War of the Rebellion: Serial 115 Page 1134 PRISONERS OF WAR, ETC.

Search Civil War Official Records

said that I could not see that our conduct had been different from that of France and Holland or of Spain. The Sumter had been refused coal from the Governmet stores at Trinidad, but had been allowed to get coal and provisions from private merchants. The same thing had taken place a Martinique and at Curacoa. I did not find that the rule of twenty-four hours had been observed in practice, but there would be little difficulty in coming to an agreement on this point.

In regard to the export of arms and ammunition to the Confederate States I had lately readthe opinion of the attorney-generaly and believed it was in entire conformity with the provision of the foreign enlistment act: warlike equipment of the vessel was prohibited; the loading of a vessel with arms and ammunition was not prohibited. But in point of fact a much greater amount of arms and ammunition had been sent to the Federal States where there was no obstacle to the export or the import than to the ports of the Confederate States which were blockaded. Mr. Adams admittedthis to be the fact, and said he had refrained from pressing a more rigorous compliance with the foreign anlistment act for this reason.

I then stated to Mr. Adams the substance of the two dispatches I had written to Lord Lyons on the subject of the Trent. I told him that in a private letter I had directed Lord Lyons to talk to talk the matter over with Mr. Seward two days before reading to him the dispatch.

Mr. Adams asked whether the direction to Lord Lyons to leave Washington in seven days was in the dispatch to be read. I said it was not, and that in case Mr. Seward should ask what would be the consequence of a refusal on his part to company with our conditions Lord Lyons was to decline to answer that question in order not to have the appearance of a threat.

I said that I thought the explanation that the Government had not authorized the seizure in the place of an apology. But the essential condition was that Mr. Mason and Mr. Slidell should be given up to Lord Lyons.

Mr. Adams said that if the matter was stated to Mr. Seward in the manner I had explained he hoped for an amicable termination of the difference; he thought that if the Government of the United States insisted on maintaining the act of Captain Wilkes the UNited States would be abandoning their doctrine and adopting ours.

Mr. Adams asked me further questions which he said I might decline to answer; it was whether if Lord Lyons came away a declaration of war would be the immediate consequence. I told him nothing was decided on that point; we should wait for the re and then decide upon our course.

I stated to Mr. Adams the substance of M. Thovenel's dispatch to M. Mercier as I had heard it from M. de Flahault. Mr. Adams said that the French Government had always been very consistent in their maintenance of the right of neutrals. He added that he could not pay our Government the same compliment. I said I would dispense with compliments if ths matter could be amicably arranged.

I am, &c.,

RUSSELL.

WASHINGTON, December 19, 1861.

(Received January 1, 1862.)

[Earl RUSSELL, London.]

MY LORD: The messenger Seymour delvered to me at 11. 30 last night your lordship's dispatch of the 30th ultimo specifying the reparation