Following the American Civil War Sesquicentennial with day by day writings of the time, currently 1863.

Post image for The notion that the war will not last much longer is universal.

The notion that the war will not last much longer is universal.

February 10, 2015

Adams Family Civil War letters; US Minister to the UK and his sons.

Charles Francis Adams, U.S. Minister to the U.K., to his son, Charles.

London, February 10, 1865

You ask me what effect the storming of Fort Fisher had in this country. I can only say in reply that coming as it did on the back of Sherman’s victorious march, it has for the nonce made the London Times much more respectful. At the only soiree which I have attended, the first remark a very distinguished lady to me was to congratulate me that the war was coming to an end. She had never said so before. She then commented strongly on the blundering policy of the Times which has aimed at a disruption of the Union, whilst the true interest of England should have prompted them to sustain it. She is a woman of sense, and her own opinion is worth having. But her position places her in a circle where she gets the impressions of people of higher influence in the political world. The notion that the war will not last much longer is universal. It is much strengthened by the late reports of rebels and blockade runners from the southern states. I hear all and say little, rejoice inwardly and betray no emotion.

Singularly enough, however, the public sentiment, disappointed in its, sanguine expectations of our ruin, is now taking a wholly new turn. It is whispered about that if the feud is reconciled and the Union restored, and a great army is left on our hands, the next manifestation will be one of hostility to this country. The various steps to rescind old treaty obligations, especially relating to Canada, which we have been forced to take, are cited as proof of our intentions to attack that country at once. Mr. Seward is as usual paraded as the rawhead and bloody bones before the imagination of the English people. Conscience looking back to the enormous extent to which the neutrality of the country has been abused by acts as well as expressions of sympathy with the rebels, doubtless prompts the fear of the effects of our very natural indignation. There are some who do not entirely suppress a wish that some decided course should be taken at once to ward off all these dangers. A quarrel might yet help the failing rebel cause. If it must come, the wiser way would be to provoke it at once. The only thing needed would be a pretext. And that doubtless could be readily found in the mass of complaints accumulated during the struggle. It was very certain that we had the intention very soon to press a heavy amount of claim for damages done by the Alabama, etc., which never could be allowed. Why not take ground on that subject at once?

Such is the tone of the fighting cocks! But as yet they do not venture to crow loud. The politicians are wary. Parliament will be dissolved in July. And the elections will follow. No one cares about raising a new issue. There will be a very fierce personal canvass, in which individual popularity will tell so far in many cases [as] probably to turn the scale. So far as I can observe, I think there is even more timidity here than there is with our members of Congress in advance of an election. Hence I scarcely imagine the martial tone to be likely to be heard. Very certainly not, if nothing turns up to excite the popular passions on any question. After the seats are won and seven years of tenure are in prospect, the case may be altered. Then there may be bolder utterances. Meanwhile, however, events move fast in America. The thinner ranks of the rebel armies show no signs of recuperation. Their paper money is dear at the price of old rags, for it does not pay for the making. And the heart that upheld them is gone. This stage of the disease cannot last any great length of time. There must be some relief or the collapse is at hand. I doubt whether the allies on this side will be able to stretch out a helping hand in season.

Such is the precise condition of opinion at the moment, caused by the last news of the storming of Fort Fisher ! .. .

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