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that we should turn our attention to India, with the view of extending the growth there; but nothing had been done. As a natural consequence, the collapse of the cotton supply was now terribly felt in Lancashire. Half a million workmen in Lancashire were deprived of support. The widespread distress, however, was nobly borne; and the Cotton Famine Fund, which was now inaugurated, testified to the great and spontaneous liberality of all classes. The calamity called forth the heroism and endurance and all the finer qualities of the working population of Lancashire, and their demeanour in this unparalleled crisis elicited the warmest admiration at home and abroad.
The affair of the Trent was of course discussed in the House of Commons in the session of 1862, and Mr. Bright took the opportunity of expressing his opinion upon the conduct of Her Majesty's Government in reference to that affair. He commented on the great inconsistency between the despatches of the Foreign Office and the preparations of certain other departments with regard to the recent transaction. It is not customary,' he said, “in ordinary life, for a person to send a messenger with a polite message to a friend, or a neighbour, or acquaintance, and at the same time to send a man of portentous strength, wielding a gigantic club, and making every kind of ferocious gesticulation, and still to profess that all this is done in the most friendly and courteous manner.' Such, however, had been the conduct of our Government; and the result was that a million of money had been wasted-more than wasted, for the general paralysis, throughout all the ramifications of our commerce, caused by the warlike preparations of the Government, had already been productive of the most pernicious results. The affair of the Trent was nothing but an unhappy accident, and no one knew that better than Lord Palmerston himself.
The Premier replied to the effect that if he had pocketed the insult, a feeling of ineradicable irritation would have been produced in this country, which would have been far more dangerous to the prospects of peace than any feelings engendered by the recent conduct of the Government. There the matter dropped; but some time later Mr. Horsfall brought forward a resolution, "That the present state of international maritime law, as affecting the rights of belligerents and neutrals, is ill-defined and unsatisfactory, and calls for the early attention of Her Majesty's Government.' The motion was opposed by the Attorney-General, who regarded the law as quite clear and well understood. Mr. Bright observed that the motion had been drawn up in its present form in order that the Government might accept it, for it did not pledge them to anything, but left them to take whatever proceedings they might think advisable hereafter. The Government had been blamed for the course they took in 1856; but he was of opinion that it was necessary and proper, and could not be avoided. But under the Declaration of Paris great injury would result to belligerents in time of war. We had agreed to make war less burdensome to ourselves and to an enemy, but we had done it in such a manner as to inflict very grievous injury upon a great and important class. What did Mr. Horsfall propose ?—to include the ship as well as the goods,-a proposition which logically followed the other, and the effect of which would be to render war remote and unfrequent. Arguing from the vast number of captures of British vessels in the short war with America in 1812-14, when our tonnage was only 3,500,000, Mr. Bright asked what would be the injury to British commerce when our tonnage had grown to twelve or thirteen millions. It would not be possible to resist this proposition ultimately, and other countries were already in favour of it. After a lengthy debate, the motion was withdrawn, Mr. Horsfall expressing himself satisfied with the discussion it had elicited.
The two great and pressing questions, the war and the supply of cotton, were dealt with very fully by Mr. Bright in a speech delivered at Birmingham on the 18th of December, 1862. He began by an inquiry into the growth of cotton in India, showing that in 1818 the quantity we received from the East actually exceeded that which we received from the United States. But after that there was a great decay in the cotton trade of Western India, and he had moved for an inquiry into the subject. “My argument is this, and my assertion is this,' said Mr. Bright, that the growth of cotton in India,—the growth of an article which was native and common in India before America was discovered by Europeans,—that the growth of that article has been systematically injured, strangled, and destroyed by the stupid and wicked policy of the Indian Government.' But although Parliamentary committees had sat, and evidence had been taken entirely condemnatory of the whole system of the Indian Government with regard to the land and agricultural produce, nothing had been done. Th hon. gentleman detailed at length the strenuous efforts he had made for many years in connection with this question, and again expressed an opinion he had before uttered in the House of Commons, that there should be five or six independent Presidencies in India, with a first-class engineer in each Presidency, and an efficient staff whose business it should be to determine what public works should be carried on, some by the Government and some by private companies. He believed that ten years of such judicious labours would work an entire revolution in the condition of India.
What was now their present position ? The quantity of cotton in the United States was much less than people believed, and there was a high probability that there would never be another considerable crop, or one available for the English manufactories, from slave labour in America. All other sources of supply, except India, could not send us the enormous quantity which would be required if the crop from the United States failed. If the Government would exempt from the land tax for a period all land in India which during that time should grow cotton, the stimulus would be enormous. The loss to the revenue would be something, but the deliverance to Lancashire would perhaps be complete. Short of this, he looked upon the restoration of the prosperity of Lancashire as distant.
Mr. Bright next spoke of the sad tragedy passing before the eyes of the people in the United States. He rapidly sketched the course of public opinion in England from the moment when the secession of the Cotton States was announced. At first feeling was against the South; then, when it was said the North was paralysed and unprepared, it was thought that the North would acquiesce in the rending of the Republic, and that there would be no war. Public writers also in this country said that the contest was hopeless. He (Mr. Bright) justified the North. President Lincoln was fairly and honestly elected, and after the raising of a hundred thousand men, and other steps taken by the Southern leaders, the President was justified in calling out seventy-five thousand men for the purpose of maintaining the integrity of that nation, which was the main purpose of the oath he had taken at his election. As to the object of the war, no man could doubt that the South began it on their part to maintain in bondage four millions of human beings. He wanted to ask, therefore, whether this was to be the foundation, as proposed, of a new slave empire, and whether it was