We are now passing through the very crisis of our fate.
-- Charles Francis Adams, October 9, 1862
Prelude to Intervention
By the autumn of 1862 the division within the Palmerston ministry over the intervention issue had intensified. Russell had become the leading proponent of intervention, whereas Palmerston showed increasing reluctance to act. Gladstone's advocacy of intervention was well known. The sticking point was timing. Russell and Gladstone wanted an immediate move based on a mixture of humanitarian and economic considerations; Palmerston remained the pragmatic realist, preferring to wait until the South proved itself on the battlefield and thereby convinced the North to accept mediation without seeking revenge against the intruding powers. Even though Russell and Gladstone won support from Westbury (the lord chancellor), they faced substantial opposition within the cabinet. Lewis and Argyll were the most outspoken and influential, counting among their following the Duke of Newcastle from the Colonial Office, Earl Granville sitting in