Post Civil War dated $10,000 Scrip Certificate - Confederate States of AmericaInv# CF1098 Bond
$10,000 Scrip Certificate with orange embossed British Revenue. Rare!
The Confederacy's biggest foreign policy successes were with Spain's Caribbean colonies and Brazil, the "peoples most identical to us in Institutions", in which slavery remained legal until the 1880s. The Captain–General of Cuba declared in writing that Confederate ships were welcome, and would be protected in Cuban ports. They were also welcome in Brazilian ports; slavery was legal throughout Brazil, and the abolitionist movement was small. After the end of the war, Brazil was the primary destination of those Southerners who wanted to continue living in a slave society, where, as one immigrant remarked, slaves were cheap (see Confederados).
However, militarily this meant little. Once war with the United States began, the Confederacy pinned its hopes for survival on military intervention by Great Britain and/or France. The Confederate government sent James M. Mason to London and John Slidell to Paris. On their way to Europe in 1861, the U.S. Navy intercepted their ship, the Trent, and forcibly detained them in Boston, an international episode known as the Trent Affair. The diplomats were eventually released and continued their voyage to Europe. However, their mission was unsuccessful; historians give them low marks for their poor diplomacy. Neither secured diplomatic recognition for the Confederacy, much less military assistance.
The Confederates who had believed that "cotton is king", that is, that Britain had to support the Confederacy to obtain cotton, proved mistaken. The British had stocks to last over a year and had been developing alternative sources of cotton, most notably India and Egypt. Britain had so much cotton that it was exporting some to France. England was not about to go to war with the U.S. to acquire more cotton at the risk of losing the large quantities of food imported from the North.
Aside from the purely economic questions, there was also the clamorous ethical debate. Great Britain took pride in being a leader in suppressing slavery, ending it in its empire in 1833, and the end of the Atlantic slave trade was enforced by British vessels. Confederate diplomats found little support for American slavery, cotton trade or not. A series of slave narratives about American slavery was being published in London. It was in London that the first World Anti-Slavery Convention had been held in 1840; it was followed by regular smaller conferences. A string of eloquent and sometimes well-educated Negro abolitionist speakers crisscrossed not just England but Scotland and Ireland as well. In addition to exposing the reality of America's shameful and sinful chattel slavery—some were fugitive slaves—they rebutted the Confederate position that negroes were "unintellectual, timid, and dependent", and "not equal to the white man...the superior race," as it was put by Confederate Vice-President Alexander H. Stephens in his famous Cornerstone Speech. Frederick Douglass, Henry Highland Garnet, Sarah Parker Remond, her brother Charles Lenox Remond, James W. C. Pennington, Martin Delany, Samuel Ringgold Ward, and William G. Allen all spent years in Britain, where fugitive slaves were safe and, as Allen said, there was an "absence of prejudice against color. Here the colored man feels himself among friends, and not among enemies". One speaker alone, William Wells Brown, gave more than 1,000 lectures on the shame of American chattel slavery.
Throughout the early years of the war, British foreign secretary Lord John Russell, Emperor Napoleon III of France, and, to a lesser extent, British Prime Minister Lord Palmerston, showed interest in recognition of the Confederacy or at least mediation of the war. British Chancellor of the Exchequer William Gladstone, convinced of the necessity of intervention on the Confederate side based on the successful diplomatic intervention in Second Italian War of Independence against Austria, attempted unsuccessfully to convince Lord Palmerston to intervene. By September 1862 the Union victory at the Battle of Antietam, Lincoln's preliminary Emancipation Proclamation and abolitionist opposition in Britain put an end to these possibilities. The cost to Britain of a war with the U.S. would have been high: the immediate loss of American grain-shipments, the end of British exports to the U.S., and the seizure of billions of pounds invested in American securities. War would have meant higher taxes in Britain, another invasion of Canada, and full-scale worldwide attacks on the British merchant fleet. Outright recognition would have meant certain war with the United States; in mid-1862 fears of race war (as had transpired in the Haitian Revolution of 1791–1804) led to the British considering intervention for humanitarian reasons. Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation did not lead to interracial violence, let alone a bloodbath, but it did give the friends of the Union strong talking points in the arguments that raged across Britain.
John Slidell, the Confederate States emissary to France, did succeed in negotiating a loan of $15,000,000 from Erlanger and other French capitalists. The money went to buy ironclad warships, as well as military supplies that came in with blockade runners. The British government did allow the construction of blockade runners in Britain; they were owned and operated by British financiers and ship owners; a few were owned and operated by the Confederacy. The British investors' goal was to get highly profitable cotton.
Several European nations maintained diplomats in place who had been appointed to the U.S., but no country appointed any diplomat to the Confederacy. Those nations recognized the Union and Confederate sides as belligerents. In 1863 the Confederacy expelled European diplomatic missions for advising their resident subjects to refuse to serve in the Confederate army. Both Confederate and Union agents were allowed to work openly in British territories. Some state governments in northern Mexico negotiated local agreements to cover trade on the Texas border. The Confederacy appointed Ambrose Dudley Mann as special agent to the Holy See on September 24, 1863. But the Holy See never released a formal statement supporting or recognizing the Confederacy. In November 1863, Mann met Pope Pius IX in person and received a letter supposedly addressed "to the Illustrious and Honorable Jefferson Davis, President of the Confederate States of America"; Mann had mistranslated the address. In his report to Richmond, Mann claimed a great diplomatic achievement for himself, asserting the letter was "a positive recognition of our Government". The letter was indeed used in propaganda, but Confederate Secretary of State Judah P. Benjamin told Mann it was "a mere inferential recognition, unconnected with political action or the regular establishment of diplomatic relations" and thus did not assign it the weight of formal recognition.
Nevertheless, the Confederacy was seen internationally as a serious attempt at nationhood, and European governments sent military observers, both official and unofficial, to assess whether there had been a de facto establishment of independence. These observers included Arthur Lyon Fremantle of the British Coldstream Guards, who entered the Confederacy via Mexico, Fitzgerald Ross of the Austrian Hussars, and Justus Scheibert of the Prussian Army. European travelers visited and wrote accounts for publication. Importantly in 1862, the Frenchman Charles Girard's Seven months in the rebel states during the North American War testified "this government ... is no longer a trial government ... but really a normal government, the expression of popular will". Fremantle went on to write in his book Three Months in the Southern States that he had
not attempted to conceal any of the peculiarities or defects of the Southern people. Many persons will doubtless highly disapprove of some of their customs and habits in the wilder portion of the country; but I think no generous man, whatever may be his political opinions, can do otherwise than admire the courage, energy, and patriotism of the whole population, and the skill of its leaders, in this struggle against great odds. And I am also of opinion that many will agree with me in thinking that a people in which all ranks and both sexes display a unanimity and a heroism which can never have been surpassed in the history of the world, is destined, sooner or later, to become a great and independent nation.
French Emperor Napoleon III assured Confederate diplomat John Slidell that he would make "direct proposition" to Britain for joint recognition. The Emperor made the same assurance to British Members of Parliament John A. Roebuck and John A. Lindsay. Roebuck in turn publicly prepared a bill to submit to Parliament June 30 supporting joint Anglo-French recognition of the Confederacy. "Southerners had a right to be optimistic, or at least hopeful, that their revolution would prevail, or at least endure." Following the double disasters at Vicksburg and Gettysburg in July 1863, the Confederates "suffered a severe loss of confidence in themselves", and withdrew into an interior defensive position. There would be no help from the Europeans.
By December 1864, Davis considered sacrificing slavery in order to enlist recognition and aid from Paris and London; he secretly sent Duncan F. Kenner to Europe with a message that the war was fought solely for "the vindication of our rights to self-government and independence" and that "no sacrifice is too great, save that of honor". The message stated that if the French or British governments made their recognition conditional on anything at all, the Confederacy would consent to such terms. Davis's message could not explicitly acknowledge that slavery was on the bargaining table due to still-strong domestic support for slavery among the wealthy and politically influential. European leaders all saw that the Confederacy was on the verge of total defeat.
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