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The great exigency in our affairs will have passed away—for preservation or destruction of the American Union—before we could bring all these nations to unanimity on the subject, as you have submitted it to Mr. Thouvenel. It is a time not for propagandism, but for energetic acting to arrest the worst of all national calamities. We therefore expect you now to renew the proposition in the form originally prescribed. But in doing this you will neither unnecessarily raise a question about the character in which this government acts, (being exclusive sovereign,) nor, on the other hand, in any way compromise that character in any degree. Whenever such a question occurs to hinder you, let it come up from the other party in the negotiation. It will be time then to stop and wait for such further instructions as the new exigency may require. One word more. You will, in any case, avow our preference for the proposition with the Marcy amendment incorporated, and will assure the government of France that whenever there shall be any hope for the adoption of that beneficent feature by the necessary parties, as a principle of the law of nations, we shall be ready not only to agree to it, but even to propose it, and to lead in the necessary negotiations. This paper is, in one view, a conversation merely between yourself and us. It is not to be made public. On the other hand, we confide in your discretion to make such explanations as will relieve yourself of embarrassments, and this government of any suspicion of inconsistency or indirection in its intercourse with the enlightened and friendly government of France. I am, sir, respectfully, your obedient servant, WILLIAM H. SEWARD. WILLIAM L. DAYTON, Esq., &c., &c., &c.
Mr. Dayton to Mr. Seward.
No. 15.] PARIs, July 5, 1861.
SIR: >k :k 3: :k >k >k :k
Since writing the above I have received your despatches, Nos. 12, 19, and 20. I infer, from the contents of No. 19, that Mr. Mercier is aware of your original instructions to me on the subject of an accession to the treaty of Paris of 1856, and that you hold yourself open to negotiate with him there on that subject. As Mr. Adams has referred this question back to be treated of at Washington, and it is evident, I think, that Great Britain and France will act upon advisement at least with each other, it seems to me that it will be more convenient, in every respect, that you should take charge of the whole question at Washington, rather than have it dealt with by different persons, at the same time, each ignorant to a great extent of the action of the other. Besides, it is due to frankness to say that, if a convention is to be negotiated for an accession by the United States to the treaty of Paris, without amendment to the first clause, I would prefer it should be done at Washington rather than Paris. Still, I hold myself subject to the orders of the government in this as in other matters. I have already said I should await further instructions from your department on this subject.
With much respect, I have the honor to be, truly yours, WILLIAM L DAYTON. Hon. WILLIAM H. SEWARD, Secretary of State.
Mr. Dayton to Mr. Seward.
No. 21.] - - PARIs, July 22, 1861.
SIR: Your despatches, Nos. 24 and 25, are duly received. Despatches 19, 22, and 24, treat in whole or in part of the same general matter.
I have read despatch No. 19 with great interest. It had not occurred to me that you might deny to France and Great Britain an official reading of their despatches which announced to our government their concession of belligerent rights to the south; or that, if you should do so, it would alter the relations of parties to the question. If it has that effect diplomatically, or relieves you from noticing their position, you were certainly right. Indeed, I cannot see how, upon the ground that you put the matter, France has just cause of offence. You say merely you want no notice of a purpose by her to do what you consider an unfriendly act; that you will wait until the act is done before you choose to notice it; that, in other words, you choose to consider her as a friend until she shows herself by acts, not words, to be the contrary. >k >k >k >k >k >k
The reasons assigned for your course you say I may communicate to the French government if I “shall find it necessary or expedient.” I shall not fail to avail myself of this authority upon the earliest opportunity which shall be afforded for doing so. The just reasoning and friendly tone of your despatch will be invaluable for justification of your course and the prevention of difficulties. Unless, however, they refer to your action or make it a subject of complaint, it is, I suppose, not expedient for me to volunteer explanations. I was much surprised by one fact found in the despatch from the French government left with you for an informal reading, to wit: that you must not be surprised if France should address herself to a government which she says is to be installed at Montgomery for certain explanations. I could not have anticipated, from what had been said to me here, that such a course was in contemplation. Should they adopt it, the act would seem to me to approximate a recognition in this instance of the southern government more nearly than anything that has yet occurred. In that event, your future course will, no doubt, be guided by that wisdom which is so essential to carry us through the troubles of our present position. * >k >k
With much respect, I have the honor to be your obedient servant,
WM. L. DAYTON. Hon. WM. H. SEwARD, Secretary of State.
The President is not impatient about the negotiations concerning neutral
rights. We trust that we have kept our own position right and clear. You will probably find some anxiety on the part of the French govern
ment concerning a law which has passed Congress authorizing the President to close the ports held by the insurgents. I send you a copy of my instruc. tions to Mr. Adams on that subject, which you will receive for your own government in that matter. >k >k >k >k >k >k >k >k >k I am, &c., WILLIAM BI. SEWARD. WILLIAM L. DAYTON, Esq., &c., &c., déc.
You will receive the account of a deplorable reverse of our arms at Manassas. For a week or two that event will elate the friends of the insurgents in Europe as it confounded and bewildered the friends of the Union here for two or three days. The shock, however, has passed away, producing no other results than a resolution stronger and deeper than ever to maintain the Union, and a prompt and effective augmentation of the forces for that end exceeding what would otherwise have been possible. The heart of the country is sound. Its temper is now more favorable to the counsels of deliberation and wisdom. I am, sir, respectfully, your obedient servant, WILLIAM H. SEWARD. WILLIAM L. DAYTON, Esq., &c., &c., ác.
Mr. Dayton to Mr. Seward.
No. 22.] PARIs, July 30, 1861.
SIR: On the 21st of this month I received a note from Mr. Adams, a copy of which, marked A, is hereunto annexed, apprising me that, under renewed instructions from the government at Washington, he had proposed to the British government, on the 11th of this month, to negotiate on the basis of the project which had been transmitted to him soon after his arrival at London, touching the four points of the declaration of the convention at Paris in 1856, and inquiring whether I felt empowered and disposed to remove the obstacle of delay by entering at once into an arrangement for simultaneous action with the Emperor of the French. Accompanying his note was the copy of a communication from Lord John Russell, dated July 18, 1861, of which I send a copy, (though I doubt not Mr. Adams has antici. pated me in doing so.) Feeling the great importance of this matter, and mindful of your request that we should confer together when we could, I immediately went over to London.
I found, by the date of your renewed instructions to Mr. Adams, that you did not intend the negotiation upon this question should be conducted at Washington, but that it should be done on this side; and further, that with a full knowledge of all the facts, the original purpose of acceding to the treaty of Paris of 1856 was adhered to. Under these circumstances, I felt it my duty to say to Mr. Adams that there need be no delay on my account. To facilitate matters, while I was yet in London I made to him, in writing, a communication to that effect, of which I send you a copy, marked B.
You will observe that I ask Mr. Adams, in this communication, whether Great Britain has, at his instance, or otherwise, considered the Marcy amendment? This was done after conference with him, and after he had told me what would be his answer. He said that after I had made the proposition here it was considered at London, and Lord John Russell, upon his (Mr. Adams) suggesting this amendment to the treaty there, said at once that the principle was inadmissible; that the British government would not assent to it. This answer I thought it most desirable we should have on record, and therefore made a suggestion in my note which Mr. Adams said he would adopt. Great Britain, so far as I know, never has, before this, distinctly placed herself on record against the adoption of that humane and noble principle as a provision of maritime law.
I was much gratified that I had gone over to London. I felt a sense of relief in conferring with Mr. Adams upon questions of so much importance, and got knowledge of some facts of which I had no knowledge before. I was in England but two days, and then returned immediately to Paris. I missed, however, the mail by the steamer of last week, which I much regretted.
With much respect, your obedient servant,
His Excellency W.M. H. SEWARD.
Foreign OFFICE, July 18, 1861.
SIR: Upon considering your proposition of Saturday last I have two remarks to make: 1. The course hitherto followed has been a simple notification of adherence to the declaration of Paris by those states which were not originally parties to it. 2. The declaration of Paris was one embracing various powers, with a view to general concurrence upon questions of maritime law, and not an insulated engagement between two powers only. Her Majesty's government are willing to waive entirely any objection on the first of these heads, and to accept the form which the government of the United States prefers. With regard to the second, her Majesty's government are of opinion that they should be assured that the United States are ready to enter into a similar engagement with France, and with other maritime powers, who are parties to the declaration of Paris, and do not propose to make singly and separately a convention with Great Britain only. But as much time might be required for separate communications between the government of the United States and all the maritime powers who were parties to or have acceded to the declaration of Paris, her Majesty's government would deem themselves authorized to advise the Queen to conclude a convention on this subject with the President of the United States so soon as they shall have been informed that a similar convention has been agreed upon, and is ready for signature, between the President of the United States and the Emperor of the French, so that the two conventions might be signed simultaneously and on the same day. I have the honor to be, with the highest consideration, sir, your most obedient, humble servant, J. RUSSELL.
CHARLEs FRANCIs ADAMs, Esq., &c., &c., &c.
LoNDoN, July 25, 1861.
SIR: Yours of the 19th instant, enclosing a copy of Lord John Russell's of the 18th instant, was duly received by me at Paris. My powers to negotiate with France an accession by the United States to the treaty of Paris of 1856 are of the same general character as your own. Under those powers and the instructions received by me from Washington I did propose such accession to the government of France, but with an addition to the first clause of the following words: “And the private property of subjects or citizens of one of the belligerents shall not be seized, upon the high seas, by the vessels of war of the other belligerents, unless it may be contraband of war.” To this proposition I received an answer from the French minister of foreign affairs, dated June 20, 1801, the substance of which was that the French government declined to consider the proposition (inasmuch as it differed from the provisions of the treaty of Paris) unless it was addressed to all the powers who were parties to that convention. In the meantime I saw it stated in the public press of Europe that the British, French, Spanish, and Belgian governments had made a declaration of their intentions as respects their conduct towards the United States government and the insurgents of the south, and I was not certain whether our government would desire, under the circumstances, that the proposition to accede to the treaty in question, without the amendment, should be made.
Your renewed instructions to proceed on the basis of that treaty are subsequent to and with a full knowledge by our government of the facts herein before stated.
Under these circumstances, therefore, I feel authorized and required to proceed without further delay. Before, however, I shall communicate further with the French government, I wish to know whether Great Britain has, at your instance, or otherwise, considered the amendment of the treaty hereinbefore referred to. Before abandoning the hope of obtaining the incor. poration, in our code of maritime law, of that great and humane principle, it seems to me desirable that we should have distinct assurance that the principle will not be admitted. I do not recollect that Great Britain has any time, heretofore, answered distinctly, if at all, upon that proposition, but seems rather to have avoided it. I think it desirable that that answer should be of record, (either in a note from or to you,) so that the responsibility may attach, through all time, where it properly belongs.
Immediately upon the receipt of your answer I will enclose a copy of your notes, in connexion with that from Lord John Russell to the French government, and, as soon as heard from, adviso you of its reply.
Respectfully, your obedient servant, WM. L. DAYTON. His Excellency CHAs. F. ADAMs.
Mr. Dayton to Mr. Seward.
No. 24.] PARIs, August 2, 1861. SIR: Your despatch No. 27 was not received by me until after my return
from London. By my note to Mr. Adams, written in London, and to be found in de