The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #122144   Message #2679035
Posted By: Les from Hull
13-Jul-09 - 09:12 AM
Thread Name: BS: British support for the confederacy?
Subject: RE: BS: British support for the confederacy?
Going back to your original posting, my view is that the British Government and the British people generally didn't support the Confederacy, mainly because of slavery. Britain had led the anti-slavery movement, from the abolition of the slave trade and the eventual emancipation of the slaves. Only the Trent incident put pressure on this.

The Britons who 'supported' the Confederacy did so purely out of greed. There were very good profits to be made out of trading with the South, by building and operating specialist ships (particularly shallow draft iron sidewheel steamers), and by providing imports of goods needed by the Confederacy, whose industrial base was very inferior to that of the North. Britain was also able to supply items like the Whitworth and Blakely rifled cannon used by the Confederacy. So support for the South was focused on the Clyde and Mersey rivers, and in the mansions of the Lancashire mill owners.

I suppose that the view that the Confederacy had support around the world has grown because of 'wrong but romantic' viewpoint. Sellars and Yeatman in the excellent '1066 and all that' pointed this out in relation to the English Civil War. I'm more of a 'right but repulsive' person myself!