War of the Rebellion: Serial 115 Page 1118 PRISONERS OF WAR, ETC.

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which prohibits a foreign sovereign by consequence from the exercise of his jurisdiction. It certainly is not necessary to recall to mind with what energy under every circumstance the Government of the United States has maintained this immunity and the right of asylum which is the consequence of it.

Not wishing to enter upon a more deep discussion of the questions raised by the capture of Messrs. Mason and Slidell, I have said enough I think to settle the point that the Cabinet of Washington could not without striking a blow at the priciples which all neutral nations are alike interested in holding in respect nor without taking the attitude of contradicion of its own course up to this time give its approbation to the proceedings of the commander of the San Jacinto. In this state of things it evidently should not according to our views hesitate about the detemination to be taken.

Lord Lyons is already instructed to present the demand for satisfaction which the Englishc cabinet is under the necessitky of reducing to form and which consists in the immediate release of the persons taken from on board the Trent, and in sending explanations which may take from this act its offensive character toward the British flag. The Federal Government will be inspired by a just and exalted feeling in deferring to these requests. One would search in vain to what end, for what interest it would hazard to provoke by a different attitude a rupture with Great Britain.

For ourselves we should see in that fact a deplorable complication in every respect of the difficulties with which the Cabinet of Washington has already to struggle and a precedent of a nature seriously to disquiet all the powers which continue outsie of the existing contest. We believe that we give evidence of loyal friendship for the Cabinet of Washington by not permitting it to remain in ignorance in this condition of things of our manner of regarding it. I request you therefore, sir, to seize the first occasion of opening yourself frankly to Mr. Seward and if he asks it send him a copy of this dispatch.

Recive, sir, the assurance of my high consideration.


WASHINGTON, December 3, 1861. (Received 16th.)

[Earl RUSSEL, London.]

MY LORD: * * * The second session of the Thirty-seventh Congress of the United States began yesterday at noon. The business done in the Senate was of a merely formal character. In the House of Representatives several motions were made for the confiscation or emancipation of slaves whose masters are not loyal to the United States.

Resolutions requesting the President to confine Mr. Mason and Mr. Slidell in felons' cells* and treat them as prisoners convicted of infamous crimes were unanimously adopted with applause. Your lordship is aware that in retaliation for the treatment to which the crews of the captured Confederate privateers have been subjected President Davis has treated in the same manner an equal number of the prisoners of war who are in his hands.

A resolution was adopter tendering the thanks of Congress to Captain Wilkes for his brave, adroit and patriotic conduct in arresting


*See pp. 1113, 1115, for these resolutions