The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #122144 Message #2677181
Posted By: Ron Davies
10-Jul-09 - 11:53 PM
Thread Name: BS: British support for the confederacy?
Subject: RE: BS: British support for the confederacy?
" Many of the Confederacy (sic) had roots in the British Isles". This observation has limited value, since the same can be said for a good portion of the Union in 1860.
Anybody who does want to explore the antecedents of the Confederacy--and the North, for all that, might want to check another fascinating book: Albion's Seed--which points out how specific areas of the original colonies were settled,, in great part, by specific areas of Britain. And Virginia was settled to a large extent by conservatives from the south of England. So there certainly is a kinship felt between the Southern cavaliers and the upper classes of England.
This even came out explicitly at the time of the Civil War: deKay, p 122: An MP, John Arthur Roebuck, in a speech given at Sheffield "praised Southerners in the most exemplary terms, ending with the ultimate compliment. claiming that 'they are Englishmen'". Whereas Northerners are descendants "of the scum and refuse of Europe".
Interesting he should characterize it so, since there were Scots, Welsh, Germans, French etc--as well as English-- in both the North and South.
No doubt it has to do with the above-cited felt kinship of the British upper classes with the plantation owners.
But those Southerners who were not "cavaliers" were often descended from Borderers--who, considered violent and uneducated "scum and refuse", had been removed from the Border when James VI became James I, then sent to Ireland, where they also did not fit in. Following that, succeeding generations went to New England, where they did not get along, to Pennsylvania, where they did not accept Quaker ways, and finally wound up scattered along the Appalachians. And provided many US presidents from Jackson to LBJ.
Many more details of this in Albion's Seed.
Book on the Civil War. Still the best overview I've found is Battle Cry of Freedom, by James M. McPherson. Came out in 1988, but still not bettered as far as I know.
Only one chapter on British involvement: "John Bull's Virginia Reel". But he is amazingly thorough for only one volume on the whole war. And on top of that he's a great storyteller--vivid sketches of dramatis personae, details on strategy--but also capturing the sweep of events.
As usual, lots more to say, but no time.