War of the Rebellion: Serial 115 Page 1177 SUSPECTED AND DISLOYAL PERSONS.

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impress the Royal Government with apprehension that they might give occasion to some injury to the ligitimate interest of neutral States.

This apprehension has unfortunately been realized by the subsequent forcible arrest and abduction of Messrs. Mason and Slidell from on board the neutral mail pacted Trent by the commander of the North American ship of war San Jacinto.

This occurrence has as you will readily conclude aroused the greatest attention in England as well as throughout Europe, and caused great sensations not only in cabinet but also in public opinion. Although by that act beyond all England has been affected, still at the same time one of the most essential and generlly recognized rights of the neutral flag is placed in question by it.

I may forbear entering into discussion of the principle of right under consideration. In Europe public opinion has spoken out with extraordinary unanimity and in the most decided manner in behalf of the aggrieved party. We have ourselves hesitated until now to express to you our views upon the occure because through want of exact information we forstered a doubt as to whether the captain of the San Jacinto in his procedure was or was not actint under instructions communicated to him by his Government. We still at this hour incline to admit the latter supposition. Should, however, the first prove to the correct version of the affair we should find ourselves under the necessity of considering the occurrence of a more serious significance, and to our very great regret regard it to as an isolated fact but much more as a public menace to all existing neutral rights.

The English demands which were addressed to the Cabinet of pon the acceptance of which the maintenance of peace depends are not exactly known to us, but so far as we are informed we are convinced that no conditions have been made by England by which the dignity of President Lincoln could have reasonably been hurt.

His majesty the King animated by the most sincere wishes for the welfare of the United States of America has ordered me to advocate energetically with President Lincoln the cause of peace though your mediation, and we would deem ourselves happy if by such means we could contribute to a peaceful solution of a conflict out of which the greatest dangers may spring. It is possible that by this time the President may have decided on and made public his determination. But whatever be its nature, at all events the Royal Government in view of the very intimate relations of genuine friendship which have exited between Prussia and the United States from their foundation desire to minister to a peaceful issue and to place before the Cabinet of Washington with the most unreserved frankness their opinion of the pending affair as well as their inmost wishes respecting it.

I request you to read the preceding dispatch without delay to the Secretary of State and it his request furnish him with a copy of it. In respect to the discharge of this commission I look forward to your report on the subject.

Accept, Monsieur le Baron, the renewed assurances of my most distinguished esteem.

BERNSTORFF.

[Inclosure Numbers 2.]

DEPARTMENT OF STATE, Washington, January 14, 1862.

Baron VON GEROLT, &c.

SIR: I have now the honor of explaing to you the sentiments of the President touching the matter brought to his notice by an instruc-