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Chapter 31:

  • Naval affairs, concluded
  • -- excitement in the Northern States on the appearance of our cruisers -- failure of the enemy to protect their commerce -- appeal to Europe not to help the so-called ‘pirates’ -- Seeks iron-plated vessels in England -- statement of Lord Russell -- duty of neutrals -- position taken by President Washington -- letter of Jefferson -- contracts sought by United States government -- Adams asserts British neutrality violated -- reply of Lord Russell -- rejoinder of Seward -- duty of neutrals relative to warlike stores -- views of Wheaton; of Kent -- charge of the Lord Chief Baron in the Alexandria case -- action of the Confederate government sustained -- antecedents of the United States government -- the colonial commissions -- Captain Conyngham's captures -- numbers of captures -- recognition of Greece -- recognition of South American cruisers -- Chief act of hostility charged on Great Britain by the United States government -- the Queen's proclamation: its effect -- cause of the United States charges -- our cruisers denounced as ‘pirates’ -- opinion of Justice Greer -- burning of prizes -- laws of maritime war -- cause of Geneva conference -- statement of American claims -- allowance -- indirect damages of our cruisers -- ships transferred to British registers -- decline of American tonnage -- decline of coasting tonnage -- decline of export of breadstuffs -- advance of insurance.


The excitement produced in the Northern states by the effective operations of our cruisers upon their commerce was such as to receive the attention of the United States government. Reasonably, it might have been expected that they would send their ships of war out on the high seas to protect their commerce by capturing or driving off our light cruisers, but instead of this their fleets were employed in blockading the Confederate ports or watching those in the West Indies from which blockade runners were expected to sail, and by capturing which, either on the high seas or at the entrance of a Confederate port, a harvest of prizes might be secured. For this dereliction of duty, in the failure to protect commerce, no better reason offers itself than greed and

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