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Britain has never acknowledged the right of expatriation, she has not for some years past practically insisted upon the opposite doctrine. France has been equally forbearing; and Prussia has proposed a compromise, which, although evincing increased liberality, has not been accepted by the United States. Peace is now prevailing everywhere in Europe, and the present seems to be a favorable time for an assertion by Congress of the principle, so long maintained by the executive department, that naturalization by one state fully exempts the native-born subject of any other state from the performance of military service under any foreign government, so long as he does not voluntarily renounce its rights and benefits.

In the performance of a duty imposed upon me by the Constitution, I have thus submitted to the representatives of the States and of the people such information of our domestic and foreign affairs as the public interests seem to require. Our government is now undergoing its most trying ordeal, and my earnest prayer is that the peril may be successfully and finally passed without impairing its original strength and symmetry. The interests of the nation are best to be promoted by the revival of fraternal relations, the complete obliteration of our past differences, and the reinauguration of all the pursuits of peace. Directing our efforts to the early accomplishment of these great ends, let us endeavor to preserve harmony between the co-ordinate departments of the government, that each in its proper sphere may cordially co-operate with the other in securing the maintenance of the Constitution, the preservation of the Union, and the perpetuity of our free institutions.

ANDREW JOHNSON. Washington, December 3, 1866.

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Mr. Adams to Mr. Seward.

No. 1092.)


London, November 22, 1865. SIR: I have to acknowledge the reception of despatches from the department, numbered from 1576 to 1582 inclusive.

In regard to No. 1580, of the 4th of November, it did not seem to me that there was any good reason for postponing the communication to this government of the final answer to the feeble proposal of Lord Russell ; so I drew it up and sent it last evening. A copy of my note is herewith transmitted. I have the honor to be, sir, your obedient servant,


Secretary of State, Washington, D. C.

Mr Adams to Earl Clarendon.


London, November 21, 1865. MY LORD: I have the honor to inform your lordship that the notes elicited by the pro prizal for a commission to consider classes of claims growing out of the late difficulties in the United States, made by your predecessor, the Right Hon. Earl Russell

, in his letter addressed to me on the 30th of August last, have received the careful consideration of my government.

Aubering, as my government does, to the opinion that the claims it has presented--which bis lordship has thought fit at the outset to exclude from consideration-are just and reason. able. I am instructed to say that it sees now no occasion for further delay in giving a full auswer to his lordship’s proposition.

I am directed, therefore, to inform your lordship that the proposition of her Majesty's govemmet for the creating of a joint commission is respectfully declined.

I pray your lordship to accept the assurances of the highest consideration with which I have the honor to be, my lord, your lordship’s most obedient servant,


No 1093.

Mr. Adams to Mr. Seward.

London, November 22, 1865. Sir: I now send you a copy of my note in reply to Lord Russell's of the 2d instant.

The more I consider the subject, the more extraordinary seems to me the reckless character of the assertion made by his lordship respecting the facts in the Portuguese case. Having access only to the printed documents—though

these seem to contain all the material portions of the correspondence between the government and the Portuguese representatives—I could not deal quite so confidently with him as, with your ampler means of verification, you could have done. Yet I trust I have not hazarded anything which the facts will not sustain. The attempt to shift the responsibility for the feeble performance of an acknowledged duty by an appeal to the precedent furnished by the United States, which is misrepresented to sustain it, forms one of the memorable events of this extraordinary history. I say nothing of the unusual course of discussing the transactions of a foreign nation with an assumption of authority which breaks down at almost every step.

With this paper I gladly take leave of the controversy, so far as I may have assumed the responsibility of any share in it. It has given me much satisfaction to learn that, so far as you had been placed in possession of it at the time of writing, you were disposed to view it with approbation. I have the honor to be, sir, your obedient servant,


Secretary of State, Washington, D. C.

Mr. Adams to Earl Clarendon.


London, Notember 18, 1865. MY LORD: I have the honor to acknowledge the reception of a note from your predecessor, the Right Honorable Earl Russell, dated the 2d instant, in reply to one which I ad. dressed to him on the 18th of September last, on certain important questions now under consideration between her Majesty's government and that which I have the honor to represent. It is with the most profound regret that I am thus compelled to open my relations with your lordship in a spirit of controversy. I can only urge in extenuation of this proceeding, the great importance of the subject under consideration, not simply as between two countries, but from their wider bearing on the future relations of all the civilized nations on the globe. Furthermore, I flatter myself that from the contraction necessarily going on of the topics under treatment, we may before long arrive at some sort of termination of a discussion already on my part, I fear, rather tediously protracted. His lordship's note appears to be substantially confined to the consideration of two classes of facts, both of them bearing upon the establishment of one general principle of the law of nations, to wit: The obligation of a neutral country to belligerents to do everything within its power to maintain its neutrality inviolate. This obligation his lordsbip appears to maintain to be fully acquitted by the adoption of such measures as the neutral may judge sufficient, without regard to any remonstrances of the belligerents. And without entering into argument on the abstract question, he contents himself with vouching the conduct of the United States in past cases, in full justification of the course taken by Great Britain, and complained of by the United States, in the progress of the late war.

The chief of the cases relied upon by his lordship is that in regard to certain claims for indemnity for injuries done to the commerce of Portugal by vessels illegally fitted out in the United States. In order to define the nature of the question thus raised, it would seem to be proper first to note how far his lordship and I are agreed. After which it may be made more clearly to appear wherein we are so unfortunate as to differ. By consenting to cite the language and the action of the United States government in the Portuguese case so freely as bis lordship does, as a precedent to justify the later course of her Majesty's government now drawn into question, it is obvious that he must have given to them the high sanction of his approbation. On my side I have already in a preceding note expressed it as my opinion that the grounds taken in that case by my government were impregnable.

It necessarily follows that on this point we are fully agreed. "Where there is no difference it is obviously superfluous to continue an argument. Here I would beg permission to observe that in all the previous examination of this topic, I have carefully abstained from the task of attirming that a neutral power is absolutely responsible for the injurious consequences of any and every violation of neutrality that may originate within its territorial limits, without regard to the circumstances attending each case. The proposition which I have affirmed, and still do continue to insist upon, is, that a neutral is responsible for all injuries which may so ensue to a friendly nation, wben it fails to exercise all the means in its power for preveution, and constitutes itself the sole judge of the extent to which it will refuse to resort to

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