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which, owing to the discontinuance of the post, they are unable to send in any other way; also, that some of the letters contain dividends, the property of British subjects, which they could scarcely receive without Mr. Bunch's intervention. He adds that he hopes that there is no irregularity in this proceeding, since no expense of postage is incurred, because the bag in which the letters are contained goes by a private hand to Liverpool. I read this note under the light thrown upon it by the explanations of Earl Russell, which show that the whole correspondence contained in the bag was innocent. In these circumstances, what remains open to special exception in Mr. Bunch's proceeding is, his substitution of his consular bag and official seal for the mail bag and mail locks of the United States, and of his own mail carrier for the mail carriers of the United States. The proceeding of the consul in these respects, certainly is not defensible on any ground of treaty or international law; nor does Earl Russell in any way imply that he deems it is so. The proceeding however was practically harmless, and it is not likely to be repeated. I confess to the fact of the interruption of the post, and also that it works literally a non-fulfilment of a treaty stipulation. I deplore it for that reason, as well as for the public and private injuries that it occasions, not only abroad but at home. But the British government is well aware that the interruption has occurred, not through the deliberate or even voluntary consent of the government, but through the sudden violence of an insurrection which has not only obstructed the mails, but which even seeks to overthrow not only the treaty in question, but even the government of the United States and the Union itself, which constitutes them one treaty-making and treaty-observing nation. Suppression of the correspondence between parties in that nation with each other in this country and in foreign countries is a measure which is essential to the suppression of the insurrection itself, and to a complete restoration of the functions of the government throughout the Union. I feel sure that the magnanimity of the British government may be relied upon not to complain, at one and the same time, of the breach of our international postal treaty under such circumstances, and of our resort to a measure which is indispensable to complete our ability to fulfil it. I am, sir, your obedient servant, WILLIAM H. SEWARD, CHARLES FRANCIS ADAMS, Esq., &c., déc., d.c. -
Mr. Seward to Mr. Adams.
No. 109.] - DEPARTMENT OF STATE, Washington, October 23, 1861.
SIR: I recur once more to your despatch of September 14, No. 44. On the 3d of that month you addressed a note to Earl Russell, in which you informed him, by my direction, that from the contents of the many letters found in the possession of Mr. Robert Mure, bearer of despatches to the government of Great Britain, but detained at New York as an agent of the enemies of the United States, the following statement is made of the action of Mr. Bunch in Charleston. “Mr. Bunch, on oath of secrecy, communicated to me also that the first step to recognition was taken; that he and Mr. Belligny together sent Mr. Trescot to Richmond yesterday to ask Jeff. Davis, President, to the treaty of to the neutral flag covering neutral goods to be respected. This is the first step of direct treating with our government. So prepare for active business by first of January.” You submitted this information to her Majesty's government with a request on the part of the President of the United States that, if it should be found to be correct, Mr. Bunch might be at once removed from his office. And you further added, by my direction, that the President would cheerfully accord an exeguator to any person who might be appointed to succeed Mr. Bunch, who would faithfully perform his functions without injury to the rights and interests of the United States. There is appended to your despatch now before me the written answer of the Earl Russell to your note thus recited. His lordship answers that he will, without hesitation, state to Mr. Adams that, in pursuance of an agreement between the British and French governments, Mr. Bunch was instructed to communicate to the persons excercising authority in the so-called Confederate States the desire of those governments that the second, third, and fourth articles of the declaration of Paris should be observed by those States in the prosecution of the hostilities in which they were engaged. His lordship then asked you to observe that the commerce of Great Britain and France is deeply interested in the maintenance of the articles providing that the flag covers the goods, and that the goods of a neutral taken on board a belligerent ship are not liable to confiscation. Earl Russell thereupon proceeds to say that Mr. Bunch, in what he has done in this matter, has acted in obedience to the instructions of his government, who accept the responsibility of his proceedings, so far as they are known to the foreign department, and who cannot therefore remove him from his office for having obeyed their instructions. But his lordship adds that, when it is stated in a letter from some person not named that the first step to the recognition of the southern States by Great Britain has been taken, he, Earl Russell, begs to decline all responsibility for such statement; and he remarks on this branch of the subject that her Majesty's government have already recognized the belligerent character of the southern States, and they will continue to consider them as belligerents, but that her Majesty's government have not recognized, and are not prepared to recognize, the so-called Confederate States as a separate and independent State. You are instructed to reply to this note of her Majesty's principal secretary of state for foreign affairs: First. That her Majesty's government having avowed that Mr. Bunch acted under their instructions, so far as his conduct is known to the foreign department, and that government having avowed their responsibility for his proceedings in that extent, it is admitted that, so far as that portion of the subject is concerned, the matter is to be settled directly with her Majesty's government. Secondly. That a law of the United States forbids any person not specially appointed or duly authorized or recognized by the President, whether citiZen or denizen, privileged or unprivileged, from counselling, advising, aiding, or assisting in any political correspondence with the government of any foreign state whatever, with an intent to influence the measures of any foreign government, or of any officer or agent thereof, in relation to any disputes or controversies with the United States, or to defeat the measures of the government. The proceeding of Mr. Bunch was clearly and distinctly in violation of this positive law. Thirdly. This government finds no sufficient justification or excuse for the proceeding of Mr. Bunch, thus shown to be in violation of the law of the United States, in the consideration that Great Britain was deeply interested in the maintenance of the articles which provide that the flag covers the goods, and that the goods of a neutral taken on board a belligerent ship are not liable to confiscation.
It is enough to say on this subject that, in our view, the proper agents of the British government, to make known that interest here, are the diplomatic, not the consular agents of her Majesty; and that the only authority in this country to which any diplomatic communication whatever can be made is the government of the United States itself.
Still less can the United States admit that communication by Mr. Bunch, while exercising consular privileges with which he was clothed by the consent of the United States, with insurgents in arms against the federal government, is justified by the declaration of the British ministry that they have already recognized the belligerent character of the insurgents, and that they will continue to consider them as belligerents. It is understood to be true that her Majesty's government have heretofore issued a royal proclamation which they interpret as declaring that they recognize the insurgents as a belligerent. But it is also true that this government has, with equal decision and with equal resolution, announced to the British government that any such declaration made by the British government would not be accepted as modifying, in the least degree, the rights or powers of this government, or the obligations due to them by Great Britain as a friendly nation. Still adhering to this position, the government of the United States will continue to pursue, as it has heretofore done, the counsels of prudence, and will not suffer itself to be disturbed by excitement. It must revoke the exeguatur of the consul, who has not only been the bearer of communications between the insurgents and a foreign government, in violation of our laws, but has abused equally the confidence of the two governments by reporting, without the authority of his government, and in violation of their own policy as well as of our national rights, that the proceeding in which he was engaged was in the nature of a treaty with the insurgents, and the first step towards a recognition by Great Britain of their sovereignty. Moreover, the conduct of the person in question, even while this correspondence has been going on, as well as before it commenced, has been that, not of a friend to this government, or even of a neutral, but of a partisan of faction and disunion.
In reviewing this subject it would be unjust to her Majesty's minister residing here, as well as to her Majesty's government, to omit to say that that minister has, in all his proceedings, carefully respected the sovereignty and the rights of the United States, and that the arrangements which have been made by him, with the approval of this government, for communication between the British government and its consuls, through the national vessels of Great Britain entering blockaded ports without carrying passengers or private letters, seems to forbid any necessity for a recurrence of such proceedings as those which have brought about these explanations. You will inform the Earl Russell that the exeguatur of Mr. Bunch has been withdrawn because his services as consul are not agreeable to this government, and that the consular privileges thus taken from him will be cheerfully allowed to any successor whom her Majesty may appoint, against whom no grave personal objections shall exist. It is a source of satisfaction to the President to reflect that the proceeding which I have been considering occurred some time ago, and that the part of it which was most calculated to offend, and to which exception is now especially taken, finds no support in the communication of Earl Russell.
I am, sir, your obedient servant, WILLIAM H. SEWARD. CHARLES FRANCIS ADAMS, Esq., &c, &c., &c.
Mr. Seward to Mr. Adams.
No. 112.] DEPARTMENT of STATE, Washington, October 29, 1861.
SIR: Your despatch of October 11, No. 58, has been received. It is accompanied by Lord Russell's reply to the note which you addressed to him by my direction, asking an explanation of the conduct of the colonial authorities in Trinidad on the occasion of the entrance of the piratical vessel the “Sumter” into that port.
Lord Russell admits that the “Sumter,” (an armed American vessel, bearing an insurgent flag, entered the port of Trinidad, and when boarde and required to show her nationality, her commanding officer showed no legal authority from this government, but a pretended commission from a citizen of the United States, notoriously engaged in arms against them. Notwithstanding these facts, it is not denied that the governor of the island hoisted the British flag on the government flag-staff, although it is stated by Lord Russell that, if he did so, it was probably done in order to show the national character of the island, and not in acknowledgment of the arrival of the “Sumter.”
His lordship, however, admits that the “Sumter” was allowed to remain six days in Trinidad, and that during her stay she was allowed to supply herself with coals and provisions. The armament, the insurgent flag, and the spurious commission told the governor, as they sufficiently prove to her Majesty's government, that the “Sumter” is and can be nothing else than a piratical vessel. Her depredations on the commerce of this country form a part of the history of our times. The British government has, moreover, been directly informed by us that the “Sumter” is a piratical craft, and that the navigators and seamen on board of her are pirates, punishable by the laws of their own country with death. Lord Russell informs us that the law officers of the crown have nevertheless reported that the conduct of the colonial authorities of Trinidad is in conformity to her Majesty's proclamation. Her Majesty's government dismiss our complaint from their consideration.
In view of these facts, it becomes my duty to instruct you to inform the British government that the President deeply regrets that Lord Russell is altogether unable to give to our complaint a satisfactory solution. ... When it is considered how important a part commerce plays among the interests of our country, it will be seen that the United States cannot conSent that pirates engaged in destroying it shall receive shelter and supplies in the ports of friendly nations. It tends to the universal derangement of commerce when piracy is anywhere tolerated, and therefore its suppression is a common interest of all civilized countries. But if any one power fails to preserve this interest, and to act for the common welfare, then it is easy to see that each state must provide for its own security at whatever cost, and however it may disturb the general harmony of the commercial world.
This government will consider how its safety may be best secured; but it Cannot forbear from expressing a hope that her Majesty's ministers, in view of the gravity of the question, may deem the subject worthy of a deliberate reconsideration.
I am, sir, your most obedient servant, WILLIAM H. SEWARD. CHARLEs FRANCIs ADAMS, Esq., &c., &c., &c.
Mr. Seward to Lord Lyons.
DEPARTMENT of STATE, Washington, October 4, 1861.
My LoRD: I regret to inform you that information has reached this department that foreign vessels-of-war, which have entered ports of States in insurrection against the government of the United States, under blockade, have, in some instances, carried passengers, and in others private corres, pondence. It is presumed that such proceedings could not have taken place with the knowledge or approval of the governments of foreign countries.
With a view, however, to prevent any misunderstanding in future, it is distinctly to be understood that no foreign vessel-of-war, which may enter or depart from a blockaded port of the United States, will carry any person as a passenger, or any correspondence other than that between the government of the country to which the vessel may belong and the diplomatic and consular agents of such country at the ports adverted to.
I avail myself of this occasion to offer to your lordship a renewed assurance of my high consideration.
WILLIAM H. SEWARD. To the Right Honorable LoRD Lyons, déc., &c., d.c.
Lord Lyons to Mr. Seward.
BRITISH LEGATION, Washington, D.C., October 12, 1861.
SIR : I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your note of the 4th instant, relative to communications between ships-of-war and the ports in the southern States, now under blockade.
You have apprised me in that note that information has reached the Department of State that foreign vessels-of-war which have entered those ports since they were blockaded, have in some instances carried passengers, and in others private correspondence. You were so good as to assure me verbally, yesterday, that no British ship-of-war was included among those to which your note thus referred. Indeed, I have every reason to believe that, with a single exception, no British ship-of-war has communicated with any of the ports under blockade. The ship which I except is the “Steady;" of my intention to request the commander of this ship to leave official despatches at Charleston, I had the honor to inform you on the 18th of last month. The “Steady” accordingly sailed for Charleston a few days after. wards. She carried no letters except official despatches from me or other authorities of foreign governments in the United States, and no passenger excepting Mr. Fullaston, her Majesty's acting consul at Savannah, who was landed at Charleston on his way back to his post.
As several of my colleagues have expressed to me their desire to send official despatches to the consuls of their respective governments by any of her Majesty's ships which may hereafter convey despatches for me to the ports under blockade, I shall be much obliged if you will inform me whether you see any objection to my forwarding to those ports, by her Majesty's