The English press on the emancipation Society.
[from the times, January 31]
No failure of the Federal
politicians has been more complete than that which has attended their efforts to bring English sympathy to their side in a war of ambition, by appealing to the haired of negro slavery which animates all classes in this country.
A more striking condemnation of the recklessness and cruelty which have marked the conduct of the Republican party could not be given than the stern silence with which all that is intellectual, and cultivated, and humane in English society has received the pretensions of Mr. Lincoln
to be the friend of the oppressed and the champion of civilization.--His famous proclamation has been the subject of discussion among us ever since it was threatened in September last.
Three weeks have elapsed since we have known that it was really issued.
The English people, who have been of late singularly at a loss for topics of home interest, have thought it over and talked it over, and read all that a prolific press can say upon it, and the result is that they are confirmed in their first opinions, and refuse to be drawn by philanthropic pretences into sanctioning a measure of desperate and vindictive warfare.
If the Federal
have had any hopes of conquering European
sympathy by hoisting the flag of servile war, such hopes must be blighted when they appreciate the tamper in which this act has been received by the English
We have waited that we might speak with certainty, and passing events give us the power of doing so.
It is well known that within the last few weeks great efforts have been made in this country to obtain demonstrations in favor of the Federal
It is said, probably with truth, that agents of the Northern Government
, provided with funds from America
, have been at work on the familiar business of agitation, in order to restore their discredited party at home by making it appear that English opinion supports them in their acts.
But, wherever the agitator came from, they have been especially busy for the last two months. It has been promised that the real sentiment of Englishmen should at last be made known.
If meetings could be organized, if the subject could be properly discussed, and public opinion set free from a press which misrepresented it, then America
might see that the feelings and the judgment of the old country were with her in her noble crusade for the freedom of the negro.
The result of the great movement was given in this journal yesterday.
For weeks it has been announced that there was to be a "monster demonstration" in London
in favor of the North
Provincial meetings had been already held, and had been most provokingly avoided by any one whose opinion was of the slightest importance.
But in London
better luck might be hoped for. This is a great metropolis, and on the 29th of January a week before the meeting of Parliament, it must be full of persons of considerable eminence and of all shades of opinion.
The most distinguished names of a country where freedom of though is carried into eccentricity were sure to be within reach of the Emancipation Society
's circulars and advertisements.
What doubt, then, that an imposing meeting, attended by men of genius, of high attainments, of great social position, of political renown, would bear witness to the interest with which large and influential sections of English society follow the progress of Mr. Lincoln
's policy ?. If even what is called the world — the frivolous, unthinking people who take their opinions from the press, who dislike Yankees for their pertness and boasting, and admire Lee
for their unexampled heroism — if even jealous politicians or illiberal soldiers stood apart, surely there would be enough of the more original thinkers to fill a platform ? More than this, in the centre of this great capital, with its hundreds of churches, in the neighborhood of men who have spent their lives in advocating every charitable cause, it might have been thought that a meeting professedly in favor of negro emancipation would not have wanted names of eminence.
After weeks of preparation the meeting took place the day before yesterday.
The speakers were a miner novelist and two or three Dissenting ministers, who seem to be of the usual intellectual calibre.
Not one man, whose opinion the country would listen to on any political subject — not one statesman, not one person endowed with genius, however self-willed and erratic; no representative of the Peerage, only one of the House of Commons, not one of the Church
, of the gentry, or the commercial world, was found to stand on that platform and make himself responsible for Mr. Lincoln
Of the eminent men who in past years have struggled, and will still struggle on for years to come, against oppression and evil-doing all over the world — of the philanthropists whose names are identified with this very phase of negro emancipation — there was not one who felt that he could in conscience come forward and encourage a ruthless invasion, and a still more hateful scheme of domestic warfare, by giving aid and comfort to Mr. Lincoln
's tottering Cabinet.
The persons we have alluded to were left alone to hold forth to the audience.
What they said it is needless to comment upon, for it is quite in accord with their personal insignificance.
For our own part we cannot but rejoice that there has been at length an organized attempt to evoke English opinion in favor of the war. It is well to know the full strength of one's own opinions, and to be able to calculate with certainty on the measure of assent which the world will give to them.
That for two or three months a number of men have been agitating to change the sentiments of English men on this important subject, and that the result of the mountain's labor is the birth of a most ridiculous mouse, is especially satisfactory to us, who have for so long been laboring to promote a peaceful settlement of an unnatural quarrel.
We now know that, in spite of importunity the most pertinacious and offensive, every man with a political character to lose has stood aloof from the Federal
partisans in this country.
Even the members for our populous boroughs, though their position often compels them to succumb to schemes of this kind, have in this case felt it necessary to their own dignity and the feelings of their respectable constituents to give a rebuff to the agitators.
Happily, the situation of affairs in America
is becoming such that the friends of peace in this country need fear no misrepresentations of the "Emancipation Society," or of the "wire-pullers, " who stand behind it. While weak-minded men are congratulating President Lincoln
from this side of the water, the public opinion of his own country is becoming every day more settled against him. The proclamation, by the confession of its authors, was intended to do two things--first, to conciliate European
opinion; and, secondly, to terrify the South
That the first object has not been attained we think is pretty clear, and the other, which is by far the most important, has been equally missed.
Whatever may be the merits or faints of Mr. Lincoln
's policy, his proclamation has had but one effect, and that is to make the Confederates
more fierce and resolute than ever.
When the last news left more than a fortnight had elapsed since the proclamation, and no sign of wavering had appeared at the South
The Confederates had opened the new year with a victory at Galveston
, and at Vicksburg
had inflicted on the Federal
a defeat hardly less bloody and quite as important as that of Fredericksburg
Two military disasters and a rise of — gold to 50 premium are the first fruits of the masterly document of the 2d of January and a still more important matter is the widespread anger of all but the Republican
New York has spoken through Mr. Seymour
, and now the Governor
, a firm Unionist, and a man to whom the North
is mainly indebted for keeping the State
from secession, denounces the President
and his schemes in a State paper which is certainly one of the most remarkable we have ever read.
There are at last sign abroad that the bankruptcy of the North
, the desolation of the South
, and the ruin of both white man and the negro, will provoke some political reaction in the Federal States
At such a conjuncture it behooves us to stand aloof, and not to applaud assumptions of arbitrary power which are being sternly rebuked by the ablest men of the country where they have taken place.
[from the morning post, Jan. 31.]
There seems to be a great tendency in a small but highly respectable section of our fellow- countrymen to run wild on the question of American slavery.
The subject has lain dormant for sometime, but the recent proclamation of the Federal President
has revived it, and all sorts of excellent persons, who fancy themselves the disciples and successors of the men who carried negro emancipation in the West
ladies, stand up in transports of joy and about "Lincoln
forevers" In the blindness of their ecstasy they can see nothing but unqualified good in the war policy of the North
, and only unmitigated evil in the revolution of the South
The cause of the Union
and the cause of negro emancipation is in their view, one and the came.
And in their eagerness to see it proper they seem in great danger of sinking the distinctions between right and wrong.--This is not the proper position for Englishmen.
Our policy is that of strick centrality, and it is inconsistent, with that policy to take violently either one side or the other.
had no desire to see fulfilled what she could not help forecasting — the break up of the Union
Had the United States
Englishmen would not have grudged them their peace, nor any of the prosperity which might have come of it.--Should the disunited States by any happy fortune become reunited, England
's attitude towards them would be the same still.
It is their affair, not curn.
We are glad to see them prosper, and so long as they maintain friendly relations with us they are free to regulate their own affairs as they please.
Our attitude is now what it was before the war broke out. Private
persons will have their private opinions, and some will wish success to the North
and some to the South
, but the national feeling is purely neutral, and it is at once foolish and impertinent in voluntary seen stations to affect to represent the English
mind, and in the name of the British
public to address the American Minister
in terms of unqualified adherence to the Northern
The folly is greater when slavery is made responsible for the war, and emancipation the stalking horse of officious interference.
Englishmen, of course, abhor slavery.
They wish to emancipate the negro, but they know as well as the Americans
themselves that slavery is no more the cause of the present civil war than the recent gales are answerable for the sudden rise in the rate of discount which so astonished the city two days ago. They know, too, that emancipation would no more follow the restoration of the Union
than it will result from the meeting of the English Parliament.
It is desirable that this slavery question should be put upon a right footing.
Recent attempts to mix it up with the triumph of the Northern
arms are not creditable to English common sense.
The civil war had its origin in causes only indirectly affected by the alive question, and must be finished without reference to it. Those gentlemen, therefore, who go to Exeter Hall and make heavy speeches in favor of Mr. Lincoln
and General Butler
, and give in their adhesion to the Northern
policy through thick and thin, and talk unctuously about the Divine blessing on the Federal
arms, and go in on Christian principles for a war of extermination, and who blacken the names of Southern Generals
and palliate the monstrosities of the Northern
leaders, would do well to reserve their eloquence to a later stage and in the meantime learn to distinguish a little more clearly between light and darkness.
At the meeting at Exeter Hall, on Thursday, an attempt was made to fix the responsibility of the civil war upon slavery; and, at the same time, because slavery is repugnant to English feelings and principles, to get up a demonstration in the name of the English
public on behalf of the whole Northern policy.
Mr. Baptist Noel
was the principal speaker, and went beyond all reason and truth in his ignorant and one-sided declamation in behalf of reunion and emancipation.--Mr. Noel
greatly misreads the English
mind if he thinks that it — in his own words--"gives all honor to Mr. Lincoln
, his Cabinet, his Congress, and all and slavery men of all parties." The English mind is very much disgusted with a great deal for which "Mr. Lincoln
, his Cabinet, and his Congress" are answerable. --So much so that, in spite of the national hatred of slavery, the current of English opinion has set in with great strength towards the South
The news of Confederate successes in the field has been received in this country with satisfaction, and from the cruelty, the trickery, the incompetency, and bragger of the North
, Englishmen have come to hope that the South
may succeed in securing the independence for which they have fought so bravely and endured so much.
This absurd confusion of the cause of emancipation with that of re-union has led men usually accounted good into making compromises with most execrable evil.
All the worst doings of the Federal Government
, its false telegrams, its abominable violations of civil liberty, its recognition and reward of the acts of that infamous wretch Batler, its indifference to the butcheries of M Nell
, its avowed hatred of England
, the insolence of Seward
, and the tyranny of Stanton
— all are endured and held up to admiration by dissenting preachers and second- rate litterateurs.
who either cannot or will not see that Mr. Lincoln
cares no more for the three million slaves in the Southern States
, whom his proclamation liberates, than he does for that million and a half in the Border States
whom he confirms in their fetters more strongly than ever.
Apologists may put it how they will, no one who is not blinded by partisanship can help seeing that that proclamation was not intended to emancipate the slave, but to induce him to massacre his master and his master's family.
professes to scorn such an idea.
He asks how that can be when there are 500,000 whites armed with rifles, and the slaves are unarmed?
ought to know that there are not half a million of whites apart from the army, and available against a cervile insurrection; that the women and children of men serving or falling with the army are mainly dependent upon the protection of the slaves, and might at any moment become victims to their fury, that there are many modes of murder and means of conflagration which do not require the use of the arms, and are quite within reach of a legion of negroes in mutiny against the families of their masters.
The meeting at Exeter Hall is a great disgrace to the Christian
religion, and an egregious blunder, regarded as a step towards emancipation.
Let the quarrel between North and South be finished on its own merits, and let Englishmen wait the issue.
[from the Daily Telegraph, Jan. 31.]
Whenever a flourish of trumpets of unusually aggressive volume is ventured upon, it becomes expedient to ask what manner of men the trumpeters may be who have so very fiercely attempted to blast down the walls of Jericho
Let us glance at some of the most conspicuous of the tribunes who, by hook or by crook, were got together under the auspices of the Emancipation Society
The chairman was Mr. William Evans
, doubtless a most worthy and estimable member of society, but who, as a politician, orater, or public man, is utterly unknown beyond the confines of Exeter
. Mr. P. A. Taylor
, M. P., is a rampant kind of Republican, who very speedily found his level in the Commons House of Parliament. Mr. Thomas Hughes
is a crochety clever man, who gained some literary reputation by an amusing boys" book called "Tom Brown's School Days," and lost it by an inconceivably stupid novel called " Tom Brown
." The Rev. Newman Hall
and Baptist Noel
are fluent preachers, sufficiently popular in some Dissenting circles.
Mr. Edmond Beales
is, we believe, a respectable auctioneer.
is the American Consul-General
, and nothing further need be said about him. Mr. Chamerovow
is, or was, the secretary of the Anti Slavery Society, and a gentleman whom we should be loth to suspect of the capacity of setting either the Vistula or the Thames
is a well-known tradesman on Oxford street, and a capital vestryman, and Mr. G. J. Holyoake
--well, Mr. Holyoake
the author of Paley
's "Evidences." The persons enumerated were really the only notabilities on the platform.
There were many laymen and many clergymen, but, independently of the gentlemen whose names we have mentioned, the emancipators may be emphatically described as nobodies.
We are ready to grant that the painful obscurity of this personnel
was no fault of the promoters of the meeting.
They had labored hard to cajole individuals of real parts and imminence into attending.
They had asked Johnson
; but, as in the famous instance of "the Haunch of Venison," Johnson
"couldn't come." Good old General Thompson
sent ten pounds to the funds of the association, but stayed away; Mr. Forster
, M. P., would have come, but he was bespoken for a meeting at Bradford
; Mr. John Stuart Mill
had no time to spare for anything of the kind; Professor Newman
was unfortunately engaged to lecture at University College; Professor Cairnce
was simply "unable to attend" Mr. W. Hargreaves
was similarly incapacitated from coming, but sent instead a paragraph of florid nonsense about liberty, equality, and fraternity, and "the Beelzebub of the press," and Colonel Salwey
had an appointment of long standing at Edisburgh.