[Richmond Daily Dispatch]
England and the Confederate States.
It is now quite plain that in this quarrel, despite all that has been said and written about slavery, England sides with the Confederate States. She does so, indeed, compelled by the strongest motives of self-interest. Her cotton manufactures cannot flourish, or even exist, without the usual supplies of raw material from the South. The North has just adopted a Protectionist Tariff, very unfavorable to English interests, and, in resisting the enforcement and extension of this prohibitory traffic, the South is virtually fighting England's battle. --Still more, the jealousy of the United States, as a maritime power, is a fixed principle of British statesmanship; and we may be certain that the news of the blow just inflicted on a navy which, in some respects, was formidable to England, has given satisfaction, not loud but deep, to the great bulk of Englishmen. It is so easy to bring about a collision, and, under present circumstances, it would be so safe and advantageous for England to pick a quarrel with the Government of the United States, that we shall not be surprised to find. Her Majesty's Government assuming a position with regard to this civil broil which may easily lead to war. That they will allow the cotton supply to be cut off by the blockade of the Southern ports, is hardly to be expected.
Doubtful questions of right are easily and promptly settled when there is no doubt about the question of force. The burning of Gosport dockyard has, for the moment, placed the United States Navy at England's mercy; and if, on this occasion, England is found to spare a rival and foe, we must be nearer to the Millennia than is popularly supposed. The decisions announced to the House of Commons by Lord J. Russell point strongly in the direction of a rupture between England and the United States. Lord John declared that the British Government would not recognize the blockade proclaimed of the Southern ports unless it were made effective, but that they did recognize the legality of the letters of marque issued by President Davis. Now, the Washington Government threatens to treat the holders of these letters of marque as pirates, and unless the spirit of Yankeeland has sunk very low, they will probably show fight also on the blockade question. It is evident that Lord John knew more about this matter than he chose to communicate to the House and the public. And it is also evident that no more favorable occasion than the present is likely to offer for striking a blow at one of the few maritime rivals England has cause to dread.