Foreign Complications--My Excursion to England--Incidents of the Voyage--Mill on Liberty--Welcome in London--Sojourn at Aubrey House--Miss Cobbe--W. M. Evarts--Visit to Cambridge University --Henry Fawcett and Leslie Stephen.
ABOUT this time complications with England were arising; our golden hour for ending at once both the war and slavery had passed. The leaden hour had come; we were compelled to support the war which the President had made our only hope of eradicating slavery, the root of discord. There was danger that this hope might be lost through the diversion of patriotic wrath from slavery to a traditional foreign enemy. Even Gladstone and Lord John Russell had accepted seriously the instructed protests of our foreign Ministers that "the condition of slavery in the several States will remain just the same whether it [the war for the Union] succeed or fail." The Confederates in England were utilising the diplomatic declarations of our government favourable to slavery, confirmed by its actions and by our anti-slavery protests. The anti-slavery leaders in America were in constant correspondence with George Thompson and other friends in England who, like ourselves, had felt sure that slavery would certainly be destroyed by the war.
It was at this juncture that it was proposed to me to give lectures for a few months in England.
In February, 1863, my wife wrote in her diary at Concord now before me: " Wendell Phillips came to me to ask if I would consent to my husband going to Europe to lecture and persuade the English that the North is right. Reluctantly I consented, feeling that as he was exempt from serving as a soldier I had no right to prevent his being of service in some other way."
It is probable also that my wife thought that the strain of work on me was too great. While editing the Commonwealth I was preaching every Sunday and lecturing one or two nights of