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My despatches of last week gave information of the surprise and capture of Colonel Kenley's small force at Front Royal, and of an attack by Jackson with a superior force upon General Banks, and his well-conducted retreat from Winchester across the Potomac, at Williamsport. I mentioned that all due preparations had been made to retrieve these misfortunes, and that I thought they would be followed by no serious results. The week which began so inauspiciously was filled with events indicative of a general and speedy triumph of the Union armies.
First. Recruiting, except under heavy restrictions, had been suspended for some months by order of the government. The reverses alluded to favored a removal of those restrictions, and an order for renewal of enlistments, with a view to re-enforce our army in Virginia and supply the waste which had occurred in all the armies. The country responded at once, with even greater enthusiasm than a year ago. There is a third uprising of the people in behalf of the Union, inspired by confidence in the administration and in the land and naval forces.
General Banks's army, which was reduced to six thousand men, and so unfortunately put hors du combat, swelled in the course of the week to twenty thousand men, and it is now, in its turn, pursuing the enemy who had driven it ont of the valley of Virginia. Large forces were also sent into the valley from the east, the south, and the west, to meet the retiring insurgents, and, as Fe trust, to bring the war in that quarter to a prompt conclusion.
While these transactions of minor importance were engaging the most careful consideration of the government, the attention of the nation, and of the world, so far as it occupies itself with our affairs, was all the time fixed upon two points, Corinth and Richmond, where battles seemed imminent, which, resulting in our favor, must be decisive of the painful controversy. The insurgents, demoralized and broken, on the 28th day of last month, evacuated the former position with all its advantages and its prestige, and tbus the war in the Mississippi valley may be deemed virtually ended.
During the early part of the week General McClellan fought battles and Fon advantages at Richmond of great moment. On Saturday the insurgents, arailing themselves of a severe storm which, flooding the valley of the Chickahominy, seemed likely to divide our forces, attacked our left on the south side of that river with a superior force and caused it to break, with some loss of ordnance and stores. Re-enforcements, however, were soon bruught forward, and the position lost was regained. The two armies birouacked on the field at night. The battle was renewed the next morn. ing with the result of a repulse of the insurgents at every point. The army of General McClellan will be rapidly strengthened, although it is already deemed adequate to the capture of Richmond.
Misunderstandings have occurred between Gene al Butler and the consuls of several maritime states at New Orleans. This was, perhaps, unavoidable under the circumstances. You will receive herewith a paper which will show you the course that has been taken by the President to remove any just ground of complaint that may exist, and prevent any further difficulties of that kind.
Finally, I have the pleasure to inform you that a wholesome moral sentiment is already rapidly revealing itself in the insurrectionary region. It shows itself somewhat slowly indeed, but nevertheless distinctly at Norfolk. Regiments for the federal army are forming in North Carolina.
In Arkansas, Alabama, and Louisiana there are unmistakable signs of returning loyalty. No American now indulges any doubt that the integrity of the Union will be triumphantly maintained.
We have good authority for questioning the fact of any such general destruction of cotton by the insurgents as their organs have asserted. The blockade was relaxed at the ports of Beaufort, Port Royal, and New Orleans yesterday, in pursuance of the proclamation of the President, heretofore issued. I am, sir, your obedient servant,
WILLIAM H. SEWARD. CHARLES FRANCIS ADAMS, Esq., dr., fc., 8c.. [Same to Mr. Dayton, No. 161.]
Mr. Seward to Mr. Adams.
DEPARTMENT OF STATE,
Washington, June 2, 1862. Sir: The arrival of your despatch, No. 159, has been already acknowledged.
The Japanese ambassadors seem to have interrupted a very interesting conversation between yourself and Earl Russell on the subject of the relations existing between this country and Great Britain. I cannot but think that if it had been continued it would have been closed with beneficial results. I hope that Japan may have gained an equivalent for our loss resulting from the interruption.
Some materials for enforcing the views you so justly presented, with so much energy and so much candor, in that interview, have already been sent forward to you. There has just now fallen into our hands a very extraordinary document, being a report made by Caleb Huse, who calls himself a captain of artillery, and who is an agent of the insurgents in Europe, to the chief of the artillery of the war department of the insurgents. It recites purchases of arms, munitions of war, and military supplies, which have been shipped by him in England and elsewhere in the mad attempt to overthrow the federal Union. It reveals enough to show that the complaints you have made to Earl Russell fell infinitely short of the real abuses of neutrality which have been committed in Great Britain in the very face of her Majesty's government. The revolution is now approaching its end, and it is just at this moment that the proof becomes irresistible that, if it had been successful, its success would have been due to the aid and assistance it derived from the people of Great Britain, notwithstanding the appeals and remonstrances of this government. The President of the United States has persistently expressed his anxiety throughout the whole distempered period which we have passed, that it might end in the preservation of friendly and cordial relations with all the states with which we have heretofore lived in amity, and especially with Great Britain. Whoever shall read the document I now send you will not wonder that the President thinks it desirable that the government of Great Britain should consider, before the war closes, what are likely to be the sentiments of the two nations in regard to each other after that event shall have occurred. I am, sir, your obedient servant,
WILLIAM H. SEWARD. Charles Francis Adams, Esq., &c., &c., &c.
Mr. Seward to Mr. Adams.
DEPARTMENT OF STATE,
Washington, June 7, 1862. Sir: Your despatch of May 23, No. 165, has been received. You will express confidentially to Earl Russell the satisfaction with which the President has received the explanations made through you by Earl Russell on the subject of the changed condition of affairs in Mexico.
You have expressed to his lordship, as well as to myself, some doubts of the candor and loyalty of the Spanish government in the declarations of approval of the Commanding General Prim which that government has made to Earl Russell. It gives me pleasure to inform you that these declarations harmonize entirely with the tone of all the communications on the same subject which have been received at this department from Mr. Calderon Collantes.
The new complication of affairs in Mexico is a cause of serious concern to the government of the United States. Mr. Corwin has negotiated a treaty which stipulates a loan of eleven million of dollars to the Mexican government. But the condition of affairs in our own country, to say nothing of the state of things in Mexico, is such as to make it extremely doubtful whether that measure would receive at present the approval of the Senate of the United States. The President therefore holds the subject in reserve.
The contents of this despatch may be made known in confidence to Earl Rassell. I am, sir, your obedient servant,
WILLIAM H. SEWARD. CHARLES Francis Adams, Esq., fc., ft., fc.
Mr. Seward to Mr. Adams.
DEPARTMENT OF STATE, .
Washington, June 9, 1862. Sir: Your despatch of May 22, No. 164, has been submitted to the President. He regrets that her Majesty's government does not deem it important to reconsider its attitude towards the United States.
You will receive herewith information of a naval conflict at Memphis, resulting in the surrender of the city and in the restoration of the national commerce throughout the whole navigable courses of the Mississippi and its tributaries.
Of all the important ports and towns, only Mobile, Savannah, Charleston, and Richmond remain in the hands of the insurgents. The investment of the three former is going on successfully. Floods have swollen the Chickahominy, which, in ordinary seasons, is only a few yards wide, into a river two miles in breadth. This inundation now for a few days delays the operations against Richmond, but they will be prosecuted with vigor as soon as the condition of the field shall permit.
The condition of our relations with maritime powers is becoming a subject of popular debate, and is likely to be agitated in the House of Representatives. It is impossible here to understand the policy by which the British government is persuaded that the sensibilities of this country, upon the subject of its sovereignty and true independence, in such a crisis as this, are wisely disregarded. I am, sir, your obedient servant,
WILLIAM H. SEWARD. CHARLES FRANCIS ADAMS, Esq., &c., &c., &c.
Mr. Seward to Mr. Adams.
DEPARTMENT OF STATE,
Washington, June 9, 1862. Sir: Your despatch of the 16th of May, No. 160, has been received.
The arguments for the restitution of the Emily St. Pierre are so conclusive that I am happy in being authorized to assume them on behalf of this government without making any addition to them.
Of course we cannot send our naval police into British waters to recapture the Emily St. Pierre and bring her before our conrts of admiralty. You have been instructed to take counsel upon the question whether our captors can maintain proceedings against the rescuers and the vessel in the British admiralty. When you shall have given us the result of these inquiries I shall again submit the whole subject to the President for his further directions. I am, sir, your obedient servant,
WILLIAM H. SEWARD. CHARLES Francis Adams, Esq., &c., &c., &c.
Mr. Adams to Mr. Seward.
LEGATION OF THE UNITED STATES,
. London, June 13, 1862. Sir: I have the honor to transmit a copy of Lord Russell's note to me, just received, in reply to mine of the 28th of May, on the subject of the ship Emily St. Pierre. At the same time I transmit a copy of my reply.
It seems to me that after this no resource is left in cases of seizure for violating the blockade but to put the officers in irons. I have the honor to be, sir, your obedient servant,
CHARLES FRANCIS ADAMS. Hon. William H. SEWARD,
Secretary of State, Washington, D. C.
Earl Russell to Mr. Adams.
FOREIGN OFFICE, June 12, 1862. Sir: I have had the honor to receive your further letter of the 28th of May respecting the case of the Emily St. Pierre.
In that letter you profess to review and re-examine all the circumstances of the case; but I do not observe that you cite any new authorities in support of your claim for the surrender of the vessel to the captors from whom
she was rescued, or that you refer to any precedent tending to show that a demand, similar to that which you now make, has been ever made by any belligerent upon a neutral government, or acceded to by a neutral government.
Passing, however, to the observations in your letter now before me, her Majesty's goverment cannot acquiesce in your assumption that the governments of nations incur any responsibility for wrongful and fraudulent acts committed by their subjects against friendly nations by not taking positive measures of their own, manifesting either the determination to repress such acts on the part of their subjects, or the desire to repair them after they have been committed. It is a general principle that each nation deals only with offences committed against its own laws, and is not called upon to carry into effect, or to aid in carrying into effect, the laws of foreign nations against persons who may have violated them, and who may be found within its territory.
England, France, and the United States have constantly, either by diplomatic acts, or by decisions of their tribunals, expressed their opinion that, opon principles of international law, irrespective of treaty, the surrender of a foreign criminal who has taken refuge within their territory cannot be demanded. Such a criminal has not offended against the law of the country in which he is found, and that country is not bound to take notice of his having violated the law of a foreign State; and therefore, by parity of reason, neutral nations are not bound to punish their subjects for offences committed only against the laws of war as enforced by belligerents, nor to restore property rescued by their subjects from foreign captors.
It is notorious that a nation takes no notice of offences either begun or committed, or carried out and concluded, within its territory against the iscal laws of another nation; it lends such nations no aid in enforcing those laws, or in apprehending or punishing those who break them; it does not restore property brought into its territory out of a foreign state by smuggling; it does not interfere with property in its territory or on board its vessels "in transitu” to be smuggled into a foreign state; it incurs no international responsibility by tolerating the acts of persons engaged in such transactions; it does not attempt by any positive measures of its own to manifest either the will to repress the commission of the act or the desire to repair it after it is done.
The principle on which the foreign enlistment act is founded is broadly distinguishable from, and is a plain exception to, what I have now stated. Attempts on the part of the subjects of a neutral government to take part in a war, or to make use of the neutral territory as an arsenal or barrack for the preparation and inception of direct and immediate hostilities against a State with which their government is at peace, as by enlisting soldiers or fitting out ships-of-war, and so converting, as it were, neutral territory into a hostile depot or post in order to carry on hostilities therefrom, have an obvious tendency to involve in the war the neutral government which tolerates such proceedings. Such attempts, if unchecked, might imply, at least, an indirect participation in hostile acts, and they are, therefore, consistently treated by the government of the neutral state as offences against its public policy and safety, which may thereby be implicated. But these acts are widely different from such offences against the laws of war exclusively as attempts by merchant ships to break blockade or the rescue of an individual ship from her prize crew. Not only in the case of neutrals in war, but in all cases falling within the same general principle, the nation to whom the parties complained of belong leaves to other nations who may suffer by the acts of such parties the infliction of the penalty. It may happen that the nation receiving the injury may bave an opportunity of resenting it should