Page images

En foi de quoi les Plénipotentiaires respectifs l'ont signé, et y ont apposé le sceau de leurs armes.

Fait à Londres, en triple original, le 31me jour du mois d'Octobre, de l'an de grace 1861.



CORRESPONDENCE between The United States and Austria, Belgium, Chile, Denmark, France, Hawaiian Islands, Italy, Netherlands, Portugal, Prussia, Russia and Spain, respecting the Civil War in America; the non-recognition of the socalled Confederate States; Maritime Rights in time of War; Privateering; and Neutral Trade.*-1861.



Mr. Wright to Mr. Seward.

Berlin, May 8, 1861.

I HAVE, since my return, had a long interview with Baron Von Schleinitz, the Minister for Foreign Affairs, who, whilst he expressed the earnest sympathy of his Government with the American people in their present troubles, not only because of the effect of such disturbances upon the commerce of Europe, but also on account of the intimate relations between the two countries, owing to the presence of a large German population in The United States, gave me the most positive assurance that his Government, from the principle of unrelenting opposition to all revolutionary movements, would be one of the last to recognize any de facto Government of the disaffected States of the American Union.

The news of to-day has exerted the most unhappy influence upon the Americans here, and the universal sentiment is a profound desire and a hope for the restoration of peace in The United States. JOSEPH A. WRIGHT.

Mr. Wright to Mr. Seward.


Berlin, May 15, 1861.

THE proclamation of the President was received by the previous mail, and the subject has received due consideration.

On receipt of your circular dated the 20th of April, I immediately called upon Baron de Schleinitz, Minister of Foreign Affairs, who

* Laid before Parliament, with other Correspondence, in 1862.

[blocks in formation]

had received the proclamation of the President, and he at once promptly informed me that, in his opinion, no apprehension need be entertained as to Prussian subjects engaging under the authority of the so-called Confederate States in fitting out privateers, or in any manner interfering with our commerce. Prussia has but few ports. Hers is not a sea-faring people, and the sympathies of the Government and of the people are with The United States. Whatever danger may be apprehended on this subject must come from Bremen, Hamburg, and other ports situated in Oldenburg, Hanover, &c. Due vigilance will be used to prevent any such unlawful interference, and if any such be detected the proper authorities will be promptly advised thereof, and every effort will be made to suppress it. Not knowing whether your circular has been sent to the Consuls, I have forwarded copies to several already.



Mr. Wright to Mr. Seward.

Berlin, May 26, 1861. ENCLOSED is a copy of a recent communication to the Minister of Foreign Affairs. Prussia will take efficient steps to sustain the Government of The United States in the protection of property and commerce, and will do all she can, consistently with her obligations to other Governments, to sustain the vigorous action of our Government in maintaining law and order.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Baron Von Schleinitz, informed me yesterday that it was the intention of the Government to issue a proclamation touching these questions.

The Government and people are, in spirit and feeling, with us. I am in the receipt of hundreds of letters and personal calls seeking positions in the American army, and asking for means of conveyance to our shores. So numerous, indeed, are the applications, that I have been compelled to place on the doors of the Legation a notice to the purport that "This is the Legation of The United States, and not a recruiting office." The fidelity and firmness exhibited with such unanimity by our own people in sustaining the administration in their efforts to put down the outrages of the so-called “Confederate States," whilst it astonishes the people of the old world, is at the same time rapidly creating a sentiment of confidence in our ability to maintain unimpaired the institutions of our fathers.

Let the cost be what it may, we must vindicate the memory of our fathers from the slanders announced by those in high places in the so-called "Confederate States," wherein they have proclaimed ours is only a confederation of States, and not a national union. JOSEPH A. WRIGHT.

Mr. Wright to Mr. Seward.

(Extract.) Berlin, June 8, 1861. ALTHOUGH the Prussian Government has not issued a proclamation upon the subject referred to in my last despatch, I still continue to receive from the Minister of Foreign Affairs the strongest assurances of the sympathies and friendship of this Government.

Your circular of the 6th of May has been received, but the subject had been duly considered previously thereto. No opportunity will be neglected to counteract any efforts that may be made by individuals or associations in negotiations hostile to The United States.


Mr. Wright to Mr. Seward.


Berlin, June 25, 1861.

I HAVE received this moment a copy of the "National Zeitung," containing the despatch of Baron Schleinitz to Baron Gerolt; and also an order from the Minister of Commerce, addressed to Prussian subjects engaged in trade and commerce. This is not what I had expected. I was anticipating a proclamation from the King more full and distinct. This will doubtless have the desired effect, as it will be published in all the German journals, and coming from Prussia will be duly respected by the German States and Free Cities. Their sympathy and spirit is with The United States' Government. Mr Judd is expected on the 27th instant.


(Inclosure.)-Baron Schleinitz to Baron Gerolt.

(Translation.) Berlin, June 13, 1861. The various herewith enclosed statements, by which your Excellency has given me a knowledge of the occurence through which the internal tranquillity of the Union is disturbed, have called forth my serious consideration. The hope which, until now, we so willingly entertained, that the incohate conflict between the Government of The United States and sundry of the southern States of the Union would be brought to an amicable settlement, is now, unhappily, in view of existing conditions, borne back to a far distance.

The indubitable fact of the state of the intestine warfare in which the Union is placed is a source of deep regret to the Kings' Govern

The relations of close friendship which connect Prussia and the Government of The United States exist from the foundation of the Union. They have endured nearly a hundred years; never at any time disturbed by change of circumstances, nor in anywise impaired.

By a series of Treaties, by means of which the improvement of the interests of manufacture and commerce on either side has been eminently developed, the intimate relations between the two States have attained a prosperous durability. At no time, between these two Powers, has any collision of antagonistic interests found a foothold. The soaring flight which the internal prosperity of the Union has taken, extending its range from year to year by means of the bond of unity of the States thus knit together, the commanding attitude which North America has attained, abroad, has been looked upon by Prussia not merely with no dissatisfaction but has rather been greeted by her with honest sympathy.

The more earnestly, then, do we regret that the continuance of so prosperous a condition of things should appear to be placed in question by the incohate disturbance of that internal unity, the unshaken existence of which had, until this time, formed the surest foundation of the Union. It behoves not the royal Government either to discuss the causes of existing controversies or to pass judgment upon those debatable questions which belong entirely to the domestic relations of the Union. Our whole endeavour in this matter must be addressed to sustaining The United States in their heretofore existing relations with us, even under the difficult circumstances of the present time.

Nevertheless, by the serious turn which the conflict that has broken out has already taken, and by the consequent self-reliant mode of proceeding of the Government of The United States in relation to blockades, and the treatment of neutral navigation, essential and important interests on this side are also affected, and the royal Government has taken into earnest consideration the protection thereof on grounds of international law and in conformity with Treaty stipulations.

Your Excellency has full knowledge of the negotiations which, through a series of years, were carried on between Prussia and The United States, upon the principles which ought to be brought into application in naval warfare in relation to the rights of neutral shipping. It is to the credit of the North American Cabinet that, in the year 1854, it availed itself of the plan of a Treaty, proposed with us, to be first to take the initiative for putting the rights above mentioned in liberal and practical shape upon a broader foundation of well settled principles. We then willingly acceded to the North American proposition, and although the negotiations conducted by your Excellency were closed without attaining the desired result, because a stand was then taken against that abolition of privateering which was suggested by us, it has, meantime, nevertheless, so fallen out that the general united desire to establish the recognition of the of neutral shipping during maritime warfare upon more


extended and unassailable foundations has attracted, in praiseworthy degree, the attention of the great powers of Europe. The declaration upon maritime rights by the Paris Convention, on the 16th of April, 1856, stands in evidence of this. The collective states of Europe, with the exception of Spain only, gave their adhesion thereto. But the United States of North America, in regard to the first principle concerning the abolition of privateering, to our regret, thought proper to qualify their assent to the Paris declaration, if we do not misapprehend the liberal and well-intentioned views by which that Cabinet was guided in the matter. These were made known in the proposition of President Pierce upon the subject, according to which the principle of private property on the seas should be altogether inviolable, should be included among the provisions of the law of nations. It is to be regretted that the President did not succeed in giving effect to his proposition. The estimation with which we regarded his course is sufficiently known to your Excellency.

By reason of the consequently prevailing doubts about the treatment to which neutral shipping may be subjected during the condition of things there connected with an incipient state of war, I must request your Excellency will please to make this interesting question the subject of a friendly and unreserved conference with the Secretary of State of that country.

It would certainly be most desirable to us that the Government of The United States might embrace this occasion to announce their adhesion to the Paris declaration. Should this not be attained, then, for the present, we would urge that an exposition might be made, to be obligatory during the now commencing intestine war, in regard to the application generally of the second and third principles of the Paris declaration to neutral shipping. The provision of the second principle, that the neutral flag covers the enemy's cargo (with the exception of contraband of war) is already assured to Prussian shipping by our Treaty with The United States of May 1, 1828,* again adopting Article XII of the Treaty of September 10, 1785.†

We lay much stress upon this toward bringing round a determination to make application of this principle at the present time to neutral shipping generally and universally. We doubt this the less. because, according to a despatch from the then President, addressed by the Secretary of State, L. Cass, to the Minister of The United States in Paris, and also communicated to us, without further referring to the Paris declaration, it is expressly mentioned that the principle that the neutral flag covers the enemy's cargo (contraband of war excepted) would be reduced to application in respect to the shipping of The United States always, and in its full extent.

* Vol. XV. Page 874.

+ Vol. XV. Page 885.

« PreviousContinue »