I maintained the ground I had taken in my note of the 6th instant on the next of that law itself, telling Mr. Calderon also that if the Spanish ports were to serve for repairing and getting ready for sea again Southern privateers after they had become useless on account of injries sustained by the elemets or by battle it was practically much the same thing to the United States as if they should be fitted out new in these ports.
He told me that the Sumter was in a very bad condition, leaking badly, and that if I were to allow here to go into dry dock and make all the repairs she needed and wished to make she would hardly get out again perhaps before the end of the war. I replied that I considered the material benefit or loss to the United States whether she was repaired or not of small comparative moment; the principle was what my Government could not assent to. he said that thought the captain had asked for great repairs the captain general had replied that the vessel could not be repaired except the barely sufficient to enable her to navigate and gett to sea again as soon as possible; this was the interpretation put upon the third article of the royal decree. I replied that I should very much regret a failure to come to a common understanding of this article which was as shon by its context a provision of the first article that no privateer vessel could be fitted out, provisioned or equipped in any spanish port. Though the word "repaired" was not there still this covered the whole ground of every operation which it was necessary to perform on a vessel to preapre her for the sea, and it was practically the same to us whether the vessel were first fitted out, provisioned and equipped in A spanish port or if after her first fittingout, provisioning and equipment had become useless she should the second time be put I condition to continue her hostilities against the Government of the United States. I asked Mr. Calderon if in case the damages of the Sumter had been caused by a U. S. man-of-war off Trafalgar and she had thus been able to get into Cadiz in a disabled condition whether the Spanish Government would allow her to be repaired and put again in perfect condition to go out and fire again upon our flag. Mr. Calderon replied that he had no doubt of it; so far as reparis uponthe vessel were concerned she could not renew or repair them in a Spanish port. He put the Sumter on the same footing as any other of the Souther vesels, all of which are pursued by our cruisers; but it was a duty of humanity in Spain to allow them to repair in her ports, and such a thing as forcing any mariners to go to sea in an unseaworthy vessel Her Majesty's Government could not do. I replied that the Government of the United Staes did not expect Sapin to fail in any duty of humanity nor to force any mariners to go to sea in an unseaworthy craft. We had never said anything against the merchant vessels of the Southern States, being reapired in Spanish ports, but what I claimed as the right of the United States under the law which Spainhad imposed upon herself was that no armed privateer should leave the Spanish ports in any other or better condition than she entered them. Spain fulfilled all the duties of humanity affording the crew of a privateer the asylum of her ports to save them from perishing at sea. If they did not choose to go out to sea again as they had entered