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your guide as to how far and in what way the public interests will be promoted by submitting these views to the consideration of M. Drouyn de l'Huys.

I am, sir, your obedient servant, WILLIAM L. DAYTON, Esq., &c., &c.


Mr. Seward to Mr. Dayton.


No. 409].


Washington, October 1, 1863.

SIR: Mr. Bigelow, the United States consul at Paris, has sent to me copies of papers which he informs me have been placed in your hands, and which seem to establish the fact that several iron-clad rams are being built, armed and equipped, in French ports, to proceed from them to make war upon the United States.

Mr. Bigelow further informs me that you are considering how to turn these proofs to the best account, and that this department will be advised promptly of your proceedings.

I hasten to say, that while the manner and form of your proceedings in the matter are left entirely within your own discretion, the President thinks you should lose no time unnecessarily in bringing the transaction to the notice of Mr. Drouyn de l'Huys, and in asking for the effectual interposition of the government to prevent the departure of the hostile expedition.

Awaiting with much solicitude your report of your proceedings in regard to this new and somewhat startling plot, I am, sir, your obedient servant, WILLIAM H. SEWARD.

WILLIAM L. DAYTON, Esq., &c., &c.

Mr. Dayton to Mr. Seward.

No. 354.]

PARIS, October 1, 1863.

SIR: I have received a letter from consular agent at Brest, of the date of 29th September, in which he informed me that the repairs to the hull and engine of the Florida continue, but she will not be able to go to sea before three weeks. Also, that the corvette Kearsarge has taken in provisions and coal, and will not hereafter be retained in port by anything essential.

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SIR: I have the honor to enclose herewith a copy of a letter received from Captain Winslow, of the United States steamship Kearsarge, at Brest.

I have just been informed that a crew for the Florida was about being shipped at Liverpool, which fact I have telegraphed to Captain Winslow.

I am, sir, your obedient servant,


Secretary of State, Washington, D. C.


Captain Winslow to Mr. Dayton.

Brest, France, September 28, 1863.

SIR: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your despatch of the 25th instant. The information received of the appearance of the Southerner in the Mediterranean is no doubt true, and her appearance solves the mystery connected with the burning of the American ship Nash, off Gibraltar.

Should other steamers reach this port, which I am in hopes the government have ordered, measures can be taken to intercept the Southerner; but at present the Kearsarge is well employed in watching the Florida I wish I could add that the chances of overhauling this vessel were more favorable, but the position of the port, which is lined seaward for many miles with rocks, forming near the entrance three channels, renders it essential that a vessel should be stationed in each one.

Referring to filling the complement of the Florida crew, my views are that no attempt will be made (or if made, will be unsuccessful) to enlist men in France. The probability is that her complement will be made up and the men sent out from England; and it was suggested that initiatory steps should be taken in advance to prevent the adoption of this procedure.

I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

Hon. WILLIAM L DAYTON, &c., &c.

JNO. A. WINSLOW, Captain.

No. 410.]

Mr. Seward to Mr. Dayton.


Washington, October 5, 1863.

SIR: Your despatches of the 14th of September (No. 345) and the 16th of September (No. 347) have been received. Moreover, I have been favored by Mr. Mercier with a visit, and with a reading of the despatch addressed to him by Mr. Drouyn de l'Huys, of which special mention is made in your communications. The explanations made by you to him are correct, and they are approved. Despatches from this department, which you must have received after writing your own, not only sustain those explanations, but they also draw very distinctly the line of policy towards France which the President has marked out under the counsels of prudence, and the traditional friendship towards her which prevails in the United States. Any statesman who has observed how inflexibly this government adheres to the policy of peace and non-intervention, would not need to be informed that the report of an alliance by us with Russia for European war is an absurdity. So, also, no one who knows how completely the American people suffer themselves to be absorbed in the duty of suppressing the present unhappy insurrection, and restoring the authority of the Union, would for a moment believe that we are preparing for or meditating a future war against any nation, for any purpose whatever, much less that we are organizing or contemplating a future war against France, whom it is our constant desire to hold and retain as a friend, through all the vicissitudes of political fortune, and all the changes of national life.

You are authorized to say to Mr. Droun de l'Huys that his explanations are entirely satisfactory to the President. I may, perhaps, not improperly improve this occasion by saying that the executive government of this country has no organ in the press. Its views and sentiments in regard to France, as to all other countries, can be known always by the language of its diplomatic representatives, for it instructs them minutely, and directs them to speak always frankly and sincerely. The Emperor has an acknowledged organ in the press. Its utterances, if unfriendly or equivocal, necessarily produce distrust among the American people. When they see in the columns of the Moniteur opinions derogatory of themselves, and calculated to give satisfaction and encouragement

to their enemies, it is necessarily, but doubtless erroneously, assumed that they are inspired. Several such publications have recently appeared there, and it is not remembered that one utterance in the spirit of the friendship of old France has been made by that paper since our unhappy controversy exposed us to the intrigues of our domestic enemies in foreign countries.

I have thus laid bare a living and fruitful root of jealousies between France and the United States. We do not claim that France shall be our friend. We do not insist that she shall judge us or our cause favorably or kindly. On the other hand, it need not be said that unfavorable judgments and unkind sentiments invariably produce ultimate alienation. Everybody knows that the United States are the habitual well-wishers of France, as they are of Russia. Everybody knows that Russia is a well-wisher of the United States, but everybody is not satisfied that France is a well-wisher of the United States. I think everybody agrees that the responsibility for this does not rest with the United States. Where, then, does it fall? The Emperor joined Great Britain in recognizing our insurgents as belligerents, and in attempting to derogate us from our position as a sovereign, the treaty friend of both countries, into a position of

equality with the seditious disturbers of our peace. We think that this proceeding was unnecessary, as we know it has been injurious. It tries the temper of the American people more severely than we have ever tried that of France in her domestic troubles, which have been more frequent than our own. Is it wise to let the unfortunate act be followed by needless manifestations of French disfavor to our cause in the war which we are so energetically endeavoring to bring to a close?

I am, sir, your obedient servant,

Hon. WILLIAM L. DAYTON, Esq., &c., &c.


Mr. Dayton to Mr. Seward.

PARIS, October 6, 1863.

No. 357.]

SIR: I have the honor to enclose herewith a copy of a communication just received from the United States consul at Algiers, in reference to the rebel steamer Southerner. From this it would appear that she is engaged in the transportation of cotton to England.

I am, sir, your

obedient servant,


Secretary of State, &c., &c., &c.


No. 2.]

Mr. Kingsbury to Mr. Dayton.

Algiers, October 2, 1863.

SIR: I have the honor to inform you that, while absent from my post by special permission, I received information that the suspected pirate steamship Southerner was at Malta, en route from Alexandria to Algiers. Accordingly I made all possibie haste to return, hoping, if my information was correct, and our apprehensions should be sustained by the actual character of this vessel, that I might be able to render some service to our country. But since my arrival I have ascertained that the Southerner came into this port on or about the 20th ultimo, and landed several hundred Turkish pilgrims, and proceeded hence to Tangier to land the remainder of this class of her passengers.

She had a full cargo of cotton, even her cabin being filled, and was proceeding to Liverpool, having been despatched on this voyage by the well-known firm of Wilson & Co The ship has an English register, a transcript of which I have seen, is about 1,500 tons, and has a crew of fifty-two men. While in this port she hoisted none but the English flag. This information has been given to me by a perfectly competent and reliable gentleman of my acquaintance at this place.

I am also informed that the British and United States flags are painted upon the partitions of the companion-way or entrance to her cabin, the ship having been built, it is said, to run between Liverpool and Charleston Captain Butcher, who commanded the Alabama on her trial trip, commands the Southerner, and has been for several years employed by Messrs. Wilson & Co.

I think this information, which I have not the slightest reason to doubt, will quiet our apprehensions concerning this vessel, at least until she has discharged her cargo of cotton. With sentiments of very high respect, I have the honor to be, sir, your most obedient servant,



Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary, &c., &c., Paris

United States Consul

No. 359.]

Mr. Dayton to Mr. Seward.

PARIS, October 8, 1863.

SIR: Mr. Drouyn de l'Huys not having received the diplomatic corps last week for business, I this morning have had a long conversation with him upon various matters. In the first place, I left with him the copy of a letter recently written by Captain Maffitt, of the rebel steamer Florida, at Brest, to Captain Bullock, of the rebel navy, as to the discharge of part of the crew of the Florida, &c., a copy of which letter was enclosed to me by our consul at Liverpool. A copy of the same is hereunto attached. My object in showing this letter was to prove, first, that Captain Bullock was yet in the rebel service, and, secondly, that the crew in question, or part of it, had been voluntarily discharged from the Florida; that if this vessel was, therefore, incapacitated for want of a sufficient crew, it was not the act of God, but their own act, and they were suffering from a self-inflicted impotence. This was to answer the principle suggested by Mr. Drouyn de l'Huys in conversation, that their necessary wants for purposes of navigation, not of war, they were entitled to have supplied. I reminded him, too, of the fact that if he carried out this principle to its full extent, if the term of service of a crew were known to be about expiring, a captain might run his ship into a neutral port anywhere, discharge his crew, and then reship, in the same port, a new crew for hostile purposes; that, under these circumstances, the captain of the Florida might claim the right to ship a crew of French sailors at Brest. I told him that sailors for an enemy's ship-of-war were contraband, as much so as soldiers for its armies. I could not conceive, therefore, that France could fairly maintain her neutrality, and yet permit these things to be done in her ports. It is probable that I shall put these and some other views upon this subject, of the aid given to the Florida, in writing before she is permitted to sail. They may be of service as matter of future reference.

The neutrality of France, he said, would be maintained, and that his whole purpose was to settle these questions upon proper principles of international


I should add, that I learned from Liverpool that these men, owing to some difficulty with the confederate agents, have not yet signed the shipping articles. In the mean time this government is holding the question under consideration. am, sir, your obedient servant,




Secretary of State.


Brest, September 3, 1863.

SIR: Herewith I send you a list of men discharged from the Florida, with their accounts and discharges. Many of them have asked for transfers, and others for reference to you, or to a confederate agent. I would request you to provide them situations in the service. I have the honor to be, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

Captain J. D. BULLOCK,

Confederate States Navy, Liverpool.

J. N. MAFFITT, Commander, Confederate States Navy.

Mr. Dayton to Mr. Seward.

No. 360.]

PARIS, October 8, 1863.

SIR: The minister of marine has been absent for some days, recently, and this has been assigned to me, by Mr. Drouyn de l'Huys, as a reason why my communication as to the rebel ships now being built at Bordeaux and Nantes had not been definitely answered. I left some additional evidence with him this morning, to wit:

Copy of contract between Arman and Bullock for building two iron-clads, dated 16th July last.

Copy of letter from Emile Erlanger to Voruz, senior, dated 9th June last. Copy of letter from Mazeline & Co. to Voruz, senior, dated 23d June last. Copy of letter from O. B. Jollet and L. Babin, and E. Dubigeon and Fils, to Voruz, 10th June last.

Copy of agreement between Bullock and Voruz, dated 17th September, 1863, increasing the number of cannon contracted for, from 48 to 56, and the number of shells from 5,000 to 12,000.

Mr. Drouyn de l'Huys did not intimate any doubts as to the facts charged, and the minister of marine, he said, had informed him that in granting the authorization to build and arm these vessels, he. did it as a matter of course, as he had done in like cases before, supposing that the representation in the application that they were intended for the China sea, &c., was true. But Mr. Drouyn de l'Huys said that he, the minister of marine, entirely agreed with him, that no violation of the neutrality of France should be permitted, and he (Mr. Drouyn de l'Huys) said I might be assured that it would not be. I told him that in a matter of so much importance, I did not like that it should rest upon my report or recollection of a conversation merely, and that it would be agreeable to me if he would put his answer, in reference to these vessels, in writing. I begged him, in such writing, to state to me not general principles only, but to apply them to the particular case, and let me know what the government would do in respect to those vessels now being built at Bordeaux and Nantes. He said he would do so, cheerfully, and communicate it to me at an early day.

They are hurrying on the construction of these vessels as fast as possible, but there is no chance of their completion in less than two or three months. I am informed that three millions of francs have already been paid, and assurances have been given by the rebel agents that if increased funds will expedite their completion, the funds shall not be wanting.

I am, sir, your obedient servant,


Secretary of State.


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