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No. Fro

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to whom.

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1865.

927 Mr. Adams to April 13

Mr. Seward.

recognize the justice of our position until too late for anything but reparation. The position of Canada, which, by affording protection to the rebels, had incurred the animosity of our people, is now regarded with uneasiness, in view of the probable termination of the war, and the release of our army. The English cannot understand that our war was not waged, as Lord Russell in the beginning asserted it to be," for empire," and their apprehensions should be taken into account in shaping the tone : of any allusions which may be made to

our future policy. . Ineloses his note to Lord Russell, transmit- 522 ted with papers in reference to outrages of the Shenandoah, and having annexed a tabular statement showing, as a result of the hostile policy of Great Britain, that her merchants are fast acquiring the entire maritime commerce of the United States, rendered unsafe by the depredations of rebel cruisers fitted out in her ports. Mr. Adams does not complain of any lack of friendly disposition on the part of her Majesty's government, but asserts this state of affairs to be the natural consequence of their premature recognition of rebel belligerency. As the grounds on which that recognition was originally founded, however, have now ceased to exist, the President trusts that all causes of complaint consequent thereon will be at once removed. Mr. Adams also asks when the hospitalities of British ports will be restored to our ships of war. Incloses note from Lord Russell reviewing 525 Mr. Adams's note of April 7, and claiming that the present obligations of Great Britain toward the United States are not to be measured by the losses sustained by the latter in consequence of the former's policy, but depend upon whether Great Britain did or did not perform her whole duty toward the United States, under the rules of international and her municipal law. Earl Russell defends the recognition of rebel belligerency on the ground that the President's proclamation of blockade, involving the exercise of a belligerent right toward the rebels, necessarily put them in the position of belligerents, and that her Majesty's government must have recognized them as such or must have denied the legality of the blockade and the right of search. They could not have treated the rebel vessels as pirates without renouncing their neutral position and taking part in the war. In regard to the expedition of rebel cruisers, Earl Russell says that the Alabama sailed on a pretense of a trial trip, on the morning before the decision to arrest her had been reached, and that even

952 ...... do ..... .... May 11

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w

had she not thus fraudulently escaped, the
evidence against her might not have been
sufficient to procure conviction under the
foreign enlistinent act; he claims that in
this, as in all other cases, the government
faithfully performed their obligations as
neutrals, and quotes Mr. Seward's dispatch
of August 13, 1862, to show that the Uni-
ted States were satisfied with their pro-
ceedings. He then refers to our corres-
pondence with Spain in 1817, and with
Portugal in 1818, 1819, and 1820, as show-
ing that our government declined to be
responsible for depredations committed on
the commerce of those countries by South
American cruisers fitted out in our ports,
on the ground that we had faithfully exe-
cuted our laws for the preservation of
neutrality, and that, although foreigners
had their redress in the courts for wrongs
committed in our territory, the govern-
ment could not be held liable for acts of
its citizens outside of its jurisdiction. This
position, according to Earl Russell, was
not abandoned on account of representa-
tions of the Portuguese minister to the
effect that the evil might have been pre-
vented by due dilligence on the part of the
government. Lord Russell refers to the
case of Spain as somewhat different, inas-
much as her claims against the United
States were offset by counter claims, and
both were abandoned by treaty. He also
alludes to the sympathy of Americans with
the Spanish-American revolutionists as
similar to that felt for the rebels in Eng-
land, but says that while in the former
case American citizens frequently com-
manded insurgent vessels, no British sub-
ject had ever acted as captain of a con-
federate cruiser; and refers to the prompt
action of his government in the case of the
Laird rams. He contrasts this case with
that of the Shenandoah, where no evi-
dence of her character was given before
her sailing, and adduces American author-
ities to show that Great Britain could not
be held responsible for the shipment of
arms to her after her departure, ilor for her
subsequent proceedings. In his opinion,
the transfer of American commerce to the
English flag is merely temporary. Mr.
Adams having acquitted her Majesty's
government of all hostile intention, the
question is, are they to be responsible for
conduct which they did all in their power
to prevent and punish ? and this Lord
Russell answers in the negative, since
thereby they would become answerable for
every ship of British origin used by the
confederates, and for every portion of her
armament. The British government con-
sent to grant reciprocity of treatment to |

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United States vessels in British ports, the twenty-four hour rule alone being retained. Before withdrawing their recognition of rebel belligerency, however, they wish to know whether the United States are prepared to abandon the right of search

to whom.

1865.

964 | Mr. Adams to May 25

Mr. Hunter.

.

and capture of British vessels.
Transmits copy of his reply to Lord Rus 532

sell's note of the 4th, (and of Lord Rus-
sell's acknowledgment,) with which he
hopes to close the discussion for the pres-
ent. In this reply he claims-First. That
the British recognition of rebel belliger-
ency was precipitate, because the rebels
had not then a single ship of war afloat;
it, was also unprecedented, the uniform
practice having previously been for a
nation to await the arrival of an insurgent
vessel in her ports before awarding it a
belligerent character. This was the course
pursued by France and Holland in our Rey-
olution, and even this late recognition was
denounced by Great Britain as a wrong,
and afterward made a ground of war
against each of those countries. The rec-
ognition of rebel belligerency was, more-
over, aggravated by diplomatic overtures
made to the rebels by the British govern-
ment for the purpose of procuring their
adherence to the Paris declaration. Sec-
ondly. These proceedings virtually created
the belligerency which they recognized,
by encouraging the rebels to establish a
naval bureau and build ships in British
ports. In the case of the Alabama, the evi-
dence was furnished in ample time to have
prevented her sailing. The customs offi-
cers subsequently admitted that they
themselves should have procured that evi-
dence, although, when laid before them,
they took no steps to substantiate it.
Even, however, had the evidence, and the
opinion of Mr. Collier, which led to the issue
of orders for the vessel's detention, not
been furnished in time for action by the
government, her Majesty's officers had
pledged themselves to keep a strict watch
over her, and this pledge they violated by
permitting her to sail on the 29th of July,
1862. The issue of orders to detain her
after her departure, bore the appearance
of an intentional insult to the United
States, and the date of Mr. Seward's dis-
patch, referred to by Lord Russell, shows
that he could not have alluded to these or-
ders when expressing his satisfaction with
the proceedings of her Majesty's govern-
ment. The Alabama, after her fraudulent
escape, instead of being seized, as was
directéd, if she went to Nassau, was uni-
formly received with hospitality, and as a
lawful belligerent vessel in all British
ports; whereas the law of nations (see
authority quoted) would have authorized !

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1865.

the British government to arrest her, or to demand her seizure by any foreign power. Mr. Adams further claims that even had the United States, by their treatment of Spain and Portugal during the South American revolutions, furnished a precedent for the denial of 'our Alabama claims, such an unjust example ought not to be followed. Would Great Britain have consented, if we, for instance, following British precedents, had attempted the establishment of a paper blockade, or the impressment of British seamen to fight against their countrymen on board of rebel cruisers? The fact is, however, that our claims against Spain were a sufficient offset and compensation for the Spanish claims against the United States, and were so regarded by the treaty in which they were mutually abandoned. The United States, moreover, notwithstanding their sympathy for the South American revolutionists, did not grant them hasty recognition as belligerents, but, (in strong contrast with the conduct of Great Britain,) they went the full length of the law in the prosecution of persons violating their neutrality, (see inclosed reports of prosecuting attorneys,) and upon complaint of the Portuguese minister that the law was insufficient, they promptly amended it. If the British government had similarly amended their foreign enlistment act, when requested, most of the present difficulties might have been obviated. Thus Lord Russell's comparison serves to show that the United States, by their prompt action, had avoided all responsibility, such as Great Britain, by refusing to act, had expressly incurred. It is not claimed that this responsibility is to be measured by the indirect losses to American commerce, caused by the war, but by those losses springing from the breach of clear international obligations. The proceedings in regard to the Laird rams, referred to by Lord Russell, ended in their being indirectly disposed of, and should not be cited as an instance of the vindication of law. If the transfer of the American mercantile marine to the British flag was, as Lord Russell supposes, merely nominal, it was a fraud on one of the belligerents, which, if the latter had been anything but the creature of British policy, would have been punished by the most severe scrutiny of British vessels. The inevitable conclusion arrived at is, that the nation which recognized a power as belligerent before it had built a vessel, and became itself the sole source of all its belligerent character upon the ocean, must be held responsible for all damage resulting therefrom to the com

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1865.

1042 Mr. Adams to

Sept. 7

merce of a power with which it was bound

to preserve amity and peace. Incloses Lord Russell's reply to his note of 548 May 20, defending the recognition of rebel belligerency on the ground of the suddenness and unprecedented magnitude of the rebellion, and the President's previous declaration of his intention to establish a blockade. Lord Russell claims that the rebels were belligerents de facto, and quotes a Supreme Court decision to show that the proclamation of blockade recognized that a state of war existed. He cannot admit that the United States could exercise this belligerent right, and yet deny neutral rights to Great Britain. In regard to the Oreto and the Alabama, up to the day of their sailing, no opinion had been given by the Crown lawyers to justify their detention, and these officers cannot be accused either of ignorance of the law, or unwillingness to apply it. In the revolutionary war the policy of France in furnish

Mr. Seward.

edging their independence was avowedly one of hostility to Great Britain, and therefore could not serve as a precedent for England in her conduct during the late war. Lord Russell refers to our recognitions of the South Americans in their revolutions against Spain and Portugal, and enlarges upon and indorses our reply to the remonstrances of the latter power, that having executed our laws faithfully we could not be responsible for acts of American citizens committed outside our jurisdiction. He asserts that the execution of the laws at that time was principally confined to the restoration of prizes brought into our ports. The number of cruisers then fitted outin American ports was much greater than the number of rebel cruisers sailing from Great Britain. In the former case, the officers were frequently American, while in the latter they were never British. The only similarity between the two cases is that in both the same reply was given to the claims of belligerents. Lord Russell says that the American law of 1818, passed at the request of the Portugese minister, is essentially the same as the British foreign enlistment act, and that Great Britain is not bound to make new laws as new occasions arise. That law proved sufficient to detain the Laird rams and the Pampero, although it is claimed that the law was exceeded in those cases. It would have been impossible to keep the Alabama and similar ves

too far to send witnesses to prove their illegal equipment. In answer to the proposal for a commission, her Majesty's government cannot agree to submit to arbitra

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