her Britannic Majesty's royal mail steam packet Trent while on her passage from Havana, Cuba, to the Island of Saint Thomas when in the Bahama Passage off the Paredon Grande Light-House. The facts as far as we have been able to learn them, and we believe them to be extremely reliable, are as follows:
On the 7th of November Messrs. Slidell and Mason with their suite embarked on board the Trent in the harbor of Havana as passengers for Southampton, England. On the morning of the 8th of November, Grande Light-House, the San Jacinto was seen lying to in the passage. When the Trent came within half a mile or less the San Jacinto ran up the U. S. flag and simultaneously fired a round shot across the bow of the Trent, immediately afterward firing a shell which exploded within a hundred yards of that vessel. The captain of the Trenth then displayed the British flag and being within hailing distance demanded to know what was wanted. The reply from the officer of the San Jacinto was that he wished to send a boat alongside. The Trenth was then brought to and Lieutenant Fairfax with an amred boat's crew from the San Jacinto boarded her. He demanded of the captain a list of his passengers. This was refused. The lieutenant then said that the captain of the San Jacinto was informed that Messrs. Mason, Slidell, Macfarland and Eustis were on board and that he was instructed to seize them. These gentlemen at once avowed their presence, but claimed the protection of the British flag. The U. S. officer replied that unless they were surrendered to him he should take possession of the ship which he accordingly did, and after a solemn protest those gentlemen were seized at the point of the bayonet. Lieutenant Fairfax further said that he was instructed to lay the ship alongside the San Jacinto. The captain of the Trenth replied that he was going to his quarter-deck, adding, "If you want Lieutenant Fairfax left the Trenth, however, without further enforing his order, carrying with him Messrs. Slidell, Mason, Macfarland and Eustis as prisoners, and the Trenth then proceeded upon her voyage. All the papers, letters and dispatches under charge of Messrs. Slidell and Mason were brought to us on the 27th instant, immediately after the arrival of the West India mail packet at Southampton by Mr. Hankel, of Charleston. Under these peculiar circumstances the members of the commission after consulation, taking into consideration the great interests of the Confederate States, have severally come to the conclusion that it is the duty of each to remain near this Government and that of France until further advised by the President. In consequence we have addressed to Her Britannic Majesty's Government a solemn remonstrance against the outrage perpetrated by the United States in thus forcibly seizing the persons of citizens of the Confederate States on board on an English vessel at sea.
We have also in obedience to instructions of the President to the Honorable James M. Mason communicated to her Britannic Majesty'[s Government a copy* of the list of vessels which had arrived at and cleared from theConfederate ports from the date of the proclamation of the blockade to the 20th of August, 1861, and also a copy* of the resolutions of congress of the 13th of August, 1861, touching the declaration of the Conference of Paris. We annex copies* of both of these notes.