Appendix to Chapter XXX.
Earl Russell to Mr. Mason.—(Extract.)
Foreign office, August 2, 1862.You state that the Confederacy has a population of twelve millions; that it has proved itself for eighteen months capable of successful defence against every attempt to subdue or destroy it; that in the judgment of the intelligence of all Europe the separation is final; and that under no possible circumstances can the late Federal Union be restored. On the other hand, the Secretary of State of the United States has affirmed, in an official dispatch, that a large portion of the once disaffected population has been restored to the Union, and now evinces its loyalty and firm adherence to the government; that the white population now in insurrection is under five millions, and the Southern Confederacy owes its main strength to hope of assistance from Europe. In the face of the fluctuating events of the war, the alternations of victory and defeat, the capture of New Orleans, the advance of the Federals to Corinth, to Memphis, and the banks of the Mississippi as far as Vicksburg, contrasted, on the other hand, with the failure of the attack on Charleston and the retreat from before Richmond; placed, too, between allegations so contradictory on the part of the contending powers, her Majesty's government are still determined to wait. In order to be entitled to a place among the independent nations of the earth, a state ought to have not only strength and resources for a time, but afford promise of stability and permanence. Should the Confederate States of America win that place among nations, it might be right for other nations justly to acknowledge an independence achieved by victory and maintained by a successful resistance to all attempts to overthrow it. That time, however, has not, in the judgment of her Majesty's government, yet arrived.  Her Majesty's government, therefore, can only hope that a peaceful termination of the present bloody and destructive contest may not be distant. I am, etc.,
Foreign office, February 13, 1865.gentlemen: Some time ago I had the honor to inform you, in answer to a statement which you sent me, that her Majesty remained neutral in the deplorable contest now carried on in North America, and that her Majesty intended to persist in that course. It is now my duty to request you to bring to the notice of the authorities under whom you act, with a view to their serious consideration thereof, the just complaints which her Majesty's government have to make of the conduct of the so-called Confederate government. The facts upon which these complaints are founded tend to show that her Majesty's neutrality is not respected by the agents of that government, and that undue and reprehensible attempts have been made by them to involve her Majesty in a war in which her Majesty had declared her intention not to take part. In the first place, I am sorry to observe that the unwarrantable practice of building ships in this country, to be used as vessels of war against a state with which her Majesty is at peace, still continues. Her Majesty's government had hoped that this attempt to make the territorial waters of Great Britain the place of preparation for warlike armaments against the United States, might be put an end to by prosecutions and by seizure of the vessels built in pursuance of contracts made with the Confederate agents. But facts which are, unhappily, too notorious, and correspondence which has been put into the hands of her Majesty's government by the minister of the government of the United States, show that resort is had to evasion and subtlety in order to escape the penalties of the law; that a vessel is bought in one place, that her armament is prepared in another, and that both are sent to some distant port beyond her Majesty's jurisdiction, and that thus an armed steamship is fitted out to cruise against the commerce of a power in amity with her Majesty. A crew composed partly of British subjects is procured separately; wages are paid to them for an unknown service. They are dispatched, perhaps to the coast of France, and there or elsewhere are engaged to serve in a Confederate man-of-war.  Now, it is very possible that by such shifts and stratagems the penalties of the existing law of this country, nay, of any law that could be enacted, may be evaded; but the offence thus offered to her Majesty's authority and dignity by the de facto rulers of the Confederate States, whom her Majesty acknowledges as belligerents, and whose agents in the United Kingdom enjoy the benefit of our hospitality in quiet security, remains the same. It is a proceeding totally unjustifiable, and manifestly offensive to the British crown. Secondly, the Confederate organs have published, and her Majesty's government have been placed in possession of it, a memorandum of instructions for the cruisers of the so-called Confederate States, which would, if adopted, set aside some of the most settled principles of international law, and break down rules which her Majesty's government have lawfully established for the purpose of maintaining her Majesty's neutrality. It may, indeed, be said that this memorandum of instructions, though published in a Confederate newspaper, has never as yet been put in force, and that it may be considered as a dead letter; but this cannot be affirmed with regard to the document which forms the next ground of complaint. Thirdly, the President of the so-called Confederate States has put forth a proclamation acknowledging and claiming as a belligerent operation, in behalf of the Confederate States, the act of Bennett G. Burley in attempting, in 1864, to capture the steamer Michigan, with a view to release numerous Confederate prisoners detained in captivity in Johnson's Island, on Lake Erie. Independently of this proclamation, the facts connected with the attack on two other American steamers, the Philo Parsons and Island Queen, on Lake Erie, and the recent raid at St. Albans, in the state of Vermont, which Lieutenant Young, holding, as he affirms, a commission in the Confederate States army, declares to be an act of war, and therefore not to involve the guilt of robbery and murder, show a gross disregard of her Majesty's character as a neutral power, and a desire to involve her Majesty in hostilities with a coterminous power with which Great Britain is at peace. You may, gentlemen, have the means of contesting the accuracy of the information on which my foregoing statements have been founded; and I should be glad to find that her Majesty's government have been misinformed, although I have no reason to think that such has been the case. If, on the contrary, the information which her Majesty's government have received with regard to these matters cannot  be gainsaid, I trust that you will feel yourselves authorized to promise, on behalf of the Confederate government, that practices so offensive and unwarrantable shall cease, and shall be entirely abandoned for the future. I shall, therefore, await anxiously your reply, after referring to the authorities of the Confederate States. I am, etc.,
Secretary of state Seward to Hon. Charles F. Adams, United States Minister to England.—(Extract.)
Department of state, Washington, March 9, 1865.In accordance with Earl Russell's suggestion, the Secretary of War has, by direction of the President, transmitted to Lieutenant-General Grant the British official copy of Earl Russell's letter to John Slidell, James M. Mason, and Dudley Mann, with a direction to deliver it by flag of truce to General Lee, the general in command of the insurgent forces. I give you a copy of my note written on that occasion to the Secretary of War, and so soon as we shall have received a report from the Lieutenant-General of his proceedings in the matter, I will communicate the result to you for the information of Earl Russell.
Department of state. Washington, March 8, 1865.sir: The enclosed paper has been received at this department from Earl Russell, her Britannic Majesty's principal Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, with a request that facilities might be afforded for its passage through the military lines of the United States forces. I have to request that the paper be sent forward to the Lieutenant-General, with directions to cause the same to be conveyed to General Lee by flag of truce. I have further to request to be informed of the Lieutenant-General's proceedings in the premises. I have the honor to be, sir, your obedient servant,
Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, England, to Messrs. Mason, Slidell, and Mann. The accompanying copy of a note from the Hon. W. H. Seward, Secretary of State, to the Secretary of War, explains the reason for sending it to you. Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Headquarters, C. S. Armies, March 23, 1865.General: In pursuance of instructions from the government of the Confederate States, transmitted to me through the Secretary of War, the documents recently forwarded by you are respectfully returned. I am directed to say ‘that the government of the Confederate States cannot recognize as authentic a paper which is neither an original nor attested as a copy; nor could they under any circumstances consent to hold intercourse with a neutral nation through the medium of open dispatches sent through hostile lines, after being read and approved by the enemies of the Confederacy.’ I have the honor to be, very respectfully, Your obedient servant,