Everything That the Law of Nations Requires~September 1863~the 26th to the 28th

Everything That the Law of Nations Requires~Earl Russell

Her Britannic Majesty’s Foreign Secretary reaffirms Britain’s neutrality in the American war while criticizing the Federal government in general and Senator Sumner in particular. A new crisis threatens European peace. A new prince is born on the Iberian Peninsula.

People in West Virginia and in Tennessee worry about invasion and raids. War damage is visible in many places in Virginia. In New York City Russian and American naval officers have fellowship while wealthy citizens complain of the lack of good domestic help.

Lord John Russell, Foreign Secretary

Lord John Russell, Foreign Secretary

September 26– Saturday– Blairgowrie, Scotland– In a lengthy speech, John Russell, the 1st Earl Russell, Her Majesty’s Foreign Secretary, addresses international relations and foreign affairs. Concerning the ships built by Laird Brothers for the Confederacy, he states, “They are steam rams, which might be used for the purpose of war without ever touching the shores of the Confederate ports. Well, gentlemen, to permit ships of this kind knowingly to depart from this country, not to enter into any Confederate port, not to enter into the port of a belligerent, would, as you see, expose our good faith to great suspicion; and I feel certain that if, during our war with France, the Americans had sent line-of-battle ships to break our blockade at Brest, whatever reasons they might have urged in support of that, we should have considered it a violation of neutrality. Such is the spirit in which I am prepared to act. Everything that the law of nations requires, everything that our law, that the Foreign Enlistment act requires, I am prepared to do, and even, if it should be proved to be necessary for the preservation of our neutrality, that the sanction of Parliament should be asked to further measures. In short, to sum up, Her Majesty’s Government are prepared to do everything that the duty of neutrality requires– everything that is just to a friendly nation, taking as a principle that we should do to others as we should wish to be done to ourselves. But this we will not do– we will not adopt any measure that we think to be wrong. We will not yield a joy of British law or British right in consequence of the menaces of any foreign Power.”

Senator Charles Sumner of Massachusetts

Senator Charles Sumner of Massachusetts

Regarding a critical speech made by Senator Charles Sumner of Massachusetts, Lord Russell declares, “But, certainly, if I look to the declarations of those New-England orators– and I have been reading lately, if not the whole, yet a very great part, of the very long speech by Mr Sumner on the subject, delivered at New-York– I own I cannot but wonder to see these men, the offspring, as it were, of three rebellions, as we ourselves are the offspring of two rebellions, really speaking like the Czar of Russia, the Sultan of Turkey, or Louis XIV. himself, of the dreadful crime and guilt of rebellion. . . . Now, gentlemen, with these feelings I own I almost lose my patience when I see men, in what is called an oration, heaping up accusation after accusation, and misrepresentation after misrepresentation, all tending to the bloody end of war between these two nations. I cannot but say, are they not satisfied with the blood that has been shed in the last two years, with that field of Gettysburg where 10,000 corpses of men, most of them in the prime of manhood, were left lying stretched on the ground? Are they not satisfied with that bloodshed, but would they seek to extend to the nations of Europe a new contest in which fresh sacrifices are to be made of human life, of human interest, and of human happiness? . . . . believing that we ought to make every effort that all these various conflicts may end in peace, in union and in friendship, I shall at all events have the consciousness that I have done my best to preserve peace between these mighty nations.”

September 27– Sunday– New York City– The New York Times reports that new tensions are arising between Germany and Denmark even as the threat of war in Europe remains possible over the status of Poland.

September 27– Sunday– New York City– “We would ask, why is it that while far higher wages are paid here than in Europe, so few really good servants are to be procured? Why is it that institutes are not founded for the purpose of instructing women of good character in the proper performance of household duties? Why are there not some intelligence offices which will make it their business to recommend to their customers only such servants as are furnished with good references, which they are prepared, after making the necessary inquiries, to fully indorse? Why are there not some agencies for the purpose of securing good places for such of the colored people, unhoused during the late riots, as desire to obtain them? (Many of these are, doubtless, competent and deserving. Shall they be driven to seek employment elsewhere by the clamors of a brutal mob, which would dictate to Americans in this Empire City what sort of servants they shall employ?) And, finally, why will not poor American girls throw aside their false pride and earn honest livings for themselves by going out to service in respectable families, and relieve us from the tyranny of the horde of immigrants who, having never had an opportunity of learning anything at home, yet claim on their arrival here to know everything, and confidently take upon themselves situations whose duties they are wholly incompetent to fill? We, of course, do not deny that a pretty large number of excellent servants is to be found, of every country and profession of faith; but the number of these is lamentably small in proportion to the demand. Our people are certainly as kind to their employees as those of any other nation; they offer, moreover, more liberal wages than are paid anywhere in Europe. Why, then, should they not be able to obtain and to retain in their families for years servants who will work intelligently, cheerfully and faithfully, and secure for themselves in return the happiness of a pleasant home, the good will of their masters and mistresses, and the consciousness of being thoroughly respected by their employers – because, forsooth, they show themselves in look and word and deed thoroughly deserving of respect.” ~ Letter to the editor of the New York Times. The sender signed her/him-self only as “G.M.”. [If the reader listens carefully she can hear the author sighing ‘Good help these days is so hard to find.’]

Russian warship in New York harbor

Russian warship in New York harbor

September 27– Sunday– near Culpepper, Virginia– “On our march to this place we passed through the village or town of Sulphur Springs which before the war was a famous summer resort. Traces of its glory and beauty can still be seen in the ruined and blackened walls of its hotels. We did not stop long enough to visit the famous springs.” ~ Union officer Elisha Hunt Rhodes in his diary.

September 27– Sunday– Bridgeport, Alabama– “Having learned from reliable sources that Colonel Murray, with 500 men, is prowling around in the [Tennessee] counties of DeKalb, Warren, Smith, and Wilson, committing depredations upon Union families which for barbarity and cruelty have had no parallel in this campaign, I respectfully ask that my command may be ordered to McMinnville or Carthage, to relieve the cavalry forces stationed at either point. The forces stationed at these points are unacquainted with that country, while my men have a perfect knowledge of every crossroad and by-path throughout that section. My only desire to be ordered to one of the points is for the good of the service. I could render more good for the service of stationed at one of these points, while the cavalry I would relieve could be as beneficial as myself if here. The inhabitants of the counties named are almost unanimously loyal, having sent more men in loyal Tennessee regiments than any other four counties in Middle Tennessee, and in justice to themselves they ought to be protected in their loyalty to their Government. Murray and his men, having every advantage of a perfect knowledge of the country, keep out of the way of the cavalry now in that country. They have not only stolen property, insulted ladies, but have even murdered loyal men. They have stolen all my stock, have attempted to burn my house, insulted my family, fired on my wife, and committed the most heathenish outrages ever heard of. While I could render important service, if stationed there, the cavalry I would relieve could be as useful here. If I am allowed to go to either of these points I pledge my all that I will clear the country of all rebels. I earnestly request that Companies C and H of this command, now stationed at Decherd and Tullahoma, respectively be ordered to join this portion of the regiment. It is the desire of the officers and men to do so, and as they are of little benefit where they are. I respectfully urge that they be ordered to join me at once. While I would willingly join General Crook in the front, I feel it is my duty to protect the families of my men.” ~ Colonel William B Stokes, 5th Tennessee [U S] Cavalry, requesting that he and his soldiers be reassigned to duty in their home area.

September 28– Monday– New York City– The New York Times criticizes New York’s Governor Seymour for his opposition to the draft while not mounting a legal challenge to test its constitutionality.

 September 28– Monday– New York City– The officers of the visiting Russian fleet are entertained at the Metropolitan Hotel by Admiral Farragut, Commodore Paulding and Captain Eads of the U S Navy, among others.


Commodore Hiram Paulding, U S Navy

Commodore Hiram Paulding, U S Navy

September 28– Monday– Wheeling, West Virginia– Fearing a large scale invasion by Confederate forces, the governor issues a proclamation calling the state militia to readiness. “To the end, therefore, that they may be met and driven back from the borders of the State and defeated in their wicked and ruinous purpose, I, Arthur I. Boreman, Governor of the State of West Virginia, do issue this my proclamation, calling on the requiring all officers of the militia and all persons subject to military duty within the State to have their arms in order and be ready to assemble at their usual places of rendezvous at a moment’s notice, and to move to any point when their services may be required. Officers in command of regiments are especially required to give orders to the commandants of companies to see that every man in their respective companies is notified to be in readiness and to have his arms in order for service.” [Governor Boreman, a 40 year old lawyer, played a key role in keeping the area loyal to the Union and in the separation from Virginia.]


Governor Boreman of West Virginia

Governor Boreman of West Virginia

September 28– Monday– Washington, D.C.– Union Generals Crittenden, McDowell and McCook are relieved of duty and ordered to Indianapolis, Indiana, to face a court of inquiry regarding their conduct at the Battle of Chickamauga.

September 28– Monday– Bealton Station, Virginia– “We don’t live here quite so well here as we did in the front. The army has been here all summer & the whole of this once beautiful country is a continuous scene of desolation. There are no cornfields nor potato patches, hogs or sheep munching over the fields. What few citizens remain here have nothing to sell or trade for our coffee or sugar but still we live well & I have as good health as ever. . . . I suppose Mr Burns death will be a lesson for all of us to be ready for we know not the day nor the day when the angel of death will take either of us from this earth. May we strive for a home in heaven. We know our time will come to die & so let us be prepared to meet the author of our existence to give an account of the deeds done here on earth & oh that we may hear that welcome sentence. Well done good & faithful servant, enter thou in the joy of thy Lord. What will become of us when we die. Will we have time & opportunity. Dear Cynthia let us prepare, though others do as they will. . . . All of my affections center there [at home]. There is the attraction for me, if I were to get twenty letters a week & none from my wife. I would be as uneasy & unsatisfied as if I got none.” ~ Union soldier Samuel Potter to his wife Cynthia at home in Pennsylvania.

King Charles I of Portugal c.1900

King Charles I of Portugal c.1900

September 28– Monday– Lisbon, Portugal– A prince, Charles, is born to King Luis I and Queen Maria Pia. As Charles I he will rule Portugal from 1889 until his assassination in 1908.

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