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The Times newspaper on the 1861 Trent Affair
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|Extracts from the Times newspaper|
|We 1 January 1862||From the notices published of late respecting the extraordinary activity displayed in the outfit, commission, and despatch of the first-class reserve gunboats to the Mersey and elsewhere it might; naturally be presumed that an equal degree of activity existed at the head-quarter depôt of the gunboats at Haslar. This is not the case, however. With the exception of 30 hands specially employed to complete the Tyrian, begun, but delivered in an unfinished state by a private builder, there is nothing doing in the yard and shipway. It would take a considerable number of hands some length of time to render the boats stored under Haslar sheds fit for commission. Many of them now lying on the blocks with their copper off and an air-strake out of their planking on each side have lain thus for 18 months, and some still longer, since they were partially examined and passed as sound boats. If a judgment may be formed of the probable state of the whole of these, from a recent examination of one of their number, it may be concluded that many of them now are exceedingly faulty. There can be but little doubt that many of these vessels, which at the time of the official examination may have had but a rotten timber or piece of planking at wide intervals, are now very defective. The line of blocks on which the boats are stowed are divided by brick partitions into six equal parts, and the whole covered by zinc ridge and furrow roofing. The mortar boats stand on the opposite side of the yard, with their decks merely covered with penthouse roofing. In the first division of the gunboat sheds are stowed the Caroline, Pet, Pert, Tiny, Wolf, Crocus, Camel, Skylark, Garland, and Gannet. The seven last named have each their copper off, with which exception they are supposed to be complete and sound in their hulls. But it is well known that they are not. The Pet and the Pert have portions of the planking stripped from their bottom. One is in a good state of preservation; the other is not. One was built in a public and the other in a private yard. The remaining boat in the shed is the Caroline, still doing penance for her faults of construction. In the second divisional shed stands the Mackerel, fixed like the Caroline. Both vessels should be pulled to pieces and their places occupied by craft that may be some day of use. In addition to the Mackerel is the Flirt, with fore part of keel and some of her timbers crumbling to dust from dry rot. Her after body has not yet been sufficiently opened to give a correct idea of its state. The Cherokee is bare yet to her timbers, which are being completed slowly for planking. The Brave is rather more forward, and will soon commence planking. The Beaver and the Badger have been hauled up, and still retain their old copper, with an airstrake of planking out, but no one can say what condition they are in until they have been fairly opened. The remaining boats here are the Primrose, the Prompt, and the Pickle, belonging to the uncoppered class. In the third shed are the Fervent, the Albacore, the Gnat, the Swan, and the Redbreast, of the uncoppered class; the Grinder and the Brazen, with their old copper on; the Beacon, stripped of planking, and making good her timbers; and the notorious Whiting, at length nearly complete in her new planking. In the fourth shed stands the Snapper, partially opened, and faulty, as also may be termed the Pincher; the Peacock is stripped of planking, and making good her timbers; the Gadfly, the Rocket, the Midge, the Charger, the Parthian, the Blossom, and the Confounder belong to the supposed sound, but uncoppered class. In the 5th division the Thrush and Ready are partially stripped of their planking, and in the adjoining and last division of the sheds are the new class of gunboats now building by the Government, comprising the Minstrel, Netley, Orwell, Bruiser, and Cherub, with the majority of their timbers and framing in position, and the Tyrian, completing, after having been received in an unfinished state from the hands of the contractor, as already stated. The mortar boats in the yard consist of 12 built of wood and nine of iron. Of the condition of the former at present no one can speak with confidence until they have been further opened and examined. Twelve months since they were said to be in good condition. Three-fourths of the gunboats are of 60-horse power. Of those afloat in the port are the advanced flotilla, comprising the Rose, Raven, Blazer, and Highlander. From this class have been recently detached the Amelia and Escort for service in the Mersey. To supply the places of the advanced flotilla in the first-class reserve, the following boats are being hurried forward in the ship and steam basins of the dockyard from the second-class reserve:- The Jasper, 80-horse power, and the Earnest, Savage, Cracker, Foam, Swinger, and Pheasant, of 60-horse power each. The remainder of the gunboats in the port reserve consist of the Fenella and Hunter, of 40-horse power each, and the Chub, Decoy, Ant, Rambler, Daisy, Angler, and Cheerful, each of 20-horse power. The gunboat-yard at Haslar at present is a solitude compared with the chief yard at Portsmouth. In the latter it is one continuous scene of energy and bustle.|
|Th 2 January 1862|
QUEENSTOWN, JAN. 1.
The Royal Mail steamship Africa, from New York on the 20th. ultimo, arrived here at 2 a.m. She brings 49 passengers and $191,384 in specie. She landed 96 sacks of mails and six passengers, and proceeded for Liverpool at 2 45 a.m., all well; she experienced strong easterly winds on the passage.
NEW YORK, Dec. 19. Evening.
The steamship Europa arrived at Halifax on the morning of Sunday, December 15, bringing European advices to December 2. A very full summary of the opinions of the English press on the Mason and Slidell case, and the important decision of the British Government, as well as the opinion of the Law Officers of the Crown, was telegraphed to New York and Washington, where the news was received on Sunday afternoon. No journals were published, however, on Sunday; but the nature of the news gained currency through private circles, and caused intense excitement, the more so as the previous advices per the Hansa had led the public to believe that there would be no difficulty with England on this question.
A full telegraphic summary was published in the American journals of Monday, the 16th of December, and the Mason and Slidell case became the absorbing topic of the day. The press and the public generally seemed to deprecate war with England, and to cling to a vague idea that the matter would be settled by some diplomatic arrangement. Unanimity at first, however, appeared to prevail among the press and public upon the most important part of the question - namely, the surrender of Messrs. Mason and Slidell; and the universal opinion was that the "national honour" of the country could never permit the surrender of the prisoners under any circumstances whatever.
The following day, December 17, the feeling universally was much calmer and quieter throughout all circles, and the general opinion was that war would certainly not ensue; the idea of giving up Messrs. Mason and Slidell was even discussed, and its probability entertained, the argument being, if the Federal Government was in the wrong in taking these men, there is no disgrace in surrendering them; and if they were right, the question can be discussed or settled by arbitration. The startling rumour that the Federal Government had forbidden the export of specie gained credence in New York for some time on the afternoon of December 17, but it was soon ascertained that such a thought had never even entered the head of the Washington Cabinet. The Europa reached Boston late on the afternoon of December 17, having been 40 hours from Halifax to Boston against strong head winds. It was then announced that within 30 minutes after the Europa touched at Halifax the British steam sloop-of-war Rinaldo got up steam, and left, in pursuance of some orders, it was supposed, brought by the Queen's messenger, to communicate with the Admiral of the British North American squadron. The Europa's mails were delivered in New. York December 18, and their contents largely scrutinized. Captain Seymour, Queen's messenger, and Mr. Cooke, messenger from Mr. Adams, arrived in New York on the morning of December 18, and at once left for Washington by special train, where they arrived at midnight.
The tone of the New York morning journals of December 18 was materially changed on the Mason and Slidell question, and a degree of moderation was observable in discussing this subject, very different from the articles of the few previous weeks. Whether through chance or any other cause, none of them contained any despatches from Washington on this question. On the afternoon of the 18th news from England to the 6th of December was telegraphed from Portland, and the announcement of the formidable warlike progress being made in Great Britain again created great excitement and affected the money market injuriously.
The following despatch from Washington was published in the New York Times of the 19th of December:-
The Tribune of the same date published the following:-
These despatches, it will be seen, entertain the ides of the surrender of Messrs. Mason and Slidell, - the first time that the New York press has argued the possibility of their surrender since their seizure.
The detention of the Africa for despatches was settled immediately on receipt of the Europa's advices.
In Congress on December the 16th Mr. Vallandigham (Opposition, Ohio) introduced a preamble and resolution:-
Mr. Vallandigham moved the previous question. They had heard the first growl of the British Lion. It remained to be seen who would be cowed.
At 1 p.m. to-day (Dec. 19) a general impression prevailed among well-informed circles that the Washington Cabinet will surrender Messrs. Mason and Slidell if the demand of England is couched in such terms that it can be complied with without hurting the susceptibilities and wounding the national honour of one great nation in its intercourse with another.
The immediate effect of the Europa's news upon the stock and money market on the 16th of December was startling. There was a general fall of about 3 per cent, in the stock-market, and a depreciation in several instances of from 5 to 6 per cent. Western shares fell from 3 to 5 per cent. Sterling exchange rose to 110½ to 111.
The New York Herald, in its edition of December 17, in a characteristic article on England, argued that there was probably $600,000,000 worth of property of various kinds - stocks, Bonds, real estate, merchandise, &c. - belonging to British and French subjects; and, in case of war with England and France, the Herald urged the Government to appropriate the whole of the property of private individuals, and also recommended the Government to prohibit immediately the further export of breadstuffs to Europe.
The Bank statement of December 16 showed an unexpected large decrease in specie, the decrease amounting to nearly three millions, without any specie shipments to Europe. A suspension of specie payments by the Boston, New York, and Philadelphia banks was considered certain, but, contrary to expectation, at a meeting of the banks in New fork on December the 16th it was resolved not to suspend specie payment. The following resolutions were passed unanimously:-
The America, from Liverpool on the 7th inst., passed Cape Race on the 18th inst., but was not intercepted.
NEW YORK, Dec. 20, Morning.
The latest advices received from Washington this morning report that Lord Lyons had not yet delivered any official despatches to the Federal Government. It is remarked that at the President's Last levée neither the English, French, nor Prussian Minister was present.
Mr. Secretary Chase, at a Bank meeting, expressed an opinion that by January the Federal naval and military operations would give decisive results, and that the British question was capable of and would have a pacific solution.
The 62d and 63d Regiments are under orders at Halifax for Canada.
|Th 2 January 1862|
LONDON, THURSDAY, JANUARY 2, 1862.There is a lull in the near anticipation of war. The gusts are lessening in their force, and there is a gleam of light to windward. The storm is certainly less boisterous, and we are all hoping, and many are believing, we have seen the worst of it. The Funds are springing upwards with their never-failing elasticity, Commerce is putting on a cheerful smile, war risks are subsiding from their rigorous attitude, and that superstition which enjoins faith in Transatlantic securities is beginning to revive. They who put their hopes in an enduring scarcity of Cotton see in the news of the Africa a reason for holding on, and all of us who have held that the Northerners were too shrewd to commit the blunder of a war with England are beginning to congratulate ourselves upon our prescience. Everything the Africa has brought is of a reassuring kind. The tone of the New York Press has moderated under the influence of the serious and resolute attitude of the British Government. The popular feeling against giving up Mason and Slidell has manifested itself much more temperately since it has been proclaimed that England had proposed their restoration as the only alternative to war. The House of Representatives, echoing the voice of the Press and the public, have refused to identify themselves with the particular act for which they had already voted thanks to their naval officer. The "impression" in New York on the 20th of last December was that the Federal Government will not go to war.
All this is very satisfactory. We should be glad to hang the Royal Exchange with olive branches, and to set up graven images of doves upon all the church steeples. It is, however, our cold, ungracious duty, to dissect impartially the news as it arrives, and to check any too violent exhilaration as promptly as too strong a depression. We all hope for peace, and we all think that the chances are now in favour of peace. When, however, we examine critically the tidings which have just arrived we fail to gather from them that absolute certainty which seems to have taken possession of the commercial mind. In the first place, it is to be remarked that there is in this news, as in all that has preceded it, the same remarkable absence of any expression of opinion by those who will have to decide the great question. Itinerant lecturers, and dilettanti literates, and jovial after-dinner judges, and mayors of towns, and stump orators, and even subordinate members of the Government, have spoken, just as all these classes have spoken before; but as yet the Law Officers of the Federal States, and the President and Foreign Minister of those States, are as silent as they have been throughout this long condition of suspense. All we have to judge from is that, under the influence of the warlike news from England, the House of Representatives have swallowed their resolution of thanks to Wilkes, and the Press and rabble of New York are hushed. This is not a decision. When the lion approaches the douar of the wandering Arab the dogs of the encampment are silent from fear, but it is not therefore certain that the men of that encampment will give up the sheep for which he is roaring without a fight. Our English calculations of peace and war have often varied on insufficient grounds. Public opinion here was influenced a few days ago by the declaration of the New York Press that the Southern Commissioners would never be given up, and the news that the House of Representatives had voted thanks to Wilkes; there is a rebound today because the Press and the mob have changed their tone in the presence of danger, and that the House of Representatives have suddenly stopped short in their enthusiastic applause of an act which, if it were not an act of duty, must have been an act of piracy. But in neither case do the facts authorize any prudent conclusion. We have had the tone of the American Press at different times for war and for peace; so also have we had the vibrating tone of the public meetings; but these tell nothing as to the future in America. We have also had the statements of two Cabinet Ministers upon the same subject, and these also happen to be directly opposed. A few days ago we had the report of the Secretary of the Navy, directly approving the act of the American Captain, and applauding him for his conduct; to-day we see the Secretary of the Federal Treasury assuring the bankers of New York that the British question will have a pacific solution. If the Cabinet of Washington were in any degree like the Cabinet of St. James's this would be capable of intelligible interpretation. If our First Lord of the Admiralty had officially applauded an English Captain for seizing an American packet, and if our Chancellor of the Exchequer had subsequently assured the London bankers that there was to be no difficulty on that account, we should at once conclude either that the Cabinet had changed its mind under a threat of war or that no threat of war had been made. Public policy is not, however, conducted in America as in the countries of Europe. There is no unity, or, to use the word of the day, "solidarity", in the Washington Cabinet. Each head of a Department says and does what he thinks will conduce to his own popularity or to the furtherance of his special duties. The Secretary of the Navy felt it necessary to sustain the enthusiasm of his Department, and piracy and prizemoney were not to be disparaged by him. The Secretary of the Treasury, on the other hand, had to deal with bankers whose solvency from day to day depends entirely upon the possibilities of peace. His business therefore was to make it appear that the war with the South was a temporary difficulty, and that the outrage upon the British flag was no difficulty at all; and so he assured them very confidently that the conquest of the South would be effected in January, and that the British question would be peaceably solved. Between these conflicting authorities it is difficult to arrive at any certain conclusion, and the very fact of their conflict seems to reduce both to mere worthlessness. The inconsistency of these two Ministers suggests the conclusion that they either do not know what the decision will be, or that their knowledge does not influence their statements.On the 20th of December the tenour of the English despatch had been for several days as well known in Washington as it was in England. If, therefore, the intention was to restore the men, the immediate interest of the Federal Government was to make it known all over the world that there would be no war with England, for that the exposition of International Law given by the English Law Officers would be admitted, and the Southern Commissioners would be given up. Such a declaration would have given to the American loans whatever stability they are capable of receiving, would have sustained, to such an extent as it is capable of being sustained, the American paper currency, and would have given at least a respite to the bankers of New York, and Boston. It was wicked cruelty towards the bankers if Mr. Seward was able to give an intimation of this kind and yet omitted to do so. It was a species of political suicide in Mr. Lincoln not to make such a declaration if he had resolved to give up the Commissioners. In a crisis such as that in which America now is a few days' confidence is worth millions of money. Is it not strange, then, that they give no hint of the surrender of the prisoners? The poor attempts of the newspapers of New York to persuade the public that the English despatch contained "no exorbitant demand relative to the seizure of the traitors" could deceive no one who had seen the English papers. The talk of "private letters from British statesmen," giving assurance that no demand would be made for the surrender of Mason and Slidell, must be either an invention or a reiterated proof how far individuals whom Americans may perhaps think to be "British statesmen" may be misinformed and mischievously active; but such folly could not weigh one scruple with the merchants and bankers who had received their English correspondents' letters by the Jura. We hope there is some better reliance for peace than upon the assurances of these "British statesmen", or "the calm and sensible letter of General Scott and the seasonable and convincing peace speeches of Messrs. Cobden and Bright". We hope that these speeches and letters may not once again have buoyed up the enemies of England with false hopes that she will not maintain her honour, and may not once again induce them to delay reparation until it is too late to listen to her just demands. If this should be so, the peacemongers will for the second time within ten years have brought upon us the scourge of war. Let us hope, however, with the rest of the world, that all will yet be peace; that there is a strong probability that Mason and Slidell will be given up we are all agreed; but until the intelligence as to this point is much more explicit than that yet received, by the Africa, we cannot think that the uncertainty is past.
|Th 2 January 1862||The annual official return of the condition and situation of every vessel in the navy was published yesterday, under the authority of the Admiralty. From this return it is satisfactory to know that, so far as the navy is concerned, England was never in a prouder position. The number of vessels on the 1st of January was 856 of all rates and classes. There were, besides, 150 line-of-battle and other sailing ships stationed at the various ports in England and the colonies for harbour duty, thus swelling the total to upwards of 1,000 vessels of all descriptions. Of the 856 vessels actually in commission, or building or preparing for service, only 154 are sailing ships, the whole of the remainder being propelled by steam power. The list of vessels is made up of 81 line-of-battle ships, each mounting from 74 to 131 guns; 22 vessels, each with an armament of from 60 to 70 guns; 44 51-gun frigates, the whole, with the exception of about 10 of that number, being screw steamers; 57 ships, each mounting from 22 to 50 guns, and the majority of which have a tonnage as large as ships of the line; 29 screw corvettes, or frigates, each mounting 22 guns; 317 screw and paddlewheel steamers, each carrying less than 22 guns; and 185 screw gunboats, each provided with two Armstrong guns. The following screw ships of the line, and other steamers, composed the squadron on the coast of North America, under the orders of Vice-Admiral Sir Alexander Milne, K.C.B., on the 1st of January, exclusive of the vessels of war now on their passage to that station:- The Conqueror, 101, 800-horse power; the Donegal, 93, 800-horse power; the Nile, 91, 500-horse power; the Hero, 91, 500-horse power; the Agamemnon, 90, 600-horse power; the St. George, 90, 500-horse power; the Aboukir, 86, 400-horse power; the Sanspareil, 70, 400-horse power; the Immortalité, 51, 600-horse power; the Liffey, 51, 600-horse power, the Phaeton, 51, 400-horse power; the Melpomene, 51, 600-horse power; the Orlando, 51, 1,000-horse power; the Mersey, 40, 1,000-horse power; the Diadem, 32, 800-horse power; the Ariadne, 26, 800-horse power; the Challenger, 22, 400-horse power; the Cadmus, 21, 400-horse power; the Jason, 21, 400-horse power; the Orpheus, 21, 400-horse power; the Greyhound, 17, 200-horse power; the Rinaldo, 17, 200-horse power; the Racer, 11, 150-horse power; the Desperate, 7, 400-horse power; the Bulldog, 6, 500-horse power; the Barracouta, 6, 300-horse power; the Hydra, 6, 220-horse power; the Medea, 6, 350-horse power; the Spiteful, 6, 230-horse power; the Nimble, 5, 80-horse power; the Steady, 5, 80-horse power; the Plover, 5, 80-horse power; the Landrail, 5, 80-horse power; and the Cygnet, 5, 80-horse power. The squadron stationed on the South-East Coast of America, under the command of Rear-Admiral R.L. Warren, consisted of the Forte, 51, 400-horse power; the Curacoa, 31, 350-horse power; the Satellite, 21, 400-horse power; the Curlew, 9, 60-horse power; the Stromboli, 6, 230-horse power; and the Ardent, 3, 200-horse power. The fleet composing the Mediterranean squadron, under the orders of Vice-Admiral Sir W.F. Martin, K.C.B., consisted of 29 vessels of all rates, several of which, however, have received orders to return to England for service elsewhere. During the past year the following vessels were completed and launched from the various Royal and private dockyards:- The Defiance, 91, 3,475 tons, 800-horse power; the Perseus, 17, 955 tons, 200-horse power; the Shearwater, 11, 669 tons, 150-horse power; the Pandora, 5, 426 tons, 80-horse power; the Aurora, 51, 2,558 tons, 400-horse power, at Pembroke; the Bristol, 51, 3,027 tons, 600-horse power, at Woolwich; the Glasgow, 51, 3,038 tons, 600-horse power; and the Chanticleer, 17, 950 tons, 290-horse power, at Portsmouth; the Rattlesnake, 21, 1,705 tons, 400-horse power, at Chatham; the Speedwell, 5, 428 tons, 80-horse power, at Deptford; the Black Prince, 36, 6,039 tons, 1,250-horse power, at Glasgow; the Defence, 18, 3,668 tons, 600-horse power, at Newcastle; the Resistance, 18, 3,668 tons, 600-horse power, at Poplar; and the Lily, 4, 695 tons, 200-horse power, at Millwall. The following is the list of the vessels of war now in course of construction, with the places at which they are building:- The Achilles (iron), 50 guns, 6,079 tons, 1,250-horse power - Chatham; the Africa, 4 guns, 659 tons, 150-horse power - Devonport; the Agincourt (iron), 50 guns, 6,621 tons, 1,250-horse power - Birkenhead; the Alligator, 22 guns, 1,857 tons, 400-horse power - Woolwich; the Belvidera, 51 guns, 3,027 tons, 600-horse power - Chatham; the Bulwark, 91 guns, 3,716 tons, 800 horse power - Chatham; the Caledonia (iron-cased), 50 guns, 4,045 tons, 800-horse power - Woolwich; the Columbine, 4 guns, 669 tons, 150-horse power - Deptford; the Dartmouth, 36 guns, 2,478 tons, 500-horse power - Woolwich; the Dromedary, 4 guns, 500 tons, 100-horse power - Millwall; the Dryad, 51 guns, 3,027 tons, 600-horse power - Portsmouth; the Enchantress, 4 guns, 835 tons, 250-horse power - Pembroke; the Endymion, 36 guns, 2,478 tons, 500-horse power - Deptford; the Enterprise, 4 guns, 669 tons, 150-horse power - Deptford; the Favorite, 22 guns, 1,623 tons, 400-horse power - Deptford; the Guernsey, 4 guns, 695 tons, 200-horse power - Pembroke; the Harlequin, 6 guns, 950 tons, 200-horse power - Portsmouth; the Hector (iron), 32 guns, 4,063 tons, 800-horse power - Glasgow; the Helicon, 4 guns, 835 tons, 250-horse power - Portsmouth; the Ister, 36 guns, 3,027 tons, 500-horse power - Devonport; the Jaseur, 5 guns, 425 tons, 80-horse power - Deptford; the Menai, 22 guns, 1,857 tons, 400-horse power - Chatham; Minotaur (iron), 50 guns, 6,621 tons, 1,250-horse power - Blackwall; the Myrmidon, 4 guns, 660 tons, 200-horse power - Chatham; the Nassau, 4 guns, 695 tons, 200-horse power - Pembroke; the Newport, 5 guns, 425 tons, 80-horse power - Pembroke; the North Star, 22 guns, 1,623 tons, 400-horse power - Sheerness; the Ocean (iron-cased), 50 guns, 4,045 tons, 1,000-horse power - Devonport; the Orontes (iron), 3 guns, 2,812 tons, 500-horse power - Blackwall; the Psyche, 4 guns, 835 tons, 250-horse power - Pembroke; the Rattler, 17 guns, 951 tons, 200-horse power - Deptford; the Reindeer, 17 guns, 951 tons, 200-horse power - Chatham; the Repulse, 89 guns, 3,716 tons, 800-horse power - Woolwich; the Robust, 89 guns, 3,716 tons, 800-horse power - Devonport; the Royal Alfred (iron-cased), 50 guns, 3,716 tons, 800-horse power - Portsmouth; the Royal Oak (iron-cased), 50 guns, 3,716 tons, 800-horse power - Chatham; the Salamis, 4 guns, 835 tons, 250-horse power - Chatham; the Sappho, 6 guns, 950 tons, 200-horse power - Deptford; the Sylvia, 4 guns, 695 tons, 200-horse power - Woolwich; the Tamar (iron), 3 guns, 2,812 tons, 500-horse power - Millwall; the Tartarus, 4 guns, 835 tons, 200-horse power, Pembroke; the Trent, 6 guns, 950 tons, 200-horse power - Pembroke; the Triumph (iron-cased), 50 guns, 3,716 tons, 800-horse power -Pembroke; the Tweed, 51 guns, 3,027 tons, 600-horse power - Pembroke; the Salient (iron), 32 guns, 4,063 tons, 800-horse power - Millwall; the Wolverine, 21 guns, 1,623 tons, 400-horse power - Woolwich; the Zealous, 89 guns, 3,716 tons, 800-horse power - Pembroke.|
|Th 2 January 1862|
The Royal Mail steamship Africa, Captain Shannon, which left New York on the 20th, at 6 45 a.m., has arrived. Her advices have been partially anticipated by express, via Holyhead.
The following vessels of war were in New York harbour: - Two French frigates, two ditto paddle steamers, two English corvettes, and one ditto gunboat.
The Cunard steamship America, with advices from Queenstown to the 8th, passed Cape Race on the night of the 18th, but refused to be boarded.
In the Senate, on the 19th, Mr. Willey(Union), of Virginia, offered a resolution that the existing war was forced upon the country by the States in rebellion without provocation, it was designed to destroy the Union and Constitution, and their purpose was to disavow and repudiate the fundamental principles of a Republican Government. He proceeded to speak at some length on the resolution, contending that the rebellion was perfectly unjustifiable. In no country was life more secure and civil and religious liberty more perfect. The country had been in unexampled prosperity, and especially was the South favoured, and there consequently could be no grievance to cause the rebellion, as a Virginian Senator and slaveholder had declared that the South always got what was demanded. He commended the proclamation of those Generals who had declared that it was not their intention to interfere with legal institutions, and expressed his gratification that the President in his Message had re-declared fidelity to the Constitution. He declared that by no efforts of his should slavery be extended, though he believed it necessary for the present that the African race should be kept in bondage. He gave a brief sketch of the rise of Secession, and declared that it was the result of a long concerted conspiracy, as avowed by the leaders of the rebellion. He argued at some length against the doctrine of Secession, and contended that the real cause of Secession was hostility to the Democratic principles of Republican Government. Without finishing, Mr. Willey gave way to a motion for an executive Session.
The Senate adjourned to the 6th of January. A Message was received from the President on foreign relations, in which document no allusion was made to the affair of the Trent, but the Gulf expedition was gravely alluded to.
In the House of Representatives on the 19th a Bill was passed authorizing the construction of 20 iron-clad gunboats.
The New York World of the 19th says:-
In another article the World says:-
Alluding to the hostile feeling in Canada, the same paper says: - "Whatever may betide us now, we are ultimately victorious, and Canada will do well to remember it."
The New York Times of the 19th says:-
The New York Skipping List, of the 18th, says:-
The New York Journal of Commerce concludes an article as follows:-
"England cannot afford to go to war with us, for the conflict, sooner or later, would involve the loss of her West India islands, of Canada, and the adjoining provinces, and, last and most fatal of all, the loss of Ireland, her right arm in war, her granary in peace. England cannot go to war with us, for $600,000,000 worth of American stock is owned by British subjects, which, in the event of hostilities, would be confiscated; and we now call upon the companies not to take it off their hands upon any terms. Let its forfeiture be held over England as a weapon in terrorem. British subjects have $200,000,000 or $300,000,000 invested in shipping and other property in the United States. All this property, together with the stocks, would be seized, amounting to $900,000,000 in all Will England incur this tremendous loss for a mere abstraction? For the purpose of intimidating us she issues a proclamation prohibiting the export of saltpetre, arms, or ammunition. We have saltpetre in the Mammoth Cave, in Kentucky, and other parts of the country, which, if properly worked, will render us independent of England; and can manufacture arms and ammunition for ourselves. But in a more vital point she is not equally independent of us. We can place an embargo on all breadstuffs, and the effect of that measure would be to starve her population in three months. We can prevent her getting a pound of cotton. All she can do in return is to blockade Northern ports. But we will shut them up against her ourselves, if she proceeds much farther in her hostile course. We can live independent of her and all the world. We have a vast and fertile country, with boundless resources, and all that a nation needs within. We could prosper if we had not a single ship, and every port were closed. Our own internal trade and manufactures would be ample to sustain a large mercantile class. Not so England. She is an artificial nation, like Venice of old, depending entirely upon her maritime commerce. Let that be struck down, and where is she? It is in our power to give it a death-blow. We can spare from our merchant marine 6,000 ships for privateers. We can arm them and send them over the ocean to sweep her commerce from the face of the deep. In her present circumstances, a few months of such warfare would ruin her. The greatest injury she could inflict upon us would be a little inconvenience - the deprivation of a few luxuries by no means essential to the welfare of a great nation. But the maritime prestige of England once destroyed, and her commerce cut up in every sea, she would sink immediately to the position of a poor third or fourth-rate Power, destined soon, perhaps, to become an appendage of France. What has happened once may happen again. Venice, so mighty for 1,300 years, and the greatest maritime nation of the world, what is she now? Where is now the glory of Carthage and Tyre? Spain, Portugal, and the Dutch Republic have in turn ruled the waves. But they have lost the trident, and England, which has succeeded to the empire of the seas, sees her sway gradually transferred to the Western World. Hence her jealousy of the American Republic, and her desire to split it into powerless fragments. But a war with us would hasten her downfall, and precipitate the fate she is so anxious to avert. In the event of England, in her folly, declaring war against the United States, the annexation of the British North American possessions, to which Mr. Seward looked forward in his speeches made before the present Administration came into office, will inevitably follow. Between Vermont and Minnesota we could pour 150,000 troops into Canada in a week, and overrun the province in three weeks more. It would take a longer time to capture the citadel of Quebec, but still time would do the work. In this invasion we should be aided by a large portion of the inhabitants, two-thirds of whom are in favour of annexation to the United States."
|Th 2 January 1862||While war with the federal States of America appeared more certainly unavoidable than it is thought at this moment, few things caused more indignation in this country than the threat of confiscating all English, property in the States. It was not that any exceptional sympathy was felt for the persons who had been so credulous as to embark money in a country already tarnished by repudiation. Promises of high interest mean only, as we have been told by high authority, bad security for the principal. People who lend money at even 60 per cent. generally come to grief, and they who lend their money at 7 per cent. tacitly admit that they are running a certain chance of never getting it back. But this ready threat of
wholesale robbery showed such a reckless want of principle in the Press and people on the other side of the Atlantic that it excited a general feeling of disgust even among those who are not so unfortunate as to be holders of American securities. That English money should be lost in the general vortex of financial ruin in America is one thing, but that it should be wilfully and exceptionally seized is altogether a different suggestion. This would be an outrage which England could not retaliate. We could not punish repudiation by repudiation. We must pay our debts for our own credit's sate, whatever the Americans may do; and we believe that, if we were going to war to-morrow with any country in the Old or New World, the very last thing to be suggested by any respectable journalist or public speaker would be the possibility of confiscating the English investments made by our enemies. During our Russian war no one on either side dreamt of asking the nationality of any public creditor; and if the forms of business sometimes required the intervention of a neutral name, it was a mere form. America, on the other hand, has, through her Press, which has an almost diplomatic importance where the multitude is sovereign, always made this threat upon the occurrence of the slightest difficulty. In 1839 Mr. Seward, the present Foreign Minister, found such an apprehension in the way of his business, and in a letter, which we insert elsewhere, he laboured to convince our mercantile classes that "no person in America ever dreamt that their Government could be guilty of so gross a violation of faith as to confiscate in time of war money invested in American securities in time of peace."
It is not an inopportune moment to remind this American statesman of his own declarations. Some of the papers which have the largest circulation, and which, by the character of their intelligence, are evidently in communication with members of the Government, are daily reiterating that the first act of hostility in case of war will not be against a public enemy, but against private creditors. These threats are put forward by the American papers only as a reason why they should be permitted to inflict insults upon our flag, and to deter us from demanding reparation for them. "We could," says the New York Herald, "in a single day strike a terrible blow at the financial power of England, in the confiscation of the nine hundred millions of bonds, stocks, and property of all kinds held in this country by British subjects." Again, the same popular organ says, - "England cannot go to war with us, for six hundred millions worth of American stock is owned by British subjects, which, in the event of hostilities, would be confiscated and we now call upon the companies not to take it off their hands upon any terms. Let its forfeiture be held over England as a weapon in terrorem." Perhaps, it is not of much practical advantage to contrast the assurances of American statesmen by which our countrymen were lured into these investments with the threats of wholesale robbery by which their confidence is repaid. Perhaps, it is of little effect to recall to the minds of those who have stepped upon this quicksand the glowing pictures of safety and stability by which the prime encomiasts of Democracy tempted them to the venture. America has been in all modern times a great grave of English fortunes. Legitimate trade has been generally advantageous to both Continents; speculations and investments have, for the most part, been disastrous. What millions of English gold have been sunk in the regions of the South, - what mountains of English savings have been swallowed up in the rotten adventures and repudiated loans of the North! These are losses which we have endured with more or less equanimity; but, although Sydney Smith insisted upon casting the whole onus upon the American people, and bade them elect their churchwardens and levy their rate of infamy among themselves, we have always been prone to take their view of the matter, and to hold only each company and each State responsible for their individual defalcations. The threat now put forward is, however, an act of dishonesty of a Federal character. We are not very much surprised to find a nation which proposes to hang privateer prisoners as pirates, and which professed anxiety to protect all private property from war risks, boasting that "within six months we could place such a swarm of swift steam privateers on the ocean as would render English commerce unsafe from Nova Scotia to Australia"; but we confess that we are surprised to see even the Americans ostentatiously declaring to the world upon what slender contingencies of peace or war the property of foreigners invested in America hangs. The privateering matter shows only how principle in that country is made to bend to momentary advantages; the Confiscation proposition shows how far common honesty can be lost sight of in moments of anger.We are writing in hope that the war-cloud has now blown over, and that the telegram forwarded by Mr. Seward to the New York Bankers has been verified by the release of the prisoners. At this moment the question of peace or war rests, not upon menaces from Washington or foolish letters and speeches from England, but upon a fact. Captain Wilkes has had his fact, and we must have ours. He has taken these men from our protection, and they must be returned to our protection. Every waggish joke, such as that the Trent shall go back and be recaptured - every truculent threat, such as that America will rob her English creditors if England does not submit to be insulted, - is now beside the question. The only reason for mentioning them is lest their authors should be unfortunately induced to put some faith in them. What we think of arbitration in such a case as this the Americans may gather from the proceedings yesterday at a public meeting in Mr. Bright's own borough of Birmingham, where the friends of arbitration were beaten at their own meeting by an overwhelming majority. We wish we could show them in an equally public manner what the holders of American securities think. That they hope for peace, even as the Birmingham men hope for peace, and as we all hope for peace, is emphatically true; but no one of them would put his American securities, whether valuable or worthless, in balance against his feelings as an Englishman, nor would desire peace any otherwise than so far as it is consistent with the honour of his country. Let us speak frankly, for it is by frankness that we shall avoid war. If the two peoples understand each other, there will be no war. The only question is, shall we or shall we not have these prisoners? If, unfortunately, the Americans should be deluded by their own Press, or by the few noisy talkers on this side, into a belief that England will be satisfied with what is less than just, or will be intimidated by fear of robbery or violence from insisting upon the restoration of these prisoners, then the present soft words and pacific assurances mean nothing. In such a case America will sink once more into a fools' paradise, and be awakened to a sad reality.
|Fr 3 January 1862||English Advices for America. - The following is the list of steamers which have left this country since the departure of the Europa City of Washington, and Jura, the news of the arrival of which in America has reached this country per Africa, viz.: - The America, left England December 7, due in America December 21; the City of Edinburgh, left England December 11, due in America December 24; the Arago, left England December 21, due in America December 24; the Nova Scotian, left England December 12, due in America December 22; the Niagara, left England December 14, due in America December 27; the Borussia, left England December 18, due in America December 31; the Etna, left England December 18, due in America December 31; the Norwegian, left England December 19, due in America December 30; the Asia, left England December 21, due in America January 2. The America passed Cape Race on December 18. General Scott went out in the Arago. It is probable that letters from Mr. Thurlow Weed, who came to Europe with General Scott, were sent out in the Arago. It is likely also that the despatches of Mr. Adams, the Federal Ambassador in London, and which would determine the period for the reply of the Federal Cabinet to the demands of Lord Lyons on the affair of the Trent, went out in the Arago. The views of France, Austria, and Prussia on the Trent affair must have gone out in one of the above-named steamers to their respective Ambassadors at Washington. The news of the naval and military preparations in England would reach America by the steamers in question. The Nova Scotian and Norwegian would stop at Portland; the Niagara would call at Halifax, and stop at Boston. All the other vessels were bound direct for New York. It is possible that the news carried out by all the steamers reached New York and Washington, via Cape Race, from two to three days earlier than the dates upon which the vessels themselves were due. -Express.|
|Sa 4 January 1862|
LONDON, SATURDAY, JANUARY 4, 1862.
One of the most astonishing characteristics of the American people is the ignorance which they show in discussing the power and resources of other nations as compared with their own. They are well educated, they are enlightened, they had till lately a free Press, they are given to foreign travel, and it was their justifiable boast that in no country was useful knowledge more universally diffused. Nevertheless, their delusions on the subject of their own omnipotence and invulnerability are as strange as any ever entertained by the Chinese themselves. They have been so flattered and befooled by their own mob orators that they have lost all measure of their real strength. Their few isolated victories in the war of 1812 have been made the foundation of such, a blind presumption, as would befit some semi-barbarous Eastern Court rather than a sensible and well-instructed Anglo-Saxon nation. The key-note of their boasting is that the British conquered the world, and that they conquered the British. They might as well style themselves Lords of the Earth and Brothers of the Sun and Moon. They never conquered us at all, and the little that they did fifty years ago they would have a very poor chance of doing again. What consummates the prodigy is that they enter into circumstantial calculations of their power, and, with ample proof to the contrary staring them in the face, establish to their own satisfaction that they can crush, ruin, and destroy any nation, or all the nations of the world together, while no nation is capable of doing them any sensible harm. As an example of these wonderful self-delusions we take their estimate of the British and Federal Navies, which they have worked out, at any rate on their own side, with elaborate detail, Their conclusion, as illustrated in the extract which we yesterday gave from American journals, is, that they could sweep our commerce from the face of the ocean, destroy our maritime renown, annihilate us as Tyre and Sidon were annihilated, and reduce us immediately to the position of "a poor fourth-rate Power," to become, probably, "an appendage to France". All this while they, the Federal States, would enjoy perfect immunity from the evils of war, and, excepting that they might possibly lose a few luxuries, would thrive and prosper, independently of the world, sustained by the boundless and all-sufficing resources of a vast and fertile country. When we look to the means proposed for achieving all these triumphs, we are told that the Northern States would, on a declaration of war, equip and arm 6,000 privateers to drive us from the face of the deep.
It is as well, perhaps, that in this estimate then was no mention of ships of war. What the Federal Navy was at the commencement of the Civil War we showed a few weeks ago; what it is now we can explain this morning. As the emergency was pressing, the Federal Government at once resolved on purchasing a whole fleet of vessels from the mercantile marine. They spent on this service about a million and a half of money, and bought up apparently every floating thing at hand that would carry a gun or two. They did not even confine themselves to steamers, but snapped up old sailing brigs, barks, and schooners, which they added to packet-vessels, tugs, and ferry-boats, and so "reconstructed " their Navy. That Navy, therefore, which six months ago consisted of about half-a-dozen serviceable frigates and twice as many serviceable sloops, now comprises, in addition, 35 paddle wheel steamers, 43 screw steamers 13 ships, 18 barks, and 23 schooners, all picked up in the various Federal ports since July last. This, as far as ships of war go, is the force on which they rely to contend against a Navy of a thousand vessels, including 80 ships of the line 100 powerful frigates, and swarms of smaller craft admirably built and armed. Admiral Milne's squadron alone included on the 1st of this month eight ships of the line, as many heavy frigates six corvettes, and eleven lighter steamers or gunboats. A telegram from the Admiralty could double or treble it at the shortest notice. A to reinforcing such a marine by purchased merchantmen, we could add a thousand steamers to it in a month, if the idea could be entertained. As it is, we are going rather on the opposite tack If the good people of the Northern States will but look at the Naval Intelligence given in these columns, they will see that, instead of buying, we are selling. A very pretty little fleet of frigates and sloops is just now on sale at our dockyards, most of them newer and better vessels than those which formed the sailing Navy of America a few months back, and all infinitely superior to the bargains by which it has since been increased. This survey, too, will materially assist us in appreciating the grand scheme of sweeping us from the ocean by the guns of 6,000 privateers. If the Northern Americans, acting under the strongest stimulus, and with a prodigality of outlay beyond all bounds, have only been able to equip and arm some 150 merchantmen of all descriptions in the course of six months, - not half of these being seaworthy, - we may guess what success they would experience in turning out about forty times that number to sweep England from the ocean.
But there is a good deal more to he said on this point. The Americans here, as everywhere else, are lost in dreams of a bygone age. It is clear that if much was to be done by privateering we, as being infinitely stronger, could do more than they. If such a game were to be played, we could send out three privateers to their one, our ships being no longer inferior in sailing qualities, but a match for any vessels in the world. Our privateers would be as certain in the long run to beat theirs as our Royal Navy would to beat their ships of war. It is far more probable, however, that the days of privateering would be found to be past. Steam has now superseded sails, and steamers require not only greater original outlay and organization, but convenient ports for fitting and coaling. A steam privateer could hardly keep the sea more than ten days at a time. Our large mail packets would carry guns, and would be unassailable by any but ships of war, of which it is to be hoped Admiral Milne would soon give a good account. Then, again, the electric telegraph has so improved communications that the first sight of a hostile sail on this side of the Atlantic would set every port and every guardship on the alert, and supposing, after all, that an American privateer should succeed, as no doubt she might, in snapping up a prize, where is she to dispose of it? She could not carry it into any European port, and our blockading squadrons would take good care that she got into no port of her own. The Americans, in short, could never send out "6,000 privateers," nor a twentieth part of the number; if they did so, and privateering was found to be an effective service, we could beat them hollow at their own game; but the probability is that the system would never answer in these times as it did in times past.Equally marvellous, again, is the delusion of the Americans about their own invulnerability all this while, and their absolute independence of foreign trade. The first effect of our blockade would be to deprive them at a blow of their Customs and their cotton - in other words, of the raw material for their home manufactures, and the chief source of their ordinary revenue. At the same moment, the very embargo which they boast they could themselves lay on their breadstuffs would rob the Western States of the profits of their agriculture, and convert communities already uneasy into disloyal and disaffected States. Is the Federal Government prepared to encounter these perils, and in an unjust cause? We should think not, but such are the hallucinations which a long course of flattery has engendered in the American mind that it is impossible to predict the policy which the people may dictate. In this crisis of their destinies, when a war with England would, comparatively speaking, be sport to us, though death to them, they are persuading themselves that the advantages are all on their side, and the risks on ours. With a Navy scarcely more formidable than that of Italy or Spain, they are not only defying, but menacing, the chief maritime Power of the world, and all this they are doing in the light of day and with abundant information to guide them to a better judgment. Under such circumstances, who can calculate on their course?
|Sa 4 January 1862|
SOUTHAMPTON, JAN. 3.
The North, German Lloyd screw steamer Hansa, Captain H.J. Von Santen, arrived off Cowes at 8 a.m., and went on to Bremen, after transshipping mails, &c, for this port. She brings 71 passengers for Southampton and Bremen, $209,000 in specie for England, $50,000 for Havre, and about 3,000 tons of merchandise, of which 350 tons are for England. Rough weather and heavy southeasterly winds have been experienced on the passage.
The Hansa brings one day's later papers than the Africa. No official communication had yet been made by Lord Lyons to Mr. Secretary Seward on the Trent affair. The latest telegram from Washington to the New York Times is as follows:-
The Washington correspondent of the Herald telegraphs as follows to that journal:-
The correspondent of the Tribune says:-
The papers are all writing in a much more moderate tone on the Mason and Slidell question; witness the following from the New York Times of the 21st ult.:-
"According to our latest advices from Washington, all apprehensions of a rupture with England upon the late affair of the Trent may he dismissed. Our Cabinet, we are informed, looking to the absorbing and paramount issue-the suppression of this Southern rebellion - will yield to the present demands of England as the conditions of her neutrality, even if these demands involve the restoration of Mason and Slidell to the protection of the British flag, and a disavowal of and an apology for their seizure by Captain Wilkes. In adopting this alternative of submission to these peremptory demands, the Administration runs the hazard of disappointing the popular sentiment of our loyal States. But a little reflection will satisfy every intelligent mind of the wisdom of deferring a final settlement with England until we shall have made an end of this Southern rebellion. There have been some conjectures that arbitration may be resorted to; but it is better gracefully to yield to the exigencies of the crisis, and promptly relieve England of her convenient pretext for a quarrel, without the intervention of any third party. Let our Government, then, meet the requisitions of Lord Lyons, in the restitution of Mason and Slidell to British protection, and in an acknowledgment that while Captain Wilkes would have been right in seizing the Trent steamer and in bringing her before a Prize Court for adjudication, he was wrong in limiting his proceeding to the seizure of his prisoners; and that we regret that his controlling considerations of international courtesy and leniency should have resulted in the very offence which it was his particular object to avoid. An explanation of this character, we presume, will be considered amply satisfactory; as an atonement to the insulted flag of England. It may be painful and humiliating to us. But who will reproach the surprised traveller for yielding to the demand of 'Your money or your life,' with the highwayman's pistol at his head? Our Government will be amply justified in this reparation by the public opinion of our loyal States, considering the rejoicings of our rebellious States at the prospect of securing the aid of England's fleets and armies in the enterprise of the occupation of Washington. We are called upon now to exhibit the virtues of patience and moderation towards a domineering foreign Power, and to submit to its arrogant demands and pretensions, in order to grapple the more effectively with an insolent domestic enemy beleaguering our national capital. But as Rome remembered Carthago from the invasion of Hannibal, and as Prance remembers St. Helena, so will the people of the United States remember and treasure up for the future this little affair of the Trent. Nor do we suppose that the pacific solution of this difficulty, upon the basis of England's offensive ultimatum, will be without equivalent or compensation. We expect that it will secure a more decent regard hereafter for England's professions of neutrality than she has heretofore exhibited; that such scandalous neutral hospitalities as those lately extended to the piratical steamer Nashville at Southampton will not be repeated; and that such commercial ventures as that of the steamer Bermuda to Savannah will cease to be made by British subjects from English ports, under the connivance of Her Majesty's Government. Granted that these demands of England in this matter of Mason and Slidell were framed for war and not for peace, we have the right to call for a faithful adherence to this peace, which has been conceded where war was expected and designed. But we are asked why these humiliating concessions upon a quibble and a pretext? If England's purpose is war, will she not find some other pretext upon which there can be no concession? We answer, that by yielding to the arrogant demands of England upon this pretext of to-day we shall have reduced her to bonds of peace from which, she cannot escape except as a reckless filibuster, liable to be outlawed by every European Power. Meantime, with the re-establishment of our peaceable relations with England, we shall be at liberty to bring our whole military power to bear by land and sea upon this domestic rebellion. We hope, too, that, admonished by the restless impatience of England and France for cotton, President Lincoln and his Cabinet will vigorously push forward the movements of our fleets and armies, and put an end to all European notions of an inevitable Southern Confederacy by the speedy overthrow of the spurious revolutionary league of Davis and his confederates. Then, with this rebellion suppressed, with our revolted States restored, with an army of 1,000,000 men in the field, with a powerful navy, including a good proportion of iron-plated ships, and with our seacoast and frontier defences upon a war footing, we shall have the power to settle, not only our outstanding accounts against England, but the power to prescribe the extent and the limitations of European authority on this continent."
|Sa 4 January 1862|
NEW YORK, Dec. 21, Afternoon.It is reported that Lord Lyons has had several informal interviews with Mr. Seward, but that no official communication on the subject of the Trent affair has yet passed between them.
It is rumoured that Mr. Seward sent a communication to the British Government previous to the receipt of the Europa's advices.
The belief in a pacific solution is universal.
The New York Herald and Times state that Messrs. Mason and Slidell will be surrendered.
The World, however, says they will not.
|Sa 4 January 1862||The subjoined detail of officers, non-commissioned officers, and gunners of the Royal Artillery assembled last night on parade at Woolwich, and left at 7 o'clock per special train for Liverpool to embark in the Cunard steamship Arabia for North America. The force comprised three brigades of garrison artillery, consisting of Col. Graydon, Major Hope, Capt. C.E. Sterling, Capt. F.N. Cromartie, Lieuts. R.J. Millet, H.W. Rooke, W.J. Scott, F.W. Carey, and W.R. Molesworth, 14 sergeants and 220 rank and file, and Major Child, Capt. Brown, Lieut. Gillies, and Lieut. Brother, 7 sergeants, and 110 gunners, intended for duty in Halifax garrison. They were escorted to the wharf by the regimental band, the music, ordered to cease playing after the death of his Royal Highness the Prince Consort, having been permitted to perform as usual. The passage of the troops through the town was hailed, as on the former occasions, by the cheers and acclamations of the people, and the conduct of the troops was remarkably good. The statement contained in some of the morning, and copied into the evening papers of Thursday, of the departure of Royal Artillery from Woolwich for America, was incorrect, a detachment having left for Tilbury Fort only.|
Contrary to the usual practice at this season of the year, no cessation whatever has taken place in the field-work operations of the Royal and Indian Engineers at Chatham, the whole of the officers and men who can be spared from their other duties being daily employed on the Royal Engineers' practising ground in the various operations connected with the formation of earthworks and the construction of saps, parallels, galleries, and batteries, in order that the men may be fully competent to take the field whenever despatched from England for foreign service. By the end of next week 200 men will have completed their different courses of instruction, and be in readiness for embarcation for wherever their services may be required.
|Ma 6 January 1862||Democracy has certainly one virtue. It produces such a candour of political confession as would be sought for in vain under any other form of government. Most people have their tricks, but Republicans alone seem to print them. The Americans tell us with the utmost frankness, not only what they mean to do, but why they do it, and what they would do if they had a better chance, and what they are resolved to do on the next opportunity. They paint themselves as no other people would quite like to paint them, for in this world, though we may naturally suspect bad motives, it is customary to give credit for good ones where the act will sustain the presumption. But the Americans dissect and display themselves for the edification of Europe, without caring to put the least gloze upon their designs, or to affect any semblance of political morality. True, Mr. Seward claimed for his Government that it alone was actuated by "sentiments of the highest virtue," while nothing better than interest lay at the bottom of any European policy, but Mr. Seward's countrymen coolly discard, if we may trust their journals, any such lofty pretensions. They tell us their views and their calculations exactly as they tell us the strength of their fleet and the position of their finances. There is not the slightest reserve about either the public departments or public opinion. Nowhere but in the memoirs of Mr. Barry Lyndon could such an absolute, unconscious, and self-incriminating candour be discovered as the American journals exhibit in every column of their impressions.
When the affair of the Trent first became known in America, and the original jubilation over the exploit was followed by certain awkward misgivings, the American Press encouraged the people by elaborately arguing that England could not possibly go to war, and must therefore swallow this, like all other affronts, as best she might. The Federal States might do just what they pleased, for the Britishers would be starved without American corn, and ruined without American custom. We were so tied and bound, by those links which are said to secure peace that we were fit objects for insults calculated to produce war. We might be right, perhaps, in protesting, but that was nothing to the purpose, and, at any rate, we had often been wrong in years past. That view of the case was maintained for a time, until the news arrived that for once we were likely to demand justice, and enforce our demands. Then followed another line of argument, equally explicit and unreserved. It was held that the question must, of course, be referred to diplomatic negotiation - not with the slightest idea of getting at the truth or settling the point of law, but for the plain, acknowledged purpose, of shelving or mystifying it altogether. There was not the least disguise about the proceeding. The Americans had got possession of certain persons wrongfully taken from under the protection of the British flag. We are not begging the question by the term "wrongfully," for that there was a wrong was not, at this stage of the affair, denied even in America. The New York journals admitted that reparation could be required in some form or other, and they even volunteered offers of "honourable apology"; but instead of honest restitution they proposed "reference" and discussion - not as the means of arriving at a decision, but with the avowed object of rendering a decision impracticable till the time had passed away for any definite or significant settlement at all. They meant to put the affair into diplomatic Chancery, and said what they meant. Protract the controversy for a sufficient time, and we should shake hands from sheer weariness or unconcern. "We presume," said one journal, " that Lord Lyons "will present his case in one of those diplomatic notes of several newspaper columns in extent, and that an appropriate reply will demand an extension of the argument, and so on, until the issue of war involved shall have melted away into an amicable arrangement." For some days that was the tone of the Press. "Don't be afraid. We have done what we ought not to have done, very likely; but we can put the matter into court, and before it comes out again we shall be all safe enough. It is only a diplomatic affair - not a case of war."
A few days later, however, and the aspect of the matter was changed once more. It was understood that our demands had taken such a form as would preclude the arrangement in contemplation. What was to be done, then, if England demurred to the proposal of interminable negotiation, and required prompt and substantial redress? If the issue could not be "melted," how was it to be met? Well, the first inquiry was whether the alternative of war might not possibly be eligible, - not in defence of a nation's just privileges or in protection of a sacred right, but as a matter of present interest and convenience in the existing predicament of the Federal States. "It is argued in high quarters that the United States would be benefited by a war with England, on the ground that we should be immediately relieved of the present enormous expense of keeping up the blockade, and could turn our guns on the splendid commerce of Great Britain; that our people are just in a fighting mood; that in a few months we shall have one of the most magnificent and well-drilled armies the world ever saw, with nothing else to do except to whip John Bull for the third time. This kind of reasoning is not very popular among the officers of Government, but is really a sentiment emanating from a source entitled to consideration." It seems, however, that either further reflection or the "officers of Government" carried the day, and that war with England was not thought a promising policy. Accordingly, the latest phase of opinion points to definite concession, but with such a very frank avowal of the motives at work, and the resolutions privately entertained, that the decision is left with very little grace attending it. A tone of noble indignation opens the argument. That very journal which had in the plainest language recommended "negotiation" as an infallible expedient for evading redress altogether is scandalized beyond measure, a day or two later, at the news that this expedient will be found unavailable, and that we decline to be tricked. There is no longer any help for it. "It may be painful and humiliating to us. But who will reproach the surprised traveller for yielding to the demand of 'Your money or your life,' with the highwayman's pistol at his head?" Considering that in this case the "money" belonged to the "highwayman" himself, and that the "surprised traveller" had just been devising all manner of schemes for keeping the rightful owner out of his property, the innocence and naïveté of the view adopted are perfectly marvellous. In fact, we don't believe the case comes from an American hand. It is Barry Lyndon all over. There is no mistaking the touch.But what if the captured Envoys are surrendered? Why, then, we are told the Americans will owe us a grudge for evermore. First, they will by this concession be binding us over to keep the peace, and it is declared that we, after quietly receiving what had been unlawfully taken from us, to the universal scandal of Christendom, would thus be reduced to bonds of peace which, we could not break "except as a reckless Filibuster liable to be outlawed by every European Power." That this pretty description applies not so closely to us as to a country which had attacked a neutral flag and had ventured on a capture condemned on the instant by the great Governments of the Continent, seems never to have occurred to the complainant's mind. We are threatened, therefore, with revenge and punishment. We may regain our own, but the recovery will never be forgotten. What the battle of Cannae was to Rome, what St. Helena was to France, the affair of the Trent will be to America, or, in other words, we shall be visited with mortal and undying hatred - not because we have committed any wrong, but because a wrong so grievous as to call forth the unsolicited protests of all Europe was committed upon us. That logic, again, is not the logic of America, we may be sure. An able French writer has just remarked that America is at this time in one of those revolutionary fits when a single accident may change the whole course of ideas and opinions. We sincerely trust that, as the next change, the Americans may discover what we have done to be only what no State could with safety have left undone, and that we did it in the best way both for ourselves and them. They will consider, we hope, that an act against which France, Austria, Prussia, and Belgium thought it necessary to protest, even by anticipation, could not possibly be tolerated by the chief maritime Power of the world. If our demands came at an awkward time for them, that was not our fault. It was they who created the question, not we. However, if they will make an end of it now, we shall not raise it again, or owe them any grudge about it; and we trust that when the sound sense of the real American people is brought to bear upon this matter they will be as ready as ourselves to let bygones be bygones.
|Tu 7 January 1862|
LONDON TUESDAY, JANUARY 7, 1862.
Much astonishment was occasioned some years ago by the intelligence that the civil war which, had broken out between two parties in Switzerland was opened by a naval engagement, and it is possible that many people may now be surprised to learn that in the event of an American war the safety of Canada is likely in the first instance to be threatened by water, and not by land. Such, however, in some sense, is really the fact, and a glance at any ordinary map of Northern America will show from what geographical conditions the anomaly arises. The richest and most populous territories of Canada lie on the banks of a mighty river and the shores of vast inland Lakes. All the North bank of the St. Lawrence and all the Northern shores of the Lakes with which it is connected belong to Canada, while the Southern shores of the Lakes and a small portion of the South bank of the river belong to the Federal States of America. It was found in the campaign of 1813 that these Lakes became the scene of the most decisive conflicts, and two victories which were successively gained by the American flotillas led, not indeed to the meditated conquest of Canada, but to the temporary ascendancy of our enemies in these internal waters. The actual event of the war was in our favour, for the invaders, though superior in number and resources, were repulsed from the Canadian territory, but the successes of the combatants were for some time pretty evenly balanced, and it was not until we had acquired a superiority on Lake Ontario that the Americans relinquished their hopes of Canadian conquest. At the conclusion of the war both belligerents were busily engaged in building ships for future battles, so that great naval arsenals were actually established in the middle of a continent, and at a great distance from the sea. The Treaty of Peace, however, terminated this rivalry, and a principle which has vainly been recommended in European negotiations was practically recognized in the case before us. The two rival Powers on the two shores of the Lakes, instead of running a race against each other, decided that there should be no race at all. Instead of building ship against ship and frigate against frigate, they agreed to build, in time of peace, no vessels of war whatever, and at this moment there lies in one of the American harbours an 84-gun ship, which, after being commenced in 1814, was left in virtue of these stipulations to remain unfinished up to the present day.
In the event, however, of a renewal of such hostilities as were terminated by the Treaty of Ghent, there would be a renewal, of course, of operations on these Inland Seas, for the command of the water which separates Upper Canada from the Federal territories would be equivalent to a command of the field. It becomes a question, therefore, of great interest to ascertain how this superiority is likely to be determined, and we publish this morning a detailed statement of the various conditions by which the result will be governed. It will be seen that the matter divides itself into two periods, of which the first would be the most critical for England. Up to the month of April next the Lakes may be regarded as inaccessible from the sea, and, therefore, whatever force is created there must be created on the spot. The Americans could build and launch their gunboats and their rafts, and so could we. Not much could be done, probably, on either side, as all the vessels must be extemporized from materials actually at hand. On both shores there are railways leading up to the water's edge, but the Americans have the advantage in population and resources at the critical points, and Sackett's Harbour, their arsenal on Lake Ontario, is an establishment for which we have no match. Still, timber is plentiful; guns, munitions, and steam machinery could be transported by railway; and so widely has the country been civilized since the last war that some of the most important towns of the Federal States, such as Milwaukie and Chicago, have risen on the shores of these once remote waters, and are consequently exposed to the attacks of our squadrons. The risks, therefore, are divided, and the opportunities of inflicting mischief are divided also. It may, perhaps, be admitted that for the next three months the Americans, being more numerous and powerful than the Canadians, might succeed in placing on these Inland Seas a larger flotilla than could be launched in the same time by the colonists, but it must be remembered that this flotilla must in any case be rudely extemporized, and that earthworks, judiciously constructed and well armed, would suffice for the effectual protection of the menaced points against such feeble assailants.
As soon, however, as the St. Lawrence is opened again there will be an end of our difficulty. We can then pour into the Lakes such a fleet of gunboats and other craft as will give us the complete and immediate command of these waters. Directly the navigation is clear, we can send up vessel after vessel without any restrictions, except such as are imposed by the size of the canals. The Americans would have no such resource. They would have no access to the Lakes from the sea, and it is impossible that they could construct vessels of any considerable power in the interval that would elapse before the ice broke up. With the opening of Spring the Lakes would be ours, and if the mastery of these waters is indeed the mastery of all, we may expect the result with perfect satisfaction. On the whole, therefore, the conclusion seems clear that three months hence the field will be all our own, and that in the meantime the Americans, if judiciously encountered, would not be able to do us much harm.There is, however, another point of great importance. We have observed that Upper Canada lies upon Lakes, and Lower Canada upon a mighty river. On the banks of this river the population gathers like the population of Egypt on the banks of the Nile. The two great cities of the colony, Quebec and Montreal, are on the St. Lawrence, and the latter is but 40 miles from the American frontier. At this point the Americans, relying upon the number of their troops, and allured by the grandeur of the prize, might possibly make a dash, and success in such an enterprise would not only give them the possession of an opulent city and the renown of so brilliant a capture, but would also establish them in a position threatening the communication between the Upper and Lower Provinces of the colony. Of course, a risk so obvious has not been overlooked; but the Canadian Militia is yet but imperfectly organized, and the Royal troops in the colony are a mere handful of men compared with the swarms which the Federal Government might raise for such a purpose. Yet this peril, too, is decreasing rapidly, and will soon be past. A little army of reinforcements, complete in all its departments, has been despatched across the Atlantic, and it will be seen by the extracts from Canadian journals which we published yesterday that the communication between Halifax and Quebec are far easier than they were supposed to be. A Quebec paper tells us that, though there is indeed no railway open throughout between the two points, there is very good travelling from one to the other. The road is described as a "good broad road," and better in the winter than summer. It traverses a thinly-peopled country, no doubt, but there are "settlements all along it," and "half-a-dozen regiments could come from Halifax either on foot or in sleighs with greater ease and in much less time than one regiment accomplished the task in the beginning of the century." If this is so, we need be under no great apprehension about the security of Canada. Already the transports must have reached Halifax and commenced the disembarcation of their freights, and a stream of troops and munitions will have set in which can be continued or increased at our discretion. When we consider, too, that Canada is the only point at which the enemy could hope, even for a moment, to give us any alarm, we shall see very clearly how little we have to dread from that war which the Americans have persuaded themselves we should never dare to face. If they force us into it, it will be soon found which side has most to lose, and we may rely with as much confidence on the security of our possessions as on the strength and justice of our cause.
|Tu 7 January 1862|
THE NAVAL REINFORCEMENTS FOR NORTH AMERICA.
If praise is due to the War Department for their rapid and energetic action in sending out military stores and reinforcements for Canada, the same tribute can unquestionably be claimed by the Admiralty for the rapidity which they have shown in preparing for the impending struggle, strengthening our fleet on the North American station, and bringing forward the vessels that will be fit for service on the Lakes of Canada. It is just five weeks since we laid before our readers a list of the naval force under the command of Admiral Milne on the North American and West India stations. That list comprised five line-of-battle ships, 10 first-class frigates, and 17 powerfully armed corvettes and sloops - all steamers, and mounting in all 850 guns. This fleet is, in fact, equal to the whole Federal navy, whether steam or sailing. As we have said, only five weeks have elapsed since that list was given, and already the preparations are far advanced towards reinforcing this fleet with 2 line-of-battle ships, 23 of the largest, fastest, and heaviest armed screw frigates, and 8 powerful corvettes, mounting among them 1,000 guns. Some of these vessels have sailed and are already on the station, others are on their way out, others only await their sailing orders to start at a moment's notice, some are in commission and will be ready and off in a very short time, and only one or two, such as the Black Prince, though rapidly fitting, are not sufficiently forward to be commissioned yet. Of the squadron of frigates, each vessel has been carefully chosen for its great sailing speed, high steam power, and heavy armament, and never yet has such a fleet of picked cruisers been sent against any enemy. Among them are the Shannon, 51 guns; Leander, 51; Euryalus, 51; Sutlej, 51; Orlando, 51; Severn, 51; Phoebe, 51; Warrior, 40; Black Prince, 40; Galatea, 28 (sister to the formidable Ariadne); Defiance, 22; Defence (iron), 22; Resistance (iron), 22; Satellite, 21; Orpheus, 21; Barrosa, 21; Pylades, 21; Rattlesnake, 21; Chanticleer, 17; Greyhound, 17; Zebra, 17; and Magicienne, 16. The two line-of-battle ships are the Hero, 91, and Meeanee, 81. The sloops, very heavily armed, are the Styx, 7; Stromboli, 7; Devastation, 7; Petrel, 11; Rapid, 11; Rosario, 11; Pandora, 5; and Vigilant, 4. All these ships, like those already on the station, are screws or paddles, so that by the beginning of February Admiral Milne will have at his disposal 65 sail - namely, seven line-of-battle ships, 33 frigates, and 25 corvettes and sloops. Of the seven line-of-battle ships, four - the St. George, Conqueror, Donegal, and Hero - both steam and sail as fast as the best frigates in the service. With such a force a total and most effective blockade of all the Federal ports could be established in a single week; for, unlike the coast line of the Confederate States, which is protected by myriads of little islands and countless inlets and channels leading to the great rivers beyond, all the great Federal harbours have such narrow entrances that a single vessel would be sufficient to stop all passage in or out. With the Warrior at Sandy Hook, what could enter New York, or rather what effectual resistance could Fort Hamilton and the batteries on Staten Island offer to a combined attack of the four iron frigates, in case the Government wished to force the passage, and dictate their own terms of peace by laying the fleet broadside on to the streets of New York and Hoboken? That the Warrior and Black Prince, Resistance and Defence, could engage and destroy these batteries without the smallest risk to themselves, the experiments against the Warrior target have proved conclusively. A single vessel at each port closes Boston and Portland, and two off Cape May would be ample for the Delaware River and the trade of Philadelphia. Admiral Milne, we believe, has already made very complete arrangements as to the disposition of his squadron, so that in the event of war the Federal cruisers off the Southern Coast may be promptly and satisfactorily accounted for.
The worst part of the struggle, however, will not be on the North Atlantic seaboard, but on the great Lakes of Upper Canada and North America. It was said truly in the last war that whoever was master of these Lakes would be master of all. The knowledge of this may have led to the clause in the treaty of 1815 by which both Powers agreed to build no war vessels on the Lakes in time of peace, and this clause again accounts for the fact that the New Orleans, 84 guns, commenced in 1814 in Sackett's harbour, on Lake Ontario, has remained unfinished to this day. Of course, from this vessel, left unfinished nearly 50 years ago (though it is to this hour reckoned in the Federal Navy List as an effective line-of-battle ship), we have nothing to fear. It is, however, most important to remember that the Federals have a navy-yard on Lake Ontario, and that, to avert the ravages of war from Upper Canada, we must be careful to maintain as absolute a supremacy on Lakes Erie and Ontario as we shall do on the American coast from the Bay of Fundy to the Chesapeake. This, as concerns our success in the struggle, is a point of vital interest, and we are glad, therefore, to be able to tell our readers that this danger has been foreseen and amply provided against, and that within a week after the breaking up of the ice in the rivers and canals a whole fleet of gunboats, with the most powerful of the screw corvettes sent out to Admiral Milne, will carry the protection of the English flag from Montreal to Detroit.
Between Lake Ontario and Montreal the navigation of the St. Lawrence is rendered difficult and somewhat dangerous to vessels coming down the stream by the rapids of Long Sault, the Cedars, Cascades, and Lachine, places where there are sudden rapids formed by a series of declivities in the bed of the river, and where the waters rush down, sometimes for a distance of one or two miles, with a velocity of from 20 to nearly 25 miles an hour. Until within the last few years these rapids were considered too dangerous for any vessel to attempt to descend them, and, of course, getting up them again is impossible. To overcome the obstacles which these currents offered to water communication by the great highway of the St. Lawrence to the Lakes above, the Canadian Government, with British assistance, have formed a series of canals with innumerable lock-gates above Montreal, by which the rapids are avoided, and easy communication obtained with Lakes Ontario, Erie, and Michigan. The first canal is about two miles long, through the southern extremity of the island of Montreal, and this avoids the rapids of Lachine. The next, in order to avoid the Cascades and Cedars Rapids, is much longer, and, unfortunately, it is made on the right or American bank of the river, and only some 12 or 15 miles distance from the frontier itself. This extends from Beauharnais to Hungry Bay, and is called tho Beauharnais Canal. The next, the Cornwall Canal, extends from Cornwall to Dickenson's Landing, to avoid the Long Sault. Beyond this are short detached canals at Farrand's Point, the Platte, Iroquois, and Galops Rapids. After these the navigation is clear through the Thousand Islands into Lake Ontario. The tall, wide, three-storied river steamers which ply between Ontario and Montreal go up these canals every day, and up these canals, too, the gunboats, sloops, and corvettes must pass to protect the shores and trade of Western Canada. They may do so with ease, since all the locks in these canals are built to pass vessels 186 feet long, 44½ feet beam, and 9 feet draught. On this important point we can speak with certainty, as we have an official engineer's plan, with the dimensions of the locks and canals, before us. All our smaller 21-gun frigates, such as the Pylades, Rattlesnake, Barrosa, Satellite, &c., could, we think, with perfect ease pass up these locks if lightened of their heavy stores and armaments, which could, of course, be taken up with them on timber rafts or flat-bottomed country boats. Once on the waters of Lake Ontario all our difficulties would be at an end, for at the western extremity of Lake Ontario is the Welland Canal, connecting Port Dalhousie, on Lake Ontario, with Port Colborne, on Lako Erie. The length of this canal is about 35 miles, and it passes entirely through British territory. The lock gates on this are capable of passing vessels of 142 feet long, 26 feet beam, and 10 feet draught - an ample accommodation for the heavy armed six-gun screw despatch gunboat vessels like the Flying Fish, or even for the heavy armed 11-gun sloops of the class to which the Rapid, Petrel, and Rosario belong. From Lake Erie the River St. Clair leads direct, between Detroit, on the American side, and Chatham, on the Canadian side, into Lake Michigan. Across Lake St. Clair and down the St. Clair River two-thirds of the corn and provision traffic between the States of the Far West and the Atlantic seaboard is carried on, and one or two corvettes on Lake St. Clair would be sufficient to stop it all. The Grand Trunk Railway has a line to the settlement of Sarnia, on Lake Huron, around the shores of which grows any quantity of the finest timber. If shipwrights were employed to build a few gunboats at this place (their machinery and armaments could be forwarded by rail), they could steam at once, by a passage as wide as the Straits of Dover, into Lake Michigan, and find not only the enormous traffic of this great lake, but even such towns as Chichago and Milwaukie, entirely at their mercy. It may be said, perhaps, that in case of war it is equally open to the Federalists to do all this as to ourselves, but this is not so. Undoubtedly if we built gunboats on Lake Huron, the Federals could build others to check them on Lakes Michigan and Superior quite as fast. But it is equally certain that they cannot possibly build steam frigates and corvettes on Lakes Erie and Ontario as fast as we can send them up through the canals we have mentioned ready built, manned, and equipped. There is, moreover, only one practicable means of communication between Ontario and Erie, which is through the Welland Canal we have spoken of, held by the British. As soon as the ice breaks, therefore, if the war goes on, we may expect to find these lakes covered with cruisers, and each Federal port on them as closely blockaded as Boston and New York.It must not be supposed, however, that the Federals will quietly acquiesce in our supremacy. In the time that would intervene between a declaration of war and the thawing of the canals on the St. Lawrence, the Federals would be masters of the situation, and would be certain to fit out something like the mosquito fleet that swarmed over the West India station when the "sensation" as to the slaver right of search ran high. Such vessels, however ridiculous when opposed to steam frigates, would be very formidable when there was nothing to resist them, and we cannot meet them in the Lakes before next April. Kingston, with its Fort Henry and some still more formidable batteries, à leur d'eau, can take care of itself, and a couple of guns on the long spit of land which shuts in the splendid harbour of Hamilton would well shield that fine town. But Whitby, Cobourg, Belville, even Toronto itself, might be laid in ashes by a couple of ferry boats carrying long range guns, if immediate steps are not taken to defend them with earthworks when it is first seen that war is inevitable. However, as the Canadian Government have direct telegraphic communication with Lord Lyons at Washington, we may trust they are not likely to be taken by surprise on this point. But there are other means of carrying the war into the enemy's territory besides by the Welland and St. Lawrence Canals. Lake Ontario can be reached from Montreal by the Ottawa and Rideau Canal. This is the longest in Canada or America, about 120 miles in length, running from Ottawa to Kingston. The locks on this accommodate vessels of 100 feet long, 19 feet beam, and 5½ feet draught, so that by this route our gunboats might gain Ontario and Erie, while the corvettes and short frigates came up by the St. Lawrence. At Sorel, also, about 20 miles below Montreal, is a river which leads through the St. Ours Lock and through the Chambly Canal, direct on to the head of Lako Champlain. The locks on this canal admit ships of 113 feet length, 22½ feet beam, and 6½ feet draught, so that by this route also any number of gunboats might be sent into Lake Champlain, on the waters of which there is not a single vessel larger than a steam ferry, and on the shores of which are large, rich, and utterly unprotected towns, such as Burlington, Newhaven, &c. All these canals are British property, on British soil, and held by the Canadian. Government as the keys which give access to our ships to the most distant provinces of the West. In our previous notice of the military reinforcements for Canada we omitted, in speaking of the high efficiency of the military train, to mention the name of Colonel Mac Murdo, to whom, as having been intrusted with its organization from the commencement until very recently, so much praise is most justly due.
|Tu 7 January 1862||Embarcation of Troops for British America. - The Royal mail steamship Arabia sailed from Liverpool, on Saturday, for New York, diverging en voyage to Halifax to land troops. Besides the usual mails, she took out 70 cabin 'passengers, including 20 military officers. Among these latter were Colonel G. Gordon; Major J.G. Hope; Captains F. Cromarty and C.E. Staling; Lieutenants W.T. Scott, T. Millet, J.W. Carey, F.W. Rooke, and W.R. Molesworth. These officers took out under their command 14 non-commissioned officers and 220 men of the 2d and 3d brigades of garrison Royal Artillery. The other officers were - Major J.C. Childs ; Captain J.T. Brown; Lieutenants D. Nollan, J. Galloway, C.M. Bathen, and Assistant-Surgeon Forshall, who took out under their command seven sergeants and 116 gunners belonging to the 7th battery of the 10th brigade of Royal Artillery. Also Lieut. Davies, of the 1st battalion of the 16th Regiment of Foot. These troops, which are intended for Halifax and Bermuda, constitute the concluding contingent of 10,000 which were ordered to support our military arrangements in British America. No further instructions for the embarcation of troops have as yet been received in Liverpool. The troops despatched on Saturday completed a contingent of 204 officers and 4,984 men which have been despatched in Liverpool steamers since the 13th of December last, - a fact which speaks highly for the capabilities of the steam fleet belonging to the port. It also reflects much credit on the sagacity, industry, and judgment of Colonel Greathead, Deputy-Quartermaster-General for the district, and Commander Leycester, R.N., Admiralty agent for Liverpool, under whose direction they were, to state that the embarcation was in every case most expeditious, orderly, and satisfactory. It is not less satisfactory to know, as we do, by private advices from Montreal and Quebec, dated the 20th ult., that, although there was a large quantity of ice in the river, the weather continued beautifully fine; and that, so far as could be judged, there was nothing to prevent the steamships Australasian and Persia from getting to Quebec. As an illustration of the extreme anxiety which is attached to the present state of our relations with America, it should be mentioned that the most extraordinary reports are received with ready belief, and circulated with incredible alacrity. On Saturday two very conflicting rumours were current on 'Change. The first was a statement that a telegram had been received in Liverpool countermanding the embarcation of the troops; unfortunately for its chance of credence, this rumour was not afloat till after the Arabia had sailed with the troops on board. The other was to the effect that a telegram had been received from the Horse Guards, ordering the steamer Africa to be got ready for sea on four hours' notice. This latter, like its predecessor, proved entirely an imagination. - Liverpool Albion.|
|Tu 7 January 1862|
QUEENSTOWN, Jan. 6.
The Royal mail steamer Europa, from Boston on the 25th and Halifax on the 27th ult., arrived here at 8 30 p.m., with. 70 passengers and 21,420l. in specie for England.
NEW YORK, Dec. 24, Evening.
(Per Europa, via Boston and Queenstown.)
A motion has been made in the Senate for the production of the correspondence respecting the Trent affair.
THE TRENT AFRAIR.
NEW YORK, Dec. 26, Evening.To-day in the Senate Mr. Hale [John Parker Hale, 1806-1873, he was a leading member of the Free Soil Party and unsuccessful presidential candidate in 1852] demanded the correspondence with England on the Trent question.
Mr. Sumner [Charles Sumner, 1811-1874, the leader of the antislavery forces in Massachusetts and a leader of the Radical Republicans in Senate] objected to this demand.
Mr. Hale stated that he had heard the Cabinet were considering the proposition to surrender Messrs. Mason and Slidell. He said, also, that if England had demanded the surrender of Messrs. Mason and Slidell, the Federal Government should declare war against England. If they were surrendered, the Senate, said Mr. Hale, would be subject to the scorn and indignation of the country, and the Administration would be hurled from power. Mr. Hale believed that Napoleon would desire to wipe out the stain of Waterloo, and that thousands of Irishmen in Canada would join the Federal cause. Mr. Hale concluded a violent speech, against England by urging war sooner than the surrender of Messrs. Mason and Slidell.
Mr. Sumner urged that the consideration of the question should be delayed until it was presented in a practical form. He demanded whether there was proof of arrogant demands on the part of England, or that the Administration had not considered the question of arbitration, and stated his belief that the matter would be honourably and amicably adjusted.
Mr. Hale's motion was tabled for future discussion.
It is generally believed that Lord Lyons has presented his despatches.
Nothing, however, is known respecting the demands which they contain, as the Administration preserved strict secrecy on the Trent question.
The New York press argues that America is not desirous of war with England unless it is forced upon the country by the latter.
The popular feeling is hostile to England, but there is a general impression that the Trent question will be amicably settled.
The Arago has arrived out.
|We 8 January 1862|
LONDON, WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 8, 1862.
If we have refrained from leading the chorus of jubilation which has sounded throughout the metropolis for some days past, and have confined ourselves to the expression of modest and uncertain hopes, we have been restrained by reasons which unfortunately still have force. The expectations of peace will not rise to certainty. The more carefully we read the American journals, the more certain it appears to us that they are kept for this once without genuine information. The more curiously we sift the current opinions of New York, the more we become impressed with the conviction that upon this occasion New York does not represent all Federal America. We are upon the brink of a crisis in which money interests are not omnipotent, in which passion and ignorance will have their power, and in which policy may lose its influence. We are cautious how we raise the cry of "saved" while so many adverse chances have yet to be run through; and, yielding to others the more enviable office of trumpeting good news, we must abide by our old task of marking the vicissitudes as they rise, and conclude with our old conclusion, that no materials for a confident anticipation are yet to be obtained.
The tidings from Washington, which reach, in telegram, to the day after Christmas-day, fail to bring us the seasonable announcement, "on earth peace, good will towards men". If we could mark by shades the character of the intelligence, we should, we fear, have to shade it rather darker than that which preceded it. Lord Lyons had proceeded on his diplomatic mission with the greatest deliberation and circumspection. First he allowed full time for the collection and consideration of all the general intelligence to be derived from telegrams and newspapers and from the despatches of the American Legations in Europe. When the mind of the Foreign Minister had been fully possessed of the subject Lord Lyons waited upon Mr. Seward, stated to him that he was to be the medium of transmitting to him very important despatches, and explained unofficially, but very fully, their nature and import. Mr. Seward appeared anxious for delay, and Lord Lyons had a second, and we believe even a third, unofficial interview with him. The object of the British Minister, of course, was to afford every opportunity for the American Government to make voluntary restitution and apology for the outrage which had been committed, and to avoid putting them to the humiliation of doing so at the demand of the outraged Power. Mr. Seward was courteous and friendly, but resolutely silent on the subject which occupied the minds of both the parties to these conversations. He would express no opinion, and no more could be obtained by Lord Lyons than that the despatch, when delivered, should receive the careful attention of the Government. On the 23d, the day the mail left Washington, Lord Lyons formally delivered the Note. On the 26th we hear by telegraph that the Cabinet at Washington were still silent.
This is all that is certain. The rest are but the cries and counter-cries of the populace and the Press. New York, where people still have money to lose, is mild and peaceful, with a certain occasional dash of braggart ferocity. The head and neck of the sheep, however, are coming out palpably from the loose skin of the wolf. Washington, on the contrary, is warlike. If the members of the House of Representatives speak the sentiments of the Northern States, Mr. Lincoln will not want abettors in any violence he may be disposed to undertake, and General M'Clellan will not find perfect protection from the pressure now brought to bear upon him from his own side. He is called on by popular acclaim to advance against an enemy who was at no time more strongly posted, never more vigilant in his watch, never more adventurous or enterprising in the small conflicts that occur along the front. He is called on to advance at a moment when rains have saturated the country and destroyed the roads, and when the leader of even a disciplined army might well be excused for some hesitation in attempting to assault a brave and numerous enemy in a strongly intrenched position. But a victory had become politically necessary.
On the other side, the Confederates are rather pressing forwards towards the Potomac than shrinking from the battle which the populace, the Congress, and even the Government of the Federal States demand. The news from Canada, too, would come in to swell the facts upon which the Government of the States must base their decision. The Persia had gallantly steamed up the St. Lawrence with her precious freight to the very terminus of the Grand Trunk Railway, and in a few hours the troops she carried were marching into Quebec. If the Australasian, less boldly handled, had put back to Halifax, the telegraph must have told at Washington that the route by land was accessible, and that more than one detachment of veteran soldiers was advancing by rapid marches to the banks of the St. Lawrence. The Federal Cabinet did not require to be informed how high the excitement had risen all along the frontier, how promptly the Militia were mustering, and how rapidly guns and earthworks were rendering every exposed point impregnable to such levies as they could send against it. To all these facts Mr. Chase must have had something to add. If it be a reasonably near computation that the present war is costing a million and a half of dollars a-day - and, when we recollect our experience of the Crimean War, this tremendous estimate is not impossible -we might suppose that Mr. Lincoln and his colleagues would have had persuasives enough to a simple act of justice.
But what, if so, means Mr. Seward's imperturbable silence? When the latest news left three days had already elapsed from the time of the formal delivery of our demand. Mr. Seward and his colleagues had already received the declaration of the Emperor of the French; they had already had communications from General Scott. They had nothing more to know from this side of the Atlantic but the declarations of Austria and Prussia. Why, then, delay the decision a moment, if the decision was to be favourable to peace? Every incentive would seem to dictate instant action. The immediate surrender of Mason and Slidell would have been a greater blow to the hopes of the Confederates than a victory on the Potomac; the placing these two men on board a Cunard steamer would be worth millions to the Federal Exchequer. If it be so certain, as the New York papers say, that these men are to be delivered up, why is it not done at once? A week before the mail left the New York Times said that Mr. Seward was taking time for the purpose of gathering more information from Europe. That explanation can no longer avail. It may be - let us hope it is so - that he is waiting now only to allow of the expression of public feeling in America, and that he is about to do justice if he dare. Perhaps he may see in the difficulties which are hourly accumulating fresh arguments for peace which may strengthen his hand with his own people. But, on the contrary, it is possible that he and his President may have resolved to do everything except to render us the retribution our honour compels us to demand. Our Correspondent does not paint the temper of the people in colours favourable to peace, and we have heard that others, even as likely as he to be well informed, have gone so far as to speak of the surrender of Slidell and Mason as extremely improbable. Mr. Seward must have seen before the 26th of December that we were so committed to our demand by the approval of all Europe that it is impossible for us to retreat; he must have felt that we were in the same position as if we were called upon to insist on the execution of an award made in our favour by all the countries of Christendom. Even arbitrators must rely upon war as the last remedy, and we are in the position of a Power which has to enforce an award. Why, then, has Mr. Seward delayed his answer, unless in fear of his own countrymen, or in the hope of entangling us in some diplomatic meshes?We shall soon have our anxieties resolved. Lord Lyons waited for his answer until the 30th. If on that day he received no substantial satisfaction, he then withdrew with his Legation, and the America, which sailed from New York on New Years day, will bring us the tidings by next Monday. A Cabinet Council is summoned for Tuesday. Thus events are thronging to a crisis, and, in calm confidence in our good cause, we await the result. But no man can say that the danger is past.
|We 8 January 1862|
The steamships Edinburgh and Arago, with European news to December 12, were intercepted off Cape Race on December 21, and their news obtained.
Great suspense continued to exist on the Trent question. The Washington correspondents of the New York journals furnished the most conflicting statements on the question at issue, so much so that their accuracy might well be doubted. A very general belief, however, had gained ground that Mr. Seward forwarded a despatch to Mr. Adams in London one week after the seizure, informing the British Government that Captain Wilkes acted -without instructions from the Federal Government; and, as it -was supposed this information might, perhaps, modify the demands made by the British Government, an unfounded impression prevailed that Lord Lyons had delayed the delivery of the despatches brought out by Captain Seymour, Queen's messenger, in the Europa, until he had received further advices from England, dated subsequently to Mr. Seward's despatch to Mr. Adams. These advices, it was hoped, might have been brought by the America, which arrived here on the 24th. The general popular feeling was undoubtedly extremely hostile to England and to the demands of the British Government. There was no doubt, however, that the surrender of Messrs. Mason and Slidell would be accepted by the public as a necessity of the position the Federal Government -was placed in in regard to the rebellion; and the idea that the hands of the Federal Government would thus be left free to restore the Union by force of arms would, for the time, compensate the public for what they considered the humiliation of complying with the demands of England; but the bitter feeling against England would, there is no question, be much increased by their surrender, and the Trent affair would neither be forgotten nor forgiven by Americans.
The following letter from a writer in the Philadelphia Press fully portrays the feeling of many Americans on this subject:-
The writer then, suggests several methods "by which to baffle England if she is disposed to take part against the cause of civilized freedom on this continent", one of which is to submit the whole case to the arbitration of Russia or France, or both together, and continues as follows:-
At the annual dinner of the New England Society, held at Astor-house, in New York, Dec. 23, some of the speakers referred to the Mason and Slidell question. The following extracts from the speeches of the Hon. R.J. Walker, and Mr. Evarts, the President of the Society, give some idea of the popular feeling on this question:-
Mr. Seward, who was unable to be present on the occasion, sent the following letter of excuse. This letter is dated December 11, before the receipt of the European advices on the Trent question:-
The press generally is certainly hostile to England; the argument generally used is that if there is war with England it will be forced upon the United States by England; that the United States are desirous of peace; at the same time entirely ignoring the various acts of the Federal Government in regard to England since the commencement of the rebellion; more especially the unusual proceedings in the forcible seizure of the Commissioners Mason and Slidell, none of which proceedings tend to strengthen the bonds of peace between the two countries. Many of the journals contain elaborate arguments to prove that Ireland is ripe for revolt, the New York Evening Post going so far as to state that official information had been received in Washington to that effect. They also argue that it would be the interest of France to remain neutral in the quarrel, in order to avail herself of a tariff which would at once be passed in favour of the admission of French goods into the United States for the next 10 or 15 years on such terms as to entirely exclude British goods from the market.
The Washington correspondent of the New York Times writes as follows on the feeling at Washington:-
The New York Herald indulges in the following characteristic remarks:-
"The death of Prince Albert is without political significance. We might indeed speculate upon the possibility of a domestic calamity of this character diverting momentarily the attention of the British public from the war topic, but let us rather follow reverently to the grave this man, who, being a Prince, knew also to be a good citizen, a public benefactor, and an object of popular regard and respect. Thus much, indeed, is eminently due to the father from a people who so recently did honour to the son."
The New York Herald contains the following reflections on the death of his late Royal Highness:-
"The effect of his decease will doubtless be to allay in a measure the irritation of the British people consequent upon the affair of the Trent. The sentiment of loyalty in England is so deep and devoted that it approaches personal reverence and affection, and this sudden visitation of death to the Royal household will for a season occasion general sorrow, in the midst of which animosities languish and anger abates. The English people, now so wildly exasperated at the inhabitants of the Northern States, ought not to need the reminder that, although we do not participate in their grief, we share in their respect for the memory of their Prince deceased. He had many traits which good man honour, and his memory will be honoured here as it deserves, irrespective of any temporary irritation between the motherland and our own."
|We 8 January 1862|
THE CIVIL WAR IN AMERICA.
WASHINGTON, Dec. 19.
The agitation produced by the news from Europe has been increasing, but the Press has succeeded in assuring the people that there is no peremptory demand for the surrender of Messrs. Mason and Slidell and that there is therefore no immediate fear of war. So far as I can judge, the Government and the people are watching each other with anxiety and without any decided policy. They encourage each other by declarations that they will not consent to the surrender of their dearly-loved captives, but I am certain that at least one member of the Cabinet would very willingly yield them up if he could be satisfied he would escape being devoured by his countrymen. The doctrines laid down in our journals are much canvassed, and it is held that there is no reason whatever in the argument that, though the American captain could not seize the Confederates from the Trent, he could have carried the Trent with her passengers into port for adjudication before an Admiralty Court. It was as a carrier of contraband the Trent was liable, if at all. An Admiralty Court could not condemn Mason and Slidell, although it might condemn the ship that carried them, and the right of taking them would, it is contended, remain just as it was when the San Jacinto sent her boats on board. It is probable we shall have plenty of law on the case if the international lawyers are to deal with it, but there is a national sentiment which is above all precedent, and war is more frequently employed to create than to enforce precedents in reference to principles of action between nations. Mr. Seward is in a very good frame of mind for a fair consideration of the questions at issue. The President has, it is said, in American phrase, "put down his foot" on the question of surrender, and said, in reply to some representations on the impolicy of resisting an appeal founded on justice and on the common opinion of Europe, that he would die sooner than submit to the humiliation of his country; whereupon it was observed that it would be better to lose a President than see the ruin of the Republic. The majority of the Cabinet and the bulk of the Congress share his views, but from the first there has been a warning voice inside and outside which warned the Government that the act over which there was so much rejoicing would excite the utmost indignation and anger in Great Britain, and that it would not be passed over as an admitted right of a belligerent Power to seize political offenders under the shelter of the British flag. In the interval the papers and the lawyers had persuaded the country "it was all right," and the sensitiveness of the Money-market was the only barometer of the secret uneasiness and the depths of disquiet in the inner atmosphere of men's minds. I must send the following extracts from my diary as the best substitute I can now furnish for a letter, as the irregularity of the mails, caused by the detention of the steamer, has deranged my usual correspondence. To begin with the date after my last letter:-
Last night the news came that the Europa had arrived at Halifax, bearing a Queen's messenger with despatches for Lord Lyons, and it was added that the British Government had come to the decision to demand the surrender of Messrs. Mason and Slidell, and, further, that Lord Lyons, in case of refusal, was ordered to leave Washington. There were some doubts expressed in reference to the authenticity of these statements, but those who believed them to be true discussed the probable course of the United States Government and the conduct of the British Ministry with warmth and excitement. So far as I can hear, there was no disposition evinced in any quarter to yield to the demand, which, indeed, has been long canvassed as a result likely to follow the act of Captain Wilkes. The members of the Cabinet, the President, the Generals, or at least General MClellan, have all been prepared for the question, and last night they could only repeat the arguments for and against the compliance with or refusal of the proposition to be made by our Government. There is now, however, a feeling of bitter mortification here that, at the moment when victory seemed inclining in their favour, and when the current was setting in against the Confederate States, the statesmen of the North must either receive a tremendous check or submit to the performance of an act which they, right or wrong, consider an extreme humiliation. The anger of the Democracy of America would be directed against their own Ministers, unless the latter could divert it into another channel, or concentrate it upon the English people. It is probable that the reports of the intentions of our Government are exaggerated both as to the mode and substance of the representations and demands attributed to them. The calmer-minded see only one course to pursue, if they would wish to preserve the Union and to conquer the South, and that is to yield up Slidell and Mason, and then to solace themselves by a vow of eternal hostility to Great Britain, and the promise to their hearts of future revenge upon her in some moment of weakness or difficulty. The more violent are quite ready to meet all the world in arms, and they solace themselves too with the thought that Great Britain would be presented to the world as the patron and protector of slavery if she raised the blockade of the Southern ports, and entered into direct relations with the Stave States for the supply of cotton. Nor are they without a hope of actual reunion springing out of a war with England, believing in the hostility of the South to the British rather than in their attachment to the Union. That, however, is admitted as a remoter consequence of war. It was suggested last night, that if Great Britain waived her claim to Slidell and Mason, and magnanimously said to the United States, "We are satisfied we have a right to demand this restoration from you, but we do not wish to bear hardly upon you in the time of your trouble, and to lower you in the eyes of the world," that the whole heart of America would respond to the chord thus struck, and would be moved to eternal gratitude. It may be true that some of her people would accept the proof of consideration thus afforded them with the most lively satisfaction, but there are no grounds whatever for supposing the class would be numerous or powerful, and there is every reason to believe, on the contrary, that the conduct of Great Britain would be attributed to the basest motives - to fear, to hypocrisy, to weakness, to cowardice. Putting out of view the consideration of right and justice to England, to the honour of the flag and the privilege of asylum, we must regard the rights of others, the feelings of other nations, the influence which would be exercised upon our allies by submission. No country can gratify the pride of another nation at the expense of its own position in the face of Europe. Rather must she be content to accept the assurances of the unalterable hatred of the present and future races of the people whose self-love she has been forced to wound in consequence of their own acts. It must be fairly confessed that if in the extreme and deplorable case of a war arising out of this quarrel the fleets of Great Britain were to blockade the Northern and raise the blockade of the Southern ports, she would enter on the contest with imputations on her motives, arising from a supposed necessity for cotton, an imaginary jealousy of the United States for her democratic institutions and prosperity, and, above all, from the circumstances under which she struck her enemy, already contending for life against a most formidable internal foe. I am satisfied many American politicians, when they first heard of the arrest of Messrs. Mason and Slidell, were of the opinion of the Prince de Joinville, that the best thing to do would be at once to restore them to the protection of the British flag with an apology, but that now they feel it would not be possible, consistently with their amour propre to take that course. And the question arises, again, what will Great Britain do in case the United States refuses to yield up her prisoners? Lord Lyons departure from Washington is not necessarily a declaration of war, it is merely a rupture of diplomatic relations. If I may be permitted to avow my personal sentiments I should say that a war with the United States, at all times to be deprecated on account of many aggravations of the usual horrors of war with which it must be accompanied, would, under present circumstances, be exceedingly pitiable and much to be deplored. It may come upon us as a necessity, but it can never be welcome, in spite of the hundred causes of complaint we have against the people and Government of America. All means consistent with our honour ought to be adopted to prevent such a calamity, and every point should be strained to permit our stiff-necked brethren to do us and themselves justice. I am satisfied the violent, scurrilous, and demoralized newspapers which please the worst portion of the lower orders - and there are plenty of them down to the level of the very pit itself in American cities - do not represent the feelings and opinions of the mass of the people or of the better classes. But there is, nevertheless, a sort of morbid feeling with regard to England, which may be based, as they say it is, on caring more for her opinion than for that of all the rest of the world beside, and on feeling a slight from her as a jealous lover feels a rebuff from his mistress, but which is, nevertheless, a dangerous, difficult, and disagreeable element in international relations. If war should unfortunately prove our ultimate reason the irritable passions which have been gaining an ascendancy over the people will break forth with violence, and no means will be untried to punish the mother country, which has already gained so much odium by her refusal to co-operate with the North in her war with the South, and to participate in the domestic quarrel, as well as by her cession of limited belligerent rights to the seceded States.
The season, however, is more suitable for diplomatic than belligerent operations. In a month from this time the coasts of America, from New York to the Capes of Florida, are swept by tempests, which would render the blockading service one of extraordinary difficulty and danger. I may say at once, that one great argument in favour of blocking up the ports of the South by sinking stone ships came from the officers of the navy, who declared it would be impossible to keep a close blockade of the coast between Fortress Monroe and the Capes in the months of January and February. The snow and frosts on the Canadian frontier would for some time to come present a formidable barrier to any demonstration by land on the part of the Americans in case they went to war, but it is their strong point, as they imagine, and they boast that from the Californian side of the continent, our Indian and our Chinese trade are at the mercy of their privateers. There is cause of irritation enough, without adding to it by the production of evidence to show how industriously some newspapers in the States have been labouring to bring about a war by exciting the worst feelings of the people of the United States against Great Britain, and the sentiment against those men who have done so much to destroy their country, and who have alienated from it the sympathy of every Power in Europe, is rapidly rising in the great cities. No respectable person admits these organs have any influence, but among the ignorant masses the constant stream of falsehood must produce an impression at last, and the result is seen in the danger of the whole body politic, which rests on the rotting and saturated foundation...
Wednesday, Dec. 18.
The Queen's Messenger, Captain Seymour Conway, telegraphed to Lord Lyons this morning that the train had broken down between Boston and New York, and consequently we shall have to wait another day before the despatches are received. It is announced that the Rinaldo at once got up steam and proceeded round to the flagship of Admiral Milne, on the arrival of the Europa. The mails will not be despatched from here till to-morrow night, and the Cunard steamer will not leave till Friday morning. Once more suspense in the capital...
Thursday, Dec. 19.
The Queen's Messenger arrived before 10 o'clock last night, and proceeded to the Legation with his despatches. Mr. Seward also received despatches from the American Minister, and had an interview with the President. The wiser and more prudent people, of course, deprecate a war with England, but the press and bar-room sentiment is more in the "'Ercles vein," and there seems to be a determination to see how far war can be approached in the hope that Great Britain will recoil the first from the conflict. The members of Congress most averse from such a war are the very men who are most jealous of American honour, and yet they do not see how the Government can comply with a demand for the restoration of Mason and Slidell to the shelter of the British flag. This Government has compromised itself on that point. The only Minister who reports to the Congress directly is the Secretary of the Treasury. All the other Secretaries send in their reports through the President, who by the act adopts their language, inasmuch as he can strike out whatever he does not approve. Now, in the report of the Secretary of the Navy there was the most unqualified approval and adoption of Captain Wilkes's act, which is, therefore, approved and adopted by the President of the United States, How recede from that position with honour? How without as any rate, the lowering of great pretensions and lofty pride? Then, on the other hand, there is the ruin which war would bring upon the United States - the distraction it would inflict on her councils and the operations of her navy and army, the probable frustration of her efforts to subjugate the South, the possible success of the Confederacy, the national bankruptcy and destruction of the Government and State - and all for Mason and Slidell! Had they been given up at once, as was recommended to the Government here by persons of rank, experience, and intelligence, acquainted with the feelings of European nations on such points, all would have been well. The United States Government would have given a proof of good will and respect for England worth a thousand speeches and despatches, and would have lost nothing but an unrecognized right. Now there is hot blood on both sides. There is the usual talk about seizing Canada at once, and eventually grander conceptions are to be realized.
Up to 1 o'clock to-day Lord Lyons had not seen Mr. Seward, nor had any communication taken place between them. The Messenger must leave at 4 30 this evening, in order to reach New York in time for the Cunard steamer, which has been detained for him since Wednesday, so that Lord Lyons will scarcely be in a position to communicate at much length with his Government, but as there is another steamer on Saturday further, despatches will no doubt be sent on by an additional messenger to-morrow afternoon for that boat. There is no sign of a peaceful solution if the British Government insists on its demands and the American Government maintains its present attitude; but there are many who believe that, sooner than invoke the last tribunal, the Government of the United States may be induced to give up the prisoners under a sort of protest. Still, it is hoped that there may be a good deal of protocoling, note presenting, and despatch reading before the ultimate question comes to be decided. It is to be hoped, indeed, that there will be no intemperate haste on either side - no precipitate action. Those who may desire to see the United States enfeebled to the last degree need only stand by and wait; no man with the smallest foresight can imagine this war will be borne six months longer. There are some who say it must end in half the time, owing to the want of means. As, yet no one has suffered from the war by the action of the tax-gatherer, but when he begins to go round the world will see whether the people in the West will put their hands in their pockets. Mr. Chase has been summoned by the exigencies of his position to New York, where, it is rumoured the Government are going to suspend the exportation of specie. Mr. Chase, has, however, denied the report if the telegraph speaks truth. An issue of national paper, redeemable after the war - in other words, not redeemable now - must take place. There are millions sterling owed by Government to contractors and others who cannot get their money. The banks here hold immense demands of that kind, which they cannot get the Treasury to settle - in fact, the only classes paid with punctuality are those dangerous to keep unpaid -soldiers and sailors. The army and the navy perhaps are the only bodies employed by Government which have no right to complain up, to the present time. To the eyes of some there are unexplained sources of wealth in a war with Great Britain, and in order that they may have enough to do the Senate is to take into consideration in secret session to-day the affairs of Mexico, with which there is every disposition to interfere, if there was the power. It is proposed either to guarantee her liabilities, or to lend her the money to pay them. Certain deputies and friends of Mexico have arrived here, and have had interviews with the leading statesmen. But there is no Midas in the Cabinet - I mean as far as aurifying properties are concerned...
Friday, Dec. 20.
When Lord Lyons went over to the State Department yesterday Mr. Seward was down at the Senate, and therefore his Lordship could not see the Secretary of State, so that the stories founded on the supposed interview are all apocryphal. The President has not referred the English question to the Senate, nor is he likely to take it out of the hands of the diplomatists. The matter which was referred to the Committee on foreign Relations, of which Mr. Sumner is chairman, is kept perfectly quiet. It is regarded with the utmost interest in the inner political world here, and excites as much, if not greater interest than the English complications. The President has, in fact, thrown the whole responsibility of dealing with the Mexican question upon the Congress. The whole of the papers and correspondence connected with it are before them, and there is no doubt that the United States would in other days have been disposed to take part with the Mexicans in vindication of the Monroe doctrine, and would make a show of resisting the allied Powers in their endeavours to obtain redress and satisfaction. It is now assumed that the allies must have their own way, unless the Congress can devise some means of obviating what are called Spanish designs upon Mexico. There are some who affect to think that this is a more important matter than the Mason and Slidell affair. Indeed, I was informed to-day that the English Government had not made any demand for the restitution of those gentlemen, but had contented itself with a request that "reparation" should be made. It is probable my informant was very much mistaken, and the New York papers are beginning to evince a most remarkable moderation. There is no more writing about the "sensational exaggerations", of the English Press, "Et tu, Brute!" - no more hurling of defiances - no more invitations to Ireland to rebel immediately, and to rely on the United States, which cannot quite readily deal with its own rebellion, to aid her - no more solicitations to the whole of the Irish people to come over here and fight the battles of the Know-nothings and Native Americans - no more affronting words about the bluster and swagger of John Bull. There are some papers here which are always very much affected by "the miserable state of the Irish people". How far their sympathy goes maybe learned from the magnificent list of subscriptions for their present relief from a desolating famine brought on by the British aristocracy which I sent by last mail -a list of two and a subscription of 25l.! The contrast, however, between the tone of the papers now and that which prevailed even as recently as the beginning of the week is gratifying. It begins to be feared that England is really in earnest, and New York is apprehensive of trouble. The financial capital trembles, and the Press, finding itself opposed to the public sentiment, suddenly drops a few octaves - almost its full range from the war pitch and Jefferson Brick key. And, indeed, it is enough to induce any American who seeks the perpetuity of the Union, or even the success of Northern arms over the South, so as to be able to dictate peace, to take every means short of those dishonourable and degrading to avert a war with another enemy when he perceives how little progress has been made in subjugating the old antagonist...
P.S. - Lord Lyons and Mr. Seward had two interviews to-day, but from motives of courtesy and consideration the English Minister did not present the note and ultimatum to the Secretary of State, who was, however, made acquainted with the nature of the Government demands and did not express any desire for the presentation of the note. Mr. Seward did not, I believe, give any opinion as to the course his Government would pursue, but was friendly in his tone and remarks. Lord Lyons having thus cleared the ground will be obliged to seek from Mr. Seward a formal interview for the purpose of presenting the despatch and making the demands on the part of his Government, which the American public fondly believe will be of the mildest possible character. One paper, with characteristic - what shall I call it? - proposes that Mason and Slidell be put on board the San Jacinto, and thence transferred to the Trent, in order that Captain Wilkes may seize her and bring her into port for adjudication, as his omission to do so was, forsooth, the only matter of complaint. Another journal proposes the recognition of the Confederacy, leaving the Border States out, and then the United States can turn its army against England if she demand Slidell and Mason. There is a secret fear that the demand will be for no less, in spite of the assurances which are so freely given on all sides. Other journals clamour for an immediate despatch of forces to the Southern States to get into possession before any danger arises from the British fleet. It is insisted on that there are thousands there who would eagerly join the Unionists, especially against Great Britain.
Saturday, Dec. 21.
Mr. Seward called on Lord Lyons, and his Lordship had another interview subsequently in reference to the contents of the despatches. In these conversations no opinion has been expressed by Mr. Seward in explanation of the course which would be taken by his Government and by the President, who is the Executive in such matters, and it is not possible to say whether Mason and Slidell will be given up or not. There are two opinions on the subject, and these extend to all classes, but many still believe that no demand will be made for their surrender. Mr. Seward's manner is calm, much more so than it was in May last, and Lord Lyons has given him full time to familiarize his mind with the nature and bearing of the demands of his Government before he presents his ultimatum. It is gradually leaking out that these interviews are taking place, and the utmost danger is expressed at the idea of giving up the ambassadors. One officer suggested, as a good way of getting out of the difficulty, I am told, that Mason and Slidell should be tried for treason, and if found "Guilty", as they certainly would be, that they should be at once executed. Every attempt is made to conceal the demand from the public, but the Government organs are already becoming aware of the danger, and New York is quivering to its centre. In the camps there is immense greed of newspapers, and the bar-room talk is very fierce and determined. There are great hopes that France will interfere, and that she will, if it come to war, at last side with the United States, "her old friend: and ally." The Irish organs are shouting out very defiantly, and there are pleasant hopes of a Hibernian insurrection, just as the Northerners rely on a Negro insurrection in the South, of which, as yet we see no signs, notwithstanding the rumours of a great uprising in Mississippi.
Saturday, Dec. 21.
And so, while the men of war at Willard's are waging fierce battle in words, and killing many Philistines with the weapon of Samson, the journals come in from New York, which, being the city of dollars, has more influence than its rivals like to admit on the politics, or, at all events, the politicians of the country; and what do they say? Mark the eager rush at the fluttering sheets as the newsboys bear the moistened bundles into the crowd. An American journal is certainly not a thing for eternity. It is read and flung away at once -luckily for it. See how the leaders are read and the news is scanned, and the rag is thrown on the ground, and the angry look of the captains. There is a sound of peace where there is no peace but that which comes from the iron club of necessity. She is breaking the men of war in sunder. Let us take the New York Times, a decent Anglophobiac. It tells the world there is an undercurrent of popular feeling in England adverse to the national passion, which is a current we, being so long in America, do not believe to have much "go" or force in it; and then it gets on to the "probable solution of the English question." What that is we might not understand; but we can understand what the American question in re Mason and Slidell is, and on reading we find the New York Times argues that, as Captain Wilkes "unfortunately allowed the subject-matter of adjudication and the proofs to escape, the United States' Government is bound to restore the rebel Ministers to their original status." A very sound and very peaceable conclusion. But think of another view presented .to us a few hours ago. Lord Lyons has now obtained an appointment from Mr. Seward for Monday, when the British Minister will present his ultimatum. The facts will soon be known. Yesterday it loomed in New York that some very positive demand would be made, and all men's brows were clouded. Since I wrote there has been little alteration in the aspect of affairs...
Monday, Dec 23.At 10 o'clock this morning Lord Lyons went to the State Department and communicated to Mr. Seward officially the note of the English Government. Mr. Seward expressed no opinion at this formal interview, and the note will he laid before a Cabinet Council, and will form the subject of its deliberations to-day or to-morrow; but, as the mail leaves Washington this afternoon, I shall not be able to .communicate anything in addition to this bare statement of facts. My impression is that Mr. Seward will endeavour to open a correspondence, and that failing, as he necessarily must, in that, he will refuse on the part of the Government to surrender Messrs. Mason and Slidell and their secretaries. In that case Lord Lyons leaves the United States with the members of his legation. Then follows a declaration of war - a sudden, destructive, and sanguinary war between two nations, of which the one is already engaged in a desperate conflict with an internal foe, and of which the other is an ancient monarchy, jealous, of its honour and its rights, but which has, nevertheless, endured, so long the threats and menaces of its powerful offshoot that forbearance has been construed into "dare not," and endurance has been mistaken for pusillanimity. Cotton and tobacco would be dearly purchased by England arid France at the cost of a war which would destroy our North American trade, shut up Northern granaries, and expose our commerce to the enterprise of privateers all over the world, acting under the letters of the only maritime people which refused to abandon the right of privateering in 1856; but all considerations of the kind would be base and mercenary in view of the tacit submission to an outrage and the surrender of a principle for which Great Britain has so strenuously contended. One of the first effects of the war would be, of course, the opening of the Southern ports. The fleets which at present watch Galveston, New Orleans, Mobile, Savannah, and Charleston would have to retire and concentrate inside the Northern ports or under the guns of Fortress Monroe and at Baltimore. The ports formed at Ship Island, at Tybee, at Beaufort, at Hatteras would necessarily be abandoned. Portland would be in danger. If the Federalists obtained any great success before our fleets assembled, however, and seized any of the Southern cities, the fleets would be obliged to act with caution, as the defences of such places as Charleston and Savannah, at Sumter and Pulaski, would then be turned against us. But, at the same time, the Federalists would be placed between two fires; they would be cut off from their friends and from all supplies unless they found more Unionists in the South than I believe in, and the only way of saving them would be for a powerful army to fight its way down to them by land, and hold the adjacent country. Fortress Monroe surrounded by enemies might, no doubt, make a vigorous resistance, but it would necessarily fall also from a heavy and long-continued vertical fire and by close blockade. Nor is it too much to suppose that the concentration of a British squadron on the Chesapeake and Delaware would force the Federal fleets to retire, and lead to a complete blockade of Washington, Baltimore, and Philadelphia. The effect of a Federal victory, if it could be obtained, would be enormous. It would probably transfer the Confederate batteries on the Potomac into the hands of the United States' troops and place both banks in their hands; it would give them the possession of rivers which would have opened up a friendly country to us. On the 18th or 19th of this month Charleston was closed by the sinking of 16 large vessels laden with stones a mile outside the bar, and that operation will be repeated at other ports where the Federal forces may fail to secure a footing. The blockading of the American coast will be all but impossible for several months; even the blockading of the principal ports will be difficult, because a great, consumption of coals will be needed in bad weather, and the ships will be compelled to retire from time to time to the coaling stations, so that not more than half the blockading squadrons can be available at a time. The weather in the early part of the yea
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