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UNITED STATES LEGATION,
SIR: A combination of individuals in certain of the southern States of the United States have raised the standard of insurrection, and under the pretended authority of the self-styled Confederate States of America have threatened to grant pretended letters of marque for the purpose of committing assaults on the lives, vessels, and property of good citizens of the United States, lawfully engaged in commerce on the high seas, and in the waters of the United States. And in consequence thereof, on the 19th day of April, 1861, and the eighty-fifth year of the independence of the United States, the President, by formal proclamation, declared that if any person, under the pretended authority of the said so-called but unrecognized Confederate States, or under any other pretence, shall molest a vessel of the United States, or the persons or cargo on board of her, that such person will be held amenable to the laws of the United States for the punishment of piracy. In the name, therefore, of the government of the United States, I have the honor to request that the government of H. M. F. Majesty may cause such measures to be taken as will effectually prevent any vessel from being prepared in any of his Majesty's ports for the aforesaid piratical purposes. Under the conviction that reliable information as to said insurrection will be gratifying to his Majesty's government, I briefly submit the following Statement: 1. The government of the so-called Confederate States has been neither recognized by any sovereign state, nor has it been acknowledged by the people it professes to represent. But, on the contrary, the combination of individuals who have usurped the title of a government refuse to submit their constitution to the ratification or rejection of the citizens of said States. 2. The insurrectionists are wanting in the great elements necessary to successful war. Their ports are strictly blockaded ; their supplies are cut off, by land and by sea, and within themselves they are destitute of the means of carrying on a prolonged struggle. 3. That while it may be difficult to predict the length of time which may be required to suppress the insurrection, yet in the future nothing can be more certain than are the vindication of the national flag, and the perfect restoration of order and prosperity under the Constitution of the United States. It affords me great pleasure to renew to your excellency the assurance of
my most distinguished consideration. GEORGE W. MORGAN.
His Excellency M. ANTONIO José D'AviLA,
Mr. Harvey to Mr. Seward.
No. 6.] LEGATION of THE UNITED STATEs, Lisbon, July 25, 1861.
SIR: I have just had my first interview with Mr. d’Avila, the minister of foreign affairs, since being presented to the King, and desire to report its purpose and character. While no instructions thave reached me in regard to the desired action of this government concerning privateers, I considered it proper, in view of the facilities offered by the ports of Portugal and her colonies to prizes, to call the attention of the proper authorities to it at the earliest opportunity when I was in an official position to do so with effect. On the very day of my arrival here, and when I did not anticipate the painful delays and difficulties which have since occurred, I told General Morgan of my intention to ask for a proclamation excluding privateers, as soon as I was presented. He addressed a note to the foreign office on the 2d instant, in which the general question was discussed at much length. And although he afterwards called several times upon Mr. d’Avila, no answer was obtained before his departure yesterday. These were the circumstances under which I felt it necessary to go forward and to ask for some decisive action. I told Mr. d’Avila frankly that I did not desire to signalize my advent here by any protracted correspondence, and least of all by a controversy, and that the sentiments which I had expressed at my audience of presentation were those which really animated me. I informed him that a condition of affairs existed in the United States which required me to claim an early and positive expression of views by the Portuguese government on this subject, and therefore he must excuse my seeming urgency. He inquired if I adopted the note which General Morgan had addressed to him. I answered that I accepted the principle, but was willing to waive a correspondence, if the object could be accomplished by a direct and candid interchange of opinions orally, when there would be less difficulty in understanding each other, and a readier mode of reaching a conclusion promptly. He concurred in this suggestion, and said it reflected his own sincere dispositions. I then told him that a proclamation forbidding the ports of Portugal and her colonies to privateers and their prizes, in explicit terms, would be satisfactory, and argued that, as Portugal had acquiesced in the treaty of Paris of 1856, there ought to be no difficulty in making this declaration. In order to strengthen the reason, I suggested that the proclamation might be made broad and general, because I most desired the assertion of a practical principle which would cover the case completely. He seemed to assent to the idea, and remarked that it was disembarrassed materially by the fact that the government of the United States had discountenanced the issuing of letters of marque. I told him that the government had not only done that, but that it deprecated and denounced the system, which certain insurrectionary and tumultuous assemblages of people had proclaimed with a professed authority. In order that no misapprehension might occur, I notified Mr. d’Avila that a proclamation or declaration which, in doubtful phrases or by implication, recognized the existence of any pretended organization in the United States, independent of the government which accredited me, and which alone has power to make treaties and conduct diplomatic intercourse, would be regarded as a most unfriendly act by the President. After again urging upon him reasons for an early decision, he explained that the cortes were now in session night and day, but expected to adjourn soon, when he would lay the matter before the King's council, and obtain their opinion, which he thought would conform to my request. I asked him to name a convenient day when an answer might be expected. He declined fixing a time certain, but expressed the belief that by the middle of next week the council could be convened, and this subject should have precedence over all others.
In proposing a proclamation such as I have suggested, vessels-of-war and their prizes would be allowed entry to the ports of Portugal, which the English and French governments have expressly excluded, putting them on the same footing with privateers. As I have acted upon my own motion in this matter, I submit it to your approbation.
With high respect, your obedient servant, JAMES E. HARVEY. Hon. WILLIAM H. SEWARD, Secretary of State.
Mr. Harvey to Mr. Seward.
No. 7.] - LEGATION of THE UNITED STATEs, Lisbon, July 28, 1861. SIR.: Since my despatch (No. 6) of the 25th instant, information reached me >k >k >k >k >k >k >k >k >k >k >k >k >k >k >k >k >k >k >k xk >k xk × >k >k that plans were concerted by the parties who had recently applied for the privilege of fitting out a privateer, and others, to accept letters of marque from the so-called Confederate States, and to use some of the remote islands of Portugal as places of rendezvous for outfit and for the disposal of any prizes that might be taken. In view of the facilities offered for these nefarious enterprises in the Azores, Madeira, Cape de Verd, and other islands, as well as in the small Indian possessions of that kingdom, I felt, it proper to address the note, of which a copy is enclosed, to the minister of foreign affairs, yesterday, as a means of inducing him to take immediate and decisive action on the subject. These facts will serve to explain the seemingly urgent tone of my note, which I thought demanded by the necessity of the case. I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant, JAMES E. HARVEY. Hon. W. H. SEWARD,
Secretary of State.
LEGATION of THE UNITED STATES, July 27, 1861.
The undersigned presents his compliments to his excellency M. d’Avila, minister of foreign affairs of his most faithful Majesty, and begs leave te repeat in this form, for the convenience of a more precise understanding, the substance of the ideas which he had the honor to express in his interview with his excellency on the 25th instant.
Portugal has acceded fully to the anti-privateering doctrine established by the declaration of the congress of Paris of April, 1856, to which the assent of the United States has recently been given.
'' osed to the principle and practice of privateering, Portugal ought not to hesitate, as it appears to the undersigned, to declare by general proclamation, as a general principle and rule, that her ports are no longer open to privateers or their prizes. This is the extent of the present request of the undersigned. He does not ask that Portugal shall make any particular application of the general rule to the peculiar and unhappy state of things now existing in the United States, nor that any unnecessary notice or cognizance should be taken of the disturbed condition of domestic affairs in the United States. Indeed, the government of the United States would not view with satisfaction any such superfluous and unnecessary expression of views or sentiments by any foreign power in regard to a state of things purely domestic, local, and temporary, to which a satisfactory termination will soon be placed by the ample power of the United States government. On the contrary, as the undersigned took occasion to assure his excellency M. d’Avila, at the personal interview referred to, any declaration which recognized the existence, even by implication, of a pretended organization in the United States, independent of the government, which alone has the power to make treaties, and to conduct diplomatic intercourse, and the authority of which cannot be questioned, would be considered as a most unfriendly act. As little as the government of the United States would pretend to interfere in any analogous question that might possibly arise between the government of his most faithful Majesty and any of the provinces of his kingdom, can the United States be disposed to view with satisfaction any such expression as that suggested on the part of his or any foreign government. At the same time it is manifest that questions of the most embarrassing and even dangerous character are, at any moment, liable to occur, if unlawful and piratical privateers, with unlawful prizes, should make their appearance in the waters of Portugal or her colonies, and it is with a view to the amicable anticipation of such possible contingencies that the undersigned has requested, and now repeats the request, that the government of his most faithful Majesty should simply carry out, to its natural and necessary consequence and application, the principle of the declaration of Paris above referred to, as having been fully acceded to by the enlightened government of his most faithful Majesty. The undersigned begs to add the expression of his hopes that in advance of the issue of the proclamation, which, under these circumstances, he believes and expects will be issued at the earliest convenient day by his most faithful Majesty, the undersigned may be favored with an opportunity of seeing the proposed terms of the same, in order that, by means of frank interchange of views, there may be the more perfect certainty of such a friendly and reciprocally satisfactory harmony of views between the two governments as shall correspond to the sentiments already fully expressed by the undersigned on behalf of the President of the United States, and most satisfactorily and cordially responded to by his most faithful Majesty. In conclusion, the undersigned respectfully asks that this subject, in view of its importance and possible complications, may be brought to the early notice of his most faithful Majesty, so as to preclude the happening of events which might involve grave consequences, to which the interests and good will of both nations are alike opposed. He appreciates the reasons which have been assigned for the delay, since the subject was first presented by his immediate predecessor, in a note to his excellency M. d’Avila, dated on the 2d of July; but urgent considerations have recently arisen which require the undersigned to submit this request on behalf of the government of the United States. The undersigned avails himself of this occasion to renew the assurances of his most distinguished consideration. JAMES E. HARWEY.
Mr. Harvey to Mr. Seward.
No. 8.] LEGATION of THE UNITED STATEs, Lisbon, July 30, 1861. SIR: I received a note from Mr. d’Avila, the minister of foreign affairs, yesterday, requesting an interview with me at 4 o'clock. I called at the foreign office at the appointed hour, and he immediately presented the original draft, in Portuguese, of a proposed proclamation, of which I enclose a translated copy, marked No. 2. After hearing it read and reduced into English, I expressed my acceptance of its general scope and spirit, but expressly demurred to the declaration at the end of article 2, by which armed vessels are placed in the same category as privateers in regard to prizes. Although I knew it was of no practical importance to the United States under present circumstances, it was easy to foresee that in the event of war with England or France, and with their ability to blockade our ports, that prizes taken by American ships-of-war would be thus excluded from Portugal and her possessions. Hence my objection to that point. I told Mr. d’Avila that it went beyond the treaty of Paris, upon which the proclamation was professedly predicated, and that it did what I had sought to avoid by introducing indirectly our domestic question. He said his object was to exclude the prizes of vessels-of-war of the so-called Confederate States, in case they should create a navy, and thus to guard against any future complication. To this suggestion I answered that, as we were not dealing with supposititious or hypothetical cases, it was necessary to adhere to the practical question, and, as we had stated, on the basis of the declaration of Paris in regard to privateering and his own preamble set out with that statement, the introduction of any extraneous matter would be not only irrelevant, but likely to defeat the object which both sides alike professed to have in view. He did not respond to this suggestion, but agreed to let me take the rough draft, in order that I might submit whatever observations might occur to me as appropriate. I prepared the accompanying note (marked No. 1) this morning, and sent it to Mr. d’Avila an hour ago. There are two councils before which such questions are considered; first, the council of ministers or the cabinet; and second, the council of state, which is a larger body, and includes the cabinet and other distinguished persons. I understood Mr. d’Avila to say that the draft of the proclamation had been laid before the former, and approved by them, and that my proposed amendment must, therefore, be presented at another meeting. I have reason to believe that my note of Saturday precipitated this action, which, in a country where diplomacy is proverbially slow, exhibits unusual promptitude. I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant, JAMES E. HARVEY. Hon. W. H. SowARD,
Secretary of State, Washington City.