Speech of Earl Russell.
Earl Russell delivered a speech at Blairgowrie, Scotland
, on the 26th ult. A synopsis by telegraph has been published, but the following portions of the address relating to America
will be found interesting:
This was the state of affairs when that which we certainly had no part in broke out — when, if I remember rightly, nine of the Southern States
declared that they would form an independent republic.
Our course on the subject has been at tacked and blamed in the bitterest terms — blamed sometimes by the Federals
and some times by the Confederates
The first offence was felt by the Federals
They said we had no right to grant — so far as we were concerned — to the Confederates
the rights of belligerents.
Well, now, gentlemen, that question of the rights of belligerents is a question of fact; I put it to you whether, with five millions of people, 5,000,000 I mean of free men, declaring themselves in their several States collectively an independent State, we could pass over that as a petty rebellion.
asked whether the ships they met bearing the Confederate
flag should be treated as pirates or no. If we had treated them as pirates, we should have been taking part in that contest.--[Cheers.] It was impossible to look on the uprising of a community of 5,000,000 people as a mere petty insurrection--[hear, hear]--or as not having the rights which at all times are given to those who, by their numbers and importance, or by the extent of the territory they possess, are entitled to these rights.
Well, it was said we ought not to have done that because they were a community of slaveholders.
Gentlemen, I trust that our abhorrence of slavery is not in the least abated or diminished.
[Loud and prolonged cheers.] For my own part I consider it one of the most horrible crimes that yet disgraces humanity.
[Cheers.] But then, when we are treating of the relations which we bear to a community of men, I doubt whether it would be expedient or useful for humanity that we should introduce that new element of declaring that we will have no relations with a people who permit slavery to exist among them.
We have never adopted it yet; we have not adopted it in the case of Spain
, and I do not believe that the cause of humanity would be served by our adopting it. [Hear, hear.]
Are the Confederates rebels?
Well it was said that these Confederate States
were rebels — rebels against the Union
Perhaps, gentlemen, I am not so nice as I ought to be on the subject.
But I recollect that we rebelled against Charles I. [a laugh]--we rebelled against James II.
and the people of New England
; not content with these two rebellions, rebelled against George III.
[Hear, and laughter.] I am not saying now whether all these rebellions were justifiable, or whether they were wrong.
I am not saying whether the present rebellion in the Southern States
is justifiable insurrection, or is a great fault or a great crime.
But I say that the mere fact of rebellion is not in my eyes a crime of so deep a dye that we must renounce all fellowship and communion and all relationship with those who have been guilty of rebellion.
[Loud cheering.] But, certainly, if I look to the declarations of those New England
orators — and I have been reading lately, if not the whole, yet a very great part, of the very long speech by Mr. Sumner
on the subject, delivered at New York — I own I cannot but wonder to see these men, the offspring as it were of three rebellions, as we are the offspring of two rebellions, really speaking, like the Czar of Russia
, the Sultan of Turkey
, or Louis XIV, himself, of the dreadful crime and guilt of rebellion.
[Loud laughter and cheers.]
Our people were suffering, and suffering very greatly, for the want of the material which was the great support of their industry.
It was a question of self-interest whether we should not break that blockade; but, in my opinion, the name of England
would be forever infamous if, for the sake of interest of any kind, we had violated the general laws of nations and made war with these slaveholding States of America
against the Federal States
[Hear, hear.] And, gentlemen, I am not speaking the sentiments peculiar to myself, or to those who have no immediate interest in the question; but these are, I am convinced, the sentiments of that noble-hearted people of Lancashire
who have lived and flourished by that industry, but who would not, I am sure, allow a single spot on the escutcheon of their nation in order to maintain that industry.
[Hear, hear, and cheers.]
Privateers building and Fitting.
The principle is clear enough.
If you are asked to sell muskets, you may sell muskets to one party or to the other; and so with regard to gunpowder, shells, or cannon, and you may sell a ship in the same manner.--But if you, on the other hand, train and drill a regiment with arms in their hands, or allow a regiment to go out with arms in their hands to take part with one of two belligerents, you violate your neutrality and commit an offence against the other belligerents.
So in the same way in regard to ships; if you allow a ship to be armed and go at once to make an attack on a foreign belligerent you are yourself, according to your own law, taking part in the war, and it is an offence which is punished by the law. But these questions lead, as you will see, to the most difficult problems — as to whether, for instance, a thousand persons may go out as laborers to the Federal States
, and in the next place a thousand muskets may go out in another ship, and when they arrive in America
these thousand laborers, having had an understanding before, may make a formal engagement and be armed with these thousand muskets; though if that had been done in the territory of the Queen
, and on the soil of this country, it would have been an offence.
The steam Ram question.
There are other questions with regard to ships that have lately been prepared in this country, because these ships are not like ships which receive the usual equipment known in wars in times past, but they are themselves, without any further armament, formed for acts of offence and war. They are steam rams, which might be used for the purposes of war without ever touching the shores of the Confederate
Well, gentlemen, to permit ships of this kind knowingly to depart from this country, not to enter into any Confederate port, not to enter into the port of a belligerent, would, as you see, expose our good faith to great suspicion; and I feel certain that if, during our war with France
, the Americans
had sent line-of-battle ships to break our blockade at Brest
, whatever reasons they might have urged in support of that, we should have considered it a violation of neutrality.
Such is the spirit in which I am prepared to act. Everything that the law of nations requires, everything that our law, that that Foreign Enlistment act requires, I am prepared to do, and even if it should be proved to be necessary for the preservation of our neutrality that the sanction of Parliament should be asked to further measures.
In short, to sum up, her Majesty's Government are prepared to do everything that the duty of neutrality requires, everything that is just to a friendly nation, taking as a principle that we should do to others as we should wish to be done to ourselves.
[Loud Cheers.] But this will not do; we will not adopt any measure that we think to be wrong.
We will not yield a jot of British law or British right in consequence of the menaces of any foreign Power.--[Loud and prolonged cheers.]
The Anglo (Yankee) Saxon Affinity for the Nigger.
Gentlemen, it is a great subject; it affects the people of this part of the world and of America
; it affects the future stage of civilization; it affects the well-being of the black race, whom it was the crime of our ancestors to introduce to America
, and who, if those matters end well, will be, as I believe they are fitted to be, peaceable and intelligent members of a free country--[cheers]--on behalf of whose welfare we have been ready to make great efforts and to sacrifice much.
But we will not sacrifice any of those views of ours to mere pretence.
We have as strong feelings for the good of mankind as any people can have; we must maintain our own position; and my belief is that the people of what were the United States
, whether they are called Federals or Confederates, will finally do us justice, and that they will observe, as, indeed, they cannot help observing, that in this free country, where there is so much discussion and so much difference of opinion, there are parties very considerable in number who sympathize with the Confederates
, and other large masses, I believe superior in numbers, who sympathize with the Federals
; but whether sympathizing with the one or the other, we have all embraced in our hearts that sentiment of justice; justice we will do to others, justice we expect for ourselves; and I hope I am interpreting the feelings of your minds when I say that justice ought to prevail.