War of the Rebellion: Serial 115 Page 1184 PRISONERS OF WAR, ETC.

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You are too well acquainted through your able representatives in England and France with the state of public feeling in those coutries to require any allusion to it on my part. Nevertheless, as I maintain a constant private correspondence with influential persons of various parties in England I may take the liberty of stating that the cause of our Government is strengthed in public opinion by the recent events. The idea which has been so carefully planted and nurtured in England that our Government desired to force that country into a war in order to escape from a dilemma at home and to cover our incapacity to deal with the Southern insurrection-this idea which to our minds seems like the weak delusion of a sick man's brain-has taken possession of a considerable portion of the English population. Profligate and unscrupulous writers and speakers have done their best to perpetate the delufsion until it has become almost an article of the nation creed. The conduct of the United States Government in the Trent affair has as I am assured by emitent persons in England done much to dispel the fiction.

In regard to the British public no doubt there is a considerable and influential portion which cordially detests the United States, its institutions, its government, its people, and earnestly desires its downfall. Among this portion there is a less numberous but a noisy and ferocious faction which is anxious for a war with us and will make the most of every pretext as they have already done of the Trent affair to precipitate hostilities and to throw the weight of the English nation on the side of the slave Confederacy. These are not theories but facts within my knowledge. The slave-holders have many warm partisans in England and in France. On the other hand there are many in England who do not love us but who for selfish reasons would deprecate hostilities if they can be honorably avoided. And again there is a large, powerful mass who warmly sympathize with our cause. The anti-slavery feeling in England is so strong that it has been necessary for the Southern partisans to persuade the British public that slavery has nothing to do with the American civil war, and this ridiculous notion has found many believers in Europe. It si gravely asserted by many who pass in the world for reasonable beings that the secession was brought about by Southern opposition to tariffs and by the love of free trade! It is superflous to say that the victims of this delustion see in the recognition of the slave-holders' Confederacy and additional expansion for English markets combined with the weakening of a hated rival.

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I have the honor to be, sir, your obedient servant,


DEPARTMENT OF STATE, Washington, January 23, 1862.


SIR: * * * We are embarrassed by the attitude of the British Government in regard to the entertainment it gives in its ports to pirates engaged without advantage to any loyal or humane interest in the world in destroying our national commerce-a commerce only less important to Great Britain than it is to the American people. The President cannot but regard this misfortune as a consequence of precipitancy on the party of the British Government which might well have been avoided. I await, however, before giving you instructions upon the subject for the advices which are expected to indicate if not determine the future course of the British Government in regard to our domestic affairs.