Page:A Compilation of the Messages and Papers of the Confederacy, Including the Diplomatic Correspondence, 1861-1865, Volume I.djvu/379

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First Congress.

disclosing the true nature of their policy and the motives which guided it. To this course no exception can be taken, inasmuch as our attention has been invited to those sources of information by their official publication.

In May, 1861, the Government of Her Britannic Majesty informed our enemies that it had not "allowed any other than an intermediate position on the part of the Southern States," and assured them "that the sympathies of this country [Great Britain] were rather with the North than with the South."

On the 1st day of June, 1861, the British Government interdicted the use of its ports "to armed ships and privateers, both of the United States and the so-called Confederate States," with their prizes. The Secretary of State of the United States fully appreciated the character and motive of this interdiction when he observed to Lord Lyons, who communicated it, "that this measure and that of the same character which had been adopted by France would probably prove a deathblow to Southern privateering."

On the 12th of June, 1861, the United States Minister in London informed Her Majesty's Secretary for Foreign Affairs that the fact of his having held interviews with the Commissioners of this Government had given "great dissatisfaction," and that a protraction of this relation would be viewed by the United States "as hostile in spirit, and to require some corresponding action accordingly." In response to this intimation Her Majesty's Secretary assured the Minister that "he had no expectation of seeing them any more."

By proclamation issued on the 19th and 27th of April, 1861, President Lincoln proclaimed the blockade of the entire coast of the Confederacy, extending from the Potomac to the Rio Grande, embracing, according to the returns of the United States Coast Survey, a coast line of 3,549 statute miles, on which the number of rivers, bays, harbors, inlets, sounds, and passes is 189. The navy possessed by the United States for enforcing this blockade was stated in the reports communicated by President Lincoln to the Congress of the United States to consist of twenty-four vessels of all classes in commission, of which half were in distant seas. The absurdity of the pretension of such a blockade in face of the authoritative declaration of the maritime rights of neutrals made at Paris in 1856 was so glaring that the attempt was re-