Discussion England Supported the Confederacy?

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leftyhunter

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Thank you all for a very interesting and educational thread. Read all 14 pages, but much is over my head. Can some of you recommend some books that describe the participation of all foreign nations that were involved in the ACW? GB, of course. What about others, such as France, Caribbean Islands, and Canada? Also, didn't Mexico play a part? Also a treatment of GB pro-USA and pro-CSA parties and individuals, and the effects on various GB workers, some benefitting (armaments) and others not (cotton cloth) would be helpful. Statistics on amounts shipped by commodity both ways would be useful.

So far, I saw only these 2 books cited:

A World on Fire: Britain's Crucial Role in the American Civil War
Blue and Gray Diplomacy: A History of Union and Confederate Foreign Relations

Thanks in advance for your assistance.
I have a thread that I can bump up about the role of Mexico subverting the blockade.
France sold weapons to both sides and blockade runners used French Caribbean ports. The French sold a submersible craft to the Union Navy " the Alligator" Wiki has an article on it. Keep in mind the only independent nation in the Caribbean was Hatti.
Canadian ports were used by blockade runners and Northern men who wished to avoid the draft did beat feet to the Great White North.
The Austrian Empire sold thousands or tens of thousands of Lorenz rifle musket's to both sides.
Leftyhunter
 

leftyhunter

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Blockade runners were not technically permitted to run guns, powder and percussion caps to the South although they did regularly. That is the point I was making. If the British were truly neutral. Correct?
Selling weapons dies not necessarily equal diplomatic recognition. I can give a laundry list of nations that sell weapons to various sides in a Civil War but do not extend diplomatic recognition. If course that would have to be a PM thread.
Leftyhunter
 
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leftyhunter

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Thank you all for a very interesting and educational thread. Read all 14 pages, but much is over my head. Can some of you recommend some books that describe the participation of all foreign nations that were involved in the ACW? GB, of course. What about others, such as France, Caribbean Islands, and Canada? Also, didn't Mexico play a part? Also a treatment of GB pro-USA and pro-CSA parties and individuals, and the effects on various GB workers, some benefitting (armaments) and others not (cotton cloth) would be helpful. Statistics on amounts shipped by commodity both ways would be useful.

So far, I saw only these 2 books cited:

A World on Fire: Britain's Crucial Role in the American Civil War
Blue and Gray Diplomacy: A History of Union and Confederate Foreign Relations

Thanks in advance for your assistance.
The Spanish certainly allowed Havana to be a major blockade runner port.
Leftyhunter
 

alan polk

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It would seem to me that, especially during the age of Westphalian diplomacy, Britain would at least prefer to see a weakened United States to prevent an imbalance of power.

As has been pointed out, Britain supported both North and South in varying ways, so it is arguable that such support pointed to London’s desire to stoke continued civil war or to ensure some sort of lengthy or permanent state of hostilities between the two.

But I don’t think it had much to do with any ideological alignment with either the North or South. Rather, it likely had everything to do with Britain’s competition with New England’s shipping and manufacturing.

By the time of the Civil War, it has been stated that America matched, or was nearly matching, England ton for ton in the race for steam and sail for the carrying trade of the world. This is no small matter in the game of controlling the world’s wealth.

London perceived, I’m sure, that the majority of shipping was owned by the New England States of the Union. However, the most valuable freight those ships carried came from Southern plantations in the form of cotton, sugar and tobacco. So, it would certainly be in the interest of Britain to try and isolate New England from its primary source of trade.

A Civil War, or some sort permanent hostility between North and South, where the South sought European allies to take up the carrying trade instead of New England, might do the trick.
 

wbull1

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Neutrality was essentially a win for the Union. The United States was already recognized as a nation. The Confederacy was not and desperately needed to be. Of course, the UK would have recognized the Confederacy if it had been able to function independently as long as TX had. The main interest of the UK was the UK, so dealing with the real world was in its interest.

The monarchists were not pleased that a republican form of government was thriving. Rightly or wrongly they perceived the South as more like them. But they were realistic enough to realize that to support a nation founded on the idea of enslaving others was morally correct would cause serious problems with an already restive home population. Individuals supported their individual beliefs. Businesspeople supported making money from all sides. The British government needed a truly powerful political reason to recognize the Confederacy and make an enemy of the United States. The Confederacy could not supply one. The Union was satisfied by England officially helping neither side

Although the Confederacy looked to be winning the war for a time, Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation brought the issue of slavery to the fore. That ended any chance of recognition for the Confederacy.
 
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Norm53

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I have a thread that I can bump up about the role of Mexico subverting the blockade.
France sold weapons to both sides and blockade runners used French Caribbean ports. The French sold a submersible craft to the Union Navy " the Alligator" Wiki has an article on it. Keep in mind the only independent nation in the Caribbean was Hatti.
Canadian ports were used by blockade runners and Northern men who wished to avoid the draft did beat feet to the Great White North.
The Austrian Empire sold thousands or tens of thousands of Lorenz rifle musket's to both sides.
Leftyhunter
Bump it up, but there also must be books and stats galore available.
 

Saphroneth

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Blockade runners were not technically permitted to run guns, powder and percussion caps to the South although they did regularly. That is the point I was making. If the British were truly neutral. Correct?
Eh? What do you mean they weren't technically permitted?
A citizen of a neutral power can ship contraband of war through a blockade. If the blockading power wants to stop them then the onus is on them to maintain the blockade.


As has been pointed out, Britain supported both North and South in varying ways, so it is arguable that such support pointed to London’s desire to stoke continued civil war or to ensure some sort of lengthy or permanent state of hostilities between the two.
The monarchists were not pleased that a republican form of government was thriving.
Both of these seem to be an over-exaggeration to me. The British government didn't want a conflict between the North and the South and inded deplored the bloodshed; some people in Britain may have thought that it would be better if the South was independent, but I suspect most of them would have been happy with the war being over so long as it didn't end with constitutional protection for slavery or an invasion of Canada.

As for the idea that British "monarchists" would be displeased with the republican form of government thriving, where do you see any evidence of this point of view beyond the usual grumbling? It's not as if the US was treated much differently by the British than any other nation acting in similar ways, and the fact that the closest friend the Great Republican Experiment had among the other great powers was Tsarist Russia indicates that the era of revolution and counter-revolution was well and truly over; even during the Napoleonic Wars it was the US who declared war on Britain, not vice versa.
 
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Saphroneth

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I thought it would be useful to explain exactly how it is that blockades work.

The blockading power declares a blockade of the target, and then the blockading power must maintain a blockade - that is, they must keep ships in place so as to block neutral or enemy vessels from running the blockade.
Running a declared blockade is not illegal, and the reason for that is that the declaration of blockade does something else - it grants the right to search vessels caught running the blockade and it grants the right to condemn vessels caught running declared contraband through the blockade.

The reason for this is that this is the configuration of the rules for blockade that is least subject to abuse.

What if it was illegal to run a declared blockade?
Well, in that case the Confederacy could have declared the Union under blockade.

Thus, a blockading power must maintain a blockade sufficient to actually stop ships running the blockade.
Indeed, at the time there was a legal opinion that a blockade could not be rapidly removed and then imposed again because of the worry that doing this would lead to ship owners taking a risk without being aware of the possible implications, and would expose them to undue risk - if ship owners heard that Charleston was no longer under blockade, then they might sail there and discover that the blockade had been re-imposed while they were en route.
Since this would allow for the blockading power to "bait" vessels into running the blockade and thus being captured, this type of abuse was not permitted. Similarly, a "paper blockade" was not permitted because the imposition of a paper blockade (i.e. declaring a coast to be under blockade without sending the ships) would unduly hurt commerce and complicate things for everyone.

Does that mean that a ship can run contraband into a blockaded port with impunity?
No.
The blockade itself must stop the blockade runners. They have the right to stop and search the blockade runners if they can catch them; effectively a ship that evades the blockade is one for which the blockading power has no recourse.

The legal joke from some time later was that if you're complaining about a blockade, it's clearly strong enough for you to notice and thus is not a paper blockade; if your ships can get through with impunity, why are you complaining?


I've quoted it already, but:


'the laws of the United States do not forbid their citizens to sell to either of the belligerent powers articles contraband of war or take munitions of war or soldiers on board their private ships for transportation; and although in so doing the individual citizen exposes his property or person to some of the hazards of war, his acts do not involve any breach of national neutrality nor of themselves implicate the Government.'
-Franklin Pierce, 1855.
 

wbull1

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To Saphroneth who wrote

As for the idea that British "monarchists" would be displeased with the republican form of government thriving, where do you see any evidence of this point of view beyond the usual grumbling? It's not as if the US was treated much differently by the British than any other nation acting in similar ways, and the fact that the closest friend the Great Republican Experiment had among the other great powers was Tsarist Russia indicates that the era of revolution and counter-revolution was well and truly over; even during the Napoleonic Wars it was the US who declared war on Britain, not vice versa.[/QUOTE]

Evidence is given below:

Tory MP Sir John Ramsden took the occasion to advise the British public that they were “now witnessing the bursting of that great Republican bubble which had been so often held up to us as the model on which to recast our own English Constitution.” The first duty of the British government, he advised, ought to be to strengthen “the great distinction between the safe and rational, and tempered liberties of England, and the wild and unreflecting excesses of mob-rule which had too often desecrated freedom and outraged humanity in America.”3 The Earl of Shrewsbury, another venerable Tory MP, congratulated Britain on its aristocratic tradition of governing and compared its success with the extreme democracy now running amok in America. “In America,” he told his constituents, “they saw Democracy on its trial, and they saw how it failed.” Among those standing before him, he predicted, those “who lived long enough would. . .see an aristocracy established in America.”4

https://oxfordre.com/americanhistory/view/10.1093/acrefore/9780199329175.001.0001/acrefore-9780199329175-e-399

In Paris, A New York Times correspondent who went by the byline “Malakoff” thought that the French and British observers “may be intended as a sort of escort of honor for the funeral of the Great Republic.”



https://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2015/05/19/how-the-civil-war-changed-the-world/
 

Saphroneth

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Some of that is fair, I suppose, but it's perhaps more useful to view it as the British and the Americans trying to find points of distinction between two fundamentally quite similar nations. You'll note that Shrewsbury speaks of Democracy versus Aristocracy, despite being an elected MP for decades; this is probably because the British would rather argue about the exact point at which one should earn the vote rather than be more similar to the US and the US would rather wish the Tsar and Supreme Autocrat of All the Russias good luck in his war with the aristocratic British than contemplate how there was very much an upper stratum of society in the US which held a disproportionate share of the power and wealth.

You've certainly found examples; they're more what I'd consider "the usual grumbling", but I concede that I may have a different idea of what "the usual grumbling" qualifies as. (I'd give a similar label to the many annexationist papers and view-holders in the US who felt that the United States of America wouldn't be complete without Canada.)

I don't however see any cases where either nation actually conducted foreign policy based on those views; in particular, I'm unaware of a way in which the British treated the US differently in fact rather than in newspaper editorials.
 
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Chris Leech

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l think from the perspective of those in the UK that supplied goods and shipping to both the North and South during the war, and to put it in a nutshell "lt was only business".

But as was seen later the US government filed claims against the UK government [ The Alabama Claims ]. The US demanded $2 Billion or Canada as compensation but agreed to $15.5 Million in annual instalments.

With additional repayments to the US for WWI and WWII this debt was finally payed off by the UK in the 1970`s
 

Saphroneth

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Well, Grant got a settlement against the English for damages the Commerce Raiders did during the War. Over 15 Million. So, it would seem that the Yankees and others thought the Brits had overstepped the bounds of Neutrality.
Well, the specific thing which was considered to have overstepped the bounds of neutrality was actually more a matter of diligence than anything.
Blockade running was not the issue, it was the commerce raiders, and the fact is that the British did stop some ships if they knew they were Confederate warships (like the Laird Rams) but they missed others - the Alabama slipped out of dock perhaps two days ahead of suffering the same fate as the Laird Rams.

There are a myriad small ways in which Britain bends the rules to help the Union: letting her adhere to the Treaty of Paris which she never signed, banning both sides from bringing prizes into her ports, stopping inspections of the blockade to see if it's effective, allowing Union warships to coal at British ports, and so on.


As for warships, the US Supreme Court determined in the case of the Santissima Trinidad that "the sending of armed vessels or of munitions of war from a neutral country to a belligerent port for sale as articles of commerce is unlawful only as it subjects the property to confiscation on capture by the other belligerent. No neutral state is bound to prohibit the exportation of contraband articles." The ships sent to the Confederacy are not armed, and thus their sale is technically legal as per the 1819 Foreign Enlistment Act. Despite this, Britain stretches the law on the Union's behalf: she would have seized the Alabama had the Queen's Advocate not gone insane at an inconvenient point, she did seize the Alexandra and the Oreto only to have the seizures overturned because of a lack of evidence, and she prevented the Laird rams from joining the Confederate navy by buying them.


With additional repayments to the US for WWI and WWII this debt was finally payed off by the UK in the 1970`s
No, the payment took place in 1872 only as part of the Treaty of Washington. $15.5 million would not have taken decades to pay off; it's a bit over £3 million and is less than was spent in 1872 on the post office.



To be clear, the entire voyage of the Alabama appears to have been legal by previous US precedent. I'm not entirely sure what the reasoning was in paying up, though the idea that it was partly to foster good relations cannot be discarded.
 
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Saphroneth

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l think from the perspective of those in the UK that supplied goods and shipping to both the North and South during the war, and to put it in a nutshell "lt was only business".
Oh, absolutely, and it was; there was a profit to be had and a risk to be run. Both were much greater for shipping to the South, though.

One imagines there might have been a little schadenfreude going on when Britons remembered how strenuously the Americans had argued that it was no breach of national neutrality to ship soldiers aboard neutral vessels...
 

wausaubob

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Lyons the British consulate officer in Washington, D.C. and Sec'y of State Seward were talking before the war even started. Seward was a well known saber rattler, but Lyons was one of the most sophisticated diplomats of the 19th century. I conclude that it was Lyons that told Seward, a blockade would be best, and Britain will recognize the Confederacy as a belligerent. There was a good deal of yelling about that, but it worked. The US retained Fortress Monroe in Virginia, Key West in Florida, and Fort Pickens, near Pensacola. By the end of 1861 they had added Hatteras Inlet in NC, Port Royal in South Carolina and Ship Island off Louisiana. So the ability of US navy ships to stay at sea, and coal up after a short trip, was rapidly improving.
 
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wausaubob

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From 1844 onwards, there was too much interaction in terms of population, investment and trade, between the US and Britain, for it to be in anyone's interest for there to be a war between two English speaking peoples.
 

Saphroneth

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From 1844 onwards, there was too much interaction in terms of population, investment and trade, between the US and Britain, for it to be in anyone's interest for there to be a war between two English speaking peoples.
That's overly restrictive; there were several potential flashpoints and the people at the time considered them very serious.

I conclude that it was Lyons that told Seward, a blockade would be best, and Britain will recognize the Confederacy as a belligerent. There was a good deal of yelling about that, but it worked.
Doubt it; Lincoln considered the proclamation of a blockade a mistake driven by ignorance about international law.

So the ability of US navy ships to stay at sea, and coal up after a short trip, was rapidly improving.
Surely it's just as important that they could coal in British possessions? They did it so much that they were told off for it!
 
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