War of the Rebellion: Serial 115 Page 1114 PRISONERS OF WAR, ETC.

Search Civil War Official Records

a too generous forbearance was exhibited by him in not capturing the vessel which had these rebel emissaries on board it may in view of the special circumstances and of its patriotic motives be excused, but it must by no means be permitted to constitute a precedent hereafter for the tratment of any case of similar infraction of neutral obligations by foreign vessels engaged in commerce or the carrying trade.

* * * * * * *


Secretary of the Navy.

FORT WARREN, Boston Harbor, December 2, 1861.

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

SIR: I have the honor to report to you that Mr. Slidell asked this morning to forward a letter to his wife containing an order on a European house transferring his funds to her control. I declined without first receiving your instructions on the subject.

Mr. Eustis wished to know if he could correspond with his wife in Paris without mentioning business matters.

I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,


Colonel First Artillery, Commanding Post.

ADMIRALTY, [London,] December 2, 1861.


SIR: With reference to my letter of the 27th ultimo inclosing a copy of one dated the 9th of November from Commander Williams relative to the forcible removal of Messrs. Mason and slidell and their secretaries from the Trent contract steamer by an armed party of officers and men from the San Jacinto, U. S. ship of war, I am commanded by my lords commissioners of admiralty to send you herewith for the information of Earl Russell a copy of a memorandum made by Commander Williams at the admiralty on the 27th ulti and containing further information on the above-mentioned subject. My lords did not send a copy of this memorandum at the time it was written as Commander Williams on that day made a verbal statement at the foreign office; but it is now transmitted as it may be useful hereafter as showing the actual force used on the occasion and the strong protest made against it by Commander Williams.


Secretary to the Admiralty.


Memorandum made by Commander Williams.

On Mr. Slidell's announcing that the four persons inquired for were then standing before Lieutenant Fairfax under British protection and that if taken on board the San Jacinto they must be taken vi et armis, I addressed that officer in the following terms:

In this ship I am the repesentative of Her Britannic Majesty' Government and in the name of that Government I protest against this illegal act-this violation of international law-this act of piracy which you would not dare to attempt on a ship capable of resisting such aggression.