Page:A Compilation of the Messages and Papers of the Confederacy, Including the Diplomatic Correspondence, 1861-1865, Volume I.djvu/386

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Messages and Papers of the Confederacy.

denying the allegations, which report was inclosed to Mr. Adams and received by him as satisfactory evidence to dissipate "the suspicion naturally thrown upon the authorities of Nassau by that unwarrantable act." So, too, when the Confederate Government purchased in Great Britain, as a neutral country (and with strict observance both of the law of nations and the municipal law of Great Britain), vessels which were subsequently armed and commissioned as vessels of war, after they had been far removed from English waters, the British Government, in violation of its own laws and in deference to the importunate demands of the United States, made an ineffectual attempt to seize one vessel, and did actually seize and detain another which touched at the island of Nassau on her way to a Confederate port being openly shipped from British ports to New York, to port, and subjected her to an unfounded prosecution at the very time when cargoes of munitions of war were to be used in warfare against us. Even now the public journals bring intelligence that the British Government has ordered the seizure in a British port of two vessels, on the suspicion that they may have been sold to this Government and may be hereafter armed and equipped in our service, while British subjects are engaged in Ireland by tens of thousands to proceed to the United States for warfare against the Confederacy, in defiance both of the law of nations and of the express terms of the British statutes, and are transported in British ships, without an effort at concealment, to the ports of the United States, there to be armed with rifles imported from Great Britain and to be employed against our people in a war for conquest. No royal prerogative is invoked, no executive interference is interposed against this flagrant breach of municipal and international law on the part of our enemies, while strained constructions are placed on existing statutes, new enactments proposed, and questionable expedients devised for precluding the possibility of purchase by this Government of vessels that are useless for belligerent purposes, unless hereafter armed and equipped outside of the neutral jurisdiction of Great Britain.

For nearly three years this Government has exercised unquestioned jurisdiction over many millions of willing and united people. It has met and defeated vast armies of invaders, who have in vain sought its subversion. Supported by the confidence