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intended that on this audacious and infernal basis England's new ally was to be built up. "I want to know who they are who speak eagerly in favour of England becoming the ally and friend of this great conspiracy against human nature.' It was not that he had an objection to recognize a country because it held slaves; but in this case it was a new State setting itself up on the sole basis of slavery. Slavery was blasphemously declared to be its chief corner-stone. Ministers of State, the aristocracy, and others, were divided on this question, but the great body of the people of this country would never sympathize with a revolt which was intended to destroy the liberty of a continent, and to build on its ruins a mighty fabric of human bondage. Mr. Bright again replied to the argument that the Republic was too great and too powerful for us, and that the North did not like us. With regard to the Alabama, having gone into the facts, he did not so much blame the language that had been used in America in reference to that matter. Every effort that money and malice could make to stimulate in Lancashire, amongst the suffering population, an expression of opinion in favour of the Slave States had failed. Mr. Bright closed with this eloquent peroration, which is justly regarded as one of his finest and happiest efforts :
'I blame men who are eager to admit into the family of nations a State which offers itself to us, based upon a principle, I will undertake to say, more odious and more blasphemous than was ever heretofore dreamed of in Christian or Pagan, in civilized or in savage times. The leader of this revolt proposes this monstrous thing—that over a territory forty times as
large as England, the blight and curse of slavery shall be for ever perpetuated. I cannot believe, for my part, that such a fate will befall that fair land, stricken though it now is with the ravages of war. I cannot believe that civilization, in its journey with the sun, will sink into endless night in order to gratify the ambition of the leaders of this revolt, who seek to
“Wade through slaughter to a throne,
And shut the gates of mercy on mankind." I have another and a far brighter vision before my gaze. It may be but a vision, but I will cherish it. I see one vast confederation stretching from the frozen North in unbroken line to the glowing South, and from the wild billows of the Atlantic westward to the calmer waters of the Pacific main,—and I see one people, and one language, and one law, and one faith, and, over all that wide continent, the home of freedom, and a refuge for the oppressed of every race and of every clime.'
The second anniversary dinner of the Birmingham Chamber of Commerce was held on the 15th of January, 1863, and both members for the borough were present. Mr. Scholefield advocated the practice of capturing the unarmed vessels of a belligerent, on the grounds that such a proceeding checked war, by enlisting mercantile interests against it; and, moreover, that such a practice crippled an enemy's resources, thereby bringing war to a speedy termination. The senior member also described the emancipation proclamation of President Lincoln as 'a gigantic confiscation of property,' alleging that it came within the same category as the prize capture of merchant vessels. Mr. Bright, in following Mr. Scholefield, referred first to the unsatisfactory condition of international law. We ought to look forward, with a view to progress, rather than to make a retrograde step in the interpretation of international law as between belligerents. On this question, and also on the question of blockade, his opinion was that it was the interest of all nations, and especially of England, to render their military policy more humane and more in accordance with the moral code. England was the only power that opposed these alterations. After alluding to our proposed cession of the Ionian Islands to Greece, and to the growth of a sound opinion throughout the world upon international rights, Mr. Bright said, with perhaps pardonable egotism, "Many things which I advocate are thought rather foolish at first, but in time people come up to them, and I have the satisfaction of being a little ahead of the Government, and often of the nation.' Discussing the question of Gibraltar, to which he had alluded on a previous occasion, the hon. gentleman said that it would surely be a great advantage to us to have a close ally and friend in Spain; but that we could never have, so long as we held a portion of her territory, taken from her and kept from her under circumstances reflecting no honour upon England, especially when it was almost universally admitted that the Rock was of no use whatever to ourselves. Mr. Bright next alluded to the suffering in Lancashire, expressing his pleasure that the working men of Birmingham had subscribed £3,000 towards the Relief Fund. He was only sorry that every one of the men who thus nobly subscribed had not his name on the register of electors, and was not enabled to give his free vote at the poll. He then showed, with regard to the paralysis in the
cotton industry, and the consumption of all the cotton that was available except that which was locked up in the United States, that an immediate armistice and the cessation of the war with a view to negotiation would produce a great fall and a great ruin. This apprehension necessarily interfered very much with the course of business. Mr. Gladstone's speech at Newcastle, and the Foreign Minister's speech in connection with the war, had exercised a disastrous influence; and then there was the incessant folly and malice poured out every day in the columns of the Times. But notwithstanding all, the world was moving on. 'I see from the East unto the West,' he remarked, 'from the rising of the sun to the going down thereof, in spite of what misled, prejudiced, unjust, and wicked men may do, the cause of freedom still moving onward; and it is not in human power to arrest its progress.' There was much to be done in our own country, but if men examined questions fairly, and decided upon them truthfully, shunning party spirit, we might have hope that we should do much to elevate our people, to improve our institutions, to make broader and safer the foundations of our freedom, and to build
preserve a commonwealth which should do much to help forward the advancement of the world.'
A few days after the delivery of this speech, Mr. Bright attended a meeting at Rochdale, called by the Mayor, Mr. G. L. Ashworth, for the purpose of
passing resolutions of thanks to the merchants and citizens of New York for their sympathy with the sufferings of the unemployed workpeople of Lancashire, and for their munificent contributions to the Relief Fund. Mr. Bright said, 'I regard this transmission of assistance from the United States as a proof that the world moves onward in the direction of a better time. It is an evidence that, whatever may be the faults of ambitious men, and sometimes, may I not say, the crimes of Governments, the peoples are drawing together, and beginning to learn that it never was intended that they should be hostile to each other, but that every nation should take a brotherly interest in every other nation in the world.' There was a little jealousy between some persons in our own country and some portions of the people in the United States. But why should this be? Their language and literature were the same; their laws had the same basis as ours; their form of Government was not very dissimilar in essence from our own constitution, though our House of Commons was not as full and fair and free a representation of the people as was the House of Representatives at Washington. The influence of the great example of the United States had been perceptible in Europe. Touching upon the great emigration from this country to America, Mr. Bright said there was not much hope in England for the workman, whereas in the United States hope prevailed everywhere; everywhere there is an open career; there is no