War of the Rebellion: Serial 115 Page 1237 SUSPECTED AND DISLOYAL PERSONS.

Search Civil War Official Records

PARIS, December 24, 1861.

His Excellency JEFFERSON DAVIS,

President of the Confederate States of America.

SIR: A friend takes charge of this letter which may prove useful should our last dispatch not have been received.

Having gone to England as soon as I heard of the outrage committed upon Messrs. Mason and Slidell, at the first interview I had with my colleagues we severally came to the conclusion that the separate powers and instructions last received presupposed the presence of Messrs. Mason and Slidell in London and Paris, and that in the excited state of public feeling which had resulted from their capture the best interests of our Government required our presence in those capitals.

I could not be in doubt as to the course I ought to pursue, having positive information through the Spanish legation here that the question of our recognition had never been mooted at Madrid and would not be until we were recognized by England or France, and knowing besides the necessity of counteracting at once an attempt then being made by an influential portion of the French press to unite against us the anti-Enlish and anti-slavery feelings of this country.

The commissioners addressed a strong representation to Earl Russell in relation to the affair of the Trent, asking the British Government to demand the immediate restitution of our captive friends to the protection of the British flag. england has ere this demanded that restitution, and unless the North has yielded at once war is certain. In that war France will remain neutral, but it is confidently believed in Government circles that in a few months it will be in her power to come forward and command peace between the three belligerents.

Should the Lincoln Government yield I am assured by my colleagues that the British Government is now thoroughly convinced of the inefficiency of the blockade and will insist that it be raised. While the Emperor wishes to continue on good terms with the United States Government and would regret to see the Federal navy destroyed I cannot doubt that his sympathies and those of his Government are with us. A series of articles headed "Reconnaissance des Etats Confederes," now in course of publication in the Pays newspaper, are written in the Bureaux of the Ministry of the Interior. They advocate the right of secession, the cause of the South generally, and its right to be recongnized. Other articles of the same character have been recommended for publication in other papers by the director of the press, but thus far have not been published because most probably the editors of those papers expect money from us. That question of money is continually turning up against us. I do what I can out of my own means but that resource is necessarily limited.

Many causes little understood at home have combined to delay our recognition; but a great change in public opinion has taken place here within the last six months, and in reviewing the past while I avoided rendering myself obnoxious by indecent haste I am not consicious of having omitted anythging calculated to advance our cause. My unofficial intercourse with members of the Governmentnd more friendly, and on a recent occasion M. Thouvenel was pleased to say to me that no one could have accomplished more than I had.

We have given Earl Russell and M. Thouvenel the list of the vessels which had run the blockade, and in obedience to the last instructions addressed a communication to them. M. Thouvenel was astonished to find the evasions so numerous, as the reports made to him by the officer commanding the French squadron on the Atlantic and Gulf coasts had