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- Mr. Adams to Lord Stanley. . '
LEGATION or THE UNITED STATES,
MY LORD : Under instructions from the government which I have the honor to represent, I feel it a. most painful duty to present to your lordship some considerations which may possibly weigh with her Majesty’s government so far as to induce it to mercy to the prisoners now under sentence of death in Ireland for political offences, at least to the extent of a commutation of the fearful penalty. - _
Disclaiming as I do on the part of my government any intention to interpose as matter of right in these cases, and freely admitting the fairness of the proceedings under which the parties have been condemned, I propose simply to confine myself to a statement of the reasons which prompt my government to venture upon any representation in their behalf.
No evidence has been received at this legation satisfactorily to show that the prisoner Burke has ever been naturalized as a citizen of the United States. It is not therefore on ground of that sort that I proceed. But there is reason to believe that at the critical period when an insurrection took place among us of a most alarming character, threatening at one moment to total subversion of the established authority of the land, this individual voluntarily came forward to offer his services in the support of the government. They were accepted, and he subsequently did his part bravely in the work which terminated in restoripg the legitimate power. Under these circumstances it would seem to be no more than an act of grateful remembrance to offer a‘ plea in his behalf, in mitigation of the penalty upon his present offence. _ _
The case of John McCafi'erty stands upon wholly difi'erent grounds. He is a native citizen of the .United States. and there is no doubt that instead of volunteering to the support of the government of the United States in the emergency referred to, be, though belonging to a loyal section of the‘ country, not only enlisted but served throughout the war in the insurgent ranks. Hence it is certain that his conduct rendered him liable to pay the same penalty to the violated law of America that he appears now to have received in Ireland. But on the
restoration of peace, the government wishing to inaugurate a new and more humane system .
of treatment of purely political offences than had heretofore prevailed, decided not to exact the last penalty against notorious offenders, but rather to remit it, and to accept a renewal! of their allegiance in condonation of the past. This was the case with the prisoner. It is therefore in his behalf as a native citizen of the United States that I have the honor to transmit for your lordship’s consideration an opinion of his counsel, Mr. Butt, on the present state of his case. It would appear from this that 'many questions of law were raised in the course of the trial, upon some of which the judges themselves ditfered in giving their decision. So far as it may be within the power of this legation, every proper means will be taken that may secure to him the benefit of the fullest privileges granted by the law of the realm. I am constrained to agree in opinion with Mr. Butt that this case does not admit of any right of interposition under the principles of international law ; but I cannot help expressing the. conviction that in view of the precise condition of things in the United States, the merciful policy there adopted in their domestic affairs is better adapted to allay the bitterness consoquent upon a fearful internal strife than the shedding of blood with a view to deter future offenders. It is impossible to disguise to your lordship the fact that the United States now contain a population of Irish extraction so very numerous that what is thought to be a harsh decision of her Majesty’s government in these cases will have even a more unfortunate effect on their sympathies than if they were all still remaining subjects to her Majesty’s authority. The very peculiar relations into which the two countries are thrown by the fact of the distribution between them, now almost in equal numbers, of the people of that island, by which the peace of the one is affected almost as much as that of the other, may, I trust, justify me for what might otherwise be deemed as passing the proper limits of international courtesy in this representation. ‘ ’.
Neither is it perhaps altogether out of place to remind your lordship that in the period of domestic insurrection referred to, persons were found engaged in the rebellion proved to be British subjects, and still mdre conclusively proved to have been guilty of acts of atrocity and violence far out of the pale of civilized warfare. In one case within my own personal knowledge the offender was condemned to suffer the last penalty inflicted by offended justice, but in consequence of the earnest and urgent representations of ,British subjects, forwarded in part through the medium of this legation, and partly more directly to my government, the sentence was commuted, and the offender is now expiating his offence in the prisons of the count!‘ .
I prhy your lordship to accept the assurances of the highest consideration with which I
have the honor to be, &c., &c_., &c., 0 ' ' CHARLES FRANCIS ADAMS. The Right Hon. LORD STANLEY, 8§'c., kc, 85's.
Lord Stanley to Mr. Adams.
SIR: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt, at a late hour last night, of your letter of yesterday, intercedin for the prisoners Burke and McCafi'erty, now lying under sentence of death in Ireland for the crime of high treason.
I need scarcely assure you that any representation which you might make under instructions from your government in behalf of persons whose lives were forfeited on account of their participation in_even so heinous a crime, would always receive from her Majesty’s government the most serious and earnest consideration; and in the present case I am most happy to inform you that, after fully weighing all the circumstances of the case, with the view of deciding whether it were right or possible to remit the extreme penalty of the law in favor of the two prisoners for whom you especially intercede, her Majesty’s government came yesterday afternoon to the conclusion that there were grounds on which they might recommend them to the clemency of the Queen, so far as their lives were concerned; and as I cannot doubt that the Queen will Lidly accept the advice of her government thus tendered to her Majesty, I feel that I need; not hesitate at once to assure you that the sentence of death passed on these prisoners will not be carried into execution,
I may also say‘ that it will be a source of no small satisfaction to her Maiesty’s governm nt that the clemency shown in this case will be gratifying to the government of the United States, in whose name you have appealed to them for the mitigation of the punishment so justly due to persons who have wantonly engaged in treasonable acts against the peace of the Queen’s dominions.
I have the honor to be, &c., &c., &c.,
CHARLES Fnsscrs AnAMs,'Esq., 8¢c., 8;-c., &'c.
P. S.—May 27.—I have delayed sending you this letter in the hope that I might be able to add to it the reply of the Queen to the recommendation, which I inform you had been
. made on Saturday to her Majesty; and I am now in a position to acquaint you that the
Queen has been graciously pleased to comply with the advice of her ministers, and to signify her assent to the sentence of death, passed on the prisoners Burke and McCafl'erty, being commuted for penal servitude for life.
Mr. Adams to Mr. Seward.
No. 1379.] p ' I LEGATION or THE UNITED STATES, London, June 4, 1867.
SIR: I have to acknowledge the reception from the department of despatch No. 1985, of the 20th of May.
It is now tolerably well ascertained that none of the sentences of death pronounced in Ireland will be carried out. Since writing my No. 1357, on the case of McCafl'erty, I learn from the report of Mr. West that his legal advisers, not satisfied with the commutation of the penalty, are desirous of prosecuting the appeal from the decision of the court, with a. view to his liberation, and demur to my refusal to incur any further responsibility for the costs of the process on the part of the United States. I can well understand why it would be very agreeable to throw the onus of expensive litigation upon the government, independently of the moral support incidentally gained to the general cause. But I am always disposed to be chary of the expenditure of the public money. especially in cases where I am called to act without authority. I have, therefore, persisted in declining to go further, at least until the matter shall have been fully submitted to your judgment. Any instructions you may think proper to give will, however, be faithfully carried out.
I have the honor to be, sir, your obedient servant,
CHARLES FRANCIS ADAMS: Hon. WILLIAM H. Sawuro,
Secretary of State, Washington, D. C.
Mr. F. W. Seward to Mr. Adams.
No. 1996.] DEPARTMENT on STATE, ' ‘ IVas/zington, June 4, 1867.
Slu : I enclose herewith a copy of a letter of the 24th ultimo, addressed to this department by James A. Hamilton, esq., son of the late Alexander Hamilton, in behalf of John McClure, a prisoner in Ireland, and to whom reference was made in your No. 1369 of the 18th of May. \ '
I will thank you to do what .you properly can, with a view to effect the object sought by'Mr. Hamilton.
I am, sir, your obedient servant,
F. W. SEWA RD,
NEVIS, May 24, 1867.
Sm: John McClure, the son of respectable parents, whom I have long known in this neighborhood, recently on trial in Ireland, has pleaded guilty and thrown himself on the mercy of the government.
He went off as a Fenian without the knowledge of his parents. He is under 21 years, served gallant] during the recent rebellion in defence of the United Staes government. He is a citizen by birth, although his parent is an Irishman naturalized. The father has gone to Cork; the mother is distracted with grief. I am requested to addess this letter to you in hope that you may, not ‘in your official but personal character, exercise an influence, perhaps through the English ministry, which will induce a pardon on condition that he will leave Ireland immediately and abjure Fenianism.
I have the honor to be your obedient servant,
JAMES A. HAMILTON. Hon. WILLIAM H. Sewam), ~
Secretary of State, Wash-ingtorl.
Mr. Seward to Mr. Adams.
No. 1998.] ‘ I DEPARTMENT or sm-is, Waskinglon, June 10, 1867.
SIR: The third article of the treaty to settle and define the boundaries between the territories of the United States and the possessions of her Britannic Majesty in North America, for the final suppression of the African slave trade, and for the giving up of criminals and fugitives from justice in certain cases, ratified August 22d, 1842, is in the following words:
In order to promote the interests and encourage the industry of all the inhabitants of the countries watered by the river St. John and its tributaries, whether living within the State of Maine or the province of New Brunswick, it is agreed that, where; by the provisons of the resent treaty, the river St. John is declared to be the line of boundary, the navigation of the said river shall be free and open to both parties, and shall in no way be obstructed by either; that all the produce of the forest, in logs, lumber, timber, boards, staves, or shingles, or of agriculture, not being manufactured, grown on any of those parts of the State of Maine watered by the river St. John or by its tributaries, of which fact reasonable evidence shall, if .required, be produced, shall have free access into and through the said river and its said tributaries having their source within the State of Maine, to and from the seaport at the mouth of the said river St. Johns, and to and round the falls of the said river, either by boats, rafts, or other conveyance ; that, when within the province of New Brunswick, the said produce shall be dealt with as if it were the produce of the said province; that, in like manner, the inhabitants of the territory of the upper St. John, determined by this treaty to belong to her Britannic Majesty, shall have free access to and through the river for their produce,
in those arts where the said river runs wholly through the State of Maine: Provided always, T at this agreement shall give no right to either party to interfere with any regulations, not inconsistent with the terms of this treaty, which the governments, respectively, of Maine or 08 New Brunswick may make respecting the navigation of the said river, where both banks thereof shall belong to the same party.—( U. S. Statutes at Large, vol. 8, p. 574.)
It has come to the knowledge of the government of the United States that an export duty of 20 per cent. per thousand feet has recently been levied and exacted-, in the province of New Brunswick, upon lumber which is sawed from logs the produce of the State of Maine. It is the opinion of this government that this export duty is in contravention of the _treaty provision which I have recited.
You are, therefore, instructed to present a remonstrance on the subject to her Majesty’s government, and to ask that the duty levied may be hereafter discontinued, and that in the few cases in which it has been paid, under pr_otest, the‘ amount so paid may be refunded.
The provincial authorities of New Brunswick are understood to take the
positionthat the duty imposed upon American lumber, the produce of the State '
of Maine, in the province of New Brunswick, is authorized by that provision of the third article before recited which is expressed in the following words :
When within the province of New Brunswick the said produce shall be dealt with as if it were the produce of the said province.
The provincial authorities are understood further to insist that the impost upon lumber, the produce of the State of Maine, in New Brunswick, is justified by the fact that an export duty of the like amount is imposed by the colonial law of New Brunswick upon lumber grown in that province.
The construction of the treaty thus assumed by New Brunswick seems to the United States to be. inadmissible. The intent of the treaty seems to be to make the St. J ohn’s, where it is either wholly or in part within the province of New Brunswick, a United States river for all purposes connected with the transportation of produce grown upon lands lying near the head-waters-of that river.
The object seems to be that such produce shall find its way to the sea without'"
any impediment arising from the fact that a part of the transit over the St. John’s is through the territory of New Brunswick. These intents are clearly expressed in the words which constitute the provision for free access “into and through the said river,” “to and from the seaport at the mouth.”
What was intended is not merely access for persons but access for produce
grown in Maine; and access from the seaport, in this connection, must mean
-not only exit from the seaport, seaward, but also access to the port from the
State of Maine, with liberty in going out from that port.
Since these intentions constitute the main purposes of the treaty, the provision which is relied upon by New Brunswick, namely, that the lumber, the produce of Maine, “ shall be dealt with as if it were the produce of the province,” is to be construed in consistency with that superior purpose, and in subordination to the foregoing general provision. It is a provision intended to be beneficial, not injurious, to the United States.
It seems calculated to secure in New Brunswick to lumber, the produce of the State of Maine, every privilege that lumber might be entitled to which is the growth of that province, and was not intended to subject the former to every burden that New Brunswick may think proper to impose upon her own lumber in the way of domestic taxation or otherwise.
Some light is thrown upon the subject by the fact that. in 1843, a law was passed by New Brunswick for the purpose of imposing an export duty upon lumber grown in that province, whichact contained an exception from its provisions in favor of lumber cut in the United States, passed down the river St. J ohu’s, and actually and bonafide shipped to the United States.
Her Majesty’s government is understood to have withheld its approval of the
' law thus passed in 1843, upon a suggestion of the law officers of the Crown that
the discrimination, though not likely to be objectionable to the United ‘States, was inconsistent with the treaty. .
The exception in favor of United States lumber, made in this provincial act of 1843, proves that, at that early period, the legislation of New Brunswick did not think it had the right under the treaty to impose such an export duty as is now insisted upon.
I need not dwell upon the importance of coming to an early understanding with the government of Great Britain upon this subject. The question is one of a class which cannot fail to produce great irritation, as well as much inconvenience. _
It is proper to say that fhe sums‘ hitherto exacted under the treaty are practically inconsiderable. It is the principle and its future operation, rather than the present claims for indemnity, which impart an importance to this subject.
No. 1999.] DEPARTMENT or STATE, ~ Washington, Jane 12, 1867.
SIR: I have received your despatch of the 21st ultimo, No. 1370, relating a conversation between yourself and a Mr. Holmes in regard to the Mexican bondholders.
I have to inform you in reply that the President does not think it necessary to charge you with any duty connected with this subject.
I am‘ sir, your obedient servant,
Mr. Seward to Mr. Adams.
No. 2001.] _ - DEPARTMEN'I‘ or. STATE, Waskington, June 12, 1867.
SIR: Your despatch of the 28th ultimo, No. 1374, giving me your favorable impressions of M. Rangabie, the diplomatic representative of Greece accredited to the United States, has been received. That gentleman has not yet appeared here, but he will meet with a friendly reception whenever he shall present himself.
I am, sir, your obedient servant,
Mr. Adams to Mr. Seward.
No. 1383.] LEGATION or THE UNITED STATES, London, June 12, 186_7.
SIR : I have to acknowledge the reception of despatchcs from the department numbered from 1988 to 1993 inclusive.
The adjournment of Parliament for the Whitsuntide holidays has been largely made use of for the purpose of visiting the Exposition at Paris, so that little or