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Chapter 51:

Miscellaneous correspondence.

No. One.

General Grant to President Johnson.

this letter of course was written during the period of Johnson's dispute with Congress. As the subsequent correspondence shows, it was withdrawn, but it is evidence of Grant's strong feeling on the subject of the removal of Sheridan.

headquarters armies of the United States. Washington, Aug. 26, 1867.
To His Excellency, A. Johnson, President of the United States;
Sir,—I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of the following letter, to wit:

Executive Mansion, Washington, D. C., Aug. 26, 1867.
Sir,—In consequence of the unfavorable condition of the health of Major-General George H. Thomas, as reported to you in Surgeon Hasson's dispatch of the 21st instant, my order dated August 17, 1867, is hereby modified so as to assign Major-General Winfield S. Hancock to the command of the Fifth Military District, created by the Act of Congress passed March 2, 1867, and of the Military Department comprising the States of Louisiana and Texas. On being relieved from the command of the Department of the Missouri by Major-General P. H. Sheridan, Major-General Hancock [567] will proceed directly to New Orleans, Louisiana, and assuming the command to which he is hereby assigned will, when necessary to a faithful execution of the laws, exercise any and all powers conferred by Acts of Congress upon District Commanders, and any and all authority pertaining to officers in command of Military Departments.

Major-General P. H. Sheridan will at once turn over his present command to the officer next in rank to himself, and proceeding without delay to Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, will relieve Major-General Hancock of the command of the Department of the Missouri.

Major-General George H. Thomas will, until further orders, remain in command of the Department of the Cumberland.

Very respectfully yours,

Andrew Johnson. Gen'l U. S. Grant, Secretary of War, ad interim.

To it I have the honor to submit the following reply: General Thomas has not yet acknowledged the receipt of the order assigning him to the command of the 5th Military District. My recommendation to have the order assigning him to that command suspended was based principally on the fact that the yellow fever has become epidemic, and some time since orders were issued, at the suggestion of General Sheridan, authorizing all officers then absent from the 5th Military District, on application to the Adjutant General of the Army, to remain absent until the 15th of October. A copy of the dispatch on which this order, or circular, was based, and the circular itself, were forwarded with my recommendation for the suspension of General Thomas' order. Before substituting General Hancock or any one else for General Thomas to command the 5th Military District, his objections, if he makes any, should be heard, or else the order for the change should be based on other grounds. Unless there are very grave public reasons, no officer should be sent to Louisiana now.

Your letter quoted above will leave the 5th Military District without a commander of the rank required by law during the period necessary to effect the contemplated change of commanders. In [568] fact, it orders General Sheridan to turn over his command to an officer absolutely incompetent by law to fill it. I assume that you will change this part of your instructions so as to admit of General Sheridan remaining where he now is until relieved by an officer of the requisite rank.

The Act of Congress of July 19, 1867, throws much of the responsibility of executing faithfully the reconstruction laws of Congress on the General of the Army. I am bound by the responsibility thus imposed on me. I approve all General Sheridan's orders to this date, and therefore must insist on instructing his successor to carry out those orders so far as I am authorized to do so by Acts of Congress.

Having the responsibility placed on me that I have in regard to the execution of the laws of Congress in the districts composing the States not represented in Congress, I claim that I ought to be consulted as to the agents who are to aid me in this duty. But the right existing with the President to name District Commanders, I cannot decline to publish the order so far as it affects change of commanders. I do protest, however, against the details of the order; I do more: I emphatically decline yielding any of the powers given the General of the Army by the laws of Congress.

In the present changes the country sees but one object, no matter whether it interprets the objects of the Executive rightly or not. The object seen is the defeat of the laws of Congress for restoring peace, union, and representation to the ten States now not represented. This course affects the peace of the whole country, North and South, and the finances of the country, unfavorably. The South is the most affected by it, and through the South the whole country feels the agitation which is kept up. It is patent to every one that opposition to Congress has induced the measures which now stand on the statute books as the laws of the land, and has induced the loyal people of this country to sustain those measures. Will not further opposition necessarily result in more stringent measures against the South? The people had come to look upon the reconstruction policy of the country as settled, whether it pleased them or not. They acquiesced in it, and at least the great mass of people, irrespective of political creed, desired to see [569] it executed and the country restored to quiet, ready to meet the great financial issue before us.

I would not venture to write as I do if I was not greatly in earnest; if I did not see great dangers to the quiet and prosperity of the country in the course being pursued.

I have the honor to be,

Very respectfully,

Your obedient servant,

U. S. Grant, Sec. of War, Ad int.

No. Two.

General Grant to President Johnson.

headquarters armies of the United States, Washington, D. C., Aug. 28, 1867.
His Excellency, A. Johnson, President of the United States:
Sir,—I have the honor very respectfully to request permission to withdraw my letter of the 26th inst.

Very Respectfully,

Your Obt. Servt,

U. S. Grant, Sec'y of War, Ad Int.

No. Three.

President Johnson to General Grant.

Executive Mansion, Washington, D. C., Aug. 28, 1867.
Sir,—I have received your communication of this date, and in compliance with your request, return herewith your letter of the 26th instant.

Very Respectfully, and Truly Yours,

Andrew Johnson. General U. S. Grant, Secretary of War, ad interim.


No. Four.

Edwin Booth to General Grant.

This is the letter referred to in Chapter XIII, on ‘Grant in the Cabinet.’

Barnum's Hotel, Baltimore, Sept. 11th, 1867.
Genl. U. S. Grant,
Sir,—Having once received a promise from Mr. Stanton that the family of John Wilkes Booth should be permitted to obtain the body when sufficient time had elapsed, I yielded to the entreaties of my mother and applied for it to the ‘Secretary of War’—I fear too soon, for the letter was unheeded if, indeed, it ever reached him.

I now appeal to you on behalf of my heartbroken mother—that she may receive the remains of her son.

You, sir, can understand what a consolation it would be to an aged parent to have the privilege of visiting the grave of her child, and I feel assured that you will, even in the midst of your most pressing duties, feel a touch of sympathy for her, one of the greatest sufferers living.

May I not hope, too, that you will listen to our entreaties and send me some encouragement—some information as to how and when the remains may be obtained?

By so doing you will receive the gratitude of a most unhappy family, and will—I am sure—be justified by all right thinking minds should the matter ever become known to others than ourselves.

I shall remain in Baltimore two weeks from the date of this letter—during which time I could send a trustworthy person to bring hither and privately bury the remains in the family grounds, thus relieving my poor mother of much misery.

Apologizing for my intrusion, and anxiously awaiting a reply to this, I am Sir, with great respect,

Yr. obt. sevt.,


No. Five.

General Grant to General Garfield.

This letter was written after Grant's first nomination as President. Garfield was in Congress at the time, and the communication referred to a previous recommendation of the General-in-Chief.

The address and signature were not preserved in the penciled copy taken at the time by one of the aides-de-camp of Grant, and transferred to me. The letter was endorsed: ‘Gen. Grant to Gen. Garfield, June 19, 1868. About increase of Army pay.’

In recommending a continuance of the same increase to the pay of officers of the army given for the fiscal year just ending, I did it on mature deliberation and under the firm conviction that it is necessary to their decent support. The pay of the army is now what it was at the breaking out of the Rebellion within a few dollars, and which is offset by the income tax, whilst the cost of living has increased in a proportion familiar to every one.

P. S. The pay of all, or nearly all, who are employed by the Gov't, except army officers, has been increased in the last seven years.

No. Six.

General Grant to Mr. Blest-Gana, Chilian Minister to the United States.

Mr. Blest-Gana had been the Chilian Minister at Washington nearly a year when Grant was elected President, and he wrote at once to offer his congratulations. I have elsewhere told of the respect Grant always showed for the representatives of the various American republics, and the more than amicable relations he strove to maintain with them all, both in their personal and official capacities.

Washington, D. C., Nov. 27th, 1868.
Sr. D. A. Blest-Gana, Minister, etc.
dear Sir,—Your esteemed congratulatory letter is rec'd. Please accept my thanks for the kind expressions it contains both [572] towards me personally and to the government of the United States.

The tendency of the world at this time seems to be towards free government. May it go on until all are as free as we are, and as prosperous. I hope the day is not far distant when Republican Governments, especially those on this continent, will be in such sympathy with each other as to be a mutual support, and be an——to all others.

Please present my kind regards to Madame Blest, and accept the assurance of my esteem.

Yours Truly,

No. Seven.

General Badeau to Señor Sarmiento, President of the Argentine Republic.

The following letter was written by the direction of General Grant, then President-elect, who did not, however, desire to make himself the recommendation which the correspondence suggests. Sarmiento had been Minister of the Argentine Republic to the United States, and in that capacity had made the acquaintance of Grant. I also had known him as Minister, on terms which made the form of this communication not inappropriate.

headquarters Army of the United States, Washington, D. C., Nov. 29, 1868.
His Excellency Señor don D. F. Sarmiento, President of the Argentine Republic:
my dear Sir,—I have lately read in the newspapers that the Argentine Republic proposes offering the command of its armies to one of the successful generals of the United States in the recent war. It would of course be impertinent in me to make any suggestion in a matter of so much importance; but if there should be any foundation for the report alluded to, I am sure you will be glad to know the opinions of General Grant. I have several times heard him say that he hoped in case such a plan should be carried out, that the Argentine Republic would secure the services of a [573] soldier of real talent and not any of the adventurers who would be most likely to be pressed upon its attention. If there should be any probability like that I mention, the advice of some very prominent American soldier would doubtless assist materially in furthering the objects of the Argentine Republic.

Trusting that this note may not be deemed officious, and making my warmest congratulations, my dear Sir and President, upon your accession to the chief magistracy of your country, I am, with the best wishes for the success of your administration and the prosperity of your people,

Your obedient servant,

Adam Badeau, Brvt. Brig.Gen. and A. D. C. to General Grant.

No. Eight.

General Badeau to Mr. Burlingame, Chinese Minister, etc., etc.

This letter, like its predecessor in this series, was written by the direction of General Grant, then President-elect; and of course was submitted to him before it was sent. Burlingame had originally been United States Minister to China, but resigned that post in order to accept a roving but important commission, that of Chinese Minister both to this country and to the prominent European Governments. It was his object to establish more intimate relations between the Chinese and the Western powers, and had he lived he might have initiated a policy of importance to the world and of especial advantage to this country. He visited first the United States, and then England, France, Prussia, and Russia, but at St. Petersburg his career was suddenly cut short at its very meridian. His death was a loss to modern civilization.

While in this country in 1868, he established relations with General Grant that were unusually cordial. Upon the death of Rawlins he was very desirous to enter Grant's [574] Cabinet, and, as I was then returning to America, he commissioned me to say to the President that he would willingly resign his diplomatic position for the sake of a place in the United States Government. But Grant appointed Belknap.

headquarters Army of the United States, Washington, D. C., Dec. 28, 1868.
Hon. Anson Burlingame, Chinese Minister, &c., &c.
my dear Sir,—General Grant directs me to write to you and say that Dr. Wm. Martin, Professor of International Law in the Imperial College of China, has inquired of him whether Brevet Major-General Emory Upton, an officer of the American army, would be a suitable person to instruct the Chinese army in our tactics. General Grant has recommended General Upton very warmly and highly, and desires me to write to you on the matter. General Upton is the author of the system of tactics now in use in our army; he is a young man, not more than thirty years old, who made a distinguished reputation for ability and energy during the late war; and General Grant, though he would willingly recommend other young officers of equal merit and distinction, would give higher recommendations to none than to him, and sees a peculiar fitness in him for this peculiar position. He also is favorably impressed with the plan in itself, and trusts that you may find equal advantages apparent to yourself with those which he perceives, both for China and America.

I avail myself of this opportunity to say how closely your countrymen have watched your career in England, and how much admiration has been extorted by the sagacity and skill with which you have met and overcome peculiar obstacles.

With great respect and regard,

My dear Sir, I am

Yours very sincerely,

Adam Badeau, Brvt. Brig.—Gen'l, and A. D.C.


No. Nine.

General Grant to General Buell.

This letter is its own explanation.

headquarters armies of the United States, Washington, D. C., Dec. 29th, 1865.
General,—Your letter of the 27th inst., calling my attention to a letter which you wrote me in August last, is received. The letter referred to reached my office in my absence from the city, and was placed in a private desk and never came to my attention until it was handed to me by a staff-officer on the cars whilst on my way to New York city early in November last. I put the letter in my pocket expecting to answer it while in New York. Not finding time there, however, the letter remained pocketed and has either been mislaid or lost. I will answer the letter from memory, as far as possible.

I have no recollection of any conversation in Springfield, Mass., or elsewhere during last summer, in which your name was mentioned. I am often questioned, however, about this officer and that one and in such cases endeavor not to do them injustice. Conversations are rarely quoted correctly and in the case referred to by you I know could not have been, for I am made to say things which I never believed. For instance in regard to your want of ability to command in the presence of an enemy or in battle.

I have always thought, and frequently expressed the opinion that in that precise case you would do as well as almost any General that could be selected. I did receive a telegraphic dispatch from Gen. Halleck, dated more than two weeks before the attack at Pittsburgh Landing, Tenn., from which or from the courier bringing it I gathered the idea saying that you were within four days march of Savannah, and would be up in that time. That dispatch was telegraphed to your care, if I remember rightly, and sent by you to me by courier. At all events, the dispatch came by way of Nashville to the Army commanded by you and thence to me by courier. This fact I may have mentioned and drawn the conclusion that if you had been up in the time mentioned or double the time, that instead of being attacked I would have taken the initiative. On the subject of your heart never [576] having been in the cause I must certainly have been entirely misunderstood. I supposed you to be as earnest at the beginning of the war, and whilst in command, as any other officer engaged in it in the maintenance of the Government. Your own letters published since have rather given the idea that you wanted the Union saved in a particular way, and that way different from the one which was being pursued. I drew such a conclusion from them and state so frankly, although I have no recollection of ever having mentioned the fact in such a way as to have my opinion get into print. But if I did, what I may have said was based upon your own writing, or what purported to be, and which the whole community had access to.

I do not remember any of the other points alluded to in the newspaper article which you sent.

I have in the course of the war been the subject of very severe newspaper criticisms, and never appealed to the press for vindication and now very much dislike to be called on to deny or affirm the statements of some irresponsible reporter without the slightest idea of who he is. But I shall always be much more ready to correct an injustice done another than if I were the injured party.

Very Respectfully,

No. Ten.

General Grant to Mr. Rangabe.

Greek Minister to the United States.

Mr. Rangabe had been Greek Minister to the United States in 1867, and then made the acquaintance of General Grant, who esteemed him highly. In 1868 he returned to his own country to take an important post in the Government, but did not relinquish his appointment to the United States; his son remaining in Washington as acting Charge d'affaires. Upon the election of General Grant to the Presidency the elder Rangabe sent his congratulations from Athens, and they were presented by his son. The following letter is the acknowledgment of Grant. [577]

headquarters Army of the United States, Washington, D. C., Feb'y 15, 1869.
my dear Sir,—Your esteemed and flattering congratulatory letter of the 20th of January, accompanied by an equally complimentary note from your son, is received. I sincerely hope that my country may continue to deserve the high stand among the nations of the earth which you ascribe to it, and be regarded as the friend of those struggling for freedom and self-government, the world over.

For myself I can only strive to deserve the confidence which so great a nation has bestowed on me.

Thanking you for the kind expressions contained in your letter, and hoping for your nation, and for you individually, the greatest prosperity, I subscribe myself, Very Truly and Respectfully,

Your Obedient Servant,

U. S. Grant. His Excellency, M. A. R. Rangabe, E. E. and M. Plenipotentiary, of His Majesty, the King of the Greeks.

No. Eleven.

Charles Sumner to General Badeau.

This letter was written while Motley was Minister at London and I was Assistant-Secretary of Legation. It is interesting for the defense of Sumner's famous speech which it contains, and which he desired I should render to his English friends.

For Sumner was always anxious about the effect of his rhetoric, although the anxiety never induced him to restrain its violence. He was somewhat hysterical, even womanish in his temperament, as men of his type of genius often are. He suffered and enjoyed acutely. An orator, a student, a lover of pictures and books and society, he was confident in the graces and charms of his person and behavior, and both were distinguished. His face and form were full of noble, [578] manly beauty, and his manner was attractive and sometimes irresistible. In the latter part of his life he was used to the adulation of a select circle which wafted incense to him as worshipers do to a demi-god, and he snuffed it up eagerly. I have seen clever women—women with names that are known in literature and society, literally sitting at his feet and waiting to catch every syllable that dropped from his lips—lips full of elegant and sometimes eloquent language, in conversation as well as public speech.

He had a certain flow of not very original ideas and images, an impassioned, though somewhat stilted manner and utterance, and a rhetorical arrangement of expression that captivated many and deceived himself as well as others into the belief that his oratory was of a higher order than was really the case. It smelt too much of the lamp.

His history also excited an interest that was adventitious. He had been ostracized in Boston society, and for a long time in Washington as well, because of his anti-slavery sentiment, and to the last there were many who refused to receive or invite him—even after his marriage. But the dastardly attack of Brooks evoked a general sympathy which the continued suffering of the victim kept alive. Then when the war broke out and the opinions that Sumner had advocated became triumphant he was naturally looked upon as a leader. But he was never fitted for more than oratory. He was no statesman, no practical man in affairs, and as opposite as possible in quality and character to Grant. Neither indeed could fully understand or appreciate the other, although each had originally respected the achievements or acquirements that were so unlike his own. But when the egotism of Sumner came in contact with the stubbornness of Grant the result was inevitable. Sumner used all the arts of the rhetorician in his attacks on Grant; he was unfair, illogical, and untrue; and Grant resented the injustice, and punished it relentlessly. It was a pity that men who had both done [579] honor to the State at the critical hour of its existence should afterward have been thrown into such antagonism; but their strife was so bitter and their passions became so aroused that the excellence of each was obscured to the other's view; and neither at last could admit or perceive the merit of him with whom he contended. Nevertheless of the two, the man of deeds did far more justice to his antagonist than the man of words; and naturally the man of action conquered.

Boston, 26th July, 1869.
My dear General,—I am obliged by your good letter, but I have for some time doubted if it were advisable at least for me to try any longer against the spawn of misrepresentation in England. My own system is so essentially pacific, I am so near a Quaker in my convictions, and I have such ties with England even now that I cannot allow personal indignities to sway me in an important public duty. Whatever may be said there, I shall hope to keep the peace.

But I confess that this recent outburst of dishonest attack, when nobody has read the speech, followed by falsehood and abuse of every line, with the bad temper, haughty tone, and brutal insolence, which seemed almost universal, has disheartened me. How, then, can the question be settled peacefully! I am the most pacific advocate on our side. Others who take it up, will touch a different cord.

Already many look to war. B. F. B. told me recently that it must come, as the people never would give back, and everybody is profoundly convinced that England is equitably liable for several years of our war with its deaths and taxation. George Bemis writes me from Europe that he is disheartened, for he does not see any solution except that of war. I do; and I am not afraid of war, if our Administration will make England see and understand our case. This is no time to disown an authoritative statement, made under peculiar circumstances and adopted, as speech never was before, as the voice of the Senate and of the country. If we give back there are others who will take our places, who will not give back. It is our duty to conduct this debate closely, and make England know the [580] wrong we have received and the convictions of our people. When this is done, we can take up the question of remedy more or less; but first the grievance must be stated in length and breadth.

If I reply to your inquiries, it is because I would not seem indifferent to your desires.

You can report whether I represented the Senate and the country,—and the President too. I think you can say that never was any doubt of it. This point is stated well in Senator Anthony's article, and also in Mr. P. W. Chandler's, in the Advertiser, both of whom belonging to the most moderate school, insist that the country agrees with me.

Of course you know that the phrase ‘abject apology,’ and nothing like it can be found in the speech. I never had the idea. But my speech makes no demand, whether apology or money; not a word of apology, not a cent of money. It shows that we have suffered incalculable damages for which we have never received compensation or acknowledgment, and refers to other cases where money was paid with an apology. But I ask nothing. It is humiliating to be obliged to write such a commentary on myself.

The members of the Liberal party who criticise my silence on their services, have never read my speech, or like Forster, have forgotten it, so that they attribute to me what was not in it, or require in it what it could not properly contain. The treaty under consideration was not with the Liberal party, but with England, corporate England represented by the Government. It was the acts of the Government that I called in question, and I did not step aside to censure Tories or to praise Liberals, not even those working-men, or Mr. Bright, who deserve so much and have always had my heart. Forster made this unworthy criticism at the same time he said that I complained of the ‘upper classes,’ and then another taking up the statement of Forster, said that my indictment was against ‘Belgravia,’ —when I indicted nobody but the British Government. Had the speech been read generally such absurdities could not have found a market. The honest sense of John Bull would have been indignant at the misrepresentation.

Mr. Motley knows, you know, everybody who knows the least of me, how my soul has clung to John Bright for years and how it has throbbed in unison with him. To him and partners I give [581] honor and praise perpetually. Little did I think, when without any seeking, I found myself obliged to state the case of my country, that any English Liberal would complain, because I did not embody praise of some of his friends. The case was too grave, and I was too serious. I had a duty, which was to explain the occasion of our profound sense of wrong and this I did gently and simply. I would ask any Englishman how he would state the American case more gently or simply, with less of unkindness or menace. The harshness is in the case, not in me. If Englishmen would not put off upon me, as Don Quixote did upon Sancho Panza, the retributive lashes which their conduct justly deserves, we should be much nearer a settlement.

As for the recognition of belligerency being ‘friendly,’ Mr. Forster leaves the House of Commons, rushes to the Commons Library, takes down Wheaton, and finds it ‘friendly.’ By such sciolism was this terrible step determined. The question of belligerency is the most difficult of unsolved questions in International Law. When Wheaton wrote and died, next to nothing was known on it. No rule had been established; no rule is established now, unless the English precedent be accepted as a final expression of the law. This I think bad for the peace of the world, and for International Law. Talk with Mr. Bemis on the ‘friendly’ character of that concern. He knows its history. I never saw Mr. Seward more like a caged tiger, or more profuse of oaths in every form that the English language supplies than when prancing about the room denouncing the Proclamation of Belligerency, which he swore he would send to hell. To my mind the best point in his whole prolonged service at the State Deptartment was his persistency in holding England responsible for the Proclamation. I never thought him judicially clear on the question whether the Proclamation alone was ground of damages or the Proclamation with the detriment from the ships and blockaderun-ners. The latter has always been my ground. We cannot give up the liability on this account, without weakening our case immeasurably.

It is easy to see that the English desire to limit the case to the Alabama. I embrace all the ships. But negligence perhaps can be shown only in the case of the Alabama. For the other ships [582] we rely primarily upon the Proclamation, without which they could not haze been built, so that the Proclamation becomes the first link in our case.

But I write on—too much, and now stop. I hope you enjoy London. Society there is the best in the world.

If I can serve you in any way, command me, and let me know from time to time how the drama appears. Be frank always where it is possible with Englishmen, and let them know our case, so that when it is presented again, they will not treat an honest, well-meant effort with indignity. Ever sincerely yours,

I hope Mr. Moran is well. I know not what I have written; but I commit it to your discretion.

No. Twelve.

Viscount Halifax to General Badeau.

This letter was written while I was at the Executive Mansion, after my return from England in 1869. Of course I understood that it was intended for the President, and showed it to Grant and the Secretary of State; and Lord Halifax told me afterward that this was what he had expected. The English view of the points at issue was hardly ever better stated, and the paper came with more force because its writer had been in the Government which had arrested the Rams; while its significance now is increased by the fact that he was also Lord Privy Seal in that which negotiated the Treaty of Washington. He died in 1886, full of years and honors.

The article referred to was written by me and published both in England and America. In England, it was signed; but Lord Halifax had evidently not seen the foreign publication.

Hickleton, April 22, 1870.
dear General Badeau,—When I wrote to thank you for sending me a number of Harper's Magazine, I had not read the article in it on ‘Our Relations with England.’ I do not know whether I am warranted in guessing who the author of the article [583] is, but whoever he may be, everybody who is anxious to promote harmony and good feeling between our two countries must be deeply indebted to him for so valuable a contribution towards furthering an object so essential to the welfare of both.

I confess, however, to being somewhat disheartened by the account given in the article of the general prevalence of a state of feeling on your side of the water not very favorable to the restoration of cordial feeling towards this country, and by which probably the language of your Government is in some degree influenced.

I had thought of writing to you in the autumn in consequence of some expressions as to this country in a note to your book, and I am now the more wishful to do so in consequence of what I have learnt from that article. I have been a good deal occupied since I read it till I came down into the country for our Easter holiday. I write to you from here, having some leisure, that I might put before so fair and impartial a mind as yours one or two considerations which I venture to think ought to weigh against the feeling indicated in the article. The two principal matters which are stated to weigh against us in the mind of the citizens of the United States are (1.) The supposed feeling of England in favor of the Confederate States. (2.) The action of our Government in two instances.

1. The early recognition of the belligerent rights of the South.

2. Allowing the Alabama to get out of Liverpool. In the first place, as to the feeling in England.

The article truly states that there was a great division of opinion in this country. London Society probably favored the South. The Country generally favored the North. Taking the members of the House of Commons who gave utterance to their opinions, Mr. Gregory and Mr. Roebuck spoke in favor of the South. Mr. Bright and Mr. Forster in favor of the North.

Surely when in the United States there was so large a body on the other side, people in this country might, without bringing upon England the hostility of the people of the United States, hold different opinions as to the parties in the United States. Again, is it not unjust on the part of the people of the United States to find fault with the English people generally, and to complain of Englishmen as a whole because some of them entertained views which the successful party in the United States condemned? The only [584] point on which England as a whole might have been expected to agree with the Northerners would have been that the war was against slavery. So some of your statesmen considered it. But that was not the view stated by your Government for some time after the commencement of the war. It was a contest on the part of the North to preserve the Union, and a very legitimate purpose for them to contend for; but upon such a question Englishmen might be allowed, without offense to the United States, to entertain an opinion on one side or the other, as they might have done some years ago as to the separation of Holland and Belgium.

I come now to the action of the Government.

I will not enter into the question of what the opinions of individual members of the Government may have been, only observing that I do not think the statement in the article is correct. Without going into that question, the material point is, whether the action of the Government as a Government, was unfair or unfriendly to the North.

I say for myself, as a member of that Government, that I never from the first moment entertained a shadow of a doubt as to what it was our duty to do. We were bound to maintain the strictest neutrality, and to avoid anything which could involve us in the contest. Most indisputably that was the view adopted by the Government, as a Government—and I believe that we so acted.

1. As to acknowledging the belligerent rights of the South.

It is an undisputed principle of International law that a nation cannot blockade its own ports. Blockades can only be established against an Enemy. The question was considered and discussed in this country at great length from 1834 to 1846 or 1847 in reference to a blockade established by the French of the coast at Portendis, on the west coast of Africa. We denied the right of the French to blockade a port where they exercised sovereignty; their answer was that the coast blockaded was subject to the sovereign of Morocco. It was a small matter, and was referred to the king of Prussia; but the principle was admitted.

When the report of your blockade was received in this country, application was made by merchants to the Government to know whether they might proceed to the Southern ports, and whether they would be protected if they did so. What answer were we to [585] give? If we had answered according to the view now put forward in the United States of what our conduct should have been, we must have answered that there could be no legal impediment to their going.

Now, do consider what in all probability would have happened if we had given that answer. Many vessels would have gone to the Southern ports. Your officers would, under the orders of your Government, have stopped or seized them. Suppose any English vessel had resisted, and that your officers had fired into her and caused serious damage or killed some of her crew. That is no improbable case. What do you think would have been the state of feeling in this country? and what would have been the conduct of the Government? We must have demanded reparation for an injury to our merchants by a breach of International law, and enforced it, if necessary at the risk of war. Can one even now contemplate such a state of things without the most serious alarm? The course we did take avoided all risk of such a crisis. We acknowledged the belligerent rights of the South, and that acknowledgment enabled us to acquiesce in your blockade, and to give the immediate answer to our merchants that they were entitled to no protection if they attempted to break the blockade.

Surely, so far from our conduct having given any cause of complaint, it ought to have been accepted as the most convincing proof of our anxiety to avoid any risk of rupture with the North.

The Alabama case is more complicated, and the result of her operations on the trade of the North has not unnaturally created a strong feeling in the United States. But the conduct of our Government must be judged on the state of the case when she left Liverpool.

Your law and our law on these matters are substantially the same. Most of the recent discussions on questions of International law have been in your Courts, to which we always look as authority, from the high character of your legists and great judges. I have not the means, in the country, of referring to all the particulars of the well known case of the Santissima Trinidad, decided in your courts. Unless, however, my memory fails me, she had been employed as a vessel of war, and she left one of your ports fully manned, armed, and equipped for war, proceeded to Buenos Ayres, [586] was sold to the Insurgent Government ready armed and manned, and acted at once as a Buenos Ayrean vessel of war.

This your courts decided to be, so far as the equipment, manning, and arming in an United States port and sale of the vessel so equipped is concerned, to be a legitimate commercial transaction.

How far short of this are the circumstances of the Alabama? She was partly fitted for carrying guns, as any merchantman may fairly be; she was only partly manned when she left Liverpool, apparently for a trial or short trip.

It was only after she had got out of English jurisdiction that she was put into that state of full equipment for war in which the Santissima Trinidad actually was, when she left the port of the United States.

Evidently anything which would have brought the Alabama within the law was very doubtful. There cannot be better proof of this than that when we seized the Alexandra we were unable to make our case good in a court of law. We subsequently seized the Rams, of whose warlike character there could be no doubt— but the proceeding was so questionable in the opinion of the lawyers, that we ultimately bought them in order to avoid going into court.

Now, surely it is no just cause of serious complaint that in the first case of the kind with which we had to deal we should have been cautious in taking a step which would in all probability have turned out to be an illegal measure. That is the utmost that can be alleged against what we did. Our illegal seizure of the Alexandra and of the Rams is proof enough that we had no indisposition to interpose. Am I unreasonable in thinking that the Government of one free country might judge less harshly the conduct of the Government of another free country when it hesitates to overstep the boundary of the law.

I will not add an unnecessary word to a letter already too long, beyond the assurance of my sincere esteem, and of the pleasure which it would give me if I succeed in showing you how anxious we were to act in such a way as to preserve that attitude of complete neutrality which it was our duty to maintain.

I have not given up all hope of seeing you in England again [587] ere long, and it will give me great pleasure to renew so agreeable an acquaintance.

Believe me,

Yours very truly,

Badeau. Halifax. Major-General

No. Thirteen.

General Grant to General Babcock.

This letter Babcock forwarded to me because of my interest in its contents. It shows two of Grant's traits which I have elsewhere described; his carelessness with his papers and his disposition toward leniency in criticising other soldiers.

dear General,—The inclosed chapter of Badeau's book was handed to me just before leaving Chicago. Having a large mail before me at the time, which I was then engaged in reading and answering, I put the chapter and letter in my overcoat pocket and forgot all about it until after coming East, when I was asked by some one ‘when Badeau's second volume would be out.’ For the first time then since receiving it, it flashed upon my mind that I had rec'd a chapter to review. I was about to write back to Fred. to look and see if he could find the missing paper. Before doing so, however, I made a search of all my pockets and found it as stated. I have written to B, but said nothing about the contents of the chapter under review. In fact wrote my letter before reading it. It is all right except I would like to see Burnside let off a little easier.


U. S. G.

No. Fourteen.

The Comte de Paris to General Badeau.

This letter was written after I had forwarded the letter of General Grant given in chapter LI, page 498.

Chateau d'eu, Seine Inferieure, May 11th, 1878.
My dear General,—I thank you very much for your letter of April 21st, and for the most valuable information which you have given me. I had, of course, the greatest doubts about the accuracy of General Pemberton's statement, as it was so much at [588] variance with your own account; but coming from such high authority I could not put it aside without mentioning it to you.

I am very grateful to General Grant for the trouble he took to answer himself, and to give such a detailed account of what happened between him and General Pemberton. I regret very much not to be able to go myself to Paris to thank him; but the Countess de Paris having given birth to a daughter four days ago only, I cannot leave her presently. Believe me, my dear General,

Yours Truly,

No. Fifteen.

General Grant to J. H. Work, Esq.

Mr. Work had a copy of my Military History of Grant especially bound for his library, and asked General Grant to write something in it to attest his opinion of its merits; and this letter is the inscription it contains.

New York City, Dec. 22, 1881.
J. H. work, Esq.,—This book was revised by me, chapter by chapter, as it was being prepared for the publishers. It was submitted for a similar review also to Generals Porter and Babcock, two of the staff colleagues of the author. In addition to this, all those chapters treating of events in which Generals Sherman and Sheridan held detached commands were submitted to those officers. The author had access to the Government and captured and purchased archives. He also read and consulted all that was published on both sides, before and during the time he was writing this book, with the view of getting the truth. So far as I am capable of judging, this is a true history of the events of which it treats. The opinions expressed of men are the author's own, and for which no one else is responsible.

Very Truly,

P. S. General Geo. H. Thomas was dead before the events in which he held detached commands took place, otherwise, those chapters relative to events after March, 1864, in which he took a leading part would have been submitted to him.

U. S. G.



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