At the commencement of the present war Vice President Stephens
is understood to have expressed the opinion that England
would not be induced by the loss of our cotton to recognize our independence.
The reasons he gave for the opinion were that the anti-slavery spirit was too strong in that country to admit of it, and that a war with Yankeedom would throw the whole carrying trade of the world into English hands, thereby amply reimbursing her for all the damage the manufacturing interests might sustain from the loss of the American
These views have been completely sustained by the occurrences of the last three years. England
is, at this moment, enjoying a degree of prosperity which the wildest and most visionary statesman would not have imagined four years ago to have been within the range of possibility.
Gentlemen lately arrived from Europe
in the Confederacy
— men who have been acquainted with London
all their lives — represent the evidences of increasing prosperity as surpassing all that mighty metropolis has ever known.
The enormous fortunes that have been suddenly made exceed in number all precedent and all belief.
Men may be counted by the hundred who but a few years ago were unable to afford the luxury of a cab, and who now roll through the streets in all the dignity of splendid equipages, surrounded by all the paraphernalia of wealth.
As wealth has increased, luxury and extravagance have gone along with it hand in hand.
Diamonds and pearls blaze on the persons of ladies who but a few months since were contented with jet and paste.
Boundless luxury reigns in households which, before the present era, could scarcely look forward to comfort.
The richest dinners and the most costly wines are the rule, and not the exception; while side boards that in other days were guiltless of contact with silver, now groan beneath tons of plate, fashioned after the latest and most exquisite model.
The same prosperity and the same evidences extend through all the ramifications of trade, and pervade every class of society.
The wildest dreams of the wildest South Sea speculators find a realization in the present condition of the metropolis, with this addition — that the South Sea
scheme was a bubble, and there are solidity and tangibility in the present sources of wealth.
For Great Britain
has at last obtained what she has been pursuing with so much pertinacity throughout her long career.
She has succeeded in establishing her commercial and manufacturing supremacy so firmly, that, for the present at least, no one dare dispute it. From the moment she signed the peace of 1783 she was earnestly bent upon destroying the Union
of these States, and she never rested until she had completely succeeded.
It was not altogether through fear of them as a political rival, although they had grown to such an extent as to have become formidable to every nation of the earth.
It was because she foresaw, that before the next century should have arrived, they would drive her manufactures out of all the markets of the world, and reduce her commerce to the condition of that of Holland
, that she pursued this object with such remorseless pertinacity.
She felt that the trident was slipping from her hands, and that but a few years more and she would no longer be mistress of the seas.
Now how different are her prospects, how changed is the scene.
By their insensate folly the Yankees
have voluntarily thrown the trade of the whole world into her hands.
While the operatives are starving, her manufacturers are realizing enormous profits and making fabulous fortunes.
Every branch of manufactures and every department of commerce has received an impetus,
which is incalculable, and a cataclysm of gold has deluged the land.
Does any one wonder that the ministry, the opposition, the aristocracy, the merchants, the manufacturers, the people, and the press, should all unite in the one object of "preserving neutrality" and preventing the recognition of the Confederacy
They see that the war is the fountain of their prosperity.
Is is wonderful that they should wish the war to be prolonged?
They know that the longer we continue to fight each other, and the more completely we may be exhausted, the better for Great Britain
What are our sufferings to them?
They are coining our blood into gold as fast as it flows; and can they be expected to forego their own advantage, for the sake of men three thousand miles off, who presumptuously call themselves their kinsmen?
No, let the skies fall, but let money be made.
That such is the prevailing sentiment in Great Britain
, every man of sense, who has had the opportunity of ascertaining it, confidently asserts.
They want the war to go on. It would grieve them, above all other things, did they believe it was in a fair way to stop.
They love to hear of Confederate victories, because they detest the Yankees
, and love to see their presumption rebuked.
But they would not be rejoiced to hear of a victory which should destroy the Yankee
army, and render our independence a thing of absolute certainty.
That we have not overrated the prosperity of the British Isles
, will appear from the following extract taken from the London Mail,
of April 1st.
Observe how the writer exults in the calamities of other people:
"Again the Revenue tells the welcome late of increasing prosperity amid all the troubles which darken the lands around us. There is scarce a day that an Englishman of ordinary feeling is not grieved by the news of fresh catamities which ambition or sectional hatreds are bringing on the world; and week after week shows some of our neighbors advancing in the path which leads to financial rule.
But all the consolation which we can receive from comparing our own state with theirs fairly belongs to us. The courage which looked at the cotton famine boldly, the enterprise which surmounted the threatened difficulty, the induration and good sense which have kept the country face from the quarrels of its neighbors, have their reward in a prosperity which in such times is truly wonderful.
of the Exchequer, with such figures before him as those of the latest Returns, will be inspired on opening his Budget to his most triumphant tone and his most elaborate periods."