your mission fully approved. * * * The Northern Government has as you will have been informed submitted to the peremptory demand of Great Britain for the surrender of Mason and Slidell, and thus there is no prospect of immediate hostilities between those two powers although everything portends the rupture of their friendly relations at no distant day. * * *
Yours, very truly,
J. P. BENJAMIN,
Secretary of War.
FENTON'S HOTEL, LONDON, January 30, 1862.
Honorable R. M. T. HUNTER, Secretary of State.
DEAR SIR: We arrived in London yesterday evening and I could address you but a short private note by a ship to sail to-day or a Confederate port. I have had but one day in London and that engrossed by visitors, embracing many of our countrymen here with many English gentlemen who sympathize with us.
This letter which cannot contain much is to go by the Nashville, and if Captain Pegram makes good his voyage he will tell you the complications that have arisen in regard to his presence in an English port. It will suffice for me to say that the Federal ship Tuscarora being at Southampton to watch him this Government ordered both to leave the port, brought about by misconduct in regard to the espionage of the commander of the Tuscarosa, the Nashville to depart as I understand it twenty-four hours (afterward extended to forty-eight) after the departure of the Tuscarora. Captain Pegram who consulted with me in obeying this apparently harsh order has acted in everything in a manner becoming his position. I have not the means of making myself fully acquainted with the orders of the British Government in this regard, they being partly written and partly through verbal communication. So far as I have understood them, however, I have no reason to believe that the admiralty intended incivility or discourtesy to the Nashville, but under the necessity of sending away the Tuscarora it was thought prudent and to preserve neutrality to extend the same measure to the Nashville. In my short note of last night* I could tell you only of the favorable impressions we received everywhere on our voyage of sympathy from theBritish naval officers. Now with but a day's experience in London my impressions decidedly are that although the ministry may hang back in regard to the blockade and recognition through the Queen's speech at the opening of Parliament next week the popular voice through the House of Commons will demand both. But few members it is said are yet in town, but there is a prevalent desire manifested to be well informed as to American affairs, and I have said to those who have called on me that I shall be happy to see and converse with any gentlemen who desires such information.
My views of course upon such short acquaintance must be crude, but I shall be disppointed if the Parliament does not insist on definite action by the ministry inuring to the relief of their people as well as ours.
By the next opportunity I shall hope to write you more formally and at large. Please send the inclosed* to Mrs. Mason.
Very respectfully and truly, yours,
J. M. MASON.