Not only did this solemn declaration announce to the world the principles to which the signing powers a in future wars, but it contained a clause to which those powers gave immediate effect, and which provided that the states not parties to the Congress of Paris should be invited to accede to the declaration. Under this invitation every independent state in Europe yielded its assent - at least, on instance is known to me of a refusal; and the United States, while declining to assent to the proposition which prohibited privateering, declared that the three remaining principles were in entire accordance with their own views of international law. No instance is known in history of the adoption of rules of public law under circumstances of like solemnity, with like unanimity, and pledging the faith of nations with a sanctity so peculiar.
When, therefore, this Confederacy was formed, and when neutral powers, while deferring action on its demand for admission into the family of nations, recognized it as a belligerent power, Great Britain and France made informal proposals about the same time that their own rights as neutrals should be guaranteed by our acceding as belligerents, to the declaration of principles made by the Congress of Paris. The request was addressed to our sense of justice, and therefore met immediate favorable response in the resolutions of the Provisional Congress of the 13th August, 1861, by which all the principles announced by the Congress of Paris were adopted as the guide of our conduct during the war, with the sole exception of that relative to privateering. As the right to make use of privateers was one in which neutral nations had, as to the present war, no interest; as it was a right which the United States had refused to abandon, and which they reMained at liberty to employ against us; as it was a right of which we were already in actual enjoyment, and which we could not be expected to renounce flagrante bello against an adversary possessing an overwhelming superiority of naval forces, it was reserved with entire confidence that neutral nations could not fail to perceive that just reason existed for the reservation. Nor was this confidence misplaced, for the official documents published by the British Government, usually called "Blue Books," contained the expression of the satisfaction of that Government with the conduct of the officials who conlly the delicate business confided to their charge.
These solemn declarations of principle - this implied agreement between the Confederacy and the two powers just named - have been suffered to remain inoperative against the menaces and outrages on neutral rights committed by the United States with unceasing and progressive arrogance during the whole period of the war. Neutral Europe reMained passive when the United States, with a naval force insufficient to blockade effectively the coast of a single State, proclaimed a paper blockade of thousands of miles of coast, extending from the capes of the Chesapeake to those of Florida, and encircling the Gulf of Mexico from Key West to the mouth of the Rio Grande. Compared with this monstrous pretension of the United States, the blockades known in history under the names of the Berlin and Milan decrees and the British orders in council, in the years 1806 and 1807, sink into insignificance. Yet those blockades were justified by powers that declared them on the sole ground that they were retaliatory; yet those blockades have since been condemned by the publicists of those very powers as violations of international law; yet those blockades have since been condemned by the publicists of those very powers as violations of those very powers as violations of international law; yet those blockades evoked angry remonstrances from neutral powers, among which the United States were the most conspicuous; yet those blockades became the chief cause of the war between Great Britain