Escalating Peace Hopes and a Missed Opportunity:
"Independence or fight"
In addition to debating the consequences for the Northern election of diplomatic and military events, Southerners spent the summer of 1864 in hopeful anticipation as the pace of Northern presidential politics increased. Behind the scenes, Confederate agents in Europe and Canada labored to exploit Northern political unrest to the best advantage of the Confederacy. The Southern public watched with satisfaction as factional strife within the Republican party continued and the agitation for peace among the Democrats persisted. Confederate hopes for an immediate and favorable consummation of the war escalated to dizzy heights in August, but Davis still made no major effort to shape public opinion. He also overlooked an opportunity to complement the work of his representatives in Canada while making a gesture to his critics at home.
Political developments in the United States attracted attention in Europe as well as in the Confederacy, and Lord Palmerston invited James Mason to London for an interview regarding conditions in America. The Southerner argued that the North was unable to replenish its armies and was disintegrating in a morass of factionalism and financial ruin. He predicted that "the war would terminate with the present campaign" and contended that the Northern masses were so weary of war that they would welcome foreign intervention to bring peace regardless of the official attitude of the Lincoln administration. When Palmerston asked specifically about the