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[A Long Diplomatic Correspondence]

The Illustrated London News, vol. 43, no. 1219, p. 206.

August 29, 1863

A long diplomatic correspondence between this country and the United States has been published on the subject of the regulations established by the Federal Government at the port of New York as to vessels trading to the Bahamas. The correspondence originated in May last year, when complaints were made by merchants and others in Nassau that the Custom House at New York required shippers there for the Bahamas to give bonds that none of the goods would be delivered at Confederate ports, and this they complained of as an undue restriction upon trade. It appeared that the restrictions were directed by an Act of Congress of 1861. Earl Russell accordingly directed remonstrances to be made against such restrictions, as violating the treaty of 1815 between this country and the United States, giving English ships freedom to trade in American ports; and in August and September last Lord Lyons remonstrated with Mr. Seward. Mr. Seward replied by maintaining that the restrictions complained of were internal acts of administration, applying equally to American and English ships, and he pointed to the vast increase of the commerce of Nassau since the outbreak of the war as a proof that the restrictions did not interfere with the "legitimate" trade to that port. Earl Russell replied that this was no answer to his complaint, and it was perfectly lawful for British ships at Nassau to tranship their cargoes for American ports. In his despatch, dated Dec. 17, he, however, expressed the hope that, notwithstanding Mr. Seward's defence, the remonstrance would have the practical effect of preventing the continuance or repetition of similar proceedings. Mr. Seward rejoined on Jan. 9; but at the close of his arguments he gave the assurance that the laws of the United States would continue to be executed in such a way as to afford no just ground for complaint of partiality or injustice. Earl Russell, however, having discontinued the correspondence, hoping that his remonstrances would have practical effect, wrote to Lord Lyons again on the 18th of July, noticing the representation of Messrs. Tootal, Broadhurst, and Co., that such a bond had been required of them when making a shipment to Nassau on the 13th of June last. His Lordship considers this as a proof that the interference of the United States authorities with the trade is still persisted in, and instructs Lord Lyons to address a fresh remonstrance on the subject.

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