prison without bringing them to trial; and it would require a strong denial of the authority of the law officers of the United States before I could presume to say that the President of the United States had not that power.
With regard to the particular cases which the noble earl has referred to I am unable to say whether or not some of those persons may not have been engaged in these conspiracies. We all know that during the time in which the United States have been divided there has been much sympathy shown in this country on one side and on the other; some have shown a strong sympathy for the North and some for the South. [Hear, hear.] With regard to some of those cases I have stated I thought the circumstances were such that it was quite evident that they had not been engaged in any conspiracy. There was one gentleman who happened to be a partner in a firm, and the other partners had great connections with the South. It was true that the firm had strong Southern sympathies, but the gentleman himself was a firm supporter of the Government of the Union. It was the mere circumstance of letters being sent to his partner which induced his arrest. I thought that a most arbitrary and unjust proceeding. [Hear.] Mr. Seward said he thought the circumstances were enough to induce suspicion; but as soon as it was there was no ground for suspicion that gentleman was released.
An innocent person being arrested and confined for several days in prison was undoubtedly a great grievance, and one for which he was entitled to compensation; but beyond the right to complain and beyond the constant remonstrances of Lord Lyons, the British minister, in every such case I do not hold that the circumstances warrant further interference. I believe the gentleman to whom I allude had stated that he expected his own friends would procure his release. The noble lord mentioned three cases. I was not aware of the cases the noble lord would mention. But with regard to Mr. Green this is the statement he made on the 5th of September: "I desire no action to be taken by my friends in England in consequence of my arrest. Lord Lyons has represented my case, and it will receive investigation in due time. Meanwhile I am in the hands of the officers of this fort. "
There have been other cases of arrest and imprisonment under circumstances involving considerable hardship. There have been many cases of arbitrary imprisonment without trial; and these cases of arbitrary imprisonment have taken place under a Government which is engaged in a civil war, perhaps one of the most serious and formidable in which any country was ever engaged. Right or wrong, it is not for us to decide; but we must admit that all the means that have been used by civilized nations in warfare against each other are open to the Americans in this case. With respect to the particular cases I believe that to whatever cause it may be owing-whether owing to the novelty of the case in North America or to the inexperience of persons who are not conversant with the carrying out of affairs, or whether it is this that arbitrary power can never be safely intrusted to any one without being abused-to whatever cause it is owing cause it is owing I believe there will ever be many cases of abuse of such power. [Hear, hear.]
But in every case where a British subject is arrested and a reasonable case is made out for him I shall be ready to instruct Lord Lyons to bring the case under the consideration of the Government of the United States. Lord Lyons has never been wanting in his duty. [Hear, hear.] He has I think shown himself a vigilant British minister in that respect; and I trust your lordships will not think that these cases have been neglected by the Government of this country. [Hear.]
DEPARTMENT OF STATE, Washington, February 11, 1862.
Major General JOHN A. DIX, Baltimore, Md.
GENERAL: Your letter of the 8th instant relative to Mr. N. D. Falls has been duly received and I thank you for the information which it contains.
I am, general, your obedient servant,
WILLIAM H. SEWARD.
OFFICE OF COMMISSARY-GENERAL OF PRISONERS,
Sandusky, Ohio, February 11, 1862.
Honorable WILLIAM H. SEWARD, Secretary of State.
SIR: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 28th ultimo and I beg leave to say in reply that in answer to my