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[236] entrance of his prizes, then there remains no alternative but to destroy the prizes by sinking or burning. Courts of admiralty are established for neutrals, not for the enemy, who has no right of appearance before them. If, therefore, any neutrals suffered during our war for want of adjudication, the fault is with their own government, and not with our cruisers.

Many other objections were advanced by the United States government as evidence that we committed a breach of international law with our cruisers, but their principles are embraced in the preceding remarks, or else they were too frivolous to deserve notice. Suffice it to say that if the Confederate government had been successful in taking to sea every vessel which it built, it would have swept from the oceans the commerce of the United States, would have raised the blockade of at least some of our ports, and if by such aid our independence had been secured, there is little probability that such complaints as have been noticed would have received attention—if, indeed, they would have been uttered.

In January, 1871, the British government proposed to the government of the United States that a joint commission should be convened to adjust certain differences between the two nations relative to the fisheries, the Canadian boundary, etc. To this proposition the latter acceded, on condition that the so-called Alabama claims should also be considered. To this condition Great Britain assented. In the convention the American commissioners proposed an arbitration of these claims. The British commissioners replied that Her Majesty's government could not admit that Great Britain had failed to discharge toward the United States the duties imposed on her by the rules of international law, or that she was justly liable to make good to the United States the losses occasioned by the acts of the cruisers to which the American commissioners referred.

Without following the details, it may be summarily stated that the Geneva Conference ensued. That decided that ‘England should have fulfilled her duties as a neutral by the exercise of a diligence equal to the gravity of the danger,’ and that ‘the circumstances were of a nature to call for the exercise, on the part of her Britannic Majesty's Government, of all possible solicitude for the observance of the rights and duties involved in the proclamation of neutrality issued by her Majesty on May 13, 1861.’ The Conference also added: ‘It can not be denied that there were moments when its watchfulness seemed to fail, and when feebleness in certain branches of the public service resulted in great detriment to the United States.’

The claims presented to the conference for damages done by our several cruisers were as follows: the Alabama, $7,050,293.76; the

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