Page:A Compilation of the Messages and Papers of the Confederacy, Including the Diplomatic Correspondence, 1861-1865, Volume I.djvu/385

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First Congress.

"everything that the law of nations requires, everything that the present foreign enlistment act requires," but that he will ask the sanction of Parliament "to further measures that Her Majesty's ministers may still add." This language is so unmistakably an official exposition of the policy adopted by the British Government in relation to our affairs that the duty imposed on me by the Constitution of giving you, from time to time, "information of the state of the Confederacy," would not have been performed if I had failed to place it distinctly before you.

I refer you for fuller details on this whole subject to the correspondence of the State Department which accompanies this message. The facts which I have briefly narrated are, I trust, sufficient to enable you to appreciate the true nature of the neutrality professed in this war. It is not in my power to apprise you to what extent the Government of France shares the views so unreservedly avowed by that of Great Britain, no published correspondence of the French Government on the subject having been received. No public protest nor opposition, however, has been made by His Imperial Majesty against the prohibition to trade with us imposed on French citizens by the paper blockade of the United States, although I have reason to believe that an unsuccessful attempt was made on his part to secure the assent of the British Government to a course of action more consonant with the dictates of public law and with the demands of justice toward us.

The partiality of Her Majesty's Government in favor of our enemies has been further evinced in the marked difference of its conduct on the subject of the purchase of supplies by the two belligerents. This difference has been conspicuous since the very commencement of the war. As early as the 1st of May, 1861, the British Minister in Washington was informed by the Secretary of State of the United States that he had sent agents to England, and that others would go to France to purchase arms; and this fact was communicated to the British Foreign Office, which interposed no objection. Yet in October of the same year Earl Russell entertained the complaint of the United States Minister in London that the Confederate States were importing contraband of war from the island of Nassau, directed inquiry into the matter, and obtained a report from the authorities of the island