Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Fighting to Avoid Union Chains

Many in England saw the War Between the States as a bid for freedom against Northern oppression and comparisons were drawn with earlier independence movements in Greece, Poland and Italy.  It was also asserted that the independence of the South would benefit blacks with eventual emancipation, "and outdo the hypocritical North by introducing full integration."
Bernhard Thuersam, Chairman
North Carolina War Between the States Sesquicentennial Commission
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Fighting to Avoid Union Chains
"Intervention had in both regions [of Manchester and Liverpool] only the most cursory appeal [but only] . . . Liverpool tended to hanker after not only intervention but more active participation in the Southern fight for freedom, and the city found its own ways of bypassing official sanctions for such support.  The constant breaking of the blockade and the provisioning of warships for the Confederacy were so effective as tools of war that the United States felt justified in suing Britain for heavy compensation.
The failure of the [pro-North] Union and Emancipation Society [in England] is demonstrated by the prevalence elsewhere of the belief that the South was fighting for a freedom which would ultimately encompass Negroes while the North wanted to clap that freedom into Union chains.
Lincoln was generally seen as a sad instance of a man whose native honesty had disintegrated into the hypocrisy of the Emancipation Proclamation.  He totally lacked charisma in Lancashire eyes.  Defeat [of the South] was acknowledged as imminent but it was seen as the defeat of a noble and worthy cause . . . [and many saw] a sad destruction of freedom by the arrogant use of force.
Agents were sent to Lancashire by the Federal government and private Northern companies to popularize the idea of emigration and help fill the acute labor shortage. Enthusiasm for the idea of a new life in a civilized land . . . was marred by the widespread and sometimes justified fear that jobs and fares were bait for luring men into the depleted ranks of the Union army."
(Support for Secession, Lancashire and the American Civil War, Mary Ellison, University of Chicago Press, 1972, pp. 191-193)