James Ford Rhodes (18481927). History of the Civil War, 18611865 1917.
abundantly justified for her recognition of the belligerent rights of the Confederate States. The cogent argument for it was put in a nutshell by the foreign secretary who issued the Proclamation. Upwards of five million free men, wrote Lord Russell in a private letter to Edward Everett, have been for some time in open revolt against the President and Congress of the United States. It is not our practice to treat five millions of free men as pirates and to hang their sailors if they attempt to stop our merchantmen. But unless we meant to treat them as pirates and to hang them we could not deny them belligerent rights.1
The concession of belligerent rights to the Confederate States was made with no unfriendly purpose; and as repeated assurances to that effect were received from both public and private sources in England, and as a proper comprehension was gained of the wide difference between the recognition of the belligerency and acknowledgment of the independence of the Confederate States, the irritation of the North began to subside. The President showed his understanding of the attitude of England and other European powers and believed that his government had their sympathy. The feeling toward the United States, wrote Adams from London on May 31, is improving in the higher circles here. It was never otherwise than favorable among the people at large.2
The division of English sentiment was well expressed by Palmerston, the Prime Minister, in his words, We do not like slavery, but we want cotton and we dislike very much your Morrill tariff.3Punch declared sympathy with the North but confessed,
Note 1. Bancroft, II, 178 n.; C. F. A. M. H. S., XLV, 77. [back]