rather to the end of dissuading the execution of the design by trying to convince me not so much of its impropriety as of its inexpediency. This furnishes a curious example of the absence of confidence in our principles of action growing out of indifference to the labor of understanding them. I began a reply by requesting permission to ask his lordship a question, and that was upon what ground he rested his belief that any such enterprise as he described had been meditated by Captain Marchand. This seemed to surprise him a little but the immediately answered that it was his impression derived from the fact of the arrival of the U. S. steamer just now and the coincidence of her preparation to start again with the period assigned for the approach of the gentlemen in the West India steamer. He could not conceive what the Adger was sent all the way across for if not for this object.
It is scarcely difficult to fix upon the source from which such an impression as this must have been directly or indirectly obtained. I made no allusion to it, however, and contented myself with expressing my satisfaction on finding he had no better foundation n point of fact I might say to him that Captain Marchand had been up to London; had called upon me and had shown me his instructions. The purpose of the Government on learning that Messrs. Mason and Slidell had evaded the blockade by sailing in a streamer called the Nashville, originally stolen from the owners in the North by forcible seizure whilst lying in that port at the commencement of the difficulties, had been to dispatch steamers various ways with instructions to intercept and capture that vessel and her passengers wherever she might be found on the ocean. To that end Captain Marchand had come all the way across in the expectation of overtaking and making prize of her. He would have done so had he met her. I took it for granted that his lordship had no objection to make to that proceeding. But having once arrived here and ascertained that the Nashville was not likely to make its appearance in these waters the captain after refitting his vessel had written to me a note announcing his departure under his instructions to return home.
At the same time I thought it no more than fair to apprise his lordship that I had urged the captain to keep his eye upon a steamer that was departing from London at about the same time under the protection of the British flag though to my knowledge intended to convey a large cargo of contraband of war to some part of the blockaded coast of the United States. It was just as well to confess that we had been very much annoyed by these repeated cases of outfits from this island. First the steamer Bermuda had sailed and she had succeeded in running into Savannah. Next came the Fingal which went only a few weeks since; her fate we had not yet heard of. Lastly was this Gladiator just dispatched from London with scarcely any pretens of concealment. I had advised Captain Marchand to keep on the track of her and the very first moment he could form a reasonable conviction of her intent to land anywhere in the United States to snap her up at once if possible. With this exception I thought the destination of the James Adger might be depended upon.
Here the discussion of this matter rested and his lordship seemed tolerably well satisfied. * * * This conterence lasted perhaps half and hour, and on taking my leave his lordship expressed his satisfaction with the result.
I have the honor to be, sir, your obedient servant,
CHARLES FRANCIS ADAMS.