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atone for the doings of its rulers. It is a very common piece of clap-trap for those who do not go along with the policy which is pursued by their Government, to pretend that if the people were rightly appealed to they would support them. But I believe that, in this case, that clap-trap is a reality. I believe that the Confederates may feel, if it is any interest to them to do so, that if of all European Governments the English Government is most hostile—of all nations the English nation is the most friendly. On the Continent, the long oppression of despotic governments has made their subjects disposed to run off into the wildest excesses of democracy; and to them the disruption of the great Transatlantic Republic, to which their hopes and their aspirations had so long been turned, has appeared as a sign that the experiment of liberty had failed for ever. Nor is it unnatural that, to minds exacerbated by this thought, and feeling that in the fall of what they have been taught to consider American liberty, they see the death-blow to all hopes of their own, the cry so loudly raised by the North, that their republic is torn and divided, because it has undertaken the noble task of striking off the fetters of the slave, should come home with a force too strong to be resisted. But in England we are too much accustomed to liberty, too well aware of what distinguishes the reality of it from the falsehoods —I may add, too deeply interested in the spectacle of a people of our own blood engaged in such a warfare as the South is now engaged in—for the mass of us not to be drawn towards her by strong ties of sympathy. There is, I believe, one other country where the Confederates have friends. It is the country in which, from historical association, as well as from its present condition, they might most expect that friends would be found. It is the country which, next to our own, stands out as the greatest example of success in the task of combining liberty with order, the country which for more than two thousand years has known what freedom has meant, and has given the brightest examples of patriotism that the world has known—the country of Pythagoras and Dion, of the Valerii and the Gracchi, of the League of Lombardy, and the Sicilian Vespers.*
But there is a greater good still that we have been the means of conferring on the Confederates. It is one for which they owe us no gratitude, and for which they may well repay us with animosity. But to an Englishman whose heart is with the Southerners—
* Since the above was written, I have had reason to believe that it has been to a great extent falsified. “Southern proclivities" on this side of the Atlantic are no longer confined to England and Italy. A strong Confederate minority, powerfully represented in the press, has arisen in France; and there are not wanting indications of sympathy on the same side even in Germany.
nay, to the Southerners themselves at some future day the thought may arise that the coldness of England has been more profitable to them than her most ardent support—nay, than even her armed assistance
-could have been. Had England at once recognised the Confederacy, had the other European Powers followed her lead, had the Washington Government bowed to their decision, the new Republic would have escaped untold misery, and would be at this moment occupying a secure though not very remarkable place among the family of nations. If it has been England that has prevented this, and plunged the Southern States into the sea of blood in which they have been so nearly submerged, they may recollect, when the tide has ebbed, and the terrible struggle is over, that that sea has washed away not only the impurities which adhered to them from the faults of their old system of government, but also those which a long career of peace and success is apt to produce in any nation, and that that struggle has taught them not only the knowledge of war and the art of victory, but has developed the far greater qualities which are the life-blood of peoples-self-reliance, self-help, self-devotion, constancy, and that feeling which can annihilate all faction and all selfishness, and can unite a whole nation as one man in the struggle after that which is worthy to be sought by toil and sacrifice. Few, if any, other nations have had such a long and hard trial as that which has been laid on the South ; few, if any, other nations would have been worthy of the chance thus offered them of becoming great. And the descendants of the Virginians and Carolinians of the present day may perhaps hereafter find it in their hearts to be thankful to England for the education which, without meaning it, she procured them—to be thankful to England for the culpable inaction which led to their being compelled to erect such a splendid portal at the opening of their history, and enabled them to sum up the glorious and as yet unfinished record of courage and sacrifice, which will tell how the Confederacy was formed, with the ancient words—
“ Tantæ molis erat Romanam condere gentem.”
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