WASHINGTON, April 23, 1863.
Honorable WILLIAM H. SEWARD, &c.
SIR: Her Majesty's Government have not failed to consider with attention the note which you did me the honor to address to me on the 7th of February last with regard to the case of Mr. John G. Shaver; but they have not found it possibl to modify their ipinion as to the injustice of the incaarceration of Mr. Shaver and as to his claim for compensation.
It is admitted in your note that Mr. Shaver is a British subject and and Her Majesty's Government must still maintain that at the time of his arrest his legal domicile was in Canada. it is alleged, however, that suspected of treasonable practices was properly imprisoned; but Her Majesty's Government think that it may be assumed from the facts and circumstances of his release that the suspicions entertained against him were ill founded.
I had the honor in my note of the 3rd of January to state to state to you the reasons which had led Her Majesty's Government to regard the evidence of thompson upon which those suspicions were based as unworthy of credit.
But it is urged in your note that the occupation of Mr. Shaver though in itself lawful was such as if he had been so minded would have nabld him to be guilty of treason. it seeems, however, to Her Majesty's Government that the conclusion that he was guilty of treason is very distinct from this premise.
In your note it seems to be inferred from the deposition of Neyes that Mr. Shaver was preparing to visit some part of the Southern States without a proper pass from the U. S. authorities and without the consent of those authorities; but Her Majesty's Government observe that this does not appear from the parts of the deposition cited in the note.
The other deposition, that of Albert Davis, is in the opinion of Her Majesty's Government open to the gravest suspicion. They rmself was or on his own showing professed to be an active agent of the so-called Confederates and that the language which he puts into Mr. Shaver's mouth is incredible and bears upon it the stamp of a fabrication to suit the wishes of those who examined him, and they consider that at all events his uncorroborated evidence is not to be relied on.
Heer Majesty's Government observe further that Mr. Shaver has had no opportunity of confronting either Noyes or Davis; that it does not appear that their statements consituted the original ground of his arrest and that full copies of their dopositions are not even now given.
As regards the trunks apart from what Mr. Shaver himself says as to their containing railway tickets there appears to her majesty's Government to be no evidence whatever. It seems indeed that from the averment that the trunks were heavy when going South and light when coming North the conclusion is drawn that they must have contained treasonable correcpondence, but Heer Majesty's Government obseeve that the affidavits upon which this statement is made appear to be lost.
it is in the opinion of Her Majesty's Government clear that no conviction could have been obtained in any court of justice on such evidence as this, and it is in their opinion equally clear that it was altogether insufficient to justify Mr. Shaver's arrest and imprisonment.
On the whole, therefore, Her Majesty's Government still consider that Mr. Shaver is entitled to compensation at the hands of the Government