War of the Rebellion: Serial 115 Page 0550 PRISONERS OF WAR, ETC.

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WASHINGTON, October 28, 1861.

Honorable WILLIAM H. SEWARD, &c.

SIR: Her Majesty's Government have had under their consideration the note which I had the honor to address to you on the 22nd ultimo with the dispatch from Mr. Consul Archibald which accompanied it.

Her Majesty's Government have learned with much surprise from these papers the cruel treatment to which the nine British seamen who were imprisoned in Fort Lafayette were subjected by the U. S. authorities. Her Majesty's Government are unable to comprehend the grounds on which persons who were accused of no offense were confined in irons and treated as criminals, and although it has been safisfactory to them to learn from the answer which you did me the honor to make to my representations on the subject that orders were given for the release of these men, yet Her Majesty's Government cannot but consider that some amends are due to them for the suffering to which they were thus causelessly exposed.

Her Majesty's Government have accordingly intrusted me to bring the matter again to the notice of the Government of the United States and to express the hope that due compensation may be awarded to the sufferers.

I have the honor to be, with the highest consideration, sir, your most obedient humble servant,

LYONS.

DEPARTMENT OF STATE, Washington, October 29, 1861.

Right Honorable Lord LYONS, &c.

MY LORD: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your lordship's note of the 28th instant. In that communication you inform me that Her Majesty's Government have learned with much surprise the cruel treatment to which the nine British seamen who were imprisoned in Fort Lafayette were subjected by the U. S. authorities. You add that Her Majesty's Government are unable to comprehend the grounds on which persons who were accrued of no offense were confined in irons and treated as criminals, and that although it has been satisfactory to the British Government to learn from you that upon the representations you had made to this Government orders were given for the release of the seamen, yet Her Majesty's Government cannot but consider that some amends are due to them for the suffering to which they were causelessly exposed. You state that upon these grounds Her Majesty's Government have instructed you to bring the matter again to the notice of the Government of the United States and to express the hope that due compensation may be awarded to the sufferers.

The case thus presented to me is mainly built on representations made to you by the British consul at New York, founded as he says upon the statements of the parties interested. In these statements they represented themselves as British seamen who had neither done nor meditated any wrong against the Government of the United States; that they had all been unfortunate, while some of them had been shipwrecked and that the latter having escaped from previous evils were innocently found on board lawful vessels, were captured and subjected to inhuman treatment.

It is my duty to consider this case free from these illusions. The owners of the schooner Henry Middleton are insurgents and traitors. The vessel was captured while pursuing a forbidden trade and attempt-