Guest Historian Raymond Speer says, Ebenezer Scrooge acts as the British High Representative as an intermediary with the Confederacy. If you're interested in viewing samples of my other work why not visit Raymond Speer site.
In 1861, President Jefferson Davis of the Confederacy met with Mr. Ebenezer Scrooge of the City of London that Friday and arrived at a mutual defense agreement.
The Scrooge ContributionScrooge's terms were set out admirably. The precision left no doubts in the minds of Davis' Cabinet that their new republic would get the support of the United Kingdom, Even better, the British Prime Minister, Lord Palmerston, had initiated the approach to the South and sent to Richmond his "gray eminence" and master banker.
Even so, the term required for Britiain's support of the South was a condition the South had never thought of making a factor of its struggle for independence. Over first discussion of the matter, Vice President Stephens and four members of the Confederate Cabinet (Toombs, Mallory, Memminger and Reagan) advised against it.
"If our survival as a nation came about at such a price to the Union we have left", said Toombs "we would be forever stand condemned before our erstwhile countrymen".
"Mr. Toombs", said Jefferson Davis. "we shall have to meet many challenges in the coming war, and not a few of the advantages we shall seek will bring severe criticism from the North. It is better that our Southern States have the North's condemnation of our agreements with allies than that the South do without such necessary aid".
The commotion raised in Parliament was considerable when news of the Scrooge Assignment was debated on the floor of the Commons. "Sensible men know the Scrooge Proposal is nothing but piracy, plain and simple", wrote Charles Francis Adams, the American Minister to the Court of St. James. "Its theft from the common fund of our Great Republic is justified on no reason or moral obligation. It is the bald assertion that England gets California if the confederate states get their independence".
In 1861, the Parliament of Great Britain passed by a majority of twenty three a bill that committed Britain to war for the Confederacy in exchange for the transfer of California to the British Empire.
The Scrooge Contribution Part 2Though he lacked a majority, Benjamin Disraeli was pleased with the response he had received from the House. "By bowing and doffing our hats to our paymaster," Disraeli lectured, "we have shown that we favor cash over any moral priciple, assuming we even recall what a moral principle may be".
"Caliifornia is a pleasent end, a good outcome that might be arged to justify many things. But the attachment of California to an act of reenslavement upon four millions of Negroes in the South can never justify that cruelty, that terror!"
That evening, Disraeli was the host of Ebenezer Scrooge, who had gone privately to the chambers of the Opposition Leader to his plan. "You know that Lincoln does not count emancipation as a war aim. Lincoln's repeated call is for Southerners to submit to his authority and if that happens, he will befriend them slavery and all".
"Mr.Lincoln's failure to embrace emancipation as an outcome of this war proves he lacks imagination and spirit,"" agreed Disraeli. "The important thing is that he has never conceded that his adversaries are right in any of their behaviors, and, through his silence, he reserves the right to call on better principles to rally men in the future.
With the news of Parliament's decision speeding around the world, Vice Admiral Sir Alexander Milne, commander of the North American, West Indies Squadron, took some housecleaning measures. The first step was to eliminate those Union ships on blockade assignment before such ships could retire to safety.
The USS _Hartford_ was scuttled after a fierce battle between the New Orleans blockading detachment and a squadron of the Royal Navy commanded by Commodore Dunlop. Persistant to his death, American David G. Farragut died in that Battle of New Orleans when he blew up a ship entangled in a fight.
The US ship _Kearsarge_ encountered three British vessels near Ireland and left all of them ransacked and on fire in July and August 1861. That ship was sunk by the _Warrior_ on August 6 and ts crew taken into captivity.
On November 8, 1861, the American warship _San Jacinto_ boarded the British mail ship _Trent_ and captured two Confederate diplomats who were passengers on that ship. The _San Jacinto_, at speed, evaded the British Navy and made port at Boston, where their exploit was some consolation given the news of the British blockade.
In 1861, the Royal Navy decided that raids on either New York or Boston would inflict no useful damage on the United States, which had been busy fortifying those ports for the preceding six months.
The Scrooge Contribution Part IIIIn a Cabinet decision of that month, Palmerston authorized the _Warrior_ ironclad to join Admiral Milne's command in the Atlantic. There were rumors that the US Navy was building an ironclad of a remarkable new design in New York City, and the _Warrior_ was to counter that ship.
At the turn of 1861 and 1862, the Union percieved that it was at a
disadvantage in the courts of Paris. Following the Scrooge Contribution and Confederate willingness to accept that term, French Emperor Louis Napoleon contemplated assistance to Britain's new protege, the Confederacy. Napoleon's immediate concern was getting money out of Mexico. where French troops still occupied the main customs house of Vera Cruz, Mexico. Rather than making a decision on what to do in Mexico, the Emperor failed to make a plan and the number of French soldiers and sailors at Vera Cruz grew to a force of 20,000 men.
In 1862, the ironclad _Virginia_ made its first sortie against the Union ships at the sea lanes of Hampton Roads, Virginia. The _Virginia_ exchanged a round of cannon with the wooden _Cumberland_ and then rammed the _Cumberland_ as per doctrine.
The Scrooge Contribution Part IVThe relatively feeble engnes of the _Virginia_ were then shown inadequate for the _Virginia_ to back out of a ram as expected. Losing its prow, _Virginia_ backed enough to give the _Congress_ a devastating barrage from the ironclad's cannons. Another ship, _Minnesota_ went to shallow water to escape proximity to the _Virginia_. The first day of action (March 8) did not involve the British ironclad _Warrior_, held in reserve that day, or the Union _Monitor_, hurrying south for its encounter with the _Virginia__. The beginning of the battle of the second day was lit by the light of the still burning _Congress._ The least impressive ship that second day was the _Virginia_ which was underengined and poorly built. The _Warrior_, struck several times at its unarmored rudder, began leaking badly and was stuck in the shallows of Hampton Roads, while the _Monitor_ was paralyzed by several direct hits to its gun turret. The outcome was that all three ironclads were rendered incapable of combat and withdrawn from further action.
As military fortunes swelled along the lines of General McClellan's peninsular campaign against Richmond, the British Army had invaded across the border with America in March 1862. Sir James Hope Grant lead five thousand sepoys (transferred, like him, from India) into Seattle. The British took the town, though much of the city was burned down.
In the next month (April 1862), Grant received fifteen thousand reinforcements from across the Pacific Ocean. General Grant planned to go south along the coast and clear out American resistance sloowly and methodically.
Meanwhile, the Pacific Squadron of Admiral Sir Thomas Maitland had been occupied in making the Pearl Harbor port of Honolulu, Hawaii, a British base. On April 1, 1862, the Squadron had attempted to occupy San Francisco during the early morning fog but had been beaten off in a week of fighting. In May, the Royal Navy made a second attempt that was again overcome by an onslaught of numbers. The civilians of San Francisco far outnumbered their adversaries in the Royal Navy and Marines.
On June 21, 1862, General James Hope Grant was defeated in the Rogue's River battles of southern Oregon, and his forces dispersed and retreated following the General's capture by a guerilla organization called the "Lake Tahoe Grizzlies".
In 1862, and days thereafter at the terminus of that year, millions of unsolicited letters were mailed from inhabitants of Canada to residents of the Northern States. Such mail also moved in the opposite direction and male and female residents on both sides decided that they would take an initiative that might disrail an already settled Government policy.
The Scrooge Contribution Part VFor example, John A. Macdonald published his "letter to an American" that last month of Dec. 1862. "Sir, I have lived a peaceful, prosperous liife without offense to you or your fellows yet my heart freezes in fear for I know that your America has hundreds of thousands of soldiers that will march on my quiet Canada as your soldiers seek to steal Canada from us as early retaliation for our soldiers' role in stealing California from your nation. How much better it would be if you kept California and we kept our Canada!"
By January 1863, a response signed by Abraham Lincoln was being published in a Toronto newspaper, & was authenticated by Abraham Lincoln's White House. "I shall do nothing in malice. What I do is too vast for malicious undertaking. I will rejoice when it can be proven to me that no British Army in Canada shall march against any American county, and I include in that wish a regard for continued neutrality in all American territory including California. How I wish fervently that, by refusal to wage war, the citizens of both Canada and the United States will stop such a measure and bring peace regardless of the politicians on either side of the Ocean".
Abraham Lincoln mailed an open letter to Chancellor Bismarck of Prussia suggesting that he would not order an invasion of Canada in 1863 given a promise by the enemy that no other efforts to subjugate California be commenced. Viscount Palmerston made no response to Lincoln's letter to Bismarck, but advocacy of such a position was extremely widespread, particularly in Canada itself.
In 1863, the Republican Congress passed the National Reconciliation Act and Abraham Lincoln signed the same at a festive event that Friday evening.
The Scrooge Contribution Part VIThe Act set up standards by which a State could seek readmission of their Senators and Representatives to the United States Congress. In the interim until an "ironclad" oath of fidelity was recorded in favor of the Union by two-thirds of the State's residents, a Governor would be appointed by the President to act in the State's interests under close US Congressional supervision.
In 1863, a General Election was held for Parliament's House of Commons. Viscount Palmerston, Prime Minister since 1855, was ousted from office and Conservative Leader Lord Derby became Prime Minister. As Derby is a member of the House of Lords, Benjamin Disraeli is the leader of the Conservative Party in Commons.
The Scrooge Contribution Part VIIGiven the results from the battlefields, the political transition had been anticipated for over a year. Two invasions of San Francisco had been resisted and pushed back in 1862, and Grant's Expedition had suffered a sharp setback on the banks of the Rogue River of southern Oregon. Those developments pretty well dismantled the Palmerston Plan for an easy acquisition of California by the British.
Lord Palmerston acknowledged his defeat. "I ought to have listened to my guts rather than Ebenezer Scrooge". In his own constituency, Mr. Scrooge lost his election by 60% of the vote going to his Conservative opponent.
Lord Derby defers to his leader in the House, Benjamin Disraeli, whose
chief policy is the closure of the plan to annex California. William E. Gladstone, who is working with Lord John Russell among the remaining Liberals, cautions that British honor is tied to the promises of independence made to the several States of the Southern Confederacy.
Jubilation sweeps down the St. Laurence on both sides of the Canadian-American border on news of the General Election results. US President Abraham Lincoln, accused of frustrating American military plans by his delay in authorizing an invasion of Canada, issued new orders approving of the dissolution of the Army of the Niagara & the Army of the Hudson.
In Richmond, Virginia, Admiral Sir Alexander Milne visited Jefferson Davis in his office at the Confederate White House. The Admiral told the President that he expected new orders to withdraw his hundred ships from blockade duties, and that the Confederacy would once again have to confront the Union with its own resources.
The President was cold and rude, stating that he did not expect "our ally, our mother country, to desert us in the middle of this war".
President Davis had another appointment in two hours. He and his Cabinet, assisted by input from General Lee, would decide on Confederate policy on British withdraw.
Further afield, where the French had been quartered in VeraCruz for more than a year, news arrived that the French were finally going home.
Tortured by indecision ((should Napoleon III take the opportunity to conquer Mexico? should France join with England in seizing California? should France take the field against the Union?)), the French forces had done nothing but sit in the Mexican port. Benito Juarez received news of the French departure with courtesy and concealed relief. He had long feared that the French might try to get involved in internal Mexican politics.
© Today in Alternate History, 2013-. All characters appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.