FORT LAFAYETTE, N. Y., October 29, 1861.
MY DEAR SIR: I have been arrested and am held prisoner of war-Have been offered my release by taking the oath of allegiance to this Government which as a British subject you know I could not do. Will you make the eproper application to Lord Lyons for my release? I am unjustly accused of having carried letters to the Southern Confederacy. I have never done so. We are removed to-day to Fort Warren, Boston. You will oblige me by moving in this matter at once.
I have, &c.,
J. G. SHAVER.
[Inclosure Numbers 3.]
WASHINGTON, November 14, 1861.
MY LORD: I have this morning has the honor to receive your excellency's dispatch of the 9th instant respecting the imprisonemnt of Mr. John G. Shaver. I had previously received information of Mr. Shaver's arrest and used my best endeavors to obtain his release. The inclosed extract* from a note which I received last evening from Mr. Seward, Secretary of State of the United States, will show your excellency that my efforts have not been attended with success. I will now forward to Mr. Seward a copy of the letter from Mr. Benjamin which accompanies your dispatch, and express my hope that the testimony which it contains in Mr. Shaver's favor may receive due consideration.
Your excellency's attention has perhaps been drawn to a correspondence between Mr. Seward and me on the subject of the arrests of British subjects which was published by him in the New York papers about a month ago. I do myself the honor to transmit to you herewith a copy of it. You will perceive that the British and American Governments are at issue on the subject, and that the American Government maintains that it is in the present state of the country justified in arresting and imprisoning both citizens and foreigners without legal process.
While this question remains in its present state I can do no more than use to the best of my ability for the purpose of procuring the release of individual British subjects the influence with the Government of the United States which I derive from my position here. In doing this I am subject to not a little embarrassment. On the one hand it is necessary for the benefit of the individuals that the reasons which I adduce for their being released should be such as the Government of the United States will listen to. I am on the other hand bound to make it apparent that my adducing reasons of such a character in individual cases does imply an abandonment of the position taken by Her Majesty's Government on the general question or any acquiescence in the system of arresting Her Majesty's subjel process.
I have, &c.,
* See Seward to Lyons, November 13, p. 986.