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The Seizure of the Rams at Liverpool.


November and December 1863

From The Missouri Democrat, Wednesday, November 4, 1863.


What is Said of the Seizure of Laird’s Rams—The Removal of Rosecrans—The Military Situation and Lincoln’s Last Proclamation.

[From the Richmond Dispatch, October 26.]


As we suspected, Russell has at last found law enough to authorize the seizure of the rams.  He told us himself that if he could not find it he meant to have it made.  So the rams were to be seized at any rate, and we are not disappointed.

The London Telegraph, whose expose we publish in another column, very justly concludes that the Yankees will consider this act as dictated by their threats.  They will be sure to take that view of the matter, and they will be right.  The whole world will unite with them in this opinion, for the whole world is well aware that upon this point Adams has dictated the policy of the British government from the beginning.  That Russell has acted from the combined impulse of cowardice and hatred, can be doubted by no dispassionate man now, and posterity will wonder that there ever should have been a question on the subject.  Equally right is the Telegraph in supposing that the Southern States will regard it as an act of open hostility to them.  The contemptible pretext of neutrality blinds no man in the South.  Neutrality requires that the neutral should be strictly impartial—that he should lend no assistance in men, ships, arms, or munitions, to either party.  If one party be allowed privileges in this respect the other should be allowed the same.  In this case, the Yankees, having command of the sea, have free access to the arsenals of Great Britain, and are furnished with arms and munitions in enormous quantities, while we obtain them with great difficulty.  Men in prodigious quantities they are furnished from Ireland.  Russell knows where they are going and what they are going for as well as he knows where these rams are going.  A Secretary’s warrant can stop them at any moment; it is not necessary to get an act of Parliament, but Russell never thinks of stopping them.  We say again, the Telegraph is right in assuming that we shall regard this as an act of hostility.  A more direct one could not well be imagined if it be, as the books say it is, a violation of neutrality to favor one belligerent more than another.  A man may see all this without being able “to look through a mill-stone.”

We are unable, now, to repel this act of war.  For an act of war it is.  But we trust that it will be held in everlasting remembrance by this and all future generations of Southern men.  Galling as the act itself is, it is rendered still more galling by the insult offered to our understanding, in the pretence that it is done through a righteous respect for the sacred duty of neutrality—neutrality which is only active when it is brought to bear upon us—which supplies tens of thousands of recruits for the Yankees, but finds its conscience deeply wounded by the attempt to supply us with two ships of war.