War of the Rebellion: Serial 115 Page 1124 PRISONERS OF WAR, ETC.

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subject was adverted to more or less broadly in many of the pulpits in this city last Sunday and a general meeting of members of all denominations has been called for this day at Exeter Hall to give expression to the feeling.

In the meantime all the preparations for warfare are going on at the different depots and magazines with great energy. The impression is very fixed it is the policy both of the Administration and of the people of the United States to make unreasonable demands of this country in order to test the extent of its forbearance. As a consequence it is considered absolutely necessary by a virgorous demostration to inspire a conviction among us that it will not be triefled with. I very much regret that this prejudice exists even among our best friends, for it leands to misconstruction of every act even the most trifling which is susceptible of a doubt, but such is the undeniable fact.

The answer from the United States to the messenger sent on the 2nd instant is expected on or about the 1st of next month and much speculation is indulged in as to the policy will be adopted in case it should be unfavorable. Some think it will be a declaration of war. The better opinion is that it will be a recognition of the Confederates and a refusal to abide by the blockade as ineffective. This would without doubt be the most decisive course to bring arround what an influential party in Great Britain have always looked to as the great end to be attained, a permanent disruption of the Union. It would also throw upon the United States the necessity of taking the initiative in a declaration of war.

The period is now so near when the result will be known to the world that I deem it superfluous to speculate on probabilities any further. I am making my own arrangements upon the expectation that my mission will in any event come to an end in a few weeks should no special instructions be received in regard to my future action. I have not yet determined wheome at once or to retire to the Continent for a few weeks until the opining of a more favorable season for the voyage with my family. I should feel it a duty to obey the wishes of the President in this respect if any particular course should be pointed out as the most likely to be for the public service. If on the other hand nothing should be said I shall infer that the matter is left to my judgment.

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


WASHINGTON, December 13, 1861. (Received 26th.)

[Earl RUSSELL, London.]

MY LORD: * * * It is asserted in the report from Captain Wilkes that Mr. Mason and Mr. Slidell "had been presented to the captain-general of Cuba by Her Britannic Majesty's consul-general. " The same assertion had appeared previously in most of the American newspapers.

Having received yesterday a dispatch from Mr. Crawford, the consul-general, directly contradicting it I thought it desirable to inform the Government of the United States officially that it was erroneous. I accordingly addressed a note to Mr. Seward of which and of the dispatch from Mr. Crawford upon which it was founded I do myself the honor to inclose copies.

I have also the honor to inclose a copy of a note which I have just received from Mr. Seward in which he thanks me for contradicting the