ment was in everything courteous and hospitable. All the officers of the ships in the harbor and on duty on shore called on us with congratulations on our arrival, tendering us every offer of hospitality and expressing an earnest hope that we could remain with them a few days. But I must add as a marked tribute that as we passed the admiral's ship, the Nile, going into the harbor the band on the quarter deck having the officers grouped around played what they understand to be our national air, Dixie. Our presence on board had been made known by telegraph.
I hope you will pardon this detail as part of the history of the times and as indicative of the feeling and spirit prevailing in the British navy. A common sentiment pervaded all and which was freely expressed of warm sympathy with the South and entire alienation from the North.
We left Bermuda on the morning of the 10th, and after a prosperous run entered the harbor of Saint Thomas on the morning of the 14th, where we found the La Plata. Captain Hewett after having had our baggage transferred accompanied us in his gig on board the La Plata and introduced us to her captain, who received us with warm congratulations and provided every conform for us during the voyage. The U. S. steamer Iroquois was at anchor in the harbor, and near her the British war steamer Cadmus. Captain Hillyar of the latter called on us on board the Rinaldo, and said in conversation that amongst other reasons for being gratified at our arrival it would relieve him of the duty of watching the Iroquios which had been his occupation for some weeks past. We sailed the same afternoon in the La Plata and reached Southampton on the 29th; came to London the same evening, and on the following morning Mr. Slidell with Mr. Eustis proceeded to Paris.
In the three days only that I have been here I have been called on by a great number of gentlemen, including Sir James Fergusson (whom you probably saw recently in Richmond), with congratulatioens of kindest welcome. I must again ask pardon for these details, not otherwise fitted for a dispatch but as evidence of the spirit and feeling of the people. Mr. Yancey who bears this can tell you in person of everything interesting to us in public affairs.
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From all I can gather her while the ministry seem to hang fire both as regards the blockade and recognition the opinion is very prevalent and in best-informed quarters that at an early day after the meeting of Parliament the subject will be introduced into the House of Commons and pressed to a favorable vote. The motion will probably come in the form of an amendment to the address and with the oppositio it is thought will carry a sufficient conservative vote to reach a majority. With all this, however, Mr. Yancey is far better versed than I and can give better information. He will tell you that on the last application by the commissioners for an interview with Earl Russell they were requested to make their communication in writing. How far this may foreshadow refusal to receive me I am at a lost to say, though I do not anticipate.
My present purpose is unless something should occur advising delay to write a note to-morrow to the minister asking an interview and announcing my being here as special commissioner to this Government. * * *
I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
J. M. MASON.