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Christian nation-at a moment when an accident of this kind occurs, before we have made a representation to the American government, before we have heard a word from it in reply-should be all up in arms, every sword leaping from its scabbard, and every man looking about for his pistols and his blunderbusses? I think the conduct pursued—and I have no doubt just the same is pursued by a certain class in America—is much more the conduct of savages than of Christian and civilized men. No, let us be calm. You recollect how we were dragged into the Russian war-how drifted into it. You know that I, at least, have not upon my head any of the guilt of that fearful war. You know that it cost one hundred millions of money to this country; that it cost at least the lives of forty thousand Englishmen; that it disturbed your trade; that it nearly doubled the armies of Europe; that it placed the relations of Europe on a much less peaceful footing than before; and that it did not effect one single thing of all those that it was promised to effect.
Now, then, before I sit down, let me ask you what is this people, about which so many men in England at this moment are writing, and speaking, and thinking, with harshness, I think with injustice, if not with great bitterness? Two centuries ago, multitudes of the people of this country found a refuge on the North American continent, escaping from the tyranny of the Stuarts and from the bigotry of Laud. Many noble spirits from our country made great experiments in favor of human freedom on that continent. Bancroft, the great historian of his own country, has said, in his own graphic and emphatic language, “The history of the colonization of America is the history of the crimes of Europe.”
At this very moment, then, there are millions in the United States who personally, or whose immediate parents have at one time been citizens of this country. They have
found a home in the Far West; they subdued the wilderness; they met with plenty there, which was not afforded them in their native country; and they have become a great people. There may be persons in England who are jealous of those States. There may be men who dislike democracy, and who hate a republic; there may be even those whose sympathies warm toward the slave oligarchy of the South. But of this I am certain, that only misrepresentation the most gross, or calumny the most wicked can sever the tie which unites the great mass of the people of this country with their friends and brethren beyond the Atlantic.
Now, whether the Union will be restored or not, or the South achieve an unhonored independence or not, I know not, and I predict not. But this I think I knowthat in a few years, a very few years, the twenty millions of freemen in the North will be thirty millions, or even fifty millions—a population equal to or exceeding that of this kingdom. When that time comes, I pray that it may not be said among them, that in the darkest hour of their country's trials, England, the land of their fathers, looked on with icy coldness and saw, unmoved, the perils and calamities of their children. As for me, I have but this to say: I am but one in this audience, and but one in the citizenship of this country; but if all other tongues are silent,2 mine shall speak for that policy which gives hope to the bondmen of the South, and which tends to generous thoughts, and generous words, and generous deeds, be-/ tween the two great nations who speak the English language, and from their origin are alike entitled to the English name.
How do you account for the fact that at the beginning of the Civil War the sympathy of most Englishmen was with the South?
What considerations, whether urged by Bright, Beecher, ci
others, caused England's sympathy gradually to swing over to the North?
Was Bright's estimate of America a just one ?
What does the temper of Bright's speech imply concerning the character of the British public and his audience?
What reception did his speech receive in England ?
Compare Bright's “if all other tongues were silent” with a similar emotional appeal made by Patrick Henry.
Discuss President Lincoln's attitude toward the Trent Affair. How was the Affair finally adjusted ?
BEECHER'S SPEECH AT LIVERPOOL
October 16, 1863
ALTHOUGH Bright had been able to prevent England from entering the war in behalf of the Southern Confederacy he had not been able to do away with all antagonism toward the North. Sentiment in the manufacturing districts of England and generally among the working and business classes, was with the South when Beecher delivered his address in Liverpool on October 16, 1863. Lack of cotton and the closing of Southern markets to English goods had brought no little distress to the poorer people. It was Beecher's task to try to win over to the side of the North the moral support of those whose economic welfare seemed to depend on the success of the South.
When it was announced that he was to speak in Liverpool, the mob-spirit of the community was aroused and the opposition was organized to make a determined and desperate attempt to prevent the delivery of the speech. The streets were placarded with abusive and scurrilous posters urging Englishmen to “ see that he gets the welcome that he deserves.” The leading papers published editorial articles attacking Mr. Beecher. It was openly declared that if he attempted to address the meeting he would never leave Liverpool alive.
On the evening of the 16th the great hall was packed with enemies and with sympathizers. When Mr. Beecher came upon the platform there were cat-calls
and cheers for several minutes, and the chairman with great difficuty obtained the opportunity to introduce the speaker. The tumult continued for three hours excepting the few brief intervals when Mr. Beecher succeeded in obtaining the involuntary attention of his audience. Laughter, shouts, hisses, and insults continually interrupted the delivery of the address. On at least two occasions men were carried forcibly from the hall. Nevertheless, Mr. Beecher was able, in spite of all opposition, to create with his audience an impression that was of great benefit to the cause of the North; and the published report of his address, which the next day was spread all over England, became one of the important influences that led Great Britain to decide finally against lending her assistance to the Confederacy.
SPEECH AT LIVERPOOL
HENRY WARD BEECHER
For more than twenty-five years I have been made perfectly familiar with popular assemblies in all parts of my country except the extreme South. There has not for the whole of that time been a single day of my life when it would have been safe for me to go south of Mason and Dixon's line 1 in my own country, and all for one reason: my solemn, earnest, persistent testimony against that which I consider to be the most atrocious thing under the sun-the system of American slavery in a great free republic. (Cheers.] I have passed through that early period when right of free speech was denied to me. Again and again I have attempted to address audiences that, for no other crime than that of free speech, visited me with