War of the Rebellion: Serial 125 Page 0456 CORRESPONDENCE, ETC.

Search Civil War Official Records

or reclaim deserters. The code were immediately investigated, the proceedings of such recruiting agents were promptly disavowed and condemned, the recruits or deserters, if any had been brought into the United States, were at once returned, and the offending agents were dismissed from the public service.

In the land and naval forces of the United States there are found not only some Canadians, some Englishmen, and some Irishmen, but also many subjects of continental European powers. All of these persons were voluntary immigrants into the United States. They enlisted after their arrival on our shores, of their own free accord, within our own limits and jurisdiction, and not in any foreign country. The Executive Government has no knowledge of the nature of the special inducements which led these volunteers to emigrate from their native countries, or of the purposes for which they emigrated. It has, however, neither directly nor indirectly invited their immigration by any offers of employment in the military or naval service. When such persons were found within the United States, exactly the same inducements to military service were open to them which by authority of law were offered at the same time to citizens of the United States.

Having thus answered the inquiries contained in the resolution of the Senate, the Secretary of State might here, without impropriety, close this report. Nevertheless, the occasion is a proper one for noticing complaints on the subject of recruitment in our Army and Navy which have recently found utterance in the British House of Lords. The Secretary of State has, therefore, further to report that the Government of the United States has practiced the most scrupulous care in preventing and avoiding in Great Britain, and in all other foreign countries, any violation of internation or municipal laws in regard to the enlistment of soldiers and seamen.

Moreover, when the British Government, or any other foreign Governmned of any alleged violation of the rights of its subjects within the United Statest has listened to the complaints patiently, investigated them promptly, and where redress was found due and was practicable, has cheerfully accorded it. This Government, on the other hands, has been obliged to submit in the ordinary way, grave complaints of the enlistment, equipment, and periodical payment in British ports of seamen and mariners employed in making unauthorized war from such ports against the United States.

It is a notorious fact, manifest to all the world, that a vigorous and continual tide of emigration is flowing from Europe, and especially from portions of the British Empire, and from Germany and Sweden, into the United States. This immigration, like the immigration which preceded it, results from the reciprocal conditions of industrial and social life in Europe and America. Of the mass of immigrants who arrive on our shores far the largest number go immediately into the occupations of peaceful industry. Those, on the contrary, who are susceptible to the attractions of military life voluntarily enter the national service with a similar class of our own native citizens, upon the same equal inducements, and with the same patriotic motives. There is no law of nations and no principle of international comity which requires us to refuse their aid in the cause of the country and of humanity.

This Government does not repudiate or discourage immigration. The Government frankly avows that it encourages immigration from all countries, but only by open, lawful, and Honorable agencies and