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months; she there enlisted and shipped a crew, and was put in suitable condition for cruising, and she was from thence sent out to cruise.
In the case of oue vessel only, the Alabama, admissible evidence tending to prove the existence of an unlawful intention was furnished to Her Britannic Majesty's government before the departure of the ship. This evidence was supplied little by little, the last installment of it be. ing delivered on the fourth day before her departure. She put to sea unregistered and without a clearance, under the pretense that she was about to make a trial trip and return to her moorings. The circumstances under which the evidence relating to this vessel was received, referred to the legal advisers of the government, and by them consid. ered and reported on, are stated in Part VI of this case.
All the information furnished by Mr. Adams to Her Majesty's gor. ernment, as well in relation to the Alabama as in relation to each of the three other vessels hereinbefore specified, was referred by the secretary of state for foreign affairs, with the utmost expedition, to the proper departments of the government, for inquiry, and in order that measures might be immediately taken, should occasion so require, for the due
enforcement of the law. Inquiry was accordingly made in every  case. In cases of the Georgia and *the Shenandoah, nothing
could be done, since each of these vessels had already departed from Her Majesty's dominions. In that of the Florida no evidence of unlawful intention was or could be obtained while she was within the United Kingdom. In that of the Alabama, the persons having posses. sion of the ship carried her to sea before the order for seizing her was given.
In estimating the reasonableness of the views acted upon by Her Majesty's government as to the sufficiency of the information and evi. dence from time to time submitted to them respecting apprehended infractions of the law by the construction and equipment of warlike vessels for the service of the Confederate States, it is necessary throughout to bear in mind not only that the trade of ship-building is a great and important branch of industry, which Her Majesty's government was not required by any international duty to place under restrictions unauthorized by law, and over which it was not justified in assuming any arbitrary control, but also that the principal firms of British shipbuilders had been for a long time in the habit of entering into contracts with foreign governments in all parts of the world for the construction, equipment, and sale of ships of war; such contracts being privately negotiated, in the ordinary course of business, without any power on the part of the government to inquire into or interfere with them. No presumption, therefore, as to the real destination of any such ressel would in any case arise from the mere fact of her having a warlike character, although she might be in course of building during a state of war between particular powers, while others were at peace.
In the papers relating to the iron-clad raus at Liverpool, ample illustration will be found of the difficulties which were liable to arise from this state of things whenever it became necessary to prove the actual purpose for which a ship of this character was being constructed, difii. culties which, in the end, rendered it ultimately advisable for Her Majesty's government to pay a very large sum of money for the purchase of the rams rather than risk the uncertain result of a trial.
The four vessels above specitied were procured from British ports, or purchased from British owners, by the persons comprising the de facto government of the Confederate States through their agents, and passed into the possession and control of that government. "After possession had been so acquired they were respectively armed for war, by the orders of that government, were commissioned as ships of war, and were commanded and officered by American citizens holding commissions in its naval service.
The crews of these vessels were enlisted on the high seas or elsewhere out of the jurisdiction of Her Majesty's government, and, in the case of the Florida, chiefly in a port of the Confederate States. They were composed partly of British subjects, whom the American officers induced by persuasion and by promises of reward to take service when at a distance from England. The solicitations of the American officers were sometimes successful in inducing British seamen to serve; sometimes they were exerted in vain. But the vessels were also manned to a considerable extent with Americans and others drawn from the crews of American ships captured by them; though it is right to add that in the case of some of the latter class who left the Shenandoah at Mel. bourne, it was alleged that threats and ill usage had been employed in order to induce them to join.
These vessels, after having been armed for war, were received as vessels of war in the ports of Great Britain as well as in those of the other neutral countries visited by them. In British ports they were received on the same footing as in those of other neutral nations, and were allowed to repair and purchase supplies on the same conditions as armed vessels of the United States, without favor or partiality, careful precautions being employed to prevent any renewal or augmentation of their warlike force within British waters.
No serious endeavors to intercept or capture any of these vessels, during the times of their respective cruises, appear to have been made by the Government of the United States; and the losses inflicted by them woald probably have been in great measure averted had reasonable activity and diligence been exerted by that Government and its officers for that purpose.
The general course of Her Britannic Majesty's government throughout the war was governed by a strict regard for the obligations of neutrality and a sincere desire to fulfill them; and this is apparent as well from the facts which have been stated in relation to the four vessels above specified, as from the other facts stated in the earlier parts of this case.
Thus it has been seenThat, besides the Florida and Alabama, many other ships were believed and asserted by Mr. Adams to be fitting out in British ports for the purpose of carrying on war against the United States, and were made the subject of representations to Her Majesty's government.
That in every case, without exception, the allegations of Mr.  Adams were promptly and carefully investigated; that in the
greater number of cases Mr. Adams proved to be mistaken, the suspected ships being merely merchant-ships, built and fitted out with a view to a special employment, and not for war; that in all cases as to which reasonable evidence could be obtained the suspected vessels were seized and proceedings instituted for the condemnation of them; that four were thus seized the Alexandra, the two iron-clads, and the Canton or Pampero— and were prevented from being used for belligerent purposes ; and one of them, the Alexandra, having been seized in Eng. land and restored by the verdict of a jury, was afterward seized again
That during the whole period of the war, which lasted for four years, Do vessel armed for war was sent out or procured from British ports for
in a British colony.
belligerent use; and that of vessels specially adapted by construction for warlike use, two only, the Florida and Alabama, were so procured in the manner and under the circumstances above described ; while of these two one only, the Alabama, escaped and came into the possession of the confederate government without having undergone a seizure and trial.
Finally, it has been seen that the government of Her Britannic Maj. esty, not content with carefully performing, to the utmost of its power, its recognized international obligations, overstepped, on more than one occasion, the actual limit of those obligations, for the sake of preventing anything whatever which might compromise, or be reasonably thought to compromise, its neutrality; and, in particular, that, in order to prevent vessels which had been armed or built for war within Great Britain from passing into the hands of a belligerent, a large expenditure was twice voluntarily incurred, much of it without any equivalent, in addition to the costs and charges occasioned by unsuccessful proceedings in courts of law,
REMARKS IN CONCLUSION.
Her Britannic Majesty's government has now stated, for the information of the arbitrators, the principal facts which it believes to be material to a just adjudication on the claims urged on ing remarks. the part of the United States. In so doing, Her Majesty's government has been under the unavoidable disadvantage of having to meet a case which has not yet been presented. When that shall bave been done, and the claims of the United States shall have been clearly ascertained, Her Majesty's government will avail itself of the opportunity which it will have, under Article IV of the treaty, to submit to the tribunal such additional or more ample statement of facts as may then appear to be necessary. It forbears, also, until a comparison of the cases submitted on both sides shall have shown what points are really in dispute between the two governments, to enter into argument in support of its own position, and will, for the present, content itself with placing before the tribunal the considerations which follow.
That vessels should, under whatever circumstances, have been procured from British ports for warlike use, and employed as belligerent cruisers against the United States, Great Britain herself being neutral, has been a subject of displeasure and regret to Her Britannic Majesty's government. This regret is not removed by the facts, material as they undoubtedly are to a just appreciation of the question, that the vessels were obtained by means of artifice and concealment, which defeated the vigilance of the officers of the government; that all of them, when they respectively departed from Her Majesty's dominions were wholly un. armed, and some of thein constructed as mere merchant-ships, without any special adaptation for war; that they were few in number; and that the persons who gained possession and control of them, and by whom they were used for war, were themselves, as the Government of the United States has never ceased to maintain, American citizens. Circumstances such as these must greatly affect, in the judgment of any impartial person, the question as to the responsibility of the neutral government. Yet it is nevertheless true that the acts themselves, being such as, if done or authorized by the neutral government, would have compromised its neutrality, had an inevitable tendency to disturb its relations with the belligerent against whom they were directed. Her Majesty's government, therefore, has not hesitated to express its regret, frankly and publicly, to the Government of the United States, and has permitted the expression of it to be placed on record in the treaty which has been concluded between the two powers.
But the Government of the United States insists that it is entitled to satisfaction in money for claims which it asserts have arisen out of acts of these vessels—that is, out of operatious of war carried on, by means of them, by the persons in possession of them for the time being. It is manifest that this contention is one which Her Britannic Majesty's gorernment, although animated by the most friendly feelings toward the United States, could not, with due regard for its own rights and those of neutral nations in general, consent to acknowledge, not believing it to be just. It is a claim of strict right, and can be supported only by clearly establishing that an international duty, owed by Great Britain to the United States, has been violated by Great Britain, and by showing further that an appreciable injury has accrued directly from this cause to the United States, for which Great Britain ought, in justice, to make reparation in money. It is for the Government of the United States, then, to substantiate these positions, to specify clearly the international duty or duties on which it relies, and to prove the violation of which it complains.
A charge of injurious negligence on the part of a sovereign government, in the exercise of any of the powers of sovereignty, needs to be sustained on strong and solid grounds. Every sovereign government claims the right to be independent of external scrutiny or interference in its exercise of these powers; and the general assumption that they are exercised with good faith and reasonable care, and that laws are fairly and properly admiuistered, (an assumption without which peace and friendly intercourse could not exist among nations,) ought to subsist until it has been displaced by proof to the contrary. It is not enough to suggest or prore that a government, in the exercise of a reasonable judgment on some
question of fact or law, and using the means of information at its  *cominand, has formed and acted on an opinion from which
another government dissents or can induce an arbitrator to dissent. Still less is it sufficient to show that a judgment pronounced by a court of competent jurisdiction, and acted upon by the executive, was tainted with error. An administrative act founded on error, or an erroneous judgment of a court, may, indeed, under some circumstances, found a claim to compensation on behalf of a person or government injured by the act or judgment. But a charge of negligence brought against a government cannot be supported on such grounds. Nor is it enough to suggest or prove some defect of judgment or penetration, or somewhat less than the utmost possible promptitude and celerity of action on the part of an officer of the government in the execution of his official duties. To found on this alone a claim to compensation, as for a breach of international duty, would be to exact, in international affairs, a perfection of administration which few governments or none attain in fact, or could reasonably hope to attain, in their domestic concerns; it would set up an impracticable, and therefore an unjust and fallacious standard, would give occasion to incessant and unreasonable complaints, and render the situation of neutrals intolerable. Nor, again, is a nation to be held responsible for a delay or omission occasioned by mere accident, and not by the want of reasonable foresight or care. Lastly, it is not sufficient to show that an act has been done which it was the duty of the government to endeavor to prevent. It is necessary to alege and to prove that there has been a failure to use for the prevention of an act which the government was bound to endeavor to prevent, such care as governments ordinarily employ in their domestic concerns, and may reasonably be expected to exert in matters of international interest and obligation. These considerations apply with especial force to nations which are in the enjoyment of free institutions, and in which the government is bound to obey, and cannot dispense with the laws.
If the tribunal should come to the conclusion that Great Britain has