"Whereas the Plenipotentiaries of Great Britain, Austria, France, Prussia, Russia, Sardinia, and Turkey, in a Conference held at Paris on the 16th of April, 1856, made certain declarations concerning maritime law, to serve as uniform rules for their guidance in all cases arising out of the principles thus proclaimed;
And whereas, it being desirable not only to attain certainty and uniformity, as far as may be practicable, in maritime law, but also to maintain whatever is just and proper in the established usages of nations,
the Confederate States of America deem it important to declare the principles by which they will be governed in their intercourse with the rest of mankind: Now, therefore, be it
Resolved by the Congress of the Confederate States of America:—
1st. That we maintain the right of privateering, as it has been long established by the practice, and recognized by the Law, of Nations.
2nd. That the neutral flag covers enemy's goods, with the exception of contraband of war.
3rd. That neutral goods, with the exception of contraband of war, are not liable to capture under enemy's flag.
4th. That blockades, in order to be binding, must be efFectual; that is to say, maintained by a force sufficient really to prevent access to the coast of the enemy.
Signed by the President of Congress, on the 13th August, and approved same day by the President of the Confederate States of America."
How did this resolution come about? Who wanted it? The British government wanted it and got through secret negotiations with the Confederate government, an act of recognition of sovereign power.
A British agent through Governor Pickens of South Carolina got it done. Below a letter....
Bunch to Lord Lyons.
Charleston, August 16, 1861.
"I have the honour to acknowledge the receipt, on the 19th ultimo, of your Lordship's despatch of the 5th July, together with its inclosure, viz . a despatch from Lord John Russell of the 17th May last, on the subject of the proposed adhesion of the Confederate States of America to the four Articles of the Declaration of Paris, and of the rights of neutrals in the contest now raging in this country. I proceed to reply to your Lordship's communication. In so doing, I begin by requesting your Lordship to convey to Lord John Russell the expression of my sincere gratitude for the honour which he has been pleased to confer upon me by selecting me as the organ of Her Majesty's Government in the negotiation to which your Lordship's despatch and its inclosure have reference. I beg leave also to offer to your Lordship my grateful acknowledgments for the kind manner in which you hav« placed the matter in my hands. Immediately upon receipt of your Lordship's despatch, I proceeded to put myself into communication with my French colleague, M. de Beligny, who, as I found, had received instructions from M. Mercier of a character precisely similar to those with which I was honoured. After the fullest and frankest interchange of our respective views, we deter
Our attention was first directed to the suggestion contained in your Lordship's despatch that, as it would be inexpedient for us to go to Richmond, our negotiation might, probably, be advantageously conducted through Mr. Pickens, the Governor of South Carolina, with whom you naturally supposed that we were in frequent communication. But, notwithstanding our earnest desire to meet in every way the wishes of our chiefs, we were forced to the conclusion that it would be inexpedient to approach him, for several reasons, amongst which it may suffice to mention his absence from Charleston. He has been for some weeks past on his plantation in the interior of the State. But we were so far fortunate as to secure the valuable services of an agent in the person of Mr. , who is well known to your Lordship, and whose position seemed admirably to adapt him for the duties which he was so obliging as to undertake. Mr. left for Richmond on the 20th July. Arriving on the 22nd, he found that the President was with the army, whither Mr. —— followed him; but meeting him half-way between Kichmond nnd Manassas, returned with him to the capital on the 23rd. On the nex day Mr. had an interview with his Excellency, and communicated to him the mission with which he was charged. Mr. Davis expressed no unwillingness to entertain the matter, although he signified his regret that it should not have been more formally brought before him, as it seemed to him that if the Declaration which it was sought to obtain from tho Government of the Confederate States was of sufficient importance to require the overture now made, to him, it was of equal consequence that it should be made in a more regular manner.
His Excellency, as we understand, at once summoned a meeting of the Cabinet, and the matter was placed in the hands of the Secretary of State, Mr. Hunter, who has been appointed in the place of Mr. Toombs. It was soon determined that Congress should be invited to issue a series of Resolutions, by which the second, third, and fourth Articles of the Declaration of the Treaty of Paris should be accepted by the Confederate States. These Resolutions were passed on the 13th instant, approved on the same day by the President, and I have the honour to inclose herewith to your Lordship the copy of them which has been sent to Mr. by the Secretary of State, to be delivered to M. de Belligny and myself.
Your Lordship will observe that, by these Resolutions, the Confederate States accept the second, third, and fourth Articles of the Declaration of Paris, but by their Resolution declare, with reference to the first Article, that they 'maintain the right of privateering as it has been long established by the practice and recognized by the Law of Nations.' With respect to this Resolution, I beg to remark that the wishes of Her Majesty's Government would seem to have been fully met, for as no proposal was made that the Confederate Government should abolish privateering, it could not be expected that they would do so of their own accord, particularly as it is the arm upon which they most rely —— for the injury of the extended commerce of their enemy. But the Secretary of State has placed in the hands of Mr. •, for communication to us, the inclosed copy of the instructions issued for the guidance of privateers, and appeals to them, as well as to the character of the Government, for a proof of their determination that the privateers shall conform themselves to the ordinary practices sanctioned by the Law of Nations. We think that we may rely on the assurances thus given, supported, as they are, by the language of the Resolution."