England's neglected opportunity.
We copy the following from the London
No one can fail to recognize considerable astuteness in the suggestions of the Emperor
They can give no offence.
The South is not in a position to take any. And the North
will certainly not take his advice about stopping the fighting amiss, in its delight at his moral support of the Union
Between St. Petersburgh and Washington
there has always been a sneaking kindness.
Extremes meet, and we can conceive plenty of reasons, which we do not care to state, why the Czar should prefer the Union
intact to two equal Confederacies.
But we confess to a feeling of envy.
Why has it been left to the Czar to be the only European
sovereign to make known his feeling for the Americans
What is he to the President
, or the President
The United States
are not even his rivals.
Their commerce and their shipping may sweep the world's ports and never interfere with him. They may expand northward and southward, eastward and westward, and it must be years before they can raise a boundary question.
As to commercial ties between the two Powers, there are positively none.
Bombard New York to- morrow, or burn all the cotton depots in the Confederate States
; St. Petersburgh will not feel the ruin.
Raise the slaves and destroy the cotton plant, and Russia
may still say--‘ "Let the galled jade wince, my withers are unwrung."’ The case is very different with us. We feel every beat of the American
The ruin of the trade of the States paralyzes our manufacturing industry, puts our mills upon half time, and depresses every commercial interest in the United Kingdom.
Let the South
, and the mobs in the great cities of the North
gain the upper hand over the affrighted authorities, there will be poverty and distress in thousands of English homes.
Let great Northern armaments sweep down the Mississippi
everywhere proclaiming freedom to the slaves, and destroying the cotton crop, and we have to meet a famine ten times more terrible than that which swept off from Irish soil 1,500,000 souls.
And what has been done by our Government to prevent such catastrophes?
We are drilling on into the cotton famine as we drifted into the Russian
war, and with some of the same statesmen at the helm.
We stand by and fold our arms, while the great game is being played out, with an effort to arrest the tide of war or to avert its calamitous consequences.
It may be too late to interfere now. The time had passed even before Mr. Seward
gave our statesmen such a glorious opportunity for holding their tongues.
But surely it is no great feat for our Foreign Secretary
to boast of, that in the long interval between the secession of South Carolina
and the first collision in the field he simply waited on events, contenting himself with the pious but somewhat selfish prayer that Providence
would keep us out of the quarrel.
We are bound to the Americans
by the closest of ties.
The advice that might have come from us would, perhaps, have been intrusive from another power.
Yet, so far as we know, there is not on record a single offer on Earl Russell's part of friendly offices.
The attempt might have failed.
Probably it would have done so.--But, at least, the Government
would have done its duty.
It would have lifted its hand against the folly and crime of a fratricidal war. It would have shown the Americans
, which ever side was destined to triumph, that we had some fellow feeling with them in their trials.
It would have saved us from the charge of apathetic selfishness, which is so freely urged against us by the American
And now Russia
has taken the initiative, which ought to have been ours, with not one tithe of our interests at stake or one-half of our incentives to action.
When the history of the American
war comes to be written, it will redound to the credit of the Ministry of the time that the Czar could assume a responsibility which was not permitted to the English
sovereign, and that free and enlightened England
watched and made no sign, while despotic and barbarous Russia
spoke words of conciliation and peace.