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whether they, from any motives whatever, were guilty of a grave neglect of those duties.
Upon this point it might be sufficient for me to appeal to the unprejudiced judgment formed and expressed at the time by Mr. Seward, atter every material fact had been communicated to bim by your dispatches of the 25th and 31st of July, and the 1st of August, 1862. Writing to yourself on the 13th of August, 1862, he expressed the President's approval of the action which you had taken with respect to the Oreto and the Alabama, (then called No. 290 ;) and added, “ You will on proper occasion make known to Earl Russell the satisfaction which the Presi. dent has derived from the just and friendly proceedings and language of the British government in regard to these subjects."
In maintaining these views of our duties, I have the satisfaction of thinking that Her Majesty's government are supported by some of the highest authorities of the United States. In 1815 a correspondence began between the ministers representing Spain and Portugal and the United States Government respecting the practice of fitting out prirateers in the port of the United States, and putting them under a foreign flag, and cruising against Spanish commerce. In January, 1817, Señor Onis, Spanish minister at Washington, says:
It is notorious that although the speculative system of fitting out privateers and putting them under a foreign flag, once disavowed by all nations, for the purpose of destroying the Spanish commerce, has been more or less pursued in all the ports of the Union, it is more especially to those of New Orleans and Baltimore, where the greatest violations of the respect due to a friendly nation, and, if I may say so, of that due to themselves, have been committed; whole squadrons of pirates baving been sent ont from thence in violation of the solemn treaty existing between the two nations, and bringing back to them the fruits of their piracy, without being yet checked in these courses, either by the reclamations I have made, those of Her Majesty's consuls, or the decisive and judicious orders issued by the President for that purpose.
It does not appear that any compensation was ever made for any of these seizures.
But the remonstrances of Portugal are still more applicable.
On the Sth of March, 1818, Senhor T. Correa de Serra brought to the knowledge of the United States Government the case of three Portuguese ships which had been captured by privateers fitted out in the United States, inanned by American crews, and commanded by American captains, though under insurgent colors, and he demanded satisfaction and indemnification for the injury which had been done to Portuguese sub
jects, as well as to the insult which had been offered to the  Portuguese flag. To this letter the * American Secretary of State.
after reciting the complaint of the Portuguese minister, replies as follows: “The Government of the United States having used all the means in its power to prevent the fitting out and arming of vessels in their ports to cruise against any nation with whom they are at peace, and having faithfully carried into execution the laws enacted to preserve in violate the neutral and pacific obligations of this Union, cannot consider itself bound to indemnity individual foreigners for losses by capture over which the United States have neither control or jurisdiction. For such events no nation can in principle, nor does in praetice, hold itself responsible." The Secretary of State who signed this dispatch bore a name most honorably known in the annals of the United States—the name of Adams.
The remaining erents to be noticed in the history of the answer given by the United States to the complaints of Portugal during the wars of
1 Papers presented to Congress December, 1862, Nos. 126, 199, 201, and 323.
South America, and by Great Britain to the United States in the present war, may be recorded without any fear of comparison on the part of the government of Her Majesty.
On the 20th April, 1818, the amended act known as the “ American foreign-enlistment act” was passed.
On the 24th of November of that year, the Portuguese minister, being asked by Mr. Adams to “furnish a list of the names of the persons chargeable with a violation of the laws of the United States, in fitting out and arming a vessel within the United States for the purpose of cruising against the subjects of his sovereign, and of the witnesses by whose testimony the charge could be substantiated,” replied to the following effect:
He had found, with sorrow, multiplied proofs that many of the armed ships which had committed depredations on the property of Portuguese subjects were owned by citizens of the United States, had been fitted in ports of the Union, and had entered, in several ports of the Union, captured ships and cargoes by unlawful means. Many of these citizens of the United States had the misfortune of believing that they did a meritorious action in supporting foreign insurrections, and oflere great citficulties in the way of every prosecution instituted by a foreign minister. Prosecutions were ordered by the Government of the United States, but did not appear to have had much effect in checking the depredations complained of.
In March, 1819, the Portuguese minister alleges that, in contrast to the Spanish insurgents who had ports and a long line of coast at their disposal, Artigas, the chief whose flag was borne by United States privateers, was wandering with his followers in the mountains of Corrientes. The “ Artigan flag,” he continues, “which has not a foot-length of sea-shore in South America where it can show itself, is frequently waving in the port of Baltimore. Artigan cockades were frequently met with in that city, in the bats of American citizens unworthy of that name."
In another note, dated the 23d of November, 1819, the Portuguese minister says: “I do justice to and am grateful for the proceedings of the Executive in order to put a stop to these depredations, but the evil is rather increasing. I can present to you, if required, a list of fifty Portuguese ships, almost all richly laden, some of them East Indiamen, which have been taken by these people during the period of full peace. This is not the whole loss we have sustained, this list comprehending only those captures of which I have received official complaints. The victims have been many more, besides violations of territory by landing and plundering ashore with shocking circumstances.
“One city alone on this coast,” he says, “bas armed twenty-six ships, which prey on our vitals, and a week ago three armed ships of this nature were in that port, waiting for a favorable occasion of sailing for a cruise."
In July, 1820, the Portuguese minister proposed that the United States should appoint commissioners to confer and agree with commissioners. of the Queen of Portugal in what reason and justice might demand.
But Mr. Adams again says that, for wrongs committed in the United States territory, Portuguese subjects have a remedy in the courts of justice, but for any acts of the citizens of the United States, committed out of their jurisdiction and beyond their control, the Government of the United States is not responsible.”
To this most just principle, which was again referred to by Mr. Secretary Clayton, and maintained against the government of Portugal to this hour, the United States must be held still to adhere. No matter how many rich Portuguese ships were taken; no matter even what flag was borne by the ressels which took them, for these acts of the citizens of the United States, acting as the captains, officers, and crews of those cruisers, the United States Government declared itself not responsible. Nor was that Government induced to depart from that ground by the urgent representations of the Portuguese minister in bis letter to Mr.
Webster, of the 7th of November, 1850, that "by due diligence  on the * part of the Government and officers of the United States
the evil might have been prevented," and that “the fitting out of these vessels was not checked by all the means in the power of the Government, but that there was a neglect of the necessary means of suppressing these expeditions. With regard to Spain the case was somewhat different, as the United States had many outstanding claims against the government of Spain; and, on the other hand, the claims of Spain were rested upon the interpretation placed by her on her treaty with the United States. The claims of the United States were used as a set-off against the claims of Spain, on account of the depredations committed by the United States cruisers commanded by United States captains, and in respect of other matters; and both orders of claims were renounced and abandoned by a treaty between Spain and the United States, concluded on the 22d of February, 1819,
Before I refer to the conduct of Great Britain during the present civil war, I must for a moment allude to an address of President Monroe, in regard to the South American insurrections: “The revolutionary more. ment in the Spanish provinces in this hemisphere attracted the attention and excited the sympathy of our fellow-citizens from the commence. ment.” Such is the statement of President Monroe in his special mes. sage of the Sth of March, 1822. It must be acknowledged that in this country the gallantry of the people of the Southern States, in their endeavors to give those States an independent position in the world, excited a large amount of sympathy. It must be acknowledged, also, that the desire of large profits from the sale of cargoes induced many of the Queen's subjects to engage in blockade-running. But, on the other hand, it must be said that no British subject appears to have commanded a confederate cruiser, while United States citizens seem frequently to have acted as captains of the privateers which, under the flag of Buenos Ayres, or some other South American state, committed depredations on Spanish and Portuguese commerce. Nor was the vigilance of Her Majesty's government at fault when, as in the case of the steam-rams built at Birkenhead for a confederate agent, they were fully convinced that vessels of war were being constructed for purposes hostile to the United States. Indeed, so decided and so effective was the action of the government in detaining the vessels called the El Tousson and El Mounassir, that it appears by the published parliamentary reports that a member of Parliament charged the government with har. ing done, and with having done on their own contession, what was ille. galand unconstitutional, without law, without justification, and without excuse. Unfounded as that charge was, coming, as it appears, from high authority, it is obvious that nothing but the intimate conviction that those vessels were intended for confederate vessels of war, that unless detained they would attempt to break the blockade of the United States squadrons, and that such an act might have produced the grav. est complications, could have sustained the government under the weight of charges thus urged.
Let us compare this case, in which ller Majesty's government detained and seized the ships, with that of the Shenandoah, to which you refer, in which they did not interfere.
The Shenandoah was formerly the Sea King, a merchant or passage steamship belonging to a mercantile company. She was sold to a merchant, and soon afterward cleared for China as a merchant-ship. Not a tittle of evidence was ever brought before Her Majesty's government by you or any one else to show that she was intended for the service of the confederates. Had it been alleged even that her decks were stronger than usual, apparently for the purpose of carrying guns, it might have been plausibly answered that the China Seas abounded with pirates, and that guns were necessary in order to drive them off.
But it is said that guns and men were sent to meet a confederate vessel at sea. So far as guns are concerned, this is not an offense against our laws; nor am I aware of any authority of international law according to which the British government could be bound to prevent it. So far as men are concerned, they could not be interfered with without evidence of an intention or engagement to serve as confederate seamer, and no such evidence was ever offered to Her Majesty's government. What if these guns and men were sent in a vessel which cleared for Bombay! Would it have been right for Her Majesty's government, without evidence, to seize such a vessel? Would not proceedings thus unauthorized by law, or by any legal grounds of suspicion, have been loudly and universally condemned? It is true that arms were sent out to the Olinde, a French vessel, and that the Sea King, having changed its character at sea, appeared afterward as a confederate ship of war. But, in the words of Mr. Adams in 1818, “For such events no nation can in principle, nor does in practice, líold itself responsible.” With regard to the export of arms sent by individuals in this country to ves
sels on the high seas, it must not be forgotten that the Govern ment and courts of the United States have always upheld *the
legality of this traffic. On the subject of certain memorials of British subjects sent to the Secretary of State of the United States during the revolutionary war, Mr. Jefferson says: • We have answered that our citizens have always been free to make, send, or export arms; that it is the constant occupation and livelihood of some of them. To suppress their callings, the only means perhaps of their subsistence, because a war exists in foreign and distant countries with which we have no concern, would hardly be expected. It would be hard in principle, and impossible in practice.
This, be it recollected, was not the opinion of Mr. Jefferson alone; le wrote by the direction of General, then President, Washington.
With respect to the alleged destruction of the mercantile navigation of the United States, it must be noted that it has been common to transfer American merchant-ships, without change of cargo or crew, nominally to Britislı owners in order to avoid the ligher rates of insurance payable during war. With peace the mercantile marine of the United States will, I have no doubt, be at least as mumerous as before.
I am happy to see that you declare yourself by no means insensible to the efforts which ller Majesty's government have made, and are still making, to put a stop to such outrages on this kingilom and its dependencies, and that you cannot permit yourself to doubt the favorable disposition of the Queen's ministers to maintain amicable relations with the Government of the United States; nay, further, you state that the avoidance of the gravest of complications “las been owing in the main to a full conviction that Her Majesty's government has never been animated by any aggressive (lisposition toward the United States, but, on the contrary, that it has steadily endeavored to discountenance, and in a measure to check, the injurious and malet olent operations of many of ker subjects.” The question then really comes to this : Is Her Majesty's government to assume or be liable to a responsibility for conduct which Iler Majesty's government did all in their power to prevent and to punish? A responsibility which Mr. Adams on the part of the United States Government in the case of Portugal positively, firmly, and justly declined.
Have you cousidered to what this responsibility would amount?
Great Britain would become thereby answerable for every ship that may have left a British port and have been found afterward used by the confederates as a ship of war; nay, more, for every cannon and every inusket used by the confederates on board any ship of war if manufactured in a British workshop.
I now come to that part of your letter which relates to the future.
The late successes of the United States armies give us every reason to hope for a speedy termination of the war. In such case the restrictions which have been imposed upon the vessels of the United States as belligerents will of course cease. In such case also it is to be presumed the cruisers and privateers of the confederates will be at once sold and converted into merchant-vessels. But the present state of affairs does not allow me to speak with certainty upon this point.
The questions remain, however, first, whether the United States ressels of war will be now allowed to come into the harbors of Her Majes. ty's dominions without other restrictions than those used in times of peace; and another question closely connected with it, namely, whether the confederates are still to be treated as belligerents.
My answers are the following:
In regard to the first question, Her Majesty's government are quite willing that vessels of war of the United States shall be treated in the ports of Iler Majesty in the same manner as Her Majesty's vessels of war are treated in the ports of the United States, with this single exception, that if an enemy's vessel of war should come into the same port, the ressel which shall first leave the port shall not be pursued by its enemy till twenty-four hours shall have elapsed.
Before answering the second question, I wish to know whether the United States are prepared to put an end to the belligerent rights of search and capture of British vessels on the high seas? Upon the answer to this question depends the course which Her Majesty's government will pursue.
All that I can do further is to assure you that Her Majesty's government, who have lamented so sincerely the continuance of this paintul and destructive contest, will hail with the utmost pleasure its termination, and will view with joy the restoration of peace and prosperity in a country whose well-being and happiness must always be a source of satisfaction to the sovereign and people of these realms.
I am, &c.,