War of the Rebellion: Serial 115 Page 1238 PRISONERS OF WAR, ETC.

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induced him to believe that notwithstanding occasional violations the blockade could not be considered ineffectual. He promised to take the matter into serious consideration. The lists sent only extend to the end of August and first part of September; lists of subsequent violations should be sent to us immediately. Should Messrs. Mason and Slidell be liberated and allowed to proceed to Europe recent proofs of the insufficiency of the blockade might be of the greatest importance in their negotiations.


No news from America. The London Times of yesterday says:

We are at this moment looking up at the coin which is twirling in the air and guessing without any good of preference whether it will come down heads or tails - war or peace.

This is a true statement of the situation. In the mean time England is fitting out the largest naval expedition that ever left her shores. That expedition will crush the North at a blow if there is war, or open the blockade if there is not.

I am, with very high regard, your very obedient servant,


LONDON, December 31, 1861.

Honorable R. M. T. HUNTER.

SIR: Nothing has occurred since the last dispatch of the commission which in their opinion requires an official communication to the State Department. Duplicates of that dispatch have also been sent off, together with a copy of Earl Russell's reply* to our notes. The terms and spirit of that reply in my opinion called for notice from the commission, but my colleagues did not think so, and consequently Earl Russell's note has not been answered. The publication of Mr. Adams' correspondence with his Government which has just appeared and which doubtless you have seen has strengthened me in the view that the note should have been replied to but Colonel Mann (Judge Rost at Paris) still adheres to his original impression.

Earl Russell promises to Mr. Adams (in June last) that he will not see the "pseudo commissioners any more. " What truckling to the arrogant demand of Mr. Seward that England should forego her international privilege of hearing the case of a belligerent power! What a violation in fact of that impartial neutrality proclaimed, a neutrality indeed which includes the equal hearing of both sides, although upon unequal terms - official on one side, unofficial on the other. Had the foreign secretary in August last not driven us to a written communication the commissioners could have kept up unofficial and verbal interviews and communications until this time, and not have subjected themselves to the rebuffs they have received, while at the same time they could have constantly kept the English Cabinet informed of events and their own views. But Earl Russell's last note cuts off all communications until at least the question of the Trent has received a solution.

I presume there is no doubt that England has demanded the restitution of Mason and Slidell and an apology. Here public opinion generally is that they will be surrendered. The funds fluctuate. The Government view is that the issue of peace or war is about evenly balanced. Ten thousand picked troops and immense war material have been sent


*Not found as an inclosure, but probably refers to memorandum of December 7, p. 1236.