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But here, we would suggest, is it not the law itself that “ buys out” the wicked prize? • Perhaps it was their experience of English justice in the Alexandra case that determined the Cabinet to end the ironclad controversy by process of bargain and sale. And considering the Attorney-General's experience in the “smooth running” of English law in the Alexandra instance, we do not wonder at his heartily coöperating in any expedient to get rid of the agency of the courts in this case. Certainly, it was better to bargain for a decision beforehand, at almost any price, than to take the chance again of having the judge borrow his law from Webster's Dictionary, then deny that he had instructed the jury at all, and then (mistakenly, we concede) recommend the Crown to go up on appeal, to be finally answered at the end of a year, that there was nothing before the court above, and no law to be gathered from the court below.
Now, if it be added to this keeping back from the courts, that a settlement (a trade, in effect) has to be made with a set of legal opponents whom Earl Russell likens to a parcel of housebreakers, stealing out of a mansion-house at three o'clock in the morning with a sackful of plate on their backs, we confess that the attitude of the imperial government is, to our eyes, neither dignified nor creditable.
By way of contrast, we would ask the candid Englishman, If the rustic republic across the water -- seizing the Republican and the Cassius at a time when it could hardly reckon eight years of national existence - telling the French ministers that the matter was in the hands of the law, and "till that decision was had, the Government of the United States should pursue what they think right, with firmness, as is their duty,” and that France must wait till the courts had spoken- and keeping hold of " the wicked prize” with a strong hand, till, in the one case, it rots at the wharf, and in the other, has to ask for mercy and dismantle itself - then, when the courts had dealt with these vessels and found their powers defective, this same rustic (and, so-called, lawless) republic, voluntarily amending its statutes so as to clothe its judiciary with the required powers,
and convicting and punishing the equipper of the Cassius, and
We know that comparisons are so odious, that we can hardly
EXTRACT FROM THE SPEECH OF MR. THOMAS BARING, AND THE
SPEECH OF THE ATTORNEY-GENERAL, IN FULL.
We give a portion of the very candid and honorable speech of Mr. Thomas Baring, and the entire speech of the AttorneyGeneral, as reported in the London Times of May 14th. We regret that our limits do not permit us to add also the able and high-toned speeches of Messrs. Forster, Cobden, and ShawLefevre, in the same debate. Our American readers, however, will feel less regret at the omission, as they have had a very general opportunity of seeing them (certainly Mr. Cobden's) through the extensive reprints of the New York journals, and as a pamphlet edition of them has just appeared in this city, on the eve of our going to press with this note:
Mr. T. BARING, in rising to call attention to the circumstances under which this vessel has been allowed to enter the port of Liverpool, and to put a question on the subject, said, that as he brought this matter before the House simply as one of English interest, he should not refer to the feelings or prospects of either of the contending parties, nor should he endeavor to provoke an expression of sympathy with either side. He wished to make no charge against the Government, and, if he referred at all to the past, it would be to illustrate the position in which the country was placed as to its international engagements. An incident had recently occurred which was of a most extraordinary character. A vessel of war carrying, as they were told, the flag and commission of the Confederate Government, had recently entered the port of Liverpool. She was still there, and when the House heard her history, it would be somewhat surprised at the course which had been pursued. This was her history :- The Japan, otherwise the Virginia, commonly known as the Georgia, was built at Dumbarton on the Clyde. She was equipped by a Liverpool firm. Her crew was shipped by the same Liverpool firm for Shanghai, and sent round to Greenock by steamer. She was entered on the 31st of March, 1863, as for Point de Galle and Hongkong, with a crew of forty-eight men. She cleared on the first of April. She left her anchorage on the morning of the 2nd of April, ostensibly to try her engines, but did not return. She had no armament on leaving Greenock, but a few days after her departure, a small steamer called the Allar, freighted with guns, shot, shell, &c., and having on board a partner of the Liverpool firm who had equipped her and shipped her crew, left New Haven and met the Georgia off the coast of France, near Ushant. The cargo of the Allar was successfully transferred to the Georgia on the 8th or 9th of April ; her crew consisted of British subjects. The Allar put into Plymouth on the 11th of April, bringing the Liverpool merchant who had directed the proceedings throughout, and bringing also fifteen seamen who had refused to proceed in the Georgia on learning her real character. The rest of the crew remained. At the time of her departure, the Georgia was registered as the property of a Liverpool merchant, a · partner of the firm which shipped the trew. She remained the property of this person until the 23d of June, when the register was cancelled, he notifying the collector of her sale to foreign owners. During this period — namely, from the 1st of April to the 23d of June, - the Georgia, being still registered in the name of a Liverpool merchant, and thus his property, was carrying on war against the United States, with whom we were in alliance. It was while still a British vessel, that she captured and burnt the Dictator, and captured and released under bond the Griswold, the same vessel which had brought corn to the Lancashire sufferers. The crew of the Georgia was paid through the same Liverpool firm. A copy of an advance-note used was to be found in the diplomatic correspondence. The same firm continued to act in this capacity throughout the cruise of the Georgia. After cruising in the Atlantic, and burning and bonding a number of vessels, the Georgia made for Cherbourg, where she arrived on the 28th of October. There was at the time much discontent among the crew.
Many deserted, leave of absence was given to others, and their wages were paid all along by the same Liverpool firm. In order to get the Georgia to sea again, the Liverpool firm enlisted, in Liverpool, some twenty seamen, and sent them to Brest. The Georgia left Cherbourg on a second cruise, but having no success she returned to that port, and thence to Liverpool, where her crew have been paid off without any concealment, and the vessel is now laid up. Here, then, was the case of a vessel clandestinely built, fraudulently leaving the port of her con
struction, taking Englishmen on board as her crew, and waging war against the United States, an ally of ours, without having once entered a port of the Power the commission of which she bore, but being for some time the property of an English subject. We heard nothing of the steps which under those circumstances were taken by the Government, but he felt assured they had done all that lay in their power, and was consistent with their duty under the existing law. It was, therefore, not their conduct in the matter, but the impotency and insufficiency of the Foreign Enlistment Act, which our Courts of justice found it impossible to interpret, that he wished to bring under the notice of the House. The vessels to which he alluded were vessels which would undoubtedly have been arrested if time had been given, and if their purpose had been known. The question was, in fact, could we be said to be carrying out our obligations as a neutral Power towards a belligerent which was an ally, in a manner consistent with international law, though it might be in harmony with our municipal law, while such a state of things was permitted to exist ? For his own part, he had no wish to lose himself in the mazes of a legal discussion on the subject, but common sense, as well as international law, he believed, prescribed that a neutral should act towards a belligerent who was an ally as she would like to be done by. (Hear). It was in order to prevent a war between neutrals and belligerents that the Foreign Enlistment Act was passed, and if vessels were allowed to proceed on a course of devastation, if they were admitted into the ports of our dependencies and colonies, and not only that but to put into ports in this country, was it not, he would ask, time to consider whether we should not do our duty towards others, and whether the existing law afforded us the means of protecting the interests of our ally as well as our own ? The question as to the extent to which those vessels ought to be admitted to the ports of our colonies and dependencies was, he contended, one of serious importance; but it was,eat the same time, one as to which he thought there could be no doubt what course the Government should adopt. When a vessel left our ports, which would have been arrested here had her objects been ascertained and her construction certified, and proceeded to carry into effect proceedings of hostility against an ally to the endangering of the peace of this country, it seemed to him that it was the duty of the Government to avail themselves in her case of the powers which they possessed, and to shut our ports against her. (Hear, hear.) If the House would permit him, he would read on the subject a passage from a writer on international law, who signed himself “ Historicus," and who said, speaking of the Alabama :