Articles by Karl Marx in Die Presse 1862

More on Seward’s Suppressed Dispatch

Source: MECW Volume 19, p. 143;
Written: on January 14, 1862;
First published: in Die Presse, January 18, 1862.

London, January 14

The defunct Trent case is resurrected, this time, however, as a casus belli not between England and the United States, but between the English people and the English government. The new casus belli will be decided in Parliament, which assembles next month. Without doubt you have already taken notice of the polemic of The Daily News and The Star against The Morning Post over the suppression and denial of Seward’s peace dispatch of November 30, which on December 19 was read to Lord John Russell by the American Ambassador, Mr. Adams. Permit me, now, to return to this matter. With the assurance of The Morning Post that Seward’s dispatch had not the remotest bearing on the Trent affair, stock exchange securities fell and property worth millions changed hands, was lost on the one side, won on the other. In commercial and industrial circles, therefore, the wholly unjustifiable semi-official lie of The Morning Post disclosed by the publication of Seward’s dispatch of November 30 arouses the most tremendous indignation.

On the afternoon of January 9 the peace news reached London. The same evening The Evening Star (the evening edition of The Morning Star) interpellated the government concerning the suppression of Seward’s dispatch of November 30. The following morning, January 10, The Morning Post replied as follows:

“It is asked why nothing has been heard sooner of Mr. Seward’s dispatch, which reached Mr. Adams some time in December. The explanation of this is very simple. It is that the dispatch received by Mr. Adams was not communicated to our government.-

On the evening of the same day The Star gave the lie to the Post completely and declared its “rectification” to be a miserable subterfuge. The dispatch, it wrote, had in fact not been “communicated” to Lord Palmerston and Lord Russell by Mr. Adams, but had been “read out”.

Next morning, Saturday, January 11, The Daily News entered the lists and proved from The Morning Post’s article of December 21 that the Post and the government had been fully acquainted with Seward’s dispatch at that time and deliberately falsified it. The government now prepared to retreat. On the evening of January 11 the semi-official Globe declared that Mr. Adams had, to be sure, communicated Seward’s dispatch to the government on December 19; this, however, “contained no offer by the Washington Cabinet” any more than “a direct apology for the outrage on the British flag”. This shamefaced admission of a deliberate deception of the English people for three weeks only fanned the flame higher, instead of quenching it. A cry of anger resounded through all the organs of the industrial districts of Great Britain, which yesterday finally found its echo even in the Tory newspapers. The whole question, one should note, was placed on the order of the day, not by politicians, but by the commercial public. Today’s Morning Star remarks on the subject:

“Lord John Russell is undoubtedly an accomplice in that suppression of the truth; he allowed the Morning Post’s lie to circulate uncontradicted, but he is incapable of having dictated that mendacious and incalculably pernicious article which appeared in The Morning Post on the 21st of December. This could only be done by one man. The Minister who fabricated the Afghan war is alone capable of having suppressed Mr. Seward’s message of peace. The foolish leniency of the House of Commons condoned the one offence. Will not Parliament and people unite in the infliction of punishment for the other?”