Lord Campbell on the American war.
An immense meeting of the friends of the South
was held in Manchester, England
, early in February.
Among other speakers on the occasion was Lord Campbell.
Here are his remarks:
, Ladies and Gentlemen: As it has happened to me two or three times in Parliament to refer to the topic now before you, it is not with a little satisfaction I observe in the numbers who have met to-night and in the spirit they evince same augury for the ultimate adoption and the final triumph of these opinions I have endeavored to support.
, under whose orders and instructions I have the honor to address you, has judiciously explained to me that to-night it was not necessary to indulge in argumentative harangues, because the greater part of us were of one opinion.
After the long and assiduous discussions which this topic has received in the press, in Parliament, and in public meetings, it is no wonder that nearly all men should agree on certain propositions.
We do see upon certain propositions a remarkable agreement.
Few deny that the cessation of the civil war in question can only take place when neutral powers have acknowledged the insurgents.
Few deny that that acknowledgement ought not to be anticipated, in the present state of Europe
and the world, until Great Britain
has shown a certain disposition to initiate or sanction it. Few deny that in the present state of parties and of Parliament the British Government
will not show the required disposition until public opinion strongly urges and decidedly encourages it. This sufficiently illustrates the political and practical utility of a meeting like the present.
Gentlemen, if ever agitation was essential on this subject it is at the present moment, when certain dangers have arrived and certain circumstances have disclosed themselves which might, unless properly examined, tend to inspire doubt and distrust in the event of Southern independence.
Those dangers and those circumstances ought not to be, nor indeed need they be, connived at.
The Southern President
has not set us the example of ignoring or concealing them.
He has not hesitated to fix the attention of the world upon the fact that in the past year unforeseen reverses have been suffered.
He has not scrupted to advert to the events of Vicksburg
and Port Hudson
The whole world, in common with the Confederacy
, deplores the loss of Stonewall Jackson
.--All those who are interested in the fate of the Confederacy
must have heard with regret and with anxiety that the Democratic party which some months ago seemed to augur well for the cause of peace and separation, has grown more silent, more subdued, and less effective than it used to be.--These are undoubtedly circumstances of discouragement, but as I think, grounds for agitation and activity.
There is this grand reason gentlemen, why these circumstances of discouragement ought not be considered motives of despondency amongst; us — they have not shaken the Confederacy
; they have not quenched the spirit which upholds it; they have not chilled the hopes which it indulges; on the contrary, we have good reason to believe that in spite of the darker picture I have pointed to, there never was a moment when their discipline was of a higher character their armies more insure, the Generals
more skillful, their strategy more perfect, their resolution more undaunted, or their readiness, if necessary, to take new regards more complete.
When they themselves are thus undaunted by realities it would ill become their friends in Europe
to be affected by a shadow and a reflex.
I have therefore ventured to allude to those unfavorable circumstances, and also to show why they ought not to lead to a diminished hope or a discouraged spirit upon your part.
Gentlemen, it that be so, if the ends of this association are legitimate, which I have not ventured to establish, knowing that such is not a question in this room, if at the present moment those ends ought to be pursued with more zeal and more activity than ever, it is not irrelevant or idle to consider what is the most important and formidable obstacle opposing you, Gentlemen, I cannot help thinking that the most formidable obstacle, looking to the public mind, looking to all that has been said and is said daily on these questions, is summed up in the well-known term, "slavery." I cannot help thinking that if a just opinion were established on that subject — and it is your mission to establish and desseminete it — no further obstacles could very long delay the triumph of your principles.
And if you would allow me, I would venture — having given some consideration and reflection to that point in reference to Parliamentary proceedings — to suggest a mode by which, as it appears to me, what you hold to be the truth, might be brought home to the convictions in all classes of society.
If it were only thoroughly explained by this organization that the British
public has to look merely to one which this war must terminate — for there are but two--the separation of the belligerents or the conquest of the South
by the North
will tend most to the advantage of the negro race?
If that were steadily contemplated, if that issue were relieved and disembarrassed of all the rival issues that confess it, I do not think there would remain a difference of opinion in this country.
No doubt there will always be, as there has been up to this moment both here and on the other side of the Atlantic
, a difference of opinion as to how the war originated, as to the motives for which it was undertaken, as to the objects of the South
in asserting independence, and of the Union
in waging war against secession.
These questions are more or less difficult to settle.
But if we fix our minds upon the only point it is material to weigh namely, whether the independence, or the subjugation of the South
will really tend most to that which in this country all have at --the amelioration of the negro — little difficulty, as it appears to me, will be found in reaching a conclusion.
The history of the world does much to suggest one.
It has generally been found that when in any country two races are brought together, of which one is vastly the superior in force, in vigor and intelligence, unless some known relation exists between those two races, the weaker is exterminated.
Now, should the Confederacy
be subdued, and should reconquest be established over all the great territory that lies between the Gulf of Mexico
and the Potomac
, two races would be found so unequal, so incompatible, so bereft of the original relation by which they had been previoully cemented, as at east to augur the extermination and the disappearance of the weaker one.
But we are not left to speculations of this character.
It happens that this very day, not many hours ago, a letter in a leading London
newspaper has reached Manchester
from the other side of the Atlantic
, which gives the best and the latest information on this question.
In that letter it is pointed out in what manner the invasion by the North
has influenced the prospects and position of the negro.
As far as I remember the writer, speaking from what has fallen, and that recently, under his eyes and his experience, gives a fourfold division of that unhappy class.
He points to those who are the victims of a forcible enlistment compelled to take arms, exposed to the brunt of battle in a cause which they detest and for a people who despise them.
He points to another class who have gone to the Northwestern States
in quest of employment, and who have not found it. He points to a third class, who, in consequence of an infectious disorder which attacks them, are miserably dying in the capital at Washington
He points to another glass who are coarsed to labor upon the soil which has been occupied and upon the estates which have been confiscated by Northern plunderers, and whose condition, as he points out to us, is infinitely worse than that from which they have been wrested; for, of freedom they have gained nothing except the fact that they are no longer under shelter; that they are no longer cared for; that they are introduced to the double evils of responsibility and servitude.
This is the latest eye-witness who addresses to the public of Great Britain
the facts he has observed.
But supposing him to be mistaken, supposing that improvement is attainable, and assuming that great measures ought not to be despaired of for the welfare of the negro — this, at least, gentlemen, I think, may be hazarded with safety before any audience who look to the great principles by which human nature is controlled and by which the world is governed, viz: that those measures of improvement must be loyal, must be well intentioned, must be designed for the good of the negro, and not for the destruction of the planter.
* * * * * *
Could a class of men be found, if the topic of slavery was altogether purged from the discussion, who would seriously maintain, before us, that it was just or proper to create a Poland in America
But to create a Poland in America
as the object for which Mr. Lincoln
and his colleagues are contending.
If his policy succeeded, if his armies triumphed, if his viceroys were established, as they hope to be, from the Gulf of Mexico
to the Potomac
, the gloom of Warsaw
would exist, not in one city, but in Mobile
, in Montgomery
— in every capital of every State which Northern armies had possessed and Northern garrisons had occupied.
And what is the gloom of Warsaw
, which these armies are designed to fix on the Confederacy
?--I can speak of that gloom from late and personal experience.
It is not like the gloom which sometimes may hang over this city, arising partly from the climate, partly from distress, and from a temporary want in some material of industry.
It is a gloom which no breeze, of spring can wait away, which no rays of sunshine can disperse, which no reviving commerce or accelerated industry, or new supply of capital can alter.
It is a gloom which must befall a population conscious of their rights, and mindful of their origin, but held down by a foreign occupation of 20,000 men; a gloom of which no man can walk abroad without observing dark and melancholy faces; where no citizen can leave his home without meeting a patrol, entitled, according to its orders, or perhaps its caprices, to arrest him; and where, when he returns to that home which ought to be a sanctuary, he has to look forward to the probability of midnight visitation, more destructive than the snares by which his footsteps had been haunted.
Such, gentlemen, is the gloom of Warsaw
, and such is the gloom which Northern armies have aspired to perpetuate in a territory more wide than half a dozen Polands.
I, therefore, come back to the position to which I have ventured to allude — that, if once you contend successfully with your adversaries upon slavery, no further question can exist and all classes in Great Britain
will unite in a common wish for Northern peace and Southern independence — a wish that, finding echoes both in Europe
and the world, will tend to realize the noble objects it aspires to. There is yet another observation I would make.
Success cannot, on a subject so complicated and so extensive, be the object of prediction.
A man would justly lose his character for moderation and for judgment if he ventured to predict with confidence the issue of the struggle.
It seems to me, however, that, whatever that issue may be, this association will not be wholly unrewarded.
Should the issue be that for which you are contending, the reward is evident and ample; but should it not be the destiny of those who are assembled here to see what they desire, this reflection may console them.
They will have done something to assist the Southern President
in the labors and the cares by which he is encompassed; and, gentlemen, no man of reflection can, in my opinion, glance at the daily life of Mr. Davis
without a sentiment which even passes admiration.
If an independent and despotic power had been granted to him, such as great men are apt to claim under such circumstances — still, to keep the mind engaged upon every part of an almost interminable frontier, to divine the plans of a Government whose movement it is difficult to calculate, to prepare for every possible event, to picture each imaginable difficulty, to plan campaigns upon a territory so extensive and under circumstances so unprecedented, would tax the very highest reach of military genius.
But this is not the whole of the burthen that devolves upon Mr. Davis
This task he is called upon to perform, while at the same time he is accountable to a representative assembly, to a senate, and to a cabinet.
But even that is not the limit of his trials.
He has to face these difficulties, to aim at these results, with a free press to criticize, to control, to reprimand him sometimes to be elated by success, sometimes to be depressed unduly by revulsion, and sometimes to reveal to distant armies much which in his opinion it would be more judicious to conceal from them.
The liberty of that press he has not once attempted to control or wished to override.
And yet to meet this threefold trial might well exhaust the wisdom of a ruler, the resources of a general, and the temper of an angel.
Come what may, gentlemen, you cannot be deprived of the reflection that in your day, according to your power, although divided from him by the , you have done something to uphold one of the bravest and the noblest minds which Providence
has formed, in one of the loftiest and hardest enterprises with which the fortunes of the world have ever been identified.