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MARCH, 1862.      DOUGLASS MONTHLY.      619

The Rebels in England.
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A late foreign arrival brought the letter of the rebel agents in London to Lord RUSSELL urging a recognition of the independence of the "Confederate States of America."  They inform him that they were appointed on the 16th of March last, by the President of that so-styled government, and proceed n a very elaborate manner to present their claims, and the arguments which should lead England to such a recognition.  We proposed to re-produce some of these, some of which we have italicised as being flat falsehoods or the grossest misrepresentations:


In connection with this view, the undersigned explained to your Lordship the unity, the deliberation, the moderation and regard for personal and public right, the absence of undue popular commotion during the process of secession, the daily and ordinary administration of the laws in every department of justice, all of which were distinguishing features of this grand movement.


This Government has commenced its career entirely without a navy.  Owing to the high sense of duty which distinguished the Southern officers who were lately in commission in the United States navy, the ships which otherwise might have been brought into Southern ports, were honorably delivered up to the United States Government, and the navy, built for the protection of the people of all the States, is now used by the Government at Washington to coerce the people and blockade the ports of one-third of the States of the late Union.


Since the organization of the Government of the Confederate States in February last, and since Mr. Lincoln assumed the reins of government in the United States, and commenced preparing his aggressive policy against the Confederate States, the moral weight of their position and cause, aided by the unconstitutional action and policy of the new President and his Cabinet, have caused four other great States——viz: Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Arkansas, containing about 4,500,000 inhabitants, and covering an extent of valuable territory equal to that of France and Spain——to secede from the late Union and join the Confederate States; while the inhabitants of three other powerful States——viz: Maryland, Kentucky, and Missouri——are now agitated by the throes of revolution, and a large part of them are rising in arms to resist the military despotism which, in the name of the Constitution, has been so ruthlessly, and in such utter perversion of the provisions of that instrument, imposed upon them.


The undersigned have also sufficient reasons for the belief that even in the northwestern part of the State of Illinois, a part of the people have proclaimed open opposition to Mr. Lincoln's unconstitutional and despotic Government, while in several others, their Legislatures have condemned the war as subversive of the Constitution.  In addition to these striking evidences of the increased strength of the Confederate States, and of great internal weakness and division in Mr. Lincoln's Government, the undersigned can proudly and confidently point to the unity which exists among the people of the eleven Confederate States, with the solitary and unimportant exception of the extreme northwest corner of Virginia, lying between Ohio and Pennsylvania, and settled almost exclusively by Northern emigrants.


In everything that constitutes the material of war, thus far the Confederate States have supplied themselves from their own resources, unaided by that free intercourse with the world which has been opened to the United States.  Men, arms, munitions of war of every description, have been supplied in ample abundance to defeat all attempts to successfully invade our borders.  Money has been obtained in the Confederate States in sufficient quantity.  Every loan that has been put upon the market has been taken at and above par, and the undersigned but state the universal impression and belief of their Government and their fellow citizens in the Confederate States that, no matter what may be the demand for means to defend their country against invasion, sufficient resources of every character, and sufficient patriotism to furnish them, exist within the Confederate States for that purpose.


The undersigned are aware than an impression has prevailed, even in what may be termed well informed circles in Europe, that the slaveholding States are poor, and not able to sustain a prolonged conflict with the non-slaveholding States of the North.  In the opinion of the undersigned, this idea is grossly erroneous; and considering the importance of a correct understanding of the relative resources of the two contending Powers, in resolving the question of the ability of the South to maintain its position, your Lordship will pardon a reference to the statistical tables of 1850, the last authentic exposition of the resources of the United States which has yet been published, and which is appended to this communication.  The incontestible truths exhibited in that table prove that the Confederate States possess the elements of a great and powerful nation, capable not only of clothing, feeding and defending themselves, but also of clothing all the nations of Europe under the benign influence of peace and free trade.


The undersigned are also aware that the anti slavery sentiment so universally prevalent in England has shrunk from the idea of forming friendly public relations with a Government recognizing the slavery of a part of the human race,  The question of the morality of slavery it is not for the undersigned to discuss with any foreign Power.  The authors of the American Declaration of Independence found the African race in the colonies to be slaves, both by colonial and English law, and by the law of nations.

Thus great and good men left that fact and the responsibility for its existence where they found it; and thus finding that there were two distinct races in the colonies, one free and capable of maintaining their freedom, the other slaves, and, in their opinion, unfitted to enter upon that contest, and to govern themselves, they made their famous declaration of freedom for the white race alone.——They eventually framed and put in operation, in the course of a few years, two plans of government, both resting upon that great and recognized distinction between the white and the black man, and perpetuating that distinction as the fundamental law of the government they framed, which they declared to be framed for the benefit of themselves and their posterity; in their own language, "to secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity."


The wisdom of that course is not a matter for discussion with foreign nations.  Suffice it to say that thus were the great American institutions framed, and thus have they remained unchanged to this day.  It was from no fear that the slaves would be liberated that secession took place.  The very party in power has proposed to guarantee slavery forever in the States, if the South would but remain in the Union.  Mr. Lincoln's Message proposes no freedom to the slave, but announces subjection of his owner to the will of the Union; in other words, to the will of the North.  Even after the battle of Bull Run, both branches of the Congress at Washington passed resolutions that the war is only waged in order to uphold that (pro-slavery) Constitution, and to enforce the laws (many of them pro-slavery,) and out of 172 votes in the Lower House they receive all but two, and in the Senate all but one vote.  As the army commenced its march, the commanding General issued an order that no slaves should be received into, or allowed to follow, the camp.


The great object of the war, therefore, as now officially announced, is not to free the slave, but to keep him in subjection to his owner, and to control his labor through the legislative channels which the Lincoln Government designs to force upon the master.  The undersigned therefore submit with confidence that as far as the anti-slavery sentiment of England is concerned, it can have no sympathy with the North; nay, it will probably become disgusted with a canting hypocrisy which would enlist those sympathies on false pretences.  The undersigned are, however, not insensible to the surmise that the Lincoln Government may, under stress of circumstances, change its policy, a policy based at present more upon a wily view of what is to be its effect in rearing up an element in the Confederate States favorable to the reconstruction of the Union, than upon any honest desire to uphold a constitution, the main provisions of which it has most shamelessly violated.


But they confidently submit to your Lordship's consideration, that success in producing so abrupt and violent a destruction of a system of labor which has reared up so vast a commerce between America and the great States of Europe, which, it is supposed, now gives bread to 10,000,000 of the population of those States, which it may be safely assumed is intimately blended with the basis of the great manufacturing and navigating prosperity that distinguishes the age, and probably not the least of the elements of this prosperity, would be visited with results disastrous to the world, as well as to the master and slave.


The undersigned would also ask your Lordship's attention to the fact that the cotton picking season in the cotton growing states of the Confederacy has commenced.  The crop bids fair to be at least an average one, and will be prepared for market and delivered by our planters and merchants as usual, on the wharves of the ports of those States when there shall be a prospect of the blockade being raised, and not before.  As a defensive measure, an embargo has been laid by the Government of the Confederate States upon the passage of cotton by inland conveyance to the United States.  To be obtained, it must be sought for in the Atlantic and Gulf ports of those States.

They submit to your Lordship the consideration of the fact that the blockade of all the ports of the Confederate States was declared to have commenced by the blockading officer of Charleston, when, in truth, at that time, and for weeks after, there was no pretence of a blackade [sic] of the ports in the Gulf.  They submit for consideration that since the establishment of the blockade there have been repeated instances of vessels breaking it at Wilmington, Charleston, Savannah, Mobile and New Orleans.  It will be for the neutral Powers, whose commerce has been so seriously damaged, to determine how long such a blockade shall be permitted to interfere with their commerce.


The following is Lord Russell's reply:


FOREIGN OFFICE, Aug. 24, 1861.

The undersigned has had the honor to receive the letter of the 14th inst., addressed to him by Messrs. Yancey, Rost, and Mann, on behalf of the so-styled Confederate States of North America.

The British Government do not pretend in any way to pronounce a judgment upon the questions in debate between the United States and their adversaries in North America; the British Government can only regret these differences have, unfortunately, been submitted to the arbitrament of arms.  Her Majesty has considered this context as constituting a civil war, and her Majesty has, by her royal Proclamation, declared her intention to preserve a strict neutrality between the contending parties in that war.

Her Majesty will strictly perform the duties which belong to a neutral.  Her Majesty cannot undertake to determine by anticipation what may be the issue of the contest, nor can she acknowledge the independence of the nine States which are now combined against the President and Congress of the United States, until the fortune of arms or the more peaceful mode of negotiation shall have more clearly determined the respective positions of the two belligents.

Her Majesty can, in the meantime, only express a hope that some adjustment satisfactory to both parties may be come to, without the calamities which must cause in the event of an embittered and protracted conflict.

The undersigned, &c.    RUSSELL.
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