We have approached the contemplation of that crisis.
-- William H. Seward, August 2, 1862
Emancipation by the Sword and the British Decision to Intervene
In early August 1862 a variety of forces converged to force leaders in England to move with France toward a joint mediation in the American war. Recent news from the United States, particularly the unfounded rumors of the Confederate capture of Baltimore, had caused great anticipation in England. Perhaps such a conquest, Russell noted, would finally break the Union's spirit. Most Englishmen continued to believe that separation would help both North and South. Although interest in mediation had grown, the ministry felt no public pressure to extend recognition. The mill workers, it was generally conceded, could withstand the hardships until March or April 1863. Russell nonetheless felt troubled.