HL Deb 30 June 1862 vol 167 cc1201-2

said, that he could not refrain from addressing a few words to their Lordships, to call their attention to some private accounts he had received from individuals of the civil war now raging in America. The horrors of this contest, according to these persons, who were most friendly to our kinsmen across the Atlantic, far surpassed anything that had appeared in the public journals. It appeared that not only were thousands on thousands of men embattled on either side, and displaying a courage and a conduct which were above all commendation; but the war, and all the malignant passions with which war was accompanied, had taken root in every rank of life, and all the evils of a civil contest were experienced in their greatest intensity. The inhabitants of the same village were banded against each other, and neighbouring farmers and proprietors daily armed themselves and went forth, not to fight in their armies, but to carry on a sort of private warfare and to gratify their personal feelings of animosity or revenge. In private families where a difference of opinion as to the war prevailed the most intense animosity existed, and was avowed almost without shame. He had heard one instance of a most respectable family, in which the father and son had taken opposite sides, and the son had been heard to say that he hoped to hear of his father's death. He threw out no imputation on the character of the American people. Proverbially, the corruption of the best was always worst; and a dispute among near relatives was always excessively bitter. But although the war might be explained, it could not be justified or even extenuated. It was clear that neither the Government of France nor that of England could interfere in the quarrel. But, at the same time, every one was most anxious that these horrors should cease, and those who most fervently cherished that desire were those who, like himself, had always been most friendly to the Americans. For upwards of sixty years he had been known as a warm advocate at all times of the American Government and the American people. Some might recollect that he was once called the partisan of Jefferson and again the Attorney General of Madison; and it was because he was a most earnest well-wisher of America that he was specially afflicted by the present condition of that country; and could his voice reach them, he would, as a friend, a fellow Christian, a fellow creature, implore them to make an end of this horrible war. Others, too, who had uniformly taken the part of the Americans, were now most cruelly shocked and disappointed by the present course of events. If the civil war continued, they would be bound to admit that the worst stain on the American character was not domestic slavery. The white men had suffered more in the war than ever did the negroes under the most cruel of their masters. The present fratricidal strife was doing more mischief, creating more misery, and laying the foundation of more lasting animosity even than their unhappy "domestic institution." If the Americans would only listen to the voice of their true friends, they would, if they regarded the continuance of their reputation in this country, and of our affection towards them, see the absolute necessity of putting an end to this horrible war. He could not, for his life, believe that the good sense of those among the Americans who were better informed and capable of calm reflection, would not, sooner or later, be exerted to bring about this most desirable consummation.