Confederate Society
 
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Page58…….from Mosby’s Memoirs…..

(A popular notion has prevailed that a great benefit would have resulted to the South if England and France had received our ministers and established diplomatic relations with the Southern Confederacy. {Mosby refers to the capture of Mason and Slidell upon the British ship Trent}  I never thought so, unless they had gone further and intervened in our behalf, as France did with the Colonies, and sent their fleets to break the blockade. In that event they would have becomes parties to the war. When they proclaimed their neutrality and accorded us belligerent rights and the hospitality of their ports to Confederate cruisers, they just as much recognized the independence of the South as if they had officially received its ministers. The human mind cannot conceive of belligerent rights except as attached to a supreme independent power. 
There was a great complaint against England for her haste in proclaiming neutrality and thus recognizing the belligerent character of the content. But the Congress called by Mr. Lincoln, in July 1861 before Bull Run had been fought, as Webster said about Bunker Hill, elevated the insurrection into a public war. It passed an act forbidding commercial intercourse between persons living north and south of the Potomac, and declaring the forfeiture of goods caught in transit and also the seizure of vessels on the high seas as enemy property, if the owners lived in the South. It also declared that such seizures and intercourse should be governed, not the by municipal law of the country, but by the law of nations. It thus recognized our sectional conflict as a public territorial war and not, like the War of Roses, a contest of factions.
The law of nations regulates the relations of alien enemies in war and can have no application to citizens of the same country. This act of Congress was declaration of a war inter gentes, as much so as that between France and Prussia. The Amy Warwick, owned in Richmond, sailed from Rio without notice of the blockade. She was seized on the voyage and condemned as a prize of war. It was contended that there was no proof that her owner was in rebellion. But the Supreme Court held that international law took no notice of the personal sentiments of individuals, but that their domicile determined their legal status. )


 


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