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From The London Anti-Slavery Advocate. ESTRANGEMENT BETWEEN THE UNITED STATES AND GREAT BRITAIN.
Dublin, 74 Lower Mount Street,? 22d September, 1862. $
To the Editor of the Anti-Slavery Advocate:—
My Dear Sir: I have read the article in the Leicestershire Mercury, and freely acknowledge the fair and truthful spirit in ■which it is written; nevertheless, it appears to me to be open, both in its reasoning and conclusions, to grave exception.
The writer represents the estrangement between the North and Great Britain as occasioned exclusively by Northern faults and shortcomings. The people of this country were, he tells us, originally favorable to the Nortli, and desired its success, but they have been alienated by the unreasonable violence and scurrility of the Northern press. I confess I think this account of the matter at once unfair and superficial; unfair, because it leaves wholly out of sight the provocation given on our side; and superficial, because it does not touch the more fundamental causes of the prevailing feeling. I will say a few words on both these points.
It is, perhaps, true that at a very early stage of the business the majority of people in this country, so far as they had formed any opinion on the subject (which was to a very slight extent) were favorable to the North; but, on the other hand, there was always a considerable minority which hailed with eagerness the prospect of a dissolution of the Union; and there was this difference between these two parties, that, while with the former the feeling was languid and found no distinct expression, with the latter it was energetic, and was pronounced with unmistakable emphasis.
The writers of the Times and the Saturday Review, so early as April, 1861, were anything but friendly towards the North, or favorable to a restoration of the Union. I was not then in the habit of seeing the Tory prints, but, judging from the line they have since taken, I cannot doubt that they were still more decidedly anti-Northern. Therefore it is not true, as the writer represents, that the Northern press turned upon us with no other provocation than our declaration of neutrality. Before that declaration had appeared the press of this country had very freely expressed its opinion on the incvita
bleness and desirableness of a separation; and this being so, it was not unnatural that the Northern people should see in the declaration of neutrality (however reasonable that measure was in itself)—a foregone conclusion unfavorable to them—a determination on the part of the Government to sustain the views expressed by the press.
The writer in the Mercury complains that "without waiting to ascertain the grounds of international law " on which the English Government acted, the Northern people raised a cry of bitter anger. This was, doubtless, very unreasonable, but I think some allowance might be made for a nation in the throes of a great civil contest, by those who here in the midst of prosperity and peace criticise its conduct. Extreme sensitiveness to foreign opinion was, under such circumstances, not unnatural, more especially when it was known that this opinion was a main element in the calculation of the rebels— when the belief of the South that King Cotton would speedily bring English and French assistance had been loudly proclaimed. England, moreover, had been known as par excellence the law-loving and slavery-hating nation; and if it was natural for the South to count upon the support of England on the score of cotton, it was not less natural— though perhaps somewhat more honorable to both parties—that the North should reckon on the good-will of England when engaged in the task of putting down a rebellion of slaveholders.
It should be remembered, also, that the Anti-British feeling of which the Mercury speaks was almost confined, at least in its most violent and scurrilous form, to a few Northern papers which were well known to be pro-slavery and Southern in their politics; a fact, which the leaders of the British press, instead of recognizing and putting clearly before their readers (as the interests of truth required), deliberately and systematically kept out of sight. I would ask those who charge the whole Northern people with unprovoked hostility to Great Britain to reflect on the reception which, less than a twelvemonth before the civil war broke out, had been given to the Prince of Wales by the Northern States—a reception which drew from the Times correspondent the observation that the one sentiment in which Americans were united was that of loyalty to Queen Victoria. This, however, it was not now convenient to remember. It was resolved that the Union should be broken up; it was necessary for this end that the South should be encouraged and the North brought into odium; and accordingly the papers which were selected and placed before the English people as the true exponents of Northern views were the New York Herald and the Journal of Commerce. Worse than this— putting out of sight the fact that the previous Governments of the United States were composed for a long series of years of Southern men, those who favor the slave party in this country have endeavored (and they have succeeded in their endeavor) to make capital for the South out of the very repugnance and soreness which its own prolonged insolence towards this country had excited, turning against the North that feeling on which it had naturally counted as a bond of amity.
ESTRANGEMENT BETWEEN U. S. AND GREAT BRITAIN. 329
For these reasons I think the comments of the Mercury essentially unfair, but I also think them superficial; for does the writer really think that the feeling which prevails in this country on the American contest is sufficiently accounted for by exasperation produced by the sarcasms of the New York Herald and a few more papers? Had I no knowledge whatever of the facts, my opinion of English sense and temper would prevent me for a moment from giving credit to such a notion. If the writer in the Mercury would only read carefully a few of the diatribes in the Times, the Morning Post, the Saturday Recicvr, and, above all, those of the Tory press, I can hardly doubt that he will discover a far deeper chord of sympathy with Southern aims than that which a common hatred could furnish. Mere exasperation at low ribaldry never produced such unflagging energy of captious and trenchant criticism, such a sustained torrent of fierce, unsparing denunciation, as those papers have now for more than a twelvemonth poured forth.
No, the real cause lies deeper than this. It is to be found in the distaste for American institutions which has always inspired an influential portion of English society, but which Mr. Bright's unmerited abuse of the English aristocracy, and equally unmerited eulogy of the model republic, had, just before the American civil war broke out, brought to the point of positive disgust and hatred. It is to be found, again, in the seri
ous (though, as I believe, quite unnecessary) apprehension of the growing might of the gigantic Federation; and, lastly, it is (I fear to no inconsiderable extent) to be found in real liking for the social system of the South, or, if this be too strong a statement, at least in preference for it as an alternative to that of the Northern States j for I am by no means of the opinion of the writer in the Mercury, that the sympathy manifested in this country for the South is free from all taint of pro-slavery feeling. If the writer thinks so, let him look to the speeches and publications of Mr. Beresford Hope, to the articles in the Times (and if he wishes for an example, I would refer him to the leader of Friday last denouncing a policy of emancipation), or, still better, to the work of Mr. Spence, a work which has gone through four editions, and has been received with extraordinary approbation. He will find that Mr. Spence, while, in deference to the conventionalities of English society, he pronounces slavery to be wrong, is yet in perfect accord with the most advanced slaveholders as to the grounds on which slavery is maintained. Mr. Spence, for example,- holds that white labor is unsuited to Southern climes, that negroes will not work without compulsion, and that as a race they are so essentially inferior to the whites as to be incapable of taking an equal part with them in the business of civil life.
These are the premises of slaveholders all the world over, and if Mr. Spence does not draw from them the slaveholders' conclusion, it is simply because he lives in Liverpool and not in Charleston. These are the views of Mr. Spence, and these views have been accepted, assimilated, and enforced by the leading organs of public opinion in England, with a few noble exceptions. With these facts before me, I am quite unable to concur in the Mercury's absolute acquittal of the English people of any complicity with pro-slavery feeling. The mass of the people are, I believe, still free from it, but the leaders are not, and it is the leaders which determine our policy.
Great as is the length to which my letter has run, I must say a few words more. "The great principle that slavery is per se an evil," says the Mercury, "is with the North, subordinate to the political compact of the Union;" he infers this, and very justly, from the conduct of Mr. Lincoln; and concludes that "the last claim which the North could fairly urge on the sympathies of England—its firm resolve to do justice to the colored men and favor emancipation—it has officially removed." Yet the writer commenced his article hy saying that " the election of Mr. Lincoln gave genuine satisfaction to this country," because we regarded the event as an indication that a limit was to be placed on the further extension of slavery. Now, if this was a just ground of satisfaction (as the writer seems to hold) I think Mr. Lincoln and the North may fairly ask him what has since occurred in the conduct of the Federal Government to diminish the satisfaction which was then felt? Is it the abolition of slavery in Columbia, or the measure for its exclusion from the territories, or the slave trade treaty with Great Britain? Has anything occurred to show that the Republican party ore prepared to sanction the extension of slavery, and, if not, whyshould England withdraw her sympathies from the party to which, on the ground assigned, she gave them? But we are told Mr. Lincoln will not declare that" slavery is per se an evil," and proceed at once to legislate on this basis. But the Republican party never made this declaration, never proposed to interfere with slavery in the existing Slave States. They proposed merely to limit slaver}-—to put down slavery so for as that could be done consistently with maintaining the existing Constitution; that was their position from the start; and if that was a sufficient reason for giving them our moral support at the presidential election, surely, the reasons for this are not ] diminished when a firm adherence to their principle has drawn upon them the terrible calamity of civil war. In short, it comes to this: is the JfVrrwry prepared to counte
nance a slave confederacy till a nation can be formed which is prepared to put down slavery on principles of pure philanthropy? If so, and if this is what abolitionism means, the Confederacy may look forward to a long tenure of power. The truth is, the world has not yet reached that point at which devotion to a high principle is to be expected from great masses of men. Englishmen once, no doubt, paid twenty millions down to be rid of slavery; that they would incur a like sacrifice now for the same object is what I desire to believe j but there is a wide difference between twenty millions sterling, and a war a Voutrance against the slave power. To this result the North has been led by industrial, social, and political causes, and why should we not wish it success? Grant that it is not inspired by philanthropic motives,—it is doing the work of philanthropy: it is fighting the battle of civilization. At all events, even though it should have no higher end in view than the restoration of the national integrity, will it be said that this is not a better ground for our sympathy than the attempt to establish an empire on the corner-stone of slavery?
I agree with the writer that " England as well as America is on her trial," and, as one proud of his connection with England — proud of her history, proud of her literature, proud of her generous and ennobling traditions, proud above all of that purest ray of her glory—that she has been known as the champion of the slave and the terror of the oppressor to the farthest ends of the earth, I deplore in my deepest heart the course which she is now following—a course which I cannot but think must degrade her from the high and conspicuous place among the benefactors of the human race which she has hitherto maintained.
Ever yours, J. E. Caibxes.
Iujsois Correct.—TV experimental cotton crop of Illinois B gathering. It is estimated that lb* State will produce twenty thousand Bales for export this season. The Tandy grows is the upland, principally from seed procured in Tennessee- The quality (says a correspondent) is excellent, and the quantity per
•ere, so far as is known, exceeds that of the ootson-gTowir.sr districts further sooth. The uncertainly of procuring seed in the early part of the season prevented many from plaming: but the resu'.t of t!vs year's experiment is highly encouraging. Illinois could grow nve hundred 'bales proaabiy.
From The Spectator. THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF CHARLES V.* If we are disposed to question somewhat unceremoniously the claims of this book, author, translator, and publisher have themselves to blame. It might have been supposed that in a work of such pretensions as The Autobiography of the Emperor Charles V., long lost and unexpectedly recovered, ordinary care would have been taken to inform the reader of the condition, age, and handwriting of the MS. from which it had been derived. It does not profess to be the. original traced by the hand of the emperor himself, or his secretary. It is not even supposed to be in the language which Charles himself would have employed, whatever that might have been. All that its discoverer, the Baron de Lettenhove, condescends to tell us, is that in the Imperial Library at Paris he stumbled upon the MS., under the Spanish division, to which it had been consigned by some careless or ignorant librarian, instead of the Portuguese (the language in which it is written), and that a note informs the reader that it was translated from the French original, still remaining at Madrid in the year 1620. At what time, then, was this copy made? Is it a clean copy or a corrected draft? Because the best Portuguese scholar translating at once from a French original—as in this case the author professes to have done—would hardly have accomplished his task without some indications of the conditions under which he was working. He would have blotted out this word or that, ho would have changed a phrase here or there, and we should then have had some approximate test as to the accuracy of his assertions. To whom do we owe the title of the book? To the MS., the transcriber, Baron de Lettenhove, Mr. Simpion, the translator, or his publishers P An autobiography it is not in any fair sense of the word. Nor in the letter prefixed to it, and professing to be addressed to Philip IL by the emperor himself, is it called by that name. "The history," he says, "is that which I composed in French when we were travelling on the Rhine, and which I finished at Augsberg." "It is not," he adds, " such as
• The Autobiography ofthe Emperor Charlet V., recently dinovtrtd in the Portuyvete Language by Baron Ktrvyn de Lettenhom. Translated by L. I. Suapsou, 11. K.S.L.
I could wish it; but God knows I did not do it out of vanity." And then he concludes by saying, "I was on the point of throwing the whole into the fire; but, as I hope, if God gives me life, to arrange this history in such guise that he shall not find himself ill served therein, I send it to you, that it may not run the risk of being lost." To whom, moreover, do we owe the second title, with its ostentatious air of antiquity and its portentous blunder, assigning the death of King Philip, the father of Charles, " whom God have in his glory," to the year 1516, instead of 1506? This misstatement never issued from the pen of Charles himself; and we should have supposed the Baron do Lettenhove too well acquainted with history to fall into such an inaccuracy. Whether these things be the result of carelessness or design, they do not speak much for the authenticity of a work of such high pretensions, or for that scrupulous attention to minute points of evidence which, both from editor and translator, every reader has a right to expect.
Nor is the internal evidence of the book much more conclusive in its favor. Baron de Lettenhove, in a somewhat tumid and lumbering preface, little improved by the graces of his translator, not only claims for his discovery an importance which is natural in all discoverers of long-missing documents, but he seems to think that henceforth all histories of Charles V. are doomed to silence, and the biographers of the emperors, with Robertson at their head, must be consigned to oblivion. A new light has dawned, before which all others, bo they stars, gas-lights or candle-lights, must go out, as before the meridian splendor of these new-found memoirs. "After having announced," he says, "the 'Commentaries of Charles V.'"—though, by the by, as we have stated already, this is not his announcement, unless Mr. Simpson has taken unwarrantable liberties—" there is nothing to be added to the title. It is just that the voice of the prince, whom the faithful Quijada called ' the greatest man that ever lived or will live,' should be heard after three centuries of silence, free and unshackled by murmurs and contradictors." What this means we do not very clearly see. "At a later period history will resume her rights, but henceforth, before appreciating the political career of Charles V., it will be necessary to study his own judgment of it, at a moment when, the better to interrogate his conscience, he was preparing voluntarily to relinquish the most vast power that ever was known." So far as we can make it out, we demur as much to the ethics as we do to the grammar of this magniloquent sentence. We do not see that history is necessarily bound to take up the judgment of Charles V. on his own political doings and misdoings, or that she would by such a course "resume her rights," which Baron de Lettenhove and his translator, Mr. Simpson, seem to imagine have been hitherto unjustifiably withheld. But even if the historian were so bound, he need be under no great apprehension on that head, so far as this assumed autobiography is concerned. We defy the most willing or deferential inquirer to find out what that judgment was, or to point out a single new fact in this book, written at the moment when the great emperor was preparing "to interrogate his conscience," which can arrest, reverse, or even modify, the judgment which history has passed already on the political career of Charles V. In this dreary, desolate, "drowthy," uninviting narrative of one hundred and fifty pages, unilluminated by a single ray of enthusiasm, unrelieved by apassing thought of the matchless revolutions of men and times to which its author had been instrumental, with not one single trait of individual character, not one poor aneedote, not one reminiscence of love, friendship, hatred, pleasure or pain—except it be an exact enumeration of fits of the gout—what is there in all those pages, we should be glad to know, that can add any fresh halo to the memory of Charles, which ignorance and detraction have hitherto unjustly eclipsed? History will resume her rights forsooth! Well, if it should, it will be to pronounce Charles V. one of the dullest and dreariest of mankind; not a monarch of brass or bronze, but a monarch of lead, a king of more than Boeotian capacity for imposing on the imagination of posterity.
We admit that we hope, for his credit's sake, that this autobiography is not authentic ; that it is nothing more than a few hasty notes or memorials, intended by the emperor, had God given him life, to serve for a larger and juster volume. No man of
that age had better opportunities than he for writing an autobiography which would have been profoundly interesting. Even the careless overflowings of his own experience, however hasty or tumultuous, would have made a volume incomparably more enchanting than any which that or almost any other age could have placed before us. No prince, past or present, was ever thrust by the force of circumstances or the advantages of position into more chequered scenes, or brought into contact with men of greater mark and force of character than Charles V.; and that not in a time when the passions of men had little means of displaying themselves in their full vigor, but when every influence was at work for good or evil, and all the civilized world, like the minds of men, was convulsed from one end of it to the other. The last of that imperial line, the inheritor of those great traditions which connected him with his namesake of the ninth century, and through him with imperial Rome, gathering up in himself the lines of kings and queens who had been famous for centuries in Christendom, connected by blood and alliance with e~very monarch of his time, the champion of the Church against the heretic on one hand and the Turk on the other, imagination cannot realize a grander position than that in which Charles found himself, or one which necessarily brought him into more immediate contact with all the moving incidents of that most moving age. Historians may have confounded the man with his environments, and taken his measure from his accidents; they may have too readily thought that he had achieved a greatness which was, in truth, rather thrust upon him than achieved; still, if not a great actor, he was an actor, often the prime and sole actor, Jr. great things; and his correspondence, published and unpublished, shows he was an actor in more things than even written history gives him credit for. No king had ever seen so much as he. Twice in England, frequently in Spain, Germany, France, and Italy, more than once in Rome, in Africa against the Moors, closeted with Wolsey at Bruges, conferring with Francis I. in his prison at Madrid, debating with Luther at Worms, the sole depositary of all Queen Katharine's secrets at the unhappy period of her divorce, the prime adviser of her daughter Mary in her marriage with Philip,