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by its ships, bar us from the means of communication. (Hear, hear.) Only the other day, Her Majesty's Government were anxious to communicate and remonstrate with the Government of the Confederate States, and actually gave a commission to one of our diplomatic servants, a consul, to do so; and then it was announced, that the blockading squadron, under the orders of the United States' Government, could not permit even a ship of war of this country to enter into a blockaded port for the purpose of this communication. (Hear, hear.) These circumstances greatly enhance the difficulty of bringing to a practical test the question whether there has been in this case a violation of our neutrality. Upon that allegation the whole thing depends; and here, again, American authority by no means warrants the notion that you ought to act lightly or without cogent proof. In the case of the Santissima Trinidad, to which I have before referred, Mr. Justice Story says, as to the kind of proof which ought to be insisted on in these cases :

" In a case of the description of that before the Court, where the sovereignty and rights of a foreign belligerent nation are in question, and where the exercise of jurisdiction over captures made under its flag can be justified only by clear proof of the violation of our neutrality, there are still stronger reasons for abstaining from interference, if the testimony is clouded with doubt and suspicion. We adhere to the rule which has been already adopted by this Court, that restitution ought not to be decreed upon the ground of capture in violation of our neutrality, unless the fact be established beyond all reasonable doubts.”

There, again, is a principle which the Confederate Government are entitled to have the benefit of, and which makes it matter of serious difficulty to say, that, because we have very strong moral presumptions and very strong reason to believe that a certain ship of war was fitted out in violation of our neutrality, we are, therefore, 'to act summarily upon the supposition. (Hear, hear.) You have bere a mixed question of facts and of law the facts to be established by evidence, the law to be decided with reference to the facts; and, considering the controversy which has gone on as to the bearing and effect of our law, it is not impossible that in some of these cases the Confederate States may have believed they were acting within that law. (Hear.) All this increases the difficulty; and now I want to suggest other reasons. Of course, if we act according to the suggestions made to us in this case, we must act on the same principles, and deal out the same measure to the other belligerent. And, if we are to proceed on grounds of moral belief, and do not stop to ask whether they constitute proper


legal grounds of action - if we are to proceed upon information of the kind which carries conviction to the mind - it is impossible to acquit the agents of the United States, although we may acquit the Government, of acts which are inconsistent with our neutrality. The case of the Kearsage was a case of this character. Beyond all question a considerable amount of recruiting was carried on at Cork for the purpose of that ship, she being employed at the time in our own waters, or very near them, in looking out for her enemy; and she was furnished with a large addition to her crew from Ireland. (Hear, hear.) Upon that being represented to Mr. Adams, he said, as might have been expected, that it was entirely contrary to the wishes of his Government, and that there must be some mistake. The men were afterwards relanded, and there can be no doubt that there had been a violation of our neutrality. (Hear, hear.) Nevertheless, we admitted the Kearsage afterwards into English waters. We have not excluded her from our ports, and if we had, I think the United States' Government would have considered that they had some cause of offence. (Hear, hear.) But it does not rest there. I see from the paper

that the honorable member for Horsham wants information respecting the enlistment of British subjects for the Federal army. Now, from all quarters reports reach us which we cannot doubts to be substantially true, that agents for recruiting for the Federal army, with or without the concurrence of the Government, are in Ireland, and engage men under the pretext of employing them on railways and public works, but really with the intention of enlisting them, and that many of these men are so enlisted. (Hear, hear.) In Canada and New Brunswick the same practices prevail. Representations have been made to the United States' Government respecting particular cases of persons who have been kidnapped into the service, and I feel bound to say that those representations have not met with that prompt and satisfactory attention we might have expected. (Hear, hear.) How are we to act in this case? Are we to exclude from our ports all the ships of the belligerent, whose agents are believed to have engaged in these practices ? — practices, which, whatever may be the intention of the United States' Government, operate to supply their ranks with British subjects in violation of British law. (Hear, hear.) If we are to act in the one case upon suspicion, or upon moral belief going beyond suspicion, it would be difficult to say that we ought not to act so in the other. But in what difficulties we should entangle ourselves were we so to act, not being bound to act by any international obligation? What may fairly be asked, is, that we should do all we can to enforce our own laws within our own jurisdiction. That is the course which the Government have taken ; that is the course to which they will adhere; and, in view of the difficulties I have mentioned, I think it is a course which is fully justified. (Hear.) There is one other consideration of importance which I wish to mention; and here again, I hope that what I say will not cause offence in the United States, for I state it because it is true, and because it is important that the matter should be understood. The British Government are not assisted by the Government of the United States in matters of this description. The demands which the United States' Government make upon us go so far beyond the limits of any thing they can be entitled to ask, according to any recognized rules and privileges of international law, that it becomes absolutely necessary that this Government should exercise great caution indeed, before they do acts which might possibly be misunderstood, and might give foundation to the idea that they do them under the supposed necessity of complying with demands of this kind. (Hear, bear.) The House well knows that I refer to the extraordinary demands arising out of the case of the Alabama. (Hear, hear.) I have no hesitation in saying, that the United States' Government, by advancing such demands, and by seeking to make our Government responsible for pecuniary compensation for prizes taken by the Alabama upon the high seas, and never brought within our ports or in any way whatever under our control, are making demands directly contrary to the principles of international law laid down by their own jurists, and thereby render it infinitely more difficult for us, at their request, to do any thing resting on our own discretion, and which we are not bound to do in law. (Hear, hear.) What we may fairly say is this: —“We will adhere to the rules laid down by your own authorities. We will execute our own law. We will allow no asylum to prizes or to property unjustly captured. If any such are brought in, any demand for their reclamation shall be investigated. But we will not undertake to recognize claims going beyond these limits. We will not undertake to interfere between belligerents in any other way than that in which by the rules of international law we can fairly be called upon to interfere.” (General cheering.)


Hon E R floor
with the best regards

of George Bernie

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