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the blockading naval forces. Evidence of these facts is furnished you in an extract from a report of the flag-officer at Port Royal, hereto appended.

The question which I have thus noticed, happily, is likely soon to drop ont of view in the course of stirring events. Within a very short period we expect to be in occupation of all or the chief southern ports, and we are already considering how we can afford desirable facilities to foreign as well as doméstic trade. I am, sir, your obedient servant,


Mr. Seward to Mr. Adams.

No. 187 bis.]



Washington, February 17, 1862. SIR: It is represented to us that equally in Great Britain and in France the cause of the Union is prejudiced by the assumption that the government which maintains it is favorable or at least not unfavorable to the perpetuation of slavery. This incident is one of the most curious and instructive ones which has occurred in the course of this controversy.

The administration was elected and came into its trust upon the ground of its declared opposition to the extension of slavery. The party of slavery, for this reason, arrayed itself against, not only the administration, but the Union itself, and inaugurated a civil war for the overthrow of the Union and the establishment of an exclusive slaveholding confederacy.

Without surrendering the political principle, we meet them in the battlefield and in defence of the Union. The contest for life absorbs all the interest that had existed, growing out of the previous conflict of ideas. But what must be the effect? If the confederacy prevails, slavery will have a constitutional, legitimate, and acknowledged state, devoted to itself as the paramount object of the national existence. If the Union prevails, the government will be administered by a majority hostile to the fortification and perpetuation of slavery. Slavery in the slaveholding States will there be left in the care of the people of those States just as it was left at the organization of the government in all of the States except Massachusetts. It might admit of doubt whether it would not have been able to recover its former strength had the slaveholding States acquiesced in the election and avoided civil war. But what ground is there to fear such a renewal of strength after having been defeated in arms against the Union ?

What is the operation of the war? We have entered Virginia, and already five thousand slaves, emancipated simply by the appearance of our forces, are upon the hands of the federal government there. We have landed on the coast of South Carolina, and already nine thousand similarly emancipated slaves hang upon our camps.

Although the war has not been waged against slavery, yet the army acts immediately as an emancipating crusade. To proclaim the crusade is unnecessary, and it would even be inexpedient, because it would deprive us of the needful and legitimate support of the friends of the Union who are not opposed to slavery, but who prefer Union without slavery to disunion

Does France or does Great Britain want to see a social revolution here,

with slavery.

with all its horrors, like the slave revolution in San Domingo? Are these powers sure that the country or the world is ripe for such a revolution, sa that it must certainly be successful ? What, if inaugurating such a revolution, slavery, protesting against its ferocity and inhumanity, should prove the victor?

Who says this administration is false to human freedom ? Does it not acknowledge the citizenship as well as the manhood of men without respect to color ?

Has it not made effective arrangements with Great Britain to suppress the slave trade on the coast of Africa ? Has it not brought into life the federal laws against the African slave trade, and is it not executing their severest penalties ? Besides, is it not an object worthy of practical men to confine slavery within existing bounds, instead of suffering it to be spread over the whole unoccupied portion of this vast continent?

Is it not favoring emancipation in the federal District, to be accomplished at the government cost, and without individual injustice or oppression ?

Does it not receive all who come into the federal camps to offer their services to the Union, and hold and protect them against disloyal claimants? Does it not favor the recognition of Hayti and Liberia ?

The tale that Mr. Cameron was required to give up his place because of his decided opposition to slavery is without foundation ; that distinguished gentleman resigned his place only because he could be useful in a diplomatic situation, while the gentleman appointed his successor, it was expected, would be more efficient in administration. His successor has no more sympathy with slavery than Mr. Cameron. These facts and thoughts are communicated to you confidentially for such use in detail as may be practicable, but not to be formally presented in the usual way to the government to which you are accredited. I am, sir, your obedient servant,


Mr. Seward to Mr. Adams.

No. 190.]


Washington, February 19, 1862. Sir: Your despatch of January 31, (No. 109,) has been received. I was just about instructing you how to answer the querulous complaints in Par-' liament which you have anticipated, the chief of which is the assumed incompetency of this government to suppress the insurrection. But a very shrewd observer, a loyal, and, at present, exiled Virginian, fell in at the moment, and expressed to me the opinion that the end of the war is in sight; that there will be a short and rapid series of successes over a disheartened conspiracy, and then all will be over. I give you these opinions as entitling us to what is sometimes granted by candid tribunals, namely, a suspension of judgment. I am, sir, your obedient servant,


Mr. Adams to Mr. Seward.

No. 123.]


London, February 27, 1862. SIR : In consequence of information furnished to me by the consul of the United States at Liverpool of certain suspicious movements at that port, I have felt it my duty to make a representation to Lord Russell of the facts attending the outfit of the steam gunboat Oreto, and to ask an investigation. Copies of the notes that have passed on this subject are herewith transmitted.

Presuming that you are in constant receipt of intelligence from the consuls in the various ports of the preparation of vessels with supplies of ali sorts intended to run the blockade of the southern ports, I do not attempt to furnish the information which I obtain. The temptation of rising prices will, of course, stimulate these ventures just so long as there shall be any reasonable chance of escaping the vigilance of our cruisers.

There seems to be less and less disposition to press complaints about the blockade. The remarks attributed to M. Billault, in the senate of France, leave little further hope of co-operation against it from that quarter. I have the honor to be, sir, your obedient servant,


Secretary of State, Washington, D. C.

Mr. Adams to Earl Russell.


London, February 18, 1862. My LORD: I have the honor to submit to your consideration the copy of an extract of a letter addressed to me by the consul of the United States at Liverpool, going to show the preparation at that port of an armed steamer evidently intended for hostile operations on the ocean. From the evidence furnished in the names of the persons stated to be concerned in her construction and outfit, I entertain little doubt that the intention is precisely that indicated in the letter of the consul, the carrying on war against the United States. The parties are the same which despatched the Bermuda laden with contraband of war at the time, in August last, when I had the honor of calling your lordship's attention to her position, which vessel then succeeded in running the blockade, and which now appears to be about again to depart on a like errand.

Should further evidence to sustain the allegations respecting the Oreto be held necessary to effect the object of securing the interposition of her Majesty's government, I will make an effort to procure it in a more formal manner.

I pray your lordship to accept the assurance of the highest consideration with which I have the honor to be your most obedient servant,


Earl Russell to Mr. Adams.

FOREIGN OFFICE, February 26, 1862. Sir: With reference to my letter of the 19th instant, on the subject of the steamer Oreto, which was believed from reports you had received to be fitting out at Liverpool with a view to acting hostilely against the people of the United States, I have the honor to transmit to you herewith a copy of a letter from the commissioners of customs to the lords commissioners of her Majesty's treasury, reporting the result of the investigations which they have caused to be instituted with regard to the vessel in question.

I have the honor to be, with the highest consideration, sir, your most obedient servant,


Report of British Commissioners of Customs.

CUSTOM-HOUSE, February 22, 1862. Your lordships having referred to us the annexed letter from Mr. Hammond, transmitting, by desire of Earl Russell, copy of a letter from Mr. Adams, enclosing an extract of a communication from the United States consul at Liverpool, in which he calls attention to a steam vessel called the Oreto, reported to be fitting out at Liverpool as a southern privateer, and requesting that immediate inquiries may be made respecting this vessel, we report :

That on the receipt of your lordship's reference we forth with instructed our collector at Liverpool to make inquiries in regard to the vessel Oreto, and it appears from his report that she has been built by Messrs. Miller & Sons for Messrs. Fawcett, Preston & Co., engineers, of Liverpool, and is intended for the use of Messrs. Thomas Brothers, of Palermo, one of that firm having frequently visited the vessel during the process of building.

The Oreto is pierced for four guns, [6 ?] but she has yet taken nothing on board but coals and ballast. She is not at present fitted for the reception of guns, nor are the builders aware that she is to be supplied with guns whilst she remains in this country. The expense of her construction has been paid, and she has been banded over to Messrs. Fawcett & Preston. Messrs. Miller & Sons state their belief that her destination is Palermo, as they have been requested to recommend a master to take her to that port, and our collector at Liverpool states that he has every reason to believe that the vessel is for the Italian government.

We beg further to add that special directions have been given to the officers at Liverpool to watch the movements of the vessel, and that we will not fail to report forthwith any circumstances which may occur worthy of your lordship's cognizance.



Mr. Seward to Mr. Adams.


No. 197.]


Washington, February 28, 1862. SIR : The successes of the Union army in the west having brought the whole of Missouri and a large portion of Tennessee under the authority of the United States, and having already opened a passage for us into Alabama, Mississippi, and Arkansas, it has been determined to-day to permit the restoration of trade upon our inland ways and waters under certain limitations and restrictions, which may continue until the pacification of the country shall take place.

We are maturing the details of this system of inland trade carefully, and shall try its operation with a view to the adoption of measures of a similar nature, applicable to the country on the sea-coast, which would be some alleviation of the rigor of the blockade.

You may confidentially bring these facts to the notice of the British government. We could doubtless go much further and faster in the direction last indicated if we could have any reason to expect that concessions on our part would be met by a withdrawal, on the part of maritime nations, of the belligerent privileges heretofore so unnecessarily conceded, as we conceive, to the insurgents. I am, sir, your obedient servant,

WILLIAM H. SEWARD. CHARLES FRANCIS Adams, Esq., 8-C., $c., fc.

Mr. Adams to Mr. Seward.


No. 125.]



London, March 6, 1862. SIR : Only this morning have I received the despatches by the steamer America, numbered from 182 to 188, both inclusive ; and a confidential despatch, marked as 187, in addition to the regular one bearing the same number.


* I transmit herewith the copy of a note addressed by me to Lord Russell, in conformity with the directions contained in your despatch No. 172, of the 31st of January, touching the action of the authorities of Nassau. As yet I have received only the customary formal answer from his lordship annouricing a reference for information. I have the bonor to be, sir, your obedient servant,


Secretary of State, Washington, D. C.

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