War of the Rebellion: Serial 116 Page 0811 CORRESPONDENCE, ETC. -CONFEDERATE.

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assigned for your forbearance. In that case the quarrel arose between a neutral and a belligerent; so in this case. In that case citizens of a belligerent State were unlawfully arrested on the high seas in a neutral shi by the opposite belligerent and imprisoned. In this case citizens of a belligerent State have been unlawfully arrested by a neutral in neutral territory and imprisoned. Does the fact that the offense was committed in the former case by a belligerent against a neutral and in the latter case by a neutral against a belligerent make any difference in the application of the principle we are considering? And if so in what does the difference consist? If A strikes B is it lawful to interfere to prevent a battle? And if B strikes A is it unlwaful to interfere for the same purpose? Can the circumstances that the prisoners seized by one belligerent in the Trent affair were citizens of the other belligerent alter the application of the principle? The difference if any is in favor of the present case, for whilst the belligerent in the former case was compelled to release its enemies whom under proper conditions it would have had the right to capture, in the latter case a neutral is to be advised to release prisoners who are not its enemies and whom it would have nor right to capture under any circumstances.

Upon further inquiry I learn that my first supposition that the two gentlemen in question had been arrested under some claim of extradition (unfortunately I have not a copy of the treaty between Morocco and the United States) was not exactly correct. It seems that they were arrested by Moorish soldiers upon the requisition of the U. S. consul, who claimed to exercise jurisdiction over them as citizens of the United States under a provision of a treaty common between what are called the non-civilized and the civilized nations. This state of facts does not alter in any degree the reasoning applicable to the case. If Morocco adopts the status given the Confederate States by Europe she must remain neutral between the two belligerents, not undertaking to judge of the nationality of the citizens of either of the belligerents, or to decide any other question growing out of the war which does not concern her own interests. She has no right therefore to adjudge a citizen of the Confederate States to be a citizen of the United States, and not having this right herself she cannot transfer it by treaty to the U. S. consul.

I trust you will not understand that I have written in a tone of remonstrance or complaint. I have no ground on which to demand anything of you. The friendly offices of nations like those of individuals must be spontaneous; and if in the present instance you have not deemed yourself at liberty to offer a word of friendly advice to a barbarian government which had evidently erred through ignorance of its rights and duties in favor of unfortunate citizens of a friendly Government connected with the Government which you represent by many ties of consanguinity and interest, I have no word of remonstrance to offer. You are the best judge of your own actions.

I have the honor, &c.,

[R. SEMMES.]

RICHMOND, VA., March 4, 1862.

Major General HUGER, Norfolk:

Make no exchanges with General Wool. Say you are instructed to await answer to General Cobb's letter. Congress is very impatient for official report of capture of Roanoke Island. General Wise reports that he made an official report.

J. P. BENJAMIN,

Secretary of War.