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spatch No. 22, you will find your instructions were anticipated by my action; that immediately upon learning, from a reliable source, what were the views of the government in regard to an accession to the treaty of Paris, expressed with full knowledge of facts occurring since its original instructions to me, I at once took measures to comply with them, without attempting to balance the suggestions of my own mind against its known wishes. But I confess that in a matter of such grave importance as an accession by the United States to that treaty, I did want those wishes distinctly expressed with full knowledge of the facts. You will observe, by the copy of a communication to the minister of foreign affairs, (marked A,) and hereunto annexed, that I have already moved in the matter here. >k >k >k >k >k >k >k >k With much respect, I have the honor to be your obedient servant, WM. L. DAYTON. Hon. WILLIAM H. SEWARD, Secretary of State.
PARIs, August 2, 1861.
SIR: I had the honor to inform your excellency some time since that I was authorized, upon the part of the United States, to treat with any person or persons authorized by the Emperor concerning the principles of maritime law which affect neutral and belligerent rights at sea, and other matters connected therewith, of interest to the two nations, and on the 31st of May last proposed to your excellency an accession by the United States to the treaty of Paris of 1856, with certain words of addition thereto. Under date of 26th of June last I received a reply from your excellency stating that the protocols of the congress of Paris impose upon all the powers who signed the declaration of the 16th of April the obligation not to negotiate, separately, upon the application of maritime rights in time of war, any arrangement which differed from the declaration resolved upon in common, and that, as a consequence, it would be necessary that my offer include the other powers signing the declaration before it would be considered. At the time the foregoing offer was made I had some reason to believe that it might be accepted by all the powers who negotiated that treaty, but subsequent information (the nature of which I have explained to you) has satisfied me that this was an error. The government of the United States would have preferred the incorporation in the treaty of the amendment before referred to; and when there shall be any hope for the adoption of that beneficent feature by the necessary parties as a principle of the law of nations, the United States will not only be ready to agree to it, but even to propose it, and to lead in the necessary negotiations. Under existing circumstances I am satisfied that I would not be justified in further delaying negotiations for an accession by the United States to the treaty of Paris of 1856, in the vain hope that the amendment in question, if proposed to all the powers, would, at present, be accepted. I have the honor, therefore, to apprise your excellency that I am prepared, on the part of the government of the United States, and hereby propose to your excellency, to enter into a convention with the Emperor of the French for accession by the United States to the “declaration concerning maritime law” adopted by the plenipotentiaries of France, Great Britain, Austria, Prussia, Russia, Sardinia, and Turkey, at Paris, on the 16th of April, 1856, and that I have special authority for this purpose from the President of the United States, dated 26th of April last, which I shall be happy to submit to your excellency. I beg likewise, in this connexion, to say to your excellency that a like proposition has been made by Mr. Adams to her Britannic Majesty, and herewith I deem it proper to enclose you a copy of the reply of Lord John Russell. With much respect, I have the honor to be your very obedient servant, WM. L. DAYTON. Monsieu R LE MINISTRE.
Mr. Seward to Mr. Dayton.
No. 41.] DEPARTMENT OF STATE, Washington, August 17, 1861. SIR: I send you a copy of a despatch, which is this day sent to Mr. Adams, concerning the negotiations with Great Britain for the melioration of international law relating to the rights of neutrals in maritime war. You will, of course, wait in your negotiations, at Paris, until the result of the explanations, which Mr. Adams is instructed to ask, shall have been received and duly considered. There is reason, however, to expect that the delay which thus becomes necessary will be moved for by Mr. Thouvenel himself when he shall have become advised of the new and singular position assumed by Lord John Russell. I am, sir, respectfully, your obedient servant, WILLIAM H. SEWARD. WM. L. DAYTON, Esq., &c., &c., &c.
You will learn from a distinct despatch, No. 41, which accompanies or which will soon follow this, that our negotiation in England has taken a new phase, which, of course, will soon present itself in discussion with the French government.
Treason was emboldened by its partial success at Manassas, but the Union now grows manifestly stronger every day. Let us see how Great Britain will explain. *
I am, sir, respectfully, your obedient servant,
WILLIAM H. SEWARD. WILLIAM L. DAYTON, Esq., &c., &c., &c.
Mr. Seward to Mr. Dayton.
No. 46.] DEPARTMENT of STATE, Washington, August 19, 1861.
SIR: Your despatch No. 22, under the date of July 30, has been received. It relates to an interview, and is accompanied by a correspondence between yourself and Mr. Adams. Your proceedings and your letter are deemed judicious, and are fully approved. In communications which have preceded this I have already said all that the despatch now before me seems to require. I am, sir, respectfully, your obedient servant, WILLIAM H. SEWARD.
No. 29.] PARIs, August 19, 1861. SIR: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of despatches Nos. 29,
Your despatch No. 30 includes copies of despatches 42 and 46 to Mr. Adams. These are of great interest, as they affect the question of our blockade of the southern ports. I never think it wise to volunteer a subject out of which complaints may arise before they are brought to my notice by the party likely to complain; but should occasion arise, I shall avail myself fully of the views suggested by you as to the purpose and object of the late act of Congress authorizing the President to close the ports by proclamation. But I very much fear that difficulties will grow up between us and Great Britain and France upon this question. Unless the ports are hermetically sealed by blockade, not by proclamation—if these countries get short of cotton, and we are not ourselves in possession of the interior—excuses enough will be made for breaking the blockade. The tone of the public press here indicates
SIR: On Thursday of last week I was informed by Lord Cowley that Mr. Adams and Lord John Russell had agreed upon the text of a convention in respect to maritime rights, &c. On the following day a copy of this convention was sent to me by Lord Cowley. I find it substantially, if not
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literally, the same as that which you enclosed to me, and directed me to execute. I am to see Mr. Thouvenel upon the subject by appointment to-morrow. Unless something shall occur, altering the existing condition of things, this convention will doubtless be executed at an early day. Your despatch No. 30 says, “the President is not impatient about the negotiations concerning neutral rights,” but your prior despatches and the action of Mr. Adams have put any considerable delay out of my power. Besides, if the treaty is to be executed, whether it be done a few days or weeks earlier or later is, perhaps, not very important. I have felt much relieved in this negotiation by the specific character of my instructions. With great respect, I have the honor to be your obedient servant, WILLIAM L. DAYTON. The Hon. WILLIAM H. SEWARD, déc., déc., déc.
Mr. Dayton to Mr. Seward.
No. 35.] PARIs, August 22, 1861.
SIR: My anticipations expressed in despatch No. 10 are fully realized. Both Lord John Russell and Mr. Thouvenel refuse to negotiate for an accession by the United States to the treaty of Paris of 1856, except on the distinct understanding that it is to have no bearing, directly or indirectly, on the question of our southern or domestie difficulty, and to render the matter certain they each propose to make a written declaration simultaneous with the execution of the convention, of which I herewith send you a copy and a translation. I likewise send you a copy of Mr. Thouvenel's note to me with its translation.
I had an interview on Tuesday, the 20th instant, with Mr. Thouvenel by appointment in reference to the subject-matter of the convention, and then he gave me the first notice of the purpose of the French government to execute this outside declaration, predicated as it was, beyond all doubt, upon a note he had just received from Lord John Russell, dated only the day preceding. He said that both France and Great Britain had already announced that they would take no part in our domestic controversy, and they thought that a frank and open declaration in advance of the execution of this convention might save difficulty and misconception hereafter. He further said, in the way of specification, that the provisions of the treaty standing alone might bind England and France to pursue and punish the privateers of the south as pirates. That they were unwilling to do this, and had already so declared. He said that we could deal with these people as we chose, and they could only express their regrets on the score of humanity if we should deal with them as pirates, but they could not partici. pate in such a course. He said, further, that although both England and France were anxious to have the adhesion of the United States to the declaration of Paris, that they would rather dispense with it altogether than be drawn into our domestic controversy. He insisted somewhat pointedly that I could take no just exception to this outside declaration, simultaneous with the execution of the convention, unless we intended they should be made parties to our controversy; and that the very fact of my hesitation was an additional reason why they should insist upon making such contemporaneous declaration. These are the general views expressed by him.
In answer, I assented at once to the propriety of such declaration being made in advance if France and England did not mean to abide by the terms of the treaty. I stated that I had no reason to suppose that the United States desired to embroil these countries in our domestic difficulties—that in point of fact our great desire had been that they should keep out of them; but they proposed now to make a declaration to accompany the execution of the convention which they admitted would vary its obligations. That my instructions were to negotiate that convention, and that I had no authority to do anything or listen to anything which would waive any rights or relieve from any obligation which might fairly arise from a just construction of its terms. He said they did not mean to alter its terms, that it was not like an addition of other provisions to the terms of the treaty itself. To this I replied, that for the purpose intended, it was precisely the same as if this declaration they proposed to make were to be incorporated into the treaty itself. That its effect was to relieve them (without complaint on our part) from compliance with one of the admitted obligations of the treaty. I then told him I would consult with Mr. Adams, and it was not improbable that we might feel ourselves under the necessity of referring again to our government, to which he answered that that must be a question for us to determine. In the course of our conversation I told him that any declaration or action which looked to or recognized a difference or distinction between the north and south was a matter upon which our government was, under the circumstances, peculiarly sensitive. That we treated with foreign governments for our whole country, north and south, and for all its citizens, whether true men or rebels, and when we could not so treat, we would cease to treat at all. He answered that they did not mean to contest our right to treat for the whole country, and that was not the purpose of the outside declaration they proposed to make; but having heretofore adopted a course of strict neutrality, the declaration in question was right and proper to prevent misconception and controversy in the future.
After my conference with Mr. Thouvenel closed, I immediately wrote to Mr. Adams, and suggested to him the propriety of either referring again to our government for instructions, or, if he thought that such reference would involve any unnecessary delay, then, at least, that at the time of executing the convention (if it were executed) we should in like manner make a counter declaration in writing, stating, in substance, that “we have no power to admit, and do not mean to admit, that this outside declaration by Great Britain and France is to relieve them, directly or indirectly, from any obligation or duty which would otherwise devolve upon them in virtue of said convention.”
I have felt constrained to make these suggestions to Mr. Adams, for I am unwilling to act affirmatively in a matter of so much importance without being clearly within my instructions. I shall await his answer before I communicate further with the French government.
With much respect, your obedient servant, WM. L. DAYTON. His Excellency WILLIAM H. SEWARD, Secretary of State, déc., &c.
SIR: I have the honor to communicate to you the text of the written declaration that I propose to myself to make, and of which I will take care to remit to you a copy, at the moment of the signing of the convention