No. 2.

(Lord Lyons to Earl Russell.——(Received June 28.)

Mr. Moore arrived here yesterday, and delivered to me a despatch dated the 6th instant, reporting that his exequatur had been withdrawn by Mr. Davis, which he had intended to forward to me by a messenger if the confederate authorities had allowed him to send one. A copy of it goes to your lordship today, enclosed in a despatch which Mr. Moore addressed to you on the 9th instant, and which he brought here with him.

I do myself the honor to transmit to your lordship copies of the following papers which h ave been delivered to me by Mr. Moore:

1. Despatch from Mr. Moore to me reporting arrangements made by him for the protection of British subjects.

2. Despatch from Mr. Moore to me informing me of the intention of Mr. Acting Consul Walker with regard to the objections raised in his case by Mr. Benjamin, enclosing a copy of the despatch to your lordship, No. 23, above mentioned, and asking my leave to quit Richmond.

3. Despatch from Mr. Moore to me, explaining his reasons for leaving Richmond [Page 820] without waiting for an answer from me, and expressing his wish to go on immediately to England.

4. Letter from the confederate adjutant general to the commandant of conscripts at Macon, Georgia, containing instructions respecting the liability of foreigners to conscription.

5. Letter from Mr. Benjamin to the French consul at Richmond, informing him that the president of the Confederate States has determined to permit no direct communication between consuls in those States and the functionaries of their governments residing within the “enemy’s lines.”

6. An extract from the Richmond newspaper, Sentinel, containing a copy of a despatch from Mr. Benjamin to Mr. Mason, stating the reasons for the withdrawal of Mr. Moore’s exequatur, and for forbidding direct communication between consuls in the Confederate States and the legations in the United States. Mr. Mason is instructed to communicate this despatch to your lordship.

I do not purpose to make any endeavor to alter the arrangements which Mr. Moore has made for the protection of British subjects. M. Mercier hastened to assure me that he should be happy to instruct M. Paul, the French consul at Richmond, (who happens to be at this moment at Washington,) to take charge of the British consulate on his return to his post. I have not, however, thought it advisable to accept this offer. It is doubtful whether the confederate authorities would recognize such an arrangement. Indeed, the fact—of which they could not be kept in ignorance—that it had been made by the British and French ministers at Washington would no doubt induce them to object to it; and at at all events they would not, it is to be presumed, allow M. Paul to interfere in any matters not pertaining to the precise district to which the jurisdiction of the consulate of which he was in charge extended. Mr. Moore is himself confident that the arrangement he has made will be in practice much more advantageous to British subjects than placing them under the protection of any foreign consul: I think it therefore better that this matter shall remain as Mr. Moore has left it, until your lordship issues orders concerning it.

It is plain that Mr. Moore’s returning to Richmond would be of no service whatever to British interests; I have therefore told him that I see no objection to his going to England as he wishes. He intends to embark in a few days.

I think that, so far as this legation is concerned, it would be an advantage that its connexion with the consular officers in territory held by the confederates should be dissolved. The communication is so slow and uncertain that intelligence seldom reaches me from those officers in time to be of any value. For the same reason they cannot obtain special instructions from me in any sudden contingency, while general instructions to them would be sent with much greater advantage from the foreign office than from this legation. The communications between the consuls in the south and the legation have always tended to give rise to suspicion in the United States; they have now been denounced as offensive by the confederate authorities. Your lordship will observe that notwithstanding my repeated instructions to the consuls never to allude to me or to the legation in their communications with those authorities, and notwithstanding the care which has been taken at your lordship’s office to address instructions to the consuls directly instead of desiring me to transmit them, Mr. Benjamin, in his despatch to Mr. Mason, dwells on the connexion between the consuls and this legation as the main reason for the measures which Mr. Davis has adopted.

There was one great advantage in the existing arrangement which can hardly be said to exist any longer. We had for some time consuls at the southern ports recognized as such by both belligerents, and this was convenient in cases in which ports in the south were attacked by the federals. I have not heard of any objection having been made by the confederates to Mr. Fullarton as acting consul at Savannah, but the recognition by them of Mr. Walker as acting consul at Charleston and of Mr. Cridland as acting consul at Mobile appears to be very [Page 821] doubtful; and even supposing all these acting consuls to be recognized, the confederate authorities will still refuse to allow them to interfere in behalf of British subjects beyond the exact limits to which the jurisdiction of the respective consulates extends, and this will leave the greater part of the British subjects in the Confederate States without protection.

[Enclosure 1 in No. 2.]

Consul Moore to Lord Lyons.

My Lord: I have the honor to state that as the exigencies of the public service here are such that they cannot be abruptly broken off without the most serious detriment to British subjects resident in the southern States, I have deemed it expedient without loss of time to adopt the following measure for the protection of her Majesty’s subjects. I have issued the following notice in the local newspapers, namely:

“Notice to British Subjects.—British subjects requiring professional advance connected with questions of their nationality are recommended by Mr. George Moore, late her Britannic Majesty’s consul for the State of Virginia, to apply to Mr. G. A. Myers, attorney-at-law, on 12th, between Capitol and Broad streets, Richmond.”

Mr. Myers is a very competent person, to whom British interests can be most implicitly confided, and I have no hesitation in assuming any degree of responsibility in recommending this gentleman as the keeper of the archives of this consulate, and custodian of British interests, until ulterior arrangements can be determined upon. Mr. Myers stands high in the estimation of every member of the administration here, and he is one of the most prominent and respectable citizens of Richmond. The assistance which he has rendered to this consulate is such that I believe the business of this office could never have been conducted with satisfactory result without his friendly and gratuitous aid, which Mr. Cridland, I know, proposes to represent to her Majesty’s government.

Under the circumstances I trust that the present arrangement and my propective suggestion will meet with your lordship’s concurrence.

I have, &c.,

[Enclosure 2 in No. 2.]

Consul Moore to Lord Lyons.

My Lord: Since I had the honor of addressing your lordship from Richmond, I have orally explained the reasons which induced me to appear before you personally without awaiting your lordship’s instructions, in consequence of the unexpected order issued by Mr. Benjamin, the secretary of state of the so-styled Confederate States, prohibiting all further direct communications “between the consuls of neutral nations in the confederacy and the functionaries of those nations residing in the north.”

Therefore, as my exquatur as consul for the State of Virginia has been annulled, I propose (if it should meet with your lordship’s concurrence) to proceed forthwith to England, and report myself to Earl Russell.

I also have the honor of enclosing herewith the copy of a communication dated Confederate States of America, Bureau of Conscription, Richmond, Virginia, May 22, 1863, addressed to the commandant of conscripts, Macon, Georgia, on the subject of persons who are not held as liable to conscription.

I have, &c.,

[Page 822]
[Enclosure 3 in No. 2.]

Colonel Lay to the Commandant of Conscripts, Macon, Georgia.

Sir: The letter of Colonel Weems of the 24th March ultimo, to Lieutenant S. J. Perry, has been forwarded to this bureau. The opinion expressed by him that “foreigners who have purchased real estate thereby declare their domicile in the Confederate States,” and are subject to conscription, notwithstanding the protection given them in their consulate papers, is not concurred in by this bureau, and cannot be sustained upon principle and authority; nor is it in conformity with the rules laid down in General Order No. 82 of 1863.

That order does not prescribe any new rule in relation to domicile. It merely declares what is well settled and familiar law upon the subject. It mentions that “the declarations of the party, the exercise of the rights of citizenship, marriage, and the acquisition of real estate, are the principal evidences of intention to remain;” but it nowhere declares that either one of these is conclusive of the fact. Yet such is your decision. A party may have made declarations upon the subject so at variance with his acts and with the circumstance attending his residence as to require the declarations to be disregarded or respected. So marriage of itself, unless there be other proof of residence and intention to remain and abandon the former domicile, is not sufficient. Instances are not wanting of diplomatic agents intermarrying with the women of the country to which they have been accredited, and continuing for years afterwards in the discharge of their official duties. No one ever supposed that by such an act the ambassador or other diplomatic agent renounced either his domcille or nationality. A foreigner may exercise the highest act of citizenship, the right of suffrage, without changing his domicile or losing his original eitizenship. If the act be done either in ignorance or fraud of the law his status is not thereby changed. And so he may acquire and purchase real estate. In some of the States laws have been passed in pursuance of treaty stipulations which enable foreigners to purchase, hold, transmit and inherit, real estate. In most of the States a foreigner cannot hold real estate without making a declaration of his intention to become a citizen. In such States a foreigner may purchase real estate without making the required oath or declaration. The property may be liable to escheat, and upon proper proceedings had he may lose his property, but he cannot thereby be deprived of his national character, or lose his right as a citizen of a foreign country. Again, a foreigner might, in ignorance of the law forbidding him to hold real estate, become a purchaser of it; in such a case it could not with propriety be said that he intended by the act of purchase to change his domicile. The fact of such a purchase is reconcilable with the most decided purpose not to change his domicile. A man is presumed to hold his domicile of nativity until another is obtained, and to constitute this change the fact and intention must concur. It is extremely difficult, if not impossible, to prescribe the circumstances which shall in every case be taken as satisfactory proof of intention to change the domicile.

But whatever the character of the evidence may be, it must be such as to satisfy the mind fairly and reasonably that the party has not only changed his domicile in point of fact, but that he so intended.

Brigadier General Rains, superintendent of conscription, has directed me to issue the foregoing instructions for your information and guidance.

Very respectfully, &c.,

G. W. LAY.
[Page 823]
[Enclosure 4 in No. 2.]

Mr. Benjamin to M. Paul.

Sir: It becomes my duty to inform you that the president has determined to permit no direct communication between consuls and consular agents of foreign countries residing within the confederacy and the functionaries of such foreign governments residing in the enemy’s lines. The passage in future of consular couriers, messengers, or of consuls or of consular agents themselves, through the confederate lines to the enemy, is accordingly prohibited, and foreign officials will be allowed to communicate with their governments only directly or through neutral countries.

I am, &c.,

[Enclosure 5 in No. 2.]


Despatch to Mr. Mason.—We publish, by official consent, the following despatch of the secretary of state of the Confederate States to Mr. Mason, our commissioner to England.

It makes known the causes of the late revocation of the exequatur of the British consul at this port, and in doing so takes occasion to explain the general grounds of the president’s action, and the views which govern the policy which he is firmly and steadily pursuing.

It will be seen that the confederate government is held by the president to be the agent of the States for certain purposes; that it is the successor of a similar agent whose acts while its authority existed were valid; and that succeeding to the trust, the confederate authorities are bound to respect all constitutional acts performed by the former agent with the consent of the State concerned. Hence, argues the secretary, “when Virginia seceded, withdrew the powers delegated to the government of the United States, and conferred them on this government, the exequatur granted to Consul Moore was not thereby invalidated.” Being the act of Virginia, through her agent, in the first instance, it remained her act, though her agent had been changed.

This is manifestly the true State-rights doctrine. It would be monstrous if, when a State selects a new agent to attend thenceforth to certain interests, this new servant should begin by treating as null and void whatever she might have done through her former one. This would be to assume that the sovereign authority lies in the temporary agent rather than in the abiding State. The view of the president will commend itself to the hearty approbation of the people, who will see in it another proof of the scrupulous respect which he pays to the rights of the States and the established principles of our government.

The letter to Mr. Mason shows also that the president has acted in good faith on his opinion as to the validity of existing exequaturs. He has not sought difficulties with the consuls or revoked their exequaturs with any idle and mistaken view of extorting recognition from European powers. He has conceded to foreigners all their international rights, and has cultivated the spirit of amity with other nations so far as consistent with our own honor and dignity. England is no exception to this remark.

We are fully pursuaded that the foreign policy of the president, as exhibited in the letter to Mr. Mason, will receive the warm approval and support of the confederate people. Some there may be who would perfer rash and violent counsels, [Page 824] but the great mass of our citizens will approve the steady course which, unmoved by thoughtless clamor, the president has pursued. They will be discerning enough to see that it is much better and far more creditable to us for our international affairs thus to be conducted with dignity and in decent temper, and that it would but expose us to ridicule to dismiss a few foreign consuls from our beleaguered ports, and withdraw the agents whom for our own interest and convenience we have sent to Europe, in the childish expectation that we should thereby intimidate and coerce Europe to recognize our independence. The day for such fancies has past. What the great need for our cotton cannot do for us, the dismissal of a few petty consuls will hardly accomplish.


Sir: Herewith you will receive copies of the following papers:

(A.) Letter of George Moore, esq., her Britannic Majesty’s consul in Richmond, to this department, dated 16th February, 1863.

(B.) Letter from the secretary of state to Consul Moore, 20th February, 1863.

(C.) Letters-patent by the president, revoking the exequatur of Consul Moore, 5th June, 1863.

(D.) Letter enclosing to Consul Moore a copy of the letters-patent revoking his exequatur.

It is deemed proper to inform you that this action of the president was influenced in no small degree by the communication to him of an unofficial letter of Consul Moore, to which I shall presently refer.

It appears that two persons named Molony and Farrell, who were enrolled as conscripts in our service, claimed exemption on the ground that they were British subjects, and Consul Moore, in order to avoid the difficulty which prevented his corresponding with this department, as set forth in the paper (B,) addressed himself directly to the secretary of war, who was ignorant of the request made by this department for the production of the consul’s commission. The secretary of war ordered an investigation of the facts, when it became apparent that the two men had exercised the right of suffrage in this State, thus debarring themselves of all pretext for denying their citizenship; that both had resided here for eight years, and had settled on and were cultivating farms owned by themselves. You will find annexed the report of Lieutenant Colonel Edgar, marked (E,) and it is difficult to conceive a case presenting stronger proofs of the renunciation of native allegiance, and of the acquisition of de facto citizenship, than are found in that report. It is in relation to such a case that it has seemed proper to Consul Moore to denounce the government of the Confederate States to one of its own citizens as being indifferent “to cases of the most atrocious cruelty.” A copy of his letter to the counsel of the two men is annexed, marked (F.)

The earnest desire of this government is to entertain amicable relations with all nations, and with none do its interests invite the formation of closer ties than with Great Britain. Although feeling aggrieved that the government of her Majesty has pursued a policy which, according to the confessions of Earl Russell himself, has increased the disparity of strength which he considers to exist between the belligerents, and has conferred signal advantage on our enemies, in a war in which Great Britain announces herself to be really and not nominally neutral, the president has not deemed it necessary to interpose any obstacle to the continued residence of British consuls within the confederacy by virtue of exequaturs granted by the former government. His course has been consistently guided by the principles which underlie the whole structure of our government. The State of Virginia having delegated to the government of the United States by the Constitution of 1787 the power of controlling its foreign relations, became [Page 825] bound by the action of that government in its grant of an exequatur to Consul Moore. When Virginia seceded, she withdrew the powers delegated to the government of the United States and conferred them on this government; the exequatur granted to Consul Moore was not thereby invalidated. An act done by an agent while duly authorized continues to bind the principal after the revocation of the agent’s anthority. On these grounds the president has hitherto steadily resisted all influences which have been exerted to induce him to exact of foreign consuls that they should ask for an exequatur from this government as a condition of the continued exercise of their functions. It was not deemed compatible with the dignity of the government to extort, by enforcing the withdrawal of national protection fom neutral residents, such inferential recognition of its independence as might be supposed to be implied in the request for an exequatur. The consuls of foreign nations, therefore, established within the confederacy, who were in possession of an exequatur issued by the government of the United States prior to the formation of the confederacy, have been maintained and respected in the exercise of their legitimate functions, and the same protection and respect will be accorded to them in future, so long as they confine themselves to the sphere of their duties, and seek neither to evade nor defy the legitimate authority of this government within its own jurisdiction.

There has grown up an abuse, however, the result of this tolerance on the part of the president, which is too serious to be longer allowed. Great Britain has deemed it for her interest to refuse acknowledging the patent fact of the existence of this confederacy as an independent nation. It can scarcely be expected that we should, by our own conduct, imply assent to the justice or propriety of that refusal. Now that the British minister accredited to the government of our enemies assumes the power to issue instructions and exercise authority over the consuls of Great Britain residing within this country, nay, even of appointing agents to supervise British interests in the Confederate States, this course of conduct plainly ignores the existence of this government, and implies the continuance of the relations between that minister and the consuls of her Majesty resident in the confederacy which existed prior to the withdrawal of these States from the Union. It is further the assertion of a right, on the part of Lord Lyons, by virtue of his credentials as her Majesty’s minister at Washington, to exercise the power and authority of a minister accredited to Richmond, and officially received as such by the president. Under these circumstances, and because of similar action by other ministers, the president has felt it his duty to order that no direct communication be permitted between the consuls of neutral nations in the confederacy and the functionaries of those nations residing within the enemy’s country. All communication, therefore, between her Majesty’s consuls or consular agents in the confederacy and foreign countries, whether neutral or hostile, will hereafter be restricted to vessels arriving from or despatched for neutral ports. The president has the less reluctance in imposing this restriction because of the ample facilities for correspondence which are now afforded by the fleets of confederate and neutral steamships engaged in regular trade between neutral countries and the confederate ports. This trade is daily increasing in spite of the paper blockade which is upheld by her Majesty’s government, in disregard, as the president conceives, of the rights of this confederacy, of the dictates of public law, and of the duties of impartial neutrality.

You are instructed by the president to furnish a copy of this despatch, with a copy of the papers appended, to her Majesty’s secretary of state for foreign affairs.

I am, &c.,

J. P. BENJAMIN, Secretary of State.

Hon. James M. Mason, Commissioner, &c., &c., London.