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Sat, 17 Feb



William Schaw Lindsay M.P. - Confederate Advocate

How did a poor orphan boy became a shipping magnate, an MP, and the leading supporter of the Confederates in the American Civil War, trying to persuade the British and French to grant Southern independence? A true story of high politics, building a Confederate navy, and blockade running.

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William Schaw Lindsay M.P. - Confederate Advocate
William Schaw Lindsay M.P. - Confederate Advocate

Time & Location

17 Feb 2024, 13:00 – 16:00 GMT

London, Civil Service Club, Great Scotland Yard, London SW1A 2HJ, UK

About the Event

Born in Scotland and orphaned by the age of 10, William Schaw Lindsay (1815-1877) ran away to sea at the age of 16.  He would eventually own one of the largest shipping companies in Britain, with 22 ships (some of which were employed as troop transporters in the Crimean War), and chartering 700 per year.  He entered Parliament in 1854 where he focussed on shipping matters.  He visited the Northern states just prior to the American Civil War to discuss shipping laws and met President Elect Abraham Lincoln at his home, members of the Senate and President Buchanon. His sympathies lay with the Southerners however. He felt that they were unfairly taxed and underrepresented in the senate. He was described by the eminent American Historian Frank Merli as being "almost like the unofficial Confederate representative at Napoleon's court" and by Duncan Cambell the Canadian-British Historian as becoming "the leading Confederate spokesman".

The talk will set out to answer some questions. How much influence did Lindsay have in Parliament? What secret pact did he hear? Was his money used to help

build the Confederate navy? Was he involved in blockade running? What did the French Emperor discuss with him? What were his views on slavery? How close was Britain to going to war with the United States, and what threats did that pose? Was Lindsay ever close to achieving his objective of obtaining independence for the South?

About the Speaker

Bill Lindsay’s biography of his forefather,  William Schaw Lindsay - Victorian Entrepreneur, was published in July by Amberley Publishing. Taken from extensive and unpublished papers held in the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, the documents took six years to transcribe. Signed copies of the book can be ordered via Bill's website . Bill retired from a career in pharmaceutical marketing and is a member of the ACWRT UK and several maritime and history societies.

Discounted tickets are available to Full Time Students, please contact us for further details.



    This ticket is for people attending the meeting in person at the Civil Service club. Space is limited, so while we will admit 'walk-ins' if possible, anyone not purchasing a ticket in advance may be turned away if the venue is full. Tea, coffee and biscuits are included. Also includes access to the CSC bar before and after the event. A 50% refund will be given on the day to Full Time Students on presentation of a Student Card.

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    This is a hybrid physical and online event (via Zoom). A small fee is charged for online access to hybrid events to cover costs. Zoom attendees cannot participate in the raffle. The online link will be sent to you on your email receipt. FullTime Students are eligible to attend free by Zoom - please contact us for a discount code

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    We welcome voluntary donations to enable us to continue our education and conservation projects on both sides of the Atlantic. You can now make a donation of any value from £1 upwards on a single 'ticket'.

    Pay what you want
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