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[390] the single exception of the rude treatment he met at Richmond — now the Headquarters of the rebels — had accomplished what no diplomacy could have effected. It seemed to have blotted out the last lingering remnant of ill-feeling, and left, on this side the Atlantic at least, the belief that henceforth there was a firm alliance between England and America, not based on treaty stipulations, but upon that heartfelt cordiality which springs from mutual regard, and from a common devotion to the great principles of right which belong to the institutions of both countries, and which their example is recommending to the world; nor should we overlook the belief cherished by many thoughtful men, that if in the distant future England should be set upon by the despotisms of Europe, and should require the aid of her American daughter to save her from annihilation, that aid would be promptly, effectively, and cordially given.

It is with profound regret that we have seen that friendly feeling suddenly converted into one of intense and bitter disappointment by the conduct and tone of the English government and the ill-judged comments of the English press.

The election of Mr. Lincoln for the first time entitled to the control of the Federal Government a party with whose political principles the English people were supposed to sympathize. By a scheme of treachery unparalleled in baseness, a few of the defeated faction holding office in the cabinet, in Congress, in the army, and in the navy, conspired together to betray the forts, arsenals, and other property of the Government into the hands of their confederates, with the view of destroying the Union, and erecting upon its ruins a Southern confederacy, of which slavery is to be the grand, permanent, and distinguishing characteristic. They accomplish the seizure of the public property without difficulty, for they themselves were intrusted with its guardianship, and they proceed to develop the great conspiracy and organize the rebel government, while the loyal citizens of the United States are helplessly compelled to await the inauguration of the new President. The 4th of March arrives at last, Mr. Lincoln takes the oath to maintain the Constitution and the laws, and when in obedience to that oath he orders the rebels to disperse, and calls upon the country for assistance, the loyal States, as one man, prepare to crush the conspiracy and restore the integrity and the honor of the nation. Neither from England nor from any foreign power have we asked or would we accept assistance in regulating our own household; but from England, of all the states of the world, we thought we had a right to expect a ready sympathy, and that moral support which is given by the countenance of a great nation.

The Southern rebels also counted upon the support of England, on the simple ground that her interest in cotton would incline her to their side; but we, although well aware of the demoralizing effect of interest upon national principles, still believed it impossible that the British government could consent from pecuniary motives to look with complacency on the progress of a rebellion whose only strength was gained by treachery, and which was avowedly prosecuted for the maintenance of a system which England herself had taught the world to regard with abhorrence. In thus believing, we were confirmed by the tone of the English press when the insurrection first began, one of the ablest representatives of which indignantly declared in substance that Manchester and Birmingham would be the first to reject as an insult the idea that they were to be moved from their position by pecuniary appeals, and that if any British cabinet should sacrifice the antislavery principles of the nation to the question of cotton, England would lose, and deservedly lose, her place at the council table of Europe.

The exclamation of Lord John Russell, in reply to a question as to the position of England, “For God's sake let us keep out of it,” was followed by what is termed a proclamation of neutrality, in which British subjects are forbidden to render assistance to either the United States on the one hand, or the States calling themselves the Confederate States on the other, both of which parties are recognized by the proclamation as “belligerents.”

The British government is accustomed to preserve an attitude of neutrality towards contending nations; but it would seem that neutrality does not so far interfere with the sympathies and freedom of its subjects as to compel it to issue proclamations against Irishmen enlisting with Francis Joseph, or Englishmen fighting for Victor Emanuel and Garibaldi.

The proclamation in this case is so warmly eulogized by the British press as precisely the proclamation demanded by the crisis, they profess such profound astonishment that the American people are not satisfied with it, and rate so severely Mr. Cassius M. Clay for expressing with Western bluntness his frank surprise, that I will dwell for a moment on what seems to be its meaning and effect.

What has the proclamation effected? How did we stand before it was issued, and how do we stand now?

In the case of the United States, the laws of England and its treaty stipulations with our Government already forbade its subjects from engaging in a conspiracy to overthrow our institutions. The proclamation, therefore, in forbidding English subjects to fight in the service of the rebels against the United States, simply declared the law as it was already understood; while in forbidding Englishmen to fight for the United States against the rebels, it intervened to change the existing practice, to revive the almost obsolete act of Geo. III. forbidding English subjects from engaging in foreign service without the royal consent, which had slumbered in regard to Austria and Italy, for the purpose of forbidding Englishmen from assisting

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