Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Diary of Betty Herndon Maury - December 22, 1861

Sunday 22nd [December 1861]

At last we have heard from England about the capture of Mason and Slidell on board the British Steamer Trent.

Large meetings have been held in London and Liverpool to petition the Government to resent the insult offered to their flag.

The Queen held a Cabinet meeting, and detained the last Steamer to send a special messenger with dispatches to Lord Lyons. This much is certain.

The papers say that she has demanded the return of Mason and Slidell and their Secretaries, and that the Yankee Government apologize for the insult.

In the meantime she has sent over a supply of ammunition & guns to Canada. So the Yankees will have to choose between public disgrace and a war with England. From the tone of their papers they will choose the latter. If they do, the first action of the British Government will be to acknowledge the independence of the Confederate States, break up the blockade, and open the cotton market which will keep many thousand English people from ruin and want this winter.

If it is all true we can see peace glimmering in the distance. We ought to hear this week that Lord Lyons has demanded his passports. If not – the news has been exagerated, and the difficulty will be smoothed over in some way or other.

I wonder what cousin Ann and Nan and the rest of those Yankee English Maurys think now?

The Confederate Government has given Papa the appropriation for his Steam Launches. He is to build them and command them when built. He hopes to bring them into service by the first of June.

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