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American affair's in Europe.

British opinion of Mr. Adam's retention of Seward's Demand.

[From the London Post (Governm't organ) Feb. 11] It appears that Mr. Seward's dispatch, which Lord Derby described as "peremptory, " and Sir Hugh Cairns as "peculiar," has never been delivered to Earl Russell, to whom it was addressed. In the exercise of a discretion which is also somewhat peculiar, Mr. Adams, it would seem, abstained from reading this document to the Foreign Secretary, and leaving with him a copy, as he was directed to do. The dispatch has been laid upon the table of Congress, but as it has not been communicated to Her Majesty's Government it could not be included in the papers laid before Parliament. Some curious member of the Federal Legislature may be able to elicit further information, but the Government of this country have, as we understand Earl Russell and Mr. Layard, no official knowledge of the existence of such a dispatch. There is a little mystery about the matter in regard to the subsequent dispatch from Mr. Adams to Mr. Seward, to which Lord Derby adverted; but in whatever manner the American Minister here and the American Minister at Washington may have settled what concerns themselves and their own Government, the distinct affirmation of our Foreign Secretary, that no such dispatch has been delivered to him, is sufficient to account for its omission in the correspondence which has been published, and to satisfy the country that it has only not been replied to because it has not been received.

Reasonable people will, we apprehend, be inclined to agree with Lord Russell, that it was not worth while to get up a wrangle with the American Minister about a dispatch that gentleman thought proper to keep to himself. Mr. Adams probably said he had got the missive in his pocket, and he was perhaps a little vexed that it should have been sent to him. There can be no doubt that he strained his ministerial discretion to suppress it, and that he acted wisely in so doing is beyond all question. It may be that can Congress than for the English Government. That, however, is no affair of ours. We can understand the pressure of political necessity, and we know that greater men than Mr. Seward have been constrained to acknowledge the force of circumstances.--Still, it is very much to be regretted that a dispatch of such an irritating character should have been made public by the Government whose Minister refrained from presenting it. If Mr. Seward was as well acquainted with the present temper of the people of this country as Mr. Adams is, he would as soon have, thought of lighting his sugar in a powder magazine. Coming, too, at a time when our Government is earnestly endeavoring to prevent any infringement of the laws which regulate the national neutrality, and is doing so, it cannot be concealed, without regard to popular favor, this gratuitous exhibition of ill feeling is calculated not to impede, but certainly to embarrass its action.

* * * We have ceased to hope that our conduct and demeanor in carrying out the neutrality we have determined to observe will be appreciated by either of the belligerents. While, however, we are sorry that a course of action which we believe to be in strict accordance with the laws of nations has failed to secure to us the respect which might possibly have been commanded by the adoption of a less impartial policy, we are persuaded that our intentions will receive a more favorable construction in history, and that when the angry passions which this fratricidal contest has engendered have subsided, the Americans themselves will admit that we have been both just and forbearing. If we had consulted our commercial interests; if we had consented to take part with France in an intervention to bring about a pacific settlement of the quarrel; if we had listened to the suggestions of public opinion; or if we had taken offence when offence was evidently intended, the Confederate States would ere now have been recognized by all the European Powers. There are among our foremost statesmen not a few who think we should have taken some steps in that direction. There are many who insist that the Confederate States have made themselves a nation. But our Government has steadfastly refused to depart from the principle it laid down for its guidance when the struggle commenced, and by that principle it is, as Mr. Adams well knows, resolved to abide. We desire to live in peace with both belligerents; but they must not mistake our meaning, nor attempt to impose upon our good will. We can afford to disregard the absence of courtesy, gratitude we do not expect, and we can make large allowance for emotional, ebullitions. There is, however, a language which no country can permit to be used in addressing its Government; and if we are averse from war, it must not be inferred that we are prepared to accept peace on any terms that are inconsistent with our honor.

Important debate in Parliament.

In the British Parliament, on the 4th inst., Lord Derby attacked the Queen's speech on the ground of its omission to make any reference to the American war and other subjects. In relation to our affairs, Lord Derby said:

‘ It appears, not withstanding the concessions which the noble Earl has made to the Federal States of America in carrying out what he calls neutrality, but what I am afraid I must call one-sided neutrality, he has received from these States not thanks, because I believe that papers which have been laid before the Senate of the United States show that we were met by demands and menaces, which I should be much astonished if any one calling himself a British Minister must not have felt a difficulty in receiving when the dispatches containing them were placed in his hands. Since then we are not only told that the American Government will hold us responsible for any damage which their commerce may have sustained by the acts of the Alabama; but it I have not misread the papers laid before Congress, they state that if we do not put a stop to the sale of vessels of this kind in this country, the result must be that the Federal Government will take the law into their own hands; that the cruisers will follow these vessels into British ports, and will in British waters maintain their own interests.

’ My Lords, I hope the noble Earl will be able to show that he has answered that dispatch in a manner which will put an end to such monstrous demands for the future.--[Hear, hear.] But, if I am not mistaken, the last dispatch from Washington was written about August, and was received here toward the latter end of August, and early in September the noble Earl took the strong step of seizing the so-called Confederate rams in the Mersey upon that very suspicion as to which, a year before, the Attorney General informed Parliament that the Government would not be warranted in interfering. [Hear, hear.] Well, then, my Lords, if you have not satisfied the Federals, neither have you satisfied the Confederate States.--[Hear.] You have not satisfied the Poles, and you have offended Russia. In conclusion, the speaker recapitulated the existing differences between her Majesty's Government and most of the European Powers, and denounced the policy that had produced such embarrassments as a source of national danger.

Lord Russell defended the course he had taken on the ground that intervention generally failed of its object, and aggravated the evils it sought to prevent. He did not admit Lord Derby's principle, that England was bound to accept whatever France proposed. As to Mexico, her Majesty's Government had stated from the beginning that England had no intention of regulating the internal affairs of that country. We bated to obtain redress of our own grievances, not to set up any particular form of Government. As to the French proposal in reference to the States of the American Confederacy, Lord Russell said: ‘"I think that, though on some questions which arise the Emperor of the French may pursue a different policy from that which we follow, he gives full weight to the consideration that the policy which may suit the French nation may not be the policy which the British nation prefers. I believe that the Emperor is too just to attribute such a difference of opinion to anything but a regard for the policy which we think right, and which we think the interest of this country calls upon us to pursue. [Hear, hear.] Then, the noble Earl says that we differ from France about the recognition of the Southern States of America. Now, no such proposal was ever made to us. There was a proposal that we should offer our good offices in order to reconcile the North and South; but it was tolerably obvious that if the proposal was made by two Powers, say England and France, it would irritate the Northern States, would fail of effect, and that there was much better chance of a reconciliation between the North and South in our abstaining from such a proposal. I believe that the noble Earl approved that decision. I certainly am convinced that the whole country concurred in the policy which we then pursued."’

In the House of Commons Lord Palmerston, in reply to a similar attack by D'Israeil, said:

‘ I should much have preferred to have heard the opinion of other members beside the right honorable gentleman, who is always listened to with the deference which his abilities and position entitle him to; but as it appears that the gentlemen on that side of the House have given him an unlimited proxy, I shall take leave to deal with the speech which he has delivered. The great complaint of the right honorable gentleman seems to be not as to what the speech contains, but as to what he thinks it ought to have contained, and I think that I shall have no difficulty in explaining to the House the reason why some, or many, or all of those topics to which the right honorable gentleman alluded were not introduced into her Majesty's speech. In the first place, he complained that no mention has been made of the civil war in America. Why, we have over and over again lamented, and still continue to lament, the continuance of that war, and we have declared more than once that her Majesty's Government profess to act, and intend to continue to act, upon a principle of strict neutrality in regard to that contest. Unless the House had thought that her Majesty's Government was going to depart from that course, of which there is no of surplusage to have filled the speech with a repetition of the statements made on former occasions, and which are still binding upon her Majesty's Government. [Hear, hear.]

The Alexandra case.

The Alexandra case has been dismissed.--The London Times devotes a large share of its columns to the discussion of the subject. As it stands now a dead lock has occurred by the dismissal of the appeal by the Court of Error, from the Court of Exchequer, which tried the case in the first instance, on the ground of the want of jurisdiction. But a loophole, it is said, has been discovered by crown lawyers, by which the case will be taken to the House of Lords, and when once before that august body it will no doubt be thoroughly ventilated, and we shall learn from the debates thereon the real sentiment of the British Government. It is said that the rule in cases of appeal to the House of Lords is, to subject the matter to the law Lords, while all the rest of the members acquiesce in their decision.

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