Table of Contents:
England to recognize the independence of the South.In the course of a speech, delivered at Southampton, Lord Palmerston referred to the difficulties between the Northern and Southern sections of the United States, and expressed a fear that the Union would be dissolved. His Lordship added a hope that, whether the Union were dissolved or maintained, amicable relations would be established, and that there would be no war between brothers. From the curtness of the telegraphic phraseology, it is not possible to say whether Lord Palmerston intended to refer to the relations of England with the American confederations, or only to the relations between the two Confederacies into which the United States are rapidly forming themselves. Be this as it may, the intention of England to acknowledge the independence of the new Southern Confederacy as soon as it is formed, no longer admits of question. This announcement we are in a position to make in the most positive terms; and whoever will take the trouble to watch the course of events, will find that we are correct. The policy of England has long been to acknowledge all de facto governments, and that policy will not be departed from in the present case. From France a similar procedure may safely be expected; and as soon as the Southern Confederation has formed a provisional government, it will be treated by the two leading powers of Europe as entitled to all the privileges of a sovereign State. The greatest inconvenience would arise from the adoption of any other line of policy. England having no control over the domestic politics of other nations, can only acknowledge whatever form of government they please to set up. To refuse to do so would involve her in endless wars and ruinous commercial embarrassments. If the opinions of an English statesman are, in this instance, destined to produce an influence over the destinies of the United States, their tendency will be to prevent civil war between the two sections. A war between brothers, such as Lord Palmerston here deprecates, is the bitterest of all wars; it would sow the seeds of animosity which would bear bitter fruit for generations to come. The wise and statesmanlike policy was first to attempt a reconciliation; but if all efforts in this direction are to be held to fail, coercion or civil war ought not to be thought of. The North is numerically stronger, and, perhaps, wealthier than the South; and there is little reason to doubt that it could make a conquest of the seceding section. But that it could not hold the Southern as conquered States is just as certain. Secession may not be a constitutional right; but, practically, if nearly half the States of the Union insist upon it, there are no means of preventing its consummation.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.
An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.