Saturday, May 30, 2015

War to Repossess the Southern Export Trade

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 Bank of England agent John Welsford Cowell

“It is to recover possession of this grand instrument of political power and of private profit that the Yankees are now murdering men, women, and children throughout the South, being determined, as is at last manifest to all, to exterminate the Southerners altogether (unless they will return to that fiscal, commercial and maritime subjection to the Yankees from which they emancipated themselves in 1861), and to occupy their lands and houses themselves.”

Mr. Cowell refers to the national character of the Yankee, pointedly the New Englanders. He described the “narrow, fanatical, and originally sincere puritanism of their ancestors [which] has, in the course of six generations, degenerated into that amalgam of hypocrisy, cruelty, falsehood, unconsciousness of the faintest sentiment of self-respect, coarseness of self-assertion, insensibility to the opinions of others, utter callousness to right, barbarous delight in wrong, and thorough moral ruffianism, which is now fully revealed to the world as the genuine Yankee nature, and of which Butler, Seward [and other high Northern political leaders] are pure representative Yankees, [and] afford such finished examples.”

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During 1862, Washington was constantly threatened with capture by Lee and Jackson’s men, not to mention some very tense moments for Lincoln as the North’s ironclad dueled with the CSS Virginia.  The latter was poised to sail up the Potomac after destroying anything wooden that she came across in the Chesapeake Bay which sent Lincoln’s Cabinet into emergency session. The capture of Washington would have likely triggered European recognition of the South.

Secretary of State William Seward had unmistakably suggested that should England or France recognize the Confederacy, war would result – though Lincoln could ill-afford to take on additional enemies.  His subsequent cultivation of friendship with the Russian Czar was created simply for an ally to stand with him against Europe; ironically both Czar Alexander II and Lincoln freed serfs and slaves simultaneously while crushing the independence movements of the Poles and the South, respectively. 

The growing might of Lincoln’s navy was a great concern to England as Lord Palmerston and Earl Russell both saw their assistance in building Confederate war vessels as a way to combat this.  Emperor Napoleon III of France was prepared to recognize the Confederacy for much the same reason as well as seeing the cause of royalist Mexico as identical to the cause of the South. Confederate Commissioner John Slidell obtained a fifteen million dollar loan at very favorable terms from French financier Baron d’Erlanger, and hopes were that an independent Confederacy would look favorably upon French ships carrying their trade. 

The underlying reason for the North’s war on the South is well-presented by Bank of England agent John Welsford Cowell in his “France and the Confederate States, published in 1865.  He observed that “The vast proportions which [the North’s] maritime power has assumed during the last fifty years have sprung entirely from the monopoly which the Southerners accorded to them of the carrying trade of their raw produce in cotton, tobacco, etc., and of the commercial returns to it.”

Cowell explains the economic contrast of North and South in 1860: “[In the last year of the Union, the total exports of the whole Union, omitting the gold of California, amounted to the value of 70 [million pounds] in round numbers. Separating this total into two parts, and distinguishing between Northern and Southern products . . . the value of exported Northern products . . . did not exceed 18 [million pounds] while the value of exported Southern produce exceeded 50 [million pounds].”

He adds that “The Protective Tariff of 1816 practically threw into the hands of Yankee shippers the transport of all Southern products . . . Now, connecting these several points together, it becomes obvious that not less than two-thirds of what was the mercantile marine of the Yankees in 1860 had been called into existence to supply the transportation of Southern exports and imports, and that this portion of their marine must cease to exist as theirs, when the transport of Southern produce is withdrawn from their hands.”

It now becomes clear what the North was fighting for and to maintain.  As the South, through the tariffs paid on imported and exported goods, was paying nearly ninety-percent of the monies flowing into the federal treasury, it becomes clear what the South was trying to break free of.

Cowell continued and exposed the Northern drive for war.  “It is to recover possession of this grand instrument of political power and of private profit that the Yankees are now murdering men, women, and children throughout the South, being determined, as is at last manifest to all, to exterminate the Southerners altogether (unless they will return to that fiscal, commercial and maritime subjection to the Yankees from which they emancipated themselves in 1861), and to occupy their lands and houses themselves.”

With the South lacking the ships to carry their produce to distant markets, both England and France could take the place of the Yankee merchant marine if the Confederacy held its own. Cowell states that “But while one of the two main objects of the Yankees in their war against the South is to repossess control of Southern exports, essentially necessary for the support of two-thirds of their marine, it is in the absolute pleasure of the South, having no ships of their own, to bestow this great instrument of power and wealth upon whichever nation she may choose.”  

The North also fought to maintain is the South’s is their tariff protective system which Cowell describes as being adopted “unreservedly, and founded on it the future fortunes of their usurped domination over the rest of the Sovereign States of the Union.” The South was catching on to the system in the mid-1820s and began to chafe – secession was threatened in the early 1850s and by late 1860 the Southern withdrawals from the unequal Union began.

When the North “awakened to the terrible effect of the Southern secession on their artificial prosperity, they rushed to war, and the war has, for the moment, provided much of their invested capital with temporary employment. Thus far the war has staved off for a very short time the ruin which must inevitably overtake them . . .

Thus are brought into light the two governing points in the position of the Yankees – viz., the recovery of the Southern carrying trade and the recovery of the monopoly of the Southern market.”

Mr. Cowell refers to the national character of the Yankee, pointedly the New Englanders. He described the “narrow, fanatical, and originally sincere puritanism of their ancestors [which] has, in the course of six generations, degenerated into that amalgam of hypocrisy, cruelty, falsehood, unconsciousness of the faintest sentiment of self-respect, coarseness of self-assertion, insensibility to the opinions of others, utter callousness to right, barbarous delight in wrong, and thorough moral ruffianism, which is now fully revealed to the world as the genuine Yankee nature, and of which Butler, Seward [and other high Northern political leaders] are pure representative Yankees, [and] afford such finished examples.”

(Bernhard Thuersam is Chair of North Carolina’s War Between the States Sesquicentennial Commission, Director of the Cape Fear Historical Institute, and editor of  www.circa1865.com blog.)  

15 comments:

  1. No offence old friend but this is a crock of crap. The British goal in the American south was the same as it had always been, to divide America against itself and use so-called free trade as the instrument.

    They were behind the little know attempt to create a secessionist movement on New England know as the Hartford Convention on 1803. The Brits did not like the high price New England loggers were charging them for the long straight hardwood trees the needed for their fleets. They were almost entirely dependent on the newly independent US for them as they had long since stripped their own forests.

    By the 1850 they had taken over both India and Egypt to secure both the raw cotton to feed its textile mills but also the markets to sell the finished goods back into. After seizing control the first thing the British did was to ban local production of textiles which led to mass unemployment and even greater death by starvation. This was used as justification for the obscenity known as the "Malthusian theory".


    A growing US textile industry and US export tariffs on cotton were for the the British a clear obstacle to their desire for a global monopoly on cotton and textiles.

    Hence a successful Southern insurrection would have turned the tables in their favor in that they would then have another cheap sourse of cotton and CSA tarrifs against the US would have priced them out of the market.

    The British are not, never have been and never will be our friends unless and until they needs us to save them from the consequences of their own hubris and racism. When the refer to Americans as "colonials" 'they aten't joking. The English elite has never forgiven us for hanging Major Andre (Benedict Arnold married his widow) or forgiven is for securing our independence.

    If the south had industrialized along with the north instead of hanging on to Jeffersonian agrarian dreams history would be different.

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    1. Unfortunately Mr. Cowell isn't around to debate you. :)

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    2. You do mean the Hartford Convention of 1814 toward the end of the War of 1812 right? Although there was secession talk by the "Yankee Confederates" in 1803 due to Louisiana Purchase and in 1807 w/ the trade embargo that hurt New England the most ... it was the War of 1812 that really made New England mad ... see Thomas Dilorenzo's 1999 article on this period of time when the North thought secession to be cool :)
      http://ditext.com/dilorenzo/yankee.html
      I am not so sure it was an English effort as much as it was a New England effort to sustain trade with England ... I think you give the former British empire too much credit .. but obviously, your mileage may vary. :)

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    3. There were many a New England interest who chaffed under the Hamiltonian construction of export and import tarrifs, particularly those who sought "free trade" with England that would benefit the mercantile class of both sides at the expense of the American working and agricultural class not to mention the coffers of the federal government t whose sole sources of revenue were tarrifs and import excise taxes, mainly on liquor production. That said the original author's credibility is suspect as an admitted "agent" of the Bank of England. The same bank that had busily engaged itself in producing counterfeit Continental notes in order to undermine the American cause. Later this same bank financed British privateers who seized American trading vessels on the high seas and impressed their sailors into servitude in the British fleet, and they later still channeled funds into both Northern abolitionist movements and Southern secessionist movements. The East India Company had become little more than a vast "legal" but criminal enterprise.

      The journals of Lord Palmerston reveal an open and named hostility towards the US and the belief that the treaty pg Portsmouth was not legitimate.

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    4. As for Dilorenzo, he has proved himself an Anglophile and vocal opponent of the Hamiltonian economic methods that gave the new country a unified currency that was a great instrument in keeping the still hostile British Empire at bay but also made it possible for Jefferson to have the internal funds to make the Louisiana Purchace without seeking any foreign loans. It was the growing strength of Hamiltonian economics that secured our hard fought for independence not the fetid pipe dreams of a Jeffersonian agricultural utopia that could never be. It took the civil war to prove Jefferson wrong.

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    5. As for Dilorenzo, he has proved himself a.........vocal opponent of the Hamiltonian economic methods

      I certainly hope so.

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      ...........It was the growing strength of Hamiltonian economics that secured our hard fought for independence not the fetid pipe dreams of a Jeffersonian agricultural utopia that could never be.

      Good Lord, what in the world are you doing on a Jeffersonian /Democrat/Libertarian site?

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      It took the civil war to prove Jefferson wrong.

      Oh boy, might makes right, correct? Leaving a trail of burned homes, raped women, murdered seniors and so forth. We have nothing in common, but I guess you do with Sherman.

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  2. Hates the British Empire but loves the American Empire = American Exceptionalism

    Between the Federalists, and then the Whigs who didn't see an internal improvement project in the North they didn't like and their offspring the GOP who made war their tool of preference ... you can see who ruined this country. I would rather have a country like the Swiss have, over a century of peace YET they are split into cantons that allow regional/cultural divides. The South had it right, different in philosophy from both the North and the "West" (current Midwest) they would have done well thank you without empire and with its ports could have been the hub of North American / Atlantic free-trade. (I can dream can't I? :) )

    BTW .. Jefferson was right .. his philosophy of life lent toward a connection with nature (the land) and nature's God while MINIMIZING government's power (since we all know it is that power that attracts the most evil and narcissistic in this world) is admirable in my book. No state religion required. (again, your mileage may vary)

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  3. Sorry, one more thing. Just reflecting on my morning walk ... empires tend to need a compliant class .. a slave class if you will. I think Jefferson's dream (from what I have read and I am no expert) was ag-based tended to be entrepreneurs .. and pushing decision-making as low as possible to the local level allowed the most honorable to sacrifice of their time/talent to help the communities. People in that culture tend not to be parasites which is a drag on any economy .. because true freedom is more of an economic issue than a cultural issue ... see Walter E. William's story here: http://vimeo.com/87869924

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  4. Hamilton was wrong and good riddance:
    http://politicalvelcraft.org/2015/05/19/alexander-hamilton-was-wrong-shot-by-vice-president-aaron-burr/

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  5. I find it hard to grasp what the continued enmity over a war, lost 150 years ago, gains anyone. Horrible things happen in wars, all wars. Civil wars are probably the worst. The first casualty of war may be the truth but humanity runs a close second. All sides bear that guilt in every single war man has ever fought.

    By clinging to sectarianism, slavery and an agrarian economic base the South made both the Civil War an inevitability and sealed their fate in the ensuing conflict. I won't be the first to note that the disparity in industrial infrastructure, railroads and population made the outcome a horrible, bloody and foregone conclusion. Had the South developed industry and forsaken slavery in the first half of the 19th century as most of the rest of Western culture had, history would be much different. Not only our own but much of Europe's as well.

    You spoke of the cruelty of "might makes right". That is a two edged sword. I'm not going to apologize for the wanton destruction that took place at Vicksburg or Atlanta, it's not my place to do so. Neither is it yours to apologize for the enforced cruelty, rape and degradation that was part and parcel of slavery. I had relatives who fought and died on both sides. Time has long since come that both sides move forward as Lincoln said "with malice towards none and charity for all". Had he not been so viciously assassinated it might not have taken so long.

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  6. JWMJR sir .. apparently the source of the enmity escapes you ... for in economics alone one can't help but be upset (in the South) or happy (in the North) when > 80% of tax revenues come from Southern ports and bar far a majority of this is not just used to fund the federal government, BUT also the very Northern industries you elude to. This is plain theft that occurred for decades before the armed conflict that DID not have to happen. IF the South was so backwards then why not just let her be? Why stay in a marriage IF there is no more desire to walk side by side?

    Why then do we seek out our true history? To learn from it ... at this point in out nation's history it is VERY important to understand the root of our democracy turned fascist state / empire.

    One last thing .. before you go quoting A. Lincoln .. you might want to know the REAL Abraham Lincoln. I dare you to buy http://www.amazon.com/The-Real-Lincoln-Abraham-Unnecessary/dp/0761526463 ... or if on the cheap just Google "real Lincoln DiLorenzo" and self-educate/research him for yourself.

    I for one have done some research in the days leading up to Ft. Sumter .. books that talk about what was written in newspapers and shared in people's journals .. the history the government schools have taught us is so very twisted. We owe it to the real patriots of that day like Crittenden who attempted a peaceful parting of the states as T. Jefferson thought would happen even sooner than 1860. We owe it to RE Lee who would have rather freed the slaves and then defended his state.

    The raping of the South and its culture at various times in the last 150 years has kept this event open as any wound that still demands investigation of an ongoing infection demands.

    Just my 2 cents

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  7. The southern wealthy elite made a conscious decision to forgo industrialization and concurrently the tax revenue that would have come from it. Such a consequence was theirs to bear. Apparently you missed the point that then just as now we live a hostile world that was violently opposed to the very existence of a constitutional republic. Get a clue if the Republic had divided the British would have devoured both the parts. The South chose its fate early on. The world changes, trying to cling to feudalism and slavery was a fools arrand. So is trying to deny the consequences of that decision. But the south didn't free the slaves, and just as at the Constitutional convention they clung to a way of life that the rest of the world had long forsaken as an affront to human dignity. All these things are long since past. No one who lived in those times is alive today. As I said clinging to enmity of times 150 years gone gains nothing. "Pride cometh before the fall." Sadly that lesson is still lost. Foolishness, utter foolishness.

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  8. The southern wealthy elite made a conscious decision to forgo industrialization and concurrently the tax revenue that would have come from it. Such a consequence was theirs to bear. Apparently you missed the point that then just as now we live a hostile world that was violently opposed to the very existence of a constitutional republic. Get a clue if the Republic had divided the British would have devoured both the parts. The South chose its fate early on. The world changes, trying to cling to feudalism and slavery was a fools arrand. So is trying to deny the consequences of that decision. But the south didn't free the slaves, and just as at the Constitutional convention they clung to a way of life that the rest of the world had long forsaken as an affront to human dignity. All these things are long since past. No one who lived in those times is alive today. As I said clinging to enmity of times 150 years gone gains nothing. "Pride cometh before the fall." Sadly that lesson is still lost. Foolishness, utter foolishness.

    ReplyDelete