be brought from Fort Warren, Boston Harbor, to Provincetown in an American steam vessel. Should they not be already there when you arrive it will be proper that you wait for them. As soon as you have them on board it will be desirable thet you proceed with them direct to Halifax. This will no doubt be in conformity with their own wishes.
You are further at libeerty to assure them that they will find every disposition on our part to repair as far is now possible any inconvenience or disadvantage which they have sustained in consequence of their removal from the protection of the British flag. We shall be willing to place as nearly as possible in the position which they occupied when that removal took place, but we cannot do more than this. We shall be desirous to facilitate their passing from Halifax to any neutrl port, but we cannot undertake to convey them to any part of the coast of the States which have seceded from the Republic. The whole of the coast of those States is under blocade, and Mr. Mason and Mr. Slidell and their compasions were excluded from it by the blocre under British flag on board the Trent.
It is hardly necessary that I should remind you that these gentlemen have no official character. It will be right for you to receive them with all the courtesy and respect as private gentlemen of distinction, but it would be very importer to pay to them any of those honors which are paid to official persons. It is desirable that transfer of them from the American steam vessel to Her Majesty's ship under your command shall be effected unostentatiously, and that when you have them on board you should go to Halifax without the smallest delay.
I request you to inform me by telegraph as soon as possible after you receive this dispatch of the hour at which intend to leave New York and of the hour at which you expect to arrive at Provincetown.
I am, &c.,
WASHINGTON, December 31, 1861.
(Received January 15, 1862.)
[Earl RUSSELL, London.]
MY LORD: * * * I was myself perfectly willing to dispatch H. M. S. Rinaldo to Boston Harbor to receive Mr. Mason and Mr. Slidell and their companions from Fort Warren. I told Mr. Seward that I desired to consult his wishes as far as possible; that I was as unwilling as he could be that the transfer of the four gentlemen should case any popular excitement or be made the occasion for anything like a display of exultation on the part of Great Britain. The only points on which I desired to insist were that the transfer should be made by daylight and that the gentlemen should either be received an board a British ship of war in the United States or be conveyed to a British port in an American ship. Provincetown was suggested as the best place by the Assistant Secretary of the Navy. It is I believe a small, quiet town. It is situated near Cape Cod and the harbor is a very goon one. It is about forty miles from Boston. It is not on the direct route from Boston to Halifax but it nearer to Halifax Boston is. Time did not admit of the Rinaldo's reaching it before to-morrow at noon.
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I have, &c.,