to the Government of Great Britain and the latter to the French Government, with their respective secretaries, Messrs. Macfaland and Eustis.
Shortly after noon on the 8th a steamer having the appearance of a man-of-war but not showing colors was observed ahead hove to. We immediately hoisted our ensigh at the peak but it was not responded to until on nearing her at 1. 15 p. m. she fired a round shot from her pivot gun across our bows and showed American colors. Our engines were immediately slowed and we were still approaching her when she discharged a shell from her pivot gun immediately across our bows, exploding half a cable's length agead of us. We then stopped when an officer with an armed guard of marines boarded us and demanded a list of passengers, which demand being refused the officer said that he had orders to arrest Messrs. Mason, Slidell, Macfarland and Eustis and that he had sure information of their being passengers in the Trent.
Declining to satisfy him whether such persons were on board or not, Mr. Slidell stepped forward and announced that the four persons he had then named were standing before him under British protetion and that if they were taken on board the San Jacinto they must be taken vi et armis, the commander of the Trent and myself at the same time protesting against this illegal act, this act of piracy carried on by brute force, as we had no means of resisting the aggression the San Jacinto being at the time on our port beam about 2oo yards off, her ship's company at quarters, ports open and tompions out. Sufficient time being given for such necessaries as they might require being sent to them these gentlemen were forcibly taken out of the ship and then a further demand was made that the commander of the Trent should proceed on board the San Jacinto, but as he expressed his determination not to go unless forcibly compelled likeweise this latter demand was not carried into execution.
At 3. 40 we parted company and proceeded on our way to Saint Thomas, on our arrival at which place I shall deliver to the consul duplicates of this letter to Lord Lyons, Sir Alexander Milne, Commodore Dunlop and the consul-general at Havana.
I have, &c.,
Commander, Royal Navy, and Admiralty Agent in Charge of Mails.
LANCASTER, OHIO, November 28, 1861.
SIR: I do not think it wise policy for the United States to insist on extending the rights of belligerents over neutral vessels on the high seas, consequently we ought not to vouch as authority previous aggressive acts of England at a time when she was a swaggering bully on the ocean and insist on them as supported by international law, for if we do our mouths will be closed when England as a belligerent hereafter (and such she will be ten years to our one) shall stretch the law against us to the same point.
If she remostrates and makes reclamation the proper mode in my judgment is to let lay down the law-agree to any propositon she may lay down favorable to neutral vessels, their cargoes and passengers. Say to her: "You have not harbitually conformed to these rules and may possibly trespass them hereafter. The law must be the same to lus both now and in all future time. We will make a treaty with