(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arrived here yesterday, and delivered to me a despatch dated the 6th instant, reporting that his exequatur had been withdrawn by Mr.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.[Page 822] [Page 823]