and the United States in 1812; yet those blockades were one of the principal motives that led to the declaration of the Congress of Paris, in 1856, in the fond hope of imposing an enduring check on the very abuse of maritime power which is now renewed by the United States in 1861 and 1862, under circumstances and with features of aggravated wrong without precedent in history.
The records of our State Department contain the evidence of the repeated and formal remonstrances made by this Government to neutral powers against the recognition of this blockade. It has been shown by evidence not capable of contrach has been furnished in part by the officials of neutral nations, that the few ports of this Confederacy, before which any naval forces at all have been stationed, have been invested so inefficiently that hundreds of entries have been effected into them since the declaration of the blockade; that our enemies have themselves admitted the inefficiency of their blockade in the most forcible manner by repeated official complaints of the sale to us of goods contraband of war, a sale which could not possibly affect their interests if their pretended blockade was sufficient "really to prevent access to our coast; " that they have gone farther and have alleged their inability to render their paper blockade effective as the excuse for the odious barbarity of destroying the entrance to one of our harbors by sinking vessels loaded with stone in the channel; that our commerce with foreign nations has been intercepted, not by effective investment of our ports, nor by the seizure of ships in the attempt to enter the, but by the capture on the high seas of neutral vessels by the cruisers of our enemies whenever supposed to be bound to any point on our extensive coast, without inquiry whether a single blockading vessels was to be found at such point; that blockading vessels have left the ports at which they were stationed for distant expeditions, have been absent for many days, and have returned without notice either of the cessation or renewal of the blockade; in a word, that every prescription of maritime law and every right of neutral nations to trade with a belligerent, under the sanction of principles heretofore universally respected, have been systematically and persistently violated by the United States. Neutral Europe has received our remonstrances and has submitted in almost unbroken silence to all the wrongs that the United States have chosen to inflict on its commerce. The Cabinet of Great Britain, however, has not confined itself to such implied acquiescence in these breaches of international lom simple inaction, but has, in a published dispatch of the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, assumed to make a change in the principle enunciated by the Congress of Paris, to which the faith of the British Government was considered to be pledged; a change too important and too prejudicial to the interests of the Confederacy to be overlooked, and against which I have directed solemn protest to be made, after a vain attempt to obtain satisfactory explanations from the British Government. In a published dispatch from Her Majesty's Foreign Office to her minister at Washington under the date of 11th February, 1862, occurs the following passage:
Her Majesty's Government, however, are of opinion that, assuming that the blockade was duly notified, and also that a number of ships are stationed and remain at the entrance of a port sufficient really to prevent access to it, or to create an evident danger of entering it or leaving it, and that these ships do not voluntarily permit ingress or egress, the fact that various ships may have successfully escaped through it (as in the particular instance here referred to) will not of itself prevent the blockade from being an effectual one by international law.