I trust that you will be able to make something out of the case. It is one in which all the Christian powers it seems to me are interested. If this precedent is to stand a French or an English subject may be seized to-morrow upon the simple requisition of a consul and handed over to his enemy. And then as I remarked to you in my first letter is not the honor of the French flag involved? It is admitted that as between civilized States this question of the flag would not arise - the parties having disembarked though only for a time - but a different set of rules has been applied in the dealings of Christian powers with the non-Christian or non-civilized powers, as is shown by this very arrest under a claim of jurisdiction by a consul.
A Frenchman in Morocco is by treaty under the protection of the French concular flag. If he commits an offense he is tried and punished by his consul regardless of the fact that he is literally within the jurisdiction of Morocco; and these concessions have been demanded by the Christian nations for the security of their subjects. Should a French citizen visiting Morocco, having landed only in itinere, be the less entitled to the protection of his flag because his flag flies from the masthead of his ship instead of from the consular residence, supposing the consul to be temporarily absent? And if a Frenchman would be protected under these circumstances our citizens embarked under the French flag are entitled to similar protection.
But what appears to me most extraordinary in this case is the apathy, or rather the fear of their own Governments manifested by the representatives of the Christian powers present. A friend of mine, the captain of an English frigate here, visited Tangier soon after the occurrence and he informs me that the Moorish authorities were sorely perplexed during the pendency of the affair and that they implored advice from the Christians present but that no one diplomatic or consular officer would volunteer a word. As you have already been informed, Mr. Drummond-Hay, the British charge, to whom I made a special appeal not only preserved a dignified reticence but took plains to inform the Government that he did not mean to give them any advice.
To add to the embarrassment of the ignorant Moors the truculent Yankee consul threatened to haul down his flag and leave the country if his demand was not complied with. And to give force to this threat the Ino which had come to receive the prisoners landed forty of her crew well armed. My informant further states that the Moors are in great trouble at what they have done and would give anything to undo it if it were possible.
I have read the accounts of our recent defeats in the West with much anxiety, not of course as to the ultimate results but I fear successes of the enemy will encourage him to prolong the war, notwithstanding the Sumter has "carried the war into Africa. " Do you seed no gleam of daylight in Paris? For I am convinced the light must come from that quarter. The English people notwithstanding the Trent* affair have been so thoroughly bullied by the Yankees that it is not to be hoped they will regain their courage during the war. Lord Russell's conduct reminds me of that of a cowardly fellow who under pressure has sent a challenge which he secretly hopes will not be accepted, and having gotten well out of the scrape is profuse of affection for his late adversary. I think England, however, will timidly follow the lead of Louis Napoleon if he will take the initiative. And if England and France will act
*See Vol. II, this series, p. 1076 et seq., for case of Mason and Slidell.