American affairs in Europe.
speech of Mr. Gladstone on the cotton Crisis.
It has been briefly announced, in the summary of European
news, that the Hon. W. E. Gladstone
of the Exchequer, recently made a speech before the Chamber of Commerce in Manchester, England
, in which he dwelt at some length upon American affairs.
We find that portion of it reported in the Manchester Guardian
, of April 26th, and as it is a very remarkable production, we commend it to the attention of our readers:
[from the Manchester Guardian, April 25.]
Yesterday morning a meeting, covered by the Manchester
Chamber of Commerce, for the purpose of presenting an address to the Right Honorable W. E. Gladstone
, M. P., Chancellor
of the Exchequer, was held in the Great Room at the Town Hall
, which was densely crowded.
, (Thomas Goadsby
During his speech, in reply to the address Mr. Gladstone
After having said this much, I come to that which more particularly touches the state of your own district and community.
We stand here at a time when, but for one unfortunate event, it is probable that you and your workmen would alike be enjoying a great prosperity.
That one unfortunate event you have described in this address, and in my opinion truly, as ‘"a deplorable struggle in which the two sections of the great American Republic are now engaged"’ It is a deplorable struggle
We are not of those if such were, who envied the greatness of the American Republic
[Hear, hear] We could have been well content to see her enlarge her borders from year to year, gradually increasing in her wealth and strength.
We should have retained the consciousness that on our part nothing would be done to prevent the continuance of the most friendly and peaceful relations, [hear, hear,] and the admiration with which we regarded the energy of that nation would have been totally untinged either by envy or by fear.
[Applause.] But this struggle has come about through no fault of ours, and I think we cannot but feel that the position and attitude of this country with respect to the United States
have not been on the other side of the water quite impartially or fairly judged [Cheers.] I am not going to make this a matter of complaint.
Let us sympathize with our American brethren in their difficulties--[hear, hear] --let us allow that under the excitement of their difficulties, and of a desperate and agonizing conflict, the minds of men are not in that state of tranquility which renders them the best judges of the conduct of their neighbors.--[Hear, hear]. Under such circumstances the proportion of objects alters before the eye, and expectations are formed, and are thought to be just, which, in a dispassionate moment, will be seen and felt, to have been unfounded.
Why, there was a demand made upon us by the public voice in America
at the outset of this deplorable struggle for what was called, sympathy.
What was the real meaning of this demand?
If I can understand it — and I hope in what I say I shall not say a word inconsistent with that fraternal policy which I desire to cherish toward all men, and specially toward our kindled beyond the water — but, practically, what was the meaning of that desire, and that call for sympathy?
It was this — that we should take such a course by our language, and by our public acts, as would place the six millions of men, or ten millions, I care not which you call them, of the South
in a permanent hostility with us. [Cries of hear, hear.]
We may have our own opinion — and I imagine we have them — about the institution of the South
--[cheers]--an, unfortunately, we may have our private opinions about the countenance that has been given to those institutions in the North
[Cheers.] But that is no reason, on the one side or the other, why we should adopt a course of conduct that is the foundations of alienation, of bad feeling, and permanent hostility between ourselves and those who may hereafter be a great nation, claiming to enter into peaceful relations with us. [Loud applause.]
No doubt, if we could say this was a contest of slavery and freedom, there is not a man within the length, and breadth of this room — there is, perhaps, hardly, a man in all England
— who would for a moment hesitate upon the side he should take.
[Hear, hear.] But we have no faith in the propagation of free institutions at the point of the sword.-- [Cheers] It is not by such means the ends of freedom are to be gained.
Freedom must be freely accepted, freely embraced.
You cannot invade a nation in order to convert its institutions from bad ones int. good ones.
And our friends in the North
have, as we think, made a great mistake in supposing that they can bend all the horrors of this war to philanthropic ends.
[Hear, hear.] Indeed, there are those among us who think — and I confess, for one, I have shared the apprehension — that if in the course of the vicissitudes of the war the Southern States
should send an embassy to Washington
, and should say: ‘"Very well, we are willing to lay down our arms on one condition; we are ready to renew the compact; we are ready to make it perpetual and attach to it every security and guaranty you can imagine for holding us fast; but upon one condition — that you shall assure us that there shall be no interference with our domestic institution."’ Ah, gentlemen, we have had a fear that application, if it were made, would receive a favorable reply.
[Cheers] I think that it was well stated by my noble colleagues, Lord Russell, that this was a struggle on one side for supremacy and on the other for independence.
[Hear, hear.] I cannot but sympathize with those who are making the struggle for supremacy.
It is painful to surrender a great and imposing and magnificent national unity.
We, the English
people, in other times have felt that pain.
[Hear, hear.] We knew what it was Old George the Third upon the throne — who had all the feelings of an Englishman, whether you may approve his policy in all things or not, but he was a true Englishman in heart and sentiment — old George the Third felt his heart rent in twain by the laceration of the empire when the American Colonies
were parted from us. But I think we feel this, that the experience we have had in our national history in some degree gives us means of judging of the prospects of this American struggle better than those which are possessed by the Americans
themselves [Hear, hear.] We have felt that after the pain of that severance was over we came at length to recognize it as a good, and we are thankful that the American Colonies
were parted from us, because we think we could not have governed them as much for their own advantages as they have been enabled to govern themselves.
[Applause] Some persons may say the Northern States
are a great deal stronger than the South
, and therefore they must win.--Well, gentlemen, England
was a great deal stronger in olden times than Scotland
; but Englishmen, as well as Scotchmen
, know that when it was the object of Englishmen to establish a supremacy over Scotland
, the Scotch proved themselves to be what are called very ugly customers.
[Laughter and applause.]
At length, it was not the exercise of force, but a sense of policy and prudence on both sides, dictated in the main by natural circumstances, that led to the union of the two kingdoms.
But the position of the Northern States
is this: ‘"We won't let you go."’ The position of the Southern
is ‘"We are determined to go."’ Gentlemen, you are men of business; and if one of you has a partner, and that partner wants to separate from you, I ask you whether, in the long run, if it is not difficult to hold him?
[Laughter.] But I ask you more.
Supposing that you were able to hold that partner — supposing that you could contrive some indenture of partnership by which he should abdicate his free will, and tie himself to you like a captive to the Charlot wheels of a victor, but he still retaining an alienating heart, having no common interest in your business, but rather a desire to trip you up and embarrass you — I say, you would not hold that partner if you could.
The Northern States of American have undertaken an enterprise of enormous difficulty.
It is but fair, I think, that we should record our sense of the vast and gigantic energies which have been unfolded in the prosecution of that enterprise.
They have had certain successes in the field; but again I fall back upon our English experience.
If you revert to the annals of the war of independence between the American
colonies and this country where were the successes in the field in that war!
It was not for want of successes in the field that we did not conquer the American
It was this, that we found that when we had successes in the field we were no nearer our object than before.
[Hear, hear.] It is not the question, when you are entirety bring to conquer a country, whether you can break up its embattles armies and drive them off the plain where they have contended with you in even fight.
The question is this, and this alone, whether the heart of the country is not upon separation.
[Hear, hear.] If it is set upon separation, and if the blood of Washington
and the men of Virginia
of his day still runs in the veins of those who inhabit Southern America
, then it is all out impossible that the military object should be effected; and if the military object were effected, the civil and political difficulties remaining would render that success itself a curse and a misery to those who had achieved it. [Cheers.]
We in this country are in the habit of plain speaking, and it is well, I think, upon this subject, considering the nearness and intimacy of our relations with all those who inhabit the American
continent, that we should test our minds in regard to the sentiments with which we view what you have well called this ‘"deplorable struggle."’ May the Almighty Disposer
of events bring that struggle to an end. [Hear, hear.] For the sake of themselves, for the sake of the Americans
above all, may that struggle quickly reach its termination.
[Applause] May that take place, not which we wish to prefer, but which is for the peace, the happiness and welfare of the inhabitants of that country, be they white or be they black.
[Applause] We also feel the painful and deplorable effects of this struggle upon ourselves; it is impossible to deny them; and not upon ourselves alone, but of other countries of Europe
is suffering; Belgium
is suffering; every country that has a cotton manufacture is suffering grievously; more grievously, in proportion to the numbers employed, than in this country, because in these countries there is not the sense of independence — there is a greater disposition to lean upon the Government
for help, than happily prevails among ourselves.
But when we are told by any organ of American opinion that Europe
, or that England
, has behaved unhandsomely by America
, I feel the utmost confidence that the fine liverdict of history will be this — that there never was an occasion in which the civilized nations of the earth, in general, bore and had been content to bear, so much real misery, resulting from a municipal quarrel in another State without interference, as there has been on the present occasion.
[Applause.] If we look at the pain it has brought upon us, it is a grievous thought.
In another point of view, it is a remarkable testimony to the real progress of civilizing and peaceful ideas among the nations of the world.
[Applause.] It is in homage to what is called an abstract principle that all this misery has been borne.
There has been a sense of danger and mischief of interference in intestine quarrels in other countries, and deference has been paid to that principle of international policy by England
and by all the nations of Europe
These, I say, are among the most remarkable features which determine the character of history as applicable to the nineteenth century in which we live.
In your own district it is impossible to move without being struck, on the one hand, by the menacing character of the time; no man knowing whether to-morrow will not be darker than to- day, and whether another month will not greatly advance the tale of suffering upon the month that is now passing.
On the other hand, the moral signs find the social signs which the darkness of this period have brought into view, though the eye might not have discerned them amidst the glare of prosperity, are such as at once to touch the heart and cheer the minds of men with the hope that they contain for the future.
[Applause.] We are told that the people can not be trusted, that they are fit for nothing except to earn daily bread; that you must not call them to the exercise of higher functions or look to them for enlightened views.
I ask what practical evidence of enlightened views are the workmen of Lancashire
now offering [applause and cheers] in their patient endurance, in their mutual help, and in their respect for order, in their sense of independence, in their desire to be a burden to no one, [hear, hear,] in the patience with which they submit to positive privations [Applause.] and let me add, just thus much having been spoken of the people, that, if I am able to judge, the masters who employ them are worthy of those work people, and that I can give them no higher praise.