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ing the trade from India. I fear that neither of them separately, nor indeed both together, are any match for the shrewdness and enterprise of Captain Semmes, who has a vessel very capable of escaping from every risk of encounter. The exploits of this vessel by no means give rise to a feeling of entire satisfaction on this side of the water. A strong proof of this is to be found in the proceedings of the Chamber of Commerce at Liverpool, where is the greatest sympathy with the rebellion. Mr. Dudley will undoubtedly furnish you with a copy of them. The leading newspapers in London have discussed the subject according to their biases; but not without betraying a good deal of misgiving as to the position of their government in respect to it, although they are evidently without the knowledge of all the facts. I am told, though not by authority, that some parties who yet hold an interest in her, from not having been paid, have taken advice as to the extent of their responsibility in case of reclamations being made. Having myself considered from the outset such a proceeding probable, I have shaped my course in my correspondence with Lord Russell mainly to the preparation of a record to sustain it.
The activity in forwarding supplies of all sorts to the British islands continues unabated. I learn that orders from Charleston to procure Armstrong and Whitworth guns, at any cost, are in process of execution in anticipation of an expected attack on that point. I have the honor to be, sir, your obedient servant,
CHARLES FRANCIS ADAMS. Hon. William H. SEWARD,
Secretary of State, Washington, D. C.
Mr. Seward to Mr. Adams.
DEPARTMENT OF STATE,
Washington, November 21, 1862. Sir: Your despatch of November 6 (No. 257) has been received, and the measure you adopted of directing the attention of the commanders of the Tuscarora and Kearsarge to the new piratical proceedings threatened by the 290 is approved. I have already communicated the information which your despatch brings to the Secretary of the Navy.
Our consul at Quebec writes that the British war steamer Ariadne has been sent from that place by Rear Admiral Milne to cruise for the same offender. Having accepted this information as true, it excites some surprise to find that the purpose of the British government in this respect has not been made known to you in London. I am, sir, your obedient servant,
WILLIAM H. SEWARD. CHARLES FRANCIS Adams, Esq., dr., fr., fc.
Mr. Seward to Lord Lyons.
DEPARTMENT OF STATE,
Washington, December 3, 1861. My LORD: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your lordship’s note of the 30th November last, in which you review the explanations of the Secretary of the Navy which I have subinitted to you concerning the cases of two seamen of the British schooner Revere, and two other seamen of the British schooner Louisa Agnes, which two schooners were captured, though at different times, in attempts to break the blockade of the porte held by the insurgents. I have read your objections to these explanations with great care, and, as I trust, with candor, inspired by a sincere desire to concede to the complainants whom you represent any redress to which they might be found entitled, and to preserve the best possible understanding with the government of Great Britain. The Secretary's explanations do, in fact, show, as you have assumed that the two seamen of the schooner Revere were confined for two or three days in single irons in the day time, and in double irons during the night, and that after the period thus passed they were left at liberty during the greater part of the day but confined at night. I cannot admit, however, that you are perfectly just in calling this confinement hard treatment. You notice the explanation, that confinement of the seamen with irons to the extent practiced was resorted to in order to prevent their rising and retaking the vessel; but you object that no information is given from which an opinion can be formed as to the reasonableness of the precaution, and that no evidence is adduced of there having been ground for suspecting the men of a design to retake the vessel, or for apprehending that they had the means of executing such a design. Whether the restraints practiced upon the two seamen in question were “hard treatment” and a severe measure, as you have characterized them, or whether it was proper treatment, of course depends altogether, as you seem to admit, upon the circumstance whether those restraints exceeded the rigor which reasonable prudence required for the security of the capturing vessel and her prize on their way to port for adjudication.
You seem to have assumed that any confinement of the seamen, especially in irons, in such a case must by law be presumed to be unnecessary, and therefore unreasonable and severe, and that consequently it devolves upon the officer who makes the capture to exculpate himself from the general charge of hardness or severity by showing that the rigor practiced was necessary in the act complained of. I submit, on the contrary, that in these as in all other cases it rests with the complainant to show in his statement the facts and circumstances which constitute the grievance, before the accused party can be called upon to deny, or at least justify, the conduct alleged against him. I proceed to examine the case of the two seamen of the Revere in the light of this rule.
On the 6th of October your lordship addressed me a note, in which you stated that you therewith handed to me a copy of a despatch as well as a copy of a letter and an attested copy of an affidavit. You added that you desired to recommend to my favorable consideration the request to which those papers referred, that the mate of the British schooner Revere, who appeared to be detained at Fortress Monroe, might appear at Boston as a witness for the defence of the vessel before the prize court at that city. You added that you desired also to direct my attention to the unusual manner in which the master and crew of the Revere appeared to have been treated, and especially to the fact of two of the crew having been kept (as it would seem very unjustly) in irons. You closed with requesting me to return the attested copy of the affidavit to you. Your request that the captain might be allowed to appear at the prize
court was promptly granted. The attested copy of an affidavit was returned to you as requested, without a copy of it having been taken in this department, as it was not then supposed that you thought it would be useful beyond the purpose of showing that you had grounds for calling my attention to the subject of the confinement of the seamen. It is necessary to state that the despatch was silent upon the subject of the confinement of the seamen. A copy of your note, together with a copy of the despatch annexed to it, was, on the 7th day of October, the very day of their receipt, by me submitted to the Secretary of the Navy with a request in general terms for the information necessary to enable me to reply to the note.
On the 11th of November I had the honor to receive from your lordship a second note bearing date on the 7th of that month, in which you recited that on the 10th of October (meaning the 6th) you had directed my attention to the unusual manner in which the master and crew of the British schooner Revere appeared to have been treated after the capture of their vessel by the United States ship Cambridge, and especially to the fact that two of the crew had been kept in irons. You then proceeded to lay before me another and kindred complaint about the rigor practiced, as you assumed, upon two seamen of another and different vessel. But you gave me no information whatever concerning the two seamen of the Revere A copy of this last paper was transmitted by me to the Secretary of the Navy on the 12th day of November. The Secretary of the Navy having called Flag-Officer Goldsborough's attention to the two complaints as thus submitted to me in very general terms, that officer reported to the Secretary of the Navy by sending him the papers, copies of which were transmitted to you, and which you have found so unsatisfactory. These papers show that the irons which were used had been placed on board for the protection of the prize master, and to be used by him when deemed necessary. I am informed that irons are always provided and kept on board blockading vessels as a necessary precaution. So customary is this that a naval officer who, being charged with the maintaining of a blockade, should lose his own vessel, or even a prize, for want of this precaution, would justly incur punishment at the hands of his government. The papers show that Lieutenant Gwin, the executive officer of the Cambridge, certainly had injunctions from the commander that the crews were to have every indulgence their case would admit of, and that they should be made as comfortable as possible. Upon the capture of the Revere he put the prize master on board of her, with the irons, with instructions to use them if he should deem it necessary. The prize master, going with probably only two or three loyal seamen spared from the Cambridge, it appears, did deem it necessary at first to put the two captured seamen in irons until their dispositions should be ascertained. When it is considered that these seamen were strangers to him, captured, disappointed in the objects of their voyage, and conveyed, against their wishes and will, to a distant and, to them, foreign port, by an authority in the exercise of a belligerent power, I think that it might have been reasonably apprehended by the prize master that if left from the first entirely free they might attempt the life of the prize master, or at least the deliverance of the prize. Using the same form of illustration as before, I think that the prize master, who having irons put into his hands for his own safety and the security of the prize vessel, should nevertheless have lost the prize by its being recaptured by captives whom he had not confined, would justly be dismissed from the naval service. Whether the prize master might not with safety have released the two seamen from their continement in irons, at an earlier day or hour, remains uncertain. It should seem right if be has exercised his best discretion in a case in which his discretion was necessarily the rule of his conduct, unless, indeed, it shall be affirmatively shown that he wilfully or negligently abused his power over the unwilling and reluctant seamen. That he did not so abuse his power seems to me to be clearly proved by the fact that all of the officers of the Cambridge testified that the seamen made no complaints on leaving the Cambridge, and, on the contrary, spoke in good terms of their treatment, and that the commander of the Cambridge declares that he is astonished at the complaint of ill treatinent, and, with the best sources of information open to him, denies those assertions altogether.
It remains to say that the government, having no sufficient ground, cannot agree that the two scamen in question in the present case were hardly treated or made to suffer unnecessary hardship. For this reason I cannot admit, what your lordship seems to claim, that the Secretary of the Navy ought to have expressed his disapproval of the proceedings of the officers of the Cambridge, or that he ought, in view of the whole case, to have expressed an intention to take means to secure considerate treatment in future to British seamen in similar circumstances. At the same time this government means and intends to conduct its operations upon the highest principles of humanity known in maritime proceedings, and especially with a view to the exercise of justice and moderation, so far as these proceedings affect Great Britain and other friendly powers, and, therefore, a copy of these papers will be addressed to the flag-officers of the blockading squadrons, accompanied by an instruction from the Secretary of the Navy to use irons only when and so long as necessary, and in all cases to practice the utmost kindness consistent with the safety of captives and prizes towards seamen captured in attempting to break the blockade.
I avail myself of the opportunity to renew to your lordship the assurance of my high consideration. I am, sir, your obedient servant,
WILLIAM H. SEWARD. Right Hon. LORD LYONS, dc., &c., &c.
Mr. Seward to Lord Lyons.
DEPARTMENT OF STATE,
Washington, December 3, 1861. I refer again to your lordship's note of the 30th of November for the purpose of saying that the case of the two seamen of the British schooner Louisa Agnes, which was captured on a charge of attempting to run the blockade, seems to stand so nearly on the same footing with that of the two seamen captured on board of the British schooner Revere, which I have disposed of in a previous note of this date, that I pray your lordship to accept my reply in the latter case as expressing the opinions of this government upon the former case also.
I have the honor to be, with high cousideration, your lordship’s obedient servant,
WILLIAM H. SEWARD. Right Hon. LORD LYONS, fr., sc., fc.
Mr. Seward to Lord Lyons.
DEPARTMENT of State,
Washington, December 11, 1861. My Loro: Your lordship's note of December 9, relating to minors who, being British subjects, have been enlisted in the army, has been received. I thank you for bringing the subject again to my attention.
I have to state with perfect frankness that the law which directs the dismissal of minors enlisted in the army without consent of their parents was enacted in a time of peace when there was no prospect of foreign war or domestic insurrection such as is now existing.
The operation of the law has been found very injurious in the present case, and at one time it concurred with other causes which seemed to threaten a serious demoralization of the forces of the United States under circumstances of much anxiety and solicitude.
The Secretary of War at that moment was disinclined to give the law prompt and complete effect in regard to American citizens who came within the scope of its provisions, and considerations of public safety rendered it unwise to discriminate against them and in favor of the subjects of other states who had been at their own desire enlisted into the service of the United States. Another circumstance entered into the case increasing the embarrassment of the question. It was reported in many cases that the parents of minors favored their enlistment, suppressing the fact of their minority until after they had come into service, and then fraudulently sought to avail themselves of the letter of the law to procure their discharge, to the great detriment of the public service and th. possible danger of the country.
I have now consulted with the Secretary of War freely upon this subject, and, as a result of that consultation, I have to inform you that all the cases mentioned in your communication of the 9th instant, (now before me,) will be taken up and disposed of by the War Department, and wherever it is clearly shown that the soldier is a British subject, and a minor within the meaning of the law, an order will be made for his discharge. With this view, the list of names attached to your note will be filed in the War Department for reference. To expedite your wishes, it will probably be best that you furnish me the proofs in all these cases, if convenient to you, instead of excluding those heretofore furnished by you. This suggestion, however, is made simply with a view to a greater despatch in the business. If you wish it I will collect the proofs already furnished. So much, if you please, as to the past and present cases.
I am now to inform you that the President will immediately ask Congress to revise the law in question and modify its provisions, so that they shall be suspended during the continuance of this insurrection. Unable to foresee what Congress may do, the government will not deem itself bound to take up any new cases that may be presented, either in regard to Americans or foreigners found in the army and claiming the benefit of the law, until sufficient time shall have elapsed to obtain the will of Congress upon the subject.
Your lordship will, of course, understand that the remarks with which I have opened this note are intended not as an argument against the claims upon which you have insisted with entire propriety and great delicacy, but as explaining the delay in disposing of the subject which has occurred, a delay which the government regrets as much as your lordship.
I have the honor to be, with high consideration, your lordship’s obedient servant,
WILLIAM H. SEWARD. Right Hon. Lord Lyons, &c., etc., &c.
Lord Lyons to Mr. Seward.
WASHINGTON, December 16, 1861. SIR: I have this afternoon had the honor to receive two notes from you dated thirteen days ago, and a third dated twelve days ago. They relate to the representations which I felt it to be my duty to address to you with regard to the