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whatever, to examine the crew of a neutral vessel, to decide the important question of their respective allegiances, and to carry that decision into execution by forcing every individual he may choose into a service abhorrent to his feelings, cutting him off from his most tender connexions, exposing his mind and his person to the most humiliating discipline, and his life itself to the greatest danger. Reason, justice and humanity unite in protesting against so extravagant a proceeding."
If I decide this case in favor of my own government, I must disavow its most cherished principles, and reverse and forever abandon its essential policy. The country cannot afford the sacrifice. If I maintain those principles, and adhere to that policy, I must surrender the case itself. It will be seen, therefore, that this government could not deny the justice of the claim presented to us in this respect upon its merits. We are asked to do to the British nation just what we have always insisted all nations ought to do to us.
The claim of the British government is not made in a discourteous This government, since its first organization, has never used more guarded language in a similar case.
In coming to my conclusion I have not forgotten that, if the safety of this Union required the detention of the captured persons, it would be the right and duty of this government to detain them. But the effectual check and waning proportions of the existing insurrection, as well as the comparative unimportance of the captured persons themselves, when dispassionately weighed, happily forbid met from resorting to that
Nor have I been tempted at all by suggestions that cases might be found in history where Great Britain refused to yield to other nations, and even to ourselves, claims like that which is now before us. . . . It would tell little for our own claims to the character of a just and magnanimous people if we should so far consent to be guided by the law of retaliation as to lift up buried injuries from their graves to oppose against what national consistency and the national conscience compel us to regard as a claim intrinsically right.
Putting behind me all suggestions of this kind, I prefer to express my satisfaction that, by the adjustment of the present case upon principles confessedly American, and yet, as I trust, mutually satisfactory to both of the nations concerned, a question is finally and rightly settled between them, which, heretofore exhausting not only all forms of peaceful d[i]scussion, but also the arbitrament of war itself, for more than half a cen
tury alienated the two countries from each other, and perplexed with fears and apprehensions all other nations.
The four persons in question are now held in military custody at Fort Warren, in the State of Massachusetts. They will be cheerfully liberated. Your lordship will please indicate a time and place for receiving them. Senate Executive Documents, 37 Cong., 2 sess. (Washington, 1862), IV, No. 8, pp. 8-13 passim.
100. Interview with Napoleon Third (1863)
BY COMMISSIONER JOHN SLIDELL
Slidell, senator from Louisiana at the time of secession, was an able man who had had diplomatic experience in Mexico. Davis appointed him commissioner to France. Prudence forbade Napoleon's recognition of the Confederacy, but Slidell received the emperor's private sympathy and secret influence in negotiating for a loan. - Bibliography as in No. 97 above.
berlain, a note informing me that the emperor would receive me at the Tuileries on the following day at ten o'clock. The emperor received me with great cordiality. He said that he had read the memorandum presented to him by the Count de Persigny . . . that he was more fully convinced than ever of the propriety of the general recognition by the European powers of the Confederate States, but that the commerce of France and the success of the Mexican expedition would be jeopardized by a rupture with the United States; that no other power than England possessed a sufficient navy to give him efficient aid in war on the ocean, an event which, indeed, could not be anticipated, if England would co-operate with him in recognition.
I replied that I was well satisfied that recognition by France and other Continental powers, or even by France alone, would not lead to a war with the United States, as they already found ample occupation for all their energies at home; that he could count on the co-operation of Spain, Austria, Prussia, Belgium, Holland, Sweden, and Denmark. He remarked that none of those powers possessed a navy of any consequence. I suggested that Spain had a very respectable navy and was daily increasing it. I adverted to the instructions in your despatch No. 16, of the 9th of May, and that I was authorized to give the adhesion of my government to the tripartite treaty for the guarantee of Cuba to Spain; and I thought it was probable that such an adhesion might induce Spain, if
assured in advance of the concurrence of France, to take the initiative of our recognition. Would the emperor be willing to give such an assurance? He said he would. I asked, will the emperor authorize me to say so to the Spanish Ambassador, Mr. Isturitz, to whom I had already communicated the substance of my instructions. He replied that he was willing that I should do so. . . .
... He, however, after a little reflection, added, "I think that I can do something better; make a direct proposition to England for joint recognition. This will effectually prevent Lord Palmerston from misrepresenting my position and wishes on the American question." He said, "I shall bring the question before the cabinet meeting to-day. . . ." I then said it may, perhaps, be an indiscretion to ask whether your majesty prefers to see the Whigs or Tories in power in England, and he said, "I rather prefer the Whigs." I remarked that Lord Malmesbury would under a conservative administration probably be the Secretary for Foreign Affairs, and that I had always understood that intimate relations existed between the emperor and him. He said, "That is true; personally we are excellent friends, but personal relations have very little influence in great affairs where party interests are involved." He playfully remarked, "The Tories are very good friends of mine when in a minority, but their tone changes very much when they get into power."
He then spoke of the different spirit in which the news of the fall of Puebla had been received North and South; that the Northern papers showed their disappointment and hostility, while Richmond had been illuminated on the occasion. This is reported by the newspapers. I, of course, did not express any doubt of the fact, although I considered it somewhat apocryphal. I said that there could be no doubt of the bitterness of the Northern people at the success of his arms in Mexico, while all our sympathies were with France, and urged the importance of securing the lasting gratitude and attachment of a people already so well disposed; that there could be no doubt that our Confederacy was to be the strongest power of the American continent, and that our alliance was worth cultivating. He said that he was quite convinced of the fact, and spoke with great admiration of the bravery of our troops, the skill of our generals, and the devotion of our people. He expressed his regret at the death of Stonewall Jackson, whom he considered as one of the most remarkable men of the age.
I expressed my thanks to him for his sanction of the contracts made for the building of four ships-of-war at Bordeaux and Nantes. I then
informed him that we were prepared to build several iron-clad ships-ofwar, and that it only required his verbal assurance that they would be allowed to proceed to sea under the Confederate flag to enter into contracts for that purpose. He said that we might build the ships, but it would be necessary that their destination should be concealed. I replied that the permission to build, equip, and proceed to sea would be no violation of neutrality, and invoked the precedent of a ship built for the Chilian government under the circumstances mentioned in my despatch No. 32, of April 20. The emperor remarked that there was a distinction to be drawn between that case and what I desired to do. Chili was a government recognized by France.
The conversation then closed. two previous occasions of my seeing the emperor. It lasted half an hour, but I did not think it discreet again to go over the ground covered by my note, and the points discussed in the former interviews, although they were occasionally brought into the conversation. . . .
The audience was shorter than the
John Bigelow, France and the Confederate Navy (London, 1888), 135-138 passim.
101. Speeches on Liberty (1864)
BY PRESIDENT ABRAHAM LINCOLN
In spite of the great burden of responsibility placed upon him, no president was more approachable than Lincoln. His direct intercourse with the people was one of his methods of gauging public opinion; and these brief impromptu speeches are among his most noble utterances. For Lincoln, see No. 44 above. - Bibliography: Channing and Hart, Guide, §§ 208, 213.
ARCH 18, 1864.
REMARKS ON CLOSING A SANITARY FAIR IN
Ladies and Gentlemen: I appear to say but a word. This extraordinary war in which we are engaged falls heavily upon all classes of people, but the most heavily upon the soldier. For it has been said, all that a man hath will he give for his life; and while all contribute of their substance, the soldier puts his life at stake, and often yields it up in his country's cause. The highest merit, then, is due to the soldier.
In this extraordinary war, extraordinary developments have manifested themselves, such as have not been seen in former wars; and amongst these manifestations nothing has been more remarkable than these fairs for the relief of suffering soldiers and their families. the chief agents in these fairs are the women of America.
I am not accustomed to the use of language of eulogy; I have never studied the art of paying compliments to women; but I must say, that if all that has been said by orators and poets since the creation of the world in praise of women were applied to the women of America, it would not do them justice for their conduct during this war. I will close by saying, God bless the women of America. . .
March 21, 1864.· - REPLY TO A COMMITTEE FROM THE WORKINGMEN'S ASSOCIATION OF NEW YORK.
Gentlemen of the Committee: The honorary membership in your association, as generously tendered, is gratefully accepted.
You comprehend, as your address shows, that the existing rebellion means more, and tends to more, than the perpetuation of African slavery - that it is, in fact, a war upon the rights of all working people. . . . . . . None are so deeply interested to resist the present rebellion as the working people. Let them beware of prejudice, working division and hostility among themselves. The most notable feature of a disturbance in your city last summer was the hanging of some working people by other working people. It should never be so. est bond of human sympathy, outside of the family relation, should be one uniting all working people, of all nations, and tongues, and kindreds. Nor should this lead to a war upon property, or the owners of property. Property is the fruit of labor; property is desirable; is a positive good in the world. That some should be rich shows that others may become rich, and hence is just encouragement to industry and enterprise. Let not him who is houseless pull down the house of another, but let him work diligently and build one for himself, thus by example assuring that his own shall be safe from violence when built. . . .
August 18, 1864. ADDRESS TO THE 164TH OHIO REGIMENT.
Soldiers: You are about to return to your homes and your friends, after having, as I learn, performed in camp a comparatively short term of duty in this great contest. I am greatly obliged to you, and to all who have come forward at the call of their country. I wish it might be more generally and universally understood what the country is now engaged in. We have, as all will agree, a free government, where every man has a right to be equal with every other man. In this great struggle, this form of government and every form of human right is endangered if our enemies succeed. There is more involved in this contest than is realized by every one. There is involved in this struggle the question