War of the Rebellion: Serial 115 Page 1178 PRISONERS OF WAR, ETC.

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tion addressed to you by Count Bernstorff under the date of December 25, which paper you read to me at our last interview and of which you have furnished me a copy.

First, I perform a pleasant duty in assuring you that this Government fully and unreservedly accepts the communication thus made by Count Berstorff as an earnest of the sincere and cordial friendship of His Majesty the King of Purssia toward the United States, and the President is equally satisfied that in making it His Majesty is animated also by a benevolent and noble desire for the preservation of peace among the nations. Consel given with such motives will never be undervalued by the United States.

Accepting the paper in this spirit it is my duty to submit to you for the information of His Majesty a full copy of the correspondence which has taken place between the British Government and the Government of the United States upon the subject now discussed by Count Bernstorff, namely the capture and detention of certain citizens of this country on board the British mail steamer Trent.

I trust, sir, that these papers will completely satisfy the Government of Prussia that if the general peace of the world is to be broken the fault will not lie in anything that the United States have done to produce such a disaster, or in their omission to do everything which a just and generous power could do to prevent it.

It is very certain, sir, that the rights of bellingerets in war generally recognized in international law are as yet very inperfecly defined, white there is scarcely any accord among States concering the proper peaceful remedies necessary for the redress of injuries committed by or against neutral powers.

The United States at a very early day addressed themselves to the then unappreciated task of securing the incorporation of just, equal and humate principles into the code of maritime war. They have energetically when acting as a neutral and when themselves engaged as a bll you allow me the liberty of suggestion for the consideration of your Government the expediency of improving the occasion which has justly excited so many apprehensions to recommend the general policy of this country thus described to the earnest consideration of the European States? It is only in spirit of the utmost respect and deference that I take leave to remark that the periods when the United States will have occasion to act the part of a belligerent will probably be few and brief; while judging form past experience we cannot yet hope for so constant a preservation of peace among all the nations of the eastern continent.

Believe me, sir, that in so emphatically submitting this great subject to the consideration of Prussia I am moved by a profound conviction that the Government of the State is eminently distinguished by a generous and just ambition to meliorate the condition of mankind.

I pray you, sir, to accept renewed assurances of my very high consideration.

WILLIAM H. SEWARD.

LEGATION OF THE UNITED STATES,

London, January 17, 1862.

Honorable WILLIAM H. SEWARD, Secretary of State, Washington.

SIR: I have now received copies of all the papers connected with the affair or the Trent.