previous next

Armed intervention of the European Powers.

A letter from London to the New York Times uses the following language:

‘ You may suppose that your recent victories, and the prospect they give to your ability to overcome the rebellion, will be a check upon this action. Be not too sure of that.-- governmental policy, in both the almost equally matched and balancing parties is based now upon the theory of the future disruption of the American Union. On this ground reform is kicked out of Parliament — While America was united, prosperous, and powerful, the people of England could not demand to be heard in Parliament. The example of America was the stronghold of English performers. In the secession of the South, in the civil war now raging, with all its cala the Aristocracy of England finds a defence of power. They have favored the rebellion from the beginning because they hate democracy, and dread its influence and example. Is it likely they will see America re-united prosperous and happy, if they can help it?

No, sir: the despots of Europe will play themselves upon the Declaration of Independence, and tell you that, as you have once said that government depends upon the consent of the governed, you must be held to your principles. And they will never permit the States to re-united, or to be re-united, if they can find the means to prevent it. Persons with whom I talk have no hesitation in the animas of their Southern proclamities 'Of course,' they say, 'we are glad to have democracy a failure abroad, because we fear it at home. We know it would never do in England, and we are glad to see it coming to naught in America. We are opposed to slavery; but there is no reason why we should not recognize the South with its slavery now as well as these eighty years past. Why make any difficulty about the Southern Confederacy any more than Spain, Brazil or Turkey? It is none of our business, but the success and progress of democracy is another affair and if we can find any excuse to help the South, it is our interest to do it.'

‘"And here is the real reason for the sympathy with the South which prevails in England, Canada, and the colonies everywhere."’

The Examiner, of yesterday, after saying that the principle of election, instead of being merely applicable to the North, was already European before the present war and before the Yankees ‘"had repudiated the most sacred doctrines of American liberty, "’ proceeds to maintain that, from the evidence that reaches us from the other side of the water, it is plainly the intention of Great Britain, at least, and probably of France and other powers, to intervene at no distant period. The Examiner expresses a doubt whether settlement will be made except on the basis of the uli poss delta being unable to find a precedent for any other kind of settlement in times past, where the circumstances were similar. The Examiner thinks an armed intervention at present would be anything but desirable to the South, especially to the border States, which, with one exception, have no representative in the Cabinet, and would in all probability be sacrificed by Russell, their most deadly enemy, who unfortunately is at this moment Secretary of State for Foreign Affair.

Here is very serious matter for reflection, especially for us in Virginia, who voted for secession almost unanimously, and who are almost to a man opposed to any sort of bill or even intercourse with the Yankees. Yet we cannot believe that the Southern States would desert us in such an emergency. They should recollect that Virginia was originally opposed to secession, that they voted against it by a large majority when her Convention was called that she adopted it finally. In order that she might not be separated from her brethren in the South. She was an empire in herself, and she gave the Confederacy all she had. She has sent into the field more than one hundred thousand of her sons. She has supplied 70,000 stand of arms to the soldiers from other States. She furnished nearly all the cannon that was used in the early part of the struggle. She poured out her blood and treasure like water from the beginning of the struggle. For the Southern States to desert her now after all she has done and all she has suffered would be to perpetrate an act of incredible . For many months she stood as a shield between them and the enemy and it is due to her that their invasion was not attempted a year ago.

Still this thing may happen, although we are convinced that it will never happen with the concurrence of the Southern people. The negotiation may be entrusted to hands which are altogether against us, or not prepared to be active in our favor. What, then, shall Virginia do? Exhausted as both parties are, it will be difficult, we know, to resist a determined interference on the part of a powerful neutral. Still Virginia, we hope and believe, deserted by those who should be her allies, will be true to herself. She will never go back to the Yankees. She will sooner be converted into a desert, resembling those which are sometimes made of populous countries in Asia, where some neighboring despot invades the land, destroys every animal that has life, uproots everything that grows or vegetates, burns all the grain and the houses, and runs a plough share over the ruins of every city and every village. She will do as Scotland did when temporarily subjugated by Edward, or Spain when she was overrun by Napoleon, or Corsica when she waged a war of three hundred years duration with Genoa. She will never submit to the Yankees — never! never! What though she has given all her arms and her munitions to the Confederate Government. Though that Government should basely betray her, she will still struggle on to the last. Her people will never suffer themselves to be transferred, like sheep or oxen, to the hands of those whom they detest, as the Poles were as the Norwegians were, as the Italians were, as countries always heretofore have been accustomed to be whenever a general peace has been established in Europe after a long war.

We confess the remarks of the Examine made a very painful impression upon us — the more so, that they seemed to echo our own secret misgivings with regard to the intentions of the great powers. These apprehensions were intensified by the reflection that Russell, our most deadly enemy, is Foreign Secretary. And yet they are somewhat allayed by the recollection that the system adopted at Vienna, in 1815, has so far as Europe, at least, is concerned, given way to the enlightened public sentiment of a progressive age. At Vienna whole nations were transferred to foreign musters without consent obtained or even asked. Of late years, the doctrine of election alluded to by the Examiner has prevailed. Before a change of rulers is made, the consent of the governed is obtained. We can hardly think the Governments of England and France will impose upon us a rule more stringent than that to which they have given their approbation in all cases that have been presented of late — If the liberty of election be allowed, we have no doubts of the result, even where the country is held by the Yankee armies. But we do not suppose, should an intervention on the basis of election be determined on, such election would be made until the troops on both sides were removed. The Examiner's plan for settling the difficulty is undoubtedly the best. We should concentrate our troops as much as possible, and make a powerful invasion of the enemy's territory. We have the men, and we have the means; but, alas! with the present theory of war, what good would it do? We should go a little way into the hostile territory, and there sit down and dig dirt. The enemy would come and sit down opposite to us and dig dirt too. In a little time we should startle the world and set the newspapers in a blaze by a magnificent retreat, and the enemy would follow us, and we should both fall to digging again. As for a bold, offensive movement, that is not according to the books, and need not be expected.

Creative Commons License
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.

hide Places (automatically extracted)
hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
Henry Russell (2)
Napoleon (1)
London (1)
hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
1815 AD (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: