the negroes, between whom there has been little sympathy and little respect—and is it not possible they should appeal to the commercial classes of the North—and the rich commercial classes in all countries, who, from the uncertainty of their possessions and the fluctuation of their interests, are rendered always timid and almost always corrupt—is it not possible, I say, that all these might prefer the union of their whole country upon the basis of the South rather 1833 than that disunion, which many Members of this House look upon with so much apparent satisfaction? If that should ever take place—but I believe with my hon. Friend below me (Mr. W. E. Forster) in the moral Government of the world, and therefore I cannot believe that it will take place—but if it were to take place, with their great armies, and with their great navy, and their almost unlimited power, they might offer to drive England out of Canada, France out of Mexico, and whatever nations are interested in them out of the islands of the West Indies; and you might then have a great State built upon slavery and war, instead of that free State to which I look, built up upon an educated people, upon general freedom, and upon morality in government. Now, there is one more point to which the hon. and learned Gentleman will forgive me if I allude—he does not appear to me to think it of great importance—and that is, the morality of this question. The right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer, and the hon. Gentleman who spoke from the bench behind—and I think the noble Lord, if I am not mistaken—referred to the carnage which is occasioned by this lamentable strife. Well, carnage I presume, is the accompaniment of all war. Two years ago the press of London made themselves merry—if I may use such a terra of the newspapers—at the battles of the United States, in which nobody was killed, and few were hurt. There was a time when I stood up in this House and pointed out the horrors of war There was a war waged by this country in the Crimea; and the Chancellor of the Exchequer, as with an uneasy conscience, is constantly striving to defend that struggle. That war—for it lasted about the same time that the American war has lasted—at least destroyed as many lives as are estimated to have been destroyed in the United States. My hon. Friend the Member for Dundee—who, I think, is not in the House—made a speech in Scotland some time last year, in which he gave the numbers which were lost by Russia in that war. An hon. Friend near me observes that some people do not reckon the Russians for anything. I say, that if you will add the Russians to the English, and the two to the French, and the three to the Sardinians, and the four to the Turks, that more lives were lost in the invasion of the Crimea, in the two years that it lasted, than have been lost now in the 1834 American war. That is no defence of the carnage of the American war at all; but let hon. Gentlemen bear in mind that when I protested against the carnage in the Crimea—for an object which few could comprehend, and nobody could fairly explain—I was told that I was actuated by a morbid sentimentality. Well, if I was converted, and if I view the mortality in war with less horror than I did then, it it must be attributed to the arguments of hon. Gentlemen opposite, and from the Treasury bench; but the fact is, I view this carnage just as I viewed that, with only this difference, that while our soldiers perished 3,000 miles from home in a worthless and indefensible cause, these men—the soldiers of the United States—are on their own soil, and every man of them knows for what he enlisted, and for what end be is to fight. Now, I will ask the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer, and those who are of opinion with him on this question of slaughter in the American war—a slaughter which I hope there is no hon. Member here, and no person out of this House, that does not in his calm moments look upon with grief and horror—to consider what was the state of things before the war. It was this—that every year in the slave States of America there were 150,000 children born into the world—born with the badge and the doom of slavery—born to the liability by law, and by custom, and by the devilish cupidity of man—to the lash and to the chain and to the branding iron, and to be taken from their families and carried they knew not where. I want to know whether you feel as I feel upon this question. When I can get down to my home from this House, I find half a dozen little children playing upon my hearth. How many Members are there who can say with me that the most innocent, the most pure, the most holy joy, which in their past years they have felt, or in their future years they have hoped for, has not arisen from contact and association with our precious children? Well, then, if that be so—if, when the hand of death takes one of these flowers from our dwelling, our heart is overwhelmed with sorrow and our household is covered with gloom—what would it be if our children were brought up to this infernal system—150,000 of them every year brought into the world in these slave States, amongst these "gentlemen," amongst this chivalry, amongst these men 1835 that we can make our friends? Do you forget the thousand-fold griefs, and the Countless agonies which belonged to the silent conflict which slavery waged with human rights before the war began? It is all very well for the hon. and learned Gentleman to tell me, to tell this House—he will not tell the country with any satisfaction to it—that slavery, after all, is not so bad a thing. The brother of my hon. Friend the Member for South Durham, told me that in North Carolina he himself saw a woman whose every child, ten in number, had been sold when they grew up to that age at which they would fetch a price to their master. I have not heard a word to-night of another question—I mean the proclamation of the President of the United States. The hon. and learned Gentleman spoke somewhere in the country, and he had not the magnanimity to abstain from a statement which I was going to say he must have known had no real weight. I can make all allowance for the passion—and I was going to say the malice—but I will say the ill-will of the hon. and learned Gentleman; but I make he allowance for his ignorance. I make no allowance for that, because if he is ignorant, it is his own fault, for God has given him an intellect which ought to keep him from ignorance on a question of this magnitude. I now take that proclamation. What do you propose to do? You propose by your Resolution to help the South if possible to gain and sustain its independence. Nobody doubts that. The hon. and learned Gentleman will not deny it. But what becomes of the proclamation? I should like to ask any lawyer in what light we stand as regards that proclamation? To us there is only one country in what was called the United States—there is only one President—there is only one general Legislature—there is only one law; and if that proclamation be lawful anywhere—[Mr. ROEBUCK: Hear!]—we are not, in a condition to deny its legality, because at present we know no President Davis nor do we know the men who are about him. We have our consuls in the South, but recognising only one Legislature, one President, one law. So far as we are concerned, that proclamation is a legal and effective document. I want to know, I want to ask you, the House of Commons, whether you can turn back to your own proceedings in 1834, and trace the praises which have been lavished upon you for thirty years by the 1836 great and good men of other countries—and whether, after what you did at that time, you believe that you will meet the views of the thoughtful, moral, and religious people of England when you propose to remit to slavery 3,000,000 of negroes in the Southern States, who, in our view, and regarding the proclamation of the President of the United States as a legal document, are certainly and to all intents and purposes now legally free? ["Oh!"] The hon. and learned Gentleman may say "Oh!" and shake his head lightly, and laugh at this. He has managed to get rid of those feelings under which all men, black and white, Mess the gift of freedom. He has talked of the cant and hypocrisy of the men who have pleaded for the negro. Was Wilberforce, was Clarkson, was Buxton—I might run over the whole list—were these men hypocrites, and had they nothing about them but cant? I could state something about the family of my hon. Friend below me (Mr. Forster), which I almost fear to state in his presence, but his revered father—a man unsurpassed in character—not equalled by many in intellect, and approached by few in service, laid down his life in a slave State in America while carrying to the governors and Legislatures of every slave State the protest of himself and his sect against the enormity of that odious system. In conclusion, Sir, I have only this to say, that I wish to take of this question a generous view—a view, I say, generous with regard to the people with whom we are in amity, whose Minister we receive here, and who receive our Minister in Washington. We see that the Government of the United States has for two years past been contending for its life, and we know that it is contending necessarily for human freedom. That Government affords the remarkable example—offered probably for the first time in the history of the world—of a great Government coming forward as the organized defender of law, freedom, and equality. ["Oh!" and cheers.] Surely, hon. Gentlemen opposite cannot be so ill-informed as to say that the revolt of the Southern States is in favour of freedom and equality. In Europe often, and in some parts of America, when there has been insurrection, it has been of the suffering generally against the oppressor, and rarely has it been found, and not more commonly in our history than in the history of any other country, that the Government has stepped forward as the organized 1837 defender of freedom—of the wide and general freedom of those under their rule. With such a Government, in such a contest, with such a foe, the hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for Sheffield, who professes to be more an Englishman than most Englishmen, asks us to throw into the scale against them the weight of the hostility of England. I have not said a word with regard to what may happen to England if we go into war with the United States. It will be a war on the ocean—every ship that belongs to the two nations will, as far as possible, be swept from the seas; but when the troubles in America are over—be they ended by restoration of the Union or by separation—that great and free people, the most instructed in the world—[Loud cries of "No!"]—there is not an American to be found in the New England States who cannot read and write, and there are not more than three men in a hundred in the whole Northern States who cannot read and write—and those who cannot read and write are those who have recently come from Europe—I say the most instructed people in the world and the most wealthy—if you take the distribution of wealth among the whole people—will have left in their hearts a wound which probably a century may not heal, and the posterity of some of those who now hear my voice may look back with amazement, and I will say with lamentation, at the course which was taken by the hon. and learned Gentleman and by such hon. Members as may choose to follow his leading. ["No, no!"] I suppose the hon. Gentlemen who cry "No!" will admit that we sometimes suffer from some errors of our ancestors. There are few persons who will not admit, that if their fathers had been wiser, their children would have been happier. Sir, we know the cause of this revolt, its purposes, and its aims. Those who made it have not left us in darkness respecting their intentions—but what it is to accomplish is still hidden from our sight, and I will abstain now, as I have always abstained with regard to it, from predicting what is to come. I know what I hope for—and what I shall rejoice in—but I know nothing of the future that will enable me to express a confident opinion. Whether it will give freedom to the race which, for generations past, white men have trampled in the dust, and whether it will purify a nation steeped in crime in connection with its conduct to that race, is known only to the Supreme. In His 1838 hands are alike the breath of man and the life of States. I am willing to commit to Him the issue of this dread contest; but I implore of Him, and I beseech this House, that my country may lift nor hand nor voice in aid of the most stupendous act of guilt that history has recorded in the annals of mankind.
§ MR. PERCY WYNDHAM
believed there were thousands of men in the Northern States who would be glad to hear a voice from Europe calling upon them to acknowledge the independence of the South. They knew they were engaged in a hopeless contest; and they had no wish, like so many of their countrymen, to pursue an unholy war, for the sake of pecuniary gain. He concluded by moving the adjournment of the debate.
[Here there were loud and general cries for "Mr. Lindsay." The hon. Member rose from his seat, but sat down without addressing the House.]
§ SIR GEORGE GREY
—If the hon. Member for Sunderland (Mr. Lindsay) wishes to address the House, I should be sorry to interfere with him, and I think we may go on for an hour longer. However, as there is a Motion for the adjournment of the debate, I may take this opportunity of giving an answer to the question so pointedly put by the noble Lord the Member for Stamford (Lord Robert Cecil). I shall say nothing as to the extraordinary fact of a Member of this House charging himself, after personal communication with a foreign Sovereign, with the duty of explaining in his place the views and intentions of that Sovereign relative to a public question of great interest and importance. But the hon. and learned Member for Sheffield (Mr. Roebuck) has done more than that—he has made himself the channel of conveying to this House a complaint of a foreign Sovereign against the government of his own country, charging us with a breach of courtesy in connection with communications alleged to have passed between the French Government and ourselves. The noble Lord the Member for Stamford attached more importance to the statement of the hon. and learned Member than the rest of the House seemed disposed to do, and complained that no explicit answer had been given to it, trusting that before the debate closed to-night the Government would make some more satisfactory explanation. I am utterly unable to give 1839 any explanation whatever of the extraordinary statement of the hon. and learned Member for Sheffield. All I can say is that what he has stated is at variance with the information which Her Majesty's Government possess, and with the communications they have received from the Government of France. The noble Lord complains that information on the subject has been withheld from Parliament. It will be recollected that this evening, in reply to a Question from the hon. Member for Bradford, the Under Secretary for Foreign Affairs stated that no communication—meaning, of course, no recent communication, not referring to what took place last year—had been received from the Government of France by Her Majesty's Government, proposing either mediation with regard to the war in America, or recognition of the Southern States. Since that statement was made to the House, it has come to the knowledge of many Members that it has been stated elsewhere that this afternoon, just before the meeting of the House, Baron Gros waited upon Lord Russell, and informed him that he had not been instructed to make any such communication to Her Majesty's Government as that which has been spoken of. My hon. Friend did not know of that circumstance when he answered the Question this evening. So far from withholding any information from the House, he stated upon the anthority of Earl Russell that no such communication had been received from the Emperor of the French. I can only say that I am utterly unable to explain the discrepancy between the hon. and learned Member for Sheffield's statement and the fact that Her Majesty's Government received no such communication. It has been stated that the communication which was well known to have been made last year to Her Majesty's Government on the part of the Emperor of the French, proposing a mediation between the contending parties in America, was transmitted by Earl Russell to Lord Lyons, and by Lord Lyons handed to Mr. Seward, by which means Mr. Seward received information which would otherwise have been withheld from him respecting the Emperor's proposal to Her Majesty's Government. Now, I know that no secret was made at the time that such a proposal had been made by the Emperor of the French to Her Majesty's Government. It was announced by the newspapers that that despatch had been taken 1840 into consideration by Her Majesty's Government, and answered in terms of the courtesy of which I am sure the Emperor of the French had no reason to complain—and never has complained. I have no doubt that that correspondence, that despatch in fact, was communicated by Earl Russell to Lord Lyons, in order, that representing this country as he did at Washington, he might know what was going on in Europe upon a matter in which this country was concerned. So far from a secret existing in regard to that despatch, even before Parliament met that Correspondence was laid on the table of the House. It was published in the newspapers and afterwards laid before Parliament, and therefore it is preposterous to talk now of any secrecy in connection with it. I must say that Lord Lyons is incapable of the conduct which has been imputed to him. He is held in high esteem by the Government of the United States, to which he is accredited, and I am sure that in none of his acts would he be guilty of anything approaching to a breach of confidence towards the Government of France or any other foreign country.
§ LORD ROBERT CECIL
explained that he had no intention of imputing to Lord Lyons any act contrary to his official duty. He had only repeated the statement made earlier in the evening by the hon. and learned Member for Sheffield. Whatever Lord Lyons might have, done was no doubt done in strict conformity with the orders he had received from the Foreign Office; and any imputation of a breach of the entente cordiale must lie at the door, not of Lord Lyons, but of the Foreign Minister who instructed him.
§ MR. NEWDEGATE
said, he had on a previous occasion directed the attention of the House to the ill effects of unauthorized diplomacy. They all remembered the deputation to St. Petersburg The representations of that deputation misled the Emperor Nicholas, and produced the calamities of the Crimean war. What were they to think of the conduct of the hon. and learned Member for Sheffield? He went to Paris, and, on his own authority, negotiated with the Emperor of the French; and now he made a Motion in that House, based upon the conversation which he had with the Emperor. The people of this country, most assuredly, would not be satisfied if the House approved a Motion which had been placed on 1841 the Journals of the House at the instance of a foreign Potentate. Moreover, beyond doubt, such a Resolution, supported by such a speech as that with which it had been introduced, would give universal offence in America. Having himself been in the United States, and still remembering the friendship there manifested towards him, and his acquaintance with Americans, he was perfectly confident that if anything was more calculated to defeat the object they all desired—the maintenance of peaceful relations and restoration of peace in America—it was this Motion and the speech of the hon. Member for Sheffield. He (Mr. Newdegate) should feel it his duty to vote against the Motion.
§ Debate adjourned till To-morrow.