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[133]

First. That the expedition was devised, planned and organized in a British Colony by Vernon G. Locke, a British subject, who, under the feigned name of Parker, had been placed in command of the Privateer Retribution by the officer who was named as her commander at the time of the issue of the letters of marque.

Second. That Locke assumed to issue commissions in the Confederate service to British subjects on British soil, without the slightest pretext of authority for so doing, and without being himself in the public service of this Government.

Third. That there is great reason to doubt whether either Braine, who was in command of the expedition, or Parr, his subordinate, is a Confederate citizen, and the weight of the evidence is rather in favor of the presumption that neither is a citizen, and that the former has never been in our military service.

Fourth. That Braine, the commander of the expedition, after getting possession of the vessel and proceeding to the British Colonies, instead of confining himself to his professed object of obtaining fuel for navigating her to a Confederate port, sold portions of the cargo at different points on the coast, thus divesting himself of the character of an officer engaged in legitimate warfare.

Although at the period of your departure from Richmond we had no reason to doubt the statements made, it was considered imprudent to act on them without further inquiry, and your instructions were therefore closed with the following sentences:

Before closing these instructions it is proper to add that they are based on the statement of facts which precedes them, but our sources of information are not perfect enough to permit entire reliance. You will be able on arrival at Halifax to ascertain whether there be any important divergence between the facts as they really occurred and those assumed in this dispatch. In such event you will exercise a prudent discretion in your action, and be at liberty to modify your conduct, or even to abstain altogether from any interference with the matter. While desirous of upholding to the full extent the rights and interests of our country, we wish particularly to avoid the presentation of demands not entirely justified by the principles of public law and international morality.

I have the directions of the President to intimate to you his satfaction with your exercise of this discretion. The encroachment on the sovereign jurisdiction of Her Britanic Majesty over her Colonial possessions in North America, and the violation of the neutrality proclaimed by Her Majesty, as disclosed in the judicial proceedings, are disclaimed and disapproved by this Government.


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