Lord Stanley to Sir F. Bruce
Sir: In another despatch of this date I have confined myself exclusively to the consideration of the American claims put forward in Mr. Seward’s despatch to Mr. Adams of the 27th of August, and arising out of the depredations committed on American commerce by certain cruisers of the Confederate States.
But, independently of these claims, there may, for aught her Majesty’s government know, be other claims on the part of American citizens, originating in the events of the late civil war, while there certainly are very numerous British claims arising out of those events, which it is very desirable should be inquired into and adjusted between the two countries. The two governments were in communication with each other on this subject in the latter part of the year 1862, and the draft of a convention for the settlement of such claims was actually [Page 189] under their consideration. Circumstances, however, prevented the matter being, proceeded with at that time, and indeed it was premature to enter into such a convention while the civil war was still raging, and new claims were continually starting up. The time seems now favorable for reviving the subject.
The government of the United States have brought before that of her Majesty one class of claims of a peculiar character, put forward by American citizens, in regard to which you are authorized by my other despatch of this date to make a proposal to Mr. Seward; but her Majesty’s government have no corresponding class of claims to urge upon the attention of the American government. Her Majesty’s government think, however, that they may fairly invite the government of the United States to undertake that, in the event of an understanding being come to between the two governments with reference to the manner in which the special American claims to which my other despatch alludes shall be dealt with, they will agree that, under a convention to be separately but simultaneously concluded, the general claims of the subjects and citizens of the two countries, arising out of the events of the late war, shall be submitted to examination by a mixed commission, as in a former instance, for examination, with a view to their eventual payment by the government adjudged to be responsible.
You will make a communication to Mr. Seward to the effect of this despatch.
I am, &c,
Hon. Sir Frederick W. A. Bruce, G. C, B., &c., &c., &c.