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England and the blockade — a serious Threat.The blockade of the Southern States and the manner which it is effected by the Federal squadron are circumstances which have begun to attract considerable attention in this country, and can hardly fail to lead to some decided course of action on the part of the Governments of England and France, and possibly of Spain. The principle that a blockade to be a blockade must be effective has been fully recognized by the American Government, and it is the plain duty of the leading maritime States of Europe, whose commerce is everywhere, to see that it is adopted on the American seaboard. Several complaints have reached us of boardings and searchings of British vessels by the cruisers of the Federal Government. occasionally, if we may believe the complainants, accompanied by conduct on the part of the American officers which seems to be hardly justifiable. Two British vessels with their cargoes — namely, the Tropic Wind and the Hiawatha — have been condemned by the District Courts of the States, on the coast of which they were captured, and so questionable have the decisions of the judges of these Courts appeared that these cases have been referred to the Supreme Court of the Union. with what result does not as yet appear. The Federal Government is bound by the existing law of maritime blockade, and they will be expected to conform to it by the European powers. If not, it will be the duty of those powers to see that the commercial fleets which claim the protection of their flags are neither molested or interfered with on the pretence of a breach of blockade. It has been said that Admiral Milne. commanding on the West India station, finding himself placed in a position of difficulty, and in the neighborhood of operations, the propriety of which he does not exactly comprehend, has written home for instructions. We are not, as yet, aware what may be the decision of the Government in reference to the very important question raised by Admiral Milne's dispatches; but this we will venture to say, that there will be no retreat on the part of our Government from the principle laid down in the declaration of Paris relative to the effectiveness of blockades, and we have every reason to believe that Ministers will have, in the enforcement of this policy, the hearty co-operation of the French Government. Less than this cannot be expected from the Government of States who lead the maritime commerce of the world, and are bound to see that no impediment shall be cast in the way of the operations of that commerce, except such as is natural to a state of war, and sanctioned by the usages of nations. If the naval resources at the disposal of Mr. Lincoln and his colleagues enable them to establish and maintain an effective blockade along the vast seaboard of the seceding States, well. No foreign flag has a right to break such blockade, and no such violation of a recognized right will be sanctioned by the European powers and especially by England and France. But if it shall appear that the Southern coast is not effectively blockaded, but that, nevertheless, seizures are made on the high seas of British or French vessels and their cargoes, on pretence of having broken a blockade never fairly established, then it will be the duty of France and England, at whatever hazard. to maintain with all their power the freedom of the seas, and to cast the responsibility of any collision that may occur on those who wantonly provoke it by disregard of those obligations which the code of international law imposes on all maritime States. We do not say that the necessity has actually arisen for action so prompt and decided on the part of England. We have strong hopes that the conflict in the United States will not be prolonged. But we cannot disguise from ourselves that events have occurred and acts have been committed which, if they be repeated, will render a decisive movement on the part of the English or the French Government, or of both combined, imperative; and if the occasion arises, we believe neither Government will be found to hesitate in the course it should adopt.
Another view of the blockade.If it can be made out that any blockade is inefficient, not a single prise can be condemned; but it suits the purpose of the Federal Government to make captures, although the ships must ultimately be released. This policy, however. does not suit our purpose, for the risk of capture and detention has practically for the moment destroyed our American trade, and knowledge of this, and the conviction of a grave diplomatic blunder, which may involve fearful consequences during the recess, has very likely more to do with Lord John Russell's retirement from the House of Commons than is generally supposed. Lord John Russell has not been a match for the wily Western lawyer into whose hands the destinies of the United States have fallen, and he has, in plain English, been shamefully overreached. With a stoppage of the American supply of cotton, Manchester, from sheer necessity, must fall to pieces no matter what the supply of cotton from India, or the Cape, or Jamaica may be in the meantime; and were so great an interest to be destroyed, the stability and credit of the nation, we need hardly say, would be put to a trying test. American cotton gives to Manchester what no other cotton gives--it gives it credit; and the credit given has, as a rule, been stretched to its widest limit. Ten thousand pounds worth of American cotton may be spun and woven in one Manchester factory in a day, and the spinning and weaving are no sooner over than the yarn or cloth is sold and drawn for and the proceeds placed to the cotton spinner's bank account Further, if the raw material is well bought, there is a clear credit of sixty days on every lot purchased, and if ten thousand pounds worth of cotton is spun daily, at the end of sixty days the spinner has a cash capital in hand of £100,000. This extraordinary system of credit which has grown up between the cotton States and Manchester is what Lord John Russell and others have overlooked; and when the usual supply of American cotton and credit fails, Manchester, we fear, will have no choice but to succumb. Cotton, supplied in large quantities, and on convenient terms of credit, can alone sustain the fabric. A more accurate knowledge of the cotton trade and a course of American policy in harmony with precedent and the law of nations, would have averted such alternatives, and perhaps checked the progress of the civil war; but now we must trust to chance. Lord John Russell's American policy must now bear its fruits, and a cessation of the war, or the intervention of other Powers, seem at the moment our only prospect of escape from serious social and commercial trials.
England and France United and in Accord on the American question.The civil war in America, it is believed, is about to consolidate and cement still closer the alliance between England and France. The British Cabinet, it is to-day announced, is in close and constant correspondence with that of the Tuileries. The alleged object is the establishment or the ‘"inauguration"’ of a combined action on the part of the two governments towards that of America This co-operation is to be prosecuted on both sea and land, and it is added that a perfect understanding on the subject has already been arrived at.
Kingston, Canada, to be made a naval station.Advices from Canada, of the 19th ult, mention that Kingston, in addition to being a military station, is soon to be made a naval one also. It is said that an army and flotilla (consistent with treaty stipulations) will be employed upon Canadian waters. This contemplated measure appears to afford satisfaction there. Several vessels of war are preparing to leave England for the American coast.
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