Despatch from Lord Lyons to Mr. Seward (28 May 1864)

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Date: 1864-05-28
By: Lord Lyons
Citation: Despatch from Lord Lyons to Mr. Seward (28 May 1864) in Journal of the Legislative Council of the Province of New Brunswick (1865).
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Washington, 28th May, 1864.

Her Majesty’s Government have had under their consideration the note which you did me the honor to address to me on the 23rd February last, as well as the previous correspondence on the subject of the restrictions placed by the United States Government on the Trade between New York and Her Majesty’s Possessions.

Her Majesty’s Government, on reviewing the whole subject, cannot but adhere to the opinion which they have already expressed with regard to it. They cannot but consider that this attempt to enforce Bonds, having for their object, to govern and regulate not the immediate but the possible future and contingent disposition of articles of lawful commerce, is a violation of the Treaty obligations of the United States to Great Britain.

Looked at from another point of view, the effects of these Bonds appears to Her Majesty’s Government to be not less objectionable. They inflict a great hardship on neutral commerce, and in the opinion of Her Majesty’s Government, they are in fact and truth an unjustifiable extension of the belligerent right of blockade which has been, and still is, strained to the utmost extent in the present war.

Her Majesty’s Government cannot consider that the effect of these restrictions is veiled by representing them as the operation of “the right to suppress contraband trade in our own Ports with our insurgent citizens.” On the contrary, nothing which has been alleged has altered the strong conviction which Her Majesty’s Government entertained of the injury which has been and still is being done by these vexations restrictions, and Her Majesty’s Government have instructed me to omit no endeavour to obtain from the Government of the United States redress for the grievances of which they are the cause.

I have, &c. (Signed) LYONS.

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