The Niagara's Mails.
the British State papers on American affairs
letter from Capt. Semmes, of the Sumter.
&c., &c., &c., &c.,
The New York papers of Feb. 26, received at this office on Friday evening last, contain full details of news by the Niagara
, which had already been briefly forwarded by telegraph.
We extract a portion of the papers relating to the war in America
, published in the London Post
, of February, 8th, omitting the earlier correspondence, which dates as far back as November, 1860, and is of no possible interest or importance at the present day. With a view to preserve, as history, the official record of the mission of Messrs. Yancey
, and Mann
, we commence with.
Lord Russell's interview with the Southern Commissioners.
Lord Russell, in a dispatch addressed to Lord Lyons on the 11th May, gives an account of an interview he had held with Mr. Yancey
and his colleagues.
On Saturday last I received at my house Mr. Yancey
, and Judge Rost
, the three gentlemen deputed by the Southern Confederacy to obtain their recognition as an independent State.
One of these gentlemen, speaking for the others, dilated on the causes which had induced the Southern States
to secede from the Northern
The principal of these causes, he said, was not slavery, but the very high price which, for the sake of protecting the Northern
manufacturers, the South
were obliged to pay for the manufactured goods which they required. --One of the first acts of the Southern Congress was to reduce these duties, and, to prove their sincerity, he gave as an instance that Louisiana
had given up altogether that protection on her sugar which she enjoyed by the legislation of the United States
As a proof of the riches of the South
, he stated that of $350,000,000 of exports of produce to foreign countries, $270,000,000 were furnished by the Southern States
I said that I could hold no official communication with the delegates of the Southern States
That, however, when the question of recognition came to be formally discussed, there were two points upon which inquiry must be made: first, whether the body seeking recognition could maintain its position as an independent State; secondly, in what manner it was proposed to maintain relations with foreign States.
After speaking at some length on the first of these points, and alluding to the news of the secession of Virginia
, and other intelligence favorable to their cause, these gentlemen called my attention to the article in their Constitution prohibiting the slave trade.
I said that it was alleged very currently that if the slave States found that they could not compete successfully with the cotton of other countries, they would revive the slave trade for the purpose of diminishing the cost of production.
They said this was a suspicion unsupported by any proof.
The fact was, that they had prohibited the slave trade, and did not mean to revive it. They pointed to the new tariff of the United States
as a proof that British manufactures would be nearly excluded from the North
, and freely admitted in the South
Other observations were made, but not of very great importance.
The delegates concluded by stating that they should remain in London
for the present, in the hope that the recognition of the Southern Confederacy would not be long delayed,
Following the above is a letter addressed by the Commissioners
to Earl Russell dated London
, August 14. It begins with an allusion to the purposes of the Southern
people in throwing off their allegiance to the Federal Government
, and argues the question of the right of secession with ability and dignity.
It then reviews the previous efforts of the Commissioners
to impress the British Government
with a sense of the rights justly belonging to the Confederacy
, and proceeds as follows:
In the interview already alluded to as well as in one of a similar character held between your lordship and the undersigned at a later date,
the undersigned were fully aware of the relation of amity existing between her Britannic Majesty's Government and that of Washington
, and of the peculiar difficulties into which those relations might be thrown if her Majesty should choose to recognize the nationality of the Confederate States of America
, before some decided exhibition of ability on the part of the Government
of these States to maintain itself had been shown.
Therefore they did not deem it advisable to urge her Majesty's Government to an immediate decision upon so grave a question, but contented themselves with a presentation of the cause of their Government, and have quietly waited upon events to justify all that they had said, with the hope that her Majesty's Government would soon come to the conclusion that the same sense of justice, the same view of duty under the law of nations, which caused it to recognize the de facto
Government of Texas
while yet a superior Mexican
army was contending for supremacy upon its soil, the de facto
Governments of the South American republics while Spain
still persisted in claiming to be their sovereign, and the de facto
Governments of Greece
, of Belgium
, and Italy
, would induce it to recognize the Government
of the Confederate States of America
n upon the happening of events exhibiting a deep seated and abiding confidence that success will attend their efforts.
At all events, reconstruction of the Union
is an impossibility.
The brief history of the past confirms them in this belief.
Since the organization of the Government
of the Confederate States
in February last, and since Mr. Lincoln
assumed the reins of Government in the United States
, and commenced preparing his aggressive policy against the Confederate States
, the moral weight of their position and cause, aided by the constitutional action and policy of the new President
and his Cabinet, have caused four other great States, viz., Virginia
, North Carolina
, and Arkansas
, containing about 4,500,000 inhabitants, and covering an extent of valuable territory equal to that of France
, to secede from the late Union and join the Confederate States
; while the inhabitants of three other powerful States, viz: Maryland
, and Missouri
, are now agitated by the throes of revolution, and a large part of them are rising in arms to resist the military despotism which, in the name of the Constitution
, has been so ruthlessly, and in such utter perversion of the provisions of that instrument, imposed upon them.
The undersigned have also sufficient reasons for the belief that even in the northwestern part of the State of Illinois
a part of the people have proclaimed open opposition to Mr. Lincoln
's unconstitutional and despotic Government, while several other public assemblies and their Legislatures have condemned the war as subversive of the Constitution
In addition to these striking evidences of the increased strength of the Confederate States
, of great internal weakness and division in Mr. Lincoln
's Government, the undersigned can proudly and confidently point to the unity which exists among the people of the eleven Confederate States
, with the solitary and unimportant exception of the extreme northwest corner of Virginia
, lying between Ohio
, and settled almost exclusively by Northern emigrants.
Whatever differences of opinion, may have been entertained among the people of the United States
as to the policy of secession, there was little difference of opinion as to the unconstitutional causes which led to it, and often, by a fair decision at the polls, by the majority in favor of secession as the means of expressing their liberties, the great mass of the people at once glided all objections, and are now engaged with their wealth and their persons in the most patriotic exertions to uphold their Government in the course of independence which had been decided upon.
Whatever tribute of admiration may be yield for the present to the people who submit to Mr. Lincoln
's usurping Government, for energy displayed in raising and organizing an immense army for the purpose of imposing the yoke of that Government upon a people who are straggling for the inestimable right of governing themselves in order to a preservation of their liberties a just and impartial history with reward to the people of the Confederate State
as unmixed admiration for an effort which, in the space or six months, his thrown off the authority of the usurper has organized a new government, based upon the principles of personal and public liberty, has put that government into operation, has raised organized and armed an army sufferance most land defeat in a fair field and drive indigestible one flight from that field, the myriad of invaders which the reputed first General
of the age demand fit to crush what the termed a rebellion.
The undersigned our Lords attention to the fact that Mr. Lincoln
without though possessed at of a more numerous
credit due to a recognized Government of long continuance, of the entire navy of the late Union, has not been able to retake a single fortification of which the Confederate States
possessed themselves; but on the contrary, has been driven out from a mighty fortress upon the Atlantic
, and from several forts on the Western
frontier by the Confederate
arms; that it has not been able to advance more than five miles into the territory of any of the Confederate States
where there was any serious attempt to prevent it; and is in danger of losing three great States of the Union
Even, at sea, upon which the Government
of Mr. Lincoln
possesses undisputed away, it has not been able to make an effectual blockade of a single port but those which find an outlet, through the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay
; vessels of every class, public and private, armed vessels belonging to the Confederate States
, and traders, having found their way in and out of every other port at which the attempt has been made.
In everything that constitutes the material of war, thus far the Confederate States
have supplied themselves from their own resources, unaided by that free intercourse with the world which has been open to the United States
Men, arms, munitions of war of every description, have been supplied in ample abundance to defeat all attempts to successfully invade our borders.
Money has been obtained in the Confederate States
in sufficient quantity.
Every loan that has been put upon the market has been taken at and above par, and the undersigned but state the universal impression and belief of their Government and their fellow-citizens in the Confederate States
, that, no matter what may be the demand for means to defend their country against invasion, sufficient resources of every character, and sufficient patriotism to furnish them, exist within the Confederate States
for that purpose.
The undersigned are aware that an impression has prevailed, even in what may be termed well- informed circles in Europe
, that the slaveholding States are poor, and not able to sustain a prolonged conflict with the non-slaveholding States of the North
In the opinion of the undersigned this idea is grossly erroneous; and, considering the importance of a correct understanding of the relative resources of the two contending Powers, in resolving the question of the ability of the South
to maintain its position, your lordship will pardon a reference to the statistical tables of $50, the last unauthentic exposition of the resources of the United States
which has yet been published, and which is appended to this communication.
The incontestable truths exhibited in that table prove that the Confederate States
possess the elements of a great and powerful nation, capable of not only clothing, feeding, and defending themselves, but also of clothing all the nations of Europe
, under the benign influence of peace and free trade.
The undersigned are also aware that the anti-slavery sentiment so universally prevalent in England
has shrunk from the idea of forming friendly public relations with a Government recognizing the slavery of a part of the human race.
The question of the morality of slavery it is not for the undersigned to discuss with any foreign Power.--The authors of the American Declaration of Independence
found the African race in the colonies to be slaves, both by colonial and English law, and by the law of nations.--Those great and good men left that fact and the responsibility for its existence where they found it; and thus finding that there were two distinct reaches in the colonies, one free and capable of maintaining their freedom, and the other slave and, in their opinion, unfitted to enter upon that contest and to govern themselves, they made their famous declaration of freedom for the white race alone.
They eventually planned and put in operation, in the course of a few years, two plans of government, both resting upon that great and recognized distinction between the white and the black man, and perpetuating that distinction as the fundamental law of the Government
they framed, which they declared to be framed for the benefit of themselves and their posterity.
In their own language, ‘"to secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and ond our posterity."’
The wisdom of that course is not a matter for discussion with foreign nations Suffice it to say that thus were the great American institutions framed, and thus have they remained unchanged to this day. It was from no fear that the slaves would be liberated that Secession took place.
The very party in power has proposed to guarantee slavery forever in the States if the South
would but remain in the Union
's message proposes no freedom to the slave but announces subjection of his owner to the will of the Union
--in other words, to the will of the North
Even after the battle of Bull Run
both branches of the Congress
passed resolutions that the war is only waged in order to uphold that (pro-slavery) Constitution, and to enforce the laws, (many of them pro-slavery;) and out of one hundred and seventy-two votes in the lower House they received all but two, and in the Senate all but one vote.
As the army commenced its march, the Commanding General
issued an order that no slaves should be received into, or allowed to follow, the camp.
The great object of the war, therefore, as now officially announced, is not to free the slave, but to keep him in subjection to his owner, and to control his labor through the legislative channels which the Lincoln Government
designs to force upon the master.
The undersigned, therefore, submit with confidence that as far as the anti-slavery sentiment of England
is concerned, it can have no sympathy with the North
; nay, it will probably become disgusted with a causing hypocrisy which would enlist those sympathies on false pretences.
The undersigned are, however, not insensible to the surmise that the Lincoln Government
may, under stress of circumstances, change its policy — a policy based at present more upon a wily view of what is to be its effect in rearing up an element in the Confederate States
favorable to the reconstruction of the Union
than upon any honest desire to uphold a Constitution, the main provisions of which it has most shamelessly violated.
But hey confidently submit to your lordship's consideration, that success in producing so abrupt and violent a destruction of a system of labor which has reared up so vast a commerce between- America
and the great States of Europe
, which, it is supposed, now gives bread to 10,000,000 of the population of those States, which it may be safely assumed is intimately blended with the basis of the great manufacturing and navigating prosperity that distinguishes the age, and probably not the least of the elements of this prosperity, would be visited with results disastrous to the world, as well as to the master and slave.
Resort to servile war has, it is true, as we have heretofore stated, not been proclaimed, but officially abandoned.
It has been, however, recommended by persons of influence in the United States
and when all other means shall fail, as the undersigned assure your lordship they will, to bring the Confederate States
into subjection to the power of Mr. Lincoln
's Government, it is by no means improbable that it may be inaugurated.
Whenever it shall be done, however, the motive, it is now rendered clear, will not be that high philanthropic consideration which undoubtedly beats in the hearts of many in England
, but the base feeling of selfish aggrandizement, not unmixed with a cowardly spirit of revenge.
The undersigned call your lordship's attention to what is now so publicly known as a fact — to the great battle of Bull Run
, three miles in front of Manassas Junction
, in which a well appointed army of 55,000.
Federal soldiers gave battle to the Confederate States
army of inferior force, After nine hours hard fighting the Federalists were defeated and driven from the field in open flight and were pursued by the Confederate States
army to Centreville
, the position of the Federal
The enemy lost honor, and nearly all the arms and munitions of war which had been so industriously gathered together for month for an offensive campaign in Virginia
, and they did not cease their flight until, under cover of a stormy night, they had regained the shelter of their entrenchments in front of Washington
The Confederate States
forces have commenced offensive movements, and have driven the vaunting hosts of the United States
behind entrenchments upon the borders of Virginia
, and so far from threatening the integrity of the territory and the existence of the Government
of the Confederate States
seems confident at present, and will be rejoined if it can maintain a successful defence of its capital, and preserve the remnant of its defeated and disorganized forces.
The undersigned would also ask your lordship's attention to the fact that the cotton-picking season in the cotton-growing States of the Confederacy
The crop bids fair to be at least an average one, and will be prepared for market and delivered by our planters and merchants as usual, on the wharves of the ports of those States, when there shall be a prospect of the blockade being raised, and not before.
As a defensive measure, an embargo has been laid by the Government
of the Confederate States
upon the passage of cotton by inland conveyance to the United States
To be obtained, it must be sought for in the Atlantic
ports of those States.
They submit to your lordship the consideration of the fact that the blockade of all the points of the Confederate States
was declared to have commenced by the blockading officer off Charleston
, when, in truth, at that time, and for weeks after, there was no pretence of a blockade of the ports in the Gulf
They submit for consideration that since the established or the blockade there have been repeated instances of vessels breaking it at
and New Orleans.
It will be for the neutral Powers, whose commerce, has been so seriously damaged, to determine how long such a blockade shall be permitted to interfere with their commerce.
In closing this communication, the undersigned desire to urge upon her Britannic Majesty's Government the just claim which, in their opinion the Government
of the Confederate States
has at this time to a recognition as a Government de facto;
whether its internal peace or its territory, its population, its great resources for both domestic and foreign commerce, and its power to maintain itself, are considered; or whether your lordship shall take into consideration the necessity of commercial relations being established with it, with a view to the preservation of vast interests of the commerce of England
If, however, in the opinion of her Britannic Majesty's Government, the Confederate States
have not yet won a right to a place among the nations of the earth, the undersigned can only, assure your lordship that, while such an announcement will be received with surprise by the Government
they represent, and while that Government is to be left to contend for interests which, it thinks, are as important to commercial Europe
as to itself, without even a friendly countenance from other nations, its citizens will buckle themselves to the great task before them with a vigor and determination that will justify the undersigned in having pressed the question upon her Britannic Majesty's Government; and when peace shall have been made their Government will at least feel that it will not be justly responsible for the vast quantity of blood which shall have been shed, nor for the great and wide-spread suffering which so prolonged a conflict will have entailed upon millions of the human race, both in the Eastern
as well as upon the North American
W. L. Yancey
P. A. Rost
A. Dudley Mann
Earl Russell's reply.
Foreign Office, Aug. 24, 1861.
The undersigned has had the honor to receive the letter of the 14th inst., addressed to him by Messrs. Yancey
, and Mann
, on behalf of the so-styled Confederate States
of North American.
The British Government do not pretend in any way to pronounce a judgment upon the questions in debate between the United States
and their adversaries in North America
; the British Government
can only regret that these differences have unfortunately been submitted to the arbitrament of arms.
Her Majesty has considered this contest as constituting a civil war, and her Majesty has, by her royal proclamation, declared her intention to preserve a strict neutrality between the contending parties in that war.
Her Majesty will strictly perform the duties which belong to a neutral.
Her Majesty cannot undertake to determine by anticipation what may be the issue of the contest, nor can she acknowledge the independence of the nine States which are now combined against the President
and Congress of the United States until the fortune of arms or the more peaceful mode of negotiation shall have more clearly determined the respective positions of the two belligerents.
Her Majesty can, in the meantime, only express a hope that some adjustment satisfactory to both parties may be come to, without the calamities which must ensue in the event of an embittered and protracted confirm.
Following this is a long correspondence on the Trent
affair, the Nashville
and the Tuscarora
, and other matters with which our readers are familiar.
In a brief commentary upon the whole, the London News
The bare description of these Blue Books enables the reader to form some idea of the constant danger of ignition which the American
civil war has brought as near to ourselves as a neutral State as if no broad Atlantic lay between us and the burning house beyond.
Earl Derby on recognition.
We get the following from the New York Herald
of the 26th February:
In the House of Lords on the 7th instant the Earl
said he was not much in the habit of occupying the time of their lordships with matters personal to himself, or with making observations in reference to the reports of his speeches or those of other noble lords in that house.
The fact was he very seldom read the reports either of his own speeches or of other speeches which he heard in the house.
But he happened to look to the report in the Times
newspaper of what he addressed to their lordships yesterday, and there was one point in it to which he could not help adverting.
He would not notice the other inaccuracies in the report, which he believed was not so accurate as reports in that journal generally were, and he only alluded to the one he had mentioned because it attributed to him exactly the opposite of what he uttered.
In reference to the recognition of the Southern Confederacy, the Times
reported him to say that the time had nearly arrived when her Majesty's Government ought to be called upon to recognize the successful revolt of those Confederate States
Now, what he did say was, that in his judgment the time had not arrived when her Majesty's Government was called upon the recognize the independence of the Southern States
, and he added that although the practice of her Majesty's Government was to recognize any de facto
Government that had succeeded in establishing itself, he did not think the resistance of the Southern States
had been so complete and so successful as to justify them in recognizing the independence of a State which had not yet shown the power of securing and maintaining its own independence.
Letter from commander Semmes to the Editor of the London News.
An article in the Daily News,
reviewing the rights and duties of belligerents and neutrals, has recently come under my observation, in which the following expressions occur:
‘"At the same time, it must be admitted that both the Sumter
and the Nashville
have grossly violated the laws of civilized warfare, by burning merchant ships to the water's edge, instead of carrying them before a prize court.
Their conduct is certainly much more like that of pirates--hosies humans generis,
as the commander of the Sumter
Nor is it clear that a community which sanctions such barbarous proceedings deserves to be treated with the same consideration which is universally accorded to those who themselves observe the laws of civilized warfare,"’
Now, the above remarks are exceedingly unjust — not that I suppose you intended injustice, but you have not rightly appreciated the position in which we of the Confederate States
have been placed by these ‘"civilized"’ nations whose rule of warfare you say has been violated.
has acknowledged us as a belligerent.
This acknowledgement gives us all the rights of war equally with the other party.
One of the most essential of these rights on the high seas as the right of destroying the enemy's commerce, and thus disabling him from carrying on the war; a right which Great Britain
, in all her wars, has exercised to its fullest extent, and with terrible effect upon her enemies.
And when she has not found it convenient to send her prizes into her own ports she has had that overweening influence with the nations of the earth which has enabled her to send them into neutral ports, and there, to have them condemned by her own prize courts.
The ports of the Confederate States
were blockaded on or about the 1st of June, 1861. Subsequently to this period, and with full knowledge of the fact, Great Britain
, and Spain
, and the lesser maritime Powers of Europe
, all issued proclamations, defining their positions in the war. In these proclamations they prohibited belligerent cruisers from bringing their prizes into their ports — except in case of necessity and in that event both the cruisers and their prizes were to do part within twenty-four hours. In this state of facts, how can it be insisted that we shall send our prizes into port for adjudication?--Into whose ports shall we send them?
We cannot send them into our own ports, for they are blockaded at least so far blockaded as to render it difficult for ordinary sail ships to enter them.
We cannot send them into any of the ports of those ‘ "civilized"’ nations who are so shocked at the barbarity of our burning them?
What then shall we do with them?
They are our lawful prizes, captured, says Europe
, by the cruisers of a recognized de facto
Shall we let them go?
This would deprive us of our right of capture, or render null that right, which is the same thing.
And can this be what impartial Europe
intended when it penned its proclamations?
It is readily admitted that the usual and more proper course is, as you say, for a cruiser not to ‘"burn her prizes to the water's edge,"’ but to send them into a prize court for adjudication" and this is the course which I need not assure you we would be glad to pursue if the thing were possible for obvious reasons.
But if the nations of the earth put it out of our power to pursue this course, is it generous to find fault with us because we do not pursue it?
To show you the earnests desire which I had in the beginning of my cruiser to send my prizes in for adjudication rather than take the responsibility of sitting in judgment on them myself I send you enclosed a copy of a letter which I addressed to the Governor
of the town of Cienfuegos
, in the Island of Cuba
, as early as the 6th of July last.
This letter will explain itself, and I have only to remark with reference to it, that I had not at its date seen the
I rely upon your sense of justice to give place in your columns both to this communication and the letter.
The British Parliament.
In the House of Lords on the 7th inst. the Earl
was anxious to ascertain the truth, or rather to obtain from Her Majesty's Government a contradiction of a story which had been in circulation during the last week or ten days. That story seemed to him so monstrous in the shape in which it had reached this country, that he was almost confident it must be full of exaggeration.
It was to the effect that a Canadian gentleman, a British subject, whilst traveling on an American railway, was arrested by order of Mr. Seward
, Secretary of State
of the United States
; that he was taken to the guard-house, stripped and searched, and subjected to very great and gross indignity, under the pretence that he was connected with some persons engaged in the war in the Confederate States
Nothing was found to inculpate him in the slightest degree, but he was but he was taken to prison in New York, where he was immured for several weeks, while typhus fever was raging in the prison, and carrying off its victims daily.
He was detained without being brought to trial, and without, in fact, a charge being made against him. Communications were opened by him with Lord Lyons though the United States Government, but without his obtaining any redress.
During that time he received several letters from the British Legation
, but the seals were broken and the covers torn.
The most extraordinary part of the matter, however, was that at length, when he was offered his liberty, it was on the condition that he should for swear his own nationality and swear allegiance to the Northern States
) could hardly believe that such a state of things was possible; but this was the story.
It was said that this gentleman with very great courage and constancy refused to accept any such condition, and preferred, at the risk of his life and of great personal suffering and inconvenience, to remain on prison rather than accept a discharge on such terms.
He was after wards removed to another prison, and it was said that, after that time, Lord Lyons having interposed, he was offered his liberty on a condition only one degree less extraordinary than the former one, namely, that he would not engage in the service of the Southern States
nor have they communication with the inhabitants.
He refused that condition and he remained to prison from the 5th of October until the 6th of January, when he received an unconditional discharge.
It was also stated their other British subjects had been confined in the same prison, and subject to various restrictions.
They had been treated in violation of international rights and privileges.
He would not make any comments on the subject, because he could not bring himself to believe that the facts were as they had been stated.
Earl Russell, who was very indistinctly heard, was understood to say that on the 29th of October, a letter was written to Lord Lyons by a Mr. Shepherd
, saying that while traveling by railway — he had been an agent of the Grand Trunk Railway--he was arrested and sent to a prison in New York, on a charge of conspiracy against the United States
That gentleman further stated the charge was quite untrue, and that he was a loyal British subject.
It further appeared that he was asked to take the oath of allegiance to the United States
, and refused to do so. Lord Lyons sent a representation to Mr. Seward
, and on the 15th of November he wrote a reply, saying that he had at first been led to believe that the gentleman was a citizen of the United States
, and that it was under such an impression he had asked him to take the oath of allegiance.
But when it turned out that he was a British subject is release was still with held on the ground that he was a spy in the employ of the Confederate States
. Mr. Shepherd
gave an indignant denial to that accusation, and he was then asked to enter into certain conditions one of which was, that he was not to enter the Confederate States
during the war. Subsequently he was liberated.
would understand that Mr. Seward
assumed the right of the President
to order the arrest of any person during the war at his pleasure, whether a citizen of the United States
or not, and the law officers of his Government contended that such a power attached to the President
under the Constitution
of the States.--He had no objection to produce the correspondence upon the subject.
was sorry to hear that the facts of the case as he had stated them, and which he could scarcely bring himself to believe, were borne out by the statement of the noble lord, the Secretary of State
for Foreign Affairs.
It seemed to him strange and monstrous that the Government
of the U. States
should, on such a pretence, have violated the ordinary decencies which regulated the intercourse between friendly nations — He should move for the correspondence, because he thought the House
ought to understand the matter in all its hearings.
He hoped it would be found that when remonstrating against the proceedings of the American
government the noble lord had not forgotten to ask for compensation for the outrage.
In the House of Commons, on the 7th inst., Mr. Gregory
said that he had been unwilling, on the previous evening, to introduce any subject which could give rise to a debate, but there was one topic which was on the lips of every one, and that was the effect which this lamentable American war had produced upon the population of England
(Hear, hear.) It was not his intention to enter in detail upon the question on that occasion, but there was one point connected with the war which he was justified in alluding to, and that was the condition of the blockade of the Southern
(Hear, hear) He did so because, last year, on the 6th of May, he put three questions to the Foreign Secretary
, one of which referred to this subject.
He then asked Lord Russell whether his Government had informed the Government
of the United States
that their blockade, if not effective, would not be recognized; to which Lord Russell replied that he had not thought it necessary to give any special instruction to our Minister at Washington
, but that Lord Lyons and the United States Government both knew that no blockade could be recognized unless it was effective.--Now, documents had been placed in his (Mr. Gregory
's) hands within the last few days, which showed considerable doubt to exist with reference to the effectiveness of the blockade.
He regretted to be obliged to express his conviction that the blockade was only a paper blockade, but he should not then anticipate the discussion which must take place on the production of the papers.
He has merely risen that evening to announce his intention of bringing the whole question of the blockade before the House
, because if the figure which he should be prepared to quote should turn out to be true then he thought the House of Commons would pronounce the blockade to be ineffective.
On the other hand, it would rest with the Government
to pronounce whether it was effective or not. Whilst they looked at all these matters from a conciliatory point of view as regarded the United States
, although he should be the last man to advocate any act of hostility, still, as this country had acknowledged two belligerent parties, he though that in justice to both, and to the suffering people of this country no time should be lost in discussing the subject--(hear, hear)--and ascertaining whether this blockade was in reality effective.
was glad that the question of the blockade of the Southern
ports of America
was to be brought under the notice of the House
There were two questions involved in the consideration of the subject — namely, its commercial bearing and its bearing upon the character of this country.--Upon the commercial question he would at present say nothing; but it appeared to him perfectly clear that if his honorable friend (Mr. Gregory
) was able to substantiate the statement he had foreshadowed — namely, that the blockade had been nothing more than a paper blockade — then the character of this country was to a great extent involved in its recognition.
The recognition of a paper blockade would, as was admitted on all hands, be a violation of the rise of international law; and, assuming that such could be shown to be the character of the blockade of the Southern
ports, he should like to know what become of the principle of non-intervention of which they had heard so much; for, if the blockade was not efficient, its recognition would be an intervention in favor of the Northern States