Imágenes de páginas

remarkable as Great Britain had not the apology of war to disturb her equanimity.

A well-informed person, writing from Berlin, furnishes the following instance, which occurred as late as 1860. “Two British men-of-war took, or at least threatened to take, the Paraguayan war-steamer Tacuaril, in the port of Buenos Ayres. They laid themselves on each side of the Paraguayan war-steamer, in order to enforce a claim which proved afterwards to be fallacious.” The writer adds, that “this case, if looked into closely, will probably serve as a counter argument, should England have anything to say on the FloridaBahia affair.” True enough; and such is the recent judgment of a German publicist.

There is also that other historic instance which has among its incidents the suspension of diplomatic relations between Brazil and Great Britain. It began with a demand by the latter power for reparation on account of a vessel pillaged after shipwreck on the coast of Brazil, in June, 1861. This was complicated soon after by a quarrel between certain officers of a British frigate in the harbor of Rio Janeiro and a sentry on shore, which ended in taking the officers into custody. The British minister demanded reparation for these two alleged wrongs; and the British admiral, who was at hand, seized five Brazilian merchant-vessels in the harbor of Rio Janeiro, declaring that he would not release them until £6,500 had been paid on account of the pillaged vessel, and satisfaction afforded for the detention of the officers. Thus, in time of peace, without any declaration of war, the British admiral performed an act of war, like that in the case of the Florida, but without the apology of the captors of the latter vessel. In short,

hre undertook, within the territorial jurisdiction of Brazil, to seize, not one vessel, but five vessels, -and all these innocent, neither piratical in origin nor belonging to people without ocean rights. Brazil, succumbing to superior force, paid the money demanded, and referred the question of reparation in the case of the officers to the arbitration of King Leopold of Belgium, who has since rendered judgment for the weaker power. The question of responsibility for the five innocent vessels seized within the territorial jurisdiction of Brazil was left unsettled. The mild and accomplished minister of Brazil in London, M. Carvalho Moreira, made a reclamation on this account, in a careful note, dated May 5, 1863, where he submitted, that “the English Government should express its regret at the acts which accompanied the reprisals, and declare that it had no intention to offend the dignity or to violate the territorial sovereignty of the empire,” and that it should consent to refer the question of damages to arbitration. Earl Russell declining to reopen any part of the questions between the two Governments, or to enter into any explanations, the Brazilian minister at once demanded his passports and left London. This case will be found at length in an authentic publication, which has only recently appeared. 1 I leave it, simply quoting from the work these pertinent words: “The question was with regard to the reparation and compensation which Brazil demanded from England for the seizure of her merchant-vessels and for the violation of her territorial waters. . . . . It was, unhappily, easy to foresee

1 Annuaire des Deux Mondes, 1862 - 63, pp. 920 - 926. See also Parliamentary Papers for 1863, Vol. LXXIII., where Earl Russell's note is without an offensive clause which appears in the French authority.

the issue of this question, England being always more disposed to demand reparation and indemnities than to accord them.”1 Such is the recent judgment of a French publicist.

There is another case, which has not yet found its way into the books, nor did it occur after the Crimean War; but it is so very recent, and so curious, that I venture to adduce it. I am indebted for it to the Hon. John B. Alley, one of our Representatives in Congress, to whom it was communicated by one of his constituents. The bark Home, of Boston, was on her way from Calcutta to Boston, when, on or about August 22, 1849, she fell in with a vessel, first supposed to be a pirate, but at last proved to be the Polka, prize to the British steamer Sharpshooter, with the crew in a starying condition. The prize-master, on coming aboard, said that the prize was taken in Port Macahé, near Cape Frio, in Brazil, for being engaged in the slave-trade; that, to escape the fire of the fort, which opened on the captors, they slipped the cable, and cut adrift the boat which was made fast astern; that at the time of the capture there was no person aboard, except a single negro; and that a midshipman with ten men was put aboard to take her to St. Helena. The famished crew were supplied by the American bark with bread, beef, water, and other small stores, for which the British Government paid, in 1852, the cost price, being all that was asked. On this case the master of the bark, in his communication to Mr. Alley, remarks: "This is another instance where a vessel was taken in a port by the British, and this in a time of profound peace;

1 Annuaire des Deux Mondes, 1862 – 63, p. 925.
2 MS. Letter of Henry A. Hopner, Lym, December 2, 1864.

and as the fort fired on them, I presume the capture was not made by consent of the Brazilian Government.” Such is the mild conclusion of an American shipmaster, who seems to see the conduct of Great Britain in the same light as it is seen by the publicist of Germany and the publicist of France.

Such instances, so recent, show how little the injunction of International Law has been regarded by Great Britain, whether before or after the Crimean War; and yet British censors have not hesitated to arraign the United States in brutal terms. I do not admit their competency to sit in judgment on us; I plead to the jurisdiction. If they would teach correct principles, they must begin by a correct example. Meanwhile the abuses for which Great Britain is responsible cannot be forgotten by those who sincerely desire a new era in International Law. I say this in no spirit of reproach or controversy, but simply to serve the cause of my country and of truth.






DECEMBER 19th, Mr. Doolittle, of Wisconsin, introduced a bill to enable the President to expend the sum of ten million dollars, or so much thereof as might be necessary, in his opinion, in building fortifications and floating-batteries to defend our northern frontier and the commerce of the Lakes against the attacks of piratical and hostile expeditions organized in the British provinces by the enemies of the United States ; and he moved the reference of the bill to the Committee on Finance, which, at the suggestion of Mr. Sumner, he changed to the Committee on Foreign Relations. A debate ensued, involving what were called the troubles on the border, and especially the “St. Albans Raid," when a hostile expedition crossed from Canada into Vermont, and committed acts of violence in that town. Mr. Sumner said :


R. PRESIDENT, -- The question before the Sen

ate is simply on the reference of this bill. It is a question of the order of business.

Looking at its character, it is plain that it concerns primarily and essentially our foreign relations. This circumstance gives it a peculiar interest. If it concerned only an additional levy of troops, or the building of new forts, or a change in our commercial policy, there would be no question with regard to its reference, nor would the Senator from Maryland [ Mr. REVERDY JOHNson] have followed it by remarks on the outrage at St.

« AnteriorContinuar »