Britain never formally recognized the Confederacy (neither did France) and maintained peaceful relations with the Union despite the provocation late in 1861 of the Trent Affair, which was adroitly handled by Secretary of State Seward. Charles Francis Adams (1807–86) at London and John Bigelow at Paris were able diplomats, but probably more important in winning popular support for the Union in England and France was the Emancipation Proclamation, which Lincoln issued after Antietam.
This act appeased for a time the anti-Lincoln radical Republicans in Congress, among them Benjamin F. Wade, Zachariah Chandler, Thaddeus Stevens, and Henry W. Davis, with whom Secretary of the Treasury Salmon P. Chase and Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton were allied. Not all Unionists were abolitionists, however, and the Emancipation Proclamation was not applied to the border slave states: Delaware, Maryland, Kentucky, and Missouri had all remained loyal. For Lincoln and kindred moderates, such as Postmaster General Montgomery Blair, the restoration of the Union, not the abolition of slavery, remained the principal objective of the war.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.