Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 39.djvu/168
156 Southern Historical Society Papers.
Mr. Adams proceeds to point out that military operations from tlie Union point of view in the fall of 1862 had for some time been going- steadily from bad to worse. The Confederacy was on the field of battle, distinctly getting the best of it, when Lord Palmerston, on September 14th, wrote to Earl Russell, sug-gesting that the time was now come "for us to consider whether, in such a state of things, England and France might not address the contending parties, and recommend an arrange- ment upon the basis of separation." That Russell replied, "I agree with you that the time has come for offering mediation to the U. S. Government, with a view to the recognition of the independents (Sic) of the Confederates. I agree further, that in case of failure we ou.ght ourselves to recognize the Southern States as an independent State. For the purpose of taking so important a step-, I think we must have a meeting of the Cabinet. The 23d or 20th of October would suit me for a meeting."
A Cabinet circular was accordingly sent out, and when Glad- stone, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, was consulted, he gave the suggestion his approval. Mr. Adams continues, "the special Cabinet meeting was called for the 23d October ; to all outward appearance, and in all human probability, that was the fateful day. The ordeal must then be passed. The order of exercises M-as arranged. The day came and passed. Upon it nothing happened — what had taken place? * * * It is a curious story ; in diplomatic annals .scarce any more so. . It was it will be remembered— for dates in this connection are all important — the 23d October that had been assigned for the special Cabinet meeting, now it so chanced that sixteen days before, on the 7th of that month, Mr. Gladstone delivered himself of that famous Newcastle speech, still remembered, in which he de- clared that Jefi'erson Davis has 'made a nation' and that the independence of the Confederacy, and dissolution of the Ameri- can Ihiion. were as certain as any event yet future and con- tingent could be."
To that speech Mr. Adams attributes the change in the pro- gramme and the failure of recognition. Fie says it "saved the