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arms and munitions of war;" and I think it is quite clear that had we so amended our law, and had it been found applicable in any cases, the owners of the vessels might easily have given the bonds required, and might as easily have sent their vessels to sea, forfeiting (or not forfeiting, as the event might have turned out the amount of their bonds. The great armies equipped and fed by the confederates-their vast magazines-the money advanced for the Birkenhead rams, show conclusively that if her Majesty's government had relied on such provisions as the tenth and eleventh sections of the act of Congress, many vessels, probably including the rams at Birkenhead, would have escaped and have been employed in breaking the blockade of Charleston and other southern ports. Be that as it may, however, these provisions of the act of Congress clearly would not be applicable to the Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Shenandoah, and vessels of that class, none of which, when they left this country, were either 66 armed ships or vessels," or had on board any cargo consisting 6 principally" (or at all) 66 of arms and munitions of war, neither would they have been applicable to the ships which carried out arms, &c., to those vessels, but which were themselves neither armed nor 6 intended to be employed by the owner or owners to cruise or commit hostilities."
If, therefore, such provisions had been contained in the British statute, they would have proved simply nugatory, and would have added nothing, in any of the cases which have actually happened, to the powers of prevention given by the act as it stands. In that case, what would have been our position? We should have been reproached more than ever in America for the insincerity of our proceeding, and our inactivity in executing our own law. Results would have been appealed to, as you appeal to them in the letter to which I am now giving an answer.
In the case of the “Birkenhead rams," we had first the evidence in their construction itself, that they were built for warlike purposes ; next, a copy of the contract by which Mr. Bullock, the confederate agent, agreed to sell these vessels to Mr. Bravay; next, the proof that their Egyptian names, &c., were only a fiction, the Viceroy of Egypt having positively refused to buy them.
These and other circumstances amounted to a presumptive proof that those formidable vessels were intended for the purpose of making war on the United States; and you are already aware of the conduct of the government when they had, as in this instance, a case upon which they could proceed.
On the other side, take the case of the Sea King. She was a merchant ship, unarmed, which went from the Thames to a foreign port. . Our foreign enlistment act, like yours, requires two things to be proved : first, that the vessel is fitted out, armed or equipped for warlike purposes; but secondly, it is not enough to prove that the vessel is fitted out, armed or equipped for purposes of war. The warlike intent must be directed against some prince or state in friendly relations with the Crown of Great Britain. Now, on neither of these points did you furnish us, nor did we possess, a tittle of evidence against the Sea King, yet you hold us responsible for all the depredations she may have committed on the high seas.
It must not be forgotten, that in a free country the Crown cannot act upon inere vague suspicion, without some evidence to submit to a jury; and that trial by jury affords to British subjects the same protection which, in an ordinary state of peace, American citizens enjoy in your own country,
Her Majesty's government desires to be on the most friendly terms
with the United States, but are not prepared to accede to any demand which aims at the diminution of our freedom, or which assumes (without warrant from any previously recognized authority or practice) the existence of an extent of obligation on the part of neutrals towards belligerents, going beyond any which the government of a free country could have power, though acting with entire good faith, punctually to fulfill.
Yet it appears to me, I confess, that as neither the law of the United States nor our own foreign enlistment act have proved upon trial completely efficacious, it is worth consideration whether improvements may not be made in the statutes of both nations, so that for the future each government may have in its own territory as much security as our free institutions will permit against those who act in defiance of the inten. tion of the sovereign, and evade the letter of its laws.
I have the honor to inclose a memorandum in regard to our own conduct during the American war in reference to a passage in your letter, (inclosure No. 1,) and a second memorandum, showing in what manner your various complaints during the recent civil war have been disposed of, (inclosure No. 2.)
I have in conclusion only to repeat, in this the last letter which I shall have the honor to address to you on this subject, my sincere and earnest hopes that our two countries, now both relieved from the stain and guilt of slavery, may perform their part in the world in peace and good will.
I have the honor to be, with the highest consideration, sir, your most obedient, humble servant,
RUSSELL. CHARLES FRANCIS ADAMS, Esq., &c., &c., &c.
[Inclosure No. 1.]
Memorandum relative to the measures of coercion adopted by Great Britain
during her contest with the North American Colonies ; and also regarding the policy of foreign powers.
[Extract from letter from Mr. Adams to Earl Russell of September 18, 1865.]
66 In respect to this, may I be permitted to beg your attention to the fact that, with perhaps the exception of the gross number of the people engaged, I do think myself able to furnish an example of an insurrection in every particular corresponding to your description, which has occurred within the last century. I do not doubt that my allusion will at once be understood by your lordship without another word.
66 Yet notwithstanding all the points of identity in that case, I cannot find that her Majesty's government was met at the outset, in 1774, with any announcement, by a foreign power in amity with Great Britain, of a necessity immediately to recognize the insurgents as a belligerent power because of the magnitude of the struggle, or for any other cause. Neither is there the smallest ground for believing that it would have tolerated the proceeding for one moment, if it had been.
66 Her Majesty's government at once resorted, without scruple or hesitation, to every right ordinarily exercised by a belligerentin a war with a strong power, and was met with a degree of resistance more effective and enduring than any manifested in the late struggle. That resistance, too, was carried out on the ocean, where alone the interests of distant neutral states are liable to be seriously affected by the domestic
strife of any nation, in a manner far more extensive than the late insurgents by their unaided efforts ever could have attempted. Yet a length of time elapsed before any foreign power, however much inclined, ventured to find in this state of things any reason for considering the people waging such a war as a belligerent power. It furthermore is certain, that if at any time the smallest indication of a leaning that way manifested itself in any of the commercial powers, it was immediately noted by the British government for remonstrance and reclamation.
66 Your lordship has been pleased to review the conduct of France in this emergency; and to endeavor to set aside the parallel which I attempted in my note, on the ground that that country was animated by a policy decidedly hostile to Great Britain. The fact is doubtless so. But it so happens that this only bears with the more force in my favor on the present argument. Had France, being inclined to injure Great Britain, decided to recognize the insurgents as a belligerent, it would, according to the doctrine now avowed by her Majesty's government, have been doing no more than was absolutely necessary and altogether justifiable. Why did it not take this step at once? Unhappily for the example, Great Britain at the outset insisted upon considering her as a friendly power, and called upon her solemnly to desist from any attempt whatever to recognize the presence of the insurgent force. In proof of this, I beg permission to quote a brief extract from a historical writer well known to have drawn his statements from official sources. Mr. Adolphus says, that in April, 1775, that is one year after the outbreak of the insurrection, 6 the friendly disposition of the French government towards Great Britain has been unequivocally demonstrated; and the expectation that succor would be afforded to the Americans was suppressed by an edict prohibiting all intercourse with them.'
66 It thus appears that no idea was at that early period entertained by the British authorities of any unfriendly disposition on the part of France. So far from being inclined, as your lordship supposes it might have been, to give aid to the insurrection, which since 1774 had been developing its great proportions, by any recognition of it as a belliger
Great Britain by interdicting his people from all relations whatever with the Americans. In other words, the example shows that, on both sides, there was not the remotest conception that a recognition of insurgents as a belligerent, immediately upon the breaking out of the insurrection, could be considered as a justifiable act on the part of a friendly power."
In March, 1774, news arrived in England of the destruction, on the 18th December, 1773, of the tea contained in the ships lying in Boston harbor. This intelligence occasioned a message from the Throne to both houses of Parliament, in which they were informed that in consequence of the unwarrantable practices carried on in North America, and particularly of the violent and outrageous proceedings at the town and port of Boston with a view of obstructing the commerce of this kingdom, and upon grounds and pretenses immediately subversive of its constitution, it was thought fit to lay the whole matter before Parliament, fully confiding, as well in their zeal for the maintenance of his Majesty's authority as in their attachment to the common interest and welfare of all his dominions, that they would not only enable him effectually to take such measures as might most likely put an immediate stop to those disorders, but would also take into their most serious consideration what further regulations and permanent provisions might be necessary to establish, for better securing the execution of the laws, and the
just dependence of the colonies upon the Crown and Parliament of Great Britain.
The first measure of coercion adopted by the government was by the authority of an act of Parliament, which received the royal assent on the 31st of March, 1774. By this act the government was empowered to withdraw from the town and port of Boston all officers concerned in the collection of customs, 6 and to discontinue the landing and discharging, lading and shipping of goods, wares, and merchandise, at the said town of Boston, or within the harbor thereof."
This measure was shortly followed by the passing of a further act (11th May, 1774) “ for the better regulating the government in the province of Massachusetts Bay." The intention of the act was to alter the constitution of that province as it stood upon the charter of King William; to take the whole executive power out of the hands of the democratic party, and to vest the nomination of counsellors, judges, and magistrates of all kinds, including sheriffs, in the Crown, and in some cases in the King's governor, and all to be removable at the pleasure of the Crown.
On the 6th of May, 1774, 66 A bill for the impartial administration of justice in the cases of persons questioned for any acts done by them in the execution of the laws, or for the suppression of riots and tumults in the province of Massachusetts Bay, in New England," passed the House of Commons.
The first of these acts, regarding trade with the town and harbor of Boston, virtually prohibited trade with that port, one of the clauses enacting
66 That if any ship or vessel shall be moored or lie at anchor, or be seen hovering within the bay, or within one league from the said bay, it shall and may be lawful for any admiral, chief, commander, &c., of his Majesty's fleet or ships of war, or for any officer of his Majesty's customs, to compel such ship or vessel to depart to some other port, or to such station as the officer shall appoint, and to use such force for that purpose as shall be found necessary; and if such ship or vessel shall not depart within six hours after notice for that purpose given, such ship or vessel, with all the goods laden on board, and all the guns, tackle, and furniture, shall be forfeited, whether bulks shall have been broken or not."
Contrary to the expectations of the British government these measures tended only to the adoption of a determined and united feeling of resistance on the part of the colonists. On the 13th May, 1774, General Gage arrived at Boston to administer the province of Massachusetts Bay. On the arrival of the Boston port bill public meetings were held in the various colonies, which subsequently led to an agreement being framed by the committee of correspondence at Boston, entitled a solemn league and covenant, wherein the subscribers bound themselves in the most solemn manner, and in the presence of God, to suspend all commercial intercourse with Great Britain from the last day of the ensuing month of August until the Boston port bill and the other late obnoxious laws were repealed, and the colony of Massachusetts Bay fully restored to its chartered rights. This agreement led to the issue of a proclaination by General Gage, in which it was styled an 66 unlawful, hostile, and traitorous combination, contrary to the allegiance due to the King,' &c.
Measures were also adopted by the colonists for holding a general Congress at Philadelphia, which was opened on the 5th September, 177.1, the first public act of which was a declaratory resolution expressive of their disposition with respect to the colony of Massachusetts Bay, and immediately intended to confirm and encourage that people,
and to approve of the wisdom and fortitude with which their opposition to the measures adopted by government had hitherto been conducted.
On the 30th November, 1774, a new Parliament met in Great Britain, and in the speech from the throne the two houses were informed that a most daring spirit of resistance and disobedience to the law still existed in the province of Massachusetts Bay, and had in divers parts of it broke forth in fresh violences of a very criminal nature ; that these proceedings had been countenanced and encouraged in others of the colonies, and unwarrantable attempts made to obstruct the cominerce of this kingdom.
On the 9th February, 1775, a humble address was presented to the King by Parliament, in reply to the royal speech.
In this address the Parliament stated that we have taken them (the papers relating to American affairs) into our most serious consideration, and we find that a part of your Majesty's subjects in the province of Massachusetts Bay have proceeded so far as to resist the authority of the supreme legislature; that a rebellion at the time actually existed within the said province, and that they saw, with the utmost concern, that they had been countenanced and encouraged by unlawful combinations and engagements entered into by his Majesty's subjects in several of the other colonies. * * * * * * We can never, continued the address, 6 so far desert the trust reposed in us as to relinquish any part of the sovereign authority over all your Majesty's dominions which, by law, is vested in your Majesty and the two houses of Parliament; and the conduct of many persons in several of the colonies during the late disturbances is alone sufficient to convince us how pecessary this power is for the protection of the lives and fortunes of your Majesty's subjects. * * * * * * At the same time we consider it as our indispensable duty humbly to beseech your Majesty that you will take the most effectual measures to enforce due obedience to the laws and authority of the supreme legislature; and we beg leave, in the most solemn manner, to assure your Majesty that it is our fixed resolution, at the hazard of our lives and properties, to stand by your Majesty against all rebellious attempts in the maintenance of the just rights of your Majesty and the two houses of Parliament."
In consequence of this address, military preparations were made to coerce the colonists; and on the 10th February, 1775, a bill was also introduced into Parliament, and after a long debate received the royal assent, on the 30th March, 1775, (15 Geo. III, cap. 10.) The title of the act was, 6 An act to restrain the trade and commerce of the provinces of Massachusetts Bay and New Hampshire, and colonies of Connecticut, &c., in North America, to Great Britain, Ireland, and the British islands in the West Indies, &c."
The minister, in proposing the bill, stated that he supported it on the grounds that, as the Americans had refused to trade with Great Britain, it was but just that Great Britain should not suffer them to trade with any other nation. By a further act these restrictions were extended to several other colonies in North America which had been omitted in the first act.
By the terms of this act, all vessels trading with the colonies were to be furnished with certificates, without which they were liable to seizure by British ships of war and officers of the customs.
On the 20th of May, 1775, articles of confederation and perpetual union were entered into by the delegates of the several colonies of New Hampshire, Massachusetts, &c. A resolution was at the same time