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the time had come for the joint action which had been previously agreed upon; and, without waiting to learn the purposes of the United [47] States, it *announced its intention to take the first step by recognizing the insurgents as belligerents.

W.19 received

The President's Proclamation, which has since been made the ostensible reason for this determination, was issued on the 19th When the Presi of April, and was made public in the Washington news- dent's Proclamation papers of the morning of the 20th. An imperfect copy of it Great Britain. was also telegraphed to New York, and from thence to Boston, in each of which cities it appeared in the newspapers of the morning of the 20th.

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The New York papers of the 20th gave the substance of the Proclamation, without the official commencement and close, and with several errors of more or less importance.

The Boston papers of the same date, in addition to the errors in the New York copy, omitted the very important statement in regard to the collection of the revenue, which appears in the Proclamation as the main cause of its issue.

During the morning of the 19th of April, a riot took place in Baltimore, which ended in severing direct communication, by rail or telegraph, between Washington and New York. Telegraphic communication was not restored until the 30th of the month. The regular passage of the mails and trains was resumed about the same time. It appears by a dispatch from Lord Lyons to Lord John Russell that the mails had not been resumed on the 27th.1


It is absolutely certain that no full copy of the text of the Proclamation could have left Washington by the mails of the 19th, and equally certain that no copy could have reached New York from Washington after the 19th for several days.

On the 20th the steamer Canadian sailed from Portland, taking the Boston papers of that day, with the imperfect copy of the Proclamation, in which the clause in regard to the collection of the revenue was suppressed. This steamer arrived at Londonderry on the 1st of May, and the "Daily News" of London, of the 2d of May, published the following telegraphic items of news: "President Lincoln has issued a Proclamation, declaring a blockade of all the ports in the seceded States. The Federal Government will condemn as pirates all privateer-vessels which may be seized by Federal ships." The Canadian arrived at Liverpool on the 2d of May, and the "Daily News," of the 3d, and the "Times," of the 4th of May, published the imperfect Boston copy of the Proclamation in the language as shown in the note below.2 [49] No other than the Boston copy of the * Proclamation appears to have been published in the London newspapers. It is not likely that a copy was received in London before the 10th, by the Fulton from New York.

1 Blue Book, North America, No. 1, 1862, page 26.

The following is the President's Proclamation of the blockade of the Southern


"An insurrection against the Government of the United States has broken out in the States of South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Florida, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Texas, and the laws of the United States cannot be executed effectually therein conformably to that provision of the Constitution which requires duties to be uniform throughout the United States; and further, a combination of persons, engaged in such insurrection, have threatened to grant pretended letters of marque to authorize the bearers thereof to commit assaults on the lives, vessels, and property of good citizens of the country lawfully engaged in commerce on the high seas and in the waters of the United States; and whereas an Executive Proclamation has already been issued, requiring the persons engaged in these disorderly proceedings to desist, and therefor

Opinion of Law

It was on this meager and incorrect information that the advice of the British Law Officers was based, upon which that GovOfficers taken on an ernment acted. On the evening of the 2d of May, Lord imperfect copy. John Russell stated in the House of Commons that' "Her Majesty's Government heard the other day that the Con- [50] federated States have issued letters of marque, and to-day we have heard that it is intended there shall be a blockade of all the ports of the Southern States. As to the general provisions of the law of nations on these questions, some of the points are so new, as well as so important, that they have been referred to the Law Officers of the Crown for their opinions."

Her Majesty's Gov


the 1st of May to


It is with deep regret that the United States find themselves obliged to lay before the Tribunal of Arbitration the evidence that, ernment decide when this announcement was made in the House of Comrecognize a state of mons, Her Majesty's Government had already decided to recognize the right of the Southern insurgents to attack and destroy the commerce of the United States on the high seas. On the 1st day of May, 1861, (two days before they could have heard of the issue of the President's Proclamation,) Lord John Russell wrote as follows to the Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty:2

"The intelligence which reached this country by the last mail from the United States gives reason to suppose that a civil war between the Northern and Southern States of that Confederacy was imminent, if indeed it might not be considered to have already begun.

*"Simultaneously with the arrival of this news, a telegram, [51] purporting to have been conveyed to Halifax from the United States, was received, which announced that the President of the Southern Confederacy had taken steps for issuing letters of marque against the vessels of the Northern States."

"I need scarcely observe to Your Lordships that it may be right to apprise the Admiral that, much as Her Majesty regrets the prospect of civil war breaking out in a country in the happiness and peace of which Her Majesty takes the deepest interest, it is Her Majesty's pleasure that nothing should be done by her naval forces which should indicate any partiality or preference for either party in the contest that may ensue.”

On the 4th of May 3 Lord John Russell held an interview with some individuals, whom he described as "the three gentlemen deputed by the Southern Confederacy to obtain their recog

Lord John Rus ell and the insurgent commissioners tlis

cuss the recognition nition as an independent State." Although he informed

of Southern independence.

them that he could hold no official communication with them,

calling out the militia force for the purpose of repressing the same, and convening Congress in extraordinary session to deliberate and determine thereon, the President, with a view to the same purposes before mentioned, and to the protection of the public peace and the lives and property of its orderly citizens pursuing their lawful occupations, until Congress shall have assembled and deliberated on said unlawful proceedings, or until the same shall have ceased, has further deemed it advisable to set on foot a blockade of the ports within the States aforesaid, in pursuance of the laws of the United States and the laws of nations in such cases provided. For this purpose a competent force will be posted, so as to prevent the entrance and exit of vessels from the ports aforesaid. If, therefore, with a view to violate such blockade, any vessel shall attempt to leave any of the said ports, she will be duly warned by the commander of one of said blockading vessels, who will indorse on her register the fact and date of such warning; and if the same vessel shall again attempt to enter or leave a blockaded port, she will be captured and sent to the nearest convenient port for such proceedings against her and her cargo as may be deemed advisable."

1 Vol. IV, page 482.

2 Vol. I, page 33.

3 Vol. I, page 37.


he did discuss with them the question of recognition, and he indicated to them the points to which they must direct their attention in [52] the discussion of the subject. He also listened to their views in response thereto; and when on the termination of the interview they informed 'him "that they should remain in London for the present, in the hope that the recognition of the Southern Confederacy would not be long delayed," he interposed no objections to such a course, and suggested no improbability of such a recognition.



On the 5th of May the steamship Persia arrived at Liverpool with advices from New York to the 25th of April. Lord John Rus- Communication sell stated on Monday, the 6th of May, in a communication with the French to Lord Cowley, "that Her Majesty's Government received no dispatches from Lord Lyons by the mail which has just arrived, [the Persia,] the communication between Washington and New York being interrupted."


In the same dispatch Lord Cowley is informed "that Her Majesty's Government cannot hesitate to admit that such Confederacy is entitled to be considered as a belligerent, and as such invested with all the right and prerogatives of a belligerent," and he is instructed to invite the French Government to a joint action, and a line of joint policy with the British Government, toward, the United States. Lord Cowley, [53] under these instructions, had an interview on the 9th of May *with the French Minister for Foreign Affairs. The Tribunal may infer from the published correspondence that it was assumed at this interview that the two Governments should act together, and that the letters of marque which might be issued by the insurgents should be Answer of the respected. Lord Cowley reported that "His Excellency French Government. said further that in looking for precedents it had been discovered that Great Britain, although treating at the commencement of the American war letters of marque as piracy, had, after a time, recognized the belligerent rights of the States in rebellion against her." The answer to these instructions was received at the Foreign Office on the 11th of May. The United States are firmly convinced that no correct or complete copy of the President's Proclamation could have been received there in advance of it. It is known that the official copy forwarded by Lord Lyons to his Government reached London on the 14th of May. The official copy sent by Mr. Seward to Mr. Dallas reached Southampton on the evening of the 9th of May, and London on the 10th. It is stated in the British notes on Mr. Fish's instruction of September 25, 1869, to Mr. Motley, that the Proclamation was communicated officially by Mr. Dallas [54] to Lord *John Russell on the 11th. There is no evidence of this fact in the archives of the Legation of the United When the Presi States at London, or at the Department of State at Wash- dent's Proclamation ington. But even if the statement in the notes be correct, still the British Government received in the afternoon of the 11th of May, 1861, its first complete and official copy of the President's Proclamation, ten days after Lord John Russell had decided to award the rights of belligerency on the ocean to the insurgents, eight days after the subject had been referred to the Law Officers for their opinion, and five days after the decision of Her Majesty's Government upon that opinion had been announced in the House of Commons, as hereinafter set forth.

was received by Great Britain.

On the same day on which Lord John Russell wrote Lord Cowley (May 6th) he wrote to Lord Lyons, calling the United States "the

Vol. I, page 36; see also same volume, page 48. 3 British Blue Book on the Blockade, 1861, page 1.

2 Vol. I, page 49.

4 Vol. I, pages 36, 37.

northern portion of the late Union," and reiterating that Her Majesty's Government "cannot question the right of the Southern States to be recognized as a belligerent;" and in the House of Commons, on the same evening, he announced that the Attorney and Solicitor General, the Queen's Advocate, and the Government had come to the conclusion that the Southern Confederacy of America must be treated as a belligerent. On the same evening, Lord Palmerston said in the [55] House of Commons,1 "No one can regret more than I do the intelligence which has been received within the last few days from America; but at the same time, any one must have been short-sighted and little capable of anticipating the probable course of human events, who had not for a long time foreseen events of a similar character to those we now deplore. From the commencement of this unfortunate quarrel between the two sections of the United States, it is evident that the causes of disunion were too deeply seated to make it possible that separation would not take place, and it was also obvious that passions were so roused on both sides as to make it highly improbable that such separation could take place without a contest."

Effect of recogni.

A question was asked in the House of Commons on the 7th of May,2 the next evening, as to the extent of the belligerent rights tion of a state of at sea which would be acquired by the South, to which Lord Palmerston declined to make answer "until the Government should be in a condition, after consulting its legal advisers, to make some distinct communication on the subject.”



On the 9th of May, Sir George Lewis announced that a pro- [56] clamation would be issued, stating "the general effect of the common and statute law on the matter;" and on the 10th, Lord Granville repeated the declaration in the House of Lords. In the discussion there it was assumed by all the speakers that the insurgent Government might lawfully issue letters of marque.

It is believed by the United States that it was well known to Her Majesty's Government during all this time, that Mr. Adams was about to arrive with instruction from the new administration, and that he came possessed of its most confidential views on these important questions. On the 2d May Mr. Dallas wrote Mr. Seward thus: "The solici tude felt by Lord John Russell as to the effect of certain measures represented as likely to be adopted by the President, induced him to request me to call at his private residence yesterday. * I informed him that Mr. Adams had apprised me of his intention to be on his way hither in the steamship Niagara, which left Boston on the 1st of May, and that he would probably arrive in less than two weeks, by the 12th or 15th instant. His Lordship acquiesced in the expediency of disregarding mere rumor, and waiting the full knowledge to be brought by my successor." The United States, for reasons already given, have no doubt that, before that interview, Her Majesty's Government had already decided upon their course of action. Mr. Adams did The Queen's Proc. actually arrive in London on the evening of the 13th of May. The Queen's Proclamation of neutrality was issued on the morning of that day.



A careful examination of the published correspondence and speeches of Lord John Russell shows that Her Majesty's Government Her Majesty's Gov- was at that time by no means certain that there was a war in the United States. On the 1st of May," he directs the

Uncertainty of


Hansard's Debates, 3d series, Vol. CLXII,

2 Vol. IV, page 484.
4 Vol. I, page 34.

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pages 1622-23.

3 Vol. IV, page 486.
5 Vol. I, page 33.

Admiralty as to the course to be pursued with reference to the insurgent cruisers in the war which, he thinks, may "have already begun.” On the 2d of May' he asks the Law Officers of the Crown what course the Government shall pursue. On the 1st of June, however, he is in doubt on the subject, and he writes to the Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty, informing them of the rules to be observed by the British naval forces"in the contest which appears to be imminent between the United States and the so-styled Confederate States of North America." It would seem, therefore, that on the 1st of June, 1861, Her Majesty's Government regarded only as "imminent" the hostilities which Her Majesty's Proclamation of the 13th of the previous May alleged [58] had "unhappily commenced between the United States of America and certain States styling themselves the Confederate States of America." In point of fact, Lord John Russell's dispatch of the 1st of June described with fidelity the condition of things so far as then known in London; for at that time the intelligence of the exhilarating effect of the Queen's Proclamation upon the insurgents, and its depressing effect upon the Government and loyal population of the United States, had not reached Europe.

Whatever Lord John Russell, and his colleagues in the Government, who decided to counsel Her Majesty to issue the Proclamation of May 13th, may have thought, the debates in Parlia- Queen's ment removed any excuse for ignorance as to the effect of that instrument.

Effect of the


As early as the 29th of April, in the House of Commons, an opposi tion member had said that "there could be no doubt that if the war should be continued in that country [the United States] there would be thousands of privateers hovering about those coasts; to which the Chancellor of the Exchequer (Mr. Gladstone) immediately replied: "All that relates to the dangers which may arise between British merchant ships and American or other privateers * *** * I shall pretermit, not [59] because I presume to say or think that they are insignificant, but because I feel it my duty to address myself to those points which touch more directly and more practically [the Budget] the matter in hand.”4


In a debate in the House of Lords, on the 10th of May, Lord Hardwicke said that he "was anxious that the House should not enter too strong a protest against that which was a natural consequence of war, namely, that vessels should be fitted out by private individuals under letters of marque. That was, no doubt, privateering, but it did not by any means follow that privateering was piracy. He believed that if privateering-ships were put in the hands of proper officers, they were hot engaged in piracy any more than men-of-war. He thought that a feeble State engaged in a war with a powerful one had a right to make use of its merchant-vessels for the purpose of carrying on the contest, and there was no violation of the law of nations in such a proceeding."

In the more elaborate discussion which followed on the 16th of the same mouth in the House of Lords, the Lord Chancellor said: "If, after the publishing of the present proclamation, any English subject were to enter into the service of either of the belligerents on the other side of the Atlantic, there could be no doubt that the * person so acting would be liable to be punished for a violation of


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