No. 9.

Acting Consul Walker to Earl Russell.—(Received November 27.)

My Lord: I have the honor to enclose to your lordship a copy of the official publication of the state department of the so called Confederate States in reference to the recent orders for the removal of her Majesty’s consuls from the confederacy.

It commences with a despatch from Mr. Benjamin to Mr. Slidell, which may not otherwise fall under your lordship’s notice. In this, among other things, he insists that her Majesty’s consuls at this port and Savannah have interfered with confederate enlisted soldiers, and with the execution of the confederate laws, and declares that the despatch is sent to Mr. Slidell to enable him to give such explanation of the confederate act in expelling her Majesty’s consuls as will obviate the belief of its having arisen from a different cause.

In connexion with this subject I pray your lordship to permit me to offer a few remarks.

In the despatch referred to Mr. Benjamin refers to the act of the confederate congress, passed in April, 1862, directing “a draft for the army” of the Confederate States.

I beg to call your lordship’s attention to these facts: that the law referred to is entitled “An act to further provide for the public defence;” that it is universally known as “the Conscription Act,” and those who enter the army under its provisions as “conscripts,” and those who receive and instruct them as “commandants of conscripts” and those who gather them as “enrolling officers.” The word “draft” is not to be found in the act, nor is it ever understood as applicable to those who enter the service under it. For your lordship’s further information on this point I transmit herewith a copy of the act.

Upon the subsequent call of the president of the so-called Confederate States upon the governors of the several States for additional troops to be employed in confederate service within their limits, they for the most part undertook to reorganize the militia of the States over which they presided; they also called for volunteers, and announced that drafts would take place from the newly organized militia to make up the number asked of them, should volunteering not supply it.

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The advice which I have given, and to which Mr. Benjamin takes exception, was given on the eve of this new militia organization, and the word “drafted” as used by Mr. Fullarton has reference to the performance of that operation by the State authorities, and cannot fairly be tortured into a connexion with “enlisted men” nor “confederate laws.” I will state moreover that those who have applied to me for counsel and direction I have regarded as involuntary inhabitants; the continuance of the blockade and the existence of military lines having forbade their evacuation of the country.

I trust your lordship will forgive me for this digression, which I venture to make in order to expose the special pleading of Mr. Benjamin, whereby, as it seems to me, he seeks unjustly to cast odium on her Majesty’s government and upon her consular officers.

I have, &c.,

[Enclosure 1 in No. 9.]


Mr. Benjamin to Mr. Slidell.

Sir: The conduct of the British consular agents in the confederacy has compelled the president to take the decisive step of expelling them from our country; and it is deemed proper to put you in possession of the causes which have produced this result, that you may have it in your power to correct any misrepresentations on the subject. To this end it is necessary to review the whole course of the British government and that of the confederacy in relation to these officials.

When the confederacy was first formed, there were in our ports a number of British consuls and consular agents, who had been recognized as such, not only by the government of the United States, which was then the authorized agent of the several States for that purpose, but by the State authorities themselves. Under the law of nations, those officials are not entitled to exercise political or diplomatic functions, nor are they ever accredited to the sovereigns within whose dominions they reside. Their only warrant of authority is the commission of their own government; but usage requires that those who have the full grade of consul should not exercise their functions within the territory of any sovereign before receiving his permission in the form of an exequatur; while consular agents of inferior grade simply notify the local authorities of their intention to act in that capacity. It has not been customary, upon any change of government, to interfere with these commercial officials already established in the discharge of their duties, and it is their recognized obligation to treat all governments which may be established de facto over the ports where they reside as governments de jure. The British consular officials gave no cause of complaint on this score, and the president interposed no objection to the continued exercise of their functions. On other grounds, however, various causes of complaint subsequently arose, and in the case of Consul Moore it was found necessary to revoke his exequatur for his disregard of the legitimate request of this department that he should abstain from further action as consul until he had submitted his commission for inspection, and because of his offensive remarks touching the confederate authorities in relation to two enlisted soldiers, as fully explained in a published despatch of this government. Attention was [Page 843] also called in that despatch (which was communicated to the British cabinet) to the objectionable conduct of British functionaries in the enemy’s country, who assumed authority within the limits of the confederacy, thereby implying that these States were still members of the Union to which those functionaries were accredited, and ignoring the existence of this government within the territory over which it was exercising unquestioned sway. Notwithstanding the grave character of this complaint, the president confined himself to reprehending this conduct, and to informing the British government that he had forbidden, for the future, any direct communication between British consuls here and British officials in the United States. And here it may not be improper to observe, that although this despatch was published at the time of its date, and was communicated to the foreign office in London, her Majesty’s ministers made the strange mistake of asserting in the House of Commons that Mr. Moore’s dismissal was connected in some way with alleged cruelties committed on one Belshaw, of whose existence the department was ignorant till the publication of the debate, and concerning whom no representation exists oh its files.

Soon after that despatch was forwarded, the president was apprised by the Governor of Alabama that her Majesty’s government had visited with severe displeasure and had removed from office the British consular agent at Mobile, because he had received and forwarded from Mobile, on an English man-of-war, money due by the State of Alabama to British subjects for interest on the public debt of the State; and that the British minister at Washington, after failing in active efforts to prevent the remittance of this money, had assumed the power of appointing a consular agent within the confederacy to replace the officer at Mobile who had incurred censure and punishment for the discharge of a plain duty to British subjects which happened to be distasteful to the United States. A copy of the despatch on this subject communicated to the British governments enclosed, and you will perceive that the action of the president was marked by extreme forbearance, and that he confined himself to refusing permission that Mr. Cridland should act under Lord Lyons’s instructions, and to expressing the confident hope that her Majesty’s government would in the future choose some other mode of transmitting its orders and exercising its authority over its agents within the confederacy, than by delegating to functionaries who reside among our enemies the power to give orders or instructions to those who reside among us.

In his answer to this despatch (of which a copy is also enclosed) Earl Russell, while acknowledging the justice of our remonstrance against the assumption of authority by Lord Lyons, defends the action of the British government in the matter of the Mobile consulate by maintaining that the transmission of the specie by Consul Magee, under the circumstances above explained, “had the character, in the eyes of her Majesty’s government, of aiding one of the belligerents against the other.” This statement clearly assumes that the transmission of specie from one of these States to Great Britain in payment of a public debt to British subjects is an act of hostility against the United States, which British officials cannot promote with due regard to neutral obligations, because it “aids one of the belligerents against the other.” No reason is given for this conclusion, which appears to us to be at variance with all received notions of international law. The States of the confederacy have, under the most adverse circumstances, made great efforts and sacrifices to effect punctual payment of their debts to neutrals, and these efforts do not seem to us to be properly characterized as being belligerent acts against our enemies. We can but regret that her Majesty’s government have determined so to regard them, and to discourage the discharge of a duty in which British subjects are so deeply interested.

Within the last few days the president has been informed by communications addressed to the State and confederate authorities by two out of the three British consular agents remaining here that they had received instructions from their [Page 844] government to pursue a course of conduct in regard to persons of British origin now resident within the confederacy which it has been impossible to tolerate. It seems scarcely probable that the instructions of Earl Russell have been properly understood by his agents, but we have no means of communicating with the British government for the correction of misunderstandings. You are aware that Great Britain has no diplomatic agent accredited to us, and that Earl Russell having declined a personal interview with Mr. Mason, the latter, after some time spent in an unsatisfactory interchange of written communications, has been relieved of a mission which had been rendered painful to himself, and was productive of no benefit to his country. The president was, therefore, compelled to take the remedy into his own hands.

A brief statement will suffice for your full comprehension of the matter. In April, 1862, Congress passed a law directing a draft for the army of “all white men who are residents of the Confederate States, between the ages of eighteen and forty-five years, and not legally exempted from military service.” The draft was made, as stated in the law, in view of the absolute necessity “of placing in the field a large additional force to meet the advancing columns of the enemy now invading our soil;” in other words, all residents capable of bearing arms were called on to protect their own homes from invasion, their own property from plunder, their own families from cruel outrage. You will observe that the call was not made until after a year of war, during which it had been entirely within the power of all foreigners to depart from a country threatened with invasion, if they preferred not to share the common lot of its inhabitants.

Upon the promulgation of this law objection was made by several foreign consuls to its application to the subjects of their sovereigns, and the president directed that its provisions should not be so construed as to impose forced military service on mere sojourners or temporary residents, but only on such as had become citizens of the confederacy de jure, or had rendered themselves liable, under the law of nations, to be considered as citizens de facto, by having established themselves as permanent residents within the confederacy, without the intention of returning to their native country.

To this very liberal interpretation of the law in favor of foreign residents, it was not supposed that objection could be taken; but on the 12th November, 1862, Consul Bunch, at Charleston, wrote to the department as follows:

“I have now received the instructions of Earl Russell to signify to you the views of her Majesty’s government on this subject.

“I am desired to lose no time in remonstrating strongly against the forcible enlistment of British subjects, and to say that such subjects, domiciled only by residence in the so-called Confederate States, cannot be forcibly enlisted in the military service of those States by virtue of an ex post facto law, when no municipal law existed at the time of their domicile rendering them liable to such service.

“It may be competent for a State in which a domiciled foreigner may reside to pass such an ex post facto law, if at the same time an option is offered to foreigners affected by it to quit, after a reasonable period, the territory, if they object to serve in the armies of the State; but without this option such a law would violate the principles of international law, and even with such an option the comity heretofore observed between independent States would not be very scrupulously observed.

“The plainest notions of reason and justice forbid that a foreigner admitted to reside for peaceful and commercial purposes in a State forming a part of the federal Union should be suddenly and without warning compelled by the State to take an active part in hostilities against other States which, when he became domiciled, were members of one and the same confederacy; which States, moreover, have threatened to treat as rebels, and not as prisoners of war, all who may fall into their hands.

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“To these considerations must be added the fact that the persons who have been the victims of this forced enlistment are forbidden, under severe penalties, by the Queen’s proclamation, to take part in the civil war now raging in America, and that thus they are made not only to enter a military service contrary to their own wishes and in violation of the tacit compact under which they took up their original domicile, but also to disobey the order of their legitimate sovereign.

“I am directed by Earl Russell to urge these several considerations upon you, and to add that her Majesty’s government confidently hope and expect that no further occasion for remonstrance will arise on this point.”

No reply was deemed necessary to this despatch, (nor to a similar one from Consul Moore, dated on the 14th November,) notwithstanding the very questionable assumptions, both of law and fact, contained in it, because there seemed to be no substantial point at issue between the two governments, and discussion could therefore serve no useful purpose. Earl Russell was not understood to insist on anything more than that British subjects resident within the confederacy should be allowed a reasonable time to exercise the option of departing from the country if unwilling to be enrolled in its service; and, in point of fact, this option had never been refused them, and many had availed themselves of it. Nor was it believed that her Majesty’s government expected a very favorable response to their appeal to this government for the exercise of the comity between “independent” States supposed to be involved in this subject, whilst Great Britain was persistently refusing to recognize the independence which alone could justify the appeal.

Since the date of these two letters numerous requests have been made by British consular officials for the interposition of this government in behalf of persons alleged to be British subjects wrongfully subjected to draft. Relief has always been afforded when warranted by the facts, but it soon became known that these gentlemen regarded their own certificates as conclusive evidence that the persons named in them were exempt from military service, and that these certificates were freely issued on the simple affidavit of the interested parties. Thus Consul Moore was deceived into claiming exemption for two men who were proven to be citizens of the confederacy, and to have been land-owners and voters for a series of years prior to the war.

Much inconvenience was occasioned before these abuses could be corrected, but they afterwards assumed a shape which forbade further tolerance. The correspondence of the acting British consuls at Savannah and Charleston, already referred to, asserts the existence of instructions from their government, under which, instead of advising British subjects to resort to the courts of justice, always open for the redress of grievances, or to apply to this government for protection against any harsh or unjust treatment by its subordinates, they deem it a duty to counsel our enlisted soldiers to judge for themselves of their right to exemption, to refuse obedience to confederate laws and authority, and even exhort them to open mutiny in face of the enemy.

This unwarrantable assumption by foreign officials of jurisdiction within our territory, this offensive encroachment on the sovereignty of the Confederate States, has been repressed by the president’s order for the immediate departure of all British consular agents from our country, as you will perceive by a perusal of the enclosed copy of the notice addressed to one of them, Acting Consul Fullarton.

But a few months have elapsed since the utmost indignation was expressed by the British government against the United States minister at London for issuing a safe-conduct to be used on the high seas by a merchant vessel; and the ground of this denunciation was his exercise of direct authority over subject-matter within the exclusive territorial jurisdiction of the Queen. It is difficult, therefore, to conceive on what basis her Majesty’s government have deemed [Page 846] themselves justified in the much graver encroachment on the sovereignty of these States, which has been attempted under instructions alleged to have emanated from them.

It is not my purpose here to discuss the nature and extent of the claims of the confederacy on the allegiance of persons of foreign origin residing permanently within its limits, (easy as would be the task of demonstrating the obligation of such residents, under the law of nations, to aid in the defence of their own homes and property against invasion,) because, as already observed, the liberal construction of the law in their favor which has been sanctioned by the president, and the indulgence of the government in permitting them for many months to exercise the option of avoiding service by departing from the country, deprive the discussion of any practical interest. I have been induced to place the whole subject fully in your possession, by reason of a statement made by Consul Fullarton to the governor of Georgia, that in the event of the failure of his remonstrances to produce the exemption of all British subjects from service, he is instructed to state that “the governments in Europe interested in this question will unite in making such representations as will secure to aliens this desired exemption.”

The menace here implied would require no answer if it were not made professedly under instructions. It is scarcely necessary to say to you that the action of the president in repelling with decision any attempt by foreign officials to arrogate sovereign rights within our limits, or to interfere of their own authority with the execution of our laws, would not be affected in the slightest degree by representations from any source, however exalted. This is the only point on which the president has had occasion to act, and on this point there is no room for discussion.

The exercise of the droit de renvoi is too harsh, however, to be resorted to without justifiable cause, and it is proper that you should have it in your power to explain the grounds on which the president has been compelled to enforce it. Lest also the government of his Imperial Majesty should be misled into the error of supposing that the rights of French citizens are in any manner involved in the action of the president, which has been rendered necessary by the reprehensible conduct of the British consular agents, you are requested to take an early occasion for giving such explanation to M. Drouyn de l’Huys as will obviate all risk of misapprehension.

I am, &c.,


[For Mr. Benjamin’s letter to Mr. Fullarton, of October 8, 1863, see enclosure 2 in No. 8.]

Mr. Benjamin to Mr. Mason.

Sir: Since my No. 24, of 6th instant, further information has reached the department, illustrating most forcibly the necessity for the action taken by the president on the subject of her Britannic Majesty’s consuls resident within the confederacy, as explained in that despatch.

On the 18th May Mr. Cridland, who had occasionally acted as consul in Richmond during temporary absence of Consul Moore, sought an interview at the department, and in being admitted, called my attention to an article in the Richmond Whig of that date, which announced that Mr. Cridland was about to [Page 847] depart for Mobile with the commission of consul, and that he was accredited to Mr. Lincoln, not to this government. Mr. Cridland assured me that the statement was erroneous; that he was going to Mobile as a private individual, unofficially, to look after certain interests of the British government that had been left unprotected by the withdrawal of Consul Magee. He further stated that as he was going there unofficially, he had not conceived that there was any impropriety in doing so, without communicating his intention to the department, and hoped that such was my own view of the matter. I informed him that all neutral residents were at liberty to travel within the confederacy, and to transact their business without other restrictions than such as the military authorities found it necessary to impose for the public safety, and that this department saw no reason to interpose any objection to his going to Mobile to transact business unofficially. He then said that he had called at the office of the Whig to make a similar explanation to the editor of that paper, with a view to the correction of the erroneous impression created by its article, and accordingly on the next day an article appeared in that journal announcing that it had received the assurance from Mr. Cridland that he was going to Mobile “to look after British interests in that quarter in an unofficial way,” and that he was “without commission from the Queen or exequatur, from Washington.”

I was, therefore, quite surprised at receiving from the secretary of the navy official communication of a telegram received by him from Admiral Buchanan, informing the secretary that Mr. Cridland had been officially introduced to him by the French consul as acting English consul at Mobile, and had shown the admiral “an official document, signed by Lord Lyons, appointing him acting English consul at Mobile.” I append copies of this telegram, and of the two articles above referred to, extracted from the Richmond Whig.

These, however, are not the only exceptionable features which mark this affair. Other circumstances, to which your attention is invited, have been brought to the notice of the department by official communications from the governor of Alabama.

On the 11th November last the Bank of Mobile, as agent for the State of Alabama, addressed a communication to Consul Magee, at Mobile, informing him that that State would owe, during the ensuing year, to British subjects, interest coupons on the State bonds to the amount of some £40,000 sterling; that this interest was payable in London at the Union Bank, and at the counting-house of the Messrs. Rothschild, and requesting to know whether the bank would be allowed to place in the hands of the consul in coin the sum necessary for transmission to England, at the expense of the State, for the purpose mentioned.

On the 14th November Consul Magee replied that he had sent to her Britannic Majesty’s consul at New Orleans to ask if her Majesty’s steamship Rinaldo could not be sent to Mobile to receive the specie and take it to Havana, to be forwarded thence by the consul general of Great Britain to London.

The specie was not conveyed by the Rinaldo, but by her Majesty’s ship Vesuvius, and was accompanied by a certificate of the president of the bank, stating that the remittance of the “thirty-one kegs of specie, containing each $5,000, together $155,000, * * * * is for the purpose of paying dues to British subjects from the State of Alabama, and is the property and belongs to the subjects of her Britannic Majesty.

The shipment was accompanied by a letter addressed by the bank, as agent of the State of Alabama, to W. W. Scrimgeour, esq., manager of the Union Bank of London, directing its appropriation to the payment of the interest due to British and other foreign holders of the State bonds, with a statement of the dates at which the several instalments of the interest would become due, and of the places in London where they were to be paid.

So little doubt seems to have been entertained of the propriety of this transaction [Page 848] by all that were engaged in it, that the commander of the Vesuvius informed the commander of the United States blockading squadron that the British consul had money to send by him, and no objection nor protest was made. Among the papers annexed you will find the account given by Commodore Hitchcock himself of his conversation with the commander of the Vesuvius, written after the dismissal of Consul Magee, and therefore at a period when the commodore could certainly have no motive for giving a coloring to his narrative adverse to what was then known to be the view of his government on the subject.

Under these circumstances, the Vesuvius received and conveyed the specie which has since been received in England, and, as stated in the public journals, paid in whole or in part to British subjects, thus establishing the bona fides of the conduct of all the parties to the transaction.

It now appears that no sooner was the intention of making this remittance communicated to her Britannic Majesty’s minister at Washington than he took active measures to prevent it, by sending despatches to Mobile forbidding the shipment. They, however, failed to arrive before the departure of the Vesuvius with the specie, whereupon Consul Magee was dismissed from office for receiving and forwarding it; and the vacancy thus created in the office of British consul at Mobile was filled by Lord Lyons by the issue of a commission to Mr. Cridland, and his departure for Mobile under the circumstances already explained.

These facts are of a character so grave as to have attracted the earnest attention of the president, and it is my duty to apprise you of the conclusions at which he has arrived, in order that you may lose no time in laying them before her Majesty’s government, in the hope that a renewed examination of the subject, and a knowledge of the serious complications which the present anomalous relations between the two governments may involve, will induce the British cabinet to review its whole policy connected with those relations, and to place them on the sole footing consistent with accomplished facts, that are too notorious and too firmly established to be much longer ignored.

By the principles of the modern public code debts due by a state are not subject to the operation of the laws of war, and are considered so sacred as to be beyond the reach of confiscation. An attempt at such confiscation would be reprobated by mankind. The United States alone in modern times have courted such reprobation, and just detestation has been universally expressed of their confiscation laws passed during the pending war. The government of Great Britain, on the contrary, has at all times manifested its abhorrence of such breaches of public faith, and in the Crimean war gave to the world a memorable example of its own high regard for public honor by paying over to its enemy money which it well knew would be immediately employed in waging hostilities against itself. The States of this confederacy are emulous of examples of honor, and they accordingly refrained on the breaking out of hostilities from even the temporary sequestration of the dividends of their public debt due to their enemies. It was not until they had received notice of the confiscation law passed by the United States on the 6th August, 1861, that they consented to the temporary sequestration of the property of their enemies, and even then the sequestration was declared to be for the sole purpose of securing a fund to indemnify the sufferers under the confiscation law of the United States.

The following clause of our law, exempting public debts from its operation, is extracted as a proof of the sacred regard for public faith manifested by these States under strong temptation to retaliate, and under all the exasperation of the savage warfare then actually waged against them: “Provided further, That the provisions of this act shall not extend to the stocks or public securities of the confederate government, or any of the States of this confederacy, held or owned by any alien enemy, or to any debt, obligation, or sum due from the confederate government or any of the States to such alien enemy.”—(Sequestration law of Confederate States, passed 30th August, 1861)

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Such being the obligations imposed on States in regard to the payment of public debts towards even their enemies, no deeper reproach can stain their name than the refusal to do justice to neutral creditors. The observance of public plighted faith concerns mankind at large; in it all nations have common interest; and the belligerent who perverts the weapons of legitimate warfare into an instrumentality for forcing his enemy to dishonor his obligations and incur the reproach of being faithless to his engagements wages a piratical and not an honorable warfare, and becomes hostis generis humani. Public honor is held sacred by international law against the attack of the most malevolent foe, and as susceptible of loss only by the recreancy of its possessor.

What possible lawful interest could the United States have in preventing the remittance of the specie due to the creditors of the State of Alabama? Blockades are allowed by the law of nations as a means of enforcing the submission of an enemy by the destruction of his commerce, the exhaustion of his resources, and consequent forced abandonment of the struggle. The remittance of the specie in the present case, far from retarding these legitimate objects, tended, on the contrary, to promote them by the diversion of the money from application to military purposes. The United States could not have desired that the specie should remain within the confederacy save with one of two motives:—first, to dishonor the State of Alabama by giving color to the reproach that it was regardless of public faith, and on this comment has already been made; or, secondly, in the hope that by the fortunes of war the money would come within the reach of spoliation under its confiscation law. It is scarcely necessary to observe that the desire to enrich itself by plunder at the expense of neutral creditors is as little consonant with respect for public law and the rights of neutrals as the purpose forcibly to prevent the State of Alabama from redeeming its plighted faith.

Whatever may be the value to which these views may be justly entitled, it is certain that there are but two aspects in which the State of Alabama can be regarded by her Majesty’s government. Alabama is either one of the States of the former Union, engaged in armed rebellion against the legitimate authority of the United States, or is an independent State and a member of this confederacy, engaged in lawful war against the United States. An examination of the effect of either of these relations upon the facts connected with the dismissal of Consul Magee and the appointment of Mr. Cridland will now be presented in vindication of the action which the president deems it his duty to take on this subject.

1. If the British government think proper to assume (although the contrary is deemed by this government to be fully established by convincing reason and vic torious arms) that the State of Alabama is still one of the United States, then the government of the United States is bound towards Great Britain, as well as to all other neutral nations, to render all legitimate aid in the collection of their just claims against that State. Although by the Constitution of the United States its government may be without power to enforce the payment of a debt due to foreign subjects or powers by an unwilling State, none can doubt its duty to interpose no obstruction to the payment of such debt; and no more legitimate ground of complaint could be afforded to Great Britain against the government of the United States than an opposition made by that government to the payment of a just debt due by Alabama to the subjects of Great Britain. In this aspect of the case, therefore, the British officials of Mobile were doing a duty which ought to have been equally acceptable both to the United States and Great Britain when they facilitated the transmission of funds by that State for that purpose to England, where the debt was made payable, and merited applause rather than a manifestation of displeasure.

2. If, on the contrary, the State of Alabama be regarded (as in right and fact she really is) as an independent State engaged in war against the United States, as a foreign enemy, then the president cannot refrain from observing that the [Page 850] action of her Britannic Majesty’s minister at Washington savored on this occasion rather of unfriendly co-operation with an enemy than of just observance of neutral obligations; for, in this view of the case, a minister accredited to the government of our enemies has not only assumed the exercise of authority within this confederacy, without the knowledge or consent of its government, but has done so under circumstances that rather aggravate than palliate the offence of disregarding its sovereign rights. His action further conveys the implication that this confederacy is subordinate to the United States, and that his credentials, addressed to the government at Washington, justify his ignoring the existence of this government, and his regarding these States as an appendage of the country to which he is accredited. Nor will her Majesty’s government fail to perceive that in no sense can it be considered consonant with the rights of this government, or with neutral obligations, that a public minister should be maintained near the cabinet of our enemies, charged both with the duty of entertaining amicable relations with them, and with the power of controlling the conduct of British officials resident with us.

Nor will the application of the foregoing remarks be at all impaired if her Majesty’s government, declining to determine the true relation of the State of Alabama to the United States, choose to consider that question as still in abeyance, and to regard that State as simply a belligerent, whose ulterior status must await the event of the war. In this hypothesis, the objection to delegating authority over British officials residing with us to a minister charged with the duty of rendering himself acceptable to our enemies, is still graver than would exist in the case of hostile nations equally recognized as independent by a neutral power; for in the latter case the parties would have equal ability to vindicate their rights through the usual channels of official intercourse, whereas in the former the belligerent which enjoys exclusively this advantage is armed by the neutral with additional power to inflict injury on his enemy.

The president has, in the facts already recited, seen renewed reasons for adhering to his determination, mentioned in my preceding despatch, of prohibiting any direct communication between consuls or consular agents residing within the confederacy and the functionaries of their governments residing among our enemies. He further indulges the hope (which her Majesty’s government cannot but regard as reasonable, and which he is, therefore, confident will be justified by its action,) that her Majesty’s government will choose some other mode of transmitting its orders and exercising its authority over its agents within the confederacy, than by delegating to functionaries who reside among our enemies the power to give orders or instructions to those who reside among us.

Finally, and in order to prevent any further misunderstanding in Mr. Cridland’s case, that gentleman has been informed that he cannot be permitted to exercise consular functions at Mobile, and it has been intimated to him that his choice of some other State than Alabama for his residence would be agreeable to this government. This intimation has been given in order to avoid any difficulty which might result from the doubtful position of Mr. Cridland, who is looked on here as a private individual, and who in Alabama represents himself as “acting English consul.”

The president is confident that her Majesty’s government will render full justice to the motives by which these measures are prompted, and will perceive in them a manifestation of the earnest desire entertained by him to prevent the possibility of any unfortunate complications having a tendency to impair the amity which it is equally the interest and the desire of this government to cherish with that of Great Britain.

The president wishes a copy of this despatch to be placed by you in the hands of Earl Russell.

I am, &c.,

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[For letter of Earl Russell to Mr. Mason, dated August 19, 1864, see “North America, No. 14, (1864,)” p. 31.]

[For letter of Mr. Mason to Earl Russell, dated September 4, 1863, see “North America, No. 14, (1864,)” p. 31.]

[Enclosure 2 in No. 9.]

General Orders No. 30.

War Department, Adjutant and Inspector General’s Office, Richmond, April 28, 1862.

I. The following acts having passed both houses of Congress, were duly approved by the president, and are now published for the information of the army:

An act to organize bands of partisan rangers.

Sec. 1. The Congress of the Confederate States of America do enact that the president be, and he is hereby, authorized to commission such officers as he may deem proper, with authority to form bands of partisan rangers, in companies battalions, or regiments, either as infantry or cavalry, the companies, battalions, or regiments to be composed each of such numbers as the president may approve.

Sec. 2. Be it further enacted, That such partisan rangers, after being regularly received into the service, shall be entitled to the same pay, rations, and quarters during their term of service, and be subject to the same regulations, as other soldiers.

Sec. 3. Be it further enacted, That for any arms and munitions of war captured from the enemy by any body of partisan rangers, and delivered to any quartermaster at such place or places as may be designated by a commanding general, the rangers shall be paid their full value, in such manner as the secretary of war may prescribe.

Approved April 21, 1862.

An act to further provide for the public defence.

In view of the exigencies of the country and the absolute necessity of keeping in the service our gallant army, and of placing in the field a large additional force to meet the advancing columns of the enemy now invading our soil: Therefore,

Sec. 1. The Congress of the Confederate States of America do enact, that the president be, and he is hereby, authorized to call out and place in the military service of the Confederate States, for three years, unless the war shall have been sooner ended, all white men who are residents of the Confederate States between the ages of 18 and 35 years at the time the call or calls may be made, who are legally exempted from military service. All of the persons aforesaid who are now in the armies of the confederacy, and whose term of service will expire before the end of the war, shall be continued in the service for three years from the date of their original enlistment, unless the war shall have been sooner ended: Provided, however, that all such companies, squadrons, battalions, and regiments, whose term of original enlistment was for twelve months, shall have the right, within forty days, on a day to be fixed by the commander of the brigade, to reorganize said companies, battalions, and regiments, by electing all their officers which they had a right heretofore to elect, who shall be commissioned by the president: Provided further, that furloughs not exceeding sixty days, with transportation home and back, shall be granted to all those retained in the service [Page 852] by the provisions of this act, beyond the period of their original enlistment, and who have not heretofore received furloughs under the provisions of an act entitled “An act providing for the granting of bounty and furloughs to privates and non-commissioned officers in the provisional army,” approved 11th December, 1861; said furloughs to be granted at such times and in such numbers as the secretary of war may deem most compatible with the public interest: And provided further, that, in lieu of a furlough, the commutation value in money of the transportation herein above granted shall be paid to each private, musician, or non-commissioned officer who may elect to receive it, at such time as the furlough would otherwise be granted: Provided further, that all persons under the age of 18 years, or over the age of 35 years, who are now enrolled in the military service of the Confederate States, in the regiments, squadrons, battalions, and companies hereafter to be reorganized, shall be required to remain in their respective companies, squadrons, battalions, and regiments for ninety days, unless their places can be sooner supplied by other recruits not now in the service, who are between the ages of 18 and 35 years; and all laws and parts of laws providing for the re-enlistment of volunteers and the organization thereof into companies, squadrons, battalions, or regiments, shall be, and the same are hereby, repealed.

Sec. 2. Be it further enacted, That such companies, squadrons, battalions or regiments organized, or in process of organization, by authority from the secretary of war, as may be, within thirty days from the passage of this act, so far completed as to have the whole number of men requisite for organization actually enrolled, not embracing in said organizations any persons now in the service, shall be mustered into the service of the Confederate States as part of the land forces of the same: to be received in that arm of the service in which they are authorized to organize, and shall elect their company, battalion, and regimental officers.

Sec. 3. Be it further enacted, That for the enrolment of all persons comprehended within the provisions of this act who are not already in service in the armies of the Confederate States, it shall be lawful for the president, with the consent of the governors of the respective States, to employ State officers; and on failure to obtain such consent, he shall employ confederate officers, charged with the duty of making such enrolment in accordance with rules and regulations to be prescribed by him.

Sec. 4. Be it further enacted. That persons enrolled under the provisions of the preceding section shall be assigned by the secretary of war to the different companies now in service until each company is filled to its maximum number, and the persons so enrolled shall be assigned to companies from the States from which they respectively come.

Sec. 5. Be it further enacted, That all seamen and ordinary seamen in the land forces of the Confederate States, enrolled under the provisions of this act, may, on application to the secretary of the navy, be transferred from the land forces to the naval service.

Sec. 6. Be it further enacted, That in all cases where a State may not have in the army a number of regiments, battalions, squadrons or companies sufficient to absorb the number of persons subject to military service under this act, belonging to such State, then the residue or excess thereof shall be kept as a reserve, under such regulations as may be established by the secretary of war, and that at stated periods of not greater than three months details, determined by lot, shall be made from said reserve, so that each company shall, as nearly as practicable, be kept full: Provided, that the persons held in reserve may remain at home until called into service by the president: Provided, also, that during their stay at home they shall not receive pay: Provided further, that the persons comprehended in this act shall not be subject to the rules and articles of war until mustered into the actual service of the Confederate States; except hat said persons when enrolled and liable to duty, if they shall wilfully refuse [Page 853] to obey said call, each of them shall be held to be a deserter, and punished as such, under said articles: Provided further, that whenever, in the opinion of the president, the exigencies of the public service may require it, he shall be authorized to call into actual service the entire reserve, or so much as may be necessary, not previously assigned to different companies in service under provision of section 4 of this act. Said reserve shall be organized under such rules as the secretary of war may adopt: Provided, the company, battalion and regimental officers shall be elected by the troops composing the same: Provided, the troops raised in any one State shall not be combined in regimental, battalion, squadron, or company organization with troops raised in any other States.

Sec. 7. Be it further enacted, That all soldiers now serving in the army or mustered in the military service of the Confederate States, or enrolled in said service under the authorizations heretofore issued by the secretary of war, and who are continued in the service by virtue of this act, who have not received the bounty of fifty dollars allowed by existing laws, shall be entitled to receive said bounty.

Sec. 8. Be it further enacted, That each man who may hereafter be mustered into the service, and who shall arm himself with a musket, shot-gun, rifle, or carbine, accepted as an efficient weapon, shall be paid the value thereof, to be ascertained by the mustering officer, under such regulations as may be prescribed by the secretary of war, if he is willing to sell the same; and if he is not, then he shall be entitled to receive one dollar a month for the use of said received and approved musket, rifle, shot-gun or carbine.

Sec. 9. Be it further enacted, That persons not liable for duty may be received as substitutes for those who are, under such regulations as may be prescribed by the secretary of war.

Sec. 10. Be it further enacted, That all vacancies shall be filled by the president from the company, battalion, squadron or regiment in which such vacancies shall occur, by promotion according to seniority, except in cases of disability or other incompetency: Provided, however, that the president may, when in his opinion it may be proper, fill such vacancy or vacancies by the promotion of any officer or officers, or private or privates, from such company, battalion, squadron or regiment who shall have been distinguished in the service by exhibition of valor and skill; and that whenever a vacancy shall occur in the lowest grade of the commissioned officers of a company, said vacancy shall be filled by election: Provided, that all appointments made by the president shall be by and with the advice and consent of the senate.

Sec. 11. Be it further enacted, That the provisions of the first section of this act relating to the election of officers, shall apply to those regiments, battalions, and squadrons which are composed of twelve-months and war companies combined upon the same organization, without regard to the manner in which the officers thereof were originally appointed.

Sec. 12. Be it further enacted, That each company of infantry shall consist of 125, rank and file; each company of field artillery of 150, rank and file; and each of cavalry of 80, rank and file.

Sec. 13. Be it further enacted, That all persons subject to enrolment, who are not now in the service under the provisions of this act, shall be permitted, previous to such enrolment, to volunteer in companies now in the service. [Approved April 16, 1862.]

II.—Enrolment and disposition of recruits.

1. An officer not below the rank of major will be detailed for each State to take charge of the enrolment, mustering in, subsistence, transportation, and disposition of the recruits raised under the above act.

2. Application will be made immediately to the governors of the several States for permission to employ State officers for said enrolment; and in case such permission he not granted, officers of the army will be selected by the department [Page 854] to perform that duty, under such regulations as may be prescribed. Where State officers are employed, the regulations of the respective States in regard to military enrolment will be observed as far as practicable.

3. The enrolled men in each State will be collected in camps of instruction by the officers in command of the recruits, the said camps to be selected with reference to health, and the facilities for obtaining subsistence and transportation. The number of these camps shall not exceed two in each State without authority from the department, and to each will be allowed a quartermaster and commissary.

4. The commandant of the camps of instruction in the several States will call upon the generals commanding the military departments in which their camps may be situated for competent drill officers to instruct recruits, and will prepare them for the field as rapidly as possible. They will cause them to be promptly vaccinated; and in ordering them to the field, will, as far as practicable, prefer those who have passed through the usual camp diseases. They will establish hospitals in connexion with their camps, and make requisition for such medical attendance and stores as may be required.

5. The commandants of regiments, battalions, squadrons and unattached companies in service on the 16th instant will send copies of their muster-rolls to the commandant of the proper camp of instruction in their respective States, with officers to take charge of such recruits as may be furnished to said corps. The said commandants will apportion the recruits among such corps in proportion to the deficiency of each, except when otherwise specially directed by the department, allotting as far as practicable to each such corps the men from the regions of country in which, it has been raised. They will from time to time send off such bodies of recruits as are ready for the field, and will report on the first Monday of every month to the department the number of recruits in camp, their condition, the number sent off during the month, and the regiments and corps to which they were sent.

6. The commandants of regiments and corps will distribute the recruits among their several companies; and in such as have not the number of companies allowed by law to a regiment, the said commandants may organize the required number of new companies, after first filling up the existing companies to the minimum numbers required by law; that is to say, for each company of infantry, 64 privates; of cavalry, 60 privates; of artillery, 70 privates.

7. The recruits will be apportioned among the several arms of service according to their respective wants, consulting as far as practicable the preference of the men. Where a greater number offer for a particular arm than can be assigned to it, the distribution will be determined by lot; but recruits for the cavalry will only be taken from those who furnish their own horses.

III.—Volunteers for existing corps.

8. Persons liable to military service under the above act, not in service on the 16th of April, and wishing to volunteer in any particular company of the confederate service on the 16th day of April, may report themselves prior to their enrolment at a camp of instruction within their respective States, where they will be enrolled, prepared for the field, and sent to the said company, until the same shall be filled up.

9. Recruiting officers may be detailed, with the permission of the generals commanding military departments, by the commandants of regiments and corps, and sent to their respective States for the purpose of receiving for such regiments and corps, in conformity with recruiting regulations heretofore adopted, (General Orders, No. 6,) all volunteers desiring to join them. Such volunteers may be assembled at the camps of instruction in their respective States, prepared for the field, and sent to their respective regiments and corps, until the same shall be filled up; or, if ready for the field, may be ordered directly to their corps by the officers so recruiting them.

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IV.—Volunteer corps heretofore authorized.

10. Persons liable to military service under this act, and not in service on the 16th day of April, may, until the 17th day of May next, volunteer in corps heretofore authorized to be raised by the secretary of war, or by the executive of any State, as part of the quota thereof, in pursuance of a call made upon such State by the president. Persons authorized to raise such corps, who may not on that day have the necessary number of men enrolled and mustered into service, according to the terms of their authority, will proceed with their men to a camp of instruction in their respective States, and will deliver their musterrolls to the commandant thereof.

11. The commandants of such corps as are completed on or before the 17th day of May, and not otherwise ordered, will report to the commandants of the recruits of their respective States, and with their corps will be placed by him in a camp of instruction, and reported immediately to the department. Such corps will be under the command of the commandants of recruits in their respective States, and will be prepared for the field in like manner with the recruits, until removed from the camp. They will only be moved under orders from the department, from the commanding general of the army, or, in urgent cases, from the commanding general of the military department in which the camps may be situated; and in such cases report will immediately be made to the department by the officer in command of the camp.

V.—Additional corps.Guerilla service.

12. Under the prohibition of this act against the organization of new corps, no further authority for that purpose can be given, except that specially pro vided for in the act of Congress entitled “An act to organize bands of partisan rangers.” For this latter purpose applications must be made through the commanding generals of the military departments in which the said corps are to be employed.

VI.—Reorganization of twelve-months corps.

13. All regiments, battalions, squadrons, and companies of twelve-months volunteers will reorganize within forty days from the 16th of April, by electing all their officers which they had a right heretofore to elect, and on such days as the brigade commander may prescribe; and the said brigade commanders are hereby ordered to fix and announce the day for such reorganization as soon as practicable. No person who is to be discharged under the provisions of the act will take part in such election.

14. The form of holding and certifying the elections will be in conformity with the laws of the State from which the men, or the major part thereof, may come; and when the election of field officers is to be made by company officers, the latter will be first elected. All certificates of election will be returned to the adjutant general’s office, and the officers will be commissioned by the president. They will, however, on receiving a copy of the certificate of election, immediately enter upon duty. Officers not re-elected will be relieved from duty, and the brigade commander will return their names to the department.

VII.—Corps raised for local defence.

15. Corps raised for local defence will retain their organization during the term of such enlistment, unless previously disbanded; but members of such corps may volunteer into corps for general service, as herein above provided.


16. When any company now in service for twelve months shall, before the 16th day of July next, attain the maximum numbers prescribed by this act, [Page 856] without including the men under eighteen and over thirty-five years of age, all such men may be discharged, and such of them as remain in service on the said day will, upon their application, be then discharged, whether such maximum be attained or not.


17. The right to change company or corps in virtue of re-enlistment ceases to exist by the repeal of all laws in regard to re-enlistment; but transfers of individuals or of companies may be made, as heretofore, within the discretion of the department, on applications approved by commanding officers.


18. When any person liable to military duty under this act, but not yet mustered into service in any company, desires to furnish a substitute, he shall report himself with the substitute to the commandant of a camp of instruction; and if the substitute be lawfully exempt from military duty, and on examination by a surgeon or assistant surgeon be pronounced sound, and in all respects fit for military service, he may be accepted and enrolled; and the person furnishing such substitute may be discharged by the commandant of the camp. But no substitute shall be entitled to transportation or other allowance at the expense of the government until so accepted and enrolled.

XI. —Exemptions.

19. Persons claiming exemption from military duty under this act shall be required by the enrolling officer to make oath that they are lawfully exempt, and shall be furnished by him with a certificate of such exemption.

By command of the secretary of war:

S. COOPER, Adjutant and Inspector General.