War of the Rebellion: Serial 124 Page 0006 CORRESPONDENCE, ETC.

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Neutrality laws in all countries alike are the result of the common understanding of nations. If governments be allowed no discretion, and are simply to regard the letter, and disregard the spirit, these laws a nullity and a farce, and the nation that scouts these solemnly establish safeguards must beware of the consequences it may be called upon to accept.

I am, with much respect, your very obedient-servant,

N. P. BANKS,

Major-General, Commanding.

[Inclosure Numbers 1.]

CONSULATE OF FRANCE,

New Orleans, December 29, 1862.

Major General N. P. BANKS,

Commanding Department of the Gulf:

GENERAL: A certain number of French citizens, desiring to go to Vera Cruz, in Mexico, have been refused passes by the provost- marshal, to whom they have made application, although their papers are in perfect order.

Knowing your disposition for justice, I take the liberty to address you and to beef you to give the necessary orders, that my countrymen may not be detained.

The international laws and usage justify my demand, and I cannot understand why the freedom to travel should be obstructed to Frenchmen desiring to leave a country, where, by reason of the circumstances, they are without work and almost in destitute circumstances, to endeavor to better their fortune in another country. The ports of Mexico, especially the one of Vera Cruz, are open to the commerce of the whole world, and since the occupation of the latter port many American ships have gone there from New Orleans to engage in legitimate commerce, which has never been restrained.

The friendly relations which exist between the Government of the Emperor and that of the United States would render still more unjustifiable the restraint that is desired to be put upon the departure of Frenchmen, who, I must add, have for the most part already made considerable sacrifices in order to start on the voyage to which there appears to be a desire at present to put obstacles.

I have no doubt, general, that these several considerations will appear to you to justify the demand I have the honor to address to you.

Accept, general, the assurances of my high consideration.

The consul of France,

COUNT MEJAN.

[Inclosure Numbers 2.]

CONSULATE OF FRANCE,

New Orleans, December 31, 1862.

Major General N. P. BANKS,

Commanding Department of the Gulf:

GENERAL: Your occupations have, I suppose, not allowed you to reply to the letter I had the honor to address you on the 29th instant, and the provost-marshal still refusing passes to the French citizens who wish to go to Vera Cruz, I take the liberty to make a new appeal to your justice.

The ship Ellen Stewart has been advertised for the last three weeks for Vera Cruz, taking freight and passengers. A great number of