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Chapter 36:

  • Efforts of the enemy to obtain our cotton
  • -- demands of European manufacturers -- thousands of Operatives resorting to the poor rates -- complaint of her Majesty's Secretary of state -- letter of Seward -- promise to open all channels of commerce -- series of measures adopted by the United States -- act of Congress -- unconstitutional measures -- President Lincoln an accomplice -- not authorized by a state of war -- case before Chief Justice Taney -- expeditions sent by the United States government to seize localities -- act providing for the appointment of special agents to seize abandoned or captured property -- views of General Grant -- Weakening his strength one third -- our country divided into districts, and Federal agents appointed.


A class of measures was adopted by the government of the United States, the object of which was practically and effectually to plunder us of a large portion of our crop of cotton, and secure its transportation to the manufacturers of Europe. The foreign necessity for our cotton is represented in these words of Her Majesty's Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, on May 6, 1862, when speaking of the blockade of our ports:
Thousands are now obliged to resort to the poor-rates for subsistence, owing to this blockade, yet her Majesty's Government have not sought to take advantage of the obvious imperfections of this blockade, in order to declare it ineffective. They have, to the loss and detriment of the British nation, scrupulously observed the duties of Great Britain to a friendly state.

The severity of the distress thus alluded to was such, both in Great Britain and France, as to produce an intervention of the governments of those countries to alleviate it. Instead, however, of adopting those measures required in the exercise of justice to the Confederacy, and which would have been sustained by the law of nations, by declaring the blockade ‘ineffective,’ as it really was, they sought, through informal applications to Seward, the Secretary of State for the United States, to obtain opportunities for an increased exportation of cotton from the Confederacy. This is explained by Seward in a letter to Adams, the Minister at London, dated July 28, 1862, in which he writes as follows:

The President has given respectful consideration to the desire informally expressed to me by the Governments of Great Britain and France for some further relaxation of the blockade in favor of that trade. They are not rejected, but are

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