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as necessary results of progress in our case. The people Lad heard so frequently of this view of the subject from advocates of state sovereignty, as well as haters of American constitutional j government and liberty, that, at first, and for a long time, they were ready to I acquiesce in disunion, and rather to re| joice in view of its beneficial results to themselves. To counteract this unfriendly feeling and hostile judgment of affairs, if it should exhibit itself in diplomacy, and prevent, if possible, its adoption and incorporation in the public policy of leading European nations, was the arduous work before the secretary of state at Washington. Mr. Seward devoted himself to the task with indefatigable zeal and earnestness; and his successful efforts in behalf of his country deserve and have received the highest praise.
The British government, influenced by mixed motives probably, acted in a manner that could hardly be called friendly. "With unusual haste, within less than a month after the news had arrived of Fort Sumter's bombardment, and before the arrival of our minister, Mr. C. F. Adams, Her Majesty's
advisers, Lord John Russell at the head, had determined that "the Southern Confederacy of America, according to those principles which seem to them to be just principles, must be treated as a belligerent." .The queen's proclamation, agreed upon in Privy Council, was issued on the 13th of May, the day of Mr. Adams's arrival at Liverpool, and before he had any opportunity of speech or action on the subject. After the usual preamble and stateVol. rv.—9.
ment of a determination to be entirely neutral between the secessionists and the United States government, the queen said: "And we do hereby strictly charge and command all our loving subjects to observe a strict neutrality in and during the aforesaid hostilities, and to abstain from violating or contravening either the laws and statutes of the realm in this behalf, or the law of nations in relation thereto, as they will answer to the contrary at their peril." The provisions of the Foreign Enlistment Act, 59 George III., having been recited, the proclamation was concluded in the following terms: "And we do hereby declare, that all our subjects and persons entitled to our protection, who may misconduct themselves in the premises, will do it at their peril, and of their own wrong, and that they will, in nowise, obtain any protection from us against any liabilities or penal consequences, but will, on the contrary, incur our displeasure by such misconduct."
This action of the British government, while it accorded entirely with the plans and purposes of Louis Napoleon, was felt in the United States to be very unhandsome, to say the least, and to indicate a hostile spirit, which it was not easy to forget or forgive. The necessity of any such action could hardly be pretended, seeing that the "confederacy" had thus far done nothing but make loud and arrogant assumptions, and had not a single port of entry at its command, free from blockade ; the real effect was, and was meant to be, to open the door for the rebels to get privateers, and prey upon Amerifan commerce. As it turned out, England furnished largely the means by which the rebellion was able to lengthen its existence, and to do immense injury to our commerce.
On the 1st of June, a royal order was issued, interdicting the armed vessels and privateers of both parties from carrying prizes made by them to port3, harbors, roadsteads or waters of the United Kingdom or any of Her Majesty's colonies or possessions abroad. At the same time it was announced, that the government wished and meant to observe the strictest neutrality in the contest; the further question of direct recognition was postponed, neither England nor France caring just then to engage in a war with the United States, which would certainly have resulted from recognition of the "Confederacy."
The rebel agents, Messrs. Yancey, Rost, and Mann, at the beginning of May, urged Lord John Russell to recognize their so-called government at once, and presented various reasons of policy and interest to England therefor, especially that of free trade, without the offensive tariffs of the North. But the British prime minister could not be persuaded to go further than the proclamation of entire neutrality. To their remarkable perversions of the truth on the subject of the war, charging Mr. Lincoln with fighting in order to keep the slaves in slavery, and with a purpose by and by of exciting a slave insurrection, Lord John Russell rather quietly answered, August 24th, that the British government did not pretend to enter into the merits of the
question "between the United States and their adversaries in North America;" but that, regarding the contest as constituting a civil war, the policy of neutrality would bt strictly adhered to. "Her Majesty cannot undertake to determine, by anticipation, what maybe the issue of the contest, nor can she acknowledge the independence of the nine states which are now combined against the Presi dent and Congress of the United States, until the fortune of arms, or the more peaceful mode of negotiation shall have more clearly determined the respective positions of the two belligerents." Thus far, the rebels had accomplished but a small part of their purpose, and they were deeply chagrined at their want of success.
France having, by agreement, adopted the same line of policy with England, a decree was published in the Moniteur, June 11th, proclaiming that " His Majesty, the Emperor of the French, taking into consideration the state of peace which now exists between France and the United States of America, has resolved to maintain a strict neutrality in the struggle between the government of the Union and the states which propose to form a separate confederation." In addition, it was stated, that the same restrictions were in force which had been imposed by the British government as to fitting out privateers, violations of neutrality, etc.* Intercourse with the French govern
* Spain and Portugal also issued royal decrees, prohibiting all their subjects from taking service on either side, the entrance of privateers or armed ships with their prizes into any of their ports, the acceptance by their subjects of letters of marque, the fitting out
ment was very friendly, and in the main satisfactory. Mr. Dayton, our minister, was received with cordiality, and M. Thouvenel, the foreign minister, expressed himself with especial frankness and good feeling. In allusion to some opinions uttered by Mr. Dayton's predecessor, Mr. Seward wrote very decidedly:—" The United States waited patiently while their authority was defied in turbulent assemblies and in seditious preparations, willing to hope that mediation, offered on all sides, would conciliate and induce the disaffected parties to return to a better mind. But the case is now altogether changed. The insurgents have instituted revolution with open, flagrant, deadly war, to compel the United States to acquiesce in the dismemberment of the Union Tell M.
Thouvenel, with the highest consideration and good feeling, that the thought of a dissolution of this Union, peaceably or by force, has never entered into the mind of any candid statesman here, and it is high time that it be dismissed by statesmen in Europe."
It is interesting, and for a time was surprising to our people, to note the outspoken, hearty sympathy of Russia in our affairs. We thought we had a right to expect offices of friendship from England and France, but had. hardly counted on any special regard from Russia. In both cases we were disappointed; the former adopted a course as detrimental to our interests as was possible, short of open war; the latter gave us every assurance of good
of vessels with a hostile purpose in their harbors, and generally enjoining complete neutrality.
will and earnest desire for our prosperity and national honor. A passage or two from Prince Gortchacow's dispatch to the Russian minister, July 10th, 1861, may be quoted as illustrating the Emperor's regard :—" For more than eighty years that it has existed, the American Union owes its independence, its towering rise, and its progress, to the concord of its members, consecrated, under the auspices of its illustrious founder, by institutions which have been able to reconcile union with liberty. This union has been fruitful. It has exhibited to the world the spectacle of a prosperity without example
in the annals of history Give
them (the government and others) the assurance that, in every event the American nation may count upon the most cordial sympathy on the part of our august master during the impor tant crisis which it is passing through at present."
We need not enlarge upon the efforts of our ministers abroad, as well to dis abuse the public mind of ignorant pre possessions and incorrect views, as tf express clearly the position and deter mination of the government. The/ were as successful as could be expects.d under the circumstances, and their zeal and ability were highly approved at home. One point, however, deserves notice in this connection. Certain articles were agreed upon at Paris, in 1856, by the principal powers of Europe. The understanding between the contracting parties, Great Britain, Austria, France, Russia, Prussia, Sar dinia and Turkey, was :—1st, that privateering is abolished; 2d, that the neutral flag covers enemy's goods, except contraband of war; 3d, that neutral goods, with the same exception, are not liable to capture under an enemy's flag; 4th, that blockades, to be binding, must be effective. The United States, Mr. Pierce then being president, did not accede to the propositions, desiring to have added a provision exempting the private property of belligerents from seizure on the high seas. On Mr. Lincoln becoming president, and in view of the importance of the matter at the present juncture, Mr. Seward opened the subject again, and offered to accept the original articles without the desired addition just named. England and France favored the settlement of the subject; but it was kept in abeyance some two months, when, with great coolness, these governments
declared, that whatever they might now do must be prospective, and not invalidate anything already done. That is, having recognized the belligerent position of the rebels, they were not going to do anything which might possibly interfere with the business of privateering, which Jefferson Davis was already engaged in. Mr. Seward, in calm but unmistakeable tone, put a quietus upon the whole matter, and gave foreign powers to understand, that he both knew and was prepared to maintain the rights and dignity of the United States.
Privateering, in the existing condition of affairs, was of course a matter of great moment to the rebels, as it afforded them the opportun'ty of doing immense mischief to our commerce. Davis, as we have seen (p 21), called
for persons to do this kind of work; and in a few months a large amount of property was destroyed.* At the beginning of June, the Savannah, a schooner of 54 tons, was fitted out as a privateer, having a single 18-pound pivot gun and a crew of 22 men. She managed to slip out of the harbor of Charleston, and started on a cruise after merchant vessels trafficking between Northern ports and Cuba. The next morning, she fell in with the' brig Joseph, of Rockland, Maine, which was immediately taken possession of; in the afternoon, she fell in with the United States brig Perry, Lieutenant E. G. Parrott commanding. All attempts at escape proved useless, and about eight P.m. she was captured Lieut. Parrott reported his success to FlagOfficer Stringham in the Minnesota, which was then blockading Charleston harbor. The Savannah was sent with a prize crew to New York, and her officers and crew were taken by the Minnesota to Hampton Roads, whence they were brought in the Harriet Lane to New York, and there placed in keeping of the United States marshal in close confinement in the city prison.f A bill of indictment for robbery on the high seas was promptly found by the grand jury, and on the 23d of July, the prisoners, thirteen in number, were arraigned for trial, which was set down for the October term.
As Jefferson Davis had threatened, early in July, and had taken steps to
* Tho report of seizures of vessels, made by the the rebels, at the close of 1861, was:—off the different porta, 13; in port, 30; steamers captured on the Mississippi, 15; total, 58.
f Under date of July 6th 1861, Davis wrote a