Lord Lyons to Mr.
October 29, 1864.
Sir: I have the honor to transmit to you, and
to recommend to your serious attention, a copy of a despatch which I
have received this morning from the governor general of Canada.
The governor general states that his attention has been called to an
extract from the New York Post, purporting to give the words of an order
telegraphed to the officer commanding at Burlington, Vermont, by Major
General Dix, on the occasion of the late outrage at St. Albans; and his
excellency requests me to bring the subject to your notice, with the
view that the order may be disavowed or explained.
I enclose a copy of the newspaper extract, and have the honor to be, with
the highest consideration, sir, your most obedient, humble servant,
Hon. William H. Seward,
Lord Monck to Mr. Burnley.
October 26, 1864.
Sir: My attention has been called to the
accompanying extract from the New York Post, purporting to give the
words of an order telegraphed to the officer commanding at
Burlington, Vermont, by Major General Dix, on the occasion of the
late outrage at St. Albans.
I have, of course, no means of knowing whether such an order as that
alluded to was ever issued by Major General Dix; but as it has
appeared uncontradicted in the public papers, and contains express
directions, on the part of an official of the United States, for the
entry of the troops of that power on the territory of her Majesty, I
think it my duty to ask you to bring the subject under the notice of
the Secretary of State of the United States, with the view that the
order may be disavowed or explained.
While no one would be inclined to scan too narrowly the conduct
pursued by the citizens of St. Albans, while smarting under the
effect of the outrage to which they have been lately unfortunately
subjected, it is obvious that an order such as that to which
allusion is here made, if issued by a responsible officer of the
United States, would be liable to a different construction, and
might, unless remonstrated against, be drawn into a precedent in the
future. You may assure Mr. Seward that there exists among the
British authorities in Canada the most earnest desire to use all the
powers which the laws confer upon them, in cooperation with the
officials of the United States, for the repression and punishment of
outrages such as that which has just occurred at St. Albans.
I trust that the proceedings lately adopted in this province will
prove that this declaration is not an empty profession, and will
show that the most energetic measures will at all time’s be used to
prevent any aggression on the territory of the United States from
Canadian soil, or any abuse of the right of asylum allowed in her
I am sure that Mr. Seward will, on the other hand, see that it is
necessary, in order to the maintenance of these amicable relations,
that no act should be done by any civil or military officer of the
United States which might bear the construction of being an
infraction of the rights of her Majesty, or a violation of the soil
of her dominions, and that he will believe that this remonstrance is
made in no unfriendly spirit, and is prompted by a sincere desire to
prevent any just cause of complaint between the countries.
I have, &c., &c.,
J. Hume Burnley, Esq., &c., &c., &c.
[From the New York Evening Post]
THE RAID AT ST. ALBANS.
The organization of bands of rebel marauders in Canada for the
purpose of coming within our lines, committing depredations on our
property, and shooting down our citizens, is of so grave a character
as to demand the prompt and decisive action of the government. If
measures are not adopted to put an end to I this abuse of the right
of asylum, and the violation of the duties of neutrality, our
citizens on the frontier will take the matter into their own hands.
We should deeply regret such unauthorized acts of reprisal. Whatever
is done should be done under the authority of the government. Either
the Canadian authorities should be called on to send the rebels who
are getting up predatory enterprises against us out of Canada, or we
should have armed forces on the frontier, ready to take summary
vengeance on these marauders, and for that purpose to follow them,
as we have a right to do, across the lines, if the pursuit is
instant. When General Dix was advised of the outrage at St. Albans,
he sent the following despatch to the commanding officer, at
Burlington, Vermont: “Send all the efficient force you have to St.
Albans, and try to find the marauders who came from Canada this
morning. Put a discreet officer in command; and, in case they are
not found on our side of the line, pursue them into Canada, if
necessary, and destroy them.”
The order was carried out, so far as to pursue the marauders into
Canada, where eight of them were captured. If they had been shot
down, as they shot down the peaceful citizens of St. Albans, it
would have been no more than exact justice. A single example of
stern retribution would go far to break up these piratical
expeditions. But the government should take the matter in hand, as a
grave international question, and not leave it to local