Leopold I et l'intervention européenne dans la guerre de Sécession (septembre 1862-janvier 1863).

Leopold I And European Intervention In The Secession War September 1862 - January 1863: King Leopold the First of the Belgians played a not unimportant part in the diplomatic struggle that went with the Civil War in the United States. The aim of that diplomatic struggle was, as far as the Confederates were con- cerned, to be granted official diplomatie status by the European powers. This was of course strenuously opposed by the Federal government. There was much sympathy for the Southern cause in influential segments of official circles in Belgium. The king himself had his own reasons for interfering : his son in law, Maximilian, was trying to establish his authority over Mexico, a close neighbour of the Confederation. From the very start of the Civil War, the Secessionists sent an emissary to Brussels, Ambrose Dudley Mann. Mann was expected to work on the French and English governments, using Leopold's influence. When the cotton crisis became acute, some politicians in England considered the feasibility of recognising the Confederate government (September 1862). Palmerston took king Leopold into his confidence and Leopold himself made suggestions to Napoleon III (October 1^, 1862). The talk was about an armistice and a mediation of the European powers in the conflict, and the French emperor eventually toyed with the idea of a joint mediation by France, England and Russia. He made his proposals known to the English cabinet via Leopolds agent, Jules van Praet, but, as Russia rejected the whole scheme outright, England too gave in. In any case, the overall military position of the South was now deteriorating fast. This helps to explain why in January 1863, Mann en- deavoured to ask for official diplomatic recognition of the Confederation by Belgium, hoping that this would be a start, but England and France did what they could to discourage Belgium and Rogier refused the demand for diplomatic recognition. King Leopold was by no means happy with the failure of his endeavours to achieve an european intervention in the Civil War, and he was especially irate at Palmerston. But the decline of the confederate military power gave him no chance to try again, and he merely went on advocating till the end a compromise between the antagonists.