War of the Rebellion: Serial 115 Page 1112 PRISONERS OF WAR, ETC.

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instructions which could throw light on the transactions which had occurred on board the Trent. I said the cabinet was about to meet and I should be glad to receive any information which might assist their deliberatins on this painful subject. Mr. Adams said he had no instructions or information which could throw light on what had occurred nor did he know whether the captures which had taken place on board the Trent had the sanction of his Government or not. I said in that case there would be no good and there might be some harm in discussing with him the merits of the question itself, but I wished him to repeat to me what hehad told me some days ago in regard to the instructions to the commander of the James Adger. Mr. Adams then said that he had seen the instructions to the commander of the James Adger; that they directed him to look out for the Nashville, a Confederate vessel which it was supposed would convey Messrs. Mason and Slidell to England. He was directed if that supposition should not turn out to be the fact to return to the United States, but to keep an eye on any merchant vessel proceeding from this country with contraband of war. Therewas nothing in the instructions directing the commander to interfere with any foreing ship bringing Messrs. Mason and S. Mr. Adams then took his leave.

I am, &c.,

RUSSELL.

FOREIGN OFFICE, [London,] November 30, 1861.

THE LORDS COMMISIONERS OF THE ADMIRALTY.

MY LORDS: I have received the Queen's commands to transmit to your lordships the instructions* which are to be sent to-day to Lord Lyons. The Qeen directs that copies of these intructions should be sent to Vice-Admiral Sir A. Milne. Vice-Admiral Sir A. Milne should be directed to communicate fully with Lord Lyons and to take such measures as circumstances may seem to require.

The vice-admiral will refrain from any act of hostility against the sea or land forces of the United States except in self-defense. But as the act of wanton violence and outrage which has been committed makes it not unlikely that other sudden acts of aggression may be attempted, Vice-Admiral Sir A. Milne will take care nt to place his ships in positions where they may be surprised or commanded by batteries on land of a superior force. He should not not detach more than one line-of-battle ship and two frigates on the expedition to Vera Cruz, and he should dispose of the dispose of the rest of his force in the manner in wrich it may prove most srviceable in case of hostilities. Hi will look to the safety of Her Majesty's possessions in North America and the West Indies, and he will in all respects execute all such commands as he may receive from your lordships to guide him in the performance of his arduous duties. Your lordships will no doubt be of opinion that Admiral Milne ought not himself to go to Vera Cruz and in that case an offcer acquainted with the Mexican coast may be the most fitting person to act with Sir Charles Wyke in the discharge of duties on that coast.

I am, &c.,

RUSSELL.

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*The three preceding letters of November 30 from Russell to Lyons.

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