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Imperial Parliament

The Illustrated London News, vol. 46, no. 1320, p. 574.

June 17, 1865

American Belligerent Rights.

The Earl of Derby called attention to two documents--one addressed by Earl Russell to heads of departments, withdrawing belligerent rights from the Confederates of the Southern States of America, and the other a proclamation by the President of the United States declaring the ports of the Union, with certain exceptions, to be open to commerce, and denouncing the penalties of piracy against persons trading with the excepted ports.

Earl Russell said when his letter was written the war in America was practically ended, and only two Confederate vessels remained afloat, one of which was about to surrender to the authorities at Havannah. Having first ascertained from Mr. Adams that the United States had determined upon abandoning their belligerent rights, he at once brought the question before the Cabinet. The war had now entirely ceased, and the maritime Powers of Europe had expressed concurrence in the decision of the British Government. With regard to the proclamation of President Johnson, it was certainly a curious document, and that portion of it which denounced as piracy the attempt to trade with ports not blockaded was somewhat startling. Sir Frederick Bruce had immediately sought an explanation, but could get none, and his opinion was that the threat was merely meant to be suspended in terrorem.

The Earl of Derby suggested that the Government would do well to make some protest against such an illegal threat....


...Mr. Layard, in reply to a question, said the United States Government had declined to make any compensation to the widow of Mr. Gray--one of the officers of a British merchant ship--who was shot by one of the lieutenants of a Federal cruiser near the Cape of Good Hope some time ago....

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