War of the Rebellion: Serial 115 Page 0214 PRISONERS OF WAR, ETC.

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day he had received further information in reference to similar cases, but they were if possible worse than the one he then mentioned. He understood that at this moment there were no less than three British subjects who had been for four or five months confined in Lafayette prison, and they had been detained there without any charge of any sort or kind having been made against them. There had been no inquiry made into their cases. An inquiry had been asked for, but it had been refused unless they first consented to take the oath of allegiance to the Government of the Government of the United States.

Now if that were so it was clear that those persons had been illegally arrested, illegally imprisoned and illegally detained, and there ought not to be a moment lost before clearly understanding the present position of affairs [Hear.] In these American prisons there were confined persons of every rank and means and intelligence, and many who had been brought up in affluence-there were representatives of the liberal professions, of the bar, the press and the judicature, and many of the best classes of American society. They had been arrested and dragged from prison to prison and they had undergone very great hardships. So far as it concerned the American citizens their lordships' House had nothing to do except in this way that their position would throw some light upon the manner in which British subjects were treated in prison. The state of this prison was very bad. In it were confined twenty-three political prisoners, and two-thirds of them were placed in irons. From this prison the light and air were excluded, the ventilation was imperfect and the atmosphere was oppressive and intolerable. The prisoners were deprived of the decencies of life, and the water supplied to them was foul and for some purposes it was salt. He had received these facts from an authority which he could not doubt, and he believed in their correctness.

The names of the British subjects were Charles Green* formerly a British merchant resident at Savannah. He wean from Liverpool, and his connection with this country had been maintained to the present time, for he had now a son residing at Liverpool. The next person was Andrew Low,* also a British merchant residing at Savannah, and he had children now at school at Brighton. The other person was an Irish laboring man who went out to America in October, 1860, in search of a relative resident near Harper's Ferry, and the troops of the Federal Government having found him there he was taken into custody and the oath of allegiance having been tendered to him and refused he was dragged to a prison in New York and had since been confined there. Now if these persons had broken the laws of the United States they ought to be brought to trial and if they were found guilty then let them be sentenced according as the law directed; but if they had not broken any law then they ought not to be kept in prison for an indefinite period and on secret charges. He understood that an inquiry would be directed into the cases of these persons, but Mr. Seward made it a preliminary condition that they should take the oath of allegiance to the Government of the United States. Now the very fact that these persons would not do that served to show that they were British subjects. He wished to know how far the noble earl had been informed of these things and what steps or measures he had taken to obtain redress.


*See Lyons to Seward, November 16, 1861, with its inclosure, and Seward to Lyons in answer January 6, 1862, case of Andrew Low, Mrs. John Low, and Charles Green, p. 1031 et seq.