HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF VIRGINIA, &c.,
Fort Monroe, November 16, 1861.
GENERAL: I herewith inclose four letters from Messrs. Mason, Macfarland and Eustis but no letter from Mr. Slidell, prisoners recently captured from a British ship by Captain Wilkes, of San Jacinto. Captain Wilkes leaves to-day for New York. * * *
I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
JOHN E. WOOL,
Extract from message of President Davis to the Confederate Congress, November 19, 1861.
* * * * *
The distinguished gentlemen whom with your approval at the last session I commissioned to represent the Confederacy at certain foreign courts have been recently seized by the captain of a U. S. ship-of-war on board a British steamer, on their voyage from the neutral Spanish port of Havana to England. The United States have thus claimed a general jurisdiction over the high seas, and entering a British ship sailing under its country's flag violated the rights of embrassy for the most part held sacred even amongst barabrians by seizing our ministers whilst under the protection and within the dominions of a neutral nation. These gentlemen were as much under the jurisdiction of the British Government upon that ship and beneath its flag as if they had been upon its soil; and a claim on the part of the United States to seize them in the streets of London would have been as well founded as that to apprehend them where they were taken. Had they been malefactors and citizens even of the United States they could not have been arrested on a British ship or on British soil unless under the express provisions of a treaty and according to the forms therein provided for the extradition of criminals.
* * * * *
MONTGOMERY, ALA., November 21, 1861.
Honorable R. M. T. HUNTER.
MY DEAR SIR: I forward an article written by me on the capture of Mr. Mason and Mr. Slidell which will I hope meet your approval. It seems to me important at all events that we should let it be distinctly known the act is viewed by us as an insult to the British flag.
I am, dear sir, very truly, yours,
H. W. HILLIARD.
Mr. EDITOR: The seizure of the commissioners of the Confederate States, Mr. Mason and Mr. Slidell, is an important event and opens an interesting question as to the bearing of the laws of nations upon the act. The facts are understood to be: That Mr. Mason, of Virginia, and Mr. Slidell, of Louisiana, took passage in a British vessel bound for Engl-