Lord Lyons has been able to ascertain them, and of which he has given an account to Admiral Milne, commanding the squadron in those waters, are, first, that the notification is in each place to be made by the naval officer commanding the squadron or the ships which institute the blockade; and, in the next place, that fifteen days are to be allowed, after the establishment of the blockade, for vessels to come out of the ports. It appears that whether they were loaded or not at the time the blockade was established, provided they come out within fifteen days, their passage is to be allowed. On the other hand, it is not permitted by the United States Government that vessels should be sent to ports which are blockaded for the purpose of bringing away the property of British subjects, or the vessels or property of other nations. An application for such permission was made, to which the Secretary of State replied that if such a facility were granted it would be used by American citizens wishing to bring away property. Lord Lyons ends his communication to Admiral Milne very properly. He says that if the blockade is carried into effect according to the rules established by the law of nations, we must of course conform to it; and that we can only see that the blockade is sufficient and regular. (Hear, hear.) Mr. T. Duncombe.--I think that the noble lord ought to inform the House what means he has taken to give protection to British subjects and British property in the Slave States of America. I understand that the greatest outrages are being committed upon British subjects in these States. The noble lord may have no information upon the subject, but I have this morning received letters from persons upon whom I can depend, and who have requested me to ask what the Government are doing or intend to do in this matter. There is not the least complaint made against the Government of the free States. But in the Confederate States neither life nor property is safe, and British subjects who went there with wholly different objects, and under very different circumstances, are compelled to take up arms and fight in the Pro-Slavery ranks. The noble lord took great credit to himself for having issued a proclamation, and for declaring that the Foreign Enlistment act will be put in force. But if that be so, all persons engaged in this war under such circumstances will be treated as pirates. The mercantile marine of America, particularly of the Southern States, is chiefly manned by Irishmen and Englishmen, and others from our own colonies, who will now be compelled to remain and to enter the ranks of the belligerents, and if taken, though they may be loyal subjects of the Queen who wanted to get away, but had not the means of doing so, under the noble lord's proclamation they will be treated as pirates. We talk of our neutrality; we boast of it. A letter which I have received from a gentleman asks: “Is it nothing that a British officer,” the captain of a merchant vessel, “has been tarred and feathered?” (Laughter.) It is all very well for honorable gentlemen to laugh, but I foresee that these are questions which will involve us in difficulty before long. (Hear, hear.) “Is it nothing,” this gentleman asks, “that a British subject has been tarred and feathered; nothing that free men of color, British subjects, are imprisoned; nothing that men of colonial birth are forced to sea in an open boat; others held as prisoners, and that Englishmen should be compelled to fight in Pro-Slavery ranks? At this moment there is an advertisement in the newspapers of the Slave States, offering, on the part of the Confederate States, $20 for every person killed aboard an American vessel. What a set of savages they must be! Who would care for going to war with such a people? Do you suppose the people of Canada will submit to have their fellow-subjects dragged away, and compelled to fight for Slavery? They will stand no nonsense, and after a time your very neutrality will lead you into war. The question which I have been requested to ask is, whether it is not intended immediately to increase the British squadron on the Southern coast, and to have every vessel examined, so that Englishmen, Irishmen, and subjects of our colonial empire, who may be serving compulsorily on board American vessels, shall have an opportunity of getting away in case they wish to do so. I have received letters from men on whom I can depend, and they all state that occurrences such as I have adverted to have already taken place, and more will undoubtedly follow, unless England adopts a more decided tone. We have no right to sit down and occupy ourselves exclusively in quarrelling about the paper duties, (laughter,) while our fellow-subjects are suffering by hundreds and thousands in the hands of these savages.” Mr. B. Osborne.--I must, at this early stage, protest against the language made use of and the sentiments expressed by my honorable friend the member for Finsbury, (hear, hear,) who has altogether prejudged this question. He talks of reliable information which he has received from certain friends of his; but I am also in possession of reliable information which gives the direct lie to the statements made by the hon. gentleman. (Laughter.) I am not only in a position to deny that any of those outrages have been committed in the Southern States; but, if this were the proper time, I could point to outrages committed by the militia of New York in one of the Southern States occupied by them, where the general commanding, on the pretext that one of his men had been poisoned by strychnine, issued an order of the day threatening to put a slave into every man's house to incite the slaves to murder their masters. Such was the general order issued by Gen. Butler. Therefore, don't let us be led away by old wives' tales into Appeals to that very powerful and very dangerous element in this House — I mean the Exeter Hall
This text is part of:
Table of Contents:
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.