Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Napoleon, the Pope, and the CSA (Part II)

Europe's Plan to Save the South
Sesquicentennial Series
Emperor Louis Napoleon III
Not to be confused with Napoleon Bonaparte, his uncle, Louis Napoleon or His Imperial Majesty Emperor Napoleon III lived from 1808-1873 and reigned in France from 1848 until 1870. He was married to Eugenie de Montijo, known as Empress Consort Eugenie (1826-1920). Napoleon III reigned in France during a perilous time of intrigue, scheming politics, and shifting alliances, as the forces of unification and centralization stalked most regions of Europe. He was destined to cast a large shadow over events during the American Civil War or War Between the States (WBTS).
Empress Consort Eugenie
  By 1861, Napoleon III was drawn into a conflict in the New World by the long-standing turmoil in Mexico, which resulted in a default on loan payments that broke the Treaty of Soledad by the liberal Mexican government on debt owed to France, Spain, and England. To redress the situation, in late 1861, France led an expeditionary force into Mexico along with troops from England, Spain, and Austria. Within a short time, however, most of the other European forces went home, and France was left to move alone against the Mexican Army, supported by its sometime President Benito Juarez. The political and social situation in Mexico at the time was fractured, and Juarez represented the most prominent faction within a number of relatively small political groups. The northern states of Mexico, led by Santiago Vidaurri, were independent of the central government and soon allied themselves with the newly formed Confederate States of America (CSA). Meanwhile, various other groups, the Catholic Church, businessmen, and industrialists, mostly opposed Juarez.

By today's standards, Juarez would be termed a liberal or perhaps a left-wing populist strongman. He was supported by the new Lincoln administration in Washington, which held similar views to his, but Lincoln could not aid Juarez due to his own burgeoning crisis, the WBTS. Juarez represented those government interests who had welched on their debt payments due to careless spending. After a period of armed conflict, Mexican General Comonfort finally surrendered to French Commander Elie Forey in the spring of 1863, and Juarez went into exile at Chihuahua City in the far northwest of Mexico.

Far from being the end of the story, this was only the beginning of a plan by His Majesty Napoleon III to aid the CSA. Neutralizing the floundering and incompetent government of the Juarez regime was just the first step in a complicated diplomatic and military action carried out by several European Powers designed to save Christian agrarianism in North America.

Pope Pius IX
The Pope's Blessing         
Anyone who has studied the WBTS knows that establishment historians and other government apparatchiks have long insisted that the CSA was isolated from Europe and had no significant allies there. This alleged isolation was based on the supposed stigma attached to the South’s employment of the institution of slavery. This was not the case at all. But formal recognition of the CSA by European nations and the question of whether the CSA had European allies are two separate issues. The Mexican states bordering Texas to the south--namely Nuevo Leon y Coahuila as well as Tamaulipas--were early allies of the CSA and strong trading partners forming a large conduit for Southern cotton to Europe. This same alliance also served as a market for textiles and other goods produced in Monterrey and sold to the CSA.

The question of the CSA’s European allies is a more complicated issue. Understanding it requires a nuanced approach, an understanding of several theaters of operation at once, a perspective that has apparently eluded establishment writers, who have ignored this arena either because it didn’t fit their hackneyed “slavery” template or because they have sought to obfuscate the subject.

As mentioned in part 1, the impulse towards consolidation and centralization, sometimes called unification or consolidationism, was an epidemic in Europe. In the early nineteenth century, the Italian peninsula was a diverse, pluralistic collection of states, duchies, and kingdoms. Through a series of wars, uprisings, and revolutions, though, this marvelous assemblage of distinct cultures was crushed into an increasingly homogenous society that sought to stamp out individual identities in favor of the national physiography called Italy.

One man who was at the center of the battle to retain the character of the Italian peninsula and opposed unification in the rest of Europe was Pope Pius IX (1792-1878). Arguably the greatest pope of the nineteenth century (possibly the modern era), he fought both spiritually and at times physically in the cause for ethnic diversity. A great theologian, writer, and pastor, he was the longest serving elected pope in the history of the Catholic Church. He also favored President Jefferson Davis over the rump president Abraham Lincoln. Not only did Pope Pius IX receive diplomats from the CSA, he corresponded with President Davis and worked behind the scenes with European heads of state to support the Southern cause. Many of these proceedings could be found scattered in various references. But recently, a new book,  La Corona Ecumenica--Pio IX y la Confederacion Americana, 1861-1865, detailing the relationship of the pope with the South has been published in Spain by author Raphael Waldburg-Zeil.

Why would this famous pope side with the Confederate States? Gary Potter, writing in Catholicism , provides some of the answers. He writes, “We shall be helped in this by a remarkable essay, Religion and the Old South, written nearly seventy years ago by Allen Tate, poet, essayist, Southerner, and convert to the Faith.” The Old South, Tate shows, had the only truly European civilization ever known in America. That is, in the sense that it was a civilization rooted in its own, unique soil and produced men who measured their success in life according to non-material standards, perhaps the chief of them being honor. It was an agricultural civilization and a hierarchical one. That, in itself, was enough to make Pius and most ordinary Catholics of the day sympathetic to the South. Certainly the Catholic Bishops of the South were sympathetic. There is no record of any of them failing to support the Confederacy. One of them, Bishop Patrick Lynch of Charleston, South Carolina, became President Davis’ envoy to Pope Pius IX.”

In other words, the pope recognized the distinctive difference between the North and the South was one of culture and attitude. The Weltanschauung (comprehensive worldview) in the South was a cultural expression of the perennial wisdom where the deep recurring themes of the seasons, religion, and the land formed a worldview in conflict with that of the materialistic Yankee north. 

Allied with the pope through reasons of compatibility were Emperor Louis Napoleon and his wife, Empress Eugenie, an intelligent and skilled woman with an active interest in foreign policy. She would be one of the emperor's best advisers and would make up in boldness what his Majesty lacked in pluck.

Eugenie was born in Granada, Spain, to Don Portocarrero and María Kirkpatrick Grevigné. She was educated in Paris and would marry Louis Napoleon in 1853. It is through Eugenie's family that a crucial Jacobite influence emerged (the Jacobite connection is referred to in part 1). Empress Eugenie's grandfather was William Kirkpatrick of Conheath, a Scottish nobleman whose family had supported English King Charles I and was awarded a title and other honors by the Jacobite patriarch James II. Her oldest sister was María Francisca. Maria married Jacob Fitz-James Stewart y Ventimiglia, the 8th Duke of Berwick, a part of the Stewart lineage.

Anyone who has looked into the history of the South knows that there was a strong Jacobite sentiment in the southern states. Many of the “mountain Celts” in the South favored the Stewart cause or were in some degree loyal to the Stewart monarchy, even to this day. Other European immigrants had affection for the Jacobites as well as the Hapsburgs. These attachments were known in the royalist circles of Europe exposing to them a vein of potential allies. 

France Ascending

Michel Chevalier

Michel Chevalier (1806-1879) was a well-known figure in the French government holding several advisory posts. In a remarkable vegrandis libri translated by W. Henry Hurlbut and published in 1863 entitled France, Mexico, and the Confederate States, Chevalier yields some extraordinary insights about the policies of Emperor Napoleon. In September 1863, the New York Times characterized Chevalier's book this way: “There is little doubt, at all events, that it foreshadows Louis Napoleon's purposes, hopes and desires. Even without inspiration, however, its great ability and plausibility render it of high value and interest.” Subsequent writings by Chevalier would affirm that his ideas were indeed advising the Tuileries (the French White House).

A plan unfolded in Europe to aid the Confederate States by launching an expedition to Mexico. Chevalier confirms this (page 7 of his book): “It is (our) interests which compel France to sympathize with the Confederate States which have led our banners up to the walls of Mexico. The recognition of the Southern States will be the consequences of our intervention . . . which will consecrate the final separation and secession of those states from the American Union.” Beginning with the ouster of Juarez and stabilization of the political situation in Mexico, the French military would bring order to a society that had seen decades of chaos. The next part of the French plan might well be attributed to Empress Eugenie.

At the outset of the WTBS, Europe looked very different than it does today. For instance, there was no Germany as we know it. There was, however, a common Germanic language shared by many small and medium-sized states in Central Europe, the most important being Prussia, Bavaria, and Austria. The latter two were more or less allied with France, and the former installed Otto von Bismarck, an admirer of President Lincoln, as their leader. But Germany, as a country, did not exist.

As described in part 1, the situation in Europe was a powder keg of shifting alliances, a time of intrigue and revolution. Within this situation, the interests of the French, Austrians, and Pope Pius IX coalesced around a policy that would stabilize Mexico politically and bring new administrative skills to the government. Once this aim was accomplished, it would ensure a legitimate base of operations in the Gulf of Mexico for the French to openly supply the CSA.

It would take the French and their allies, not England’s actions and policies, to accomplish this plan. About the English, Chevalier said: “The commerce of England profits by the misfortunes of American commerce; she looks with satisfaction on the exhaustion alike of [the] South and of the North. She supplies both parties with arms, and while the southern export of cotton is suspended, she is increasing the cotton culture of India. England, then, will never take the initiative in recognizing the Confederate States . . .” In short, England was content to sell weapons to both sides and cynically watch them kill one another.

Family Ties

The idea that Europeans would hesitate to help the CSA over the slavery issue was ridiculous according to Chevalier: “The northern idea of abolition of slavery, by making the negro food for powder [to be used as cannon fodder] or by exiling him from his home (exporting him) to die of hunger is now thoroughly understood in Europe. Our notions of philanthropy and our moral sense alike revolt from these ferocious exaggerations of the love of liberty. Honest and intelligent men are no longer to be duped by these coarse devices, and Mr. Lincoln's abolition cry finds no echo.”

Casting the humanitarian pretensions of anti-slavery fanatics into the cocked-hat from whence they came, the European coalition moved forward with their plan. They prevailed on the beautiful Sophia, Princess of Bavaria, who was influential at the Austrian court. Empress Eugenie may have initiated the proposal that Sophia's son should rule as the Emperor of Mexico with the help of France. 
Princess Sophia of Bavaria
After a period of consideration, the stake holders came to an agreement and the son of Princess Sophia, Maximilian, the younger brother of Emperor Franz Joseph of Austria, would be offered the throne of Mexico. In 1863, Maximilian and his young wife Carlota, daughter of King Leopold I of Belgium, a Protestant, agreed to go to Mexico and govern. Maximilian was from a new generation of monarchs who were forward thinking and interested in reform. This upstart group of royalty believed in the concept of democratic legitimacy, and he only agreed to rule in Mexico after a vote had been taken to confirm him. Somewhat like President John Kennedy and his wife Jacqueline, the couple were young, beautiful, idealistic, and full of life. They tried their best to perform their roles to reform Mexico, but Maximilian's story would be all too similar to that of JFK’s.
Emperor Franz Joseph I of Austria

The plan was now in motion. Monsieur Chevalier speaking in the New York Times, June 30, 1863, sized up the situation in Mexico this way, “Mexico is to be permanently occupied . . . a civil service in every department is to be immediately organized in that country . . . I am persuaded, from various indications, that a permanent occupation is, and was from the first, intended.”

The next phase was establishing Maximilian and then French and Austrian military bases. The Europeans had no respect for the brutal Lincoln administration or the New England power structure that had installed him in office. Chevalier writes (p. 12): “Today the Americans of the north are completely foreign to the family of nations . . . They understand nothing but the narrowest and most mechanical mercantilism . . . and they long to annihilate the Confederate states in order that the South, by its intelligence, its enterprise, and the talents of its statesmen, may not throw down the ramparts they (the north) have built up against Europe . . ” To my knowledge no one in Europe disputed Chevalier's characterization of the Yankees.

The military and diplomatic plans were also being negotiated through envoys and other representatives of the Jefferson Davis administration in Richmond, Virginia. There was fierce activity by the Confederate State Department to quickly put together a stronger military agreement. France would build warships and provide materiel, but troops were out of the question until supply lines could be strengthened, land bases established, and a diplomatic cover rendered that would satisfy a nervous European public.
Carlota and Maximillian of Mexico

Chevalier continues on page 16: “Recognized by France, the strength of those states (the South) is quintupled at once . . . For other states (countries) are waiting to follow the example of France . . . [other] powers, hitherto kept aloof by the phantom of slavery, will follow France . . . ” Once France justified diplomatic and military ties, then the die would be irrevocably cast. The move would be enough to sway public opinion across Christendom against the common enemy, Abraham Lincoln, and the clique that controlled Washington. The most likely candidates to join the coalition with France would be Austria, Bavaria, and Brazil for starters. Outside Bismarck and the Prussians and the friendless goat of the Crimean War, Czar Alexander II of Russia, Lincoln's northern alliance had few friends.

These facts were well known to the Europeans who calculated that with the leadership of Napoleon III and his military, allied with the ground forces of the CSA, short work could be made of Lincoln. At the end of Chevalier's comments, he raised a military specter: “The navy of France is an argument which, in case of necessity, would support diplomatic action.” Here the meaning is obvious. Under the correct diplomatic cover, the French fleet would come in and smash the Yankee blockade and restore international trade and order. This would be the end of Lincoln's northern alliance.

Falling Curtain

President Jeffereson Davis
Although France and her associates spent blood and treasure on this project, the curtain was going down before the plan could come to fruition. The war spun out of control for the CSA, and defeat brought an end to its hope. Urgency was likely the source of the severe brutality by Grant, Sherman, and Sheridan toward the end of the war, when these generals used human resources like dried pine needles on a fire to defeat the South. Union soldiers recklessly charged at the dwindling Confederate forces, who slaughtered them by the thousands. But in the end, Northern numbers ruthlessly overcame Southern valor. Lincoln knew that Europe was about to enter our war, so his tactics, as implemented by General U.S. Grant, devolved into savagery. The clock had run out for the South.

Despised by many in Europe, Lincoln's government gained no new foreign alliances during the war, keeping only those already established by previous administrations. In addition, it had no assurances of military aid from abroad in case the United States had a future war with a European power. Yet the oldest families of Europe who had defended Western Civilization and Christendom for over 1000 years had extended a hand to save the Confederate States.  

Had the South withstood the attacking Northerners and secured secession, it could have introduced new agricultural and labor techniques. Then with the help of France and the guidance of countries that had already terminated bondage; slavery would have peacefully ended. The South and the area along the Gulf of Mexico would have developed in a much different way.

Within a year of the end of the WBTS, Bismarck's Prussia would attack Bavaria and Austria, igniting the Austro-Prussian War. The United States would renew its support for Juarez, and soon the French were forced to pull out of Mexico in anticipation of a war with Prussia, which erupted in 1870. The idealistic Maximilian, instead of fleeing or abdicating, loyally remained with his adopted people and was defeated and brutally executed by Juarez: a sacrifice at the altar of liberalism that has plunged Mexico into turmoil up to the present time.

After the war, Pope Pius IX would continue to comfort the deposed President Davis and his family, supporting him even through his personal trials and imprisonment. The French people who helped give birth to the United States tried to save the old republic and recoiled at the attempt by the North to use the humanitarian pretensions of abolitionism to cover naked aggression and genocide.

The perennial wisdom of Christendom was delivered a grave but not a fatal blow. After the War it would be subducted, sliding beneath the veneer of modern culture , only to rise again and again.