- Nov 21, 2014
Maybe they didn't but the UK bought a lot of American grain more grain the cotton and the British had Mason on his proverbial hands and knees begging for Confedrate recognition and all he got in reply was" best of luck old boy". So we can put two and two together.
Well, during the Civil War the South was blockaded so the amount of cotton bought isn't exactly an indication vs the amount of wheat. Pre-war cotton was the most profitable export, not wheat. It also begs the question that if King Wheat was greater than King Cotton, why the Union never applied that as leverage during other diplomatic spats of the era.
During the Trent Affair (incidentally 1862 was the largest year in which US wheat found it's way into the British market) had this been true Lincoln could have informed Charles Adams to remind the British how precarious they might be without American wheat. During the Laird Rams affair they could have done the same. And Lincoln and Seward didn't threaten to cut off wheat supplies to any power that recognized the Confederacy, they threatened war. Each incident had a cost benefit analysis of how the force of arms might effect the other.
With that in mind, the logical conclusion seems to be that both sides thought war would be too expensive to be justified without a casus belli, and thus this would be why Britain was not prepared to intervene on the Confederates behalf.