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Mr. Adams to Earl Russell.
LEGATION OF THE UNITED STATES,
London, February 24, 1862. MY LORD: It is with much regret that I find myself under the necessity of troubling your lordship with another application for information respecting certain
alleged acts of the colonial authorities of Nassau unfriendly to the United States.
It has been reported to the Navy Department, from the commander of the United States steamer Flambeau, that, although a deposit of coal belonging to that goverument exists at the place named, its steamers have been interdicted the use of it.
Liberal as is the disposition of the government of the United States in its intercourse with all foreign nations in American waters, the President declines to believe that her Majesty's government have sanctioned or will sanction these proceedings on the part of the authorities of Nassau. Should he prove to have been correct in this opinion, I am directed to solicit of your lordship such action in the proper quarter as may lead to the rectification of the error.
I pray your lordship to accept the assurances of the highest consideration with which I have the honor to be, my lord, your most obedient servant,
CHARLES FRANCIS ADAMS. The Right Hon. EARL RUSSELL, 8C., &c., fc.
Mr. Seward to Mr. Adams.
DEPARTMENT OF STATE,
Washington, March 6, 1862. Sir: Your despatch of February 13, No. 114, has been received.
I regret that it has been impossible to supply you with statistics, which our uncharitable friends in England so strenuously insist upon, to show how effective or how inefficient the blockade is. We, of course, have no record of the cases in which the blockade has been run. Such information must I be in possession of those who performed the achievement, while we were ignorant of the transactions in which they were engaged. I have, however,
such a list as could be procured at Havana. It shows that gene'rally the vessels which have violated the blockade were British. The British revenue officers, therefore, can furnish the information wanted by members of the British Parliament, or at least much of it. It would prove nothing to show how many vessels we have captured in the attempt, or the value of such vessels and their cargoes, for it is the failure to seize vessels, not success in seizing them, that constitutes the gist of the issue.
I cannot but think that the true test of the commercial blockade lies in the results. The price of cotton in New York is four times greater than in New Orleans. That fact is certainly demonstrative. So is the fact that salt is ten times higher in New Orleans than in New York. So is the fact that gold is even more scarce in Charleston than cotton is in Liverpool. Moreover, the pleaders for our destruction in Parliament ought to be held to choose between contradictory pleas, and cease to complain of the ruin brought into England by the failure of supplies from the blockaded districts, or else they ought to admit the efficiency of the blockade.
I trust, however, that these contradictory complaints about the blockade will have passed away before this despatch shall reach its destination.
Affairs have just fallen into a new condition, suggestive of very different questions from those which were troubling you when the paper which I am answering was written. It can now be seen, by those who will consent to see it, that disunion originated in a local popular excitement or passion, and not in any radical and enduring interest adequate to sustain a revolution. It is now apparent that we are at the beginning of the end of the attempted revolution. That end may be indeed delayed by accidents or errors at home, as it may be by aid or sympathy on the part of foreign nations. But it can hardly be deemed uncertain. The strength of the Union is seen in a vast army in excellent condition, and a vigorous and well-appointed navy, while the national finances are perfectly sound and reliable. On the other side are seen a demoralized and decaying navy consisting of two worthless pirate steamers, in all carrying half a dozen guns. The credit of the insurgents is depreciated sixty per cent. below par, and daily sinking lower. Cities, districts, and States are coming back under the federal authority, while it has not really lost a square mile of territory which it held when the conflict began. The permanent interests and political sentiments of Union are lasting and reliable elements of strength in the federal cause. The fires of faction, which gave to disunion all its force, are already burning out. Of all foreign nations Great Britain has the deepest interest in a speedy termination of the conflict and in a complete restoration of our national commerce, as no other nation has so great an interest in the relations of permanent friendship with the United States. If Great Britain should revoke her decree conceding belligerent rights to the insurgents to-day, this civil strife, which is the cause of all the derangement of those relations, and the only cause of all apprehended dangers of that kind, would end to-morrow. The United States have continually insisted that the disturbers of their peace are mere insurgents, not lawful, belligerents. This government neither can nor is it likely to have occasion to change this position, but her Majesty can, and it would seem that she must, sooner or later, desire to relinquish her position. It was a position taken in haste, and in anticipation of the probable success of the revolution. The failure of that revolution is sufficiently apparent. Why should not the position be relinquished, and the peace of our country thus be allowed to be restored ? Do you think Earl Russell
, astute and well-informed as he is, could name one single benefit that Great Britain derives from maintaining a position which, although unintentionally, is so unfriendly and so injurious to us, or that he could designate one evil that would probably result to the country of whose foreign interests he is the guardian from the resumption of her longestablished relations towards the United States ? Is it not worth your pains to suggest to him the inquiry whether it would not be wiser and better to remove the necessity for our blockade than to keep the two nations, and even the whole world, in debate about the rightfulness or the expediency of attempting to break it, with all the consequences of so hostile a measure ? I am, sir, your obedient servant,
WILLIAM H. SEWARD. CHARLES FRANCIS ADAMS, Esq., 8c., $c., fc.
Mr. Seward to Mr. Adams.
DEPARTMENT OF STATE, Washington, March 7, 1862.
When, in November, we thought we had reason to apprehend new and very serious dangers in Europe, the subject was taken into consideration by the President at a full meeting of the cabinet. It was understood that the insurgents were represented abroad by a number of active, unscrupulous, and plausible men, who manifestly were acquiring influence in society, and in the press, and employing it with dangerous effect, and it was thought that such efforts could be profitably counteracted by the presence in London and Paris of some loyal, high-spirited, and intellectual men of social position and character. We considered that the presence of such persons there, unless they should act with more discretion than we could confidently expect, would annoy and possibly embarrass our ministers abroad. It was decided that hazard must be incurred in view of dangers which seemed so imminent. All our individual sensibilities must give way in time of public peril. The persons selected were thought to be among the most prudent and considerate in the country. When all our agents and friends abroad, consular as well as diplomatic, official and unofficial persons, united in warning us of a serious danger which they thought was to happen on the meeting of the French and British legislatures, respectively, I thought it might be well for Mr. Motley to be at London to confer and co-operate with you. I wrote to him that if he could it was desirable he should go there, but in everything to consult with you and take directions from yourself. I desire you to understand that these proceedings in no respect imply any want of satisfaction with your conduct in your most important mission. The President and the cabinet are perfectly unanimous in approving of all your proceedings as the very best in every case that could be adopted. I may add that the public approbation is equally distinct and earnest. I speak very frankly when I say that I do not recollect the case of any representative of this country abroad who has won more universal approbation than you have. I have purposely made this an official paper, because we desire that the facts may stand, with the President's conclusions, upon the record. I am, sir, your obedient servant,
WILLIAM H. SEWARD. CHARLES FRANCIS Adams, Esq., Sc., fc., c.
Mr. Adams to Mr. Seward.
LEGATION OF THE UNITED STATES,
London, March 7, 1862. Sir: The despatch No. 186, of the 17th of February, transmitting a list of vessels that have been engaged in efforts to run the blockade, has come just in time to add to the materials collected from other sources in advance of the discussion which Mr. Gregory, the member for Galway, proposes to commence in the House of Commons to-night. I much regret there is no full official list from the Navy Department of all vessels turned off or cap
tured. In view of the late course of events, the temper of the h a single well as of the higher classes, grows less and less disposed to int nded perso that I regard the sentiments expressed in Parliament, what may be, with very little apprehension. It may be depended uonsiderawithout the occurrence of some very extraordinary event, the go of the United States will not be further molested in its efforts tJAMS. its experiment of reducing the rebellion, according to its own plai definite result. I think I can say this with more confidence now any previous period of my residence here.
But if this be the favorable view of our position in England, i kept in mind, on the other hand, that nearly all of the aid which obtain to protract the war comes, either directly or indirectly, fro in Great Britain. The newspapers no longer pretend to conceal t outfits constantly making of steamers from the port of Liverpool 1862. intention to break the blockade. A large proportion of the vesser of the list from the department, already alluded to, appear to be British. British muda has just gone on her second trip, filled with the heaviest » United cannon and military stores yet despatched ; whilst the nominal dúise and of the Oreto to Sicily is the only advantage which appears to hon have derived from my attempt to procure the interference of the goverequence stop her departure. How long this business will be continued, in that his of such discouraging news as has been lately coming over the Acou also is difficult to say. The plain fact in any event remains, that the ventive policy against what/is still doing must be found in the vist that our naval cruisers. It might be of use if official intelligence of tures made by them could be promptly forwarded to this legation not safe to put confidence in mere newspaper statements. It is thagainst idea that the blockade is not effective which stimulates many of factory tures.
British Having received notice of the departure of the Oreto for Paler of the mediately wrote to Mr. Marsh, at Tarin, to apprise him of her deoint to and likewise to Mr. Sprague, the active consul at Gibraltar, in or shall he might establish his communications with the various officers in iterranean as to her ulterior movements. I am glad to hear to-day st obeof the arrival at Cadiz of the Kearsarge. I have the honor to be, sir, your obedient servant,
CHARLES FRANCIS A Hon. WILLIAM H. SEWARD,
Secretary of State, Washington, D. C.
Mr. Seward to Mr. Adams.
22. DEPARTMENT OF STATE,
Washington, March 10, 1862. SIR: I have your despatch of February 21, No. 19, which informs me, first, of the progress of the debate in Parliament concerning the alleged inefficiency of our blockade. I have already treated, sufficiently, I think, upon that subject. I will add, however, first, that I am credibly informed that the commander of the French fleet in our waters inspected the blockade, and thereupon stated to Mr. Mercier that it is as effective as it could be made by any navy in the world. Second, Memphis newspapers publish telegrams from New Orleans which state that gold is at a premium there of 60 to 65 per cent.
er topic presented in your despatch is an assumption in England ;overnment of the United States favors the continuance of slavery, insurgents are seeking to win foreign support by taking measures lioration and ultimate removal. I have hitherto insisted, and I
evere in insisting, that slavery here, although admitted to be a No. 201., le interest, is, as between ourselves and the insurgents, a domestic
For this reason I declined to invoke or excite foreign prejudices SIR: he insurgents on the ground that they were attempting to set up
o in our midst upon the foundation of perpetual slavery, in opposiWhen, je federal government which rests upon the basis of the political very serio of all men. So now, if it were true that the two parties had the Presidpositions, I should still insist that the controversy is one in which insurgentm judgment could be invoked, for foreign interference on grounds and plaus thy or favor towarus domestic parties is subversive everywhere of in the pre sovereignty and independence. Nevertheless, the allegation of such efforange is utterly groundless in regard to both parties. If the govParis of spf the United States should precipitately decree the immediate abocharacter slavery, it would reinvigorate the declining insurrection in every they shoupe south; and, on the other hand, if the insurgents at home would would anı policy of opposition to slavery which their emissaries abroad are that hazapd to make pretences to, the insurrection would perish for want of All our inary aliment, namely, opposition to abolition. persons
sresident's recent message to Congress will probably produce a suderate in tge in the tactics of the emissaries, and we may safely wait for well as dippear in some new attitude. serious d’ack upon the ground assumed in my recent despatches. There is French aror further losses and sufferings in Europe by reason of our domestic Mr. Motle and consequently no need for a continuance of the disturbance of him that i between the maritime states of Europe and ourselves. Let the to consulents of Great Britain and France rescind the decrees which conderstand 'gerent rights to a dwindling faction in this country, and all their tion with will come to a speedy end. the cabin I am, sir, your obedient servant,
WILLIAM H. SEWARD. lic approas FRANCIS Adams, Esq., &c., de., dc. I say the abroad v purposel stand, w
Mr. Seward to Mr. Adams. .]
DEPARTMENT OF STATE, CHARL
Washington, March 11, 1862. Information derived from our consul at Liverpool confirms reports Whave reached us that insurance companies in Èngland are insuring vessels engaged in running our blockade, and even vessels carrying contraband of war. This is, in effect, a combination of British capitalists, under legal authority, to levy war against the United States. It is entirely inconsistent with the relations of friendship, which we, on our part, maintain towards Great Britain; and we cannot believe that her Britannic Majesty's government will regard it as compatible with the attitude of neutrality proclaimed by that government. Its effect is to prolong this struggle, destroy legitimate commerce of British subjects, and excite in this country feelings of deep alienation.
Pray bring this subject to the notice of Earl Russell, and ask for intervention in some form which will be efficient.