been already consulted on the merits of the case. Hence the readiness with the leading newspapers immediately came forward to elucidate to the people the doctrine applicable to the question.
It is not to be disguised that the medicine is not the less bittler because it is an old one of their own concoction. The pride of the British mation is deeply touched. The consequences foreseen by Lord Palmerston are not unlikely to follow and all opportunity for further usefulness in my present capacity threatens to be soon at an end. I may perhaps be permitted to add that I regret this prospect. A delay of a few months or even of a few weeks might have brought our affairs to a positive termination without materially affecting the good understanding here which has been in such rapid process of dissolution. As it is, what with the case of the Harvey Birch to irritale us on the one side and that of the steamer Trent to provoke them them on the other, the season for the influence of pacific counsels is gradually but certainly passing away.
On my arrival in town on Thurdsday I found a note from Lord Russell asking me to call and see him at hour of the day which had already elapse. But my secretary, Mr. Moran, who had been apprised of the moment when I should return, called in person at the foreign office and explained to one of the under secretaries the reason of the delay. The conference was the postponed until Friday at a quarter to 2 o'clock, when it took place. The substance of it I will now proceed to submit to your consideration.
His lordship remarked that it was altogether too early to enter into any discussion of the subject upon which he had desired to see me, the seizure of Messrs. Mason, Slidell and others on board of a British vessel. His object now was only to inquire in advance of a meeting of the ministers at 2 o'clock whether I had any information from my Government touching the matter or was possessed of any light which it might be usefusess. I replied that I knew no more of the affair than what had been stated in the newspapers. I was not prepared to say a word about it because I was possessed neither of the true state of the facts nor of the views which my Government had taken of them. I did not even know how fr the naval officer had acted under authority.
His lordship then alluded to my conference with Lord Palmerston the other day and to his report of what I had said to him about the mission of the James Adger in order to know if it could have been correct. Lord Palmerston ad undrstood me as saying that the captain's instructions which. I told him I had seen not only directed him to intercept the Nashville with Messrs. Slidell and Mason on board but prohibited him from stopping any British ship. I replied that his lordship had not understood me quiter corrctly. He had begun the conversation by taking for granted that the intention of the captain of the Adger had been to take these ersons out of a British ship. I had asked him what reason he had for imputing such a motive to him. His lordship had assigned his belief to come from a coincidence in the movements of the respective ships. I then observed that if that was all I could say that I had seen the captain's instructions, which directed him to intercept the Nashville if he could and in case of inability to do so to return at once New York keeping his eye on such British ships as might be going to the United States with contraband of war. Lord Palmerson's recollection and mine differed mainly in this last particular. Lord Russell then remarked that this statement was exactly that which he had recollected my making to him. Nothing had been said in the instructions about other British ships.
70 R R-SERIES II, VOL II