you declaring and settling as international law the principle which you now propose and when settled by treaty we will let it embrace this case and fully conform to it. "
The proposition that she must lay down will be that a neutral vessel cleared at one neutral port and bound to another is not liable to search and seizure under charge of carrying contraband of war; or in more general terms that under these circumstances the neutral vessels is entitled to the same immunity as neutral soil. I think position a sound one. It is at all events for the permanent interest of the United States that it should be setled as the law of nations if it can be definitively so settled.
But England will not agree to it. If the propsition be made to so settle it by treaty she will equivocate, diplomatize and finally waive her claim.
I am, very respectfully, yours,
[Honorable WILLIAM H. SEWARD.]
GOVERNOR: The President directs me to send you Mr. Ewing's second* dissertation on neutral rights.
LEGATION OF THE UNITED STATES,
London, November 29, 1861.
Honorable WILLIAM H. SEWARD, Secretary of State, Washington.
SIR: It has appeared to me not without its social use to accept from time such invitations as are customarily extende to the minister at this season of the year by persons of influence to visit them at the residence of a member of Parliament in Yorkshire on one of these occasions when the news came to London of he seizure of Messrs. Mason and Slidell on board of the steamer Trent in the West Indies by the commander of the U. S. steamer San Jacinto. A telegram was sent up to me on Wednesday evening and I returned to this place the next day.
In the meantime it is not be denied that the popular feeling has been very strongly excited by this intelligence. Advantage was taken of it in Liverpool by the friends of the insurents to summon a hasty meeting and precipitate the public indignation upon the ministry in order to drive them into some decided measure. It may be regarded as rather a fortunate event that circumstances had in some degree prepared them for the possibly of such a reslt. Whateyer may have the source from which Lord Palmerston drew the inference of the mission of the James Adger which he explained to me+ it is now clear to my mind that he erred rather in the selecting of the agency than in the nature of the work proposed to be done. So much was he convinced of the soundness of his opinion that it now appears from the newspapers and armed had been actually sent out before he saw me to be on the watch to prevent such a catastrophe in this neighborhood. It is also made certain that the law officers of the Crown had
*No other letter fro Ewing on this subject found.
+See Adams to Seward, November 15, p. 1078.