War of the Rebellion: Serial 115 Page 0168 PRISONERS OF WAR, ETC.

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Secretary of the Navy hasing called Flag Officer Goldsborough's attention to the two complaints as thus submitted to me in very general terms, that officer reported to the Secretary of the Navy by sending him the papers, copies of which were transmitted to you and which you have found so unsatisfactory. These paperse show that the irons which had been used had been placed on board for the protection of the prize-master and to be used by him when deemed necessary. I am informed that irons are always provided and kept on board blockading vessels as a necessary precaution. So customary is this that a naval officer who being charged with the maintaining of a blockade should lose his own vessel or even a prize for want of this precaution would justly incur punishment at the hands of his govenrment. The papers show that Lieutenant Gwin, the executive officer of the Cambridge, certainly had injunctions from the commander that the cres were to have every indulgence their case would admit of, and that they should be made as comfortable as possible. Upon the capture of the Revere he put the prize-master on board of her with the irons which instructions to use them if he should deemit necessary. The prize-master going with probably only two or three loyal seamen spared from the Cambridge, it appears did deem it necessary at first to put the two captures seamen in irons until their dispositions should be ascertained. When it is considered that these seamen were strangers to him, captured, disappointed in the objects of their voyage and conveyed against their wishes and will to a distant and to them foreign port by an authority in the exercise of a belligerent power, I think that it might have been reasonably apprehenced by the prize-master that if left from the first entirely free they might attempt the life of the prize-master or at least the deliverance of the prize. Using the same from of illustration as before I think that the prize-master who having irons put into his hands for his own safety and the security of the prize vessel should nevertheless have lost the prize by its being recaptured by captives whom he had not confined would justly be dismised from the naval service. Whether the prize-master might not with safety have released the two seamen from their confinement in irons at an earlies day or our remains uncertin. It should seem right if he has exercised his best discretion in which his discretion was necessarily the rule of his conduct, unless indeed it shall be affimratively show that he willfully or negligently abused his power over the unwilling and reluctant seamen. That he did not so abuse his power seasm to me to be clearly proved by the fact that all of the officers of the Cambridge testified that the seamen made no complaints on leaving the Cambridge, and on the contrary spoke in good terms of their treatment, and that the commander of the Cambridge declares that he is astonished at the complaint of ill treatment, and with the best sources of information open to him denies those assertions altogether.

It remains to say that the Government having no sufficient ground cannot agree that the two seamen in question in the present cases were hardly treated or made to suffer unnecessary hardship.

Fort his reason I cannot admit what your lordship seems to claim- that the Secretary of the Navy doubt to have expressed his disapproval of the proceedings of the officers of the Cambridge, or that he ought in view of the whole case to have expressed a intention to take means to secure considerate treatment in future to British seamen in similar circumstances. At the same time this Government means and intends to conduct its operations upon the highest principles of humanity known in maritime proceedings, and especially with a view to the