The Index – 4 February 1864
On the right hand side of this page of The Index from 4 February 1864, there is an article detailing relations between Britain, the Union and the debate about diplomatic stances towards Confederate recognition. It mentions Secretary of State William H. Seward’s concern that Britain would support the Confederacy and that he ‘still harps upon the recognition of the Confederate States as a belligerent Power’, in other words that the secession states would be recognized as an independent nation.
The article comments that Seward ‘indulges at every opportunity in diplomatic bullying’ to stress the Union cause on the international stage. Towards the end of the page attention turns towards whether the British were helping Confederates build and supply ships, as well as harbour them in British ports and that if this was the case, ‘the British Government will be held responsible for the damage done by Confederate cruisers’ to Union ships. This issue was to form the basis of American claims for damages from Britain after the war, most notably in the case of the Alabama claims.
The article also makes a passing comment about ‘the Fenian Brotherhood, Ireland, where the Federals have so largely recruited’. This is a reference to the notable number of Irish-born troops in the Union Army and accusations that agents were recruiting soldiers.