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[319] of civil conflict was to be added the apprehension of servile war, which would be the climax of so many irreparable misfortunes.

If these calamities affected America only, these sufferings of a friendly nation would be enough to excite the anxiety and sympathy of the Emperor; but Europe also had suffered in one of the principal branches of her industry, and her artisans had been subjected to most cruel trials. France and the maritime powers had, during the struggle, maintained the strictest neutrality, but the sentiments by which they were animated, far from imposing on them anything like indifference, seem, on the contrary, to require that they should assist the two belligerent parties in an endeavor to escape from a position which appeared to have no issue. The forces of the two sides had hitherto fought with balanced success, and the latest accounts did not show any prospect of a speedy termination of the war.

These circumstances, taken together, seemed to favor the adoption of measures which might bring about a truce. The Emperor of the French, therefore, was of the opinion that there was now an opportunity of offering to the belligerents the good offices of the maritime powers. He, therefore, proposed to Her Majesty, as well as to the Emperor of Russia, that the three courts should endeavor, both at Washington and in communication with the Confederate States, to bring about a suspension of arms for six months, during which time every act of hostility, direct or indirect, should cease, at sea as well as on land. This armistice might, if necessary, be renewed for a further period.

This proposal, he proceeded to say, would not imply, on the part of the three powers, any judgment on the origin of the war, or any pressure on the negotiations for peace, which it was hoped would take place during the armistice. The three powers would interfere only to smooth the obstacles, and only within the limits which the two interested parties would prescribe. The French government was of the opinion that, even in the event of a failure of immediate success, those overtures might have proved useful in leading the minds of men heated by passion to consider the advantages of conciliation and peace.

The reply of Great Britain, through Lord John Russell, on November 13, 1862, is really contained in this extract:

After weighing all the information which has been received from America, her Majesty's Government are led to the conclusion that there is no ground at the present moment to hope that the Federal Government would accept the proposal suggested, and a refusal from Washington at the present time would prevent any speedy renewal of the offer.

The Russian Government, in reply, said:

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