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tion. There were two classes of objection raised, but he should confine himself to the point he advocated—first, that the question of the recognition of belligerency was so certain that it was not only not right to allow it to form the subject of arbitration, but that it ought to be specially excepted from arbitration; and, secondly, that the dignity of this country would not permit that question to be raised. No one could be more certain than he was as to the strength of our position with regard to the question of belligerency. He believed that war actually did exist at the time of our proclamation of neutrality, and if we wanted proof of the soundness of our position we might refer to Mr. Seward's dispatches, and to docisions of American law courts upon numerous cases of vessels captured on the seas or breaking the blockade as property of the citizens of the Confederate States, in which cases the Supreme Court held that the proclamation of blockade was in the nature of a proclamation of war, and that, in fact, the northern States were exercising belligerent rights. But, however certain we might be upon the point, there were people on the other side of the Atlantic who were equally certain that we were wrong in issuing the proclamation, and that that error bad a bearing in some way or other upon the more important question at issue. After all, the main object of the arbitration was to remove serious grounds of dispute which had existed between the two countries, and it would be unfortunate if, by the special excep tion of this one branch of the subject, there should remain any cause of irritation after the main question had been decided. Then as to the question of dignity. The Amer. ican government did not desire that the proclamation of neutrality should be actually a question of arbitration, but only that it should be a topic for discussion, and he could not understand how the dignity of this country could be compromised more by this question than by the more important question being brought before the arbitrator. He did not advance these views with any exaggerated feeling of alarm, either for the present or the future. He did not believe that war would result from these claims, though no doubt they might remain a source of irritation which might render it difticult to settle other matters of difference which might arise between the two countries. There were persons who said that Mr. Seward had raised this difficulty merely for the purpose of deferring the settlement, and that the Americans would be only too glad to find us at war, in order that they might seize our vessels. He did not altogether share in that opinion. It was quite true that in a moment of irritation the lower house of Congress had passed a bill to bring their foreign enlistment act into accord with the legal interpretation which our lawyers had put upon ours; but the better sense of the country came to the rescue, and pointed out that in many respects our foreign enlistment act was better than theirs, and altogether more strict and more adverse to such enterprises. He had no doubt that in the event of our finding ourselves at war the American government would do their best to preserve their neutrality; but, at the same time, a government could do nothing except supported by public opinion, and so long as these claims were left in an unsettled state there would, if this country were engaged in war, be many persons in America who would be ready to enter upon enterprises which they now professed to condemn. It was the duty of this country to remove all causes of irritation, to take one great step in advance towards carrying out the policy of arbitration recommended at Paris; and, above all, it was our duty to act in a spirit of friendliness and conciliation towards a country like America, with the people of which we had so many ties of religion, of blood, and of history. He concluded by submitting the motion of which he had given notice.
Lord STANLEY. It is only bare justice to the honorable member who has brought this whole subject before us in so clear and comprehensive a manner to say that he has stated nothing which is calculated to increase any feeling of international irritation that may still remain, or to aggravate those diplomatic complications which have arisen. [Hear, hear.] I cordially agree in one expression used by the honorable gentleman-I mean in the tribute which he has paid to the high character and accomplishments of the existing United States minister in this country, whose services, unfortunately, we are so soon to lose. [Cheers.] No man has ever had a more difficult part to play than Mr. Adams, and no man, as far as I am enabled to judge, could have played it with greater judgment, temper, and discretion. (Cheers.] It is not my duty or my wish to follow the honorable gentleman into his criticism upon the policy of Lord Russell and his colleagues. Lord Russell had great difficulties to deal with, and he has many friends and representatives in this house who will be prepared to vindicate any steps taken by him. My business is with the present aspect of the controversy, rather than with past policy. There was only one remark in the speech of the honorable member which I regret, and that is where for a moment he introduced the character of partisanship into his speech. He spoke of it as an extraordinary thing that a conservative government should have consented to refer this question to arbitration, and seemed to think that on our part change of opinion had followed change of position. Upon that point I must say, though I do not want to revive personal.controversy, that I think it would be difficult to point out in the speeches of either my right honorable friend, the first lord of the treasury, or of myself, one word which could prejudge the issue to be raised before the arbitrator. I do not put myself forward as having been in this contest a partisan of the northern canse. I have always thonght that it was not our duty to throw ourselves in a partisan spirit into the internal disputes of foreign countries. I hold that We are bound to give both sides fair play-to apply, as far as possible, the same rule of international law to both; that we are bound to do that, and, having done that, we are bound to do nothing more. I suppose it is unnecessary for any person occupying the position I hold to make professions of his desire to settle the controversy if possible. England can have nothing to gain by keeping it open, and has a great deal to gain by closing it. (Hear, hear.] We have vast commercial relations with the United States; we have a long line of conterminous frontier; we come across one another, so to speak, in every quarter of the globe; we have on both sides an enormous load of debt, which probably neither desires to see increased; [hear, hear, and a laugh ;] and it is equally the interest of both sides that we should remain on good terms. I need not say, therefore, that we wish to arrange the matter if we can, and I do not think that in the present state of the case any difficulty arises from the popular feeling in this country. So far from that, undoubtedly the change from the predominant sentiment in the years between 1860 and 1864 was so strong that, if I might venture to say so, I think I have detected a tendency on our part to be almost too ready to accuse ourselves of faults which we have not committed, and take for granted that every point which is doubtful ought to be decided against us. [Hear, hear.] I do not deny that as the world goes, that is an error on the right side. Indiscriminate resistance to unreasonable demands is mere folly and mischief, but indiscriminate concession to all demands, merely because they are strongly urged, whether they will bear the test of argument or not, is a course equally likely to lead to mischief. What we have to do is to try to find out what are the strict rights of the case, to state the case temperately and fairly, endeavor to do justice as far as we are concerned, and, having done that, to appeal frankly and contidently to the existence of a corresponding spirit in those with whom we have to deal. I think there never was a case in which it was more desirable to define accurately what are the points to be settled than that with which we are now dealing; because upon the other side of the water, and perhaps upon this also, the question has been complicated by all sorts of grievances, to the nature of which the honorable gentleman slightly reierred-grievances which I will not call unreal, wbich I do not say are unfounded, but which still are grievances of so vague and general a character that we shall find it Very difficult to define them. I do not complain of that; it is most natural; and I do not doubt that if we were in the position of the North Americans we should feel very inch as they do. Men who have emerged from a civil war in which they have incurred
500,000,000 and sacrificed 1,000,000 of lives will not be for some time to come in a position to appreciate with perfect coolness the conduct of those who were in the position of crities and lookers-on in the quarrel. [Hear, hear.] I am not now saying whether in my judginent our course was one in every respect of strict neutrality. That is the very question which we are endeavoring to ascertain by arbitration. (Hear, hear.] But if our nentrality had been the most rigid and absolute, it is possible to conceive that it would have fallen short of the expectations that existed among a large portion of the people of the north. [Hear, hear.] What they expected from us at the beginning of the contest was not neutrality, pure and simple, but neutrality so far as all material assistance was concerned, coupled, however, with a strong moral sympathy and support. (Hear, bear.) And when such a feeling exists and is disappointed, as it certainly was in this case, we cannot expect that the disappointment so produced should not find a rent in some quarter or other. I mention this because it is the key to a good deal of the exaggerated tone of writing and speaking which was observable on the other side In the earlier stages of the controversy; and from that point of view I do not at all megtet the time that has passed. On both sides we can discuss the matter much more caliniy in 1868 than we could in 1864. The passion of the moment has passed away, and only the facts and the arguments remain; and happily, as the case now stands, the controversy, though still pending, is reduced comparatively within the narrowest possible limits. Upon those doubtful questions of fact and law-questions upon which it was hot likely, if possible, that the two governments could come to an agreement-we are of ge mind so far as this, that we know we cannot agree, and therefore we are prepared to abide by the decision of a third and presumably impartial power. The principle of arbitration, so far as we are concerned, is accepted. They say that it is accepted on both sides, except upon a point of detail. That is a very important step gained. [Hear, bear.) I am not finding fault that this step was not gained before, because I recognizo most fully that in a case of this kind time makes many things easy which were not so at first. (Hear. We have conceded almost everything that was asked for when this dispute began. I think I am right in saying that if it had been possible to grant a umited arbitration, such as is now proposed, when it was first asked for, the question of the alleged premature recognition would never have made its appearance. It was meldentally mentioned, but that was all; but by a peculiar process, which I do not propose altogether to explain, that grievance, whatever its value may be, seems to be Kuning importance in the minds of American statesmen and of the American people Just in proportion as onthisside of the water has grown up a feeling to remove all causes of dispute. The whole point unsettled between us is this: yon agree to refer to arbitration the question of the Alabama and other kindred vessels, but are you willing to include, as a point of reference, whether you were right or wrong in recognizing the Confederate States when you did ? That is the whole matter in dispute between us. After all the consideration I can give to the question, as at present advised, I cannot see what bearing the two things have the one upon the other. The practical bearing of the point is whether with respect to the events of 1862 we were right or wrong. I dare say some persons do not accede to that view of the case, and therefore I will endeavor to explain what is my view of the question. I suppose no human being would pretend that at no time during that prolonged struggle of four years had the confederates become entitled to the position of belligerents. Well, but if they were belligerents at some period and were not belligerents at the time we recognized them as such, what was the time when they became properly invested with that character I will take a date that will bring the matter to issue. If ever they were belligerents I suppose it was after the military events of July, 1861. At that time they had an immense force, they had gained a temporary but an important numerical superiority, and their army was actually threatening Washington. Suppose we had recognized the confederates after the battle of Bull Run; could any human being have found fault with us? If so, how would this have affected the Alabama question The Alabama escaped in April, 1862, and the battle of Bull Run was fought in July, 1861. .
If í had chosen to adopt that line of argument I might have grounded it upon these facts. I grant, for argument's sake, that we were wrong in recognizing the confederates when we did so. I grant, for the sake of argument, that we were in a hurry; that we did it six months too soon. I grant that we ought to have recognized them in August; but, admitting this, how would the case respecting the Alabama have been affected if we had made that recognition six months instead of eleven months before the Alabama sailed! (Hear, hear. It is upon that gronnd of irrelevancy that I rest the argument. But there is another objection to compliance with the demands of Mr. Seward as made in his dispatch, that this question of recognition should be referred to arbitration. The arbitration we proposed was perfectly simple in its character and not difficult to deal with. Given two belligerents, given a nentral power, the problem to solve is, “has that nentral power fulfilled effectnally and faithfully the obligations imposed by international law ?" Granting that international law is sometimes vague and uncertain; granting that new circumstances occur not met by precedents; still the question, as I have stated it, is one in the main governed by recognized international principles, and one upon which a friendly government would not be unable and probably not unwilling to give a decision. [Hear, hear.] But if you complicate the matter by bringing in a question of a totally different character; if you raise the question whether a certain political act was or was not suitable under the circumstances in which the government of the day was placed, how is the arbitrator to come to a decision? Were you to make this-for which you have no precedents-a matter of moral justice or of political consideration ! No one will deny that this was a matter affecting us as an independent state, and that we were bound by the necessity of the case to use our own discretion. That doctrine of freedom in such matters has been urged, curiously enough, by no persons more strongly than by the government of the United States. I will cite only two cases. In 1849 the United States government proposed to recognize Hungary as an independent state, not merely as a belligerent, but to recognize the revolutionary government of Hungary as an independent state. [Hear, hear.] The Austrian government complained, as was only natural, and a correspondence ensued. It was conducted on the American side by Mr. Webster, certainly not the least able or eminent of American statesmen, and Mr. Webster used this argument: That if they had done so, though the step would have been precipitate, and one from which no benefit resulted, it would, nevertheless, not have been an act against the law of nations, provided they took no part in the contest. I say that that goes immeasurably further than our conduct in this case. [Hear, hear,] Such is the doctrine distinctly put forth by a distinguished American statesman. I will take another case. In 1857 Texas was fighting for independence against the republic of Mexico. A question arose about the entrance into New York harbor of vessels bearing the Texan flag. The United States government defended the admission of such vessels, and in the course of the argument the foreign minister of the United States government contended that it had never been held necessary as a preliminary to the extension of the rights of hospitality to either party -meaning, of course, the admission of ships of war to the rights of belligerents-that the chances of the war should be balanced and the probability of eventual success determined. For this purpose it had been deemed sufficient that the party had declared its independence and was at the time armed for the purpose of defending it. Will ally one declare that, at the time in question, the South had not declared its independence ? In the face of the principles put forward by the United States government with respect to this absolute freedom of action in these matters, I confess I do not see how an independent state can contend that another independent state should be compelled to pay a fine, even if it had not exercised its discretion aright. Suppose we had not recog. nized the South at the time we did ; suppose that fortune had turned in their favor and that they had succeeded in establishing their independence; would you say that they were entitled to call us to account for not recognizing them soon enough, and by such delay injuriug their prospects? Putting it in that way, the question seems almost absurd; and yet it is not very easy to prove that if we were not responsible in one way We were not responsible in the other. (Hear, hear.] I cannot see how you can argue that damages are not equally due for a too tardy recognition as for a too hasty one. In what position is a neutral power placed when war breaks out? It is a question of general international law; it is a question which will create a precedent, and we were bound to consider not merely what was convenient for the moment, but to regard the rights and duties of nations in general towards one another. [Hear, hear.] The ground I rest it upon in limiting the arbitration as I propose, was, first of all, that the question respecting the recognition of the South was irrelevant to the issue; secondly, that it was a question of statesmanship and policy, and not of mutual obligation, and therefore incapable of receiving legal solution; thirdly, that the United States, in parallel cases, had absolutely refused to admit any responsibility for adopting a similar course; and lastly, I believe no arbitrator would take any reference so vague. I do not propose now to argue the case of the recognition of the South on its merits, for this reasonbecause I quite agree with the honorable member who brought forward the motion, that in recognizing the confederacy as belligerents at the time we did we were simply declaring on May 13 that a certain state of things was a state of civil war, not on a hasty note, but on four official precedents laid before Congress by Mr. Seward nine, twelve, and sixteen days before the Queen's proclamation was issued. (Hear, hear.] On May, nine days before the issue of the proclamation of neutrality, Mr. Seward wrote that the insurgents had instituted a revolution with open, flagrant, deadly war, to compel the United States to assent to dismemberment, and the United States had accepted this civil war as inevitable. I should be sorry to say anything that would bear hardly upon $0 eininent and accomplished a statesman as Mr. Seward; but really, if it were a question which we could discuss face to face, I should venture to ask him how, with a grave face, he could ask me to call in some neutral and third party to determine whether a British government had a right to call that civil war which, on May 4, Mr. Seward himself called by that name. [Loud cheers.] I will notice in passing that the highest court of law in the United States declared that the state of things which existed was civil war; and I am glad to say that I have no doubt that there has been a change in the feeling here in a few years, and on the other side of the water a corresponding change has taken place. I saw a very remarkable article the other day, quoted frona one of the leading journals of the United States-it was from the New York World of February 18--and it lays down, first, that no arbitrators likely to be chosen would say that the Queen's proclamation was a wrongful act; secondly, that it was incapable of being made the subject of arbitration; and, thirdly, that it had nothing to do with the Alabama claims. I think it remarkable that such a declaration should appear in the columns of one of the leading newspapers of a country which more than any other is governed by public opinion. [Hear, bear.] I hope I have said enough to show that the proposed limitation is not arbitrary or capricious; still less is it a mere device to avoid bringing the matter to arbitration, but is founded on an intelligent and sound principle. I the negotiations had for a time been. I will not say broken off, but suspended, the house must acknowledge that the rupture or the suspension did not come from our side. We have made an offer which has been declined, and it is for the complaining party to date their counter proposition. I have heard it said, “You ought to settle this matter at once, or you will be in danger of war with America.” I am as anxious to settle the matter as any man in the house, [hear, hear,] but I do not fear that result. I have never concealed my opinion that the Americans, in case of reference, are not unlikely to make out their case to some extent. The money part of the question is one inappreciably sinall, more especially as we have claims on our side which, if only a portion of them bold water, will arrive at a considerable amount, and will form a not inconsiderable set-off to the claims against us: but in any case, if the matter be fairly investigated.
inst us. we shonld not be disposed to grudge the payment. (Hear, hear. If, therefore, the Alabama claims were for a moment kept out of sight, I think it ought to be understood that it is not by the act of our government that this has been done. I know that political feeling runs high in the United States, but I do not think any parties would be so insensible to the interests of their own country as to engage in a quarrel which might lead to a great and costly war for the sake of enforcing 10 one particular way a claim which it is in their power to settle, and not improbably in their favor, without having recourse to violence. [Hear, haar.] I cannot but think that in some way, indirectly if not directly—and I am not inclined to be very fastidious about the form scheers the United States government may be induced to join in measures which may lead to an arrangement. If they decline, it only remains to be seen whether any other solution of the dispute can be found. Mr. Seward, through Mr. Adams, has more than once thrown out hints respecting something in the nature of commission to deal with all outstanding disputes between the two countries. I have,
throngh Mr. Adams, suggested that he should develop that idea. I think international questions are better settled one by one, but I am not disposed to reject any reasonable mode of bringing about a settlement, and if we can agree upon any mode of bringing about a solution, I do not think that either the government, or the house, or the country, would be disposed to quarrel on a mere matter of form. [Hear, hear. ) I may say before I sit down that the reception of the new British minister at Washington has been not only friendly, but cordial, and I think I may say that the feel ing towards England is increasingly friendly. [Hear, hear.) I have stated the facts of this case as briefly as I could, and I shall leave our action in this case not merely to the judgment of the house, of the public, and of the country, but to that of all fair and impartial persons on both sides of the Atlantic. [The noble lord sat down amid loud and general cheering.
Mr. W. E. FORSTER thanked the noble lord for the anxiety he had shown to produce a better feeling between this country and America; but he believed that the difficulties which existed were not so great as had been imagined. The honorable member for Reading (Mr. Lefevre) made use of too strong an expression when he said that the negotiations had failed. If that had been so, he (Mr. W. E. Forster) should have deeply regretted it, as he wished to see the principle of arbitration carried out, and he thought that a precedent for it might have been established in the present case. He sympathized with the noble lord in the difficulties he had been called upon to contend with in dealing with this question. The state of things was simply this, that Mr. Seward wished to bring on the question of premature recognition, and the noble lord said that he should not allow him to do so. He (Mr. Forster) did not for a moment sympathize with the American government in their claims against this country on account of what they called the premature recognition; but he must say that he did not think that the ground upon which they based their claim was precisely that stated by the noble lord. He did not think that the American government said anything so absurd as that there was no civil war existing at the time of our recognition, but what they said was that though there was war going on in America, there was no war raging at sea, and that it was not our business, as a neutral power, to take notice of what had happened upon land, and by proclaiming our neutrality hasten the time at which a naval war would be carried on. This was nowhere so well stated as in the first official dispatch relating to recognition which passed between the two governments. It was quite true that, though Mr. Adams, in his first intercourse with Earl Russell, protested against recognition, yet in his first official dispatch, in April, 1865, the ground upon which he put the matter was that it was wrong to acknowledge the South as a belligerent“ before they had a single vessel of their own atloat.” It was
necess because he was quite sure that this country wished to understand the position taken by Mr. Seward. He thought that he could give, from his own personal experience, some little ground for believing that the United States government were mistaken in the position that they assumed. At the time that the neutrality proclamation was issued by our government he personally was very much interested on behalf of the North. He felt that a war was beginning upon which would depend whether slavery should be extended all over the American continent or should receive its death-blow. (Hear, hear. He was not ashamed to acknowledge that in that war he was a partisan of the North. Having that feeling, he heard that letters of marqne had been sent by Mr. Davis to this country, and the question arose how British subjects could be prevented from having anything to do with these letters of marque. He took legal advice, and was told, first, that vessels sailing under these letters of marque would be pirates, and he believed that 50 years ago they would have been so, and would have been so treated by England. He then referred to Wheaton, the great American anthority upon international war, and he found that in his book the law was stated in most distinct terms. He said, "Until a revolution is consummated and while the civil war continues, any neutral government that wishes not to help either of the parties must treat the government de facto as a state entitled to the rights of war." Upon reading this, he felt that if he had come down to the house and said that these vessels should be treated as pirates, he should be at once met with the authority of Wheaton for saying that they were entitled to belligerent rights. Still, there was the question how vessels under letters of marque were to be prevented from leaving our shores; and he himself asked the government what steps would be taken to prevent the infringement of the law by British subjects. It was in answer to this question that Sir G. Lewis for the first time stated that a proclamation of neutrality would be at once issued, and that that would set forth the law, which, in general terms, was that no British subject should take part in such a war. This proclamation was not intended in the minds of many people to be considered as unfriendly towards the United States, but rather that it was the only way in which British subjects could be prevented from entering into the war. [Hear, hear.) But whilst he by no means sympathized with the convictions of Mr. Seward in reference to the proclamation, yet he could not but think that the noble lord had somewhat misunderstood Mr. Seward's position. In his closing dispatch on the 9th November, 1867, he said that “We are distinctly informed by Lord Stanley