War of the Rebellion: Serial 115 Page 0650 PRISONERS OF WAR, ETC.

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Lyons, the British minister residing at this capital, whose voucher for their propriety would as Mr. Bunch must well know exempt them from all scrutiny or suspicion.

Fourth. The consul's letter to the bearer of dispatches attaches unusual importance to the papers in question while it expresses great impatience for their immediate conveyance to their destination and an undue anxiety lest they might by some accident come under the notice of this Government.

Fifth. The bearer is proved to be disloyal to the United States by the pamphlet and the letters found in his possession. I have examined many of the letters found upon the person of Mr. Mure and I find them full of treasonable information and clearly written for treasonable purposes.

These I think will be deemed sufficient grounds for desiring the scrutiny of the papers and surveillance of the bearer on my part.

Comity toward the British Government together with a perfect confidence in its justice and honor as well as its friendship toward the United States, to say nothing of a sense of propriety which I could not dismiss, have prevented me from entertaining for a moment the idea of breaking the seals which I have so much reason to believe were put upon the consular bag to save it from my inspection while the bearer himself might remove them on his arrival in London after which he might convey the papers if treasonable to the agents of the insurgents now understood to be residing in several of the capitals in Europe.

I will not say that I have established the fact that the papers in question are treasonable in their nature and are made with purposes hostile and dangerous to this country, but I confess that I fear they are so, and I apprehend either that they are guilty dispatches to the agents of disunion or else that if they are really addressed to the British Government they are papers prepared by traitors in the insurrectionary States with a view to apply to the British Government for some advantage and assistance or countenance from that Government for some advantage and assistance or countenance from that Government injurious to the United States and subversive of their sovereignty. Of course I nhat I disclaim any thought that Earl Russell has any knowledge of the papers or of their being sent, or that I have any belief or fear that the British Government would in any way receive the papers if they are illegal in their character or dangerous or injurious to the United States. It is important, however, to this Government that whatever mischief if any may be lurking in the transaction be counteracted and prevented.

I have therefore upon due consideration of the case concluded to send the bag by a special messenger who will deliver it into your care and to instruct you to see that it is delivered according to its address exactly in the condition in which you receive it.

You will also make known to the Early Russell the causes and circumstances of the arrest and detention of Mr. Mure and his papers, adding the assurance that this Government deeply regrets that it has become necessary and that it will be very desirous to excuse the brief interruption of the correspondence of the British consul if it is indeed innocent, and will endeavor in that case to render any further satisfaction which may be justly required.

On the other hand you will in such terms as you shall find most suitable and proper intimate that if the papers in question shall prove to be treasonable against the United States I expect that they will be delivered up to you for the use of this Government, and that Her