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You will express to Baron Ricasoli the high appreciation which this govern
ment entertains of his decision in regard to our affairs.
You will be pained by the intelligence of a reverse of our arms near Manassas Junction, and I fear it will, for a time, operate to excite apprehensions and encourage the enemies of the Union in Europe; but the blow has already spent its force here without producing any other effect than renewed resolution and confidence in the success of the government. The lesson that war cannot be waged successfully without wisdom as well as patriotism has been received at a severe cost; but, perhaps, it was necessary. It is certain that we are improving upon it.
I am, sir, your obedient servant, WILLIAM H. SEWARH). GEORGE P. MARSH, Esq., &c., &c., Turin.
Mr. Marsh to Mr. Seward.
No. 14.] LEGATION OF THE UNITED STATEs, Turin, September 2, 1861. SIR: I have the honor to enclose here with a copy of a note addressed by me to Baron Ricasoli on the 26th ultimo, in relation to the proposed convention for the accession of the United States to the declaration of the congress of Paris in 1856. By my instructions, under date of April 24, 1861, I am directed as follows: “To ascertain whether it (the government of his Majesty the King of Italy) is disposed to enter into negotiations for the accession of the United States to the declaration of the Paris congress, with the conditions annexed by that body to the same; and if you shall find the government so disposed, you will then enter into a convention to that effect, substantially in the form of a project for that purpose herewith transmitted to you.” The project transmitted with the instructions makes no mention of the important conditions referred to in the instructions, and therefore, in drawing up the note, I thought it best not to notice the conditions specifically, but to make the proposal in general terms, leaving that point to be arranged, if suggested by the Italian government, as I shall be instructed hereafter. I have the honor to be, sir, with high respect, your obedient servant, GEORGE P. MARSH. Hon. WILLIAM H. SEWARD, Secretary of State.
Mr. Marsh to Baron Ricasoli.
LEGATION of THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
The undersigned, envoy extraordinary and minister plenipotentiary of the United States of America, as he had the honor to state in one of his first interviews with his excellency the minister of foreign affairs, is instructed to propose the negotiation of a convention between the government of the United States and the government of his Majesty the King of Italy for defining the rights of belligerents and neutrals in maritime warfare, in accordance with the principles adopted by the congress of Paris in the year 1856. Similar instructions have been given by the President to the American ministers at the courts of the other maritime powers, and negotiations to that effect are now in progress with all the governments represented at the congress of Paris. It will be remembered by his excellency the minister of foreign affairs that in the year 1854 the President of the United States submitted to the several maritime nations two propositions, to which he solicited their assent as permanent principles of international law. These were : 1. Free ships make free goods—that is to say, that the effects or goods belonging to subjects or citizens of a power or state at war are free from capture or confiscation when found on board of neutral vessels, with the exception of articles contraband of war. 2. That the property of neutrals on board an enemy's vessel is not subject to confiscation, unless the same be contraband of war. These propositions were favorably entertained by most of the governments to which they were submitted, but no formal convention for their recognition was negotiated between them and the United States. The congress of Paris, at which most of the European powers were represented, adopted, upon the 16th of April, 1856, an agreement embracing substantially these principles, with two additional propositions; all of which were embodied in a declaration composed of four articles, namely: 1. Privateering is and remains abolished. 2. The neutral flag covers enemy's goods, with the exception of contraband of war. 3. Neutral goods, with the exception of contraband of war, are not liable to capture under enemy's flag. 4. Blockades, in order to be binding, must be effective—that is to say, maintained by a force sufficient really to prevent access to the coast of the enemy. The congress further agreed to invite the maritime states not represented in that body to accede to these propositions, and the assent of the government of the United States was asked to them accordingly. The then President of the United States, Franklin Pierce, did not accede to the stipulations of the convention, but proposed an amendment to the first article which should exempt the private property of individuals, though belonging to belligerent states, from seizure or confiscation by national vessels in maritime war; and the ministers of the United States at Paris and London were instructed to inform the governments to which they were accredited that the United States would accede to the four points above recited, provided the first of them should be amended to the effect proposed by the President.
Neither of these governments is understood to have objected to this amendment, but the negotiations were not prosecuted to a conclusion. The President of the United States adheres to the opinion expressed by his predecessor, that it would be eminently desirable for the good of all nations that the property and effects of private individuals, not contraband, should be exempt from seizure and confiscation by national vessels in maritime war. But the proposal to that effect not having been accepted by the nations represented in the congress of 1856, he now offers to accede to the invitation of the powers, and to accept the declaration promulgated by it, deferring to a future occasion the further prosecution of negotiations for the general adoption of the amendment above specified. The undersigned is invested with full powers to conclude, on the part of the President, a convention between the government of the United States and that of his Majesty the King of Italy for the adoption of the declaration of the congress of Paris, and begs leave to invite the attention of his excellency the minister of foreign affairs to the proposal. The undersigned avails himself of this occasion to renew to his excellency the minister of foreign affairs the assurance of his most distinguished consideration. GEORGE P. MARSH. His Excellency Baron RICAsoli, JPresident of the Council and Minister of Foreign Affairs.
Mr. Seward to Mr. Marsh.
No. 18.] DEPARTMENT of STATE, Washington, September 20, 1861.
SIR: Your despatch of August 26th, No. 12, has been received.
I send you, in confidence, a copy of my latest instructions to Mr. Adams and Mr. Dayton, from which you will learn that the negotiations with Great Britain and France for an accession to the declaration of the congress at Paris have been suspended, and the causes of the suspension.
We are desirous to act in good faith, and to acquit ourselves of all responsibility for the failure of negotiations with enlightened powers for the advancement of the interests of peace and humanity; and yet we are at the same time resolved to maintain the independent position and the dignity of our government. We therefore hold ourselves ready to perfect a convention with the government of Italy for our accession; and at the same time you will not urge the proposition against any disinclination which that government may express or intimate.
We shall be the friend of Italy; and Italy, we are sure, cannot be otherwise than friendly to us, no matter what treaty relations exist or fail to be made.
I am, sir, your obedient servant, WILLIAM H. SEWARD. GEORGE P. MARSH, Esq., &c., &c., Turin.
Mr. Seward to Mr. Marsh.
No. 32.] DEPARTMENT of STATE, Washington, November 22, 1861.
SIR: I have your despatch of October 29, (No. 29.)
The British and French governments, which stand at the head of the maritime powers, having declined our adhesion to the declaration of Paris without conditions which the United States cannot yield, there is no important object to be attained by pressing the same upon other powers. You will therefore let the matter rest in Italy for the present.
I think that when at no distant day it shall need to be renewed, the interest that shall move it forward will appear first on the other side of the Atlantic,
It is a matter of regret that we cannot consistently offer special inducements to military gentlemen in Italy who are unable to defray their own expenses in coming to join our armies; but we are forbidden to do so by urgent considerations. First, we do not need to solicit foreign aid, and we naturally desire to avoid the appearance of doing so. Secondly, we wish to abstain from intrusion into the domestic concerns of foreign states, and, of course, from seeming to do so. Thirdly, our own countrymen are coming forward with just claims upon all positions requiring skill in the art of war, and we must avoid jealousies between native and foreign defenders of the Union. Already the forces in the field exceed half a million, and the officers charged with organizing them report to us that those recently recruited will swell the number to seven hundred thousand. If the insurrection should continue, it will be more difficult to keep them down to a million than to lift them up to that figure. Still, we do not yet revoke what we have thus far said, and we will receive from Europe those who may come.
A consul will be appointed for Ancona.
I am, sir, your obedient servant,
- WILLIAM H. SEWARD. GEORGE P. MARSH, Esq., &c., &c., Turin.