English Immigrants Desired by Virginia
In 1869, former Confederate Gen. John D. Imboden served as Domestic Immigration Agent for Virginia with his mission being to attract English settlers to that State. Goldwin Smith (1823-1910) was a British historian, journalist, and taught at Oxford. He expressed pro-Northern sentiments during the war, and promoted the annexation of Canada by the North, as suggested in his last paragraph. Though this was threatened by the North as retaliation for English support of the Confederacy, Smith saw as predestined the domination of North America by one great Anglo-Saxon country.
Bernhard Thuersam, www.Circa1865.com
English Emigrants Desired by Virginia
January 31, 1870, 1806 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia, U.S.
“My Dear Lord Salisbury,
As you were a great friend of the South, the promoters of English emigration to Virginia, at the head of whom is the Confederate General Imboden, will probably bring their scheme under your notice. In case they do, I venture to commend it to your consideration.
What may be the cause, or with whom the blame may rest, matters not. The fact is that the feeling against England in the Northern States is now so strong that this is to Englishmen not only a foreign country, but a hostile country. I cannot help being sensible of this, notwithstanding the kindness with which I am personally received. It is desirable, therefore, to turn the current of emigration, as far as possible, to a more friendly shore.
To turn it to Canada is, I am afraid, only to turn it to the States through a circuitous channel. The Canadian climate is very severe; the winter almost eats up the summer; and, the soil being heavily timbered, the work of clearing is very hard. It is, for the most part, more a country for the lumberer than for the farmer.
In Virginia the climate is temperate, and the soil, I am credibly assured, excellent – at least in the western parts of the State, and particularly in the Shenandoah Valley; for in the east a good deal of it is injured, though I suppose not irretrievably, by slave labour.
The people are thoroughly friendly and extremely anxious to receive English emigration instead of carpetbaggers with their train of emigrants of the lower class.
Politically, an English community in Virginia, with that great State in so commanding a position, would be the best counterpoise to the Irish vote and the anti-English sentiment of New England; and now at all events it is to the growth of the English element in the Union that you must trust for security against American aggression.
Tory and Southerner as you are, I have sometimes, during the Anglo-American controversy, half-wished that you were the representative of England . . . [that] Government, by first curtly refusing any reparation [to the US], and then getting on the slide of concession, has filled the Washington politicians with evil hopes, and I do not know how it may end.
The Annexation [of Canada] passion is, I fear, decidedly gaining ground. Forgive this inroad on a statesman’s time.
Your very truly, Goldwin Smith.”
(A Selection from Goldwin Smith’s Correspondence . . . Written between 1846 and 1910; Arnold Haultain, editor, Duffield & Company, 1913, excerpts pp. 19-20)