Now, therefore, to the end that the authority of the laws may be maintained, and the faith of treaties observed, I, Martin Van Buren, do most earnestly exhort all citizens of the United States who have violated their duties, to return peaceably to their respective homes, and I hereby warn them that any persons who shall compromise the neutrality of this Government by interfering in an unlawful manner with the affairs of the neighboring British provinces, will render themselves liable to arrest and punishment under the laws of the United States,&c., &c. At the request of Lord Durham, Mr. Van Buren had directed our commanding officer on Lake Ontario to cooperate in any measures which might be suggested by Lord Durham for rooting out the band of pirates who had their quarters among “the thousand isles,” without the slightest regard to the official proclamation of their chief, Mr. William Johnson, holding a commission from the patriot government, that the patriots would carefully respect neutral waters and the rights of all citizens of the United States. On the 21st November, 1838, President Van Buren issued a second proclamation, calling upon the misguided and deluded persons to abandon projects dangerous to their own country, fatal to those whom they profess a desire to relieve, impracticable of execution without foreign aid, which they cannot rationally expect to obtain, and giving rise to imputations, however unfounded, against the honor and good faith of their own government. The proclamation further called upon “every officer, civil and military, and upon every citizen, by the veneration due by all freemen to the laws which they have assisted to enact for their own government, by his regard for the honor and good faith of his country, by his love of honor and respect for that sacred code of laws by which national intercourse is regulated, to use every power to arrest for trial and punishment every offender against the laws providing for the performance of our obligations to the other powers of the world.” On the 4th of December, 1838, the President, in his message to Congress, declared, “If an insurrection existed in Canada the amicable disposition of the United States, as well as their duty to themselves, would lead them to maintain a strict neutrality, and to restrain its citizens from all violation of the laws which have been passed for its enforcement. But the Government recognizes a still higher obligation to repress all attempts on the part of its citizens to disturb the peace of a country where order prevails or has been reestablished.” Such was the neutrality on the part of the United States towards Great Britain. It recognized the rebels of Canada not as belligerents, but as insurgents, and it enforced its neutrality not by forbidding its citizens to assist Great Britain to maintain its authority against the insurgents, but by forbidding them to interfere in an unlawful manner with the affairs of the provinces. It needs no intimate knowledge of international law, no study of Grotius, or Puffendorf, or Vattel, or Wheaton, no definitions of the rights of belligerents and privateers from the Consolato del Mare, from Lampredi, Galiani, Moser, or Hubner, to enable us to appreciate the wide difference between the neutrality we practised towards England and her rebels, and that which England has inaugurated against us; and no refinement of reasoning, nor subtle glosses indulged in by the English press, have at all blinded the American people to the unfriendly character of this royal proclamation. The recognition of the independence of the Southern Confederacy is a matter in the discretion of England, and of all foreign nations. When this independence is established as a matter of fact we expect it to be recognized; but England does not so recognize it. She recognizes the confederacy as simply struggling for independence, as were the insurgents in Canada, and pending the struggle she volunteers, under professions of neutrality, to ignore our constitutional right to subdue them, and to recognize their rebellion as lawful war. Bound to us by treaty stipulations, she elevates them to an equality of position as regards belligerent rights under the law of nations. She places their usurped government, based on treachery and slavery, on a par with that founded by Washington and his associates on the broad consent of the American people. She introduces Jefferson Davis and his confederates to a limited extent into the family of nations, endorses the licenses given by them to pirates whose brutal cupidity is stimulated by bribes of blood-money--twenty dollars for every murdered American l and transforms them into letters of marque which the ships of all nations are bound to recognize, respect, and obey. Had she treated them as insurgents they would have had no other rights on the sea than
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