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BS: British support for the confederacy?

Ron Davies 21 Jul 09 - 08:03 AM
Ron Davies 21 Jul 09 - 07:54 AM
EBarnacle 20 Jul 09 - 10:57 PM
Ron Davies 20 Jul 09 - 03:59 PM
Little Hawk 19 Jul 09 - 11:30 PM
Charley Noble 19 Jul 09 - 10:02 PM
Ron Davies 19 Jul 09 - 08:56 PM
Ron Davies 19 Jul 09 - 08:54 PM
EBarnacle 19 Jul 09 - 02:53 PM
McGrath of Harlow 19 Jul 09 - 01:56 PM
Bonzo3legs 18 Jul 09 - 04:45 PM
Les from Hull 18 Jul 09 - 02:39 PM
Little Hawk 17 Jul 09 - 10:55 PM
Ron Davies 17 Jul 09 - 10:16 PM
McGrath of Harlow 17 Jul 09 - 09:16 PM
Ron Davies 16 Jul 09 - 10:22 PM
Les from Hull 16 Jul 09 - 12:45 PM
Ron Davies 16 Jul 09 - 07:49 AM
meself 16 Jul 09 - 12:39 AM
Ron Davies 15 Jul 09 - 11:29 PM
GUEST,beardedbruce 15 Jul 09 - 02:42 PM
GUEST,beardedbruce 15 Jul 09 - 02:40 PM
McGrath of Harlow 15 Jul 09 - 10:15 AM
Ron Davies 14 Jul 09 - 11:14 PM
Ron Davies 14 Jul 09 - 11:06 PM
Ron Davies 14 Jul 09 - 11:03 PM
sian, west wales 14 Jul 09 - 01:55 PM
EBarnacle 14 Jul 09 - 01:26 PM
Dave the Gnome 13 Jul 09 - 10:52 PM
Ron Davies 13 Jul 09 - 09:36 PM
Rapparee 13 Jul 09 - 07:07 PM
McGrath of Harlow 13 Jul 09 - 06:46 PM
Les from Hull 13 Jul 09 - 09:12 AM
Ron Davies 13 Jul 09 - 07:30 AM
Ron Davies 12 Jul 09 - 06:13 PM
Rapparee 12 Jul 09 - 06:04 PM
Paul Burke 12 Jul 09 - 05:36 PM
Les from Hull 12 Jul 09 - 05:27 PM
Dave the Gnome 12 Jul 09 - 05:05 PM
gnu 12 Jul 09 - 04:30 PM
Rapparee 12 Jul 09 - 04:25 PM
McGrath of Harlow 12 Jul 09 - 02:55 PM
gnu 12 Jul 09 - 02:33 PM
Les from Hull 12 Jul 09 - 02:07 PM
Rapparee 12 Jul 09 - 10:17 AM
Ron Davies 12 Jul 09 - 10:07 AM
Ron Davies 12 Jul 09 - 10:06 AM
McGrath of Harlow 11 Jul 09 - 06:48 PM
Rapparee 11 Jul 09 - 06:20 PM
EBarnacle 11 Jul 09 - 06:08 PM

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Subject: RE: BS: British support for the confederacy?
From: Ron Davies
Date: 21 Jul 09 - 08:03 AM

Also, one obvious reason the UK did not recognize the South as a country at the time of the "Trent" affair, besides the fact that the Southern diplomats were in fact freed, is the other fact that the Palmerston government recognized the fact that the South was based on a slave economy, anathema to the British.

But that recognition did not stop the Palmerston administration from favoring the South through sins of omission, not commission--at least until Gettysburg.


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Subject: RE: BS: British support for the confederacy?
From: Ron Davies
Date: 21 Jul 09 - 07:54 AM

I'm aware that English public opinion may have wanted a war and that Prince Albert did yeoman service, so to speak, in seeing that, for instance, the first expression of outrage was was not in fact, an outright declaration of war.    It is certainly remarkable that Britain did not immediately at least recognize the Confederacy as a nation--though as I noted earlier, many European powers, including the UK already recognized the South as a belligerent.

But the forbearance was partly due to the fact that even then there were some cooler heads in Britain, who, for instance, recognized the damage that had been done to British shipping the last time the US and UK had had a war--the War of 1812-- and were not eager for a repeat.

My point is that there were cooler heads--and better moves-- both in the US and UK, by statesmen who headed off the war fever of their countrymen. It was not incompetence on the part of US diplomats and wonderful behavior on the part of the UK.   That's too simple a picture.

But the book you mention does sound intriguing.   I may well buy it.


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Subject: RE: BS: British support for the confederacy?
From: EBarnacle
Date: 20 Jul 09 - 10:57 PM

I refer you to "The Trent Affair," Norman B. Ferris, 1977. The English cabinet and public considered this a potential casus belli, as did the mob in the North. It took a lot of effort for those who did not want a war, often against popular opinion.


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Subject: RE: BS: British support for the confederacy?
From: Ron Davies
Date: 20 Jul 09 - 03:59 PM

"our own ineptitude..." in the "Trent" affair. Only the intervention of " Prince Albert's people...".   That also appears to be an oversimplification of the crisis and its resolution.

Yes, Prince Albert toned down the first proposed British response.

But, as I understand it, Wilkes' action in taking the two Southern emissaries, Mason and Slidell, off the "Trent" was not sanctioned by the Lincoln administration, despite being rapturously received by the North at large--and even approved by Lincoln in the beginning. In fact Wilkes also had a personal grudge against Britain, since he felt Britons had been responsible for "stealing credit that was rightly his for his Antarctic expeditions" (A Great Civil War, by Russell Weigley, p 77).

Seward was thought to favor a war with Britain as a means of reuniting the US--and possibly even acquiring Canada. I've found contradictory reports on those stories.   But he did eventually realize this idea was a disaster, and found a way to give back Slidell and Mason while not being seen as completely surrendering to Britain. Seward said that in "impressing passengers from a merchant vessel, Wilkes had followed a British, not an American line of conduct" ( Foote, p 162)--in fact the conduct which was one of the main issues leading to the War of 1812.   Therefore the Southerners "will be cheerfully liberated".

Lincoln called it "a pretty bitter pill", but also agreed the North should only fight one war at a time".


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Subject: RE: BS: British support for the confederacy?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 19 Jul 09 - 11:30 PM

Matter of fact, some member of my mother's extended family went down from Canada and volunteered for the South and got killed fighting in that war. I have no idea why he did that, but I imagine that memories of American invasion attempts in the War of 1812 still were strong in royalist Canada in the 1860s, so there may have been a good many people who did not sympathize with the side flying the Stars and Stripes.

On the other hand there were many who did sympathize with the Abolitionists. People from Canada volunteered for both sides in that war.


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Subject: RE: BS: British support for the confederacy?
From: Charley Noble
Date: 19 Jul 09 - 10:02 PM

As I recall the Russians showed support for the North early in the Civil War by sending a squadron of war ships on a state visit to New York harbor and other harbors along the East Coast.

Our dear Canadian neighbors functioned as a base for several CSA plots, a bank raid into Vermont and a plot to capture a Northern steamer when it stopped in Nova Scotia. There was also a plot to raid a prisoner of war camp in the Great Lakes area that was never carried out.

Bermuda, British Territory, functioned well into 1864 as a coaling station for Confederate blockade runners as well as merchant raiders.

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: BS: British support for the confederacy?
From: Ron Davies
Date: 19 Jul 09 - 08:56 PM

Parallels were drawn, especially by Europeans, with the American Revolution.   And a similar outcome was expected.


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Subject: RE: BS: British support for the confederacy?
From: Ron Davies
Date: 19 Jul 09 - 08:54 PM

Yes, there obviously was a smokescreen put up by Bulloch et al.   But the North also had spies who were funneling information to Adams, who immediately passed it on to the British government, which did nothing....for a long time.

Crux of the problem was the interpretation of the 1819 law, as I noted earlier. That law was interpreted in such a way as to strip it of meaning:   interpreted by Bulloch's clever attorney---and accepted by the British government.


The "rams"---"when the true destination became known..."--sorry, that's a simplistic explanation--so much so as to be misleading.   I will give you more details--there are plenty to be had.

Added to which, the pattern by the Palmerston government of looking the other way when given information was established with the ships called the "Oreto" and the "290".   The lawyerly interpretation of the 1819 law was a fig leaf for the government's desire to support the South without doing so obviously---until the expected victory by the South --or stalemate, with opportunity for European powers to mediate--would allow Southern cotton to flow to Europe again.


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Subject: RE: BS: British support for the confederacy?
From: EBarnacle
Date: 19 Jul 09 - 02:53 PM

The question of Southern support from England is well reflected by our own ineptitute in the Trent Affair. Only the intervention of Prince Albert's people kept the Brits from going to a much more sever relationship at that time.


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Subject: RE: BS: British support for the confederacy?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 19 Jul 09 - 01:56 PM

My impression is that the American Civil War was regarded as pretty peripheral in Europe, apart from its impact on the cotton industry.


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Subject: RE: BS: British support for the confederacy?
From: Bonzo3legs
Date: 18 Jul 09 - 04:45 PM

.....and would have most probably given the US a good biffing, and reached the moon by 1925!!!


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Subject: RE: BS: British support for the confederacy?
From: Les from Hull
Date: 18 Jul 09 - 02:39 PM

I'm sure that Britain wouldn't have minded there being two Americas, but at the time America's status was very inferior to that of the British Empire, the French Empire, the Russian Empire, the Austro-Hungarian Empire, the Ottoman Empire. It was still a very Euro-centric world, and the British and French had just fought a war to maintain the balance of power in Eastern Europe. Just because over the next century the USA became much more important doesn't mean that its importance at the time should be over-estimated. Important, yes, but not vitally important. When the most-influential reporter of the time, William Howard Russell of the 'Times', visited the Southern States at the beginning of the War he was amazed that the 'Southern Gentlemen' thought that Britain would support the Confederacy because of the effect of King Cotton. Russell thought this a 'grievous delusion'.

The ships built for the Confederacy were built under a smokescreen of false information. The turret rams Mississippi and North Carolina were being built by Lairds at Birkenhead supposedly for the Egyptian Government. When the true destination became known they were seized by the British Government and later purchased for the Royal Navy. The French Government prevented the two ships building at Bordeaux from reaching the Confederacy. The unarmoured British-built ships that served the Confederacy (Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Shenandoah etc) were fitted out as warships either at sea or in foreign ports.

The idea of USN ships going up the Mersey and destroying the Laird Rams is one of the most ludicrous things I've ever heard. Firstly they didn't have any ships that could do it. Secondly the Royal Navy was by far the strongest navy in the World. Thirdly, Britain would have certainly declared war on the United States.


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Subject: RE: BS: British support for the confederacy?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 17 Jul 09 - 10:55 PM

Britain, as the world's greatest imperial power in the 1860s, would have had plenty of reasons to prefer that the USA be split into two separate nations, as this would considerably weaken the USA as a future imperial rival to Great Britain.

That's realpolitik. It's not at all surprising that the British would have hoped for a Confederate victory and would have given the CSA some covert assistance and helped them out with trade.

A CSA victory would have resulted in a weaker USA and a CSA whose military plans would necessarily be mostly focused on each other in the future rather than overseas. This could only be beneficial to the various European powers (and eventually to the Japanese as well).

A USA victory, on the other hand, would result in a reunited America which would soon become a very serious rival to all the other great imperial powers in the world...and possibly end up stronger than any of them. That's what has happened since the end of the 1800s.

So the British had vital reasons, in a strategic sense, to want the South to win that war...quite aside from the moral issues such as the slavery question.

When it comes right down to it, empires are least moved by moral issues...they are most moved by financial issues and issues of relative military power and positioning.

Why would anyone be surprised that the UK hoped for a Southern win in the American Civil War? A divided rival is a weakened rival...and you can keep on playing one side against the other to your own advantage.

That's just smart imperial strategy.


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Subject: RE: BS: British support for the confederacy?
From: Ron Davies
Date: 17 Jul 09 - 10:16 PM

Point is: the government--not just some businessmen-- supported the South in the US Civil War.      Not openly, but effectively.

If somebody would like to provide evidence the Palmerston government supported the North--at all, covertly or overtly--I'm sure we'd all like to see it.


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Subject: RE: BS: British support for the confederacy?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 17 Jul 09 - 09:16 PM

I'm sure they'd have equally willingly built ships for the North. Good money to be made as a neutral selling arms to both sides in a war.


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Subject: RE: BS: British support for the confederacy?
From: Ron Davies
Date: 16 Jul 09 - 10:22 PM

The British government at the time made sure not to see how "neutrality" was being violated--in spirit, if not in letter.   Adams, the US Minister to Britain,   tried many times to try to persuade the Palmerston regime to block at at least three ships built in Britain for the Confederacy from leaving the UK. It was an open secret that they were built to ravage "the commerce of the North", as the song goes --though only supplied with guns outside the 3 mile limit.

How many specific instances of refusal to take action do you need?   There is a long list.

The government finally did block the "Laird rams", but, it appears, only when faced with the strong possibility that if it did not, the Lincoln administration might well send US Navy ships up the Mersey to destroy the "rams" before they were launched.


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Subject: RE: BS: British support for the confederacy?
From: Les from Hull
Date: 16 Jul 09 - 12:45 PM

Please explain how the United Kingdom supported the Confederacy secretly. Did they give them arms, money, men? The only people in Britain who actively 'supported' the Confederacy did so for monetary gain, they built ships, they supplied goods, they bought cotton.


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Subject: RE: BS: British support for the confederacy?
From: Ron Davies
Date: 16 Jul 09 - 07:49 AM

I'd still like to see any evidence that the British government did not support the Confederacy before Gettysburg-- it appears to have done so not overtly, but still effectively.


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Subject: RE: BS: British support for the confederacy?
From: meself
Date: 16 Jul 09 - 12:39 AM

The Rothschilds refused to guarantee Confederate bonds - this was a major blow to the economy of the Confederacy. According to a documentary I'm watching on PBS right now ...


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Subject: RE: BS: British support for the confederacy?
From: Ron Davies
Date: 15 Jul 09 - 11:29 PM

"small minority". Perhaps. But pro-Confederate Britons--pro Confederate for any number of reasons--appear to have run Britain during the US Civil War.

And many of the others appear somewhat torn. As I noted, the weaver in the "Surat" poem, had no love for either the US North or South-- realized he was just a pawn in a foreign quarrel.

Added to which, many Britons took advantage of the market--and seemed to have supplied whoever could pay. Or just filled a market niche--the US merchant marine was crippled by the astronomical insurance rates--and supposedly never recovered. Somebody took that business.


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Subject: RE: BS: British support for the confederacy?
From: GUEST,beardedbruce
Date: 15 Jul 09 - 02:42 PM

sorry, entire folder with photos is 2.68 MB.


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Subject: RE: BS: British support for the confederacy?
From: GUEST,beardedbruce
Date: 15 Jul 09 - 02:40 PM

Ron,

I made the download- ( 1.43MB zipped).


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Subject: RE: BS: British support for the confederacy?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 15 Jul 09 - 10:15 AM

Kin to some of the other prominent Adams'?

The one who comes to mind would be Douglas Adams author of The Hitchikers Guide But probably not.

"Well-born Englishmen" might indeed have been a fairly keen on the Confederacy. But "well-born Englishmen" were a small minority then, as now.


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Subject: RE: BS: British support for the confederacy?
From: Ron Davies
Date: 14 Jul 09 - 11:14 PM

Ephraim Douglass Adams is the historian's name. Kin to some of the other prominent Adams'?   Can't tell but don't think so--Adams is definitely a common name in the US.


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Subject: RE: BS: British support for the confederacy?
From: Ron Davies
Date: 14 Jul 09 - 11:06 PM

"republican tendencies"


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Subject: RE: BS: British support for the confederacy?
From: Ron Davies
Date: 14 Jul 09 - 11:03 PM

It doesn't seem to me reasonable to believe that the British people and the British government did not support the Confederacy.   The topic is far too complex to assert that. I would certainly be willing to see any evidence--before Gettysburg--that the government did not support the Confederacy--at least by extreme unwillingness to act against the building of the ships the Southern agent, James Bulloch, had in mind.

It certainly did seem--at least until the possibility of the South taking Washington seemed gone, that is, until Gettysburg--to the US MInister to Britain, Charles Francis Adams, that the British government was doing all it could to support the South without doing so overtly. His frustration is palpable.

"After almost two years in London, Adams was still ill at ease with the English. For all their politeness,    he could sense the almost universal antipathy toward his country, whether in the casual chat at ruling-class dinner tables or the carping tone of the editorials of the national press, or, most galling of all, in the honeyed insolence of the government leaders with whom he dealt." (deKay p 144)

"At his most recent meeting with Russell" (this is spring 1863) ," shortly after the debut of the "Florida", Adams came close to charging the British government with outright criminality for its disregard of his warnings about the two Confederate cruisers" (deKay p 145).

"Well-born Englishmen professed to dislike Yankees as much for their manners as for their dangerous democratic example to the lower orders. Many of the gentry expressed delight at the 'immortal smash' of 1861 which demonstrated 'the failure of republican institutions in time of pressure'. The Earl of Shrewsbury looked upon 'the trial of Democracy and its failure' with pleasure. 'The dissolution of the Union (means) that men now before us will live to see an aristocracy established in America'   Similar statements found their way into prominent newspapers, including the London 'Morning Post' and the magisterial 'Times', both with close ties to the Palmerston government. The 'Times' considered the destruction of 'the American Colossus' good 'riddance of a nightmare...Excepting a few gentlemen of republicans tendencies, we all expect, we nearly all wish, success to the Confederate cause'. If by some remote and hateful chance the North did manage to win, said the 'Morning Post', 'who can doubt that Democracy will be more arrogant, more aggressive, more levelling, and vulgarizing, if that be possible, than ever before'". (McPherson, p 551),

The newspaper quotes are from an entire book on the question:   Britain and the Civil War, by a historian named Adams who died in 1930.    But his book, it appears is back in print--on Amazon, no less. I may well do something I hardly ever do, and pay full price--the topic is amazingly rich and complex. Also, you can download the book through the Gutenberg project--though I sure can't imagine downloading a 646-page book.


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Subject: RE: BS: British support for the confederacy?
From: sian, west wales
Date: 14 Jul 09 - 01:55 PM

Some here might be interested in
The Halifax Connection by Marie Jakober, a novel based in, well ... Halifax (Nova Scotia) ... at the time in question.

sian


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Subject: RE: BS: British support for the confederacy?
From: EBarnacle
Date: 14 Jul 09 - 01:26 PM

There was a story I recall reading back in high school about Whitney. In it he demonstrated the concept of interchangeable parts to athe then President and the War Department by having thempick up any part from a group of parts piles and assemble several rifles. When they assembles them, the rifles all worked, demonstrating the superiority of mass produced parts over one off, blacksmith produced, parts.

Supposedly, that was the beginning of that phase of the industrial revolution.


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Subject: RE: BS: British support for the confederacy?
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 13 Jul 09 - 10:52 PM

I wonder if William is an ancestor of Mike Billington of both Manchester and Mudcat? Where are you Mike?

DeG


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Subject: RE: BS: British support for the confederacy?
From: Ron Davies
Date: 13 Jul 09 - 09:36 PM

Using "Yankee" to mean all Americans:   In fact that was not universal in Britain at the time of the Civil War, as illustrated by the quote I gave earlier by the Bank of England person who had lived in the US.   His rather intemperate description obviously specifically referred to the descendants of Puritans:   that is, Northerners, not Southerners.

Perhaps the educated (the upper classes) made the distinction more often.

And as I said, the Billington poem referring to the Indian cotton was not an endorsement of the blockade against the South:   rather, as I said, it seems clearly to be a protest at being caught as a pawn in a foreign quarrel.

As I said, the attitudes appear to have been quite complex--with good reason.


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Subject: RE: BS: British support for the confederacy?
From: Rapparee
Date: 13 Jul 09 - 07:07 PM

I forgot about the Whitworth rifle. These were .451 caliber weapons that fired a hexagonal bullet (just as the cannon fined a hexagonal shell). These were accurate (without telescopic sights) out to 1,000 yards or more and are considered to be the first true sniper rifles. About 250 were sent from England to the South; perhaps 150 made it through the blockade.

Gen. John Sedgewick was killed with a shot from Whitworth at the Battle of Spotslvania Courthouse; the range was about 800 to 1,000 yards.

(Before anyone says that it's impossible to shoot a rifle accurately at that distance using "iron sights" I suggest you check the record books. With a properly zeroed rifle I'm only good out to about 325 meters, but that's because of eyesight problems, not the rifle's capability. In marksmanship as in music, the instrument is almost always capable of better performance than the performer.)


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Subject: RE: BS: British support for the confederacy?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 13 Jul 09 - 06:46 PM

I'd doubt if William Billington would have been using "Yankee" in the sense you do in the States. Over here, as in Latin America, it normally just means "Americans", the same as "Yanks" does. No distinction about whether they are North or South.

I imagine the same would have been true back in Billington's time.


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Subject: RE: BS: British support for the confederacy?
From: Les from Hull
Date: 13 Jul 09 - 09:12 AM

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!

Les


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Subject: RE: BS: British support for the confederacy?
From: Ron Davies
Date: 13 Jul 09 - 07:30 AM

Thanks, Les, for that link to William Billington.

I think it's fascinating, if you read his poems carefully, that he seems to reflect the complexity of the weavers' attitudes toward the US Civil War.   In "Aw Wud the War Wur Ended" he appeals for the freeing of the slaves. But in "Th' Surat Weyver's Song" it's "Bud iv wey w' t' Yankees hed eawr will? We'd hang 'em i' t' Surat".

Not an endorsement of the blockade.

Question obviously is: who are the "Yankees" in this regard?

Sounds to me as if the speaker is protesting the unfairness of his being caught up in a foreign quarrel.


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Subject: RE: BS: British support for the confederacy?
From: Ron Davies
Date: 12 Jul 09 - 06:13 PM

Added to which, Whitney was an inveterate tinkerer.   He may well have done something similar without meeting any Southern belle. Was he not also responsible for something along the lines of interchangeable parts in rifles? I dimly recall something to that effect.


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Subject: RE: BS: British support for the confederacy?
From: Rapparee
Date: 12 Jul 09 - 06:04 PM

I suspect that if Whitney hadn't invented it someone else would have done so. The time for the cotton gin was ripe.


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Subject: RE: BS: British support for the confederacy?
From: Paul Burke
Date: 12 Jul 09 - 05:36 PM

Tangential to this, but the horrors of slavery and the US Civil War stemmed in an arguably large degree from a talented engineer falling in love. Eli Whitney, a great pioneer of mass- production (Springfield rifle factory) had a thing about a Southern widow (unrequited): but he invented the cotton gin to make her plantation more profitable, and created the economic basis for the latifundia.


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Subject: RE: BS: British support for the confederacy?
From: Les from Hull
Date: 12 Jul 09 - 05:27 PM

Check out this chap.

Under Lancashire songs there's a few songs about the cotton famine times.


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Subject: RE: BS: British support for the confederacy?
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 12 Jul 09 - 05:05 PM

This is great! I am definietely going to delve into the library for general works and, maybe, even check with Manchester Central Library archives to see if there are any contemporary accounts from the local papers. Not sure when but it will get done eventualy:-) You never know - may even find some relevent broadsheet ballads! Watch this space...

DeG


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Subject: RE: BS: British support for the confederacy?
From: gnu
Date: 12 Jul 09 - 04:30 PM

The Raid.


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Subject: RE: BS: British support for the confederacy?
From: Rapparee
Date: 12 Jul 09 - 04:25 PM

Yes. It was called "The Raid". Don't remember the year.


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Subject: RE: BS: British support for the confederacy?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 12 Jul 09 - 02:55 PM

Has that story Rapaire gave us about the Confederate raid in Vermont ever been made into a film? If not, it should be.


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Subject: RE: BS: British support for the confederacy?
From: gnu
Date: 12 Jul 09 - 02:33 PM

Bet the Canucks had a big party with the other $120k!


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Subject: RE: BS: British support for the confederacy?
From: Les from Hull
Date: 12 Jul 09 - 02:07 PM

Dave - you might want to have a look at 'Lifeline of the Confederacy - Blockade Running during the Civil War' by Stephen R Wise (University of South Caroline Press) ISBN 0-87249-554-X.

This tells the story of how (often British built) fast steamers traded with the Confederacy, bringing in war materials (guns, steam engines) and bringing out cotton. The blockade imposed by the North was very effective, and blockade runners averaged only two runs before capture. The book is a scholarly production, well-illustrated and with no fewer than 22 appendices giving lists of ships and ship movements.

I'm sure that, as a Lancashire person (well nobody's perfect!) you will have access to resources on the Lancashire Cotton Famine. But I understand that, although the mill owners (spit spit) supported the Confederacy, the mill workers supported the Union on the basis of anti-slavery, even though the loss of work had caused extreme poverty in the mill towns.


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Subject: RE: BS: British support for the confederacy?
From: Rapparee
Date: 12 Jul 09 - 10:17 AM

Oh yeah! The Union had enough troubles winning without adding Britain as an enemy. The fact that the South could and did send troublesome persons into the North via Canada was enough trouble. The 21 Confederate cavalrymen who raided St. Albans, Vermont on October 19, 1864:

The raiders fled with the money [$208,000] into Canada, where they were arrested by authorities. A Canadian court decided that the soldiers were under military orders and that the officially neutral Canada could not extradite them to the United States. The Canadian court's ruling that the soldiers were legitimate military belligerents and not criminals, as argued by American authorities, has been interpreted as a tacit British recognition of the Confederate States of America. The raiders were freed, but the $88,000 the raiders had on their person was returned to Vermont.


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Subject: RE: BS: British support for the confederacy?
From: Ron Davies
Date: 12 Jul 09 - 10:07 AM

"attitudes.....were."


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Subject: RE: BS: British support for the confederacy?
From: Ron Davies
Date: 12 Jul 09 - 10:06 AM

A mark of just how complex the attitudes of Britons toward the US Civil War was:

From Battle Cry of Freedom, p 552

"...several liberals and even radicals were attracted to the South's fight for self-determination.   Many Englishmen had cheered the Greek fight for independence or the struggle of Hungary and Italian states to throw off Hapsburg rule. Some viewed the South's revolution against Yankee overlordship in a similar light".


This is why the Emancipation Proclamation was so important.

"To accept the notion that the South fought for independence rather than slavery required considerable mental legerdemain. But so long as the North did NOT fight for freedom, many Britons could see no moral superiority in the Union cause".    Battle Cry p 553.

Looked at from the this perspective, a good argument can be made that the most dangerous time for the Union cause was early in the war--especially at the time of the Trent affair, when hotheads on both sides of the Atlantic were in fact eager to go to war against each other.


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Subject: RE: BS: British support for the confederacy?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 11 Jul 09 - 06:48 PM

The thing about alternative history is, you can't just imagine one big thing changed, and then assume that all the other places stay in place.

For example, if you assume victory for the British and those Americans who were opposed to secession, that victory would have included the estimated 20,000 black slaves who fought on the British side to win their freedom. That could have significantly strengthened the abolitionist cause back in England - and arguably it might have weakened it in the Northern colonies, if there continued to be strong secessionist feelings..

If strengthened abolitionism is envisaged in Britain, while a French Revolution is still seen as to occuring, a second more successful attempt at secession, while England was overstretched elsewhere, can be imagined. But with the difference that the defence of the institution of slavery would have been the key issue.

Thus, rather than slavery being seen as an embarrassing anomaly, confined to part of a new United States, and in conflict with aspirations of liberty for all, it could have been seen as a fundamental founding element of the new country. Perhaps the constitution would have had an Amendment guaranteeing "The right to own black slaves". And perhaps a Declaration of Independance declaring that the truth which was self-evident was that "All white men are created equal."


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Subject: RE: BS: British support for the confederacy?
From: Rapparee
Date: 11 Jul 09 - 06:20 PM

There's a difference between de jure and de facto.

You might do worse than read "If The South Had Won The Civil War" by, I think, Bruce Catton.


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Subject: RE: BS: British support for the confederacy?
From: EBarnacle
Date: 11 Jul 09 - 06:08 PM

Y'know, there's the potential of an alternate history story here. Had the colonies stayed with the Brits instead of seceding in '76, would the South have seceded when slavery was outlawed in the early 19th Century? Was slavery outlawed in England's other colonies when they outlawed it in the Isles?


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