War of the Rebellion: Serial 115 Page 1106 PRISONERS OF WAR, ETC.

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The conference then ended having lasted about ten minutes. His lordship's manner was a little more grave than usual but in all other respects much the same as ever.

It is now stated that the Queen's proclamation* is to be issued prohibiting the further exportation of contraband of war. This is understood to be mainly cause by the purchases lately made of great quantities of saltpeter for the use of the Government of the United States. I only regret that it had not been issued long ago and thus put an end to the annoyance and irritation cosequent upon the great exertions of the insurgent emissaries to fit out vessels against us in the ports of this country.

I ought to add that in going into the ante room previous to the confederence. I met there Baron Brunnow, the Russian minister, who seized the occasion to express his great regret at the misunderstanding which is taking place and his earnest offer of any services on the part of himself of his Government that might have the effect to restore friendly relations between the two countries.

I have the honor to be, sir, your obedient servant,

CHARLES FRANCIS ADAMS.

LEGATION OF THE UNITED STATES,

London, November 29, 1861.

Honorable WILLIAM H. SEWARD, Secretary of State, Washington.

SIR: * * * In the meantime the excitement caused by the late news of the seizure of Messrs. Mason and Slidell is so great as to swallow up every other topic for the moment. It may then be the part of prudence to let the old topic+ lie in abeyance until the heats stirred by the new one shall subside.

* * * * * * *

It is plain from the turn which has been taken in the newspapers of this morning that the law officers of the Crown have modified their original position so far as to deny the right of the United States Government to take out persons when they do not take papers and things. In other words Great Britain would have been less offended if the United States had insulted her a great deal more.

There is little reason t doubt that the same steamer which bears this will carry out a demand for an apology and the restoration of the men.

I confess that the turn things have taken has given me great anxiety for the fate of my unhappy country. But I shall wait with resignation the instructions which will probably close my mission.

I have the honor to be, sir, your obedient servant,

CHARLES FRANCIS ADAMS.

EIGHTEENTH AVENUE ROAD, REGENT'S PARK,

London, November 29, 1861.

Honorable W. H. SEWARD, Washington.

MY DEAR MR. SEWARD: Your letter, written as it must have been amid the all but overwhelming amount of public business that must

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*For extracts from this proclamation see inclosure of Thayer to Seward, December 20, p. 1139.

+The capture and destruction of American merchant vessels by Confederate privateers fitted out in English ports.

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