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WAR DEPARTMENT, WASHINGTON, July 22, 1862. First. Ordered that military commanders within the States of Virginia, North Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas, and Arkansas, in an orderly manner seize and use any property, real or personal, which may be necessary or convenient for their several commands, for supplies, or for other military purposes; and that while property may be destroyed for proper military objects, none shall be destroyed in wantonness or malice.
Second. That military and naval commanders shall employ as laborers, within and from said States, so many persons of African descent as can be advantageously used for military or naval purposes, giving them reasonable wages for their labor.
Third. That, as to both property, and persons of African descent, accounts shall be kept sufficiently accurate and in detail to show quantities and amounts, and from whom both property and such persons shall have come, as a basis upon which compensation can be made in proper cases; and the several departments of this Government shall attend to and perform their appropriate parts towards the execution of these orders.
By order of the President:
EDWIN M. STANTON Secretary of War.
And on the 25th of July he issued the following proclamation, warning the people of the Southern States against persisting in their rebellion, under the penalties prescribed by the confiscation act passed by Congress at its preceding session:
By Order of the President of the United States.
In pursuance of the sixth section of the Act of Congress, entitled “An Act to suppress insurrection, to punish treason and rebellion, to seize and confiscate the property of rebels, and for other purposes," approved July 17th, 1862, and which Act, and the joint resolution explanatory thereof, are herewith published, I, ABRAHAM LINCOLN, President of the United States, do hereby proclaim to and warn all persons within the contemplation of said sixth section to cease participating in, aiding, countenancing, or abetting the existing rebellion, or any rebellion, against the Government of the United States, and to return to their proper allegiance to the United States, on pain of the forfeiture and seizures as within and by said sixth section provided.
In testimony whereof I have hereunto set my hand and caused the seal of the United States to be affixed.
Done at the city of Washington, this twenty-fifth day of July, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-two, [L. S.] and of the independence of the United States the eightyseventh.
By the President:
WILLIAM H. SEWARD, Secretary of State.
Our relations with foreign nations during the year 1862 continued to be in the main satisfactory. The President held throughout, in all his intercourse with European powers, the same firm and decided language in regard to the rebellion which had characterized the correspondence of the previous year. Our Minister in London, with vigilance and ability, pressed upon the British Government the duty of preventing the rebel authorities from building and fitting out vessels of war in English ports to prey upon the commerce of the United States; but in every instance these remonstrances were without practical effect. The Government could never be convinced that the evidence in any specific case was sufficient to warrant its interference, and thus one vessel after another was allowed to leave British ports, go to some other equally neutral locality and take on board munitions of war, and enter upon its career of piracy in the rebel service. As early as the 18th of February, 1862, Mr. Adams had called the attention of Earl Russell to the fact that a steam gunboat, afterwards called the Oreto, was being built in a Liverpool ship-yard, under the supervision of well-known agents of the rebel Government, and evidently intended for the rebel service. The Foreign Secretary replied that the vessel was intended for the use of parties in Palermo, Sicily, and that there was no reason to suppose she was intended for any service hostile to the United States. Mr. Adams sent evidence to show that the claim of being designed for service in Sicily was a mere
pretext; but he failed, by this dispatch, as in a subsequent personal conference with Earl Russell on the 15th of April, to induce him to take any steps for her detention. She sailed soon after, and was next heard of at the British "neutral" port of Nassau, where she was seized by the authorities at the instance of the American consul, but released by the same authorities on the arrival of Captain Semmes to take command of her as a Confederate privateer, In October an intercepted letter was sent to Earl Russell by Mr. Adams, written by the Secretary of the Navy of the Confederate Government, to a person in England, complaining that he had not followed the Oreto on her departure from England and taken command of her, in accordance with his original appointment. In June Mr. Adams called Earl Russell's attention to another powerful war-steamer, then in progress of construction in the ship-yard of a member of the House of Commons, evidently intended for the rebel service. This complaint went through the usual formalities, was referred to the "Lords Commissioners of her Majesty's Treasury," who reported in due time that they could discover no evidence sufficient to warrant the detention of the vessel. Soon afterwards, however, evidence was produced which was sufficient to warrant the collector of the port of Liverpool in ordering her detention; but before the necessary formalities could be gone through with, and through delays caused, as Earl Russell afterwards explained, by the “sudden development of a malady of the Queen's advocate, totally incapacitating him for the transaction of business," the vessel, whose managers were duly advertised of every thing that was going on, slipped out of port, took on board an armament in the Azores, and entered the rebel service as a privateer. Our Government subsequently notified the British Government that it would be held responsible for all the damage which this vessel, known first as 290," and afterwards as the Alabama, might inflict on American commerce.
Discussions were had upon the refusal of the British authorities to permit American vessels of war to take in coal at Nassau, upon the systematic attempts of British merchants to violate our blockade of Southern ports, and upon the recapture, by the crew, of the Emily St. Pierre, which had been seized in attempting to run the blockade at Charleston, and was on her way as a prize to the port of New York. The British Government vindicated her rescue as sanctioned by the principles of international law.
The only incident of special importance which occurred during the year in our foreign relations, grew out of an attempt on the part of the Emperor of the French to secure a joint effort at mediation between the Government of the United States and the rebel authorities, on the part of Great Britain and Russia in connection with his own Government. Rumors of such an intention on the part of the Emperor led Mr. Dayton to seek an interview with the Minister for Foreign Affairs on the 6th of November, at which indications of such a purpose were apparent. The attempt failed, as both the other powers consulted declined to join in any such action. The French Government thereupon determined to take action alone, and on the 9th of January, 1863, the Foreign Secretary wrote to the French Minister at Washington a dispatch, declaring the readiness of the French Emperor to do any thing in his power which might tend towards the termination of the war, and suggesting that "nothing would hinder the Government of the United States, without renouncing the advantages which it believes it can attain by a continuation of the war, from entering upon informal conferences with the Confederates of the South, in case they should show themselves disposed thereto." The specific advantages of such a conference, and the mode in which it was to be brought about, were thus set forth in this dispatch:
Representatives or commissioners of the two parties could assemble at such point as it should be deemed proper to designate, and which could, for this purpose, be declared neutral. Reciprocal complaints would be examined into at this meeting. In place of the accusations which North and South mutually cast upon each other at this time, would be substituted an argumentative discussion of the interests which divide them. They would seek out by means of well-ordered and profound deliberations whether these interests are definitively irreconcilable-whether separation is an extreme which can no longer be avoided, or whether the memories of a common existence, whether the ties of any kind which have made of the North and of the South one sole and whole Federative State, and have borne them on to so high a degree of prosperity, are not more powerful than the causes which have placed arms in the hands of the two populations. A negotiation, the object of which would be thus determinate, would not involve any of the objections raised against the diplomatic interventions of Europe, and, without giving birth to the same hopes as the immediate conclusion of an armistice, would exercise a happy influence on the march of events.
Why, therefore, should not a combination which respects all the relations of the United States obtain the approbation of the Federal Government? Persuaded on our part that it is in conformity with their true interests, we do not hesitate to recommend it to their attention; and, not having sought in the project of a mediation of the maritime powers of Europe any vain display of influence, we would applaud, with entire freedom from all susceptibility of self-esteem, the opening of a negotiation which would invite the two populations to discuss, without the co-operation of Europe, the solution of their difference.
The reply which the President directed to be made to this proposition embraces so many points of permanent interest and importance in connection with his Administration, that we give it in full. It was as follows:
DEPARTMENT OF STATE, WASHINGTON, Feb. 6, 1863. SIR: The intimation given in your dispatch of January 15th, that I might expect a special visit from M. Mercier, has been realized. He called on the 3d instant, and gave me a copy of a dispatch which he had just then received from M. Drouyn de l'Huys under the date of the 9th of January.