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Mr. Seward to Mr. Adams.

No. 255.]


Washington, May 22, 1862. SIR: Referring to your despatch No. 146, of the 24th ultimo, and to my reply of the 9th instant, numbered 248, in relation to the recapture of the prize ship Emily St. Pierre, I invite your attention to the enclosed copy of a communication on the subject from the Secretary of the Navy. I am, sir, your obedient servant,


Mr. Welles to Mr. Seward.

Navy DEPARTMENT, May 20, 1862. SIR: I have the honor to invite your attention to the accompanying extract from a despatch, dated the 14th instant, received from Flag-Officer Samuel F. DuPont, commanding South Atlantic blockading squadron, in reference to the recapture of the Emily St. Pierre. I am, respectfully, your obedient servant,


Secretary of State.


Flag-Officer DuPont to Mr. Welles.



Port Royal Harbor, S. C., May 14, 1862. Sir: I have read in the last papers the account of the recapture of the ship Emily St. Pierre, taken off Charleston, effected by clever artifice and enforced by gagging and putting in irons the prize officers and crew.

I cannot refrain from expressing the hope that the government purposes to insist upon the return of the Emily St. Pierre to the United States courts for adjudication, inasmuch as the recapture by the crew of a neutral vessel is, as I believe, contrary to law. Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

S. F. DUPONT, Flag-Officer commanding South Atlantic Blockading Squadron. Hon. GIDEON WELLES,

Secretary of the Navy, Washington.

No. 164.]

Mr. Adams to Mr. Seward.

LEGATION OF THE UNITED STATES 1 862. SIR: I have to acknowledge the reception of despatches from the depart ment, numbered from 243 to 246, both inclusive, and also of two printed circulars dated, respectively, on the 3d and 5th of May, consequent upon the recovery of New Orleans.

I am not aware of any matter contained in these which calls for particular notice, unless it be the injunction upon me to renew my appeals to the government of Great Britain for the revocation of the recognition of belligerent rights, its original false step.

I bad little expectation of success, but I felt it my duty at once to execute the orders. So, after the forms in connexion with the slave trade treaty on Tuesday had been completed, I asked the favor of a few minutes' further conversation on this subject. I alluded to the fact of your reception of my report of our last conference, and to your comments on it which had just reached me. I told him that you thought the course of events, and the decided turn the fortunes of war had taken since the date of that conference, justified you in presuming that some alteration in the views of the government must bave ensued. I dwelt somewhat upon the unfavorable impression that act had made on the people of the United States. It was the true root of the bitterness towards Great Britain that was felt there. All the later acts of assistance given here by private persons to the rebels, the knowledge of which tended to keep up the irritation, were viewed only as natural emanations from that fatal source. Every consular report that went, and there were a good many, giving details of ships and supplies and money transmitted to keep up the war, served merely to remind us of the original cause of offence. I did hope then that he would consider, before it should 'be too late to be useful, the expediency of some action that might tend to soften the asperity thus engendered. I believed that in your urgency you were actuated by a sincere desire to maintain kindly relations between the two countries, and to that end you labored to procure the removal of this unlucky obstruction. I certainly acted in that spirit myself.

His lordship replied by saying that he did not see his way to any change of policy at present. We seemed to be going on so fast ourselves that the question might settle itself before a great while.

I said that I should be sorry to have that result happen before any action had been taken here; for, after it, we should scarcely attach value to what seemed a mere form.

His lordship remarked that the insurrection had certainly been a very formidable one. It embraced a great territory and a numerous population. The very magnitude of the means used to suppress it proved its nature. Under these circumstances the government had sought to remain perfectly neutral. It would lean to peither side. The wishes of the federal authorities had been that it should aid them, which would have been a departure from that line of policy.

To this I replied, that whatever might be the intent of that policy, the practical effect of it had been materially to uphold the rebels. The declaration of it at so early a moment, before the government had had any time to organize its counteracting forces, was a prejudgment of the whole question in their favor. The people of the United States felt as if the putting the two sides on an equality was in the nature of a standing insult to them. And the manifest eagerness of influential parties in Great Britain to expedite all the means necessary to induce the misguided people to persevere in their undertaking was like the continual application of a nettle to flesh already raw.

His lordship then fell back upon the same argument to which he has resorted in his note to me of the 17th instant, in answer to my previous remonstances against these movements, a copy of which goes out with this despatch. He said that large supplies of similar materials had been ob

tained here on the part of the United States, which had been freely transported and effectively used against the insurgents.

I answered by admitting that at one time a quantity of arms and military stores had been purchased here as a purely commercial transaction for the use of the federal army; but that I had early objected to this practice, for the reason that it prevented me from pressing my remonstrances against a very different class of operations carried on by friends and sympathizers with the rebels in this island, and it had been discontinued. We had, indeed, purchased largely in Austria, but that government had never given any countenance to the insorgents.

His lordship observed that that government had no commercial interests pressing upon it for protection.

Here the conversation ceased. His lordship said that I had fully acquitted myself of my duty, and I took my leave.

There was another topic touched upon prior to the commencement of this one, to which I shall advert in another despatch. I have the honor to be, sir, your obedient servant,


Secretary of State, Washington, D. C.

Earl Russell to Mr. Adams.

FOREIGN OFFICE, May 17, 1862. SIR: I do not wish to prolong this correspondence, and shall only make one remark in answer to your last letter.

If the British government, by virtue of the prerogative of the crown or by authority of Parliament, had prohibited and could have prevented the conveyance in British merchant ships of arms and ammunition to the Confede: rate States, and had allowed the transport of such contraband of war to New York and to other federal ports, her Majesty's government would have departed from the neutral position they have assumed and maintained.

if, on the other hand, her Majesty's government had prohibited and could have prevented the transport of arms and ammunition to both the contending parties, they would have deprived the United States of a great part of the means by which they have carried on the war. The arms and ammunition received from Great Britain, as well as from other neutral countries, have enabled the United States to fit out the formidable armies now engaged in carrying on the war against the southern States, while by means of the blockade established by the federal government the southern States have been deprived of similar advantages,

The impartial observance of neutral obligations by her Majesty's government has thus been exceedingly advantageous to the cause of the more powerful of the two contending parties. . I have the honor to be, sir, your most obedient, humble servant,


Mr. Adams to Mr. Seward.

No. 165.]


London, May 23, 1862. Sir: In the conference with Lord Russell'on the 20th, to which I have already referred in my yesterday's despatches, one other matter was touched upon which seemed to me deserving of brief notice. That is the present state of the Mexican question. His lordship opened the matter by mentioning the fact, now well known, of the disruption of the joint agreement of the three powers, and the withdrawal of the forces of England and Spain. He seemed to speak of it rather in the way of indirectly reminding me of the conversation at Abergeldie Castle in September last, and of the fidelity with which this government had adhered to the assurances then given of non-intervention. He then referred with evident gratification to the course taken by General Prim, and read me extracts from despatches received from Madrid announcing the intention of the Spanish government to ratify it. He confessed to an early-formed and long-cherished feeling of kindness towards it, and seemed to take pride in this action of theirs as a justification of it.

I joined with his lordship in the expression of satisfaction at the result, and remarked that, so far as Great Britain was concerned, it had not caused in me any surprise. But I could scarcely give the same credit to Spain, for it seemed to me that, at the outset, her intentions contemplated intervention and military conquest. I might, indeed, be so uncharitable as to suspect that the development of military and naval power in the United States which had been manifested of late might have had something to do in effecting a change.

His lordship, on the contrary, reaffirmed his confidence in the good faith of Spain. He did not believe it had ever had a desire to interfere, and, as if foreseeing my disposition to cite the precipitate despatch of troops in advance of the other parties, he met the objection at once by attributing it to a desire to supply for the army some opportunity of gaining distinction. The government had been for some time ambitious of reinstating the military reputation of the country, and to that end they were trying to furnish occasions for awarding praises and decorations to the officers and men for bravery and skill.

I made no allusion to sundry givings out of the Spanish presses a few months since'of the propriety of attempting to recover the ancient dominions of the crown in South America, but joyfully accepted the result precisely as his lordship chose to present it. Neither did I venture to allude to the condition in which the matter has been left by the withdrawal of the two powers. I have the honor to be, sir, your obedient servant,


Secretary of State, Washington, D. C.

Mr. Seward to Mr. Adams.

No. 258.]


Washington, May 26, 1862. SIR: I learn from the public journals, although no official notice has been received, that in the case of the Labuan the admiralty court in New York has decreed restitution upon the merits of the case. Information of this fact bas been given to Lord Lyons.

The defeat of General Banks at Winchester yesterday, and his withdrawal across the Potomac, are just now the prominent incidents of the war. A careful consideration of the affair results in the satisfactory conclusion that the movement of the enemy was one of merely energetic strategy. We suffer by it, however, only a temporary and local inconvenience, not at all likely to work any serious or extensive injury to the national cause. Abundant provision has been made for repairing the losses sustained, and recovering the little ground that has been given up. I am, sir, your obedient servant,


[Same to William L. Dayton, Esq., &c., Paris.]

Mr. Seward to Mr. Adams.

No. 260.)


Washington, May 28, 1862. . SIR : Your despatch of May 8 (No. 156) has been received.

There is a statement in the public journals that thirty vessels which had left British ports with a common design to run our blockade have gathered at Nassau, and that they are now remaining there, awaiting the relaxation of the blockade at some of the southern ports, which the President has permitted to take place on the 1st of June, preferring to avail themselves of that lawful privilege rather than persevere in their prohibited operations. I think, therefore, that we may congratulate ourselves upon having advanced to a new stage in our intercourse with maritime powers affecting the present troubles in the United States—a stage at which motives of sympathy in foreign countries with the insurgents, derived from the pressure of the blockade, will disappear.

This stage is also marked by another improvement of the case, namely, the withdrawal from the ocean of the pirates who have occasionally sought shelter and protection in friendly ports while committing depredations on American commerce.

Under the President's instructions I desire to improve the position thus attained to confer, if our representatives abroad shall think it discreet, with the friendly nations upon the prospects of the war and their future course in regard to it.

By way of introduction, I beg to recall to your recollection the facts that, at the earliest proper moment, I set forth most distinctly the opinions of this government that the mutual interests, present and permanent, of all the maritime nations, including this country, require the preservation of harmonious relations between them, and that the same interests demand that,

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