Page:Confederate Military History - 1899 - Volume 1.djvu/514

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476 CONFEDERATE MILITARY HISTORY.

unceasing efforts to thwart any combination of European powers in the least degree favorable to the Confederate movement. France, more conspicuously than any other power, had also intimated the desire for foreign inter vention as the means to bring the American war to a speedy close. Upon this view of the emperor, and the certainty that foreign intervention would result in the partition of the United States, the Confederate authorities indulged for two years the dream of independence, while the fear of that result caused Mr. Seward to express his views in amiable phrase like this : * We wish to avoid anything calculated to irritate France, or to wound the just pride and proper sensibilities of that spirited nation, and thus to free our claim to her forbearance in our pres ent political emergency from any cloud of passion or prejudice. Pursuing this course the President hopes that the pre judgment of the emperor against the stabil ity of the Union may the sooner give way to convic tions which will modify his course. " Other countries had exerted no influence favorable to the Confederacy, and the impression prevailed, especially after the battles of Gettysburg and Vicksburg, that no positive step would be taken toward interference in the American strife un less some decided and well-sustained advantage should be gained by the Confederacy.

But amidst all the heartless movements of diplomacy, amidst all the violences of war the tread of troops, the beat of drum, the roar of deadly guns, the outcry of as sault and defense, the groaning of dying soldiers and the moans of the bereaved at home amidst all those there was not a day during the horrible conflict when there was not heard the voice of the angels of reason and humanity calling for peace. Both nations had officially declared the desire for peace from first to last, and both nations maintained war from beginning to end; but the main question was constantly and unhappily restricted to the terms of peace and on conditions which involved scarcely

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