War of the Rebellion: Serial 115 Page 1189 SUSPECTED AND DISLOYAL PERSONS.

Search Civil War Official Records

theater of those operations-the whole being done under color of a simulated neutral destination. But as long as a neutral government within whose territory no military operations are carried on adheres to its profestion of neutrality the duties of civil officers on a mission to that government and within its territory cannot possibly be "connected with" any "military operations" in the sense in which these words were used by Sir William Scott, as indeed is render quite clear by the passages already citied from his own judgment in the case of the Caroline. In connection with this part of the subject it is necessary to notice a remarkable passage in Mr. Seward's note in which he says:

I assure in the present case-what as I read British authorities is regarded by Great Britain herself as true maritime law-that the ciricumstances that the Trent was proceeding from a neutral port to another neutral port does not modify the right of the belligerent capture.

If indeed the immediate and ostensible voyage of the Trent had been to a neutral port but her ultimate and real distination to some port of the enemy her Majesty's Government might have been better able to understand the reference to British authorities contained in this passage. It is undoubtedly the law as laid down by British authorities, that if the real destination of the vessel by hostile (that is, to the enemy or the enemy's coutry) it cannot be covered and rendered innocent by a fictitious destination to a neutral port. But if the real terminus of the voyage be dona fide in a neutral territory no English nor indeed as her Majesty's Government believe any American authority can be found which has ever given countenance to the docrine that either men or dispatches can be subject such a voyage and on board such a neutral vessel to belligerent capture as contraband of war.

Her Majesty's Government regard such a doctrine as wholly irreconcilable with the true principles of maritime law, and certainly with those principles as they have been understood in the courts of this coutntry. It is to be further observed that packets engaged in the postal service and keeping up the regular and periodical communications between the different countries of Europe and America and other parts of the world though in the absence of treaty stipulations they may not be exempted from visit and search in time of war, nor from the penalties of any violation of neutrality if proved to have been knowlingly committed, are still when sailing in the ordinary and innocent course of their legitimate employent which consists in the conveyance of mails and passengers entitled to peculiar favor and protection from all Governments in whose service they are engaged.

To detain, disturb or interfere with them without the very gravest cause would be an act of the most noxiousaracter not only to a vast number and variety of individual and private interests but to the public interest of neutral and friendly Governments.

It has been necessary to dwell upon these points in some detail because they involve principles of the highest importance and because if Mr. Seward's arguments were acted upon as sound the most injurious consequences might follow. For instance in the present war according to Mr. Seward's doctrine any pactet-ship carrying a Confederate agent from Dover to Calais or from Calais to Dover might be captured and carried to New York. In case of a war between Austria and Italy the conveyance of an Italian minister or agent might cause the capture of a neutral packet plying between Malta and Marseilles or between Malta and Giblartar, the condention of the ship at Trieste and the confinement of the minister or agent in an Austrian prison. So in the late war between Great Britain and France on the one hand and Rusia on