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Our American Civil War. 165
conclusion that the Confederacy must be treated as belligerents," and on the 14th of May Her Majesty's Proclamation of Neu- trality was issued which acknowledged the existence of a Civil War and therefore recognized the Confederate States as belli- gerents. The example of Great Britain was shortly followed by France and other maritime powers. The legal effect of the proclamation of blockade was thus stated by Justice Grier, of the Supreme Court of the United States :
"The proclamation of the blockade is itself official and con- clusive evidence to the court that a state of war existed, which demanded and authorized a recourse to such a measure under the circumstances peculiar to the case. The correspondence of Lord Lyons with the Secretary of State admits the fact and concludes the question."
Nevertheless, Mr. Seward violently resented this action of the Powers, and especially that of Great Britain, claiming that the "so-called Government at Richmond" merely represented a "discontented domestic faction." His dispatches to Mr. Dayton and Mr. Adams claimed that it was erroneous "to suppose that any war exists in the United States * * * Certainly there cannot," he says, "be two belligerant powers where there is no war."
This position of Mr. Seward the Foreign Powers declared untenable. In a letter to Mr. Adams, from Lord Russell, the letter asks, "What was the first act of the President of the United States?" He proclaimed on the nineteenth of April, 1861, the blockade of the ports of seven States of the Union. But he could lawfully interrupt the trade of neutrals to the Southern States upon one ground only, namely, that the South- ern States were carrying on war against the Government of the United States ; in other words, that they were belligerents. Mr. Seward never receded from his position, however singular it may appear, and his resentment towards England never cooled. He continued to assert that the Confederate States should never have been recognized as belligerents and this entered largely into the subsequent discussion before the Geneva Tribunal. The