New York, April 3, 1863.
My Dear Baron,—During my visit to Cuba I was very sorry to see the open aid and sympathy shown by the British Vice-Consul and other officials of Her Majesty at Havana to the rebel cause.
Young Crawford, who acts as Vice-Consul during the absence of his father, the British Consul-General, expresses himself not only at all times openly in favor of the rebels, but he is known to be himself actively engaged in carrying on a contraband trade with the South, and is said to have made a good deal of money by running the blockade.
Nearly all the vessels which run between Havana and the blockaded ports, are flying the English colors when they enter port, though being mostly small fishing smacks and schooners, they are undoubtedly owned at the South.
It is known that Crawford uses his official position to place these vessels under the British flag.
While I was at Havana, Mr. Helm, the Southern agent and commissioner, though in no official manner recognized by the Spanish government, gave a ball, and the captain of the British war steamer Immortality, Mr. Hancock, did not only attend with his whole staff, but he also sent his military band, which played during the whole evening. The room was decorated with the Confederate flag, and the musical performances, by a band of a British man-of-war, wearing Her Majesty’s uniform, began by the rebel air of Dixie.
There was hardly anybody present except Southerners, the officers of the Immortality, and the British Vice-Consul, with some of his friends, the Cubans not dancing during Lent.
Apart from the questionable taste of such proceedings, there cannot be any doubt of their being in direct violation of the Queen’s proclamation of neutrality.
They are not at all in accordance with the position assumed during this struggle by Her Majesty’s government, and must meet with the disapproval of your ministry.
I hope you may have an opportunity to direct the attention of Lord Palmerston or Russell, to these facts, for the veracity of which I can vouch. They are calculated to produce a very bitter feeling among our people, while I am sure that the best interests of both governments call for a mutually kind and friendly policy, so ardently desired by all well-thinking men on both sides of the Atlantic.
We have nothing new in a military point of view, but it is generally believed that the attack on Charleston is near at hand, and it is hoped that it will be successful.
I find, on my return, a feeling for a vigorous prosecution of the war stronger than ever, and a complete unanimity of feeling against foreign intervention and any peace except upon the basis of a reconstruction of the Union.
The violent language of Jefferson Davis and his organs has produced quite a reaction at the North, and has silenced entirely the few peace-at-any-price men, who had sprung up after the elections of last November.