Browsing "Foreign Viewpoints"

Fighting to Avoid Union Chains

Many in England saw the War Between the States as a bid for freedom against Northern oppression and comparisons were drawn with earlier independence movements in Greece, Poland and Italy. It was also asserted that the independence of the South would benefit blacks with eventual emancipation, “and outdo the hypocritical North by introducing full integration.”

Bernhard Thuersam, www.circa1865.org

 

Fighting to Avoid Union Chains

“Intervention had in both regions [of Manchester and Liverpool] only the most cursory appeal [but only] . . . Liverpool tended to hanker after not only intervention but more active participation in the Southern fight for freedom, and the city found its own ways of bypassing official sanctions for such support.

The constant breaking of the blockade and the provisioning of warships for the Confederacy were so effective as tools of war that the United States felt justified in suing Britain for heavy compensation.

The failure of the Union and Emancipation Society [in England] is demonstrated by the prevalence elsewhere of the belief that the South was fighting for a freedom which would ultimately encompass Negroes while the North wanted to clap that freedom into Union chains.

Lincoln was generally seen as a sad instance of a man whose native honesty had disintegrated into the hypocrisy of the Emancipation Proclamation. He totally lacked charisma in Lancashire eyes. Defeat [of the South] was acknowledged as imminent but it was seen as the defeat of a noble and worthy cause . . . [and many saw] a sad destruction of freedom by the arrogant use of force.

Agents were sent to Lancashire by the Federal government and private Northern companies to popularize the idea of emigration and help fill the acute labor shortage. Enthusiasm for the idea of a new life in a civilized land . . . was marred by the widespread and sometimes justified fear that jobs and fares were bait for luring men into the depleted ranks of the Union army.”

(Support for Secession, Lancashire and the American Civil War, Mary Ellison, University of Chicago Press, 1972, pp. 191-193)

European Mercenaries for Lincoln

Lincoln’s endless levies for troops and dwindling enlistments forced him to scour Europe for mercenaries, sending agents with cash and promises of government land to attract military age immigrants. The editor of the Ulster Observer cited below pointed out that the Southern army was full of Irishmen and “asked on what principle the Irish people could leave their homeland to steep their hands in the blood of those who were their kith and kin.”

Bernhard Thuersam, www.circa1865.org

 

European Mercenaries for Lincoln

“[T]here had begun to be opposition to the departure of Irishmen from the country by the thousand, a migration greatly aggravated by the economic distress of the island. As early as January, 1862, the Liverpool Reporter observed that for several months young men loaded with gold watches and large bounties had been leaving Ireland, ostensibly to emigrate to America, but actually to serve in the Federal army, for which they were engaged by Northern agents.

An extract from the Ulster Observer of Belfast is typical of the comments appearing in the opposition press:

“We have more respect for our country and our countrymen than to see them wearing the livery of a foreign state in a cause which involves no principle with which they can be identified . . . [but America] cannot, and should not, expect our countrymen to be her mercenaries in the present fratricidal struggle. Already the battlefields are white with the bones of their brethren.  Thousand of Irishmen have, thanklessly, it would appear, laid down their lives for the North . . . and if President Lincoln still stands in need of human hecatombs, he should look elsewhere than to the decimated home of Ireland for the victims.”

In general, it can be stated that the public journals were loud in denouncing “Federal agents” and clamorous for their prosecution and punishment.

” . . . One might say that [Secretary of State] Seward did everything he could to encourage . . . [foreign enlistments] . . . the Homestead Act of May, 1862, which provided free farms to all aliens who had filed declarations of intention to become citizens of the United States. It further provided that foreign-born residents might become full citizens after one years’ residence on condition of honorable service in the army.

By an act approved July 4th, 1864, the Office of Commissioner of Immigration was created under the Secretary of State; the duties imposed upon him were to gather information as to soil, climate, minerals, agricultural products, wages, transportation, and employment needs. This information was to be disseminated throughout the countries of Europe.”

(Foreigners in the Union Army and Navy, Ella Lonn, LSU Press, 1951, pp. 412-418)

 

 

England's Slave Trade Guilt

The English colonial system and a need for large labor forces to cultivate land and generate products for the benefit of the British Empire was behind the importation of slaves to North America, and fueling the transatlantic slave trade were the Muslim kings of Africa’s Gulf of Guinea who readily sold their subjects to European traders.  Slavery in Africa was a widespread institution and existed in the Sudan, Senegambia, Upper Gambia and along the Niger River. The New England abolitionists could have adopted Wilberforce’s peaceful campaign to eradicate slavery, and repaid humanity for the sins of their own slave trading fathers.

Bernhard Thuersam, www.circa1865.org

 

England’s Slave Trade Guilt

(Speech in the House of Commons by William Wilberforce, 12 May, 1789)

“When we consider the vastness of the continent of Africa; when we reflect how all other countries have some centuries past been advancing in happiness and civilization; when we think how in this same period all improvement in Africa has been defeated in her intercourse with Britain;

[W]hen we reflect that it is we ourselves that have degraded them to that wretched brutishness and barbarity which we now plead as the justification of our guilt; how the slave trade has enslaved their minds, blackened their character . . . What a mortification must we feel at having so long neglected to think of our guilt, or attempt any reparation!

It seems, indeed, as if we had determined to forbear from all interference [with slavery] until the measure of our folly and wickedness was so full and complete; until the impolicy which eventually belongs to vice was become so plain and glaring that not an individual in the country should refuse to join in the abolition; it seems as if we had waited until the persons most interested should be tired out with the folly and nefariousness of the trade, and should unite in petitioning against it.

Let us then make such amends as we can for the mischiefs we have done to the unhappy continent; let us recollect what Europe itself was no longer ago than three or four centuries.

What if I should be able to show this House [of Commons] that in a civilized part of Europe, in the time of Henry VII, there were people who actually sold their own children?  What if I should tell them that England itself was that country?  What if I should point out to them that the very place where this inhuman traffic was carried on was the city of Bristol?

Ireland at that time used to drive a considerable trade in slaves with these neighboring barbarians; but the great plague having infested the country, the Irish were struck with a panic, suspected (I am sure very properly) that the plague was a punishment sent from heaven for the sin of the slave trade, and therefore abolished it.

All I ask, therefore, of the people of Bristol is, that they would become as civilized now as Irishmen were four hundred years ago.  Let us put an end at once to this inhuman traffic – let us stop this effusion of human blood.”

(The World’s Famous Orations, William Jennings Bryan, editor, Funk and Wagnalls, 1906, pp. 66-68)

England's Half Naked Barbarians

The British colonial system populated North America and the West Indies with African slaves purchased from African kings and tribes; after American independence and the loss of that former colony’s profits, England professed slavery inhumane while emancipating its remaining slaves with compensations to the owners – quite possibly to undermine its French and American commercial competitors.

Bernhard Thuersam, www.circa1865.org

 

England’s Half-Naked Barbarians

“To be sure, the condition of depopulated Ireland is still pitiful to behold. Says a writer on Ireland: “An Irishman has nothing national about him except his rags.” Or another: “Let an Englishman exchange his bread and beer, and beef and mutton, for no breakfast, for a lukewarm lumper at dinner and no supper. With such a diet, how much better is he than an Irishman? – a Celt, as he calls him. No, the truth is, that the misery of Ireland is not from the human nature that grows there – it is from England’s perverse legislation, past and present.” But England is philanthropic, and the Irish are not Negroes, nor are they Slaves!

Or let us turn our eyes away from Ireland across the ocean, toward that happy land of emancipation. Says a recent writer: A short term and cupidity strain the lash over the poor Coolie, and he dies; is secreted if he lives, and advantage taken of his ignorance for extended time when once merged with plantation-service, where investigation can be avoided.” But again, the Coolies are no Slaves; they are but hired servants, and England’s philanthropy is safe!

We are not through with the Testimony of England, who is always loudest in condemning our Slavery. How closely she watches those poor Hindoos! How effectually she keeps them down, whenever they express any dissatisfaction with the happiness she forces upon them! She has instituted among those “half-naked barbarians” an awful solidarite’, by which the province is responsible for the labor of all its men and women. But still, England is philanthropic!

She has carried rails and Bibles, free-schools and steamboats, telegraphs and libraries to India, all for the benefit of those half-naked barbarians. And should telegraphs and Bibles not have the requisite effect of happifying, opium will be administered to them, and to “all the world, and to the rest of mankind” Now this is decided progress! England is the civilizer and Christianizer of the world!”

(The American Question, An Incidental Reply to Mr. H.H. Helper’s Compendium on the Impending Crisis of the South, Elias Peissner, 1861, H.H. Lloyd & Company, pp. 63-65)

Emancipation in Exchange for Recognition

The Confederate government consistently maintained that the emancipation of African slaves was the province of the  individual  States, as it had no authority to do so delegated to it by the Constitution.  The Cofederate Constitution was identical to the United States Constitution on this question.  As the war ground on and the North used captured Africans as labor and troops, it was obvious that the Confederacy should muster black troops, if emancipated by their owners and they voluntarily enlisted. This was done in March, 1865.

Bernhard Thuersam, www.circa1865.org

 

Emancipation in Exchange for Recognition

“It has been said that the Confederate agents always found among all classes in England and France a fixed and unrelenting hostility to slavery, but that in England, except among a relatively small part of the population, this hostility had no bearing upon their sympathies, which were largely in favor of the South. In their [Yancey-Rost-Mann mission] note to Russell of August 14, 1861, while they assured the [British] Foreign Minister that the war was one of conquest on the part of the North rather than a war to free the slaves, the commissioners acknowledged “the anti-slavery sentiment so universally prevalent in England.”

The reply to this European criticism and hostility to slavery was finally embodied in a circular sent to all the agents, January 15, 1863, in which [Confederate Secretary of State Judah] Benjamin . . . [instructed them to answer that] this domestic institution was one which only the individual States could deal with. The Confederate government, wrote Benjamin, “unequivocally and absolutely denies its possession of any power whatever over the subject and cannot entertain any propositions in relation to it.”

But this solid front against the discussion of abolishing slavery began to break in the Confederacy under the hostile attitude of Europe and the military necessity at home. After Lincoln’s emancipation proclamation thousands of Negro troops joined the Federal armies. With 400,000 or 500,000 foreigners and over 200,000 Negroes added to the Federal armies the small white population of the South began to feel itself overwhelmed by the weight of mere number; and finally it was urged that Negroes who could be enlisted in the Confederate armies should be freed.

This agitation culminated in the early winter of 1864-65 . . . [and] the Confederate government determined to capitalize in its diplomacy upon the idea of emancipation. On December 27, 1864, Benjamin wrote dispatches to Mason and Slidell to put the question squarely up to England and France whether slavery was and had been the obstacle to recognition. Duncan Kenner of Louisiana, member of Congress and chairman of the Ways and Means Committee . . . was appointed as special envoy to carry these instructions and to act with Mason and Slidell in case negotiations [to emancipate the slaves in exchange for recognition] should follow.

The optimistic Benjamin was in profound despair and he was now desperate. The freeing of the slaves was to hazard black supremacy, and all the horrors of Haiti. His note is worthy of extensive quotation: “The Confederate States have now for nearly four years resisted the utmost power of the United States with a courage and fortitude to which the world has accorded its respect and admiration.

No people have ever poured out their blood more freely in defense of their liberties and independence, nor have endured sacrifices with greater cheerfulness than have the men and women of these Confederate States. They accepted the issue which was forced on them by an arrogant and domineering race, vengeful, grasping and ambitious. They have asked nothing, [and] fought for nothing but for the right of self-government, for independence.”

But this was an inadequate picture of that heroism, for, in fact, the Confederacy, outnumbered by the North three to one, had been fighting Europe as well as the North. England and France had aided the United States by “the abandonment by those two powers of all rights as neutrals,” that is, he said . . . “their countenance of a blockade which, when declared, was the most shameless outrage on international law that modern times have witnessed . . . .[and] their indifference to the spectacle of a people [while engaged in an unequal struggle for defense] exposed to the invasion not only of the superior numbers of their adversaries, but of armies of mercenaries imported from neutral nations to subserve the guilty projects of our foes.

While engaged in defending our country on terms so unequal, the foes whom we are resisting profess the intention of resorting to the starvation and extermination of our women and children (Sherman’s march) as a means of securing conquest over us. In the very beginning of the contest they indicated their fell purpose by declaring medicines contraband of war, and recently have not been satisfied with burning granaries and dwellings and all food for man and beast.

They have sought to provide against any future crop by destroying all agricultural implements, and killing all animals that they could not drive from the farms, so as to render famine certain among the people.”

[The] Richmond Sentinel [of] January 19, 1865 . . . stated concisely the grounds upon which the South should free the slaves and use them as soldiers. “It is a question,” said the paper, “simply whether we give for our own uses, or whether the Yankees shall take for theirs. Subjugation means emancipation and confiscation . . . it would be far more glorious to devote our means to our success than to lose them as spoils to the enemy.”

[The] Richmond Enquirer of the same date [supported] warmly the idea of emancipation. “[We] must convince the world that we are fighting for the self-government of the whites and not for the slavery of the blacks; that the war has been forced upon us by the enemy for the purpose of spoliation and subjugation . . . and if that liberation [of the blacks] can be made to secure our independence, we believe that the people of these States would not hesitate to make that sacrifice.”

(King Cotton Diplomacy, Frank Lawrence Owsley, University of Chicago Press, 1931, pp. 530-536)

Emancipation Amid a Sea of Blood

England observed from a distance the violent clash in America over the colonial economic system they themselves had imposed many years earlier, and perhaps wondered why the North, apparently so fanatical regarding the freedom of the black man, did not offer a peaceful, compensated emancipation as they had done themselves. The British witnessed Lincoln using the very same emancipation rhetoric they had used in 1775 and 1814, which in reality was a cover for initiating race war and murderous slave uprisings in the American South.

Bernhard Thuersam, www.circa1865.org

 

Emancipation Amid a Sea of Blood

“In a speech delivered in the House of Lords, February 5th, 1863, Earl Russell said: — “There is one thing, however, which I think may be the result of the struggle, and which, to my mind, would be a great calamity – that is, the subjugation of the South by the North.” After some comments he added: — “But there may be, I say, one end of the war that would prove a calamity to the United States and to the world, and especially calamitous to the Negro race in those countries, and that would be the subjugation of the South by the North.”

Mr. W.E. Gladstone, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, said in a public speech at Newcastle, October 7th, 1862: –“We may have our own opinions about slavery; we may be for or against the South; but there is no doubt that Jefferson Davis and the other leaders of the South have made an army. They are making, it appears, a navy, and they have made what is more than either – they have made a nation. (Loud cheers) . . . We may anticipate with certainty the success of the southern States so far as regards their separation from the North. (Hear, hear). I cannot but believe that that event is as certain as any event yet future and contingent it may be.”

[Here is] an extract from a long speech by the same distinguished gentleman, in the House of Commons, delivered June 30th, 1863, while he was still a member of the Government: — “Why, sir, we must desire the cessation of this war. We do not believe that the American Union by force is attainable. I believe that the opinion of this country is unanimous upon that subject. 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.”

(The Secret Service of the Confederate States in Europe, James D. Bulloch, Sagamore Press, 1959, pp. 360-361)

Canadian Slave Transaction

The erroneous belief in today’s popular culture that the American South was the only region in North America tainted by African slavery is contradicted by Carter Woodson’s writings. He states “[In] my article on “The Slave in Canada,” printed in The Journal of Negro History for July, 1920, (Vol. V, No. 3), several instances of Negro slavery in Canada were given. The latest is mentioned in Le Bulletin des Recherches Historiques for October, 1927, (Vol. XXXIII, No. 10), at p. 584. I translate it from the French the article referred to.”

Bernhard Thuersam, www.circa1865.org

 

Canadian Slave Transaction

“Honorable William Renwick Riddell, Justice of Appeal, Ontario.

In July, 1748, Jean-Pierre Roma, Commandant for the (French) King at the island of St. Jean (now Prince Edward Island in the Gulf of St. Lawrence), on his passage to Quebec, made a singular gift to his friend, Fleury de la Gorgendiere, (the younger). He gave him a mulatto girl, five months old and named Marie.

The gift made to Mr. Fleury de la Gorgendiere is explained by the fact that the mother of the child, the slave of Roma, died in giving it birth. Roma not being able to charge himself with raising the orphan, preferred to give it to M. Fleury de la Gorgendiere.

The deed of gift was drawn up by the Notary, Jean-Claude Panet, July 15, 1748; and in it is the stipulation that in case of the death of Fleury and his wife, the mulatto will return Mdll. Roma (her grandmother). If she cannot take her it is stipulated that she will receive her freedom.

Such sales of the creatures of God may seem curious – they were, however, according to the customs of the time and were made almost in every country.”

(Journal of Negro History, Carter G. Woodson, editor, Vol. XIII, No. 2, April, 1928, page 207)

War to Recover the Southern Export Trade

War to Recover the Southern Export Trade

During 1862, Washington was constantly threatened with capture by Lee and Jackson’s men, not to mention some very tense moments for Lincoln as the North’s ironclad dueled with the CSS Virginia.  The latter was poised to sail up the Potomac after destroying anything wooden that she came across in the Chesapeake Bay which sent Lincoln’s Cabinet into emergency session. The capture of Washington would have likely triggered European recognition of the South.

Secretary of State William Seward had unmistakably suggested that should England or France recognize the Confederacy, war would result – though Lincoln could ill-afford to take on additional enemies.  His subsequent cultivation of friendship with the Russian Czar was created simply for an ally to stand with him against Europe; ironically both Czar Alexander II and Lincoln freed serfs and slaves simultaneously while crushing the independence movements of the Poles and the South, respectively.

The growing might of Lincoln’s navy was a great concern to England as Lord Palmerston and Earl Russell both saw their assistance in building Confederate war vessels as a way to combat this.  Emperor Napoleon III of France was prepared to recognize the Confederacy for much the same reason as well as seeing the cause of royalist Mexico as identical to the cause of the South. Confederate Commissioner John Slidell obtained a fifteen million dollar loan at very favorable terms from French financier Baron d’Erlanger, and hopes were that an independent Confederacy would look favorably upon French ships carrying their trade.

The underlying reason for the North’s war on the South is well-presented by Bank of England agent John Welsford Cowell in his “France and the Confederate States, published in 1865.  He observed that “The vast proportions which [the North’s] maritime power has assumed during the last fifty years have sprung entirely from the monopoly which the Southerners accorded to them of the carrying trade of their raw produce in cotton, tobacco, etc., and of the commercial returns to it.”

Cowell explains the economic contrast of North and South in 1860: “[In the last year of the Union, the total exports of the whole Union, omitting the gold of California, amounted to the value of 70 [million pounds] in round numbers. Separating this total into two parts, and distinguishing between Northern and Southern products . . . the value of exported Northern products . . . did not exceed 18 [million pounds] while the value of exported Southern produce exceeded 50 [million pounds].”

He adds that “The Protective Tariff of 1816 practically threw into the hands of Yankee shippers the transport of all Southern products . . . Now, connecting these several points together, it becomes obvious that not less than two-thirds of what was the mercantile marine of the Yankees in 1860 had been called into existence to supply the transportation of Southern exports and imports, and that this portion of their marine must cease to exist as theirs, when the transport of Southern produce is withdrawn from their hands.”

It now becomes clear what the North was fighting for and to maintain.  As the South, through the tariffs paid on imported and exported goods, was paying nearly ninety-percent of the monies flowing into the federal treasury, it becomes clear what the South was trying to break free of.

Cowell continued and exposed the Northern drive for war.  “It is to recover possession of this grand instrument of political power and of private profit that the Yankees are now murdering men, women, and children throughout the South, being determined, as is at last manifest to all, to exterminate the Southerners altogether (unless they will return to that fiscal, commercial and maritime subjection to the Yankees from which they emancipated themselves in 1861), and to occupy their lands and houses themselves.”

With the South lacking the ships to carry their produce to distant markets, both England and France could take the place of the Yankee merchant marine if the Confederacy held its own. Cowell states that “But while one of the two main objects of the Yankees in their war against the South is to repossess control of Southern exports, essentially necessary for the support of two-thirds of their marine, it is in the absolute pleasure of the South, having no ships of their own, to bestow this great instrument of power and wealth upon whichever nation she may choose.”

The North also fought to maintain is the South’s is their tariff protective system which Cowell describes as being adopted “unreservedly, and founded on it the future fortunes of their usurped domination over the rest of the Sovereign States of the Union.” The South was catching on to the system in the mid-1820s and began to chafe – secession was threatened in the early 1850s and by late 1860 the Southern withdrawals from the unequal Union began.

When the North “awakened to the terrible effect of the Southern secession on their artificial prosperity, they rushed to war, and the war has, for the moment, provided much of their invested capital with temporary employment. Thus far the war has staved off for a very short time the ruin which must inevitably overtake them . . .

Thus are brought into light the two governing points in the position of the Yankees – viz., the recovery of the Southern carrying trade and the recovery of the monopoly of the Southern market.”

Mr. Cowell refers to the national character of the Yankee, pointedly the New Englanders. He described the “narrow, fanatical, and originally sincere puritanism of their ancestors [which] has, in the course of six generations, degenerated into that amalgam of hypocrisy, cruelty, falsehood, unconsciousness of the faintest sentiment of self-respect, coarseness of self-assertion, insensibility to the opinions of others, utter callousness to right, barbarous delight in wrong, and thorough moral ruffianism, which is now fully revealed to the world as the genuine Yankee nature, and of which Butler, Seward [and other high Northern political leaders] are pure representative Yankees, [and] afford such finished examples.”

 

May 25, 2015 - Foreign Viewpoints    No Comments

Driving Canada to Confederation

Both Canada and England feared the increasing military strength of Lincoln’s war machine and constant talk of annexation Canada in the Northern press. Already Seward, Grant and Meade were overheard discussing an invasion of Canada after Maximilian was dealt with in Mexico. Canadians viewed Confederation of the provinces as a barrier to conquest by the power-intoxicated North.

Bernhard Thuersam, www.circa1865.org

 

Driving Canada to Confederation

“If we are not blind to our present position we must see the hazardous situation in which all the great interests of Canada stand in respect to the United States. I am no alarmist, I do not believe in the prospect of immediate war. I believe that the common sense of the two nations will prevent a war; still we cannot trust to probabilities.

The government and legislature would be wanting in duty to the people if they ran any risk. We know that the United States at this moment are engaged in a war of enormous dimensions; that the occasion of a war with Great Britain has again and again arisen and may at any time in the future again arise. It would then be too late, when war had commenced, to think of measures for strengthening ourselves or to begin negotiations for a union with the sister Provinces.

At this moment, in consequence to the ill feeling which arisen between England and the United States — a feeling of which Canada was not the cause — in consequence of the irritation which now exists owing to the unhappy state of affairs on this continent, the reciprocity treaty, it seems probable, is about to be brought to an end . . . and at any moment we may be deprived of permission to carry our goods through United States channels . . .” Ourselves already threatened, our trade interrupted, our intercourse, political and commercial, destroyed, if we do not take warning now when we have the opportunity . . . ”

It is the fashion now to enlarge on the defects of the Constitution of the United States . . . we can now take advantage of the last seventy-eight years during which that Constitution has existed, and I am strongly in the belief that we have in a great measure avoided in this system which we propose for the adoption of the people of Canada the defects which time and events have shown to exist in the American Constitution.

By adhering to the monarchical principle we avoid one defect inherent in the Constitution . . . By the election of the president by a majority and for a short period, he never is the sovereign and chief of the nation. He is never looked up to by the whole people as the head and front of the nation. He is at best the successful leader of a party.

This defect is all the greater on account of the practice of reelection. During his first term of office he is employed in taking steps to secure his own reelection, and for his party a continuance of power. We avoid this by adhering to the monarchical principle — the sovereign whom you respect and love. [This sovereign] who is not elevated by the action of one party nor depressed by the action of another; who is the common head and sovereign of all.

Ever since the [American] Union was formed, the difficulty of what is called “State rights” has existed, and this had much to do with bringing on the present unhappy war in the United States. They commenced, in fact, at the wrong end. They declared by their Constitution that each State was a sovereignty in itself, and that all the powers incident to a sovereignty belonged to each State, except those powers by which the Constitution were conferred upon the general government and Congress. Here we have adopted a different system. We have strengthened the general government.”

(MacDonald on Canadian Confederation, February, 1865; The World’s Famous Orations, William Jennings Bryan, editor, Funk & Wagnall’s, 1906, pp. 9-13)

 

May 25, 2015 - Foreign Viewpoints    No Comments

Drive the Yankees Beyond the Susquehanna

London Times correspondent William H. Russell interviewed leaders in both North and South in early 1861, though his accurate reporting on the Northern rout at First Manassas left him unwelcome in Lincoln’s country afterward.

Bernhard Thuersam, www.circa1865.org

 

Drive the Yankees Beyond the Susquehanna

“I mentioned [to President Jefferson Davis on May 9th] that I had seen great military preparations through the South, and was astonished at the alacrity with which the people sprang to arms. “Yes, sir,” he remarked . . . We are not less military because we have had no standing armies. But perhaps we are the only people in the world where gentlemen go to a military academy who do not intend to follow the profession of arms.”

Mr. Davis made no allusion to the authorities in Washington, but he asked me if I thought it was supposed in England that there would be a War between the States? I answered that I was under the impression the public thought there would be no actual hostilities. “And yet you see we are driven to take up arms for the defense of our rights and liberties.”

As I saw an immense mass of papers on his table, I rose and made my bow, and Mr. Davis, seeing me to the door, gave me his hand and said, “As long as you may stay among us you shall receive every facility it is in our power to afford you, and I shall always be glad to see you”

The news that two more States had joined the Confederacy, making ten in all, was enough to put [Secretary of War Walker and General Beauregard] in good humor. “Is it not too bad these Yankees will not let us go our own way, and keep their cursed Union to themselves? If they force us into it, we may be obliged to drive them beyond the Susquehanna.”

Being invited to attend a levee or reception held by Mrs. Davis, the President’s wife, I returned to the hotel to prepare for the occasion. On my way I passed a company of volunteers, one hundred and twenty artillerymen, and three field pieces, on their way to the station for Virginia, followed by a crowd of “citizens” and Negroes of both sexes, cheering vociferously.

The band was playing that excellent quick-step “Dixie.” The men were stout, fine fellows, dressed in coarse grey tunics with yellow facings and French caps. The Zouave mania is quite as rampant here as it is in New York, and the smallest children are thrust into baggy red breeches, which the learned Lipsius might had appreciated, and are sent out with flags and tin swords to impede the highways.”

(America Through British Eyes, Allan Nevins, Oxford University Press, 1948, pp. 272-273)