Mr. Adams to Mr. Seward.

No. 275.]

Sir: Since the date of my last your despatches, numbered from 412 to 416, inclusive, have come to hand. Likewise a printed circular (No. 28) of the 14th of November, relative to the operation of the act of July 1, 1862, on the salaries of public officers abroad.

There is no change worthy of note in the state of affairs here during the past week. The tone of the President’s message in treating of the foreign relations regarded with more favor, for the reason that something of a different kind had been anticipated in quarters where it was hoped an interpretation might be made of it to our disadvantage. I continue of the opinion that a gradual reaction is taking place in the popular sentiment, which will be materially promoted by the accounts of the very noble spirit manifested at New York towards the distressed operatives in Lancashire. This reaction may become quite general in the nation, if it should find support in the successful progress of our arms; but without that nothing really beneficial can be expected.

On the other hand, the efforts making by the rebel emissaries and their friends continue on the most extensive scale. An association has been formed in this place called the London Confederate States Aid Association, the objects of [Page 21] which are set forth in the little pamphlet, a copy of which is herewith transmitted. An office has been opened in a house in the next street to that in which I am writing, at which place meetings for discussion are held every Wednesday evening. These are not, however, absolutely open to the public at large. A card of admission is necessary, like that I send herewith, needing, however, the countersign of the secretary, Rector Smith, M. D., to make it available. Who this Dr. Smith is I do not know. All that I can learn is that he came originally from Kentucky, but has been settled here for some time as a practicing physician. He boasts of having a brother in southern Illinois, who is an effective ally to the rebel cause, and is frequently sent as far as Chicago on their business. The meetings are held in a room not capable of accommodating many persons. At one of the earlier ones one person appeared who ventured to question some remark made by one of the speakers, for which act he was immediately expelled. A box is placed at the entrance in the nature of a poor’s box, intended to receive any anonymous contributions which may be made by English sympathizers without committing themselves. A few small sums are obtained that way. * * * * * * * * * * * * * I need not enlarge upon the literal or logical peculiarities of their pamphlet. It is enough to observe that it indicates a degree of despair and distress at home, which I could scarcely have supposed the advocates of recognition here would be willing to confess. The production has been rather cautiously issued only to persons supposed to be inclined to sympathize. I have obtained some copies which I have not feared to put into the hands of leading gentlemen here. This organization is sanctioned by Mason, Lieutenant Maury, and the rest of the active emissaries in London, though I do not attribute the authorship of the production to them. Its success thus far has not been much. But I am told they contemplate larger operations presently, when an effort will be made to carry a measure of recognition through Parliament.

Lieutenant Maury professes to have come here for the purpose of bringing a son out for his education. He is really sent to forward the despatch of five war vessels building at Liverpool and elsewhere for the rebels. I learn, moreover, that as many more are building of iron at Bordeaux and Nantes; but you doubtless have sources of more accurate information as to those from France itself. We are watching the progress of the English ones, and hope to be able to obtain in season the evidence on which to base a new remonstrance to her Majesty’s government. In the meanwhile the transmission of supplies goes on with unabated industry. The steamer Princess Royal left last week with a very valuable cargo, including all the armor plates intended for a vessel at Charleston. Her nominal destination is Halifax, to take in coals, but she has a Charleston pilot on board, and will attempt a direct voyage, if the weather and other circumstances prove propitious. The difficulty in preventing ingress and egress at that port seems to have proved so great that I scarcely dare to hope she will be intercepted. From the number of pilots sent out from that point I am led to infer they find it almost their only dependence. Yet, in spite of all their success, the severity of their distress sufficiently proves the general effectiveness of the blockade. It is very much to be desired that within the next three months some further results may be arrived at in obtaining their remaining ports, which will render all the armament they are preparing here to break the blockade of little worth.

I have the honor to be, sir, your obedient servant,


Hon. William H. Seward, Secretary of State, Washington, D. C.

[Page 22]

[Card of admission.]


Confederate States Aid Association.

3 Devonshire street, Portland Place, W.

[Pamphlet referred to.]

An address to the British public and all sympathizers in Europe, from the London Confederate States Aid Association.

We most earnestly and sincerely solicit your co-operation, aid, and support to the cause of the Confederate States of America. They are now engaged in a war of defence against a most fearful odds of unscrupulous enemies.

Their immense coast is blockaded, and their entire communication cut off from the rest of mankind. Their harbors have been destroyed, their rivers and waters are in the possession of their enemies.

Laws have been passed confiscating their property, and forcing the oath of allegiance under the pains and penalty of death.

Their women have been insulted, imprisoned, flogged, violated, and outraged in a most inhuman and savage manner. Their homes and goods have been destroyed, their houses forcibly entered, the helpless and unresisting inmates murdered, the fleeing overtaken and cut down in cold blood by their savage soldiery.

Respectable and peaceable unarmed citizens have been arrested and imprisoned, others shot or hung in the presence of their families, without a moment’s warning, or the slightest pretext or provocation whatever. Their villages, towns, and cities have been destroyed and made desolate plains; their once productive fields laid waste, made barren, and crimsoned with their own blood.

That their invaders are bent on mischief, robbery, murder, arson, and crimes of the most revolting nature, cannot be doubted. The past history of this war demonstrates but too clearly their fiendish and demoniacal purpose; they destroy everything they come in reach of, both man and beast. They are now glutting their hellish rage against the people they seek to destroy, in inflicting every kind of torture, punishment, and misery that their fruitful minds can invent, upon those that they fain would call fellow-citizens. In this raid nothing seems so much to delight them as spreading wild ruin, devastation, destruction, and universal desolation throughout the land they have invaded, for the purpose of revenge and hatred. In their fury, malice, and madness, they have spent millions to destroy the natural channels of the waters that wash southern shores. The atrocities, cruelties, crimes, and outrages committed against the south in this war are without a parallel in the history of the world. Added to these misfortunes and calamities, foreign nations have treated them with unprecedented severity, oppression, Unfairness and rigor; they have denied them a voice in their courts, and refuse to have any communication with them whatever. The Confederate States are left without an alternative, either successful resistance or dishonored graves. This war can only terminate in the entire destruction of the south and the annihilation of her people, or in her ability to drive the enemy from her territory, and establish and maintain her institutions inviolate.

The United States of America, eighteen months ago, declared the entire confederate coast blockaded; the declaration was not worth the paper on which it was written without the approval of the great powers of Europe; and though [Page 23] the law regulating the question as to what constituted a blockade, and momentous interest was in direct opposition, all questions were waived, the legality acknowledged, the blockade acquiesced in, and made binding, thus cutting off all communication between us and what was heretofore the largest producing, exporting, importing, and consuming market in the world. This has had a most ruinous and destructive influence on our commerce and prosperity, which is beginning to be severely felt by all classes of society, but more especially the manufacturing and laboring portion of the people; all branches of business have been depreciated to ruinous rates, even to suspension. The real necessities and wants of the people cannot be supplied; untold numbers have been thrown out of work, and are wandering about seeking employment in vain, until they are worn out by hunger, thirst, and starvation. Our fundamental sources of wealth, greatness, affluence, power, and independence have been, in a great measure, suspended by yielding to the infamous acts of a haughty tyrant.

The importance that we have heretofore attached to the trade of the north has deceived us, and dwindles into insignificance when compared to that of the south; the absurdity of their promise to supply us with cotton through their ports can now be seen by every one.

Most strange and extraordinary, every speaker and writer on the subject of the cotton famine is giving the public mind the wrong direction. It can only be found where it is, and can only be produced regularly in large quantities where climate, soil, and geographical position is favorable to its production, and that can only be determined by the experience of a series of years.

After a careful and most thorough investigation of the subject, we are irresistibly forced to the conclusion that no other country can produce so good, cheap, and large supply as the old, well-tried fields of the Confederate States of America; therefore we are of opinion that this country cannot rely, with any degree of certainty, on any other market. The emergency, necessity, and real wants of the hour incontestably prove our conclusion to be well founded.

We have seen the absurdity and folly of relying on other markets for supplies. Almost as soon as our old stock has been worked, our mills have been compelled to stop; though fabulous prices have been offered, no adequate quantity can be had. Notwithstanding our old market has abundance and to spare, at the moderate price of threepence per pound, and from that source the United States, and those that sustain them in their policy, has denied us our ordinary supplies, the want of which has been the direct cause of the starvation and distress in Lancashire. It is hard that the innocent should suffer to aid the cause of cruelty and tyranny in a crusade against the unoffending south.

Every impartial mind must be convinced that if the south had had the same facilities of obtaining war material from abroad as the north, that the war would have been ended long since. We are of opinion that peace can only be obtained by the success of confederate arms, and that all the embarrassments thrown in their way will only prolong the contest.

To what extent individuals and nations are responsible for permitting the destruction of life and property that they could in their own lawful right prohibit, is a question worthy the attention and consideration of the civilized world. The indifference manifested in the immense interest that we have at stake and involved in this war is well calculated to alarm our fears, and awaken in us emotions of the gravest character. The indications are certainly very clear that our government intends to persist in the policy that they have seen proper to adopt towards the belligerents, and it is equally clear to our minds that, under that policy, the war will continue for many long years. Under all their difficulties the confederate government has grown stronger and stronger every day; unaided by any one, their onward march to power and greatness seems inevitable under perhaps the greatest sufferings that humanity was ever called to pass through; heroically and nobly have they fought through many bloody [Page 24] battles; undaunted and undismayed in defeat; calm, mild, and unexulting in victory; and have shown themselves worthy of a place amongst the nations of the earth.

We are persuaded that it is only necessary here to call your attention to the great sufferings of our own people, and the identity of interest that we have with the south in the war, and the lamentable and desperate condition of the people of the Confederate States of America are owing principally to the enormous unfairness exerted against them, and the disadvantage that they labor under in obtaining war material to defend themselves against vastly superior numbers, to awaken you to a sense of the importance of arresting the horrors of the bloodstained march of tyranny, and the reign of crimes and terrors now carried on against the confederates by the federals, and restore to them liberty, peace—and happiness to our country. To the accomplishment of these ends and purposes we turn to you in the name of suffering Lancashire, civilization, justice, peace, liberty, humanity, Christianity, and a candid world; and by the highest considerations that can call men to action, we beg you to come forward to aid, contribute, and support a brave and valiant people that are fighting for their homes, firesides, birthright, lives, independence, sacred honor, and all that is near and dear to mankind. By all the sorrows, deprivations, bereavements, losses, hardships, and sufferings that now ingulph the confederate people, we appeal to you to arouse and rush to their aid with your pence, shillings, and pounds; give them your sympathy, countenance, and influence to hurl the tyrants from their country, and obtain the greatest boon to man—self-government.

Fairest and best of earth, for the sake of violated Innocence, insulted virtue, and the honor of your sex, come in woman’s majesty and omnipotence, and give strength to a cause that has for its object the highest human aims, the amelioration and exaltation of humanity.

At a meeting of the Confederate States Aid Association, held at their rooms on the evening of Wednesday, the 20th of August, 1862, the following report was unanimously adopted.

It is notorious from the history of the late United States for the last fourteen years that the laws of the land were not enforced throughout a great portion of the northern section of the country. It is undeniable that the government of Washington was wholly impotent to compel obedience; and that the enactments of the federal legislature, indorsed and expounded by the Supreme Court of judicature, were in most of the northern States of the late federal Union become a dead letter.

Ohio, New Jersey, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Vermont, Maine, Michigan, Iowa, Wisconsin, and others of the western States, by a formal act of their legislatures, made it positively penal to execute within their districts the federal laws of the land, and forbade the officers of the federal government to execute them within their borders. The message of President Franklin Pierce, issued in 1856, proves this to demonstration.

The plain consequence of this action on the part of the northern States amounted to a virtual dissolution of the Union, and absolved the southern States from allegiance to the national compact, the constitution of which indispensably provided for the administration of the general laws enacted for the benefit of all.

For the whole of that period the southern States suffered much and long the deprivation of their national rights for the sake of preserving their common nationality, and from fear of the disruption of the ties which bound the several States in a common national federal Union. They found themselves without a government, save that of their own individual States; neither life nor property was secured to them by law outside their own borders, nor did the national government possess power to protect either the one or the other, as by the common [Page 25] laws of mankind the supreme government is bound to be enabled to do. The south held firmly to all the conditions of the national federation, and religiously performed all the duties which were consequent upon a partnership under a union of States, in a federal government, by the common consent of such States, and formed upon the basis of their mutual interests.

Such consent was destroyed by the regular and organized action of a political conspiracy to contravene the obligations of the common and national Union. The party now in power at Washington are the persons who undeniably organized this conspiracy. With systematic disloyalty to the federal laws, vigilant committees were formed in the northern States to resist the law, until. they became strong enough to nominate the chief officer of the nation the head of vigilant committeeism, under a higher law than the laws of the land, acknowledging no other restriction or obligation than that imposed by their own conscience, and violently and successfully resisting the plain terms of the compact of the national Union. Having made every possible concession to the north for the sake of preserving such Union, the south consented to the imposition of tariffs which were seriously detrimental to their commercial interests; they allowed the north, to monopolize the whole of their shipping and carrying trade; they submitted to be shut out from free trade with Europe and the rest of the civilized world, and to exchange the products of one of the richest agricultural countries on the face of the globe, only through the medium of the brokers of the north, whose manufactures were exchanged with them under the most stringent protective provisions, and unmistakably productive to the northern interests. This they endured until long suffering ceased to be a virtue, and the laws of self-defence imperatively called upon them to act. The consequences had been long foreseen, and loudly proclaimed by the ablest statesmen of both sections of the Union, who, in the common interest of the nation, solemnly implored the calm consideration of the consequences of an action which inevitably tended to the disruption of the federal Union, but without effect.

Compromise was again and again attempted, but without practical result; at the very last an equitable adjustment of the differences in question between the two sections was offered, and contemptuously refused. The north appealed to force as its sole remedy, and at this day we see what has been the result of the appeal. In the face of her necessities, and with full consciousness of all the difficulties and dangers that she run, the southern confederacy determined to assert her independence. In the month of May, 1860, the federal States of North and South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Florida, Mississippi, and Louisiana formed a national compact, by the regular action of their people, under the provisions of the Constitution, and in conformity with its regulations, to secede from the Union, by and with the consent of the people.

It has been incessantly asserted that such consent was obtained by violence and under restraint, but the whole facts of the contest which ensued offer a plain contradiction to such an opinion, and give the lie to such an assertion. The government then appointed have peaceably and without interruption conducted the affairs of the nation, then constituted, up to the present time; they have met with no opposition within their borders; their government, their army, their laws have been regularly and orderly arranged, constituted, and administered One by one the border States, by regular constitutional action, joined the seceding Confederate States, and the government, which originally prepared at Montgomery to brave the hostility of the rich and powerful northern States, found itself enabled to establish itself permanently at Richmond, the capital of the Old Dominion, the most noble and the most honored of the States which formed the quondam Union. They were without arms, without a navy, without founderies, and without ammunition; they were cut off from all communication with other nations by the overwhelming supremacy of the federal navy. Their officers, the sons of then oldest families, who were on service in the federal [Page 26] army and navy, were arrested and committed to prison on their resigning a commission which the national action of their homes left them no alternative but to send in, and yet against all the odds of the contest, against all the odds of the preparation, and the fearful preponderance of military and scientific appliances, which the power and wealth of the north and their undisputed possession of the sea enabled them to procure from the markets of Europe, the Confederate States, on the 21st July, 1861, succeeded in hurling back with loss and destruction the invading army of the north, which had boasted that in sixty days they would completely subjugate the country which had dared to be free. Can any one, at the present day, venture to dispute the right of the southern confederacy to a separate existence, which she has equally maintained by the success of her armies in the field and by the regular administration of the laws and constituted authorities at home ?

Under these circumstances it becomes important to see what has been the action of England towards the Confederate States. From the very commencement of this war of independence, every newspaper, every magazine, and almost every public organ of information, seem to have accepted a retainer on the northern side.

The secession was termed a rebellion. Every telegram from the government of Washington and every article from the press of New York, dictated by their suggestion, was accepted as true by those who professed to give intelligence of the events occurring on the other side of the Atlantic. No single writer known to English literature ventured to raise his voice in favor of a cause which peculiarly recommended itself to British sympathies, as being a struggle of freemen for independence.

The world seemed overwhelmed with the audacious assertion of the northern organs of public opinion without demanding a tittle of proof; morbid and over sensitive religious feeling accepted, unquestioned, the accounts of Mrs. Beecher Stowe as a faithful representation of the social status of the slaveholding country, and looked upon the disruption as a violent attempt to perpetuate such a condition of things and persons against the better sense of the majority of the nation at large.

When Dr. Lempriere, in August, 1861, published his “American Crisis,” his advocacy of the southern cause was greeted with an almost universal shout of obloquy. The Edinburgh Review, which, in 1832, had ventured to suggest that the people of England, if deprived by the legislature of the electoral franchise they demanded, had a right to arm themselves against the executive, expressed their astonishment that a member of the bar and a fellow of the University of Oxford should dare to advocate a cause which the common humanity of Europe repudiated. Mr. Spence, of Liverpool, by his admirable philosophical treatise on the American Union, staggered these unthinking politicians, while his calm aud irresistible logic dissipated all the fallacies unsparingly put forward to cloud the intelligence of England from apprehending the true state of affairs. Even the ludicrous piracy of the Trent, the monstrous propositions of international law, and insolent defiance of England, consequent on Commodore Wilkes’s seizure of Messrs. Mason and Slidell, all seemed to be atoned by the submission of the Washington cabinet, arrogant as it was. The government refused to listen to the representations, forced upon them from all quarters, of the insufficiency of the blockade of 3,800 miles of coast, by a navy composed in a great part of merchant ships extemporized into vessels-of-war, and although they were compelled by Lord Derby’s irresistible definition of the right of the confederates to be treated as belligerents, to treat both parties on an equal footing as regards the Queen’s proclamation, they missed the only opportunity that was ever afforded to them of asserting the right of commerce, which all neutral nations, since 1798, have been by the common consent of Europe allowed to exercise, with the sole condition that they do not carry articles contraband of war.

[Page 27]

They proclaimed and have rigidly adhered to a policy which is nominally perfect neutrality, but which in reality exclusively favors the northern side. By the command of the sea the north has been able to draw from England the whole of her munitions of war, and to arm herself with every military appliance which the skill and science of England was able to give them; while, on the other hand, not a single cargo of the common necessaries of life, such as salt, coffee, &c., &c., clothing, implements of husbandry, even needles and sewing cotton, was able to reach the south without the risk of being denounced in England, and being taken by the federal cruisers long before it reached its destination. But though the government has been thus consistently what they call neutral, the people of England have gradually awakened to a better understanding. On the one hand, the conquest by the south of a clear and indisputable title to independence, the acquiescence and consent of her people to the constituted authority of the government, the statesmanship and order of her rulers, both military and civil, the solemn and regular character of the proceedings of the legislature, and the state papers which issued from the several governmental bureaus, won the admiration of men who are nationally lovers of law and of order. On the other hand, the continued falsehoods authorized by the cabinet of Washington, the outrageous disregard of truth and decency, as well in diplomatic correspondence as in the dispatches of their military officers, the inhuman and brutal conduct of their generals, the license of their troops, as well as their utter inefficiency, tore aware the veil from a warfare which meretriciously pretended to be the cause of constitutional law and humanity, but which was in fact a lust of power regardless of consequences, and reckless of the blood and treasure of their common country.

From these causes Englishmen have learned to recognize the position of men of their own blood fighting for the freedom of their country and their homes against an invasion by hordes of mercenaries collected from the scum of almost every nation, actuated by the prospect of plunder, and officered by generals without the least military pretensions, and whose public actions will consign their names to infamy, and hand down their memory to the detestation of all posterity. They have recognized the energies of the south in having achieved one of the most stupendous efforts recorded in the history of nations. That the confederacy, without preparation, without arms, without ships, without founderies, without military organization, cut off as she was from all communication with other nations, not only maintained internally her separate existence, as was proved by the cheerful allegiance of her citizens, but triumphantly, by the success of her arms in the field, vindicated her rights as a nation which dared to be free againt the largest and most elaborately prepared armies that modern times have seen.

If, then, a sense of natural justice, a horror of tyranny and oppression, a love of order and the protection of life and property by the law of the land, continue, as they have ever done, to command the sympathies of Englishmen, the southern confederacy has an undeniable claim. She has not a rival either in commerce or in glory; hers is a consuming and not a manufacturing country; her lands supply the raw material from which the bread of millions here is earned; she only demands liberty of free exchange of her natural wealth with the products of the skill and labor of England; she has at this moment upwards of 3,000,000 bales of cotton yet undestroyed, and is crying loudly but in vain for a purchaser; she has the turpentine and resin which this internecine war has almost wholly withdrawn from the world’s trade; she has rice, sugar, tobacco, hemp, maize, wheat, and Indian corn, in quantities which are almost incredible. Lieutenant Maury, a reliable authority, informs us her trade would require 20,000 ships and 200,000 sailors; that the manufactured articles which she would draw from Europe, in cloth and cotton goods, shoes, cutlery, implements of husbandry, salt, drugs, &c., &c., would give labor for 4,000,000 of artisans. [Page 28] Is not such a commerce worthy of consideration? Is not such an ally worthy of being saved from annihilation, which is brutal, and is threatened to be total? But not only is the sympathy of England claimed on account of the natural rights of freemen, on an appreciation of the mutual interests of both countries, on their consanguinity and the de jure as well as de facto conquest of independence, we should never forget that the hostility which, without any just cause of offence, and even against the plainest dictates of reason and equity, has characterized not only the words and actions of the public men in the north, but seems to have poisoned the whole life blood of the nation, will inevitably, on some future occasion, force England from her attitude of neutrality.

Can we afford to reject a natural ally not only inviting us to terms of amity; but imploring us with tears to help our own children, when that ally and those children possess 3,800 miles of coasts indented with harbors, into which are poured by giant rivers the riches of an almost interminable continent, and still more when we consider that her northwestern border is only ninety-seven miles distant from the Canadian lakes, the frontier of our most valuable colony as well as our imperial strength and dignity, will be called upon to defend against irruption, which it is the favorite theme of the federals to consider as the natural outlet for their new-found military enthusiasm.

Rules of the Association.

1. That this association shall be called the “London Confederate States Aid Association;” formed for the purpose of giving countenance and support to the Confederate States of America in their struggle to establish and maintain their independence.

2. That this association believes the present war in America to be an unholy and an unjust war, and that the Washington government have no just cause or constitutional grounds of war against the south.

3. That this association shall consist of an unlimited number of members.

4. That the government of the association consist of president, vice-president, treasurer, secretary, a standing committee of twelve members, and three auditors.

5. That the association shall hold its meetings for the transaction of ordinary business weekly.

6. That quarterly general meetings shall be held, at which the reports of the secretary and auditors shall be presented.

7. That for special business of the association special meetings shall be called by the committee.

8. That it shall be the duty of each member to attend regularly every Wednesday evening at the meetings of the assciation.

9. That each member shall pay, for the purpose of defraying the incidental expenses of the association, the sum of not less than one shilling weekly.

10. That in case any member shall have absented himself for twelve successive meetings, or shall have failed to pay his weekly dues for a like period, he shall cease to be a member of this association.

11. That persons desirous of becoming members shall be proposed, seconded, and elected by a majority of two thirds at least of the members present.

12. That the duties of the secretary shall be to attend all the meetings of the association, to make correct minutes of the proceedings thereof, to keep a correct account of all moneys received and expended by the association, and to prepare a clear statement of the income and expenditure of the association, to be submitted to the quarterly general meetings.

13. That while this association consists principally of Englishmen sympathizing with the Confederate States of America, as well as with the sufferings [Page 29] of their own countrymen, it earnestly solicits the contributions, co-operation, and support of all.

14. That all moneys received by the association shall be appropriated for purchasing and forwarding to the Confederate States of America the materials which, in the judgment of the association, shall be considered the best calculated to enable them to carry on the war, and to bring their present protracted struggle to a successful issue.

FREDERICK NURSE, Secretary pro. tem.