Autobiography: Memories and Experiences of Moncure Daniel Conway - Vol. 2

By Moncure Daniel Conway | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XXVI.

English Authors and the American War--Ruskin on War--English Republicans--John M. Forbes in London--The Confederate Propagandists, John R. Thompson and Mr. Fairn, in London--The Confederate Envoy Mason--A Communication of Lincoln to Bright --Opinions of Browning--My Correspondence with Mason--My First Speeches in London--Meeting at the London Tavern, and John Bright's Speech--Effect in England of my Mason Correspondence--A Mob in Manchester---T. B. Potter, M.P.--My Letter to the London Times--Misleading Reports in America--Criticism by Wendell Phillips--Interview with Minister Adams--Christopher P. Cranch in Paris--Visit to W. D. Howells in Venice--The Charms of Venice--Austrian Rule.

DR. OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES, in a lecture on "The American Weaning," 1864, spoke with sharpness of the silence of English literary men towards the American struggle. Had I been an Englishman I could have made a reply. President Lincoln had proposed at his inauguration to change the Constitution so as to render slavery eternally secure; his Secretary of State had openly instructed his Minister in London that the status of no individual would be altered by the war; the Proclamation of Emancipation excluded from freedom a fourth of the slaves, all within our reach; it was followed by the systematic military prevention of slaves from escaping. Why, then, should Englishmen feel any interest in a murderous struggle to preserve a Union which American anti-slavery men had for years tried to dissolve? Why should Englishmen be concerned about a province seceding from our Union any more than Americans would be should Ireland secede from Great Britain? As a matter of fact, two-thirds of the English authors espoused the Union cause, some of them actively-- ProfessorNewman, Mill, Tom Hughes, Sir Charles Lyell, Huxley, Tyndall, Swinburne, Lord Houghton, Cairnes, Fawcett, Frederic Harrison, Leslie Stephen, Allingham, the Rossettis. Others were silent because they hated war and did not believe it could secure

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