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10. Feb.

No. 615. of the Article of the Declaration of Paris on the subject of blockades which is britannien, above explained was taken by the Representative of the United States at the Court of St. James' (Mr. Dallas), during the communications which passed between the two Governments some years before the present war, with a view to the accession of the United States to that Declaration. ¶ I am, &c.


To Mr. Mason.


No. 616.

No. 616. Conföderirte

16. Feb.



Commissar in London an den königl. gross

britannischen Min. d. Ausw. — Aufhebung der Blokade von Galveston und Charleston betr.

24, Upper Seymour Street, Portman Square, February 16, (received February 16) 1863. My Lord, I deem it incumbent on me to ask the attention of Her Staaten, Majesty's Government to recent intelligence received here, in regard to the blockade at Galveston, in the State of Texas, and at Charleston, in the State of South Carolina. First, as respects Galveston, it appears that the blockading squadron of the United States was driven off from that port and harbour, by a superior Confederate force, on the 1st day of January last; one ship of that squadron was captured, the flag-ship destroyed, and the rest escaped, making their way, it is said, to some point of the Southern coast occupied by the United States' forces. Whatever blockade of the port of Galveston, therefore, may have previously existed, I submit, was effectually raised and destroyed by the superior forces of the party blockaded. Again, as respects the port of Charleston; through the ordinary channels of intelligence, we have information, uncontradicted, that the alleged blockade of that port was, in like manner, raised and destroyed, by a superior Confederate force, at a very early hour on the 31st of January ultimo; two ships of the blockading squadron having been sunk, a third escaped disabled, and what remained of the squadron afloat was entirely driven off the coast. I have the honour to submit, therefore, that any alleged pre-existing blockade of the ports aforesaid, was terminated at Galveston the 1st day of January last, and at Charleston on the 31st of the same month; a principle clearly stated in a letter I have had the honour to receive from your Lordship, dated on the 10th instant, in the following words:

,,The driving off a blockading force, by a superior force, does break a blockade, which must be renewed de novo, in the usual form, to be binding upon neutrals;" a principle uniformly admitted by all text-writers on public. law, and established by decisions of Courts of Admiralty. ¶ I am aware that official information of either of these events may not yet have reached the Government of Her Majesty, but the consequences attending the removal of the blockade (whether to be renewed or not) are so important to the commercial interests involved, that I could lose no time in asking that such measures may be taken by Her Majesty's Government, in relation thereto, as will best tend to the resumption of a commercial intercourse so long placed under restraint.


ག I avail myself of this occasion to acknowledge the receipt of your Lordship's No. 616. letter of the 10th of February instant, to which I shall have the honour of Staaten, sending a reply in the course of a day or two; and am, &c.

To Earl Russell.

J. M. Mason.

16. Febr. 1863.

No. 617.


Commissar in London an den k. grossbritannischen Min. d. Ausw. - Replik auf die englische Auslegung des Bloka

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24, Upper Seymour Street, Portman Square, London, February 18, (received Febr. 18) 1863.
My Lord, I have the honour to acknowledge the receipt of your letter
of the 10th of February instant, in answer to mine of the 3rd of January last,
but referring more especially to inquiries which I had the honour to address to
your Lordship, under the instruction of the Secretary of State of the Confederate
States of America, on the 7th of July last, concerning the interpretation placed
by Her Majesty's Government on the declaration of the principle of blockade
agreed to in the Convention of Paris. ¶ I shall, as early as practicable, com-
municate the letter of your Lordship to the Government at Richmond, but will
anticipate here the satisfaction with which the President will receive the assur-
ance of your Lordship that no want of respect was intended by a mere acknow-
ledgment, without other reply, to the inquiries contained in my letter of July.
¶ In regard to so much of the letter of your Lordship as relates to the inter-
pretation placed by the Government of Her Majesty on that part of the Decla-
ration of Paris which prescribes the law of blockade, I am constrained to say
that I am well-assured the President cannot find in it a source of like satisfaction.
It is considered by him that the terms used in that Convention are too precise
and definite to admit of being qualified or, perhaps, it may be more appro-
priate to say revoked-by the supper-additions thereto contained in your Lord-
ship's exposition of them. The terms of that Convention are, that the block-
ading force must be sufficient really to prevent access to the coast.
No excep-
tion is made in regard to dark nights, favourable winds, the size or model of
vessels successfully evading it, or the character of the coast or waters blockaded;
and yet it would seem from your Lordship's letter that all these are to be taken
into consideration, on a question whether the blockade is or is not to be respec-
ted. It is declared in that letter that „It appears to Her Majesty's Go-
vernment to be sufficiently clear that the Declaration of Paris could not have
been intended to mean that a port must be so blockaded in all winds, and
independently of whether the communication might be carried on of a dark
night, or by means of small low steamers, or coasting craft, creeping along the
shore." As a general rule, the ports and harbours of the Confederate States
are obstructed by bars, which do not admit the passage of large vessels. What
might be considered a "small" or a "low" steamer, coming in from sea to the

No. 617.


18. Febr.



18. Febr.


No. 617. port of New York, would, at one of those Southern ports, be rateda vessel of Staaten, very fair size when referred to the ordinary stage of water on its bar; yet I look in vain in the terms of the Convention referred to, for any authority to expound them in subordination to the depth of water, or the size or mould of vessels finding ready and comparatively safe access to the harbour. In acceding to the terms of that Treaty, great advantages are yielded to a maritime neutral, with like immunities to a maritime belligerent. The property of the neutral is safe under the flag of the belligerent, and the property of the belligerent equally safe under the flag of the neutral. The only equivalent to the belligerent, not maritime, but dependent on other nations as carriers, is this strictly-defined principle of the law of blockade, which the Confederate States presumed was extended to them, when, at the request of Her Majesty's Government, they became parties to those stipulations of the Convention of Paris of 1856. It results that, after yielding full equivalents, the stipulation in regard to blockade, reserved as the only one beneficial to them, would seem illusory. ¶ In regard to the character of this blockade, to which your Lordship again adverts in the remark that the manner in which it has been enforced gives neutral Governments no excuse for asserting that it has not been efficiently maintained, although I have not been instructed to make any further representations to Her Majesty's Government on that subject since its decision to treat it as effective, I cannot refrain from adding, that for many months past the frequent arrival and departure of vessels (most of them steamers) from several of those ports have been matters of notoriety. A single steamer has evaded the blockade successfully, and most generally from Charleston, more than thirty times. And within a few days past it has been brought to my knowledge that two steamers arrived in January last, and within ten days of each other, at Wilmington (Nord Carolina) from ports in Europe, one of 400 and the other of 500 tons burthen, both of which have since sailed from Wilmington, and arrived with their cargoes at foreign ports. I cite these only as the latest authenticated instances. And as another remarkable fact, it is officially reported by the Collector at Charleston, that the revenue accruing at that port from duties on imported merchandize during the past year, under the blockade, was more than double the receipts of any one year previous to the separation of the States; and this although the duties under the Confederate Government are much lower than those exacted by the United States. As regards other portions of your Lordship's letter, I may freely admit, as it is there stated, that a blockade would be in legal existence although a sudden storm or change of wind might occasionally blow off the blockading squadron. Yet, with entire respect, I do not see how such principle affects the question of the efficiency of such blockade whilst the squadron is on the coast. And again, whilst I am not informed whether or no a defence resting on the inadequacy of the blockading force has been urged in cases of capture before the Prize Courts in America, I can well see how futile such defence would be when presented on behalf of a neutral ship, whose Government had not only not objected to, but had admitted, the sufficiency of the blockade. I have, &c. To Earl Russell. J. M. Mason.

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No. 618.

Min. d. Ausw. an den Commissar der conföderirten

- Die Blokade von Galveston und Charleston betr.

Foreign Office, February 19, 1863.


19. Febr.

Sir, With reference to my letter of the 16th instant acknowledging the No. 618. receipt of your letter of that day, calling attention to the accounts which had britannien, reached this country tending to show that the blockade of the ports of Galveston 1863. and Charleston had been put an end to by the action of the Confederate naval forces, I have the honour now to state to you that the information which Her Majesty's Government have derived from your letter and from the public journals on this subject is not sufficiently accurate to admit of their forming an opinion, and they will accordingly, by the first opportunity, instruct Lord Lyons to report fully on the matter. ¶ When his Lordship's report has been received and considered, I shall have the honour of making a further communication to you on the subject. I am, &c.

To Mr. Mason.


No. 619.

GROSSBRITANNIEN. Min. d. Ausw. an den Commissar der conföderirten
Staaten in London. Weiteres die Auslegung des Blokadenrechts


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27. Febr.


Sir, I have the honour to acknowledge the receipt of your further No. 619. letter of the 18th instant on the subject of the interpretation placed by Her Ma- britannien, jesty's Government on the declaration of the principle of blockade made in 1856 by the Conference at Paris. I have already, in my previous letters, fully explained to you the views of Her Majesty's Government on this matter; and I have nothing further to add in reply to your last letter, except to observe that I have not intended to state that any number of vessels of a certain build or tonnage might be left at liberty freely to enter a blockaded port without vitiating the blockade, but that the occasional escape of small vessels on dark nights, or under other particular circumstances, from the vigilance of a competent blockading fleet, did not evince that laxity in the belligerent which enured, according *) to international law, to the raising of a blockade. I am, &c.

To Mr. Mason.


*) So

in dem, dem englischen Parlamente vorgelegtem Abdrucke.

Nr. 620.

16. Mai


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No. 620.

GROSSBRITANNIEN. Gesandter in Washington a. d. königl. Min. d. Ausw.
Unterredung mit Seward über fremde Intervention und die Baumwollen-

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(Extract.) I have the honour to inclose copies of an article which britannien, has appeared in the,,National Intelligencer" newspaper this morning, on the subject of rumours which have reached this country from Europe of an intention on the part of England and France to intervene in the present civil war. It is temperate in tone, and is deserving of attention, as it may be taken to express the view of the subject taken by this Government. Mr. Seward, indeed, spoke himself to me in very much the same language three days ago. The French Government had, he said, all along very frankly communicated to the Government of the United States its perplexities and the sufferings endured by its people in consequence of the interruption of commerce with the South. He had been unable for some time to do more than exhort that Government to have patience and wait with confidence for the alleviation he had promised as the result of the first successes of the United States' arms. He had now redeemed the promises he had made. Three ports were already opened; it would soon be possible to open others. The United States were no longer responsible for the interruption of commerce. If trade should not revive, if foreign nations should still be unable to provide themselves with cotton, tobacco, and other Southern products, the fault would lie, not with the United States but with the,,rebels." If the rebels destroyed the cotton and tobacco already in existence, if they gave up the cultivation of those articles, they would do so in opposition to the wishes and in defiance of the authority of the United States. The only course for foreign Powers to take in order to relieve themselves from the sufferings which they already endured, and to secure themselves from the still greater sufferings which threatened them, would be to exert their influence in favour of the prompt restoration of the Federal power in the insurgent States. Peace, the return of confidence, and the consequent resumption of trade and agriculture, would immediately follow the re-establishment of the Union and the Constitution. Mr. Seward added that he did not attach any belief to the rumours that England and France were in communication with a view to intervene in the affairs of this country. He had, indeed, received numerous letters from Europe stating it to be the fact; but he thought that the reports might be traced to the friendly representations to the United States which had been from time to time made by the French Government; that perhaps that Government was willing that such reports should be spread, in the hope that they might tend to make the French people patient. I observed, that in this conversation Mr. Seward did not speak so confidently as he had formerly done of the opening of the ports being followed by an immediate resumption of trade; nor did he deny so positively that the Southern people would destroy their cotton rather than bring it to market. In fact, such accounts

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