Page images
PDF
EPUB

of not preventing the departure of such vessels. That principle was formally recognized as valid by both parties in the 7th article of the treaty of the 19th November, 1794; and, accordingly, all cases of damage previously done by capture of British vessels or merchandise by vessels originally fitted out in the ports of the United States were therein agreed to be referred to a commission provided for by that treaty to award the necessary sums for full compensation.

I am well aware that the provisions of that treaty are no longer in force; and that even if they were, they bound only the United States to make good the damage done in the precise contingency then occurring. But I cannot for a moment permit myself to suppose that her Majesty's government, by the very act of pressing for the recognition of the principle in a treaty, when it applied for its own benefit, did not mean to be understood as equally ready to sustain it, at any and all times, when it might be justly applied to the omission to prevent similar action of British subjects within its own jurisdiction towards the people •f the United States.

Bat I would beg further to call your lordship's attention to the circumstance that there is the strongest reason to believe that the claim for compensation in cases of this kind was not pressed by her Majesty's government merely in connexion with the obtaining a formal recognition of the principle in an express contract. This seems to have been but a later step, ana one growing out of a previous advance of a similar demand, based only on general principles of equity, that should prevail at all times between nations. Here again it appears that the government of the United States, having admitted a failure down to a certain date in taking efficient steps to prevent the outfit in their ports of cruisers against the vessels of Great Britain, with whom they were at peace, recognized the validity of the claim advanced by Mr. Hammond, his Majesty's minister plenipotentiary at Philadelphia, for captures of British vessels subsequently made by those cruisers even on the high seas. This principle will be found acknowledged in its full length in the reply of Mr. Jefferson, then Secretary of State of the United States, dated 5th September, 1793, to a letter from Mr. Hammond of the 30th August preceding—a copy of which is unfortunately not in my possession—but which, from the tenor of the answer, I must presume to have itself distinctly presented the admitted ground of the claim.

Armed by the authority of such a precedent, having done all in my power to apprise her Majesty's government of the illegal enterprise in ample season for effecting its prevention, and being now enabled to show the injurious consequences to innocent parties relying upon the security of their commerce from any danger through British sources ensuing from the omission of her Majesty's government, however little designed, to apply the proper prevention in due reason, I have the honor to inform your lordship of the directions which I have received from my government to solicit redress for the national and private injuries already thus sustained, as well as a more effective prevention of any repetition of such lawless and injurious proceedings in her Majesty's ports hereafter.

I pray your lordship to receive the assurances of the very high consideration with which I remain your most obedient servant,

CHARLES FRANCIS ADAMS. Right Honorable Earl Russell, $c., Sfc., ifc.

[Enclosures.]

1. Letter of Captains Osborne, Allen, and Smith, to Mr. Dabney, 13th September, 1862.

2. Consular Agent Mackay to Mr. Dabney, 16th September, reporting destruction of vessels by the "290" at Flores.

3. Deposition of Captain Doane, of the Starlight.

4. Deposition of Mr. Luce, of the ship Ocmulgee.

6. Memorandum by Mr. Dabney.

6. Mr. Dudley to Mr. Adams. 30th October.

7. Statement of Captain Julius, of the ship Tonawanda.

8. Deposition of Captain Harmon, of the bark Wave Crest.

9. Deposition of Captain Johnson, of the brig Dunkirk.

10. Deposition of Captain Simes, of the ship Emily Faraum, describing his capture and tbe burning of the ship Brilliant.

Mr. Adams to Mr. Seward.
[Extracts.]

No. 265.] Legation Op Thk United States,

London, November 27, 1862.

Sir: Since the date of my last to you. I have received from the department despatches numbering from 389 to 398, inclusive, with the exception of 394. • ••♦♦••I have besides a copy of a printed circular, No. 27, concerning the resolutions of the New York Chamber of Commerce on the subject of the depredation of No. 290.

I may as well note the fact here, that on an examination of the files of your despatches I perceive that no No. 364 is to be found among them. By turning back the various acknowledgments in my own letters I see that it has never been noted as received. The further instructions in respect to the depredations of No. 290 seem to have been anticipated by my action last week. A copy of my formal representation to Lord Russell was forwarded with my despatch No. 262. Since that time I have received only a brief note of acknowledgment in his lordship's own handwriting, a copy of which is transmitted herewith. I yesterday heard of rumors flying about in the club-houses that the law officers of the crown had intimated some doubts of the strength of the government position. But as the same thing happened last year in the Trent case, I attach little importance to such indications. The varancy created by the resignation of Sir John Harding as Queen's advocate has been filled by the appointment of Sir Robert Phillimore, whose authority on questions of international law .ranks very high. Certain articles on the French proposition for mediation, signed Historicus, which appeared in the London Times a few days ago, arc attributed to him.

In the mean time the outfits of vessels to run the blockade continue and multiply. I do not as yet obtain the necessary evidence to prove the preparation of war ships, but the arrival in the Arabia of Commander Maury and eight or nine rebel officers, including a Charleston pilot, at Liverpool, would seem to indicate that something is soon to be attempted. I am now waiting for further details of information from the respective consuls, in order to comprise in one view a statement of the hostile operations now going on in the ports of thekingdom, which I propose to submit to the consideration of her Majesty's government.

I have the honor to be, sir, your obedient servant,

CHARLES FRANCIS ADAMS.

Hon. William H. Seward,

Secretary of Stale, Washington, D. C.

Earl Russell to Mr. Adams.

Foreign Office, November 22, 1S62. My Dear Sir: I have received this day your official letter of the 20th respecting the gunboat Alabama, or 290.

It shall receive the immediate attention of the government.
I remain your faithful servant,

RUSSELL.

C. F. Adams, Esq.

Mr. Adams to Mr. Seward.

No. 266.] Legation Of The United States,

London, November 27, 1862.

Sir: I have the honor to transmit copies of two notes which have passed between Lord Russell and myself in relation to certain attempts supposed to have been made to enlist recruits for the army of the United States within this kingdom. Foreseeing the possibility of the imputation of some such act, I have, ever since my arrival here, taken great care to decline all the very numerous repositions made to me to sanction engagements for service. I was more ecided in taking this course, that I early had reason to know the continuance of a feeling of soreness at the treatment of Sir John Crampton in America for acts of the same kind during the Russian war. It was, therefore, very easy to reply with confidence to his lordship's remonstrance. I have not yet been informed of the grounds upon which this was made; but from other sources rumors have reached me of efforts making by irresponsible individuals to send off persons as passengers to the United States, trusting to the security of the bounty paid on enlistments. It is possible that they may have constituted the basis of the remonstrance.

I have the honor to be, sir, your obedient servant,

CHARLES FRANCIS ADAMS.

Hon. William H. Seward,

Secretary of State, Washington, D. C.

Earl Russell to Mr. Adams.

Foreign Office, November 20, 1862.

The undersigned, her Britannic Majesty's principal secretary of state for foreign affairs, has the honor to acquaint Mr. Adams, envoy extraordinary and minister plenipotentiary of the United States at this court, that her Majesty's government are informed by persons, to whom they are disposed to give credit, that recruits are being raised in this country for service in the army of the United States, and that bounty money of a considerable amount is offered by agents of the United States to encourage British subjects to enlist.

Mr. Adams must be well aware that any of her Majesty's subjects enlisting in the military service of either of the belligerent parties in America, or any persons procuring any of her Majesty's subjects to enlist in that service, are guilty of a misdemeanor according to British law; and Mr. Adams will readily see that such a practice as that to which the undersigned now calls his attention is calculated seriously to increase the difficulties already inciden tto the observance of neutrality by her Majesty's government.

The undersigned requests Mr. Adams to receive the assurance of his highest consideration.

RUSSELL.

Mr. Adams to Earl Russell.

Legation Ok The Uxited States,

London, November 21, 1862.

The undersigned, envoy extraordinary and minister plenipotentiary of the United States, has the honor to acknowledge the receipt of a note from the right honorable Earl Russell, her Britannic Majesty's principal secretary of state for foreign affairs, dated the 20th instant, acquainting him that her Majesty's government are informed by persons to whom they are disposed to give credit, that recruits are being raised in this country for service in the army of the United States, and that bounty money of a considerable amount is offered by agents of the United States to encourage such enlistment. His lordship is further pleased to warn the undersigned of the fact that such acts are contrary to British law, and are calculated seriously to increase the difficulties already incident to the observance of neutrality by her Majesty's government.

The undersigned flatters himself that the earnestness of his previous and longcontinued urgency on her Majesty's government to enforce the strict observance of neutrality in the ports of this kingdom in many cases of attempted violation of it on behalf of rebels against the authority of the United States, to which it has been his painful duty to call their attention, must have secured him from the suspicion of any disposition himself to give the smallest countenance to any enterprise or effort of a similar kind on behalf of the United States.

The undersigned not only has no knowledge of any such proceedings, but he has no belief that they can have been attempted by any persons really vested with authority as agents of the United States. Should it turn out that there are individuals assuming to act under such an authority, the undersigned will be obliged to Lord Russell for such information as he may possess that may enable him to ascertain who these persons may be, and to take the necessary measures to disavow their operations.

The undersigned requests Earl Russell to receive the assurances of his highest consideration.

CHARLES FRANCIS ADAMS. Right Hon. Eael Russell, Ifc., !&., Ifc.

Mr. Seward to Mr. Adams.

No. 415.] Department Of State,

Washington, November 30, 1862.

Sir: I have expected to be able to inform you that General Burnside has advanced across the Rappahannock. His preparations are ready, and the movement is imminent. He has a large and fine army.

General Banks's Incest day assigned for embarcation has passed. I trust he will be on his way when this despatch leaves the coast. The Passaic has at last left her port. The Secretary of the Navy reckons confidently on the rapid completion and despatch of sufficient iron-clad auxiliaries to reduce Charleston.

The gold speculation seems to have passed its zenith, and to be decidedly declining.

More of moderation and self-reliance is manifested by the people now than at any time since the war began.

Congress has come together in, I think, a good, practical and patriotic temper. The President's message grasps the subject of slavery earnestly and confidently. It would be unbecoming, even if it were possible, to predict the reception which his bold suggestion of gradual and compensated emancipation will meet. It is something to know, perhaps it is all that can be known now, that the great problem of the civil war maintains its importance, and secures the consideration it deserves. "While the people hesitate, doubt, and divide upon each new suggestion that is made for the solution of the problem, they no longer shrink from contemplating and studying it. If they seem to the world to be slow in reaching it, the world ought to be reassured of their success by the reflection that no nation ever advanced faster in a task so complicated and so difficult. The great question heretofore has been: Can the constitutional Union endure through the trial? There is no longer any ground for despondency on that point. When we compare the military and naval conditions of the country now with what they were when Congress came together a year ago—when we compare the condition of our foreign relations now existing with that which prevailed when Congress assembled a year ago—we see evidences of strength, power, and stability which then it would have seemed presumptuous to expect. I am, sir? your obedient servant,

WILLIAM H. SEWARD.

Charles Francis Adams, Esq., Sfc., S(c., Sp.

Mr. Adams to Mr. Scrcard.
[Extracts.]

No. 268.] Legation Of The United States,

London, December 4, ^862.

Sir: I have to acknowledge the reception of despatches from the department, numbered from 399 to 407, inclusive, with the exception of No. 404; also despatch No. 39G, noted as missing last week.

Little has taken place here worthy of note since the date of my last. Public attention has been much drawn to the state of affairs on the continent, the effect of which is to divert it in a corresponding degree from America. * • * So far events must be considered as looking favorably for the United States. There is less appearance of a desire to intermeddle with our differences. The distress in the manufacturing districts has gradually reached a height sufficient to bring out a corresponding effort to provide for it. It is more than likely that from this time it will become less and less burdensome. Such engagements ha-ve been entered into for a prospective supply of cotton from other sources than the United States that a probability of a sudden reopening of our ports is beginning to be viewed with quite as much of apprehension as desire. The chief event that is looked for is the moment when the price of the manufactured product will have risen so high as to render a resumption of labor, under the ruling price of the raw material, profitable. Thus far it is notorious here that all the markets of the world, to which the English have access, had been, prior 'to the troubles, so much glutted with their cotton goods as, in spite of the subsequent cessation of manufacture, not yet to have recovered their equilibrium. But the passage of each day now contributes to restore it. And though it may be yet a great while, before the manufacture will return to its pristine proportions, there is strong reason to believe that it will not be long before an expansion will take the place of the contraction of industry. This commercial revolution, like the political one now going on in America, has reached such a pass that it seems for the interest of the whole world, that there should be no falling back into it hereafter. The establishment of various sources of supply of cotton, by other than slave labor, is now rendered in the highest degree likely. Tke restriction upon the exportation of it from America is not then to be re

« PreviousContinue »