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Admiral David D. Porter, The Naval History of the Civil War., Chapter 7: the Trent affair. (search)
ght it better to conform principles which had always governed this nation, Wand avoid a foreign war in addition to what we already had on our hands. An attempt was made to show that Mr Seward had pursued a timid policy in opposition to the broad principles laid down by the representatives of the people, that we could claim our insurgents wherever we might find them on the high seas — on which principle we might claim the right to take them out of the packet boat running between Calais and Dover. Laws of nations are but conventional rules for the safe guidance of governments in time of war, but are only so far binding when they do not infringe upon a settled policy of some government, ernment, whose best interests would be jeopardized by adhering to the opinion of any international code, which the policy of a powerful government might change at any moment. When ministers and ambassadors were of more importance than they have become since the introduction of steam and the teleg