ment by its people of the highest immunities of personal freedom war and especially civil war cannot be conducted exclusively in the forms and with the dilatory remedies provided by municipal laws which are adequate to the preservation of public order in a time of peace. Treason always operates if possible by surprise, and prudence and humanity equally require that violence concocted in secret shall be prevented if practicable by unusual and vigorous precaution. I am fully aware of the inconveniences which result from the practice of such precautions, embarrassing communities in social life and affecting perhaps trade and intercourse with foreign nations. But the American people after having tried in every way to avert civil war have accepted it at last as a stern necessity. Their chief interest while it lasts is not the enjoyments of society or the profits of trade but the saving of the national life. That life saved all the other blessings which attach to it will speedily return with greater assurance of continuance than ever before. The safety of the whole people has become in the present emergency the supree law and so long as the danger shall exist all classes of society, equally the denizen and the citizen, cheerfully acquiesce in the measures which that law prescribes.
This Government does not question the learning of the legal advisers of the British Crown or the justice of the deference which Her Majesty's Government pays to them. Nevertheless the British Government will hardly expect that the President will accept their explanations of the Constitution which thus expounded would leave upon him the sole executive responsibility of suppressing the existing insurrectionw hile it would transfer to Congress the most material and indispensable power to be employed for that purpose. Moreover those explanations find no support in the letter much less in the spirit of the Constitution itself. He must be allowed therefore to prefer and be goverof our organic national law which while it will enable him to execute his great trust with complete success receives the sanction of the highest authorities of our own country, and is sustained by the general consent of the people for whom alone that Constitution was established.
I avail myself of this opportunity to offer to your lordship a renewed assurance of my very ligh consideration.
WILLIAM H. SEWARD.
FOREIGN OFFICE, November 22, 1861.
Lord LYONS, &c.
MY LORD: Some misapprehension appears to have prevailed in respect to the note which your lordship addressed to Mr. Seward regarding the two British subjects, Messrs. Patrick and Rahming. Your lordship very properly according to the instructions I had given stated to Mr. Seward that in the opinion of the law officers the arrest of British subjects and the refusal of the writ of habeas corpus was illegal.
It seems to have been inferred, and Mr. Seward himself countenances this mistake, that the British Government pretended to set up their reading of the American Constitution as of greater authority than the authority of the President of the United States. Such was obviously not your lordship's meaning or mine. It is necessary in every case where a British subject complains to consult the law of the country in which the complaint arises. Thus when a British subject complained last year of detention in a Prussian prison Her Majesty's Government took pains to ascertain the provisions of the Prussian law on the subject. Thus a few days ago I directed Her Majesty's minister at Madrid