War of the Rebellion: Serial 115 Page 1108 PRISONERS OF WAR, ETC.

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ficult to be free when the world is crazy around you. I trust, however, that it will blow over and that the United States and England will be friends now and forever.

With the sincerest and most hearty wishes for your welfare and health, and for the restoretion of peace to your sffering country, believe me, my dear Mr. Seward, ever your devoted friend.


WASHINGTON, November 29, 1861.

(Received December 12.)

[Earl RUSSELL, London.]

MY LORD: The discussion of the questions of international law raised by the capture of Messrs. Mason and Slidell on board the Trent continues to be actively carried on in the newspapers of this country. With previous dispatches I have transmitted to your lordships abundance of articles in favor of the legality of the capture. I have the honor to inclose herewith two* in which the contrary opinion is maintained. That from The Albion has attracted a great deal of attention. It quotes the stipulation of the postal counvention of 1848 by which immunities are secured to postal steamers even in case of war between Great Britain and the United States under present circumstances.

I have had no communication with the United States Government concerning the capture.

I am informed that a letter from one of the prisoners which has been received here states that they are considerately treated in Fort Warren.

I have, &c.,


DEPARTMENT OF STATE, Washington, November 30, 1861.


SIR: Your confidential note of the 15th of November, not marked as a dispathch, has been submitted to the President and I hasten to reply to it in time for the Wednesday's mail.

No minster ever spoke or acted more wisely in a crisis which excited deep public solicitude than you did on the occasion of the lord mayor's dinner. We are impressed very favorably by Lord Palmerston's conversation with you. You spoke the simple fact when you told him that the life of this insurrection is sustained by its hopes of recognition in Great Britain and in France. It would perish in ninety days if those hopes should cease. I have never for a moment believed that such a recognition could take place without producing immediately a war between the United States and all the recognizing powers. I have not supposed it possible that the British Government could fail to see this; and at the same time I have sincerely believed the British Govenment must in its inmost heart be as averse to such a war overnment is.

I am sure that this Government has carefully avoided giving any cause of offense or irritation to Great Britain, but it has seemed to me that the British Government has been inattentive to the currents that seemed to be bringing the two countries into collision. * * *


*Not found.