trade, hardly less remunerative, would have been chiefly theirs, with less cost to our people.
Would the Palmerston-Russell
ministry have ventured to decline such a proffer of mutual benefits, and to persist in the policy of non-intervention?
If it had, then the subject would have been taken straight into Parliament, with almost a certainty that the Whig
ministry would have been speedily voted down, and the Conservative administration of Lord Derby and Mr. Disraeli
placed in power.
And there can be little doubt that that administration would promptly have entered into such a treaty.
Even the Whig Foreign Secretary
, Lord John Russell
, openly expressed the opinion that the dissolution of the American Union would be permanent, and the Confederate States
John Bright, the Quaker Radical
, and Richard Cobden
, the Independent Liberal
of the Manchester School
of politics, then supporting the Whig
administration, represented manufacturing constituencies, and were noted advocates of free-trade and low duties.
It is more than likely that, in view of such benefits, their prejudices against the South
and partialities for the North
would have been nullified and overridden by the calls of unmistakable and gigantic interest to the people of England
of the French
, Louis Napoleon
, was friendly in feeling to the South
, and would gladly have joined England
in such a programme.
Without such inducements he proposed a mediation in October, 1862.
Under the action of the Confederate Congress the President
appointed commissioners to Europe
, with the Hon. William L. Yancey
at the head of the commission, to go to England
But the instructions given him were not such as the past policy and political position occupied by the South
naturally suggested; not such as Mr. Yancey
expected; not such as the Secretary of State
, the Hon. Robert Toombs
, advocated; and not such as other leading Southern statesmen deemed of vital importance to the cause.
Instead of seeking to use the power of leaving duties and passing navigation laws, to conciliate the support of foreign nations; instead of using the treaty-making power, which was paramount to the legislative, to obtain the recognition of the independence of the Confederate States
, the President
gave no authority to the commissioners to make commercial treaties, or to agree to confer special trade or navigation interests.
The commission went without