Mr. Harvey to Mr. Seward

No. 337.]

Sir: I have had the honor to receive your No. 169, with the proclamations referred to therein.

Attention is specially called to the one which very properly prescribes that the measures of hospitality which foreign nations may extend to national ships of the United States shall be reciprocated by the United States to the ships-of-war of those nations.

No exception can be taken to a rule so just in itself, and so necessary to the dignity and position of our government before the world.

I am proud to say that no diplomatic action will be needed here in regard to this particular instruction. Portugal never declared neutrality during the war now happily terminated, and never conceded belligerent rights to communities which revolted against the constituted authority in the United States. Our ships-of-war have used these ports with the same freedom and entire absence of restriction as their own, and have been welcomed with a generous and friendly hospitality throughout.

Efforts were made at the outset of our sad struggle to induce his Majesty’s government to adopt the policy and the proclamations of the principal powers, but it declined to go beyond the declaration of the treaty of Paris, of 1856, prohibiting the equipment of privateers, and the sale of prizes made by such vessels. And the royal proclamation to that effect was made at my own instance, and with an object which has served an important purpose.

I have the honor to be, sir, your obedient servant,


Hon. William H. Seward, Secretary of State.