The birthplace of the commerce raider CSS Florida, a major port for blockade running, and the scene of frantic speculation in cotton brought out of the beleaguered Confederacy, the fortunes of its large and wealthy merchant class were closely bound up with those of the Southern States. 'Does anyone... who knows Liverpool doubt that the overwhelming balance of sympathy is on the side of the South?' asked the Liverpool Albion in May 1862 (1), while prominent Liverpool businessman James Spence
, one of the Confederacy's most active sympathisers, described it as 'the headquarters of Southern sentiment.'
A letter to the Index, written from Liverpool, almost certainly by James Spence
, and published on 6 October 1864, stated confidently that 'The Bazaar which is to be held in this town ... in aid of the Southern Relief Fund promises to be a great success'.
was a wealthy tin and iron merchant and cotton broker, who gave freely of his
time, energy and money in support of the Confederate cause throughout the War.
was the author of The American Union
(1861), regarded as a major instrument of Confederate propaganda, as well as a long series of articles in The Times giving a commentary on the War from a Southern viewpoint, and in 1862 he
helped Henry Hotze establish the Index, to which he
was an early contributor.
For a while he was the Confederacy's financial agent in Europe, and is believed to have been a major investor in the Confederate Cotton Loan.
Involved in Southern Independence Associations in Manchester and London, he also organised Southern Clubs in various towns and cities in support of Confederate independence, and in addition was honorary secretary of the Southern Prisoners' Relief Fund.
Some of the stalls were tended by ladies with recognisable names - Georgia, by Mrs Bulloch, wife of Commander James Bulloch, chief naval purchasing agent in Britain; Mississippi, by Mrs Slidell, wife of John Slidell, Confederate Commissioner in Paris; North Carolina, by Mrs Spence; South Carolina, by Lady Wharncliffe and Mrs Prioleau, wife of Charles Prioleau, treasurer of the Relief Fund, and senior partner in the Liverpool firm of Fraser, Trenholm, bankers to the Confederacy; and Tennessee, by Lady Beresford-Hope.
Most of the prizes were predictable items like vases, rugs or watches, but they also included Robert E Lee's pipe (won by James Spence), and a Shetland pony, donated by Peter Tait of Limerick, who manufactured uniforms for the Confederate Army
The Liverpool Daily Courier
pronounced the Bazaar 'a triumphant success', and the Index left its readers in no doubt that the credit should go to James Spence
, 'whose indefatigable exertions for weeks in advance wrought out such harmonious results in the arrangements, and whose energy during the week of its operations has been so conspicuous and so unfailing'. (6)