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No. 418.]

Mr. Seward to Mr. Dayton.

DEPARTMENT OF STATE,

Washington, October 23, 1863.

SIR Recurring to your despatch of October 9, (No. 361,) I have now to approve of the suggestions you made in the conversation with Mr. Drouyn de Î'Huys therein related. While this government cheerfully confides in the assurances given by Mr. Drouyn de l'Huys of the just and friendly disposition of the Emperor towards the United States, it is only too manifest that distrust is taking strong hold of the American mind.

I hope that the expected declaration of his Majesty may counteract that painful sentiment, so unfavorable to a good understanding between the two countries.

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SIR: In my despatch No. 367, of yesterday, I said that Mr. Drouyn de l'Huys had promised to me copies of the order of the minister of marine withdrawing the authorization for the armament of the rebel vessels at Nantes and Bordeaux, and of his note to the minister. Instead thereof, I have this morning received a communication from him announcing the withdrawal of such authorization and the serving of notice upon Mr. Arman.

I herewith enclose a copy and translation of this communication.

I am, sir, your obedient servant,

Hon. WILLIAM H. SEWARD,

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

WILLIAM L. DAYTON.

P. S.-I observe that Mr. Drouyn de l'Huys in his note says that I have affirmed the authenticity of the information furnished to him. I believe it to be authentic, and I have so said, though, of course, I have no personal knowledge of the handwriting of the parties whose letters and contracts I have submitted to him. I have affirmed their authenticity only as stated in my preceding despatches.

D.

Mr. Drouyn de l'Huys to Mr. Dayton.
[Translation.]

PARIS, October 22, 1863.

SIR: I have the honor to announce to you, as a sequence to my letter of the 15th of this month, that M. the minister of marine has just notified Mr. Vorus of the withdrawal of the authorization which he had obtained for the armament of four vessels in course of construction at Nantes and Bordeaux. Notice has also been given to Mr. Arman, whose attention has been at the same time called to the responsibility which he might incur by acts in opposition to our declaration of the 18th of June, 1861. These measures testify, sir, to the scrupulous care which the government of the Emperor brings to the observance of the

rules of a strict neutrality. It is in order to give to your government a new proof of our dispositions in this respect, that we have not hesitated to take into consideration the information, the authenticity of which you have affirmed to

me.

Accept the assurances of the high consideration with which I have the honor to be, sir, your very humble and very obedient servant,

Mr. DAYTON,

Minister of the United States at Paris.

DROUYN DE L'HUYS.

No. 420.]

Mr. Seward to Mr. Dayton.

DEPARTMENT OF STATE,

Washington, October 24, 1863.

SIR: I have to acknowledge the receipt of your despatch of the 2d instant, (No. 356,) communicating a copy of a note of the 1st instant, addressed by you to Mr. Drouyn de l'Huys, relative to the proposed manning of the Florida in a French port with a crew brought thither from a British port. Your course in the matter is approved.

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SIR: Your despatch of October 8 (No. 359) has been received. Your proceedings therein related, in regard to the favors shown to the pirate Florida and her crew at Brest, and the positions assumed on that subject in your interview with Drouyn de l'Huys, are altogether approved.

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In connexion with this subject, I submit for your consideration the expediency of recalling the attention of Mr. Drouyn de l'Huys to a correspondence on the subject of privateers which took place between the French government and the government of the United States at the beginning of the Crimean war. statement of this correspondence accompanies this despatch. If the French government take the ground that the Florida is not a privateer, but a public armed vessel, it may be pertinent to ask, of what practical value to an exposed belligerent is the distinction made by a neutral between public armed vessels and privateers, if the other belligerent can, at its pleasure, create privateers into belligerents, by giving them commissions instead of letters of marque; and if, bearing such commissions, they can, to all practical intents, carry on the business of privateering? It would be difficult to see, in that case, what the interests of commerce have gained, or can gain, by the declaration of the congress of Paris against privateering.

I am, sir, your obedient servant,

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

WILLIAM H. SEWARD.

Memorandum.

Under date of April 28, 1854, Mr. Sartiges, &c., &c., &c., minister plenipotentiary of France, addressed a communication to the Secretary of State, in which he stated that his Majesty the Emperor of the French and her Majesty the Queen of Great Britain had determined, in the war with Russia, not to authorize privateering by letters of marque, and that the government of his Majesty the Emperor of the French trusted that the government of the United States would, by way of just reciprocity, give orders that no privateers under the Russian flag should be allowed to be fitted out, or victualled, or admitted with its prizes in the ports of the United States, and that citizens of the United States would vigorously abstain from taking part in equipments of that kind, or in any other measure contrary to the duties of a strict neutrality.

The Secretary of State replied to Mr. Sartiges, on the same day, that he was directed by the President to state that the government of the United States, while claiming the full enjoyment of their rights as a neutral power, would observe the strictest neutrality towards each and all the belligerents; that the laws of the United States imposed severe restrictions, not only upon its own citizens, but upon all persons who might be residents in this country, against equipping privateers, receiving commissions, or enlisting men therein, for the purpose of taking a part in any foreign war; that it was not apprehended that there would be any attempt to violate these laws; but should the just expectations of the President be disappointed, he would not fail in his duty to use the power with which he was invested to enforce obedience to them; that considerations of interest and the obligations of duty alike give assurance that the citizens of the United States would in no way compromit the neutrality of their country by participating in the contest in which the principal powers of Europe were unhappily engaged.

A similar note was addressed to the department by Mr. Crampton, the Bristish minister, who received the same answer.

No. 422.]

Mr. Seward to Mr. Dayton.

DEPARTMENT OF STATE,

Washington, October 24, 1863. SIR: Your despatch of October 8 (No. 360) has been received. Your proceedings in laying before Mr. Drouyn de l'Huys additional documentary evidence concerning the hostile naval preparations at Nantes and Bordeaux, and also the representations you made to him on that occasion, are approved.

The President waits with solicitude for the promised determination of the question.

I am, sir, your obedient servant,

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

WILLIAM H. SEWARD.

No. 370.]

Mr. Dayton to Mr. Seward.

PARIS, October 27, 1863.

SIR: I have the honor to acknowledge the reception of your despatches Nos 411, 412, and 413.

Despatch No. 411 apprises me of the fact that the President awaits with unusual solicitude the answer of this government to my communication made to

the minister of foreign affairs on the 22d of September last, in reference, to the vessels now being prepared in certain ports of France for the rebels. I have already forwarded to you that answer and its translation, which, I trust, will have relieved this solicitude.

Will you do me the favor to examine your files and see whether England and France did not, on the breaking out of the Crimean war, (1854,) address a joint note or notes of like character to the United States, requesting that it would, "in the spirit of just reciprocity, give orders that no privateer under Russian colors shall be equipped or victualled, or admitted with its prizes into the ports of the United States?" Mr. Cobden, in a speech in Parliament, so stated, yet I can find no trace of this note on my files or in the published documents; nor can anything like it be found, as M. Drouyn de l'Huys informs me, in the French foreign office. If such communication were made, I desire to bring it to the notice of this government in connexion with its treatment of the rebel ship Florida in the port of Brest.

If the pretence that this vessel is a regularly commissioned ship-of-war is raised as a justification, the decision of Paris against privateering is "a thing of moonshine."

It matters not, for practical purposes, whether the written authority a vessel carries is called a "commission or letter of marque"-they are pieces of paper emanating from the same source, differing only in form.

I am, sir, your obedient servant,

Hon. WILLIAM H. SEWARD,

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

WM. L. DAYTON.

Mr. Seward to Mr. Dayton.

No. 425.]

DEPARTMENT OF STATE,
Washington, November 1, 1863.

SIR: Your despatches of the 16th instant, (No. 363 and No. 364,) in relation to the iron-clad war ships in course of construction at Nantes and Bordeaux, have been received, with the translation of a communication of the 15th instant from M. Drouyn de l'Huys on that question.

I feel constrained to express my disappointment that the answer which has thus been made to your remonstrances on this grave subject was not more direct and conclusive. If Mr. Drouyn de l'Huys does not soon recur to it in a more satisfactory manner, you will be expected to follow it up and to obtain an early reply. In your performance of this duty, previous instructions will furnish reasons which you will, in your discretion, use to promote the desired solution of the matter.

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SIR: Herewith I enclose to you the copy of a communication made this day to Mr. Drouyn de l'Huys, relative to the action of the French government in reference to the rebel steamers Florida and Georgia, now in the ports of Bres t and Cherbourg for repairs.

Having found the despatch which I recently requested you to search for in your office at Washington printed among the British parliamentary papers, and in Wheaton's international law, I thought it would justify a few comments.

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MONSIEUR: A copy of the communication made by the French and British governments to that of the United States at the commencement of the Crimean war on the subject of neutral rights and obligations, and for which the clerks of your office have, I understand, searched in vain, I find printed in the British parliamentary papers of 1856, among those entitled Papers relative to recruiting in the United States," (page 236.) It is likewise quoted in a note to the sixth edition of Wheaton's Law of Nations, printed in 1856, (page 435.) A copy of that communication, for the satisfaction of your excellency, is hereunto attached. Mr. Wheaton, after quoting the more important parts of this despatch, adds that "the Comte de Sartiges addressed the Secretary of State on the 28th April, 1854, to the same effect on the part of the French government." Mr. Marcy, the United States Secretary of State, in his answer, which was the same to both governments, on the day of the date of the last note, remarks that "the laws of this country impose severe restrictions not only upon its own citizens, but upon all persons who may be residents within any of the territories of the United States, against equipping privateers, receiving commissions, or enlisting men therein for the purpose of taking part in any foreign war;" and he might have added that the same statute equally prohibits enlisting men for this purpose, whether as soldiers, marines, or seamen, on board of any vesselof-war, letter of marque, or privateer. I do not stop to remind your excellency how fully the United States met the wishes of France and England during the existence of the Crimean war, although its conduct was such that I believe no complaint was made by either party which was not subsequently withdrawn as groundless. The despatch above referred to, after apprizing us that the governments of England and France had resolved not to issue letters of marque during that war, proceeds to express the hope that "the government of the United States will, in the spirit of just reciprocity, give orders that no privateer under Russian colors shall be equipped, or victualled, or admitted with its prizes into the ports of the United States; and also that the citizens of the United States shall rigorously abstain from taking part in armaments of this nature, or in any other measure opposed to the duties of a strict neutrality." I now beg to submit to your excellency whether the reception of the Florida in the port of Brest, the repairs permitted, the supplies furnished, and the permission to renew her crew to the extent of the seventy-five men, whose time it is said has expired, are not violations of the spirit of that rule of action commended for acceptance in this despatch to the government of the United States.

The recent arrival at Cherbourg of the Georgia, another rebel steamer of like character as the Florida, and the request of her captain, as I am informed, to be admitted into one of your dry docks to clean and examine her bottom, presents this question anew, and in a yet stronger light. It is no longer an appli

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