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reelection of Abraham Lincoln. I pray that it may all be executed promptly and triumphantly.
Thank God, the pettifoggers of compromise are answered by the people, who demand peace on the everlasting foundations of Union and Liberty. The political barbers, who undertake to prescribe, when they can only shave, are warned that their quackery is at an end.
Accept my thanks and best wishes, and believe me, dear Sir, very faithfully yours,
FRANK W. BALLARD, Esq.,
Corresponding Secretary of the
MR. ASHLEY AND RECONSTRUCTION.
LETTER TO A PUBLIC BANQUET IN HONOR OF HON. JAMES M. ASHLEY, AT TOLEDO, OHIO, NOVEMBER 18, 1864.
BOSTON, November 18, 1864.
EAR SIR,- It will not be in my power to unite in the banquet to your most faithful Representa
I know Mr. Ashley well, and honor him much. He has been firm when others have hesitated, and from an early day saw the secret of this war, and, I may add, the secret of victory also. In all questions of statesmanship, which will soon supersede military questions, he has already given assurance of practical wisdom. His various indefatigable labors and his elaborate speech on "Reconstruction" show that he sees well what is to be done in order to place peace and liberty under impregnable safeguards.
For myself, I have no hesitation in saying, that, next to the Rebellion itself, I most deprecate a premature State Government in a Rebel State. Such a Government will be a source of sorrow and weakness incalculable. But I am sure that your Representative will fail in no effort to prevent such a calamity.
There is also the Amendment of the Constitution
prohibiting Slavery throughout the United States. Nobody has done more for it, practically, than Mr. Ashley.
Accept my thanks for the invitation with which you have honored me, and believe me, dear Sir,
TO THE COMMITTEE.
CASE OF THE FLORIDA :
ILLUSTRATED BY PRECEDENTS OF BRITISH SEIZURES IN NEUTRAL WATERS.
ARTICLES IN THE BOSTON DAILY ADVERTISER, NOVEMBER 29, 1864, AND JANUARY 17, 1865.
THE case of the Florida attracted attention at the time, and aroused the British press. Especially to meet the criticism of the latter the first of the following articles was written. Though published in a newspaper anonymously, its authorship was recognized and acknowledged, and it was reprinted in a pamphlet by the Young Men's Republican Union of New York.
The Florida was a Rebel war-steamer, built in England, which had done damage to our commerce. After capturing and burning the bark Mondamon off Pernambuco, it arrived at Bahia Bay, October 5, 1864, where the United States steamer Wachusett, with Captain Napoleon Collins as commander, was then lying. The Florida at first anchored in the offing, but, at the invitation of the Brazilian admiral, came inside in the midst of the Brazilian fleet, and close under the guns of the principal fort. At about three o'clock on the morning of October 7th, the Wachusett slipped her cables, and, with full head of steam, bore down upon the Rebel war-vessel, one half of whose officers and crew, including Captain Morris, were on shore, and the remainder, having just returned, were in no condition to repel an assault. The officer of the deck, supposing the collision which he saw imminent merely accidental, cried out, "You will run into us, if you don't look out." The design of Captain Collins was to strike the Florida amidships, crush in her side, and send her at once to the bottom; but this was not accomplished; the Wachusett struck only the stern, carrying away the mizzenmast and main-yard, so that the Rebel vessel was not seriously injured, but the broken spars fell across the awning over the hatchway, and thus prevented her crew from getting on deck. In the confusion that
ensued several pistol-shots were fired from both vessels, at random and without effect. Two of the Wachusett's guns were discharged, — by accident, according to one report, or, as another had it, by order of a lieutenant. The shots did not strike the Florida. Captain Collins. cried out immediately, "Surrender, or I will blow you out of the water!" The lieutenant in charge of the Florida replied, "Under the circumstances I surrender." In an instant the vessel was boarded by men from the Wachusett, who made her fast by a hawser to their own vessel, which at once turned her course seaward, moving at the top of her speed and towing the Florida in her wake.
The Wachusett was challenged from the Brazilian fleet, but there was no reply. The Florida, when commanded to stop, answered that she was towed by the vessel in front. Shortly afterward the heavy guns of the fort opened fire. Three shots passed harmlessly above the pennant of the Wachusett, striking the water beyond. Two vessels of the Brazilian fleet gave chase, but soon abandoned it, and the Florida was brought to Hampton Roads, where it was anchored.
Meanwhile the case passed into diplomacy. Mr. Seward addressed a note, under date of November 11th, to Mr. Webb, the minister of the United States at Rio Janeiro, directing him to say that the Government of the United States was not indisposed to examine the subject upon its merits carefully, and to consider whatever questions might arise out of it in a becoming and friendly spirit, if that spirit was adopted by his Imperial Majesty's Government. The Brazilian representative at Washington, in a note dated December 12th, expressed the belief that the Government of the United States would give the explanations and reparation which, in conformity with international laws, are due to a power that maintains friendly and pacific relations with it. Mr. Seward, in his reply, dated December 26th, disallowed the assumption that the Rebels were "a lawful naval belligerent," and asserted, that, being still "destitute of naval forces, ports, and courts," the ascription of that character to them by Brazil "is an act of intervention in, derogation of the Law of Nations, and unfriendly and wrongful, as it is manifestly injurious, to the United States." He also disallowed the assumption that the Florida belonged to the Rebels, and maintained, "on the contrary, that that vessel, like the Alabama, was a pirate, belonging to no nation or lawful belligerent." He added, that it did not belong to captains of ships-of-war of the United States, acting without authority, to assert the rights and redress the wrongs of the country. The captured crew, being unlawfully brought into the national custody, could not be lawfully subjected here to the punishment they deserved, and were therefore set at liberty. Then follows this statement with