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arded as by any means an unmixed evil. Rather is it to be considered as kely out of evil to educe a greater good. Had the rebels been as successful in their labors of destruction of their own property as they at one time pretended, I am not at all sure that they would not have done everybody but themselves a most essential service.
I only fear the extent of their failure of performance. For, even at this moment, any restoration of their old system of labor in producing this commodity of cotton is to be regarded as one of the events the most to be deprecated by all the highest interests of humanity everywhere on the globe. It was an overweening confidence in the power of an apparent monopoly which precipitated these misguided men into the abyss into which they find themselves plunged. To extricate them, with the retention of any means of reviving in them their former delusion, would be no true charity to them, whilst it would endanger the peace and happiness of everybody else.
I have the honor to be, sir, your obedient servant,
CHARLES FRANQIS ADAMS.
Hon. William H. Seward,
Secretary of Stale, Washington.
Mr. Seward to Mr. Adams.
No. 418.] Department Op State,
Washing/on, December 8, 1S62.
Sir: Your despatch of November 21 (No. 214) has been received.
The President is of opinion that the dignity of the country and the interests of peace concur in requiring forbearance on the part of this government from discussing the motives, objects, and legitimate tendency of the late movement of France in regard to our national affairs. I may, perhaps, without departing from this course, inform you that the popular judgment in this country is unanimous in ascribing that proceeding to designs on the part of the Emperor, which are not only hostile, but aggressive. The President does not accept this interpretation, but thinks, on the contrary, that the proceeding was an ill-advised one, grounded upon erroneous assumptions in regard to the military and naval condition of the country, and a mistaken desire to counsel in a case where all foreign counsel excites distrust, and must be rejected with firmness. I may add, that the determination of Congress and of the people to hold the country in a condition of defence, adequate to meet any foreign intervention, has been intensified by the appearance of the proposition of Mr. Drouyn dc l'Huys.
There is a very simple explanation of the misunderstanding into which the French government was led in regard to the disposition of the American people and their government, to which Earl Russel has referred. The insurgent invasion of the loyal States last summer, as I so often had occasion to show you, produced for the moment a state of apparent consternation and confusion, of which the sympathizers with the insurgents in New York profited in their" intercourse with some of the foreign ministers residing in the United States. These ministers doubtlessly conveyed to their governments the sentiments and purposes, not of this government or of the people, but of a party which grew in the night of despondency, and disappeared so soon as the sunlight of national
Erosperity re-appeared. It is a pleasing reflection now that no pains were spared y the President to counteract the mischief which was thus set on foot, and to save foreign nations from the inconveniences which it might bring upon them.
I notice in the communication of Earl Russell the appearance rather than the expression of a belief that the United States are more tolerant of real or apparent injury from France than of such injury coming from Great Britain, and that they would prefer rather the friendship of the former than of the latter country. Perhaps a word or two on this subject may not now be out of season. Beyond all doubt the people of the United States desire peace and friendship with both of those powers. A traditional sympathy with France has come down to,us from the revolutionary age. It has not, however, been strong enough for many years past to persuade the American people to bear with patience any aggression that France might commit. On the other hand, two wars with Great Britain have left memories that are impatient. But the growing intercourse between the two countries has counteracted those memories, so that the people would not willingly do Great Britain any wrong, but, on the other hand, they are in a temper to become fast friends. The joint proceedings of the two countries in regard to this war have neutralized those national sentiments in a large degree. Our commerce has suffered, and our armies have been hindered by actual co-operation of British subjects with the insurgents, while no considerable grievances of that kind have been inflicted upon us by France. I do not profess to know, nor do I care to inquire, whether the French press and the French statesmen have been as intolerant towards us as the British press and the British statesmen. It is enough that-the latter speak and print in our own tongue, and everybody on this side of the Atlantic reads and hears them. The French employ a different language, and, practically, are not read and heard in our country. The people have hitherto been jealous and watchful of both Great Britain and France, because the language and the proceedings of each were not as forbearing, or, if it would suit them better, I would say not so generous, as was expected, and because there was a prevailing consciousness on our part that we were not yet fully prepared for a foreign war. This latter conviction is passing away. It is now apparent to observing and considerate men that no European Btate is as really capable to do us harm as we are capable to defend ourselves. There is, moreover, a general conviction that we have deserved peace and friendship at the hands of all nations, and that if war must come from any foreign quarter, our cause will be a just one, and such a war would rather strengthen the Union than add to its present dangers. The time, therefore, is a propitious one for the restoration of harmonious relations between the United States and Great Britain. It will be through her own fault, not ours, if the restoration does not come. All that stands in the way of it is the injurious attitude of armed neutrality between the United States and a domestic faction that is seeking their overthrow—a neutrality that, as we think, was unnecessarily proclaimed, and has resulted in making British ports a base for a feeble yet irritating and vexatious maritime war against this country. British ships and even fleets ride in our ports free, honored, and respected. 'Armed vessels of the United States are allowed only restricted entrance, with irritating conditions, in British ports, colonial as well as domestic, when they are sent to watch the appearance of privately armed hostile expeditions sent out from those ports by or through the activity of British subjects—an activity which, although forbidden, is nevertheless practiced with impunity, and in defiance of municipal law as well as international justice. It no longer rests with this country to suggest remedies for this evil. All that could be suggested on that subject has been offered and reiterated. The whole case may be summed up in this: The United Statei claim, and they must continually claim, that in this war they arc a whole sovereign nation, and entitled to the same respect as such that they accord to Great Britain. Great Britain does not treat them as such a sovereign, and hence all the evils that disturb their intercourse and endanger their friendship. Great Britain justifies her course and perseveres. The United States «tlo not admit the justification, and so they are obliged to complain and stand upon their guard. Those in either country who desire to see the two nations remain in this relation are not well-advised friends of either of them. I am, sir, your obedient servant,
Mr. Scicard to Mr. Adams.
No. 421.] Department Of State,
Washington, December 8, 1862.
Sir: Your despatch of November 20 (No. 262) ia received. The President is content that you shall exercise your discretion as to the manner of presenting the claims growing out of the depredations of the "290," with which you are charged, and he authorizes me, therefore, to approve the note addressed by you to Earl Russell which accompanied your despatch.
You have rightly judged that it is no part of the purpose of this government to harass that of Great Britain by impatient demands for the immediate adjustment of the claims for pecuniary reparation. The purpose first is, prevention of similar injuries hereafter. It is clear that there will soon be no commerce left to the United States if the transaction of the " 290 " is to be repeated and reiterated without check and with impunity.
It ought not to be doubted in Great Britain that a people who are only second in commerce to tlje British nation itself cannot quietly consent to a wrongful strangulation of their foreign trade.
Notices have already been received at this department of the intention of some foreign powers to demand redress and reparation for commercial depredations on innocent foreigners which have been committed by the insurgents, although they were committed by citizens who were, at the time, in a state of actual armed insurrection and defiant hostility against the federal authority. Beyond doubt we should have no sufficient answef to such claims if we had tolerated or excused or failed to put forth all the efforts of the government to prevent the acts of piracy complained of. How does the case of the "290" differ from what, under other circumstances, would be our own? Great Britain is mistress in her own ports and waters. We cannot enter those ports and waters with armed force. Insomuch as steam can only be successfully employed against steam in war, her rigorous and almost absolute exclusion of our navy from her ports and waters deprives us of the power to watch for and seize, upon their appearance in the open sea, the steam war vessels which her own subjects build, equip, and despatch from her own ports, virtually, though undesignedly, under the protection of her own government. It seems to the President an incontestable principle, that whatever injury is committed by the subjects of Great Britain upon citizens of the United States, either within the Iiritinh dominions or upon the high seas, in expeditions thus proceeding from British ports and posts, ought to be redressed by her Majesty's government, unless they shall be excused from liability upon the ground that the government had made all reasonable efforts to prevent the injury from being inflicted. If it shall appear in the sequel that the government did make all such reasonable efforts in the case of the "290," still this will not meet the case of other and future depredations in expeditions which, as it is now publicly known, are being prepared in Great Britain. There would seem to be no answer in such future cases, except that there is no obligation on the part of Great Britain to put forth efforts adequate to the prevention of such unlawful proceedings against friendly nations. Such a principle, generally accepted by nations, would be followed by universal piracy, and commercial states would be required thereafter to conduct their exchanges upon the ocean by the employment of armed vessels or convoys. TJie President feels himself all the more at liberty to insist upon such measures of prevention, because, first, a license to such transaction would be, while it should continue, only less injurious to Great Britain than to the United States, the safest possible commerce between the two nations being equally important to both of them. Secondly, because it is manifestly the interest of all commercial nations that wars, whether civil or international, shall be closely confined to the parties who have voluntarily or necessarily engaged in them. This government is aware that it is said, that although the "290" was despatched from a British port, yet she was nevertheless not armed, equipped, and manned within the port. But the fact is undisputed that she issued from the port and proceeded, by pre-concert, to a convenient station, and that there Bhe received her crew, her equipment, and her arms, all of which were sent out to her by the same British subjects who built and despatched her. In criminal law an illegal transaction, as it is none the less injurious, so it is none the less illegal, because its preparation iB broken up into parts and effected in several places instead of one. Such subdivision being adopted simply with a view to evade the law is fraudulent in itself, and an aggravation rather than an extenuation of the offence.
With these explanations of the views of the President, which you may use or refrain from using in your negotiations as you deem expedient, I leave the affair for the present in your own able hands. I am, sir, your obedient servant,
WILLIAM H. SEWARD.
Charles Francis Adams, Esq., Sfc., Sfc., Sfc.
Mr. Adams to Mr. Seward. •
No. 271.| Legation Of The United States,
London, December 11, 1862.
Sir: I have to acknowledge the reception of your despatches from the department, numbered from 408 to 411, inclusive, and likewise the missing one of last week, No. 404.
There is little to note in the events of the past week. The tone of the public sentiment is softening towards the United States, if we may judge from the very favorable reception given in several places to most decided expressions of sentiment by members of Parliament in their addresses to their constituents. Of these I would particularly instance the speeches of Mr. Foster at Bradford, of Messrs. Conyngham and White at Brighton, and of Mr. Leatham at Huddersfield. In all these cases there is no doubtful sound. The only obstacle to progress in this direction is made by the intelligence of growing hostility on our side. Coming, as it now does, after the reception of the news of the action taken here on the French proposal, I must admit that I have been myself surprised. It seems to invalidate the opinion expressed by me to Lord Russell as to the probable effect of that proceeding. As yet, however, we have received reports only through the untrustworthy summary of the telegraph. We hear of the proceedings of a popular meeting of the democratic party in the city of New York, which appears to contemplate the possibility of a war with this country as a base of reunion at home. Inasmuch as this scatters to the winds most of the grave speculations of the London Times, intended to hold up to the public view the successes of that party in the elections as the symptoms of a conservative reaction in harmony with British opinions, it is not without its useful side. But 1 shall await with much interest the arrival of the next steamer, which will probably bring to me your views of the report of my conference with Lord Russell,1 as well as those of the President in his message at the opening of Congress. Upon the tone taken in the latter just at this moment much stress will be laid on this side, and the future relations of the two countries will materially depend.
The great obstacle in the way of the better understanding which would naturally follow from this state of things is to be found in the movements going on in this kingdom under strong appeals making to the avarice of the commercial interest by the desperate insurgents. There is scarcely a limit, to the extent of the offers made to secure assistance. Much of the evidence upon which I make this statement has been already laid before you from other quarters. It appears that a loan, to a large amount, has been effected on the security of cotton to be furnished at a price which would secure an enormous profit to the holders, and that a corresponding rate of gain has been held out for the delivery of goods of which the rebels now stand in the most absolute need. This discovery furnishes at last an explanation of the sources of the large sums of money which have been lavished at a most reckless rate in the purchase and construction of steamers of all kinds, and munitions of war, in the despatch of military adventurers from the continent, and in the purchase of every variety of article that is needed to suppjy existing domestic wants in those States. The ports of Liverpool and London are tilled with vessels taking in commodities destined for the insurgents. At the same time, a strong interest is thus formed which must be brought to bear more or less forcibly on the policy of the government towards the United States. The existence of loans here which can gain value only by the recognition of the insurgents as a State is, of itself, a material element of hostility to our success. Hence, there will be people not at all slow to inflame every little cause of difference between the two countries, and to stimulate the co-operation with the more positive policy of Napoleon, in bringing about the only result that can secure favorable returns to their hazardous ventures. • • » . • • • • • * •
I have the honor to be, sir, your obedient servant,
CHARLES FRANCIS ADAMS.
Hon. William H. Seward,
Secretary of State, Washington, D. C.
Mr. Seward to Mr. Adams.
No. 423.] Department Of Stater
Washington, December 13, 1862.
Sir: Tour despatch of November 27 (No. 266) has been received, together with copies of the notes which have been exchanged between Earl Russell and yourself, on the subject of alleged enlistments by agents of the United States within the British dominions.
Your answer to the complaint is approved, and you are authorized further to assure his lordship that this government has no agents of any kind in Great Britain, or any foreign country, who are authorized to enlist or do anything in the way of enlisting, recruiting, or engaging soldiers or seamen for the military or naval forces of the United States. Nor has the government any knowledge that any persons are so engaged, under any pretence of authority to that effect. The United States do not deny, but, on the contrary, they avow that voluntary immigration is a cardinal element of their prosperity. They invite and encourage it, but only by lawful means. The army and the navy, as well as the occupations of civil life, whether in tirne of peace or war, are open always to immigrants, as they are to all other classes of competent persons who may desire to volunteer on their arrival within the country, or at any time afterwards, but not until they have arrived on our shores and identified themselves with the masses who are subject to our own jurisdiction and laws.
I am, sir, your obedient servant, ,
WILLIAM n. SEWARD.
Charles Francis Adams, Esq., Ifc., Sps., ipc.