Nonfiction > James Ford Rhodes > History of the Civil War, 1861–1865 > Page 83
James Ford Rhodes (1848–1927).  History of the Civil War, 1861–1865  1917.
Page 83
country at their back. Such a disposition of the case would have made the subsequent history of the relations between England and the North far different. As it was, the transaction left a rankling wound. Many Americans thought that their country had been humiliated by being obliged to submit to a peremptory demand. Chase, in his opinion during the Cabinet Council, expressed that view. While giving his “adhesion to the conclusion at which the Secretary of State has arrived,” he said, “it is gall and wormwood to me. Rather than consent to the liberation of these men I would sacrifice everything I possess.” 1 Pending the settlement and afterwards, there was a complete misunderstanding between the two countries. The impression prevailed abroad that the North was “determined to pick a quarrel with England.” 2 On the other hand, there was a general belief here that Great Britain only wanted a pretext for a quarrel with the United States. Even among those who did not hold such extreme views a spirit of grim resolution prevailed. “I cannot believe,” wrote Norton to Lowell, “that the English ministry mean war—if they do, they will get it and its consequences.” 3 The misunderstanding arose from each country believing that the chauvinists represented the majority in the other. As a matter of fact, a large majority in England and at the North rejoiced at the peaceful settlement of the Trent difficulty. In the South there was bitter disappointment. 4  51
Note 1. Warden, 394. [back]
Note 2. Bancroft, 231. [back]
Note 3. Dec. 19. [back]
Note 4. Authorities: O. R., II, II; C. F. A. M. H. S., XLV; Bancroft; N. & H.; Seward; Earl Russell; Palmerston; Delane; Martin; Lyons; Life W. H. Russell; Russell; Pierce; C. F. A. Adams; Welles, L. & S.; Lossing; Lothrop; Harris; R. H. Dana; Forbes; Pearson; Lecky; McClellan; III; Lect. I have been much indebted to Charles F. Adams’s paper on “The Trent Affair.” M. H. S., XLV. [back]


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