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municipal laws depend for their execution in Great Britain upon her Majesty’s government, and not upon our own. Again, I think that Lord Stanley will find, by referring to unpublished records in the Foreign Office, what certainly appears in our confidential archives, that at the time when the fraudulent building, arming, and equipping of -those vessels were going on in England, we were required, out of tenderness to British sensibilities and with the approval of her Majesty's government, to relax rather than increase our vigilance, then called by the repulsive name of espionage. \
In relation to the second excuse, I think that the alleged hindrances and embarrassments were nothing else than the skilful machinations of the offending parties themselves. In enumerating certain vessels in my former communication, I wrote of them not as all the vessels complained of, but by way of describing the class of which we complained. There were many others. The Nashville, stolen from loyal owners at Charleston, after having evaded the blockade, and after having captured the Harvey Birch, arrived at Southampton
on the 20th of November, 1861. She was entertained there until February 3, i
1862, and then left the harbor, protected from the United States cruiser Tuscarora by her Majesty’s war-frigate Shannon. She was afterwards hospitably entertained at the British ports of Bermuda and Nassau, in the West Indies. The Alabama improved her own crafty experience. Having in one of her cruisers captured the United States merchant ship Conrad, near the Cape of Good Hope, on the 21st of June, 1863, she commissioned. the Conrad as a “ confederate” pirate on the high seas, under the name of the Tuscaloosa. In like manner, the Florida captured the merchant ship Clarence upon the ocean, and commissioned her, and gave her an armament, force, and equipment of a ‘12-pound howitzer, twenty men, and two ofiicers. Afterwards the Florida transferred the same authority, armament, and equipment to the Tacony on the high seas, which vessel captured, bonded, and destroyed ten United States merchant vessels off the Atlantic coast.
Having recalled these facts, I must now beg leave to reaflirm as substantially correct my former statement, the statement to which Lord Stanley has excepted, namely: the Sumter, the Alabama, the Florida, the Shenandoah, and other ships of war, were built, armed, equipped, and fitted-out in _British ports, and despatched therefrom by or through the agency of British subjects, and were harbored, sheltered, provided, and furnished, as occasion required, during their devastating career, in ports of the realm or in ports of the British colonies in nearly all parts of the globe. '
Lord Stanley excuses the reception of the vessels complained of in British ports subsequently to their fraudulent escapes and armament, on the ground that when the vessels appeared in those ports they did so in the character of properly commissioned cruisers of the government of the so-styled Confederate States, and that they received no more shelter, provisions, or facilities than was due to them in that character. This position is taken by his lordship in full view of the facts that, with the_ exception of the Sumter and the Florida, none of the vessels named were ever found in any place .Wh61‘G a lawful belligerent commission could either be conferredor received. It would appear, therefore, that in the opinion of her Majesty's government, a. British vessel, in order to acquire a belligerent character against the United States, had only to leave the British port where she was built clandestinely, and to be fraudulently armed, equipped, and manned anywhere in Great Britain or in any foreign country or on the high seas, and in some foreign country or upon the high seas to set up and assume the title and privileges of a belligerent, without even entering the so-called confederacy or ever coming within any port of the United States. I must confess that if a lawful belligerent character can be acquired in such a manner, then I am unable to determine by what ditferent course of proceeding a vessel can become a pirate and an enemy to the peace of nations.
Lord Stanley defends the Queen's proclamation of neutrality by quoting against me certain utterances of the Supreme Court of the United States and of the District of Columbia, of. which he says her Majesty’s government has seen no refutation. Certainly it is not my purpose to refute these utterances. They were made by learned and loyal tribunals. Moreover, Lord Stanley understands them correctly as showing that, at the time they were pronounced, it was the opinion of those courts that a civil war was actually existing in the United States, and that it was existing at the time when the causes of action arose in the cases which the courts were adjudicating. I may admit, further, that the courts refe'I'red to the President's blockade proclamation, which preceded the Queen's neutrality proclamation, as one among the facts which proved that the controversy here was not a mere local insurrection, but had all the gravity, character, and consequences of a civil war.
But I must insist, on the other hand, first, that neither of the judicial utter
‘ ances referred to asserts or admits that the President's blockade proclamation
expressly and in form declared or recognized the existence of civil war, and, in the second place, that both of these judicial utterances unmistakably imply the contrary. The district court of Columbia pronounced its opinion on the 17th of June, 1861. The Supreme Court of the United States withheld its opinion until the 10th of March, 1863. The capture which constituted the cause of action in the district court occurred on the 21st of May, 1861; the captures ‘concerning which the Supreme Court of the United States adjudicated occurred on the 17th of May, 1861, the 20th of May, 1861, the 23d of June, 1861, and the 10th of July, 1861. The Queen’s proclamation of neutrality had appeared before either court pronounced its opinion, and before either cause of action arose. British subjects were claimants in some, and other foreigners were claimants in others, of these litigations. Among the facts of which the Supreme Court took notice, and which they set forth as the grounds of their opinion, is the following :
As soon as the news of the attack on Fort Sumter, and the organization of a government of the seeeding States assuming to act as belligerents, could become known in Europe, to wit: on the 13th of May, 1861, the Queen of England issued hcrproclamation of neutrality, recognizing hostilities as existing between the government of the United States of America and certain States styling themselves the Confederate States of America. This was immediately followed by similar declarations or silent acquiescence by other nations.
This statement served to prepare the way for the proposition which became a chief basis in the decision of the Supreme Court, to wit: “After such an effectual recognition by the sovereign,’the citizen of a foreign state is estopped to deny the existence of a war and its consequences as regards neutrals.” It is thus seen that the decision of the Supreme Court, which Lord Stanley quotes in defence of the Queen’s proclamation of neutrality, was based upon the-proclamation itself, and thus the proclamation defended, and the defending opinion of the Supreme Court, reciprocate each other. The district court of Columbia is only an inferior local tribunal, whose unreviewed reasoning would not anywhere be deemed authoritative upon international questions. I might, therefore, bring my remarks upon the Queen's proclamation of neutrality to an end, but I desire to leave nothing unsaid that might tend to elucidate the subject. The issue between the United States and Great Britain, whiph is the subject of the present correspondence, is not upon the question whether a. civil war has recently existed in the United States, nor is the issue upon that other question, namely, whether such a civil war was actually existing here at the date of the Queen’s proclamation of neutrality. Certainly there is a stage when a civil commotion, although attended by armed force, is nevertheless in fact only a local insurrection, as it is also true that local insurrections often transcend municipal bounds, and become
_- civil wars. It is always important, and generally difiicult and perplexing, to recognize and definitely determine the transition stage with absolute precision.
The disturbed nation sufl'ers a sefious loss of advantages if recognition is preI
maturely made. The insurrectionary party may sufl'er a serious loss if it be too long and unjustly withheld. Strangers who may be dealing with one or the other may be injuriously affected in either case. Now what is alleged on the part of the United States is that the Queen's proclamation, which by conceding belligerent privileges to the insurgents, lifted them up for the purposes of insurrection to an equality with the nation which they were attempting to overthrow, was premature because it was unnecessary, and that'it was in its operation unfriendly because it was premature.
The discussion necessarily involves a history of that proclamation. On the 28th of February, 1861, the United States, in the customary manner of international conference, announced to Great Britain, as well as to other friendly nations, that certain United States citizens dwelling in South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Texas had, in pretended State conventions, and in a so-called but unlawful congress, on paper, pronounced a secession or separation from the federal government, and asserted themselves by the style of the Confederate States of America. The United States, for special reasons, warned her Majesty's government that seditious emissaries would endeavor to procure from Great Britain a recognition of the pretended confederacy. The United States protested against such a proceeding. Her Majesty’s principal secretary for foreign affairs, on the 22d of March, 1861, listened to the announcement thus made as one which he expected, and said that her Majesty‘s government had reached no definite conclusion as to a proper course of action. He observed that he had seen a private letter, from which he inferred that accredited ministers or commissioners, authorized to negotiate for recognition, would be shortly sent to Europe by the so-called secessionists. This answer plainly indicated a preparation for the very decision against which the United States protested. On the 9th of March thereafter, the President of the United States caused the before-mentioned monition and protest to be renewed, with the assurance to her Majesty’s government that he then entertained a full confidence in a speedy restoration of the harmony and unity of the government, through judicious measures co-operating with a deliberate and loyal action of the American people. The President earnestly desired her Majesty’s government not to intervene in any unfriendly way in the domestic concerns of this country. He distinctly stated further that he would take care in every
case to render any possible injuries whic_h foreigners might sufi'er as light as '
possible. and fully to indemnify them. In answer to this latter communication,
I‘ her Majesty’s government, on the 8th of April, 1861, said that the matter
seemed not yet ripe for decision, one way or the other, and that this was all that at that moment they could say. They added, however, a statement that English opinion seemed to be tending towards the theory that a peaceful separation of the American Union might work beneficially for both groups of States, and might not injuriously affect the rest of the world. It was then made known that the subject was to be debated on that very day in the House of Commons. and that six days thereafter a'motion for absolute recognition of the pretended confederacy, otherwise called there a new nation, would be pressed in Parliament. When these facts became known to this government care was taken to reply that the answer of the foreign secretary of state was by no means satisfactory, and her Majesty’s government was therefore advised that they were at liberty to choose whether they would retain the friendship of the United States by refusing all aid and comfort to their domestic enemies, or whether her Maj‘-.-ty’s government would take the precarious benefits of a difi'erent course. It was not long left in doubt in European circles which alternative Great Britain would elect. Her Majesty’s principal secretary for foreign affairs
having invited a conference on the 2d of May, announced to the United States,
minister in London, Mr. Dallas, that three representatives of the so-called southern confederacy were then in that capital, and that he, Lord Russell, was
willing to see them unofficially‘. He then made the important announcement that there already existed an understanding between her Majesty's government and that of France, which would lead both to take the same course as to recognition, whatever that course might be. The United States minister, of course unprepared with instructions to meet these revelations, certainly unlocked for here, replied that his appointed successor, Mr. Adams, was then on his voyage. and might be expected within 10 or 15 days. The secretary acquiesced in the expediency of waiting for the coming of the new minister. The proposed
movement in Parliament for recognition was, at the instance of the secretary of
foreign affairs, postponed. When‘ the President received an account of the last-mentioned interview, he
then was unable. as the United States are yet unable, to perceive how it was thought, by her Majesty’s government, entirely considerate in regard to the United States to consult and agree with France upon a question vital to the United States without affording them a hearing. Moreover, the United_ States were then unable, as they are yet unable, to perceive how it is justly considered by her Majesty's government any more lawful, just, or friendly to entertain traitors against the United States, with a view to business negotiations with them, unofficially and privately, than it is to entertain and negotiate with them oficially and publicly. Be this as it may, Earl Russell's explanations revealed to the United States the fact that even thus early, before any effective military advantage had been gained by the insurgents, and even before any meditated blow had been given by this government in its own defence, the British government, Parliament, and people were entertaining’privately, and not unkindly, debates with the insurgents and with a foreign power, which involved nothing less than a direct and speedy sanction of the rebellion in the United States, and a dissolution of the American Union. They were yet unwilling to believe that Great Britain would take such a, course with unconcealed precipitancy. Mr. Adams, the new minister, in the mean time had been charged ‘with the duty of counteracting the appeals of the disunionists, and was prepared to answer every argument which they could advance, either on the score of British interest, or under the pretext of zeal for the freedom of trade, or for the freedom of men. The insurgent emissaries reached London on the 30th of April. The President's blockade proclamation, which was issued on the 13th of April, reached London on the 3d of May. On the 4th of May, only two days after the conference of Mr. Dallas with Lord Russell, he favored the insurgentemissaries with an unofficial interview. He patiently, it is not for us to say confidingly, heard them disclaim slavery as a principal cause of the incipient rebellion, while they alleged that its real cause was the high prices which the so-called south was obliged to pay for manufactured g ods by way of protecring so-called northern manufacturers. They favored him with glowing statements of the south, and its exports valued by millions. He answered that, when the question of recognition should come to be formally discussed, inquiry must be made on two points: first, whether the body seeking recognition could maintain its position as an independent state; and, secondly, in what manner it was proposed to maintain relations with foreign states. After reviewing this conversation, is it to be wondered at that the traitors, when retiring from this interview, assured his lordship that they would rest in London in the hope that a recognition [of the sovereignty] of the southern confederacy would not .long be delayed? Two days later, namely, on the 6th of May, the principal s'ecretary for foreign aflairs announced in Parliament that the ministry had consulted the law ofiicers of the Crown-the attorney general and the solicitor general, and the Queen’s advocate—and her Majesty’s government had come to the opinion that the southern confederacy of America, according to the principles which seemed to them to be just principles, must he treated as a belligerent. The Queen’s proclamation, which went half the way towards recognition of the so-called southern confederucy, was issued at London on the 15th of May, in the morning. Mr. Adams 0
arrived there in the evening. He was ofiicially received on the 16th. This is the history of the Queen’s proclamation of neutrality. W'hat I wrote concerning it in the despatch which Lord Stanley has reviewed is as follows:
While as yet the civil war was undeveloped, and the insurgents were without any organized military forces or treasury, long before they pretended to have a flag or to put an armed ship or even a merchant vessel upon the sea, her Majesty’s government, acting precipitaiel y as we have always insisted, proclaimed the insurgents a belligerent power, and conceded to them the advantages and privileges of that character, and thus raised them in regard to the p}'osecution of an unlawful armed insurrection to an equality with the United States. The
nited States remain of the opinion that the proclamation has not been jnstitied on any ground of either necessity or moral right; that, therefore, it was an act of wrongful intervention, a departure from the obligations of existing treaties, and without sanction of the law of nations.
Lord Stanley's principal point, in defending the Queen's proclamation, is, that it did no more than acknowledge a state of war which had already been recognized by the President himself in his proclamation of a blockade. which was issued on the 19th of April, 1861, and his further proclamation which was issued on the 27th of April, 1861. We have already seen that the Supreme Court of the United States and that of the District of Columbia, in their opinions, did not pretend, admit, or imply that the President's aforementioned proclamations expressly and in form declared or recognized a state of civil warSo Lord Stanley, with commendable candor, refrains from making any similar claim in regard to the President’s blockade proclamations. The courts reachedi their conclusion that a state of civil war was existing at the time of the maritime captures which were under consideration by processes of reasoning and‘ argument. Lord Stanley is content with adopting the court‘s argument in identical words. He quotes from the Supreme Court:
The President was bound to meet it in the shape it presented itself without waiting for" Congress to baptize it with a name, and no name given to it by him or them could change
The proclamation of blockade is conclusive evidence to the court that a state of war existed.
And in the same sense he quotes from the court of the District of Columbia :.
That the facts of the secession of the southern States, as set forth by the President, withthe assertion of the right of blockade, amount to a declaration that civil war exists.
The courts correctly understood the facts with which they had to deal. In the causes which were before those courts, the claimants insisted that a state of‘ civil war was not existing at the time of the respective captures. They so insisted on the ground that no competent authority had declaredla civil war or had acknowledged the insurrection as a civil war giving rise to belligerent rights , that Congress had not so defined, described, or acknowledged it, and that the President had not by his proclamations so named, baptized, or recognized it.
The recitals from the courts sustain the historical view of the case which I have presented. Before the Queen’s proclamation of neutrality the disturbance in the United States was merely a local insurrection. It wanted the name of war to enable it to be a civil war and to live, endowed as such with maritime and other belligerent rights. Without that authorized name it might die. and was expected not to live and be a flagrant civil war, but to perish a mere insurrection.
It was, therefore, not without lawful and wise design that the President declined to confer upon the insurrection the pregnant baptismal name of civil war, to the prejudice of the nation whose destiny was in his hands. VVh-at the President thus wisely and humanely declined to do, the Queen of Great Britain too promptly performed. She baptized the slave insurrection within the United States a civil war; and thus, so far as the British nation and its influence could‘. go, gave it a name to live, and flourish, and triumph over the American Union. By this proceeding, the Queen of Great Britain interventd in the purely domes