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[650] was swayed simply by the fear of giving umbrage to English merchants. If the right of war justified him in seizing all the enemy's vessels, and having them adjudicated, with or without their cargo, the nature of this cargo did not authorize him, in any case, to constitute himself a court of adjudication.

Upon this point the Florida and Alabama followed the example of the Sumter, besides being tainted by vicious practices that should have closed the entrance of all neutral ports against them from the beginning. It is true that the Oreto or Florida did not commit any hostile act against the Federals, before having been placed in commission at Mobile, respecting in this the international rule, which only recognizes as vessels of war or privateers those that started from a belligerent port. But if she twice ran the risk of being captured by observing this rule, on the other hand she gave serious offence to the British flag by falsely hoisting it and using it to disguise her nationality. This act of piracy should at least have excluded her from British waters.

With regard to the Alabama, her career, from the beginning, was a perpetual violation of the law of nations. As soon as she had received her armament, this vessel, constructed in England, carrying English guns, with a crew composed almost entirely of Englishmen, started on her cruise without being registered at a Confederate port. Consequently, the Americans did not greatly exaggerate the fact in calling her an English pirate, and had a perfect right to call upon the British government to seize her as soon as she should appear in an English port. No attention was paid to this request. The Alabama proceeded to Nassau, where she met with the kindest reception on the part of the authorities. As we have above stated, belligerent steamers, by the regulations of international law, are only allowed a certain quantity of coal, according to the distance the vessel has to run to reach one of the nearest ports; but Semmes was allowed the privilege to ship at Nassau all the fuel he wanted, and, thanks to the supply thus obtained, he was able to make for the open sea at once. During the last three months of the year 1862 he destroyed no less than twenty-eight large merchant vessels. After setting them on fire he preserved their chronometers as trophies, and returned to land

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