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Mr. Adams to Mr. Seward.

No. 74.]


London, November 22, 1861. Sir: I have to acknowledge the reception of the missing despatch (No. 109) of the 23d of October from the department, which relates, as I had conjectured, to the case of Mr. Bunch, the British consul at Charleston. In conformity with the instructions therein contained, I have addressed a note to Earl Russell on the subject, a copy of which I have the honor to transmit herewith. I have the honor to be, sir, your obedient servant,


Secretary of State, Washington, D. C.

Mr. Adams to Earl Russell.


London, November 21, 1861. The undersigned, envoy extraordinary and minister plenipotentiary of the l'nited States, has the honor to inform the right honorable Earl Russell, her Majesty's principal secretary of state for foreign affairs, that he has now just received the answer of his government to the note addressed by his lurdship to the undersigned on the 9th of September last, touching certain representations made by him, under instructions from his government, of the conduct of Mr. Robert Bunch, her Majesty's consul at Charleston, and he now proceeds to submit the substance of the same to bis lordship’s consideration.

And first, it is a source of satisfaction to the undersigned to be able to say that the President finds that that part of Mr. Bunch's proceedings which was most calculated to offend the United States, and to which exception was more especially taken, has no support in the communication of his lordship to which it is now proposed to reply. If it be true that Mr. Bunch made any assurances, direct or implied, to the insurgents in the United States of a disposition on the part of her Majesty's government to recognize them as a state, it is now clear that he acted utterly without authority. Whatever is the responsibility which may be supposed to attach to Mr. Bunch for such an act, there is no disposition left to assign the smallest share of it to the source to which he is indebted for his official position.

But, though there is great cause for gratification in this view of his lordship's note, the undersigned is constrained to admit that in another the President has received it with somewhat less of satisfaction. It would appear that her Majesty's government has avowed that Mr. Bunch did act under instructions so far as his conduct was known to the foreign department, and that that action went to the extent of communicating to the persons exercising authority in the so-called Confederate States the desire of her Majesty's government that the second, third, and fourth articles of the declaration of Paris should be observed by these States in the prosecution of the hostilities in which they were engaged. The undersigned regrets to be obliged to submit to his lordship's consideration the fact that Mr. Bunch received from the government of the United States a recognition exclusively confined to the performance of consular duties, and that in proceeding to execute others which very nearly approach, if they do not absolutely belong to, those of diplomatic agents only, he seems to them to have transcended the just limits of any authority which they had ever consented to vest in him.

Well aware of the great difficulties necessarily in the way of an intimate acquaintance with the laws of a foreign state, the undersigned will not pretend to claim of her Majesty's government that it should be familiar with those of the United States. But it becomes his duty to point out the fact that Mr. Bunch, in accepting the post which he did under her Majesty's authority, voluntarily made himself amenable, at least during the period of his residence, to the authority of those laws. When, therefore, he received a direction from the foreign department to do an act which was not known by it to be a violation of one of those laws, but which he was bound to know to be such, his duty clearly should have been, instead of proceeding at once in contravention of the law, to apprise his government of the position he was placed in, and to await their decision after a full consideration of the question involved. The statute to which allusion is made forbids, under a heavy penalty, any person not specially appointed, or duly authorized or recognized by the President, whether citizen or denizen, privileged or unprivileged, from counselling or advising, aiding or assisting in any political correspondence with the government of any foreign state whatever, with an intent to influence the measures of any foreign government, or of any officer or agent thereof, in relation to any disputes or controversies with the United States, or to defeat the measures of their government.

Neither is the undersigned so fortunate as to see in this proceeding of Mr. Bunch, tbus shown to be on his part a wanton violation of the law of the United States, a sufficient justification or excuse in the consideration that Great Britain is deeply interested in the maintenance of the articles which provide that the flag covers the goods, and that the goods of a neutral taken on board a belligerent ship are not liable to confiscation. It is enough to say, on this subject, that in the view of nearly all civilized nations the proper agents to make known such wishes are the diplomatic not the consular agents of a government, and that the only authority in the United States to which any diplomatic communicatious whatever can be made is the government of the United States itself. The undersigned is too confident of the soundness of the principles which have ever actuated the government of Great Britain in all its relations with foreign countries not to affirm that it would never give countenance for a single moment to the application of any other doctrine than this to the management of its own affairs.

Least of all will the undersigned be permitted to admit that communication by Mr. Bunch, while exercising consular privileges granted to him with the consent of the United States, with insurgents endeavoring to overthrow the government, can be justified by the declaration of her Majesty's ministers that they have already recognized the belligerent character of those insurgents, and will continue to so consider them. It is, indeed, true that her Majesty's proclamation has been issued for the regulation of all her own subjects, and that it has been interpreted by her government as recognizing the insurgents as a belligerent. But it is equally true that the government of the United States declines to accept any such interpretation as modifying in the least degree its own rights and powers, or the obligations of all friendly nations towards it.

Still adhering to this position, the undersigned is instructed to announce, as the result of the most calm and impartial deliberation upon the question thus submitted for its decision, the necessity which his government feels itself under to revoke the exequatur of Mr. Bunch. Neither has this step been taken without the pressure of a strong conviction that, independently of the facts already alleged, his personal conduct, even down to the time this correspondence has been going on, as well as before it commenced, has been that, not of a friend of the government, nor even of a neutral, but of a partisan of faction and disunion.

In conclusion, it is with much pleasure that the undersigned has it in his power to convey to Earl Russell the sense entertained by the President of the action of ber Majesty's representative at Washington. It is felt to be due to him as well as to his government to say that in all his proceedings he has carefully respected the sovereignty and the rights of the United States, and that the arrangements which have been made by him, with the entire approval of the government, for establishing a communication between his government and its consuls, through the national vessels of Great Britain entering blockaded ports, without carrying passengers or private letters, bid fair to preclude all necessity for a recurrence of such proceedings as those which bave necessitated this painful correspondence.

Having thus performed the duty imposed upon him of announcing that the exequatur of Mr. Bunch has been withdrawn because his services are no longer agreeable to the government of the United States, the undersigned is further instructed to say that the consular privileges thus taken from him will be cheerfully allowed to any successor whom her Majesty may be pleased to appoint, against whom no grave personal objections are known to exist.

The undersigned has the honor to renew to Earl Russell the assurances of the highest consideration with which he is his lordship’s most obedient servant,


Mr. Adams to Mr. Seward.

No. 75.]


London, November 22, 1861. Sir : I have the honor to transmit a copy of a note of Lord Russell, dated the 15th of this month, in reply to mine addressed to him on the day previous, on the subject of the intercepted bag of Mr. Bunch, a copy of which was sent forward with my despatch to the department, No. 71, dated the 14th instant.

I have taken no special notice of the closing observations, for the reason, 1st, that his lordship transfers the discussion to Washington ; and 2d, that in another note addressed to him, under instructions, on the case of Mr. Bunch, allusion is incidentally made to the subject as having been already arranged between Lord Lyons and yourself. I have the honor to be, sir, your obedient servant,


Secretary of State, Washington, D. C.

Earl Russell to Mr. Adams.

FOREIGN OFFICE, November 15, 1861. Sir: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your note of the 14th instant, which confirms the statements you made to me orally on Wednesday last.

I have only to add that, believing the cause of the stoppage of Mr. Bunch's bag to have been a bona fide suspicion on the part of the United States gov. ernment that the bag might contain despatches from the so-styled Confederate States, I did not think it necessary to address Lord Lyons further on the subject.

With respect to your remarks on the subject of correspondence of British subjects in the southern States, the inconveniences consequent upon the present state of things are so great that her Majesty's government are obliged, seriously, to consider whether means may not be found, compatible with the vigorous prosecution of the war, by which those inconveniences may be remedied, at least in part.

Her Majesty's government are, accordingly, occupied in devising measures which, when matured, may afford some hope of redress for the injuries sustained by British subjects in consequence of the present state of things. The measures to be proposed will be communicated, as soon as they are matured, to the Secretary of State of the United States by Lord Lyons.

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

RUSSELL. CHARLES FRANCIS Adams, Esq, 8c., fr., fr.

Mr. Adams to Mr. Seuard.

No. 81.]


London, November 29, 1861. Sir: I have the honor to transmit herewith the copy of a note addressed by Earl Russell to me on the 26th instant, in reply to mine on the subject of the revocation of Mr. Bunch's exequatur. I likewise subjoin a copy of my note addressed to him in answer. I have confined myself almost entirely to those portions in which his lordship calls my positions into question, and have left his declarations of future intentions to be dealt by the government if it be deemed worth while to continue the discussion. Other matters are 80 constantly occurring of a more imperative nature as to render this of very secondary consequence. It is plain, from the turn which has been taken in the newspapers of this morning, that the law officers of the crown have modified their original position so far as to deny the right of the United States government to take out persons when they do not take papers and

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