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‘Within a Stone's throw of independence’ at Gettysburg.

Our series of papers on Gettysburga summing up of which we may take an early opportunity of making—cannot be carefully studied by the unprejudiced student of history without an overwhelming conviction that if General Lee's orders had been properly carried out at Gettysburg, we would have won that field, crushed General Meade's army, rescued Maryland, captured Washington and Baltimore, and dictated terms of peace on Northern soil.

General Lee himself said, with a good deal of feeling, in conversation with some gentlemen in Lexington, Va., not long before his death: ‘If I had had Stonewall Jackson at Gettysburg I should have won there a great victory, and if we had reaped the fruits within our reach, we should have established the Independence of the Confederacy.’

We verily believe that the verdict of impartial History will be that the Confederates would have won Gettysburg, and Independence, but for the failure of one man.

But it is not generally known that just at this crisis England was on the eve of recognizing the Confederacy, and was only prevented from doing so by our defeat at Gettysburg. The story is thus told by an English statesman, as quoted by the London Morning Advertiser.

I am able to speak with knowledge on this subject; and I affirm, without fear of contradiction, that Mr. Disraeli, although never committing himself—as Mr. Gladstone and Lord John Russell did—to the principles for which the Southern Confederacy was fighting, always regarded “recognition” as a possible card to play, and was quite prepared, at the proper moment, to play it. The moment seemed to have come when General Lee invaded the Federal States, after having shattered the strength of the Northern invasion. At that time it was notorious that the bulk of the Tory party and more than half of the Ministerialists were prepared for such a step. Mr. Lindsay's resolution on the subject had failed, Mr. Roebuck's eloquence had been equally ineffectual. But in the face of the repeated triumphs of the Southern army, and the possible occupation of the capital by General Lee's troops, it seemed hopeless to restrain the pent — up feelings of the House of Commons, and Mr. Disraeli saw his opportunity.

I had frequent conversations with him on the subject, and I perfectly [112] recollect his saying to me that he thought the time had now come to move in the matter. “ But,” he said, “it is of great importance that, if the move is to be made, it should not assume a party character, and it is of equal importance that the initiative should come from our (i. e., the conservative) side. Now, Mr. Lindsay carries no weight. Lord Robert Cecil could handle the matter best, but he is an avowed partisan of the Confederacy and would arouse too much party feeling on the other side. If the thing is to be done, I must do it myself; and then, from all I hear and know, the resolution will be carried, Lord Palmerston being quite disposed to accept the declaration of Parliament in favor of a policy which he personally approves.”

“But,” he continued, “I cannot speak without more knowledge of the subject than I now possess, and I should be glad if you could give me a brief, furnishing the necessary statistics of the population, the institutions, the commercial and political prospects of the Southern States, in order that when the moment comes I may be fully armed.”

I procured the necessary information from the best authorities, and placed it in his hands. Every day seemed to bring the moment for its use nearer, and the general feeling in the House of Commons was perfectly ripe for the motion in favor of “recognition,” when the news of the battle of Gettysburg came like a thunder-clap upon the country. General Meade defeated Lee, and saved the Union, and from that day not another word was heard in Parliament about recognition. A few days afterward I saw Mr. Disraeli, and his exact words were: ‘We nearly put our foot in it.’

‘Now the leader of the Tory opposition may have been right or wrong in his judgment, but it was not he who controlled the Conservative party. The most powerful influences on the opposition side were undoubtedly the late Lord Derby, through his acquaintance with anti-slavery feeling in the manufacturing districts of the North, and the present Lord Derby, then Lord Stanley, whose sympathies were always and avowedly with the Northern side. But these two noblemen would have been powerless against the overwhelming feeling of the bulk of the Tory party, and Mr. Disraeli, had Lee been triumphant at Gettysburg, would undoubtedly have carried the House of Commons and the country with him.’

We believe that even after Gettysburg the Confederacy might and ought to have won; but we have not a shadow of doubt that we were ‘within a stone's throw of Independence’ on that great field.

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