Nonfiction > James Ford Rhodes > History of the Civil War, 1861–1865 > Page 272
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James Ford Rhodes (1848–1927).  History of the Civil War, 1861–1865  1917.
 
Page 272
 
 
  Two months later a combination of circumstances caused the Emperor to propose for his government alone a mediation between the two belligerents. The apparently crushing disaster of Fredericksburg satisfied him, as indeed it confirmed the public opinion of Europe, that the cause of the North was hopeless. At the same time the distress in the cotton-manufacturing districts of France which had become acute was brought home as the winter wore on. More than a hundred thousand operatives in one department alone were out of work and in a condition of utter misery, subsisting, according to report, “by roaming at night from house to house and demanding rather than asking alms.” On January 9, the Emperor dictated a despatch, in which he offered courteously and diplomatically, the friendly mediation of his government between the two sections without the suggestion of an armistice which had been contained in his former proposition. This message went through the usual diplomatic channels and was presented, on February 3, 1863, by the French Minister at Washington to Seward, who, three days later, acting upon the President’s instructions, declined the offer in a polite, gently argumentative and considerate letter. The Emperor lacked the courage to proceed further in his policy of intervention without the coëperation of Great Britain which was persistently withheld.  20
  Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation was received abroad with coldness and suspicion. The governing classes of England, whose organs in 1861 had asserted that, if the North should make her fight for the emancipation of the negro, she would commend her cause strongly to their sympathies, could now see in it nothing but an attempt to excite a servile insurrection. But the friends of the North comprehended it. John Stuart Mill wrote that no American
 

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