Konstantin, US-Russian Entente that Saved the Union
Tarpley, US-Russian Alliance that Saved the Union
The body of Colonel Baker was rescued from the field by Louis Bierrel, a soldier from the city of New York, who stood by his gun until the enemy were upon him, when, with a comrade, he bore away the lifeless body of his commander. At the close of the war I obtained a situation in the Custom House for this faithful soldier.
It will be remembered that early in the Rebellion a Russian fleet lay for several months in our harbor, and that other Russian men-of-war were stationed at San Francisco. Admiral Farragut lived at the Astor House, where he was frequently visited by the Russian Admiral, between whom, when they were young officers serving in the Mediterranean, a warm friendship had grown up. Sitting in my room one day after dinner, Admiral Farragut said to his Russian friend, "Why are you spending the winter here in idleness ?" "I am here," replied the Russian Admiral, "under sealed orders, to be broken only in a contingency that has not yet occurred." He added that other Russian war vessels were lying off San Francisco with similar orders. During this conversation the Russian Admiral admitted that he had received orders to break the seals, if during the Rebellion we became involved in a war with foreign nations. Strict confidence was then enjoined.
When in Washington a few days later, Secretary Seward informed me that he had asked the Russian Minister why his government kept their ships of war so long in our harbors, who, while in answering he disclaimed any knowledge of the nature of their visit, felt at liberty to say that it had no unfriendly purpose.
Louis Napoleon had invited Russia, as he did England, to unite with him in demanding the breaking of our blockade. The Russian Ambassador at London informed his government that England was preparing for war with America, on account of the seizure of Mason and Slidell. Hence two fleets were immediately sent across the Atlantic under sealed orders, so that if their services were not needed, the intentions of the Emperor would remain, as they have to this day, secret. It is certain, however, that when our government and Union were imperiled by a formidable rebellion, we should have found a powerful ally in Russia, had an emergency occurred.
The latter revelation is corroborated by a well-known New York gentleman, who was in St. Petersburg when the Rebellion began, and who, during an unofficial call upon Prince Gortschakoff, was shown by the Chancellor an order written in Alexander's own hand, directing his Admiral to report to President Lincoln for orders, in case England or France sided with the Confederates.
ENGLAND AND RUSSIA IN OUR CIVIL WAR
AND THE WAR BETWEEN RUSSIA AND JAPAN.*
THERE has recently been much discussion relative to the attitude of England and Russia towards the United States during our Civil War. This was provoked by the war between Russia and Japan, which caused the partisans of Russia here to contend that Americans ought to sympathize with Russia in the contest. They argued that Americans should do this because Japan has an alliance by treaty with England, and English sentiment was a good deal against the United States in our struggle, or rather in favor of the South as against the North, whereas Russia was on our side, and made us, in 1863, as they erroneously claim, an offer of naval assistance in the event of intervention by England and France.
It is very easy to assert, as it has long been asserted and by many believed, that Russia, in 1863, offered the United States Government the use of her ships of war that then came to the port of New York, and that this prevented, or may have prevented, England and France from recognizing the independence of the Southern Confederacy. But we have yet to learn that there is any record of such an official overture by Russia, either at St. Petersburg or at Washington ; and there certainly would be one in both countries if the assertion was a fact instead of being wholly mythical.
Would Lincoln or Seward have left the country in ignorance of such an affair, or of any suggestion in that direction, if it had been officially made ? It is a myth that hardly calls for contradiction. Such matters between nations cannot be kept secret, and the lapse of forty years since 1863 without revealing anything concerning the alleged orders, goes to prove that there were none of the kind, and that there was nothing to reveal. The Russian ships came here in 1863, just as the Russian fleet with the Grand-Duke Alexis came to New York in 1871, merely on a cruise.
That sentiment in England during the war was largely pro-Southern among the wealthy mercantile and manufacturing class is not to be disputed. But this resulted from the interruption of the cotton supply by the war and the blockade of the Southern ports, and from the loss of the South as a customer for British manufactures, involving much depression and distress. The shoe pinched very severely. Liverpool and Manchester, in particular, were great sufferers by the war, and smarted under the extinction, for the time being, of their Southern cotton supply and connections, and they were against the North largely because it had choked off this trade.**
But this sentiment, this irritation, due to business conditions growing out of the war, was merely personal, and in no way involved the British Government, or reflected its leanings, opinions, or future policy. Liverpool and Manchester were, not unnaturally, sentimentally against the North, because it was, under the necessities of war, preventing the South from shipping its produce to England or importing British goods. That feeling of irritability against the North would have disappeared at any time with the resumption of trade with the South ; and it did disappear as soon as the war ended and the Southern ports were reopened to commerce.
Englands American trade up to that time had been very much larger with the South than with the North, for cotton was much more truly king then than it is now ; and, apart from grain and provisions, the export trade of the North was very small in comparison with its present great extent. Moreover, the wealth of the United States was small in proportion, and our social relations with England and the rest of Europe were not nearly as intimate and extensive as they have since become. We have learned to know each other much better in the interval.
We had not then begun to export beauty and fashion, largely in the shape of American heiresses, for the delight and enrichment of the aristocracy of the Old World, and we could boast of no such colossal individual fortunes as we can now.
When, however, the British Government did, on one occasion, consider the question of recognition of the South and intervention in the war, it was solely on the proposition of the French Emperor, Napoleon the Third, who wanted to break up our Union in order to promote his scheme for planting the Latin race in America, by establishing, under French protection, an empire in Mexico, with Maximilian on the throne. But his proposition was at once unanimously, emphatically and unconditionally rejected by the British Cabinet.
We have this on the highest official authority, that of Mr. Gladstone himself, who, in a letter to me dated May 30th, 1889, speaks thus positively on the subject :
26 JAMESS STREET, May 30, 1889.DEAR SIR :
Having expressed my interest in the portions of your work which I read on the day of its arrival, I think it would be less than ingenuous if I did not, after reading what relates to the Cabinet of Lord Palmerston, on page 56 and in the following chapter, make some reference to it.
Allow me to assure you that, so far as that Cabinet is concerned, you have been entirely misled in regard to matters of fact. As a member of it, and now nearly its sole surviving member, I can state that it never at any time dealt with the subject of recognizing the Southern States in your great civil war, excepting when it learned that proposition of the Emperor Napoleon Third, and declined to entertain that proposition without qualification, hesitation, delay, or dissent.
In the debate which took place on Mr. Roebucks proposal for the negotiation, Lord Russell took no part, and could take none, as he was a member of the House of Lords. I spoke for the Cabinet.
You will, I am sure, be glad to learn that there is no foundation for a charge which, had it been true, might have aided in keeping alive angry sentiments happily gone by. You are, of course, at liberty to publish this letter.
I remain, dear sir, your very faithful servant,HENRY CLEWS, Esq.
In this letter it will be seen, Mr. Gladstone, the Grand Old Man, as England called him, a member of the British Cabinet during Lord Palmerstons administration, which extended from 1859 to 1865, more than covering the period of the war for the Union, assured me that the Cabinet never at any time dealt with the subject of recognizing the Southern States, except to decline to entertain the proposition of France, and this without qualification, hesitation, delay, or dissent.
What could be more positive and emphatic than this ? What more unequivocal, explicit and direct ? It is an unqualified statement that the British Government had never during the war in any way considered the question of recognizing the Southern Confederacy, except on that one occasion, and England was the first nation to which the French proposal was made. Had England joined France when Napoleon made his proposition, which she was the first to reject, that conspirator against us would have tried hard to help the South to succeed in disrupting the Union, for the purpose of regaining possession of Louisiana, and capturing as much additional territory as possible in order to annex it to the empire he expected to found in Mexico. He wanted a weak neighbor. We were saved from his machinations, and this great danger, by the resolute course of the British Government ; and Napoleon thereafter sowed the wind to reap the whirlwind in Mexico. He consigned poor Maximilian to disaster and an inglorious death, after his empire had fallen like a house of cards when the French troops, that had bolstered up his throne, were withdrawn.
This positive testimony from so high and competent an authority as Mr. Gladstone ought to be conclusive in effectually disproving the unfounded cock and bull story that England, at one time, contemplated the recognition of the Southern Confederacy, and that she was prevented from moving in that direction, and led to reverse her policy, and prevent the escape of the Confederate cruisers from Lairds shipyard at Birkenhead, by the arrival at New York of Russian war-ships.
The fact that a Russian squadron, commanded by Admiral S. Lessovsky on his flagship Alexander Nevsky, did come to New York late in September, 1863, and that its officers were very hospitably received and entertained, is the peg on which this story is made to hang. I have good reasons for saying the ships came here with no such object, nor with sealed orders to take an active part in the war, if required. New York was merely a port of call for them, and no doubt their officers were glad to get here and be fêted, as they were. They also, it is safe to assume, appreciated the courtesy of William H. Seward, the Secretary of State, who afterwards told me that, when he heard of their arrival in American waters, he invited them to accept the hospitalities of the port of New York. He, of course, foresaw that their coming here would, or at least might, have a good moral and political effect in our favor both at home and abroad, by depressing the South and encouraging the North, and causing any foreign Powers that might have been considering the advisability of recognizing the Southern Confederacy to postpone action under the impression that we had, or might have, Russia for an ally.
He was astute enough to see that this visit of the Russian squadron might seem to be what it was not, particularly to foreign eyes. Appearances, we all know, are often deceptive, yet they sometimes exert great influence. The visit of this squadron was a case in point. It was a splendid bluff, at a very critical period in our history. Its coming was all the more desired by Mr. Seward because, on the 3d of February, 1863, he had received a despatch from the Emperor Napoleon offering to mediate between the United States and the Southern Confederacy, to which he replied three days later, absolutely rejecting the offer, in very positive terms. After that, early in July, the battle of Gettysburg had been fought, and Northern prospects had brightened very materially. Nevertheless, the coincidence of an arrival, about the same time as the Atlantic Squadron came, of more Russian war-ships at San Francisco, under the command of Admiral Popov, added to Secretary Sewards gratification ; and, when the Russian officers of the Atlantic Squadron went on to Washington, he kept up the festivities to which they had been accustomed in New York by giving them a grand dinner. He was a fitting host, as he had originally invited them to come here.
The Grand-Duke Alexis when he came to New York, with another Russian squadron, under another Admiral, in 1871, practically verified, in reply to my inquiries in conversation while I was acting as one of the Russian Reception Committee, what Secretary Seward had previously intimated to menamely, that there was no foundation for the the story that the Russian squadron of 1863 had come here to help us in warfare, if needed. Mr. Seward told me this very definitely on one occasion when I met him at Washington. But that its officers enjoyed themselves here very much socially was evident from their profuse expression of thanks, and acknowledgement of obligations for the favors received, before they took their departure, and also from the fact that when they got back to Russia, they called in a body, with the Emperors approval, on Mr. Cassius M. Clay, the American Minister at St. Petersburg, to return thanks more formally for the courtesies and kindness of which they had been the recipients here.
Now, it is clearly to be inferred that, if they had come here to serve us at a grave crisis, by offering to take part in our war, they would not have felt themselves under such obligations to us ; on the contrary, we should have been under very great obligations to them, which would have called for public acknowledgment. Moreover, if the Russians had come on any such mission as naval co-operation in actual war, if needed, it would not only have been a matter of official record in both countries, but it would have immediately become known, not alone to the public here, but to the world. It would have been simply impossible to keep the news from the press ; and the Government at Washington would have had no object ; no good purpose to serve, in concealing such an alliance, for alliance it would have been of great international importance, and one which would have tended, still more than the activity of our own navy, to show Europe and the South the hopelessness of the Souths struggle with the North. Russia was friendly to the United States, of course ; but this friendship between the two countries was very different from an offer, or a willingness, to help us by armed intervention in our favor. Russia has never intimated that she had any such intention ; and, indeed, such intervention on her part would have been folly, as her navy was then very small after the destruction of the Crimean War, and would have been powerless against England or France.
The conclusion is, therefore, that the sympathy with Russia in its present war with Japan, which many in the United States are endeavoring to stimulate on the strength of this Munchausen story of proffered war-ships, is based on a mere assumption. Just as in the case of one of Dickenss Characters, Mrs. Harris, there was no such person, so in the case of this visit of Russian cruisers, there was no such offer of these by Russia to the United States, nor any evidence of any intention to offer them by Russia. On the Contrary, Prince Gortchakov, the Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs, repeatedly said to our Minister at St. Petersburg and in despatches to the Russian Minister at Washington, that Russia greatly favored peace, and wished for its speedy return ; but would never take sides in the controversy between North and South.
Finally, as to England, we have the word of William Ewart Gladstone that the British Government was not unfriendly to us throughout our Civil War, inasmuch as it was absolutely and entirely opposed to the recognition Southern Confederacy, and instantly and effectually check-mated the French Emperor when he tried to make it swerve from its consistent course of neutrality. Had the British Government been unfriendly, it would have jumped at this chance to join France in recognition and intervention. By their fruits ye shall know them.
There is no reason in what I have said, however, for an anti-Russian and pro-Japanese feeling in the United States, or an anti-American feeling in Russia ; and it is much to be desired that friendly feeling towards each other should prevail in both countries, but not at the expense of truth. Even Japan, while fighting Russia, is showing good-will and generosity towards Russian officers and men, and treating them with uncommon courtesy and consideration.
My only object in thus writing is to present the matters referred to, involving the relations of the United States with England, France and Russia during our Civil War, in a true and proper light, and so to correct prevailing misapprehensions. Russias course in Manchuria, however, by which she tightened, instead of releasing, her grip upon it, as she promised to do, sufficiently accounts for our lack of sympathy with her in her war with Japan.
While professing friendship for the United States, she has acted in bad faith, and by her restrictions ruined our growing trade there ; and all the specious arguments put forward by Russia through the Russian Ambassador at Washington will not make the American people believe that Russian success in this war would be an advantage to the United States.
Hence, American sympathies are not generally on the side of autocratic and grasping Russia, with its closed door, but with liberal Japan, and its open door. Moreover, it is to be hoped that Russia will find her so-called special position of exclusiveness and monopoly in Manchuria untenable, and be compelled to abandon it, to evacuate that country, and leave its trade open to all the world. Then the now idle and ruined factories, built there by Americans, could be turned to profitable account again.
Although our relations with Russia have always been friendly, past friendship does not justify present injustice. The retention of her foothold in Manchuria, which she was to have held only until the country was pacified, and her obvious and avowed designs upon Corea, evidently aim at the acquisition of their territory, and point to similar ultimate designs upon China and Japan.
Such being the case, we may well sympathize with Japan in her struggle with Russia. We owe nothing to Russia because some of her ships came to New York in 1863 ; but we are indebted to England for having peremptorily declined the proposition of France to recognize the Southern Confederacy.
Moreover, England is our natural ally, as we are allied to her by an affinity of race, language, religion and free institutions. As for the Yellow Peril, of which so much has been said, especially by the Russian Ambassador, as something to be feared by the Western nations, it is purely imaginary and chimerical. There is no more danger of China and Japan, if successful in war at home, invading and overrunning the rest of the world at any time in the future, near or remote, than there is of the man in the moon coming down and invading us with an army of moonshiners.
August 11th, 1905.EDITOR New York Times, New York City.
DEAR SIR : My attention has been called to an editorial in your issue of August 10th, entitled That Gladstone Letter Again, the letter in question being the one received by me personally from Mr. Gladstone. The editorial by its wording seems to bring in question the authenticity and veracity of the statements contained therein.
The letter came to me voluntarily from Mr. Gladstone, as the result of an article written by me, and it should remove any doubt as to the position of the British Cabinet in connection with our Civil War. The utterances of some of the individual members of the Cabinet did doubtless favor the South during a part of our Civil War, but when Emperor Napoleons proposition for intervention came up in the British Cabinet, the action taken was exactly as Mr. Gladstone states in his letter to me, and is borne out by Mr. Gladstones speech in the House of Commons made soon afterwards, and it was largely due to his speech that Mr. Roebucks motion on Napoleons proposition was defeated.
There is an unwritten law in England that the deliberations of the British Cabinet shall never be revealed by any member except by consent of the Crown. Mr. Gladstone was known to be a great stickler for conventions, and his letter to me in which he expressly says I am at liberty to publish it could not have been written except by consent of Queen Victoria.
Very truly yours,
* Written for the North American Review, June 1904 issue, by Henry Clews.
** I except, of course, the great excitement and commotion created in England by the seizure Mason and Slidell, on November 7th, 1861, by Captain Wilkes of the U.S.S San Jacinto, when the British Government demanded their release and an apology ; but that was because we had violated the rights of a neutral vessel by taking them from the Trent, flying a British flag. We released them on that ground, and so at once ended the trouble that had threatened war. This was a special case of our provoking.
THE CRISIS OF 1907 AND ITS CAUSES, WAS PRESIDENT ROOSEVELT TO BLAME ?*
Next to New Yorkbeing from New York I have to make this distinctionnext to New York, I consider Cleveland the home of the most worthy set of business men in the United States. Your forefathers chose well when they elected to settle in this beautiful spot. The wisdom which they displayed is proven by the twenty miles of docks on your water front and by the fact that your people own the largest tonnage on the lakes.
The natural resources of your surroundings have made you masters of trade in coal, iron, and petroleum. Your harbors are commodious, and what they lacked in natural formation you have supplied by the famous breakwaters which have been built. Your city is not only a natural business center, but also a railroad center.
Your Euclid Avenue is spoken of in the East as a model to be copied by the lovers of beauty.
Fifty years ago Cleveland was a village. If you continue to thrive as you have, where will you be fifty years hence ? It was in the soil of Cleveland that the seed was planted that has grown and developed into the greatest business plant in the world. To-day the Standard Oil Company commands trade in every country on the face of the globe, and
* An address to the Cleveland Chamber of Commerce, Cleveland, Ohio, Tuesday evening, January 28th, 1908, by Henry Clews.
[August Belmont to Thurlow Weed.]
Newport, R.I. July 20, 1862.
My Dear Mr. Weed, I have made several attempts to see you during your fleeting visits to New York, but have not been so fortunate as to find you in.
Our national affairs are in a most critical position, more so than they have been at any time since the beginning of this unfortunate war. What frightens me more than the disasters in the field is the apathy and distrust which, I grieve to say, I meet at every step, even from men of standing, and hitherto of undoubted loyalty to the Union.
You know my own feelings and convictions on the subject of our national troubles, and I am sure I can speak to you in all candor, without the fear of having my thoughts misconstrued, though you may, perhaps, not share my views.
My firm conviction is, that any other solution to our present difficulties than a reconstruction of but one government over all the states of our confederacy would entail upon us and our children an inheritance of the most fearful consequences, which would end in the utter disintegration and ruin of the whole country. . . .
Our army has been decimated by disease and the casualties of war. I am informed from reliable sources that McClellan has barely 70,000 men, all told; and Pope's army, including the corps of McDowell, Sigel, and Banks, is said to number barely 40,000 men. What can we expect to do with such a force against Richmond, which is defended by an enemy having probably double that number under arms, flushed with recent successes, commanded by generals at least equal to ours, directed by one master-spirit, and occupying a central position in a country hostile to us ?
It is true the President has called out 300,000 men, but it would be a fatal delusion to believe that this number would be sufficient to crush the enemy, even if it were sure that, under the present system of volunteers, the men would come forward.
I think I make a liberal estimate if I put the figure of the Federal armies, all told, at 400,000 effective men, and this number will be reduced to at least 300,000 before the new levies can be brought into the field.
When we stopped recruiting in the midst of our successes, we dealt a fatal blow to our army, and it is really a wonder to me that our commanding generals consented to submit to such a measure, which crippled them at a time when an overwhelming force became necessary to finish up the good work. It was a policy hardly less suicidal than if we had stopped sending supplies and ammunition to our men in the field. Where we would have found last winter ten men eager to enlist, anxious to share in our triumphs, we will scarcely now find one, so deep is the gloom and distrust which has taken hold of our people. It would be worse than folly to shut our eyes to this fact. I think ours is the first instance in history where a government shut off supplies of men in the midst of a gigantic war. Look at England. Her enlistments in the Crimean war lasted until the very day of the conclusion of peace.
There is only one way to remedy our fatal error, that is, for the President at once to establish a system of conscription, by which, instead of 300,000, at least 500,000 men should be called under arm.
A straightforward proclamation of the President, setting forth the necessities of the case, and appealing to the patriotism of the people, will give more confidence than all the ill-concealed attempts at palliating our desperate condition.
Instead of levying new regiments, commanded by inexperienced officers of their own choosing, and who, for a year to come, would barely add anything to our efficiency in the field, the raw recruits ought to be collected at camps of instruction, in healthy localities, east and west, where under the direction of West Point graduates, they should be drilled and disciplined.
From thence, as they are fit for active service, they should be furnished to the army to be incorporated into the old regiments, without reference to States, and only where they are most needed. This is the only way to create for this war an efficient United States army, and will strike a severe blow to that fatal heresy [state sovereignty and state pride] which lies at the bottom of all our misfortunes. Besides, such a mode would be infinitely more economical, and the raw recruits, mixed with our old soldiers, would be, of course, much more reliable and steady under the enemy's fire than in separate regiments commanded by officers just as inexperienced as themselves.
Simultaneously with these measures, which ought to be taken with the utmost vigor and despatch, we must infuse more life and energy into our naval department.
The fact is, we have made a great mistake to undertake a war on a gigantic scale by land, where our opponents are, at least, nearly as strong as we are, instead of throwing our best resources and energies upon that mode of warfare where we could have had the enemy at our mercy. Had we, at the very outset of the Rebellion, ordered fifty iron gunboats, even at a cost of one million dollars apiece, we should before last January have been in possession of every southern port. With two hundred thousand men we could have held, by land, the line of the Potomac, Missouri, and Tennessee, and thus hemmed in, we would have brought the South to terms, just as Russia had to sue for peace after the fall of Sebastopol.
I think it is still in our power to accomplish this, though the task has become more difficult since Charleston, Savannah, and Mobile have been so strongly fortified during the last six months. No time, money, and efforts should be spared to build at least twenty more large new iron steamships, with which to take and hold every important city on the rebel coast, from North Carolina to Texas.
If authority for all these measures is not vested in the President, he ought at once to call an extra session of Congress.
I have thus far given you my views of the steps which I consider indispensable, if the sword is to be the arbiter of our future; but is there no other way of saving our country from all the horrors and calamities which even a successful war must entail upon us ?
It may appear almost hopeless to attempt to bring the South back to the Union by negotiation. Men and women alike, in that distracted portion of our country, have become frantic and exasperated by the teachings of unprincipled leaders and the miseries of civil war. Still, I cannot bring myself to the belief that the door to a reconciliation between the two sections is irrevocably and forever shut. The losses and sufferings which have befallen us have been felt tenfold in the revolted states, and the thinking men of the South must see that a continuation of the war must end in the utter destruction of their property and institutions. The frightful carnage of many a battlefield must have convinced each section of the bravery of its opponents, and how much better it would be to have them as friends than foes.
While I am convinced that the President would be willing to see the South in the lawful possession of all its constitutional rights, I have not lost all hope, that with these rights guaranteed, a reunion of the two sections might be accomplished. In any event, it seems to me that an attempt at negotiation should be made, and that the time for it has not entirely passed away.
If one or two conservative men, who, without holding any official position, possess influence and weight enough with our people and the government to inspire confidence in their statements to the leading men of the South, could be found to proceed under the authority, or at least with the knowledge of the President, to Richmond, in order to open negotiations, I think success might crown their efforts. . . .
I firmly believe that the President would find the hearty support of the vast majority of our people in such a policy, and he ought not to lose any time in carrying out these views. Such men, for instance, as yourself and Governor H. Seymour, would soon be able to find out whether the men who are guiding the destinies of the South could be brought to listen to the dictates of reason and moderation.
Before we enter upon a new phase in this terrible war, which must carry with it horror and misery far greater than what we have witnessed yet, I cannot but think that patriotism and humanity alike call for an earnest effort toward reconciliation and peace.
If our offers should be rejected, we shall stand justified before God and men, and our good cause will have His blessing and the world's sympathy.
1862.-- Early in the session of Parliament, after the arrival of Mr. Mason, Confederate commissioner, Mr. Gregory, of Galway, a supporter of Lord Palmerston, introduced resolutions declaring foreign nations not bound to recognize the Charleston blockade. These resolutions were debated at length in March. They were opposed by John Bright, Richard Cobden, William E. Forster, Richard Moncton Milnes (now Lord Houghton), and the Solicitor-General, Sir Roundel Palmer. Other members of Parliament, among whom were Mr. Kinnaird, Mr. Stansfeld, Mr. Baxter, Mr. Bazley, Mr. Potter, and Mr. Smith, of Stockport, would have spoken for the Union, had their services been required. But the capture of Fort Donelson was a strong argument against foreign interference, and when it came to a vote Mr. Gregory's motion was defeated.
Among Americans whom Mr. Weed met in France and England, who were outspoken in defense of the government, was Mr. August Belmont. Breakfasting one morning at the Hotel Bristol, in Paris, with Mr. Belmont and Mr. Edward Ellice, the conversation was wholly devoted to American affairs. The opinions of Mr. Ellice were high authority both in London and Paris. He maintained very earnestly that the North would be compelled by financial exhaustion to submit to a division of the Union. He believed that the war would become so onerous to the northern people that they would force the government to make terms with the South. He thought also that a tariff which was so seriously affecting the manufacturing interests of England and France, must soon arouse the intervention of those governments. Mr. Belmont joined with Mr. Weed in controverting these assumptions. He insisted that if, as Mr. Ellice affirmed, foreign countries remained neutral, our government and people were strong enough in men and money to preserve the Union.
There was particular significance in the opinions of Mr. Belmont at this time, as he was a prominent leader in the Democratic party, and the representative at New York of the Rothschilds, and there was perhaps even greater value attached to his utterances on account of the fact that he was allied by family connections to Mr. Slidell, then in Paris urging the Emperor to assert himself on the side of the rebels.
During the early part of the war Mr. Ellice expressed himself freely as above quoted. But ere long his position was reversed, and when the attempt was made in Parliament to raise the blockade he coöperated with the majority.
Mr. Seward to Mr. Weed
Washington, January 2, 1862.
My Dear Weed,-- If I had not nerves of steel I should give up my place and let some less offending man take it up.
They say I sent John Brown to Virginia to raise a slave insurrection. Everybody waits for me to prove that I did not. They charge me with "compromising." The press calls upon me to prove that I am not guilty. They charge me with gross vices. Friends ask, can it be so bad? and call upon me for refutations. They say I want war with England. Immediately I must prove that I love England better than our own country. The Duke of Newcastle, forgetful of the amenities of a dinner, gives the press a story about insulting the Prince of Wales and his whole party, and I must immediately go into a defense.
Now either I have character enough for sense and decency to live through silly falsehoods like these, caused by hatred of our country and her cause, or I have not. If I have not, I ought to be compelled at once to relinquish a place which some other can fill better.
I had prepared a note to the Duke of Newcastle, but have thrown it into the fire. Before this silly canard of his could be exposed, some new one would be started.
With love to Harriet, I am ever your unfortunate friend, who has faith in everybody, and enjoys the confidence of nobody,
William H. Seward.