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Full Online Book HomeLong StoriesA Straight Deal: Or, The Ancient Grudge - Chapter 12. On the Ragged Edge
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A Straight Deal: Or, The Ancient Grudge - Chapter 12. On the Ragged Edge Post by :rpariera Category :Long Stories Author :Owen Wister Date :May 2012 Read :1748

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A Straight Deal: Or, The Ancient Grudge - Chapter 12. On the Ragged Edge

Chapter XII. On the Ragged Edge

On November 6, 1860, Lincoln, nominee of the Republican party, which was opposed to the extension of slavery, was elected President of the United States. Forty-one days later, the legislature of South Carolina, determined to perpetuate slavery, met at Columbia, but, on account of a local epidemic, moved to Charleston. There, about noon, December 20th, it unanimously declared "that the Union now subsisting between South Carolina and other States, under the name of the United States of America, is hereby dissolved." Soon other slave states followed this lead, and among them all, during those final months of Buchanan's presidency, preparedness went on, unchecked by the half-feeble, half-treacherous Federal Government. Lincoln, in his inaugural address, March 4, 1861, declared that he had no purpose, directly or indirectly, to interfere with the institution of slavery in the states where it existed. To the seceded slave states he said: "In your hands, my dissatisfied fellow-countrymen, and not mine, is the momentous issue of civil war. The Government will not assail you. You can have no conflict without being yourselves the aggressors. You can have no oath registered in heaven to destroy the Government; while I shall have the most solemn one to preserve, protect and defend it." This changed nothing in the slave states. It was not enough for them that slavery could keep on where it was. To spread it where it was not, had been their aim for a very long while. The next day, March 5th, Lincoln had letters from Fort Sumter, in Charleston harbor. Major Anderson was besieged there by the batteries of secession, was being starved out, might hold on a month longer, needed help. Through staggering complications and embarrassments, which were presently to be outstaggered by worse ones, Lincoln by the end of March saw his path clear. "In your hands, my dissatisfied fellow-countrymen, and not mine, is the momentous issue of civil war." The clew to the path had been in those words from the first. The flag of the Union, the little island of loyalty amid the waters of secession, was covered by the Charleston batteries. "Batteries ready to open Wednesday or Thursday. What instructions?" Thus, on April 1st, General Beauregard, at Charleston, telegraphed to Jefferson Davis. They had all been hoping that Lincoln would give Fort Sumter to them and so save their having to take it. Not at all. The President of the United States was not going to give away property of the United States. Instead, the Governor of South Caro-lina received a polite message that an attempt would be made to supply Fort Sumter with food only, and that if this were not interfered with, no arms or ammunition should be sent there without further notice, or in case the fort were attacked. Lincoln was leaning backwards, you might say, in his patient effort to conciliate. And accordingly our transports sailed from New York for Charleston with instructions to supply Sumter with food alone, unless they should be opposed in attempting to carry out their errand. This did not suit Jefferson Davis at all; and, to cut it short, at half-past four, on the morning of April 12, 1861, there arose into the air from the mortar battery near old Fort Johnson, on the south side of the harbor, a bomb-shell, which curved high and slow through the dawn, and fell upon Fort Sumter, thus starting four years of civil war. One week later the Union proclaimed a blockade on the ports of Slave Land.

Bear each and all of these facts in mind, I beg, bear them in mind well, for in the light of them you can see England clearly, and will have no trouble in following the different threads of her conduct towards us during this struggle. What she did then gave to our ancient grudge against her the reddest coat of fresh paint which it had received yet--the reddest and the most enduring since George III.

England ran true to form. It is very interesting to mark this; very interesting to watch in her government and her people the persistent and conflicting currents of sympathy and antipathy boil up again, just as they had boiled in 1776. It is equally interesting to watch our ancient grudge at work, causing us to remember and hug all the ill will she bore us, all the harm she did us, and to forget all the good. Roughly comparing 1776 with 1861, it was once more the Tories, the aristocrats, the Lord Norths, who hoped for our overthrow, while the people of England, with certain liberal leaders in Parliament, stood our friends. Just as Pitt and Burke had spoken for us in our Revolution, so Bright and Cobden befriended us now. The parallel ceases when you come to the Sovereign. Queen Victoria declined to support or recognize Slave Land. She stopped the Government and aristocratic England from forcing war upon us, she prevented the French Emperor, Napoleon III, from recognizing the Southern Confederacy. We shall come to this in its turn. Our Civil War set up in England a huge vibration, subjected England to a searching test of herself. Nothing describes this better than a letter of Henry Ward Beecher's, written during the War, after his return from addressing the people of England.

"My own feelings and judgment underwent a great change while I was in England... I was chilled and shocked at the coldness towards the North which I everywhere met, and the sympathetic prejudices in favor of the South. And yet everybody was alike condemning slavery and praising liberty!"

How could England do this, how with the same breath blow cold and hot, how be against the North that was fighting the extension of slavery and yet be against slavery too? Confusing at the time, it is clear to-day. Imbedded in Lincoln's first inaugural address lies the clew: he said, "I have no purpose, directly or indirectly, to interfere with the institution of slavery where it exists. I believe I have no lawful right to do so, and I have no inclination to do so. Those who elected me did so with full knowledge that I had made this and many similar declarations, and had never recanted them." Thus Lincoln, March 4, 1861. Six weeks later, when we went-to war, we went, not "to interfere with the institution of slavery," but (again in Lincoln's words) "to preserve, protect, and defend" the Union. This was our slogan, this our fight, this was repeated again and again by our soldiers and civilians, by our public men and our private citizens. Can you see the position of those Englishmen who condemned slavery and praised liberty? We ourselves said we were not out to abolish slavery, we disclaimed any such object, by our own words we cut the ground away from them.

Not until September 22d of 1862, to take effect upon January 1, 1863, did Lincoln proclaim emancipation--thus doing what he had said twenty-two months before "I believe I have no lawful right to do."

That interim of anguish and meditation had cleared his sight. Slowly he had felt his way, slowly he had come to perceive that the preservation of the Union and the abolition of slavery were so tightly wrapped together as to merge and be one and the same thing. But even had he known this from the start, known that the North's bottom cause, the ending of slavery, rested on moral ground, and that moral ground outweighs and must forever outweigh whatever of legal argument may be on the other side, he could have done nothing. "I believe I have no lawful right." There were thousands in the North who also thus believed. It was only an extremist minority who disregarded the Constitution's acquiescence in slavery and wanted emancipation proclaimed at once. Had Lincoln proclaimed it, the North would have split in pieces, the South would have won, the Union would have perished, and slavery would have remained. Lincoln had to wait until the season of anguish and meditation had unblinded thousands besides himself, and thus had placed behind him enough of the North to struggle on to that saving of the Union and that freeing of the slave which was consummated more than two years later by Lee's surrender to Grant at Appomattox.

But it was during that interim of anguish and meditation that England did us most of the harm which our memories vaguely but violently treasure. Until the Emancipation, we gave our English friends no public, official grounds for their sympathy, and consequently their influence over our English enemies was hampered. Instantly after January 1, 1863, that sympathy became the deciding voice. Our enemies could no longer say to it, "but Lincoln says himself that he doesn't intend to abolish slavery."

Here are examples of what occurred: To William Lloyd Garrison, the Abolitionist, an English sympathizer wrote that three thousand men of Manchester had met there and adopted by acclamation an enthusiastic message to Lincoln. These men said that they would rather remain unemployed for twenty years than get cotton from the South at the expense of the slave. A month later Cobden writes to Charles Sumner: "I know nothing in my political experience so striking, an a display of spontaneous public action, as that of the vast gathering at Exeter Hall (in London), when, without one attraction in the form of a popular orator, the vast building, its minor rooms and passages, and the streets adjoining, were crowded with an enthusiastic audience. That meeting has had a powerful effect on our newspapers and politicians. It has closed the mouths of those who have been advocating the side of the South. And I now write to assure you that any unfriendly act on the part of our Government--no matter which of our aristocratic parties is in power--towards your cause is not to be apprehended. If an attempt were made by the Government in any way to commit us to the South, a spirit would be instantly aroused which would drive that Government from power."

I lay emphasis at this point upon these instances (many more could be given) because it has been the habit of most Americans to say that England stopped being hostile to the North as soon as the North began to win. In January, 1863, the North had not visibly begun to win. It had suffered almost unvaried defeat so far; and the battles of Gettysburg and Vicksburg, where the tide turned at last our way, were still six months ahead. It was from January 1, 1863, when Lincoln planted our cause firmly and openly on abolition ground, that the undercurrent of British sympathy surged to the top. The true wonder is, that this undercurrent should have been so strong all along, that those English sympathizers somehow in their hearts should have known what we were fighting for more clearly than we had been able to see it; ourselves. The key to this is given in Beecher's letter--it is nowhere better given--and to it I must now return.

"I soon perceived that my first error was in supposing that Great Britain was an impartial spectator. In fact, she was morally an actor in the conflict. Such were the antagonistic influences at work in her own midst, and the division of parties, that, in judging American affairs she could not help lending sanction to one or the other side of her own internal conflicts. England was not, then, a judge, sitting calmly on the bench to decide without bias; the case brought before her was her own, in principle, and in interest. In taking sides with the North, the common people of Great Britain and the laboring class took sides with themselves in their struggle for reformation; while the wealthy and the privileged classes found a reason in their own political parties and philosophies why they should not be too eager for the legitimate government and nation of the United States.

"All classes who, at home, were seeking the elevation and political enfranchisement of the common people, were with us. All who studied the preservation of the state in its present unequal distribution of political privileges, sided with that section in America that were doing the same thing.

"We ought not to be surprised nor angry that men should maintain aristocratic doctrines which they believe in fully as sincerely, and more consistently, than we, or many amongst us do, in democratic doctrines.

"We of all people ought to understand how a government can be cold or semi-hostile, while the people are friendly with us. For thirty years the American Government, in the hands, or under the influence of Southern statesmen, has been in a threatening attitude to Europe, and actually in disgraceful conflict with all the weak neighboring Powers. Texas, Mexico, Central Generics, and Cuba are witnesses. Yet the great body of our people in the Middle and Northern States are strongly opposed to all such tendencies."

It was in a very brief visit that Beecher managed to see England as she was: a remarkable letter for its insight, and more remarkable still for its moderation, when you consider that it was written in the midst of our Civil War, while loyal Americans were not only enraged with England, but wounded to the quick as well. When a man can do this--can have passionate convictions in passionate times, and yet keep his judgment unclouded, wise, and calm, he serves his country well.

I can remember the rage and the wound. In that atmosphere I began my existence. My childhood was steeped in it. In our house the London Punch was stopped, because of its hostile ridicule. I grew to boyhood hearing from my elders how England had for years taunted us with our tolerance of slavery while we boasted of being the Land of the Free--and then, when we arose to abolish slavery, how she "jack-knived" and gave aid and comfort to the slave power when it had its fingers upon our throat. Many of that generation of my elders never wholly got over the rage and the wound. They hated all England for the sake of less than half England. They counted their enemies but never their friends. There's nothing unnatural about this, nothing rare. On the contrary, it's the usual, natural, unjust thing that human nature does in times of agony. It's the Henry Ward Beechers that are rare. In times of agony the average man and woman see nothing but their agony. When I look over some of the letters that I received from England in 1915--letters from strangers evoked by a book called The Pentecost of Calamity, wherein I had published my conviction that the cause of England was righteous, the cause of Germany hideous, and our own persistent neutrality unworthy--I'm glad I lost my temper only once, and replied caustically only once. How dreadful (wrote one of my correspondents) must it be to belong to a nation that was behaving like mine! I retorted (I'm sorry for it now) that I could all the more readily comprehend English feeling about our neutrality, because I had known what we had felt when Gladstone spoke at Newcastle and when England let the Alabama loose upon us in 1862. Where was the good in replying at all? Silence is almost always the best reply in these cases. Next came a letter from another English stranger, in which the writer announced having just read The Pentecost of Calamity. Not a word of friendliness for what I had said about the righteousness of England's cause or my expressed unhappiness over the course which our Government had taken--nothing but scorn for us all and the hope that we should reap our deserts when Germany defeated England and invaded us. Well? What of it? Here was a stricken person, writing in stress, in a land of desolation, mourning for the dead already, waiting for the next who should die, a poor, unstrung average person, who had not long before read that remark of our President's made on the morrow of the Lusitania: that there is such a thing as being too proud to fight; had read during the ensuing weeks those notes wherein we stood committed by our Chief Magistrate to a verbal slinking away and sitting down under it. Can you wonder? If the mere memory of those days of our humiliation stabs me even now, I need no one to tell me (though I have been told) what England, what France, felt about us then, what it must have been like for Americans who were in England and France at that time. No: the average person in great trouble cannot rise above the trouble and survey the truth and be just. In English eyes our Government--and therefore all of us--failed in 1914--1915--1916--failed again and again--insulted the cause of humanity when we said through our President in 1916, the third summer of the war, that we were not concerned with either the causes or the aims of that conflict. How could they remember Hoover, or Robert Bacon, or Leonard Wood, or Theodore Roosevelt then, any more than we could remember John Bright, or Richard Cobden, or the Manchester men in the days when the Alabama was sinking the merchant vessels of the Union?

We remembered Lord John Russell and Lord Palmerston in the British Government, and their fellow aristocrats in British society; we remembered the aristocratic British press--The Times notably, because the most powerful--these are what we saw, felt, and remembered, because they were not with us, and were able to hurt us in the days when our friends were not yet able to help us. They made welcome the Southerners who came over in the interests of the South, they listened to the Southern propaganda. Why? Because the South was the American version of their aristocratic creed. To those who came over in the interests of the North and of the Union they turned a cold shoulder, because they represented Democracy; moreover, a Dis-United States would prove in commerce a less formidable competitor. To Captain Bullock, the able and energetic Southerner who put through in England the building and launching of those Confederate cruisers which sank our ships and destroyed our merchant marine, and to Mason and Slidell, the doors of dukes opened pleasantly; Beecher and our other emissaries mostly had to dine beneath uncoroneted roofs.

In the pages of Henry Adams, and of Charles Francis Adams his brother, you can read of what they, as young men, encountered in London, and what they saw their father have to put up with there, both from English society and the English Government. Their father was our new minister to England, appointed by Lincoln. He arrived just after our Civil War had begun. I have heard his sons talk about it familiarly, and it is all to be found in their writings.

Nobody knows how to be disagreeable quite so well as the English gentleman, except the English lady. They can do it with the nicety of a medicine dropper. They can administer the precise quantum suff. in every case. In the society of English gentlemen and ladies Mr. Adams by his official position was obliged to move. They left him out as much as they could, but, being the American Minister, he couldn't be left out altogether. At their dinners and functions he had to hear open expressions of joy at the news of Southern victories, he had to receive slights both veiled and unveiled, and all this he had to bear with equanimity. Sometimes he did leave the room; but with dignity and discretion. A false step, a "break," might have led to a request for his recall. He knew that his constant presence, close to the English Government, was vital to our cause. Russell and Palmerston were by turns insolent and shifty, and once on the very brink of recognizing the Southern Confederacy as an independent nation. Gladstone, Chancellor of the Exchequer, in a speech at Newcastle, virtually did recognize it. You will be proud of Mr. Adams if you read how he bore himself and fulfilled his appallingly delicate and difficult mission. He was an American who knew how to behave himself, and he behaved himself all the time; while the English had a way of turning their behavior on and off, like the hot water. Mr. Adams was no admirer of "shirt-sleeves" diplomacy. His diplomacy wore a coat. Our experiments in "shirt-sleeves" diplomacy fail to show that it accomplishes anything which diplomacy decently dressed would not accomplish more satisfactorily. Upon Mr. Adams fell some consequences of previous American crudities, of which I shall speak later.

Lincoln had declared a blockade on Southern ports before Mr. Adams arrived in London. Upon his arrival he found England had proclaimed her neutrality and recognized the belligerency of the South. This dismayed Mr. Adams and excited the whole North, because feeling ran too high to perceive this first act on England's part to be really favorable to us; she could not recognize our blockade, which stopped her getting Southern cotton, unless she recognized that the South was in a state of war with us. Looked at quietly, this act of England's helped us and hurt herself, for it deprived her of cotton.

It was not with this, but with the reception and treatment of Mr. Adams that the true hostility began. Slights to him were slaps at us, sympathy with the South was an active moral injury to our cause, even if it was mostly an undertone, politically. Then all of a sudden, something that we did ourselves changed the undertone to a loud overtone, and we just grazed England's declaring war on us. Had she done so, then indeed it had been all up with us. This incident is the comic going-back on our own doctrine of 1812, to which I have alluded above.

On November 8, 1861, Captain Charles Wilkes of the American steam sloop San Jacinto, fired a shot across the bow of the British vessel Trent, stopped her on the high seas, and took four passengers off her, and brought them prisoners to Fort Warren, in Boston harbor. Mason and Slidell are the two we remember, Confederate envoys to France and Great Britain. Over this the whole North burst into glorious joy. Our Secretary of the Navy wrote to Wilkes his congratulations, Congress voted its thanks to him, governors and judges laureled him with oratory at banquets, he was feasted with meat and drink all over the place, and, though his years were sixty-three, ardent females probably rushed forth from throngs and kissed him with the purest intentions: heroes have no age. But presently the Trent arrived in England, and the British lion was aroused. We had violated international law, and insulted the British flag. Palmerston wrote us a letter--or Russell, I forget which wrote it--a letter that would have left us no choice but to fight. But Queen Victoria had to sign it before it went. "My lord," she said, "you must know that I will agree to no paper that means war with the United States." So this didn't go, but another in its stead, pretty stiff, naturally, yet still possible for us to swallow. Some didn't want to swallow even this; but Lincoln, humorous and wise, said, "Gentlemen, one war at a time;" and so we made due restitution, and Messrs. Mason and Slidell went their way to France and England, free to bring about action against us there if they could manage it. Captain Wilkes must have been a good fellow. His picture suggests this. England, in her English heart, really liked what he had done, it was in its gallant flagrancy so remarkably like her own doings--though she couldn't, naturally, permit such a performance to pass; and a few years afterwards, for his services in the cause of exploration, her Royal Geographical Society gave him a gold medal! Yes; the whole thing is comic--to-day; for us, to-day, the point of it is, that the English Queen saved us from a war with England.

Within a year, something happened that was not comic. Lord John Russell, though warned and warned, let the Alabama slip away to sea, where she proceeded to send our merchant ships to the bottom, until the Kearsarge sent her herself to the bottom. She had been built at Liverpool in the face of an English law which no quibbling could disguise to anybody except to Lord John Russell and to those who, like him, leaned to the South. Ten years later, this leaning cost England fifteen million dollars in damages.

Let us now listen to what our British friends were saying in those years before Lincoln issued his Emancipation Proclamation. His blockade had brought immediate and heavy distress upon many English workmen and their families. That had been April 19, 1861. By September, five sixths of the Lancashire cotton-spinners were out of work, or working half time. Their starvation and that of their wives and children could be stemmed by charity alone. I have talked with people who saw those thousands in their suffering. Yet those thousands bore it. They somehow looked through Lincoln's express disavowal of any intention to interfere with slavery, and saw that at bottom our war was indeed against slavery, that slavery was behind the Southern camouflage about independence, and behind the Northern slogan about preserving the Union. They saw and they stuck. "Rarely," writes Charles Francis Adams, "in the history of mankind, has there been a more creditable exhibition of human sympathy." France was likewise damaged by our blockade; and Napoleon III would have liked to recognize the South. He established, through Maximilian, an empire in Mexico, behind which lay hostility to our Democracy. He wished us defeat; but he was afraid to move without England, to whom he made a succession of indirect approaches. These nearly came to something towards the close of 1862. It was on October 7th that Gladstone spoke at Newcastle about Jefferson Davis having made a nation. Yet, after all, England didn't budge, and thus held Napoleon back. From France in the end the South got neither ships nor recognition, in spite of his deceitful connivance and desire; Napoleon flirted a while with Slidell, but grew cold when he saw no chance of English cooperation.

Besides John Bright and Cobden, we had other English friends of influence and celebrity: John Stuart Mill, Thomas Hughes, Goldwin Smith, Leslie Stephen, Robert Gladstone, Frederic Harrison are some of them. All from the first supported us. All from the first worked and spoke for us. The Union and Emancipation Society was founded. "Your Committee," says its final report when the war was ended, "have issued and circulated upwards of four hundred thousand books, pamphlets, and tracts... and nearly five hundred official and public meetings have been held..." The president of this Society, Mr. Potter, spent thirty thousand dollars in the cause, and at a time when times were hard and fortunes as well as cotton-spinners in distress through our blockade. Another member of the Society, Mr. Thompson, writes of one of the public meetings: "... I addressed a crowded assembly of unemployed operatives in the town of Heywood, near Manchester, and spoke to them for two hours about the Slaveholders' Rebellion. They were united and vociferous in the expression of their willingness to suffer all hardships consequent upon a want of cotton, if thereby the liberty of the victims of Southern despotism might be promoted. All honor to the half million of our working population in Lancashire, Cheshire, and elsewhere, who are bearing with heroic fortitude the privation which your war has entailed upon them!... Their sublime resignation, their self-forgetfulness, their observance of law, their whole-souled love of the cause of human freedom, their quick and clear perception of the merits of the question between the North and the South... are extorting the admiration of all classes of the community ..."

How much of all this do you ever hear from the people who remember the Alabama?

Strictly in accord with Beecher's vivid summary of the true England in our Civil War, are some passages of a letter from Mr. John Bigelow, who was at that time our Consul-General at Paris, and whose impressions, written to our Secretary of State, Mr. Seward, on February 6, 1863, are interesting to compare with what Beecher says in that letter, from which I have already given extracts.

"The anti-slavery meetings in England are having their effect upon the Government already... The Paris correspondent of the London Post also came to my house on Wednesday evening... He says... that there are about a dozen persons who by their position and influence over the organs of public opinion have produced all the bad feeling and treacherous con-duct of England towards America. They are people who, as members of the Government in times past, have been bullied by the U. S.... They are not entirely ignorant that the class who are now trying to overthrow the Government were mainly responsible for the brutality, but they think we as a nation are disposed to bully, and they are disposed to assist in any policy that may dismember and weaken us. These scars of wounded pride, however, have been carefully concealed from the public, who therefore cannot be readily made to see why, when the President has distinctly made the issue between slave labor and free labor, that England should not go with the North. He says these dozen people who rule England hate us cordially... "

There were more than a dozen, a good many more, as we know from Charles and Henry Adams. But read once again the last paragraph of Beecher's letter, and note how it corresponds with what Mr. Bigelow says about the feeling which our Government (for thirty years "in the hands or under the influence of Southern statesmen") had raised against us by its bad manners to European governments. This was the harvest sown by shirt sleeves diplomacy and reaped by Mr. Adams in 1861. Only seven years before, we had gratuitously offended four countries at once. Three of our foreign ministers (two of them from the South) had met at Ostend and later at Aix in the interests of extending slavery, and there, in a joint manifesto, had ordered Spain to sell us Cuba, or we would take Cuba by force. One of the three was our minister to Spain. Spain had received him courteously as the representative of a nation with whom she was at peace. It was like ringing the doorbell of an acquaintance, being shown into the parlor and telling him he must sell you his spoons or you would snatch them. This doesn't incline your neighbor to like you. But, as has been said, Mr. Adams was an American who did know how to behave, and thereby served us well in our hour of need.

We remember the Alabama and our English enemies, we forget Bright, and Cobden, and all our English friends; but Lincoln did not forget them. When a young man, a friend of Bright's, an Englishman, had been caught here in a plot to seize a vessel and make her into another Alabama, John Bright asked mercy for him; and here are Lincoln's words in consequence: "whereas one Rubery was convicted on or about the twelfth day of October, 1863, in the Circuit Court of the United States for the District of California, of engaging in, and giving aid and comfort to the existing rebellion against the Government of this Country, and sentenced to ten years' imprisonment, and to pay a fine of ten thousand dollars;

"And whereas, the said Alfred Rubery is of the immature age of twenty years, and of highly respectable parentage;

"And whereas, the said Alfred Rubery is a subject of Great Britain, and his pardon is desired by John Bright, of England;

"Now, therefore, be it known that I, Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States of America, these and divers other considerations me thereunto moving, and especially as a public mark of the esteem held by the United States of America for the high character and steady friendship of the said John Bright, do hereby grant a pardon to the said Alfred Rubery, the same to begin and take effect on the twentieth day of January 1864, on condition that he leave the country within thirty days from and after that date."

Thus Lincoln, because of Bright; and because of a word from Bright to Charles Sumner about the starving cotton-spinners, Americans sent from New York three ships with flour for those faithful English friends of ours.

And then, at Geneva in 1872, England paid us for what the Alabama had done. This Court of Arbitration grew slowly; suggested first by Mr. Thomas Batch to Lincoln, who thought the millennium wasn't quite at hand but favored "airing the idea." The idea was not aired easily. Cobden would have brought it up in Parliament, but illness and death overtook him. The idea found but few other friends. At last Horace Greeley "aired" it in his paper. On October 23, 1863, Mr. Adams said to Lord John Russell, "I am directed to say that there is no fair and equitable form of conventional arbitrament or reference to which the United States will not be willing to submit." This, some two years later, Russell recalled, saying in reply to a statement of our grievances by Adams: "It appears to Her Majesty's Government that there are but two questions by which the claim of compensation could be tested; the one is, Have the British Government acted with due diligence, or, in other words, in good faith and honesty, in the maintenance of the neutrality they proclaimed? The other is, Have the law officers of the Crown properly understood the foreign enlistment act, when they declined, in June 1862, to advise the detention and seizure of the Alabama, and on other occasions when they were asked to detain other ships, building or fitting in British ports? It appears to Her Majesty's Government that neither of these questions could be put to a foreign government with any regard to the dignity and character of the British Crown and the British Nation. Her Majesty's Government are the sole guardians of their own honor. They cannot admit that they have acted with bad faith in maintaining the neutrality they professed. The law officers of the Crown must be held to be better interpreters of a British statute than any foreign Government can be presumed to be..." He consented to a commission, but drew the line at any probing of England's good faith.

We persisted. In 1868, Lord Westbury, Lord High Chancellor, declared in the House of Lords that "the animus with which the neutral powers acted was the only true criterion."

This is the test which we asked should be applied. We quoted British remarks about us, Gladstone, for example, as evidence of unfriendly and insincere animus on the part of those at the head of the British Government.

Replying to our pressing the point of animus, the British Government reasserted Russell's refusal to recognize or entertain any question of England's good faith: "first, because it would be inconsistent with the self-respect which every government is bound to feel...." In Mr. John Bassett Moore's History of International Arbitration, Vol. I, pages 496-497, or in papers relating to the Treaty of Washington, Vol. II, Geneva Arbitration, page 204... Part I, Introductory Statement, you will find the whole of this. What I give here suffices to show the position we ourselves and England took about the Alabama case. She backed down. Her good faith was put in issue, and she paid our direct claims. She ate "humble pie." We had to eat humble pie in the affair of the Trent. It has been done since. It is not pleasant, but it may be beneficial.

Such is the story of the true England and the true America in 1861; the divided North with which Lincoln had to deal, the divided England where our many friends could do little to check our influential enemies, until Lincoln came out plainly against slavery. I have had to compress much, but I have omitted nothing material, of which I am aware. The facts would embarrass those who determine to assert that England was our undivided enemy during our Civil War, if facts ever embarrassed a complex. Those afflicted with the complex can keep their eyes upon the Alabama and the London Times, and avert them from Bright, and Cobden, and the cotton-spinners, and the Union and Emancipation Society, and Queen Victoria. But to any reader of this whose complex is not incurable, or who has none, I will put this question: What opinion of the brains of any Englishman would you have if he formed his idea of the United States exclusively from the newspapers of William Randolph Hearst.

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A Straight Deal: Or, The Ancient Grudge - Chapter 13. Benefits Forgot A Straight Deal: Or, The Ancient Grudge - Chapter 13. Benefits Forgot

A Straight Deal: Or, The Ancient Grudge - Chapter 13. Benefits Forgot
Chapter XIII. Benefits ForgotIn our next war, our war with Spain in 1898, England saved us from Germany. She did it from first to last; her position was unmistakable, and every determining act of hers was as our friend. The service that she rendered us in warning Germany to keep out of it, was even greater than her suggestion of our Monroe doctrine in 1823; for in 1823 she put us on guard against meditated, but remote, assault from Europe, while in 1898 she actively averted a serious and imminent peril. As the threat of her fleet had obstructed Napoleon in

A Straight Deal: Or, The Ancient Grudge - Chapter 11. Some Family Scraps A Straight Deal: Or, The Ancient Grudge - Chapter 11. Some Family Scraps

A Straight Deal: Or, The Ancient Grudge - Chapter 11. Some Family Scraps
Chapter XI. Some Family ScrapsDo not suppose because I am reminding you of these things and shall remind you of some more, that I am trying to make you hate France. I am only trying to persuade you to stop hating England. I wish to show you how much reason you have not to hate her, which your school histories pass lightly over, or pass wholly by. I want to make it plain that your anti-English complex and your pro-French complex entice your memory into retaining only evil about England and only good about France. That is why I pull out