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[269] since the very commencement of the war. As early as the first May, 1861, the British Minister in Washington was informed by the Secretary of State of the United States that he had sent agents to England, and that others would go to France, to purchase arms, and this fact was communicated to the British Foreign Office, which interposed no objection. Yet, in October of the same year, Earl Russell entertained the complaint of the United States Minister in London, that the confederate States were importing contraband of war from the island of Nassau, directed inquiry into the matter, and obtained a report from the authorities of the island denying the allegations, which report was inclosed to Mr. Adams, and received by him as satisfactory evidence to dissipate suspicion naturally thrown upon the authorities of Nassau by that unwarrantable act. So, too, when the confederate government purchased in Great Britain, as a neutral country, (and with strict observance both of the law of nations and the municipal law of Great Britain,) vessels which were subsequently armed and commissioned as vessels of war, after they had been far removed from British waters, the British government, in violation of its own laws and in deference to the importunate demands of the United States, made an ineffectual attempt to seize one vessel, and did actually seize and detain another which touched at the island of Nassau. on her way to a confederate port, and subjected her to an unfounded prosecution at the very time when cargoes of munitions of war were being openly shipped from British ports to New-York, to be used in warfare against us. Even now the public journals bring intelligence that the British government has ordered the seizure, in a British port, of two vessels, on the suspicion that they may have been sold to this government, and that they may be hereafter armed and equipped in our service, while British subjects are engaged in Ireland by tens of thousands to proceed to the United States for warfare against the Confederacy, in defiance both of the law of nations and of the express terms of the British statutes, and are transported in British ships, without an effort at concealment, to the ports of the United States, there to be armed with rifles imported from Great Britain, and to be employed against our people in a war for conquest. No royal prerogative is invoked, no executive interference is interposed against this flagrant breach of municipal and international law, on the part of our enemies, while strained constructions are placed on existing statutes, new enactments proposed and questionable expedients devised, for precluding the possibility of purchase, by this government, of vessels that are useless for belligerent purposes, unless hereafter armed and equipped outside of the neutral jurisdiction of Great Britain.

For nearly three years this government has exercised unquestioned jurisdiction over many millions of willing and united people. It has met and defeated vast armies of invaders, who have in vain sought its subversion. Supported by the confidence and affection of its citizens, the Confederacy has lacked no element which distinguishes an independent nation, according to the principles of public law. Its legislative, executive, and judicial departments, each in its sphere, have performed their appropriate functions with a regularity as undisturbed as in a time of profound peace, and the whole energies of the people have been developed in the organization of vast armies, while their rights and liberties have rested secure under the protection of the courts of justice. This Confederacy is either independent or it is a dependency of the United States, for no other earthly power claims the right to govern it. Without one historic fact on which the pretension can rest, without one line or word of treaty or covenant which can give color to title, the United States having asserted, and the British government has chosen to concede, that these sovereign States are dependencies of the government which is administered at Washington. Great Britain has, accordingly, entertained with that Government the closest and most intimate relations, while refusing on its demand ordinary amicable intercourse with us, and has, under arrangements made with the other nations of Europe, not only denied our just claim of admission into the family of nations, but interposed a passive though effectual bar to the acknowledgment of her rights by other powers. So soon as it had become apparent, by the declarations of the British Minister, in the debates of the British Parliament in July last, that Her Majesty's government was determined to persist indefinitely in a course of policy which, under professions of neutrality, had become subservient to the designs of our enemy, I felt it my duty to recall the commissioners formerly accredited to that court, and the correspondence on the subject is submitted to you.

It is due to you and to our country that this full statement should be made of the just grounds which exist for dissatisfaction with the conduct of the British government. I am well aware that we are unfortunately without adequate remedy for the injustice under which we have suffered at the hands of a powerful nation, at a juncture when our entire resources are absorbed in the defence of our lives, liberties, and independence, against an enemy possessed of greatly superior numbers and material resources. Claiming no favor, desiring no aid, conscious of our own ability to defend our own rights, against the utmost efforts of an infuriate foe, we had thought it not extravagant to expect that assistance would be withheld from our enemies, and that the conduct of foreign nations would be marked by a genuine impartiality between the belligerents. It was not supposed that a professed neutrality would be so conducted as to justify the Foreign Secretary of the British nation in explaining, in correspondence with our enemy, how “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.” The British


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