The second American Revolution, as Viewed by a member of the British parliament.
On the 25th October, Capt. Jervis
, member of the House of Commons for the borough of Harwich, Essex, England
, delivered a lecture to a large audience at Harwich
, on American affairs.
The fact has been already noticed in this paper, through a brief item from a Northern journal.
A friend having favored us with a copy of the London Times,
of the 26th October, we find Captain
J.'s speech reported in that paper, and copy it below.
It is evidently not very fully reported.
It certainly does not do the speaker justice
It is plain, from the points touched upon, that there is much of his animadversion omitted in the Times.
It is gratifying to see this one of the many proofs of the manner the English
mind is being educated on the subject of our national difficulties.
By special request, Capt. Jervis
, R.A., one of the members for the borough of Harwick
, delivered a lecture at the Town Hall
yesterday evening, on American affairs, to a numerous audience, comprising many of the influential inhabitants of the borough.
, (Maj. Browness
,) presided, and having briefly introduced the subject--
, M. P., who, on rising, met with a cordial reception, said--Mr. Chairman
and gentlemen, I have been requested, and I have thought it right, that I should appear before you and address to you a few words with reference to a question which I think, at the present day, is likely to become one of the prominent questions of this country; and having devoted some time to that question, and being in the habit of giving an independent vote when it is necessary, I have deemed it expedient that I should tell you the basis upon which I have come to the conclusion which I entertain upon the subject.
We in the eastern counties having had one of the most bountiful harvests which have been known for many years, and looking forward to another year of plenty for every man to depend upon, it is but right that we should consider what is the condition of our fellow-subjects in different parts of England
You must remember that some years ago there was a very extensive famine in Ireland
, which caused not only great distress in that but in the other provinces of this empire; for it is impossible that any number of our fellow countrymen should feel distress without it being fully participated in through out the length and breadth of the land.
We may not perhaps be called upon to expect a deficiency of wheat or any other description of agricultural produce; but there is another crop upon which it is estimated five millions of people depend, which is likely to fail them-in the ensuing winter; and I know no time more opportune to think what will occur in the ensuing season and to consider this question than while the weather is still warm and the sun shining.
Many of you must know as well as my self that the bread of life cannot be taken from the large population of the manufacturing districts without causing some of the most distressing scenes that human nature can witness; and when we come to consider that throughout Lancashire
the people are working half time — that is, three days instead of six--and if that is the case in September, what are they likely to do in December?
We can imagine what is likely to be the distress in that part of the county.
It may be asked, as I have seen it in some newspapers of the day. What has that to do with Essex
Now I say the people cannot suffer in Lancashire
without you feeling it in Essex
; and I will endeavor by a few figures to show you why I say so. The traffic between this country and the United States
where the cotton is produced, and by the manufacture of which so large a class is fed, amounted during the past year to £67,631,993, that is to say that there was over £44,000,000 of imports from America
and over £22,000,000 in exports; and you cannot suddenly put an end to such a portion as £67,000,000 sterling worth of commerce without deeply affecting this country.
When I tell you, too, that out of that portion there is in the shape of cotton alone something like £30,000,000 worth of raw material to be manufactured — that out of the vast quantity of cotton produce which comes from the manufacturing districts, besides what is purchased in this country, there are £52,000,000 worth exported, making a difference between the raw material exported and imported, without calculating what we consume ourselves, of over £22,000,000, you will be able to form an idea of the amount lost to the manufacturing population of this country.
(Hear, hear.) I wish to be clear on the point of figures, because there have been some doubt thrown upon them, but they have been collected from the returns of the Board of Trade.
It will give you, perhaps, a clearer idea of the vast amount of the produce exported when I tell you that simply as regards plain calico, £23,000,000 worth alone is exported, and of plain sewing
cotton £700,000; a produce affecting not only Lancashire
, but other districts, such as Lancashire
It has been said by people holding strong notions, that our operatives ought to starve all the winter, rather than that we should interfere in the quarrel that is now taking place.
I am the last person to ask this country to interfere in any quarrel in which the United States
are engaged; but I cannot view it in that light — I merely look to what will be the sufferings of the manufacturing population, and ask you to give your confidence to that Government which will mitigate the evil arising from it. I, as an humble member of the House of Commons am not going to place my opinion against that of Earl Russell, whose judgment is so much thought of by all Europe
; but I must say that, if it is necessary for the Government
to interfere in the quarrel for the sake of alleviating the distress of the population at home, I shall certainly give them my best support.
It is also said we should not interfere because the Northern States
are against slavery; but that is a question imported into the matter by interested parties, which I shall be able to show you is not only a gross error, but that they ought to know that it is so. It is very true that slavery exists only in the Southern States
; but the North
has ever fully recognized it as an institution, and has never entertained any idea of putting an end to it. The question of slavery in the United States
is one of labor; and, though having a great horror of slavery myself I must admit that it is backed up by men of the Northern States
, because if it were abolished they could not profit by it. The question of slavery was brought prominently forward in the Congress of America in the year 1790, when, at that time, two thirds of the Congress
were Northerners, and I will read you a resolution passed by that body, which was, first of all, submitted to a committee of seven, six of whom were Northerners, and only one of them was a Southerner.
That resolution was subsequently passed unanimously by the whole Congress.
It was thus:
"That Congress have no authority to interfere in the emancipation of slaves or in the treatment of them in any of the States, it remaining with the several States alone to provide rules and regulations therein which humanity and true policy may require."
It is true that it was after that date that we in England
took so prominent a part in the emancipation of slavery; but after the whole matter had been almost accomplished by us, what was the feeling of North America
Why, I find that most distinguished man, Daniel Webster, who represented Massachusetts
as a Senator, said in 1830, with regard to this very resolution which I have quoted:
agreed to insert these resolutions in its Journal, and from that day to this it has never been maintained or contended that Congress had any authority to regulate or interfere with the condition of slaves in the several States."’
He was at that time contending against a feeling which the South
expressed, that they thought there was a wish on the part of the Northern States
to abolish slavery, and he, as the leading man of the Northern States
, and speaking in their name, so far from condemning slavery, denied that there was any wish, on their part to abolish it. It was not till the year 1834 that slavery was abolished in our colonies, and some might fancy that the North
had followed our example.
But a most important question arose.
About eight or nine years ago the English Government
objected to the State of South Carolina
seizing the negroes who came into port in our vessels and detaining them in prison till the ship in which they had arrived had again sailed.
This was represented to the United States Government, who however, replied that it was no question for them, but one between England
and South Carolina
, and as it had to be arranged.
But, at that very time, what did the United States
Why, so far from expressing any sympathy with England
in the matter, they passed a solemn act in which they utterly refused to interfere in the quarrel, and re-enacted the resolution of 1790.
It was only three days ago that I saw in the Times
and other papers a letter from Ex-President Buchanan
, who was lately Ambassador in this country, a citizen also of the Northern States
, in which he says that the object of the war ‘"is solely for the purpose of bringing back the Southern State
to their original position in the Union
without impairing any of their constitutional rights"’--that is to say, that he for one will not sanction the assertion that if they bring back the Southern States
they will abolish slavery.
Again, General Fremont
, a man of great influence, thought that he would assume a line of conduct for himself, and said he would liberate the slaves of all those in rebellion; but he was ordered by the President
, Mr. Lincoln
, to contradict this proclamation.
I make these observation s to show that there is no truth whatever in the rumor of any intention on the part of the Northern States
to abolish slavery by this quarrel.
It is not a question between us and slavery; but simply how we are to obtain cotton wherewith to feed our large manufacturing population.
It may be said that we have nothing to do with cotton; that we are going to be happy in Essex
all the winter, spend a merry.
, and we ought to let the people of Lancashire
starve until all is blue; but I shall endeavor to show you that you are directly concerned.
I find that owing to this quarrel, besides cotton, a great portion of our mercantile transactions between this country and America
are at a stand-still.
Take the case of tea-cups
and plates, which are Staffordshire
In August, 1860, those articles were exported to the value of 79,318 pounds; while in the same month, 1861, the extortions only amounted to the worth of 16,514 pounds; therefore there was so much less work in the Staffordshire
In haberdashery the exports of August, last year, amounted to 138,720 pounds; but in this year only to 33,659 pounds; in linens, in the same months, the difference was from 228,119 pounds, to 42,279 pounds; in the iron market the amount had decreased to almost a nil
for 10,338 pounds; bar iron
exported in August, last year, there were only 980 pounds for this year.
Passing on to other manufactures, I find that for 27,712 gallons of seed oil exported in the same months in 1860, there was this year none; of spirits, 16,486 gallons to 4,000; of bitter beer 2,583 barrels to 995; and of butter, 13,546 cwt. to 7,776.
That shows that not only the cotton, iron, and earthen ware
interests are concerned, but that the agriculturalists do not export as they have been in the habit of doing.
Then it is said that the Southern States
have no right whatever to secede.
Now, that is a question upon which Englishmen would not differ very much, for they are fond of local Government; and I am not at all certain that, if England
formed a portion of another territory, she would long recognize that power.
I wish to show you that the right of secession has long been recognized by the statesmen of America
When that country first formed an organization against England
to obtain their liberty, they appointed Benjamin Franklin
to draw up Articles of Confederation.
The second article he drew up was that ‘"the said United Colonies
hereby enter into a firm league of friend ship with each other, binding on themselves and their posterity."’ Well, this was sent forward to a committee of the Representatives
of the several States, and they altered the first words of the article as follows: ‘"The said Colonies unite themselves so as never to be divided by any act whatever, and hereby severally,"’ &c. But this was referred to the several State Legislatures, and, after five years deliberation.
Article 2 was made to refer to each State retaining its sovereignty, freedom, and independence; and Article 3 simply stated that ‘"the said States hereby severally enter into a firm league of friendship with each other,"’ &c.
This confederation last some years, but owing to the intercourse which was carried on between several of the States and foreign countries, it was found that great inconvenience followed upon each carrying on negotiations which must be antagonistic to the general welfare.
There were too very large parties formed in that country; at the head of one was Hamilton
, and the other Jefferson
, both of whom had been originally much interested in carrying on the rebellion against this country.
At last it was agreed that they should unite so far that there should be a Central Government, and that they should have the power of levying the general taxes, making peace and war, and negotiating with foreign countries.
Yet to show how carefully those States went into the original confederation before signing the articles, I will read you an extract from the instructions sent to the delegates of Maryland
--that State which at the present time, is kept in terror by the Northern
"Although the pressure of immediate calamities, the dread of their continuance from the appearance of disunion and some other peculiar circumstances, may have induced some States to accede to the present Confederation, contrary of their own interests and judgments, it requires no great share of fortes' get to predict that when those causes cease to or crate, the States which bad thus acceded to the Confederation will consider it no longer binding, and will eagerly embrace the first occasion of asserting their just right, and securing their independence."
That was the idea of the people before they even joined the Confederation.
We find that subsequently to the union of the States the same broad question arose.
Large sums had been borrowed by some States, and some by others, and it became a question whether each State should be left to pay its own debts; and Jefferson
tells us he was only induced, as a member of the Government
, to vote for the Congress
adopting the whole debt, from the fact that many of the States had threatened to secede.
In the year 1797 we have the fact that Washington
(than whom there was no man more thoroughly acquainted with his countrymen) wrote, on his retirement from office, an epistle which at the time rendered him very unpopular, to the effect that, if at any time any portion of the States attempted to carry their own interests to the detriment of other States, the Republic
would break up. In the year 1825 the Government
, feeling itself ill used by the General Government
respecting some Indian land, the Governor
called upon the people of his State to ‘"stand by their arms,"’and warned the General Government
that it would be treated as a public enemy.
Again: In 1829 South Carolina
pronounced the national tariff ‘"to be unauthorized by the Constitution
, null and void; not binding on South Carolina
, its officers and citizens."’
I quote these examples to show that the question of secession is as old as the States themselves.
They agreed to form a Confederation and Union; but at the same time it was well known that as soon as the interest of one section of the States differed from another they should secede, and the more amicably that takes place the better it will be for human nature.
As an instance of what our own country has done in such questions, I would recall to your recollection that at the time we emancipated the slaves in our colonies the Dutch
settlers on the Cape of Good Hope
objected to it, left their territory, and settled on the Orange river
; and England
had since always recognized that territory as independent.
Again, as far back as the year 1780, Ireland
objected to our governing it, and carried a resolution into its parliament that it only recognized the Irish Legislature
, and George III.
as king of Ireland
and not of England
We had then undergone the sad experience of the American
war, and we recognized that independence, and it was only by sound argument, and not by attempted force, that we had brought them back again.
I have endeavored to bring the question before you in three points--first, that the question of cot on has nothing to do with the question of slavery, and that we do not stand up for the North
or the South
; secondly, that the question of slavery is only introduced from interested motives; and, thirdly, that of secession, which the Americans
call rebellion, is simply a large population, numbering over nine millions, and covering an area of 850,000 square miles, wishing to govern themselves, but are stopped by their neighbors.
After reverting to the general features of the American
war, Capt. Jervis
observed, with reference to the power of the President
of the United States
to declare war, or to announce a blockade, without the consent of Congress, that he would be satisfied with the authority of Daniel Webster, on a similar case, 30 years ago, when he said:
‘"I, for one, protest in advance against such remedies as I have heard hoisted.
The Administration itself keeps a profound silence but its friends have spoken for it. We are told, sir, that the President
will immediately employ the military force, and at once blockade Charleston
A military remedy, a remedy by direct belligerent operation has been suggested, as the intended means of preserving the Union
Sir, there is no little reason to thick that this reason is true.
We cannot be altogether unmindful of the past; and therefore, we cannot be altogether unapprehensive for the future.
For one, sir, I raise my voice beforehand, and against the unauthorized employment of military power, and against superseding the authority of the laws by an armed force, under presence of putting down ull tion. The president has so authority to blockade Charleston
; the President
has no authority to employ military force till be hall be only required to do so by law, and by the civil authority."’
In conclusion, Captain Jervis
pointed out that the field of emigration which had hith-
erto been open in America
for our surplus population was now closed and that, therefore, they might expect a return of those who had in former years left England
, and to become a burden upon the rated.
He assured them that he should exercise the greatest discretion in giving any opinion upon the subject in the House of Commons, for the question was one of vital importance not only as regarded commercial transactions between the two countries, but as necessitating us to endeavor to maintain a good feeling among the working classes under the hardships which they would inevitably suffer.
The honorable and gallant member resumed his seat amid much applause.
then briefly tendered the thanks of the audience to Captain Jervis
, and proposed three cheers for him, which, having been heartily given, the assembly separated.