previous next

[317] to one of the harbors by sinking vessels loaded with stone in the channel; that our commerce with foreign nations was interrupted, not by the effective investment of our ports, but by watching the ports of the West Indies; not only by the seizure of ships in the attempt to enter the Confederate ports, but by the capture on the high seas of neutral vessels by the cruisers of our enemies, whenever supposed to be bound to any point on our extensive coast, without inquiry whether a single blockading vessel was to be found at such point; that blockading vessels had left the ports at which they were stationed for distant expeditions, were absent for many days, and returned without notice either of the cessation or renewal of the blockade; in a word, that every prescription of maritime law and every right of neutral nations to trade with a belligerent under the sanction of principles heretofore universally respected were systematically and persistently violated by the United States. Neutral Europe received our remonstrances, and submitted in almost unbroken silence to all the wrongs that the United States chose to inflict on its commerce. The Cabinet of Great Britain, however, did not confine itself to such implied acquiescence in these breaches of international law which resulted from simple inaction, but, in a published dispatch of the Minister for Foreign Affairs, assumed to make a change in the principle enunciated by the Congress of Paris, to which the faith of the British government was considered to be pledged. The change was so important and so prejudicial to the interests of the Confederacy that, after a vain attempt to obtain satisfactory explanations from that government, I directed a solemn protest to be made.

In a published dispatch from Her Majesty's Foreign Office to her minister at Washington, under date of February 11th, 1862, occurred the following passage:

Her Majesty's Government, however, are of opinion that, assuming that the blockade was duly notified, and also that a number of ships is stationed and remains at the entrance of a port sufficient really to prevent access to it, or to create an evident danger of entering it or leaving it, and that these ships do not voluntarily permit ingress or egress, the fact that various ships may have successfully escaped through it (as in the particular instance here referred to), will not of itself prevent the blockade from being an effectual one by international law.

The words which I have italicized were an addition made by the British government of its own authority to a principle, the exact terms of which were settled with deliberation by the common consent of civilized nations, and by implied convention with our government, as already explained, and their effect was clearly to reopen to the prejudice of the

Confederacy one of the very disputed questions on the law of blockade

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Sort places alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a place to search for it in this document.
United States (United States) (2)
West Indies (1)
Europe (1)
England (United Kingdom) (1)

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
February 11th, 1862 AD (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: